Hypocrisy at Sea
Every nation is hypocritical. Just like every man. There are, of course, differences in magnitude. Such as right now: China tells other navies not to sail through its waters—as it sails through theirs.
In July, China sent two ships to sit off the coasts of Alaska, United States, and Queensland, Australia. Because the two were “intelligence-gathering ships” and they watched military activities, their stationing off the coast counts as “military activities.”
Once the Chinese vessels were discovered, the Americans and the Australians did nothing. U.S. Navy Capt. Scott Miller “would not speculate on the reasons” it was there when asked by cnn. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Australia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop “played down [its] presence.”
Here’s the surprise: The two countries think it’s totally fine. Based on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (unclos), China’s actions were completely legal.
Here’s the hypocrisy: China argues its own behavior is illegal.
This is of more than just academic interest. China claims that it is merely upholding the spirit of the international law in waters. Is it true? Or is China an expansionist power searching for excuses?
‘Constitution for the Ocean’
A little history: The unclos is a document which took the United Nations nearly 10 years to write. When it was ratified by 119 nations in 1982, its authors called it a “Constitution for the Ocean.” In 1994, U.S. President Bill Clinton signed an unclos agreement, but it was never ratified by the U.S. Senate. It remains unratified today.
China ratified the unclos in 1996. So when disputes on the sea arise, you’ll often hear an accusation from China: “How can the nation which hasn’t ratified the treaty chastise us?”
unclos defines the area within 200 nautical miles of a country’s coast as the “Exclusive Economic Zone” (eez). A country has the right to that area’s resources, but it doesn’t have control over “military activities” that take place within it.
China disagrees. As the Diplomat explained, “Beijing contends that military activities … on the high seas [the open ocean] and in the eez are unlawful based on the legislative spirit of unclos and a requirement from that treaty that the high seas be used only for peaceful purposes.”
It’s all very laudable. Yes, China is actually going above and beyond—trying to abide by the “legislative spirit” of the agreement—and extending the area where military exercises are prohibited! China is the peacemaker, so the story goes. You could be forgiven for believing this rhetoric, especially if you were inundated with Chinese media reporting on the subject. Here’s some from China Internet Information Center:
All along the U.S. is a “troublemaker,” overstating differences or even sowing the discord in the South China Sea region. The U.S. Navy patrol in waters under Chinese jurisdiction was “motivated by a desire to see the world in chaos.” … Last year in October, U.S. Navy destroyer uss Decatur conducted a so-called “freedom of navigation” near Chinese “territorial waters.” This is serious illegal behavior and is intentionally provocative behavior. No doubt, the new Trump administration is “playing with fire” in South China Sea.
The one thing you’ll always read in China’s rebuttals are references to “international law.” Every party, no matter what, always has “international law” on its side. A strange paradox.
And yet, when all the speeches are over, by China’s own interpretation, its sailing ships into Australia’s and America’s eez is illegal.
You could, as the U.S. does, say it’s legal. You could, because it is, say it’s hypocrisy. Or you could, when you consider China’s island-building and island-militarizing, say China is doing whatever it likes.
De Facto Control
Around this time last year, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry compared China’s attempt to control the South China Sea with Imperial Japan’s in the 1940s:
What is happening today is very much like what happened in Southeast Asia in the 1940s under Imperial Japan. Emperor Hirohito and Prime Minister Hideki Tojo tried to draw the nations of Southeast Asia into a Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere so they could force Western influence out of Asia.
Between 1930 and 1941, Japan established a shadow empire of economic alliances and intelligence networks across Southeast Asia. This shadow empire was to be the foundation of Tokyo’s planned Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere. Japan’s next move was the establishment of an actual Asian empire—using military force!
Now, we view a situation, as Trumpet writer Jeremiah Jacques explains in the above video, where “without having to wage a war, China has won de facto control over the South China Sea.”
With the battle for the South China Sea won—nearly without a shot—it reveals three trends that Jacques pinpointed. Virtually all analysts would have to admit the veracity of these trends.
- America’s influence is rapidly fading.
- China’s power is rapidly rising.
- Smaller Asian nations are realigning themselves accordingly.
Putting unclos, hypocrisy, “international law” and eezs aside for the moment, regular Trumpet readers will notice the common element. What is it? Each one has been consistently forecast for decades in the Plain Truth and now the Trumpet—and you can read all about them in our free booklet Russia and China in Prophecy.