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Past And Present of The South China Sea ep.2: Causes of the disputes in South China Sea


07-04-2016 10:32 BJT

Full coverage: The South China Sea Issue

Before the 1970s, China and the Philippines had no disputes in the South China Sea. However, in 1968, a report reveals that the east and south of the Nansha Islands is rich in oil and gas resources. The South China Sea soon came into the center of spotlight around the globe.

In March 1959, the Chinese government established the “Office of Xisha, Nansha and Zhongsha Islands” which will be mainly resposible for the guiding of development and construction of the South China Sea Islands, exercising, maintaining and defending China's territorial sovereignty.

Before the 1970s, not a single legal document in the Philippines had any expression that the Nansha islands belonged to the Philippines.

The territorial limits of the Philippines are defined by numerous international treaties. These treaties clearly indicate that the South China Sea Islands are not within the scope of the Philippine territory.

How did the South China Sea disputes between China and the Philippines arise?

Along with the release of a report in 1968, the South China Sea came into the center of spotlight around the globe.

The report, issued by Committee for Coordination of Joint Prospecting for Mineral Resources in Asian Offshore Areas (CCOP), reveals that the east and south of the Nansha Islands is rich in oil and gas resources.

Interview: Wu Shicun [Dean of the National Institute for South China Sea Studies]:

The instant the report was issued, all the countries surrounding the South China Sea were surprised. For a period of time, the South China Sea was called the second Persian gulf.

Faced with international petroleum crisis and emboldened by greed, the Philippines engaged in massive exploitation of oil and natural gas in the South China Sea, disregarding the sovereignty and rights and interests of China.

Having already encroached Mahuan Island, Feixin Island and Zhongye Island, the Philippines further occupied Nanyue Island, Beizi Island and Xiyue Island of China Nansha islands in 1971. In 1978, the government of the Philippines named the islands it occupied as well as other islands and reefs of China as “Kalayann Islands Group” and illegally put them under the administration of “Province of Palawan”.

Until 1980, the Philippines had encroached a total of eight of the Nansha Islands in a short span of ten years.
The Philippines explained to the international society the basis of occupying the islands.

Interview: Li Guoqiang [Deputy Director of the Institute of Chinese Borderland Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Science]
The Pilippines holds the principle of adjacency and national security because in its understanding, proximity of these islands makes them closely related to its national security.
But in fact, based on principles of International Law, geographical proximity is never rightful to be used for territorial claims.

Claiming itself the first country to occupy the Nansha Islands is indeed based on the lie of “terra nullius” it made up. Whereas, the fact that China has been administering the Nansha islands for over one thousand years renders the Philippines’ claim as groundless.

As early as in 1933, France had already taken “terra nullius” as an excuse to occupy nine of the Nansha Islands, but had withdrawn under the representations of the Chinese Government.

The Philippines’s fabrication of its false account is somewhat relevant to the absurd behavior of the Filipino businessman Tomás Cloma in claiming its “discovery” of the Nansha islands.

On February 17, 2009, the Philippines, despite the opposition of the Chinese government, signed an act to redefine the archipelagic baseline of the Philippines which encompasses parts of the Nansha Islands and Huangyan Island into its jurisdiction.

The Philippines continued infringing upon Chinese sovereignty without paying any attention to China's repeated representations.

The Philippines had gone further and further on its path where it constantly infringes upon China's sovereignty rights and interests, harms Chinese fishermen's life and property safety, threatens the peace and stability in the South China Sea as well as endangers the bilateral relations.

Dispute in the South China Sea between China and the Philippines is becoming increasingly fierce.

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