Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 7

South China Sea Related Abstracts

7 Distribution of Synechococcus and Prochlorococcus in Southeastern Coast of Peninsular Malaysia

Authors: Roswati Md. Amin, Nurul Asmera Mudiman, Muhammad Faisal Abd. Rahman, Md-Suffian Idris, Noor Hazwani Mohd Azmi


Distribution of picophytoplankton from two genera, Synechococcus and Prochlorococcus at the surface water (0.5m) were observed from coastal to offshore area of the southeastern coast of Peninsular Malaysia, for a six day cruise in August 2014 during SouthWest monsoon. The picophytoplankton was divided into two different size fractions (0.7-2.7μm and <0.7 μm) by filtering through GF/D (2.7 μm) and GF/F (0.7 μm) filter papers and counted by using flow cytometer. Synechococcus and Prochlorococcus contribute higher at 0.7-2.7μm size range (ca. 90% and 95%, respectively) compared to <0.7 μm (ca. 10% and 5%, respectively). Synechococcus (>52%) dominated the total picophytoplankton compared to Prochlorococcus (<26%) for both size fractions in southeastern coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Total density (<2.7 μm) of Synechococcus was ranging between 1.72 x104 and 12.57 x104 cells ml-1, while Prochlorococcus varied from 1.50 x104 to 8.62 x104. Both Synechococcus and Prochlorococcus abundance showed a decreasing trend from coastal to offshore.

Keywords: peninsular Malaysia, prochlorococcus, South China Sea, synechococcus

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6 The Rise of Blue Water Navy and its Implication for the Region

Authors: Riddhi Chopra


Alfred Thayer Mahan described the sea as a ‘great common,’ which would serve as a medium for communication, trade, and transport. The seas of Asia are witnessing an intriguing historical anomaly – rise of an indigenous maritime power against the backdrop of US domination over the region. As China transforms from an inward leaning economy to an outward-leaning economy, it has become increasingly dependent on the global sea; as a result, we witness an evolution in its maritime strategy from near seas defense to far seas deployment strategies. It is not only patrolling the international waters but has also built a network of civilian and military infrastructure across the disputed oceanic expanse. The paper analyses the reorientation of China from a naval power to a blue water navy in an era of extensive globalisation. The actions of the Chinese have created a zone of high alert amongst its neighbors such as Japan, Philippines, Vietnam and North Korea. These nations are trying to align themselves so as to counter China’s growing brinkmanship, but China has been pursuing claims through a carefully calibrated strategy in the region shunning any coercive measures taken by other forces. If China continues to expand its maritime boundaries, its neighbors – all smaller and weaker Asian nations would be limited to a narrow band of the sea along its coastlines. Hence it is essential for the US to intervene and support its allies to offset Chinese supremacy. The paper intends to provide a profound analysis over the disputes in South China Sea and East China Sea focusing on Philippines and Japan respectively. Moreover, the paper attempts to give an account of US involvement in the region and its alignment with its South Asian allies. The geographic dynamics is said the breed a national coalition dominating the strategic ambitions of China as well as the weak littoral states. China has conducted behind the scenes diplomacy trying to persuade its neighbors to support its position on the territorial disputes. These efforts have been successful in creating fault lines in ASEAN thereby undermining regional integrity to reach a consensus on the issue. Chinese diplomatic efforts have also forced the US to revisit its foreign policy and engage with players like Cambodia and Laos. The current scenario in the SCS points to a strong Chinese hold trying to outspace all others with no regards to International law. Chinese activities are in contrast with US principles like Freedom of Navigation thereby signaling US to take bold actions to prevent Chinese hegemony in the region. The paper ultimately seeks to explore the changing power dynamics among various claimants where a rival superpower like US can pursue the traditional policy of alliance formation play a decisive role in changing the status quo in the arena, consequently determining the future trajectory.

Keywords: China, USA, South China Sea, East China Sea

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5 Relevance of the Judgements Given by the International Court of Justice with Regard to South China Sea Vis-A-Vis Marshall Islands

Authors: Hitakshi Mahendru, Advait Tambe, Simran Chandok, Niharika Sanadhya


After the Second World War had come to an end, the Founding Fathers of the United Nations recognized a need for a supreme peacekeeping mechanism to act as a mediator between nations and moderate disputes that might blow up, if left unchecked. It has been more than seven decades since the establishment of the International Court of Justice (ICJ). When it was created, there were certain aim and objectives that the ICJ was intended to achieve. However, in today’s world, with change in political dynamics and international relations between countries, the ICJ has not succeeded in achieving several of these objectives. The ICJ is the only body in the international scenario that has the authority to regulate disputes between countries. However, in recent times, with countries like China disregarding the importance of the ICJ, there is no hope for the ICJ to command respect from other nations, thereby sending ICJ on a slow, yet steady path towards redundancy. The authority of the judgements given by the International Court of Justice, which is one of the main pillars of the United Nations, is questionable due to the forthcoming reactions from various countries on public platforms. The ICJ’s principal role within the United Nations framework is to settle peacefully international/bilateral disputes between the states that come under its jurisdiction and in accordance with the principles laid down in international law. By shedding light on the public backlash from the Chinese Government to the recent South China Sea judgement, we see the decreasing relevance of the ICJ in the contemporary world scenario. Philippines and China have wrangled over territory in the South China Sea for centuries but after the recent judgement the tension has reached an all-time high with China threatening to prosecute anybody as trespassers while continuing to militarise the disputed area. This paper will deal with the South China Sea judgement and the manner in which it has been received by the Chinese Government. Also, it will look into the consequences of counter-back. The authors will also look into the Marshall Island matter and propose a model judgement, in accordance with the principles of international law that would be the most suited for the given situation. Also, the authors will propose amendments in the working of the Security Council to ensure that the Marshal Island judgement is passed and accepted by the countries without any contempt.

Keywords: International Law, South China Sea, International Court of Justice, Marshall Islands, United Nations Charter

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4 Detection of Temporal Change of Fishery and Island Activities by DNB and SAR on the South China Sea

Authors: T. Yamaguchi, J. Park, I. Asanuma, K. J. Mackin


Fishery lights on the surface could be detected by the Day and Night Band (DNB) of the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi-NPP). The DNB covers the spectral range of 500 to 900 nm and realized a higher sensitivity. The DNB has a difficulty of identification of fishing lights from lunar lights reflected by clouds, which affects observations for the half of the month. Fishery lights and lights of the surface are identified from lunar lights reflected by clouds by a method using the DNB and the infrared band, where the detection limits are defined as a function of the brightness temperature with a difference from the maximum temperature for each level of DNB radiance and with the contrast of DNB radiance against the background radiance. Fishery boats or structures on islands could be detected by the Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) on the polar orbit satellites using the reflected microwave by the surface reflecting targets. The SAR has a difficulty of tradeoff between spatial resolution and coverage while detecting the small targets like fishery boats. A distribution of fishery boats and island activities were detected by the scan-SAR narrow mode of Radarsat-2, which covers 300 km by 300 km with various combinations of polarizations. The fishing boats were detected as a single pixel of highly scattering targets with the scan-SAR narrow mode of which spatial resolution is 30 m. As the look angle dependent scattering signals exhibits the significant differences, the standard deviations of scattered signals for each look angles were taken into account as a threshold to identify the signal from fishing boats and structures on the island from background noise. It was difficult to validate the detected targets by DNB with SAR data because of time lag of observations for 6 hours between midnight by DNB and morning or evening by SAR. The temporal changes of island activities were detected as a change of mean intensity of DNB for circular area for a certain scale of activities. The increase of DNB mean intensity was corresponding to the beginning of dredging and the change of intensity indicated the ending of reclamation and following constructions of facilities.

Keywords: fishery, SAR, South China Sea, day night band

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3 Exploring the Changing Foreign Policy of Singapore on China: New Ideas of Pragmatism and Hedging Strategy

Authors: Yibo Shao, Jiajie Liu


This article uncovers the practice of pragmatism of Singaporean foreign policy by analyzing its foreign diplomatic behavior. It also points out the Singapore’s hedging strategy on the relations between China and American and how to balance these two greater powers in Southeast Asian. This paper used qualitative approach by reviewing literature and policy documents intensively to find out the responses to our research questions.

Keywords: Pragmatism, hedging, South China Sea, Sino-Singapore relations

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2 Marine Ecosystem Mapping of Taman Laut Labuan: The First Habitat Mapping Effort to Support Marine Parks Management in Malaysia

Authors: A. Ali, K. Ismail, R. C. Hasan, I. Khalil, Z. Bachok, N. M. Said, A. M. Muslim, M. S. Che Din, W. S. Chong


The marine ecosystem in Malaysia holds invaluable potential in terms of economics, food security, pharmaceuticals components and protection from natural hazards. Although exploration of oil and gas industry and fisheries are active within Malaysian waters, knowledge of the seascape and ecological functioning of benthic habitats is still extremely poor in the marine parks around Malaysia due to the lack of detailed seafloor information. Consequently, it is difficult to manage marine resources effectively, protect ecologically important areas and set legislation to safeguard the marine parks. The limited baseline data hinders scientific linkage to support effective marine spatial management in Malaysia. This became the main driver behind the first seabed mapping effort at the national level. Taman Laut Labuan (TLL) is located to the west coast of Sabah and to the east of South China Sea. The total area of TLL is approximately 158.15 km2, comprises of three islands namely Pulau Kuraman, Rusukan Besar and Rusukan Kecil and is characterised by shallow fringing reef with few submerged shallow reef. The unfamiliar rocky shorelines limit the survey of multibeam echosounder to area with depth more than 10 m. Whereas, singlebeam and side scan sonar systems were used to acquire the data for area with depth less than 10 m. By integrating data from multibeam bathymetry and backscatter with singlebeam bathymetry and side sonar images, we produce a substrate map and coral coverage map for the TLL using i) marine landscape mapping technique and ii) RSOBIA ArcGIS toolbar (developed by T. Le Bas). We take the initiative to explore the ability of aerial drone and satellite image (WorldView-3) to derive the depths and substrate type within the intertidal and subtidal zone where it is not accessible via acoustic mapping. Although the coverage was limited, the outcome showed a promising technique to be incorporated towards establishing a guideline to facilitate a standard practice for efficient marine spatial management in Malaysia.

Keywords: Habitat Mapping, South China Sea, marine spatial management, National seabed mapping

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1 Indonesia’s Defense Diplomacy Strength Towards China’s Aggressive Maritime Policy

Authors: Helda Risman, Pangihutan Panjaitan, Devindra Oktaviano


This research is departed from the security issues generated from China’s unilateral claims in the South China Sea conflict. The diplomacy challenges come from Indonesia’s relations with China as well as with ASEAN-member countries involved in the conflict. It is estimated that the conflict in the South China Sea region will become an endless conflict. Comprehensively, Indonesia is implementing a gradual shift in diplomatic approach in creating positive and constructive ties among Indonesia, China, and ASEAN. In line with the rapid-changing world order, the conventional military approach becomes less significant in today’s modern inter-state interactions. This research is conducted in a qualitative literature review to explain how Indonesia’s recent soft diplomacy approach applied in the South China Sea conflict. This type of diplomacy theoretically assumed as one of the most preferred ways to establish mutual trust and confidence among conflicting parties. Maritime issues found its significance in contemporary foreign policy since the world’s most dynamic region has moved to the archipelagic Asia-Pacific. As mentioned by rationalists, every country, including Indonesia, has surely formulated its own prominent national interest, such as the defense aspect. Finally, this research will provide a deep analysis on Indonesia’s centrality in ASEAN as an effective way to ensure Indonesia’s strategic policy in the region well accommodated.

Keywords: National defense, China, South China Sea, soft diplomacy

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