The Spratlies have always been a flash point in the South China Sea. China, Vietnam and the Philippines have all laid claim to this pile of coral that has no economic value. However, by asserting sovereignty, each of these countries effectively extends its borders and theoretically can control commerce in the South China Sea.
The local press was discussing it when I was in Vietnam in 1995. The local press was discussing it when I visited the Philippines in 2000. I’ve never been to China but I’ll bet the local press was discussing it there as well. There have been naval skirmishes from time to time in that area. Generally we have taken the Philippine or Vietnamese side but have never agreed with the Chinese.
Now China decides to act. They create more islands and build air strips on them. Now they not only can put superior naval power in the area, they have air superiority.
Obama, in his infinite wisdom, has decided to appease the Chinese. There will be no incursion into the new 12 mile limit. There will be no more shipping into this area without Chinese permission. We have agreed that the South China Sea will become a Chinese lake.
I don’t believe that China has yet put aircraft onto these islands. They will…otherwise why would they be building military airfields? Once that happens it will be very difficult for the United States to effectively assert its right of passage through this area. A new President, unless he/she truly has a backbone, will have to accede to the precedent that Obama has set.
He has screwed us in the Middle East. He has screwed us with Russia. He has screwed us in the Caribbean. He has screwed us with China.
How soon will it be before this traitorous action provokes military action against the homeland? My bet is that it will happen before the end of this year. If that happens all bets will be off. Mine is that he will try to find a way to take permanent control of the country, perhaps by calling off the 2016 elections. Pray that I am wrong.
This is from IHS Jane’s…a very good source.
Risk of US-Chinese maritime confrontation increases in South China Sea
David Yang – IHS Jane’s Intelligence Weekly
14 May 2015
This aerial photo, taken through a glass window of a military plane on Monday, 11 May 2015, shows Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. Source: PA
On 12 May, US media reported that the US military is considering sending military surveillance aircraft and naval vessels to within 12 nautical miles of Chinese-occupied features in the disputed Spratly Islands.
The normal territorial sea limit under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is 12 nautical miles. The report appeared one day after the USS Fort Worth, a US Navy littoral combat ship, was allegedly shadowed by a Chinese navy frigate while patrolling in the South China Sea near the Spratly Islands, where China has conducted extensive land reclamation projects around a number of islets and reefs that it occupies. On 13 May, the Chinese Foreign Ministry expressed “serious concern” over the report and demanded US clarifications.
China claims most of the islets in the South China Sea, a claim that is actively disputed by the other states in the region, most importantly Vietnam and the Philippines. Although several Spratly claimants have conducted land reclamation, the Chinese efforts are notable for their speed and extent. Under UNCLOS, only natural land features permanently above sea level are entitled to surrounding territorial seas, whereas many of the Chinese-occupied features are submerged at high tide. Although the United States has never accepted Chinese claims of territorial waters around the periodically submerged features, to date US forces have refrained from traversing the 12-nautical-mile limit.
Any US air or naval patrol breaching the 12-nautical-mile limit would be regarded as in deliberate violation of Chinese sovereignty by Beijing, and would probably trigger a diplomatic confrontation between the US and China. Given the range of global security and economic issues which require Chinese co-operation, in particular the increasingly volatile situation in North Korea, the White House is unlikely to directly challenge Chinese territorial claims at%