Category Archives: Asia

How Japan sees China’s island-building ‘problem’

Shinsuke Sugiyama, deputy foreign minister of Japan, said Wednesday that his government views Beijing’s seizures and buildup on islands and reefs in the South China Sea as a “problem” for the region.

“We see the unilateral change of status quo as not consistent with … something that a giant and responsible member of the international community should do,” Sugiyama said, adding that his government has taken note of China’s claims that the islands are not intended for military use.

How Japan sees China’s island-building ‘problem’

In the East China Sea, Beijing Tests Japan’s Resolve | Stratfor

“As both sides ratchet up their involvement in the South and East China seas, the potential for conflict will increase.

China’s long-standing rivalry with Japan in the East China Sea is heating up once again. In addition to their standing disputes over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands and Beijing’s attempts to break through the first island chain, it is looking more and more likely that Japan will wade into the South China Sea conflict as well. In response, China is turning to new capabilities and tactics in the East China Sea in an attempt to outmaneuver its Japanese adversary — and to remind Tokyo that interfering in the South China Sea will have consequences closer to home.

As both sides ratchet up their involvement in the South and East China seas, the potential for conflict will increase. Clashes between coast guards — especially those with greater capacities for inflicting damage — could pull navies into the fray. Meanwhile, the skies above the disputed seas will be just as fraught as the rising tempo of air intercepts, especially between Japanese and Chinese aircraft, will increase the risk of an accident or miscalculation that could ignite a wider conflict.

In the East China Sea, Beijing Tests Japan’s Resolve | Stratfor

“As both sides ratchet up their involvement in the South and East China seas, the potential for conflict will increase.”

If the potential for conflict between China and Japan is increasing, then that also means potential for conflict is rising between China and the US. Should Japan get into a conflict with China then the US won’t be far behind. I guess China doesn’t really care that it is on a path toward nuclear war with the US.

China urged to get tough with the United States over USS Curtis Wilbur’s sail-by near Triton Island in disputed South China Sea | South China Morning Post

Yue said tough action by Beijing against Washington would not lead to war as both nations were aware that armed conflict was not in their interests. “There will probably be more provocation if Beijing does not step up. Public sentiment in China will rise and it will become difficult for the Chinese government to handle.”

A passive response from Beijing would give the impression that the nation was weak in defending its territorial integrity, the former colonel added.

Pentagon spokesman Jeff Davis said Saturday’s move was aimed at challenging attempts to restrict freedom of navigation in the region and that none of the claimants of the area were informed beforehand.

China urged to get tough with the United States over USS Curtis Wilbur’s sail-by near Triton Island in disputed South China Sea | South China Morning Post

Beijing’s Next Gambit, the East China Sea – WSJ

“It may be willing to risk an ‘accidental’ incident with Japan knowing Obama has a distaste for conflict.”

The East China Sea could become the next locus for China’s aggression against its neighbors. Armed conflict is increasingly possible.

Scholars linked to the Chinese government privately suggest that “a crisis” might be needed to resolve the dispute over the Senkakus. The Chinese assume that if they can manufacture a confrontation that pushes both sides to the brink of combat, the Japanese would quickly back down and seek diplomatic solutions, especially if it felt it couldn’t count on U.S. military support.

Rising numbers of Chinese aircraft and “research” vessels are venturing by the disputed islands. China uses these incidents, which spiked in 2012 and mid-2014, to assert their sovereignty over these waterways, despite Japanese protests.

But the most important reason why trouble may be brewing is that President Barack Obama will soon be leaving office. Like Russia and Iran, China has found that Mr. Obama often backs down from confrontation or substitutes words for actions.

Beijing’s Next Gambit, the East China Sea – WSJ

Get Ready, America: Are China and Japan Destined for War? | The National Interest Blog

“Simple: a conflict in Asia—which would make problems like ISIS seem like mere child’s play—is only an incident away.”

These kinds of reports (tipping point) having been getting more regular in the last year or two. In this case, one incident between China and Japan could relatively quickly suck in the US. Once the US enters the conflict the clock is ticking down to nuclear war. The Chinese leadership cannot accept a defeat to Japan or the US. Therefore, there is a fairly high probability that the conflict would escalate to nuclear war.

While your Twitter and Facebook feed these days might be filled with stories about Iran, North Korea and ISIS, as well as the South China Sea, 2016 could be the year of a deadly clash between China and Japan—and the stakes could not be any higher for the United States.

A recent article in Foreign Policy sets the stage for such a clash—and shows how America could get sucked in. After a relatively peaceful year—if such a thing exists in the East China Sea—Beijing and Tokyo are once again warning each other to back off claims over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. With the rhetoric heading up, Foreign Policy reporters Dan De Luce and Keith Johnson headed over to the Rand Corporation for a war game that pitted China vs. Japan and eventually the United States. In the simulation, Tokyo’s treaty ally pledged to defend the island nation, including the disputed islands, from attack.

So what to make of all this crazy block quoting? Simple: a conflict in Asia—which would make problems like ISIS seem like mere child’s play—is only an incident away. And make no mistake about it, such a conflict, considering that the United States and China are armed with nuclear weapons, would be a frightening affair. Food for thought as we contemplate other pressing national security challenges—for if Asia was ever to be engulfed in the flames of great power war only bad things would result, with millions of lives in the balance.

Get Ready, America: Are China and Japan Destined for War? | The National Interest Blog

That China’s foreign policy is getting more aggressive shouldn’t exactly be a surprise. Many have seen this coming for several years. China’s internal problems force it to act aggressively in order to establish a sphere of influence and redirect the people’s attention. Apparently, they have already decided that risking nuclear war is worth it. If that were not true, then they would not be acting so aggressively.

When one party acts in a way that shows disregard for the consequences (nuclear war), then one must assume that they accept what may come. China is willing to fight a nuclear war in order to establish its sphere of influence if Japan or the US interfere too much.

Of course, a similar problem exists surrounding Syria. That conflict has shown the ability to grow by sucking in Iran and Russia, pushing out millions of refugees and bringing the possibility of conflict between a Nato country (Turkey) and Russia. That conflict is not all that far away from a major escalation if Israel gets sucked in. By major escalation I mean direct conflict between Russia and the US.

Notice how some big changes are taking place in the world today:

  1. The world order is changing right in front of us.
  2. Stock markets are entering bear territory around the world.
  3. Over a million refugees have flooded into Europe with millions more clamoring to get in.
  4. The price of oil is dropping like a rock to under $30 a barrel.
  5. Russia is in pretty serious economic trouble.
  6. China is starting to experience economic trouble.

Given all these problems, and the fact that we never really got free from the 2008 economic crash, doesn’t that suggest something is seriously wrong with the world? Like we are in for big changes that are not going to be pleasant?

In my snow avalanche model, once you start to experience a deep problem in one or more areas after a long period of stability, then you are pretty much in serious trouble. When you see a problem in one area, there are also deep problems in almost every area but you cannot see them. They are waiting to come out.

The long stability that we have experienced since the end of World War II is coming to an end. In my opinion we are looking at a minimum of a great depression. Almost certainly we will first enter a great-power war which will plunge the world into a great depression. Of course, those in the US will not be around to experience that great depression.

How China’s New Russian Air Defense System Could Change Asia

The Russian S-400 TRIUMF (NATO designation SA-21) surface to air missile (SAM) entered the global media spotlight late in 2015 when Moscow deployed the system after Turkey’s shoot-down of a Russian Su-24 FENCER airplane near the Syria border on Thanksgiving Day. The Russian deployment compelled Turkey to pause its air operations and reportedly impacted the execution of U.S. and coalition air operations in the region, demonstrating the considerable reach and influence of this advanced air defense system.

This episode demonstrated the S-400’s potential as a weapon with strategic effects, a role that China, the first export recipient of the system, may seek to exploit in future crises. In April 2015, Russia announced the sale of four to six S-400 battalions to China. It remains unclear where China will deploy the assets. However, deployment of the system could influence the regional security order and dramatically impact the ability of the United States and its allies to respond to crises related to Taiwan, the Koreas, and the East and South China Seas.

How China’s New Russian Air Defense System Could Change Asia

By 2030, South China Sea will be ‘virtually a Chinese lake,’ study warns – The Washington Post

China will have so many aircraft carriers by 2030 that the South China Sea will be “virtually a Chinese lake,” a new U.S. study has warns, arguing that the balance of power in Asia Pacific region was shifting away from the United States.

Meanwhile, President Obama’s strategic “rebalance” to Asia has neither been clearly enough explained nor sufficiently resourced to cope with rising threats from China and North Korea, the report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies found.

It said the United States should sustain and expand its military presence in the Asia Pacific, and also accelerate efforts to strengthen the capabilities of its allies and partners.

By 2030, South China Sea will be ‘virtually a Chinese lake,’ study warns – The Washington Post

Military power in Asia ‘shifting against’ the US, major report warns | World news | The Guardian

The balance of military power in Asia is shifting against the US as China makes aggressive territorial moves, a major independent report will warn on Wednesday.

Barack Obama’s “pivot to Asia”, a major policy shift first outlined in 2011, is mired in confusion against a backdrop of a “significantly more complicated” international security picture, the researchers argue.

The study by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a leading Washington thinktank, calls for America to flex its military muscle in the region by deploying extra nuclear attack submarines and developing advanced long-range missiles.

The report was commissioned by the Department of Defense at the behest of Congress and is set to be discussed at a hearing of the Senate armed services committee. It is likely to be seized on by Republican presidential candidates who accuse Obama of weak leadership in the face of a rising China, resurgent Russia and nuclear-armed North Korea.

Military power in Asia ‘shifting against’ the US, major report warns | World news | The Guardian

Vietnam builds military muscle to face China – Yahoo News

Vietnam’s military is steeling itself for conflict with China as it accelerates a decade-long modernization drive, Hanoi’s biggest arms buildup since the height of the Vietnam War.

The ruling Communist Party’s goal is to deter its giant northern neighbor as tensions rise over the disputed South China Sea, and if that fails, to be able to defend itself on all fronts, senior officers and people close to them told Reuters.

Vietnam’s strategy has moved beyond contingency planning. Key units have been placed on “high combat readiness” – an alert posture to fend off a sudden attack – including its elite Division 308, which guards the mountainous north.

Vietnam builds military muscle to face China – Yahoo News

Japan steps up military presence in East China Sea | World news | The Guardian

Japan is to deploy thousands of troops and build missile batteries on islands in the East China Sea, as officials confirmed for the first time that the defences were designed to check Chinese military influence in the region.

In response to US pressure to play a bigger role in deterring increasingly assertive Chinese naval activity in the South China Sea and East China Sea, Tokyo is to position a line of anti-ship and anti-aircraft missile batteries along 200 islands stretching 870 miles (1,400km) from the Japanese mainland towards Taiwan.

In addition, Japan will increase the number of military personnel on its islands in the East China Sea by about a fifth to almost 10,000 over the next five years.

While China is not usually referred to by name in unclassified defence documents, Japanese officials stated that a push by the conservative prime minister, Shinzo Abe, to boost Japan’s military reach was intended to keep China at bay in the strategically and economically crucial Western Pacific.

Japan steps up military presence in East China Sea | World news | The Guardian

China’s Harassment of Civilian Ships and Aircraft in the South China Sea Reminds Us Why We Need More U.S. Freedom of Navigation Operations – Lawfare

In response to U.S. freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea, the Chinese government has repeatedly stated that it is fully committed to respecting freedom of navigation in the region. Most have interpreted this to mean that China will respect all commercial non-military transits, and that China’s only objection is to U.S. military vessels and aircraft traversing their claimed territorial waters.

But there is new evidence that the Chinese Navy is also impeding and harassing civilian navigation through the region. The commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, Admiral Scott H. Swift, said in a speech Monday that:

Even now, ships and aircraft operating nearby these features, in accordance with international law, are subject to superfluous warnings that threaten routine commercial and military operations. Merchant vessels that have navigated shipping lanes freely on behalf of lawful international commerce are diverted after entering so-called military zones. Intimidated by the manner in which some navies, coast guards and maritime militia enforce claims in contested waters, fishermen who trawled the seas freely for generations are facing threats to their livelihoods imposed by nations with unresolved, and often unrecognized claims.

China’s Harassment of Civilian Ships and Aircraft in the South China Sea Reminds Us Why We Need More U.S. Freedom of Navigation Operations – Lawfare