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

War Games in the Pacific

WASHINGTON/BERLIN (Own report) – German soldiers will soon participate in maneuvers in the Pacific and will be on hand as observers on patrols in the South China Sea, according to announcements by the US Navy and the French Minister of Defense, Florence Parly. At a top-level conference in Singapore last weekend, Parly declared that Paris will dispatch warships to the South China Sea in the next few days and will also navigate through the territorial waters of Islands China claims as its territory. According to Parly, German military observers will embark on these ships. At the same time, German soldiers are preparing their participation in the US led RIMPAC 2018 maneuver, taking place mainly near Hawaii. RIMPAC is the world’s largest international maritime exercise. During RIMPAC 2016 German soldiers trained in “liberating” an island, which, according to the scenario, was held by the “Draco” militia. “Draco” is the Latin term for “dragon” – a symbol for China.

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Chinese spy ship arrives at giant U.S.-led naval exercise off the coast of Hawaii

A giant U.S.-led naval exercise with 22 nations from around the world got an unexpected visitor on Sunday — a Chinese spy ship perched in international waters.

The 24th Rim of the Pacific exercises (RIMPAC) in and around the Hawaiian Islands features more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel. China is part of a host of nations taking part, which also includes Australia, Canada, France, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of the Philippines, the United Kingdom and others. Continue reading

Congressman: Obama is letting China steal U.S. military secrets

For the first time, the Obama administration invited China’s People’s Liberation Army to participate in the 2014 Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise, an annual maritime exercise that enlists a variety of nations typically allied with the United States. But in wake of concerted Chinese attempts to obtain U.S. military secrets, not everyone is thrilled about the two naval powers floating side-by-side.

“The administration made a mistake by letting China play a role in the Rim of the Pacific exercises,” Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH), chairman of the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, tells The Cable. “They will likely utilize these exercises to their advantage: stealing our military secrets and better understanding our military strategy.” Continue reading

Inside the Ring: Invitation to China

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta’s unusual offer to China’s military to join a major U.S.-led naval exercise in the Pacific prompted several U.S. security officials to express fears privately that China will gain valuable war-fighting intelligence from the Rimpac, or Rim of the Pacific, exercise.

China’s military will learn details on how the United States conducts coalition warfare, a strategic war-fighting capability. It also will learn valuable data on U.S. communications used in naval warfare maneuvers, said defense officials familiar with the war games.

If China takes part, Chinese military intelligence would be given access to sensitive information on the planning for the exercise and the communications and procedures used in maneuvering large groups of forces from different nations. China could use the information in a future conflict, considering its growing cyberwarfare capabilities.

A provision of the 2000 National Defense Authorization Act prohibits any contacts with the People’s Liberation of Army that pose a national security risk, including joint war-fighting capabilities, a key element of the international war games.

To circumvent the restriction, the Pentagon over the past few months had lawyers review the prohibition. They told Mr. Panetta he could authorize the Chinese military participation by asserting it would not undermine U.S. security.

Full article: Inside the Ring: Invitation to China (Washington Times)