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It has signed such treaties with EU, Russia and India to strengthen these relationships and also to balance American power. It has done so by increasing trade with the countries of this region and also let these countries enjoy trade surplus with China. The Chinese message is that it is a conservative power and has no intention of upsetting the status quo. With these three diplomatic initiatives it has sort to ignore Japan and occasionally show some toughness. Chinese dragons are strongly associated with water.

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They are believed to be the rulers of moving bodies of water, such as waterfalls, rivers, or seas. There are four major Dragon Kings, representing each of the Four Seas: Since the days of conquering land territory for getting resources is over China realised that the only option available is to explore the sea bed for such resources and SCS fits that bill. Ostensibly, the recent developments in the South China Sea seem to stem from the mythological tales.

China has claimed that its right to the area goes back centuries to when the Paracel and Spratly island chains were regarded as integral parts of the Chinese nation. China was a relative latecomer in occupying some of the disputed islands in the s. There was little tension in the area as other claimant countries had also occupied some islands and the activities were generally deemed low key. However, by , China was actively reclaiming land, building artificial islands on disputed rocks and atolls to set up military and civilian facilities.

This activity was accompanied by Chinese vessels entering disputed waters and harassing fishing boats and other craft of coastal nations, signalling that the area was an exclusive zone of China. For China, this is because historically its strategic weakness has been here, where foreign vessels traversed before landing on and subduing the mainland. For the US, it is a matter of retaining its advantage. The move by China in the SCS indicates a sense of desperation to secure areas for resources that it requires to maintain an economic growth that will keep its restive population busy. It is therefore driven by internal domestic compulsions.

It is a handy political tool to generate aggressive nationalism. Along with whales , they are among the most completely aquatic of all air-breathing vertebrates. Some have gentle dispositions and bite only when provoked, but others are much more aggressive. Most sea snakes are completely aquatic and have adapted to their environments in many ways, the most characteristic of which is a paddle-like tail that has improved their swimming ability.

This has often caused the ventral scales to become reduced in size, even difficult to distinguish from the adjoining scales. Their lack of ventral scales means they have become virtually helpless on land, but as they live out their entire lifecycles at sea, they have no need to leave the water.

The only genus that has retained the enlarged ventral scales is the sea kraits, Laticauda , with only five species. These snakes are considered to be more primitive, as they still spend much of their time on land, where their ventral scales afford them the necessary grip. Since a snake's tongue can fulfill its olfactory function more easily under water, its action is short compared to that of terrestrial snake species.

Only the forked tips protrude from the mouth through a divided notch in the middle of the rostral scale. This is an important adaptation for an animal that must surface to breathe, but may have its head partially submerged when doing so. The lung has become very large and extends almost the entire length of the body, although the rear portion is thought to have developed to aid buoyancy rather than to exchange gases. The extended lung possibly also serves to store air for dives. Most species of the sea snakes are able to respire through the top of their skin. Like other land animals that have adapted to life in a marine environment, sea snakes ingest considerably more salt than their terrestrial relatives through their diets, and when seawater is inadvertently swallowed.

This meant they had to evolve a more effective means of regulating the salt concentration of their blood.

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In sea snakes, the posterior sublingual glands, located under and around the tongue sheath, evolved to allow them to expel salt with their tongue action. Scalation among sea snakes is highly variable. As opposed to terrestrial snake species that have imbricate scales to protect against abrasion, the scales of most pelagic sea snakes do not overlap. Reef-dwelling species, such as Aipysurus , do have imbricate scales to protect against the sharp coral. The scales themselves may be smooth, keeled , spiny, or granular, the latter often looking like warts. Pelamis has body scales that are "peg-like", while those on its tail are juxtaposed hexagonal plates.

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Vision , chemoreception tongue-flicking , and hearing are important senses for terrestrial snakes, but these stimuli become distorted in water. Very little is known about sea snake vision.

A study of retinal photoreceptors of spine-bellied, Lapemis curtus , and horned, Acalyptophis peronii , sea snakes found three classes of visual pigments all from cone cells. However, behavioural observations indicate that vision has a limited role for catching prey and mate selection, but sound i.

Similarly, vision appears to be of limited importance for finding mates. Shine experimented with applying skin secretions pheromones to snake-like objects to see if male turtle-headed sea snakes, Emydocephalus annulatus , are attracted to female pheromones. The olive sea snake, Aipysurus laevis , has been found to have photoreceptors in the skin of its tail, allowing it to detect light and presumably ensuring it is completely hidden, including its tail, inside coral holes during the day.

While other species have not been tested, A. Other unique senses, such as electromagnetic reception and pressure detection, [24] have been proposed for sea snakes, but scientific studies have yet to be performed to test these senses. Sea snakes are mostly confined to the warm tropical waters of the Indian Ocean and the western Pacific Ocean , [6] with a few species found well out into Oceania. Isolated specimens have been found as far north as San Clemente in the United States.

Sea snakes do not occur in the Atlantic Ocean. Sea snakes do not occur in the Red Sea , believed to be due to its increased salinity, so no danger exists of them crossing through the Suez Canal. A lack of salinity is also thought to be the reason why Pelamis has not crossed into the Caribbean via the Panama Canal. Despite their marine adaptations, most sea snakes prefer shallow waters near land, around islands, and especially somewhat sheltered waters, as well as near estuaries.

Sea snakes are generally reluctant to bite, [6] [7] and are usually considered to be mild-tempered, although variation is seen among species and individuals. Others, such as Laticauda spp. Sea snakes are often handled without concern by local fishermen who unravel and toss them back into the water barehanded, usually without getting bitten, when the snakes frequently become entangled in fishing nets. On land, their movements become very erratic.

They crawl awkwardly in these situations and can become quite aggressive, striking wildly at anything that moves, although they are unable to coil and strike in the manner of terrestrial snakes. Sea snakes appear to be active both day and night. In the morning, and sometimes late in the afternoon, they can be seen at the surface basking in the sunlight, and they dive when disturbed. Sea snakes have been sighted in huge numbers. Jack is a man of certain principles, but no gentleman. At least not in the traditional sense. He's got some rough edges that are hard to file down. On the other hand, he also possesses a childlike sense of wonder, which fuels his drive to search for a legendary lost island.

As for the others aboard Venture , they're a group of misfits who found each other, learned to rely on one another. Not just a crew, but a family. They are not unlike Larry Hama's G. They are not all American though. We have a good mixture of cultures on the boat. I love 'em all.

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You make dumb move in the states and you could be eating beans and rice for a month but, As Kel has mentioned, you take a wrong step at sea and you could pay for it with your life. Since its life on the open sea, I think they're always one misstep away from disaster. Compounding the danger of being an adventurer is the fact they're on the run from their former employer, a Chinese Admiral who's hell bent on getting Jack and the sub back. Not to mention they are in the middle of a war.

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May not always be on the front lines, but they can hear the gunfire from where they are. We try to dole out as much back story and character as possible - lay in the threat from their previous employer, Admiral Shi Tang. As well as the unsavory sorts you'd meet in backwater regions like this - pirates, crooks and other assorted ruffians.

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There'll be the dangers of jungle islands, with cannibals and headhunters, as well as intrigue of a spy drama - and that's mainly what our first arc pays out: Jack and company are forced to take a job working for American and British intelligence to help rescue an English agent trapped in Japanese-occupied China.

In doing so, they'll also run up against another old adversary - the captain of a Japanese destroyer they had run-ins with when they sailed for the Chinese navy. I can't promise it'll be every month - might be a gap here or there. But I've got a couple years worth of stories already planned out. I've mapped out a few adventures after our initial arc. Even started scripting issue 7. Every issues or so will be a new story arc.

Is the be-all end all for The Mercenary Sea or could you envision it moving forward to butting up against and into World War II itself? I see the final story arc, the final issues, leaving us right on the doorstep of America's entry into World War II. Would I be off the mark, and if not, what would you say about telling these kinds of stories in comics?

I am a big believer in using comics to tell any kind of story. I have my favorite "superhero" comics, for sure: But the majority of the comics I read are non-caped fare: And hey, I'm a huge fan of classic war movies. I'm definitely finding some inspiration in those. It fits well into the Combat genre but at its core it's an adventure story. You are going to want to break out your G. Joes after you read it. Twitter activity Tweets by Newsarama.