Category Archives: Asia

The South China Sea: A Looming Environmental Disaster? | The National Interest Blog

Most of the attention in the South China Sea has focused on China’s military activities. But the impending natural disaster there is also cause for concern. As a recent report makes clear there’s been significant coral loss due to seawater warming. But apart from ocean warming, the Chinese government, through over-fishing and reef destruction, is contributing to the devastation.

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John McManus, from the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School, has highlighted the impact of island expansion on Scarborough Atoll, Pratas Atoll, the Paracel Islands, and the Spratly Islands corals to a point beyond which they will be unable to recover. Damaged coral reefs wont be able to keep up with rising sea levels. Last year McManus concluded that 40 square miles (104 square km) of some of the most biodiverse coral reefs on Earth have been destroyed in the South China Sea thanks to giant-clam poachers.

The South China Sea: A Looming Environmental Disaster? | The National Interest Blog

World War III nightmare scenario brewing in the East China Sea | CNBC

While the world watches mounting military tensions in the South China Sea, another, more ominous situation is brewing in the East China Sea that could be the trigger point for a major war between the superpowers. At the heart of tensions are eight uninhabited islands controlled by Japan that are close to important shipping lanes, rich fishing grounds and potential oil and gas reserves. China contests Japan’s claims and is escalating its military activity in Japan airspace. In response, Japan has been doubling its F-15 jet intercepts.

The situation increases the risk of an accidental confrontation — and could draw other countries, like the United States, into a conflict. It’s a topic President Trump will likely bring up with Chinese President Xi Jinping at his Mar-a-Lago estate this week.

World War III nightmare scenario brewing in the East China Sea | CNBC

The (real) reason China doesn’t like South Korea’s missile defenses | Asia Times

Chinese opposition to South Korea’s deployment of the THAAD missile defense system is less about missiles and more about efforts to weaken the US network of formal and informal alliances in Asia that has underpinned the regional order for the last seventy years.

The THAAD controversy displays China’s familiar modus operandi: First, pick a fight over an allegedly offensive act. Next, follow up with vitriol and veiled threats, and then inflict economic pressure — all while declaring the exercise the spontaneous reaction of the righteously offended Chinese people.

This sequence played out to form in South Korea in recent months, highlighted by verbal assaults on Seoul and fierce pressure on Lotte Group’s business operations inside China. (Lotte sold the land being used for THAAD batteries in South Korea.)

The (real) reason China doesn’t like South Korea’s missile defenses | Asia Times

How America Should Confront China’s Unchecked Maritime Bullying | The National Interest

The House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific recently convened a hearing to discuss the U.S. policy response to China’s maritime push in the South and East China Seas. China has so far suffered no discernable cost for its destabilizing activities in these disputed waters. In Congress, there is growing desire to put a check on this belligerence, which Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis observed has “shredded the trust” of other nations and revealed China’s desire for “veto authority over the diplomatic, and security and economic conditions of neighboring states.” Underscoring the critical interests at stake, the hearing made evident that the United States has several unilateral tools available which could finally begin to impose costs on China’s destabilizing actions in the South and East China Seas. We should start using these tools.

How America Should Confront China’s Unchecked Maritime Bullying | The National Interest

Wall Street Journal opinion shaper says Communist China will fall

Don’t believe what you hear about China’s economic might and the durability of its increasingly belligerent Communist regime. That was the message Mary Kissel, a member of The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board, delivered Tuesday in a talk titled Is Asia Lost to China? at The Society of the Four Arts.

“I believe the end of this horrible regime will come; and when it comes it will come quickly and when you least expect it, just like the Soviet Union,” she said.

Kissel, who hosts WSJ Video’s Opinion Journal and co-hosts the foreign policy podcast Foreign Edition, knows a great deal about Asia. She joined the Journal in Hong Kong in 2004 and served as Asia opinion writer from 2005 to 2010.

China’s economic resurgence was fueled by its opening to the West in the late 1970s, she said. But “underneath China’s economic miracle is a debt-filled paper tiger,” she said.

Wall Street Journal opinion shaper says Communist China will fall

1914 Redux? Growing Asia-Pacific Tensions Demand New US Strategy « Breaking Defense

In this timely op-ed, Maj. Paul Smith, who works in the J-9 of U.S. Pacific Command but is, of course, writing in a personal capacity, compares today’s international security situation to that preceding World War I and sees worrying parallels. He calls for a reassessment of our strategy toward China. Read on. The Editor.

The global environment today eerily resembles that of Europe in the early twentieth century, when a rising tide of nationalism swept through the continent. That nationalism led to increased trade competition, networks of intertwined and complicated alliances and social and political ferment that sparked a war that eventually spread to engulf much of the world in the flames of World War I.

Are we headed towards another global conflict? If so, then where? Most importantly, can this crisis be averted?

1914 Redux? Growing Asia-Pacific Tensions Demand New US Strategy « Breaking Defense

Japan Is Becoming Player in South China Sea Sovereignty Dispute

Japan is building up its influence in the South China Sea, the most widely contested body of water in Asia, to curb Chinese expansion and garner support for its broader military as well as economic interests.

In May, Japan will send its Izumo helicopter-carrying warship to the South China Sea for three months of port visits in Southeast Asia before directing it onward to the Indian Ocean for drills with the United States, according to the U.S. Naval Institute’s news website.

“You see this warship more as a multipurpose platform,” said Collin Koh, maritime security research fellow at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. “It can do humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. It can do anti-submarine warfare, so a few signals Japan wants to send via this deployment.”

Japan Is Becoming Player in South China Sea Sovereignty Dispute

Asia military balance China Koreas Japan US – CNN.com

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson begins a series of meetings in Asia this week with the region in a military turmoil.

North Korean missiles streaking toward Japan.

US anti-missile batteries arriving in South Korea.

China’s foreign minister fearing a massive military confrontation is about to happen.

China’s state news agency openly speculating Asia is on the verge of a nuclear arms race, the likes of which has not been seen since the Cold War.

Each one of these things alone would be enough to destabilize the status quo.

Taken together, they have placed tensions in North Asia on a knife’s edge.

Asia military balance China Koreas Japan US – CNN.com

Asia’s Promise Gives Way to Its Growing List of Troubles – WSJ

“If these four worries weren’t bad enough, they pale in comparison with the most profound obstacle to Asia’s continued rise: the risk of war.”

Riddled with economic, political and security woes, today’s Asia is more likely to produce instability and conflict than the freedom and prosperity many once hoped for

But this impressive ascent [of China] has not reconfigured world affairs, and it is unlikely to. The more important Asia has become on the global stage, the more glaring have its flaws become. The region is deeply fractured, threatened by economic stagnation, political upheaval and flashpoints that could trigger new wars. And in our more integrated global society, its troubles could quickly become everyone else’s. Much of the world’s attention in the coming decades will be devoted not just to accommodating Asia’s growing power but to managing and mitigating its many serious problems.

If these four worries weren’t bad enough, they pale in comparison with the most profound obstacle to Asia’s continued rise: the risk of war. Increasingly, the region is regressing to a 19th-century brand of power politics in which might makes right. Such realpolitik is hardly reassuring in a neighborhood that includes five nuclear-armed powers: China, India, North Korea, Pakistan and Russia.

 

Asia’s Promise Gives Way to Its Growing List of Troubles – WSJ

U.S. Navy Planning More ‘Freedom of Navigation’ Operations in South China Sea – Breitbart

The plan would see U.S. warships conducting more “Freedom of Navigation Operations,” or FONOPs, within 12 nautical miles of the islands.

The U.S. Navy routinely conducts FONOPs in waters considered to be part of the international domain which would otherwise be claimed by some countries to be within their territorial waters, or a 12-nautical mile distance from their shores.

The plan has already been approved by U.S. Pacific Command, led by Adm. Harry Harris. If approved by Mattis, it will next go to the National Security Council, and then to the president, the official told Breitbart News.

The San Diego-based USS Carl Vinson strike group is in the Pacific Ocean on its way to the East Asian region. It left U.S. Naval Base Guam on Monday after a several-day visit.

U.S. Navy Planning More ‘Freedom of Navigation’ Operations in South China Sea – Breitbart