China enrages Japan as the Coast Guard sails into disputed waters in the East China Sea, near the Senkaku Islands, or Diaoyu Islands as they’re known in China. This comes as the New Japan Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga meets with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to discuss the Quad.
Russian Federation continues to deploy its professional military personnel in the occupied territories of the Ukrainian Donbas who carry out special missions disguising themselves as militants of the illegal armed formations of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) or Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR). New facts relate to the participation in the war against Ukraine of a professional Russian serviceman Andrey Zorkin, who is serving in the 19th Motorized Rifle Brigade (MRB), the 58th Russian Army. Servicemen of the 19th MRB have repeatedly come to the attention of InformNapalm volunteers and are listed in our OSINT investigations database. Read more:
…Whilst most of European media have narrowed down the deterioration in EU-Turkey relations to the issues of the “refurbished” Hagia Sophia and the protracted Libyan proxy war, their energy ties were just as crippled by Turkey’s intensive drilling campaign in Cyprus’ offshore, generating bad blood between the Old Continent and Ankara.
…From China. Full of seeds:
There’s a common pattern to all this, whether we’re dealing with Chinese seeds in Utah, Virginia, or the U.K: (1) The seeds arrive in packages in the mail, labeled as something else; (2) no one actually receiving the seeds ordered them; they simply arrive; and most notably, (3) authorities are warning people not to plant the seeds, nor even throw them away, but to report them to
government agencies. The reason given for this measure is that the seeds
are suspected to be those of “invasive” plants perhaps designed to cause problems for American and British agriculture and food production. It’s not a far-fetched idea. After all these are Communists we’re
dealing with, and if they’re willing to smuggle automatic weapons parts (and possibly much more serious things), counterfeit money (don’t forget those counterfeit $1 bills), and lie about the corona virus outbreak,
say that the 3 Gorges Dam satellite pictures showing distortion was merely a “processing artifact” and then just recently admit it’s
leaking, and distorting “within normal parameters”, then they’ll certainly be capable of mailing out destructive seeds in the hopes that someone will plant them.
…Daily Caller editor-in-chief Geoffrey Ingersoll has said that the conservative news website has experienced Google search suppression similar to that reported by Breitbart News yesterday.
Based on Google’s defense that it manually blacklists “violent extremism,” Ingersoll pointed out: “We are not ISIS.”
“Specifically we struggled with search slowly dwindling until May 4 exactly. We broke down the analytics. The May 4 flat line is clearly the result of the human hand in the process,” said Ingersoll in a series of
Alphabet Inc. CEO Sundar Pichai was grilled about Google’s search bias at the antitrust committee earlier today, with Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) pressing the CEO to explain leaks revealing that the Daily Caller and other sites were added to search blacklists.
Pichai responded by saying that sites were sometimes added to manual blacklists, to comply with law enforcement and tackle election interference and “violent extremism.”
Pichai neither confirmed nor denied that the Daily Caller and other conservative news sites added to Google blacklists are considered by Google to fall under these categories.
“The idea that we ended up on some blacklist because of some compliance partnership with law enforcement to stop extremism or election interference is just absurd. We have accredited personnel all over Washington, DC. We are not ISIS.” said Ingersoll.
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS)
has been notified that several Virginia residents have received
unsolicited packages containing seeds that appear to have originated
from China. The types of seeds in the packages are unknown at this time
and may be invasive plant species. The packages were sent by mail and
may have Chinese writing on them.
Please do not plant these seeds. VDACS encourages anyone who has
received unsolicited seeds in the mail that appears to have Chinese
origin to contact the Office of Plant Industry Services (OPIS) at
804.786.3515 or through the ReportAPest@vdacs.virginia.gov email.
Invasive species wreak havoc on the environment, displace or destroy
native plants and insects and severely damage crops. Taking steps to
prevent their introduction is the most effective method of reducing both
the risk of invasive species infestations and the cost to control and
mitigate those infestations.
The Permanent Mission ofthe Commonwealth ofAustralia to the United Nations presents its compliments to the Secretary-General ofthe United Nations and, with reference to Note Verbales: No. CML/14/2019 dated 12 December 2019, No. CML/11/2020 dated 23 March 2020, No. CML/42/2020 dated 17 April 2020, No. CML/46/2020 dated 2 June 2020, and No. CML/48/2020 dated 18 June 2020, and the Annex to the letter dated 9 June 2020 from the Permanent Representative ofChina to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General, concerning Malaysia’s submission HA 59/19 dated 12 December 2019 to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, has the honour to state the position ofthe Commonwealth of Australia.
The Australian Government rejects any claims by China that are inconsistent with the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law ofthe Sea (UNCLOS), in particular, maritime claims that do not adhere to its rules on baselines, maritime zones and classification of features.
Australia rejects China’s claim to ‘historic rights’ or ‘maritime rights and interests’ as established in the Tong course ofhistorical practice’ in the South China Sea. The Tribunal in the 2016 South China Sea Arbitral Award found these claims to be inconsistent with UNCLOS and, to the extent of that inconsistency, invalid.
There is no legal basis for China to draw straight baselines connecting the outermost points ofmaritime features or ‘island groups’ in the South China Sea, including around the ‘Four Sha’ or ‘continental’ or ‘outlying’ archipelagos. Australia rejects any claims to internal waters, territorial sea, exclusive economic zone and continental shelfbased on such straight baselines. The Australian Government notes that States may draw straight baselines only in certain circumstances. Principally, Article 7(1) of UNCLOS provides that straight baselines may be employed ‘[i]n localities where the coastline is deeply indented and cut into, or ifthere is a fringe of islands along the coast in its immediate vicinity’. Furthermore, Article 47(1) ofUNCLOS limits the use ofarchipelagic straight baselines to archipelagic States, as defined in Article 46. In the absence ofmeeting these requirements, States must draw normal baselines in accordance with Article 5, including in relation to islands.
Australia also rejects China’s claims to maritime zones generated by submerged features, or low tide elevations in a manner inconsistent with UNCLOS. Land building activities or other forms of artificial transformation cannot change the classification of a feature under UNCLOS. There is no legal basis for a maritime feature to generate
maritime entitlements beyond those generated under UNCLOS by that feature in its natural state. In this respect, the Australian Government does not accept that artificially transformed features can ever acquire the status ofan island under Article 121(1) ofUNCLOS. Moreover, Article 60(8) ofUNCLOS provides that artificial islands ‘do not possess the status of islands. They have no territorial sea oftheir own, and their presence does not affect the delimitation ofthe territorial sea, the exclusive economic zone or the continental shelf.
The Australian Government does not accept China’s assertion in its note of 17 April 2020 that its sovereignty claims over the Paracel Islands and the Spratly Islands are ‘widely recognized by the international community’ (noting the protests by Vietnam [No. 22/HC-2020, No. 24/HC-2020 and No. 25/HC-2020] and the Philippines [No. 000192-2020] in this respect). The Australian Government also wishes to express its strong concern in relation to China’s claims of ‘continuously and effectively’ exercising sovereignty over low-tide elevations given that they do not form part ofthe land territory of a State.
The Australian Government also disputes China’s claim that it is not bound by the Arbitral Award. The rationale put forward by China as an explanation ofwhy the Arbitral Award is not binding on China is not supported by international law. Pursuant to Article 296 and Article 11 ofAnnex VII ofUNCLOS the Tribunal’s decision is final and binding on both parties to the dispute.
The Australian Government encourages all claimants in the South China Sea, including China, to clarify their maritime claims and resolve their differences peacefully, in accordance with international law, particularly UNCLOS.
The Australian Government reserves its position with respect to other aspects ofthe claims made by China in the three notes identified above.
The Permanent Mission ofthe Commonwealth ofAustralia to the United Nations has the honour to request the Secretary-General ofthe United Nations circulate this note to the State Parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law ofthe Sea and member States ofthe United Nations.
The Permanent Mission ofthe Commonwealth ofAustralia to the United Nations avails itself ofthis opportunity to renew to the Secretary-General ofthe United Nationsthe assurances ofits highest consideration.
NEW YORK 23 July 2020
The US move comes after Chinese vessels sank a Vietnamese fishing boat, harassed a Malaysian drillship, and intruded into an Indonesian EEZ, all in the space of the past few months.
This puts Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines and Vietnam—among the other claimants in the South China Sea disputes—in a greater quandary. These Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) states are too weak
to be able to resist Chinese expansionism on their own, and like the idea of US military presence as a counterweight. At the same time, they worry that a US-China confrontation could escalate into a conflict that
they do not want. … Only Vietnam appears to be determined to resist—diplomatically, possibly at international courts and perhaps even militarily, if it comes to that.
If China clashes with Vietnam (or the Philippines, although it’s less likely), the US could enter the conflict on behalf of the latter. If on
the other hand, matters escalate between Chinese and US forces, all other claimants will be compelled to make choices they would rather avoid.
So these are dangerous waters. And I advocate fishing in them.
New Delhi’s official position on the South China Sea is that “India supports freedom of navigation, over flight and unimpeded commerce,
based on the principles of international law”. In addition to advocating
peaceful solutions to disputes, India “urges all parties to show utmost
respect for the [United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea].” It
is time for actions that give meaning to these well-crafted words. The
Indian navy’s muscles should be strengthened for operations east of the
“Beijing’s claims to offshore resources across most of the South China Sea are
completely unlawful, as is its campaign of bullying to control them,” the secretary said in a statement.
China claims more than 80
percent of 1.4 million square miles in a key area of maritime trade and untapped resources of oil and gas despite international pushback. The maritime territory has seen decades of low-level disputes between
Beijing and its Southeast Asian neighbors over claims to an archipelago and a buildup of manmade islands.
The United States champions a free and open Indo-Pacific. Today we are strengthening U.S. policy in a vital, contentious part of that
region — the South China Sea. We are making clear: Beijing’s claims to offshore resources across most of the South China Sea are completely unlawful, as is its campaign of bullying to control them.
In the South China Sea, we seek to preserve peace and stability, uphold freedom of the seas in a manner consistent with international
law, maintain the unimpeded flow of commerce, and oppose any attempt to use coercion or force to settle disputes. We share these deep and abiding interests with our many allies and partners who have long
endorsed a rules-based international order.
These shared interests have come under unprecedented threat from the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Beijing uses intimidation to undermine the sovereign rights of Southeast Asian coastal states in the South
China Sea, bully them out of offshore resources, assert unilateral dominion, and replace international law with “might makes right.”
Beijing’s approach has been clear for years. In 2010, then-PRC Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi told his ASEAN counterparts that “China is a big country and other countries are small countries and that is just a fact.” The PRC’s predatory world view has no place in the 21st century.
The PRC has no legal grounds to unilaterally impose its will on the region. Beijing has offered no coherent legal basis for its “Nine-Dashed
Line” claim in the South China Sea since formally announcing it in 2009. In a unanimous decision on July 12, 2016, an Arbitral Tribunal constituted under the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention – to which the PRC is a state party – rejected the PRC’s maritime claims as having no basis in international law. The Tribunal sided squarely with the Philippines, which brought the arbitration case, on almost all claims.
As the United States has previously stated, and as specifically provided in the Convention, the Arbitral Tribunal’s decision is final
and legally binding on both parties. Today we are aligning the U.S. position on the PRC’s maritime claims in the SCS with the Tribunal’s
- The PRC cannot lawfully assert a maritime claim – including any Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) claims derived from Scarborough Reef and
the Spratly Islands – vis-a-vis the Philippines in areas that the Tribunal found to be in the Philippines’ EEZ or on its continental shelf. Beijing’s harassment of Philippine fisheries and offshore energy development within those areas is unlawful, as are any unilateral PRC actions to exploit those resources. In line with the Tribunal’s legally binding decision, the PRC has no lawful territorial or maritime claim to Mischief Reef or Second Thomas Shoal, both of which fall fully under the Philippines’ sovereign rights and jurisdiction, nor does Beijing have any territorial or maritime claims generated from these features.
- As Beijing has failed to put forth a lawful, coherent maritime claim in the South China Sea, the United States rejects any PRC claim to waters beyond a 12-nautical mile territorial sea derived from islands it claims in the Spratly Islands (without prejudice to other states’ sovereignty claims over such islands). As such, the United States
rejects any PRC maritime claim in the waters surrounding Vanguard Bank (off Vietnam), Luconia Shoals (off Malaysia), waters in Brunei’s EEZ, and Natuna Besar (off Indonesia). Any PRC action to harass other states’ fishing or hydrocarbon development in these waters – or to carry out such activities unilaterally – is unlawful.
- The PRC has no lawful territorial or maritime claim to (or derived
from) James Shoal, an entirely submerged feature only 50 nautical miles from Malaysia and some 1,000 nautical miles from China’s coast. James
Shoal is often cited in PRC propaganda as the “southernmost territory of
China.” International law is clear: An underwater feature like James Shoal cannot be claimed by any state and is incapable of generating maritime zones. James Shoal (roughly 20 meters below the surface) is not
and never was PRC territory, nor can Beijing assert any lawful maritime rights from it.
The world will not allow Beijing to treat the South China Sea as its maritime empire. America stands with our Southeast Asian allies and partners in protecting their sovereign rights to offshore resources,
consistent with their rights and obligations under international law. We stand with the international community in defense of freedom of the seas and respect for sovereignty and reject any push to impose “might makes right” in the South China Sea or the wider region.