Category Archives: Asia

The US is signaling a tougher stance over the South China Sea – Business Insider

By releasing video of Beijing’s island reclamation work and considering more assertive maritime actions, the United States is signaling a tougher stance over the South China Sea and trying to spur Asian partners to more action.

The release last week of the surveillance plane footage — showing dredgers and other ships busily turning remote outcrops into islands with runways and harbors — helps ensure the issue will dominate an Asian security forum starting on Friday attended by U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter as well as senior Chinese military officials.

The US is signaling a tougher stance over the South China Sea – Business Insider

China to extend offshore military reach to counter ‘provocations’ | Reuters

China outlined its defense strategy to boost its naval capability farther from its shores on Tuesday, saying it faced a grave and complex array of security threats including in the disputed South China Sea.

In a policy document issued by the State Council, the Communist-ruled country’s cabinet, it vowed to increase its “open seas protection”, switching from air defense to both offence and defense, and criticized neighbors who take “provocative actions” on its reefs and islands.

The document comes as tensions rise over China’s increasingly assertive posture in the disputed waters of the South China Sea, where Beijing has engaged in land reclamation in the Spratly archipelago.

Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said China’s reclamation activities in the Spratly archipelago were comparable with construction of homes and roads on the mainland.

“From the perspective of sovereignty, there is absolutely no difference,” he told reporters.

China to extend offshore military reach to counter ‘provocations’ | Reuters

The South China Sea’s Ticking Time Bomb | TIME

But if China continues on its present course—and the international community doesn’t back down—military confrontation seems likely. Luckily, China must reinforce its military claims to the disputed islands before such a showdown, which gives each side time for negotiation.

China said Monday that it had formally complained to Washington about its “provocative behavior” following the flight of a U.S. Navy surveillance plane over the region last week. The Chinese had warned the a U.S. Navy P-8 surveillance plane eight times to leave Chinese airspace as it flew near Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratlys. The Navy plane refused.

So far, beyond words of warning to those getting too close to what China contends is its territory, it has only dredging gear, bulldozers and graders to enforce its claim. So the U.S. is ignoring it. But that, Pentagon officials believe, is all but certain to change. And as it changes, the stakes, and resulting tensions, will grow.

The U.S. Navy is weighing dispatching additional warships to the region to buttress its claim that these are international waters. Washington insists that contested sovereignty claims must be resolved through diplomacy and not dredging.

The South China Sea’s Ticking Time Bomb | TIME

Rift Grows Over South China Sea as Japan Joins U.S.-Australia Military Exercise

Japan will join a major U.S.-Australian military exercise for the first time in a sign of growing security links between the three countries as tensions fester over China’s island building in the South China Sea.

All three nations have said they were concerned about freedom of movement through the seas and air in the disputed South China Sea, where China is creating seven artificial islands in the Spratly archipelago, a vital shipping corridor.

Some security experts say China might impose air and sea restrictions in the Spratlys once it completes construction work that includes at least one military airstrip. China has said it had every right to set up an Air Defence Identification Zone but that current conditions did not warrant one.

China claims most of the South China Sea. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei also have overlapping claims.

The Japanese personnel will embed with U.S. forces while 500 New Zealand troops will join Australian contingents, according to the Australian Defence Force website.

Rift Grows Over South China Sea as Japan Joins U.S.-Australia Military Exercise

Experts warn of military conflicts in S.China Sea – Global Times

Experts on Sunday warned of a potential military conflict over heightened US surveillance in the South China Sea and cautioned that both sides should try their best to avoid miscalculation in the world’s most important bilateral relations.

Analysts believe that recent US military activity is another example of how the US is struggling to maintain the status quo while coping with the rise of China as a global power. They urge the US to face up to the reality that China is becoming a maritime power and that China’s determination to protect its sovereignty should not be underestimated.

“The South China Sea issue makes up a small portion of Sino-US ties,” wrote Cen Shaoyu, an international relations commentator. “Leaders from both countries should understand that the future of China and the US, as well as the future of Asia, are far beyond just that.”

China electronically jammed Global Hawk long-range surveillance drones spying on China’s Nansha Islands, a possible attempt to capture a Global Hawk by causing one to crash in shallow waters, or to snatch one in flight using a manned aircraft, The Washington Free Beacon reported on Friday.

Experts warn of military conflicts in S.China Sea – Global Times

US showdown with Beijing looms over Chinese military build-up | The Australian

Momentum is building strongly in Washington for the US to confront China over its construction of military capable runways on ­artificial islands as part of massive land reclamation projects in disputed territories in the South China Sea, according to senior Washington sources.

The Abbott government would be almost certain to provide diplomatic support to such an American move, which would inevitably provoke new tensions in Can­berra’s relations with Beijing.

The Americans are planning a freedom of navigation exercise that would involve one or more US ships sailing within 12 nautical miles of territory in the South China Sea which Beijing claims. It could also involve US aircraft flying over the artificial islands.

The US would do this to establish freedom of navigation and freedom of the air and to demonstrate that it rejects the militarisation of the South China Sea implied by Beijing’s construction of the airstrips, including one of 3000m length, in disputed territory.

US showdown with Beijing looms over Chinese military build-up | The Australian

China warns U.S. surveillance plane – CNNPolitics.com

“He added that China’s aggressive growth hints at a broader trend as the Asian economic superpower continues to expand its influence and strength – one that Morell said could “absolutely” lead to war between the U.S. and China.”

China’s alarming creation of entirely new territory in the South China Sea is one part of a broader military push that some fear is intended to challenge U.S. dominance in the region. Beijing is sailing its first aircraft carrier; equipping its nuclear missiles with multiple warheads; developing missiles to destroy us warships; and, now, building military bases far from its shores.

That’s exactly what Morell warned may be coming if China continues down its current path. He warned on CNN that “there’s a real risk, when you have this kind of confrontation, for something bad happening.”

He added that China’s aggressive growth hints at a broader trend as the Asian economic superpower continues to expand its influence and strength — one that Morell [Former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell] said could “absolutely” lead to war between the U.S. and China.

Exclusive: China warns U.S. surveillance plane – CNNPolitics.com

Is America About to Make a Fatal Mistake in the South China Sea? | The National Interest

An already tense and dangerous situation in the South China Sea threatens to become even worse.  The latest development focuses on reports that the United States is considering plans to initiate systematic military patrols with ships and planes in that volatile area. Without even waiting for confirmation that the reports are accurate, Beijing expressed its great displeasure regarding such a step.

If this actually comes to pass, Washington is about to deepen its involvement in a bitter, multi-sided territorial dispute.  The underlying issues are murky and complex.  Based on dubious interpretations of both history and international law, China claims an oceanic boundary that would convert some 80 percent of the South China Sea—and the small islands dotting itf—from international waters into Chinese territorial waters.  Beijing has begun to enforce its claims with air and naval patrols and major reclamation projects to build serviceable artificial islands (in one case, even including an runway) from nearly submerged reefs. Several neighboring countries, including Vietnam, the Philippines, and Malaysia, not only challenge Beijing’s claim, they assert significant territorial ambitions of their own. Vietnam has even commenced a more limited artificial island construction of its own.

Is America About to Make a Fatal Mistake in the South China Sea? | The National Interest

Could U.S. Brinksmanship in the South China Sea Mean War with Beijing? | National Review Online

The security world is buzzing over a Wall Street Journal article yesterday that the Obama administration is considering sending U.S. naval vessels and military planes into the 12-mile territorial limit of China’s newly reclaimed islands in the South China Sea.

If adopted, the U.S. moves could lead to the most direct response yet to China’s policies in Asia — but they could also spark an armed encounter between U.S. and Chinese forces pretty soon.

Now, however, both players are committed: the U.S. to showing that its words are backed up with actions, and the Chinese to showing that it is not a paper tiger that cannot defend the territory it is claiming. It is up to the Obama administration to make the first move, but if it does so, then the risks of an armed encounter with China rise significantly over the next few months. If it does not, then Asian nations will find themselves with an emboldened China pushing ever more expansionist claims. With an already boiling Middle East and Eastern Europe, East Asia may now get added to the list of crisis hotspots.
 

U.S. Gambit Risks Conflict With China – WSJ

After repeated and unheeded warnings to China to halt its massive reclamation works in the South China Sea, the U.S. is contemplating an option fraught with danger: limited, but direct, military action.

By sending U.S. warplanes over artificial islands that China is building, and sailing naval vessels close by—an option now under consideration, according to U.S. officials in Washington—America could end up being sucked more deeply into an increasingly heated territorial dispute between China and its neighbors, say regional security experts.

If such action fails to deter China, America will face a hard choice: back down and damage its credibility with friends and allies in the region, or escalate with the risk of being drawn into open conflict with China.

China immediately suggested that America would be crossing a line if it goes ahead with the plan.

U.S. Gambit Risks Conflict With China – WSJ