By Derrick Hollenbeck, staff writer
Since mid April Chinese naval vessels have been circling a pile of rocks situated 124 miles off the coast of the Philippines that barely qualifies as an “island”. The rocks are called the Scarborough Shoal and save for there position, and rumors of oil and gas under them, they have no value to anyone. Nevertheless it is precisely because they are so far from their own shore that the Chinese are trying to pressure the Filipinos into relinquishing their long held claim (since 1734) to Panatag as they call them.
Moreover since the Scarborough Shoal at just 124 miles off the Philippines it is well within the island nation’s 200 nautical miles Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) recognized by international law as Filipino “fishing territory.”
China is slowly but surely attempting to increase her hold on the entire South China Sea and in doing so she is pushing asides the overlapping claims to the fishing rights of Malaysia, Brunei Vietnam Taiwan, and the Philippines. Because they are our allies the involvement of these last two has the potential to bring us into this dispute and a no win result.
True to its consistent refusal to abide by laws it doesn’t like, the Chinese government has sanctioned incursions into Scarborough waters that involve not only fishing, but firing at Philippine boats and removing coral from a reef included in the Panatag.
China’s claim to all of the South China Sea grows out of necessities the Communist country did not anticipate when it began to modernize.
This move is rooted in a much bigger story concerning the Chinese and how they are dealing with some unexpected consequences attending their rapid expansion as a manufacturing center in Asia.
After modernizing their farming industry the Chinese saw massive population shifts to their already over crowded cites where food can’t be grown but must be brought in. The farms can’t keep up with the demand so the seas are being increasingly relied upon to feed China’s city dwellers. This has led to over fishing the waters just off China’s coast and fishing boats being forced to work further and further away until they end up in the Scarborough Shoals claimed by the Philippines.
Barack Obama and his media lackeys can ignore this crisis but that doesn’t mean it poses no threat to world peace. In the 1930’s another Asian nation tried to solve her rapid expansion problems and that ended in World War II.
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