Posts Tagged ‘Vietnam’

Vietnam’s compulsory drug rehab centers rarely helps users extinguish their addiction

December 11, 2017

AFP

© AFP / by Tran Thi Minh Ha, Jenny VAUGHAN | Between 2014 and 2016 more than 65,000 addicts cycled through Vietnam’s state-sponsored drug rehab centres, usually a mix of compulsory patients sent by police with those admitted by exasperated relatives

HAIPHONG (VIETNAM) (AFP) – During four years of compulsory rehab in Vietnam, Trung spent his drug-free days gluing together false eyelashes as part of what authorities billed as valuable ‘work therapy’ for his heroin addiction.But critics say the work of Trung and tens of thousands of others is tantamount to forced labour that rarely helps users extinguish their addiction.

Police sent Trung to a state-sponsored rehab centre on the outskirts of Hanoi, one of 132 in Vietnam, where he says he faced routine beatings from guards and hours of labour for nominal pay.

“Life there, from eating, to walking, to sleeping, to working — there was no human rights at all,” explained the 50-year-old, who first began using drugs some three decades ago.

He started using again soon after his release in 2014 — up to 80 percent of addicts from the centres relapse, according to official figures.

Trung’s labour therapy has since been replaced by a daily shot of methadone from a government-run drop-in clinic, which he insists is the only effective treatment he’s had.

Today he says he is keeping the addiction at bay, and is trying to mend ties with his only son.

– Money-makers? –

Between 2014 and 2016 more than 65,000 addicts cycled through the centres, usually a mix of compulsory patients sent by police with those admitted by exasperated relatives.

Sometimes they house other marginal groups — the mentally ill and disabled, the homeless, the elderly — along with addicts like Trung, who support the treatment model on paper even if they resent the abuse inside.

Most will stay for one or two years, or up to four if they are deemed unfit for release, and are subject to a range of daily labour — from farming cashews to making sportswear for Western clothing brands, which they can sometimes earn a meagre salary from.

Rights groups accuse officials at the centres of skimming from those salaries or pocketing boarding fees paid by some users’ families, and say addicts are detained against their will.

“These are a failure in terms of drug treatment, but they’re incredibly successful in terms of generating money for government functionaries who run the centres,” said Richard Pearshouse, an associate director at Human Rights Watch who authored a report about the facilities.

Though similar centres exist throughout Asia, experts say the term length and the sheer number of facilities in Vietnam set it apart.

– ‘Lock them away’ –

Conditions inside vary widely, though several overcrowded centres have experienced mass breakouts.

The government has acknowledged the need to reform the facilities and has softened drug policies, piloting community-based treatment and methadone clinics.

“Vietnamese laws and regulations are being perfected, especially when it comes to drug rehabilitation and treatment, to consider drug addicts patients,” said Le Thanh Tung, director of the Department of Social Evils Prevention in Hai Phong city.

The centre houses some 500 addicts — mostly admitted by relatives — who after an initial period of cold turkey withdrawal behind padlocked doors are moved to dorm rooms.

Once clean, they are put to work sewing shoes or tending vegetable gardens and can receive vocational training as electricians or carpenters.

Many in Vietnam think the scheme is a good thing.

“Drug addicts do nothing good for the family or the community, they should be locked away,” said Ms Luong, mother of two heroin-addicted sons.

“When you have a drug addict in your house, you live in hell. I have two as such,” she told AFP in tears.

Her sons used to pawn her furniture to fund their habit, prompting her to send one to a rehab centre. She kicked the other out and hasn’t seen him in years.

Like most of the 200,000 registered drug addicts in Vietnam, her sons were hooked on heroin, though methamphetamines are increasingly popular among Vietnam’s youth.

– No silver bullet –

Several organisations are trying to roll out community-based care to allow recovering addicts to lead normal lives, and even keep steady work.

But some programs have struggled to gain traction.

“The number one obstacle for us is the lack of awareness about how complex addiction treatment is, people want to have a silver bullet,” said Oanh Khuat, executive director of the Center for Supporting Community Development Initiatives (SCDI), an NGO that promotes voluntary and community-based programs.

That approach is one that heroin addict Quan thinks could work for him.

He spent three months and nearly $900 on a voluntary program — another rehab option run by the government — hoping for better treatment he might have received at a compulsory centre.

But he quickly started using again after he left.

“The rehab model in Vietnam isn’t efficient,” the chain-smoking 46-year-old told AFP.

He’s home again with his family, but jobless and getting high every day.

“We see no help, nothing from the local authorities,” he said. “They have always created trouble for me, supervising me as if I was a criminal.”

by Tran Thi Minh Ha, Jenny VAUGHAN
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Trump fiddles with phone as US burns out in Asia, and China gives a lesson in leadership

December 9, 2017

By Richard Heydarian

President’s Twitter rants and lack of a coherent strategy have seen confidence in US leadership plummet, and Beijing has not been slow to fill the void

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 09 December, 2017, 8:32pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 09 December, 2017, 8:33pm

“Of all manifestations of power, restraint impresses men the most,” warned Thucydides, who painfully observed the Peloponnesian war and the devastation of the Athenian empire.

Centuries from now, the world is likely to look back at the Donald Trump presidency as the beginning of a precipitous decline in America’s global influence. His midnight rants on Twitter, open hostility to the international liberal order, and lack of a coherent grand strategy has alienated friends and allies like never before.

In contrast, Beijing has deftly forged ahead with constructing an “Asia for Asians”, while luring the world with ambitious infrastructure projects that will transform globalisation in China’s image.

Meanwhile, US allies such as Japan, Australia and the European Union have openly expressed their willingness to fill the leadership vacuum by pushing for alternative trade, security and climate-related agreements.

To be fair, what we are witnessing is partly driven by a relative decline in the foundations of American power, primarily due to the meteoric rise of China and other major developing countries.

In the coming years, Beijing is expected not only to oversee the world’s largest economy, but also emerge as a leading global source of investment and technology. Even in the realm of military power, where the US holds a decisive edge, China is rapidly closing the gap.

 Chinese President Xi Jinping (right) shakes hands with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Apec summit in Da Nang, Vietnam last month. The two leaders support free trade in the Asia region. Photo: Xinhua

According to a Rand Corporation study, Beijing is catching up in virtually every crucial area of military technology, while enjoying geographical advantage vis-à-vis crucial flashpoints such as the Taiwan Strait, South China Sea and Korean Peninsula.

Nonetheless, as Thucydides observed in ancient Greece, quality of leadership can define the fate of superpowers and the broader trajectory of history.

Throughout my conversations with senior officials and experts from American allied nations in Asia and Europe, I have seen nothing short of outright trepidation regarding the Trump presidency.

While the statements and actions of able officials such as US Defence Secretary James Mattis have been warmly received, there is still an excruciating clamour for a steady hand at the top.

Surveys show that global confidence in America’s leadership has collapsed in the past year alone. A Pew study reported an average 42 per cent decline among 37 surveyed nations.

An intensified “Russia-gate” investigation into members of Trump’s inner circle is expected to further distract an already wobbly administration.

Trump’s “America first” mantra has been interpreted as an unvarnished expression of unilateralism and isolationism by the global superpower. In response, many countries have found themselves either embracing China or veering away from America.

 Despite the best efforts of US Defence Secretary James Mattis, global confidence in America’s leadership has plummeted this year. Photo: Reuters

During his November trip to Asia, the US president struggled to secure a single major concession from either allies or rivals, namely China. Crucially, Trump was deeply isolated during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit in Vietnam, where he openly called for bilateral trade agreements and lashed out at globalisation.

Aside from nixing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which deeply alienated regional allies and new friends such as Vietnam, Trump failed to propose any new economic initiative in the region.

In a blatant rebuke, allies such as Japan and Australia subsequently discussed a revitalised TPP deal, which excludes America yet upholds the principles of free trade. Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping extolled the virtues of an open global order.

The Chinese leader described globalisation as an “irreversible historical trend”, reiterating his country’s commitment to a “multilateral trading regime and practice”, which enables “developing members to benefit more from international trade and investment”.

In particular, China supports the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which covers 16 nations and aims to dramatically reduce tariff barriers across the Asia-Pacific. In fact, it’s here where Beijing’s greatest strength lies: commercial diplomacy.

 Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (left) extended his stay in Manila last month to discuss multibillion-dollar infrastructure projects with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte (right). Photo: Reuters

Across Southeast Asia, China is increasingly seen as the next major driver of industrialisation and development, including among American treaty allies Thailand and the Philippines.

While Xi used the bully pulpit to promote globalisation during the Apec summit, China’s Premier Li Keqiang, in turn, offered concrete investment deals during his visit to Manila for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit just days after.

While Trump cut his visit to Manila short by 24 hours, Li extended his stay in the city by several days. He met and discussed multibillion-dollar infrastructure projects with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

Lured by China’s economic initiatives, the Filipino president leveraged his Asean chairmanship this year to deepen ties between Beijing and Southeast Asian nations. We may have finally found a glimpse of Pax Sinica in Asia.

Richard Javad Heydarian is an Asia-based scholar and the author of several books, including Asia’s New Battlefield: US, China and the Struggle for Western Pacific and The Rise of Duterte: A Populist Revolt Against Elite Democracy.

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2123011/trump-fiddles-phone-us-burns-out-asia-and-china-gives

South China Sea: China continues “assertive initiatives”

December 8, 2017

December 07, 2017 08:13

VOA

Beijing’s new move to assert air control over the disputed South China Sea risks alarming countries that had agreed last month to work out differences diplomatically.

State-run China Central Television and one English-language news outlet said last week the military had deployed domestically built J-11B jet fighters to Woody Island in the Paracel archipelago.

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Hangars in the island chain would improve China’s overall control of the sea, the television network said, quoting a Chinese military expert. The country eventually could intercept foreign aircraft, it said.

Five other governments, all militarily weaker than China, contest Beijing’s claims to about 90 percent of the 3.5 million-sq.km sea that’s prized for fisheries, marine shipping lanes and undersea fossil fuel reserves.

China’s aircraft deployment will raise alerts among the other claimants as well as the United States, which has more fire power than China and insists the sea remain open to all, analysts believe.

But China and Southeast Asian states, which are used to Chinese maritime maneuvers and recipients of Chinese economic support, are expected to remain friendly.

Artilleries are fired during a military drill in Qingtongxia, Ningxia Autonomous Region, China on Sept. 25, 2017. /Reuters

In November China agreed to negotiate with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on a code to prevent accidents at sea by 2018. An official from Beijing said then that China would ensure freedom of navigation for the Southeast Asian states.

China probably intends to stick to both pledges, analysts say. Beijing is mixing “friendly gestures” with “assertive initiatives,” said Fabrizio Bozzato, a Taiwan Strategy Research Association fellow who follows Southeast Asia.

“At the end of the day, their South China Sea policy remains unchanged,” Bozzato said. “They regard the South China Sea as Chinese waters. It seems to me they have a clear intention to make the South China Sea or most of it Chinese waters by what we could say 2030.”

Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam assert sovereignty over parts of the same sea, overlapping China’s claims. Taiwan also claims the whole sea.

Since 2010 China has angered its neighbors by using landfill to build up islets and installing other military hardware to bolster control. But to reinforce friendships, China has helped the Philippines develop infrastructure since the two sides became friendlier last year, pumped up tourism to Vietnam and invested heavily in Brunei and Malaysia.

 http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2017/12/07/2017120700629.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.

 

South China Sea Militarization: Fighters in the Paracels and Combat Logistics

December 7, 2017

The Diplomat

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Last week, Chinese state media confirmed the deployment of J-11 fighters to Woody Island, part of the disputed Paracel chain in the South China Sea. While the deployment was not unprecedented, China’s overt admission signals new confidence in its position in the region. However, in combination with recent testing of techniques for keeping the South China Sea bases supplied under combat conditions, it suggests a vulnerability to interrupted logistics.

Commercial satellite images also found J-11s on Woody Island earlier this year, but this is the first official acknowledgement of a rotational deployment there. Last year China deployed anti-ship cruise missiles and advanced air-defense missiles to the island as well.

Vietnam also claims sovereignty over the Paracel archipelago but (at the time, South Vietnam) lost control of them to China in a 1974 battle. Woody Island, which China calls Yongxing, also serves as the seat of Sansha city, which China established to politically administer all of the South China Sea islands it controls or claims.

Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.The Paracels were not included in a 2015 claim by Chinese President Xi Jinping that China had no intention of militarizing the Spratly islands, in the southern end of the South China Sea. Nevertheless, Western analysts are sensitive to signs of increasing militarization there. The Paracels’ central location in the South China Sea provides them great potential strategic value as a base for long-range aircraft or missile batteries. Furthermore, analysts have often viewed upgrades and construction on the island as a prelude to similar expansion on the seven Spratly features that China occupies.

As a result, there are signs that U.S. strategic thinkers have given significant thought to the problems that Woody Island might pose in a potential military conflict with China, and how to neutralize it. A major fleet architecture study conducted earlier this year by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Analysis for the U.S. Congress used an unlabeled graphic of Woody Island to illustrate new concepts for conducting amphibious raids against fortified archipelagos.

The relative isolation of China’s fortified islands in the South China Sea raises the question of how they would be supported in the event of a conflict and attempts to blockade or seize them.

Earlier in the fall, the South China Morning Post reported that a Chinese aeronautical institute tested a new unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that could be used to resupply China’s far-flung bases in the South China Sea and consolidate its control over the region. Based on a small turboprop plane, the UAV could deliver one and a half tons of cargo over 2,000 kilometers, far enough to reach China’s artificial facilities in the Spratly Islands. The UAV can land on short runways or rough roads and fields, or deliver its cargo by airdrop.

While the UAV may prove useful for resupplying small, austere facilities, it is probably not a solution for China’s largest South China Sea bases, or for resupply in combat conditions. The seven islands in the Spratlys that China has artificially expanded and constructed facilities each now sprawl over hundreds of acres. Some could support hundreds of personnel, and are likely intended to be logistics hubs themselves for aircraft and ships. The UAV’s one and a half-ton cargo capacity is too small to provide much more than a niche delivery capability, such as for mail or critical repair parts.

In addition to its small cargo capacity, the UAV is also unsuited to play a combat logistics role. Un-stealthy, slow, and without sophisticated radars or defensive countermeasure systems, the UAV could not be counted on to survive in a contested air environment, making them a poor choice for critical resupply in a conflict.

A more serious combat logistics capability for the South China Sea was on display last week, when four Y-9 transport planes conducted an airdrop exercise over an unidentified island. Compared to the UAV’s one and a half tons, each Y-9 can carry 25 tons of cargo nearly 8,000 kilometers. The aircraft participating in this exercise took off from China’s Western Theater Command and crossed into the Southern Theater Command, demonstrating cross-theater coordination.

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Y-9 transport plane

Chinese state media said that the planes flew without outside weather data or headquarters guidance. This implies the aircraft flew under simulated combat conditions and with minimal, or possibly no communications to minimize the likelihood of being tracked or identified by their electronic emissions.

This sort of sustainment effort would be critical to maintaining combat-ready forces in the Paracels and in the Spratlys, though China has yet to deploy force-projection systems like ships or missiles there.

The report on this most recent J-11 deployment described special facilities and planning that made it possible, including new climate-controlled hangars to protect the jets from the heat and humidity, prolonging the time they could spend on the island. This means that Woody Island, and presumably China’s Spratly bases as well, cannot permanently support basing advanced fighters, even with the new climate-proofed facilities, highlighting both the military limitations of China’s extensive South China Sea bases, and their vulnerability to interrupted logistical support.

https://thediplomat.com/2017/12/south-china-sea-militarization-fighters-in-the-paracels-and-combat-logistics/

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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.

The World Has Taken Trump’s Measure

December 6, 2017

From Asia to Europe, he has squandered America’s influence and moral authority.

President Donald Trump walks towards Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Dec. 4.
President Donald Trump walks towards Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Dec. 4. PHOTO: SUSAN WALSH/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Donald Trump campaigned on a pledge to make America great again. As president he is doing the opposite: He is making America smaller than at any time in the past 100 years.

By pulling the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Mr. Trump has ceded economic leadership in Asia and beyond to China, whose president touts the Chinese model to other countries that want the blessings of prosperity without the inconveniences of liberty. To back up this offer, China is investing huge sums in its “One Belt, One Road” plan and in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

These moves are having the intended effect. Myanmar, which had long been dominated by anti-Chinese sentiment, is now accepting China’s blandishments. The country’s leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, went to Beijing last week for a conference hosted by the Communist Party.

Vietnam, which has looked to the U.S. as a counterweight against its historical enemy to the north, now wonders whether it must accept Beijing’s economic leadership and yield to its claims in the South China Sea. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has made noises about abandoning his country’s alliance with the U.S. in favor of China. Even Australia, one of our closest allies, is openly debating how to deal with American decline.

In the Middle East, the Trump administration is busy giving ground to Russia. Vladimir Putin is conducting Syrian peace talks while America languishes on the sidelines. Turkey, a member of NATO since 1952, is endorsing the Kremlin’s leading role. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently met with Mr. Putin and Iran’s Hassan Rouhani to support negotiations on the future structure of the Syrian government and state.

Egypt was another long-term linchpin of American diplomacy, and Mr. Trump has lavished praise on its autocratic leader. Yet Cairo has just struck a deal allowing the largest Russian military presence on its soil and in its airspace since 1973. The U.S. doesn’t even have an ambassador in Egypt, let alone a coherent policy to deal with this pivotal country.

Even in Europe, America has been diminished. Mr. Trump’s early ambivalence toward NATO, which gave way to a grudging expression of support, have left a residue of doubt about the credibility of American guarantees. He has driven a wedge between the U.S. and Germany, long our closest ally on the Continent. The “special relationship” with the United Kingdom may not survive his repeated gaffes, capped by his impulsive decision to retweet discredited anti-Muslim videos from a British fringe group.

Close to home, Mr. Trump’s brand of leadership is sorely trying Canadians’ patience: 93% view him as arrogant, 78% as intolerant, and 72% as dangerous. Mexico’s people have also been united against the U.S., by Mr. Trump’s ham-handed immigration policies and heedless negotiations to revise the North American Free Trade Agreement. This may well lead Mexicans to elect an anti-American left-wing populist as their president next year. That Mr. Trump has no discernible policy toward Central and South America is probably a good thing.

Squandering America’s economic and political influence is bad enough. Far worse has been the way Mr. Trump has dissipated our moral authority. Yes, the U.S. has struck deals with unsavory regimes, especially during the Cold War, and has sometimes failed to respect the outcomes of free and fair elections. In the main, however, America has pushed for free societies and democratic governments around the world, while speaking against repression in all its forms.

Until now. The Trump administration has all but abandoned democracy promotion. In practice, an “America First” foreign policy means being indifferent to the character of the regimes with which the U.S. does business.

I wish I could say that President Trump shares this indifference. In fact, he prefers autocrats to elected leaders. He admires their “strength.” He envies their ability to get their way without the pesky opposition of legislatures and courts. He probably wishes he had their power to shut down critical news organizations. In his ideal world, everyone would fall in line behind his goals, and his will would be law.

The world has taken President Trump’s measure. In a 2017 survey of 37 countries, 64% of people expressed confidence in Barack Obama’s ability to do the right thing in international affairs, compared with 22% for Mr. Trump. The current president’s figures were 11% in Germany, 14% in France, and 22% in the U.K. The principal exception was Russia, where Mr. Trump enjoyed 53% approval, compared with 11% for Mr. Obama.

In 1776, at the threshold of American independence, the Founding Fathers espoused a “decent respect to the opinions of mankind.” Today, citizens of countries around the world regard the U.S. as morally diminished under Mr. Trump’s leadership. He shows no signs of caring, and he probably doesn’t.

Appeared in the December 6, 2017, print edition.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-world-has-taken-trumps-measure-1512519571

 

Australia Foreign Policy White Paper hits China’s activities in South China Sea — SCS is a “major fault line” in regional order.

December 6, 2017
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

MANILA, Philippines — Expressing concern over the scale of China’s activities in the disputed South China Sea, Australia urged all claimants to clarify the full nature of their claims in accordance with international law.

In its 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper released a few weeks ago, Australia stressed its position that the UN-backed tribunal’s ruling on the Philippines’ arbitration case against China is “final and binding on both parties.”

Clarifying that they are not taking sides in the competing claims, Australia considers the South China Sea as a “major fault line” in the regional order.

“Like other non-claimant states, however, we have a substantial interest in the stability of this crucial international waterway, and in the norms and laws that govern it,” the Foreign Policy White Paper read.

Australia noted that they have urged all claimants to refrain from actions that would increase tension in the region. They have also called for a halt on Beijing’s land reclamation and construction activities.

Resolving dispute should be based on international law, in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), Australia said in its foreign policy paper.

“Australia opposes the use of disputed features and artificial structures in the South China Sea for military purposes,” the white paper read.

The Australian government vowed to ensure international law, particularly UNCLOS, will be respected and implemented to protect freedom of navigation in the region.

Meanwhile, China criticized Australia for its “irresponsible comments” on the South China Sea.

Chinese Defense Ministry spokesperson Wu Qian stressed that Australia is not in a position to make comments on the contested waters as they are not a claimant country.

“It has been proven by facts that interference from countries outside the region can only complicate the South China Sea issue and will be of no help to regional peace and stability,” Wu said in a press briefing.

Earlier this year, Beijing also slammed US Secretary Rex Tillerson for his comment that China is using its economic powers to buy its way out of problems.

“China is a significant economic and trading power, and we desire a productive relationship, but we cannot allow China to use its economic power to buy its way out of other problems, whether it’s militarizing islands in the South China Sea or failure to put appropriate pressure on North Korea,” Tillerson said in Sydney last June.

Beijing had been insisting that the situation in the South China Sea has “cooled down” following direct consultations and dialogues with claimant states.

RELATED: China assures Philippines: No military force in South China Sea

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/12/06/1765852/australia-hits-chinas-activities-south-china-sea-foreign-policy-paper

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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 showcases jet fighters on South China Sea island

December 4, 2017

China claims almost all of the South China Sea but Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have counter claims over the waterway.

By: PTI | Beijing | Published: December 3, 2017 9:20 pm
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China showcases jet fighters on South China Sea island

An airstrip, structures and buildings on China’s man-made Subi Reef in the Spratly chain of islands in the South China Sea are seen from a Philippine Air Force C-130 transport plane of the Philippine Air Force. (Source: AP/File)

China has showcased its J-11B jet fighters in the disputed South China Sea islands as Beijing seeks to consolidate its hold over the region.

Footage aired by state-run China Central Television (CCTV) on Wednesday for the first time confirmed deployment of the fighter aircraft in a hangar on Yongxing island, a Chinese name for Woody Island, which is part of the Paracel islands -also claimed by Vietnam.

China calls the Paracels as the Xisha islands.

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The presence of the bombers showcases China’s improving air and sea control in the South China Sea, state-run Global Times quoted a Chinese military expert as saying.

The footage was broadcast in a CCTV report on the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force’s drills to improve its nautical combat capability.

Yongxing island is the largest of the Xisha islands in the South China Sea which is also the seat of the Sansha city government established by China’s Hainan province.

With a three-kilometer runway, the airport in Yongxing island is an important dual-use airport in the South China Sea region, the CCTV report said.

China claims almost all of the South China Sea but Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have counter claims over the waterway.

The US is periodically deploying its naval ships and fighter planes to assert freedom of navigation. Two Chinese J-10 fighter jets were reported to have intercepted a US Navy surveillance aircraft over the South China Sea in May.

The thermostabilized hangar boosts the jet fighters’ durability and resistance to the island’s humidity and high temperatures.

More importantly, the special hangar helps to realize regular deployment of fighter jets in the Xisha Islands, TV commentator Song Zhongping told the daily.

“Other islands in China could also use such aircraft hangars and China’s overall control of air and sea in the South China Sea would be greatly improved as well,” Song said.

China will enhance its capability to safeguard its legal rights in the South China Sea through military and legal enforcement channels, he said.

“Legal enforcement channel” means Chinese fighters intercepting foreign aircraft flying over the South China Sea, he said.

For all the latest World News, download Indian Express App

Source:http://indianexpress.com/article/world/china-showcases-jet-fighters-on-south-china-sea-island-4966302/

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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 confirms deployment of fighters to South China Sea island for first time

December 3, 2017

By 

Japan Times

China has for the first time confirmed the deployment of fighter jets to Woody Island in the disputed South China Sea, state media have reported.

Citing footage aired by the official state broadcaster, the Global Times reported late Friday that China had sent J-11B fighters to the island in the contested Paracel chain.

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While fighter jets had been spotted on the island in 2016 and in April this year, the footage was the first time Beijing had confirmed the deployments. It was aired by China Central Television (CCTV) on Wednesday as part of a report on the air force’s expanding capabilities.

Woody Island, known in China as Yongxing Island, is the largest of the Paracels, which Beijing calls the Xisha Islands. It is the seat of the Sansha city government — covering several island groups and undersea atolls — in southern China’s Hainan province.

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Woody Island (South China Sea) Woody Island, called Yongxing Island (simplified Chinese: 永兴岛; traditional Chinese: 永興島; pinyin: Yǒngxīng Dǎo; literally: “Eternal Prosperity Island”) in China and Phu Lam Island (Vietnamese: Đảo Phú Lâm) in Vietnam, is the largest of the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea.

The footage showed fighters landing, taking off and conducting drills, apparently over the South China Sea. It also showed at least one fighter “entering a sealed hangar,” the Global Times said.

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China J-11B at Yongxing Island, South China Sea

China has apparently been reluctant to station its fighters on the islands because the craft are especially susceptible to the elements.

But, the report said, “the thermostabilized hangar boosts the jet fighters’ durability and resistance to the island’s humidity and high temperatures,” making longer-term deployments a possibility.

“The special hangar helps to realize regular deployment of fighter jets in the Xisha Islands,” the Global Times quoted commentator Song Zhongping as saying.

“Other islands in China could also use such aircraft hangars and China’s overall control of air and sea in the South China Sea would be greatly improved as well,” Song added.

Quoting CCTV, the Global Times called Woody Island, with its 3-km-long runway, “an important dual-use airport in the South China Sea area.”

Beijing has built up a series of military outposts in the South China Sea as it seeks to reinforce effective control of much of the waterway, through which $3 trillion in trade passes each year. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei also have overlapping claims.

Aside from the earlier fighter deployments, China has maintained HQ-9 surface-to-air missile systems on Woody Island and has deployed anti-ship cruise missiles there on at least one occasion.

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China’s HQ-16 Surface-to-Air Missile System — HQ 9 looks similar

It has also built seven man-made islets in the hotly contested Spratlys, with three boasting military-grade airfields — despite a 2015 pledge by Chinese President Xi Jinping not to further militarize them.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank said in late March that major construction at the three man-made islands in the Spratlys was nearly finished, allowing Beijing to deploy fighter jets and mobile missile launchers to the area at any time.

All three islands boast hangers that can accommodate 24 fighter jets and four larger planes, including surveillance, transport, refueling or bomber aircraft. Hardened shelters with retractable roofs for mobile missile launchers have also been built on the islands.

China has also constructed significant radar and sensor arrays on all three islands, positioning them close to point defense structures to provide protection against air or missile strikes.

Experts have said the Woody Island missile and fighter deployments could be a blueprint for how China will proceed with its Spratly facilities.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/12/02/asia-pacific/china-confirms-deployment-fighters-south-china-sea-island-first-time/#.WiOrgUqnGUk

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China’s man-made Subi Reef in the Spratly chain of islands in the South China Sea, shows Chinese military construction (AP photo) — This is one of seven man made Chinese bases near the Philippines  in the South China Sea.

Related:

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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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China showcases jet fighters at South China Sea island

Source: Global Times
Editor: Huang Panyue
Time: 2017-12-01

The official Chinese media’s broadcast of Chinese J-11B fighters entering a sealed hangar in the Xisha Islands showcases China’s improving air and sea control of the South China Sea, a Chinese military expert said.

Footage aired by China Central Television (CCTV) on Wednesday for the first time confirmed deployment of the fighter aircraft in a hangar on Yongxing Island.

The footage was broadcast in a CCTV report on People’s Liberation Army Air Force drills to improve its nautical combat capability.

Yongxing Island, the largest of the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea, is also the seat of the Sansha city government of South China’s Hainan Province.

With a 3-kilometer runway, the airport in Yongxing Island is an important dual-use airport in the South China Sea area, the CCTV report said.

The thermostabilized hangar boosts the jet fighters’ durability and resistance to the island’s humidity and high temperatures.

More importantly, the special hangar helps to realize regular deployment of fighter jets in the Xisha Islands, TV commentator Song Zhongping told the Global Times on Thursday.
“Other islands in China could also use such aircraft hangars and China’s overall control of air and sea in the South China Sea would be greatly improved as well,” Song said.

China will enhance its capability to safeguard its legal rights in the South China Sea through military and legal enforcement channels, Song noted. “Legal enforcement channel” means Chinese fighters intercepting foreign aircraft flying over the South China Sea, he said.

Two Chinese J-10 fighter jets intercepted a US Navy surveillance aircraft over the South China Sea in May, CNN news website reported.

China’s Ministry of National Defense later said that the fighters were sent to identify the US warship, warn and expel it.

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Monday, August 24, 2015

Photos of the day: Fuel stop at Yong Xing Island, South China Sea

With three external fuel tanks, it seems that the JH-7 fighter-bomber has the range to reach out to Yong Xing Island.

Just in case you’re wondering, they are from the 31st Regiment, 11th PLAAF Air Division, Shenyang Military Region.   Shanyang Military is bordered by North Korea.  Perhaps they are vacation, wanting some sun and sand!

 

 

 

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Is China chipping away at the Asean bloc?

December 2, 2017

Beijing is forging stronger bilateral ties with its Southeast Asian neighbours, taking attention away from relations between the organisation’s members, observers say

By Laura Zhou
South China Morning Post

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 02 December, 2017, 5:52pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 02 December, 2017, 6:20pm

If the last few weeks are any guide, China’s ties with its Southeast Asian neighbours are on the up.

There’s been a flurry of top diplomatic and military engagement between China and Myanmar, Vietnam and various other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

In part, it reflects a change in tack Beijing has taken to try to dispel some of the suspicions in the region over its growing economic clout and militarisation of the South China Sea, one of the world’s most important waterways.

It has done this by a combination of one-on-one diplomatic and economic support.

But diplomatic observers say that by pulling its neighbours closer, Beijing is stretching ties between other countries in the region, testing bonds within the Asean bloc on big issues like the South China Sea.

China’s stepped-up engagement was on show in Beijing on Friday when Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with Myanmese State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi. Myanmar and Suu Kyi have been under fire for their handling of the Rohingya crisis in which more than 600,000 people in Rakhine state have been displaced. But on Friday Xi was talking up ties with Myanmar, saying Beijing will see the China-Myanmar relationship from a wider, strategic point of view.

 Aung San Suu Kyi, Mynamar’s state counsellor, and Chinese President Xi Jinping meet in Beijing on Friday. Photo: AP

The talks came after a state visit by Xi to Hanoi and Premier Li Keqiang to Manila last month. The militaries of China and Vietnam are also teaming up for 10 days of naval drills in the Gulf of Tonkin this month.

One important sign that this renewed engagement is paying off came last month at the Asean summit in the Philippines, where the bloc avoided all mention in its official statement of China’s militarisation of the South China Sea. That’s a big shift from just a year earlier when under the chairmanship of Laos, the statement said some member states were concerned by “land reclamation and escalation of activities” in the disputed waters.

Jay Batongbacal, associate professor at the University of the Philippines College of Law, said China had repeatedly stressed the need to resolve maritime disputes through bilateral talks but was creating a network of ties that put itself at the centre of regional power.

“It is naturally weaving a tapestry of economic and political relations revolving around itself as the common bilateral partner,” Batongbacal said.

“Given that most Asean countries already have China as their leading trading partner, the natural concern is that in doing so Asean may be losing some or much of its centrality as its members must then pay increasing high attention to China relations rather than the intra-Asean relations.”

The biggest change in relations can be seen with the Philippines. Just last year, tense ties between Beijing and Manila peaked when an international tribunal in The Hague found in favour of the Philippines in a maritime dispute over the South China Sea.

The administration of former president Benigno Aquino had asked the tribunal to assess the legitimacy of China’s claims to vast parts of the waters. The tribunal rejected China’s claims but Beijing refused to acknowledge the ruling.

A year down the track and China has pledged a series of investment deals under the new administration of Aquino’s successor, Rodrigo Duterte. Chinese companies are promoting their wares in the Philippines, Beijing has given weapons for Manila’s crackdown on drugs, and China has vowed to build infrastructure in Duterte’s hometown Davao.

Tang Siew Mun, head of the Asean studies centre at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore, said Asean was concerned about China’s use of bilateral ties to limit the bloc’s strategic space and autonomy.

“Such concerns apply to not only China but any other major powers that want to bend the group to their strategic interests,” he said.

But change could come from at least two quarters, including Singapore, which will be taking over Asean’s chairmanship next year. Singapore has been a vocal critic of China’s manoeuvring in the South China Sea and could nudge Asean to take a stronger stand on the dispute.

At the same time, Asean members states have been improving ties with not only China but other powers as well, according to Dindo Manhit, from the Stratbase Albert del Rosario Institute in the Philippines.

In the sidelines of the Asean summit in Manila, representatives from the United States, Japan, India and Australia met for the first time in a decade, marking the revival of a regional coalition to lock horns with rising China.

Du Jifeng, from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Beijing still needed to be cautious about potential flashpoints in the South China Sea given that Duterte’s policies could change at any time.

“It is a strategic issue to play a soft or tough stance, but when it comes to core issues with national interests, such as territorial sovereignty in the South China Sea, no country would want to the soft one,” Du said.

 http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2122587/china-chipping-away-asean-bloc
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China’s man-made Subi Reef in the Spratly chain of islands in the South China Sea, shows Chinese military construction (AP photo) — This is one of seven man made Chinese bases near the Philippines  in the South China Sea.

Related:

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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.

South China Sea: Filipino fishermen hope for Chinese benevolence

November 30, 2017

Territorial disputes in the South China Sea are causing a food shortage in the region. Filipino fishermen are at the mercy of the Chinese coastguard as their livelihood takes a blow. Ana P. Santos reports from Zambales.

Manila - Gebietskonflikte im Südchinesisches Meer verursachen Nahrungsknappheit (DW/A. P. Santos)

As Filipino fishermen set sail for the Scarborough Shoal, they hope for three things: a bountiful fish catch, their safety, and benevolence from the Chinese coastguard.

For the past two years, Paolo Pumicpic, captain of the JJ2 fishing boat, has been at the mercy of the sea; he hasn’t been lucky with any of the three.

The South China Sea, where the Scarborough Shoal is located, is a major maritime route, where an estimated five trillion dollar- (4.2 trillion euros) trade transits annually. The sea also contributes to about 12 percent of the global fish supply.

Read more: South China Sea – what you need to know

But experts say that overfishing, as well as dynamite and cyanide fishing, are depleting the area’s marine resources at an unsustainable rate. A study by the University of British Columbia in Canada shows that the South China Sea fish catch could decline by as much as 50 percent by 2045.

Apart from a dwindling fish catch, Pumicpic tells DW that he and his men also face harassment and bullying from the Chinese coastguard. They are not allowed to fish in the area.

“The Chinese regularly raid our catch. They take away our best fish for their consumption and give us cigarettes and instant noodles in return,” Pumicpic said.

Still, the fisherman does not want to complain. He says the Chinese behavior is much better than before.

“They aren’t using water cannons to turn us back. As long as they allow us to fish, it is fine,” he said.

Wasted opportunity at ASEAN

China, Brunei, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Taiwan have overlapping claims to the South China Sea.

Powerhouse China has the biggest claim by far. It has demarcated an extensive area of the sea with a so-called “nine-dash line” that first appeared on Chinese maps in the late 1940s. The Paracel and Spratly Island chains, as well as dozens of rocky outcrops and reefs, fall within this area. These bits of land are highly contested, mainly because they are believed to be surrounded by large oil and gas deposits.

Read more: Indonesia denies wounding Vietnam fishermen in renewed South China Sea clash

In 2012, the Chinese coastguard seized control of the Scarborough Shoal, which is located between the Macclesfield Bank and Luzon Island in the South China Sea. It is a disputed territory claimed by China, Taiwan, and the Philippines.

In response to the blockade, Manila filed a case against Beijing in the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague. In July 2016, the PCA ruled that China’s maritime claim was  not valid and encroached on the Philippines’ 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone, where the Scarborough Shoal lies.

Despite his campaign promise to assert Philippine’s ownership of the disputed territory, President Rodrigo Duterte has so far chosen to take a conciliatory approach with China.

Manila - Gebietskonflikte im Südchinesisches Meer verursachen Nahrungsknappheit (DW/A. P. Santos)

Filipino fishermen say Chinese behavior has improved

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit, which was held in mid-November in Manila, could have been the perfect platform for the Philippines to re-assert its claim on the Scarborough Shoal. But the opportunity was missed.

“Raising the West Philippine Sea issue while chairing the ASEAN summit could have made the most impact,” Jay Batongbacal, a maritime law expert and professor at the University of the Philippines, told DW.

Prior to the ASEAN Summit, the Philippine military had started building shelters in the shoal to protect their country’s fishermen from treacherous weather conditions. Beijing slammed the move and demanded that the Philippine government halted the activity. At the ASEAN conference, Duterte announced that he and Chinese President Xi Jinping had agreed that they would “set aside” the South China Sea dispute.

“President Duterte’s stance allows China to consolidate its hold in the West Philippine Sea. It is disastrous for the Philippines,” said Batongbacal.

Read more:

Opinion: No solution in sight to SCS dispute

China’s Xi Jinping seeks to win support in Vietnam amid ongoing maritime dispute

‘Can’t go to war’

Salvador Panelo, the legal advisor to the president, says that Duterte is simply taking a prudent approach because the PCA ruling does not have a legal framework that could be implemented.

“Also, we can’t go to war with China,” Panelo told DW.

But others insist there are other alternatives to dealing with Chinese hegemony.

“There are other ways to assert our claim on our territories,” Philippine congressman Gary Alejano told DW. “We can undertake scientific exploration and research and conduct aerial and sea patrols, for example.”

Alejano, who is a former marine captain, claims there have been no naval patrols in the South China Sea since the early 2016.

http://www.dw.com/en/south-china-sea-filipino-fishermen-hope-for-chinese-benevolence/a-41576397

Image may contain: sky

China’s man-made Subi Reef in the Spratly chain of islands in the South China Sea, shows Chinese military construction (AP photo) — This is one of seven man made Chinese bases near the Philippines  in the South China Sea.

Related:

No automatic alt text available.

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.