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Q&A: South China Sea dispute 中国南海争端  

2012-05-13 21:33:53|  分类: 我们的国土 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Rival countries have squabbled over territory in the South China Sea for centuries - but a recent upsurge in tension has sparked concern that the area is becoming a flashpoint with global consequences.

Map

What is the argument about?

It is a dispute over territory and sovereignty over ocean areas and the Paracels and the Spratlys - two island chains claimed in whole or in part by a number of countries. Alongside the fully fledged islands, there are dozens of uninhabited rocky outcrops, atolls, sandbanks and reefs, such as the Scarborough Shoal.

Who claims what?

China claims by far the largest portion of territory - an area stretching hundreds of miles south and east from its most southerly province of Hainan. Beijing has said its right to the area come from 2,000 years of history where the Paracel and Spratly island chains were regarded as integral parts of the Chinese nation.

In 1947 China issued a map detailing its claims. It showed the two island groups falling entirely within its territory. Those claims are mirrored by Taiwan, because the island considers itself the Republic of China and has the same territorial claims.

Vietnam hotly disputes China's historical account, saying China never claimed sovereignty over the islands until the 1940s. Vietnam says both island chains are entirely within its territory. It says it has actively ruled over both the Paracels and the Spratlys since the 17th Century - and has the documents to prove it.

The other major claimant in the area is the Philippines, which invokes its geographical proximity to the Spratly Islands as the main basis of its claim for part of the grouping.

Both the Philippines and China lay claim to the Scarborough Shoal (known as Huangyan Island in China) - a little more than 100 miles (160km) from the Philippines and 500 miles from China.

Malaysia and Brunei also lay claim to territory in the South China Sea that they say falls within their economic exclusion zones, as defined by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1982. Brunei does not claim any of the disputed islands, but Malaysia claims a small number of islands in the Spratlys.

Why are so many countries so keen?

The Paracels and the Spratlys may have vast reserves of natural resources around them. There has been little detailed exploration of the area, so estimates are largely extrapolated from the mineral wealth of neighbouring areas.

Chinese officials have given the most optimistic estimates of resource wealth in the area. According to figures quoted by the US Energy Information Administration, one Chinese estimate puts possible oil reserves as high as 213 billion barrels - 10 times the proven reserves of the US. But American scientists have estimated the amount of oil at 28 billion barrels.

According to the EIA, the real wealth of the area may well be natural gas reserves. Estimates say the area holds about 900 trillion cubic ft (25 trillion cubic m) - the same as the proven reserves of Qatar.

The area is also one of the region's main shipping lanes, and is home to a fishing ground that supplies the livelihoods of thousands of people.

How much trouble does the dispute cause?

The most serious trouble in recent decades has flared between Vietnam and China. The Chinese seized the Paracels from Vietnam in 1974, killing several Vietnamese troops. In 1988 the two sides clashed in the Spratlys, when Vietnam again came off worse, losing about 70 sailors.

The Philippines has also been involved in a number of minor skirmishes with Chinese, Vietnamese and Malaysian forces.

The most recent upsurge in tension has coincided with more muscular posturing from China. Beijing officials have issued a number of strongly worded statements, including warning their rivals to stop any mineral exploration in the area.

The Philippines has accused China of building up its military presence in the Spratlys. The two countries have engaged in a maritime stand-off, accusing each other of intrusions in the Scarborough Shoal. Chinese and Philippine vessels refuse to leave the area, and tension has flared, leading to rhetoric and protests.

Unverified claims that the Chinese navy deliberately sabotaged two Vietnamese exploration operations has led to large anti-China protests on the streets of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Vietnam has held live-fire exercises off its coast - an action that was seen as a gross provocation by Beijing.

Is anyone trying to resolve the row?

Over the years, China has tended to favour arrangements negotiated behind closed doors with the individual leaders of other countries. But the other countries have pushed for international mediation.

So in July 2010, when US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton became involved in the debate and called for a binding code of conduct, China was not pleased. The Chinese Foreign Ministry dismissed her suggestion as an attack on China.

Agreements such as the UN's 1982 convention appeared to lay the framework for a solution. But in practice, the convention led to more overlapping claims, and did nothing to deter China and Vietnam in pressing their historical claims.

Both the Philippines and Vietnam have made bilateral agreements with China, putting in place codes of conduct in the area. But the agreements have made little difference.

The regional grouping Asean - whose membership includes all of the main players in the dispute except China and Taiwan - concluded a code of conduct deal with China in 2002.

Under the agreement, the countries agreed to "resolve their territorial and jurisdictional disputes by peaceful means, without resorting to the threat or use of force, through friendly consultations and negotiations".

But recent events suggest that Vietnam and China at least have failed to stick to the spirit of that agreement. And Asean continues to discuss new ideas for resolving the dispute.

Source:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-13748349


Q&A: China-Japan islands row 中日岛屿之争

Expressions

Ties between China and Japan have been repeatedly strained by a territorial row over a group of islands,

中日关系由于群岛问题不断紧张

known as the Senkaku islands in Japan and the Diaoyu islands in China

中国称之为钓鱼岛;日本称之为尖阁列岛

The eight uninhabited islands and rocks in question

八个无人居住的争议中的岛礁

prefecture

辖区

strategically important shipping lanes

战略地位非常重要的大洋航线

offer rich fishing grounds

提供富有渔场

contain oil deposits

含有石油矿床

erected a sovereignty marker

建立主权标志

the Ryukyu islands

琉球群岛

renounced claims to a number of territories and islands

宣布放弃大量领土和岛屿

in the 1951 Treaty of San Francisco

根据1951年的旧金山条约

came under US trusteeship

成为美国托管

under the reversion deal

根据归还协议

raised no objections to

没有提出异议

pressing their claims

加紧主权要求

the Diaoyu islands have been part of its territory since ancient times

钓鱼岛自古是中国的领土

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs

外交部

legally well-founded

在法律上有充分根据

Taiwan was ceded to Japan in the Treaty of Shimonoseki in 1895, after the Sino-Japanese war.

1895年甲午战争结束后台湾在下关条约中被割让给日本

the issue should be shelved for future settlement

该问题会被搁置到将来解决

bilateral ties

双边关系

There have nonetheless been sporadic incidents over the islands.

关于这些岛屿不断有零星冲突

There have also been face-offs between Japanese patrol boats and Chinese or Taiwanese fishing vessels.

日本巡逻艇和中国渔船之间对峙不断

staged a protest

举行抗议

collided with two coast guard vessels

与两艘缉私船发生冲突

sparking a serious diplomatic row

导致严重的外交争端

Small anti-Japanese protests were held in several cities in China.

中国多个城市举行小型的抗日活动

released the entire crew of the trawler

释放整个拖网渔船的船员

detained

扣留

sent back

送返

Tensions continued to rise

紧张持续升温

two men were detained in Beijing for ripping the flag off the Japanese ambassador's car in late August

两名中国人袭击日本驻华大使车辆并将国旗夺走,之后被拘留

the Japanese government reached a deal to buy the disputed islands from private owners.

日政府达成从私人所有者手中购买争端岛屿交易

signed the purchase contract.

签订购买合同

resolve a dispute over oil and gas fields in the East China Sea 解决中国东海油气田争端

the more robust attitude

更强硬的态度

territorial claims

领土声明


Ties between China and Japan have been repeatedly strained by a territorial row over a group of islands, known as the Senkaku islands in Japan and the Diaoyu islands in China. The BBC looks at the background to the row.

What is the row about?

The eight uninhabited islands and rocks in question lie in the East China Sea. They have a total area of about 7 sq km and lie northeast of Taiwan, east of the Chinese mainland and southwest of Japan's southern-most prefecture, Okinawa.

They matter because they are close to strategically important shipping lanes, offer rich fishing grounds and are thought to contain oil deposits. The islands are controlled by Japan.

What is Japan's claim?

Japan says it surveyed the islands for 10 years and determined that they were uninhabited. That being the case, on 14 January 1895 it erected a sovereignty marker that formally incorporated the islands into Japanese territory. The Senkaku islands became part of the Nansei Shoto islands - also known as the Ryukyu islands and now as modern-day Okinawa prefecture.

After World War II Japan renounced claims to a number of territories and islands including Taiwan in the 1951 Treaty of San Francisco. But under the treaty the Nansei Shoto islands came under US trusteeship and were then returned to Japan in 1971, under the Okinawa reversion deal.

Japan says that China raised no objections to the San Francisco deal. And it says that it is only since the 1970s, when the issue of oil resources in the area emerged, that Chinese and Taiwanese authorities began pressing their claims.

What is China's claim?

China says that the Diaoyu islands have been part of its territory since ancient times, serving as important fishing grounds administered by the province of Taiwan. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs says that this is "fully proven by history and is legally well-founded".

Taiwan was ceded to Japan in the Treaty of Shimonoseki in 1895, after the Sino-Japanese war. When Taiwan was returned in the Treaty of San Francisco, China says the islands - as part of it - should also have been returned. But Beijing says Kuomintang leader Chiang Kai-shek did not raise the issue, even when the Diaoyu islands were named in the later Okinawa reversion deal, because he depended on the US for support.

Separately, Taiwan also claims the islands.

Have there been incidents before?

China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs says that the issue should be shelved for future settlement and that the two sides should try to prevent it from becoming "a disturbing factor" in bilateral ties. There have nonetheless been sporadic incidents over the islands.

In 1996 a Japanese group established a lighthouse on one of the islands. Chinese activists then sailed repeatedly to the islands and in one incident, Hong Kong activist David Chan jumped into the sea and drowned. Since then, there have been periodic attempts by Chinese and Taiwanese activists to sail to the islands. In 2004, Japan arrested seven Chinese activists who landed on the main island.

There have also been face-offs between Japanese patrol boats and Chinese or Taiwanese fishing vessels. In 2005, 50 Taiwanese fishing boats staged a protest in the area, complaining of harassment by Japanese patrols.

In September 2010, Japan seized a Chinese trawler that collided with two coast guard vessels near to the islands, sparking a serious diplomatic row. Small anti-Japanese protests were held in several cities in China. A visit by 1,000 Japanese students to the Shanghai Expo and a concert by a top Japanese band were also cancelled.

In the end, Japan released the entire crew of the trawler - first the 14-member crew and then the captain, several days later.

In April 2012, a fresh row ensued after outspoken Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara said he would use public money to buy the islands from the current private owner.

In August of the same year, a group of activists sailed to the islands from Hong Kong, with seven landing on one island. All were detained and later sent back. Several days later, at least 10 Japanese nationalist activists also landed on the islands with flags.

Tensions continued to rise and in early September, two men were detained in Beijing for ripping the flag off the Japanese ambassador's car in late August, in an apparent protest over the islands.

Following that, the Japanese government reached a deal to buy the disputed islands from private owners. On 11 September, China sent two patrol ships to waters near the island as Japan signed the purchase contract.

So what next?

The Senkaku/Diaoyu issue complicates efforts by Japan and China to resolve a dispute over oil and gas fields in the East China Sea that both claim.

It also highlights the more robust attitude China has been taking to its territorial claims in both the East China Sea and the South China Sea in recent months.
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