China’s claim on the South China Sea
It’s summertime, and the world’s navies have been cruising each other in the warm waters of the world’s oceans as if it were some kind of brawny maritime love parade. Indeed, there has been a flurry of naval action in the Asian theatre recently – some of it routine and annual, some related to the Cheonan incident, but also chest thumping and jostling for position in territorial claims all over the place.
If there’s any nation that’s been “showing some sack” recently, it’s China. With rumors swirling about its grandiose naval ambitions – to draw a “string of pearls” across the Indian Ocean, dominate the western Pacific, expand influence across Oceania, just to name a few – China’s neighbors have evidently become a bit bothered. However, most contentious of all is China’s extraordinary claim to 80% of the South China Sea, a territorial matter which according to some reports, Beijing considers a “core national interest” – on par with Taiwan, Tibet, and Xinjiang.
The escalation of the South China Seas issue was widely reported after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s July 23 remarks at the ASEAN Regional Forum in Hanoi, where she called for a multilateral settlement of the many conflicting claims over control of the South China Sea and its riches in accordance with UNCLOS. Clinton’s statement served to bolster the positions of smaller nations and was viewed by Beijing as a “sneak attack” on very this very sensitive area.
Not to be outdone, it was reported on Thursday that China erected a flag on the seabed of the South China Sea at a depth of nearly 4000 meters, although it is not stated where exactly the flag-planting took place.
“This success also shows that our country has become one of the handful possessing deep-sea manned submersible technology,” Liu Feng, the engineer in charge of the deep-sea dive, told television news.
Now, we all remember when the Russian Federation planted a flag on the bottom of the Arctic Ocean to assert its claim over that territory.
While that is still a matter of dispute, if the Chinese get the South China Sea and the Russians get the Arctic Ocean, does this mean the United States owns the moon?
Update: CCTV video of the submarine lauch and flag planting.