The top US commander in the Pacific criticises ‘might is right’ approach as China scorns international tribunal on disputed waters
America’s top military commander for the Pacific has taken a thinly veiled swipe at China as he warned that a dangerous arms race over the disputed waters of the South China Sea could “engulf” the region.
Admiral Scott Swift said that nations could be increasingly tempted to use military force instead of international law to settle territorial claims.
The next time the United States sends warships by China’s man-made islands in the disputed South China, officers aboard will have to decide how, if at all, they will engage with a pair of giant lighthouses that Beijing lit up there this month.
Chinese officials say the lighthouses on Cuarteron Reef and Johnson South Reef in the disputed Spratly islands will help maritime search and rescue, navigational security and disaster relief.
Experts, diplomats and foreign naval officers say, however, the lighthouses represent a shrewd move to help buttress China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea. Continue reading
China on Friday said it would not stand for violations of its territorial waters in the name of freedom of navigation, as the United States considers sailing warships close to China’s artificial islands in the South China Sea.
A US defence official said Washington was mulling sending ships within the next two weeks to waters inside the 12-nautical-mile zone that Beijing claims as territory around islands it has built in the Spratly chain. Continue reading
SYDNEY – Some countries appear to view freedom of the seas as “up for grabs” in the South China Sea, imposing superfluous warnings and restrictions that threaten stability, a U.S. Navy commander said Tuesday in comments apparently aimed at China.
Adm. Scott Swift, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, said in a strongly worded address in Australia the United States remained “as committed as ever” to protect freedom of navigation through the region. Continue reading
Invokes Article 5 of defense treaty in message to China (Updated)
President Obama on Tuesday invoked U.S. military defense guarantees for Japan’s disputed East China Sea islands that have been the target of coordinated Chinese military provocations since 2012.
During a Rose Garden press conference with visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Obama repeated a promise to defend the Senkaku Islands, a statement that is likely to anger China, which claims the uninhabited islands as its own, calling them the Diaoyu Islands. Continue reading
Thousands of German citizens have been taking to the streets to protest the growing “Islamization” of their country.
The protests are part of a burgeoning grassroots movement made up of ordinary citizens who are calling for an end to runaway immigration and the spread of Islamic Sharia law in Germany.
The guardians of German multiculturalism are fighting back: they are seeking to delegitimize the protesters by branding them as “neo-Nazis” and by claiming that the Islamization of Germany is a myth contrived by misinformed citizens.
But there is a mounting public backlash over what many perceive as the government’s indifference to the growing influence of Islam in German society. This backlash represents a potentially significant turning point—one that implies that the days of unrestrained German multiculturalism may be coming to an end. Continue reading
When Vladimir Putin met China’s president Xi Jinping on Sunday, a memorandum of understanding for a second massive gas supply deal caught most of the attention.
For the Russian president, the deal may be less appealing for its commercial benefits than its ability to advance a larger strategic goal of cementing ties with its eastern neighbour.
According to Russian officials and security analysts, Moscow’s worst stand-off with the west since the end of the cold war has convinced Mr Putin’s government that it must moor its security interests to China because the Euro-Atlantic security architecture is broken beyond repair.
“Cooperation between Russia and China is extremely important to keep the peace in the framework of international law, making it more stable,” Mr Putin told his Chinese counterpart, just two weeks after he accused the US of destabilising the world by frequently violating international law. Continue reading
BERLIN/KIEV (Own report) – A prominent German jurist has sharply criticized the German government’s anti-Russian declarations concerning the Crimea Crisis. As Reinhard Merkel, a law professor at the University of Hamburg, explains, the allegation of Russia having “annexed” the Crimea or having made a “land grab” must be unambiguously refuted. These allegations are not only false, from the standpoint of international law; they are also extremely dangerous, because annexation usually engenders war as a response. Merkel explicitly advocates being very skeptical of “official government vocatives insisted on from Berlin to Washington” concerning the Crimea Crisis. Simultaneously, the situation in Ukraine has further escalated. The government that illegally seized power has begun a “lustration” (“purge”), with the objective of removing all supporters of the party of the overthrown President Yanukovych from public office. This is said to affect “thousands.” At the same time, Ukrainian oligarchs, against whose methods of reign the earlier Maidan demonstrations had been protesting, are being given new posts. The ex-boxer Vitaly Klitschko’s, “Made in Germany,” UDAR party has chosen a billionaire as its presidential candidate, rather than its hopeless leader. Fascist forces are positioning themselves to move against the increasingly marginalized pro-Russian segments of the population. The Berlin-supported Maidan opposition had effectively used the fascists’ potential for violence to overthrow Yanukovych. Continue reading
Germany’s Angela Merkel delivered a rebuke to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday, telling him that a planned Moscow-backed referendum on whether Crimea should join Russia was illegal and violated Ukraine’s constitution.
Putin defended breakaway moves by pro-Russian leaders in Crimea, where Russian forces tightened their grip on the Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula by seizing another border post and a military airfield. Continue reading
This is what precisely makes a war against Syria (which is also an attack on Iran because of a mutual defense pact) so dangerous, as compared to countries like Iraq or Libya. They have the capability to hit at the American homeland, and one shouldn’t dismiss the fact that it will happen as because the threat sounds like rhetoric from just another random third-world nation madman.
When you go to war with a country in the Middle East, such as Iran or Syria, you better be prepared to fight for more than a thousand years. Why? Because they already have been at war back and forth that long with other nations and kingdoms. They are hardened and used to it, whereas the American memory of history and events lasts 24 hours and the “stomach” for war lasts maybe a few years, at best, as proven by the prolonged wars the U.S. is already involved in.
With the White House closer to launching a surgical military strike on Syria, questions swirl over the extent to which such an attack could trigger a wave of terrorism directed at the U.S. and Israel.
Some analysts say that Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Lebanese militia fighting in support of embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad, likely would be inspired to ramp up operations in Iran’s “shadow war” with the U.S. and its allies. Continue reading
TOKYO – A flotilla of Chinese warships transited an important ocean strait off Japan’s northernmost island for the first time this week, passing within clear sight of observers onshore.
The PLA Navy vessels had just completed a major training exercise with Russian warships nearby and were using the Soya Strait to head into the far Pacific. It was just the latest Chinese excursion through narrow and potentially-strategic transit points in and around Japan’s home islands, and another example of China’s growing assertiveness in the region. Continue reading
Alistair Burt, a Conservative foreign minister, said that the technology represents a “step on” from drones used in Afghanistan because the robots are capable of automatically selecting and killing target.
He said: “We cannot predict the future; we cannot know now how this technology will develop. Given the challenging situations in which we expect our armed forces personnel to operate now and in the future, it would be wrong to deny them legitimate and effective capabilities. Continue reading
In what can be considered today’s bizarre news, Washington is buying military helicopters from Russia. “International law” (no such thing) aside, this compromises national security, let alone increases dependency on an enemy nation like the US now does via NASA to bring our astronauts into orbit.
From the state-run (FSB/KGB) propaganda outlet, RIA Novosti:
WASHINGTON, April 4 (By Maria Young for RIA Novosti) – The US Department of Defense said Thursday it plans to sidestep a Congressional ban to purchase 30 helicopters from Russian state-owned defense firm Rosoboronexport, despite objections from US lawmakers who allege that the firm has equipped the Syrian government to commit brutal crimes against civilians.
“The Department of Defense (DOD) has notified Congress of its intent to contract with Rosoboronexport for 30 additional Mi-17 rotary-wing aircraft to support the Afghanistan National Security Forces (ANSF) Special Mission Wing,” Pentagon spokesman James Gregory told RIA Novosti in emailed comments. Continue reading
It’s been said that chemical weapons being used by Syria is the ‘red line’ and there’s no question now that they have been used. The next issue is to find out who used them. Should it be Syria in this case, we know where that road leads as it has been discussed here for some time before the media picked up on the possibility of usage. Such is the scenario when Assad realizes his last grip on power is about to be lost.
Israeli security officials believe chemical agents were in fact used near Aleppo by rebels or Assad forces. Young girl: My chest closed up. I couldn’t talk. I couldn’t breathe
Syria’s state television said rebels fired a rocket carrying chemical agents that killed 25 people and wounded dozens. The pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the conflict, said 16 soldiers were among the dead.
Israeli security officials believe chemical agents were used near Aleppo, but on a relatively small scale. However, the officials could not say who was behind the chemical attack – the rebels or Assad’s regime. Continue reading
This is also another reason that the Soviets, Chinese and Germans patrol the open seas and hunt pirates that articles won’t normally mention. The primary goal is not the pirate hunting itself. Aside from “maritime trade” routes, the primary goal can also be territorial claim and control of strategic waterways once you establish a regular patrol routine. Another benefit for these countries is that it’s free training for the military and even weapons testing without having an actual war. The pirates could’ve have been hunted down in their own country or a war between nations would have happened by now should they be an actual threat.
These militarization plans are certainly not a reaction merely to considerations of how to combat more effectively piracy off the coast of Somalia, but to geostrategic considerations as well. For example, last year Volker Perthes, Director of SWP, pointed out that the “interests” behind the countries’ sending their naval vessels to the Horn of Africa are not “limited to the war on piracy.” Perthes explains that, over the past few years, the importance of the Indian Ocean, where piracy is being fought in its western sector, has enormously grown. “One third of the world’s maritime trade” crosses this route, with the trend rising rapidly. Particularly East Asian countries, especially China, are making large infrastructure investments in the bordering countries – port facilities or transportation means -, which are “also elements of the geostrategic competition.” It is, after all, “it goes without saying” that China and even India have “an interest in protecting their maritime links.” Even though the United States “will remain the strongest maritime power in the Indian Ocean, for the foreseeable future,” it will soon “no longer be the sole maritime power.” Perthes warns that “the new momentum in the greater region of the Indian Ocean” should not be neglected and one must also be involved.
Full article: With Submarines against Pirates (German Foreign Policy)