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The South China Sea's Gathering Storm

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The South China Sea's Gathering Storm

Old 31st Jul 2019, 05:34
  #381 (permalink)  
 
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Just up the coast from the Chinese-owned primary port.
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Old 31st Jul 2019, 05:53
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Originally Posted by Ascend Charlie
Just up the coast from the Chinese-owned primary port.
At least the Marines won’t have far to travel.

Recognize Oz is in an uncomfortable position. Wonder if/when befriending/investing will give way to the outright influencing of Australia’s affairs that comes with the infusion of Chinese money? That model seems active in smaller pacific island nations. Curious if a scaled up effort would be attempted to dislodge Oz from the US’s sphere of influence to theirs?
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Old 31st Jul 2019, 10:55
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Well that's the strategy isn't it? And its been debated in national newspapers for the last few years. Now it's an almost daily discussion. The odd political grub has been exposed too- taking foreign coin!

China is Australia's biggest trading partner. Though the US is the biggest investor in Australia. The US-Australian alliance is goes back to WW2 and the failure of Britain at Singapore. It's a tight alliance that has become tighter with the quasi-stationing of American troops on Australian soil. And this from a Labor government. People forget this. Our interests in the Pacific have been forged for a long time. Drawing closer is the wrong expression- its the quiet honouring of an emerging threat.

The Brits will be back soon too.
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Old 31st Jul 2019, 11:55
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In my opinion, the west gave the islands to china. They could have enforced international law of disputed claim. What are they going to do? Nothing, China is the US banker and australia's trading partner. Australia does do small scale military exercises with china, as most would know.
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Old 31st Jul 2019, 12:31
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Originally Posted by tartare
Lone - I'd respectfully suggest spending US$2.79 and reading the 144 page Lowy Paper Xi Jinping - The backlash by the same author, Richard McGregor - it's a short book available on Kindle.
https://www.amazon.com.au/Xi-Jinping-Backlash-Richard-McGregor/dp/1760893048

I don't do kindle, but thanks for the suggestion. I might find another way to get a handle on that paper.
I would have thought the same as you until recently - the reality is a lot more nuanced.
I believe that. Been following the changes in China mostly through the Economist, and a few other published western sources, so I am aware that I am only getting part of the story. The enemies that he's making within the Chinese power structure seem to me to be a different problem for him than public disquiet over a variety of his and the party's moves. As to Hong Kong, its unique position is precarious, and it seems to me a matter of time and momentum before the good times come to an end. That was my prediction when the turnover happened in '97, and all it took was longer than I expected. (Which is a damned shame, in my view, as it's one of the most unique and interesting, and alive, places I've ever been).
It's a fascinating and detailed, dispassionate insight into how Xi has created many, many enemies throughout China, who are biding their time.
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Old 31st Jul 2019, 12:42
  #386 (permalink)  
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https://www.bloomberg.com/news/artic...ng-kong-border

White House Eyeing Chinese Forces Gathered on Hong Kong Border

Till the Tanks Roll In
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Old 2nd Aug 2019, 05:51
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https://www.theguardian.com/business...-into-tailspin

Trump's $300bn China tariff threat sends markets into tailspin

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Old 2nd Aug 2019, 06:41
  #388 (permalink)  
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China's military warns Hong Kong protesters with slick video - Saudi Gazette

China's military warns Hong Kong protesters with slick video

HONG KONG — China's military has released a slick propaganda video showing a drill of armed troops quelling a protest in Hong Kong, as its commander for the city voiced determination to maintain law and order following two months of pro-democracy rallies. The double-barrel signals on Wednesday were the strongest public interventions from China's armed forces into the crisis, which has seen masses of people take to the global financial hub's streets to demand more freedoms.

The video, posted online by the People's Liberation Army's (PLA's) garrison in Hong Kong, shows tanks, helicopters, rocket launchers and heavily armed troops in action across various locations of the semi-autonomous Chinese city. The three-minute clip also specifically features an "anti-riot" drill in which soldiers with assault rifles, armored personnel carriers and water cannons disperse a crowd of protesters in Hong Kong.

"All consequences are at your own risk," a soldier yells into a loudspeaker at the start of the drill in Cantonese, the language spoken in Hong Kong rather than the Mandarin of mainland China. PLA troops are then seen wearing helmets, carrying long shields, marching with batons, laying out barbed-wire barricades and pointing the rifles. An officer is also filmed holding a red flag that reads: "Warning, stop charging or we use force". The flag has the same words as ones that Hong Kong's police have used when confronting the pro-democracy protesters.

The drill ends with armed troops escorting protesters, who have their arms tied behind their backs, to areas designated by banners as "detention points"......

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Old 2nd Aug 2019, 08:51
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At least the PLA has had some training in maintaining public order.

In Tiananmen Square they had had demonstrations of that size before but they were orchestrated by the Party. At the end of the day someone would clap theirs hands and everybody went home.

That time they didn't and the police did not know what to do. After a couple of days of trying they gave up and called in the PLA.

The PLA had no experience so they did not know what to do either. Their problem was to clear several thousand people out of the Square.....A couple of battalions of infantry and a squadron of tanks should do it.

That's what they did and the results everybody knows.

Unlikely to happen again unless the HK demonstrators are as pig headed as those in Beijing. Then they had the support of several senior members of the Politburo and could have had their voice heard at the highest level but they persevered in trying to change the entire People's Republic's constitution overnight. With a state visit by Gorbachev due within days the Square had to be cleared, and so it was.
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Old 18th Aug 2019, 16:16
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Trump Administration Prepares Sale of F-16s to Taiwan

In the WSJ today.

WASHINGTON—The Trump administration has decided to sell billions of dollars’ worth of F-16V fighter jets to Taiwan, according to people familiar with the matter, in a move likely to anger Beijing at a sensitive point in U.S.-China relations.

The State Department has begun informing staffers on congressional committees but has yet to formally notify Congress of the possible sale. A State Department official declined to comment on the terms of a potential sale before official congressional notification, in keeping with department policy.

Republican and Democratic lawmakers expressed support for the sale. Reps. Eliot Engel (D., N.Y.) and Michael McCaul (R., Texas), the chairman and ranking member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a joint statement the move “sends a strong message about the U.S. commitment to security and democracy in the Indo-Pacific.”

Messrs. Engel and McCaul said the possible sale, which they predicted would receive strong congressional backing, would both bolster U.S.-Taiwan ties and deter interference by Beijing.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jim Risch (R., Idaho) said: “These fighters are critical to improving Taiwan’s ability to defend its sovereign airspace, which is under increasing pressure from the People’s Republic of China.”

The move follows the July approval of up to $2 billion in Abrams tanks for Taiwan—a development that drew swift criticism from Beijing.

China sees Taiwan as a breakaway province and has never renounced the use of force to bring the self-ruled island under its control. The U.S. is the main arms supplier to Taiwan, but has formal diplomatic ties with Beijing rather than with Taipei, in keeping with Beijing’s “One China” policy.

Taiwanese officials continually emphasize their close relationship with the U.S., and expressed cautious optimism about the possible F-16 purchase.

But the sale of the fighter jets is likely to further infuriate Beijing at a time when tensions are already running high over fragile trade talks and mounting unrest in Hong Kong.

President Trump warned Beijing this week that it must respond humanely to the protests in Hong Kong if it wants to strike a trade deal with Washington. Face-to-face trade negotiations are set to resume in September.

As with Taiwan, Beijing views Hong Kong as a domestic matter and has rejected international criticism of the crisis in the city as an attempt to undermine Chinese sovereignty.


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Old 18th Aug 2019, 16:40
  #391 (permalink)  
 
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TBH Hong Kong IS an internal matter - it's part of the PRC and has been since the Brits handed back the island and the area south of Boundary Street in the '90's

Taiwan is different as it's never been part of the People's Republic - even tho both sides claim it's still one country.................
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Old 22nd Aug 2019, 12:04
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South Korea Ends Pact to Share Military Information With Japan

In the WSJ:-

South Korea said it would withdraw from a pact with Japan to share classified military intelligence, weakening the U.S. alliance network in East Asia and exacerbating tensions that have flared between Seoul and Tokyo in recent weeks over trade and wartime history.

Since 2016, Japan and South Korea have had a direct channel of communication for sensitive military information such as details of North Korean missile launches and troop movements, as well as intelligence on other regional powers such as China and Russia.

The arrangement, advocated by the U.S. to bolster regional security, was scheduled soon to renew automatically for another year. But on Thursday, South Korea said it was scrapping the deal, saying Japan had arbitrarily accused Seoul of being a national security concern.

The decision stems from a move by Japan in July to tighten export controls on three materials crucial for South Korean companies to produce semiconductors and displays, and a subsequent move to revoke Seoul’s preferential-trading-partner status. Tokyo cited concerns that Seoul was not doing enough to ensure products from Japan couldn’t be shipped to third countries that represent a security risk.

South Korea condemned the decision and said it had put the military intelligence-sharing agreement in doubt because of the breakdown in trust between each side. The pullout comes despite requests from Washington and Tokyo to remain in the deal.

Japan’s government had no immediate reaction to the decision.

Thursday’s announcement comes after weeks of bickering between Tokyo and Seoulofficials.
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Old 25th Aug 2019, 14:52
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Is the US still Asia's only military superpower?

From an article on the BBC News website.

US pre-eminence in the Pacific is no more.

For a long time experts have been speaking about China's rapid military modernisation referring to it as "a rising power".

But this analysis may be out of date. China is not so much a rising power; it has risen; and in many ways it now challenges the US across a number of military domains.

This is the conclusion of a new report from the US Studies Centre at the University of Sydney in Australia.

It warns that US defence strategy in the Indo-Pacific region "is in the throes of an unprecedented crisis" and that Washington might struggle to defend its allies against China.

"America no longer enjoys military primacy in the Indo-Pacific", it notes, "and its capacity to uphold a favourable balance of power is increasingly uncertain."

The report points to Beijing's extraordinary arsenal of missiles that threaten the key bases of the US and its allies. These installations, it asserts, "could be rendered useless by precision strikes in the opening hours of a conflict".
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Old 26th Aug 2019, 01:02
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Ah, the US Studies Centre.

A cabal of left leaning academics, all of whom predicted that Hilary Clinton would comfortably win the Presidential election. Needless to say they are not fans of the current US Administration.

Interesting that they release a report suggesting the US cannot be relied upon as an ally at the same time the Australian government is pressuring our universities to walk away from the Chinese funded and resourced Confucius Centres that they currently accommodate.
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Old 26th Aug 2019, 01:47
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LaTrobe Uni in Australia is also firmly of the belief that China is dominant over the US. The Australian Government is correct in reducing the influence the Chinese Government has in Australia. The article quoted seems to ignore the fact that the US also has a significant first strike capability. If the Chinese think that they can simply wipe out the Pacific component of the US military and extend the 9 dash line to LA then they need to revisit the lessons of December 1941.
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Old 26th Aug 2019, 04:17
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Originally Posted by Lookleft
LaTrobe Uni in Australia is also firmly of the belief that China is dominant over the US. The Australian Government is correct in reducing the influence the Chinese Government has in Australia. The article quoted seems to ignore the fact that the US also has a significant first strike capability. If the Chinese think that they can simply wipe out the Pacific component of the US military and extend the 9 dash line to LA then they need to revisit the lessons of December 1941.

Maybe if the poliies on both sides of the of politics really cared they would stop taking donations from the chinese govt agents. Nah they have to line their own pockets first
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Old 30th Aug 2019, 17:04
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Japan to Beef Up Military With Money for Aircraft Carrier, U.S. Jet Fighters

Article on the WSJ expanding on the info about updating the Izumo and the F-35B purchase.

TOKYO—Japan plans to start converting a destroyer next year into its first post-World War II aircraft carrier and make its first payment for Lockheed Martin Corp. F-35B jet fighters that can take off from the ship.

The Defense Ministry on Friday included those steps in its budget request for the fiscal year starting April 2020, which calls for increasing defense spending for an eighth successive year to a new high.

Under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Japan has steadily raised defense spending, citing rising security challenges from regional powers such as China and North Korea. President Trump has also pressured Japan to spend more on U.S. military hardware.

The aircraft carrier and F-35B jet fighters are intended to beef up Japan’s ability to defend its southern island chain and project power further from its shores.

The Defense Ministry is seeking $50.3 billion for the next fiscal year, up 1.2% from expected spending in the current year and similar to increases in recent years. Defense budget requests are typically approved by the cabinet in December with minor changes.

While Japan’s military spending has been rising, it has remained around 1% of the size of its economy, compared with around 2% for China and 3% for the U.S. relative to the size of their much-larger economies.


The budget includes funds to enable the flight deck of the flat-top destroyer Izumo to withstand the intense direct heat from the engines of vertical takeoff and landing jet fighters. The full retrofit of the Izumo may extend beyond next year. Japan also plans to convert another flat-top destroyer to become a second aircraft carrier.

The development of aircraft carriers is a centerpiece of a new midterm defense plan issued by Japan last year. Japan’s defense planners see it as a way to provide firepower to defend a string of islands that extend several hundred miles from Japan’s mainland to near Taiwan.


Their primary concern is a small cluster of uninhabited islands in the chain claimed by China. Chinese coast guard vessels regularly patrol waters close to the islands, which Japan calls the Senkakus and China refers to as the Diaoyu. Chinese ships have entered the territorial waters around the islands every month this year, according to Japanese coast guard data, including on two days so far in August.
“I think we are going to conduct a variety of joint drills and other things with the U.S.,” Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya said at a press conference last week.

On a recent visit to Tokyo, the commander of the U.S. Marine Corps, Lt. Gen. David Berger, said he wanted F-35Bs from Japan and the U.S. to be able to use each other’s ships.

Interoperability gives military allies an edge during a crisis, when assets such as ships and planes need to be deployed rapidly. A Marine Corps F-35B squadron is scheduled to be deployed on a British aircraft carrier in 2021.

Joint F-35B drills with the U.S. would also enable Japan to more quickly get used to aircraft carrier operations, said Toshimichi Nagaiwa, a former general in Japan’s air force.

“It would generate considerable merits for both sides,” he said.

Japan’s budget request for next year includes $800 million for six F-35Bs to be acquired by 2025. Tokyo said last year it would order around 40 of the aircraft as part of a total order for 147 F-35 fighters, making Japan the largest international customer for the plane.

In another move to defend Japan’s south, the Defense Ministry earmarked funds to create an electromagnetic warfare base on the island of Kyushu that can disrupt an enemy’s radar or other signals.
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Old 18th Oct 2019, 06:04
  #398 (permalink)  
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https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/c...mons-j7mtcjh2f

Chinese company leases island in the Solomons

Beijing has extended its influence and control over the approaches to Australia by leasing a Pacific island from the impoverished Solomon Islands. The deal to rent the island of Tulagi to a conglomerate closely linked to the Chinese government has raised concerns that Beijing will establish a military foothold about 1,000 miles from Australia’s northeast coast.

Details of the deal have emerged just days after the Solomons switched diplomatic allegiance to Beijing from Taiwan, which China regards as a renegade province. Under a “strategic co-operation agreement” China’s Sam Enterprise Group will develop the island and those near by as a special economic zone. The contract, seen by The Times, gives Sam, which described itself as a partner of the state-owned China National Chemical Corporation, exclusive development rights over Tulagi and its immediate islets.

The move has come as a surprise to many of the 1,000 residents on the three and a half mile long island, which lies ten miles to the north of the Solomons’ capital, Honiara on the neighbouring island of Guadalcanal.

Guadalcanal was the site of one of the bloodiest Pacific battles of the Second World War as allied forces tried to repulse a Japanese advance towards Australia and New Zealand. Tulagi Island has long been of strategic and military significance and was Britain’s headquarters when the Solomons were declared a British protectorate in 1893. Japanese forces invaded the Solomon Islands in May 1942 in a move intended to disrupt crucial supply lines between the US and Australia and New Zealand. Imperial Japan then built naval refuelling, communications, and seaplane reconnaissance bases on the islands.

“I think Australia and other western parties will be concerned anytime they hear of a Chinese entity sniffing around a long-term lease of a potentially strategic asset in the Pacific,” Jonathan Pryke, director of the Pacific islands programme at Sydney’s Lowy Institute, said. “The great fear is that over time China will leverage one of these agreements to gradually transform it into some kind of military facility,” he told The Times.

Peter Jennings, executive director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, said China was seeking control over all approaches to the Asian mainland, potentially disrupting the ability of the US to support its allies in Asia-Pacific. “Our government would be worried by developments in the Solomon Islands. That’s not to say they can’t be reversed but they’re running counter to Australia’s interests,” he told the Australian Financial Review.

As alarm mounted over the deal, the Solomons’ official who signed it, Stanley Manetiva, the central province premier, appeared to cast doubt on his commitment to it. He told Radio New Zealand the agreement was not legally binding and the Chinese company would have to comply with local laws and respect landowner rights on Tulagi. “To be honest here, leasing Tulagi will not be possible,” he said.


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Old 18th Oct 2019, 07:42
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When I was there almost all of the businesses were run by Taiwanese Chinese. With Mainland China now the official China I can see most of them hot-footing it to either Taiwan or Australia.
With them will go most of the employment and I don't think the returns will be what Mainland Chinese would expect so they wont take up the slack.
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Old 18th Oct 2019, 11:14
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Originally Posted by ORAC
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/c...mons-j7mtcjh2f

Chinese company leases island in the Solomons

Beijing has extended its influence and control over the approaches to Australia by leasing a Pacific island from the impoverished Solomon Islands. The deal to rent the island of Tulagi to a conglomerate closely linked to the Chinese government has raised concerns that Beijing will establish a military foothold about 1,000 miles from Australia’s northeast coast.
.
Yup how dare they............. wonder who they got that idea from ? Cypriots / Diego Garcians / Cubans.
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