In the May 15th issue of U.S./China Focus, scholar Hong Nong of the China Institute at the University of Alberta detailed the historical argument of China’s sovereignty within the “Nine Dashes” of the South China Sea. In the above graph, note how close the nine dashes are to the shorelines of Vietnam, Malaysia, and the Philippines, and how very far they are from the coast of China. It is China’s claim since 1947 that all of the area within the nine dashes is Chinese, under China’s sovereignty.
On the southeast coast of China, note the city of Hainan. This Chinese city has the largest modern submarine base, and note how important this military base’s location is for the control of the entire South China Sea. The sea is so important because it is the major sea route between Asia and Europe, between Asia and India, and between Asia and Africa. Which is another way of saying, the South China Sea is the potential choke-point between oil shipped from the Middle East to the oil-starved Japan and China.
Nearly everyone in the world regards China’s claim of sovereignty over 80% of the South China Sea as preposterous. But none of the disputants have a deep water submarine base to contest China’s claim. The U.S. Navy, however, in eternal vigilance to the theories of Mahan, regularly patrols the South China Sea, dedicated to keeping these sea lanes open to all nations. Think of the parochial and preposterous Chinese claim on the South China Sea as part and parcel of their contemptuous attitude toward the Philosophy of Human Rights.[Email comments welcome: duoism(at)sbcglobal.net].