Monthly Archives: May 2015

South China Sea dispute: Australia says countries must sign code of conduct

Australia has urged China and south-east Asian countries squabbling over territory in the South China Sea to sign a code of conduct immediately. The defence minister, Kevin Andrews, issued a veiled swipe at China during a speech to an Asia Pacific security summit in Singapore on Sunday. “We are particularly concerned at the prospect of militarisation of artificial structures,” Andrews told the summit, a reference to reports China had moved heavy weapons onto contested man-made islands a month ago. China maintains it has sovereignty over most of the South China Sea, which is a major global shipping route and reportedly has oil and gas reserves. It has ramped up construction of artificial islands in recent months, in a move some experts believe is aimed at bolstering its territorial claims. Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan and Brunei also claim parts of the sea. Andrews said Australia was opposed to “coercive or unilateral actions” and hit out at “any large scale land reclamation activity by claimants”.   Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/may/31/south-china-sea-dispute-australia-says-countries-must-sign-code-of-conduct

South China Sea: Philippines says maritime dispute its ‘most pressing security concern’

The Philippines says tension with China over disputed islands in the South China Sea is the country’s most pressing security concern. China claims most of the islands in the South China Sea, putting it at odds with other claimants like the Philippines and Vietnam, which are backed by the US. The dispute has come to a head this week amid threat and counter-threat between the US and China as Beijing pledged to strengthen its naval defences. Media player: “Space” to play, “M” to mute, “left” and “right” to seek. At a Philippines military forum on the dispute last week, Philippines undersecretary for foreign affairs policy Evan Garcia told a group of visiting international journalists that the South China Sea dispute needed to be dealt with. “The Philippines is playing the longest catch up game,” he said. “We are focusing immediately on acquiring and building up our capabilities that we should have done before … so we can protect what’s ours.” Read more: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-29/philippines-says-s-china-sea-dispute-biggest-security-concern/6508642  

Beijing’s Belt and Road means overseas military bases

China’s ninth defense white paper published on May 26 openly declared that overseas military bases will be necessary to carry out the New Economic Silk Road Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road (“Belt and Road”) initiatives, according to Chinese political analyst Mao Yulin in an article for Duowei News, a media outlet operated by overseas Chinese. Mao said the publication of the white paper lays down the definition of China’s strategy of active defense for the first time. The paper stated that pure defensive thinking can no longer protect or defend China’s territorial integrity. Facing potential conflicts over the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean, China needs a blue-water navy to operate in the open seas, it said. Sticking to a brown-water navy established to protect the nation’s coastline is simply outdated, according to Mao. The white paper discussed more about China’s overseas interests than any other document published previously. “It is necessary for China to develop a modern maritime military force structure commensurate with its national security and development interests, safeguard its national sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, protect the security of strategic sea lines of communication and overseas interests, and participate in international maritime cooperation,” the white paper said.   Read more: http://www.wantchinatimes.com/news-subclass-cnt.aspx?id=20150531000044&cid=1101

China issues six-point response to US remark on South China Sea issue

BEIJING – China has rejected accusations by Ashton Carter that China’s actions in the South China Sea are “out of step” with international rules. The Chinese Foreign Ministry issued a six-point response on Saturday. Spokeswoman Hua Chunying said China’s sovereignty and rights in the area have a historical foundation, and do not require land reclamation as justification. Second, construction on the Nansha islands – also called the Spratly islands by some countries- are within Chinese sovereignty and does not target any country. The spokeswoman explained that China is sticking to its path of peaceful development and its defensive security policy. Third, Chinese construction is based on international needs and fulfils the responsibility and obligation China shoulders as a big nation. Hua Chunying said the construction will better serve regional countries for their sailing, disaster relief and fishing in the area.   Read more: http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2015-05/31/content_20870320.htm

US to China: Stop it now

SINGAPORE—The United States on Saturday called for an “immediate and lasting halt” to reclamation works in disputed waters in the South China Sea, saying Beijing’s behavior in the area was “out of step” with international norms. “First, we want a peaceful resolution of all disputes. To that end, there should be an immediate and lasting halt to land reclamation by all claimants,” US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told a high-level security conference in Singapore. “We also oppose any further militarization of disputed features,” he said, stressing that US forces would continue entering what he called international waters and airspace in the tense region. Read more: http://globalnation.inquirer.net/123716/us-demands-immediate-halt-to-south-china-sea-reclamations#ixzz3bmqWUwoT

China is on the wrong side of history

They say history is a great teacher — but only to those who are willing to learn. China’s continuing bullheadedness in building artificial islands in the disputed maritime territories in the South China Sea is growing more and more reminiscent of Adolf Hitler’s maneuvers before the outbreak of World War II, moving into Czechoslovakia on the pretext that Germany was reclaiming and protecting what was “rightfully” hers. Hitler’s bellicose attitude initially worked because leaders like Neville Chamberlain mistakenly thought leaving Hitler alone would pacify him — but it only fed the aggression because he soon started moving into other territories across Europe. China’s systematic activities are making Asian nations — even those on more friendly terms with her — wary about the fallout and its impact on the balance of security in the region. Worldwide opinion has already condemned China’s delusion that it is the rightful owner of the whole South China Sea by virtue of its highly-debatable “nine-dash line” and its own historical version that many experts say is shot full of inaccuracies, if not fiction. Trying to alter international laws and established maritime demarcations is only creating more tension, especially when the Chinese Navy tried to “shoo away” a US Navy surveillance aircraft flying in international airspace over international waters. Read more: http://www.philstar.com/opinion/2015/05/31/1460634/china-wrong-side-history

South China Sea Buildup Benefits Asia, Says Beijing

SINGAPORE—A senior Chinese naval commander has claimed new islands his country is building in the South China Sea will benefit the region, while stressing that such activities “fall well within the scope of China’s sovereignty.” Read more: http://www.wsj.com/articles/chinese-military-official-defends-island-building-in-south-china-sea-1433045698

Philippines, US to set up South China Sea defense line

The Philippines and the United States are putting up a defensive line meant to prevent China from punching through to the Pacific and threatening American military real estate in Guam, analysts say. The US will be able to use at least eight military bases in the Philippines where it can rotate its troops, planes and ships, under a 10-year defense pact signed in April last year. Two of these bases will give the US rapid access to the Spratly archipelago in the South China Sea, where China is digging in with a chain of island-fortresses. The other bases are listening posts and staging areas for the US to monitor and limit China’s movements. Plans are being drawn up in Washington to directly contest – with warships and aircraft – Beijing’s territorial claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, and deter China’s military from crossing to the Pacific, analysts say. China has created over 800ha of land since last year on seven reefs in the Spratlys in the South China Sea, parts of which are also claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Taiwan and Malaysia. “The Americans know they are the ultimate goal here. Once the Chinese consolidate in the Spratlys and they punch through, then they’ll go to the second island chain: Guam,” Jose Custodio, a consultant of the Philippine military and a former adviser to a US defense company working for the US Pacific Command, told The Straits Times. Guam is the home port of a US submarine squadron and a strategic base of the US Seventh Fleet operating in the Pacific. Read more: http://globalnation.inquirer.net/123749/philippines-us-to-set-up-south-china-sea-defense-line#ixzz3bmLi8RjS

China, U.S. tone down rhetoric but far from South China Sea solution

After a months-long row over Beijing’s island-building in the South China Sea, the United States and China were relatively restrained at Asia’s top security forum this weekend, but no closer to any solution. U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter told the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore that China was threatening security in the region with its maritime construction work, but acknowledged other claimant countries to the disputed sea were also at fault. “There’s no progress in the South China Sea (dispute), but the atmosphere has calmed a bit, thanks to reasonable consideration by all parties,” said Major General Jin Yinan of China’s National Defense University, a delegate at the conference. “The U.S. has adjusted its stance a little.” Admiral Sun Jianguo, a deputy chief of staff of the People’s Liberation Army who headed the Chinese delegation, refrained from singling out the United States for criticism in his address and emphasized China’s commitment to peaceful relations.     Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/05/31/us-asia-security-china-idUSKBN0OG02320150531

South China Sea dispute: Australia says countries must sign code of conduct

Australia has urged China and south-east Asian countries squabbling over territory in the South China Sea to sign a code of conduct immediately. The defence minister, Kevin Andrews, issued a veiled swipe at China during a speech to an Asia Pacific security summit in Singapore on Sunday. “We are particularly concerned at the prospect of militarisation of artificial structures,” Andrews told the summit, a reference to reports China had moved heavy weapons onto contested man-made islands a month ago. China maintains it has sovereignty over most of the South China Sea, which is a major global shipping route and reportedly has oil and gas reserves. It has ramped up construction of artificial islands in recent months, in a move some experts believe is aimed at bolstering its territorial claims.   Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/may/31/south-china-sea-dispute-australia-says-countries-must-sign-code-of-conduct