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Author Topic: US-China (& Japan, South China Sea-- Vietnam, Philippines, etc)  (Read 65153 times)
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #350 on: March 27, 2016, 12:31:55 PM »


In the South China Sea, China's Gaze Moves South
Analysis
March 26, 2016 | 13:00 GMT Print
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The Malaysian navy, as well as Indonesia's, often must approach ships belonging to the Chinese coast guard carefully when monitoring maritime disputes in the South China Sea. (Rahman Roslan/Getty Images)

Summary

China's activities in the eastern part of the South China Sea have garnered a lot of attention. Around the Paracel and Spratly islands, the United States, Japan and regional partners (primarily Vietnam and the Philippines) are expanding security cooperation to counter China's growing naval presence. But in the sea's south, China's relationships with Indonesia and Malaysia have largely been unexplored. Though not as dramatic as maneuvers in the east, developments in the south offer a more holistic picture of the maritime trade, energy flows and resource use — especially fishing — that define disputes in the South China Sea.

Analysis

Two Chinese vessels prevented an Indonesian patrol boat from impounding a Chinese fishing vessel near the Natuna Islands on March 19. Indonesia claims the vessel was trespassing in its exclusive economic zone, but China asserts that the area is its traditional fishing ground. Though Indonesian authorities failed to impound the ship, they did arrest the fishermen. Officials also threatened to appeal to an international court of arbitration and respond to future incidents with larger vessels.

In a similar event March 25, about 100 Chinese fishing boats were detected allegedly encroaching on waters near the Luconia Shoals, which Malaysia administers but China claims. Two Chinese coast guard vessels were reportedly guarding the fishing boats. Malaysia's navy monitored the situation, threatening legal action if the boats trespassed into its exclusive economic zone. But China's Foreign Ministry again reiterated Chinese fishing boats' rights to operate in the area.

These developments come ahead of a U.N. Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling on the Philippines' case to invalidate China's claims to disputed areas in the South China Sea, including the Scarborough Shoal. The ruling, expected sometime in 2016, will also clarify the legality of China's so-called nine-dash maritime line, which demarcates the country's perceived area of control in the South China Sea — and overlaps with Indonesia's and Malaysia's exclusive economic zones. China ultimately will not recognize the court's decision. Instead, it will use its surveying, construction and military activities, as well as its fishing activities — whether encouraged by the Chinese government or prompted by fishermen — to bolster its territorial claims ahead of the ruling, not only in the Scarborough Shoal and Spratly archipelago but also in the southern South China Sea.

Calmer Waters to the South

Indonesia and China do not have competing territorial claims in the South China Sea, and China recognizes Indonesia's sovereignty over the Natuna Islands. But because of the overlap in territory caused by China's nine-dash maritime line, the two countries have sparred over fishing rights. Indonesia launched a crackdown on illegal fishing in 2014 by sinking foreign vessels caught operating without permission. In 2015, the country destroyed an impounded Chinese fishing vessel. Earlier, in 2010 and 2013, it attempted to impound Chinese ships illegally fishing off the Natuna Islands, though Chinese maritime law enforcement vessels forced Indonesia to back off in both instances.

Yet China and Indonesia have managed to de-escalate tensions in these cases, and they will likely do so again this time. After all, China would rather contain the situation than push a country that perceives itself as a regional peacemaker to support the other countries opposing China's claims in the South China Sea. Moreover, Indonesia does not want to antagonize China while it expands maritime cooperation and economic ties with the Chinese government. Neither does Malaysia, which also seeks greater economic ties with China, despite territorial quarrels and spats over fishing rights with the country.

To the east, this civility is missing from feuds in the Paracels, the Spratlys and the Scarborough Shoal. There, China is preparing for a larger U.S. and Japanese military role to assist the major contestants in their South China Sea disputes and to block China's rise as a naval power. The United States and Japan signed defense cooperation deals with the Philippines in 2014 and 2016, respectively. Japan has allowed for a transfer of military hardware to boost Philippine coast guard capabilities and is even considering signing a deal that would enable Japanese ships and planes to refuel and resupply in the Philippines. On March 18, Washington and Manila announced the five locations in the Philippines where U.S. forces will have access to bases, including two bases about 300 kilometers from the disputed Mischief Reef and Scarborough Shoal. The United States and Japan are also cooperating with Vietnam to develop its coast guard.

By comparison, U.S. and Japanese security and military connections with Indonesia and Malaysia are underdeveloped. Malaysia and Indonesia want it this way, mainly because neither wants to pick a side and risk jeopardizing its lucrative ties with China or exacerbating tensions in the South China Sea and the region.

Making Preparations Nonetheless

But China may have no choice but to expand into southern waters. From Beijing's perspective, its military presence in the Paracels and Spratlys is required to contend with the growing U.S. and Japanese activities and, more important, to emerge as a major naval power with global ambitions. China's maneuvers in the south are equally important, aimed at ensuring its access to fishing grounds, smooth trade and energy flows through maritime routes that traverse major choke points, patrolled and controlled by Indonesia and Malaysia (as well as Singapore). China knows all too well that either country could halt this traffic in case of a conflict.

And despite their more cordial ties with China, Malaysia and Indonesia will nevertheless protect their maritime and territorial rights. Their waters are not as overfished as those along China's coast, tempting Chinese fishermen to explore. China's need to find abundant fishing grounds, along with its expanded naval exercises and patrols in the south, will prompt stronger security ties between the United States, Japan and other countries. In the meantime, accidental or unplanned breaches by Chinese fishing vessels, which are generally not under tight government control, could lead to snap decisions and actions, sparking conflict in the region.

The United States and its regional partners will seek to rally support for a joint response against China's activities in the South China Sea, undertaking shared patrols, flyovers and other security measures. But, short of military intervention, they can do nothing to stop China's land reclamation, military and fishing activities. They could, and likely will, approach Indonesia and Malaysia, but these countries will be more cautious in challenging China. And Beijing will be preparing for these scenarios, too. It will push ahead with its military activities in the Paracel and Spratly islands, all the while deepening economic engagement with Indonesia and Malaysia to keep them from aligning against it in regional disagreements.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #351 on: March 31, 2016, 07:53:58 AM »

China

China has moved from deploying weapons to a disputed South China Sea island to test-firing them, according to several reports. China recently tested a YJ-62 anti-ship cruise missile from Woody Island, claimed by both Vietnam and Taiwan. China also recently shipped surface-to-air missiles and an associated radar system to the island, as well as J-7 and J-11 fighter jets as part of what the U.S. has called the "militarization" of the South China Sea. Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook wouldn't confirm or deny the report, citing the sensitivity of intelligence issues.

Philippines

The Philippine military is considering whether to buy a submarine in its pursuit of a stronger military to hedge against the rise of China's territorial ambitions. President Benigno Aquino floated the prospect of a submarine force on Wednesday, citing the need to modernize the country's armed forces. The sub would be the first for the Philippines and likely an expensive purchase for the country's relatively small defense budget.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #352 on: March 31, 2016, 11:21:55 AM »

This is especially hard when you have a US President who is uninformed, disengaged and unprincipled. 

I wonder how those daily briefings are going - that he missed on the Middle East...

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/30/world/asia/obama-xi-jinping-meeting-washington.html?ref=todayspaper&_r=0

Obama Faces a Tough Balancing Act Over South China Sea

"Expectations that anything of substance will be accomplished in the 90-minute meeting between Mr. Obama and Mr. Xi are minimal."

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G M
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« Reply #353 on: March 31, 2016, 03:32:20 PM »

This is especially hard when you have a US President who is uninformed, disengaged and unprincipled. 

I wonder how those daily briefings are going - that he missed on the Middle East...

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/30/world/asia/obama-xi-jinping-meeting-washington.html?ref=todayspaper&_r=0

Obama Faces a Tough Balancing Act Over South China Sea

"Expectations that anything of substance will be accomplished in the 90-minute meeting between Mr. Obama and Mr. Xi are minimal."



The Chinese are openly contemptuous of Buraq.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #354 on: March 31, 2016, 10:26:15 PM »

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-03-31/indonesia-to-deploy-f-16s-to-guard-its-south-china-sea-territory?cmpid=yhoo.headline
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #355 on: March 31, 2016, 10:29:02 PM »

Good for Sec Def Carter!!!

http://www.businessinsider.com/ash-carter-south-china-sea-2016-3
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #356 on: April 07, 2016, 07:18:26 AM »

Asian countries are increasingly pushing back against China’s sweeping territorial claims and bullying tactics in the South China Sea. On Sunday, a Japanese submarine made a port call in the Philippines for the first time in 15 years, a sign of growing security cooperation. Last week, Vietnam seized a Chinese ship for illegally entering its territorial waters, and Indonesia threatened to defend its own claims with F-16 fighter jets.

Meanwhile, President Obama used a meeting with President Xi Jinping last week to deliver what one administration official described as “a very direct and unvarnished earful” about how seriously Washington views China’s behavior. And on Monday the United States and the Philippines began annual war games that will certainly show that the Philippines can count on the United States to counter Beijing.

The South China Sea is rich in natural resources and serves as a vital waterway for $5 trillion in trade. The Chinese have been engaged in a campaign to transform contested reefs and rocks into artificial islands with airstrips and other military structures. This has alarmed neighboring countries, which have competing claims and fear that China will use these islands to interfere with navigation and other countries’ rights to fish and drill for oil and gas.
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One result of the rising friction is a new defense agreement that will allow the United States to station weapons and troops at five bases in the Philippines for the first time in more than 20 years. Another is a marked increase in regional military spending. The United States recently carried out two patrols by warships and aircraft into territory claimed by China and is planning a third.

The Philippines is challenging Beijing’s assertions of sovereignty over most of the South China Sea in the international arbitration court, and a decision is expected by the end of June. Although China ratified the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, guaranteeing unimpeded passage on the high seas for trade, fishing and oil exploration, it has refused to participate in the Philippine case. American officials worry that Beijing may reject the court ruling or even pre-emptively build up more islands.

The United States, which takes a neutral position on the competing claims, has pushed all countries, especially China, to stop militarizing land masses and adding to them. It has also promised to recognize the claims of whichever side wins the arbitration case. While there was no breakthrough in the Xi-Obama meeting, the Chinese president stressed his desire to work with the United States and “realize no conflicts or confrontation.” But some sort of confrontation seems increasingly likely as long as China refuses to resolve the maritime disputes peacefully.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #357 on: April 19, 2016, 12:27:34 PM »

http://www.manilalivewire.com/2016/04/duterte-willing-to-stand-down-on-west-philippine-sea-disputes-with-china/
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #358 on: April 21, 2016, 05:01:27 PM »

ISIS is Collapsing
by Daniel Pipes
The Miami Herald
April 19, 2016
http://www.meforum.org/5964/isis-collapsing
 
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