2012年9月5日 星期三

海洋戰國史......我的領土(不) 是你的 石原慎太郎(Shintaro Ishihara)

International Relations

Why is South China Sea such a bone of contention?

The tension in the South China Sea has escalated since the start of the 21st century, as neighboring states vie to protect their strategic and economic interests, but what are they really fighting for?
Its geopolitical location, an abundance of fish and huge gas and oil reserves make the South China Sea particularly attractive to the 10 states that all lay claim to parts of it - China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and Cambodia.
There are also hundreds of islands and reefs in the South China Sea, which the Vietnamese call the East Sea. The Paracel Islands (known as the Xisha in China and the Hoang Sa in Vietnam), the Spratly Islands (known as the Nansha Qundao in China, the Truong Sa in Vietnam and the Kapuluan ng Kalayaan in the Philippines) are the most important disputed island groups.
The sea is also important to the rest of the world as it connects Europe, Africa, the Middle East and South Asia with East Asia and at least one third of global shipping transits through its waters.
The Spratly Islands are a key source of tension
Almost all of China's oil exports arrive via the South China Sea and nearly all of China's exports to Europe and Africa go in the opposite direction.
"In strategic and military terms, the South China Sea is in a key position that enables control not only over South East Asia but over the wider realm of South and East Asia too," Gerhard Will from the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin told DW.
Fish in abundance
The South China Sea is also home to an abundance of fish. According to the International Crisis Group, 10 percent of the annual global fish yield hails from this huge body of water. However, the fisheries are at risk from over-fishing and pollution.
More and more, fishermen are being forced out into deeper waters to make a living but here they sometimes clash with maritime patrol forces protecting their national interests.
Fishermen have been arrested, their nets damaged and their boats confiscated by the security forces of other countries. Such incidents have increased in recent years.
Fishermen have fallen victim to international political disputes
Not only is fish an important source of protein for the population, it is often an important branch of the economy. In 2010, the fishing industry made up 7 percent of Vietnam's GDP. In the Philippines, some 1.5 million people earn their living from fishing.
Rich in gas and oil
However, it is the unknown riches of gas and oil that are creating most of the tension over the South China Sea, especially as the energy needs of China and Southeast Asian nations grow as their economies boom.
"The deep waters have not yet been explored. Companies are reluctant because of the border disputes," Hans Georg Babies from the German Mineral Resources Agency told DW.
Estimates for the amount of oil range from four to 30 billion tons. The latter figure would be equivalent to all of Saudi Arabia's oil reserves.
However, Babies warned against making such wild guesses. He said that certain explorations made by the US in the 1990s in certain parts of the South China Sea had only been able to confirm the existence of about two billion tons of oil.
Gerhard Will explained that wild speculation was one of the main reasons for the current spats in the region. He said it was problematic that the estimates were so “imprecise” and the expectations so "high."
Surveillance ships are sent out to protect national interests
"If there were clarity about how many resources there actually are in the region, a joint resource management program could be developed," he said.
In view of the current climate, observers do not think a joint solution will be agreed upon in the near future.
The rival states have been boosting their navies. China has built an underground submarine base on the southernmost tip of Hainan island, whereas Vietnam has been buying frigates and gunboats from Russia, and the Philippines plan to buy submarines from South Korea.
Nonetheless, despite such activity and the aggressive rhetoric, analysts do not believe the tension over the South China Sea will lead to serious military conflict as the wider implications would be too severe.

日 本 首 相 野 田 佳 彥 表 示 , 在 領 土 問 題 上 絕 不 退 讓 。
野 田 出 席 國 會 眾 議 院 一 個 委 員 會 時 表 示 , 今 後 將 進 一 步 強 化 對 領 海 和 邊 境 島 嶼 的 警 備 , 並 利 用 一 切 國 際 場 合 , 表 明 日 本 的 立 場 。

出 席 同 一 委 員 會 的 外 相 玄 葉 光 一 郎 亦 強 調 , 政 府 在 主 權 問 題 不 會 讓 步 , 但 亦 擔 心 與 中 國 產 生 誤 解 , 損 害 兩 國 關 係 。 他 指 中 國 有 多 個 海 洋 管 理 機 構 , 期 望 兩 國 成 立 專 門 的 對 話 窗 口 , 協 調 相 關 海 洋 問 題 。 

Vietnam demanded Taiwan “immediately cancel” a live-fire drill on islands it claims as its own, according to a statement on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website today.
Taiwan plans to stage the exercise on Taiping Island, in the disputed Spratly island chain in the South China Sea, next month, the China Post reported Aug. 21.
The action “severely violates Vietnam’s sovereignty, threatens peace, stability, security, marine safety, causes tensions and complicates the situation in the East Sea,”, Ministry spokesman Luong Thanh Nghi said in the statement, using the Vietnamese term for the South China Sea.


 日韓爭島又一章╱退野田筆親抗議信 南韓反吃閉門羹

讀 賣新聞報導,南韓退回信件的理由,包括李明博訪問的島嶼是「獨島」,而非野田所稱的「竹島」,信中的指控「與事實不符」,既然有違事實,當然不能自相矛盾 收下信函或回信。南韓外交通商部發言人趙泰永二十三日表示,回信恐將變成一個先例,讓外界誤以為兩國領導人之間有島嶼問題存在。
另 外,美國白宮國家安全會議亞太事務主任羅素(Daniel R Russel)和助理國務卿坎貝爾,二十二日在華府與日本外務省亞洲大洋洲局局長杉山晉輔舉行會談時,重申「釣魚台為美日安保條約的適用對象」。對於「竹 島」的紛爭,,美方表示,領土紛爭一般應依循國際法和平解決。


竹島の大統領直筆碑、土台部分撤去へ 無許可設置が判明




Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
日本知名民族主義者、東京都知事石原慎太郎(Shintaro Ishihara)說﹐我們必須在這些島嶼上建立電信基地、港口和氣象站。石原慎太郎曾提出由東京都購買爭議島嶼﹐這一飽受爭議的提議已經發展成今年夏天最激烈的外交爭鬥之一。










Associated Press




不過﹐石原慎太郎對另外一組爭議島嶼的態度卻遠沒有這麼激進。這組島嶼被稱為“利揚庫爾巖”(Liancourt Rocks)﹐其主權歸屬是目前日本與韓國關係緊張的原因之一。

在韓國總統李明博(Lee Myung-bak)訪問了利揚庫爾巖後﹐8月初日韓緊張關係開始升溫。這組島嶼目前由韓國控制﹐在韓國被稱為“獨島”(Dokdo)﹐在日本被稱為“竹島”(Takeshima)。



Phred Dvorak / Toko Sekiguchi