In recent decades, China has more than once demonstrated its territorial claims to adjacent states — the Soviet Union, the Country of the Rising Sun, Pakistan, Vietnam, India, etc.
January 15, 1974 — a special day in the history of the conflict in the South China Sea. Exactly 40 years ago, at dawn on the island Robert, Mani, Duncan and Drumont group Croissant Paracel archipelago began to disembark Chinese «fishermen». In this clear and calm morning they sailed to these islands could not then, to save it from the storm, or the right to conduct repairs. Their goal was to, pick up on these tiny islands and waterless Vietnamese (when they were under the control of South Vietnam) and China’s flag in order to provoke a conflict situation.
They acted tested in 1959 scenario — then too Chinese «fishermen» landed on these islands, and even raised the Chinese flag, but at the first occurrence of the South Vietnamese border, they all had to quickly retreat. But this time, the situation began to develop in a very different scenario. When the South Vietnamese authorities found that arrived «fishermen» began to build outbuildings and raised municipal flags of China on the islands Robert, Mani, Duncan and Drumont a symbol of sovereignty over them, he tried to fight back by sending a group of border guards. As a result, on January 16-17, «fishermen» without the introduction of guns were expelled from the islands of the South Vietnamese Robert Mani and marine protection, which tore the flags of China.
But further action taken quite different than previously, turnover: 17 January in the area of conflict were targeted previously concentrated in Paracel Chinese warships with marines. January 19 they began shelling the islands Robert, Monya and Pattl, and on January 20 and their peninsula Duncan was planted Chinese troops. For a day earlier was captured and Drumont peninsula, where the South Vietnamese were ambushed by the Chinese military. Defence islands was rapidly suppressed, because the balance of forces in the conflict was obvious unequal with a huge advantage the Chinese side. Chinese navy ruled the sea and after several clashes pushed South Vietnamese patrol boats from the islands. With all this to some reports, both sides have lost one vessel.
Samples of the South Vietnamese regime to find support among South American military and political control have failed. South American ships blankly watched the defeat of their own troops nedavneshnego ally, supporting only the evacuation of several island garrisons. So, in just a few days on the islands of the military operation has been completed, and by evening January 20, 1974 Beijing established full control over all the Paracel archipelago.
Then in January 1974, this event was short-lived enthusiasm in the center of the world society. It is clear: Americans do not want to lure the brutal actions of Beijing attention because they specifically on the idea and had to hold his own South Vietnamese allies. But in 1971, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger visited Beijing, and in 1972, China and the U.S. signed the Shanghai joint communique, which ushered in an era of cooperation 2-states in the confrontation of the «Soviet threat». Americans have seen in China, an ally in the «cold war» against the Soviet Union, and Beijing’s new deal with the U.S. not only opened the way out of the international isolation and a host of other benefits, and provide suitable conditions for the solution of the conflict in the Paracel Islands by military.
PRC authorities have rightly believed that the prospects of joint warfare USSR is much more important to Washington than the fate of several small and desert islands in the South China Sea, and for this reason the Americans «close their eyes» to the military action in Beijing. And so it happened. And if we consider the whole course of events, it can be said that China has acted with the consent of the U.S. taciturn. Because, in the American press, and means and global media disk imaging tried as much as possible faster and less noticeable to comment on these actions.
Now quite clear that these military confrontations that can rightfully be called instant war had not even completely local and even regional importance. In a sense, they were one of the first indications of China’s return to active outdoor policies to then to join the «heaven» all those areas that were Tipo it lost during the so-called historical powerlessness of China in the first half of XIX and XX century. In addition, the attack and capture Paracel became the first military conflict in the history of disputes over the islands of the South China Sea. Flights bombers and fire vehicles showed that the controversy surrounding the islands in the South China Sea defected from the latent and mostly virtual state, so to speak of the conflict on the cards, the real «hot conflict.»
China and territorial conflicts
Analyzing now curious to follow these steps and how painstakingly preparing China to the military seizure of the islands. Received, apparently in 1972, a tacit agreement Yankees to capture islands in Beijing in no hurry with your surgery and found a good excuse to start anger. We found it, when the government of South Vietnam in September 1973, decided to include the Spratly and Paracel Islands in the province of Fyoktuy. China did not immediately stated its position on this decision, the South Vietnamese government. Almost four months training lasted military operation, and all this time the Foreign Ministry of China remained silent. Only when all was ready for the fleeting military operation in Beijing remembered September decision of South Vietnam, and China’s Foreign Ministry issued a formal protest against such «attacks on its territory.» Further action as we already know, evolved quickly.
Operation to capture Paracel in Beijing before and at the moment does not refer to the other as the restoration of the historical borders of China, the liberation of the territories historically belonged to China. But Beijing’s historical claims itself a little unclear on the contrary, there are many documents that in fact the island already in the XIX century were part of Vietnam. It is clear that the founder of the Nguyen Dynasty ruler Zyalong and his successors showed active enthusiasm and Paracel and Spratly to. At the direction of the governor Zyalonga, for example, in 1815-1816 gg. focused special expedition to survey the Paracel archipelago and the sea routes to nem1. In 1834-1836 years. Vietnamese ruler Minh Mang instructed his bureaucrats to conduct surveying each of the Paracel Islands archipelago and prepare an overview of the surrounding waters, make maps, build temples and put signs on the islands to indicate their affiliation Vietnam. In 1847, Thieu Chi ruler endorsed the report of the Ministry of Public Works, in which states as follows: «… since the area is Hoangsha in our territorial waters, we must, according to the general rules, send in warships to identify sea routes» 2. During the period of French colonial rule in Vietnam, these islands were part of the Indochinese in Alliance, uniting then Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.
So read about historical rights of China on the Paracel very difficult. Faster fundamentally different — in Beijing and in the 70s, and now well aware of fundamental strategic importance for the islands and military control in the South China Sea, and in terms of exploitation of fish supplies, and in the study of the offshore areas for oil and gas. In addition capture Paracel changed the geopolitical situation in the entire region of South-East Asia. China opened a smooth road further south to the Spratlys. Specifically, they have become the latest goal after Paracel Chinese foreign policy and military efforts. Back in July 1977, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Huang Hua said the talks Philippine representatives that «Chinese territory stretches south to James aground near Sarawak (Malaysia) … You will be able to conduct exploration of minerals, as you wish. But when the time comes, we will select these islands. Then there will be no need to negotiate, as these islands belong to China has long … «.
These words of the Chinese minister of foreign affairs were in some sense prophetic. Already in the second half of the 80s Chinese warships appeared on the far south near the Spratly Islands, and the Chinese Marines seized several fundamental Fri support in this area of the world. In 1995, they had gone further and put under his control Mischif reefs located near the Philippine island of Palawan. This operation, like many following sample PRC to expand its presence in the Spratly Islands, time and again put China and the Philippines on the brink of a true war.
Now, 40 years after the events described, we can confidently say that a little-known instant war on distant islands, has not found at the time of any broad international condemnation or even harsh debate was essentially a prelude to modern historical era, when the conflict in the South China Sea reincarnated from bilateral to multilateral connecting the Philippines, and later in the global, when the conflict became more intense the United States to intervene. All this snowballing political process that began after the capture of China Paracel is further proof of the well-known observation that from time to time even a small pebble can cause a full-scale rockfall.