【英语中国】FT社评:让南中国海恢复平静 Leader_Calm the waters of southeast Asia

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所属分类:双语中国

2014-5-14 06:35

小艾摘要: n recent years China has pursued territorial claims in the East China and South China Seas, underscoring its reputation as a power seeking to maximise its regional presence. This has led to tensions, ...
Leader_Calm the waters of southeast Asia
n recent years China has pursued territorial claims in the East China and South China Seas, underscoring its reputation as a power seeking to maximise its regional presence. This has led to tensions, the latest of which is with Vietnam over oil drilling rights.

The South China Sea plays a critical role in Asia’s economy. A third of the world’s shipping passes through its waters. Huge reserves of oil and gas may well lie beneath the seabed. As a result, its bordering states – Brunei, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam – are fighting over resource rights.

The Paracel Islands, lying about 150 miles northeast of Vietnam, are the latest source of contention. China says that it won the islands in 1974 from US-backed South Vietnam. Hanoi rejects this and claims that according to the UN’s 1982 Law of the Sea treaty, the drilling site is firmly in Vietnam’s “exclusive economic zone”.

Early this month China made a surprising new attempt to assert its rights. For much of the past year, Beijing appeared to be forging a closer relationship with Hanoi. But on May 2, China parked a large oil rig belonging to its state-owned oil company close to the Paracels.

That triggered an ugly diplomatic rift. Nguyen Tan Deng, Vietnam’s prime minister, accused China of engaging in a dangerous and serious violation. The US called Beijing’s action provocative.

Vietnam contended that China had sent up to 80 vessels – some of them military – to protect the rig. Hanoi despatched its own flotilla, leading to exchanges of water cannon and collisions between the two sides.

It is unclear why China is testing relations with Vietnam. It could be a belated reaction to President Barack Obama’s April trip to the region, during which he annoyed Beijing by backing the Philippines’ demand for international arbitration to resolve its territorial disputes with China.

Beijing may also be aggrieved by Vietnam’s request that Japan provide it with patrol boats to strengthen its defence capability – a request Tokyo is considering.

Whatever the reason, China and Vietnam ought to take a step back. Beijing clearly bears prime responsibility for this sudden surge of tension. But the Vietnamese should be wary of triggering a conflict with China, given Beijing’s military strength.

This stand-off is one more reason why China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations should renew efforts to resolve the deep-seated diplomatic rift over the South China Sea. Asean’s response to the oil rig incident was feeble.

Beijing asserts its near total ownership of the South China Sea on the basis of an internal Chinese map dating back to 1953. The map draws a “nine-dash line” enclosing the area it claims to be under its sovereignty. China has never explained on what basis it makes such a claim either in history or international law.

Asean should refocus efforts to find a solution to these claims. It should resurrect its 2002 Code of Conduct, signed by all countries, including China, in which they agreed to negotiate to resolve disputes over islands. The US would give strong impetus to this process if it ratified the UN Law of the Sea.

Until then, all states with claims in the South China Sea should either cease exploration in disputed waters or share the spoils until final decisions about ownership are taken. The Taiwan-Japan Fishing Accord is a proved model.

The South China Sea is rich in history and resources. China’s growing power has given it a boldness to assert control of these waters and to use historic claims to feed its hunger for raw materials. If Beijing wants its claims that it is rising peacefully to be taken seriously, its belligerence ought to cease. The risks of a damaging conflict erupting are too high.

近年来,中国一直在东中国海和南中国海声索自己的领土主张,这些行为强化了中国作为一个寻求最大化地区存在的强国的名声。这一切导致了紧张局势,最新矛盾是中国与越南围绕石油钻探权的纠纷。

南中国海在亚洲经济中扮演着关键角色。世界上三分之一的航运要通过南海。南海的海床下很可能蕴藏着巨大的石油和天然气储量。其结果是,南海周边地区政府——文莱、中国、马来西亚、菲律宾、台湾和越南——都在争夺资源所有权。

中越间的最新纠纷发端于越南东北方向大约150海里处的西沙群岛(Paracel Islands)。中国称,它在1974年从美国支持的南越手里夺取了这些岛屿。河内方面拒绝接受这种主张,声称根据1982年《联合国海洋法公约》(UNCLOS),中方钻探位置明显处在越南的“专属经济区”范围内。

本月初,中国做出令人意外的新尝试以主张自己的权利。在过去一年的大部分时间里,北京似乎在与河内打造更密切的关系。但在5月2日,中国将国有石油公司旗下的一个大型石油钻井平台部署到了西沙群岛附近。

此举引发了一个不祥的外交裂痕。越南总理阮晋勇(Nguyen Tan Dung)指责中国从事危险和严重的侵犯举动。美国称中国的行动是挑衅性的。

越南声称,中国出动了80艘船舶(包括军方的一些舰船)保护钻井平台。河内方面出动了自己的船队,双方相互撞击,还用水炮互射。

尚不清楚中国为什么要测试与越南的关系。这可能是对美国总统巴拉克?奥巴马(Barack Obama) 4月亚洲之行的迟来的反应。奥巴马支持菲律宾将其与中国的领土纠纷提交国际仲裁解决的诉求,这一立场惹恼了北京方面。

北京方面也可能对越南请求日本提供巡逻艇、以加强其防御能力感到不满;日方正在考虑越南的请求。

不管什么原因,中国和越南应该退后一步。北京方面显然对此次紧张突然升级负有主要责任。但鉴于北京方面的军事实力,越南应当小心行事,以免引发与中国的冲突。

这次对峙是又一个理由,说明中国和东南亚国家联盟(ASEAN)为什么应当重启努力,解决南中国海的深层次外交裂痕。东盟对此次石油钻井平台事件的回应是软弱无力的。

中国宣称自己拥有几乎整个南海的主权,其依据是中国自己在1953年出版的一张地图。这张地图画出了一条“九段线”,用以标出中国宣称属于自己主权范围的区域。中国从未解释它提出这一主张的依据(无论是历史渊源还是国际法)是什么。

东盟应当重整旗鼓,努力就这些主权主张找到解决方案。它应当重启2002年《南海各方行为宣言》,包括中国在内的有关各国签署了这份宣言,同意协商解决岛屿争端。美国若能批准《联合国海洋法公约》,将对这一进程给予强大推动力。

在那之前,在南中国海有主权主张的所有国家应当要么在争议海域停止勘探活动,要么在所有权问题最终解决之前分享果实。台日渔业协议(Taiwan-Japan Fishing Accord)就是一种经过验证的模式。

南中国海历史悠久,资源丰富。中国不断增长的实力使其敢于主张这些水域的控制权,并利用基于历史渊源的主张来满足其对原材料的大量需求。如果北京方面希望其“和平崛起”宣示得到认真对待,其好战姿态应当停止。爆发一场破坏性冲突的风险太高了。

译者/何黎

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