by Judith Bergman • October 7, 2021 at 5:00 am
- In March, a huge Chinese fishing fleet descended on Whitsun Reef, which lies within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines. The Philippine government called on China to cease “militarizing the area”. Almost eight months later, however, more than 150 Chinese vessels reportedly remain in Philippine waters.
- China’s illegal takeover of Hong Kong and Taliban’s seizure of Afghanistan, where the US even failed to save all US citizens — China could be planning to use force to capture Taiwan much sooner than that — the opportunity looks inviting. The question is: if China attacks Taiwan, whether the US will defend the island — or even put in place serious deterrents. It will not help anyone except the Chinese Communist Party if consequences for invading Taiwan consist of nothing more damaging than “strong letter to follow.”
- China considers almost all of the South China Sea… part of Chinese territory. The Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague firmly rejected China’s sovereignty claim in 2016 but five years after that ruling, China continues to reject the court’s authority.
- “The term ‘sea areas under the jurisdiction of the People’s Republic of China’ is not defined in the law and is purposely vague. Enacting ambiguous and imprecise laws allows China to alter its position on the applicability of the law based on the circumstances at the time.” — Captain Raul Pedrozo, Professor of International Law at the U.S. Naval War College, “International Law Studies”, Vol. 97, 2021.
- “China is once again testing the international community to gauge how it will react to the enactment of yet another maritime law that exceeds the permissible jurisdictional limits of international law, as reflected in UNCLOS [The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.] China will undoubtedly use the new law to engage in grey zone operations below the threshold of armed conflict to intimidate its neighbors and further erode the rule of law at sea in the Indo-Pacific region.” — Captain Raul Pedrozo, Professor of International Law at the U.S. Naval War College, “International Law Studies”, Vol. 97, 2021.
- The revised maritime law came into effect just seven months after China’s new coastguard law went into force on February 1. The Chinese coast guard law gives China’s coast guard authority to use lethal force on foreign ships operating in Chinese waters, including disputed areas such as the South China Sea. In January, the Philippines filed a diplomatic protest against the Chinese coast guard law saying that it is a “verbal threat of war to any country that defies the law”.