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    Re: Sea level defines Empire
    From: Jackson McDonald
    Date: 2015 Apr 10, 08:51 -0400
    Thank you, Stephen.  Most informative.  Chinese history, national character, and world view (it's them vs. the Barbarians) appear to be trumping international law and accepted standards of behavior.  

    JMcD (sailor of the waiyang) 

    On Apr 10, 2015, at 2:37 AM, Stephen N.G. Davies <NoReply_Davies@fer3.com> wrote:

    As I read UNCLOS no post-UNCLOS agreement reclamation exercises to create land can change the territorial sea baselines that were in force when UNCLOS was agreed. For example Singapore’s baselines are what they were then despite the fact that there are places on Singapore’s coast that have since moved 2-3km seawards.

    The whole China thing is quite different since China is arguing (but somehow not arguing) that the whole South China Sea lies WITHIN either China’s territorial sea or its contiguous zone. The EEZ is irrelevant because with China’s ten (a new one east of Taiwan) dash line, there is no EEZ left to dicker over.

    My own take is that this is an unstated reprise to the old Qing dynasty Chinese imperial division of maritime space into three non-geographically defined zones. The neiyang (inner waters/sea) are the waters within which China can and will exercise all the normal rights of sovereignty (more or less equivalent to the present day definition of territorial waters). However, this has no geographical definition and seems, more or less, to be defined only by extant means to enforce sovereignty - if China is weak, it is narrow; if China is strong it is as wide as effective power can be projected.

    Then comes a highly variable zone known as the haijiang (sea frontier) that can be as thin as a Euclidean line or as wide as the South China Sea. This would be equivalent to today’s contiguous zone, but without any defined geographical extent (like out to 12 miles from the territorial sea baseline). Obviously it moves with the neiyang so in principle (a little echo of Roman mare nostrum) not only can power be projected and rights enforced far from China’s shores, but its frontier can be patrolled and so forth out as far, again, as force can extend.

    Finally, beyond where the haijiang ends comes the waiyang (outer or barbarian/foreign) waters in which China has no interests. They begin and end again not on geographical grounds, solely on economic and geo-strategic ones.

    Push comes to shove, China is challenging the post-war consensus on the Law of the Sea because it sees it as a western fit-up designed to lock China in and deny it freedom of action to protect the sea lanes on which its economy depends. The PLA Navy chaps are great enthusiasts of A.T. Mahan and also remember why it was that the Japanese felt they had no option but to go to war in 1941.

    In the meantime, they don’t give a stuff about what UNCLOS says with respect to the nullity of post-UNCLOS created ‘dry land’, for them might is right and possession 10/10ths of the law.

    Dr Stephen Davies
    Department of Real Estate and Construction
    EH103, Eliot Hall
    University of Hong Kong

    Office: (852) 2219 4089
    Mobile: (852) 6683 3754 


    On 10 Apr, 2015, at 1:51 pm, Lu Abel <NoReply_LuAbel@fer3.com> wrote:

    And Boston, which at the time of the American revolution was almost an island connected by a very narrow isthmus to "mainland" Massachusetts.   "Back Bay" is a beautiful section of the city; it gets its name from the fact that it was a tidal bay between dry land and the Charles River.

    From: Bill B <NoReply_BillB@fer3.com>
    To: luabel{at}ymail.com
    Sent: Thursday, April 9, 2015 12:11 PM
    Subject: [NavList] Re: Sea level defines Empire

    On 4/9/2015 1:31 PM, Lu Abel wrote:
    > Interesting idea, though -- landfill on a reef to create "territory"
    Worked for part of Chicago, IL :-)

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