South China Sea Strategies for other nations (Not China)


  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #11
Vietnamese reclamation, any media care to report it? :p
Finally someone did! A rare English language general news article with some details on what at least one other SCS claimant country has been doing in terms of reclamation. There should be more reporting on work done by others as well.

Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!


World | Fri May 8, 2015 9:38am EDT Related: WORLD, CHINA
Images show Vietnam's South China Sea reclamation, China defends own
WASHINGTON/BEIJING | BY DAVID BRUNNSTROM AND BEN BLANCHARD

Newly released images show Vietnam has carried out significant land reclamation at two sites in the disputed South China Sea, though the scale and pace is dwarfed by that of China, a U.S. research institute said.

In response, China condemned Vietnam's actions, and said its work in the region was part of an obligation to the international community to improve navigation safety and contribute to science and research, including building observation platforms to monitor sea levels.

The photographs, shared with Reuters by Washington's Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), show an expansion of the land area of Vietnamese-controlled Sand Cay and West London Reef in the Spratly archipelago and the addition of buildings.

Mira Rapp-Hooper, director of CSIS's Asia MaritimeTransparency Initiative (amti.csis.org/), said the work included military installations and appeared to have started before China began a flurry of reclamation projects last year.

The photographs, taken by satellite imagery firm DigitalGlobe, were taken between 2010 and April 30 this year.

"On one site, it has constructed a significant new area that was formerly under water and at another it has used land reclamation to add acreage to an existing island," Rapp-Hooper said.

Vietnam's government did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but routinely says it has sufficient legal and historical evidence to support its claims in the Spratlys.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that Vietnam, the Philippines and other countries had been carrying out such reclamations for a long time on what she said were Chinese islands being illegally occupied.

"We demand that the relevant countries stop all their activities which infringe upon China's sovereignty and rights," she told a daily news briefing.

INTERNATIONAL OBLIGATIONS

Hua added that China's building work was partly to better fulfill its international obligations, including as part of a deal agreed at a UNESCO meeting in Paris in 1987.

There, she said, China was entrusted to build five out of 200 sea level observation platforms, including on the Spratlys.

"The scale of China's construction should be commensurate with its responsibilities and obligations as a major country," Hua added.

The speed of recent Chinese reclamation work has alarmed its neighbors and the United States, which sees it as a potential threat to the status quo in a region through which $5 trillion of sea-borne trade passes each year.

China claims 90 percent of the potentially energy-rich South China Sea, with overlapping claims from Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan.

New Vietnamese military facilities at Sand Cay appeared to include defensive positions and gun emplacements, and new buildings visible on West London Reef could also have military applications, Rapp-Hooper said.

"Strictly speaking, these photos show that China is right,"Rapp-Hooper said, "but we can safely say that the scope and scale of what China has undertaken is totally unprecedented and dwarfs Vietnam's activities many times over."

She said the images showed that Vietnam had reclaimed about 65,000 square meters (699,654 square feet) of land at WestLondon Reef and 21,000 square meters (226,042 square feet) at Sand Cay. This compared to 900,000 square meters (9.6 million square feet) reclaimed by China at a single reef, Fiery Cross.

Rapp-Hooper said satellite images showed that since about March 2014, China had conducted reclamation work at seven sites in the Spratlys and was constructing a military-sized air strip on one artificial island and possibly a second on another.

She said Vietnam already had an airstrip on the Spratlys.

The U.S. State Department and Pentagon had no immediate comment on the latest images.

U.S. President Barack Obama last month accused China of "flexing its muscles" to advance its maritime claims.

The Philippines has been the most vocal critic in Asia of China's reclamation work, but was unlikely to be troubled by Vietnam's activities partly because of growing security ties between Manila and Hanoi, experts said.

"For the Philippines, Vietnam's reclamation activities are not threatening because they are only small scale compared to China, which is very large scale," said Rommel Banlaoi, a Philippine security expert.

(Additional reporting by Manuel Mogato in Manila and Martin Petty in Hanoi; Editing by Warren Strobel, Stuart Grudgings, Dean Yates and Mike Collett-White)
 

solarz

Brigadier
In the face of China doing the same on their reefs...not really. Particularly if it is commercial monies and commercial companies being hired by the claimants themselves.
The problem with your solution is that it would result in a de-facto division of the SCS islands. Even putting aside Malaysian and Brunei claims, simply supporting the Vietnam and Philippine in land reclamation will be a 4-way split (PRC, ROC, Vietname, Philippines) of the islands. It is highly doubtful that any of the claimants would be willing to go down this road.

Furthermore, none of those states can compete with China on land reclamation. The end result would be China getting the biggest piece of the pie. The US could help and try to get the support of its allies, but the age old question comes up: what's in it for them? (or for the US for that matter.)

For China, the incentive is very clear. For the US and its allies, they would be spending their own taxpayers' money (and it would be quite a bit of money) to help two foreign nations, one of which was a former enemy. Furthermore, the ROC would definitely oppose the US helping PH and Vietnam on this.
 

Jeff Head

General
Staff member
Super Moderator
The problem with your solution is that it would result in a de-facto division of the SCS islands. Even putting aside Malaysian and Brunei claims, simply supporting the Vietnam and Philippine in land reclamation will be a 4-way split (PRC, ROC, Vietname, Philippines) of the islands. It is highly doubtful that any of the claimants would be willing to go down this road.
Vietnam and others already are.doing reclamation.

Furthermore, none of those states can compete with China on land reclamation. The end result would be China getting the biggest piece of the pie.
Which is the entire reason for the US, Australia, and Japan to come together and support a counter initiative.

FurthermoreFor China, the incentive is very clear. For the US and its allies, they would be spending their own taxpayers' money (and it would be quite a bit of money) to help two foreign nations, one of which was a former enemy.
Uh...Japan is a former enemy. Germany is a former enemy. That argument against Vietnam clearly will not hold.

The US incentive would be clear, to help other nations counter balance China and maintain some balance there so China it does not realize its desire to have complete control of the SCS.

Now...as I have already said numerous times now on this thread...this strategy, while it may well have some very positive points...is also something that I do not believe those nations have the will or stomoach for. Therefore...this remains a purely theoretical discussion that is probably not going to amount to anything.
 

solarz

Brigadier
Vietnam and others already are.doing reclamation.
Unilaterally, not under US coordination. Big difference.

Which is the entire reason for the US, Australia, and Japan to come together and support a counter initiative.

Uh...Japan is a former enemy. Germany is a former enemy. That argument against Vietnam clearly will not hold.
That would be something the taxpayers of US, Australia and Japan will have to decide.

The US incentive would be clear, to help other nations counter balance China and maintain some balance there so China it does not realize its desire to have complete control of the SCS.
Right there is the problem with the US position. This kind of thinking is cold-war thinking.

China is not in the SCS to control it, it is there to access its vast reserves of resources through the EEZ of its claimed islands. I have said it before, China is not opposed to joint venture agreements. That is why China has always left the door open for bilateral negotiations.

Let's suppose the US does help PH and Vietnam get their piece of the pie in the SCS. How does that benefit the US economy? China would still be the closest and biggest market for those countries. All the US would have managed to accomplish would be to slow down China's economic expansion a little bit, at a significant economic cost to itself, with no benefit for itself. In terms of the US competing economically with China, such a strategy is a losing proposition.
 

Jeff Head

General
Staff member
Super Moderator
e
Unilaterally, not under US coordination. Big difference.
The US is already involved behind the scens, solarz. Coming out with a couple of other nations and providing a financial means of helping would be precisely the type of "joint venture," that you say China is not opposed to.

That would be something the taxpayers of US, Australia and Japan will have to decide.
It would be something that the people they elect would decide and then such policy would either stand or fall. I have already stated that the US is not likely to have the will or stomach for it. This is just another way of repeating statemernts that have already been made.

Right there is the problem with the US position. This kind of thinking is cold-war thinking.
So by throwing a term like that around and implying it negatively, you think that addresses anything?

As I say, you speak as if though it is a negative thing...or somehow outdated.

Of course it is not.

The methodology that was used to avoid major wars between two very powerful opposing nations, and it worked in that regard..

Now, the situation is not exactly the same, but there are components of it that are.

China is not in the SCS to control it, it is there to access its vast reserves of resources through the EEZ of its claimed islands.
Which is tatamount to the ssame.

I have said it before, China is not opposed to joint venture agreements. That is why China has always left the door open for bilateral negotiations.
But only apparently if it involves them. There can also be bilateral negotiations and deals between two other players.

Let's suppose the US does help PH and Vietnam get their piece of the pie in the SCS. How does that benefit the US economy? China would still be the closest and biggest market for those countries. All the US would have managed to accomplish would be to slow down China's economic expansion a little bit, at a significant economic cost to itself, with no benefit for itself. In terms of the US competing economically with China, such a strategy is a losing proposition.
That's your opinion.

But on a strategic scale it is not necessarily any such thing.

You can invest in long term policies that bring no apparent finaincial return, but thata do, because of their impact, produce other long term results that would othwerwise be even more costly.

A simple example would be building a fleet of SSBNs. They brings no realizable financial return in themselves, but in preventing thermo-nuclear war, the benefit is self evident and dwarfs the cost.

But, Solarz, this whole discussion is basically repeating the discussions we have already had...just from a little different angle.

I have simply put forward an idea. It is an idea that is rooted in "joint venture," just as you indicated China is not opposed to. It is an idea that is rooted in non-confrontation and reclamation, just as China is doing.

The saying goes like this..."What is good for the goose is also good for the gander."

Clearly, China is doing vast amounts of reclamation...and they are smart to do it.

Helping other nations do reclamation on their possessions is rooted in the idea of joint venture and reclamation, both of which China says it is okay with...at least from is perspective.

That's all.

But I have already said this several times now.

You clearly do not agree. Fine...I have no problem with that.

I have said myself that I do not expect the US and others to have the will or the stomach to do this Therefore...as we have both made our points two or three times now...I am happy to let it just set at that.
 

joshuatree

Captain
Finally someone did! A rare English language general news article with some details on what at least one other SCS claimant country has been doing in terms of reclamation. There should be more reporting on work done by others as well.

Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
Yep, I just saw this today too and was going to post it here. :)

It seems there are three locations now confirmed that Vietnam did/is doing extensive reclamation - Cornwallis South Reef, Sand Cay, and West London Reef. Let me just clarify now and say extensive for other claimants, not the scale that China is doing. However, it's out in the clear that in the timeline, Vietnam initiated land works before China did. So any of that shaming tactic about violating the spirit of a non-binding code of conduct is absurd and groundless going forward. Also makes the ASEAN statement about reclamation work undermining trust and peace a bit hypocritical since one of its members that pushed for the statement is actually committing the very acts themselves. I'm sure the argument will now gravitate toward the size and scale of China's actions in the SCS but that's just deflection over the actual events in timeline and principles of the matter.

Found this site with detailed pics of Vietnamese improvements in the SCS.

Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
 

Zetageist

Junior Member
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!


The images showed that Vietnam had reclaimed about 21,000m2 at Sand Cay. Sand Cay is only 11km away from the Taiwan controlled Itu Aba Island.


Sand Cay is pictured in the South China Sea before 2011, top, and this year in a combination photograph.May 09, 2015
Photo: Reuters / CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative / DigitalGlobe / Handout

 
Last edited:

Top