Category Archives: Asia

Don’t start a fire in Asia, China warns Obama after Vietnam arms embargo lifted

China warned President Obama on Tuesday not to spark a fire in Asia after he announced the lifting of a long-standing embargo on lethal arms sales to Vietnam.

Obama unveiled the historic step on Monday during his first visit to Vietnam, insisting the move was “not based on China” while simultaneously acknowledging that Washington and Hanoi share a common concern about China’s actions in the South China Sea.

Beijing, not surprisingly, was unimpressed. It has a complex relationship with its southern neighbor: The two governments are united in their communist ideology and distaste for Western democracy but are historical adversaries and fought their latest border war in 1979. They now fiercely contest sovereignty over many small islands in the South China Sea.

Don’t start a fire in Asia, China warns Obama after Vietnam arms embargo lifted

Noy: US military must act if China claims Scarborough

The United States would be obligated to take military action in the South China Sea if China moved to reclaim a hotly contested reef directly off Philippine shores, President Aquino said Thursday.

Aquino said he had no indication that China had imminent plans to develop the reef, known as Panatag or Scarborough Shoal, which sits 185 nautical miles from Manila.

But he suggested that there would be a harsh response if China decided to do so, saying that in his view the United States would be forced to defend the Philippines or risk losing its credibility in the region.

Noy: US military must act if China claims Scarborough

Obama’s Asian nuclear nightmare – POLITICO

Fueled by Trump’s rhetoric and North Korea’s threats, Japan and South Korea are eyeing nuclear weapons of their own.

North Korea is expanding its nuclear arsenal and upgrading its ballistic missiles. China is growing and modernizing its stockpile. Most strikingly, Pentagon planners worry that Japan and South Korea might explore developing nuclear arms of their own for the first time—promoted in part by the recent conclusion by U.S. and South Korean intelligence agencies that North Korea’s bizarre regime can now mount a small nuclear warhead on missiles capable of striking Japan and South Korea.

Obama’s Asian nuclear nightmare – POLITICO

Chinese jets intercept U.S. military spy plane in an ‘unsafe’ manner | The Japan Times

The Pentagon was investigating the “unsafe” intercept Tuesday of a U.S. spy plane by two Chinese fighter jets in the South China Sea, the Department of Defense said Wednesday.

The incident took place in international airspace during what the U.S. called a “routine patrol.”

The Pentagon said in a statement to The Japan Times that “initial reports characterized the incident as unsafe.”

A U.S. military official said two Chinese J-11 fighters flew out to intercept the U.S. EP-3 Aries aircraft and came so close that they forced the pilot to descend by a couple of hundred feet (roughly a hundred meters) in order to avoid a collision, the Associated Press quoted a Pentagon official as saying on condition of anonymity. The official said the incident took place in the northern part of the sea, south of Hong Kong.

Chinese jets intercept U.S. military spy plane in an ‘unsafe’ manner | The Japan Times

China moves closer to fielding ‘Guam Killer’ ballistic missile: report | The Japan Times

China is getting closer to deploying a new intermediate-range ballistic missile known as the DF-26 — or “Guam Killer” — which could put American forces stationed on the western Pacific U.S. territory at risk, a government report has warned.

The report, published by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, a congressional commission that investigates national security and trade issues between the two countries, said last week that Beijing was working to modernize its strike capabilities amid Washington’s so-called Asia “pivot.”

The U.S. pivot to Asia comes as China’s Communist Party strives to reinforce its legitimacy by strengthening its military and protecting its territorial interests and claims, including in the disputed South and East China seas, the report says.

China moves closer to fielding ‘Guam Killer’ ballistic missile: report | The Japan Times

A War of Epic Proportion is Brewing in the South China Sea

“… a major conflagration of epic proportions that may involve some of the world’s most powerful sovereign powers, including the United States, China, Japan, and even Russia, is brewing in earnest in the South China Sea.”

While armed conflicts still rage in Syria, Iraq, and other troubled spots of the world, a major conflagration of epic proportions that may involve some of the world’s most powerful sovereign powers, including the United States, China, Japan, and even Russia, is brewing in earnest in the South China Sea. At the center of this conflict is China’s extravagant maritime and territorial claims for almost the entire South China Sea, riling most countries in the region, upsetting key stakeholders along the world’s busiest commercial shipping lanes, and challenging key international maritime laws and interpretative frames of sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Yet, China’s actions of late in the South China Sea should not be viewed as simply a reflection of the normal rise and fall of nations animated by proverbial fears and self-interest. They follow an inexorable logic of Chinese history, and are deeply rooted in China’s long-standing strategic culture, the key elements of which are as follows:

Understanding China’s Strategic Culture Through Its South China Sea Gambit | Hoover Institution

Beijing is setting the stage for war in the South China Sea — Quartz

All any nation needs to go to war is a good provocation, and China is no exception. With its sweeping territorial claims, island-building, militarization, patriotic fervor, and prickly rhetoric, Beijing is setting itself up to be repeatedly provoked in the South China Sea. It might even be counting on it.

In other words, Beijing is pressing its outrageous claims in the South China, and will take any opposition as a reason to press them even harder.

One US commander is having none of it. Admiral Harry B. Harris Jr., in charge of military operations in the Asia-Pacific region, says China is “clearly militarizing” (paywall) in the sea. “You’d have to believe in a flat earth to think otherwise,” he said in one appearance before Congress.

Beijing is setting the stage for war in the South China Sea — Quartz

Beijing Vows to Increase South China Sea Defenses

A People’s Liberation Army spokesman called the transit, “a serious provocation.”

“We cannot help but ask how far the U.S. tries to go on the way of pushing forward militarization of the South China Sea and undermining the peace and stability in that region,” People’s Liberation Army spokesman Senior Col. Yang Yujun said in a Wednesday statement.

“The unauthorized illegal entry into Chinese waters near China’s Nansha (Spratly) islands by the U.S. warships and warplanes is a serious provocation.”

While China has long had a rotating military presence on its holdings in the Paracel Islands off of Vietnam the newer installations in the Spratlys – born from an accelerated land reclamation campaign over the last two years – don’t have a standing PLA presence.

Beijing Vows to Increase South China Sea Defenses

China Building Missiles to Strike Guam

China is building up intermediate-range ballistic and cruise missiles that pose a growing threat to Guam, the strategic Pacific island that is central to the U.S. military pivot to Asia, according to a congressional report made public Tuesday.

Six different missiles capable of reaching Guam from China are deployed or in late stages of development, says the report by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

They include the DF-26 intermediate-range missile that Beijing unveiled during a recent military parade, and dubbed the “Guam-killer,” that can be armed with both nuclear and conventional warheads.

China Building Missiles to Strike Guam