South China Sea Tensions Surge After Taiwan Deploys Frigate, China Warns Of "Air Defense Zone"

Tyler Durden's picture

Following the much anticipated ruling by the international court which found yesterday that China does not have a right to claims on the South China Sea, an unexpected supporter for China's position - which has vocally warned it won't comply with the tribunal's ruling - emerged overnight when Taiwan, which shares territorial claims with China in the disputed area - sent a naval frigate to patrol the disputed waterway Wednesday, to show the government’s “determination" to defend its national interest.

The order from Taiwan's president Tsai Ing-wen came just hours after the Permanent Court of Arbitration found found that the largest natural feature in the contested Spratly Islands, the Taiwanese-held Itu Aba, was a "rock" rather than an island and didn’t qualify for a 200-nautical mile (370 kilometer) exclusive economic zone. The frigate’s planned patrol included a resupply stop at the feature, which Taiwan calls Taiping, a defense ministry spokesman said.

Taiping island

As Bloomberg writes, confirming what we said yesterday after the tribunal's ruling, the decision to deploy the warship could further escalate tensions in the area. China has said it doesn’t recognize the court’s jurisdiction. Overnight, China firmly rejected the verdict claiming its ruling on the South China Sea is both "null and void" with no binding force. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi Tuesday called the South China Sea arbitration a political farce made under the pretext of law.

As a reminder, the ruling, resulting from a challenge brought by the Philippines, invalidated China’s “nine-dash line” claim. China’s assertions cross over with those from countries like Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines, and are based on a map created by Taiwan’s Republic of China government in 1947. Taiwan has administered Itu Aba since the 1950s.

The chart below, showing that 40% of Chinese oil imports pass through the contested region, explains why the disputed territory is of vital importance to China. The region is also home to 10% of the world’s commercial ocean fish stock, and lies above an estimated 11 billion barrels in oil reserves.

China also warned Wednesday it was ready to set up an air defense identification zone over disputed waters, repeating a threat it first made one month ago. "If our security is being threatened, of course we have the right to demarcate a zone,” Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin said on Wednesday

A new air defence identification zone (ADIZ) would likely increase tensions not only with the Philippines, but also with other rivals to claims in the South China Sea, including Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam. China declared an ADIZ over disputed islands in the East China Sea in 2013, a move which caused anger with Japan and the United States.

Vice minister Liu said the islands were China's "inherent territory", as he launched a policy paper in response to the ruling. "We hope that other countries will not take this opportunity to threaten China and to work with China to protect the peace and stability of the South China Sea, and not let it become the origin of a war," he told reporters.

For now, however, focus is on naval deployments, and China's Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin on Wednesday praised Taiwan’s efforts to defend rights shared by the one-time civil war foes. "The arbitration has damaged the rights of all Chinese, and it’s the common interest and responsibility of both sides to protect the maritime rights of the South China Sea," Liu said at a briefing in Beijing. He accused the tribunal judges in the case of bias and a lack of common sense.

While China refused to participate in the tribunal proceedings, it did submit a paper outlining its position and worked behind the scenes to lobby the court, according to the decision. Taiwan, under former President Ma Ying-jeou, filed a brief to the panel stating a case for an exclusive economic zone around Itu Aba, citing its ability to support life.


As Bloomberg adds, in a statement echoing China’s own response Tuesday, Tsai said the Hague ruling had no binding effect on Taiwan and undermined her government’s rights. The former law professor, who ousted Ma’s Nationalist party in a landslide election in January, called for multilateral talks to promote stability in the region.

What is most surprising is that the president's remarks put Taiwan’s new leader at odds with its chief security protector, the U.S., which has called on China to abide by the ruling. They also provide a rare area of agreement between Tsai and Communist Party leaders, who have cut off communications over her refusal to affirm the contention the two sides represent "one China."

Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party officially supports independence for Taiwan. New York University law professor Jerome Cohen, a specialist in Chinese law who counts Ma among his former students, said Tsai was struggling to "adjust to an uncomfortable situation."

"Today’s response openly rejecting the decision is a big mistake and different from what even Ma would have done," Cohen wrote in a blog post Tuesday. "Tsai will be criticized at home for following Beijing’s lawless line at the same time that Beijing was responsible for excluding Taiwan from participation in the arbitration."

Taiwan’s Coast Guard Administration also stations vessels at Itu Aba, and another Wei-Shin frigate arrived at the feature late Tuesday, the agency said.

Tsai Ing-wen’s position “is really hard” because the claims of Taiwan and China are practically identical, said Nick Bisley, a professor of international relations at La Trobe University in Melbourne. “How you chart a course that maintains a Taiwanese position without sounding like you are China is very tricky. ”

"Suddenly, you are back to large areas of the South China Sea that are high seas, open to freedom of navigation and travel," said Eric Shrimp, a former U.S. diplomat who’s now a Washington-based policy adviser at law firm Alston & Bird. "The question then becomes: how do the interested parties cooperate to secure those high seas?”

The answer: it will be increasingly more difficult for them to do so.

Meanwhile, defense stocks were mixed in Wednesday trading on Chinese exchanges. AVIC Aircraft Co. and AVIC Helicopter Co. fell 0.8% while Jiangxi Hongdu Aviation Industry Co. slipped 1%. AviChina Industry & Technology Co. rose 1.4% and AVIC Jonhon Optronic Technology Co. gained 3.1%.  Expect these to surge if and when the territorial conflict escalates further, as it is almost certain to do in the aftermath of the international court's politically-motivated ruling.

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Cognitive Dissonance's picture

The tempo of the war drums increases.

Remember guys and gals. It's not just the US who wants war as the ultimate distraction. Every other nation with a Central Bank working overtime is also poking sticks into hornets nests.

Looney's picture


China’s attempts at saber-rattling remind me of … Mitt Romney – a lot of hot stinky air.   ;-)


beemasters's picture

The Philippines, Taiwan, Japan are potentially in a precarious position of being used to wage a war against China.

AllBentOutOfShape's picture

It's no secret that all of the countries disputing China's claims are either current signatories or potential members of the TPP & TISA deals which both exclude China.

The US is obviously trying to snatch these resource rich regions away from China before those deals can get done.

NoDebt's picture

I think that's a good observation, CD.

Ghordius's picture

perhaps it is a good one, but incomplete imho

there is war... and there is war

The Cold War, for example, was more war drums and less ammo spent. The Iraq War, less war drums and more ammo spent

meanwhile, some wars distract the populations more, some less, also depending on how much of them are visible, for example on TV

those frigates would be more... useful if they would cooperate to catch some of the pirates that still exist along the shown route

all in all, it's a conspiracy. Vulcan's Conspiracy, I call it

malek's picture

bullshit imho

there are statements, and there is Ghordius

A good statement, for example, strives to present a concise picture without sidestepping obvious important facts

Meanwhile Ghordius harps on cherry-picked single meaningless distinctions, ignoring everything else

those comments would be more... useful if they would show us a more complete picture instead of nagging about a single puzzle piece

Ghordius's picture

malek, let me see... you spent 4 sentences to say 1) bullshit; 2) one ad-hom; 3) just more "malek hates G"; 4) more of the same

again: 4 sentences and you said... nothing, actually

my comment was a reminder of the Cold War (yes, it enrages soooo many here to be reminded of the Cold War, it spoils the WWIII narrative), a reminder that there are various kind of wars, whereas some are defined by the media, other by the ammo expenditures, and so on, and then I also asked why those frigates don't get rid of the pirates

and, at the end, I linked a really extensive essay I wrote this morning, and which really tries to give a complete picture, as far as it is possible in comments on blogs

I got it, you hate my guts. or my avatar, or perhaps my quite deficient English, or whatever. it's ok

btw, regarding your question there: "And please elaborate some more why "Freedom is Slavery", or vice versa!"

easy. my absolute freedom could mean your enslavement, or the other way around. it's similar to the freedom of the Robber Barons, the original ones in the Middle Ages. My freedom as knight and free man allowes me to capture you on the road and hold you for ransom. Oh and perhaps torture you a bit, just in case you have valuables to spill out. Meaning, for me, that freedom is a good thing, but too much of it can start to be a bad thing. Like sugar, like many things in life, it's a question of "how much".

Or... MOAR is not necessarily better

note that I did not write "Freedom is Slavery", that's from a famous book, and words you put in my mouth

so, now it's your turn. please explain why you are such a stupendous asshole towards my comments. I don't mind it, I'm just very curious. is it the avatar? is it my continental tone and attitude? is it because I am so damn often right, and you mind that? spill it out

malek's picture

Your obviously stupid enough to not recognize I exactly copied the sentence structure of your post above mine...

If you try to stop harping but go back to the CD post you criticized in this thread,
where did he downplay that what was -and actually is again already- a Cold War?
Why would I follow your link, when you post here is filled with nothingness with no indication that one linked to is any better?

To the Freedom is Slavery thingy, why do you continue making even bigger distractions instead of answering my original question:
How come you see/have no problem with Markel's bullshit statement "[the UK] will have to accept the EU’s migration rules along with it [or leave the EU completely]", even when I compare it to "Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists" which you cited in another post on the same day? (if I remember correctly) Merkel has no authority to single-handedly declare there will only be a black (UK completely ouside the EU, not even an association status or something like Switzerland has) or white (UK stays in the EU), but no middle ground. That's also what the ZH article stated and you completely ignored/misunderstood it.

This and the first point I made above indicates you don't even remember/recognize what you yourself wrote and are just blabbering largely unconnected nonsense that just happens to briefly come to your mind.
Trying to now take the moral highground to distract from your nonsense statements will not work.

Also make sure to get to your safe space, if my post already constitutes 1 ad-hominem and several hates to you!

Ghordius's picture

ah that question. well, yes, Merkel is, in the context of how the grand compromises that we call EU, completely right

the idea behind the EU is still that we are peers

but of course we come pre-"packaged". in groups. nations, states, provinces, and of course other groups like religions and many other affiliations

so the members of the EU are the nation-states, but the beneficiaries of the EU have to be the citizens of those nation-states

yes, the Four Freedoms of the EU. freedom of movement in a member country for the citizens of the other member countries, as well as for their capital, their services and their goods

the UK wants to leave that. it's fine. but the Four Freedoms are a package, a compromise. the UK can't cherry pick

"UK completely ouside the EU, not even an association status or something like Switzerland has"

first, the US is completely outside the EU, too. I don't see any Americans crying because of that

second, Switzerland has some 120 association treaties which include freee movement of people and it's even member of the Schengen Area, which the UK never joined

I don't see the UK being interested in such a "Swiss Deal", it would be even less power to close their borders to whoever they want to

malek's picture

You manage to skirt/ignore the key point on Switzerland once again:

All their associations and Schengen membership aside, is Switzerland obliged to take a certain number of "Syrian" refugees due to EU decisions?

Why would the UK then be, even as only associate EU member, according to Merkel?

BandGap's picture

China is positioning itself just like the US and NATO. The more countries they can shake (just like the US) the less ground/sea they have to deal with when the big dance starts.

God have mercy on us all.

Consuelo's picture



First sentence Cog, a definite Yes.


 However...   Being 'penned in' by aircraft carrier battle groups from a nation 8 thousand miles away...?    This is about throwing off the shackles of PNAC and the Wolfowitz Doctrine.    No more 'Hop Sing' in the kitchen, if you get my drift.   Until China establishes military outposts, bases and other forward power-projection designed to intimidate other nations to abide by its currency global trade hegemony, then I'm not really a believer that all these nations with a Central Bank are after the same thing...

Scuba Steve's picture

Reservoir Dogs?

They'll all fire bombs simultaneously and everyone is fucked?

RawPawg's picture

What Say You,Ash?

flaminratzazz's picture

great, the asians are the inventors of fireworks.. this might be a hellova show

JusticeTBuford's picture

Just get this shit show started already.

Handful of Dust's picture

As the robust global recession deepens into aserious recession, we'll see more of these distractions such as war mongering, feuling racial tensions, etc...anything to distract the Grubized sheeples form realizing these leaders' as failures.

Sizzurp's picture

China has really over-extended their reach with this claim.  They need to relax and cool it with the threats.  If they want to start something, then start it and we'll see what happens, but enough with the rhetoric.

optimator's picture

PRC will slowly back off as they remember old saying, "Better to lose face than to lose


Etteguj Guj's picture

"...politically-motivated ruling"? A contentiously-worded statement?

geno-econ's picture

US position is  " my Pecker is bigger than yours "

China's position is " I have more Peckers "

Lets hope they keep their Peckers in their pants

SimpleJackBlack's picture
SimpleJackBlack (not verified) Jul 13, 2016 8:50 AM

Get the party started already!

All flexing peacock feathers is getting boring!

All time stick market highs followed by all time lows.

Deus Irate's picture

ahh those brave americans, sending somebody else in to do their dirty-work, again. What a sorry-assed bunch of chickenshit losers.

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

Don't these people know what the proper Rx is for a Tension Headache?

'Turning Japanese' is close, but not the right thing.

Lost in translation's picture

Can somebody please help me, here? Because I am confused.

Communist Liu Zhenmin Is praising Taiwan for sending warships to an island outpost that lies to the west of Palawan? WTH is Taiwan doing?

Next item. Jerome Cohen "is an expert in Chinese law." Not a practicing attorney in Taipei, not a Green Party legislator in Taiwan. An academic. From New York City. Who's Jewish.

What's wrong with this picture?

BritBob's picture

The findings by the Hague tribunal contain a series of criticisms of China’s actions and claims. The court declares that “although Chinese navigators and fishermen, as well as those of other states, had historically made use of the islands in the South China Sea, there was no evidence that China had historically exercised exclusive control over the waters or their resources.

The tribunal concluded that there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the sea areas falling within the ‘nine-dash line’.”


Although China will complain this judgment was expected and falls into line with similar judgments made by the PCA/ICJ.


Another case that supports this view of effective sovereignty is relevant is the Minquiers and Ecrehos Case, France/UK of 17th November 1953. In this case both the UK and France had requested the ICJ to determine which country held sovereignty over the uninhabited Islets and rocks in the Minquiers and Ecrehos. France had claimed sovereignty because of historic sovereignty going back to the Dutchy of Normandy in the 11th century while the UK claimed that Jersey had historically exercised administrational jurisdiction on them. The Court decided that in the absence of valid treaty provisions, they considered the argument that the British government has exercised effective control to be superior, so that sovereignty control over the Minquiers and Ecrehos belonged to the UK. (the UK had protested to the French government when a French national had intended to build a house on one of the islats and any deaths occurring on the islets were dealt with by inquests held on Jersey). ICJ Minquiers & Ecrehos Judgment, 17 Nov 1953, p28, paras 6 & 12.

The ICJ has already determined that No delimitation between states with opposite or adjacent coasts may be affected unilaterally by one of those states.

For that and some other interesting judgments on territorial seas and to gain an understanding as to how the world court deals with such disputes Google: ''Falklands – Territorial Waters Academia'' Or use link:-

AriusArmenian's picture

I wish the f**king US would stay out of the South China Seas issue.

The US is always stirring the pot to inflame tension to get leverage.

Can someone pull the plug on the US navy?

Winston of Oceania's picture

Well step right up skippy...   crickets chirping...

MrButtoMcFarty's picture

Considering that President Dindu Nuffins has been remarkably consistent is his intent and ability to sabotage America...

Wouldn't surprise me at all if the motherfucker gets a hot war started before he leaves the big house.

You know....all in the name of freedom and equality.

A parting gift for the unwashed masses from the Great Uniter....

reader2010's picture

Great. The MIC can sell shitloads of toys to China's neighbors.

truthalwayswinsout's picture

You need to negotiate hard with them and give them a means to save face. All the countries in the Region and even NATO need to start by sending notice to all their industries that they will be boycotting China in six months. That is enough time to find replacements sources for all industries.

Once the boycott nears you try a one on one meeting in order to resolved problems in the region. That includes ending the Korean War.  That is the part where the Chinese save face; they can say that they removed 28K US soldiers and ended the Korean War. We get that little twit and the North and South can reunite and our troops can come home.

They can then support governance of the "islands" as UN mandates.





silverer's picture

Oh, you want something corrected you think is wrong? I think China should comply when the US population is evacuated from the 50 states and the land turned back to the Native American Indian tribes who, in my opinion, owned the land without any doubt whatsoever prior to being invaded and killed and pushed onto almost less than nothing by the US government. So China is not doing anything the US has not set by example. And they didn't kill anyone to do it. So think about it. Who is right, and who is wrong?

Winston of Oceania's picture

So where do you live and whom did your ancestors kill to make it thier home?

draego's picture

Wonder what the Chinese would have said about the court's jurisdiction if the decision had happened to support the Chinese position...

If they don't explicitly reject jurisdiction BEFORE the decision, then they implicitly accept the jurisdiction of the decision.

Now they just sound like North Korea. Or Baghdad Bob.

"The court's decision has the weight of 3 starving camel fleas! We reject their statement and throw it into a lake of burning fire for 1000 years! "

You go girl(s)...


nailgunner44's picture

We need to go to war with China, they are the worst motherfuckers on the planet.