Tuesday, 1 March 2016

South China Seas - The next world war

Update 7 Aug 2016: China warns PM Lee over South China Sea

An opinion piece was published on the Global Times, cautioning PM Lee Hsien Loong with regard to what he said during his recent official state visit to US. The Global Times is a daily Chinese newspaper published by the People’s Daily news group, which is the biggest newspaper group in China. This news group comes directly under the purview of the Chinese Communist Party.

News published by the group frequently provides direct information on the policies and viewpoints of the Chinese government. The Global Times was created to focus on international issues from the Chinese government’s perspective. As such, opinion pieces featured in Global Times carry considerable weight in representing the position of the Chinese government.


The piece published on 4 Aug, started by saying that President Obama had given PM Lee a grand reception, usually reserved for leaders of big countries and American allies.

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World War 3 News: China Puts Up Weapon System On Artificial Islands In South China Sea


China has enhanced its weapons systems in Spratly Islands, World War 3 news reports. The US warns against restricted access in the area.


A US think tank reveals China has put up large anti-aircraft guns and close-in-weapons-systems (CIWS) on some man-made islands at Spratly Islands. A CIWS is a point-defense weapon system used to detect and destroy short-range incoming missiles and enemy aircraft.

The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) has been tracking construction of the structures at the Fiery Cross, Mischief, and Subi Reefs in June and July this year.

related: China To Double Military Spending In 10 Years; Spurs Global Arms Race

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War Looms Closer As Tensions At An All Time High
US Might Go to War over South China Sea dispute

Tensions in the South China Sea region are at an all time high but no one really has a full grasp of the situation. According to some analysts, it would be difficult to see if any of the nations are going to war while others are convinced that it has already started. What could this mean for the rest of the world?

There are varying contentions as to whether the United States is really declaring war against China especially over its territorial ambitions in the South China Sea. Some say that the Obama administration wants to leave a more peaceful legacy than its predecessors although that is up for debate considering the actions of the United States in the South China Sea.

According to a piece from We Are Anonymous, the United States Navy has just been involved int the largest maritime “war game” exercise in history, in the South China Sea. Specifically, in the previous month, operations were conducted with 4,000 Philippine soldiers plus 8- from Australia. Additionally, the United States has deployed 5,000 of its troops as of June and it confirmed that it will be sending more. One official said previously that the South China Sea “has become a military contest between China and the U.S.”

related: ASEAN Crumbles Before China, US-India-Japan Alliance Threatens Beijing

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Two law experts in Britain question arbitral tribunal's jurisdiction over South China Sea dispute
An aerial photo taken on Sept. 25, 2015 from a seaplane of Hainan Maritime Safety Administration shows cruise vessel Haixun 1103 heading to the Yacheng 13-1 drilling rig during a patrol in south China Sea. (Xinhua/Zhao Yingquan)

Two leading experts on international law in Britain have recently published two research papers, both concluding that an arbitral tribunal which allowed the South China Sea case initiated by the Philippines against China to go ahead is not convincing in many respects.

Antonios Tzanakopoulos, associate professor of public international law at the University of Oxford, and Chris Whomersley, a former deputy legal adviser to the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, were the experts.

JURISDICTION QUESTIONABLE - In 2013, the Philippines unilaterally filed compulsory arbitration against China at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague with respect to the two sides' dispute in the South China Sea.

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China on war footing
LIVE FIRE The Chinese missile frigate Yuncheng launches an antiship missile during a military exercise in the waters between China’s Hainan Island and the Paracel Islands. The drills are held ahead of the ruling in the case filed by the Philippines at a UN arbitral tribunal in The Hague. The photo was released on Friday by Xinhua News Agency. Xinhua via AP

China has begun military drills in the South China Sea, state media reported on Saturday ahead of a ruling by an international arbitration court on a dispute with the Philippines over the strategic waters.

The Navy on Friday carried out “combat exercises” with “live missiles” between the Paracels and the southern Chinese island of Hainan, the PLA Daily, the military’s official newspaper, said on its website.

State television CCTV broadcast images of fighter aircraft and ships firing missiles, helicopters taking off and submarines surfacing.

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Will China and the US be at war next week? Beijing set to defy Hague ultimatum
China and the US are on a collision course over the disputed South China Sea

A long-running legal battle between China and the Philippines will conclude on Tuesday, July 12, when the Hague's Permanent Court of Arbitration delivers its verdict over the so-called "Nine-Dash Line" - a key shipping route in the South China Sea.

The decision comes three years after the Philippines brought its case to tribunal, with Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam also laying claims to overlapping areas of the ocean.

China claims virtually all of the resource-rich sea as it's own, and has continued with an aggressive building programme of military ports, artificial runways and fortresses, despite international condemnation.

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Ambassador Liu Xiaoming gives interview to Reuters on the South China Sea

Our position had been reaffirmed by the statement just issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding this arbitration initiated by the Philippines: China will not participate in the arbitration. From day one, China strongly opposed this arbitration case. We believe it is illegal for a tribunal to handle this case:
  • First of all, the Philippine's arbitration case is against UNCLOS, because sovereignty and territorial disputes are not under the jurisdiction of UNCLOS.
  • Secondly, Philippine's case is also related to maritime delimitation. China, like 30 other countries, made a declaration in 2006, that China will not take part in third party arbitration when it comes to maritime delimitation. UK is one of the 30 countries. UNCLOS provides that sovereign countries have their sovereign right to make these declarations on optional exceptions.
  • Thirdly, China has always been calling for bilateral consultation and negotiations with neighboring countries, including the Philippines, when it comes to maritime disputes. And a series of documents can show that the Philippines agrees to this practice. There are a series of statements between China and the Philippines on how to resolve disputes. It was until 2013 when they submitted this arbitration case. In our view, the Philippines have turned their back on their promise and that is against international practice. Once agreed, you have to follow your commitment. It is also part of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) reached by China and the ASEAN countries that disputes should be resolved by peaceful means through friendly consultations and negotiations by sovereign states directly concerned. The Philippines agreed to it but turned their back on it.
  • Fourthly, this arbitration, according to UNCLOS, is only a supplementary means to resolve disputes. Bilateral channel is regarded as the main means to resolve a dispute between countries. The Philippines had never come to China to talk about this arbitration. And China and the Philippines had never had serious negotiations on this subject back then. That means the main channel had never been used, to say nothing about being exhausted before the Philippines went to arbitration. That is against the spirit of UNCLOS.
So we have many reasons to oppose this arbitration case. We also hold the position that if this arbitration goes through, it will set a very bad example. That concern has been expressed not only by Chinese legal experts, but also by British and Dutch experts on the Law of the Sea. China's position has been supported and appreciated by many countries and international organizations, many legal experts, not only in China, in Asia, but also in Europe and America. That is our basic position.

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South China Sea dispute: US has to build ties first, says PM Lee
PM Lee meeting US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen in Washington, DC, on Thu. He is currently in the US on a working visit.FOTO: MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS & INFORMATION

The maritime disputes in the South China Sea need to be tackled as part of a broader US-China relationship, rather than as a one-dimensional, zero-sum issue, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

To that end, he said the US must first start by building an overall, substantive relationship in the region.

Speaking to The Wall Street Journal editorial board in an interview in the United States this week, PM Lee outlined what he thought the US response should be to the South China Sea issue.

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US urges respect for South China Sea ruling by arbitration court
Soldiers of China's People's Liberation Army Navy patrol at Fiery Cross Reef, in the Spratly Islands, known in China as the Nansha Islands, on February 9.FOTO: REUTERS

The United States on Thu (Jul 7) urged respect for a decision on territorial disputes in the South China Sea set to be handed down by an international arbitration court next week.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Dutch city of The Hague is set to make its final decision on Tuesday in the case between the Philippines and China.

"We urge both parties to comply with the ruling and urge all claimants to avoid provocative actions or statements," Mr Abraham Denmark, the senior Pentagon official responsible for East Asia, told a congressional hearing about the decision, already rejected in advance by Beijing.

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China warns US on sovereignty ahead of sea row ruling
A Chinese Coast Guard vessel, right, passes near the Chinese oil rig, Haiyang Shi You 981, left, in the South China Sea in this file photo - Reuters

The United States should do nothing to harm China’s sovereignty and security in the South China Sea, China’s foreign minister told US Secretary of State John Kerry, ahead of a key court ruling on China’s claims in the disputed waterway.

Speaking by telephone on Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told Kerry the United States should stick to its promises not to take sides in the dispute, China’s foreign ministry said.

China hopes the United States “speaks and acts cautiously, and take no actions that harm China’s sovereignty and security interests,” the statement paraphrased Wang as saying.

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Beijing warns U.S. on sovereignty ahead of South China Sea ruling
The center portion of the Subi Reef runway is shown in this Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative January 8, 2016 satellite image released to Reuters on January 15, 2016

The United States should do nothing to harm China's sovereignty and security in the South China Sea, China's foreign minister told U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, ahead of a key court ruling on China's claims in the disputed waterway.

Speaking by telephone on Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told Kerry the United States should stick to its promises not to take sides in the dispute, China's foreign ministry said.

China hopes the United States "speaks and acts cautiously, and take no actions that harm China's sovereignty and security interests", the statement paraphrased Wang as saying.

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China reiterates historical rights over South China Sea

Chinese authorities say the results of the upcoming arbitration over the South China Sea dispute will not affect the country's sovereignty and maritime rights and interests over the sea area, while experts suggest the country should do more to help the world better understand its historical rights in the region.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei says the territory in question is inherently Chinese.
"The stance of the Chinese government is consistent and clear. China will not accept or recognize any rulings resulting from the South China Sea arbitration case unilaterally initiated by the Philippines. The so-called rulings will not affect China's sovereignty and maritime rights and interests over the South China Sea."
He says history and evidence support China's claim over the region.
"The islands in the South China Sea are China's inherent territory. Based on those islands, China enjoys the maritime rights and interests that come with the territory. China has historical rights over the South China Sea. China's sovereignty and maritime rights and interests over the South China Sea are based on sufficient historical and legal grounds. It is indisputable."
related: South China Sea Historical Background

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US scheming to deny China’s nine-dashed line of South China Sea

The nine-dashed line was first discovered and owned by China. It is a maritime boundary line formed after China’s long-term jurisdiction and development of the South China Sea islands. 

China holds sovereignty and jurisdiction rights within the nine-dashed line. Other countries’ ships have the right to freedom of navigation and their aircraft enjoy rights to fly over the territory. 

There had been no problem with the nine-dashed line before the 1970s, but with Vietnam, the Philippines and other countries pushing further territorial claims, more governments are beginning to deny legitimacy of the nine-dashed line. 

related: South China Sea Is Indisputable Part of China

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US Navy Sends Electronic Attack Warplanes to Philippines Amid South China Sea Tensions
Four aircraft arrived at Clark Air Base for pilot training and to support U.S. Navy operations in the South China Sea

Amid rising tensions in the South China Sea, the United States Navy dispatched four U.S. Navy EA-18G Growler airborne electronic attack aircraft and about 120 military personnel to Clark Air Base, an air force base located on Luzon Island in the Philippines, according to a U.S. Seventh Fleet press release.

The four aircraft and 120 personnel arrived on June 15 for training with Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) FA-50 aircraft pilots and to support U.S. and Philippine naval operations in the South China Sea, as the statement makes clear with a veiled reference to so-called freedom of navigation operations (FONOPs) in the disputed waters.

“In addition to bilateral training missions, Growler aircraft will support routine operations that enhance regional maritime domain awareness and assure access to the air and maritime domains in accordance with international law,” the press release reads.

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US boosts PH-based air force

The United States Pacific Command has deployed four airborne electronic attack aircraft to beef up its force which consists of  five A-10C Thunderbolt aircraft and three HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters already stationed at Clark Air Base, the headquarters of the 1st Division of the Philippine Air Force based in Pampanga, according to a statement released  Thursday by the US Embassy in Manila.

“At the direction of the US Pacific Commander and with the approval of the Government of the Philippines, the United States stood up an  air contingent in April 2016 to promote interoperability and US-Philippines security cooperation,” it said.

This was happening as Manila was expecting a favorable decision from the Permanent Court of Arbitration  on its arbitral case challenging the unilateral imposition by Beijing of its  “nine-dash line” claiming up to 90 percent of the disputed sea and  intruding into the exclusive economic zone of Manila and other claimant-nations such as Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.

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US Deploys More Ships Raising Stakes in South China Sea

The Obama administration continues its drift towards World War III through an openly confrontational policy towards Beijing in the South China Sea, harkening memories of the ‘Guns of August.’

On Thursday, US Navy officials speaking on condition of anonymity confirmed Washington’s plans to dispatch more surface ships to bolster the Third Fleet’s deployment in the South China Sea. The movement raises the stakes in America’s provocative containment strategy against Beijing.

Beijing claims sovereignty over much of the South China Sea, a valuable waterway through which roughly 1/3 of the world’s goods are shipped. The waters also contain one of the world’s largest oil and natural gas deposits, with 11 billion barrels of oil and 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

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Chinese Ship ‘Shadowing’ U.S. Carrier

A United States official told CNN that a Chinese warship was following a U.S. aircraft carrier in the western pacific ocean on Wednesday.  The USS John C. Stennis was sailing to join exercises with warships from India and Japan.

The three nations host annual exercises to practice coordination and other maritime related activities. U.S. defense officials said that this type of behavior from Chinese ships has become routine as a consequence of China’s frustration with U.S. ships sailing near its man-made islands in the South China sea.

The U.S. ships maintains patrols in the area to protect freedom of navigation. The Pentagon has voiced concerns over China’s recent provocative activities including multiple close intercepts between Chinese war planes and U.S. planes over the South China Sea.

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South China Sea: Which Countries Are On China's Side?

Late this summer, or possibly early in the fall, the Netherlands-based Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) is expected to hand down a verdict on the merits of the Philippines’ case against China over the status of various features in the South China Sea. The case won’t rule on the sovereignty of those features, but, where the court has jurisdiction, its decision will decide the maritime entitlements of various features. Beyond the legal effects of the decision, which will be a major milestone in the evolution of the disputes in the South China Sea, the case is expected to go in Manila’s favor on almost all counts and deliver substantial reputational costs for China.

Ahead of the highly anticipated decision, Beijing has been hard at work trying to get states–both regional and extra-regional–to voice support for China’s position on the South China Sea, which is basically that there’s no need to get an international body involved and that the disputes should be resolved on a bilateral basis, through negotiations. Unsurprisingly, the bilateral approach handily benefits China, which can swing its weight as a large and powerful country against comparatively smaller and weaker claimants (such as the Philippines, for instance).

China hasn’t been too transparent in outlining just who supports its position on the South China Sea disputes though. My colleague Shannon Tiezzi, in a recent issue of the Diplomat‘s magazine, outlines some of the initial attempts. In several cases, China has simply issued readouts of diplomatic meetings, noting that the countries it conferred with voiced support for its South China Sea position, without directly quoting any senior officials. What’s even more puzzling is that in a press conference yesterday, Lu Kang, a spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry, when asked how many countries supported China’s position, cited the number 60, which a journalist had mentioned in a prior question. China’s offered similar numbers in the past, but even its foreign ministry spokesperson doesn’t have a clear idea of exactly who backs its position.

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South China Sea row: Where countries stand

A decision is expected soon on the case filed by the Philippines against China before the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration, contesting the latter’s nine-dash line claim over the disputed waters.

There is no enforcement mechanism for the ruling and experts said any impact will depend on how the international community reacts.

Here's a look at where different countries and organizations stand on the South China Sea row.

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Is China defending its interests in the South China Sea – or its pride?

It is widely expected that the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague will rule in favour of the Philippines in its dispute with China over territorial claims in the South China Sea.

That ruling will not only challenge the legality of China’s “nine-dotted line” claim over most of the waterway under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, it will also put Beijing in a political and diplomatic quandary, as it will have to decide whether this is about defending “national pride” and its “core interests”, or to show that it is a responsible and peace-loving rising power.

The dispute is awash with competing historic, geographical and legal narratives among six claimants, which also include Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan. It is true that the impending ruling may not be able to settle the issues, given their complexity, particularly as The Hague has no powers of enforcement and its rulings have been ignored before.

related:
Is there a way for Beijing to save face after the South China Sea arbitration ruling?
China is sailing solo on South China Sea issues, despite its claims to the contrary
The US is right that China has no allies – because it doesn’t need them
Ahead of ruling, China collects historical ‘proof’ overseas that backs its claim in SCS
US fighter planes arrive in Philippines for training mission in South China Sea


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Diplomatic approach to resolve SCS disputes

Maritime Institute of Malaysia (MIMA) director-general First Admiral Datuk Chin Yoon Chin (retd) feels that given the military might of China, the only thing Asean can do is to forge a cordial relationship with that country in order to achieve optimal negotiation outcome on the issue of South China Sea.

"China has in the past resolved several border issues with its neighbors through negotiations. So why can't we talk now?

"If you are willing to admit their status (as a rising power), I believe they may just give way," he told Sin Chew Daily during an exclusive interview.

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Beijing’s Claims of South China Sea Support May Not Hold Water

The landlocked African kingdom of Lesotho doesn’t have an obvious stake in the South China Sea, but it is among some 60 countries that China says stand behind it as it faces potential censure by an international tribunal over its territorial claims there.

The sudden involvement of Lesotho and other small nations far from Asia is the product of a Chinese blitz to rally support in the final countdown to a ruling in The Hague, which could come this month, on a case brought against China by the Philippines. The response has been less enthusiastic than China suggests, however: Only eight countries have publicly stated their support for its right to boycott the proceedings in The Hague.

They are Afghanistan, Gambia, Kenya, Niger, Sudan, Togo, Vanuatu and Lesotho, according to public statements reviewed separately by The Wall Street Journal and the Center for Strategic and International Studies, or CSIS, in Washington. Five countries on China’s list have outright denied backing Beijing, including two members of the European Union.


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U.S. flexes muscles as Asia worries about South China Sea row

The United States stepped up pressure on China on Saturday to rein in its actions in the South China Sea, with top defence officials underlining Washington's military superiority and vowing to remain the main guarantor of Asian security for decades to come.

Defence Secretary Ash Carter said the U.S. approach to the Asia-Pacific remained "one of commitment, strength and inclusion", but he also warned China against provocative behaviour in the South China Sea.

Any action by China to reclaim land in the Scarborough Shoal, an outcrop in the disputed sea, would have consequences, Carter said.

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China vs. America: Who would win the battle of the South China Sea?
USS Fort Worth (LCS-3), bottom, the guided missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG-102) in the Java Sea. US Navy Photo

The year is 2016, and two of the U.S. Navy’s latest ships are backing a key ally in the tinderbox of the South China Sea. They’re facing down the Chinese navy halfway across the world with the latest weapons and systems the United States can get its hands on. But is it enough?

For more than a hundred years, the U.S. Navy has been using naval war games to test ships, tactics and strategy. Today, thanks to the ability of computers to process massive amounts of data, sharply accurate, procedural “hard” simulations are possible.

One such sim is Command: Modern Naval/Air Operations, a new game that attempts to model modern sea and air warfare as closely as a game for civilians can.

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Carter warns China against building 'Great Wall of self-isolation'

Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Friday warned China against aggression in the South China Sea, saying the nation is bucking positive regional cooperation in Asia in pursuit of its own ambitions.


Carter, lauding how the U.S. and the Asia-Pacific region were making strides, had stern words for China at the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, an annual conference addressing security in the Asia-Pacific region.


"China's actions in the South China Sea are isolating it at a time when the entire region is coming together and networking," Carter said. "Unfortunately, if these actions continue, China could end up erecting a Great Wall of self-isolation."


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China’s ‘historic right’ has made South China Sea a hotbed for uneasy tension and conflict
This photo taken on May 5, 2016 shows crew members of China's South Sea Fleet taking part in a drill in the Xisha Islands, or the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea

The South China Sea is crowded with gargantuan super tankers and container ships. But this waterway across which $5 trillion worth of freight, including one-third of the world’s liquid natural gas, travel annually, is about to get a lot choppier.

Some time in June, the little-known Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague is to issue a legally binding ruling that is likely to infuriate China and oblige the U.S. and its Asian partners to decide how far they are willing to go to defend freedom of navigation on what has become the most hotly contested, strategically important maritime highway in the world.

China’s audacious and clumsy, lasso-shaped “nine-dash-line” claim to about 85 per cent of the South China Sea and other claims further north in the East China Sea have come with seven now infamous island-building projects.

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Beijing's artificial islands bring South China Sea crisis to the boil
China has allegedly constructed artificial islands over rocks and low-elevation features in the South China Sea, and is claiming an exclusive economic zone around them

A tribunal of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague is ready to give its verdict on a complaint by the Philippines, which has challenged China's territorial rights in the South China Sea.

The verdict is set to address the simmering crisis in the South China Sea which will come to the boil later this month.

China has rightfully asserted that the tribunal cannot adjudicate maritime boundaries; these can only be determined through bilateral negotiations between the parties in question.

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US Sounds Warning Against a Potential Chinese ADIZ

Amid continued murmurs that China may move to implement an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) over the South China Sea, the United States’ top diplomat issued a sharp warning to China. Speaking in Mongolia on Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warning that the United States would treat a Chinese ADIZ over the South China Sea as a “provocative and destabilizing act.”

“We would consider an ADIZ… over portions of the South China Sea as a provocative and destabilizing act which would automatically raise tensions and call into serious question China’s commitment to diplomatically manage the territorial disputes of the South China Sea,” Kerry said in Mongolia, where he is on a state visit ahead of a trip to China.

“We urge China not to move unilaterally in ways that are provocative,” Kerry added. Kerry’s remarks coincided with the Shangri-La Dialogue, which took place over the weekend in Singapore and is Asia’s premier security forum, drawing leaders from across the region. At the forum, Admiral Sun Jianguo, deputy chief of the Joint Staff Department of the Central Military Commission of China, delivered remarks defending China’s position over the South China Sea disputes.

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Tensions escalate over South China Sea claims
Soldiers from the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy watch as the USS Blue Ridge arrives at a port in Shanghai [AP]

Asia's largest defence summit concluded on Sunday amid growing fears of a legal and military showdown in the South China Sea over China's rapid construction of artificial islands with ports, airstrips and helipads in one of the world's most bitterly contested waterways.

At the weekend-long Shangri-La Dialogue , Chinese military officials vowed to ignore a legal ruling expected in the next few weeks by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague on a Philippines' challenge to China's growing assertiveness in the key sea route between the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

"We do not make trouble, but we have no fear of trouble," said Admiral Sun Jianguo, deputy chief of staff of the People's Liberation Army, who led the Chinese delegation at the summit.

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US vows 'actions' if China builds new S. China Sea structures

Chinese construction on a South China Sea islet claimed by the Philippines would prompt "actions being taken" by the United States and other nations, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter warned Sat (Jun 4).

Speaking at a security summit in Singapore, Carter said Beijing risks building a "Great Wall of self-isolation" with its military expansion in the contested waters, but he also proposed stronger bilateral security cooperation to reduce the risks of a mishap.

"I hope that this development doesn't occur because it will result in actions being taken both by the United States, and actions being taken by others in the region that will have the effect of not only increasing tensions but isolating China," Carter said when asked about Scarborough Shoal in a forum also attended by senior Chinese military officials.

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China tells US: We’re not afraid of trouble

China on Sunday hit out at US “provocations” and said it was not afraid of “trouble” over its territorial disputes with neighbors in the South China Sea.

“The South China Sea issue has become overheated because of the provocations of certain countries for their own selfish interests,” China’s Adm. Sun Jianguo told a security summit in Singapore.

Sun spoke one day after US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter warned that Chinese construction on Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal in waters within the territory of the Philippines would prompt “actions” by the United States and other nations.

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Problem of navigation freedom in South China Sea "pseudo-proposition": China

A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman on Sunday said the freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea has never been a problem.

China respects and supports such freedom enjoyed by all countries in accordance with international law, and has made great efforts in safeguarding the freedom with other countries in the region, Hua Chunying said in a press release.

She made the remarks in response to reports of some worries over the "freedom of navigation and overflight" in the South China Sea, expressed during the 15th Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

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Beijing Hits Back at U.S. Over South China Sea Comments

A senior Chinese naval commander Sunday delivered a forceful defense of Beijing’s stance on territorial disputes in the South China Sea, criticizing what he condemned as U.S. interference in Asian security issues.

Adm. Sun Jianguo, a deputy chief of the Chinese military’s Joint Staff Department, used a speech at the high-profile security conference known as the Shangri-La Dialogue to reject U.S. allegations that Beijing risked isolating itself with its expansive maritime claims in the South China Sea.

“We were not isolated in the past, we are not isolated now, and we will not be isolated in the future,” Adm. Sun said at the annual Singapore gathering of Asian and Western defense officials. Instead, he criticized other countries for retaining “a Cold War mentality” when dealing with China, saying they may only “end up isolating themselves.”

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China's Strategy to Replace American Military Power in Asia

China’s primary strategic goal in contemporary times has been the accumulation of “comprehensive national power.” This pursuit of power in all its dimensions—economic, military, technological and diplomatic—is driven by the conviction that China, a great civilization undone by the hostility of others, could never attain its destiny unless it amassed the power necessary to ward off the hostility of those opposed to this quest.

This vision of strengthening the Chinese state while recovering China’s centrality in international politics—both objectives requiring the accumulation of “comprehensive national power”—suggests that the aims of Beijing’s grand strategy both implicate and transcend the United States’ and China’s other Asian rivals, to replace U.S. primacy in Asia writ large. For China, which is simultaneously an ancient civilization and a modern polity, grand strategic objectives are not simply about desirable rank orderings in international politics but rather about fundamental conceptions of order.

Because the acquisition of comprehensive national power is meant to both increase the Chinese state’s control over its society and maximize the country’s overall capabilities relative to its foreign competitors, Beijing has consistently pursued four specific operational aims since the revolution—though the instruments used to achieve these ends have varied over time.

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2 Chinese fighter jets unsafely intercept U.S. military aircraft, Pentagon says
A Chinese military refueling tanker flies with fighter jets during a parade commemorating the 70th anniversary of Japan's surrender during World War II in Beijing on Sept. 3, 2015. (Associated Press)

The Pentagon said Wednesday that two Chinese fighter jets had a dangerous confrontation with a U.S. patrol plane over international waters the previous day.

In a statement first reported by ABC News, the Defense Department said it was investigating the Tuesday incident, which it said occurred in international airspace over the South China Sea.

“Initial reports characterized the incident as unsafe,” the U.S. military statement said.

related: Chinese fighter jets threaten U.S. military aircraft, Pentagon says

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Chinese Intercept U.S. Military Spy Plane Over South China Sea
A Chinese J-11 fighter flies in this U.S. Department of Defense photo taken August 19, 2014
A U.S. Navy EP-3 surveillance plane

Two Chinese military aircraft intercepted a U.S. military reconnaissance plane over the South China Sea Tuesday.

Defense Department spokesperson Lt. Col. Michelle Baldanza said that the U.S. maritime patrol reconnaissance aircraft was flying in a "routine patrol" in international airspace on May 17 when "two tactical aircraft from the People's Republic of China" intercepted the U.S. plane.

The two Chinese fighter jets were J-11s and flew approximately 50 feet from the U.S. aircraft, a Navy E-P3.

related:
Defense Secretary Carter to Visit Carrier in Disputed South China Sea
Vietnam Seizes Chinese Ship for 'Illegal' Entry in South China Sea


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China urges non-regional parties to remain objective on S.C. sea disputes

China has called for countries outside of the South China Sea region to maintain neutral and objective positions on the South China Sea disputes and reiterated the importance of a peaceful resolution for the disputes.

"Our position on the South China Sea issue is clear. We hope countries outside the region maintain neutral and objective positions, and do not take sides with any country over issues concerning sovereignty and maritime interests. China and ASEAN countries will resort to a 'dual-track' approach to bring together the countries that are directly-concerned to resolve any disputes through friendly consultations and negotiations in order to maintain peace and stability in the region.

We hope countries outside the region can respect our efforts," said Hong Lei, spokesperson of Chinese foreign ministry.

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China urges U.S., Japan to stop pointing fingers on South China Sea
Photo taken on April 5, 2016 shows the lighthouse on Zhubi Reef of Nansha Islands in theSouth China Sea, south China. (Xinhua file photo)

The Chinese foreign ministry on Saturday urged the United States and Japan to stop pointing fingers at China on the South China Sea.

"Countries from outside should honor their commitments and not make irresponsible remarks on issues involving territorial sovereignty," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said in Beijing in response to remarks of U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and his Japanese counterpart Gen Nakatani at a security summit in Singapore.

According to a press release from the ministry, during the Shangri-La Dialogue on Saturday, Carter and Nakatani talked about the South China Sea issue and hurled unreasonable accusations at China.

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China’s Four Strategic Goals
  • Maintain Internal Order - The first and most important aim pursued by China’s leaders since the founding of the modern Chinese state has been the preservation of internal order and the domination of the Chinese Communist Party.
  • Sustain High Economic Growth - The goal of ensuring continued and unchallenged Communist rule leads to the second operational aspiration: sustaining the high levels of economic growth necessary to preserve social order.
  • Pacify the Periphery - The external advantages arising from China’s high growth rates thus far have strengthened its capacity to achieve the third operational aim deriving from its quest for comprehensive national power: the pacification of its extended geographic periphery. Beijing has sought to accomplish this by deepening economic ties with its Asian neighbors to “reduce regional anxieties” about China’s rise; making common cause with some states, such as Russia, that have reasons to resist joining the larger balancing against China now under way in Asia; embarking on a concerted modernization of the PLA; and renewing older efforts to delegitimize the U.S. alliance system in Asia.
  • Cement International Status - The CCP’s desire to preserve domestic control is enhanced by the final element of the strategic goal of maximizing comprehensive national power: enhancing China’s status as a central actor in the international system. The fundamental conclusion for the United States, therefore, is that China does not see its interests served by becoming just another “trading state,” no matter how constructive an outcome that might be for resolving the larger tensions between its economic and geopolitical strategies. Instead, China will continue along the path to becoming a conventional great power with the full panoply of political and military capabilities, all oriented toward realizing the goal of recovering from the United States the primacy it once enjoyed in Asia as a prelude to exerting global influence in the future.

South China Sea Dispute: The Chinese case

At a recent public lecture on South China Sea issues, one got to hear about the Chinese perspective on the disputes plaguing that part of the world. The South China Sea has become a hotly contested maritime zone with several countries in Southeast Asia and the US accusing China of exerting its influence by building ‘artificial islands’ and putting military weapons on certain geographical features in the region. The apprehension is China is turning the South China Sea into a Chinese lake by asserting its sovereignty over the area. There are fears that this will hamper the huge amount of global trade that flows through the South China Sea and give Beijing a huge strategic leverage to browbeat other regional economies and international rivals.

In response to this the US, as part of its pivot to Asia, has been undertaking freedom of navigation operations near Chinese claimed islands in the South China Sea. Washington’s assertion is that these waters are international and Beijing can’t treat them otherwise. Meanwhile, the Philippines has taken the dispute to the UN Court of Arbitration established under the UN Convention on Law of Seas (UNCLOS). China, however, has rejected this arbitration process on the grounds that Beijing and Manila previously agreed to resolve disputes in the South China Sea through bilateral negotiations. It says that it had expressed this position clearly even through the Declaration of Conduct agreement with Asean.

Plus, China makes the point that the South China Sea issue wasn’t a big dispute right up to 2010 and it was only after the US decided to effect its pivot towards Asia that things started going south. In other words, China accuses the US – which it calls an external big power to the region – of goading smaller nations to up the ante against Beijing.

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US, China Engage in New South China Sea Face-off

The U.S. and China engaged in a new face-off Tuesday in the South China Sea, with an American warship sailing near disputed artificial islands claimed by Beijing, and China scrambling fighter jets to warn off the U.S. vessel.

The U.S. Defense Department said it sent a guided missile destroyer, the USS William Lawrence, to within 22 km of Fiery Cross Reef, a land feature in the South China Sea.

In response, China said it dispatched two fighter jets and three vessels to monitor the U.S. ship's passage and warned it to leave the waters near the reef.

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War Danger Grows Following New US Provocation in South China Sea

On Tuesday, in an open military provocation, the Obama administration authorised the US Navy to send a guided-missile destroyer into the 12-nautical-mile territorial zone surrounding Chinese-held Fiery Cross Reef, located in the Spratly Island chain in the South China Sea. The operation was carried out on the fraudulent pretext of “freedom of navigation”—that is, the assertion by US imperialism that it has the right to send its military forces anywhere it chooses, at any time, in Chinese-claimed waters.

Yesterday’s action achieved its real aim of ratcheting up military tensions in the Asia-Pacific. The Chinese military responded by scrambling at least two J-11 fighter jets. Chinese pilots reportedly issued warnings to the American destroyer, the USS William P. Lawrence, to leave Chinese territory or face engagement. The Chinese Navy dispatched three warships, but there have been no reports that the rival vessels came into contact.

These developments represent a sharp escalation. The US Navy carried out a “freedom of navigation” mission last October in Chinese-claimed waters around Subi Reef in the South China Sea and a second operation in January, near Triton Island in the Paracel Island chain. On those occasions, China did not react militarily but issued strongly-worded diplomatic protests. The response to the intrusion near Fiery Cross Reef indicates that, from this point on, US provocations will be engaged by Chinese forces, posing the danger of a military clash.

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US Navy Mounts Another Challenge to China's Claims in the South China Sea

Yesterday, an American destroyer delivered another challenge to Chinese claims in the South China Sea.  USS William P Lawrence sailed within 12 miles of Fiery Cross Reef, where Chinese engineers have created a 700 acre artificial island over the last year and a half.  More, from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Tuesday's operation marks the third time since last October that Navy destroyers approached Chinese occupied islands… twice now in the Spratleys, off the coast of the Philippines and once in the Paracels, to the north and west, closer to Vietnam.  China's foreign ministry described this incident, like the others, as an illegal intrusion.  China's defense ministry said that two of its fighters and three warships expelled the American vessel; a statement said "It once again demonstrates that China's installation of defensive facilities on the Nansha Islands" (China's name for the Spratleys) "is totally reasonable and very necessary indeed."

On a visit to Vietnam, Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel told reporters that what the Navy calls freedom of navigation operations reinforce US arguments that international waters must be open to all. "If the world's most powerful navy cannot sail where international law permits," he asked rhetorically, "then what happens to the ships of smaller countries?"

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Beijing Vows to Increase South China Sea Defenses, Calls U.S. ‘Greatest Threat’ in Region

Chinese officials took a rhetorical hard line this week calling U.S. military actions in the South China Sea the “greatest threat” to stability in the region and vowed to increase its own military presence in the region, according to a Wednesday statement from the Chinese military.

“China will intensify sea and air patrol and enhance construction of defense capabilities in the area as needed, firmly safeguard national sovereignty and security and resolutely maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea,” read a Wednesday statement from the Ministry of National Defense.

The statement follows a Tuesday U.S. freedom of navigation operation in which a U.S. destroyer sailed within 12 nautical miles of a Chinese controlled installation in the Spratly Island chain.

related: U.S. Destroyer Passes Near Chinese Artificial Island in South China Sea

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How America Picks Its Next Move in the South China Sea

On May 10, 2016, the USS William P. Lawrence conducted the United States’ third recent South China Sea freedom of navigation operation (FONOP). Many in Washington had been expecting a FONOP for several weeks, because the last FONOP was over three months ago and a defense official previously committed to conduct two such operations per quarter. Reports suggested that a FONOP was rescheduled last month for unknown reasons, so an operation appeared overdue.

Nevertheless, the FONOP surprised many observers by targeting Fiery Cross Reef. Both of the previous FONOPs were conducted as innocent passages because they were directed against features that are entitled to territorial seas under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The first FONOP was conducted near Subi Reef, which is below water at high tide, but is within twelve nautical miles of a feature that by its proximity provides Subi Reef with a territorial sea.

The second FONOP was carried out near Triton Island, which is above water at high-tide and therefore merits its own territorial sea. As a result, U.S. Navy vessels had to transit “innocently” through these features’ territorial seas without maneuvering or conducting military operations.

related:
U.S. Navy’s FONOP around Subi Reef: Deciphering U.S. Signaling
South China Sea FONOP 2.0: A Step in the Right Direction

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China opposes U.S. distortion of navigation freedom: spokesman

China on Wednesday suggested the United States, when talking about "freedom of navigation," make a distinction between commercial ships and warships.

Freedom of navigation for commercial vessels has never been obstructed in the South China Sea, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang at a daily press briefing.

U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asia and the Pacific Daniel Russel said on Tuesday in Vietnam that freedom of navigation operations were important to smaller nations.

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Australia defends U.S. in latest South China Sea dispute

Australia backed the United States on Thursday in its so-called freedom of navigation operation close to a disputed reef in the South China Sea, a patrol China has denounced as an illegal threat to peace.

U.S. guided missile destroyer the USS William P. Lawrence travelled within 12 nautical miles (22 km) of Chinese-occupied Fiery Cross Reef on Tuesday.

The operation was undertaken to challenge what a U.S. Defense Department spokesman described as excessive maritime claims by China, Taiwan and Vietnam, which were seeking to restrict navigation rights in the South China Sea.
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Beijing says US patrols justify defensive deployments
Upping the ante in the feud over who is responsible for rising tensions in the South China Sea, China yesterday said repeated U.S. Navy patrols in the area are forcing it to boost the defense capabilities of the islands it controls and may require it to launch more air and sea patrols.

In a strongly worded statement, the Defense Ministry said it deployed two navy fighter jets, one early warning aircraft and three ships to track and warn-off the destroyer USS William P. Lawrence as it passed nearby Fiery Cross Reef on Tuesday.
  • “The provocative actions by American military ships and planes lay bare the U.S. designs to seek gain by creating chaos in the region and again testify to the total correctness and utter necessity of China’s construction of defensive facilities on relevant islands,”
  • “China will increase the scope of sea and air patrols based on need, boost all categories of military capacity building, resolutely defend national sovereignty and security, and resolutely safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea,”
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When War Games Go Live? “Simulating World War III”

The World is at a Dangerous Crossroads. Previously dismissed, the  dangers of a Third World War are now the object of serious debate.

The contours of global warfare are unfolding:
  • Military escalation in the Middle East: Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Palestine;
  • Extended military involvement of Saudi Arabia, military buildup in the Persian Gulf;
  • Deployment of US-NATO weapons systems and troops in Eastern Europe and the Baltics on Russia’s doorstep;
  • The War in Ukraine, The Separatist Movement in Donbass, Dangers of Escalation;
  • Economic Sanctions directed against Russia;
  • Confrontation between Turkey and Russia in the Black Sea Basin and the Caucusus;
  • US-China Confrontations in the South China Sea, the militarization of strategic waterways:
  • US-Israeli Threats directed against Iran;
  • Ongoing US Threats directed against North Korea;
  • Militarization of the Persian Gulf, Extended military involvement of Saudi Arabia in US-NATO wars
What should be understood is that in the wake of the Cold War, the Pentagon has been routinely involved in conducting World War III war games as well as simulations of World War III. 

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An American ‘wall of missiles’ to deter China
Wall of Missiles in South China Sea Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times


It is time to help the United States Pacific Command (PACOM) deter Chinese military aggression with superior strength rather than encourage its adventurism by showing weakness.

Recent reports that the Obama White House sought to muzzle criticism of China by PACOM Commander Adm. Harry Harris — which he has denied — at least contributes to a longstanding impression that the White House has preferred to pull its punches as China seeks to impose increasing control of the strategic South China Sea.

A more appropriate U.S. response followed reports in February and March that China had deployed to Woody Island in the Paracel Island Group its 150-kilometer-range HQ-9 anti-aircraft missiles and then its 400-kilometer-range YJ-62 anti-ship cruise missiles. This now sets a pattern for Chinese missile deployment to its new large bases in the Spratly Island Group: Fiery Cross Reef, Subi Reef and Mischief Reef, which is only 216 kilometers away from Palawan Island of the Philippines, a U.S. defense treaty ally. China could also be building a new base on Scarborough Shoal, only 265 kilometers away from Subic Bay in the Philippines.

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How to Get Tough with China

The United States’ approach to dealing with China from the Nixon-Kissinger era onwards resembles a forty-five-year science experiment—an experiment that has failed.
The underlying hypothesis was that an accommodating approach to the PRC would inevitably lead to a more liberal China that followed the established rules of the international system. It seemed so logical, as it was under that system that China would so handsomely benefit.
After four-plus decades, there is scant evidence this hypothesis is correct. In fact, the PRC’s relentless effort to create what might cheekily be called a “Greater South China Sea Co-Prosperity Sphere” belies any notion this view was ever correct. China’s island-building expansion across the South China Sea is just the latest evidence that most of the “experts” got China wrong.

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U.S. Navy plans two or more patrols in South China Sea per quarter

The U.S. Navy plans to conduct patrols within 12 nautical miles of artificial islands in the South China Sea about twice a quarter to remind China and other countries about U.S. rights under international law, a U.S. defense official said on Monday.

"We're going to come down to about twice a quarter or a little more than that," said the official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about Navy operational plans.

"That's the right amount to make it regular but not a constant poke in the eye. It meets the intent to regularly exercise our rights under international law and remind the Chinese and others about our view," the official said.

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SOUTH CHINA SEA WATCH: Tussle over plane; Russia backs China

Tensions in the South China Sea are rising, pitting China against smaller and weaker neighbors that all lay claim to islands, coral reefs and lagoons in waters rich in fish and potential gas and oil reserves. China’s recent construction of artificial islands in the Spratly archipelago, complete with airstrips and radar stations, and U.S. patrols challenging Beijing’s vast territorial claims, have caused concern that the strategically important waters could become a flashpoint.

China says the United States is overblowing a humanitarian emergency mission that involved one of its military planes landing on an artificial island — which also happens to be one of three recently built military outposts with long runways.

The Y-8 transport aircraft made a trip to Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratlys to evacuate three injured construction workers, according to the Ministry of Defense.
State Department spokesman John Kirby questioned the need for a military aircraft, citing concern that China keeps militarizing the disputed region. He said the injured workers were involved in infrastructure improvements of a military nature.

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South China Sea dispute

Beijing is set to start construction this year on a South China Sea islet within the Philippines' claimed exclusive economic zone as it seeks to project its power in the disputed waters, Hong Kong media reported. China will establish an outpost on Scarborough Shoal, 230 km off the Philippine coast, the South China Morning Post newspaper reported.

Japan observed that China was making the world "worried" with its military buildup and maritime expansion in the East and South China Seas. China and Japan dispute sovereignty over a group of uninhabited East China Sea islets, while in the South China Sea, Beijing is building islands on reefs to bolster its claims.

China has rattled nerves with its military and construction activities on the islands in the SouthChina Sea, including building runways, though Beijing says most of what it is building is for civilian purposes, like lighthouses. China claims almost the entire South China Sea, believed to have huge deposits of oil and gas.

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China criticizes U.S. warplanes' operation near Huangyan Island

China's Ministry of National Defense on Monday responded to media reports that six U.S. Air Force planes performed a flight mission in "international airspace" in the vicinity of Huangyan Island in the South China Sea on April 19.

"We have noticed such reports, and it should be pointed out that the U.S. is pushing militarization of the South China Sea in the name of 'Freedom of Navigation,'" the ministry's Information Bureau said in a statement.

China is concerned about and opposed to such actions which threaten the sovereignty and security of countries around the South China Sea and undermine regional peace and stability, it stressed.

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US aircraft carrier in Singapore to complement naval forces in region: Admiral

United States aircraft carrier, the USS John C Stennis, has been docked at Changi Naval Base since Tuesday (Apr 19).

More than 330 metres long and as tall as a 24-storey building, the aircraft carrier is among the largest and most powerful ships in the US Navy. It is complemented by two guided-missile destroyers, a guided-missile cruiser, several helicopters and fighter jet squadrons

The group is part of the US Navy's 3rd Fleet and is moored at Changi Naval Base after being involved in military exercises with South Korea last month. Its fleet commander, Vice-Admiral Nora Tyson, said their presence complements the efforts of the 7th Fleet, which usually operates in the Asia Pacific region

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Chinese navy in South China Sea draws US Admiral's praise

Standing on a nuclear-powered US aircraft carrier the length of more than three football fields as it plows through one of the world’s most contested seas, Rear Admiral Marcus Hitchcock has only high praise for the navy of his biggest military rival: China.

Around 125 nautical miles from the Malaysian coast in the South China Sea, Radm Hitchcock, the newly-minted commander of the carrier strike group led by the USS John C Stennis, said his ships have been engaged on almost a “twenty four-seven basis” with a “completely professional” People’s Liberation Army Navy

“We have had nothing but professional interactions,” he said on the flag deck of the John C Stennis, over the near-constant roar of fighter jets taking off and landing. “The ocean is a very connected environment, and the sailors that are on it, the navies that are on it are very connected, no matter what their nations are going through diplomatically.”

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China vs America: the new cold war

According to the renowned structural realist, John J Mearsheimer, the Chinese economic and military rise in the 21st century would not be peaceful; the US would employ all means, fair or foul, to contain and impede China from challenging the long-lasting American hegemony in the world. The competition between both the countries has awakened a dormant cold war atmosphere in certain regions. The imminent cold war would create both opportunities and challenges for developing countries.

From Capitol Hill to the Pentagon, all American decision-making quarters are heavily engaged in crafting strategies on how to encircle, counteract and impede China, thus slowing down the Chinese economic boom and military rise. Though the Chinese rise is relatively peaceful, the powerful communist state is still fully prepared to promptly respond to any aggressive American posturing against Chinese national interests, across the world.

In the restive South China Sea, China is having legitimate disputes with other South-East Asian countries over the Spratly Islands, the Paracel Islands, the Pratas Islands ,the Maccles field Bank and the Scarborough Shoal. There are precious minerals, natural gas and oil deposits on and under the seafloor of these islands. For its national security, China is also building military, naval and air bases on some of these highly disputed isles. A number of artificial islands have also been constructed for Chinese military objectives.

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‘War is a futile exercise’

War is not an option in the tense South China Sea.

“All claimant countries in the South China Sea [and others adjacent to it but are not claimants] recognize that war is a futile exercise,” President Benigno Aquino III said on Wednesday.

“Nobody stands to gain and, in fact, the whole world stands to lose if it does amount to war.”

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China’s activities in SCS may pose threat to trade routes: US

China’s activities in the disputed South China Sea are “destabilising” and may pose a threat to commercial trade routes in the region, a top US military general has said, asserting that such developments could erode America’s “competitive advantage” in Asia.

“In the South China Sea, Chinese activity is destabilising and could pose a threat to commercial trade routes,” General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said before the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a top American think-tank.

“While our exercise of freedom of navigation provides some assurance to our allies and partners, it hasn’t stopped the Chinese from developing military capabilities in the South China Sea, to include on territories where there is a contested claim of sovereignty,” Dunford said yesterday.

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Dialogue 'is the key' to solve sea dispute

Beijing and Hanoi have agreed to seek fundamental solutions to disputes over the South China Sea through dialogue, with their defense ministers concluding talks on Wednesday.

The two countries have "both the wisdom and capability to control disputes and tackle the South China Sea issue properly", State Councilor and Defense Minister Chang Wanquan told reporters.

He was speaking at a joint news conference in Pingxiang, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, after holding "candid" discussions with his Vietnamese counterpart, Phung Quang Thanh.

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Tribunal decision may spark regional conflict

Within the next two months, an international tribunal in Holland will make a judgement about the ownership of disputed islands in the South China Sea.

It will rule on a case brought by the Philippines, which has argued that China has illegally occupied some of its offshore islands.

China has countered that a “nine-dash line” drawn on a historic map confirms its right to the islands and has refused to attend the tribunal in The Hague.

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Dispute on South China Sea

They say some things have to be seen to be believed, which is probably why the sight of a jaunty Mark Zuckerberg jogging through Tiananmen Square was almost unbelievable ― unless you were there. Am I saying that the chairman, chief executive, and co-founder of Facebook rather made a fool of himself? Well, yes, I am. But in one way or the other, at one time or another ― whether peddling a bicycle or bloviating on a mainland lecture tour (me) ― we all have made fools of ourselves about China. In this sense, the multi-billionaire Harvard dropout loses no more face than any of us, myself surely included.

China is hard to get right. Once the anti-social network of violence associated with Islamist extremism is contained ― and it will be (in part because of the emerging dynamics of the larger peaceful Muslim world) ― China will stand alone as the West's prime number.

One reason for this can be illuminated by philosophy's hypothesis of the Twin Earth. Use your imagination, the late Harvard professor Hilary Putnam would urge his students, and envision two planets existing at the same time which appear virtually identical ― person by person, tree by tree, barking dog by dog, annoying child by annoying child ― except for one thing: their water

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U.S. says it will not recognize South China Sea exclusion zone

The United States has told China it will not recognize an exclusion zone in the South China Sea and would view such a move as "destabilizing," U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work said on Wednesday.

U.S. officials have expressed concern that an international court ruling expected in the coming weeks on a case brought by the Philippines against China over its South China Sea claims could prompt Beijing to declare an air defense identification zone, or ADIZ, in the region, as it did in the East China Sea in 2013.

Work told an event hosted by the Washington Post that the United States would not recognize such an exclusion zone in the South China Sea, just as it did not recognize the one China established in the East China Sea.

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South China Sea History Lesson: Parallels from the Paracels?

Oceans of ink have been spilled on the South China Sea in recent years. I’ve added a bucket or two along the way. So it’s always helpful to gain a fresh angle on a familiar problem. Satisfying, too, if you can get there by re-tracing history.

Toshi Yoshihara of the US Naval War College has written a campaign appraisal of the small-scale sea battle between China and South Vietnam, in 1974, for control of the Paracel islands.

Unfortunately there isn’t space here to recount the details. It’s a tidy piece of scholarship, exploiting the recent bloom in Chinese-language materials, shedding new light on Beijing’s motives for, and conduct of, the operation. China’s takeover of the Paracels is usually skirted over as a footnote by Western writers. Direct sources are hard to access (as often in history, the loser’s side of the story stays untold). And South Vietnam was itself soon overrun in the much bigger drama of 1975.

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Between an Island, a Rock and a Hard Place

On Itu Aba, in the Spratly archipelago of the South China Sea, Taiwanese coast guard officials proudly haul a small wooden bucket of water from one of several simple concrete wells on the coral outcrop.

The water, clear and sweet tasting, is key to Taiwan’s argument that Itu Aba is legally the only island among the hundreds of reefs, shoals and atolls scattered across the hotly disputed region.

Itu Aba, which the Taiwanese call Taiping, is coming into focus as the Philippines challenges the legality of China’s claims to most of the South China Sea



The next South China Sea crisis: China vs. Indonesia?
Indonesia has sunk illegal fishing boats, including those from China

Indonesian president Joko Widodo’s strategy for reinforcing state sovereignty and strengthening maritime integrity is being tested with the latest incursion by Chinese fishing boats into Indonesian waters off the Natuna islands. Indonesian Minister for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Susi Pudjiastuti’s public criticism of China’s activities is the first step in what’s likely to become a series of reluctantly enacted but necessary responses from Jokowi’s administration—unlike in the past, Indonesia can’t afford to do otherwise.

This isn’t the first time Indonesia has had to contend with Chinese assertivenessin the South China Sea. Over the last four years, Jakarta’s attempts to enforce its fisheries’ laws by arresting Chinese fishermen operating illegally in Indonesia’s EEZ has led to a series of confrontations between the Chinese Fisheries Law Enforcement Command and Indonesian law enforcement vessels. Traditionally, Indonesia’s foreign ministry has tried to dismiss those engagements as minor in order to maintain its relationship with China.

While such events aren’t related to sovereignty disputes over the Natuna Islands (which China has stated it doesn’t claim), the EEZ created by the islands overlaps with China’s nine-dash line. Previously, the Indonesian foreign ministry has demanded clarification of the legality of the nine-dash line but has received no response. Pudjiastuti’s summoning of China’s ambassador to Indonesia, Xie Feng, on the March 21 to discuss China’s latest claim that its fisherman were within ‘traditional Chinese fishing grounds’ is also unlikely to clarify the matter. Rather, it’s apparent that the recent incursion by China into Indonesia’s waters is an intentional challenge to Jakarta’s resolve

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Philippines mulls submarines as China row simmers: Aquino

The Philippines may invest in its first-ever submarine fleet to help protect its territory in the disputed South China Sea, President Benigno Aquino said Wednesday.

The impoverished nation, which has never before operated submarines and until now relied largely on US surplus ships, has been ramping up defence spending in response to China's military expansion in the region.

China claims almost all of the South China Sea despite conflicting claims from the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei.

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A center for peace in South China Sea

CHINA has established a joint research center on the South China Sea to strengthen academic and institutional exchanges and encourage countries in the region to jointly maintain peace and stability.

The inaugural ceremony was held yesterday morning in Boao in south China’s Hainan Province, site of the annual conference of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA).

The China-Southeast Asia Research Center (CSARC) involves well-known think tanks in China and southeast Asian nations such as China’s National Institute for South China Sea Studies and Indonesia’s Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

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Beijing establishes joint research centre on South China Sea

China has established a joint research centre on the South China Sea to strengthen academic and institutional exchanges and promote countries in the region to jointly maintain peace and stability in the region.

The inaugural ceremony was held on Fridayin Boao in Hainan province, Xinhua news agency reported.

The China-Southeast Asia Research Centre on the South China Sea (CSARC) involves well-known think tanks in China and Southeast Asian nations such as China's National Institute for South China Sea Studies and Indonesia's Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

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China Remains Committed to Peaceful Settlement of Disputes in the South China Sea through Negotiations and Consultations

In recent times, peace and stability in the South China Sea have been affected, more or less, by certain negative factors: Some countries are making unilateral provocations at sea to impose their claims on China; a certain country, using the application of United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) as a pretext, has initiated arbitration procedures against China to negate China's sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea, without any good will to settle disputes, some countries from outside the region have stepped up political and military intervention in the South China Sea out of their own strategic interests, which has heightened tension in the region and made the situation even more complicated.

The South China Sea issue has become a hard nut to crack. But it's not uncrackable. In fact, the key to overcome difficulties has always been in the hands of regional countries, that is, to settle disputes through negotiations and consultations between countries directly concerned.

This has been China's consistent policy and practice over the past 60 years since the founding of New China. First, peaceful settlement of disputes through negotiations and consultations is consistent with international law and basic norms governing international relations.

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100 Chinese boats ‘in Malaysian waters’ of disputed South China Sea: Beijing says ‘it’s fishing season’, analysts say it’s a message

About 100 China-registered boats were detected encroaching into Malaysian waters near the Luconia Shoals in the South China Sea on Thursday.

Shahidan Kassim, a minister in charge of national security, said his government had dispatched the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency and the navy to the area to monitor the situation, the country’s Bernama news agency reported.

Shahidan did not give further information on the nature of the Chinese vessels and their specific locations, but warned that legal enforcement action would be taken if the Chinese vessels were found to have entered Malaysia’s exclusive economic zone.



A Hundred Chinese Boats Encroach in Malaysian Waters


About 100 Chinese-registered boats have been detected encroaching in Malaysia's waters in the disputed South China Sea, Malaysia's state news agency reported on Friday.

The reported encroachment on Thursday is the latest action by Chinese vessels to raise concern in Southeast Asia, where four countries object to China's claim to virtually the whole of the South China Sea.

Malaysia's national security minister Shahidan Kassim said assets from the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency and the navy have been sent to the area near the Luconia Shoals to monitor the situation, the Bernama news agency reported

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Govt: RI does not recognize China's ‘traditional fishing zone’

The Indonesian government has rejected a verbal explanation conveyed by the Chinese government over what Indonesia considers a territorial violation committed by a Chinese fishing vessel and a Chinese coast guard boat that entered Natuna waters in Riau Islands last week.

Via a chargé d'affaires at the Chinese Embassy in Jakarta in a meeting with Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi earlier this week, the Chinese government denied that the Chinese fishing vessel and the country’s coast guard had violated Indonesian territory, claiming they had been in an area China calls its “traditional fishing zone”.“

In a verbal communication conveyed by the chargé d'affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Jakarta, they said the incident occurred in China’s traditional fishing zone,” Retno said at the Office of the Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister in Jakarta on Thursday.

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China’s Rift With Indonesia in the Natunas: Harbinger of Worse to Come?

The recent Sino-Indonesian standoff in waters close to the Natuna Islands reflects the growing capabilities of the China Coast Guard (CCG). The incident on March 19-20, which has precipitated the most serious diplomatic rift between Indonesia and China in recent years, saw a CCG ship ramming and preventing a Chinese fishing boat from being towed by an Indonesian task force in charge of countering illegal fishing. These and other recent actions indicate the enhanced confidence of CCG personnel in operating increasingly farther from mainland coasts for longer durations.

The Chinese patrol ship involved could offer some hints about Beijing’s capabilities. Except for a low-resolution picture of that vessel released by the Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fishery, we cannot determine with absolute certainty which CCG ship it was. However, a visual comparison of the ship’s exterior profile with those of vessels operated by the CCG South China Sea Branch suggests that it was CCG3210.

So what’s interesting about this ship then? Some background is necessary here. CCG3210’s previous incarnation was Yuzheng-310 – a 2,580-tonne patrol ship built in 2010 for the Fishery Law Enforcement Command (FLEC). This ship participated in the March 2013 incident off Natuna Islands. In fact, prior to this incident, Yuzheng-310 participated in patrols off Scarborough Shoal after the standoff with the Philippines in April 2012. In July the same year, this ship escorted a 30-vessel Chinese fishing fleet to waters off Fiery Cross, sailing for a total of 78 hours from Hainan Island.

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Water Wars: In the South China Sea, Beijing Faces Twin Threats of New U.S. Military Presence and Pushback from an Old Friend

China suffered two major setbacks in the South China Sea this week. First, sparks flew between the PRC and its longtime ally, Indonesia, when the bungled seizure of a Chinese fishing vessel in Indonesian waters almost led to a direct conflict between the old friends. Later in the week, the United States and the Philippines announce a new decade-long pact that will allow American troops to rotate between five PH bases, many close to PRC installations in the South China Sea.

Jakarta found itself in the middle of the South China Sea disputes on Saturday after a patrol boat from the Indonesian Ministry of Fishery and Marine Affairs (KKP), KP Hiu 11, seized a Chinese fishing vessel, Kway Fey 10078, and arrested its eight crewmembers for illegally fishing less than three miles off the coast Natuna Island. While the Hiu was escorting the Kway Fey back to base, a nearby Chinese Coast Guard vessel rammed the captured fishing boat near the limits of Indonesia’s territorial waters, forcing the KPP officers to abandon the Chinese vessel. A spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in Jakarta issued a statement claiming that the fishermen were operating in “a traditional Chinese fishing ground” and “hoped that the Indonesian side could properly handle this issue.”

On Monday PRC Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying further alleged that the fishing vessel “was attacked and harassed by an armed Indonesian ship” and that the Coast Guard was sent to “ensure their personal safety,” but did not enter Indonesian territorial waters.

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China to upgrade Lancang-Mekong ship path

The second phase of dredging begins soon and will allow 500-tonne ships to navigate the river year round. Ports and safety will also be improved, said Sun Yongzuo, director of the Yunnan bureau of shipping affairs.

Known as the Lancang in China, the Mekong rises on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and flows through China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam before emptying into the South China Sea.

The first Lancang-Mekong Cooperation leaders’ meeting was held in Sanya, Hainan Province, this week. A joint declaration issued after the meeting said that Lancang-Mekong countries would work together in the sustainable management and utilization of the river.

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Friendship, family and money, but South China Sea?

AT the Mekong-Lancang Cooperation Leaders’ Meeting in Hainan last Wednesday, Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang offered the five Asean countries along the Mekong river that attended it with China, US$11.5bil in loans and credit for infrastructure and other projects.

There was no time frame on disbursement and there was no indication on how the facilities would be distributed among Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, who were all well represented at the meeting. Li acknowledged how the countries involved were all “family.”

The Lancang-Mekong Co-operation framework was launched in November 2014 in Myanmar at the 17th China-Asean Summit. At the time US$20bil in loans had been offered for the construction of roads, ports and railways – all much needed particularly by the less developed Asean countries.

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Taiwan’s perspective on the South China Sea dispute

he South China Sea dispute has become a widely discussed problem in the international platform due to its potential to cause armed conflict in the region. The People’s Republic of China (PRC), Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have clashing sovereignty claims over the South China Sea. In fact, $5.3 trillion USD of trade passes through the South China Sea each year. Correspondingly, the rising economic and political weight of the regional countries increased the international importance of the South China Sea. As one of the actors in the region, Taiwan has the most potential to influence the developments of the discussions regarding the South China Sea dispute due to its economic and military power.

The conflict takes place around Spratly (Nansha) and Paracel (Shisha) islands as well as the Pratas (Tungsha), Natuna and Scarborough Shoal. The PRC claims sovereignty on the map of U shaped line referred to as the “Nine-dash line”. But, Taiwan presented a similar arguments regarding sovereignty over the South China Sea. Taiwan argument bases itself on historical grounds to justify its claims over the area. However, there are differences between the PRC’s and Taiwan’s positions. In fact, the KMT government of China released a map titled ‘position of the South China Sea Islands’ in 1947.

The eleven-dash line was used to define a scope of Chinese sovereignty over the South China Sea. After Chinese Communists took power of the mainland, they cancelled the two intermittent lines and the PRC started to use the nine-dash line to support its sovereignty claims over the South China Sea. Taiwan upholds its claims to sovereignty over the South China Sea. However, Taiwan does not fully support the PRC’s South China Sea policy.  Taiwan adheres to the notion that the dispute be solved through international law since it does not support territorial sovereignty through the man-made islands. Taiwan promotes cooperation among regional countries to solve the dispute and does not support unilateral extraction of sand from the seabed or the reclamation of land from underwater reefs.

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China deploys missiles in South China Sea islands 'posing threat to any aircraft within 100 miles'


China has reportedly deployed surface-to-air missiles on disputed islands in the South China Sea, in an apparent response to so-called “freedom of navigation” fly-bys conducted by the US.

American and Taiwanese officials said missile batteries had been set up on Woody Island, part of the Paracels chain that has been under Chinese control for more than 40 years – but which is also claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam.

Speaking in Beijing, Chinese officials denied the reports, but foreign minister Wang Yi told reporters any “self-defence facilities” that might be stationed on the islands were “consistent with the right to self-protection that China is entitled to under international law so there should be no question about it”.

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China calls for clear understanding of history, facts of South China Sea

China's foreign ministry has urged concerned countries to study and get clear understanding of the history and basic facts of South China Sea.

"The Yongxing Island is an inherent territory of China. From 1959 on, the Chinese government set up administrative offices and related government facilities on the Yongxing Island. For years, China has been carrying out constructions and been deploy necessary defense facilities. Some concerned countries and people should get clear understanding of the history and basic facts of South China Sea before making remarks," said Hong Lei, a spokesman for the foreign ministry.

Hong made the comments at a routine press briefing on Friday, responding to the remarks made by US State Department spokesman John Kirby, who said the missiles on Yongxing Island -- the largest island in the Xisha Islands group in the South China Sea -- was installed recently and there was no sign of China stopping militarizing the island.

related:
China blames US for militarization of South China Sea
US, EU warn China on need to respect South China Sea
US slams Beijing's increased 'militarization' in SCS
Pentagon calls for parties to halt militarization of South China Sea
US accuses China of raising tensions in disputed seas

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5 Myths About China's Missile Deployment on Woody Island
The littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth in the South China Sea near the Spratly Islands, with as the PLA Navy guided-missile frigate Yancheng close behind

The United States’ criticisms of China in the South China Sea are misleading — likely intentionally so.

The South China Sea issue is back in the headlines again, this time thanks to the reports from Western media that China has deployed a missile system on Woody (Yongxing) Island in the Paracels. The reaction from the United States has revealed a number of oddities and inconsistencies. Overall, there have been numerous claims, discords, critiques, and myths about the South China Sea.

But this particular story has exposed at least five obvious confusions in the U.S. strategy and stance in this region.
  • A confusion of the Paracels (Xisha) and Spratlys (Nansha)
  • A confusion of “right to self-defense” and “militarization”
  • A confusion of “intention” and “capability”
  • A confusion of the standards of militarization
  • A confusion about the “freedom of navigation” in the South China Sea
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Is U.S.-China Conflict Imminent in the South China Sea?

When a U.S. Navy P8-A surveillance aircraft recently flew near Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, it was warned eight times by the Chinese Navy to leave the area. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that, "China's determination to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity is as firm as a rock." U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter replied that, "There should be no mistake [about this]: the United States will fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows us, as we do all around the world." So, is a U.S.-China conflict in the South China Sea imminent?

In 1995, when I was serving in the Pentagon, China began building structures on Mischief Reef, which is claimed by the Philippines and lies much closer to its shores than to China's. The U.S. issued a statement that we took no position on the competing claims by five states over the 750 or so rocks, atolls, islets, cays and reefs that comprise the Spratlys, which cover a vast area -- 425,000 square kilometers (164,000 square miles) -- of the South China Sea. We urged that the parties involved to settle the disputes peacefully.

But the U.S. took a strong stand that the South China Sea, which includes important sea lanes for oil shipments from the Middle East and container ships from Europe, and over which military and commercial aircraft routinely fly, was subject to the United Nations Law of the Sea Treaty.

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U.S.-China Showdown Keeps Inching Closer

China is playing a game of chicken with the United States in the South China Sea. All signs suggest that Beijing is betting the U.S. will blink and swerve away before it comes to war. China is brazenly challenging the hegemony that the U.S. has enjoyed on East Asian seas since World War II, as the top U.S. admiral in the Pacific warns that a shrinking U.S. military is leaving him without sufficient forces to counter the rising superpower.

While the U.S. has repeatedly called for diplomacy to settle multiple disputes over islands sprinkled across the South China Sea, China is unilaterally staking its claims by moving military gear to a growing number of them. It has been dredging the sea bottom to enlarge islets, and has built a 10,000-foot runway on one of them.

Its goal is clear: to lay claim to 90% of the South China Sea, a vital commercial waterway that carries $5 trillion in annual trade. Regional allies—including Brunei, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam—are nervously, and so far vainly—waiting for the U.S. to do something to thwart the Chinese advance.

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US plans more freedom of navigation moves in South China Sea — Pentagon official

The United States, which is worried by China's military buildup to assert dominance in the South China Sea, will increase freedom-of-navigation operations there, a senior Pentagon official said on Wednesday.

"We will be doing them more, and we'll be doing them with greater complexity in the future and ... we'll fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows," Admiral Harry Harris, head of the U.S. Navy's Pacific Command, told a House Armed Services Committee hearing.

"We must continue to operate in the South China Sea to demonstrate that that water space and the air above it is international," Harris said.

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The Guardian view on the South China Sea: high time for compromise
US navy sailors in a training exercise on the guided missile destroyer USS Lassen in the South China Sea, October 2015. ‘The US is likely to keep its military and naval edge over China for many years.’ Photograph: US Navy/Reuters

The islands and rocks that dot the South China Sea have historically been of very little use to anyone, except a few fishermen and guano collectors. Some are completely barren, some barely protrude above the waves. The few that are just about habitable are still pretty inhospitable, and global warming may well submerge many in the not too distant future. Hopes that possession of them would bring riches in the shape of oil or control of fisheries have so far been unrealised. Yet these remote scraps of not so terra firma have become the scene of a contest between China, its neighbours, and the United States that would be laughable if it were not potentially so dangerous.

The fundamental reason for this is that China, with scant regard for the complicated and ambiguous historical record, regards most of these specks as indisputably parts of its territory. Forceful exertion of its claims goes back at least to 1947, when the Chinese Nationalists landed marines on Woody Island in the Paracels, forestalling a squadron that arrived too late to assert French claims, claims that today’s Vietnam has inherited.

It is on this same Woody Island that, nearly 70 years later, China has just deployed surface-to-air missiles, prompting American charges that it is militarising the entire ocean region. A few days later China sent fighters to Woody, and reports are also coming in that it may be building radar facilities on artificial islands further south. Beijing took these decisions, whether by accident or design, as President Barack Obama was hosting a summit meeting of south-east Asian countries, most of whom contest China’s claims, and while the US secretary of state, John Kerry, was receiving Mr Wang Yi, the Chinese foreign minister, at the State Department in Washington. This may not have been calculated rudeness, but it certainly shows a lack of concern for American sensitivities.

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U.S. admiral vows more South China Sea freedom of navigation forays

The head of the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Command told a congressional committee on Wednesday he will carry out more freedom of navigation operations with more complexity in the South China Sea.

Adm. Harry Harris, Jr., told a House of Representatives Armed Services Committee hearing the United States must continue to operate in the South China Sea with allies, including Japan and South Korea.

The hearing comes after China deployed surface-to-air missiles on Woody Island in the South China Sea’s Paracel chain and new radars on Cuarteron Reef in the Spratlys.

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China's Putting Anti-Stealth Radar in the South China Sea

China appears to be building an anti-stealth radar system on an artificial island in the middle of the South China Sea, where a military-grade system would be useful in detecting stealth aircraft in the contentious and contested area.

Satellite imagery obtained by the Center for Strategic and International Studies' Asian Maritime Transparency Initiative and DigitalGlobe (which provided the images above and below) shows the Cuateron Reef recently enlarged by dredging and now measuring about 52 acres. Beijing didn't stop there. The imagery also shows that China has built or is building two radar towers, a lighthouse, a communications tower, bunker, and quay for the docking of supply ships. The most interesting development is a large field covered with evenly spaced 20 meter poles. This is the kind of thing you'd need for over-the-horizon high-frequency radar systems, which can detect objects at up to 3,000 kilometers (1,864 miles), including stealth aircraft.

While HF radars can spot stealth planes, they cannot guide missiles to targets—for now. Even so, the radars are useful in providing an early warning network, cueing Chinese fighter planes such as the J-11—also based on an artificial island in the South China Sea—to the probable location of stealth aircraft.


China's island radar bigger threat than missiles: CSIS
China may be building a high-frequency radar installation in the disputed South China Sea, posing a bigger threat to the balance of power in one of the world's busiest waterways than previously detected surface-to-air missiles, according to a report by the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS). PHOTO: CSIS ASIA MARITIME TRANSPARENCY

China may be building a high-frequency radar installation in the disputed South China Sea, posing a bigger threat to the balance of power in one of the world's busiest waterways than previously detected surface-to-air missiles, according to a report by the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS).

Construction of radar facilities at Cuarteron Reef, the southern-most of the features China claims in the Spratly Islands, appears to be nearly complete, Gregory Poling of CSIS's Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative wrote.

China sparked new questions about its intentions in the South China Sea after surface-to-air missiles were detected earlier this month on Woody Island, part of the Paracel Islands northwest of the Spratlys.

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China gearing up for East Asia dominance: U.S. commander

China is "changing the operational landscape" in the South China Sea by deploying missiles and radar as part of an effort to militarily dominate East Asia, a senior U.S. military official said on Tuesday.

China is "clearly militarizing the South China (Sea)," said Admiral Harry Harris, head of the U.S. Pacific Command, adding: "You'd have to believe in a flat Earth to think otherwise."

Harris said he believed China's deployment of surface-to-air missiles on Woody Island in the South China Sea's Paracel chain, new radars on Cuarteron Reef in the Spratlys and its building of airstrips were "actions that are changing in my opinion the operational landscape in the South China Sea."

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The US military may put more weapons in the South China Sea
US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter (R) speaks with US Navy Cmdr. Robert C. Francis Jr., as Carter and Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein (Not Pictured) visited the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier in the South China Sea, in this handout photograph taken and released on November 5, 2015

Senior Army and Pentagon strategists and planners are considering ways to fire existing weapons platforms in new ways around the globe – including the possible placement of mobile artillery units in areas of the South China Sea to, if necessary, function as air-defense weapons to knock incoming rockets and cruise missiles out of the sky.

Alongside the South China Sea, more mobile artillery weapons used for air defense could also prove useful in areas such as the Middle East and Eastern Europe, officials said.

Having mobile counter-air weapons such as the M109 Paladin, able to fire 155m precision rounds on-the-move, could prove to be an effective air-defense deterrent against Russian missiles, aircraft and rockets in Eastern Europe, a senior Army official told Scout Warrior.

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Beijing building radar facilities in South China Sea: think tank

Beijing is installing radar facilities on its artificial islands in the disputed South China Sea, an American think tank has said, in a move analysts warned would “exponentially improve” the country’s monitoring capacities. Satellite imagery of Cuarteron reef in the Spratlys released by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies showed what seemed to be a high-frequency radar installation, as well as a lighthouse, underground bunker, helipad and other communications equipment.

The photographs came only a week after U.S. officials said China had deployed surface-to-air missiles in the Paracel islands further north, and with tensions mounting in the strategically vital region.

“Placement of a high frequency radar on Cuarteron Reef would significantly bolster China’s ability to monitor surface and air traffic coming north from the Malacca Straits and other strategically important channels,” CSIS’ Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative said.

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South China Sea: Beijing accuses US of militarization

The accusation comes days after the US and Taiwan said China appeared to have deployed surface-to-air missiles on a contested island in the region.

Vietnam has called the reported move a "serious violation". The Philippines and Australia also expressed concern.

China dismissed the reports as "hype", but said it had the right under international law to defend itself.

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What makes just 16 missiles such a deadly threat in the South China Sea

IN a move that should surprise precisely no one, China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has positioned surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) on one of its South China Sea islands — namely Woody Island, home to Sansha, the administrative capital for the islands, atolls, and other geographic features Beijing claims in the Paracels and Spratlys. For Beijing this move makes eminent sense on many levels: it constitutes yet another reply to American and Southeast Asian challenges to its claims of “indisputable sovereignty” over most of the South China Sea.

For a 19th-century Prussian take on the situation, think about Carl von Clausewitz’s definition of war. War, opines the West’s master of strategy, is essentially fighting, while fighting in turn is “a trial of moral and physical forces through the medium of the latter.” That is, it’s a test of wills settled through deploying manpower and hardware for battlefield encounters. Whoever prevails by force of arms wins — and breaks the enemy’s resolve to continue the fight in the process. Battlefield victory begets strategic and political success.

A war of words, on the other hand, might be described as a trial of moral and physical forces through the medium of perceived physical force. To prevail in a peacetime showdown, convince the opponent and influential outsiders that you would have won in actual combat. Do that — make believers out of important audiences — and you may reap the rewards of victory without enduring the hazards, costs, and sheer caprice of combat. You may win without fighting — as sane leaders everywhere want to.

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The Woody Island fracas is not about Chinese missiles
Satellite images of Woody Island taken on Feb. 18

The reported installation of the HQ-9 long range, high-altitude, surface-to-air missile system by China on the Woody Island in the disputed Paracel Islands group in the South China Sea has triggered speculations about what Beijing is up to.

Washington says it proposes to have a “very serious conversation with Beijing and presumably onlookers in the region and beyond are keenly watching how “very serious” is the Obama administration’s grit when it comes to China and the rebalance strategy in Asia at a juncture when the US is barely coping with the Middle East problems and is unable to have its way in Eurasia, with Russia frustrating its best-laid plans.

Beijing claims that the fracas over Woody Island is in reality an orchestrated American campaign to frighten the ASEAN countries. Indeed, the first-ever summit meeting with the ASEAN grouping that Obama hosted in California last week provided the backdrop for the “breaking news” in the Paracels.

related: The US double game to contain China

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U.S. says China conducted missile drills in Paracels before recent deployment

The United States said Friday that China conducted missile drills in the disputed Paracels archipelago in the South China Sea even before its recent deployment of an advanced surface-to-air missile system there.

“We have seen them conduct training in that part of the Paracels that have involved this kind of equipment in the past,” Defense Department press secretary Peter Cook said in a news conference.

Pacific Fleet commander Adm. Scott Swift said in a speech Thursday that the latest deployment is at least the third time that Woody Island in the Paracels has housed HQ-9 missiles, according to the Military.com website.

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US Tries to Scare Asian Allies With China's Air Defence Missiles
The US government is trying to frighten East and Southeast Asian nations into line by announcing China had deployed defensive air defense missiles on a tiny island it had peacefully occupied for more than 40 years, US analysts told Sputnik

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The US and ASEAN countries held a summit on Tuesday, in which the group agreed with the US on the need to come up with concrete steps to stabilize the situation in the South China Sea. The summit was held amid lingering tensions in the disputed South China Sea, which recently escalated over Beijing's construction of the man-made islands.

"The disclosure of the missiles by the Pentagon comes a day after President [Barack] Obama had a summit meeting trying shore up support from ASEAN [Association of Southeast Asian nations] countries," Independent Institute Center on Peace and Liberty Director Ivan Eland told Sputnik.

After meeting with Obama on Wednesday at the Sunnylands retreat in California, the ASEAN leaders refused to agree to any reference to China in a joint communique with Obama.

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Aggression in South China Sea will see new anti-China coalition - Golez

A former national security adviser predicted that China’s increasing aggression in the South China Sea will spur rival the creation of a coalition of countries, including the United States, to thwart the Asian giant’s military dominance in the vital sea lanes.

“In view of its aggressive stance, China has triggered (the formation of) a coalition against itself … It is an over aggressiveness that is backfiring,” Roilo Golez, who is also a former congressman, said in a talk before leaders of the Greenhills Christian Fellowship in Pasig City.

“If there is a bully, he may get his way for a while, but then after a while, people will coalesce and gang up against the bully.  And who is the first bully in the area?” the graduate of the US Naval Academy said.

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China accuses U.S. of militarizing South China Sea

China on Friday accused the U.S. of militarizing the South China Sea, just days after it was revealed Beijing had deployed surface-to-air missiles on an island in the hotly disputed area.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters that patrols by U.S. military aircraft and Navy vessels, along with joint exercises involving regional partners, were the true reason why concerns were growing over peace and stability.

“The above actions have escalated tensions in the South China Sea, and that’s the real militarization of the South China Sea,” Hong said.

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Give Me a Crash Course in . . . China Islands

What is China doing in the South China Sea? China claims most of the South China Sea as its own, and it has territorial disputes with nearly all its neighbours over its maritime claims in the area. The claims include the Paracel Islands and the Spratlys as well as the Pratas Islands, the Scarborough Shoal and the Macclesfield Bank.

These claims have led to increased tensions with Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei, through which €4.5 trillion in maritime trade passes every year.

Over the past few years, China has built artificial islands in the Spratly archipelago to press its claim. This week evidence emerged that Beijing has positioned surface-to-air missiles on Woody Island, part of the Paracel Islands chain just east of Vietnam.

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Japan’s maritime force conducts joint drills with Vietnam’s navy in South China Sea base

The Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force conducted joint exercises with the Vietnamese navy for three days through Thursday in the Southeast Asian country and nearby waters.

An MSDF team was dispatched to Danang, central Vietnam, along with two P-3C patrol aircraft for the drills aimed at reinforcing defence cooperation between the two countries and keeping a check on China amid territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

Vietnam, one of several states involved in disputes over reefs and islands in the waters, are at odds with China over claims to the Paracel and Spratly island groups.

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Vietnam protests China missile deployment; Australia and New Zealand urge restraint

Vietnam protested to China on Friday at a “serious violation” of its sovereignty over Beijing’s apparent deployment of an advanced missile system on a disputed South China Sea island, while Australia and New Zealand urged Chinese restraint.

Tensions between China and its neighbours over maritime territory have risen since Taiwan and U.S. officials said Beijing had placed surface-to-air missiles on Woody Island, part of the Paracel archipelago it controls. “Vietnam is deeply concerned about the actions by China. These are serious infringements of Vietnam’s sovereignty over the Paracels, threatening peace and stability in the region as well as security, safety and freedom of navigation and flight,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Le Hai Binh said in a statement. “Vietnam demands China immediately stop such erroneous actions.”

The statement said diplomatic notes had been issued to China’s embassy in Hanoi and to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to protest at Beijing’s activities, including the building of a military helicopter base on Duncan island. Earlier, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had urged claimants to refrain from island-building and militarization in the South China Sea. “It is absolutely critical that we ensure that there is a lowering of tensions,” said Turnbull, speaking after a meeting in Sydney with New Zealand counterpart John Key.

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China Deploys Missiles to Island in South China Sea, Taiwan Says

China has positioned anti-aircraft missiles on a disputed island in the South China Sea, Taiwan said Wednesday.

Asked about Taipei's allegation, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said the deployment of missiles on Chinese territory would be "legitimate and reasonable" but added that he was "not aware of the specifics" of the situation.

Earlier, Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense said in a statement it had "grasped that Communist China had deployed" an unspecified number of missiles on Woody Island. The island is part of the Paracels chain, which has been under Chinese control for more than 40 years but is also claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam.

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U.S. to have ‘very serious conversation’ with China over suspected South China Sea missile deployment

The United States is very concerned about China’s growing militarization of the South China Sea and intends to have a “very serious conversation” with Beijing after reports emerged that it had deployed suspected ­surface-to-air missile batteries on a disputed island, Secretary of State John F. Kerry said Wednesday.

“There is every evidence, every day that there has been an increase of militarization of one kind or another,” Kerry told reporters when asked about the reported deployment, agencies reported. “It’s of serious concern.”

“We have had these conversations with the Chinese, and I am confident that over the next days we will have further very serious conversation on this,” Kerry said.

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China Positions Missiles on Disputed South China Sea Island

China has positioned surface-to-air missiles on a disputed island in the South China Sea, a U.S. official said Tuesday, one of the most aggressive military steps so far by Beijing in a burgeoning standoff with Washington involving warplanes, naval destroyers and increasingly frequent public warnings.

The placement and timing of the missile deployment carried significance, coming as U.S. President Barack Obama met in California on Tuesday with leaders of Southeast Asian nations embroiled in territorial disputes with China. The surface-to-air weapons were detected on Woody Island, part of the Paracel Islands chain just east of Vietnam, which is one of the nations represented at the summit in California.

Vietnam claims Woody Island, known as Yongxing in Chinese, as does Taiwan. Located southeast of China’s island province of Hainan, Woody Island is home to China’s only large operational airfield in the South China Sea, according to Chinese media.

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China deploys missiles to contested South China Sea island, US urges restraint

China has deployed an advanced surface-to-air missile system to one of the disputed islands it controls in the South China Sea, Taiwan and US officials said, ratcheting up tensions even as US President Barack Obama urged restraint in the region.

Taiwan defense ministry spokesman Major General David Lo told Reuters the missile batteries had been set up on Woody Island. The island is part of the Paracels chain, under Chinese control for more than 40 year but also claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam.

"Interested parties should work together to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea region and refrain from taking any unilateral measures that would increase tensions," Lo said on Wednesday.

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China opens new lighthouse on disputed South China Sea reef
A lighthouse on Zhubi Reef in the South China Sea's Spratly Islands. China's Ministry of Transport on held a ceremony on Apr 5 to mark the start of the lighthouse's operation. (Photo: Xinhua)

China has expanded its presence in the contested South China Sea by switching on a lighthouse atop a reconstructed reef also claimed by Vietnam and the Philippines, state media said.

The 55-metre-high facility on Subi Reef in the Spratly chain contains technology to monitor passing ships, the official Xinhua news agency reported late Tuesday (Apr 5 2016).

China claims virtually all the South China Sea despite conflicting claims by Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan and the Philippines. It has constructed artificial islands in the area in recent months as it asserts its claims.

related:
China opens new lighthouse on contested South China Sea reef
New Chinese lighthouse shines on artificial island in South China Sea
China opens its new lighthouse in disputed South China Sea
Beijing opens new lighthouse on man-made island in South China Sea
China Unveils New South China Sea Lighthouse on Subi Reef
China Inaugurates Third Lighthouse in Disputed South China Sea
China opens new lighthouse on disputed South China Sea reef
New China lighthouse up on disputed reef
China opens its new lighthouse in disputed SCS
3rd lighthouse in S China Sea for commercial purposes: FM

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China accuses US of militarizing South China Sea

China has accused the U.S. of militarizing the South China Sea, just days after it was revealed Beijing had deployed surface-to-air missiles on an island in the disputed area.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters Friday that patrols by U.S. military aircraft and Navy vessels along with joint exercises with regional partners had raised tensions and constituted true militarization.

U.S. and Taiwanese officials this week confirmed commercial satellite images showing the missiles placed on Woody Island in the disputed Paracel chain. China has not denied the appearance of the missiles

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ASEAN: Security Concerns in the wake of rising US-China tensions
The US Poseidon spy plane

Sino-US tensions increase amid Poseidon spy plane deployment to Singapore.

On 7 December 2015, the US and Singapore signed the enhanced defense cooperation agreement. Under it, both countries pledged to work together on five key areas: military, strategic, policy, technology and non-traditional security challenges such as cyber-security to counter-terrorism. Of significance is the announcement that Singapore has allowed the US to operate a fleet of Poseidon spy planes from its bases.

This move comes at a time of heightened tensions in the South China Sea. For months now, the US has criticised China’s building of artificial islands, calling it ‘out of step with international rules’ — especially when it came to light that it has been steadily deploying defensive structures, air defense systems and paving airstrips in the islands.

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US-China Relations: Groping towards a New Modus Vivendi

US-China relations set the tone for East Asia: when they are stable, the region is calm; when they are roiled the region is uneasy. In time the same will hold true, I believe, for other regions as well. US-China relations will certainly be a, if not the, central pillar of any new post-Cold War international order.

US-China relations are mature: it has been 44 years since President Nixon’s visit to Beijing transformed the global strategic landscape. US-China relations are intricately interdependent across a broad spectrum of domains. And US-China relations are infused with deep strategic distrust. The US and China are currently groping towards a new modus vivendi with each other and the rest of East Asia.

The complexity of US-China relations and hence the complexity of the adjustments between them that are underway, are a large part of the uncertainties of our times.

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The South China Sea Dispute: Rising Tensions, Increasing Stakes

Tensions are on the rise in the South China Sea. Longstanding sovereignty disputes over the profusion of atolls, shoals and reefs that dot the 1.2 million square miles of sea, allied to extensive overlapping claims to maritime space, have been a source of serious interstate contention over the years, especially during the 1990s. A brief easing of tensions occurred in the first half of this decade due in part to China’s more accommodating and flexible attitude, which was part of a diplomatic “charm offensive” toward Southeast Asia intended to assuage regional anxieties over the country’s growing economic, political and military clout.

Over the past several years, however, China has reverted to a more assertive posture in consolidating its jurisdictional claims, expanding its military reach and seeking to undermine the claims of other states through coercive diplomacy. Examples of China’s renewed hard-line include increased naval patrols in the South China Sea, pressure on foreign oil corporations to cease operations in contested waters, the establishment of administrative units to oversee its claims to the Paracel and Spratly Islands, the unilateral imposition of fishing bans, and the asperity of its responses to the outer continental shelf submissions to the United Nations by other claimants.

Moreover, the recent assertion by China’s ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) that the territorial dispute is a bilateral and not a multilateral issue suggests Beijing has returned to the uncompromising position it held in the 1990s. Yet at the same time, China insists it is committed to a peaceful resolution of the dispute in accordance with international law and joint exploitation of maritime resources. Escalating rivalry in the South China Sea should concern policymakers for two key reasons. First, the South China Sea is home to key arteries of global commerce and is an important theater of operations for regional and extra-regional navies. In particular, the U.S. Navy depends on the South China Sea transit corridors for rapid deployments between the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean. Second, the body of water is a potential source of energy resources crucial to the continued economic advancement of East Asian states. The South China Sea is also a proven and significant source of marine life of utmost importance to human and food security in the region. Failure to address rising tensions could lead to greater regional instability, disruptions to global trade and economic development, environmental degradation and, worst-case scenario, military confrontation.

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China Sends Surveillance Ship To Hawaii In Retaliation To US Navy Build Up In Its Back Yard
Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy electronic surveillance ship Beijixing (pennant number 851). A ship of this class is currently off the coast of Oahu, monitoring RIMPAC 2014

China has had enough with diplomacy.

Shortly after China's president Xi Jinping warned that "a conflict between China and United States will definitely be a disaster for the two countries and the world" a seemingly tone-deaf US responded by unleashing even more military forces in China's back yard, and announcing it was developing new military tactics to deter China’s slow but steady territorial advances in the South China Sea, including more aggressive use of surveillance aircraft and naval operations near contested areas. The message was clear: pleasantries are great, but immediately halt any territorial ambitions which impact American allies in the region.

Well, China responded, but not in the way that the US may have wanted. According to Bloomberg, China sent a surveillance vessel to waters off Hawaii even as the country participated for the first time in the world’s largest international naval exercise led by the U.S. As of Friday, the ship was operating south of the Hawaiian island of Oahu, near the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) carrier strike group (CSG) and the main body of the 50 ships participating in the exercise, several sources confirmed to USNI News.

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US to China: Hawaii is not South China Sea

The US has strongly refuted the Chinese claim that what it is doing in the disputed South China Sea is akin to the US's deploying of defence facilities in Hawaii, saying no other country has a claim on Hawaii.

"There is no other country that has a claim on Hawaii. But yet when you consider the land features in the South China Sea, there are a variety of overlapping territorial claims that a variety of countries have made on those features," White House press secretary Josh Earnest said on Monday.

 Earnest's remarks came in response to Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying who on Monday said China was doing in the South China Sea what the US does in Hawaii.
"China deploying necessary national defence facilities on its own territory is no different from the US deploying defence facilities on Hawaii,"
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White House tells China: Hawaii is not South China Sea

Aucoin, whose Japan-based fleet covers a region from India to the global dateline in the Pacific Ocean, said the U.S.is not singling out any country and that it wants all nations that are reclaiming land to stop.

China's Foreign Ministry said its military deployments in the East Vietnam Sea were no different from US deployments on Hawaii.

Harris told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he had asked the Pentagon for more overhead surveillance in the disputed South China Sea area.

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South China Sea Missile Deployment No Different to US Presence in Hawaii, China Argues

An official from the Chinese Foreign Ministry said China’s apparent deployment of missiles on one of the region’s islands should not be a “pretext to make a fuss” and compared it to the U.S. defending its territory on the islands of Hawaii, Reuters reported.

“China’s deploying necessary, limited defensive facilities on its own territory is not substantively different from the United States defending Hawaii,” ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said during a briefing.

“The U.S. is not involved in the South China Sea dispute, and this is not and should not become a problem between China and the United States,” she added.

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Ask Thucydides...


Climb into my time machine and come fly with me two years into the future. Here we are, November 2018, with celebrations of the centenary of the end of the First World War in full swing. And we find ourselves part of the grand coalition that has just declared war on China.

Throughout the noughties and beyond, the itch we couldn’t stop scratching was the Muslim world. Our war was the war on terror, we were told, and when that “crusade” collided head-on with the Arab Spring, the result was Syria. Seven years on, the bloody stalemate grinds on. Nobody can win. Nobody is prepared to yield an inch. It’s Flanders Field all over again.

But meanwhile, at the beginning of 2016, a real old-fashioned war was boiling up in the South China Sea, only we were not paying attention. And now the British government is talking about conscription – a century after the heroes came home. It’s so funny it hurts.

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U.S. atlas published in 1994 shows South China Sea islands part of Chinese territory
The 1994 revised edition of the Illustrated Atlas of The World, published by the Chicago-based Rand McNally, clearly shows that Huangyan Dao, Nansha Islands and Xisha Islands fall under China's jurisdiction, according to Chia-Chi Tsui, a retired Chinese-American professor, July 8, 2016. (Xinhua/Huang Hexun)

An atlas published in 1994 by a renowned U.S. map publisher clearly illustrated that Huangyan Dao and other key islands involved in the South China Sea dispute are part of China's territory.

The 1994 revised edition of the Illustrated Atlas of The World, published by the Chicago-based Rand McNally, clearly shows that Huangyan Dao, Nansha Islands and Xisha Islands fall under China's jurisdiction, Chia-Chi Tsui, a retired Chinese-American professor, told Xinhua on Friday.

The Illustrated Atlas of The World is published by one of the most recognized names in American map publishing. The atlas shows clearly that Huangyan Dao is out of the Philippine borderline as the island, which the Philippines calls Scarborough Shoal, is located to the west of the 118 degrees east longitude -- the western limit of Philippine territory, said Tsui, owner of the atlas.

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Territorial Disputes: Malignant and Benign

Some things are worth fighting for. What about a few desert islands occupied mainly by birds, goats and moles? China and Japan seem to think so, the rest of the world is alarmed and a look at other territorial disputes around the globe shows that stranger things have happened. There are about 60 such conflicts simmering worldwide. Most will bubble along, unresolved but harmless, 400 years after the Peace of Westphalia established the notion of national sovereignty. Others are more dangerous.

The Situation - China claims more than 80 percent of the South China Sea, where it has constructed artificial islands and built up its military presence. Five others — Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan — claim parts of the same maritime area, a thriving fishing zone through which more than $5 trillion of trade passes each year. In a case brought by the Philippines, an international tribunal in The Hague ruled against China in July, saying it had no historic rights to the resources within a dashed line drawn on a 1940s map that had formed the basis of its claims. While the court said the ruling was binding, China said the tribunal has no jurisdiction. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte called for restraint and in October held talks with China on contested territory.

The U.S., the longtime guarantor of freedom of navigation in the waters, has stepped up support for Southeast Asian maritime law enforcement agencies and Indonesia has accused Chinese fishing boats of increasingly encroaching into its waters. One thousand miles to the northeast, in the East China Sea, China is in dispute with Japan over century-old claims to a separate set of islands — called Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese — that have been administered by Japan since 1972. U.S. President Barack Obama in 2014 said a U.S.-Japan security treaty applies to the islands, meaning the U.S. military could act if Japanese waters were violated. Meantime, Donald Trump's election as U.S. president adds a new element of uncertainty. Trump has accused the Chinese of building a military fortress in the South China Sea and of doing so “at will because they have no respect for our president and they have no respect for our country.” China is also locked in a disagreement with India over the two countries’ land border.
Full Coverage:
China warns US on sovereignty ahead of sea row ruling
South China Sea Historical Background
US says South China Sea ruling presents choice for Asia
China: Subs in Indian Ocean are legitimate
China sends another warning to US over South China Sea
Beijing Establishes a DC Think Tank, and No One Notices
The South China Sea Won't Stop China-ASEAN Economic Ties
US urges respect for South China Sea ruling
US urges respect for South China Sea ruling by arbitration court
Sea dispute: China warns US not to harm its sovereignty
China sends another warning to US over South China Sea
Strengthen Unclos to clear up ambiguity over South China Sea
China, Philippines Agree On One Thing In Tense Maritime Dispute
Beijing Establishes a DC Think Tank, and No One Notices
US says South China Sea tribunal ruling presents choice for Asia
China's Defiance of International Court Has Precedent—US Defiance
The South China Sea Won't Stop China-ASEAN Economic Ties
Young scholars to launch open letter against South China Sea arbitration
What to expect: Asean statement on Hague court's South China Sea rulings
Submarines in Indian Ocean are legitimate: China
Congress: Chinese Response to Pending South China Sea Ruling Unclear
UN's Ban Ki-moon tells China's leaders free media key to progress
China reiterates historical rights over South China Sea
China to speed up consultations on code of conduct in South China Sea
Imminent verdict on South China Sea will test Asean unity
Beijing warns US on sovereignty ahead of South China Sea ruling
South China Sea tensions fuel fighter jet scramble

VAQ-138 Detachment arrives at Clark Air Base
The odd couple: Warthogs & Growlers in the South China Sea
South China Sea Mission: Advanced US Attack Jets Arrive In Philippines
Favorable ruling on PH-China sea dispute can be enforced – Carpio
Navy Sends Growlers to Philippines amid Continuing China Tensions
US, PH air training geared at inter-operability, familiarization
US Navy Sends Electronic Attack Warplanes to PH Amid SCS Tensions
US boosts PH-based air force
U.S. Navy sends fighter jets to Philippines amid rising maritime tensions
Navy EA-18G Aircraft Support Maritime Domain Awareness in Philippines
Navy sends Growlers to the Philippines amid continuing sea tensions
US fighter planes arrive in Philippines for training mission
US 'Growler' attack aircraft in Clark to train with PH pilots
US Sends Four Attack Aircraft, Troops to Bolster Philippine Defenses?
US Navy attack aircraft in PH for drills
Beijing’s Claims of South China Sea Support May Not Hold Water
Diplomatic approach to resolve SCS disputes
FM says communication bet China and ASEAN could improve mutual ties
South China Sea: Which Countries Are On China's Side?
At Scarborough Shoal, China Is Playing With Fire: Retired Admiral
Chinese Ship ‘Shadowing’ U.S. Carrier
PHL says ASEAN agreed to issue joint statement before it was withdrawn
Despite retraction row, ASEAN tests waters with strong SCS statement
FM spokesman: ASEAN-China FMs’ special meeting positive

ASEAN discord blocks issuance of joint statement on sea feud
The Asean fiasco over the joint statement: Philippine Daily Inquirer
See no China: Indonesia's South China Sea policy
Indonesia stresses ASEAN common stance on South China Sea consistent
Maritime security poses threat: Indonesia
China blamed for ASEAN U-turn on South China Sea
ASEAN discord blocks issuance of joint statement on sea feud
US Deploys More Ships Raising Stakes in South China Sea
Lw experts in Britain question arbitral tribunal's jurisdiction over SCS dispute
Scarborough protest favors PH–US analyst
Nepali political party supports China's stance on South China Sea issue
ASEAN discord blocks issuance of joint statement on sea feud
China blamed for ASEAN U-turn on South China Sea
ASEAN FMs' press statement on meeting with China reached
FM spokesman: ASEAN-China FMs' special meeting positive
South China Sea Dispute: War Looms Closer As Tensions At An All Time High
Scarborough protest favors PH–US analyst

Maritime disputes loom large as US, China hold talks
China hits back at US, reasserts claims in S China Sea
China does not 'make or fear trouble', top military official: Shangri-La Dialogue
Maritime Spat Simmers as US, China Talk
Beijing's artificial islands bring South China Sea crisis to the boil
China's 'historic right' has made SCS a hotbed for uneasy tension and conflict
South China Sea: US Sounds Warning Against a Potential Chinese ADIZ
Problem of navigation freedom in South China Sea "pseudo-proposition"
China Will Not Tolerate US-Backed 'Chaos' in South China Sea
China tells US: We're not afraid of trouble
US vows 'actions' if China builds new S. China Sea structures
Kerry Warns China Against South China Sea Air Defense Zone
CHINA: We're not afraid of trouble in the South China Sea
All roads lead to SE Asia
Tensions escalate over South China Sea claims
China eases off Philippine fishing boats in overture to incoming president Duterte
Beijing Hits Back at US Over South China Sea Comments
Snr military official elaborates China's regional security policy:Shangri-La Dialogue
Spotlight: Analysts refute Ashton Carter's China "self-isolation" claims
Kerry warns Beijing over air defence zone for South China Sea
U.S. flexes muscles as Asia worries about South China Sea row

US defence chief Carter urges China to join 'principled security network' for Asia
South China Sea: US warns Beijing against building 'great wall of self-isolation'
US defense secretary offers closer security ties to China
Carter warns China against building 'Great Wall of self-isolation'
South China Sea dispute should be resolved peacefully:Singapore, India
Ash Carter wants closer security relations with Beijing despite South China Sea rift
China Risks 'Great Wall of Self-Isolation,' Says U.S.'s Carter
China must explain sea plans to small nations, New Zealand says

India, Singapore hold defence dialogue
Thailand asks China, rivals to look beyond border rows
Carter to visit Beijing, increase US-China security exercises
Managing a new security dilemma
World Military Leaders To Confront Beijing Over Contested South China Sea
Carter calls for a more cooperative China
McCain urges Asian nations to back binding South China Sea ruling
Chinese admiral expects Spore to guide Shangri-la Dialogue toward resolution
Chinese military moves key issue at Singapore forum
Officials say negotiation must prevail
Regional conflicts should be resolved through cooperation: Thai PM

Chinese jets intercept US military plane over South China Sea - Pentagon
Pentagon: 'Unsafe' intercept over South China Sea
Chinese fighters buzz Navy patrol plane
Chinese fighter jets intercept US spy plane 'unsafely' over South China Sea
2 Chinese jets 'buzz' US reconnaissance plane in South China Sea
A US patrol plane intercepted by 2 Chinese military aircraft over S.C. Sea
Pentagon:'Unsafe' Intercept Of US E-P3 Spy Plane By Chinese J-11 Fighter Jets
Chinese Fighter Jets Make 'Unsafe' Intercept of US Navy Plane Over SC. Sea
Pentagon: Chinese jets fly close to US spy plane
Chinese Intercept US Military Spy Plane Over South China Sea
2 Chinese Fighters Conduct 'Unsafe' Intercept of US EP-3 Recon Aircraft
Chinese fighter jets threaten U.S. military aircraft, Pentagon says
Chinese aircraft intercept US reconnaissance plane over South China Sea
Chinese jets "unsafely" intercept US military plane over South China Sea
Chinese make 'unsafe' intercept of US aircraft over South China Sea
Two Chinese Fighter Jets Intercepted a US Navy Plane Over South China Sea
Understanding the basis for China's S. China Sea claims
China's actions in S China Sea stem from a fear of being encircled
South China Sea Dispute: The Chinese case
Aquino gambled national sovereignty over South China Sea dispute
Expert: Aquino gambles national sovereignty
Annual South China Sea fishing ban begins
China urges non-regional parties to remain objective

China stiffens islands' defence in counter to US
Australia defends US in latest South China Sea dispute
China opposes US distortion of navigation freedom: spokesman
Showdown: how ruling by Permanent Court of Arbitration may play out in Asia
How America Picks Its Next Move in the South China Sea
South China Sea | Beijing says US patrols justify defensive deployments
US, China Engage in New South China Sea Face-off
Beijing Vows to Increase Sea Defenses, Calls U.S. 'Greatest Threat' in Region
War Danger Grows Following New US Provocation in South China Sea
US misjudgment on South China Sea will be costly: Singapore scholar
China scrambles fighters as US sails warship near Chinese-claimed reef
US Navy Mounts Another Challenge to China's Claims in the South China Sea
South China Sea Watch: China starts drills, showcases isles
Chinese navy in South China Sea draws US Admiral's praise
US challenged China, 12 others on navigation rights last year
China criticised for apparent attempt to divide Asean
US challenged India along with 12 others on navigation rights: Report
LYONS, FISHER JR: An American 'wall of missiles' to deter China
Pentagon Report Shows Key International Waterways, Airspace Under Threat
How to Get Tough with China
China, India among 13 countries whose maritime claims challenged by US
Japan says China's maritime expansion making the world “greatly worried”
China Flexes Its Military Muscles While Obama Does Nothing
Wang Yi Holds Talks with Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith of Laos
US military challenged territorial claims of India, China: Pentagon
China Recruits Gambia, Laos to Support South China Sea Claims
US accused of 'hyping up' military flights
China criticizes US warplanes' operation near Huangyan Island
China says Brunei, Cambodia, Laos agree sea dispute must not hurt ties
Wang Yi wraps up three-nation official visit
South China Sea dispute
Japan says China's maritime expansion making the world 'greatly worried'
Wang: China-ASEAN relations not affected by disputes
SOUTH CHINA SEA WATCH: Tussle over plane; Russia backs China
Tribunal decision may spark regional conflict
Philippines mulls submarines as China row simmers: Aquino
US says it will not recognize South China Sea exclusion zone
Indonesia and China need to combat the IUU problem
Noy mulls submarine force for Philippine defense
Dialogue 'is the key' to solve sea dispute
'War is a futile exercise'
China 'trying to become the central Asian power'
Pentagon appeals for peace in South China Sea
What India thinks about the South China Sea
S China Sea 'an existential issue to legitimise CCP rule'
Indonesia to Respond After South China Sea Case: Minister
The next South China Sea crisis: China vs. Indonesia?
Between an Island, a Rock and a Hard Place
Pentagon: U.S. will not recognize exclusion zone in South China Sea
Defense official: US won't recognize Chinese exclusion zone
39% for, 16% against doing business with China – SWS
China's activities in SCS may pose threat to trade routes: US
China vs America: the new cold war
Dispute on South China Sea
Friendship, family and money, but South China Sea?
South China Sea face off: The mystery of Woody Island
China’s Island Radar Bigger Threat Than Missiles, CSIS
China's island radar bigger threat than missiles: CSIS
Beijing places missile launchers on disputed South China
China’s Island Radar Bigger Threat Than Missiles, CSIS
China appears to have deployed missiles on Woody Island
China Deployed Missiles on Disputed Island, U.S. Says
South China Sea dispute: China deploys surface to air
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China's island radar bigger threat than missiles: CSIS
China Redeploys Fighter Jets on Disputed Island
China gearing up for East Asia dominance: U.S. commander
South China Sea dispute: Missiles have been on island
China deploys HQ-9 surface-to-air missiles to Woody Island
5 Myths About China’s Missile Deployment on Woody Island
China has positioned missiles on disputed Woody Island in
China moves anti-aircraft missiles to Woody Island in
Taiwan says China installed anti-aircraft missiles on
China deploys missiles to disputed island in South China
China deploys missiles on disputed island
China Deploys Missiles on Disputed South China Sea Island
Beijing deploys antiaircraft missiles on disputed South China Sea island
China deploys missiles to disputed island in South China
China deploys anti-aircraft missiles on disputed island
China Deploys Missiles on Disputed Island in South China
China Deploys Surface-To-Air Missiles On Disputed Island
Ghana News - China 'deploys missiles on disputed island'
China deploys missiles to disputed island in South China
China deploys missiles on disputed island
China deploys anti-aircraft missiles on disputed South China Sea island
South China Sea dispute: China 'deploys missiles'
China Deploys Missiles to Island in South China Sea
China deploys missiles in South China Sea, as Obama meets
China deploys missiles to disputed island in South China
China deploys missiles on disputed island - FT.com
China deploys missiles to contested South China Sea island
China Deploys Missiles on Disputed Island in South China
China deploys missiles in disputed South China Sea: Taiwan
China Deploys Missiles To Disputed South China Sea Island
China deploys missiles in disputed South China Sea: Taiwan
Taiwan: China deploys missiles to contested island - cnn.com
Give Me a Crash Course in . . . China Islands
China accuses US of militarizing South China Sea
Aggression in South China Sea will see new anti-China coalition - Golez
US Tries to Scare Asian Allies With China's Air Defence Missiles
U.S. says China conducted missile drills in Paracels before recent deployment
Labor to Send War Ships to South China Sea
China urged to show restraint in South China Sea
CHINA CAN 'TAKE' ANY ISLAND IN SCS,LAME DUCK OBAMA ONLY BLUSTER
What makes just 16 missiles such a deadly threat in the South China Sea
Vietnam protests China missile deployment;Australia & New Zealand urge restraint
Aggression in South China Sea will see new anti-China coalition - Golez
Aquino home with 'good news'
China calls for clear understanding of history, facts of South China Sea
U.S. says China conducted missile drills in Paracels before recent deployment
Manila should not be 'reckless' amid West PHL Sea tension — analyst