Tag Archives: Mutual Defense

How China stealthily built a ‘kill chain’ in the South China Sea

The last year has seen some unusual construction going on in the South China Sea. China has been building small islands from existing reefs with the purpose of placing military bases — including airfields — on them. These new islands will give China additional military presence in the region, and reinforce Beijing’s claims on a region rich in fisheries and potentially wealthy in natural gas. The islands are in effect permanent aircraft carriers — on station 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In military terminology, China’s island outposts are part of a “kill chain,” the web of sensors on manned and unmanned aircraft, spy satellites, surface ships, and submarines stretching all the way back to Beijing. In the event of a war, China’s kill chain could locate, identify, and track enemy ships — especially big ones like aircraft carriers — and proceed to sink them. But Beijing’s island bases are much more vulnerable than a moving carrier. In the event of an actual shooting war, these tiny island outposts wouldn’t likely survive for more than a few hours. They’re permanent and quite useful in peacetime, and temporarily dangerous — and extremely short-lived — in wartime. Take, for example, Fiery Cross Reef.   Read more: http://theweek.com/articles/553700/how-china-stealthily-built-kill-chain-south-china-sea

From Words to Action in the South China Sea – Updated 5/22

– China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman says U.S. actions in the South China Sea “‘irresponsible, dangerous” and that China’s military drove away the U.S. military aircraft. – A Pentagon spokesman says the P-8 and naval vessels have not yet gone within 12nm of the islands, but said “that would be the next step.” – The Washington Free Beacon also reports US officials as saying “China tried to electronically jam U.S. drone flights over the South China Sea in a bid to thwart spying on disputed island military construction.” ——————————————————————— InterceptLast week the Wall Street Journal reported that the United States was considering sending U.S. air and naval assets to conduct freedom of navigation (FoN) transits around China’s artificial islands in the South China Sea, specifically the Spratlys – claimed in part or in whole by six nations. Today, CNN released exclusive footage from just such a flight, as a P-8 may have flown within the claimed 12nm of territorial airspace of three of the islands (more on that below), including Fiery Cross Reef and Mischief Reef. I highly recommend watching the video to gain a greater appreciation of the sort of interaction that is likely to occur with increasing regularity, and to see the dredging in action that CSIS’ Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative has so ably documented through overhead satellite imagery [full disclosure: I’ve contributed to the site in the past]. interphoto_1428568832One of the questions bedeviling the maritime security community over the past several years has been how to respond to China’s “salami slicing” actions – a question that took on new urgency with the previous year’s massive surge in reclamation efforts in the South China Sea. Among others, the Center for a New American Security (CNAS)’s excellent Maritime Strategy Series included several reports devoted to developing options to provide answers for policy makers. Unfortunately, much of the analysis more broadly has struggled to move from generalities of the need to “impose costs” or, conversely, to “develop cooperative strategies” to the specifics of application. And, for those that did, there had until now been little evidence of words being translated into action.   Read more: http://cimsec.org/from-words-to-action-in-the-south-china-sea/16616

China and U.S. Navy Have Had Two Confrontations in South China Sea This Week

(Bloomberg) — China asserted the right to maintain security over islands it’s building in the South China Sea, after the country’s navy ordered a U.S. surveillance plane to leave the area. Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Thursday that China has sovereignty over the artificial islands it’s created through land reclamation in the Spratly chain. The country is “entitled to the surveillance over related airspace and sea areas so as to prevent maritime and airspace accidents and situations that could harm China’s national security,” Hong said at a news briefing in Beijing. The Chinese navy issued eight warnings Wednesday to a U.S. P8-A Poseidon conducting surveillance flights over the islands, according to the CNN, which was aboard the plane. A radio message received by the U.S. plane said: “This is Chinese navy. You are approaching our military alert zone. Leave immediately.” The P8 crew responded that the aircraft was flying through international airspace, the report said. While saying he had no details about the exchange, Hong called on countries “to respect China’s sovereignty over the South China Sea and avoid actions that may complicate and intensify controversies.” Read more: http://gcaptain.com/china-and-u-s-navy-have-had-two-confrontations-in-south-china-sea-this-week/

Exclusive: China warns U.S. surveillance plane

Above the South China Sea (CNN)The Chinese navy issued warnings eight times as a U.S. surveillance plane on Wednesday swooped over islands that Beijing is using to extend its zone of influence. The series of man-made islands and the massive Chinese military build-up on them have alarmed the Pentagon, which is carrying out the surveillance flights in order to make clear the U.S. does not recognize China’s territorial claims. The militarized islands have also alarmed America’s regional allies. Former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell told CNN’s Erin Burnett Wednesday night that the confrontation indicates there is “absolutely” a risk of the U.S. and China going to war sometime in the future. READ: China cautions U.S. Navy on patrols A CNN team was given exclusive access to join in the surveillance flights over the contested waters, which the Pentagon allowed for the first time in order to raise awareness about the challenge posed by the islands and the growing U.S. response. CNN was aboard the P8-A Poseidon, America’s most advanced surveillance and submarine-hunting aircraft, and quickly learned that the Chinese are themselves displeased by the U.S. pushback. Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/05/20/politics/south-china-sea-navy-flight/index.html?sr=twtsr052015spyplane5pstoryvideo

Exclusive: China warns U.S. surveillance plane

Above the South China Sea (CNN)The Chinese navy issued warnings eight times as a U.S. surveillance plane on Wednesday swooped over islands that Beijing is using to extend its zone of influence. The series of man-made islands and the massive Chinese military build-up on them have alarmed the Pentagon, which is carrying out the surveillance flights in order to make clear the U.S. does not recognize China’s territorial claims. The militarized islands have also alarmed America’s regional allies. Former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell told CNN’s Erin Burnett Wednesday night that the confrontation indicates there is “absolutely” a risk of the U.S. and China going to war sometime in the future. READ: China cautions U.S. Navy on patrols A CNN team was given exclusive access to join in the surveillance flights over the contested waters, which the Pentagon allowed for the first time in order to raise awareness about the challenge posed by the islands and the growing U.S. response. CNN was aboard the P8-A Poseidon, America’s most advanced surveillance and submarine-hunting aircraft, and quickly learned that the Chinese are themselves displeased by the U.S. pushback.   Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/05/20/politics/south-china-sea-navy-flight/index.html#

Why is China Militarising the South China Sea?

What really explains Beijing’s decision to build military installations in the disputed waters of the South China Sea? Sukjoon Yoon thinks that we should view China’s militarization of the region as a misguided political choice rather than a desire for increased military flexibility. By Sukjoon Yoon for RSIS This commentary was originally published by the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) on 11 May 2015. Recent Western reports confirm that China is militarising disputed reefs and shoals in the South China Sea. China will obtain no military benefit from this but will simply acquire some weak naval bases at the cost of antagonising rival claimants. Even as ASEAN nations are responding warmly to China’s “Maritime Silk Road” initiative, dredging operations for land reclamation works are going on at seven disputed reefs and shoals in the South China Sea. Naval and air force facilities are being established: new piers and wharves, extended airstrips, and military garrisons with radar installations and coastal artillery. Does this militarisation of the South China Sea really help China to become a “true maritime power” as exhorted by President Xi Jinping? The South China Sea is a large semi-enclosed sea which carries a third of the world’s shipping and has vast oil and gas reserves; it therefore has enormous geostrategic and economic significance. Recently, there have been growing tensions between China and ASEAN members concerning numerous small islands which are either permanently submerged or exposed only at low tide. Seeing China’s determination to apparently reestablish its historical dominance of the South China Sea, all the Southeast Asian nations, especially those with territorial claims disputed by China, are currently building up their naval capacities. Read more: http://www.isn.ethz.ch/Digital-Library/Articles/Detail/?lng=en&id=190668

U.S. says South China Sea reclamations stoke instability

China’s land reclamation around reefs in the disputed South China Sea is undermining freedom and stability, and risks provoking tension that could even lead to conflict, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken told a conference in Jakarta. China claims 90 percent of the South China Sea, which is believed to be rich in oil and gas, its claims overlapping with those of Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan. Recent satellite images suggest China has made rapid progress in filling in land in contested territory in the Spratly islands and in building an airstrip suitable for military use and that it may be planning another. “As China seeks to make sovereign land out of sandcastles and redraw maritime boundaries, it is eroding regional trust and undermining investor confidence,” Blinken said. “Its behavior threatens to set a new precedent whereby larger countries are free to intimidate smaller ones, and that provokes tensions, instability and can even lead to conflict.” The United States and China clashed over the dispute on Saturday, when visiting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged China to take action to reduce tension. China said its determination to protect its interests was “as hard as a rock”.     Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/05/20/us-southchinasea-usa-idUSKBN0O50VC20150520

US may give PHL more support to counter pressure from China over sea dispute

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A think tank believed to be influential in the Obama administration has hinted of more support by the United States to the Philippines in order to counter further pressure from China over the Second Thomas Shoal (Ayungin Shoal) in the Spratlys in South China Sea (West Philippine Sea). Patrick Cronin, senior director for Asia Pacific security program of Washington-based Center for a New American Security (CNAS), said there is need for the Philippines to “shore up” BRP Sierra Madre, a Navy ship that was deliberately run aground in 1999 and has since then deteriorated into its present decrepit condition. Patrick Cronin of the Washington-based Center for a New American Security said the Philippines needs to ‘shore up’ the BRP Sierra Madre stationed on Ayungin Shoal. Sandra Aguinaldo The BRP Sierra Madre serves “as a permanent Philippine installation in response to China’s illegal occupation of Mischief Reef in 1995,” the Deparment of Foreign Affairs previously said. In a briefing with Asian journalists visiting Washington D.C., Cronin said the Philippines needs “to do more than just resupply food and water” to the small group of Marines stationed on the ship. “It would have to shore up the structure in order to preserve it (BRP Sierra Madre),” Cronin said. He warned that making improvements on the ship would certainly be opposed by China which has constantly maintained patrol ships near Ayungin Shoal. However, he also hinted of support from the US government. “The United States would probably be in a stronger position soon to make sure that we can give more backing to the Philippines… I suspect more forward leaning in terms of trying to give Philippines support against potential coercion or actual coercion on this issue. It (the United States) is trying again to signal to China that is not a good behavior,” Cronin said. CNAS is said to have provided security and military analysis for the White House and that some of its former officials have been appointed to various posts in the Obama administration. More from: http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/489978/news/nation/us-may-give-phl-more-support-to-counter-pressure-from-china-over-sea-dispute

Diplomacy Alone Won’t Stop the Chinese from Asserting Sovereignty over the South China Sea

Secretary of State John Kerry recently visited Beijing for the purpose, among other things, of persuading the Chinese to submit their claims in the South China Sea to negotiation with the other ASEAN states. To no one’s surprise, the mission was a failure; the Chinese flatly refused to budge from their position, and had the additional satisfaction of humbling the American Secretary of State in the process. I have written before about the massive military buildup in which China is engaged, and the purpose behind it. China wants hegemonic status in their near seas, and the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party believe they can get what they want through coercive tactics. Why should they negotiate? China has been reclaiming seven reefs and atolls in and around the Spratly Islands. In effect, it is building islands in the ocean – creating a “Great Wall of sand”, according to Admiral Harry Harris, commander of America’s Pacific fleet – to assert its territorial claims in the region, which include virtually the entire South China Sea. About 5 trillion dollars worth of trade ships through that sea every year.   Read more: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/418600/diplomacy-alone-wont-stop-chinese-asserting-sovereignty-over-south-china-sea-jim

Tensions Renew Between Vietnam and China over South China Sea

Vietnam said it will not respect a fishing ban imposed by China in the Gulf of Tonkin. Tensions sparked once again Sunday after Vietnam refused to abide by China’s fishing ban on the disputed maritime area. Since 1999, China has imposed an annual fishing ban to promote and maintain the fishing industry, however, Hanoi believes the ban violates international law and its sovereignty over the South China Sea. The area is being disputed as territorial water by several countries, including the Philippines and Taiwan. RELATED: Australia Denies US Bomber Deployment China’s Defense Minister Chang Wanquan met with his Vietnamese counterpart Phung Quang Thanh later on Sunday and reassured both countries have “the wisdom and capability to achieve success in tackling maritime issues.” Tensions in the region are high after the U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter requested options to “assert freedom of navigation” last week by sending aircraft and warships within 12 nautical miles of a series of Chinese-made artificial islands in the South China Sea, prompting Beijing to flag “serious concerns.” The Chinese President Xi Jinping met with United States Secretary of State John Kerry on Saturday in Beijing, and discussed the rising territorial disputes over the South China Sea. The Chinese head of state vowed for an increase in dialogue between both countries, highlighting their bilateral ties. The United States has decisively backed Japan and other regional allies in an effort to reduce China’s influence in the Pacific. The Japanese government has launched joined military exercises with the Vietnamese and the Philippines, raising risks of a regional conflict. Tokio and Beijing also hold a territorial row over a group of islands, known as the Senkaku islands in Japan and the Diaoyu islands in China. This content was originally published by teleSUR at the following address: http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Tensions-Renew-Between-Vietnam-and-China-Over-South-China-Sea-20150518-0003.html. If you intend to use it, please cite the source and provide a link to the original article. www.teleSURtv.net/english