Friday, 30 November 2007

Law of the Sea

Something very fishy (pun intended) must be going on in the seas around China and Hong Kong. The Foreign Ministry refused a Thanksgiving port call by the Kitty Hawk, a US aircraft carrier, to Hong Kong at the last minute, before it reversed the refusal "out of humanitarian concern", which decision, the US said, came too late. In the same month, the Chinese government also denied entry to Hong Kong of two American minesweepers seeking fuel and sheltered waters ahead of a storm, apparently breaching customary maritime practices. After Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi reportedly called the Kitty Hawk matter a "misunderstanding", an FM spokesman denied there was any misunderstanding and said China had expressed grave concerns to the US over the Kitty Hawk passing the Taiwan Strait. Without more transparency on China's side, it seems difficult to rebut the following remarks by Adm. Timothy J. Keating, commander of American forces in the Pacific, "It is not, in our view, conduct that is indicative of a country that understands its obligations of a responsible nation".

Dispute Settlement

China signed MOUs with the US and Mexico to settle cases brought to the WTO by the US and Mexico that alleged illegal subsidies in relation to tax breaks and other incentives for Chinese exports. The MOUs stipulated that many of China's beneficial measures have been or will be repealed.

Diplomatic Protection

A Chinese government spokeswoman said the Japanese Government is responsible for the so-called German Mark bonds which the Japanese colonial government in Taiwan was alleged to have forcibly sold to Taiwanese residents in 1923. At least 30,000 Taiwanese households may still hold the bonds, which reportedly could be worth as much as US$20 billion. Japan claimed that those were banknotes, not bonds, and denied responsibility. While the fact that mainland China attempts to espouse claims of Taiwanese residents against Japan seems to land a blow on Taiwan's claim to state sovereignty, it is doubtful what legal standing mainland China may establish in relation to what appease in essence to be non-performance of financial obligations by Japan to her former colonial subjects.

Thursday, 1 November 2007


Mainland China and Macao concluded an arrangement for the mutual recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards.

Territory - Diaoyu Islands

A boat carrying Chinese activists briefly entered waters around the disputed Diaoyu Islands and was warned off by Japanese coast guards. A Foreign Ministry spokesman said that the Japanese action "violated the international law and infringed China's sovereignty". But, instead of going after Japan for reparation, the Chinese police arrested the four activists when they returned home in Zhangzhou, Fujian.

See previous post.

Economic Sanctions

A Foreign Ministry spokesperson commented on the US sanctions against Iran, saying, "China does not approve of easily resorting to the use of sanctions in international relations. Dialogue and negotiations are the best way to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue."

See previous post.