The Deteriorating Relationship between China and Philippines
The South China Sea is the world's largest sea. According to the Guinness Book of Records, it covers 1,148,500 square miles. In the last 2,500 years mariners for Malaysia, China and Indonesia navigated the South China Sea to trade sandalwood, silk, tea and spices. Today it carries roughly a third of the world's shipping and accounts for a tenth of the world's fish catch. China, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei and the Philippines all have 200-mile coastal economic zones in the South China Sea. All of these countries also claim the Spratly Islands which are in the middle of the sea. About $5.3 trillion of global trade passes through the South China Sea each year, $1.2 trillion of which passes through U.S. ports. Below the South China Sea is an estimated $3 trillion worth of oil, gas and minerals. Fisheries in the South China Sea have been decimated by overfishing and polluting chemicals from shrimp farms and factories. By some estimates there is enough oil under the South China Sea to last China for 60 years. The Spratly Islands are a group of tiny islands, reefs, shoals and rocks in the South China Sea claimed by China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia. Most of the islands are submerged during high tide and generally regarded as uninhabitable. No one paid much attention to them until the 1960s when it was realized there could be mineral wealth and oil deposits located in the waters around them. The main reason for the conflict within the Spratly islands lies in the territorial disputes and quarrels among the different countries. Natural resources include fish, guano, undetermined oil and natural gas potential. There are mainly 2 reasons for disputes to occur in these islands mainly: 1. The potential oil and natural gas reserves that lies dormant under the Spratly Islands. 2. Construction of the busiest port
Asia’s had been experiencing a rapid economic boom with giants such as China emerging as the next economic superpower. However, its economic advancement requires a large amount of energy and to claim the Spratly Islands would be useful for the countries’ future economic advancement. Each of these countries requires the oil and natural resources within the sea bed of the Spratly islands to serve for these economic needs. Many of the emerging Asian countries require oil from the Middle East and Africa, these resources would have to pass through the Strait of Malacca into the South China Sea. The Spratly Islands lies on the strategic lines of the South China Sea therefore it means that all 6 countries hope to have their hands on the Spratly islands to set up a sea port along the South China Seas. Over half of the world’s merchant fleet sails through the South China Sea every year. Therefore setting up a sea port at the Spratly Islands would therefore create one of the busiest ports in the world. This port will create numerous job opportunities and revenues for emerging countries. This had therefore sparked a part of the conflict as due to countries desire for the strategic location to belong to them, they would quarrel and fight over the claims of these islands to support their economic needs. Now, the real question is “Who is the RIGHTFUL owner of the Spratly Islands?” Well, as a Filipino, I believe that the Philippines rightfully owns the Spratlys and today, I would prove our country’s ownership over the islands.
The Philippines’ claim could be based on Res Nullius which means “nobody’s property”. It means that any uninhabited or abandoned island belongs to the discoverer. When Filipino Thomas Cloma claimed ownership, and renamed it “Kalayaan”, he was appropriating it for the Philippines. To add to this, the Philippines’ partial claim is based on geography, and that the islands lie within its 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone accorded to it by the United Nations Convention on the Law of...
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