Wednesday, March 11, 2009

What is the US doing around Hainan Island?

By China Watcher

The Impeccable, a US vessel, was caught conducting some maneuvers around Hainan Island (China’s Southern province) within the 200-mile exclusive economic zone, which the US claimed is “international waters”.

Based on a UN’s 1982 Law of The Sea, of which most countries have accepted and recognized, China is right in claiming that such “waters” are within its territory. The US, however, have yet to ratify the UN’s convention on this matter. In the most simplistic terms, the Chinese alleged that the US has trespassed on its territory but the US retorted that its vessel is not since it is still located in international waters.

My argument is such that if the so-called “territorial waters” are deemed doubtful from the perspective of both nations, then it would be better not to challenge the legality status of it which is what the US is doing. I am sure the US also would not want a Chinese destroyer or a Chinese surveillance vessel to be near the 200-mile economic zone off the coast of California. In this aspect, I strongly believe the US is wrong to boldly intrude in a zone which is questionable at his juncture.

Another question I seek to ask is what is the purpose of an unarmed US ocean surveillance vessel doing so close to the Chinese shore? It is not surprising as Hainan Island is the main base for China’s most advanced missile submarine fleet, which according to latest findings, comprises 5 nuclear submarines capable of launching nuclear ballistic missiles.

The US claimed that its vessel was there to protect its commercial interests in busy South China Sea shipping lanes traversed by half the world’s oil tankers. Can we accept such lame reasoning or is the US vessel on a spying mission? More likely, it is attempting to find out more about the movement of such submarines in the region.

The Chinese, like every sovereign country, has every right to project a “blue water” navy in every parts of the world just like the US have done over the past 50 years. But the Western media in its many articles indicated that the projection of “blue water” navy is the exclusive right of democratic nations like the US and not other countries which do not share its values. Nonsense!

Based on Western readings, I think that any challenge to the US dominance at sea is a threat to the world and stability of current world order. Again, what a load of rubbish! I don’t think the world had officially nominated the US as the world’s protector or policeman but the US would like to see it that way due to its number one status in the world (the sole superpower) and its promotion of “upright and just morality” throughout the world.

China may not row on the same boat with the US on many key international issues which does not mean that it challenges US’s initiatives but more towards the protection of its own interest like the expulsion of aid workers from Darfur at the UN Security Council recently. It is a known fact that China does have a lot of commercial interest in Sudan and it is only understandable why it blocked the US move.

As long as the US and the Chinese do not see eye-to-eye on a lot of conflicting issues especially with the US placing human rights as its core foreign policy, there would be more of this type of irritant disagreements that would cloud its relationship in the future which will not be helpful for world’s stability.

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