Congratulations, Beijing. The South China Sea Is Now Yours.

Chinese sailors march in a massive military parade in Beijing. (GETTY IMAGES)

 

China’s dominance of this strategic sea gate is effectively complete.

As recently as July 2016, it looked as if conflict could erupt between the United States, China, and possibly some smaller Asian nations over Beijing’s belligerent drive to transform the South China Sea into a “Chinese lake.” That month, the already fraught situation became far more volatile when the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague ruled against some of China’s territorial claims in the area, after which China vowed to use “all necessary measures” to safeguard its control of the region.

But now, despite the Trump administration’s decision on May 24 to conduct a naval action in the region, it is clear that China has emerged from this dispute victorious. The South China Sea—the vast, resource-rich region through which a third of global maritime commerce flows—is now the de facto territory of Beijing.

“It is, unfortunately, now game over,” said Mira Rapp-Hooper, a senior fellow at the Washington D.C.-based Center for a New American Security.

This “unfortunate” turn of the tides reveals America’s fading influence, China’s rising power (and increasing shrewdness about how to effectively use that power), and that the smaller Asian states are pragmatic and circumspect about these shifts.

Continue reading

Philippines to shop for Chinese, Russian arms due to strict US conditions

FILE PHOTO: Philippine Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana speaks during the opening ceremony of Philippines and U.S. military joint exercises called Balikatan in Quezon city

 

The Philippines has been forced to turn to China and Russia for arms supplies because of conditions imposed by its long-time ally and former colonial ruler the United States, Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Monday.

The United States has provided its defence treaty ally with most of its major hardware, like ships, fighters, helicopters and small arms, but the Philippines was now looking to China and Russia for drones, planes, fast boats and rifles to fight Maoist-led rebels and Islamist militants behind an unrelenting spree of piracy and kidnapping, he said. Continue reading

Philippine forces call Beijing’s bluff in South China Sea

Philippines-controlled Thitu Island, also known as Pagasa, in the Spratly chain of islands in the disputed South China Sea. | REUTERS

 

The Philippines has begun moving military forces to the disputed Pag-asa Island in the South China Sea

(WASHINGTON, DC) Pag-asa Island is claimed by both Manila and Beijing and according to a Philippine general the pacific U.S. ally has plan to build infrastructure and lengthen the airstrip on the island.

The troops and initial supplies arrived at Pag-asa Island last week, Lt. Gen. Raul del Rosario, head of the Philippine military’s Western Command, said as quoted by AP. Continue reading

Philippines’ Duterte derides US for past inaction in South China Sea

Inaction, as Duterte puts it – and under the Obama administration – has lead to China’s unchecked rise in Asia during the last eight years. It will prove extremely difficult, if not impossible to reverse this tide without a major war that would jeopardize many lives. China’s hold was solidified with the artificial islands the Obama administration did nothing about.

 

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte gestures while answering questions during a news conference upon arrival from a trip to Myanmar and Thailand at an international airport in Manila, Philippines March 23, 2017. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

 

MANILA: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday accused the United States of having a provocative stance on the South China Sea and said its inaction when China started building manmade islands was the cause of tensions now besetting the region.

Duterte said Washington’s freedom of navigation patrols risked a “miscalculation” that could spark conflict, and accused the previous U.S. administration of pressuring the Philippines to take a stand against China, without a guarantee of military support.

“You go there in the pretence of challenging them?” he said of the U.S. patrols that began under the Obama administration. “One single solitary shot, it could lead to an explosion and it could lead to a war and it will be a slaughter.” Continue reading

Duterte Seems Alarmingly Resigned to Beijing’s New Building in the South China Sea

Over the last couple of years it has been said several times that Asian nations can no longer consider the United States a reliable partner. Its military has been decimated by budget cuts, technical problems (think F-35) and politics. The Obama administration had thrown into doubt the protection of Taiwan and Japan should either or both go to war with China. Asian nations see this and they don’t want to take chances on dealing with a bi-polar United States that changes policy whenever and whichever direction the wind blows with every new administration.

So, simply put, President Duterte has confirmed and cemented the the continuous prediction:

You take a gamble on a shaky alliance with the United States, go to war and see what happens. Maybe you’ll be defended, maybe you won’t. Maybe you won’t be offered full protection of the U.S. forces.

or

You play it safe, abandon the old club and join the club, and guarantee yourself not to get crushed in 48 hours by the Asian juggernaut.

Because of this realization, the day is coming where an Asian bloc will form under a Chinese protectorate. The vacuum is already there and is starting to be filled.

For further information, see the following (handful of many) articles:

Japan needs to seek out regional allies, view U.S. as ‘second resort,’ says head of think tank

Duterte Aligns Philippines With China, Says U.S. ‘Has Lost’

Beijing strengthens police powers in South China Sea

New blocs emerging: China and Russia vs US and Japan

Is Vietnam tilting toward China?

 

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks during a joint press conference with Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha at the government house in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, March 21, 2017.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks during a joint press conference with Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha at the government house in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, March 21, 2017. [SAKCHAI LALIT/AP]

‘What will I do? Declare a war against China? I can, but we’ll all lose our military and policemen tomorrow,’ President Duterte said this week.

In the mid-1990s Beijing reassured Manila that structures it was building atop Mischief Reef, near the Philippines in the South China Sea, were merely fishermen’s shelters. Today China has a militarized island at that “shelter,” complete with a runway and large anti-aircraft guns.

A similar progression could begin this year at the currently undeveloped Scarborough Shoal, which China seized from the Philippines in 2012. For Beijing, an installation there would go a long way toward establishing effective control over the waterway, creating a strategic triangle in conjunction with other facilities it’s built in the sea in recent years. Continue reading

Duterte Hopes Russia Will Become Philippines’ Ally and Protector

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (3rd L) talks to senior Russian military officials, Manila, Philippines / REUTERS

 

MANILA (Reuters) – President Rodrigo Duterte said on Friday that he hoped Moscow, a rival of the Philippines’ traditional ally the United States, would become his country’s ally and protector as he toured one of the two Russian warships on a four-day visit to Manila.

Duterte‘s remarks came a day after Russia’s ambassador said his country was ready to supply the Philippines with sophisticated weapons and aims to become its close friend. Continue reading

Duterte seeks ‘strategic shift’ from US to China: envoy

 

The Philippines is tilting away from its traditional ally the United States towards China in a bid to “normalise” relations following a longstanding territorial dispute, the country’s incoming ambassador to Beijing said Monday.

Manila has been one of Washington’s most loyal allies in Asia, but Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to end the decades-long alliance after the US criticised his bloody war on drugs that has killed over 5,000 people since he took office in June. Continue reading

Duterte Says US Forces Must Be Prepared to Leave Following Economic Aid Halt

© AFP 2016/ BAY ISMOYO

 

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The US military forces must be prepared to leave Philippines as their presence in the country is not needed, President Rodrigo Duterte said following the US announcement to halt economic aid to Manila protesting Duterte’s anti-drug policy, which reportedly resulted in deaths of over 2,000 people at the hands of the police. Continue reading

Philippines’ Duterte Tells U.S. to ‘Forget’ About Defense Deal ‘if I Stay Longer’ Before Japan Visit

Everything Duterte says is double-talk. However, one thing is clear: He is 100% anti-American. You can tell a tree by the fruit it produces and his actions are speaking louder than his two personalities. The United States has lost a major ally in Asia and one can’t help but wonder how long it will be before Japan jumps ship. This is a huge tectonic shift in Asia and will have global repercussions as it strengthens China and Russia.

As it’s been said here many times, with an America suiciding itself into the history books and becoming increasingly unreliable, many allies would rather join a China-lead bloc and umbrella protectorate than go to war against it and lose. The Philippines won’t be the first, or last, to bail out.

 

MANILA/TOKYO (Reuters)–Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte lashed out anew at the United States on Tuesday and said it could forget a bilateral defense deal if he stayed in power long enough, in the latest jarring statement from Manila about the future of the alliance.

The fresh broadside from Duterte came as he was about to board a plane for an official visit to fellow U.S. ally Japan, a big investor in the Philippines that is becoming nervous about its apparent pivot towards rival power China. Continue reading

Japan wary of Philippine pivot to China

TOKYO — The Philippines’ newly found affection for China has sparked concern in Japan that it would embolden the Asian giant to expand more aggressively in the South China Sea.

Japan has worked with the U.S. and others to pressure China to accept an international arbitration ruling in July that rejected Beijing’s claims in the South China Sea. The ruling involved a case brought by the Philippines, but Manila has downplayed the decision in its favor.

Continue reading

Duterte Aligns Philippines With China, Says U.S. ‘Has Lost’

A new Asian bloc with China as the umbrella protectorate is forming.

Exit Pax Americana.

Enter Pax Asia Pacifica.

 

https://i2.wp.com/s2.freebeacon.com/up/2016/10/philip-1.jpg

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands / REUTERS

 

BEIJING (Reuters)–Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced his “separation” from the United States on Thursday, declaring he had realigned with China as the two agreed to resolve their South China Sea dispute through talks.

Duterte made his comments in Beijing, where he is visiting with at least 200 business people to pave the way for what he calls a new commercial alliance as relations with longtime ally Washington deteriorate.

“In this venue, your honors, in this venue, I announce my separation from the United States,” Duterte told Chinese and Philippine business people, to applause, at a forum in the Great Hall of the People attended by Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli.

“Both in military, not maybe social, but economics also. America has lost.” Continue reading

Duterte to visit China in coming weeks, in sign alliances may be shifting in East Asia

https://i1.wp.com/cdn4.i-scmp.com/sites/default/files/styles/980x551/public/images/methode/2016/10/01/f512cc94-872c-11e6-8fff-f52227c06034_1280x720.jpg

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will visit China from October 19-21. Photo: AP

 

If Beijing and Manila can work together over such issues as fishing rights in the disputed Scarborough Shoal, the Philippines’ reliance on the US could erode further, analysts say

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte travels to China this month on a visit that could redraw alliances in East Asia after his incendiary comments about the United States and active courting of Washington’s chief rivals.

The friendly relationship between the Philippines and the United States has been one of the pillars of Washington’s strategic military rebalance to Asia under US President Barack Obama. But the alliance has been under strain since Duterte came to power three months ago and chafed at US criticism of his bloody war on drugs, which has led to the killing of more than 3,100 alleged drug users and dealers by police and vigilantes.

Continue reading

Duterte declares upcoming Philippines-U.S. war games ‘the last one’

HANOI (Reuters) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte plunged one of the United States’ most important Asian alliances deeper into uncertainty on Wednesday by declaring upcoming U.S.-Philippine military exercises “the last”, and ruling out any joint navy patrols.

The firebrand Duterte pledged to honor a longstanding security treaty with the United States but said China opposed joint marine drills in the Philippines starting next week and there would be no more war games with Washington after that.

“I am serving notice now to the Americans, this will be the last military exercise,” Duterte said during a visit to Vietnam. “Jointly, Philippines-U.S.: the last one.” Continue reading

Philippines’ Duterte wants to ‘open alliances’ with Russia, China

As predicted several times, and as early as 2012, Asian nations will begin to abandon the United States which is seen as an increasingly unreliable partner, and join the communist Chinese protectorate umbrella. If you’re a nation in Asia today it’s more costly to go to war against China and risk annihilation without knowing if America really does have your back, so you’re better off joining them. The want of deeper ties also with Russia, even only on the economic level, is a long-term strategic bonus for the Philippines.

 

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte arrives at the military’s Camp Tecson to talk to soldiers in San Miguel, Bulacan in northern Philippines September 15, 2016. REUTERS/Erik De Castro

 

MANILA (Reuters) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday he would visit Russia and China this year to chart an independent foreign policy and “open alliances” with two powers with historic rivalries with the United States.

Duterte said the Philippines was at the “point of no return” in relations with former colonial ruler the United States, so he wanted to strengthen ties with others, and picked two global powers that have been sparring with Washington on the international political stage.

Last week, he last declared he would visit China, with which ties remain frosty over a South China Sea arbitration ruling won by the Philippines in July. He said Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was expecting him in Moscow. Continue reading

China Orders Military to “Prepare for Combat” (with United States) Over Hague Ruling on South China Sea

If you ever wanted to understand China’s view on America and its true intentions, let this be the only thing you read:

War Is Not Far from Us and Is the Midwife of the Chinese Century

 

 

Chinese president Xi Jinping has ordered the People’s Liberation Army to prepare for combat. This comes after an international tribunal on Tuesday issued an unfavorable ruling against China’s claims over the South China Sea.  U.S.-based Boxun News said Tuesday that the instruction was given in case the United States takes provocative action in the waters once the ruling is made.

The U.S. and China have been expanding their military activities across the sea, stoking heavy tension between the two superpowers. Continue reading