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

China’s Latest Threat Is an Invisible Sub Built for “Research Purposes”

As noted in a previous article, China is ticking all the boxes on its path to war.

 

 

China has a new plan of attack in the South China Sea: espionage.

This morning, Beijing declared its new “invisible sub” primed and ready for its first official post-trial phase “research” mission. The sub is called the Jiaolong – named for a mythical sea creature – and its alleged purpose is to collect deep-sea samples of sediment, rock, and water for scientific research.

But the difficult-to-see, deep-water probe is now headed from the South China Sea to the East China Sea – a route that has raised some eyebrows among defense analysts and maritime law experts.

Here’s why they’re so skeptical about the Jiaolong’s deep-sea movements, with some even wondering if China’s true intent has less to do with scientific research and more to do with spying on its competition in nearby Pacific waters…

Continue reading

China Is Ticking All the Boxes on Its Path to War

The Chinese dream of hegemony in Asia has been a long time coming. The map following is from a Nationalist primary school textbook from 1938.

 

There are currently three communiques that have guided U.S.-China relations for the last 45 years. These joint statements by the U.S. and Chinese governments were signed in 1972, 1979, and 1982. Among other things, the second communique states that, “Neither should seek hegemony in the Asia-Pacific region or in any other region of the world”.

China has recently been attempting to have the U.S. sign onto a Fourth Communique under which the U.S. would no longer consider Taiwan as an ally or deal with it in any military or diplomatic terms. In effect, the U.S. would peacefully decline and leave the Western Pacific to China. The White House rejected it prior to the meeting of the U.S. and Chinese presidents on April 6-7 at Mar-a-Lago. It was raised again by Henry Kissinger, now in the pay of the Chinese government, at his meeting with President Trump on May 10. Continue reading

The Years of Terror (II)

BERLIN (Own report) – Following the recent terror attacks, international pressure has been mounting on a major supporter of global jihadism – Saudi Arabia, a close German ally. In London, leading politicians from the opposition are calling on the British government to finally publish an investigation of the – presumably Saudi – financiers of British jihadis. Protest against the western powers’ pact with the Saudi ruling clan is being raised also beyond Europe’s borders. The youth league of the world’s largest Islamic organization, the Indonesian Nahdlatul Ulama, for example, has published a declaration accusing the West of ignoring the direct correlation between the Saudi Salafist crusade “and the spread of terrorism worldwide.” For decades, Saudi Arabia has been promoting Salafi jihadi milieux throughout the world – partly in alliance with Germany, partly with Berlin’s de facto approval – significantly strengthening them in Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Sahel, North Africa, the Middle East and the European countries with Muslim populations, such as Kosovo, as well as in Southeast Asia – in Indonesia and in the Philippines. While milieux supported by Saudi Arabia have increased their terror also in Western Europe, Berlin is continuing its cooperation with Riyadh.

Continue reading

The Years of Terror (I)

LONDON/BERLIN/RIYADH (Own report) – With its continued worldwide support for Salafis, Germany’s close partner, Saudi Arabia, is relentlessly fertilizing the soil for the growth of jihadi terror, according to the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP). “The consequences of Saudi Arabia’s support for Salafism are catastrophic,” the SWP concludes in light of IS/Daesh activities in Europe. British experts are also sharply criticizing cooperation with Riyadh. If one seriously wants to combat jihadi terror, one “should start by stopping the mass export of Wahhabism’s intolerance and hatred from Saudi Arabia,” an insider recommends. This is, however, countered by Germany, other European powers and North America’s relentless cooperation with the Saudi ruling clan. Just a few weeks ago, Chancellor Angela Merkel launched regular military cooperation with the Saudi armed forces. Out of consideration for Riyadh, the British government has been withholding an investigation, showing the – presumably Saudi – financiers of British jihadis. This had been made known only three days before the latest terror attack in London.

Continue reading

Russia-Philippines Relations: Defense Agreements But Short Of Military Alliance

Putin with Duterte (Source: Kremlin.ru)

 

On May 23, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow. However, Duterte had to suddenly return back to Manila, due to a terrorist attack that hit the southern island of Mindanao. Nevertheless, his ministers signed close to $1 billion worth of business deals with Russian firms.[1] The Philippines and Russia have also signed an Agreement on Defense Cooperation. The defense cooperation will expand “exchanges in terms of training, seminars and best practices between the two countries, with the end to develop relations in the field of military education, including military medicine, military history, sports, and culture as well as experiences in consultation, observer participation in military training exercises, and military port calls.”[2] Continue reading

Duterte declares Martial Law in Philippines’ Mindanao as fighting with ISIS intensifies (Photos, Video)

ISIS militants are in Marawi

 

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has declared matrial law in the island of Mindanao where the city of Marawi captured by ISIS is located. The city’s population is over 200,000 people. Continue reading

Philippines’ Duterte: China threatened ‘war’ over sea row

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Friday China’s leaders told him they were prepared to go to war over competing claims in the South China Sea.

Duterte, who met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing this week, said he was making the threat public in response to domestic criticism he was being too weak with China over the dispute. Continue reading

Two Chinese fighter jets intercept US plane over East China Sea

Disputed islands in the East China Sea. (Photo: Reuters)

 

WASHINGTON: Two Chinese SU-30 aircraft carried out what the US military described on Thursday (May 18) as an “unprofessional” intercept of a US aircraft designed to detect radiation while it was flying in international airspace over the East China Sea.

“The issue is being addressed with China through appropriate diplomatic and military channels,” said Air Force spokeswoman Lieutenant Colonel Lori Hodge. 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

Asia emerges as an economic zone

Source: Bloomberg

Source: Bloomberg

 

Asian currencies (Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, India, Indonesia, Taiwan and China) are now trading in lockstep with the Japanese yen. In large part this is managed: so many Asian countries compete in the same export markets that their central banks try to keep their currencies aligned with each other. Continue reading

World War III nightmare scenario brewing in the East China Sea

Mounting threat: Japanese F-15 jets are intercepting Chinese military planes daily. (Toru Yamanaka | AFP | Getty Images)

 

OKINAWA-While the world watches mounting military tensions in the South China Sea, another, more ominous situation is brewing in the East China Sea that could be the trigger point for a major war between the superpowers. At the heart of tensions are eight uninhabited islands controlled by Japan that are close to important shipping lanes, rich fishing grounds and potential oil and gas reserves. China contests Japan’s claims and is escalating its military activity in Japan airspace. In response, Japan has been doubling its F-15 jet intercepts.

The situation increases the risk of an accidental confrontation — and could draw other countries, like the United States, into a conflict. It’s a topic President Trump will likely bring up with Chinese President Xi Jinping at his Mar-a-Lago estate this week. 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