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The South China Sea's Gathering Storm

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The South China Sea's Gathering Storm

Old 27th Jan 2021, 13:10
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In The Times:-
Beijing flexes naval muscles as US steps up patrols in South China Sea

Beijing announced plans to conduct naval exercises in the South China Sea a day after it accused the United States of threatening peace and stability by sending warships to the region.

The Chinese maritime safety administration issued a notice prohibiting entry to shipping into the northern part of the South China Sea. It gave warning of military exercises in parts of the Gulf of Tonkin until Saturday but no detail about the nature or scale of operations.

On Monday China criticised the US for sending a strike group led by the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, which entered the South China Sea on Saturday on what the US navy described as “routine operations”.

“The United States frequently sends aircraft and vessels into the South China Sea to flex its muscles,” Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry said. “This is not conducive to peace and stability in the region.”

China claims almost all of the South China Sea, through which £3.5 trillion of international trade passes by ship every year. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan each claim some of the hundreds of reefs and small islands in the sea but since 2014 China has strengthened its claims by turning reefs into military bases.

The US says that it does not take sides but it carries out “freedom of navigation operations” to assert the right of free passage in international waters.

Rear-Admiral Doug Verissimo, commander of the Theodore Roosevelt carrier group, said: “With two thirds of the world’s trade travelling through this very important region, it is vital that we maintain our presence and continue to promote the rules-based order which has allowed us all to prosper.”

Yesterday Taiwanese fighter jets carried out combat drills after Chinese aircraft, including nuclear-capable bombers, flew into the island’s air defence zone on Saturday and Sunday.

Separately, the People’s Liberation Army has deployed intermediate-range ballistic missiles to a training area in Shandong, according to the Federation of American Scientists.

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Old 28th Jan 2021, 08:05
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Old 29th Jan 2021, 15:38
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In The Times. Another bout of sabre-rattling.

America warns China over threats to Taiwan

America underlined its military commitment to Taiwan yesterday, hours after the Chinese government warned that any declaration of independence by the self-governed island would trigger a war.

John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, said that the comment from China was “unfortunate and certainly not commensurate with our intentions to meet our obligations under the Taiwan Relations Act”.

He said that the United States would look for ways to co-operate with China but added: “We have obligations that we intend to meet. The United States military remains ready in all respects to meet our security commitments in the region.”

It shows that Taiwan remains a thorny issue in the US-China relationship, which rapidly deteriorated during the Trump presidency and has shown no sign of easing since President Biden took office.

Washington has a security pact with Taiwan to equip it with sufficient military hardware to fend off any invasion by Beijing and the US commitment remains the biggest obstacle for China to seize the island.

The Chinese government has long considered Taiwan part of its territory, and President Xi has called for reunification with the island by 2050. He has proposed that the island be brought back under a “one country, two systems” framework but Beijing has insisted that the use of force remains an option.

“We are seriously telling those Taiwan independence forces: those who play with fire will burn themselves, and Taiwan independence means war,” said Wu Qian, a spokesman for the Chinese defence ministry, yesterday. “The Chinese People’s Liberation Army will take all necessary measures to resolutely thwart any form of Taiwan independence separatist attempts and firmly defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Only three days after President Biden was inaugurated, Beijing intensified military exercises near Taiwan, sending 28 fighter jets over the island in one weekend.

Chinese military planes also conducted an exercise using the group of US navy vessels led by the carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt as a simulated target.
Pilots of China’s H-6 bombers could be heard in cockpit conversations confirming orders for the simulated targeting and release of anti-ship missiles against the carrier, according to intelligence sources.


When the US aircraft carrier entered the disputed South China Sea, Beijing announced that it would conduct another exercise there.
(My bold/italics).



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Old 29th Jan 2021, 15:45
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Sounds like rather sloppy reporting. 28 fighters "over the island" of Taiwan? And, impressive intelligence capable of monitoring "cockpit conversations"!
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Old 29th Jan 2021, 15:56
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Originally Posted by Vzlet View Post
Sounds like rather sloppy reporting. 28 fighters "over the island" of Taiwan? And, impressive intelligence capable of monitoring "cockpit conversations"!
Most pilots carry at least one microphone capable of recording every noise they make , smart phone , iPod , iPad , tablets , laptops, smart watches are are fully capable of offering eavesdropping with pictures to those intent on gathering intel or just how well fed an enemy may be by counting bowel movements . Those innocent looking personal devices might just be the difference.

Light three torches .
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Old 8th Feb 2021, 20:18
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https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zon...bbg8PfYV--SAiQ

Has aviation content: see pics in the article.
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Old 11th Feb 2021, 22:10
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https://www.defensenews.com/naval/20...-the-old-boss/

In the South China Sea, it’s ‘meet the new boss, same as the old boss’

....Just 21 days into Biden’s presidency, and with a remarkably small sample size, the emerging policy on China looks nearly indistinguishable from the Trump policy, which has led many China watchers to believe that a policy of strategic competition with Beijing — in the maritime realm and beyond — is here for the long term. Or at least for Biden’s....

“There is continuity in the South China Sea, but it’s its continuity of the Trump approach, not a return of the Obama approach.”.....
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Old 12th Feb 2021, 20:57
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Originally Posted by ORAC View Post
https://www.defensenews.com/naval/20...-the-old-boss/

In the South China Sea, it’s ‘meet the new boss, same as the old boss’

....Just 21 days into Biden’s presidency, and with a remarkably small sample size, the emerging policy on China looks nearly indistinguishable from the Trump policy, which has led many China watchers to believe that a policy of strategic competition with Beijing — in the maritime realm and beyond — is here for the long term. Or at least for Biden’s....

“There is continuity in the South China Sea, but it’s its continuity of the Trump approach, not a return of the Obama approach.”.....
What exactly distinguishes the 'Obama approach'? Was it his 'hands off ' policy or was it something more tangible?
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Old 13th Feb 2021, 07:48
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"Pivot towards Asia" was the Obama catchphrase
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Old 16th Feb 2021, 01:23
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Originally Posted by Asturias56 View Post
"Pivot towards Asia" was the Obama catchphrase
Might explain the recent interests and activity on some of the WW2 old airstrips on the atolls.
Nice long run ways used by the Enola Gay .
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Old 16th Feb 2021, 07:48
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I thought that was part of the Marines idea for dispersed strike operations - the ability of a USN Carrier group to get close in is being eroded and they're looking at rapid dispersal of cruise missiles to complicate any Chinese War Plan
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Old 8th Mar 2021, 09:20
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This weeks Economist has an article on future plans"..... In 2018 a commission tasked with scrutinising American defence strategy warned that in a war with China, “Americans could face a decisive military defeat.” On March 4th Admiral Philip Davidson, head of America’s Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM), said that China would achieve “overmatch” within five years.

That prospect has roused Congress. In December it authorised a $2.2bn fund, the Pacific Deterrence Initiative (PDI), to shore up INDOPACOM. ..... The heart of America’s military predicament in Asia is that it would rely on a handful of large bases, notably in Japan and South Korea, well within range of China’s huge arsenal of conventional missiles . American commanders want to use the PDI to harden their defences, spread out forces more widely and develop new ways of putting China on the back foot.

The centrepiece of these efforts is Guam, that INDOPACOM describes as “our most crucial operating location in the western Pacific”. The island is close enough to China to use as a springboard for bombers and other weapons, yet distant enough—almost 5,000km from the Chinese mainland—to be out of range of China’s most numerous missiles. A new Marine Corps base on Guam that opened in October is the corps’ first in Asia since 1952. Guam remains acutely vulnerable to low-flying cruise missiles that China could fire from ships, subs and bombers. INCOPACOM therefore wants to spend almost $4.4bn over six years to upgrade the island’s air and missile defences,

But if American bases in Japan and South Korea are peppered with missiles, Guam may not suffice.T... intend to spend $9bn over six years building and upgrading runways, fuel stores and arms depots, among other infrastructure, all across the region. Potential sites include American territories, such as Tinian; islands in countries with military compacts with America, such as Yap in the Federated States of Micronesia, and other, as-yet-unspecified countries in East Asia and the Pacific.

The point of this dispersal is not simply wait for an onslaught, but also to give China a taste of its own medicine. Trump’s withdrawal from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in 2019 means that America is free to build conventional land-based missiles with a range of over 500km. The PDI sets aside $3.3bn over six years for such missiles, which would be aimed at China’s navy. The catch is that not many countries are enthused by the prospect of hosting American missiles in peacetime or becoming a refuge for American troops in the middle of a shooting war.

In the meantime, INDOPACOM wants to lubricate relations with cash. More than $2.6bn is earmarked for training and equipping friends in the region over six years. That is sorely needed: last year China’s defence budget grew by $12bn, more than every other Asian country combined, according to IISS. For now, this remains a wish list. America’s defence spending is not expected to grow this year and the PDI must be carved out of the main budget. Admiral Davidson points out that his request is “less than seven-tenths of 1%” of defence spending. W hat is pocket change for the Pentagon would make a splash in the Pacific."
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Old 16th Mar 2021, 23:40
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Chinese Navy Holds Intensive Combat Drills in Three Surrounding Seas

Chinese Navy Holds Intensive Combat Drills in Three Surrounding Seas (msn.com)

The People's Liberation Army Navy has conducted "intensive" combat exercises in three major seas surrounding the country, Chinese military channels reported this week. The Chinese navy's simultaneous release of information and images from its Northern, Eastern and Southern theater commands came ahead of the Biden administration's first overseas diplomatic visits to Tokyo and Seoul.

According to China's state broadcaster CCTV, PLA warships and warplanes took part in recent live-fire exercises in the Yellow Sea, as well as the contested East and South China seas, where the Chinese government has territorial disputes.

The "combat-oriented" naval exercises in the Yellow Sea included main and secondary autocannon firing by corvettes Wuhai, Datong and Yingkou, the national television station said Sunday. Type 052 destroyer Qingdao and frigate Yantai and were ordered to sink an "enemy frigate" during the same mock operation, Fujian-based Southeast Television (SETV) reported Tuesday.[img]data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAAEAAAABCAQAAAC1HAwCAAAAC 0lEQVR42mNkYAAAAAYAAjCB0C8AAAAASUVORK5CYII=[/img]

The People's Liberation Army Navy has conducted "intensive" combat exercises in three major seas surrounding the country, Chinese military channels reported this week. Chinese state broadcaster CCTV publicised the operation on March 14, 2021.

The Chinese navy's simultaneous release of information and images from its Northern, Eastern and Southern theater commands came ahead of the Biden administration's first overseas diplomatic visits to Tokyo and Seoul.

According to China's state broadcaster CCTV, PLA warships and warplanes took part in recent live-fire exercises in the Yellow Sea, as well as the contested East and South China seas, where the Chinese government has territorial disputes.

The "combat-oriented" naval exercises in the Yellow Sea included main and secondary autocannon firing by corvettes Wuhai, Datong and Yingkou, the national television station said Sunday. Type 052 destroyer Qingdao and frigate Yantai and were ordered to sink an "enemy frigate" during the same mock operation, Fujian-based Southeast Television (SETV) reported Tuesday.

In the East China Sea, where Beijing claims rights over the Japan-controlled Senkaku Islands, Type 051 destroyer Jinan practiced torpedo countermeasures while frigate Changzhou launched torpedos against a simulated submarine target, CCTV said. Anti-submarine aircraft were also present during the drill.

A far seas operation force comprising four ships held attack exercises against "enemy aircraft and surface vessels" in the South China Sea, SETV reported. Among them was Type 052D destroyer Yinchuan, Type 071 amphibious transport dock Wuzhishan, frigate Hengyang and support ship Chaganhu.

Chaganhu, a Type 091 replenishment vessel, was also part of a 34-day far seas mission which took the PLA Navy across the International Data Line deep into the Pacific, the Chinese military said last month.

The South China Sea operation also included search and rescue and driving training, said Sunday's CCTV military report. Similar exercises are expected to continue in the area for the entirety of March, with China's maritime authority announcing a no-go zone around Leizhou Peninsula until the end of the month.

China's state-run broadcaster said the naval forces from the three theater commands conducted more than 10 training items in total but did not reveal when exactly the drills took place.

The announcement, however, coincided with the visits to Japan and South Korea by Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.

The top Biden officials arrived in Tokyo early Tuesday and will be in Seoul on Wednesday for double "2+2" sessions with their foreign and defense ministry counterparts.

On Thursday, Blinken will be joined by national security adviser Jake Sullivan as the pair host the administration's first in-person sit-down with Chinese diplomats Yang Jiechi and Wang Yi in Alaska.

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Last edited by havoc; 16th Mar 2021 at 23:41. Reason: cut out ad
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Old 22nd Mar 2021, 00:18
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China building large heliport. Another step.

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zon...ss-from-taiwan

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Old 22nd Mar 2021, 02:21
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Chinese places 220 'fishing boats' in rows on the arrowhead at the NE corner of the Whitsun Reef, claimed also by Vietnam and The Philippines.
https://www.dw.com/en/philippines-as...eef/a-56943127
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Old 22nd Mar 2021, 08:06
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Originally Posted by West Coast View Post
China building large heliport. Another step.

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zon...ss-from-taiwan

Interesting as some of the reports posted over the past few months have identified that lack of bases close to Taiwan are probably a limiting factor in just how much the PLA could mobilise against the island directly
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Old 22nd Mar 2021, 16:31
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it is of interest that all of this activity is being done by the communist party of china army,navy and airforce led by someone named Xi who claims to be the the leader of those forces.
there is no republic in mainland china.


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Old 22nd Mar 2021, 21:06
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Originally Posted by kilomikedelta View Post
it is of interest that all of this activity is being done by the communist party of china army,navy and airforce led by someone named Xi who claims to be the the leader of those forces.
there is no republic in mainland china.
The Chinese constitution makes no claim to be other than a socialist state. ( CONSTITUTION OF THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA)
The word 'republic' does not appear in the document.
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Old 22nd Mar 2021, 21:55
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The word 'republic' does not appear in the document.
Hmmm, it’s the fifth word - in loud capitals - of the title of the document (as shown in your link...)
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Old 22nd Mar 2021, 22:34
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Originally Posted by ORAC View Post
Hmmm, it’s the fifth word - in loud capitals - of the title of the document (as shown in your link...)
My bad!
The title is indeed People's Republic, but the text does not seem to go into detail as to what the 'republic' is.
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