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Sender: Southeast Asia Discussion List <SEASIA-L@LIST.MSU.EDU>
Subject: Re: Islands, isles, atolls & sandbars in S. China Sea

Islands, isles, atolls & sandbars in S. China Sea

A dialog on Southeast Asia list
November 1999

Message-ID: <Pine.GSO.4.10.9911192319470.19425-100000@uhunix3>
Date: Fri, 19 Nov 1999 23:31:24 -1000
From: Vincent K Pollard <pollard@HAWAII.EDU>
In-Reply-To: <199911200501.AAA71660@list.msu.edu>

If Indonesia were to break up into four or five separate countries over the next five or ten years, under what other circumstances would that break-up likely have a large effect on maritime claims in the South China Sea?

One reason I ask is that many of the disputed claims are contested not between two parties but between three, four or more governments.

Vincent K Pollard
Fax: + 808 956-6877 Phone: +808 734-9745/956-8141/944-7239

Message-ID: <3837BD39.6E408F9C@capri.net.au>
Date: Sun, 21 Nov 1999 20:06:58 +1030
From: Kate Reid-Smith <rsands@CAPRI.NET.AU>

If Indonesia were to disintegrate into smaller countries, the maritime geostrategic implications would be horrendous.

Given the recent UNCLOS decision affording Indonesia archipelagic status as a nation (the other being the Phillipines), and the associated determinations of the extent of the Indonesian Archipelago, Indonesia's sovereign territory more than doubled overnight, as did it's responsibilities under the International Maritime Safety Code. Moreover, the UN has also adopted Indonesia's concept of designating Archipelagic Sea Lanes (ASL) through which all global maritime traffic must traverse - given that Indonesia is the maritime nexus for the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and the South China Sea, of note are recent agreements between China and Indonesia with Indonesia resuming official ties with China in 1991, and since 1992, other ASEAN countries have also taken more accommodating steps toward the Chinese government.

Moreover, despite Indonesian media releases reassuring its commitment to peaceful and diplomatic negotiations over any maritime matters, the prospect that so-called UNCLOS regional flashpoints might impinge on international SLOC (sea lanes of communication) security, are gaining increasing Western concern; especially when it appears Southeast Asian nations such as Indonesia, were using their physical geography to gain political advantage in light of the UNCLOS decision.

Especially in light of what Australia and the US sees has China's evolving maritime hegemonic strategy for the region, principally its "greenwater" (jinhai) strategy aimed at the year 2000__defined as stretching from Vladivostok, and including the Malacca Strait, up to Japan, the Philippines and the South China Sea. This is further compounded by China's South China Sea policy stemming from the basic premise that the Paracel and Spratly islands, as well as their adjacent oceanic territories, historically and geographically belong to the Chinese Mainland. In terms of further Western concerns, these are raised by some analysts' predictions of China's further aim to be a "bluewater" (lanhai) navy by 2020, possibly stretching downward toward Papua New Guinea, which presently remains undefined.

Kate Reid-Smith

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