Is China the legitimate owner of those disputed islands in the South Sea? | World Defense

Is China the legitimate owner of those disputed islands in the South Sea?

explorerx7

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Three countries are claiming ownership of a number of islands in the South Sea: China, Vietnam, and the Philippines. All of these countries are presenting strong claims of ownership mostly because these islands have been deemed to possess rich deposits of oil and minerals. There have been claims and counter-claims, but China seems to be maintaining a stranglehold on its claimed territories.
I am at sea as to who may be the rightful owner according to history. I would be grateful if someone could furnish the information as to who may be the rightful owner of these Islands.
 

Corzhens

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A political analyst said that the issue of the Spratly is not that complicated and it can be resolved amicably if the claimants will all agree to the status quo. In other words, invoking history is of no use. What if history proves that all the islands there belong the Philippines, will China pull out? And what about Vietnam which is also claiming some islands? It is a good idea to thresh things out if the claimants will sit and take time for a friendly talk. The area can be converted into a cooperative zone of sorts and avoid a war.
 

explorerx7

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A political analyst said that the issue of the Spratly is not that complicated and it can be resolved amicably if the claimants will all agree to the status quo. In other words, invoking history is of no use. What if history proves that all the islands there belong the Philippines, will China pull out? And what about Vietnam which is also claiming some islands? It is a good idea to thresh things out if the claimants will sit and take time for a friendly talk. The area can be converted into a cooperative zone of sorts and avoid a war.
I don't believe that it would be resolved that easily. There is too much at stake. The potential gains to be had from the resources which that area contains will make any negotiations to arrive at an amicable solution very difficult. There is also the consideration that this zone is strategic to China's expansionist ambitions throughout the region.
 

joshposh

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A political analyst said that the issue of the Spratly is not that complicated and it can be resolved amicably if the claimants will all agree to the status quo. In other words, invoking history is of no use. What if history proves that all the islands there belong the Philippines, will China pull out? And what about Vietnam which is also claiming some islands? It is a good idea to thresh things out if the claimants will sit and take time for a friendly talk. The area can be converted into a cooperative zone of sorts and avoid a war.
You need to use maritime law. Any country has territorial rights of up to 12 nautical miles outward to sea. That's all you have to say.
 

vash

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I need to correct the OP.
There are more than just 3 countries claiming the disputed islands in South China.
Besides, China (People's Republic of China), Vietnam, Philippines, there are also Brunei, Malaysia, and Taiwan (Republic of China) claiming Spartly islands.
China's claim matches Taiwan's claim exactly, since China claims all of Taiwan, and PRC's claim is based on ROC's claim.

China is indeed the first one to claim all of the Spartly islands, as well as all of the Paracel islands.
Their official map from 1947 (published by the previous regime Republic of China... still exist on Taiwan) had the 11-dash-line and later updated to 9-dash-line. These lines included almost entire South China Sea with no one objected to it at the time of publishing.

Philippines' claim came in 1950s when a Philipino Tomas Cloma went to Spartly and unrooted two flags of ROC there before he claimed the islands for himself. Philippines claimed the islands from Tomas Cloma. ROC responded angrily and immediately re-stationed troops on Spartly islands (they pulled the troops out when they lost the civil war on mainland China against the communists). The US government backed the claim of ROC at the time, and reminded Philippines that Spartly islands were not a part of the territory when Spain signed the 1898 treaty to give up Philippines to the US.

As for Vietnam, their claim was based on the claim of the French who used to occupy all of the Indochina (Vietnam was a part of it). France then recognized the ownership of these islands by China in exchange for the Qing Empire of China to recognize the "legit" ownership of Indochina by the French. They went back on their words after the fall of Qing Empire in 1911.

The bottom line is, if you look at the map, no one but China and Vietnam could potentially own Paracel islands. Parts of the Paracel islands are within EEZ of China.
As for Spartly islands, it is a little more complicated since there are countries in the vicinity.

There are two types of claim to the disputed islands. One type is based on historical facts. The other is based on some international rules passed in the last a few decades. Only China and Vietnam had based their claim on their historical facts. The others like Philippines, knew it never had the ownership of Spartly islands, but claim it anyway since the existence of EEZ came into effect in 1980s, although their first claim was based on the "private" claim of a single Philipino named Tomas Cloma who landed on Spartly in 1950s and unrooted two flags of ROC there.

Here is a quote
Japanese scholar Taoka Shunji criticized Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for trying to falsely portray China as a threat to Japan and that it was invading its neighbors like the Philippines, and pointed out that the Spratly islands were not part of the Philippines when the US acquired the Philippines from Spain in the Treaty of Paris in 1898, and the Japanese ruled Taiwan itself had annexed the Spratly islands in 1938 and the US ruled Philippines did not challenge the move and never asserted that it was their territory.
You can look at some more information on wikipedia ( I know everyone can edit wikipedia, but they do have credible sources listed at the bottom of the pages, which you can look them up one by one and judge it by yourself. )
 

djdefense

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Amicable settlement is always possible. But, its really about the sentiments of the people and the kind of stories that each country has spun around the islands. You can't really go back on your own propaganda either, which is what makes things difficult, because generations are taught half truths and lies. Its the same with every country.

I don't know how many countries have actually exchanged land, but that is what happened between India and B'desh last year. It happened because no "stories" had been spun about the disputed and distributed territories. But, when it comes to lands between India and China, it seems things become more complicated, because of the years of propaganda behind the issues. India controls the oil-rich eastern parts, whereas the cold deserts of the western Indo-China borders are with China. The dispute continues because you can't go back and say, "let's split half and half", the people in both countries would raise hell.

But, territorial claims can be amicably settled, if there is enough political will.
 
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