Category Archives: Asia

Experts Advocate Harder Stance Against Illegal South China Sea Claims

Three South China Sea and maritime law experts advocated a tougher stance against illegal Chinese actions, calling for more freedom of navigation operations, possibly with regional allies, that are aimed at Chinese territorial claims that have not previously been challenged.

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The experts from the U.S. Naval War College and the Center for Strategic and International Studies agreed at a House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee hearing yesterday that adherence to maritime law in the South China Sea is important not only for regional security but also for maintaining law of the sea elsewhere on the globe.

Experts Advocate Harder Stance Against Illegal South China Sea Claims

Beijing may be waiting for the perfect timing to strike in South China Sea – Asia Times

“If China is going to strike in the South China Sea, mid-September right until the November presidential election could not be a better time,” explained a senior US Department of Defense official who agreed to be interviewed if not identified. Or, put a different way, another US defense official, again speaking on background, explained: “Beijing’s best window to take advantage of certain trend lines and cement its claims in the South China Sea is right after the G20. American newspapers won’t give front-page status to a China story during the heart of the election, well, unless they start shooting, and they won’t be that stupid. For Beijing, the timing is perfect.”

Such analysis is not limited to American military circles, and a senior ASEAN nation diplomat holds almost an identical view. “China is ready to cast off any illusions of a peaceful rise. Having worked with Chinese diplomats in Asia and here in Washington for decades now, Beijing seems ready to remove any hidden aspirations of what it really wants: to dominate the South China Sea.”

Beijing may be waiting for the perfect timing to strike in South China Sea – Asia Times

80% of Japanese fear military clash around Senkakus, poll finds | The Japan Times

Will the waters around the disputed Senkaku Islands see a Sino-Japanese conflict? Eighty percent of Japanese think so.

A poll by the Pew Research Center, a Washington-based think tank, found 35 percent of Japanese respondents are “very concerned” and 45 percent “somewhat concerned” that territorial disputes between China and its neighbors — namely the Senkakus row — could erupt in conflict.

80% of Japanese fear military clash around Senkakus, poll finds | The Japan Times

Duterte Signals Shift in U.S.-Philippine Military Alliance – WSJ

He said Monday he wanted the U.S. military to leave Mindanao, the site of a strategic base set to host American forces.”

“There are two camps in Washington—one that thinks Duterte is about to push the alliance off a cliff and there is nothing U.S. policy makers can do about it, and one that continues to argue that the alliance is just too important to both countries and so a way forward must be found,” said Gregory Poling of the Center for International and Strategic Studies. “But that latter group is losing the argument day by day as Duterte continues this anti-American rhetoric.”

Duterte Signals Shift in U.S.-Philippine Military Alliance – WSJ

I guess it’s time for the US to pull out of Philippines and let China have the South China Sea.

China’s Non-Peaceful Rise Already In Play?

The People’s Republic of China is headed on a tragic trajectory that should be familiar to anyone with even cursory exposure to history. Due to a complex composition of factors – a century of torment at the hands of western powers and Japan as well as a toxic brew of nationalism – the PRC is not content with its place as the world’s second largest economy, or even largest when using purchasing-parity power, or PPP, as the benchmark. Nor is China happy with its standing as the planet’s second largest military armed with advanced weapons like “carrier-killer” missiles, a budding hypersonic weapons program and other top-tier offensive platforms. Beijing doesn’t even seem to regard its undertaking of major initiatives like the “One Belt, One Road” project and the Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank as signs of its rise to global superpower stature.

No, Beijing wants more, and could soon seek to transform the status-quo in Asia, especially in the South China Sea, in its favor. Indeed, recent reports suggest that Beijing’s surge for hegemony might be around the corner, as its leaders take advantage of a window of opportunity during the final weeks of the US presidential election as America’s gaze turns inward.

“Beijing’s best window to take advantage of certain trend lines and cement its claims in the South China Sea is right after the G20. American newspapers won’t give front-page status to a China story during the heart of the election, well, unless they start shooting, and they won’t be that stupid. For Beijing, the timing is perfect.”

China’s Non-Peaceful Rise Already In Play?

Why America and China Today Are Like Pre–World War I Europe | The National Interest Blog

Constructed trials of strength, obsession with prestige (“credibility”), emerging multipolarity and strengthened alliance blocs today are gradually moving the international system towards the instability of the pre–World War I era. The creation of new flashpoints in the East and South China Seas is the first stage in this process; this has already happened. Strengthened anti-China groupings (both military and economic) are the second stage; this is currently under way. An intensified arms race with China and simultaneous constructed crises, typically over “alliance credibility,” are the third stage. Cumulative radicalization, following the peaceful resolution of a few crises, is the fourth stage. It’s here that the system becomes “Galloping Gertie” and statesmen insist on “firmly” defending “present-day interests, having no fear of the specter of war.” The conflict of 1914 was the “seminal catastrophe” of the twentieth century. There is no reason to suppose the Sino-American conflict of a decade hence would not be the seminal catastrophe of the twenty-first.

Why America and China Today Are Like Pre–World War I Europe | The National Interest Blog

We Were Warned: China Challenges the Status-Quo While the U.S. Navy Shrinks | The National Interest Blog

Sadly, it seems Beijing has leveraged the G-20 to remind the world that not only has it risen to the level of global superpower, but that it has the right to alter the status quo in a highly contested part of East Asia that is clearly a powder keg, just waiting for the match to be lit.

But we can’t say we weren’t’ warned. Foreign policy experts the world over have been documenting since the early 2000s the increasing scope and intensity of China’s aggressive actions throughout the Asia-Pacific and now stretching into the larger Indo-Pacific region. One specific commentator, Robert C. O’Brien, a former advisor to not one, not two but three Republican presidential candidates, in multiple essays for various publications, lays out a prophetic body of evidence that China’s economic and military rise combined with dangerous actions that challenge Asia’s peaceful status-quo would have wide global ramifications. His new book, While America Slept, a timely collection of essays of O’Brien’s work over the last several years, should serve as essential reading for those who are not only interested in the dangers of a rising China, but where American foreign policy during the Obama years has failed to reinforce Washington’s interests around the globe.

We Were Warned: China Challenges the Status-Quo While the U.S. Navy Shrinks | The National Interest Blog

China deploys construction vessels at disputed reef as Obama meets Xi – Asia Times

If reports about the presence of Chinese dredging ships near Scarborough Shoal are true, Beijing may be planning to start island-building on the disputed reef to turn it into another military outpost. The U.S. Pacific Command should order a military air and surface reconnaissance operation to check on the ships and to learn their intentions. This will give a message to China that the U.S. will actively oppose regional military hegemonism.

Photos of Chinese ships deployed near a key disputed reef in the South China Sea surfaced over the weekend as U.S. and Chinese leaders met at the Group of 20 nations summit and discussed maritime disputes.

The Philippines Defense Ministry published photos of 11 Chinese ships near Scarborough Shoal that include vessels that some reports indicated appear designed for dredging operations – a key indicator Beijing is ignoring U.S. and international calls for a halt to island-building on disputed reefs and islands.

China deploys construction vessels at disputed reef as Obama meets Xi – Asia Times

New Chinese Vessels Seen Near Disputed Reef in South China Sea – The New York Times

The presence of the Chinese ships during the Group of 20 summit meeting in Hangzhou, China, where President Obama and President Xi Jinping met on Saturday, seemed particularly provocative.

President Obama specifically warned Mr. Xi at a meeting in Washington in March not to start building an island at Scarborough Shoal. White House officials said that Mr. Obama planned to deliver the same message to Mr. Xi at their meeting in Hangzhou.

American officials had been waiting to see what China would do around Scarborough Shoal after the summit meeting, assuming that the Chinese would not act sooner in the interest of preserving a seamless conference. The appearance of ships while global leaders were still in Hangzhou was not expected.

New Chinese Vessels Seen Near Disputed Reef in South China Sea – The New York Times

If China starts building on Scarborough Shoal then that would be a game-changer due to it proximity to Philippines. What kind of a game-changer am I talking about? I am talking about a World War III gamer-changer. That’s how big this is.

Let’s see what happens. If the Chinese actually start building on the shoal then pay close attention.

Is Naval Conflict With China Inevitable?

U.S. policy toward China has failed spectacularly. China’s actions show that it sees us as a strategic competitor. We have chosen to see China as a large market that can be cajoled into joining us as a defender of international security and economic stability. U.S. policy makers hoped that the large volume of trade between China and the U.S. and the accompanying economic progress in the former would remold Chinese rulers to look, think, and act more like us. The evidence does not support this roseate hope.

Is Naval Conflict With China Inevitable? | RealClearPolitics

Study: China Flirts With War in South China Sea