Category Archives: Asia

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.

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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

China warns U.S. against fresh naval patrols in South China Sea | Reuters

China’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday warned Washington against challenging its sovereignty, responding to reports the United States was planning fresh naval patrols in the disputed South China Sea.

On Sunday, the Navy Times reported that U.S. Navy and Pacific Command leaders were considering freedom of navigation patrols in the busy waterway by the San Diego-based Carl Vinson carrier strike group, citing unnamed defense officials.

China warns U.S. against fresh naval patrols in South China Sea | Reuters

Don’t Be Fooled: We Are Getting Tougher With China

However, in private multiple sources told the paper Mattis said the U.S pledged

to take an active role in protecting freedom of navigation, suggesting a more aggressive stance than the previous administration in an effort to restrain military buildup. Specifically, the U.S. is set to increase the frequency of patrols within 12 nautical miles of man-made islands China has constructed in the sea.

In other words, Trump’s “One China” comments might just be a carrot while the new administration promises the big stick of U.S. naval power in a way far more active than what President Barack Obama originally set forth.

Don’t Be Fooled: We Are Getting Tougher With China

Manila Predicts Beijing Will Build Base On Scarborough Shoal

This week the Philippine defense secretary predicted China would start building an artificial island on the bones of Scarborough Shoal.

If unopposed, China would likely attempt to build an installation like the several bases Beijing has constructed in the Spratly Island chain to the south of Scarborough, Delfin Lorenzana said in a Tuesday interview with AFP.

“If we allow them, they will build,” he told the wire.
“That’s very, very disturbing. Very much (more) disturbing than Fiery Cross because this is so close to us.”

Manila Predicts Beijing Will Build Base On Scarborough Shoal

US, Chinese Aircraft in ‘Unsafe’ Encounter Over S. China Sea – The New York Times

A Chinese early warning aircraft and U.S. Navy patrol plane had an “unsafe” encounter over the South China Sea this week, the U.S. Pacific Command said Friday, in the first such incident known to have taken place under President Donald Trump’s administration.

The interaction between a Chinese KJ-200 and a U.S. Navy P-3C plane took place on Wednesday in international airspace, Pacific Command spokesman Robert Shuford said. He did not say what was unsafe about the encounter, although the term usually implies planes flying too close to one another.

US, Chinese Aircraft in ‘Unsafe’ Encounter Over S. China Sea – The New York Times

China ‘beefing up military’ on disputed islands in the South China Sea, says US think tank | South China Morning Post

Satellite images suggest China has upgraded military infrastructure in northern areas of the South China Sea around the disputed Paracel Islands, according to a US think tank.

The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington said on Wednesday that China now occupies 20 outposts in the Paracels and there has been an extensive military buildup on eight islands.

China ‘beefing up military’ on disputed islands in the South China Sea, says US think tank | South China Morning Post

Has China Been Practicing Preemptive Missile Strikes Against U.S. Bases?

‘U.S. leaders and policymakers should understand that a preemptive Chinese missile strike against the forward bases that underpin U.S. military power in the Western Pacific is a very real possibility’

… In reality, the greatest military threat to U.S. vital interests in Asia may be one that has received somewhat less attention: the growing capability of China’s missile forces to strike U.S. bases. This is a time of increasing tension, with China’s news organizations openly threatening war. U.S. leaders and policymakers should understand that a preemptive Chinese missile strike against the forward bases that underpin U.S. military power in the Western Pacific is a very real possibility, …

Has China Been Practicing Preemptive Missile Strikes Against U.S. Bases?

‘Chase also stated that, “In all, Chinese military writings on conventional missile campaigns stress the importance of surprise and suggest a preference for preemptive strikes.” And while most Sinologists discount the idea of a true bolt-from-the-blue attack in a crisis without first giving an adversary a chance to back down, preemptive missile strikes to initiate active hostilities could be consistent with China’s claimed overall military strategy of “active defense.”’

‘Thus, China could consider a preemptive missile strike as a defensive “counter-attack” to a threat against China’s sovereignty (e.g., over Taiwan or the South China Sea) solely in the political or strategic realm.’

Chinese military doctrine for decades has emphasized preemptive attacks. Even though the attack is offensive, the Chinese consider it to be defensive.

‘And while most Sinologists discount the idea of a true bolt-from-the-blue attack in a crisis …’

Many experts apparently don’t think much of a surprise attack. But the article suggests that China is making active preparations to position itself for a surprise attack on US military assets in the area.

Islands on the frontline of a new global flashpoint: China v Japan | World news | The Guardian

While the South China Sea has drawn attention, the Senkaku Islands have become the site of renewed tension

Its strategic plans for the East China Sea have drawn less attention, perhaps because developments have not been so dramatic. But the prospect of tensions escalating into hostilities is real.

It faces in Japan a more powerful rival than any farther south, and one that has the US as a protector, bound by treaty to come to Tokyo’s aid if its territory is attacked. Relations between the uneasy neighbours are so strained that they have not even got a hotline set up for military communication in a crisis, despite years of talks aimed at establishing one.

The issue is so pressing that when new US defence secretary James Mattis visited Tokyo last week, confirming America’s commitment to defend the islands was top of the foreign minister’s agenda.

Islands on the frontline of a new global flashpoint: China v Japan | World news | The Guardian

Mattis: US will defend Japanese islands claimed by China – CNN.com

China responded quickly to the US stance on the disputed islands, saying it brings instability to the region.

“Diaoyu and its affiliated islands have been Chinese territory since ancient times. These are historical facts that cannot be changed. The so-called US-Japan security treaty was a product of the Cold War, and it should not harm China’s territorial sovereignty and legitimate rights,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said in a statement.

“We urge the US side to adopt a responsible attitude and stop making wrong remarks on the issue of the sovereignty of Diaoyu Islands,” Lu said.

Mattis: US will defend Japanese islands claimed by China – CNN.com

Trump adviser Steve Bannon thinks there’s “no doubt” the US is headed for war in the South China Sea — Quartz

In it, Bannon says (at the 5:17 mark):

“We’re going to war in the South China Sea in five to 10 years, aren’t we? There’s no doubt about that. They’re taking their sandbars and making basically stationary aircraft carriers and putting missiles on those. They come here to the United States in front of our face—and you understand how important face is—and say it’s an ancient territorial sea.”

“If the US is going to blockade China’s access to territories which it—rightly or wrongly—believes are its, then we are in for a confrontation,” Ashley Townshend, a South China Sea expert at the University of Sydney, told the Guardian.

Trump adviser Steve Bannon thinks there’s “no doubt” the US is headed for war in the South China Sea — Quartz

Although it was clear a long time ago that China and the US were headed toward war, what little doubt there was evaporated in March 2010 when China quietly told us that the South China Sea is a core interest. That declaration pretty much meant that war was coming. I think it could happen a whole lot sooner than 5 years from now. In fact, I think we are at risk right now. All it takes is one wrong move by either party and things would wildly escalate out of control.

Steve Bannon: ‘we’re going to war in the South China Sea … no doubt’ | US news | The Guardian

Bannon’s sentiments and his position in Trump’s inner circle add to fears of a military confrontation with China, after secretary of state Rex Tillerson said that the US would deny China access to the seven artificial islands. Experts warned any blockade would lead to war.

Bannon is clearly wary of China’s growing clout in Asia and beyond, framing the relationship as entirely adversarial, predicting a global culture clash in the coming years.

“You have an expansionist Islam and you have an expansionist China. Right? They are motivated. They’re arrogant. They’re on the march. And they think the Judeo-Christian west is on the retreat,” Bannon said during a February 2016 radio show.

Steve Bannon: ‘we’re going to war in the South China Sea … no doubt’ | US news | The Guardian