Russia and China object to the West’s military presence along their borders, and these joint naval exercises are planned to send a message to the world. Financial Times writes, “China complains about U.S. naval patrols just off its coast; Russia rails against the expansion of nato. By staging joint exercises in the Mediterranean, the Chinese and Russians would send a deliberate message: If nato can patrol near their frontiers, they too can patrol in nato’s heartland.” Russia and China demonstrate a lack of fear as they flex their combined military strength to challenge the world order. Continue reading
China demands end to U.S. surveillance flights
The Navy is sending a second aircraft carrier strike group to the Asia Pacific region amid new tensions with China over a dangerous aerial encounter between a Chinese interceptor and Navy P-8 surveillance craft.
The strike group led by the USS Carl Vinson departed San Diego for the Pacific on Friday, the Navy said in an announcement of what it terms a “planned” deployment.
China’s military on Saturday, meanwhile, demanded an end to all U.S. monitoring flights and called U.S. criticism of dangerous Chinese jet maneuvers false. Continue reading
China’s defence budget will double between 2011 and 2015 and outstrip the combined spending of all other key defence markets in the Asia-Pacific region, global research group IHS said Tuesday.
China’s defence budget stood at $119.8 billion last year and will rise to $238.2 billion in 2015, marking a combined annual growth rate of 18.75 percent during the period, the US-based IHS said in a forecast.
The 2015 figure exceeds the combined total of the next 12 biggest defence budgets in the region, forecast to hit $232.5 billion, and will be almost four times second-placer Japan’s defence spending that year, it added.
Full article: China defence budget to double over 5 years (Defence Talk)
Western powers have entered into a tense endgame with Iran over its nuclear ambitions. In the second part of this new report from the Globalist Reseach Center, energy expert Matthew Hulbert explores the critical role the China-Saudi relationship might play in its resolution.
The sanctions strategy that Western nations is enacting against Iran’s oil weath depends on more than just those Western nations. The interest (and actions) of the Gulf states and Asian nations also matters critically. Only East-West cohesion can seriously undermine Iran’s hydrocarbon economy. But getting the Saudis to wield such a brutal oil weapon to shoot down Persian nuclear plans will not be quick or easy given the stakes involved.
The al Saud are well aware of the other (more credible) hedges Iran has up its sleeve (beyond cutting off oil flows through the Strait of Hormuz). At the top of the list is stirring Shia schisms in Iraq, Bahrain, Syria, Lebanon and in Saudi Arabia itself.
The “Arab Awakening” is still sufficiently fresh in the minds of Gulf region leaders to set them on edge. Iran has dropped hints that it could have played much tougher with Riyadh over its intervention in Bahrain.
Full article: Iranian Endgame: Part II — The Saudi Dimension (The Globalist)
See also: Iranian Endgame: Part I — Sanctions and Asia (The Globalist)
There have been projections among some Indian experts and think tanks that a limited Chinese attack along the unresolved Sino-Indian border may be imminent. This view cannot be totally faulted. They are based on China’s aggressive official and semi-official postures and warning to India, especially on the sovereignty of Tawang, an important Buddhist pilgrim town in India’s north-east state of Arunachal Pradesh.
China claims officially the whole of Arunachal Pradesh as its territory. The official Chinese media, have started referring to Arunachal Pradesh as South Tibet. This is a very important shift in China’s nomenclature of Arunachal Pradesh. This is an effort to now make this Indian state a historical part of Tibet which China militarily occupied in 1950. With India among other countries in the world having acknowledged the original Tibet as a sovereign part of China, extension of Tibet to Arunachal Pradesh may give China an opening into its sovereignty claim on Arunachal Pradesh. Beijing believes it as another instrument to pressure India.
Full article: An India-China Military Conflict? – Analysis (Eurasia Review)
Two decades after evicting U.S. forces from their biggest base in the Pacific, the Philippines is in talks with the Obama administration about expanding the American military presence in the island nation, the latest in a series of strategic moves aimed at China.
Although negotiations are in the early stages, officials from both governments said they are favorably inclined toward a deal. They are scheduled to intensify the discussions Thursday and Friday in Washington before higher-level meetings in March. If an arrangement is reached, it would follow other recent agreements to base thousands of U.S. Marines in northern Australia and to station Navy warships in Singapore.
Among the options under consideration are operating Navy ships from the Philippines, deploying troops on a rotational basis and staging more frequent joint exercises. Under each scenario, U.S. forces would effectively be guests at existing foreign bases.
The sudden rush by many in the Asia-Pacific region to embrace Washington is a direct reaction to China’s rise as a military power and its assertiveness in staking claims to disputed territories, such as the energy-rich South China Sea.
Continue reading article: Philippines may allow greater U.S. military presence in reaction to China’s rise (Washington Post)