Is China Overplaying Its Hand in the South China Sea?

Posted July 27th, 2012 at 7:40 pm (UTC+0)

China is setting up shop on a tiny island in the South China Sea, deploying troops and civilian administrators in a move that is raising tensions in the region and seriously annoying Vietnam and the Philippines.

The move comes on the heels of a conference of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) earlier this month that couldn’t agree on a Code of Conduct to deal with conflicting territorial claims on islands in the region.

China’s new military garrison is on a 2.5 square kilometer patch of land it calls Yongxing in the Paracel Islands chain. According to Ziao Jie, China’s newly appointed mayor of the island’s capital region, Sansha City, the new settlement is meant to “safeguard national sovereignty and security, to strengthen the protection of resources and overall development in the South China Sea.”

Philippine President Benigno Aquino III doesn’t like that at all. He doesn’t recognize Sansha’s founding and has announced plans to buy attack helicopters.

“If someone enters your yard and told you he owns it, will you allow that?” President Aquino asked the Philippines parliament.

China claims a big back yard in the South China Sea. Neighboring nations stake their own claims. Sources: EIA, Middlebury College, National Geographic, CIA Factbook

Vietnam is equally annoyed. Officials in Hanoi rolled out what they say is a 1904 Qing Dynasty map that makes no claims to sovereignty over the Paracels or the Spratley Islands to the south.

“The Vietnamese are a special race,” museum historian Mai Ngoc Hong told reporters. “We are like a hard constrained spring. Use force on it and it will coil, and watch out when it does.”

Vietnam and the Philippines are the loudest opponents of the new Chinese settlement because Beijing’s Marine Surveillance forces use the island to patrol waters Hanoi and Manila claim as their own.


ASEAN’s diplomatic balance

But what about other ASEAN members, especially those whose economies benefit from hefty Chinese investments?

At the Washington-based Cato Institute, Foreign Policy Studies director Justin Logan says China’s new Sansha settlement could change the diplomatic equation in ASEAN. According to Logan, making territorial pronouncements is one thing; deploying troops and civilian administrators is something entirely different.

“I think that China may be overplaying its hand here,” Logan says. “There are certain countries, obviously Cambodia, and other countries in the region and in ASEAN that have been more or less willing, for a variety of different reasons, to be supportive of China in this context.”

“And I think that this could really put pressure on them to say: ‘Look, we can’t back you up on this. Maybe we will just sort of sit this out or we won’t make a statement on it at all.’ But the idea that they are going to have a diplomatic coalition of the willing saying that this is alright I think becomes really tough to do.”

Cambodia helped scuttle regional unanimity over a Code of Conduct at the ASEAN foreign ministerial in Phnom Penh, contributing to what the International Crisis Group calls a weakness of the multilateral framework that “has also proven ineffective in reducing tensions.”

“Divisions between member states, stemming from different perspectives on the South China Sea and differences in the value each member places on their relations with China, have prevented ASEAN from coming to a consensus on the issue,” the ICG says. “China has worked actively to exploit these divisions, offering preferential treatment to ASEAN members that do not side with its rival claimants.”

But Cambodia sees things differently, insisting that it remains an honest broker.

“Cambodia doesn’t take sides,” Foreign Minister Hor Namhong told VOA’s Say Mony. “Cambodia is the Chair of ASEAN, and we have to make sure that situation remains calm, not to add fuel to fire.”


Washington’s role

Stanford University’s Don Emmerson says the breadth of China’s claim over nearly all of the 3.5-million-square-kilometer sea appears increasingly designed to reduce the role of the U.S. Navy as part of the Obama administration’s “Asia Pivot.”

“One would even suggest that those within the People’s Liberation Army who are among the most vehement nationalists on this issue would like to see the South China Sea actually become a Chinese lake,” Emmerson says.

Cato’s Justin Logan believes Washington is going “a little bit too far into making this a U.S. vs. China competition in the South China Sea.”

“If the United States had a somewhat more distant posture and wasn’t always rushing to assure its friends and allies in the region that we would be on the hook to ensure freedom of navigation,” Logan says, “other countries in the region would be, in fact, more alarmed about China’s behavior.”

“But the idea that they see the United States at the forefront of this effort to constrain China’s ambition in the South China Sea allows them to stand back a little bit and play one side off the other.”



64 responses to “Is China Overplaying Its Hand in the South China Sea?”

    • TheView says:

      Vietnam need to implement Nuke fast.

      • jame smith says:

        @ The View,

        Can they make the nuke “FAST”? They could not even make a motobike properly without help from foreigner let alone nuke. The best way for them is to get rid of the communist and let their best to lead them to better live and richer country like South Korea. Do you think the greedy communist chinese dare to touch S. Korea without thinking few times over? I am talking about S. Korea only, not US.

        Back to the basic, you are poor and stupid; you will be loser. That what Vietnam under the “bright” communists leadership is….

    • Todd says:

      Well what is the US doing about this? Of course nothing because our government does not have the … to confront China. Its all about the mighty dollar. What happened to “We the people”? Why was this kept so secret? I found out in a weird way myself. Nothing in papers.

  1. stroyde says:

    If anyone wants to constrain China, attack helicopters are the silly approach. A coalition of trade partners cutting off dealings with her is what China should fear most. Yeah, pain all around, but the one with the previously uber positive trade surplus cries uncle first. But save this measure, things haven’t gotten that bad yet.
    Write off the Taiwan, Denshu and the Spratlys as China’s, (since it is gauranteed that China will go to war over these) and anything beyond that is the line in the sand. But what Japan will go along with is unclear.

  2. WW1 was sparked by the Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria.

    WW2 kicked off after germany “reclaimed” poland.

    Now China has deployed to a small patch of islands in the South China Sea, while the Philippines and Vietnam also lay claim to these islands. The Philippine president anounced ““If someone enters your yard and told you he owns it, will you allow that?” also announcing plans to purchase attack helicopters.

    The US and Philippines have mutual defence treaty which was re-affirmed in 2011 by the Manilla Declaration.

    Therefore in a legal sence, if the Philipenes try to defend these islands and they are attacked in the process, the US will be forced to declare war on China.

    It’s amazing how history repeats it’s self, We will have to wait and see what kind of fight China can put up to see if they are overplaying their hand.

  3. Iambiased says:

    “China claims a big back yard in the South China Sea… CIA fact book”
    Don’t the other countries do that? look at the map, if Vietnam and Philippines get what they want, how much is left over for China? Everyone wants the rich resources but Philippines and Vietnam are just playing the “Bully Victim” card trying to get sympathy.

  4. Johnlone says:

    China not only overplays its hands but it’s a pure aggression into others territorial water in a clear violations of International Law. China disregards the International Laws and Norm to set up bids on oil explorations in area only 37 miles away from Vietnam coastal mainland. If China does not respect other nation sovereignties then why should others respect China sovereignty? Tibet and Xingjian are independent nations and China illegally occupied these two small nations 50 years ago and must return to rightful owners. Taking historical facts into account: Guangxi, Guangdong, and Hainan were belong to Nanyue (Vietnamese) and must return to Vietnamese someday by force if necessary when Vietnam is strong enough.

  5. […] military garrison in a contested area viewed as a potential flashpoint for conflict in the …Is China Overplaying Its Hand in the South China Sea?Voice of America (blog)India, Indonesia back freedom of navigation in South China […]

  6. joseph enry says:

    The world may have bought into the Chinese presentation that they are responding to the US pivot toward Asia/attempt to isolate China and/or encouraged neighbors provoking China…. the Philippines and Vietnam know better: recent Chinese escalated activities is a deliberate and integral part of Chinese total ownership of the South China Sea, where more than 1/2 of global maritime traffic takes place.
    1) In 1947, introduced without much clarified explanation of interest, the 11 dash map showing Chinese 1st discovery of 90% SCS. No one accepted/paid ant attention.
    2) With silent encouragement from the US, used forces to occupy all Paracel and 3 Spratlys islands from Vietnam killing over 100 Vietnamese in 1974 1nd 1988.
    3)In 1998, submitted the discredited/revised 9 dash map to UN to again, claimed almost the ocean. All neighbors protested. All international marine law experts agreed Chinese claim has no value and lacks support documents.
    4) The last 10 years: realizing its illegal claim and taking advantage of its economic/military growth, China has been attacking its neighbor’s fishing, gas/oil exploration ships causing property damaged and human fatalities. Meanwhile, the Philippines and Vietnam presented more credible evidences of their ownership and all SCS neighbors agreed to use UNCLOS as base to reconcile their differences or settle at UN tribunal. China insists on its own rules and refuses international laws that it signed.
    China is hoping push the Philippines and Vietnam to react and giving them reason to further attack/control more territories. They are watching the responses from international communities to measure their control and/or negotiate

  7. Quang Nguyen says:

    Yes, China has overplayed its hand on the South China Sea through its deployment of troops on its newly established city of Sansha. China has actually started the challenge of the status quo of the world powers, especially the military power supremacy of the US. However, I do not think the US will have a military response immediately to China’s aggreesive move, but accumulate grudges against the challenger. US will not directly confront the invaders instead of Vietnam and Philippines right away. If they do not defend themselves, no one will help them fighting the aggressor. My concern is Vietnam might give up their fight too early, not because the Vietnamese are not strong enough to defend themselves, but because the Chinese Communist Party can easily help the Vietnamese Communist Party set up China-backed leaders who willingly accept Chinese dominance. I hope this will never happen as I fear. To prevent the effect of the Chinese Communist Party’s intervention, it’s advisable for the Vietnamese leading party to change its name back to its original “Labor Party” and democraticize the regime as fast as possible to win support and trust from the world.

  8. […] in a contested area viewed as a potential flashpoint for conflict in the Asia-Pacific …Is China Overplaying Its Hand in the South China Sea?Voice of America (blog)India, Indonesia back freedom of navigation in South China SeaNew York Daily […]

  9. david says:

    When you have two billion six hundred million hands, it’s very hard to overplay them

  10. NGO QUYEN says:

    China’s acting against international laws. They base on the historical records of their past dynasties. Those records have never been recognized globally and cannot be used in the disputes because of the following reasons:
    First, Chinese dynasties in the past were extremely greedy and notorious for invading and occupying other smaller countries, killing people there and robbing their properties. That is why China is such a vast country today. To create pretexts for their invasions they made up records showing that this land or that water belonged to them. If someone said your house belonged to him according to his grandfather’s diary and expelled you out of your house and occupied it. would it be justified? China is doing the same thing.

    • Nolan says:

      Nansha islands belongs to China from ancient to modern times. Now some robbers want to rob it from China. It is not allowed absolutely!

      • Thanh Duong says:

        I absolutely agree with NGO QUYEN, China is only acting as a robber. Beijing does not keep any eye on either Vietnam, Chinese history or the international law. China is bringing troops to the territorial waters of Vietnam. That is a blatant invasion!

      • Milind B says:

        Ha ha ha , Ancient times there was no China.
        China uses this to capture lands. Tibet was an independent Nation with cultural links to India. India and Tibet were one Nation. China captured Tibet by force claiming some ancient China theory. Similarly now for the South China Sea, the Chinese are fooling all.
        It’s surprising too see Cambodia under Chinese influence. India should woo Cambodia toward her, as Cambodia is a more Hindu-Buddhist type nation and culturally closer to India. 1.25 Billion Indians are the only power on earth to counter foolish overaggressive Chinese.
        Jai Hind!!!

        • Skyler says:

          Karma works! After 1979’s invasion into Cambodia, Vietnam swallowed many Cambodian islands including the famous Koh Tral and renamed it Phu Quoc, the largest single island in Vietnam today. Now, China is giving a harder lesson for the same old game that Viet used to play with Cambodia. It is no less pain, isn’t it?

          • joseph enry says:

            If it was not for the Vietnamese, half of Cambodians would not be around today and shame to Cambodian regime for selling out to China that was the backbone and enabler of Khmer Rouge’s killing field.
            Vietnam did not take over Phu Quoc in 1975. I served in the US force in Vietnam and visited that island in 1969 which was totally under the control of South Vietnam. Many things you can make up to support your view, just don’t use easily detected lie.

        • Frankly says:

          I don’t agree with you very much. You stired up enmity obviously. What is your proof?

          Everyone must tell the truth when he talked something. . . .

    • Tom Pham says:

      I agreed with your comment. They are robbers. !

    • Dai Jingfeng says:

      One without historical knowledge can’t comment rationally. Chinese was the sacrifice of expanding of western powers actually.

      If China had no peaceful intentions, China would be the biggest country in the world. All modern European countries would never have emerged, let alone other new countries through occupying so-called new worlds.
      … It’s not strange that those so-called disputed areas in South China Sea belong to China. Because China had a highly developed ancient civilization. It was China that first found and named those no man’s islands. It is far different from European adventurers who bloody smashed India and its culture. It’s absurd and mournful that descendants of those Anglo-Saxons alleged that they are masters of North America and Australia, however the victim claiming their lost is regarded as being not right.

      Please speculate that if it’s U.S. or Russia instead of of China, what would happen at South China Sea? And please be noted that it’s wrong that U.S. factors are affecting Chinese behavior in this issue. It is just Chinese traditional culture that regulates and restrains China herself.

      • Ian says:

        The first premise:
        “If China had no peaceful intentions, China would be the biggest country in the world. ….so-called new worlds.” is false
        -China had no peaceful intention under the Yuan (mongolian) yet failed to conquer the world, brought the armada to Japan shore twice, 1274 & 1281 lost 75% in huge storm (God will, yes?) In south-east asia, they attacked Vietnam 3 times 1257, 1285, 1288 and failed on every occasions, the last one their entire fleet were destroyed by Vietnam in the Battle of Bach Dang river .
        Earlier, in 979 the Song (china) invaded Dai Viet (vietnam) King Le Hoan killed the chinese commander at border pass Chi lang . The song tried again in 1075, this time the Ly dynasty (vietnam) chased the chinese back pass present Guangdong & Guangxi and killed 100,000 chinese troops.
        In the 1400 The Ming (chinese) tried again and in 1418, Vietnamese king Le Loi killed Ming commander Liu Sheng, this time 300,000 ming soldiers perished.
        Then in 1786, The Qing (china) sent troop again into Vietnam, Emperor Quang Trung defeated the Qing 100,000 troops in less than 7 days.
        Not counting China war with other countries, The proof that just in Vietnam they tried so many times. Quite a strange peacefull obsession, wouldn’t you say?
        The second premise:
        “It’s not strange that those so-called disputed areas in South China Sea belong to China…..first found and named those no man’s islands” is also false .
        to be an ancient civilization is no proof of being civilized, China amassed wealth & knowledge from surrounding countries. Chinese did not need to be at these islands nor have ever seen them in order to have a name for them.
        Let say, I heard from other foreign sailors who came to USA shore & described islands far away from America, I did not see these islands myself, I did not step foot on them, I could still name them whatever i want “north islands, east islands, south islands, west islands” Does that mean I own them…NO, NO & NO
        And You think Dai Viet (vietnam), Champa, Java( indonesia) kingdoms that beat many chinese fleets in battles all these years would allowed china to set foot on them?
        The 3rd premise is self aggrandizing. Nothing will happen to south east asia with Russia or US (not nasty stuff like china sending 9,000 fishing ships down to south east asian water this minute). The south east asian will harvest the sea products, and oil in their sea for themselves, and continue doing business as usual with these two countries. There is absolutely no reason for China to be concern with southeast asians well being . In other words, you are not welcomed .

        • Frankly says:

          You are funny. just you are telling a tie. You don’t know the history of china at all.
          Please you learn history seriously.

          • Ian says:

            Do take note of my replies to Dai Jingfeng .
            There are three sentiments that he voiced:
            -the first one is that China had peaceful intentions, otherwise China would be the biggest country in the world, there will be no other countries. I proved that this sentiment is incorrect with historical facts of chinese invasions of other countries. I also proved that China had its border where it is now because it failed in these attempts not because it was nice.
            -The second sentiment that China found & named these islands therefore the islands belong to China. I disproved it with example of its illogical argument.
            However, if you don’t learn critical thinking and analysis in high school, I will have to give you another example.
            Let’s say, for many years, your neighbors had in their yard a couples geese with names Truth & Honest respectively, Today you peer over the fence and realize that these geese have potential of laying golden eggs. You start to fabricate names for these geese such as Bold Face Liers & Shameless greed . Then you proclaim having names for them & you found them. Therefore they are yours. Are they really yours?
            There are historical facts that the Qing map does not even show these islands. It is the communist chinese government who invents these lies and spoonfeeds chinese peoples with “islands ownership” in order to steal them from other countries.
            -His 3rd sentiment is a selfserving assumption. Here is his sentence: “Please speculate that if it’s U.S. or Russia instead of of China, what would happen at South China Sea? ”
            The south east asian nations may say the reverse: “may be U.S. & Russian are better for them than China” or “none of these 3 countries” .
            By the way, do reread your reply and see how thoughtful it is , or whether it is backed up with any fact !! don’t make a fool of yourself since everyone know only children resort to name calling .

  11. david says:

    Read about Lord Stanley and the Falkland Islands.

    “The British Government continued with its plans to colonise the Falkland Islands, appointing Lt Richard Moody as the first Lieutenant Governor of the Islands. He was transported to the Falkland Islands aboard the ship Hebe, arriving in Anson’s Harbour in October 1841. He was accompanied by twelve sappers and miners and their families, together with Whittington’s colonists this brought the population of Anson’s Harbour to approximately 50.

    In 1842, Lieutenant Governor Moody was instructed by Lord Stanley the British Secretary of State for War and the Colonies to report on the potential of the Port William area as the site of the new capital. Moody assigned the task of surveying the area to Captain Ross, leader of the Antarctic Expedition. Captain Ross delivered his report in 1843, concluding that Port William afforded a good deep-water anchorage for naval vessels, and that the southern shores of Port Jackson was a suitable location for the proposed settlement. Not everyone was enthused with the selection of the location of the new capital, J. B. Whittington famously remarked that “Of all the miserable bog holes, I believe that Mr Moody has selected one of the worst for the site of his town.”

    Construction of the new settlement started in July 1843, and in July 1845 (at Governor Moody’s) suggestion the new capital of the islands was officially named Port Stanley after Lord Stanley. The structure of the Colonial Government was established in 1845 with the formation of the Legislative Council and Executive Council and work on the construction of Government House commenced.. The following year, the first officers appointed to the Colonial Government took their posts, by this time a number of residences, a large storage shed, carpenter’s shop and blacksmiths shop had been completed and the Government Dockyard laid-out.

    With the establishment of the deep-water anchorage and improvements in port facilities, Stanley saw a dramatic increase in the number of visiting ships in the 1840s in part due to the California Gold Rush. A boom in ship provisioning and ship-repair resulted, aided by the notoriously bad weather in the South Atlantic and around Cape Horn. Stanley and the Falkland Islands are famous as the repository of many wrecks of 19th century ships that reached the islands to be condemned as unseaworthy and were often employed as floating warehouses by local merchants.

    At one point in the 19th century, Stanley became one of the world’s busiest ports. However, the ship-repair trade began to slacken off in 1876 with the establishment of the Plimsoll line, which saw the elimination of the so-called coffin ships and unseaworthy vessels that might otherwise have ended up in Stanley for repair. With the introduction of increasingly reliable iron steamships in the 1890s the trade declined further and was no longer viable following the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914. Port Stanley continued to be a busy port supporting whaling and sealing activities in the early part of the 20th century, British warships (and garrisons) in the First and Second World War and the fishing and cruise ship industries in the latter half of the century.”

    It would appear that China is merely taking a maneuver out of England’s play book in it’s far flung colonization and possession of the Malvinas. The creation of the city of Port Stanley and it’s meager population gave England the rights to all the resources in the neighborhood. Why should we be surprised that China would attempt the same stunt?

  12. david says:

    In my experience, there are no “international laws”. Belief in them is akin to believing in Santa Claus. Just as some people wake up on Christmas Day and find presents under the tree, the “international law” community finds “international law” breakers occasionally brought to the dock. That is, when the accused are not big players. In other words, “international law” is for the little guys and is written and enforced by the big guys.

    Perhaps you think that all the crimes of the last 2000 years have been grandfathered in like some new building code and that all the land land that was stolen before the United Nations or League of Nations is now pronounced ‘kosher’?

    Was it “international law” that created Israel in 1947? And is now responsible for the Arab displacement in 2012?

    No, Victoria, there is no Santa Claus or “international law”. There is only the same principal which propelled mankind from Ancient Egypt to Sansha City.


    Soon we will see who blinks first.

  13. Ian says:

    “When you have two billion six hundred million hands, it’s very hard to overplay them”

    Is that why it is ok to contemplate stealing other countries’ lands and islands?

    Oh, we see your point, It actually explains why invading Tibet was not enough!

    Of course, the whole world will never be big enough for China to exploit in order to feed all of those 2.6 billion people.

    • JXQ says:

      I am from China. You know nothing about China.These things are done by communists and they are only good for the Communist Party.

      In China, civilians have no political right. But communists controls everything. The Communist Party can take money from civilians by absurd things. Teachers are forced to tell children that the Communist Party is the best party in the world and the capitalism is a “Super Bad guy”, or they will be warned or expelled.

      The Communist Party are being like Nazis in PRC.

  14. evelyntran says:

    Communist China is acting as a fascist and pirate in the East Asian Sea. If China has enough historical evidence, then it should not avoid the multilateral and international courts/judges/conventions. Why not bring the evidence to the world, rather than just … stating that the islands and almost the whole Sea belong to China, … then use military power and economic punishment to bully, threaten and invade the other small Asian countries. It is obviously the actions of a fascist country.
    Vietnam has enough historical documents to prove that the Paracel and Spratly Islands belong to Vietnam … Vietnam also presented one historical map issued by Qing Dynasty of China. This map of Qing dynasty did not show these islands at all. This old map is causing shock in China news, which was published by many big newspapers of China and attracted million of mainland Chinese reading the news. Anyway, it does not matter if Vietnam or any other Asian country has stronger historical evidences to prove the ownership over these islands. All Asian countries, including Vietnam, agreed to have the multilateral/international checks, talks, judging. But Communist China still refuses.

  15. Jonathan huang says:

    Congratulations China! Shining in the Olympics.
    The world is slowly learning how to respect China . . .
    The South China Sea belongs to China!

  16. Mr Tran S. says:

    Viet Nam has had a history of fighting against the Chinese for two thousand years. Since the islands belong to Viet Nam and were robbed by Chinese, I have a strong belief that we will take them back some day by force. We can have easily find few hundreds pilots,(or swift speeding boats with explosives) who are willing to sacrifice their lives to fly down on their warships or their military installations on these islands as Japanese pilots did in World War II .Vietnamese, who are present everywhere in the world, will not tolerate such robbery even 100 or 1,000 years or more from now on.

    • david says:

      Sorry to tell you this, but China will take the South China Sea and the islands therein.

      The best ASAN can do is come to some arrangement with Beijing, because it’s madness to think you can defeat China in battle. And if you are under the impression that the US will come in on your side, that is madness too. The very best outcome of a US v China scenario will be the deepest, most destructive depression that mankind has ever seen. A nuclear war without radiation. The worst outcome would be nuclear war itself.

      Mute your computer. Stick around for the big stuff at the end. This parade makes the ones in Red Square look like Cub Scout parades.

      You think a war with China is a slam dunk? That’s what the French said about the Prussians in 1870.

      • Jonathan huang says:

        Amazing video, Thank you David for posting it!

        Mighty PLA go crash Viets and Finos.

        • Milind B says:

          You forgot the mighty Indians, who will support Vietnam, the Philippines and U.S. against foolish China. India has a record of supporting truth and freedom. We are 1.25 Billion people and no pushovers and will tilt balance of power in favour of ASEAN.

          Jai Hind!!!

          • david says:

            Compare this video of Indian (& Pakistani) soldiers with the one I posted of the parade of Chinese soldiers. The Chinese take soldiering more seriously than the Indians do.


            I am not on one side or the other. I only say what I think will happen in the future.
            No Empire stays on top forever. But the Empire’s citizens think it can’t fall in their lifetimes.

      • Thanh Duong says:

        We are not under the impression that the US will come in on our side, we have had a lots of experiences. Nobody of us wants war, we also respect a peaceful arrangement with Beijing. But life goes on its way! China still takes troop and people to Vietnamese territorial waters blatantly. 9.000 Chinese fishing ships is fishing in the Vietnamese sea. That is a robbery, isn’t it?????

      • Ian says:

        Well, these you tube China parades are just that and nothing more ( local fashion shows for kids & toothless old peoples to feel good for the day and forget their misery lives such as Falun gong chinese practitioners’ organs being harvested by the communist party government)
        I have never seen any real soldiers marching like that in a real battle, do you? (and if that you really want, the New York rockettes could still teach your chinese soldiers in these parades a thing or two with their Christmas shows) Although, I have to admit that those tall skinny guys in tight at the beginning & the red mini wearing girls are good enough to be snatched by the fashion houses in Europe for the Autumn shows. SEXY, yes!, battle ready, definitely NO!
        Frankly, I prefer the more friendly chinese version such as

      • Ian says:

        And this is even a better youtube song that the red army singing what South east asian countries would love to sing for China.

  17. Thomas Vo says:

    To have Justice, you must be the most powerful. It is the Chinese philosophical ideal. You are a fool if you believed the Chinese are a peaceful race. Read their history, you will see when they got power, they will conquer anyone as they see fit. Please wake up people! The Chinese are coming!

  18. Thomas Vo says:

    To have Justice, you must be the most powerful. It is Chinese philosophical ideal. You are a fool if you believed Chinese is a peaceful race. Read their history, you will see when they got power, they will conquer anyone as they see fit. Please wake up people! The Chinese is coming!

  19. Ethan says:

    Just learning English…
    I am a Chinese collage student, and what I’ve learned from our nation’s history is that the South China Sea belongs to China since thousand years before.
    I’ve witnessed what Vietnam and Philippine have done, that doesn’t hurt at all, Philippine burned Chinese national flag, but sorry to tell ya, we Chinese people do not even know what does Philippine national flag looks like… As to Vietnam, we know that it is a tiny country, whose capital is as big as one of our counties.

    • Ian says:

      Just learning english, Ethan ?
      -Seems like you just learned geography yesterday as well !
      -What does a chinese collage student do? learning how to make collage of maps to make a faked new claim to suit one’s purpose like the communist chinese government is doing right now?
      -how old is that school book of history? thousand years ago , ha..ha.., what animal named that part of the sea “South china sea” ? some ichthyosaurus that speak english? sorry to bust your bubble but it is the way peoples name things for convenience and not an indication that something owns something else.
      For example, ” South Mountain lakes” , none of the lakes are owned by the mountain
      -you said ;”but sorry to tell ya, we Chinese people do not even know what does Philippine national flag looks like” really, Ethan, I truly feel sorry for the level of education that chinese government allows their citizens to have! peoples in other countries not only know about flags, they do know about other nations’ geopgraphic facts as well.
      Perhaps this explains why chinese keep insist they own other countries’ islands. They are ignoramus .
      You also said “As to Vietnam, we know that it is a tiny country, whose capital is as big as one of our counties”
      yes we know, that little fish bone that many chinese emperors of your can not swallow pass their greedy throats for 1,000 years .

  20. Thomas Vo says:

    China is a peaceful country. China is using culture and economy to conquer the world not like USA using killing to conquer the world. China is the future!

  21. Thomas Vo says:

    The region of big body of water locate East of Vietnam, West of Philippines, North of Malaysia, and South of China, was called South China Sea. It is used because the Westerner named it for easy to use and locate. You just go south from China. It is mean nothing about whoever own that sea. For year, when the Chinese is weak. They lay low and hide their ambition. Now it is time because the counter forces are busy dealing with Middle East problems. They are also Chinese biggest trading partners. Chinese is playing bluff hands with southward invasion to ASEAN countries. The Western powers step up. Chinese retreat on the diplomatic front. Military pressure, Chinese will use their Africa influential and US debt to counter act. Last step will completely retreat from South China Sea or full scale invasion/ war to ASEAN countries and their Allies. NATO will had a tough choice to make in the coming months after Syria civil war and Iran nuclear ambition.

  22. Ian says:

    For an encore if you like the
    “red army Final Fantasy” on you tube as the answer to David’s you tube” Red army show of force parade”.
    Here is the song Beat it, well, I got to say the Red army can sing what other south east asian countries want to sing to China better anybody else.

  23. mark says:

    true colors starting to show

  24. […] to lower tensions.”Washington has voiced it’s support for the Philippines in the past, and analysts, such as Stanford University’s Don Emmerson, are speculating on the US’s role in the di…, the Voice of America reports:“One would even suggest that those within the People’s Liberation […]

  25. PIECE says:

    I’m a Vietnamese student. At the first time reading this blog, I didn’t want to comment but after I have read some comments, I just can’t understand and have to say this:

    All we do is just working, catching fish on our land. What we want is just to have enough money for our life and earn it on our land. We did’nt steal from anyone so don’t wantanyone stealing anything from us. Can’t you see, or just because your pride that blinked your eyes.

    • Franly says:

      The United States envies the rise of China, . . . So USA contains and hit China.
      China is a peaceful country. We don’t want to attack any country. At the same time, We never fear the crackdown and surrounded by any foreign enemy.
      After the World War II, certain countries kept to wage wars, even fighted at the door of China’s neighbors. I can’t understand why there are so many people don’t known the truth,
      Man is the most cruel animal, why can’t we use cooperation instead of war?

      • Ian says:

        let’s see,
        -“The United States envies the rise of China, . . . So USA contains and hit China”
        I may have to say that it is China who envies the USA

        -“China is a peaceful country. We don’t want to attack any country…”
        Then , what is China doing right now to Vietnam & philippines ? how about what China did to Tibet?

        -“After the World War II….why there are so many people don’t known the truth.”
        Perhaps peoples do know the truth, just not enough peoples knowing the ugliness of China’s hidden agenda, or they prefer to hide their heads in the sand until the lion eat them .

        -“Man is the most cruel animal, why can’t we use cooperation instead of war?”
        I agree that man is the most cruel animal , and China is the most cruel among the nations of “man” , have you heard about the factories in China that processing organs from chinese Falun gong practitioners yet? This relates to Bo Xilai (the disgraced party member) & Gu Kailai (his wife) ‘s scandal.
        It is unbelievable that the central government did not know of this activity before. Chinese government let Bo harvesting these organs to get rid of these peoples .
        Imagine how China would treat peoples who are not chinese !
        About the idea of cooperation, what is the term of “cooperation” ? if it is to lose one’s country such as Tibet’s case, then “thanks but no thanks” is the sufficient answer .

        • Eric says:

          China is a peaceful nation. … I hope all Vietnamese understand that China is a peacuful country. So please don’t try to trigger Chinese anger, or you will be doomed very soon.

          • Ian says:

            Ok Eric, as an American I am truly frightened of your peaceful threat .
            Aren’t you just show the whole world china’s ugly face with threat of DOOM and forget about all of those “peaceful nation” propaganda your fellow Chinese were yapping about among the replies !

  26. Franly says:

    In Asia, Japan is the cunning atrocious wolf.
    Japan’s weapons are advanced, and the Japanese militarism restarted to rise in recent
    The people of Asia must be alert to Japan. There are many people in Japan . . . who are easy to be fanned to adventure by politicians.
    Japan is full of ambitions and strategic minds. They are the wolfs wore sheep’s clothing.

  27. asusina says:

    Please Boycott all Chinese-made products.

    Every dollar spent on Chinese-made products contributes to more bullets, rockets, gunboats and missiles for the Chinese Peoples “Liberation” Army, Navy and Air Force, which will then be used to threaten US forces and her allies.

    If you have a loved one serving in the US armed forces, please boycott all Chinese-made products.

    Let’s bring all the jobs back home. if you know anyone who has been made redundant because of outsourcing to China, then please boycott all Chinese-made products.

    If you care about the welfare of the down-trodden people of Tibet, then please boycott all Chinese-made products.

    Help honor the freedom-loving pro-democracy martyrs of Tiananmen Square. Boycott all Chinese-made products.

    Together, the world can unite and bring down the Chinese Communist Party. Help bring democracy to China… Please boycott all Chinese-made products.

  28. Tony D says:

    China is an imperialistic expansionistic wannabe. For thousands of years, China has been a bully to all of its neighbors, and it has invaded and absorbed a lot of land that it now calls China – particularly the Guangdong and Guangxi provinces that belonged to ethnic Vietnamese of ancient times. China has had numerous border clashes with India and Russia throughout its history. In recent times, China invaded and still occupies Tibet and part of Mongolia. China has attempted to invade modern day Vietnam numerous times since the 10th century … most recently in 1979.

    In short, China is a bully and a menace whenever it’s strong. China does not have any friend among its neighbors, much less the West. China has always had a greedy imperialistic dream of controlling and occupying all of Asia. It’s just that China has never been strong enough to land-grab all of Asia as Japan had during WWII. What appears now is that China is trying to ocean-grab all of the islands and oceans around it, even though they are 700-1000 miles away from China. This is starting to look a lot like what the Imperial Japanese did at the start of WWII.

    Throughout its history, each time China did well economically, it harassed and tried to invade the land of neighboring kingdoms/countries. Now, because oil is more expensive than land, China tries to claim large swaths of oceans and far-away islands and archipelagos well beyond its own border and encroaches on the sovereignty of many other nations in Asia. Furthermore, because the oil reserves in this region is estimated to be even higher than that of the Middle East, ownership of it will make China orders of magnitude wealthier and stronger than it is today.

    That’s why China is muscling its way through and taking all of these islands and archipelagos by force from Vietnam and the Philippines, one by one at a time. Because it’s hard for China to muscle Japan, China is forced to protest Japanese sovereignty over a couple islands through diplomatic channel with the UN.

  29. Quang The Nguyen says:

    More and more Vietnamese intellectuals, who used to be Communist, have recently openly declared that the doctrine of Communism is just a means to fight against invaders for independence, not the purpose for the country. That’s a very good news to the Vietnamese people all over the world.

    Now that, the once being ally, Communist China has proved itself to become invaders themselves, Vietnamese people should push the Vietnamese Communists to history to avoid negative Chinese influences on the sovereignty of the nation. The Vietnamese authority now appears to be on the side of the Chinese invaders and oppresses its own people.

    The problem of Vietnam now is some top leaders of the Vietnamese Communist Party are entirely in the hand of the Chinese Communist leaders and have to obey them, no matter what the will of the Vietnamese people might be. Vietnam seems to be already subdued by China in reality.

    However, the hope for Vietnam to be freed from Chinese dominance in the future is enormous. First, the people have almost lost their confidence in the leading of the Communist Party, which has proved itself to be the extended arm of the Chinese invaders.

    Second, the recent Chinese moves appear to be too aggressive to be tolerated by the world community; and thus it will respond sooner or later to stop the greedy aggressors.

    Third, democracy with acceptance of political opposition, has long widely been the norm of the world. Human rights observance/compliance has long become the standard of civilization. Totalitarianism exercised by Communist China and Communist Vietnam will soon come to an end because more people are becoming braver and demanding a life worthwhile living, and no longer accept an existence of a sub-human. QTN Dec 18, 12

  30. Smile says:

    China had a long history of being the leader (or at least one of the leaders) of the world before we lost our power in early 18th century. The dark history started and we were occupied by western countries and Japan from 1840-1949. Japan killed 300K people in Nanjing but they never apologized.

    I don’t want to say China is peaceful or not because you would give me record to proof otherwise. But we Chinese have a dream to be the leading country of the world-just like what we were before 18th century. During the process, there may be arguments, difficulties and even wars. We don’t like wars because it would kill people-you and me. But if there must be a war-just like the wars that made us lose power/suffer in 18th century, then we have to face/win it seriously. The dream is ultimate destiny of this and new a few generation of Chinese.

    You may argue the islands belong to you and what international law says. But when U.K. and U.S. stood up as superpowers of the world, nobody cared which islands belong to whom and if there was an international law. So such things could not be a burden to China but we do want to solve in a peaceful way-for your and for our own benefit.

    We want to return to the Tang Dynasty when China was center of the world, not only in economic term but also in culture and its openness. Many countries sent students to China to learn its technology and culture. The old Chinese poem says when friends from other countries, we are very happy. This is our true dream but it is still far away to realize. Today’s U.S. is somewhat like our Tang Dynasty but in terms of culture, it is different.

    China is still a developing country. This is a hard fact that we have to realize although we have the Dream. We must have another 30 years to surpass the U.S. in terms of total GDP and even longer for individual GDP (or similar measures). In my generation, we may not realize our dream but we work hard for this.

    Every country has ups and downs. So are U.S.. The single power world has to be changed but I am not sure when it would happen. Anyway, are you tired of one-country dominance period?

  31. BZN says:

    Smile, you are right to not dare claim China is peaceful because you know … China is not peaceful. China is a imperialist/expansionist wanna be. It has invaded and occupied many surrounding countries over the centuries. You know it, and you are not willing to admit it.

    The problem with a strong China is that it starts to go and bully all its neighbors and take over land, islands, archipelagos illegally by force. It steals and takes territories that doesn’t belong to China. China stole the Paracel and Spratly archipelagos from Vietnam in 1974 and 1988. Now, it’s trying to steal the small islands from Japan, but it’s too chiken to take on the Japanese by force.

    Unlike you, I do not want to see the day China becomes the center of the world. I want to see China collapse into 50 different states/countries, where each one would be too weak to wage war and harass adjacent countries.

Scott Stearns

Scott Stearns

Scott Stearns is VOA’s State Department correspondent. He has worked as VOA’s Dakar Bureau Chief, White House correspondent, and Nairobi Bureau Chief since beginning his career as a freelance reporter in the Liberian civil war. He has written for the BBC, UPI, the Associated Press, The Jerusalem Post, and The Economist. Scott has a Bachelors and Masters in Journalism from Northwestern University.



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