PLA targets Vietnam in S China Sea exercise, US in E China Sea

The People’s Liberation Army Navy last week held large-scale military exercises in the East China and South China seas, according to Sina’s military news web portal.

The targets of the two military exercises were not announced in the PLA press release. Military affairs websites have suggested that the South China Sea exercise is likely aimed at territory within what China calls the “first island chain” — the term the Chinese military uses to refer to the string of archipelagos extending from the Kuril islands south through Japan and its Ryukyu islands, Taiwan and the Philippines — likely in preparation for a potential scenario in which a US aircraft carrier war fleet break through the first island chain. Although this is a reasonable assumption, in a real combat scenario, relying on anti-ship missiles, conventional submarine-launched missiles and air-launched cruise missiles with a range of just 300 kilometers to take on a carrier fleet means that all the warships, planes and submarines would have to penetrate the carrier fleet’s outer defenses and approach its inner defenses to fire their payload. This kind of scenario is hard to imagine playing out in reality, given the naval power of the US. Continue reading

PLA’s YJ-18 anti-ship missile useful against US carrier group

If reports about the missile are accurate, it will be China’s first combination subsonic and supersonic anti-ship missile.

According to an unnamed source cited by a military affairs column on Chinese news web portal Sina, the YJ-18 will be the basis for a series of models that will be adapted for launch from warships, submarines and from the coast and will likely replace current anti-ship missiles, given its versatility. Continue reading

Chinese expert: If tensions escalate, US support for PHL, Japan will be ‘limited’

The United States will only give “limited” support to Japan and the Philippines if ever the situation between the two countries and China worsens, a Chinese expert said Wednesday.

A report posted on Chinese website SINA quoted Ruan Zongze, vice president and senior research fellow at the China Institute of International Studies (CIIS), as saying that he expects that the US  won’t “go too far” in supporting Japan and the Philippines. Continue reading