A new report from the Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) details the repression of religious freedom among Uyghurs in the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
28 May 2012
China has cautioned the United States anew against fanning tensions over territorial disputes in the South China Sea as America prepared accession to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos) to boost its economic interests particularly in deep seabed mining.
Beijing made the warning after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said US accession to Unclos would provide Washington not only navigational rights but also “ability to challenge other countries’ behavior [that] should stand on the firmest and most persuasive legal footing available, including in critical areas such as the South China Sea.”
Clinton told a hearing by the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the Unclos accession that although America has no territory in the South China Sea, “we have vital interests, particularly freedom of navigation. And I can report from the diplomatic trenches that as a party to the convention [Unclos], we would have greater credibility in invoking the convention’s rules and a greater ability to enforce them.”
Hong Lei, spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said issues on the South China Sea should be confined to China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) that signed the Declaration of Conduct in the South China Sea.
Asean groups the Philippines, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
“To our knowledge, on the issue of the South China Sea, nonclaimant Asean countries and countries outside the region have adopted a position of not getting involved in territorial disputes,” Hong said in a statement sent by e-mail by the Chinese Embassy in Manila.
He added that China has always stood for sobriety. “On this important prerequisite and foundation, the Chinese side has consistently committed to safeguarding peace and stability in the South China Sea region by means such as negotiating and signing with Asean countries the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, in parallel with our efforts to pursue dispute settlement through negotiations with countries directly concerned,” Hong said.
Four member-countries of Asean—Philippines, Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia and Vietnam—are claimants to some islands in the South China Sea while China claims territorial ownership of the entire Scarborough Shoal, which is also claimed by the Philippines.
Manila has asked the international community to mediate in the continuing tensions in the Scarborough Shoal amid Chinese increasing military incursions in the area.
The Philippines aims not only at “minimum, credible defense posturing” by exhausting the Mutual Defense Treaty with the US but also at acquiring military surveillance equipment to protect its interests in the shoal and other disputed islands in the South China Seas.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) recently filed its seventh diplomatic protests against China, owing to the increasing incursions by Chinese military and fishing vessels around the Scarborough Shoal.
Hong argued that the deployment of more Chinese vessels to the shoal, which it refers to as Huangyan Island, was meant to strengthen management and control of the territory amid “provocative actions of the Philippine side.”
China and the Philippines have imposed separate fishing bans in the South China Sea.