Monday, 19 December 2016

China Arms Its Great Wall of Sand

Update 24 Jan 2017: A full blown war over South China Sea Islands awaits U.S.-China?

The United States on Monday promised to ensure the United States would prevent China from taking over territory in international waters in the South China Sea.

“The U.S. is going to make sure that we protect our interests there,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said when asked if the new U.S. president agreed with comments by his Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson earlier this month that China should not be allowed access to islands it has built in the disputed South China Sea.

“It’s a question of if those islands are in fact in international waters and not part of China proper, then yeah, we’re going to make sure that we defend international territories from being taken over by one country,” he said

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Is Trump ready for war in the South China Sea, or is his team just not being clear?

as this a prelude to a major escalation in the South China Sea, or is the Trump administration foreign policy team having trouble articulating itself?

On Monday, new White House spokesman Sean Spicer said the United States would prevent China from taking over territory in international waters in the South China Sea.

His comments were widely interpreted as doubling down on remarks by Trump’s nominee for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, on Jan. 11 that the United States would not allow China access to islands it has built in the South China Sea, and upon which it has installed weapons systems and built military-length airstrips.

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China says will protect South China Sea sovereignty
Hua Chunying, spokeswoman of China's Foreign Ministry, speaks at a regular news conference in Beijing, China, January 6, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Lee

China said on Tuesday it had "irrefutable" sovereignty over disputed islands in the South China Sea after the White House vowed to defend "international territories" in the strategic waterway.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer in his comments on Monday signaled a sharp departure from years of cautious US handling of China's assertive pursuit of territorial claims in Asia.

"The US is going to make sure that we protect our interests there," Spicer said when asked if Trump agreed with comments by his secretary of state nominee, Rex Tillerson. On Jan. 11, Tillerson said China should not be allowed access to islands it has built in the contested South China Sea.

related:

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US pledges to ‘protect our interests’ in South China Sea

The White House on Monday said the US would protect its interests in international waters in the South China Sea but refused to say whether it would attempt to block China from accessing artificial islands in the disputed area.

Rex Tillerson, the former ExxonMobil chief executive nominated by Donald Trump for secretary of state, angered China this month by declaring that the US would attempt to prevent China from accessing islands where it has been building runways and other facilities that have potential military use.

In his first press conference, Sean Spicer, White House press secretary, said the US would prevent China from taking over any islands located in international waters in the region.

China Arms Its Great Wall of Sand
In this satellite image released on Dec. 13, CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative identifies what appear to be antiaircraft guns and what are likely to be close-in weapons systems on the artificial island Johnson Reef in the South China Sea. Photo: CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative/DigitalGlobe/Reuters

For a man who stood at the White House in September 2015 and promised not to militarize the South China Sea, Xi Jinping is sure doing a lot of militarizing. Satellite photos released Thursday indicate China has deployed powerful antiaircraft and antimissile systems to all seven of its new artificial islands in the Spratly archipelago, along shipping lanes that carry $5 trillion in trade a year. This is a “massive military complex,” as Donald Trump noted recently, and it’s worth detailing how massive.

Three years ago these were only specks of land, some submerged at high tide, but China has since built 3,000 acres of territory. (The flight deck of the newest U.S. aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald Ford, is only 4.5 acres.) This is more space, with more potential military value, than China would need simply to face down its smaller neighbors—suggesting that, as U.S. Navy Commander Thomas Shugart wrote recently, “China perhaps has a larger foe in mind.”

As Commander Shugart wrote at the website War on the Rocks, three of China’s artificial islands are comparable in size to typical fighter bases in mainland China, with facilities that could be large enough for an entire fighter division of 17,000 personnel. Subi Reef now has a harbor bigger than Hawaii’s Pearl Harbor, and the aptly named Mischief Reef has a land perimeter nearly equal to Washington, D.C.’s.

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China defends its right to 'ready slingshot' in South China Sea
A satellite image released by the Asian Maritime Transparency Initiative at Washington's Center for Strategic and International Studies shows construction of possible radar tower facilities in the Spratly Islands. Photo taken February 2016. CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency

China defended its right on Thursday to put "necessary military installations" on artificial islands in the South China Sea, after a U.S. think-tank said Beijing appeared to have deployed weapons such as anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems.

The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) at the Center for Strategic and International Studies said its findings, made available first to Reuters on Wednesday, were based on analysis of satellite images of islands in the strategic trade route, where territory is claimed by several countries.

The United States has previously criticized what it called China's militarization of its maritime outposts, and stressed the need for freedom of navigation by conducting periodic air and naval patrols near them that have angered Beijing.

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China says military presence on Nansha Islands legitimate, for self-defense

China said on Thursday its military presence on islands in the South China Sea is legitimate and for self-defense purposes, in response to a US think tank's claim that China is militarizing the islands. The Chinese Defense Ministry posted on its official Weibo account that China reaffirms its sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and the surrounding area, and construction activity is for civilian use, while the military equipment is and needed for self-defense.

It added, "If someone swaggers in front of your door, is it wrong for you to prepare a slingshot?"

On Tuesday, the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) at the Center for Strategic and International Studies said on its website that China appears to have built significant point-defense capabilities, in the form of large anti-aircraft guns and probable close-in weapons systems, at each of its outposts in the Nansha Islands.

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Beijing: We Are Reading Slingshot in South China Sea

The US "will not allow" China's projection of military might to bully others in the "shared domain," he said. The US has pushed for the South China Sea to remain under the auspices of freedom of navigation rules, and has sent patrol ships within China's recently-claimed boundaries on four occasions.

When asked about a recent sia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) report showing a buildup of anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems, Chinese foreign ministry official Geng Shuang told Reuters he "did not understand" the controversy.

The construction of missile facilities and territorial defense posts on Chinese land is "completely normal," he noted. If such activities are considered efforts to project military strength, he countered, "then what is the sailing of fleets in the South China Sea," referring to US military vessels conducting freedom of navigation patrols.

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China justifies military installations

China yesterday defended its right to put “necessary military installations” on its islands in the South China Sea, after a US thinktank said Beijing appeared to have deployed weapons such as anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems.

The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies said that its findings were based on analysis of satellite images of islands in the strategic trade route in the South China Sea.

China’s defense ministry said in a statement on its website that the construction the ministry had carried out on China’s islands and reefs in the sea was “mainly for civilian use.”

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China sees no wrong in SCS military build-up

China today said the deployment of weapons in the South China Sea had “nothing to do with militarisation”, calling the construction of defensive facilities “normal”.

The comments came after images released by the US-based Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) showed a series of hexagonal structures on each of seven islets China constructed on uninhabitable rocks and reefs.

The structures appear to be large anti-aircraft guns and close-in weapons systems (CIWS) designed to take out incoming missiles and enemy aircraft, the AMTI said. Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said he was not aware of the report, but said islands in the South China Sea were the country's “inherent territory”.

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China ready to thwart US cruise missile strike on Spratly islands in South China Sea

China has built advanced weapons systems in all seven artificial islands it developed around the disputed Spratly island in the South China Sea, latest satellite images have revealed.

The latest defence facilities erected in the artificial islands are most likely anti-aircraft guns or weapon systems to thwart cruise missile strikes, reports said. China had already built airstrips on the artificial islands, much to the consternation of countries in the region. The installation of advanced weaponry is aimed at defending the islands in case of a missile attack, think tank Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative said.

Beijing is serious about defense of its artificial islands in case of an armed contingency in the South China Sea, the report says. "Among other things, they would be the last line of defense against cruise missiles launched by the United States or others against these soon-to-be-operational air bases."

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China ‘ready for WAR’ on US with ‘7 military islands’ revealed in chilling satellite snaps

A bitter row over disputed territory in the South China sea has been threatening to descend into war for months with both sides mobilising arms.

But now new photographic evidence of “significant” Chinese militarisation on seven man-made islands in the region has sparked fresh fears of imminent war.

Aerial images appear to show the Spratly islands bristling with anti-aircraft guns and missile defence systems.

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China: Defense deployment on islands legitimate

China says the deployment of military equipment on islands in the South China Sea is legitimate. The remarks by the foreign ministry come after a US think tank reported that China installed weapons on seven islands in the region.

"I want to reiterate, the islands in the South China Sea are China's inherent territory. China's building of facilities and necessary territorial defensive facilities on its own territory is completely normal. This is the normal right of a sovereign nation under international law," said Geng Shuang, spokesperson of Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Chinese planes recently passed through the Miyako Strait between Japan's Miyako and Okinawa Islands. The Chinese Air Force said the flights were "routine" and that regular maritime drills will continue to "further improve its capabilities in safeguarding national sovereignty, security and development interests". The strait is a pinch point in China-Japan relations because it is one of the few passages into the Pacific Ocean for Chinese ships and aircraft that avoid Japanese airspace

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South China Sea defensive facilities 'legitimate and normal'

The deployment of defensive facilities on some islands in the South China Sea is legitimate, and is the normal right of a sovereign country, according to the Chinese authorities.

Speaking at a regular news briefing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said that, "the South China Sea islands are China's inherent territory. It's completely normal for China to carry out facility construction and deploy necessary territory defense facilities on its own land.

As is admitted by international law, this is the normal right of a sovereign country." Geng Shuang was responding to a question regarding a U.S. think tank report which states that China appears to have installed weapons on seven islands in the South China Sea.

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China Says Putting Military Weapons On Disputed Islands Is Not ‘Militarization’
Soldiers of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy stand guard in the Spratly Islands, known in China as the Nansha Islands, February 10, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer

China defended its right to deploy “necessary defense equipment” to disputed islands in the South China Sea Thursday.

“China appears to have built significant point-defense capabilities, in the form of large anti-aircraft guns and probable close-in weapons systems (CIWS), at each of its outposts in the Spratly Islands,” the Center for Strategic and International Studies Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) revealed in a report released Tuesday.

“We did not know that they had systems this big and this advanced there,” director of AMTI Greg Poling told Reuters Wednesday. “I want to reiterate that the South China Sea islands belong to China,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang argued Thursday.

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MOD defends deploying facilities in S. China Sea

The Chinese Ministry of National Defense (MOD) has rebutted a U.S. think tank's report which claims that China is setting up weapon installations on the reefs of the Nansha Islands in the South China Sea. The MOD said on Dec. 15 that China has "undisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands along with the waters that surround them." The MOD reiterated that the construction, including land reclamation, in the South China Sea was mainly for civilian purposes.

In its report published on Dec. 13, the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI), a U.S. think tank affiliated to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), claimed that "China appears to have built significant point-defense capabilities, in the form of large anti-aircraft guns and probable close-in weapons systems (CIWS)."

"These gun and probable CIWS emplacements show that Beijing is serious about the defense of its artificial islands in case of an armed contingency in the South China Sea. Among other things, they would be the last line of defense against cruise missiles launched by the United States or others against these soon-to-be-operational air bases," the report concluded.

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China defends its right to arm South China Sea islands

China defended its right on Thursday to put "necessary military installations" on artificial islands in the South China Sea, after a US think-tank said Beijing appeared to have deployed weapons such as anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems.

The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) at the Center for Strategic and International Studies said its findings, made available first to Reuters news agency on Wednesday, were based on an analysis of satellite images of islands in the strategic trade route, where territory is claimed by several countries.

The United States has conducted four freedom of navigation patrols - seen as a challenge to China's extensive territorial claims in the South China Sea - in the past year or so, most recently in October.

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This is how far Beijing will go to defend its claim to the South China Sea
China's South Sea Fleet takes part in a drill near the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea

If there were any questions as to how far China will go to bolster its claim to the South China Sea, the world got another clue this week that leaves no doubt that Beijing is playing for high stakes.

A series of satellite images released by the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative show that China has bulked up its military presence on the Spratly Islands by installing large antiaircraft guns and close-in weapons systems.

The AMTI, which had been tracking the construction of the structures since this summer, concluded that these facilities at Fiery Cross, Mischief, and Subi Reefs are more evolved point-defense fortifications that are already installed at Gaven, Hughes, Johnson, and Cuarteron Reefs.

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Beijing: We Are Readying Slingshot in South China Sea



China’s buildup of military infrastructure in the Spratly islands, reported Wednesday by a US think tank citing satellite images, was later defended by officials in Beijing as a part of “necessary” defense measures.


The maritime region, providing access to key trade ports in Hong Kong, Ho Chi Minh City, Singapore and the Philippines must not fall under the control of a single regional player, US Admiral Harry Harris recently said in a speech. The US "will not allow" China’s projection of military might to bully others in the "shared domain," he said. The US has pushed for the South China Sea to remain under the auspices of freedom of navigation rules, and has sent patrol ships within China’s recently-claimed boundaries on four occasions.

When asked about a recent Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) report showing a buildup of anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems, Chinese foreign ministry official Geng Shuang told Reuters he "did not understand" the controversy. The construction of missile facilities and territorial defense posts on Chinese land is "completely normal," he noted. If such activities are considered efforts to project military strength, he countered, "then what is the sailing of fleets in the South China Sea," referring to US military vessels conducting freedom of navigation patrols.




Alarm as China installs military weapons on Spratly Islands

China appears to have installed weapons, including anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems, on all seven of the artificial islands it has built in the South China Sea, according to a US think-tank.

The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) said its findings come despite Beijing stating it has no intention to militarise the Spratly Islands.

AMTI said it had been tracking construction of hexagonal structures on Fiery Cross, Mischief and Subi reefs since June and July.

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China installs weapons on contested islands


New satellite imagery indicates that China has installed weapon systems on all seven artificial islands it has built in the contested waters of the South China Sea.

It's a move that's likely to alarm the country's neighbors and further unsettle ties with the United States, where President-elect Donald Trump has shown himself increasingly willing to confront and challenge Beijing.

The images, released by the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, show anti-aircraft guns plus other weapons systems that would guard against cruise missiles sitting in hexagonal structures on the islands.

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Island defenses 'legitimate, legal'



Beijing says measures taken on the Nanshas are not 'militarization'



Beijing said on Thursday that necessary military measures on the Nansha Islands are mainly for defense, citing a high-profile foreign military presence right "outside the front door", an apparent reference to the United States.


The Defense Ministry's remarks on its micro blog followed a report by a US think tank on Wednesday.

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China claims putting weapons on artificial South China Sea islands has 'nothing to do with militarization'

After more military installations were spotted popping up on the artificial islands it has constructed in the South China Sea, China has once again denied that it militarizing the area, instead saying it is simply "readying the slingshot" to defend its own territory.

The response comes after the US-based Asia Maritime Transparency Initiave (AMTI) released images showing a series of hexagonal structures that have been built on seven artificial islands in the South China Sea. First published by Reuters on Wednesday, AMTI said that the structures appear be large anti-aircraft guns and close-in weapon systems that are designed to take out incoming missiles and enemy aircraft.

At a regular press briefing in Beijing yesterday, foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said that he was personally unaware of the report, but reminded reporters that the South China Sea islands were undeniably part of China's "inherent territory."

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China installed anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems on all seven major artificial south china sea islands

China appears to have built significant point-defense capabilities, in the form of large anti-aircraft guns and probable close-in weapons systems (CIWS), at each of its outposts in the Spratly Islands. AMTI began tracking the construction of identical, hexagon-shaped structures at Fiery Cross, Mischief, and Subi Reefs in June and July. It now seems that these structures are an evolution of point-defense fortifications already constructed at China’s smaller facilities on Gaven, Hughes, Johnson, and Cuarteron Reefs.

China has installed weapons, including anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems, on all seven of the artificial islands it has built in the South China Sea.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies said its findings come despite statements by the Chinese leadership that Beijing has no intention to militarize the islands in the strategic trade route, where territory is claimed by several countries.

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Passing a Chinese Maritime 'Trump Test

If the past is any guide, China may test the new administration early on. Beijing's “maritime militia” could play an important part.

China’s Leninist leadership has rightly been termed the “high church of realpolitik.” Beijing’s leaders believe that even small changes in foreign leaders, correlation of forces, or the relative balance of power have important significance. If they appear in flux, China probes for opportunities. If meeting minimal or manageable resistance, it then pushes further to gain ground. Given the particular uncertainty concerning President-elect Donald Trump’s outlook and policies, and Beijing’s indignation at his statements already regarding both mainland China and Taiwan, he may even face probing without the typical “grace period” arguably accorded his predecessors. How Trump handles such pressure will reverberate across the Asia-Pacific and around the world.

In recent years, China has tested each new American president. The past two faced an early challenge: George W. Bush with increasingly aggressive aircraft intercepts that triggered the April 2001 EP-3 crisis, Barack Obama with the March 2009 Impeccable incident. China appears to engineer tensions or activities to assess a president’s position in an area of its interest and to attempt to alter his decision-making to Beijing’s preferences. While motivations are hard to prove, Trump and his team must certainly prepare for the possibility that at some point Beijing—having never “forgotten” whatever statements and actions may accumulate despite its objections—will push back in a manner that effectively poses a test.

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China’s New Spratly Island Defenses

China appears to have built significant point-defense capabilities, in the form of large anti-aircraft guns and probable close-in weapons systems (CIWS), at each of its outposts in the Spratly Islands. AMTI began tracking the construction of identical, hexagon-shaped structures at Fiery Cross, Mischief, and Subi Reefs in June and July. It now seems that these structures are an evolution of point-defense fortifications already constructed at China’s smaller facilities on Gaven, Hughes, Johnson, and Cuarteron Reefs.

China has built nearly identical headquarters buildings at each of its four smaller artificial islands. The two smallest of the islets, Hughes and Gaven Reefs, feature four arms built off of these central structures. The end of each of these arms sports a hexagonal platform, approximately 30 feet wide. The northeastern and southwestern arms host what are most likely anti-aircraft guns (roughly 20 feet long when measured to the tip of the barrel). The other two platforms hold smaller (roughly 10-foot-wide) objects without clearly visible barrels. These cannot be definitively identified, but are likely CIWS to protect against cruise missile strikes, according to the Center for Naval Analyses’ Admiral Michael McDevitt (Ret.) and RAND’s Cortez Cooper in a new podcast.

China modified this blueprint for its facility on Johnson Reef. There the central facility has only two arms, with the southern one sporting the same anti-aircraft gun (which is covered by a tarp in recent imagery but was previously visible) and the northern one an apparent CIWS. Another gun and probable CIWS, along with a radar, were constructed on a separate structure, consisting of three hexagonal towers on the eastern side of the artificial island. This structure seems to be a less complex precursor to those built more recently at Fiery Cross, Mischief, and Subi Reefs.


How a “fishermen’s shelter” on stilts became a Chinese military base in the South China Sea

In the mid-1990s, China built a small structure on stilts over a coral reef in the South China Sea, just 217 km (135 miles) from the coast of the Philippines’ Palawan island. At the time Beijing reassured Manila that the structure—a platform topped by four octagonal structures, with a Chinese flag waving overhead— was merely a fishermen’s shelter (paywall). This week a US think tank—the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) at the Center for Strategic and International Studies—released satellite photos showing just how far things have progressed on the reef, part of the Spratly archipelago. According to the AMTI the reef now features “large anti-aircraft guns and probable close-in weapons systems.” (The latter, CIWS, detect and eliminate short-range incoming missiles or aircraft.) Below is the latest image, dated Nov. 15.

It started innocently enough, or so Beijing wanted the world to believe. In the mid-1990s, China built a small structure on stilts over a coral reef in the South China Sea, just 217 km (135 miles) from the coast of the Philippines’ Palawan island. At the time Beijing reassured Manila that the structure—a platform topped by four octagonal structures, with a Chinese flag waving overhead— was merely a fishermen’s shelter (paywall).

It’s obvious now it was planning something much larger. This week a US think tank—the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) at the Center for Strategic and International Studies—released satellite photos showing just how far things have progressed on the reef, part of the Spratly archipelago. According to the AMTI the reef now features “large anti-aircraft guns and probable close-in weapons systems.” (The latter, CIWS, detect and eliminate short-range incoming missiles or aircraft.) Below is the latest image, dated Nov. 15. The squares indicate the locations of the defensive systems.


China installs weapons systems on artificial islands: U.S. think tank

China appears to have built up significant anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems on all seven of its man-made islands in the South China Sea’s Spratly chain, a U.S. think tank reported Wednesday, citing an analysis of new satellite imagery.

The analysis, by the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, comes despite a pledge last year by Chinese President Xi Jinping not to “militarize” the islands in the South China Sea. China claims most of the strategic waterway, through which more than $5 trillion in annual trade passes. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam all have rival claims.

China’s Defense Ministry said in a statement posted to its website Thursday that it was “legitimate and lawful” for it to place defensive military installations on islands where it had “indisputable sovereignty.”

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China installs weapons systems on artificial islands

China appears to have installed weapons, including anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems, on all seven of the artificial islands it has built in the South China Sea, a U.S. think tank reported, citing new satellite imagery.

The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) at the Center for Strategic and International Studies said its findings, made available first to Reuters on Wednesday, come despite statements by the Chinese leadership that Beijing has no intention to militarize the islands in the strategic trade route, where territory is claimed by several countries.

China said on Thursday that, while its construction on islands and reefs in the South China Sea was mainly for civilian use, it was "legitimate and normal" for it to take steps to defend its territory.

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Sea tension cools, Harris creates new waves

Admiral Harry Harris, head of the US Pacific Command, said Wednesday in Sydney that the US is ready to confront China's "aggressive" actions in the South China Sea after the July arbitration and will deploy the F-22 Raptor to northern Australia next year.

The US won't allow a "shared domain to be closed down unilaterally," he said. "We will cooperate when we can but we will be ready to confront when we must."

A recent report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) said Wednesday that China has installed weapons, including anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems, on the artificial islands it has built in the South China Sea, citing satellite images.

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China Put Weapons on South China Sea Islands
A satellite image shows what CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative says appears to be anti-aircraft guns and what are likely to be close-in weapons systems (CIWS) on the artificial island Subi Reef in the South China Sea in this image released on Dec

China appears to have added weapons to man-made islands it built in the South China Sea, an American-based research group says.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) says the weapons include anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems. The center published new satellite images to support its findings.The group said it has been studying construction on the islands – which are part of the Spratly Islands - since June and July.

The Spratly Islands are made up of many small islands,known as islets, coral reefs, and other land formations in the South China Sea. China, Taiwan and Vietnam each have claimed much of the area and its natural resources. Malaysia, the Philippines and Brunei also claim parts of the waterway.

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US to base stealth fighter jets in Australia in response to South China Sea tensions
An F-22 Raptor stealth fighter REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

The US will begin flying its world-leading F-22 stealth fighters from bases in Australia, amid mounting tensions in the South China Sea.

America's Pacific commander Admiral Harry Harris revealed during a speech at the Lowy Insititute think tank that he had signed an agreement with the Australians to host not just the Raptors, but enough US military assets to constitute a "credible combat power" - saying the US wanted to maintain "enduring interests" in the region Euan Graham, the think tank's director of international security, said the move represented "pretty high-end coercive signalling to China", the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Admiral Harris described the threats posed by Isis and by North Korea's nuclear weapons tests - but, speaking days after the revelation that China had flown a nuclear-capable bomber over a disputed section of the South China Sea, he was "loud and clear" on how he viewed the strategic situation in the Pacific.

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China flies nuclear bomber over South China Sea as a 'message' to Donald Trump
Donald Trump’s direct contact with Taiwan’s leader broke with decades of diplomatic practice Wikimedia

China flew a nuclear-capable bomber outside its borders in a show of force less than a week before US President-elect Donald Trump’s phone call with the president of Taiwan, it has been reported.

The 10-minute telephone call with President Tsai Ing-wen was the first by a US president-elect or president since President Jimmy Carter switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China in 1979, acknowledging Taiwan as part of ‘One China’. It led to protests from Beijing.

The Xian H-6 bomber flew along the disputed 'nine-dash line' around the South China Sea, US officials told Fox News, passing over a number of disputed islands. The officials said it was designed to send a message to the incoming administration.

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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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‘Prepare for the worst’ China plots to build more NUKES in war rage against US
THE CHINA SEA: US warships backed up by bombers and nukes are just off China

Fears of conflict between the Washington and Beijing have been growing since Trump became President-elect amid warnings nuclear war between the US and China is “no longer unthinkable”.

The Chinese regime’s mouthpiece took a hammer to the US once again as the pro-government paper said the nation will “build more strategic nuclear arms and accelerate the deployment of the DF-41 intercontinental ballistic missile” to protect against Trump.

It warned Trump against attempting to corner China in an “unacceptable way” following the Donald’s campaign trail tirades against the superpower.

related:

Australia will host the world's most lethal combat jet as the US gets 'ready to confront' China in the Pacific

Adm. Harry Harris, the head of the US Pacific Command, told reporters in Sydney on Wednesday that the US was "ready to confront" China should it continue its aggressive course in the South China Sea.

China has spent years building artificial islands to bolster its territorial claims in the South China Sea, a resource-rich area through which about $5 trillion in shipping flows each year.

To do so, Australia will host the US airforce's most deadliest aircraft, the F-22 Raptor, among other military assets, as the US aims to leverage the country's proximity to the disputed area.

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U.S. ready to confront Beijing on South China Sea: admiral

The United States is ready to confront China should it continue its overreaching maritime claims in the South China Sea, the head of the U.S. Pacific fleet said on Wednesday, comments that threaten to escalate tensions between the two global rivals.

China claims most of the resource-rich South China Sea through which about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year. Neighbors Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims.

The United States has called on China to respect the findings of the arbitration court in The Hague earlier this year which invalidated its vast territorial claims in the strategic waterway.

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The US is 'ready to confront' China in the Pacific with the world's most lethal combat plane, the F-22

US Admiral Harris, Commander, US Pacific Command, is referring to the F-22, considered the "world's most lethal combat plane." This is a very strong statement and clear message coming from the US Pacific Theater Commander. I expect it to be given more muscle with the entry of the Trump administration.

"These statements coincide with Harris making public a deployment of F-22 Raptors to Australia. The F-22, a very low observable aircraft, has unique features that make it ideal for piercing through and operating inside heavily contested airspace, like the skies above China's military installations in the South China Sea."

"The US fought its first war following our independence to ensure freedom of navigation," Harris said. "This is an enduring principle and one of the reasons our forces stand ready to fight tonight."


Testing waters: Confrontations between China and the US

China, which is a continental rather than maritime power, is not surrounded by a vast ocean that allows its submarines to go undetected – an attribute that the US and Russia possess and benefit from, Prof Zhang added.

With the threat of American monitoring activities in the South China Sea amplified by the danger of Japanese surveillance in the East China Sea up north, Prof Zhang said: “It is my reading that China thought the US was using the drone to track down one of its submarines and they felt that [they] had to act.”

Yet, while US president-elect Donald Trump was right to denounce the seizure in particular as “unprecedented”, this is not the first time both countries have locked horns at sea in the early stages of a new presidency.

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America and China: Trading places on the world stage
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China Warns 'Small and Medium Size' Countries Not To Side with Big Countries: White Paper
Chinese naval aircraft carriers

A white paper released today by China on Asia-Pacific security cooperation has warned ‘small and medium size countries’ not to take sides in disputes between big countries, without naming the countries in question. The white paper, "China's Policies on Asia-Pacific Security Cooperation" was released by the State Council Information Office Wednesday on policies related to Asia-Pacific security cooperation, which also clarified the nation's stance on issues of regional concern.

"Small- and medium-sized countries need not and should not take sides among big countries," according to the white paper, Sina reported Wednesday. All countries should work toward a new dialogue system instead of confrontation, and pursue partnerships rather than alliances, according to the white paper. Outlining China's concept of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, the white paper explained the Chinese approach to achieving peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.

The policy package includes the promotion of common development; the building of partnerships; improvement of existing multilateral frameworks; rule-setting; military exchanges; and proper settlement of differences.

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China issues white paper, warns small- and medium-sized countries not to take sides

China on Wednesday (Jan 11) issued its first white paper on issues related to Asia-Pacific security cooperation.

In the six-point proposal, reproduced in full by Xinhua, Beijing stated that "small- and medium-sized countries need not and should not take sides among big countries".

"All countries should make joint efforts to pursue a new path of dialogue instead of confrontation and pursue partnerships rather than alliances, and build an Asia-Pacific partnership featuring mutual trust, inclusiveness and mutually beneficial cooperation," the white paper read.

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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.

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