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Papiertiger Trump
Feb 11th, 2017 by Gao

Tom Phillips: ‚Brutal, amoral, ruthless, cheating‘: how Trump’s new trade tsar sees China (Guardian, 22. Dezember)

The United States and China will fight a war within the next 10 years over islands in the South China Sea, and “there’s no doubt about that”. At the same time, the US will be in another “major” war in the Middle East.
Those are the views – nine months ago at least – of one of the most powerful men in Donald Trump’s administration, Steve Bannon, the former head of far-right news website Breitbart who is now chief strategist at the White House.

The Chinese government is a despicable, parasitic, brutal, brass-knuckled, crass, callous, amoral, ruthless and totally totalitarian imperialist power that reigns over the world’s leading cancer factory, its most prolific propaganda mill and the biggest police state and prison on the face of the earth.
That is the view of Peter Navarro, the man chosen by Donald Trump to lead a new presidential office for US trade and industrial policy, a move likely to add to Beijing’s anxieties over the billionaire’s plans for US-China relations.

Benjamin Haas: Steve Bannon: ‚We’re going to war in the South China Sea … no doubt‘ (Guardian, 2. Februar)
Tom Phillips: Donald Trump and China on dangerous collision course, say experts (Guardian, 7. Februar)

For the last 18 months a taskforce of prominent China experts, some of whom have dealt with Beijing for more than 50 years, has been formulating a series of recommendations on how the incoming White House should conduct relations with the world’s second largest economy.
The group’s report, which was handed to the White House on Sunday and will be published in Washington DC on Tuesday, says ties between the two nuclear-armed countries could rapidly deteriorate into an economic or even military confrontation if compromise on issues including trade, Taiwan and the South China Sea cannot be found.

AFP: South China Sea: US reports ‚unsafe encounter‘ with Chinese military aircraft (Guardian, 10. Februar)

A Chinese military aircraft had an “unsafe” encounter with a US navy surveillance aircraft near a contested reef in the South China Sea, according to the US Pacific command.
The two planes came within 1,000ft (300 meters) of each other during Wednesday’s incident near the Scarborough shoal, which is claimed by both the Philippines and China, according to Pentagon spokesman Jeff Davis.

Und dann löst sich alles in Wohlgefallen auf?

Tom Phillips: Trump agrees to support ‚One China‘ policy in Xi Jinping call (Guardian, 10. Februar)

Donald Trump has held his first telephone conversation with the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, since entering the White House, telling the Communist party leader he will not challenge Beijing by upending longstanding US policy towards Taiwan.
In a brief statement the White House said the leaders of the world’s two largest economies had held a “lengthy” and “extremely cordial” telephone call on Thursday evening in which “numerous topics” were discussed…
The cordial encounter follows an “unsafe” one on Wednesday in the South China Sea between a Chinese aircraft and a US Navy patrol plane. US Pacific Command spokesman Robert Shuford said on Friday the “interaction” between a Chinese KJ-200 early warning aircraft and a US Navy P-3C plane happened in international airspace but did not say what was regarded as unsafe.

Simon Tisdall: China U-turn is latest sign Trump may turn out to be a paper tiger (Guardian)

Is Donald Trump turning out to be a paper tiger? China’s rulers might be forgiven for thinking so after the US president performed a U-turn on Taiwan, but the shift did not come out of the blue.
Trump’s approach to a range of key international issues has softened significantly since he took office, suggesting a lurch towards conformity and away from disruption. His acceptance of the One China policy, under which Washington does not challenge Beijing’s claim to what it deems a breakaway province, was a stunning reversal, contradicting previous suggestions he would pursue closer ties with Taiwan.

Südchinesisches Meer
Dez 17th, 2016 by Gao

Julian Borger: Chinese warship seizes US underwater drone in international waters (Guardian)

The Chinese navy has seized an underwater drone in plain sight of the American sailors who had deployed it in international waters, in a seemingly brazen message to the incoming Trump administration.
According to a US defence official, the unmanned glider had come to the surface of the water in the South China Sea and was about to be retrieved by the USNS Bowditch, an oceanographic and surveillance ship, when a Chinese naval vessel that had been shadowing the Bowditch put a small boat in the water…
As China develops a strategic submarine fleet, with the potential to carry nuclear missiles out into the Pacific Ocean, the US has built up a monitoring network designed to spot Chinese submarines as they leave their bases. Drones are key to the network, and there is a race under way between major naval powers to develop drones that can work together in swarms and “see” long distances through the water. Underwater gliders are drones that can stay underwater on the lookout for submarines for long periods of time.

AP: China and US in talks over seized drone, officials say (Guardian)

The device was being operated by civilian contractors to conduct oceanic research, according to the Pentagon.

AP: Philippines to ’set aside‘ South China Sea tribunal ruling to avoid imposing on Beijing (Guardian)

The Philippine president has said he would “set aside” a ruling by an international arbitration tribunal that invalidated Beijing’s claims to most of the South China Sea, because he doesn’t want to impose on China.
“In the play of politics, now, I will set aside the arbitral ruling. I will not impose anything on China,” Rodrigo Duterte said at a news conference on Saturday.

Tom Phillips: Images show ’significant‘ Chinese weapons systems in South China Sea (Guardian)

China appears to have positioned “significant” weapons systems, including anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems, on all seven of the artificial islands it has built in the South China Sea, despite vowing it had no intention of militarising the archipelago, a US thinktank has claimed.

Xinhua: China says deployment of defensive facilities on South China Sea islands legitimate (Global Times)
Tom Phillips: ‚Friends forever‘? China wary of Rex Tillerson wooing away Russia (Guardian)

Rex Tillerson’s controversial nomination as secretary of state has delighted Moscow where the Texan oilman has deep and long-standing ties. Donald Trump’s choice of the ExxonMobil chief was “100% good news” for Vladimir Putin, one opposition politician claimed.
But in Beijing, already reeling from Trump’s early forays into foreign policy, the move has inspired no such celebration, instead fuelling fears that the president-elect’s courtship of the Kremlin could be part of a bold strategic bid to isolate China.

Haager Inselstreit-Urteil
Jul 12th, 2016 by Gao

Bill Gertz: US, China wage legal warfare over control of the South China Sea (Asia Times)

The United States is stealing a page from China’s strategic playbook in using international law as a means to counter expansive maritime claims in the South China Sea.
The three-year old case between China and the Philippines over the South China Sea at the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration Tribunal in The Hague will end Tuesday when the court’s ruling is announced.
US officials say the ruling is expected to favor the Philippines in the maritime dispute and provide a solid basis in traditional international law for pushing back against China’s claims.

Tom Phillips: Beijing defiant ahead of court ruling on its claims in South China Sea (Guardian)

China has refused to recognise the five-judge court’s authority and on Tuesday morning the country’s Communist party-controlled press lashed out at what it claimed was a United States-sponsored conspiracy to stifle its rise.

Law-abusing tribunal issues ill-founded award on South China Sea arbitration (Xinhua)

The tribunal handling the South China Sea arbitration case unilaterally initiated by the former Philippine government issued its final award on Tuesday, amid a global chorus that as the panel has no jurisdiction, its decision is naturally null and void.

Unlawful arbitration cannot negate China’s sovereignty over South China Sea (People’s Daily / Global Times)
Arbitration award more shameless than worst prediction (Global Times)
China’s reaction to arbitration depends on provocation (Global Times)

The award of the South China Sea arbitration will be issued at 5 pm Beijing time Tuesday. The US and Japan have claimed that relevant countries, including China, should comply with the arbitration result. They stand in sharp confrontation with China, which has announced that the award would be „nothing but a piece of paper.“ Whether the arbitration will lead to a severe geopolitical crisis has come under the global spotlight.

Tom Phillips, Oliver Holmes, Owen Bowcott: Philippines wins South China Sea case against China (Guardian)

China has lost a key international legal case over strategic reefs and atolls that it claims would give it control over disputed waters of the South China Sea.
The judgment by an international tribunal in The Hague is overwhelmingly in favour of claims by the Philippines and will increase global diplomatic pressure on Beijing to scale back military expansion in the sensitive area.
By depriving certain outcrops – some of which are exposed only at low tide – of territorial-generating status, the ruling effectively punches holes in China’s all-encompassing “nine-dash” demarcation line that stretches deep into the South China Sea. It declares large areas of the sea to be neutral international waters.

Oliver Holmes, Tom Phillips: South China Sea dispute: what you need to know about The Hague court ruling (Guardian)
What you need to know about The Hague arbitration, the China-Philippines sea dispute (Global Times)

The U-shaped, nine-dash line encircling most of the South China Sea is the core of China’s claim. It was first published on a map drawn by the Kuomintang’s Republic of China government in 1947 and then inherited by the People’s Republic of China in 1949.
China’s sovereignty over the South China Sea was never officially disputed until the 1960s.

Zhao Minghao: South China Sea chaos would only add to global woes (Global Times)
Statement of the Government of the People‘ s Republic of China on China’s Territorial Sovereignty and Maritime Rights and Interests in the South China Sea (Xinhua)
Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China on the Award of 12 July 2016 of the Arbitral Tribunal in the South China Sea Arbitration Established at the Request of the Republic of the Philippines (Xinhua)
Thomas Escritt, Ben Blanchard: Tribunal says China has no ‘historic’ title over South China Sea (Asia Times)
Taiping, an island not rock, says Taiwan; Philippines, Vietnam hail sea ruling (Asia Times)

While the Philippines and Vietnam welcomed the international tribunal’s ruling on South China Sea, Taiwan rejected the court’s view that defined a Taiwan-controlled island in the waters as a “rock.”

Liu Zhen: Questions of neutrality: China takes aim at judges in South China Sea case (South China Morning Post)

China confident of ability to deal with provocation in South China Sea, says Defense Ministry spokesperson (Global Times)
Lies of Philippines‘ Aquino administration on South China Sea (Xinhua)
Why will China never respect U.S. over South China Sea? (Xinhua)

Shortly after UNCLOS was unveiled in 1982, then U.S. President Ronald Reagan refused to sign, claiming the convention undermined his country’s sovereignty.
In 1994, after UNCLOS was revised to take into consideration American worries about losing control of valuable underwater oil and natural-gas deposits, then U.S. President Bill Clinton signed an updated UNCLOS agreement, although not the entire treaty.

Li Kaisheng: Washington can’t steer Manila’s path (Global Times)
Liu Haiyang: Tribunal award could impair UNCLOS (Global Times)
Graham Allison: Of Course China, Like All Great Powers, Will Ignore an International Legal Verdict (Diplomat)
Wang Wen: Debunking 10 myths about China and the South China Sea (South China Morning Post)
Bill Hayton: China’s ‘Historic Rights’ in the South China Sea: Made in America? (Diplomat)

The current understanding of “historic rights” in the South China Sea in China can be traced back to a U.S. diplomat.

Bill Hayton: China’s South Sea claims were always about emotion, not history (National Interest)

The tribunal’s award is 501 pages long. I’m still reading it, but my favorite line so far comes in Paragraph 270, where the judges say, “The Tribunal is unable to identify any evidence that would suggest that China historically regulated or controlled fishing in the South China Sea, beyond the limits of the territorial sea.” This destroys the implicit misunderstanding at the heart of China’s attitude towards the region—that it, and only it, has been the sole user of the waters between its coast and those of its neighbors.
No one can deny that Chinese traders or fishing communities based along the coast of what is now China made extensive use of the sea. But so did traders and fishers from all the other countries around it. So did merchants from India, Persia, Arabia and Europe. The history of the South China Sea has always been a shared one. Muslim traders built a mosque in Guangzhou in the eighth century, Chinese shipwrights borrowed design ideas from Malay vessels, and the region grew rich on the profits of exchange. The chauvinism about China’s superior and exclusive claim to the sea only emerged in the dying years of the Qing Empire and the chaotic early years of the Republic of China.

Thomas Eder: „China hat Völkerrecht gebrochen“ (8MRD)
Richard Javad Heydarian: China may dispute South China Sea verdict, but it’s a huge setback (Guardian)
Pepe Escobar: Between a Rock and a Hard (South China) Place (CounterPunch)

Beijing is open for talks, as long as Manila sets the ruling aside. Jay Batongbacal, from the University of the Philippines, cuts to the heart of the issue: “Publicly stating that junking the arbitration is a condition for resuming negotiations gives no room for face-saving on either side.”

Alfred Gerstl: Recht oder Macht im Südchinesischen Meer (Standard)

Auch wenn in China die Wogen nach dem Schiedsspruch des Ständigen Schiedshofs hochgehen: Nun gibt es die Chance, den Konflikt unter dem Dach der Assoziation südostasiatischer Nationen zu lösen.

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