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After initiating much sea-borne chaos, China now wants a seat in an international tribunal for maritime disputes

After initiating much sea-borne chaos, China now wants a seat in an international tribunal for maritime disputes

Australia and Malaysia push back against China’s South Sea claims as Ecuador says China agrees to a “monitoring” of its fishing armada.

Between island-building to control the South China Seas and sending an armada of fishing boats to net the ecological treasures off the Galapagos Island, it is quite clear that China’s actions to exert regional influence and address potential economic issues at home are causing chaos on the high seas.

In an act of hubris that is now unsurprising from the nation, China is demanding a spot on an international tribunal that settles maritime disputes.

China has nominated a Chinese candidate for a judge’s position in an international tribunal that settles maritime disputes. But the U.S. is seeking to stop China, arguing that Beijing has flouted international sea laws in the disputed South China Sea.

“Electing a PRC official to this body is like hiring an arsonist to help run the Fire Department,” said David Stilwell, U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, at an online forum held by think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies last month.

PRC refers to the People’s Republic of China, the official name of the country.

“We urge all countries involved in the upcoming International Tribunal election to carefully assess the credentials of the PRC candidate and consider whether a PRC judge on the Tribunal will help or hinder international maritime law. Given Beijing’s record, the answer should be clear,” he added.

The selection will be made in September. Meanwhile, some Pacific nations are rethinking their relations with China. Australia recently submitted a diplomatic note to a United Nations commission, now supporting the U.S. in its fight against China’s expansive South China Sea claims.

Australia’s note to the U.N. Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf challenged the legal basis for many of China’s claims, including those to the Paracel and Spratly Islands, as well as rights to sovereign and internal commerce in the sea’s zone.

Even further, Canberra rejected one of China’s more ambitious claims—that artificial islands can become internationally recognized—as fully incorrect. Australia “does not accept that artificially transformed features can ever acquire the status of an island,” the diplomatic brief reads.

The change of tune from America’s oceanic ally comes soon after America’s own strategic pivot. On July 14, Washington announced its intention to no longer recognize Chinese claims within the body of water. In effect, the move promotes freedom of navigation and commerce as well as the sovereignty of Asian allies in a region through which a massive amount of the world’s commerce—some 21 percent in 2016—flows.

Additionally, Malaysian officials now say that China’s maritime claims in the South China Sea have no legal basis.

In a note verbale dated Wednesday, the Malaysian mission to the U.N. wrote to Secretary General Antonio Guterres that it “rejects China’s claims to historic rights, or other sovereign rights or jurisdiction, with respect to the maritime areas of the South China Sea encompassed by the relevant part of the ‘nine-dash line.'”

Noting that China’s claims are contrary to the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, or Unclos, it added, “The Government of Malaysia considers that the People’s Republic of China’s claim to the maritime features in the South China Sea has no basis under international law.”

The language echoed a joint statement issued by the U.S. and Australia earlier this week, in which the ministers of foreign affairs and defense affirmed that “Beijing’s maritime claims are not valid under international law.”

Finally, Ecuadorian officials indicate that China has agreed to allow supervision of its fishing vessels near the Galapagos Islands.

“China accepts Ecuador’s supervision of Chinese fishing vessels that are at sea,” Foreign Minister Luis Gallegos told a legislative commission, adding that China had agreed to hold bilateral talks about the issue.

Gallegos said Chinese authorities have vowed a policy of “zero tolerance” toward vessels linked to illegal fishing and the companies that own those vessels.

He did not provide details on what the supervision would involve.

Of course, their plan places a lot of trust in China. I predict a few more species will be making the Endangered Species List before too long.


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Same as every tiny Dictator country wants to be the judge of human rights, he who makes the rules doesn’t have to follow them being the judge and jury.

JusticeDelivered | August 9, 2020 at 12:24 pm

I think China needs to have a rash of ships which simply disappear while in deep water. They have been stealing America and many other countries blind. Time to give them a dose of Wolf warfare.

UnCivilServant | August 9, 2020 at 1:00 pm

the PRC needs to be vacated from the RoC’s seats on these international bodies. They are an illegitimate rebellion against the government of China.

Also, start sinking their ships playing the “I’m not touching you” game and claim the GPS said they were on the wrong side of the line.

    Lucifer Morningstar in reply to UnCivilServant. | August 9, 2020 at 1:12 pm

    Nope. Just sink their boats and tell the CCP/PRC we aren’t going to be playing their “I’m not touching you” games any further and will take appropriate actions to protect US assets in the future.

    Might as well get the shooting war over with now instead of allowing the CCP/PRC any more time to build up its forces.

    Kepha H in reply to UnCivilServant. | August 9, 2020 at 2:35 pm

    The RoC also claims the whole of the South China Sea, and the PRC’s claims are based on those earlier claims.
    Stil, 我也认为中华民国好得多!

We are starting to understand what needs to be done in the South China Sea by sending carrier battle groups into those waters.

In the past, we would send one destroyer on a freedom of navigation op. Nothing but an annoyance.

What needs to happen is that we need to poke China in the eye…hard…every chance we get.

The most dramatic way to do that is to have multi-national naval exercises in the South China Sea often. Invite all the countries bordering or with a claim to real estate in those waters and forget to invite the Chinese.

The PRC must understand that the China Sea is NOT their private lake.

    Kepha H in reply to NavyMustang. | August 9, 2020 at 2:33 pm

    The trouble is, for Philippines, Malaysia, VN, Singapore, Brunei, and Indonesia, China is the 800 lb, gorilla in their neighborhood.

This is like:
Paying Peter to rob Paul.
Cutting off your face to spite your nose.
Placing the Sino patient in charge of the asylum.
Appointing a defendant to be the judge

China is learning that Pro-Choice is a poor model for international cooperation, let alone peaceful relations.

Maybe the USA should state that it sees China’s plans to overfish the waters around the Galapagos as a violation of the Monroe Doctrine. However, people like Lenin Moreno and his predecessor Rafael Correa were hard Leftists who probably would’ve liked the Marxist-Leninist Chinese regime having more international power.

China should get nothing in light of its role in the virus and disclosure about the cause.

Why should they be rewarded for the way they behave? Instead, they should be shunned.

Of course they do.
It’s the best place to cause trouble.

Who’d they bribe now?

Katy L. Stamper | August 9, 2020 at 5:40 pm

Obviously, no concessions should be made to the Chinese. Nixon and Kissinger made a mistake and Trump is trying to reverse it.

Kissinger, such a “smart” man.

I am puzzled by the economics of this. The Chinese vessels are ~10,000 miles away from the Galapagos, so how do they handle the logistics of getting to their destination (and back)? I don’t know of any fishing vessels that can make that transit without refueling. Do they stop in Hawaii? Even that is about 5,000 miles, outside of the range of fishing vessels. It would appear that the Chicomm government is funding this venture (and previous ventures) in order to poke the eyes of the Western countries.

    Katy L. Stamper in reply to pkreter. | August 9, 2020 at 8:16 pm

    China is a colonizer.

    They have One Belt, One Road, which heads west from their country to southern europe and Africa.

    You can kiss Africa goodbye. China is going to exploit it to the max. They dispose of their own citizens like so many guinea pigs. They torture animals. They lack any Christian impulses.

So they can intimidate everyone else. It’s a smart thing for them to always try to get a seat. Hopefully everyone just says NO.