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The South China Sea's Gathering Storm

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The South China Sea's Gathering Storm

Old 4th Jul 2020, 13:22
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https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1193485.shtml
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Old 4th Jul 2020, 14:30
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Hmmm, from the above....

In response to the Pentagon's statement, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at a regular press conference on Friday that Xisha Islands are indisputably China's inherent territory. China's military exercises in the seas off Xisha Islands are within our sovereignty and beyond reproach.
Also known as the Paracel Islands.....

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parace...nd_reclamation

On July 12, 2016, an arbitral tribunal under the auspices of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague backed the Philippines in an arbitration proceedings against China's claim on the territories within the "nine-dash line" which include the Paracel Islands, saying that it is unlawful under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The tribunal argued that there was no evidence that China had historically exercised exclusive control over the waters or resources, hence there was "no legal basis for China to claim historic rights" over the nine-dash line.......
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Old 4th Jul 2020, 15:13
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Or to rephrase, "The Paracel Islands, (also referred to by the Chinese as the Xisha)".
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Old 6th Jul 2020, 12:34
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More potential for 'international incidents'? In The Times this afternoon.

US sends aircraft carriers to South China Sea

Two nuclear-powered US aircraft carriers have begun exercises in the South China Sea while China’s military carried out drills in the same contested region.

The USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan entered the sea over the weekend, the first time two American carriers have operated together in the area since September 2014. They were escorted by guided-missile cruisers and destroyers.

Rights and sovereignty claims in the sea, and China’s reclamation and fortification of contested islands, have been a source of growing tension between Washington and Beijing. China claims almost the entire area but other nations in the region have competing claims, and the US and its allies regard it as international waters.

The People’s Liberation Army Navy began military drills last week around the disputed Paracel Islands, which are also claimed by Vietnam. One amphibious warship was spotted along with a number of Chinese coastguard vessels on satellite imagery. The Chinese naval exercise was to due to finish yesterday.

There has been no sign of China’s two aircraft carriers operating in the area, avoiding what could be a potentially combustible combination as the two US carrier strike groups arrived. Nonetheless the arrival of two US carriers will be viewed in Beijing as deliberately provocative.

The US Pacific Fleet has downplayed the decision, emphasising that the naval operation was not in response to political or world events. It is still a significant show of force, demonstrating America’s determination to continue defending the right of commercial shipping to transit through the South China Sea.

A US Navy spokesman said the carrier operations were being conducted to “support a free and open Indo-Pacific”.

A third American carrier, the USS Theodore Roosevelt, is also in the Pacific. It is back in service after being forced to dock in Guam because of a coronavirus outbreak.
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Old 6th Jul 2020, 15:24
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"Nonetheless the arrival of two US carriers will be viewed in Beijing as deliberately provocative"

That is the whole point I thought?
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Old 6th Jul 2020, 15:58
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It's possible that the US has wind of, or are taking precautions against, a more serious show of aggresion towards Taiwan, whilst the majority of the world's attention is directed elsewhere.
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Old 7th Jul 2020, 05:24
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Political Security

Grauniad:

On Tuesday the official Procuratorial Daily announced China had launched a special taskforce to ramp up political policing to maintain social stability on the mainland.

The taskforce should “crack down on all kinds of infiltration, subversion, sabotage, violent terrorist activities, ethnic separatist activities, and extreme religious activities” according to the undated notes from a meeting of the taskforce published in the paper on Monday.

The main responsibility of the taskforce is stated as safeguarding China’s political system. “Political security is related to national safety and people’s well-being,” according to the notes.....
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Old 7th Jul 2020, 07:53
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How many nations are now in hock to this country, and abhor the situation they have themselves created. It will take a lot of commitment to undo this amoebic commercial and military infiltration.

Most countries want to pull the economic plug but cannot, or will not accept the level of pain that such a move would require. I suspect China is fast reaching the point of becoming a pariah state, if it is not there already. The UN is infiltrated, toothless and incapable of telling it like it is.

A new cold war is upon us, and the world will have to stand as one if the direction of this state is to be changed. Russia will have to decide if its raison d'être lies to the East or to the West in it's alliances, if the wrong decision is made, life in its current form will end forever. Is this the way China sees this playing out?

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Old 7th Jul 2020, 08:49
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Originally Posted by Imagegear
How many nations are now in hock to this country, and abhor the situation they have themselves created.
Probably easier to list the ones that aren't......!

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Old 7th Jul 2020, 11:59
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Originally Posted by Imagegear
Most countries want to pull the economic plug but cannot, or will not accept the level of pain that such a move would require.
But some are trying though.

https://www.wionews.com/world/kenya-...project-308428
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Old 8th Jul 2020, 16:07
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In Flight Global:-
India to order 21 MiG-29s, 12 Su-30MKIs amid China tensions

India’s Defence Acquisition Council has approved the acquisition of 33 new Russian fighters, comprising 21 RAC MiG-29s and 12 Sukhoi Su-30MKIs.

In addition, the Indian air force’s existing fleet of 59 MiG-29s will be upgraded to the MiG-29M standard, says the nation’s defence ministry.

The value of the new MiG deal is pegged at INR74 billion ($964 million), and the Su-30MKI deal at INR107 billion. The Su-30MKIs will be locally produced by Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL).

The acquisitions are part of a broader INR389 billion package of defence spending that provides weapons and equipment for India’s army and navy as well.

In addition to new aircraft and upgrades, the air force will also get an unspecified number of the locally-developed Astra beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile.

The acquisition of the MiGs, which has long been discussed in Indian media, was given fresh impetus following a recent border squabble with China that resulted in the deaths of several Indian soldiers and an unspecified number of Chinese soldiers. Tensions over the incident are still strong.

While the addition of new fighters and the upgrading of older MiG-29s will go some way to shoring up New Delhi’s defensive capabilities, the pace of India’s airpower development has lagged that of China’s for the last two decades.

The Indian air force has several outstanding requirements for new aircraft, including a long-running deal for 110 advanced fighters. This process essentially replaced the torturous, yet unfulfilled, medium multi-role combat aircraft acquisition of the 2000s and early 2010s.

Candidates include the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and F-15EX, Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon, Lockheed Martin F-16V (rebadged the F-21 for the Indian deal), and Saab Gripen E. New Delhi’s direction on this requirement is far from clear, with Indian officials publicly flirting with the idea of modernising the air force fleet with locally-produced types, namely the HAL-built Tejas and developmental Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft.

The re-emergence of great power tensions could give these and other Indian airpower requirements a renewed emphasis.
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Old 14th Jul 2020, 07:50
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https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...etely-unlawful

South China Sea: US says Beijing's claims to disputed area 'completely unlawful'

The US secretary of state Mike Pompeo has said Washington will treat Beijing’s pursuit of resources in the South China Sea as illegal, inflaming tensions between the two countries and ramping up support for Southeast Asian nations. It was the latest forceful statement by President Donald Trump’s administration to challenge China, which he has increasingly cast as an enemy ahead of the November presidential election.

“We are making clear: Beijing’s claims to offshore resources across most of the South China Sea are completely unlawful, as is its campaign of bullying to control them,” Pompeo said in a statement. “The world will not allow Beijing to treat the South China Sea as its maritime empire.”

China on Tuesday reiterated that it was firmly opposed to Washington’s assertions, and rejected as “completely unjustified” the allegation that Beijing bullied its neighbours.

“The United States is not a country directly involved in the disputes. However, it has kept interfering in the issue,” the Chinese Embassy in the United States said in statement published on its website. “Under the pretext of preserving stability, it is flexing muscles, stirring up tension and inciting confrontation in the region.”

The United States has long rejected Beijing’s sweeping claims in the South China Sea, which is both home to valuable oil and gas deposits and a vital waterway for the world’s commerce. Pompeo’s statement goes further by explicitly siding with Southeast Asian nations including the Philippines and Vietnam, after years of the United States saying it took no position on individual claims.

“America stands with our Southeast Asian allies and partners in protecting their sovereign rights to offshore resources, consistent with their rights and obligations under international law,” Pompeo said. “We stand with the international community in defense of freedom of the seas and respect for sovereignty and reject any push to impose ‘might makes right’ in the South China Sea or the wider region.”......

Pompeo issued his statement to mark the fourth anniversary of a tribunal decision that sided with the Philippines against the nine-dash line. Pompeo said that China, based on the court decision, cannot make claims based on the Scarborough Reef or Spratly Islands, a vast uninhabited archipelago.

The United States as a result now rejects Beijing’s claims in the waters surrounding Vanguard Bank off Vietnam, Lucania Shoals off Malaysia, waters considered in Brunei’s exclusive economic zone and Natuna Besar off Indonesia, Pompeo said.

“Any PRC action to harass other states’ fishing or hydrocarbon development in these waters – or to carry out such activities unilaterally – is unlawful,” Pompeo said.

Pompeo also rejected Beijing’s southernmost claim of James Shoal, some 1,800km (1,150 miles) from the Chinese mainland, saying the area, administered by Malaysia, was completely submerged by water and therefore cannot determine a maritime zone......
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Old 16th Jul 2020, 07:13
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https://www.pprune.org/newreply.php?...e=1&p=10828921

Japan highlights F-35 acquisition, military ops amid pandemic in new whitepaper

MELBOURNE, Australia — In its latest whitepaper, Japan has discussed its impending acquisition of F-35B fighter jets and highlighted efforts by regional militaries to expand their influence and activities despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The full document, released July 14 in Japanese, contains a section on the short-takeoff-and-vertical-landing variant of the Lockheed Martin aircraft, noting that with regional countries making “remarkable progress” in air power modernization, the country needed to respond in kind.

The whitepaper highlighted the operational flexibility of the F-35B, noting the jet’s ability to operate without the need for long runways, which would enable the Japan Air Self-Defense Force to significantly expand the number of locations from whence the service can conduct air superiority operations. The whitepaper noted there are currently 20 airports and air bases throughout Japan that have runways sufficiently long enough to support JASDF air superiority operations. Operating the F-35B would theoretically allow the JASDF to expand that number to 45, which would include some of the runways on Japan’s far-flung southern islands.

Japan has plans to eventually acquire 42 F-35Bs to operate alongside its planned fleet of 105 conventional-takeoff-and-landing F-35As, making it the top customer of the F-35 outside the United States. The 42 F-35Bs include 18 to be contracted over the next five years, with Japan setting aside approximately $795 million in its current defense budget to acquire six. It is also converting the helicopter destroyer Izumo, which has a 245-meter flight deck and was originally designed to carry helicopters primarily for anti-submarine warfare, to operate the F-35B.

The air defense challenge facing the JASDF was also highlighted in April this year, when the Ministry of Defense said the service scrambled its fighters a total of 947 times over the past year to intercept and monitor foreign military aircraft operating in the country’s air defense identification zone. Chinese aircraft accounted for 675 intercepts, and Russian aircraft Russian made up 268. (The remaining four were not identified.)

The whitepaper also noted a continuing pattern of operations conducted by military vessels and aircraft primarily from China and, to a lesser degree, Russia in the waters and airspace surrounding Japan. The government pledged to continue to closely monitor such activities. It also noted that such activities have continued despite the COVID-19 pandemic, warning that a prolonged global pandemic “may exert various impacts on countries’ military capability.”

The government added that another potential effect of the pandemic was the likelihood that it may “expose and intensify strategic competition among countries intending to create international and regional orders more preferable to themselves and to expand their influence.” The whitepaper also accused China of spreading disinformation “amid growing social uncertainties and confusion due to the spread of infection.”
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Old 16th Jul 2020, 13:39
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https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1194778.shtml
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Old 16th Jul 2020, 17:04
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The IAF must need something to keep their maintenance department busy.
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Old 18th Jul 2020, 04:30
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https://inews.co.uk/news/politics/pr...ng-kong-556618

Priti Patel sets up China clash as she prepares to extend offer of UK citizenship to Hong Kong residents born after handover
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Old 18th Jul 2020, 17:03
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Actually it wasn't Priti - BoJo announced it a week or so ago - still she needs all the positive media coverage she can get

In fact this could be as good for the UK as all the Kenyan Asians who came in way back
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Old 18th Jul 2020, 18:11
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Even better I would say..

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Old 20th Jul 2020, 16:02
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https://warontherocks.com/2020/07/th...B0YDErj0Wh1GUA

Interesting read.
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Old 21st Jul 2020, 06:22
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https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/i...ames-tqptbrp2z

India teams up with US for anti-China war games

Indian and American warships will hold joint naval exercises in the Indian Ocean in the coming days in a show of unity prompted by mounting Chinese aggression throughout the region.

An American carrier group led by the USS Nimitz, the largest vessel in the US navy, passed through the Malacca Strait into the Indian Ocean on Saturday. There it will link up with Indian destroyers and submarines off the coast of the Andaman and Nicobar islands for a series of war games, according to Indian media reports.

The two countries have held regular joint naval exercises for more than a decade but the latest round has assumed greater significance amid growing concerns over China’s political and military ambitions in the South China Sea and the greater Indo Pacific region. Chinese troops are still encamped on Indian soil in Ladakh, high in the Himalayas, after clashes along the border last month that left 20 Indian soldiers dead, the most serious such incident between the rival nuclear powers for 45 years......

Despite forging closer military ties with the US, Delhi has maintained a strategic neutrality between the two sides until now. The pressure has increased under the Trump administration, however, and the recent violence, prompting a surge of anti-China sentiment throughout India, has raised American hopes that Delhi is now leaning towards a closer alliance with the West......

In a further sign that hostilities with China have prompted a strategic rethink in Delhi, India is expected to invite Australia to join its annual naval exercises with the US and Japan. The move will strengthen the “Quad”, an alliance of Indo-Pacific powers that has formed to counter China’s rising sea power.

India had blocked Australia’s participation in the exercises for years, viewing it as too provocative towards Beijing, but Narendra Modi, the prime minister, appears to have had a change of heart. India signed a significant defence agreement with Australia last month, allowing troops from the two countries to use each other’s military bases......


In recent weeks Chinese ships have sunk a Vietnamese fishing boat and harassed Malaysian oil exploration vessels in the South China Sea. With the controversial new security law stripping Hong Kong of its remaining autonomy, China has again laid claim to Taiwan.

India, like the US, has become increasingly alarmed at China’s military expansion throughout the Indian Ocean. Beijing has established its first overseas military base in Djibouti, on the Horn of Africa, with a second expected to follow at the Pakistani port of Gwadar, close to the Strait of Hormuz, the strategic waterway at the mouth of the Gulf. In 2018 China acquired a port in Sri Lanka, off India’s southern coast, and has courted India’s neighbours throughout the region, leaving Delhi’s influence in its own backyard looking increasingly fragile.


Last edited by ORAC; 21st Jul 2020 at 07:00.
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