Military Review

Great sand wall as a pretext for war

Great sand wall as a pretext for war

“War” was the word spoken by the Commander of the Navy of the People’s Liberation Army of China (PLA) Wu Shengli in conversation with his American counterpart, who recently headed the headquarters of the US Navy, Admiral John Richardson.

According to the Chinese military, Washington’s “provocative” actions in the South China Sea (YCM) put the world on the brink of a large-scale conflict: “A minor incident could provoke a war.” This frightening statement was made a bit later when the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the PRC, Zhang Yesui, summoned the United States Ambassador Max Bocus to hand him a note of protest in connection with the actions of the American destroyer in the SCM.

It was the passage of the US destroyer USS Lassen in the 12-mile zone from one of the islands controlled by China that caused such a storm of emotions. The fact that the US Navy ship approached an artificial island - a piece of land created by the PRC within the boundaries of the Spratly Archipelago - adds spice to the incident.

However, the ownership of the Spratly Islands raises many questions. Scattered throughout the South China Sea, these small pieces of land are controlled by various countries, and their territorial affiliation is disputed by at least five powers: China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei. The largest natural island of the archipelago - Itu Aba - is controlled by the Republic of China, that is, the island of Taiwan, which does not recognize the rule of mainland China.

China, constructing artificial islands in the UKM water area, is seeking to expand its water area under control - after all, the 12-mile zone (approximately 22 km.) Is considered the territorial waters of the country, that is, the area over which the coastal state of the UNN 1982 g .).

“China is actively building islands, taking sand onto coral reefs. At the moment, the Chinese have already created about 4 square meters. km of land, - said at the beginning of 2015 the commander of the Pacific fleet US Admiral Harry Harris. This construction of the “great wall of sand” cannot be described otherwise than as provocative in relation to other states of the region, ”he said.

However, according to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, signed and ratified by China, “artificial islands ... do not have island status. They do not have their own territorial sea, and their presence does not affect the definition of the boundaries of the territorial sea, the exclusive economic zone or the continental shelf. ”

The only thing that can do the state to which this artificial island belongs is to establish a security zone that cannot extend more than 500 m from land borders (article 60). Moreover, it is possible to build such alluvial structures only in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) - an area of ​​the sea that extends from the coastline of the state to a maximum of 200 nautical miles (about 370 km), which is enshrined in the article 56 of the Convention. True, the 80 article extends this right to the continental shelf.

But in the disputed areas of the water area of ​​the SKME, the EEZ and the territorial shelf are not internationally fixed. All countries involved in the conflict believe that only they have rights to one or another part of the water area. China also created its alluvial structures on the shallows, reefs and bottom elevations, which, according to Manila, are part of the continental shelf of the Philippines. In addition, some man-made structures are located in close proximity to natural islands controlled by Vietnam. According to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the parties should not take actions that would violate the status quo in the disputed areas. Thus, in fact, on all points of the Convention, signed and ratified by it, Beijing violates the norms of international law.

This is successfully used by the Americans, who in an effort to win over the countries of Southeast Asia, tied up in conflict with China, flirt with Vietnam and the Philippines, Beijing’s main opponents in the SCM. Back in 2010, the then Secretary of State of the United States, and now one of the candidates for the presidency of the country, Hillary Clinton declared Washington’s national interests in relation to the South China Sea and its readiness to mediate between the parties to the conflict. Nevertheless, the US is not so eager to become a mediator, as many countries want to drag into the orbit of its influence, which oppose the illegal actions of Beijing in the waters of the important sea. And China’s aggressive actions only help Washington.

Vietnam, two decades ago only restored diplomatic relations with the United States, is increasing diplomatic and military contacts with Washington, expanding economic cooperation. The Philippines - a longtime US ally in Southeast Asia - is modernizing its armed forces with the help of its American partners. And if today “war” sounds only in words, then in the near future it may also materialize, drawing into conflict for the world powers and regional players scattered in the South China Sea.
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  1. Aleksander
    Aleksander 3 November 2015 05: 56 New
    The situation is complicated. And even more so, the USA has nothing to do there. Let the locals agree ...
    1. venaya
      venaya 3 November 2015 07: 19 New
      Quote: Aleksander
      The US has nothing to do there. Let the locals agree on their own ...

      Не дают они местным договариваться уже много, много лет, более столетия. Интересы США распространяются на весь мир (видимо вплодь до моей постели), это они доказывыают каждый день. У них нет даже "Министерства Иностранных дел" (в наличии есть лишь госдепартамент - всё является внутренним делом их государства), всё что делается в мире - это их дела, и ни чьи иные.
  2. Sirocco
    Sirocco 3 November 2015 05: 59 New
    . In addition, the construction of such alluvial structures is entitled only in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) - the sea area,

    It’s ridiculous, I swear, if my memory serves me right, then China had the same focus on our borders, not sea but river. I think Alexander Romanov will correct if I'm wrong.
    Да "ложили" они на все эти права. Китай берет не нытьем, так катаньем.
    And there will be nothing from any side, I wrote about this yesterday.
    All this is contractual, by mutual agreement, we say we’ll get closer to you, and you will pretend that you have puffed out your cheeks, and your partners are pleased with ours. And everyone saved their face in a bad game.
    1. Azitral
      Azitral 3 November 2015 09: 55 New
      Вообще возникает странное ощущение: как будто заинтересованные лица разжигают, разжигают, накручивают везде изо всех сил, - а оно, толком, не разгорается. Чадит, дымит, воняет, - а критическую линию не переходит. По-моему именно удар по какому-нибудь кораблю и станет "точкой невозврата".
  3. rotmistr60
    rotmistr60 3 November 2015 06: 46 New
    Хотя Китай и жестко отстаивает свои интересы, но говорить о возможности военного конфликта с Сша не корректно. Мне кажется, что дело обойдется "нотами", словесными упреками. Если только американцы по своей глупости не устроят более серьезную провокацию используя третьи страны, имеющие там свой интерес.
    1. afdjhbn67
      afdjhbn67 3 November 2015 07: 07 New
      Quote: rotmistr60
      Хотя Китай и жестко отстаивает свои интересы, но говорить о возможности военного конфликта с Сша не корректно. Мне кажется, что дело обойдется "нотами", словесными упреками. Если только американцы по своей глупости не устроят более серьезную провокацию используя третьи страны, имеющие там свой интерес.

      I agree with you
      Although third countries also report on inequality of potentials, even despite US support.
      The confrontations of the two largest economies in the world are just plain silly .. the world war is not necessarily a conflict between Russia and the USA.
  4. Observer2014
    Observer2014 3 November 2015 07: 03 New
    In fact, the Chinese came up with an ingeniously simple thing. They wash the island and introduce the sea rules of territorial waters there. Legally, everything is according to the law. Americans and their hedgehogs are furious in their own impotence. But they are afraid of contacting China. What could happen there? Yes, not what, if only by chance someone’s nerves could not stand it.
  5. dog1965
    dog1965 3 November 2015 08: 25 New
    In 2003, there was a similar conflict with Ukraine in the Kerch Strait. Then they wanted to grab the island of Tuzla. True, in more distant times (from the 19th to the beginning of the 20th century) Tuzla was not an island, but was connected by a scythe with the Taman Peninsula.
  6. Stinger
    Stinger 3 November 2015 08: 43 New
    Kingdom of Blefuscu. The Chinese will fall asleep the Pacific Ocean to hell and there will be no place for the Americans to speak.
  7. bornikrub
    bornikrub 3 November 2015 09: 51 New
    " и территориальная принадлежность их оспаривается как минимум пятью державами: Китаем, Вьетнамом, Филиппинами, Малайзией и Брунеем."
    Так Бруней тоже "держава"?
  8. Straight
    Straight 4 November 2015 09: 31 New
    And so the world wars begin. The USA trampled international law and the rest also decided not to stand on ceremony and went into the division of spheres of influence.