East Sea

Crouching dragon, rising sun
Beijing has finally achieved its aspiration to be a force to be reckoned with on the high seas. The long-awaited launch of China’s aircraft carrier signaled the incremental readjustment of power relations in East Asia. However, the rise of one power does not necessarily translate to the decline of all others in the vicinity. The rise of China as a naval power will inevitably highlight the indispensability of Japan and prompt Tokyo’s ascent to a position of greater political and military importance in Northeast Asia.  Recently, Professor Robert Farley drew parallels between military conditions today and those in the 1920s...
Angry words over East Asian seas
Chinese territorial claims propel science into choppy waters. Clashes at sea. Disputed borders. It is not the usual stuff of science. But researchers and scientific journals are being pulled into long-simmering border disputes between China and its neighbours. Confrontations involving research vessels are raising tensions in the region, while the Chinese government is being accused of using its scientists’ publications to promote the country’s territorial claims. Mine, all mine: the rush to claim minerals and oil is driving China’s marine ambitions. Source: CHINAFOTOPRESS/GETTY China’s desire to increase its exploitation of the sea is no secret. The country’s 12th five-year plan, which...
Uncharted territory
Political maps that seek to advance disputed territorial claims have no place in scientific papers. Researchers should keep relationships cordial by depoliticizing their work. Muhammad Ali observed that the wars of nations are fought to change maps — and he was a man who knew how to fight. Yet there are more subtle ways to change maps. Take the South China Sea: Chinese officials insist that much of its waters belong to China, and Chinese maps tend to include a dotted line that makes the same point. Yet there is no international agreement that China should have possession, and other...
The South China Sea is not China’s Sea
It would be rather absurd if England were to try to claim sovereignty over most of the English Channel, Iran the Persian Gulf, Thailand the Gulf of Thailand, Vietnam the Gulf of Tonkin, Japan the Sea of Japan, or Mexico the Gulf of Mexico. But that is exactly what China is trying to do by claiming most of the South China Sea, a body of water about the size of the Mediterranean Sea bordered by nine nations plus Taiwan, and the main gateway between the Pacific and the Indian Ocean.  Although there are long-standing territorial disputes over the Paracel Islands and...
China demands; Philippines: NO!
China demands return of boats from the Philippines China on Thursday demanded the Philippines return small Chinese boats promptly and unconditionally after a Philippine military vessel confronted a Chinese fishing vessel. “China has presented its stance to the Philippines. We demand that the Philippines return the small Chinese boats unconditionally and as soon as possible, and properly handle related issues,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said at a daily press briefing. On Tuesday, a Philippine military vessel entered the sea area neighboring the Liyue Tan, also known as the Reed Bank, of the Nansha archipelago in the South China Sea...
Concern over the South China Sea
In “China’s demographic history and future challenges” (special section on Population, Review, X. Peng, 29 July 2011, p. 581), the maps of China show a U-shaped curve enclosing most of the South China Sea and its islands (the Paracels and Spratlys), clearly implying that the colored area within the curve belongs to China. However, these islands are subject to territorial disputes between China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Taiwan. To show these islands unambiguously as Chinese territory is therefore questionable, especially when they are almost uninhabited and irrelevant to the population study in the Review. The U-shaped curve in the...