The shark sucker of the South China Sea, and other tales


Three small stories from around the world illustrate the discomfort — to China and everyone else on the planet — that is accompanying China’s global growth.

British FONOP in South China Sea

Reuters reports that a British Royal Navy vessel, “the HMS Albion, a 22,000-tonne amphibious warfare ship carrying a contingent of Royal Marines, passed by the Paracel Islands in recent days.”

  • The voyage was a “freedom of navigation operation” (FONOP) intended to challenge Beijing’s “excessive claims” in the region. The ship was on its way to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, “where it docked on Monday following a deployment in and around Japan.”
  • “China resolutely opposes this and has lodged stern representations with the British side to express strong dissatisfaction,” said a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson in reaction to the news.
  • State-owned China Daily weighed in: “During her visit to Beijing early this year, British Prime Minister Theresa May pledged to intensify ‘the golden era’ of Sino-UK relations. To achieve that, the country should refrain from being Washington’s shark sucker in the South China Sea.”
  • “The U.K. didn’t complain when Chinese warships sailed through U.K. territorial waters last year. China doesn’t have a valid argument here. This is what international law looks like,” tweeted Bill Hayton, author of The South China Sea: The Struggle for Power in Asia.

Nauru: The mouse that roared?

On September 4, we noted that China’s representative to a dialogue session at the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) stormed out of the meeting, after a tense exchange with the Forum chair, President Baron Waqa of Nauru.

Frictions in Kenya

  • “A Chinese man will be deported after a video emerged of him making racist comments, Kenya’s immigration department says,” according to the BBC. The man…was captured in a video calling all Kenyans, including President Uhuru Kenyatta, ‘monkeys.’” See also our SupChina video
  • “Kenyan police apologized on Thursday for briefly arresting journalists from Chinese state television’s international English channel China Global Television Network,” reports Reuters.