• L’arrivée de Trump accentue les tensions en mer de #Chine

    La #mer_de_Chine_du_sud est un « intérêt vital » pour les dirigeants de Pékin, et la source de nombreuses frictions en #Asie depuis le début de la décennie. Si les positions de la Chine et de ses voisins se sont stabilisées, la situation pourrait à nouveau dégénérer avec l’arrivée de Trump à la Maison Blanche.

    #International #Etats-Unis #géopolitique #Mer_de_Chine_Méridionale

  • Batailles pour le partage de la mer de Chine méridionale. Et pour quelques rochers de plus…, par Didier Cormorand

    Saisie par les Philippines, la Cour permanente d’arbitrage de La Haye doit se prononcer sur le conflit opposant Manille à Pékin en #mer_de_Chine méridionale. Ce n’est pas le seul contentieux dans cet espace maritime où la Chine, le Vietnam, les Philippines, la Malaisie et Brunei revendiquent la souveraineté sur tout ou partie des îlots. Les tensions ouvertes deviennent de plus en plus dangereuses.

  • Tensions in the South China Sea: a politico-strategic overview

    It’s been a decade since the evolutions in the South China Sea became more and more part of the politico-strategic global agenda. The rise of China challenges the almost complete American naval influence in Asia-Pacific, an area of high strategic importance for numerous actors, both regional and extra-regional. That said, it is worth to notice that China is systematically targeted by most of the western analysts, especially Americans, not only as the aggressor, but as the only aggressor in the region.


    #mer_de_Chine #Chine
    via @ville_en

    http://seenthis.net/messages/491786 via CDB_77

  • China Cracks Down on Politically Incorrect Maps - CityLab


    Ouh la, j’ai eu chaud (retrospectivement) !


    When it comes to maps, China isn’t messing around.

    Starting next year, you don’t want to be caught with the “wrong” maps—that is, maps containing content “that endangers the country’s sovereignty, safety and interests,” according to a statement by China’s government mapping official Le Weibin.

    In an effort to “boost” the mapmaking industry—and clamp down on maps that run counter to the government’s stance on issues like Taiwan’s independence and the territorial dispute over the South China Sea—China announced new regulations earlier this year on the creation, distribution, and publication of both print and online maps. The government will be monitoring maps for violations like “errors in compilation” and “leaks of secret geographic information and personal information,” according to China’s official state media, Xinhua.

    Also included in this new set of regulations, which will replace mapping laws drawn up in 1995, is a section dedicated to regulating the fairly young industry of online mapping. It requires all online mapping data to be hosted by servers inside the country, and all GPS providers to obtain a cartography certificate.

    #chine #cartographie #manipulation #frontières #territoires_contestés #mer_de_chine_méridionale

    http://seenthis.net/messages/443338 via Reka

  • China loses round one in Philippines dispute over islands - FT.com

    China has lost the first round of a major legal fight with the Philippines after an international tribunal agreed to hear a case about contested islands in the resource-rich South China Sea.
    The Philippines last year asked a court in The Hague to invalidate the “nine-dash line” — a demarcation on Chinese maps that China uses to lay claim to most of the South China Sea. China has refused to participate in the case, but has made clear through other channels that it does not believe the court has jurisdiction. But the court decided on Thursday that it had such authority.

    Manila brought the case after concluding that efforts to address assertive Chinese behaviour in the region had run their course without any resolution. China and its maritime neighbours have had bitter disputes over dozens of islands, reefs and atolls in the waters for decades, but tensions have risen in recent years as China has grown its maritime presence in the waters.
    “It is big and welcome news,” said a senior US military official. “It demonstrates the relevance of international law to territorial conflicts in the South China Sea and it shows that sovereignty claims are not indisputable.”

    #Chine #Mer_de_Chine

  • Provocations à répétition entre la Chine et les Etats-Uiis
    China lodges protest with U.S. on warship patrol in South China Sea - People’s Daily Online

    The Foreign Ministry on Tuesday expressed “strong discontent” and “resolute opposition” over a U.S. warship patrol near Zhubi Reef, which is part of China’s Nansha Islands in the South China Sea.
    This action by the United States threatens China’s sovereignty and security interests, endangers the safety of personnel and facilities in the reef, and harms regional peace and stability, ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said in a statement.
    Lu urged the U.S. to “immediately correct its wrongdoing.”
    Earlier on Tuesday, the U.S. warship USS Lassen entered waters near Zhubi Reef without the permission of the Chinese government, according to Lu.
    The U.S. warship was monitored, tracked and issued with warning, said the spokesperson, adding that China will continue to watch the situation and “do whatever is necessary.”
    Stressing that China’s sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and its adjacent waters is “irrefutable,” Lu said China is prepared to respond to any deliberate provocation by any country.
    China respects other countries’ freedom of navigation in accordance with international law, Lu said, however, China is firmly opposed to any action that harms China’s sovereignty and security in the name of freedom.
    The construction activities undertaken by China on its own territory is an internal affair and will not block the legal freedom of other countries, the spokesperson said.
    The U.S. side should remember its commitment that it would take no position on territorial disputes, as this would damage China-U.S. ties and regional peace, said Lu.
    Earlier Tuesday, Foreign Minister Wang Yi, in response to a question on the U.S. Navy’s intention at a seminar, warned the U.S. not to “make trouble out of nothing.”
    "If it is true, we advise the U.S. to think twice before it takes any action," he said, urging them “not to act in an imprudent way and not to make trouble out of nothing.”

    #Chine, #Etats-Unis#Mer_de_Chine

  • What is the US protesting in the South China Sea? | East Asia Forum

    While extensive land reclamations in the South China Sea have not helped China’s image, none of its current actions justify deliberate provocations by the United States. It’s not clear just what Washington is protesting in the South China Sea. There are three possibilities, some or all of which may apply.

    One explanation may be that the United States is protesting against China’s claim to sovereignty over disputed features. But Washington has repeatedly said that it doesn’t take sides in the island disputes. An authoritative report last year from the Center for Naval Analyses in Washington concluded that ‘[t]he absence of an unambiguous legal case in any of these disputes reinforces the wisdom of the US policy of not taking a position regarding which country’s sovereignty claim is superior’.

    But FON operations against only China’s claims suggest that the United States has taken sides. Washington hotly denies this, but it is how people in the streets of Beijing, Hanoi and Manila see US actions. Resulting surges in nationalism in these capitals are not helpful for resolving the disputes.

    A second possibility is that the United States is protesting China’s claim to a territorial sea around built-up, low-tide features in the South China Sea. But only three features fall within this category (Subi, Hughes and Mischief Reefs) and China has not actually made formal claims to any territorial sea from these features. It would be preferable to wait until such claims were made before responding with diplomatic protests rather than ‘rocking the boat’ now. In any case, it’s a fairly trifling issue on which to risk a dangerous incident between Chinese and American forces.

    Finally the United States may be protesting a general threat by China to FON in the South China Sea. But China has repeatedly denied it poses such a threat. And with so much of China’s own trade passing through the sea it’s nonsensical to suggest that it would. American commentators invariably overstate the value of US trade passing through the South China Sea. They fail to recognise that the vast majority of US trade with East Asia does not go through the area. For their part, Australian politicians also often grossly inflate the amount of foreign trade going through the South China Sea. In the event of some crisis, the trade of other Northeast Asian countries could readily be re-routed away from the South China Sea albeit at some cost in time and distance

    #Chine,#Etats-Unis #Mer_de_Chine

  • Should the US patrol around China’s artificial islands? | East Asia Forum

    The US defence establishment’s provocative plan to assert freedom of navigation by patrolling near China’s artificial islands in the South China Sea appears to have stalled. But if the United States abandons the policy it will forego an important opportunity to help stabilise Asia’s contested waters.

    In May, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter reportedly asked the US military to develop plans to send planes and ships within 12 nautical miles (nm) of China’s new installations — the radius of territorial sea and airspace granted to legitimate territorial features under international law.

    The intended effect would be to demonstrate that land reclamation does not create new areas of sovereign territorial seas, cautioning Beijing against any future attempt to institute exclusive military control in these areas. This month, US defence officials reiterated their desire to carry out the plan. But so far no patrols have been conducted.

    Some analysts have expressed concern that such freedom of navigation (FoN) operations would spur the militarisation of the area or, worse, provoke Sino–US confrontation. Similar misgivings in Washington are likely part of the explanation for the lack of implementation so far.

    If conducted on the basis of careful research and clear communication, such a policy could show that the United States is willing to act in a measured way to uphold universally accepted international rules in the region. In the process, it would demonstrate limits to China’s ability to create new ‘facts on the water’.

    Ensuring FoN operations in the Spratlys are constructive rather than destabilising depends first and foremost on making them scrupulously legal.

    The key would be to make certain that US ships and aircraft only pass within 12 nm of those artificial islands built on features that were naturally underwater at high tide. One example is Mischief Reef, where China has created more than five square kilometres of new land. No matter how much sand is dumped on these ‘islands’, the waters around them have no legal territorial sea status.

    On this point, international law is, thankfully, unambiguous. Article 60 of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) explicitly states that artificial islands ‘have no territorial sea of their own’. Patrols within 12 nm of such submerged features would be on safe legal grounds and could not be construed as a violation of any country’s territorial waters.

    At the same time, UNCLOS is equally clear that even small ‘rocks’ may be entitled to 12 nm of sovereign territorial sea — provided they naturally protruded above the waterline at high tide. Fiery Cross Reef, where China has built a 3000 metre runway, is one such feature. American FoN patrols should not enter within 12 nm of this or any other disputed feature without producing strong evidence that it was, in fact, entirely submerged in its natural state.
    #Chine #Mer_de_Chine

  • China building third airstrip on disputed South China Sea islets: expert | Reuters

    China appears to be building a third airstrip in contested territory in the South China Sea, a U.S. expert said on Monday, citing satellite photographs taken last week.

    The photographs taken for Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) think tank on Sept. 8 show construction on Mischief Reef, one of several artificial islands China has created in the Spratly archipelago.

    The images show a rectangular area with a retaining wall, 3,000 meters (3,280 yards) long, matching similar work by China on two other reefs, Subi and Fiery Cross, said Greg Poling, director of CSIS’s Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI).

    “Clearly, what we have seen is going to be a 3,000-meter airstrip and we have seen some more work on what is clearly going to be some port facilities for ships,” he said.

    Security experts say the strip would be long enough to accommodate most Chinese military aircraft, giving Beijing greater reach into the heart of maritime Southeast Asia, where it has competing claims with several countries.

    #Chine, #Mer_de_Chine

  • China, Southeast Asia to set up hotline for South China Sea issues | Reuters

    China and Southeast Asian nations have agreed to set up a foreign ministers’ hotline to tackle emergencies in the disputed South China Sea, a senior official of the ASEAN grouping told Reuters on Friday.

    China claims most of the potentially energy-rich sea, through which $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year, and rejects the rival claims of Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan.

    With the region having become Asia’s biggest potential military flashpoint, the United States has urged claimants to settle differences through talks, saying its Pacific Fleet aims to protect sea lanes critical to U.S. trade.

    But China rejects U.S. involvement in the dispute, and its more assertive approach recently, including land reclamation and construction on disputed reefs, has stirred tension.

    The hotline will be announced at next week’s meeting of foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, said the senior ASEAN official, who has knowledge of the discussions.

    “The hotline is likely to be announced in a joint statement at the end of the meetings,” said the official, who declined to be identified because the talks were private.

    #Chine #Asean #Mer_de_Chine

  • The geo–politics of Vietnam–US rapprochement | East Asia Forum

    The General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam, Nguyen Phu Trong, is currently on an official visit to the United States. Later this year, President Obama is also expected to pay a return visit to Hanoi. The visits are among a series of notable events that mark the 20th anniversary of bilateral normalisation this year.

    The development of bilateral ties between the two Cold War enemies over the past 20 years is impressive. The United States is currently Vietnam’s largest export market. In 2014, Vietnam’s US exports amounted to US$28.66 billion, accounting for almost one fifth of the country’s total exports. By 2014, the United States had also become the seventh largest foreign investor in Vietnam, with the stock of registered capital reaching more than US$10 billion. In terms of political and strategic ties, the two established a ‘comprehensive partnership’ in 2013.

    One notable trend in bilateral relations is the increasing importance of geo–strategic drivers. To be sure, the growth of bilateral ties since normalisation in 1995 has always been shaped partly by strategic calculations on both sides. But before around 2010, it seemed to be largely driven by both economic and political factors, especially Vietnam’s wish to take advantage of US markets, capital and technologies to modernise the country’s economy, and a US agenda of promoting a more liberal and democratic Vietnam. Since about 2010, although economic motives remain relevant, the strategic drivers seem more important. This has mainly been due to an enhanced perception of the threats that a rising China poses to both countries’ strategic interests, especially in the South China Sea.

    #Vietnam, #Etats-Unis #Mer_de_Chine

  • China makes rapid progress on reclaimed islands’ facilities - FT.com

    The building of the 3km runway on Fiery Cross Reef is a step some analysts say may presage an attempt to claim the airspace over the disputed waters.
    A year and a half ago the reef in the Spratly Islands was a mere lump of coral but it is now a small island, following a concerted effort by high-tech dredging barges.
    Meanwhile, a port has been added to facilities at Johnson South Reef, another reclaimed island in the Spratlys, with up to six security and surveillance towers under construction.
    Fiery Cross and Johnson South are among just over half a dozen submerged rocks and coral atolls that China has dredged into islands in the past 18 months, an effort Harry Harris, commander of the US Pacific Fleet, likened in April to “a great wall of sand”.
    China insists the facilities it is building on the islands are for peaceful purposes but western analysts say there is clear evidence China plans to use them as military bases in an effort to back its hegemonic maritime claims in the South China Sea. China claims sovereignty over 90 per cent of the Sea.

    #Chine, #Mer_de_Chine, #Spratley