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South China/West Philippine Sea


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#1 BnF95

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 05:26 PM

The thread of China: A Real Threat was closed because of OT posts, I hope the same doesn't happen to this thread.

Currently, it appears that China is taking on all comers with the Vietnamese trying to sneak in via the back door and the Philippines screaming as loudly as it can about territorial incursions.

First let's look at the players.

  • Peoples Republic of China (PRC), one of the class A powers of the world. It is considered the largest country in the world (population wise - 1,339,724,852).
  • Republic of the Philippines (RP), formerly a client state of the USA, it was the economic powerhouse of Asia until the mid-1980s when it dropped on the list. They are the 12th largest country in the world (population wise - 94,013,200).
  • Socialist Republic of Vietnam (Vietnam), formerly a client state of the PRC, now it has grown into an economic powerhouse in its own right. It is considered the 13th largest country in the world (population wise - 87,375,000).
  • Malaysia (Malaysia), formerly a British colony, the kingdom of Malaysia has grown in wealth and power, in no small part to its industrialization as well as the free trade they encourage. They are the 44th largest country in the world (population wise - 27,565,821).
  • Republic of China (Taiwan), the remnants of the old government of China, they are normally the plucky underdogs against the PRC. They are the 49th largest country in the world (population wise - 23,174,528).

Now some people would not be convinced by the sheer population difference. Let us look at things by order of economy.

The IMF lists the PRC as the number 2 economy in the world (GDP 10,085,708 million dollars) with Taiwan at number 18 (821,781 million dollars), Malaysia at number 29 (414,428 million dollars), RP at 33rd spot (351,370 million dollars), and Vietnam at #41 (276,567 million dollars).

The numbers for the World Bank is pretty close. China (#2), Malaysia (#29), Philippines (#35), and Vietnam (#44). The World Bank doesn't recognize Taiwan.

*ALL NUMBERS FOR POPULATION AND ECONOMY ARE BASED ON 2010 REPORTS

Now some people would say that it was just money. So let's look at hardware. Let us begin with the naval side.

  • PLAN or People's Liberation Army Navy may have the dumbest sounding name but with 275,000 active duty sailors and officers, operating 26 destroyers, 50 frigates, 3 ballistic missile nuclear submarines, 6 nuclear attack submarines, 53 diesel submarines, 62 amphibious warfare ships, 75 coastal missile ships, 29 large landing ships, 35 medium landing ships, and several hundred fast attack boats. This is the strongest navy in the area, bar none, specially with the support of 750++ aircraft and helicopters.
  • ROCN or Republic of China Navy has 38,000 active personnel manning 4 destroyers, 22 frigates, 4 diesel submarines, 80 patrol missile ships, 8 minesweepers, and 15 amphibious ships. This is backed up by 25 patrol aircraft and 28 helicopters.
  • PN or Philippine Navy has 24,000 personnel (though rumors have it that a large number are ghosts on the payroll) manning 2 frigates (1 of which is still in the US undergoing upgrades), 11 corvettes, 40 patrol boats, and 9 amphibious ships backed up by 10 aircraft (mostly transports) and 3 helicopters.
  • VPN or Vietnam People's Navy has 42,000 personnel (though rumors have it that a large number are ghosts in the payroll) manning 6 frigates (1 supposedly for Myanmar), 20 corvettes (though supposedly half are unable to sail), 18 patrol boats, 8 "minesweepers" (allegedly mine-layers instead), and 20 amphibious ships. In addition they have 2 baby submarines who may or may not be in working condition.
  • RMN or Royal Malaysian Navy has 14,000 personnel manning 8 fairly modern (2 of which are very modern) frigates, 6 patrol boats, and 1 submarine (which is rumored to have problems with submerging) backed up by 12 helicopters.

It is obvious that even were the PLAN only to send 1/3 of their naval strength against the combined forces of Taiwan, Vietnam, Philippines, and Malaysia that they would have an overwhelming force advantage. However PLAN does have its own share of problems. At least 1/3 of their navy must be kept ready near the Korean/Japanese area in case of a war there. In addition, they also have commitments of some vessels in the Indian Ocean. Still, without using unreasonable hypothesis, PLAN is only kept at home because of the fact that the USN does have the firepower to destroy them.
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#2 2XS

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 11:48 PM

Wala yan sa mga matatapang dito sa MTC, kahit hubat-hubod hahamunin ang tsekwa sa gera, basta lang nakatago sila sa computer nila.

#3 dos8dos

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 09:22 AM

obviously the way it has been laid out by the thread starter china dominates in all aspect

in the game of dominance this area is ripe for a potential flash point

of all the claimants china was late in entering the game of occupation with regards to the spratleys islands coz it need to dedicate most of its military resources to the army due to its trouble with the soviets, chinas northern border needs to be protected then. when the soviet threat dwindled in the late 80s china was able to reallocate its military resources to the navy which now had grown considerably to dominate the south china sea where the spratlys group of islands are located.

of the rest of the claimants only taiwan & the phil occupy the largest & the 2nd largest islands while many of the inhabitable islands or islets are shared by the other claimant countries who chose to occupy the area to push their own interests. between taiwan & the phil, the phil has the weakest military making it the most vulnerable nation to be trampled upon by china.

now as filipinos who stationed troops in spratlys since the late 60s, do we owe it to them & their families to ensure that they are protected in case china become more aggressive in the future or do we allow ourselves to be overwhelmed with sheer numbers?

Edited by dos8dos, 07 July 2011 - 09:24 AM.


#4 zenislev

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 11:14 AM

this issue is just waiting to reach it's desired temperature for the flash point to kick in. :blink:

#5 Guest_inverbrass_*

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 09:16 PM

Just noticed something glaring in the figures posted by the thread starter. Only the Philippines has no submarines. We really need to improve our navy.

#6 fireblaster

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 09:21 PM

Better to change the name south china sea into southeast asia sea.. so that PRC will not claim is theirs...

#7 BnF95

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Posted 09 July 2011 - 07:47 PM

obviously the way it has been laid out by the thread starter china dominates in all aspect

in the game of dominance this area is ripe for a potential flash point

of all the claimants china was late in entering the game of occupation with regards to the spratleys islands coz it need to dedicate most of its military resources to the army due to its trouble with the soviets, chinas northern border needs to be protected then. when the soviet threat dwindled in the late 80s china was able to reallocate its military resources to the navy which now had grown considerably to dominate the south china sea where the spratlys group of islands are located.

of the rest of the claimants only taiwan & the phil occupy the largest & the 2nd largest islands while many of the inhabitable islands or islets are shared by the other claimant countries who chose to occupy the area to push their own interests. between taiwan & the phil, the phil has the weakest military making it the most vulnerable nation to be trampled upon by china.

now as filipinos who stationed troops in spratlys since the late 60s, do we owe it to them & their families to ensure that they are protected in case china become more aggressive in the future or do we allow ourselves to be overwhelmed with sheer numbers?

Well if we want to be technical about it the Yuan Dynasty explored the Spratleys and claimed then within their national boundaries in their maps, as did the Ming and Qing Dynasties. For that matter so did Vietnam. Of course, old German maps of the area also includes these islands back in the late 1800s. Lets face it, so many nations have claims to the Spratleys, most of them are significantly stronger than the RP. For us to gain sole custody, we will have to beg the USA to back us up. The UN is a lot more iffy.


Just noticed something glaring in the figures posted by the thread starter. Only the Philippines has no submarines. We really need to improve our navy.

Malaysia's submarines have a problem submerging, thus I'm not sure they can properly be called submarines.

Better to change the name south china sea into southeast asia sea.. so that PRC will not claim is theirs...

We did that already, we call it the West Philippine Sea, of course, nobody else calls it that, to the rest of the world at large it is the China Sea.
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#8 Guest_inverbrass_*

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Posted 10 July 2011 - 11:40 AM

Well if we want to be technical about it the Yuan Dynasty explored the Spratleys and claimed then within their national boundaries in their maps, as did the Ming and Qing Dynasties. For that matter so did Vietnam. Of course, old German maps of the area also includes these islands back in the late 1800s. Lets face it, so many nations have claims to the Spratleys, most of them are significantly stronger than the RP. For us to gain sole custody, we will have to beg the USA to back us up. The UN is a lot more iffy.


Malaysia's submarines have a problem submerging, thus I'm not sure they can properly be called submarines.

We did that already, we call it the West Philippine Sea, of course, nobody else calls it that, to the rest of the world at large it is the China Sea.

So historically speaking, China really has a right to it but under today's laws under the UNCLOS and geographically speaking, the Philippines has a right to it. China's claiming of the Spratlys is akin to Iraq's claiming of Kuwait since historically Kuwait was a part of Iraq which precipitated Gulf War I.

Edited by inverbrass, 10 July 2011 - 11:42 AM.


#9 BnF95

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Posted 10 July 2011 - 12:09 PM

So historically speaking, China really has a right to it but under today's laws under the UNCLOS and geographically speaking, the Philippines has a right to it. China's claiming of the Spratlys is akin to Iraq's claiming of Kuwait since historically Kuwait was a part of Iraq which precipitated Gulf War I.

Geographically speaking its in international waters, creative interpretations of the various UNCLOS might give it to China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, or the Philippines. As a matter of intellectual debate, our claim to the Spratlys will also give us claim to Brunei and Malaysia, I doubt that will impress them very much into giving up their claim as well.

Let's face it, the Republic of the Philippines keeps parts of the archipelago by force of arms, for all intents and purposes, in a point of view, the RP = Spain while the MILF/MNLF/ASG/JI are the Katipunan.

#10 wolflove_bigdawg

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Posted 11 July 2011 - 04:29 AM

So historically speaking, China really has a right to it but under today's laws under the UNCLOS and geographically speaking, the Philippines has a right to it. China's claiming of the Spratlys is akin to Iraq's claiming of Kuwait since historically Kuwait was a part of Iraq which precipitated Gulf War I.


i guess claims based on history is history nowadays (no pun intended) because if we follow that, then half-of the world(maybe more) would belong to Greece since Alexander the Greater conquered much to the world in ancient times. the same logic would give the other half to Mongolia because of Genghis Khan. so really, this is ridiculous. we now have this thing called LAW.

#11 zenislev

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Posted 11 July 2011 - 07:06 AM

Geographically speaking its in international waters, creative interpretations of the various UNCLOS might give it to China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, or the Philippines. As a matter of intellectual debate, our claim to the Spratlys will also give us claim to Brunei and Malaysia, I doubt that will impress them very much into giving up their claim as well.

Let's face it, the Republic of the Philippines keeps parts of the archipelago by force of arms, for all intents and purposes, in a point of view, the RP = Spain while the MILF/MNLF/ASG/JI are the Katipunan.


Will sharing those Group of Islands with the concerned countries solve the problems, like a few Islands to us, a few to them? Or they just plainly really want them all for themselves?

#12 BnF95

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Posted 11 July 2011 - 12:06 PM

Will sharing those Group of Islands with the concerned countries solve the problems, like a few Islands to us, a few to them? Or they just plainly really want them all for themselves?

Why not have a joint venture with all the nations and share the bounty, with overwatch provided by the USA?

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Posted 11 July 2011 - 03:15 PM

Why not have a joint venture with all the nations and share the bounty, with overwatch provided by the USA?

I agree with this. Or perhaps to sweeten the pot, RP could sell 50% of the oil extracted from the RP portion of the Spratlys to the USA. At least if this would happen, the US would have a reason to have a presence in the Spratlys area to protect its interests.




#14 zenislev

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Posted 11 July 2011 - 03:46 PM

I agree with this. Or perhaps to sweeten the pot, RP could sell 50% of the oil extracted from the RP portion of the Spratlys to the USA. At least if this would happen, the US would have a reason to have a presence in the Spratlys area to protect its interests.


This could be the very same reason why US is aiding us in the first place, they want a share in oil.

#15 wolflove_bigdawg

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Posted 11 July 2011 - 11:28 PM

better share the oil with Americans, at least magbabayad yan kahit low price pa. eh kung sa china, kukunin nila lahat sa atin.

#16 wolflove_bigdawg

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 05:51 AM

perhaps another reason why China is keen on keeping the 'WEST PHILIPPINE SEA' for itself:
Ocean floor muddies China's grip on '21st-century gold'
By Richard Ingham | AFP Sun, 3 Jul, 2011


China's monopoly over rare-earth metals could be challenged by the discovery of massive deposits of these hi-tech minerals in mud on the Pacific floor, a study on Sunday suggests.

China accounts for 97 percent of the world's production of 17 rare-earth elements, which are essential for electric cars, flat-screen TVs, iPods, superconducting magnets, lasers, missiles, night-vision goggles, wind turbines and many other advanced products.

These elements carry exotic names such as neodymium, promethium and yttrium but in spite of their "rare-earth" tag are in fact abundant in the planet's crust.

The problem, though, is that land deposits of them are thin and scattered around, so sites which are commercially exploitable or not subject to tough environment restrictions are few.

As a result, the 17 elements have sometimes been dubbed "21st-century gold" for their rarity and value.

Production of them is almost entirely centred on China, which also has a third of the world's reserves. Another third is held together by former Soviet republics, the United States and Australia.

But a new study, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, points to an extraordinary concentration of rare-earth elements in thick mud at great depths on the Pacific floor.

Japanese geologists studied samples from 78 sites covering a major portion of the centre-eastern Pacific between 120 and 180 degrees longitude.

Drills extracted sedimentary cores to depths that in place were more than 50 metres (165 feet) below the sea bed.

More than 2,000 of these cores were chemically tested for content in rare-earth elements.

The scientists found rich deposits in samples taken more than 2,000 kilometres (1,200 miles) from the Pacific's mid-ocean ridges.

The material had taken hundreds of millions of years to accumulate, depositing at the rate of less than half a centimetre (0.2 of an inch) per thousand years. They were probably snared by action with a hydrothermal mineral called phillipsite.

At one site in the central North Pacific, an area of just one square kilometre (0.4 of a square mile) could meet a fifth of the world's annual consumption of rare metals and yttrium, says the paper.

Lab tests show the deposits can be simply removed by rinsing the mud with diluted acids, a process that takes only a couple of hours and, say the authors, would not have any environmental impact so long as the acids are not dumped in the ocean.

A bigger question is whether the technology exists for recovering the mud at such great depths -- 4,000 to 5,000 metres (13,000 to 16,250 feet) -- and, if so, whether this would be commercially viable.

In an email exchange with AFP, lead author Yasuhiro Kato, a professor of economic geology and geochemistry at the University of Tokyo, said the response from mining companies was as yet unknown, "because nobody knows the presence of the (rare-earth) -rich mud that we have discovered."

"I am not an engineer, just a geoscientist," Kato said. "But about 30 years ago, a German mining company succeeded in recovering deep-sea mud from the Red Sea. So I believe positively that our deep-sea mud is technologically developable as a mineral resource."

The market for rare-earth elements has tightened considerably over the last couple of years.

China has slashed export quotas, consolidated the industry and announced plans to build national reserves, citing environmental concerns and domestic demand.

These moves led to a fall of 9.3 percent in China's exports of rare-earth metals last year, triggering complaints abroad of strategic hoarding and price-gouging.

Japanese industry sources also said China temporarily cut off exports last year during a territorial row between Asia's two largest economies.

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 10:49 AM

better share the oil with Americans, at least magbabayad yan kahit low price pa. eh kung sa china, kukunin nila lahat sa atin.

Yup. China is one of the world's top oil users so it's no surprise that they covet the Spratlys.

#18 zenislev

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 11:18 AM

Yup. China is one of the world's top oil users so it's no surprise that they covet the Spratlys.


aren't they greedy?

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 01:37 PM

aren't they greedy?

Not really greedy since oil is a necessity for China but it doesn't have to resort to intimidation. It could solve the Spratlys issue via diplomatic means. China would be viewed as a bully should they continue the harassment of our fishermen and ships in the Spratlys.

#20 jopoc

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 02:08 PM

Not really greedy since oil is a necessity for China but it doesn't have to resort to intimidation. It could solve the Spratlys issue via diplomatic means. China would be viewed as a bully should they continue the harassment of our fishermen and ships in the Spratlys.



what happens if china doesnt want to be diplomatic about it?




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