Category Archives: Asia

The Ultimate Nightmare: Are the U.S. and China Destined for War? | The National Interest

There is no geo-strategic relationship of more importance than that of the U.S. and China. Yet, tensions between Washington and Beijing over the last few years have been building. Over the last few weeks I have been exploring on these pages some of the pathways the unthinkable could happen: a U.S.-China war. We have also been exploring the various paths to victory both sides could utilize. While all of this is important, it is also important to take a step back and look at the U.S.-China relationship from another viewpoint of equal and possibly even greater value—a dilemma in the relationship that is creating its own set of tensions: the budding high-tech security dilemma pitting Washington and Beijing against one another.

The Ultimate Nightmare: Are the U.S. and China Destined for War? | The National Interest

China Rebuffs U.S. Request to Halt S. China Sea Island Work | Washington Free Beacon

“According to officials familiar with the talks, Russel’s appeal was rejected during a meeting Feb. 10 with Zheng Zeguang, China’s assistant foreign minister, who said the construction was occurring within China’s area of sovereignty.”

China rejected an appeal from the Obama administration earlier this month to halt “destabilizing” construction on disputed islets in the South China Sea, according to U.S. officials.

Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel urged Chinese officials to halt rapidly expanding island construction over the past several years in the disputed Spratly Islands during a visit to Beijing.

According to officials familiar with the talks, Russel’s appeal was rejected during a meeting Feb. 10 with Zheng Zeguang, China’s assistant foreign minister, who said the construction was occurring within China’s area of sovereignty.

China Rebuffs U.S. Request to Halt S. China Sea Island Work | Washington Free Beacon

No surprise here. China declared most of the South China Sea as “core interest” several years ago. This is part of the “sphere of influence” model that China, Russia and Iran are pushing on the world. So far they haven’t experienced much push-back while trying to implement this new world order model. China’s declaration of core interest for most of the South China Sea puts it on par with Taiwan and Tibet. That suggests outside interference could lead to war – nuclear war.

March 2010 – Chinese officials tell the US the South China Sea is a “core interest”

BBC News – Why are South China Sea tensions rising?

Inside the Ring: Blunt warning on China – Washington Times
Navy Intel Officer Warns of Future China Conflict | Washington Free Beacon | 1913 Intel

This is Japan’s Best Strategy to Defeat China at Sea | The Diplomat

According to Toshi Yoshihara, it is an anti-access operational concept with Japanese characteristics. In short, Japan should give China a dose of its own medicine and emulate the PLAN’s alleged anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) strategy (although there is little actual evidence that the Chinese Navy is placing a high priority on such a strategy. See: “The One Article to Read on Chinese Naval Strategy in 2015”). An A2/AD operational concept with Japanese characteristics would take into account Japan’s role as a gatekeeper to the open waters of the Pacific and would center around exploiting Japan’s maritime geographical advantage over China by skillfully deploying the JMSDF along the Ryukyu Islands chain, bottling up the PLAN in the East China Sea until the U.S. Navy and other allied navies can deploy in full-strength.

The short-term operational goal would be to create a military stalemate, until superior allied forces could be brought to bear. “While the Ryukyus fall well inside the PLA’s antiaccess zone, the archipelago’s strategic location offers Japan a chance to turn the tables on China. By deploying anti-access and area-denial units along the islands, Japanese defenders could slam shut an important outlet for Chinese surface, submarine and air forces into the Pacific high seas,” Toshi Yoshihara notes.

This is Japan’s Best Strategy to Defeat China at Sea | The Diplomat

China to project power from artificial islands in South China Sea | Reuters

China’s creation of artificial islands in the South China Sea is happening so fast that Beijing will be able to extend the range of its navy, air force, coastguard and fishing fleets before long, much to the alarm of rival claimants to the contested waters.

Reclamation work is well advanced on six reefs in the Spratly archipelago, according to recently published satellite photographs and Philippine officials. In addition, Manila said this month that Chinese dredgers had started reclaiming a seventh.

While the new islands won’t overturn U.S. military superiority in the region, Chinese workers are building ports and fuel storage depots as well as possibly two airstrips that experts said would allow Beijing to project power deep into the maritime heart of Southeast Asia.

China to project power from artificial islands in South China Sea | Reuters

How to Push Back against an Aggressive China: Enter the ‘Quad’ | The National Interest

Face it. China is a problem. Nations across the Pacific and Asia are looking for constructive solutions. And that’s the promise of a Quad Dialogue—a forum for developing cooperative, synchronized policies among India, Australia, Japan and the United States.

Start with the facts. China’s economic policies are increasingly mercantilist. It is developing military capabilities to exclude others from operating in Asia. Beijing is no friend of democracy. From a Chinese perspective, all these initiatives might make sense: they are reconstructing a world that looks like the Middle Kingdom. The rest of the world, however, would probably prefer to live in the 21st century.

China is going to be China. That’s not going to change anytime soon. So unless the nations that have the power to punish bad behavior and take constructive steps, the neighborhood is going to get worse for everybody.

How to Push Back against an Aggressive China: Enter the ‘Quad’ | The National Interest

Navy Intel Officer Warns of Future China Conflict | Washington Free Beacon

“The strategic trend lines indicate the Communist Party of China is not only ‘rejuvenating’ itself for internal stability purposes, but has been and continues to prepare to use military force,” Navy Capt. James E. Fanell said on Saturday during his retirement speech at Pearl Harbor.

Speaking on a pier across the harbor from the battleship USS Missouri, where Japan’s surrender was signed ending World War II, and near the memorial over the submerged wreckage of the USS Arizona, sunk in 1941 during the Japanese attack, Fanell said he believes Beijing prefers not to use its growing military force for achieving regional dominance.

“But let’s not deceive ourselves. The evidence I’ve been chewing on over the past 15 years is overwhelming,” he said. “Beijing has prepared for military action and [Chinese] President Xi Jinping’s ‘China Dream’ has a defined timeline to reach this ‘rejuvenated’ end state.”

Navy Intel Officer Warns of Future China Conflict | Washington Free Beacon

Navy Capt. James E. Fanell got into trouble because he was too honest about China’s aggressive behavior.

A little history:

Senior intel officer removed after controversial comments on China [Nov. 10, 2014]

A senior Navy intelligence leader whose provocative comments this year about Chinese bellicosity stirred an international controversy has been shelved in the wake of an investigation into his conduct, Navy Times has learned.

Capt. James Fanell, the director of intelligence and information operations at U.S. Pacific Fleet, has been removed from that position by PACFLT boss Adm. Harry Harris and reassigned within the command, Navy officials confirmed.

Fanell warned during a February public appearance that a recent Chinese amphibious exercise led naval intelligence to assess that China’s strategy was to be able to launch a “short, sharp war” with Japan, an unusually frank assessment about a closely watched region.

His comments, which ran counter to the Pentagon’s talking points on building ties to the increasingly assertive Chinese navy, were picked up by media outlets from The New York Times and Reuters to London’s Financial Times and Daily Telegraph. Top defense officials, including the 4-star head of the Army and the Pentagon spokesman, were forced to respond to his comment in the following days.

Senior intel officer removed after controversial comments on China

Is China Building a Base Near the Senkakus? | The Diplomat

“Jane’s satellite imagery now offers clear, public, visual confirmation that such construction is indeed ongoing.”

But that report cited unconfirmed Chinese sources. Japanese officials declined to comment on the specifics of the initial report, while Chinese statements and media reports reacted with the expected nationalistic bluster, charging that Tokyo was being unnecessarily alarmist. While this quiet militarization is consistent with Chinese behavior in other instances in both the East and South China Sea, Jane’s satellite imagery now offers clear, public, visual confirmation that such construction is indeed ongoing.

Japan, meanwhile, is not standing still either. In April, Tokyo announced measures to strengthen its defense and surveillance capabilities with a troop presence and military radar station in Yonaguni, 150 km (93 miles) from the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. It is also developing amphibious forces that will be based in Nagasaki, among other moves under consideration as signaled in its record defense budget disclosed earlier this month.

As both China and Japan engage in such activities, Jane’s concludes that Beijing’s base is a move that risks further escalating the “quiet military buildup” around the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands by the two countries. Despite the famous handshake between Chinese president Xi Jinping and Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting last November, as well as continued talks on developing mechanisms to manage maritime tensions, the silent saber-rattling by both sides has continued to simmer beneath the surface.

Is China Building a Base Near the Senkakus? | The Diplomat

Might China’s struggles with its neighbours bring war to Asia? | The National

But these trade ties might not stop a future war. In many respects, the situation in East Asia today resembles Europe before the First World War. Just as in East Asia today, at that time in Europe rising powers challenged established ones, militarism spread, and countries maintained intricate webs of economic ties. Yet even while they traded with each other, European powers in the 1900s and 1910s launched an arms race, and trade links ultimately did not guarantee peace. The Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe has admitted that the comparison is apt, telling reporters last year that despite growing Japan-China trade, the two countries are in a “similar situation” as Britain and Germany were shortly before the First World War, when the European powers engaged in a naval arms race while also becoming major trading partners.

As happened then in Europe, today’s East Asian standoff could end bloodily. China and South East Asian countries are becoming more openly hostile to each other. Beijing has warned ExxonMobil and other big oil and gas companies not to launch joint ventures with South East Asian nations to explore the South China Sea. Chinese officials also have become explicit in warning South East Asian countries not to challenge Beijing’s claims to water and land. “China is a big country and other countries [in South East Asia] are small countries, and that’s just a fact,” the Chinese foreign minister Yang Jiechi declared at a summit of China and South East Asian countries in 2010.

Might China’s struggles with its neighbours bring war to Asia? | The National

2015 Predictions for East Asia | The Diplomat

3. China: Stasis Then Crisis?

China is perhaps the greatest disappointment. As elected leaders, Park and Abe must to some extent mirror the preferences of their coalitions. But Xi has degrees of freedom to push change. He scarcely has. His environmental deal with Obama does not represent real change, as it targets emissions levels China would likely hit anyway, and his signature initiative – the anti-corruption campaign – looks more and more like power-consolidation than a genuine graft crackdown. Xi is not weaning Chinese industry off its bad habits like industrial espionage, state patronage, shadow banking, infrastructural white elephants, and so on. He seems as unwilling as Abe to pursue structural reforms when the old ways – exports and infrastructure – seem so easy.

Predictions: The CCP fears economic change and Xi is more interested in foreign policy, which suggests stasis at home. But the Chinese economy is so distorted now that a banking, infrastructural, health, or environmental crisis that deeply embarrasses the government is probably coming.

2015 Predictions for East Asia | The Diplomat

China Prepares for War | American Thinker

The nations around the South China Sea are preparing for war and so are the U.S. Marines. The Marines are building a command post at Oyster Bay on the west side of the Island of Palawan, which is the closest part of the Philippines to the Chinese bases in the South China Sea. The Marines would see their role as scraping the Chinese off their artificial islands once hostilities break out. It is good to see that somebody besides China is planning ahead.

Back to the Senkakus. The Japanese have not put any troops on these islands because they didn’t want to escalate the situation. That is completely misreading it. The Chinese preparations on the Nanji Islands etc. mean that the war is coming. All Japan can do is put itself in a better position. What it needs to do soon is send a team of archeologists to the Senkakus to curate the Japanese habitation of these islands, with logistical support provided by a company of naval marines. The important thing is that they will run up the Japanese flag every day. If they Chinese have to step over dead Japanese bodies when they attack, that will put Japan in a far better moral position.

Articles: China Prepares for War