“Farce” says China, in the South China Sea. @gordongchang. Cleo Paska, Chatham House, Ethan Gutman, author. @andrewserickson
(Photo: Construction at Kagitingan (Fiery Cross) Reef in the disputed Spratley Islands in the south)
“Farce” says China, in the South China Sea. @gordongchang. Cleo Paska, Chatham House, Ethan Gutman, author. Andrew Erickson, US Naval War College.
“WASHINGTON: China's foreign minister spoke with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry by telephone on Wednesday ahead of a key international court ruling on China's South China Sea claims and warned Washington against moves that infringe on China's sovereignty, Beijing's official Xinhua news agency reported.
Xinhua said Wang Yi repeated China's rejection of the jurisdiction of the International Court of Arbitration in a case the Philippines has brought against China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, calling it a "farce" that should come to an end.
The court, based in The Hague, is due to give its ruling on Tuesday, raising fears of confrontation in the region. U.S. officials say the U.S. response should China stick to its vow to ignore the ruling could include stepped up freedom-of-navigation patrols close to Chinese claimed islands in what is one of the world's business trade routes.
In the call initiated by Kerry, Wang "urged the United States to honour its commitment to not to take sides on issues related to sovereign disputes, to be prudent with its actions and words, and not to take any actions that infringe upon the sovereignty and security interests of China," Xinhua said.
Wang said that regardless of the tribunal's ruling, China would "firmly safeguard its own territorial sovereignty and legitimate maritime rights and firmly safeguard the peace and stability," it said.
Wang also said that relations between China and the United States were generally on a sound track and that the two sides should further focus on cooperation while properly managing their differences.
The Slaughter: Mass Killings, Organ Harvesting, and China's Secret Solution to Its Dissident Problem, by Ethan Gutman.
"...Despite the fact that the Impeccable incident and other such encounters have been widely publicized, the militias are strikingly deceptive about their activities. Earlier this month, an Al Jazeera reporter visited the township of Tanmen on Hainan, where she saw a contingent of fatigue-clad militiamen drilling by the village's harbor. Asked what they were doing by the reporter, a local official said that the men were members of a film crew. A man who said he was a local fisherman but was later identified as the Tanmen militia's deputy commander went further: he knew nothing about the men drilling by the harbor, he claimed, apart from the fact that they were fishermen wearing military uniforms for the innocuous purpose of protecting themselves from the sun.
The measure of deniability afforded by its civilian camouflage is not the maritime militia’s only advantage. The militia units also provide China with an asymmetrical advantage and help it take the initiative in encounters with foreign forces: as foreign ships grapple with how to respond, the militia units can interfere with their operations while reporting their location and activities to other Chinese forces. And then there is the propaganda value: in the event of an encounter between the militia and foreign ships, Chinese outlets might flood the Internet with a selectively edited footage of apparently civilian fishermen being unjustly victimized. Of course, members of the maritime militia are not mere civilians, and their direct connections to China's military chain of command, from which they receive mobilization and operational orders, should disqualify them from being treated as such.
GETTING IN FRONT OF THE PROBLEM
Observers should not expect the maritime militia to ease off its activities anytime soon. China's drive to coerce its neighbors in the South China Sea is growing, and its ongoing development and fortification of artificial islands in the region will provide the militia with plenty of support. At the same time, Beijing's efforts to streamline the People's Liberation Army by cutting 300,000 troops will provide plenty of fresh equipment and manpower for the militia: veterans are highly attractive recruits. Responding to signals from Beijing, local officials along China’s coastline are expanding existing militia units and establishing new ones. Consider Beihai, a city in China's southern Guangxi Province. In 2013, that city was home to two maritime militia detachments, with around 200 personnel. In 2015, it boasted at least ten detachments and more than 2,000 personnel...."