Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Spratly Islands Update

 After more than three years, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) at The Hague ruled that China has no claim to large tracts of the South China Sea and has violated The Philippines' sovereignty by building artificial islands in the smaller country's waters.

Note: the PCA is not a court, but rather an organiser of arbitral tribunals to resolve conflicts between member states
Chinese leaders immediately issued a statement rejecting the ruling’s validity, reiterating that the tribunal in The Hague has no jurisdiction over the case, which is in essence related to territorial sovereignty and maritime delimitation. 

What evidence does China offer to substantiate its claims of sovereignty in the South China Sea?

 This map was drawn in 1947 by Republic Of China, preceding the current People's Republic of China administration.

After World War II, the ROC Navy conducted a formal survey of the South China Sea, and published a map of the South China Sea in 1947 with an 11-dash line, including the current 9 dashes and two additional dashes between Vietnam and the Island of Hainan. After the Communists took over the mainland and founded the PRC in 1949, they inherited the ROC's claims to the South China Sea, but discarded two lines between Hainan and Northern Vietnam as a gesture of support for the Communist movement there. 

They did however, engage in naval combat with the Republic of Vietnam [South Vietnam] over control of the Paracels in 1974, and later traded fire with a unified Vietnam over some reefs in the Spratlys in 1988.

Muro-ami is a Japanese-inspired fishing technique that once devastated the fragile marine life of the Philippines

Muro-ami technique involved sending a line of divers to depths of 10 - 25 meters, with scare lines, using coconut leaves or white plastic streamers attached to it at 1 meter intervals, to create the illusion of a wall and dragged across the ocean floor which herds the fish into the net. Through vigorous smashing of the reef, fish are forced to come out of their corals. Although banned by the Philippine Law nowadays, this brutal and desperate way of fishing are still practiced secretly in the Spratly Islands.

(Been there, done that and got the polo shirt)

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