Category Archives: Asia

Is Russia entering the fray in the East China Sea? | South China Morning Post

Emanuele Scimia says a naval move that seemed to be coordinated with China, near the contested Senkaku/Diaoyu islands, has raised concern about where Russia stands

Possible naval connections between Russia and China in the East China Sea are now under scrutiny in Tokyo. Until now, Russia has taken a neutral stance on Sino-Japanese territorial spats while welcoming China’s position that South China Sea disputes should not be internationalised.

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Is Russia entering the fray in the East China Sea? | South China Morning Post

China ups ante in East China Sea- Nikkei Asian Review

The big question is: Why did China dispatch a naval vessel to the contiguous zone?

One Chinese security source said China did so to “exclude” Japan from the contiguous zone and to see how Japan would respond.

Japan administers the Senkaku Islands and considers them part of Okinawa Prefecture. China also claims the islands, known as Diaoyu in Chinese. The small group of uninhabited islets has been a source of tension between the two neighbors in recent years.

Now those tensions are escalating.

China ups ante in East China Sea- Nikkei Asian Review

China: Pushing the Envelope in the East China Sea? | The Diplomat

Put simply, the critical views vis-à-vis China in the South China Sea are growing beyond the Asia-Pacific region. In addition, the ruling on the case brought by the Philippines to the Permanent Court of Arbitration looms. Given these developments, China may have felt compelled to assert its position in the East China Sea, thereby also trying to distract attention away from the South China Sea.

There is no question that China is testing the resolve of Japan and the United States with its heightened activities in the East China Sea. Against Tokyo, Beijing is pushing the envelope to see if their activities would trigger a Japanese overreaction, which China then can use as a reason to justify its enhanced activities in the East China Sea. Vis-à-vis the United States, it is testing Washington’s will to uphold its defense commitment toward Japan.

China: Pushing the Envelope in the East China Sea? | The Diplomat

China answers Japan, US with navy ship in East China Sea- Nikkei Asian Review

Chinese coast guard boats have often sailed into waters near the Senkaku islands, also claimed by China, but this is the first time a Chinese Navy vessel has come near the area.

It shows China’s resolve not to make concessions in the East China Sea or the South China Sea, where its island- and runway-building activities have caught the international community’s attention, analysts said.

Beijing is growing warier now that Japan and the U.S. are jointly approaching Southeast Asian nations that have territorial beefs with China to use one voice to criticize China’s provocations and declare that freedom of navigation still holds sway through the important shipping lane.

China answers Japan, US with navy ship in East China Sea- Nikkei Asian Review

This is an incremental increase in tension between China, Japan and US. China’s method of operation goes something like this: China does something to increase tension, then there is a pause before China starts the process all over again. Also, China can switch pressure from the East China Sea to the South China Sea. Overall, China is getting what it wants. There seems to be no known method of stopping China short of war.

Of course, war is coming because eventually China will go too far. It’s a matter of when, not if. Predicting “when” is impossible, but it appears to me that we are in the danger zone right now.

There may be an incentive for China (and Russia) to push for war earlier rather than later. Hillary Clinton tends to be a military hawk. She could make things more complicated for the Chinese and Russians if she reverses the military budget cuts.

Commentary: Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy problem | Reuters

Clinton’s record as a military hawk is well-known. She voted for the Iraq War as a senator. As secretary of state, she pushed for U.S. intervention in Libya and lobbied President Obama to take military action against Bashar al-Assad in Syria. She was lukewarm about the nuclear deal with Iran. With respect to Israel, in March she gave a major policy speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) without so much as mentioning the plight of the Palestinians – a point later highlighted by Sanders, a son of Jewish immigrants, during their debate in Brooklyn.

Commentary: Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy problem | Reuters

On foreign policy, Hillary Clinton leans more to the right than Donald Trump | Fox News

That’s right. In most key foreign policy issues, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee is to the right of her rival, presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.

On foreign policy, Hillary Clinton leans more to the right than Donald Trump | Fox News

U.S. ‘dangerously’ miscalculating China’s military goals and capabilities, analysts warn – Washington Times

As Washington and Beijing spar in a dangerous game of one-upmanship to determine who will control the strategically critical waterways of the South China Sea, some defense observers and regional analysts worry that the U.S. effort will prove an exercise in futility in the long term against the full weight of China’s growing military and economic prowess.

China’s strategy of slowly but methodically building up military installations in the Spratly Islands, the Scarborough Shoal, the Fiery Cross Reef and other strategic points within the sea, coupled with Beijing’s increasingly assertive territorial claims, has elevated tensions in Washington and unsettled U.S. allies in the region.

U.S. ‘dangerously’ miscalculating China’s military goals and capabilities, analysts warn – Washington Times

Military spending rises across Asia as China expands its reach

“The growth of China’s national power, including its military modernization, means China’s policies and actions will have a major impact on the stability of the Indo-Pacific,” according to Australia’s Defence White Paper published in February. A quarter of Australia’s defense investment over the next decade will be devoted to maritime capabilities, for “the most comprehensive regeneration of our Navy since the Second World War.”

Military spending rises across Asia as China expands its reach

US Vows ‘Actions’ If China Builds New S. China Sea Structures | Military.com

“I hope that this development doesn’t occur because it will result in actions being taken both by the United States, and actions being taken by others in the region that will have the effect of not only increasing tensions but isolating China,” Carter said when asked about Scarborough Shoal in a forum also attended by senior Chinese military officials.

Rear Admiral Guan Youfei, who heads the Chinese office of international military cooperation, quickly attacked the Pentagon chief’s remarks, telling journalists they reflected a “Cold War mentality”.

US Vows ‘Actions’ If China Builds New S. China Sea Structures | Military.com

Looks to me like some kind of veiled threat at trade sanctions.

South China Sea fears grow before tribunal rules on disputed islands

Fears are growing that there will be a sharp rise in tensions in the South China Sea in the next few weeks after an international tribunal delivers a ruling on disputed islands and reefs that Beijing has said it will reject.

Western officials say they fear China will react to the ruling of the international tribunal for the law of the sea, which is expected to side with the Philippines, by raising the stakes in the busy trade route, expanding its land reclamation and construction activities to reefs in the Scarborough Shoal, close to Manila.

The White House is under pressure from the top US commander in the Pacific and some in Congress to take a tougher line with Beijing and carry out more military patrols close to China’s fortified islands, where there have already been close encounters between ships and planes from the two rival powers.

South China Sea fears grow before tribunal rules on disputed islands

If the U.S. and China Go to War: The Battle of the Senkakus | The National Interest

Editor’s note: The following is a translation of Chapter 7 of the book If the U.S. and China Go to War by the author and analyst Chen Pokong. The current volume was published in Chinese in 2013 and was later translated to Japanese. It presents a range of potential conflict scenarios between China and the United States, including what may trigger conflict, and what the order of events may be.

Chapter 7 of the book presents a hypothetical scenario involving “Brother Choy,” an eager Chinese patriot based in Hong Kong, and shows how the activism of groups like this around the Senkaku Islands might easily lead to a conflict that quickly spirals out of control. With continued tensions in the region, the chapter makes for sobering reading.

If the U.S. and China Go to War: The Battle of the Senkakus | The National Interest