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Spratly Islands

Philippines: Progressive organisations express concern over ‘Southeast Asian Sea’ tensions

[For background to the Spratly Islands issue, see "China, Vietnam and the islands dispute: What is behind the rise of Chinese nationalism?"]

United Voices of Concern (amidst the sounds of fury over the Southeast Asian Sea)

World Peace Bell, Quezon Memorial Circle, Quezon City, Philippines

May 25, 2012 -- The contending states claiming territorial jurisdiction over sections of the "Southeast Asian Sea" [Spratly Islands] are only heightening regional tensions to a frightening degree.  In particular, the contentious row between the Philippines and China is being amplified by certain quarters to a near-conflict level for seemingly nationalistic, but in fact chauvinistic reasons. And as the almost daily sounds of fury raise the stakes for the region’s masses of humanity, many more sober voices of concern must now come out to be heard and not be silenced by the sabre-rattling of a deluded few.

Philippines socialists call for negotiated settlement to Spratly Islands dispute

For more background to the Spratly Islands issue, see "China, Vietnam and the islands dispute: What is behind the rise of Chinese nationalism?"

* * *

June 10, 2011 -- The Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses, Philippines) condemns any actions that increase military tensions in the region and contribute to a regional military conflict, by countries that lay claim to the Spratly Islands. We are opposed to any sabre-rattling and stand for a negotiated, political settlement of the disputed claims to the area. Therefore we deplore China’s strong-arm tactics and bullying, which undermines efforts towards a peaceful, political settlement, of the disputed claims.

The Spratly Islands, less than four-square kilometres of land area spread over 425,000 square kilometres of sea and usually submerged, probably have strategic importance fuelling the numerous territorial disputes. The area holds significant reserves of oil and natural gas: reportedly some 17.7 billion tons of oil and natural gas reserves, larger than the 13 billion tons held by Kuwait, thus making it the fourth largest reserve bed in the world. In an energy hungry world, these reserves intensify the disputed claims over the area.

China, Vietnam and the islands dispute: What is behind the rise of Chinese nationalism?

By Michael Karadjis

February 2, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Over the last year or so, tensions have been heightened in the dispute over two island groups in the South China Sea (also known as the East Sea in Vietnam), involving rival claims to some or all of the islands by Vietnam, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, the Philippines and even Brunei. The first three of these countries claim all of both island groups.

The islands in question are known in English as the Paracels and the Spratlys, in Vietnamese as the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa, and in Chinese as the Xisha and the Nansha. Both island groups are uninhabited rocky islands and reefs; there is neither a Vietnamese population oppressed by the current Chinese occupation of the Hoang Sa nor a Chinese population oppressed by Vietnamese rule over most of the Truong Sa. Thus there are no questions of self-determination of actual peoples. Therefore, international law would seem to be the best way to judge the status question, unless further negotiations settle things differently.

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