Thu Jan 24, 2013
Tensions over the uninhabited islands – located near rich fishing grounds and potentially huge oil-and-gas reserves – flared after Japan’s government purchased them from a private Japanese owner in September, sparking violent anti-Japanese protests across China and a military standoff.
Taiwan also claims the islands, known as the Diaoyu islands in China, the Senkaku islands in Japan and Tiaoyutai in Taiwan.
In a submission to the U.N. Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, China claims that the continental shelf in the East China Sea is a natural prolongation of China’s land territory and that it includes the disputed islands.
Under the U.N. convention, a country can extend its 200-nautical-mile economic zone if it can prove that the continental shelf is a natural extension of its land mass. The U.N. commission assesses the scientific validity of claims, but any disputes have to be resolved between states, not by the commission.
China said the “Diaoyu Dao upfold zone” – the islands – is located between the East China Sea shelf basin and the Okinawa Trough. “The Okinawa Trough is the natural termination of the continental shelf of (the East China Sea),” it said.
China also told the commission that it was still negotiating with other states on the delimitation of the continental shelf.
President Barack Obama believes, as he put it in his third debate with Republican challenger Mitt Romney, that though
we have fewer ships than we did in 1916…we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military’s changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater…. The question is not a game of Battleship, where we’re counting ships. It’s what are our capabilities.
Yes, the army’s horses have been superseded by tanks and helicopters, and its bayonets rendered mainly ceremonial by armor and long-range automatic fires, but what, precisely, has superseded ships in the navy? The commander-in-chief has arrived at the epiphany that the ships of today could beat the hell out of those of 1916. To which one could say, like Neil Kinnock, “I know that, Prime Minister,” and go on to add that we must configure the navy to face not the dreadnoughts of 1916 but “things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them,” and “ships that go underwater,” and also ballistic missiles, land-based aviation, and electronic warfare.
To hold that numbers and mass in war are unnecessary is as dangerous as believing that they are sufficient. Defense contractor Norman Augustine famously observed that at the rate fighter planes are becoming complex and expensive, soon we will be able to build just one. Neither a plane nor a ship, no matter how capable, can be in more than one place at once. And if one ship that is in some ways equivalent to 100 is damaged or lost, we have lost the equivalent of 100. But, in fact, except for advances in situational awareness, missile defense, and the effect of precision-guided munitions in greatly multiplying the target coverage of carrier-launched aircraft, the navy is significantly less capable than it was a relatively short time ago—in anti-submarine warfare, mine warfare, the ability to return ships to battle, and the numbers required to accomplish the tasks of deterrence or war.
“Large crowds can pose a significant risk to your safety and valuables. A number of sites, including the Royal Palace … will host commemorative activities and attract large crowds,” a statement said.
“Travelers and residents are also advised to be aware of the high risk of pick-pocketing and bag-snatching. This type of opportunistic crime can occur during day-light hours as well as at night.
“Be constantly aware of your belongings and exercise sensible precautions such as keeping items
close and not making a public display of money and expensive items.”
The embassy also urged Australians to “avoid any protests, demonstrations or other large groups, as these have the potential to turn violent.
“You should be highly alert to your surroundings and quickly move away from any areas in which you don’t feel comfortable.