China’s Spurious Claim to Lebensraum in the South China Sea

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As US President Joe Biden recently attempted to charm Chinese President Xi Jinping into standing down from his imperial ambitions of obtaining more Lebensraum for his country, all should question Xi’s right to claim dominion over the South China Sea.

Without legal authority or historic precedent, China has audaciously and arrogantly claimed most of the South China Sea as its “domestic” waters. By militarizing its presence in the South China Sea and harassing Philippine vessels (and also shadowing American ships and planes), China is risking war.AsiaTimesA brighter demographicstory for ChinaOn November 25, near the Paracel Islands, China deployed naval and air forces to “track, monitor and warn away” the US destroyer Hopper.

China said the incident “proves that the United States is an out-and-out security risk creator in the South China Sea.”

On November 27, the US Seventh Fleet issued a statement that:

“Unlawful and sweeping maritime claims in the South China Sea pose a serious threat to the freedom of the seas, including the freedoms of navigation and overflight, free trade and unimpeded commerce, and freedom of economic opportunity for South China Sea littoral nations. 

“The United States challenges excessive maritime claims around the world regardless of the identity of the claimant. Customary international law reflected in the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention protects certain rights, freedoms and lawful uses of the sea enjoyed by all nations. The international community has an enduring role in preserving the freedom of the seas, which is critical to global security, stability, and prosperity. 

“The United States upholds freedom of navigation for all nations as a principle. As long as some countries continue to claim and assert limits on rights that exceed their authority under international law, the United States will continue to defend the rights and freedoms of the sea guaranteed to all. No member of the international community should be intimidated or coerced into giving up their rights and freedoms. 

“US forces operate in the South China Sea on a daily basis.… The operations demonstrate that the United States will fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows – regardless of the location of excessive maritime claims and regardless of current events.”

Also this month, the US and China held “candid” talks on maritime issues, including the contested South China Sea, where Washington underlined its concerns about what it called “dangerous and unlawful” Chinese actions.

In late October, Chinese coast-guard and maritime-militia vessels “recklessly harassed and blocked” Philippine Coast Guard boats on their way to resupply a Manila-held outpost in the South China Sea. One Chinese ship fired a water cannon at a supply boat, Philippine forces said.

Ship-tracking data showed at least two dozen Chinese vessels, including large ships of the China Coast Guard, descending on Philippine-controlled Second Thomas Shoal in the Spratly Islands archipelago.

Map evidence

Decades ago when he was US ambassador to Thailand, my father bought an old naval map of Southeast Asia showing in great detail the entire South China Sea. In that expanse of water, not one Chinese name appears. The only places identified with Chinese names are on the coasts of Hainan Island and the Chinese mainland.

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