WHAT IS THE DISPUTE ABOUT?
Territorial dispute in the South China Sea is mostly about island and maritime claims over Paracel and Spratly islands. These two island groups are claimed by a number of countries including China, Vietnam, The Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei. Besides the islands in the two island chains, the dispute involves other separate islands and reefs such as Scarborough Shoal. Tensions in the sea is recently vastly increasing due to China’s terrorist acts in the disputed area such as attacking Vietnam’s and Philippines’ fishing boats and unilaterally reconstructing the reefs.
RECENTDEVELOPMENTS OF THE DISPUTE
- 2009, China published new map that included nine-dashed line
- February 2011, China’s frigate Dongguan fired at the Philippines’ fishing boats near Jackson atoll after instructing the boats.
- May 2011, the clash happened when the Vietnamese survey vessel Binh Minh 02 was attacked 80 miles off the south central coast of in the EEZ of Vietnam by Chinese surveillance ship. Binh Minh 02 was attacked again 18 months later. Also, in 2011, another Vietnam’s vessel named Viking II was “harassed” within the Vietnam’s EEZ. The violent acts of China had raised large anti-China protests in Vietnam
- September 2012, China launched a program to increase the number of UAV’s monitoring the Scarborough Shoal and Paracel Islands, following by a natinal marine zoning program approved the State Council during the previous year as a part of China’s five-year plan,
- March 2014, The Philippines submitted a petition to the PCA in The Hague against China claims in the sea.
- May 2014, China located the Haiyang 981 120 nautical miles from Ly Son island (Vietnam), which led to several clash between two countries.
- From early 2015, China started its reconstruction with dredging the reefs and building artificial islands. The Philippines accuses Chinese reclamation damaged the environment. It is believed that China is building military bases in the sea. Despite the anxiety over the act of reclamation, China assert that they are for humanitarian aid. Lately, on 10 October, China announced that they have completed the construction of two large lighthouses in the SCS.
Mischief Reef before and after reclamation (Source: abc news)
As the tensions are escalating in the Sea, strengthening among related nations including Vietnam, The Philippines, Japan, Australia and the US has been recorded.
2014, “Cuộc chiến tranh Lạnh kế tiếp: Biển Đông trước cơn bão”, Phan Ba’s blog, weblog, 3 April <https://phanba.wordpress.com/2014/04/03/cuoc-chien-tranh-lanh-ke-tiep-truoc-con-bao/>
Liddy and Spraggon 2015, “Before and after: China builds artificial islands in South China Sea”, ABC News, 22 September <http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-09-22/south-china-sea-islands-before-and-after/6794076>
Pham 2011, Nga, “Vietnam’s anger over China mảitime moves”, BBC News, 6 June <http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-pacific-13664408>
Santos 2015, “In photos: China’s construction of ilitary bases in Spratlys”, Inquirer.net, 17 March <http://globalnation.inquirer.net/119660/in-photos-chinas-construction-of-military-bases-in-south-china-sea>
“Teritorial dispute in the South China Sea”, Wikipedia <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Territorial_disputes_in_the_South_China_Sea>
Xinhua 2015, “China completes construction of two large lighthouses in the South China Sea”, ECNS, 10 October <http://www.ecns.cn/2015/10-10/183757.shtml>