Chinese dredging vessels seen in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea in this video image taken by a P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft provided by the U.S. Navy, May 21, 2015.
An international tribunal at the Hague overwhelmingly rejected China’s claims to the South China Sea on Tuesday, in a move that observers say is likely to stoke tensions between the Asian powerhouse and its primary rival, the United States.
The Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled that under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), China’s actions have violated the sovereign rights of the Philippines, which brought the case to court. Further, the court ruled that China’s practice of dredging sand to build artificial islands on the region’s disputed reefs has caused “severe harm to the coral reef environment.” Continue reading →
Spratly Islands. Map by the CIA (public domain) via Wikimedia Commons
Tensions between China and United States continue to rise over the South China Sea as a Chinese government newspaper warns that war may be ‘inevitable’ if the U.S. and its allies do not back off from the heavily disputed territory.
Last week, the Chinese government condemned the actions of the U.S. military after the P8-A Poseidon, the US’ most advanced surveillance aircraft, was caught spying on Chinese naval activities in the Fiery Cross Reef.
The Chinese government has been accused of provoking its neighbors by actively building “artificial islands” in the Spratly archipelago, which is both a vital shipping corridor and an oil and gas rich territory, west of the Philippines. While China has claimed the right to most of the South China Sea, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei also have competing interests in the highly-contested waters. Continue reading →