Posted 8 days ago
The Chinese regime aims to seize all of the South China Sea to eventually control parts of the wider Indo-Pacific and challenge U. S. dominance in the region, according to a well-known Chinese professor.
The plans illustrated by the professor, who also advises the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), stand in stark contrast with the CCP’s public declarations on its behavior in the waterway.
The Chinese regime has continued to lay claims to almost all of the South China Sea, despite a 2016 international tribunal ruling that rejected Beijing’s territorial claims. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam all have competing claims over various atolls, islands, and reefs in the strategic waterway that is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.
The communist regime has consistently portrayed itself as a non-aggressor in the territorial dispute. China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi, in a September statement, said the regime “follows a policy of pursuing amity and friendship with its neighbors” with regards to the South China Sea.
But the CCP is in fact adopting a creeping strategy to take control of the entire waterway; once this is achieved it can challenge the U. S. presence in the Indian Ocean and invade Taiwan, Jin Canrong, a professor and associate dean of the School of International Studies at Beijing’s Renmin University of China, said in a July 2016 speech recently uncovered by The Epoch Times. Jin is also a well-known adviser to the CCP.
Jin boasted about the regime’s success in snatching control of Mischief Reef and Scarborough Shoal from the Philippines in 1995 and 2012 respectively.
“After we occupied [Mischief Reef], we drove away the Philippines’ fishermen. So the Filipinos were very upset,” Jin said. “Their fishermen had been there fishing for thousands of years.”
In 1995, Beijing began to occupy Mischief Reef, located within the Philippines’ 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ), by building huts that it claimed were shelters for Chinese fishermen. The construction effort angered Manila but Washington did not take a side at the time.
“[The U. S.] takes no position on the legal merits of the competing claims to sovereignty over the various islands, reefs, atolls, and cays in the South China Sea,” the U.S. State Department stated in 1995.
The regime has since built a large artificial island on the reef. In February, U. S.-based tech firm Simularity released satellite images showing that China was continuing to carry out new construction operations on the artificial island.
In April 2012, the spotting of eight Chinese fishing vessels anchored at Scarborough Shoal, a reef 120 nautical miles from the main Philippine island of Luzon, precipitated a naval standoff between the Philippines and China. The United States brokered a deal to defuse tensions, but Beijing later reneged on the deal and has blocked Filipino fishermen from fishing in the area.
Jin highlighted the effectiveness of using Chinese fishing boats to advance the CCP’s ambitions in the region. Even if the Philippines decided to hand over to the United States all of its territory in the South China Sea, U. S. forces wouldn’t be able to defend them from China, he said. The Philippines currently occupies at least eight reefs, shoals, and islands, in the Spratly archipelago.
“If the United States stations an aircraft carrier there, China can simply send 2,000 fishing boats and surround the carrier. The carrier doesn’t dare to fire at the fishing boats,” Jin said.
Some Chinese fishermen are known to work with either the Chinese military or the coast guard in “gray-zone operations,” according to a recent article in Military Review, a publication of the U. S. Army. “Gray-zone” warfare refers to using nontraditional methods and actors to achieve the goals of war, but without triggering an armed conflict. If accused of aiding the Chinese military, these fishermen could hide behind plausible deniability due to their “dual identity as military personnel and civilian mariners,” the article states.
The article pointed to the Scarborough Shoal standoff as one of several incidents when China used its militia to assert maritime claims in the South China Sea.
In one incident in 2009, Chinese vessels including fishing trawlers harassed U. S. ocean surveillance ship USNS Impeccable in the South China Sea.
Last week, State Department spokesperson Ned Price took to Twitter, criticizing China after more than 200 Chinese fishing vessels, believed to be manned by maritime militia, moored at Whitsun Reef, located within Manila’s EEZ.
“We call on Beijing to stop using its maritime militia to intimidate and provoke others, which undermines peace and security,” Price wro... (Read more)
The U.S. stands with our ally, the Philippines, regarding concerns about the gathering of PRC maritime militia vessels near Whitsun Reef. We call on Beijing to stop using its maritime militia to intimidate and provoke others, which undermines peace and security.— Ned Price (@StateDeptSpox) March 23, 2021
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