China Clashes with Japan Regarding South China Sea
China is taking their feud with Japan regarding the South China Sea to another level, with their Premier telling the Japanese Prime Minister that it was time for Japan to stop interfering with the matter altogether. Li Keqiang, the Premier of China, spoke about the issue when they met at the Asia-Europe Meeting summit in Mongolia over the past week. While the meeting is all about finding common ground among these countries, the prickly issue is something China and Japan will have to sort through sooner rather than later.
China suffered some recent disappointments regarding the issue, with a court at The Hague claiming that their claims to the South China Sea were completely illegal and invalid. And many countries around the world, including Japan, told China that it was time for them to accept the ruling and change their policy in the area. But the Chinese Premier believes their stance is 100 percent valid and in keeping with international law. The Premier also said that Japan had nothing to do with the issue, which meant they should “stop hyping it up and interfering” in the matter. It is going to be interesting to see how Japan responds to these comments.
The reason why so many countries fight over the South China Sea is because of the huge value the area has regarding trade deals and networks. Many experts value the trade through the South China Sea at close to $5 trillion per year. But there are other countries that have a rival claim, including Brunei, the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, and Malaysia.
Among the countries holding a claim to the area, it appears the Philippines has the most to rejoice regarding the ruling at The Hague. Their top lawyer spoke at the beginning of the week about the decision, saying it was a “crowning glory,” for the country and international law in general. China has not responded to these statements, but there is no doubt they will be irritated by the Philippines claiming they have “won” through the ruling at The Hague.
For their part, politicians in Manila have been fairly timid on the issue, for fear of angering their larger and more powerful neighbor. But they always laid claim to their rights to trade through the South China Sea. And they now believe that the court’s ruling has made it clear that no county can claim an entire sea for their own purposes, especially one that holds so much value.