Tuesday, October 23, 2012
OCT 23 WHO OWNS THE SOUTH CHINA SEA?
Here's an important news item you might have missed. Tempers flared in the South China Sea last week when the USS George Washington sailed into the hotly disputed waters. You're likely asking yourself: Why is the US Navy sending a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to the Far East? According to a Pentagon spokesman, the Navy is merely conducting "joint military actions with a regional ally" and there is no cause for alarm. It just feels alarming when the USA calls Communist Vietnam an ally. But... hey...that's just another example of how strange world politics have become in the South China Sea.
Unfamiliar with the South China Sea? You shouldn't be! Economically, it is the most important body of water in the world. Over one third of the earth's total commerce floats on its busy shipping lines. (Sorry...Persian Gulf...you need to diversify!) Let's check out the stats: Every day, ten million barrels of crude oil enter the South China Sea through the Straits of Malacca. Every day, eleven million i-Pods are shipped down the Pearl River. So it comes as no surprise, that every nation that borders on the South China Sea has a major economic interest in controlling the important body of water.
Another reason why the South China Sea is so important is the potential, untapped oil and gas reserves lying under the surface waters. In this part of the world, environmental groups aren't listened to...so massive plans are already underway to cover the sea with massive oil rigs...as soon as tomorrow. Everyone knows that China is thirsty for gasoline, so it comes as no surprise that the PRC has the most audacious claims of the six-nation dispute. They are demanding some 80% of the sea. This claim is in obvious violation of International Maritime laws...which apparently don't translate well into Cantonese!