Posts Tagged ‘ADIZ’

U.S. weighs more South China Sea patrols to confront ‘new reality’ of China

June 3, 2018

The United States is considering intensified naval patrols in the South China Sea in a bid to challenge China’s growing militarization of the waterway, actions that could further raise the stakes in one of the world’s most volatile areas.

The Pentagon is weighing a more assertive program of so-called freedom-of-navigation operations close to Chinese installations on disputed reefs, two U.S. officials and Western and Asian diplomats close to discussions said.

The officials declined to say how close they were to finalizing a decision.

Such moves could involve longer patrols, ones involving larger numbers of ships or operations involving closer surveillance of Chinese facilities in the area, which now include electronic jamming equipment and advanced military radars.

trict navigation.

A map of the South China Sea showing Chinese claims and disputed islands

U.S. officials are also pushing international allies and partners to increase their own naval deployments through the vital trade route as China strengthens its military capabilities on both the Paracel and Spratly islands, the diplomats said, even if they stopped short of directly challenging Chinese holdings.

“What we have seen in the last few weeks is just the start, significantly more is being planned,” said one Western diplomat, referring to a freedom of navigation patrol late last month that used two U.S. ships for the first time.

“There is a real sense more needs to be done.”

The Pentagon does not comment on future operations but a spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Logan, said “we will continue to work with our friends, partners, and allies to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific”.

A more assertive Pentagon approach already appears to have started. Reuters first reported the patrol last month in which two U.S. Navy warships sailed near South China Sea islands claimed by China, even as President Donald Trump sought Chinese cooperation on North Korea.

While the operation had been planned months in advance, and similar operations have become routine, it is believed to be the first time where two U.S. warships have been used for a freedom of navigation operation in the South China Sea.

The Pentagon also withdrew an invitation for Chinese forces to join large multi-country exercises off Hawaii later in the year.

Critics have said the patrols have little impact on Chinese behavior and mask the lack of a broader strategy to deal with China’s growing dominance of the area.

“DO NOT PAY OFF”

U.S. Defence Secretary Jim Mattis warned in Singapore on Saturday that China’s militarization of the South China Sea was now a “reality” but that Beijing would face unspecified consequences.

Questioned during the Shangri-La Dialogue security conference over whether it was too late to stop China, Mattis said: “Eventually these (actions) do not pay off.”

Last month, China’s air force landed bombers on Woody Island in the disputed Paracel archipelago as part of a training exercise, triggering concern from Vietnam and the Philippines.

Satellite photographs taken on May 12 showed China appeared to have deployed truck-mounted surface-to-air missiles or anti-ship cruise missiles at Woody, while anti-ship cruise missiles and anti-air missiles were also placed on its largest bases in the Spratlys.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Singapore conference, He Lei, of the PLA’s Academy of Military Sciences, said China had every right to continue to militarize its South China Sea holdings.

“It is China’s sovereign and legal right for China to place our army and military weapons there. We see any other country that tries to make noise about this as interfering in our internal affairs,” He said.

Regional military attaches say they are now bracing for China’s next moves, which some fear could be the first deployment of jet fighters to the Spratlys or an attempt to enforce an Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) similar to one Beijing created off its eastern coast in 2013.

Vietnamese military officers say they are particularly concerned by the prospect of an ADIZ, saying it could threaten the integrity of Vietnamese airspace.

Lieutenant General Nguyen Duc Hai, head of the Vietnamese military’s Institute of Strategic Studies, said that while Vietnam had long sought peaceful settlements to disputes, “all options are on the table from our side to safeguard our sovereignty and territory.”

“The ADIZ establishment is one option we have thought of and also have plans to deal with.”

Satellite image of Woody Island

Beijing has been turning islands into military bases. Reuters photo

Vietnam is the most active challengers to China’s sweeping claims to much of the South China Sea, with Hanoi claiming the Paracels and the Spratlys in their entirety.

Malaysia and the Philippines hold some Spratlys features while Brunei claims waters straddled by China’s so-called nine-dash line claim. Taiwan claims the same area as China.

Singapore-based security expert Tim Huxley said while increased pressure might slow China’s militarization efforts, they would be difficult to stop.

“China has created a new reality down there, and it is not going to be rolled back,” Huxley told Reuters.

“They are not doing this to poke America or their neighbors in the eye but they are almost certainly doing this to serve their long-term strategic objectives, whether that is projecting their military power or securing energy supplies.”

Reporting by Greg Torode and Idrees Ali; Additional reporting by Lee Chyen Yee; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan

Reuters

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-asia-security-southchinasea/u-s-weighs-more-south-china-sea-patrols-to-confront-new-reality-of-china-idUSKCN1IZ03B

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White House threatens Beijing with ‘consequences’ for ‘militarising South China Sea’

May 4, 2018

Beijing has evaded questions about whether it has installed the missiles on islands over the last 30 days, but the White House is adamant about ‘near-term and long-term consequences’

South China Morning Post

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 May, 2018, 4:44am
UPDATED : Friday, 04 May, 2018, 4:44am

The White House said on Thursday it was prepared to take measures against China’s stationing of military equipment on islands in the South China Sea, as Beijing evaded questions on whether it had installed new missiles on outposts also claimed by Vietnam and the Philippines.

“We’re well aware of China’s militarisation of the South China Sea. We’ve raised concerns directly with the Chinese about this, and there will be near-term and long-term consequences,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters.

US network CNBC reported on Wednesday that the Chinese military installed anti-ship and air-to-air defences on the islands over the last 30 days, citing sources close to US intelligence.

If the information is verified, it could provoke renewed tensions between countries bordering the strategically vital maritime region.

At a regular briefing on Thursday, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying neither confirmed nor denied the deployment.

“China’s peaceful construction in the Spratly archipelago, including the deployment of necessary national defence facilities, is aimed at protecting China’s sovereignty and security,” she said. “Those who don’t intend to violate [this sovereignty] have no reason to worry.”

The South China Sea issue has been brewing for years, with China, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam making competing claims in waters with vital global shipping routes and what are believed to be significant oil and natural gas deposits.

In addition to land-reclamation efforts on reefs it controls and building civilian facilities there, China also has air bases, radar and communications systems, naval facilities and defensive weaponry in place including landing strips able to accommodate military planes.

 HQ-9B long-range surface-to-air missiles are seen in this May 3 photograph. Photo: handout

The new Chinese missiles were reportedly deployed on Fiery Cross Reef, Subi Reef and Mischief Reef, according to CNBC.

They are all in the Spratly archipelago located in waters south of mainland China between Vietnam and the Philippines.

Beijing’s territorial claims, based on its own historical records, have also pitted it against the United States.

While Washington takes no position on the sovereignty claims, it has raised concerns that Beijing is “militarising” the South China Sea, leading to Thursday’s warning of “consequences”.

The US Navy itself frequently sends warships and aircraft carriers to patrol the area.

 YJ-12 anti-ship cruise missiles are seen on May 3. Photo: handout

“China has to realise that they’ve benefited from the free navigation of the sea, and the US Navy has been the guarantor of that,” Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said.

“We will continue to do our operations.”

China’s defence ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment but has previously stressed that the islands were “part of Chinese territory” and that it was up to China alone to decide what it does there.

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2144600/white-house-threatens-beijing-consequences-militarising

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China says it has sovereignty over all the South China Sea north of its “nine dash line.” On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration  in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China and the Philippine government then chose to ignore international law.

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Beijing ‘installs missiles’ on South China Sea islands

May 3, 2018

Beijing Thursday reasserted its right to build “defence” facilities in the disputed South China Sea, but declined to confirm reports it had installed new missiles on artificial islands it has built in the region.

© AFP/File | China has reportedly installed missiles on Subi Reef and other outposts in the disputed Spratly Islands

AFP

The Chinese army installed anti-ship and air-to-air defences on outposts also claimed by Vietnam and the Philippines over the last 30 days, US network CNBC reported Wednesday, citing sources close to US intelligence.

If the information is verified, it could provoke renewed tensions between countries bordering the strategically vital maritime region.

At a regular briefing on Thursday, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying neither confirmed nor denied the deployment.

“China’s peaceful construction in the Spratly archipelago, including the deployment of necessary national defence facilities, is aimed at protecting China’s sovereignty and security,” she said.

“Those who don’t intend to violate (this sovereignty) have no reason to worry,” she said.

The South China Sea issue has been brewing for years, with China, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam making competing claims in waters with vital global shipping routes and what are believed to be significant oil and natural gas deposits.

In addition to land-reclamation efforts on reefs it controls and building civilian facilities there, China also has air bases, radar and communications systems, naval facilities and defensive weaponry in place including landing strips able to accommodate military planes.

The new Chinese missiles were reportedly deployed on Fiery Cross Reef, Subi Reef and Mischief Reef, according to CNBC.

They are all in the Spratly archipelago located in waters south of mainland China between Vietnam and the Philippines.

Beijing’s territorial claims, based on its own historical records, have also pitted it against the United States.

While Washington takes no position on the sovereignty claims, it has raised concerns that Beijing is “militarising” the South China Sea.

But the US Navy itself frequently sends warships and aircraft carriers to patrol the area.

China’s defence ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment but has previously stressed that the islands were “part of Chinese territory” and that it was up to China alone to decide what it does there.

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China says it has sovereignty over all the South China Sea north of its “nine dash line.” On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration  in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China and the Philippine government then chose to ignore international law.

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South China Sea: China’s missile system on Philippine-claimed reefs a step closer to airspace control

May 3, 2018

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In this April 21, 2017, file photo, Chinese structures and an airstrip on the man-made Subi Reef at the Spratly group of islands in the South China Sea are seen from a Philippine Air Force C-130.

CSIS AMTI via DigitalGlobe, File

 

China’s missile system on Philippine-claimed reefs a step closer to airspace control

Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) – May 3, 2018 – 11:15am

MANILA, Philippines — Beijing has quietly moved forward to dominating airspace control over the West Philippine Sea or the South China Sea as it deploys missile systems on its “big three” islands, a report confirmed.

CNBC reported that China quietly deployed anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missiles on Fiery Cross Reef, Mischief Reef and Subi Reef in the Spratly Islands.

These three features in the Spratly Islands are also being claimed by Manila.

The missile systems were placed on China’s military outposts in the past 30 days, a source told CNBC.

The installment of the missile weapons comes after China deployed military jamming equipment on Fiery Cross Reef and Mischief Reef.

RELATED: China erects marker on Fiery Cross Reef

According to the report, the Chinese YJ-12B anti-ship cruise missile can strike surface vessels within 295 nautical miles of the artificial islands.

Meanwhile, the HQ-9B long-range surface-to-air missile has the capability to target aircraft, drones and cruise missiles within 160 nautical miles.

CNBC also reported that the missile systems were also spotted on Woody Island in the Paracel Islands.

Euan Graham, international security director at Lowy Institute, warned that Beijing may soon deploy combat aircraft in the region.

“Next come [surface-to-air missiles], then combat aircraft are only a matter of time,” Graham said on Twitter.

Graham warned that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force may deploy jets to the Spratlys later this year.

“Ultimately, the PLA has a plan to use the Spratlys for their custom-built purpose – to extend the envelope of China’s air and seapower throughout the South China Sea. The only debatable issue there is sooner, or later,” Graham told Philstar.com in a prior interview.

Last month, China reportedly deployed transport military planes on Mischief Reef, which shows a steady pattern of escalation in the region.

Landing a transport military plane on one feature would not cross a threshold of militarization in the Spratlys but fighter jets would, RAND Senior Policy Analyst Lyle Morris earlier said on Twitter.

“Because of the dual-use nature of military transport aircraft, the move does not cross an unambiguous threshold of offensive militarization of Chinese-occupied features in the Spratlys the same way that fighter jets would, for example,” Morris told Philstar.com.

Defending its actions in the South China Sea, Beijing had claimed “natural rights” to deploy troops and weapons in the Spratlys.

“It is the natural right of a sovereign state for China to station troops and deploy necessary territory defense facilities on the relevant islands and reefs of the Nansha Islands,” the Chinese Ministry of Defense said.

RELATED: Experts: No break of precedent in Chinese deployment of planes in Mischief Reef

Read more at https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/05/03/1811793/chinas-missile-system-philippine-claimed-reefs-step-closer-airspace-control#GHmmpqXrAfdt23kI.99

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China says it has sovereignty over all the South China Sea north of its “nine dash line.” On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration  in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China and the Philippine government then chose to ignore international law.

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Beijing accuses US of ‘serious provocation’ after destroyer sails through disputed South China Sea

March 23, 2018

USS Mustin’s voyage near Mischief Reef prompts angry response a day after America announced plan to impose US$60 billion tariffs on Chinese imports

South China Morning Post

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 March, 2018, 7:42pm
UPDATED : Friday, 23 March, 2018, 11:28pm
 Image may contain: sky, cloud and outdoor

China accused America of “serious military provocation” after a US Navy destroyer sailed within 12 nautical miles of an artificial island in the South China Sea – one day after the first move in what could develop into a full-blown trade war between the world’s two largest economies.

Beijing also announced it was staging a naval drill in the disputed waters on Friday, but said it was not targeted at any specific country.

The Chinese defence ministry said the USS Mustin had been “warned off” by two Chinese frigates.

An anonymous US official told Reuters that the destroyer was carrying out a “freedom of navigation” operation, passing within 12 nautical miles of Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands, where China has built an artificial island.

Image may contain: sky

China H-6K bomber over Scarborough

It was America’s first such operation since January and came a day after US President Donald Trump announced it would levy US$60 billion worth of tariffs on Chinese imports – triggering immediate retaliation from Beijing.

“What the US is doing will damage the military-to-military relations and atmosphere,” said Ren Guoqiang, a spokesman for the Chinese defence ministry.

“It could easily cause misjudgments and accidents at air or sea. This is a serious political and military provocation

to China and the Chinese military is firmly objecting to this.”

He said the action would push China to boost its defence capability in the region.

 Image may contain: ocean, sky, outdoor and water
China has militarized the South China Sea — even though they have no legal claim. This is Mischief Reef, now an extensive Chinese military base — one of seven Chinese military bases near the Philippines

The warning came as Beijing announced it was staging a combat exercise in the South China Sea on Friday.

“According to the PLA Navy personnel department, this is routine training as part of its annual plan to improve combat capability, and it is not aimed at any specific country or target,” official news agency Xinhua reported.

Ni Lexiong, a Shanghai-based military expert, believed the US had deliberately timed the challenge to Beijing – sailing near its outpost – for the same day China hit back at America’s punitive tariffs.

“This is a gesture, and it’s a combination of economic and military pressure,” he said.

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The PLA Navy drill could be a response to the US Navy’s “freedom of navigation” operation, Ni added.

“The PLA always have several contingency plans and they can quickly respond when they think a drill should be staged,” he said.

China refused to recognise an international tribunal ruling in 2016 that invalidated its claim over most of the resource-rich South China Sea. Its territorial claims are disputed by a number of countries in the region, and Beijing has continued to build islands and infrastructure in the disputed waters.

The Pentagon has meanwhile identified China and Russia as its two biggest military threats.

 http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2138677/beijing-accuses-us-serious-provocation-after-destroyer
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China says it has sovereignty over all the South China Sea north of its “nine dash line.” On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration  in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China and the Philippine government then chose to ignore international law.

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South China Sea: China challenges aircraft — ‘You are entering Chinese airspace’ — Not true under international law

March 21, 2018

 

FILE – In this undated file photo released by Xinhua News Agency, a Chinese H-6K bomber patrols the islands and reefs in the South China Sea. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the Chinese have been challenging Philippine airplanes flying over its outposts in the Spratly Islands. Xinhua via AP/Liu Rui, File

Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) – March 21, 2018 – 5:31pm

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MANILA, Philippines –  China has been warning off Philippine planes doing patrols in the country’s airspace, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Tuesday.
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Lorenzana, in a television interview, said that the military has been sending naval patrols of the country’s territory from time to time.
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“These planes, every time they fly over the features occupied by the Chinese, they challenge… Well, they will say ‘You are entering Chinese airspace,'” the Defense chief said, referring to Beijing’s artificial islands in the Spratlys.
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The Defense chief clarified that the Chinese and the Filipinos only exchange words when the latter conducts patrols in the West Philippine Sea.
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“They just exchange words, ‘No, we are passing by Philippine airspace.’ This is just a play of words but it happens every time our patrols go around,” Lorenzana said.
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Aside from the Air Force, the Coast Guard and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources also conduct patrols in the West Philippine Sea.
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The Philippines is now using the Cessna aircraft that the US donated last year to conduct patrols over the waters surrounding the country.
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Lorenzana said that the Philippines did not have equipment for the aircraft upon receiving them last year. The aircraft from the US have been installed with equipment and are now capable of patrolling the country’s domains.

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ScanEagle can be used for patrols

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The ScanEagle unmanned aerial vehicle system that the US recently donated to the Philippines may also be used for patrolling the West Philippine Sea and Philippine Rise.
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“They will be used in the south and also anywhere because they are very mobile. They can be transported easily because they are just put in a container,” Lorenzana said.
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Beijing has installed military capabilities in its “Big Three” islands in the Spratly Islands — Subi (Zamora), Mischief (Panganiban) and Fiery Cross (Kagitingan) Reefs.
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A March 2017 report from the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative showed that China’s naval, air, radar and defensive facilities in the artificial islands would allow them to deploy aircraft and mobile missile launchers to the Spratly Islands at any time.
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Kagitingan or Fiery Cross Reef contains communication facilities and is likely being used by China as its intelligence hub in the region, AMTI reported in February.
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Last month, President Rodrigo Duterte downplayed China’s militarization of the South China Sea and said that it is not intended for the Philippines.
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“It’s not intended for us. The contending ideological powers of the world or the geopolitics has greatly changed. It’s really intended against those who the Chinese think would destroy them and that is America,” Duterte said.
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Re.ad more at https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/03/21/1799000/china-challenges-philippine-planes-over-west-philippine-sea-lorenzana#QfWfs879wCSrFAOu.99

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China says it has sovereignty over all the South China Sea north of its “nine dash line.” On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration  in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China and the Philippine government then chose to ignore international law.

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We’ve heard 白痴國家 (Means “Idiot Nation”)

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China warns Philippine aircraft ‘every time’ they fly over the South China Sea

March 20, 2018
By: – Reporter / @FMangosingINQ
 / 07:41 PM March 20, 2018

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Map showing potential Chinese radar cover in the South China Sea, according to analysis by US-based Center for Strategic and International Studies. (Photo by ADRIAN LEUNG / AFP)

The Philippines continues to get warnings from China whenever it aerial patrols over the features of China, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Tuesday, but without referring to the Spratlys in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

“These [Philippine] planes, every time that they fly over these features of Chinese, they will challenge,” Lorenzana told “The Source,” a CNN Philippines program.

“They will say that you are entering Chinese airspace. Just exchange of words. Then we will say: ‘No, we are passing over Philippine airspace.’ It’s just a play of words every time we have patrols,” he said.

China has transformed some of the reefs claimed by the Philippines in the Spratlys into artificial islands capable of supporting military facilities, which has become a concern for several nations.

Three of these seven artificial islands have 3-kilometer airstrips that may be used by China to land military planes in the future.

For its part, the Philippines conducts regular patrols in its maritime domains in the West Philippine Sea and Philippine (formerly Benham) Rise as part of its mandate, Lorenzana said.

Aside from the aerial patrols, the Philippines holds naval patrols and sends vessels from the Philippine Coast Guard and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.

The Philippines recently acquired six drones worth $13.76 million from the United States through a grant. These drones could also be used to patrol those waters.

“Now that we have the drones and we have what you call the marine patrols, we send our naval patrols every now and then towards the areas,” Lorenzana said, referring to the West Philippine Sea and Philippine Rise.

But he said the drones would also be used in the southern part of the Philippines to patrol the sea lanes of Sulu.

“They can be transported easily because they will be put in a container. These are very powerful, very silent and can stay aloft for 24 hours,” he said. /atm

Read more: http://globalnation.inquirer.net/165165/china-warns-ph-planes-every-time-fly-west-philippine-sea#ixzz5AJTQkQLZ
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China has long had its eye on James Shoal and may move toward the island unless Malaysia or Indonesia protest…

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China says it has sovereignty over all the South China Sea north of its “nine dash line.” On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration  in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China and the Philippine government then chose to ignore international law.

China island expansion moves ahead in South China Sea

December 25, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File | In this photo taken on June 15, 2016 a vendor stands behind a map of China including an insert with red dotted lines showing China’s claimed territory in the South China Sea

BEIJING (AFP) – 

China’s large-scale land reclamation around disputed reefs and shoals in the South China Sea is “moving ahead steadily”, state media has reported, and is on track to use giant “island-builders” to transform even more of the region.

Beijing claims nearly all of the sea and has been turning reefs in the Spratly and Paracel chains into islands, installing military facilities and equipment in the area where it has conflicting claims with neighbours.

“The course of construction is moving ahead steadily and a series of striking results have been achieved,” according to a report that appeared Friday on Haiwainet, a website under theHaiwainet’s flagship newspaper the People’s Daily.

The projects have “completely changed the face of the South China Sea’s islands and reefs”, the report said.

The aggressive campaign has been a source of contention with neighbouring countries. China’s sweeping claims overlap with those of Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei, as well as Taiwan.

During 2017 China built 290,000 square meters (29 hectares) of facilities on South China Sea reefs and islands, including underground storage, administrative buildings and large radar installations, the report said.

“To improve the livelihood and work conditions of people living on the islands, and strengthen the necessary military defences of the South China Sea within China’s sovereignty, China has rationally expanded the area of its islands and reefs,” it said.

The sea is believed to hold vast oil and gas deposits and $5 trillion in annual trade passes through it.

The report noted that with last month’s introduction of the new super-dredger Tianjing, a “magical island building machine”, and other “magical machines” soon to come, “the area of the South China Sea’s islands and reefs will expand a step further”.

China is also building a floating nuclear power plant, the report said, to provide power for those living in the Sansha city area.

Sansha lies on Woody Island in the Paracel chain — which is also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan — and administers much of China’s claims in the South China Sea.

China established Sansha in 2012 by unilaterally awarding it two million square kilometres of sea and declaring it the country’s largest city.

Earlier this month a US think-tank released new satellite images showing deployment of radar and other equipment on the disputed islands.

The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative said that over the course of 2017, China had been advancing the next phase of development with construction of infrastructure to support air and naval bases, such as underground storage areas and large radar and sensor arrays.

“We believe that some individuals are making a fuss about this. They’re trying to hype it up,” said foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang after the first report was published.

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China says it has sovereignty over all the South China Sea north of its “nine dash line.” On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration  in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China and the Philippine government then chose to ignore international law.

Study: China to Boost Military Muscle at Sea to Deter Foreign Powers

December 21, 2017

By Ralph Jennings
December 20, 2017 12:27 PM

FILE - Chinese structures are pictured on the disputed Spratlys island in South China Sea, April 21, 2017.

FILE – Chinese structures are pictured on the disputed Spratlys island in South China Sea, April 21, 2017.

China is widely forecast to bolster its military power next year in the South China Sea to resist Japan, India and the United States, as well as the Asian states that dispute Beijing’s maritime claims.
Scholars believe China will eventually enhance radar surveillance and let fighter jets use tiny islets for stopovers. Beijing might declare an air defense identification zone or other means of maritime control, too, they suggest.It probably hopes the United States, along with militarily powerful allies such as Japan and India, will stay out after they jumped into the dispute this year, according to Oh Ei Sun, international studies instructor at Singapore Nanyang University.”I don’t think they’re primarily offensive in nature, but of course with those installations in place, they will have more bargaining chips, they’re in a stronger position to say the U. S. should not perform [freedom of navigation operations] and such in the South China Sea,” Oh said.

New hardware

China this year added installations in the Paracel and Spratly Islands, said the Asia Maritime Transparency Institute of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

In 2017, China built underground storage areas, administrative structures and “large radar and sensor arrays,” said the Washington-based research group. The construction covered about 290,000 square meters “of new real estate.”

FILE - Philippine military's images of China's reclamation in the Spratlys, Mabini (Johnson) Reef, March, 2015. (Armed Forces of the Philippines)

FILE – Philippine military’s images of China’s reclamation in the Spratlys, Mabini (Johnson) Reef, March, 2015. (Armed Forces of the Philippines)

Beijing built most actively at Fiery Cross reef in the Spratlys, it said, including work to finish tunnels that are likely for ammunition storage. High-frequency radar gear also appeared on the reef, it adds.

China is the most militarized of six governments that claim all or part of the 3.5 million-square-kilometer sea, which is valued for fisheries and fossil fuels. It has been building up islets since 2010.

China has enough installations to land fighter jets, refuel, rearm and let crews rest, said Collin Koh, maritime security research fellow at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

State-run China Central Television said earlier in the month the military had deployed jet fighters to Woody Island in the Paracel chain.

China may draw a line of control around its holdings in the Spratly Islands, contested by four Southeast Asian countries plus Taiwan, and consider an air defense identification zone, the initiative’s director Gregory Poling said.

China declared an air defense identification zone off its east coast, in a sea disputed by Japan, in 2013.

Outside influence

Analysts say China’s buildup is aimed at claimants Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam as well as powerful nations that do not claim ownership over the sea.

But the United States particularly irks China as a powerful arms supplier and military trainer for the Philippines. Washington sends naval vessels into the South China Sea periodically to back its position the waters are open to freedom of navigation.

“When the Chinese are suddenly trying to stop resupply of the Philippine forces at Pag-Asa or on the Sierra Madre [ship] at Second Thomas Shoal, then [Philippine President Rodrigo] Duterte is going to face an enormous amount of pressure to react strongly,” Poling said, referring to two Manila-held features in the Spratly chain.

“The only way the Philippines can possibly react, really, is to strengthen the defense relation with the U. S.,” he said.

India, a Western ally, upgraded its partnership with Vietnam last year year as part of its Act East policy, which analysts say is designed to check Chinese expansion.

Japan, an ally of the United States, passed a helicopter carrier through the sea in mid-2017, adding to repeated comments from Tokyo the waterway should be ruled by international law.

China bases its claim to about 90 percent of the sea on historical fishing records. It has eased the dispute through offers of aid and investment around Southeast Asia. Next year, it’s due to sign a code of conduct with regional countries to head off accidents at sea.

Deterrent effect

After appeals by other claimant countries a U. N. arbitration tribunal said China lacked a legal basis to much of its claim.

But China’s buildup has continued. It’s “like the Cold War,” when opponents stocked nuclear weapons to head off attacks, Oh said.

Some other countries see China’s current level of control as a “fact,” Koh said.

But in November, heads of state from Australia, India, Japan and the United States met in Manila to call for “free, open, prosperous and inclusive” Asian seas, according to an Indian external affairs ministry statement.

China, which resents the role of outside powers in the South China Sea, sees provocation from outside players as cause to keep strengthening its claims, Koh said.

“Now they are trying to demonstrate to the U. S. or allies like Japan and Australia that China is in to stay, and more importantly it’s not just purely staying power,” he added, “It’s the ability to sustain and project force in that area. ”

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https://www.voanews.com/a/study-china-boost-military-muscle-sea-deter-foreign-pwoers/4171738.html

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China says it has sovereignty over all the South China Sea north of its “nine dash line.” On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration  in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China and the Philippine government then chose to ignore international law.

Chinese military aircraft carry out multiple drills around Taiwan

December 20, 2017
© AFP/File | Relations between Taipei and Beijing have rapidly deteriorated since the inauguration of President Tsai Ing-wen last year
TAIPEI (AFP) – Chinese jets conducted drills near Taiwan’s airspace on Wednesday for the sixth time this month, as relations between the two rivals worsen.China poses the biggest military risk to self-governed Taiwan, as Beijing sees it as part of its territory to be reunified at some point — by force, if necessary.

The two sides split after a civil war in 1949. Although Taiwan is a self-ruling democracy, it has never declared independence.

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FILE photo

The latest drills come just days after China’s warplanes flew to the Sea of Japan, prompting South Korea and Japan to scramble jets.

Taiwan’s defence ministry announced Wednesday that Beijing had sent several planes including fighter jets through the Bashi Channel south of the island to the Pacific, and back.

“China’s long-distance (drills) have become more frequent,” it said, but urged Taiwanese people not to worry.

It added that it would dispatch its own aircraft and ships to monitor drills “according to protocol”.

Relations between Taipei and Beijing have rapidly deteriorated since the inauguration last year of President Tsai Ing-wen, who refuses to acknowledge both sides are part of “one China”.

Beijing has cut all official communication with Taipei and stepped up pressure on Tsai’s government, including staging a string of naval and air drills near Taiwan since last year.

Local media reports estimate Chinese warplanes have conducted drills around Taiwan at least 20 times this year, compared with a total of eight times last year.

In August, a Chinese military aircraft entered Taiwan’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ) during a drill, prompting Taiwan to urge restraint.

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The ADIZ stretches beyond Taiwan’s airspace and is used to give early warning of possible incursions.

Five Chinese warplanes entered South Korea’s ADIZ during Monday’s drill, according to Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.

China’s air force said it was the first time its aircraft had flown through the Tsushima Strait that lies between South Korea and Japan.

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