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 DINAMICS OF DEVELOPMENT IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA Tran Truong Thuy Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam.

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Presentation on theme: " DINAMICS OF DEVELOPMENT IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA Tran Truong Thuy Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam."— Presentation transcript:

1  DINAMICS OF DEVELOPMENT IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA Tran Truong Thuy Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam

2 South China Sea 3 Issues:  Territorial Disputes  Overlapping Maritime Claims  Freedom of Navigation

3  Applying domestic regulations (Baseline around Paracel, interpretation of USL)  US-China: Diverging interpretations of UNCLOS on Art. 58 on military activities in EEZ, between China and US and other powers (Japan, UK, Australia…).  Excessive safety zone around artificial islands, installations and structures  China-ASEAN: Freedom of navigation of fishing boats, oil and gas exploration ships and other lawful activities  Disputes can escalate into a full conflict => impact on freedom of navigation  New dimension: ADIZ Issue of Freedom of Navigation

4 Interests of Concerned Parties China:  Important part within the “strategic stability belt” in the “near” seas  Chinese navy is shifting to far-seas operations: The South China Sea then becomes an area for training exercises and a springboard for China to move out (to Pacific, Indian Ocean)  Energy Security: Resource; Transportation; Regime survival => Beijing has legitimate concerns to develop naval forces to protect its SLOC.

5 ASEAN  Divergent interests:  Vietnam, Philippines  Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia  Singapore  Thailand, Laos, Myanmar  Cambodia  Convergent interests:  Freedom of navigation,  Regional stability,  Respecting of international law,  Maintaining consensus and centrality of ASEAN.

6 The US The US has direct interests in the SCS:  Maintaining the US-led order at sea; especially the freedom of navigation, including the activities of military ships;  Protecting the interests of allies, especially the strategic maritime routes for Japan, South Korea and the Philippines;  Managing China’s (naval) outreach to ensure that its rise will not upset the present US-dominated system;  Safeguarding the interests of US oil and gas corporations in the region.

7 Interest of Major Powers (EU, Japan, India, Australia…)  Freedom of navigation  Regional stability  Respecting of international law, current international order (Allowing one power to use assertive method to change status-quo in one region will encourage others to follow in other regions)  Economic Interest:  Interdependence of Economic Development (conflict will negatively impact on global economy);  Investment in Energy Development.  Maintaining centrality role of ASEAN: ASEAN provides platform for these countries to engaging in multilateral diplomacy (ASEAN+, ARF, ADMM+, EAS, ASEM…)

8 DEVELOPMENT IN THE SCS  Since 2002 when China and ASEAN signed Declaration for the Conduct of Parties in the SCS: no significant incidents on the SCS  Since 2008: more incidents, mainly between China and other claimants

9 China’s behaviour in the SCS  29/5 & 31/5/2011: Chinese boats Fei Sheng No. 16 and Vessel No. B12549 attempted to approach the rear deck of the Viking II seismic survey ship and interfere with its operations.  1/6/2011: Chinese military vessels threatened to use their guns against a Vietnamese fishing boat operating in waters near the Spratly archipelago.  9/6/2011: Chinese fishing boat No equipped with a cable cutting device snared the cable of the Viking II operating in survey Block 136 ‐ 03 in the vicinity of Vanguard Bank (Tu Chinh).  6/7/2011: Armed Chinese naval troops beat the skipper of a Vietnamese fishing boat, threatened the crew, and then forced the boat to leave contested waters near the Paracel Islands. 22/3/2010: VN fishing boats detained 13/4/2010 VN fishing boat seized 5/2010 Seismic studies conducted 6/2010: 3 VN fishing boats captured 25/2/ PLP vessels got fired 2/3/2011: PLP survey vessel harassed 24/5/2011 Building material unloaded 26/5/2011 VN Binh Minh ship harrased 8-10/2009: VN fishing boat seized 16/5-1/8: Unilateral fishing ban imposed 4/5/2010 VN fishing boat seized 1/8/2010 National flag planted 11/9/2010 VN fishing trawler seized 5-25/5/2011: Fishery Admin. Vessel deployed 9/6/2011 VN Viking II ship snared 6/7/2011: VN fishing boats harassed 3/2009:USS Impeccable harassed 7/2010 : Confrontation with Indonesian Navy 4/2012: Two VN fishing boats seized 4/2012: Scarborough confrontation with PLP 6/2012 VN fishing boats seized 6/2012: CNOOC’s Notification on Hydrocarbon Development 11/2012: Binh Minh 02 ship cable cut incident 21/8/2012: MLS exploration vessel harassed 20/3/2013 Fire on VN fishing boat 3/2013: Board and Arrest Naval Exercise 3/2013: Naval Landing Exercise on James Shoal 3/2013 Building material unloaded 19/1/2013: MLS exploration vessel harassed 19/9/2013: MLS exploration vessel harassed 22/2/2012 VN fishing boat harassed 16/5/2012: Two VN fishing boats captured 3/3/2012: Two VN fishing boats captured 3/1/2014 VN fishing boat harassed 2/1/2014: VN fishing boat harassed 7/1/2014: VN fishing boat harassed 21/2:/2014 Two VN fishing boat harassed 1/3/2014: VN fishing boat harassed 27/1/2014: Two PLP fishing boats fired by water cannons 9/3/2014: Two PLP civilian vessels prevented to Second Thomas Shoal 29/3:/2014 PLP Ship evades Chinese Coast Guard ship’s blockade 16/5/2013 PLP passenger-boat chased 5/12/2013 :USS Cowpens nearly collide Chinese warship 18/3/2013, VN fishing boat harassed 13/3/2013:Two VN fishing boats harassed 26/3/2013: PLAN hold oath-taking ceremony on James Shoal 6/7/2013: Two VN fishing boats harassed 20/5/2013 VN fishing boat hit 5-7/2014: CN-VN confrontation over oil rig CNOOC 981 deployment Since 2014: CN land reclamation on Spratly reefs

10 OTHER UNILATERAL ACTIVITIES  CHINA:  Map with U-shaped line  Hainan’s regulation on “board & search” (1/2013)  New passport with U-shaped line  Tour to Paracels  Hainan’s Fishing Rules 1/2014  VIETNAM  Submission of outer limit of continental shelf  Adopted the Law of the Sea  PHILIPPINES:  Arbitration Case;  Mil. Exercises with the US  MALAYSIA: CLCS Submission of outer limit of continental shelf

11 EVOLUTION OF CHINA’S STRATEGY Since 2011, The South China Sea issue is elevated in priorities of China’s foreign policy decision-making process (main issues in China-US, China-ASEAN relations):  China’s approach become much more coordinated and centralized – Whole Government Approach  Competition between and independent activities of interest’s groups are manageable. (Unifying Maritime Law Enforcement Agencies )  Centralized and Coordinated Strategy to Deter other Claimant in Specific Confrontation.

12 CHINA-VIETNAM  June 2012: Vietnam passed the Law of the Sea  China:  Elevating the Sansha City;  CNOOC’s invitation for bids for 9 blocks within 200 nm of Vietnam’s EEZ  Deploying a large number of paramilitary vessels to patrol the South China Sea,  Putting the military forces of “Sansha city” under the combat-ready position.

13 CHINA-PHILIPPIN  2012 Scarborough Confrontation - PLP: Navy ship arrested Chinese fishing boats in Scarborough - China: coordinated strategy:  imposing diplomatic pressures,  strengthening presence in the disputed area with hundreds of fishing boats and law enforcement vessels from deference agencies (Marine Surveillance and Fishing Patrol),  applying economic sanction on Philippine agricultural products  promoting international propaganda -

14 Confrontation with Japan in the East China Sea  Using various forces on the Sea  Fishing boats  Law Enforcement Vessels (and Flights)  Navy Vessels  Legal Warfare:  Release White Book on sovereignty  Announce straight baselines  Submit to CLCS Extended Continental Shelf in the ECS  Announcing ADIZ  Diplomacy  Demonstration  Create Coordination Sub-Committee

15 Confrontation with Vietnam over Oil Rig HYSY 981 Deployment  Long duration: two and half months  Higher level of mobilization of protecting forces (more than 100 vessels of civilian, law enforcement, military)  Propaganda  Diplomacy

16  China’s centralized approach: aiming for “creeping control in an expanding but non-confrontational dispute” in the SCS:  increasing presence and control of civilian and paramilitary force in all areas within the U-shaped line;  refraining from using military forces, but continuing to show forces  “Divide and Rule” Strategy:  offering economic intensives to ASEAN countries, especially to non-claimants (New round of Charm Offensive: Maritime Silk Road; Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB); upgrade CAFTA)  actively pushing diplomatic pressure to prevent ASEAN from forming a common position;  Incrementally changing the status-quo  Preventing ASEAN from forming a common position  Incrementally limiting the possibilities of US and other major powers to engage into the SCS issue to protect their interests

17 Policies of ASEAN SCS Littoral Countries :  Using the international law, especially the UNCLOS, to defend their maritime claims;  Negotiating directly with China to defuse tensions and to settle remaining bilateral issues.  Solving disputes and promoting cooperation among themselves (Vietnam-Indonesia; Vietnam- Malaysia; Indonesia – Philippines)  Claimants Meeting (Philippines-Vietnam- Malaysia)  Bringing up the South China Sea issue to regional forums for discussion with involvement of other external powers;

18 Policies of ASEAN ASEAN:  Concerns about group’s consensus, credibility and centrality role (especially after Phnom-Penh incident in June 2012)  Voiced more concern over the SCS issues in Statements of internal meetings and meetings with partners  May 2014, issues first joint statement on SCS since 1995  Engaging China in DOC implementation  Working for a COC: adopted basic elements of COC and negotiating with China on COC finalization.

19 US Rebalancing The comprehensive shift in US policy:  Politics and diplomacy: increasing number of visits of the President, State Secretary and Defense Secretary and other high-ranking officials to the region.  Economically: concentrating on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP).  Militarily: “rotating base” in Australia, Philippines, plan to move the majority of its naval forces to the AP region.  Declared its national interests in the South China Sea; indirectly rejected U-shaped line; direct engagement in the SCS issue with new proposal on “Freeze” Question of sustainability? Budget constraint; Overstretch with other issues (Ukraine, IS..)

20 Other countries  Japan, Australia, India, EU, UK pay more attention to the SCS  Issued statements on the SCS  Voiced concern on global and regional forums (G7, ARF, EAS, ASEM…)  Enhance activities with relevant countries; promoting maritime security cooperation Greeting Japanese vessel on May 2012

21 Implications  South China Sea: unbalanced equilibrium?  China is dominating on the sea and on diplomatic arena,  For the US, the SCS is not only relating to its strategic interests, but also to the credibility of the US power. However, US is still seeking approach how to deal with a rising China while confronting with budget constraint and global overstretch  Major powers have huge interests but there is lacking of mechanism for their engagement.  ASEAN is improving consensus but its centrality and role in managing the South China Sea disputes can be limited due to intra-bloc division and external impacts.

22  What US can respond to China’s strategy is adding and/or emphasize more on other elements to its strategy such as law enforcement (Coast Guard), maritime capacity building, and economic elements (TPP) - with strategic vision when negotiating.  To protect its interest, other powers should pay more attention to SCS, voice concern on regional and international diplomatic forums and promote maritime security cooperation with regional contries  China now seemingly trying to reconciling its interests in external relations (especially with neighboring ASEAN, the US and other major powers) with specific maritime interests in the SCS => one can expect a more nuanced Chinese approach in the SCS.

23  Questions, comments are welcome. Thank you!


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