Don’t Trust China In The South China Sea

Don’t Trust China In The South China Sea

Image: Creative Commons.

NHK reports that China stands ready to ink a Code of Conduct for the South China Sea.

Do tell.

At this month’s (online) 24th China-ASEAN summit, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) premier Li Keqiang observed that next year marks the twentieth anniversary of the signing of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, a statement of principles meant to govern interactions among Southeast Asian seafaring states and China in the interest of regional harmony. The parties to the Declaration of Conduct reaffirmed their commitment to legal instruments such as the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and pledged to “resolve their territorial and jurisdictional disputes by peaceful means, without resorting to the threat or use of force . . . in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.”

In 2002, in other words, the parties promised to comply with a treaty with which they had already agreed to comply. There is already a code of conduct for the South China Sea. It’s called the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. Nevertheless, this statement of mutual goodwill seemed to augur well for peace and plenty in the region. Yet Li should have thought twice before calling attention to what has transpired during the almost twenty years since the Declaration of Conduct. Events give the lie to fraternal words issuing forth from Beijing. Let’s review some actions China has taken since it vowed to be a good neighbor at sea:


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