US has no business in South China Sea row now after 1951 refusal

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 21 June, 2015, 12:01am
UPDATED : Sunday, 21 June, 2015, 12:01am

I refer to the article by David Lampton ("Calming the waters", June 9).

Professor Lampton wrote: "The heretofore positive balance between hope and fear in US-China relations is tipping in the direction of fears outweighing hopes. Righting the balance should be the objective of the imminent US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Washington."

The tension between the two countries can be highlighted in the recent confrontation over the South China Sea when a Chinese military dispatcher demanded a US P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft leave the area as it flew over Fiery Cross Reef. Such confrontations in this ocean can easily turn into a military confrontation with dire consequences.

The flashpoint in US-China relationships is the South China Sea. The excuse the US gives for meddling in the matter is to ensure "maritime freedom". Has China interfered with any maritime passage through the South China Sea?

The Chinese stance is these islands in the South China Sea historically belonged to China. They were occupied by Japan during the second world war. After the war, China rightfully claimed them back according to the Cairo and Potsdam declarations.

In 1947, the then nationalist Chinese government issued a map with 11 dotted lines signifying all the islands inside those lines are Chinese territories.

The lines have since been changed into nine lines by the People's Republic of China.

When the San Francisco Peace Treaty, which stated that all territories occupied by Japan during the second world war should be returned, was signed in 1951, neither the PRC nor the Nationalist government in Taiwan was invited to attend.

Before the San Francisco meeting took place, Premier Zhou Enlai issued a protest statement to the US and British governments stating that the that the islands (which includes the Dioayu Islands) in the East China Sea, belonged to China and they should be rightfully returned to China in the San Francisco Peace Treaty. The protest was ignored, resulting in the current problems.

The US should reflect that when it had a chance to solve the present South China and East China sea disputes, it high-handedly ignored its responsibilities. Today, it does not have any legitimacy to interfere in this matter. It should leave the countries involved in the disputes to solve the problems themselves.

Alex Woo, Tsim Sha Tsui