Editor: Joshua Eisenman, China Reform Monitor, No. 785, Oct. 12, 2009 –
September 23: In response to its Southeast Asian neighbors’ initiatives to claim sovereignty over the Spratly (Nansha) Islands in the South China Sea, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress has begun developing legislation to extend China’s sovereignty over the disputed islands. Zhang Li, deputy chief of the General Staff of the PLA, said “many countries were casting their covetous eyes on China’s resources in Nansha.” He complained that: “China did not have a single oil well in the South China Sea while other countries owned more than 1,000.” A Ta Kung Pao editorial argued that: “In response to the Southeast Asian neighbors’ occupation of China’s sea territory, many high-ranking PLA officials suggest China speed up efforts to demarcate its sea territories.” The author called on the PLA to “arm itself in preparation for defending China’s sovereignty.”
[Editor’s Note: On March 5th Malaysian Prime Minister landed on and claimed Swallow Reef in the Spratly Islands. Five days later the Philippines’ president endorsed an "Act to Define the Archipelagic Baselines" that claimed the Spratly Islands.].
See also The Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands Dispute, March 1, 2009; Daniel Dzurek wrote, “The rekindled sovereignty dispute between Japan and China (includingTaiwan) over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands  at the eastern edge of the East China Sea involves 500-year-old claims and future offshore oil development. Sovereignty over the islets could affect 40,000 sq km of surrounding continental shelf/EEZ area. The most recent flare-up was ignited when a Japanese ultranationalist group built a makeshift lighthouse on one of the islets, which are controlled by Japan. Diplomatic notes, popular demonstrations, convoys of protest boats, and the death of one protester, who drowned near the islands, have inflamed passions, but done little to shed light on the sovereignty and jurisdictional issues. . . ”
China, neighbors harden claims to Spratleys
Posted in Geopolitics of Oil & Gas