China Now Threatens Britain With WAR Over A Decision To Send Aircraft Carriers To SCS.

It seems that after India, Britain has now come in the firing line of the hawkish Chinese state media. The reason is another territorial dispute – the South China Sea – where China is flexing its muscles, like it’s trying to do with India in the Doklam dispute. Britain has announced it will send its two aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth – the largest in the British fleet – and HMS Prince of Wales to the South China Sea. It does so in solidarity with the international community’s pledge to ensure freedom in navigation operations in international waters, and to counter China’s attempts to dominate the area by building artificial islands and militarising it with warships and fighter jets. An editorial in the official Chinese publication Global Times, which regularly threatens India of war over the India-China Doklam plateau border standoff, has warned Britain that sending warships to the South China Sea would be a provocation that would force China to take retaliatory measures. Questioning the British motive behind the move, the editorial says “it is no longer 1840 and there are no longer any British colonies in East Asia” and that Britain has wrongly taken this decision under Australian and American influence. It describes the “US as a police officer, Australia as its assistant and the UK as its accomplice.”

China’s activities in SCS ‘clear and present danger’ to PH security: Golez

MANILA – China’s island-building and military activities in the South China Sea are a “clear and present danger” to the Philippines’ national security, warned former National Security Adviser Roilo Golez. In an interview on ANC’s Early Edition on Thursday, Golez said China can, at any time, deploy combat aircraft that can easily reach the Philippines and Vietnam. Golez said a lot of people are projecting that China can deploy a squadron of fighter jets in Mischief Reef, Fiery Cross Reef, and Subi Reef, which have 3-kilometer runways that can accommodate “all the aircraft and the inventory of China.” “The moment those runways are activated, the moment these fighter jets are deployed there…all these aircraft would have a radius that would cover the entire Philippines, Borneo, and the whole of Vietnam,” he told ANC’s Early Edition. “That to me is a clear and present danger to our national security,” he added.

Show ‘utmost respect’ for law of seas: India on SCS row

“India believes that States should resolve disputes through peaceful means without threat or use of force and exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that could complicate or escalate disputes affecting peace and stability,” he said. Identifying maritime cooperation as a key priority, India on Tuesday called for all stakeholders in the South China Sea issue to show “utmost respect” for the U.N. body that establishes the international legal order of the seas and oceans as it sought peaceful resolution of the dispute. Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh described the sea lanes of communication passing through the South China Sea as “critical for peace, stability, prosperity and development” and appealed to all parties in the matter to avoid any activity that could escalate tensions. “India believes that States should resolve disputes through peaceful means without threat or use of force and exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that could complicate or escalate disputes affecting peace and stability,” he said, without naming any country. “India has noted the Award of the Arbitral Tribunal constituted under Annex VII of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of Sea (UNCLOS) in the matter concerning the Philippines and China. “As a State Party to UNCLOS, India urges all parties to show utmost respect for the UNCLOS, which establishes the international legal order of the seas and oceans,” he told the 14th ASEAN—India Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Vientiane, Laos, referring to the tribunal’s July 12 rejection of Beijing’s claim over the strategic waters.

Traditional fishing: A game changer in the SCS?

Indonesia’s recent diplomatic protest to China over the resumption of alleged illegal trans-border fishing near the waters of the Natuna Islands marks a new episode of conflict management in the South China Sea. The scholar Ann Marie Murphy in 2014 predicted the unavoidable “game changer” in the South China Sea after Indonesia officially protested China’s “nine-dash line” map at the UN in 2010 and requested China’s clarification. Up until the recent incident, China never replied to this request. China unilaterally declared their map in 2009. Our Defense Ministry alerted everyone to the potential conflict near Natuna waters by making the area a priority for naval patrol. Following the incident of March 19, Jakarta is clearly unable to maintain its neutral position as a non-claimant; neither can it aspire further to be an independent mediator in the conflict over the South China Sea. On March 19, a Chinese coast guard vessel was reported to have intentionally hit the Chinese fishing boat Kway Fey to stop it from being pulled by the Indonesian authority’s vessel to Indonesian shores. The KM Kway Fey was towed and its crew was transferred to Indonesia’s KP Hiu 11 by a patrol from the Indonesian Navy; the Chinese boat’s crew was apprehended for illegal fishing in Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone, according to the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry. Similar incidents occurred in 2013 and in 2010 when a Chinese coast guard boat, the Yuzheng 311, reportedly pointed a machine gun at an Indonesian patrol boat to make it release a Chinese fishing boat apprehended for illegal fishing. In response to Jakarta’s protest the Chinese Foreign Ministry reaffirmed official recognition of Indonesian sovereignty over the Natuna Islands but insisted its fishermen were conducting “normal” operations in their “traditional fishing grounds”. The current firm position of Indonesia should not be a surprise. The maritime axis doctrine introduced by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has signaled the focus of Indonesian foreign policy on maritime issues, especially regarding illegal and unreported trans-border fishing. Minister Susi Pudjiastuti’s policy of burning boats found to be guilty of such practices within Indonesian waters is strongly supported by the Navy, following the increased military budget as promised by Jokowi’s administration. Keyuan Zou, an expert in international law, wrote that China’s maritime vision developed especially after the Declaration of its Territorial Sea on Sept. 4, 1958 and China’s participation at the Third UN Conference on the Law of the Sea in 1971.

Vietnam-Philippines port call amid concern over China’s SCS airstrip

Late last week, an IHS Jane’s report corroborated claims that China was embarking on an island-building project in the South China Sea. Based on satellite imagery, Jane’s reported that China was building an airstrip-capable island on Fiery Cross Reef, a group of three reefs in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. China claims the territory as part of Hainan province’s Sansha prefecture and exerts de facto control over the area. The reef’s central location in the broader South China Sea renders it a strategic position for an island-based airstrip. The Jane‘s report substantiates speculation earlier this year that China was constructing an airstrip on a man-made island in the South China Sea. Based on the most recent satellite imagery, Jane’s notes that “Chinese dredgers have created a land mass that is almost the entire length of the reef.” Fiery Cross Reef is an underwater reef, but China is looking to develop a new island that is roughly 3 km long and 200 to 300 m wide — just wide enough for a functional airstrip. The strategic advantages of an airstrips in the middle of the South China Sea include shorter resupply routes for deployed PLAN patrols, a base for reconnaissance aircraft and unmanned system, and a potential permanent installation for anti-submarine warfare equipment including undersea radar arrays. For China, this island on Fiery Cross Reef could fulfill the strategic role of an “unsinkable aircraft carrier.” As Beijing continues to raise the stakes in the South China Sea, developments such as this airstrip will cause concern among the other claimants.   Read more:

Vietnam-Philippines port call amid concern over China’s SCS airstrip

In what was the first ever port call between the countries, two Vietnamese frigates visited the Philippines on Tuesday. An unnamed Filipino naval officer said the two countries would hold peaceful joint patrols and operations in the Spratlys. But the timing of the maiden port call was clear. It coincides with the first anniversary of China’s declaration of an Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) over parts of the East China Sea, including the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. Ever since, Southeast Asian states have worried about Beijing’s intentions for its territorial disputes in the South China Sea. The year seems to have only drawn us closer to a major incident, miscalculation or serious conflict in the South China Sea. Yet there is little unity from the ASEAN bloc, despite much discussion. The ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting in May managed a joint communiqué expressing ‘serious concerns’ (the adjective was added at Vietnam’s insistence and only after much debate). The November ASEAN Summit statement managed to declare that ‘we remain concerned’, with a further affirmation of ‘the importance of maintaining peace and stability’ including the ‘freedom of navigation in and over-flight above the South China Sea’. A leaked pre-Summit draft document cited progress on the Code of Conduct on the South China Sea, but with no firm agreement on the decade-long process of negotiation.  Read more:

China’s SCS claim threatens RI sovereignty

Has China abandoned its policy of resolving the contentious South China Sea (SCS) issue through peaceful means? China’s recent big brother behavior and unilateral military measures like naval blockades and xenophobic rhetoric have all given the impression that overconfident China is increasingly shedding its soft-power image in resolving both the East China Sea and SCS disputes. China — the world’s second largest economy — has already aroused deep suspicions among its neighbors by increasing its defense budget in 2014 by 12 percent to US$132 billion, making it second in the world only to the US’s defense spending of $528 billion. China’s recent measures such as new fisheries laws, the establishment of an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea and, most recently, a naval blockade around Second Thomas Shoal, known in China as the Ren’ai Reef and in the Philippines as Ayungin — which is in the SCS — have aggravated the fears.   Read more:



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The ongoing disputes in the South China Sea (SCS) have been regarded as one of the most enduring and complicated regional conflicts in the Asia-Pacific. The disputes involve China along with several states in the region and encompass issues such as overlapping territorial claims and access to critical resources like energy and fisheries. Within this turbulent environment, India has been expanding its influence through implementing its Look East Policy (LEP). This has not been taken well by China, who has for years tried to curb New Delhi’s growing involvement in the SCS. India’s decision to involve itself in such a complex environment, even at the risk of provoking its giant neighbor, demonstrates the significance it places on the region and its sea lanes. The SCS is located in a region of great strategic interest for India. Geographically, it connects the Indian Ocean and the East China Sea via the Malacca Straits, which is one of the busiest sea lanes in the world. This important waterway serves as a vital economic artery for the South Asian state. Up to 97 percent of India’s total international trade volume is sea-borne, half of which, passes through the straits. In addition, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) constitutes one of India’s largest trade partners, with total trade valued at $71 billion in 2016/2017. Energy is another component of India’s interest in the SCS. In 2015, India became the third largest oil consumer in the world, with industry experts predicting that its energy consumption would continue to grow by 4.2 percent annually. Already importing up to 80 percent of its total oil requirements, India will likely need to secure new energy sources as domestic demand rises. The potential energy deposits in the SCS have thus drawn New Delhi’s attention. In 2013, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimated the region to contain up to 11 billion barrels of oil and 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in reserves. As such, India has been continually involved in offshore energy development projects in the SCS since the early 1990s, bidding for new oil and gas blocks and conducting oil exploration in the region. The region’s economic importance translates into national security interests for New Delhi. With half of its maritime trade passing through the Malacca Straits, any instability in the SCS would adversely affect the shipping lanes and have a knock-on effect on India’s economy. Similarly, should a potentially hostile power come to control this region, it could threaten India’s access to this vital waterway. New Delhi’s involvement in the SCS thus, focuses on three objectives. First, to ensure peace and stability in the region and keep the vital sea lanes open; second, to maintain cordial relations with regional powers; and third, to ensure that no potentially aggressive external power comes to dominate the region. Through the LEP, New Delhi has pursued these objectives by seeking to intensify its engagement with ASEAN states. Besides increased economic engagement, strategic cooperation was expanded through joint naval exercises, generous lines of credit, military training, and sales of military hardware with regional states. Moreover, the enhanced presence of Indian military assets in the area not only served to protect the sea lanes, but also provided ‘domain awareness’ of potential regional developments.