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China accused of building ‘island fortresses’ as Philippine newspaper obtains aerial images

An aerial picture of Chinese construction activities in the South China Sea

 

The surveillance pictures were mostly taken between June and December last year. Photograph: Inquirer.net/Philippine Daily Inquirer

Beijing has been accused of building “island fortresses” in the South China Sea after a newspaper in the Philippines obtained aerial photographs offering what experts called the most detailed glimpse yet of China’s militarisation of the waterway.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer said the surveillance photographs – passed to its reporters by an unnamed source – were mostly taken between June and December last year and showed Chinese construction activities across the disputed Spratly archipelago between the Philippines and Vietnam.

Brunei, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam have overlapping claims in the region.

Images from the Philippine Daily Inquirer showing Mischief Reef  Fiery Cross Reef in the South China Sea

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From 2011.

Vodpod videos no longer available.
South China Sea, posted with vodpod

The South China Sea

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
July 22, 2011

We commend this week’s announcement that ASEAN and China have agreed on implementing guidelines to facilitate confidence building measures and joint projects in the South China Sea. This is an important first step toward achieving a Code of Conduct and reflects the progress that can be made through dialogue and multilateral diplomacy. We look forward to further progress.

The United States is encouraged by this recent agreement because as a Pacific nation and resident power we have a national interest in freedom of navigation, open access to Asia’s maritime domain, the maintenance of peace and stability, and respect for international law in the South China Sea.

We oppose the threat or use of force by any claimant in the South China Sea to advance its claims or interfere with legitimate economic activity. We share these interests not only with ASEAN members and ASEAN Regional Forum participants, but with other maritime nations and the broader international community.

The United States supports a collaborative diplomatic process by all claimants for resolving the various disputes in the South China Sea. We also support the 2002 ASEAN-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea. But we do not take a position on the competing territorial claims over land features in the South China Sea. We believe all parties should pursue their territorial claims and accompanying rights to maritime space in accordance with international law, including as reflected in the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention.

The United States is concerned that recent incidents in the South China Sea threaten the peace and stability on which the remarkable progress of the Asia-Pacific region has been built. These incidents endanger the safety of life at sea, escalate tensions, undermine freedom of navigation, and pose risks to lawful unimpeded commerce and economic development.

In keeping with the 2002 ASEAN-China Declaration, each of the parties should comply with their commitments to respect freedom of navigation and over-flight in the South China Sea in accordance with international law, to resolve their disputes through peaceful means, without resorting to the threat or use of force. They should exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability including, among others, refraining from taking action to inhabit presently uninhabited islands, reefs, shoals, cays, and other features, and to handle their differences in a constructive manner.

The United States encourages all parties to accelerate efforts to reach a full Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.

We also call on all parties to clarify their claims in the South China Sea in terms consistent with customary international law, including as reflected in the Law of the Sea Convention. Consistent with international law, claims to maritime space in the South China Sea should be derived solely from legitimate claims to land features

Bolded emphasis is mine.  We never signed onto L.O.S.T. and therefore have no seat at the table. Hillary had also warned about that. See the right sidebar.

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Here is an early morning headliner.  I really hate to to have point this out,  but Hillary had a request about this.  The link to that request resides in the sidebar on this blog and will until there is a resolution – i.e. ratification.  Here is proof positive that Hillary goes for diplomacy first.  Others prefer military force, but not she and not the uniformed guys she brought with her to Congress in 2012.

Chinese military reaches out amid South China Sea tensions

BEIJING — As expectations grow that the U.S. Navy will directly challenge Beijing’s South China Sea claims, China is engaging in some serious image-building for its own military by hosting two international security forums this week.

The events kick off Friday with an informal meeting of defense ministers from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations known as ASEAN — four of which exercise claims to seas and islands in the South China Sea that clash with Beijing’s own. It is the first time China has hosted such a meeting.

That will be followed by the Xiangshan Forum, at which analysts, military leaders and others from around the globe will grapple with Asian-Pacific security, maritime issues and anti-terrorism.

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For those who believe Hillary Clinton has a happy trigger finger and is too quick on the military draw, this is her testimony before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Washington, DC  May 23, 2012.  We could have been at the table negotiating this rather than sending ships.

Hillary Clinton to Senate Foreign Relations “Joining Law of the Sea Convention Urgent!”

SECRETARY CLINTON:Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, Senator Lugar. After both of your opening comments, I think you’ve made the case both eloquently and persuasively for anyone who is willing to look at the facts. I am well aware that this treaty does have determined opposition, limited but nevertheless quite vociferous. And it’s unfortunate because it’s opposition based in ideology and mythology, not in facts, evidence, or the consequences of our continuing failure to accede to the treaty. So I think you’ll hear, from both Secretary Panetta and General Dempsey as well as myself, further statements and information that really reinforces the very strong points that both of you have made.We believe that it is imperative to act now. No country is better served by this convention than the United States. As the world’s foremost maritime power, we benefit from the convention’s favorable freedom of navigation provisions. As the country with the world’s second longest coastline, we benefit from its provisions on offshore natural resources. As a country with an exceptionally large area of seafloor, we benefit from the ability to extend our continental shelf, and the oil and gas rights on that shelf. As a global trading power, we benefit from the mobility that the convention accords to all commercial ships. And as the only country under this treaty that was given a permanent seat on the group that will make decisions about deep seabed mining, we will be in a unique position to promote our interests.

Now, the many benefits of this convention have attracted a wide-ranging coalition of supporters. Obviously, as we heard from both Senator Kerry and Senator Lugar, Republican and Democratic presidents have supported U.S. accession; military leaders who see the benefits for our national security; American businesses, including, strongly, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, see the economic benefits. It has the support of every affected industry, including shipping, fisheries, telecommunications and energy, environmental groups as well. We have a coalition of environmental, conservation, business, industry, and security groups all in support of this convention.

And I would ask that my longer written statement along with the letters that I have received in support of the treaty be entered into the record.

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I am not just talking through my hat here. That is the brigade that Hillary Clinton brought to Capitol Hill to testify about the Law of the Sea Treaty.  This is an avoidable crisis.  Diplomatic efforts could have diverted this had they attended to her request.

The Senate needs to ratify L.O.S.T.   We can then take our seat at the table and avoid these conflicts.  You may remember Marco Rubio bringing up the “synthetic islands”  in the last Republican debate.  The whole issue could have been avoided years ago.

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Vodpod videos no longer available.
South China Sea, posted with vodpod

The South China Sea

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
July 22, 2011

We commend this week’s announcement that ASEAN and China have agreed on implementing guidelines to facilitate confidence building measures and joint projects in the South China Sea. This is an important first step toward achieving a Code of Conduct and reflects the progress that can be made through dialogue and multilateral diplomacy. We look forward to further progress.

The United States is encouraged by this recent agreement because as a Pacific nation and resident power we have a national interest in freedom of navigation, open access to Asia’s maritime domain, the maintenance of peace and stability, and respect for international law in the South China Sea.

We oppose the threat or use of force by any claimant in the South China Sea to advance its claims or interfere with legitimate economic activity. We share these interests not only with ASEAN members and ASEAN Regional Forum participants, but with other maritime nations and the broader international community.

The United States supports a collaborative diplomatic process by all claimants for resolving the various disputes in the South China Sea. We also support the 2002 ASEAN-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea. But we do not take a position on the competing territorial claims over land features in the South China Sea. We believe all parties should pursue their territorial claims and accompanying rights to maritime space in accordance with international law, including as reflected in the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention.

The United States is concerned that recent incidents in the South China Sea threaten the peace and stability on which the remarkable progress of the Asia-Pacific region has been built. These incidents endanger the safety of life at sea, escalate tensions, undermine freedom of navigation, and pose risks to lawful unimpeded commerce and economic development.

In keeping with the 2002 ASEAN-China Declaration, each of the parties should comply with their commitments to respect freedom of navigation and over-flight in the South China Sea in accordance with international law, to resolve their disputes through peaceful means, without resorting to the threat or use of force. They should exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability including, among others, refraining from taking action to inhabit presently uninhabited islands, reefs, shoals, cays, and other features, and to handle their differences in a constructive manner.

The United States encourages all parties to accelerate efforts to reach a full Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.

We also call on all parties to clarify their claims in the South China Sea in terms consistent with customary international law, including as reflected in the Law of the Sea Convention. Consistent with international law, claims to maritime space in the South China Sea should be derived solely from legitimate claims to land features

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