Muhammad Ahsan/Press TV
Debate on the South China sea conflict further intensifies as Chinese ship causes unintentional damage to Japanese ship.
On Friday, February 10, 2017, the United Nations Security Council gathered to debate on a variety of issues. One of the most prevalent issues was the South China Sea conflict.
China has been well-known to be dominant in Eastern Asia due to its economic progress and strong military, along with alliances with other major countries such as Russia. As a result of their power, countries like Vietnam, Philippines, and Malaysia are quite intimidated.
China has been slowly gaining area in the South China Sea by building artificial Islands which are mainly used for oil transportation and military uses, such as Navy exercises. Countries that supposedly have claims in the South China Sea are Taiwan, Brunei, Vietnam, and Malaysia.
The US has had a fair amount of involvement in this conflict, and have had a mostly anti-Chinese stance. They’ve shown sympathy for Vietnam and the Philippines, and claim China should not enter disputed waters in order to prevent further conflict. But according to some, that statement is hypocritical because the United States of America is a nation which has repeatedly violated the sovereignty of various nations, such as Iraq.
The delegation of China at the council made it very clear to all other delegations present that they had the most right to navigate the waters, claiming “we have historical ties”. Concerning island building, the delegate of China simply stated, “We have the right to do so,” further adding on, “It's our sea”. Also, the delegation claimed they use the right to navigation, which no country should disagree with.
While the West had many questions to ask, the Chinese delegation appreciated if the US only had a say on it, and nothing more than that. The delegation claimed that the US “should not try to patrol it,” referring to the space in the sea which has Chinese military bases.
A major question was if the Chinese government would let their alliance with North Korea determine the possibility of the abuse of those man-made islands. As North Korea and South Korea’s tensions grow, it is possible that the DPRK would turn towards one of their only allies to seek assistance and strategic use of those islands. In an interview with Press TV, the delegation of China confirmed that “anyone who wants it for military use” will not be given the permission to do so.
While the debate was already heated, a major problem occurred, where a Chinese ship rammed into a Japanese ship. The pilot was allegedly intoxicated, and this collision caused an oil leak polluting Filipino waters and affecting their main source of income, fish. Countries such as Russia raised questions about whether the news was correct, as the first organization to report on the event was the western news outlet known as The New York Times. Despite the extreme criticism, the Chinese delegation expressed their condolences to the Japanese passengers, and promised to pay for the damage of the ship, and to clean the oil leak for the better of the Philippines.