Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

China blasts Obama over military 'muscle' in South China Sea
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) April 10, 2015

Taiwanese activists rally to keep 'Sunflower' spirit alive
Taipei (AFP) April 10, 2015 - Taiwanese rallied Friday to mark the anniversary of the end of the "Sunflower Movement", which saw demonstrators occupy parliament for more than three weeks in a move that shook warming relations with Beijing.

Protesters linked hands and shouted slogans urging the government to "return power to the people" as they circled the parliament in Taipei in the latest show of opposition to increasing mainland influence.

Fears that China is extending its control over Taiwan have been growing after a thaw in relations under current President Ma Ying-jeou, whose Beijing-friendly Kuomintang party suffered its worst ever showing in local polls in November.

Ma last week said ties with China have "returned to normal" since protesters took over parliament last year to show their anger at a planned trade pact they argued placed the island under Beijing's sway.

Police said around 1,000 people had turned out for Friday's protest, which came after hundreds rallied last month to mark the beginning of the occupation and several other wildfire demonstrations in recent weeks.

"I think Taiwan society has changed after the 'Sunflower Movement' and its impact continues to spread. I believe this force of change will help Taiwan move towards a positive direction," said Huang Kuo-chang, a scholar and prominent leader of the movement.

"The people will rise again if the Ma government (... hurts) Taiwan's national dignity or disregards the people's opinions," he said.

Demonstrators are pushing for revisions to the island's referendum law so that major controversial issues can more easily be put to a public vote, as well as a law to make it easier to oust elected officials deemed unfit for office.

The sunflower symbolises a desire to bring issues to light.

There have also a string of protests against Taiwan's bid to join the Beijing-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and over controversial new Chinese flight routes over the Taiwan Strait.

China and Taiwan split in 1949 after a civil war, but Beijing still considers the self-ruled island part of its territory awaiting reunification. It has not ruled out using force should Taipei declare independence.

While the thaw in ties has seen a boost to trade and tourism, concerns over Chinese influence have led to a public backlash.

"I think the government has done many things that many people disapproved of such as under-the-table negotiations for the service trade deal," said high school student Lin Yu-tung.

"The people are the masters and we should have a say in major issues."

The "Sunflower Movement" activists that occupied parliament complained the trade pact -- one of several agreements signed with Beijing since Ma came to power in 2008 -- was agreed in secret and would leave the island vulnerable to Chinese influence.

It remains on hold pending an oversight bill, a key demand of protesters to guard against secret deals.

Beijing hit back Friday at US President Barack Obama's criticism of Chinese construction in the disputed South China Sea, arguing that it is Washington that has greater military "muscle".

The Chinese foreign ministry's retort came a day after Obama warned that Beijing was "using its sheer size and muscle to force countries into subordinate positions", amid reports of controversial Chinese land reclamation efforts.

"The US leader talked about China's 'sheer size and muscle', but one can also see clearly who has the biggest size and muscle in the world," foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular briefing.

She called on Washington to "genuinely make efforts to safeguard peace and stability" in the region.

Beijing asserts sovereignty over most of the South China Sea, including areas near the coasts of other states, using a line that first appeared on Chinese maps in the 1940s.

The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan all have overlapping claims.

Newly-released satellite images on the website of the US-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) think tank show a flotilla of Chinese vessels dredging sand onto a feature known as Mischief Reef.

Before-and-after images of other outcrops in the Spratly Islands show aircraft runways appearing from jungle, smooth-sided solid masses where there once was coral and man-made harbours replacing natural reefs.

Analysts say the pictures show how China is attempting to create "facts in the water" to bolster its territorial claim.

Manila, among the most vocal critics of Beijing's actions in the region, on Friday appealed to the international community to intervene conceding it and other countries were powerless to stop China's construction of the artificial islands.

"We are asking the international community to tell China that what it is doing is wrong, and to ask China to stop this reclamation work," Philippine foreign affairs spokesman Charles Jose told AFP.

China's declared defence budget of 886.9 billion yuan ($142.9 billion) this year is 55 times the Philippines' 115.5 billion pesos ($2.6 billion).

Manila believes Beijing is rushing the reclamation to undermine a United Nations ruling expected next year on a Philippine challenge to its claims, Jose said.

"We think China has a plan and they think they have the means to do it and they can actually do it. So that's why they're doing it," he said.

On Thursday, Obama waded into the debate, telling a town hall meeting during a visit to Jamaica that Beijing should not push around countries with which it is in dispute in the South China Sea.

"Just because the Philippines or Vietnam are not as large as China doesn't mean that they can just be elbowed aside," Obama said.

The United States has no claim of its own in the region, but broadly supports its Asian allies against Chinese pressure and has asserted that freedom of navigation is in its national interest.

Hua on Friday maintained that China has maintained "security and peace" in the region and was working with neighbouring countries.

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only


Related Links
Learn about the Superpowers of the 21st Century at
Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

China turns Nationalist veterans from outcasts to propaganda heroes
Mangshi, China (AFP) April 8, 2015
For decades after World War II Nationalist soldier Zeng Hui was ostracised by China's Communist authorities, despite having fought against arch-enemy Japan. But, at more than 100 years old, he has been brought back into the fold as Beijing seeks unity against Tokyo. In a wheelchair, military decorations pinned to his chest, the centenarian struggles to list the battles in which he fough ... read more

Will the moon's first inhabitants live in giant lava tubes?

Soft Landing on the Moon an Extraordinary Challenge

Stop blaming the moon

Extent of Moon's giant volcanic eruption is revealed

More evidence for groundwater on Mars

Scars on Mars from 2012 Rover Landing Fade - Usually

Bill Nye and others discussing taking humans to Mars by 2033

Media Spun Up on NASA Cutting-edge Mars Landing Technology

Air Scrubber Plus Brings Space Age Technology Down To Earth

NASA Announces New Partnerships with Industry for Deep-Space Skills

A Year in Space

Russia to Consider Training First Guatemalan Cosmonaut

Chinese scientists mull power station in space

China completes second test on new carrier rocket's power system

China's Yutu rover reveals Moon's "complex" geological history

China's Space Laboratory Still Cloaked

NASA drives future discoveries with new ISS information system

Cosmonauts Take Tablet Computer Into Space

Russia announces plan to build new space station with NASA

Soyuz spacecraft docks at ISS for year-long mission

Russia to Launch Nine Rockets Into Space in April-June

Soyuz Installed at Baikonur, Expected to Launch Wednesday

Soyuz ready March 27 flight to deploy two Galileo navsats

UAE Moves to Purchase Russian Spacecraft Launch Platform

Earthlike 'Star Wars' Tatooines may be common

Planets in the habitable zone around most stars, calculate researchers

Our Solar System May Have Once Harbored Super-Earths

SOFIA Finds Missing Link Between Supernovae and Planet Formation

Raytheon expands radar production facility

Upgrade in works for Norway's counter-battery radar

Terrain-following autopilot capability eyed for Rafale fighters

A new breakthrough in thermoelectric materials

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.