Lessons from China – South China Seas: Exclusive Economic Zones

Go Lean Commentary

There is a risk for war, right now, on the other side of the Earth. Have you been paying attention? Do you understand the issues?

Understanding the geo-political issues affecting China means understanding the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

CU Blog - Lessons from China - South China Seas - Exclusive Economic Zone - Photo 1This is an old international maritime law that dates from the days of piracy all the way down to today with modern updates and trends. This is the international convention that governs the 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone along the coastline of a country. There is a hot issue in the South China Seas region right now involving China and its neighbors.

This issue is so urgent and emergent that many analysts believe dysfunctions in this regards can lead to war.

See photos in Appendix B below.

There has now been an update in this case. This update is furnished by the Hague Tribunal for the UNCLOS.

This news story here speaks of the ruling in the Hague about the disposition of China’s claims regarding their Exclusive Economic Zone in the South China Seas. See story here:

VIDEOSouth China Sea Ruling: 5 Things to Know https://youtu.be/qOeEMsdYzm4

Published on Jul 15, 2016 – China’s South China Sea ambitions have been denied! The ruling by a United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea tribunal in the Hague said China’s claims to the South China Sea have “no legal basis.” Is this a victory for the Philippines? The United States? Or will this lead to war? Find out on this episode of China Uncensored!


Indonesia “Attacks” China in South China Sea

China Defends South China Sea from Japanese Aggression

US Sends Destroyers to South China Sea — Is War Next?

Will China Provoke War in South China Sea

Why is this discussion about conflicts in the South China Seas – see Appendix A – important to us in the Caribbean region?

The focus is on the concept of an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ); see Appendix C. This is an applicable reference for the Caribbean as we have a similar quest, to extend oversight for the Caribbean Sea. This point had been detailed in a previous blog-commentary regarding the Association of Caribbean States (ACS); an excerpt follows:

One agenda adopted by the ACS has been an attempt to secure the designation of the Caribbean Sea as a special zone in the context of sustainable development; it is pushing for the UN to consider the Caribbean Sea as an invaluable asset that is worth protecting and treasuring. The organization has sought to form a coalition among member states to devise a United Nations General Assembly resolution to ban the transshipment of nuclear materials through the Caribbean Sea and the Panama Canal. The Go Lean roadmap aligns with this agenda with the implementation plan of an Exclusive Economic Zone for these seas.

This commentary is part of a series on China. This is commentary 5 of 6 in consideration of the good and bad lessons from China. The other commentaries detailed in this series are as follows:

  1. History of China Trade: Too Big to Ignore
  2. Why China will soon be Hollywood’s largest market
  3. Organ Transplantation: Facts and Fiction
  4. Mobile Game Apps: The new Playground
  5. South China Seas: Exclusive Economic Zones
  6. WeChat: Model for Caribbean Social Media – www.MyCaribbean.gov

All of these commentaries relate to nation-building, stressing the community investments required to facilitate the short-term, mid-term and long-term needs of our communities. But this one commentary identifies China as a “bully” in the neighborhood of the South China Seas. So the lesson for the Caribbean is how to deal with a bully.

What empowers China as a bully in this conflict? Their size! China, with its 1.3 billion people, is the largest country bordering on the South China Seas. Truth be told, China is the largest country in the world. That 1.3 billion population is … 1.3 billion. It is hard for those observing-and-reporting from North America to comprehend the perspective. The US has 320 million people; the Caribbean, as a consolidated region is 42 million. Size does matter!

This is the guidance from the book Go Lean … Caribbean. It serves as a roadmap – turn by turn directions – for the introduction and implementation of the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). This confederation treaty is designed to leverage the 30 member-states of the Caribbean so as to get some economy-of-scale. The book asserts that some problems in the region are too big for anyone member-state to contend with alone. An integrated Single Market of all 42 million people across the 30 member-states allows us to stand-up more forthrightly to bullies in our region. And we do have bullies.

This is the strategy for the Caribbean region to elevate its society. In fact, the roadmap has these 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus – with oversight of the EEZ – to provide public safety and protect the resultant economic engines of the Caribbean homeland.
  • Improvement of Caribbean governance – with oversight of the EEZ – to support these engines.

The implementation of the CU allows for the designation of more Exclusive Economic Zones, the consolidation existing EEZ’s and the deployment of a security apparatus to ensure protections in these zones.

Where does an 800 pound sleep? Anywhere he wants” – Old Wives Tale

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – Quotation from Martin Luther King, Jr.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” – Edmund Burke; 1729 – 1797

It is important to remember from this commentary, the primary lesson from China is the undeniable size of their market, population and military. Without even trying, China can be a bully!

The Caribbean does not need to stand-up to China – but we stand up on the side of justice. We are not a world Super-Power, nor do we aspire to be. We leave that role to our allies in NATO (the North American Treaty Organization including the US and Western European states). Nonetheless, our region will be stronger with the 42 million; while no billions as in China, our consolidated size will allow us to stand-up to regional threats: border encroachments, narco-terrorism and piracy. This need for  security strength was pronounced in the opening of the Go Lean book, with these statements in the Declaration of Interdependence (Pages 11 – 13):

v.  Whereas the natural formation of our landmass and coastlines entail a large portion of waterscapes, the reality of management of our interior calls for extended oversight of the waterways between the islands. The internationally accepted 12-mile limits for national borders must be extended by International Tribunals to encompass the areas in between islands. The individual states must maintain their 12-mile borders while the sovereignty of this expanded  area, the Exclusive Economic Zone, must be vested in the accedence of this Federation.

x.   Whereas we are surrounded and allied to nations of larger proportions in land mass, populations, and treasuries, elements in their societies may have ill-intent in their pursuits, at the expense of the safety and security of our citizens. We must therefore appoint “new guards” to ensure our public safety and threats against our society, both domestic and foreign.

xi.  Whereas all men are entitled to the benefits of good governance in a free society, “new guards” must be enacted to dissuade the emergence of incompetence, corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the peril of the people’s best interest. The Federation must guarantee the executions of a social contract between government and the governed.

xii. Whereas the legacy in recent times in individual states may be that of ineffectual governance with no redress to higher authority, the accedence of this Federation will ensure accountability and escalation of the human and civil rights of the people for good governance, justice assurances, due process and the rule of law. As such, any threats of a “failed state” status for any member state must enact emergency measures on behalf of the Federation to protect the human, civil and property rights of the citizens, residents, allies, trading partners, and visitors of the affected member state and the Federation as a whole.

xvi. Whereas security of our homeland is inextricably linked to prosperity of the homeland, the economic and security interest of the region needs to be aligned under the same governance. Since economic crimes, including piracy and other forms of terrorism, can imperil the functioning of the wheels of commerce for all the citizenry, the accedence of this Federation must equip the security apparatus with the tools and techniques for predictive and proactive interdictions.

The Go Lean book, and previous blog/commentaries, stressed the key community ethos, strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies necessary to provide better homeland security to the Caribbean region, and to foster development, administration and protections in the Caribbean EEZ. These points are detailed in the book as follows:

Community Ethos – Deferred Gratification Page 21
Community Ethos – Economic Principles – All Choices Involve Costs Page 21
Community Ethos – Economic Principles – Economic Systems Influence Individual Choices Page 21
Community Ethos – Economic Principles – Voluntary Trade Creates Wealth Page 21
Community Ethos – Economic Principles – Consequences of Choices Lie in the Future Page 21
Community Ethos – Security Principles – Anti-Bullying and Mitigations Page 22
Community Ethos – Security Principles – Intelligence Gathering Page 23
Community Ethos – Security Principles – “Crap” Happens Page 23
Community Ethos – Governing Principles – Lean Operations Page 24
Community Ethos – Governing Principles – Return on Investments Page 24
Community Ethos – Governing Principles – Cooperatives Page 25
Strategy – Agents of Change – Globalization Page 57
Tactical – Fostering a Technocracy Page 64
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Homeland Security Department Page 75
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Coast Guard and Naval Authority Page 75
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Militia Page 75
Implementation – Ways to Pay for Change – EEZ Exploration Rights Page 101
Implementation – Security Initiatives at Start-up Page 103
Implementation – Start-up Benefits from the EEZ Page 104
Advocacy – Ways to Grow the Economy – Enterprise Zones & Empowerment Zones Page 151
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Governance Page 168
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Homeland Security Page 180
Advocacy – Ways to Mitigate Terrorism – Piracy Page 181
Advocacy – Ways to Better Manage Natural Resources Page 183
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Emergency Management Page 196
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Fisheries – Model of Alaska EEZ Page 210
Appendix – Cape Cod Wind Farm – Model for Caribbean EEZ Page 335

Other subjects related to security, anti-bullying and justice empowerments for the region have been blogged in previous Go Lean…Caribbean commentaries, as sampled here:

http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=7896 The Need for Local Administration: The Logistics of Disaster Relief
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=7449 ‘Crap Happens’ – Planning and Execution
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=7345 ISIS reaches the Caribbean Region
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=7119 Role Model for the Caribbean: African Standby Force
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=6247 Tragic images show Mediterranean Sea Refugee Crisis
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=6103 Sum of All Fears – ‘On Guard’ Against Deadly Threats
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=5462 Case of American NGO Bullying: Red Cross’ Missing $500 Million In Haiti Relief
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=5183 A Lesson in History – Cinco De Mayo and Mexico’s Security Lapses
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=5002 Managing a ‘Clear and Present Danger’
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=4360 Dreading the ‘CaribbeanBasin Security Initiative’
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1965 America’s Navy – 100 Percent – Model for Caribbean
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1554 Status of Forces Agreement = Security Pact
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1076 Regional Threat: Trinidad Muslims travel for Jihadist training
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=809 Muslim officials condemn bullying and abductions of Nigerian girls
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=535 Remembering and learning from Boston’s Terror Attack
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=273 10 Things We Want from the US – #4: Pax Americana

The Caribbean sorely needs the empowerments in this roadmap to mitigate threats and ensure protections on our seaways and waterscapes. The key is the Exclusive Economic Zone designation.

This is an important lesson being learned from consideration of China. EEZ dimensions should not be left up to vague interpretations. There is need for surety! In fact, the Go Lean book (Page 101) asserts that this surety will subsequently have long-ranging economic implications:

EEZ Exploration Rights
Representing the member-states, the CU will petition the UN for an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) for the areas between the islands. All economic activity in these non-state areas (underwater cables, oil/gas drilling, mines, etc.) will be awarded & regulated by the CU.
Exploratory rights are awarded for license fees upfront.

We have this and other important lessons from China. Their large population makes them a venerable threat to all their smaller neighboring countries. There is the need for security and justice mitigations in their region.

There is the need for security and justice mitigations in our region, too. Justice takes a constant effort – a sentinel. This is the role envisioned for the CU and its security apparatus.

“On guard” … for threats against justice.

Now is the time for all of the Caribbean – the people, institutions and governments – to lean-in for these justice assurances described in the book Go Lean … Caribbean. This effort will make the Caribbean homeland a better, safer, place to live, work and play. 🙂

Download the free e-Book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!


Appendix A – South China Sea

The South China Sea is a marginal sea that is part of the Pacific Ocean, encompassing an area from the Karimata and Malacca Straits to the Strait of Taiwan of around 3,500,000 square kilometres (1,400,000 sq mi). The area’s importance largely results from one-third of the world’s shipping sailing through its waters and that it is believed to hold huge oil and gas reserves beneath its seabed.[2]

It is located[3]:

The minute South China Sea Islands, collectively an archipelago, number in the hundreds. The sea and its mostly uninhabited islands are subject to competing claims of sovereignty by several countries. These claims are also reflected in the variety of names used for the islands and the sea.


States and territories with borders on the sea (clockwise from north) include: the People’s Republic of China (including Macau and Hong Kong), the Republic of China (Taiwan), the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, Singapore, and Vietnam.

Major rivers that flow into the South China Sea include the PearlMinJiulongRedMekongRajangPahangPampanga, and Pasig Rivers.
Source: Retrieved August 30 from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_China_Sea


Appendix B – Photos of Military Escalations

CU Blog - Lessons from China - South China Seas - Exclusive Economic Zone - Photo 2


CU Blog - Lessons from China - South China Seas - Exclusive Economic Zone - Photo 5


CU Blog - Lessons from China - South China Seas - Exclusive Economic Zone - Photo 4

CU Blog - Lessons from China - South China Seas - Exclusive Economic Zone - Photo 3


Appendix C – Exclusive Economic Zone

An Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) is a sea zone prescribed by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea over which a state has special rights regarding the exploration and use of marine resources, including energy production from water and wind.[1] It stretches from the baseline out to 200 nautical miles (nmi) from its coast. In colloquial usage, the term may include the continental shelf. The term does not include either the territorial sea or the continental shelf beyond the 200 nmi limit. The difference between the territorial sea and the exclusive economic zone is that the first confers full sovereignty over the waters, whereas the second is merely a “sovereign right” which refers to the coastal state’s rights below the surface of the sea. The surface waters, as can be seen in the map, are international waters.[2]

Generally, a state’s EEZ extends to a distance of 200 nautical miles (370 km) out from its coastal baseline. The exception to this rule occurs when EEZs would overlap; that is, state coastal baselines are less than 400 nautical miles (740 km) apart. When an overlap occurs, it is up to the states to delineate the actual maritime boundary.[3] Generally, any point within an overlapping area defaults to the nearest state.[4]

A state’s Exclusive Economic Zone starts at the landward edge of its territorial sea and extends outward to a distance of 200 nautical miles (370.4 km) from the baseline. The Exclusive Economic Zone stretches much further into sea than the territorial waters, which end at 12 nmi (22 km) from the coastal baseline (if following the rules set out in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea).[5] Thus, the EEZ includes the contiguous zone. States also have rights to the seabed of what is called the continental shelf up to 350 nautical miles (648 km) from the coastal baseline, beyond the EEZ, but such areas are not part of their EEZ. The legal definition of the continental shelf does not directly correspond to the geological meaning of the term, as it also includes the continental rise and slope, and the entire seabed within the EEZ.

The following is a list of the largest Exclusive Economic Zones; by country with a few noticeable deviations:

Country EEZ Kilometers2 Additional Details
United States 11,351,000 The American EEZ – the world’s largest – includes the Caribbean overseas territories of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
France 11,035,000 The French EEZ includes the Caribbean overseas territories of Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Martin, Saint Barthélemy and French Guiana.
Australia 8,505,348 Australia has the third largest exclusive economic zone, behind the United States and France, with the total area actually exceeding that of its land territory. Per the UN convention, Australia’s EEZ generally extends 200 nautical miles (370 km) from the coastline of Australia and its external territories, except where a maritime delimitation agreement exists with another state.[15]The United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf confirmed, in April 2008, Australia’s rights over an additional 2.5 million square kilometres of seabed beyond the limits of Australia’s EEZ.[16][17] Australia also claimed, in its submission to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, additional Continental Shelf past its EEZ from the Australian Antarctic Territory,[18] but these claims were deferred on Australia’s request. However, Australia’s EEZ from its Antarctic Territory is approximately 2 million square kilometres.[17]
Russia 7,566,673
United Kingdom 6,805,586 The UK includes the Caribbean territories of Anguilla, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, Turks & Caicos and the British Virgin Islands.
Indonesia 6,159,032
Canada 5,599,077 Canada is unusual in that its EEZ, covering 2,755,564 km2, is slightly smaller than its territorial waters.[20] The latter generally extend only 12 nautical miles from the shore, but also include inland marine waters such as Hudson Bay (about 300 nautical miles (560 km; 350 mi) across), the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the internal waters of the Arctic archipelago.
Japan 4,479,388 In addition to Japan’s recognized EEZ, it also has a joint regime with Republic of (South) Korea and has disputes over other territories it claims but are in dispute with all its Asian neighbors (Russia, Republic of Korea and China).
New Zealand 4,083,744
Chile 3,681,989
Brazil 3,660,955 In 2004, the country submitted its claims to the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) to extend its maritime continental margin.[19]
Mexico 3,269,386 Mexico’s EEZ comprises half of the Gulf of Mexico, with the other half claimed by the US.[32]
Micronesia 2,996,419 The Federated States of Micronesia comprise around 607 islands (a combined land area of approximately 702 km2 or 271 sq mi) that cover a longitudinal distance of almost 2,700 km (1,678 mi) just north of the equator. They lie northeast of New Guinea, south of Guam and the Marianas, west of Nauru and the Marshall Islands, east of Palau and the Philippines, about 2,900 km (1,802 mi) north of eastern Australia and some 4,000 km (2,485 mi) southwest of the main islands of Hawaii. While the FSM’s total land area is quite small, its EEZ occupies more than 2,900,000 km2 (1,000,000 sq mi) of the Pacific Ocean.
Denmark 2,551,238 The Kingdom of Denmark includes the autonomous province of Greenland and the self-governing province of the Faroe Islands. The EEZs of the latter two do not form part of the EEZ of the European Union.
Papua New Guinea 2,402,288
China 2,287,969
Marshall Islands 1,990,530 The Republic of the Marshall Islands is an island country located near the equator in the Pacific Ocean, slightly west of the International Date Line. Geographically, the country is part of the larger island group of Micronesia. The country’s population of 68,480 people is spread out over 24 coral atolls, comprising 1,156 individual islands and islets. The land mass amounts to 181 km2 (70 sq mi) but the EEZ is 1,990,000 km2, one of the world’s largest.
Portugal 1,727,408 Portugal has the 10th largest EEZ in the world. Presently, it is divided in three non-contiguous sub-zones:

Portugal submitted a claim to extend its jurisdiction over additional 2.15 million square kilometers of the neighboring continental shelf in May 2009,[44] resulting in an area with a total of more than 3,877,408 km2. The submission, as well as a detailed map, can be found in the Task Group for the extension of the Continental Shelf website.

Spain disputes the EEZ’s southern border, maintaining that it should be drawn halfway between Madeira and the Canary Islands. But Portugal exercises sovereignty over the SavageIslands, a small archipelago north of the Canaries, claiming an EEZ border further south. Spain objects, arguing that the SavageIslands do not have a separate continental shelf,[45] citing article 121 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.[46]

Philippines 1,590,780 The Philippines’ EEZ covers 2,265,684 (135,783) km2[41].
Solomon Islands 1,589,477
South Africa 1,535,538
Fiji 1,282,978 Fiji is an archipelago of more than 332 islands, of which 110 are permanently inhabited, and more than 500 islets, amounting to a total land area of about 18,300 square kilometres (7,100 sq mi).
Argentina 1,159,063
Spain 1,039,233
Bahamas 654,715
Cuba 350,751
Jamaica 258,137
Dominican Republic 255,898
Barbados 186,898
Netherlands 154,011 The Kingdom of the Netherlands include the Antilles islands of Aruba. Bonaire, Curacao, Saba, Sint Maarten and Sint Eustatius
Guyana 137,765
Suriname 127,772
Haiti 126,760
Antigua and Barbuda 110,089
Trinidad and Tobago 74,199
St Vincent and the Grenadines 36,302
Belize 35,351
Dominica 28,985
Grenada 27,426
Saint Lucia 15,617
Saint Kitts and Nevis 9,974

(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exclusive_economic_zone)


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