Japan conducts first submarine drill in disputed South China Sea

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Japan has carried out its first submarine drill in the South China Sea, a newspaper said Monday, a move that could provoke Beijing which claims most of the disputed waters.

Submarine Kuroshio on Thursday joined three Japanese warships in waters just southwest of the China-controlled Scarborough Shoal, the Asahi Shimbun said. Continue reading

Shooting War With China More Likely Than You Think

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The mainstream media narrative about the U.S.-China trade war implies that Trump is on a highly damaging ego trip and China holds all the cards.

The exact opposite is true. Continue reading

China begins testing electronic warfare assets in South China Sea: report

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View of Spratly Islands. Photo: US Navy handout via Reuters

 

Word of US intelligence report comes after assessment that equipment was installed on the contested Spratly islands earlier this year

As the US and China plunge into a trade war, Beijing is apparently preparing for a different type of warfare that some fear may be on the horizon. Continue reading

US struggles to counter Chinese maritime hegemony

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has spoken out against China’s strategy of “intimidation and coercion” in the South China Sea, including the deployment of anti-ship missiles, surface-to-air missiles and electronic jammers, and, more recently, the landing of nuclear-capable bomber aircraft at Woody Island. There are, Mattis warned, “consequences to China ignoring the international community.”

But what consequences? Two successive US administrations – Barack Obama’s and now Donald Trump’s – have failed to push back credibly against China’s expansionism in the South China Sea, which has accelerated despite a 2016 international arbitral tribunal ruling invalidating its territorial claims there. Instead, the US has relied on rhetoric or symbolic actions. Continue reading

China Closes The Door On Vietnam’s Oil And Gas Ambitions

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As China tightens the noose over Vietnam’s ability to drill for oil and gas in its own UN-mandated 200-nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), the country is turning to solar energy and other renewables to make up for lost ground.

Over the weekend, Singapore-based Sunseap Group broke ground on Vietnam’s largest solar farm, a 168-MW project in Ninh Thuan province. The $150 million project will become operational in June 2019 and supply more than 200 kWh of electricity to the national power grid annually, Sunseap said in a statement. Continue reading

Taiwan Livid After China Secretly Installs Cruise Missiles On Contested Spratly Islands

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Tensions continue to flare up in the South China Sea, as Beijing has reportedly installed anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missile systems on three outposts in the region, as reported by CNBC on Wednesday, which cited sources with direct knowledge of U.S. intelligence reports. The missiles have reportedly been installed on Fiery Cross Reef, Subi Reef and Mischief Reef.

The land-based anti-ship cruise missiles, designated as YJ-12B, allow China to strike surface vessels within 295 nautical miles of the reefs. Meanwhile, the long-range surface-to-air missiles designated as HQ-9B, have an expected range of targeting aircraft, drones and cruise missiles within 160 nautical miles. –CNBC

As we’ve documented again and again (and again and again), China’s military buildup in the Pacific, particularly surrounding the Spratly Islands, a collection of small islands, cays and atolls in the South China Sea, is one of the greatest long-term risks to peace and stability in the US and many of China’s neighbors, who have territorial claims in the region that may conflict with China’s. Continue reading

Russia to Join U.S.-China South China Sea Face Off After Vietnam Pact

Chinese and Russian warships conduct drills

 

Russia has agreed a new military cooperation roadmap with Vietnam, which could bring Moscow into the ongoing power struggle between the China and the U.S. in the South China Sea.

The deal was signed by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and his Vietnamese counterpart General Ngo Xuan Lich in Moscow on Wednesday, Russian news agency TASS reported.

The agreement—signed on the sidelines of the seventh Moscow Conference on International Security—set out the details of military cooperation between the two countries from 2018 until 2020. Gen. Ngo told Shoigu he was pleased that Russia and Vietnam were taking steps to increase their military and naval coordination. Continue reading

Why the blind spot for China by the American intelligentsia?

Communist North Korea’s first dictator Kim Il-Sung, left, with Communist China’s first dictator Mao Zedong in 1961.

 

China remains the darling of western, particularly American, intellectuals and academicians even though under President Xi Jinping it’s reverting to the dictatorial habits of the era of Mao Zedung.

The system is not only incredibly corrupt but also authoritarian. We hear constantly about suppression of free speech, of the arrests of those speaking out against the regime or against particular policies, while serious dissent and political opposition is simply not possible.

The same intellectuals who once berated the U.S. for not moving closer to China, for remaining suspicious of Chinese motives and intentions, for objecting to the role of the Communist Party in a system masked in secrecy, have little to say about the real nature of the regime of Xi Jinping.

Continue reading

Vietnam seeks to pacify China as landmark U.S. carrier visit signals warming ties

FILE PHOTO: U.S. aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson is seen in the Pacific Ocean on May 27, 2017. Torrey W. Lee/Courtesy U.S. Navy/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo

 

HONG KONG/HANOI (Reuters) – The visit of a U.S. aircraft carrier to Vietnam for the first time since the end of the Vietnam War is a powerful symbol of the growing strategic ties between the former foes.

But the arrival on Monday of the USS Carl Vinson also illustrates Hanoi’s complex and evolving relationship with Beijing over the disputed South China Sea.

For months now, Vietnamese envoys have been working to ease the concerns of their giant Chinese neighbor over the visit and the prospect of broader security co-operation between Hanoi and Washington, according to diplomats and others familiar with discussions. Continue reading

U.S. vs. China in South China Sea

The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson left a four-day port visit in the Philippines on Tuesday and is leading a strike group to conduct a “freedom of navigation operation” in the South China Sea. (Associated Press)

 

The Pentagon is stepping up its strategic messaging targeting China with the deployment of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson now underway in the South China Sea.

The Vinson strike group, including the guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain and guided-missile destroyers USS Wayne E. Meyer and USS Michael Murphy, left a four-day port visit in the Philippines on Tuesday.

The carrier will resume operations in the contested sea — close to where China is militarizing several disputed islets, including Scarborough Shoal, some 100 miles from the Philippines. Continue reading

China Has Bought Brunei’s Silence in South China Sea Dispute

 

China’s takeover of the strategic South China Sea region is ‘steering the world toward war.’

In discussions about the South China Sea dispute, we often hear about China claiming nearly the entire resource-rich, strategic region. And we also often hear about rival claimants—nations such as Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines—who dispute China’s claims. International law says these smaller nations rightfully own the portions of the sea along their coasts, so they often cry foul of Beijing’s claims to their territory. Continue reading

Pentagon Sending Heavily Armed Marine Units To East Asia To “Counter China Threat”

 

According to a recent report by the Wall Street Journal, the Pentagon is considering plans to transfer heavily armed, versatile Marine Corps Expeditionary Units (MEU) to East-Asia, citing the rapidly expanding Chinese influence in the region.

After 16-years of military embarrassments in the Middle East, the Pentagon appears to have realized that its misfortunes in the area have transformed into nothing more than Vietnam 2.0; alternatively it is merely provoking Asian superpowers into a new race for military dominance in the region. Continue reading

China has Militarized South China Sea

 

Countries Who Have Lost Islands To China Say There Needs To Be Checks Put In Place To Avoid An Unintended Regional War.

According to the South China Morning Post, the member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are clamoring for a more formal “code of conduct” in the South China Sea following a spate of aerial “incidents” that had the potential of triggering an unintended regional war. Continue reading

China’s Achilles Heel

Image credit: Poster Collection, US 3481, Hoover Institution Archives.

 

The best political commentary out of East Asia last week is the one published on December 15 by South Korea’s second largest newspaper, Dong-A Ilbo. The paper’s editors asked a question on the mind of the entire Korean nation after their president had been outrageously snubbed by the Chinese leadership during his four-day state visit to the communist country, and Korean reporters accompanying their president’s visit were savagely beaten by thuggish Chinese security guards: “China should reflect on this question: why is it that for such a big country, there is hardly any neighbor that can be described as China’s friend?” Continue reading

Neighbors wary as China’s PLA modernizes, builds capability

Under Chinese President Xi Jinping, the People’s Liberation Army is undergoing massive changes as it is reorganized, resized and mobilized. On one hand, the PLA is also getting a bigger role in China’s strategic and foreign-policy outreach. On the other hand, it is shedding weight and becoming a leaner and more information-driven army.

These far-reaching changes will have implications for the region, as neighbors India, Japan and Vietnam and powers like the US and Australia watch closely. Continue reading