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Thread: South China Seas

  1. #21
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    Default Re: South China Sea: China shows more muscle in face-off with Vietnam

    Aid to flood-stricken China despite Spratlys tension sought





    Thursday, June 23, 2011
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    SENATOR Ralph Recto on Thursday called on the government to send rescue teams to flooded areas of China despite tension with the Philippines over the disputed Spratly islands.
    Manila should show Beijing that tension in the West Philippine Sea, also called the South China Sea, will not keep the Philippines from being a good neighbor, he said.
    Win US $500 cash in Sun.Star’s music video contest
    He announced this proposal a day after Japal Guiani, Cotabato City mayor, criticized the National Government for alleged inaction over flooding in the city and Maguindanao province in recent weeks.
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    "After more than a week of saber-rattling with China, we should take a pause by rushing to the side of a neighbor in need, which may be regarded as powerful but still not exempt from natural devastations like us," Recto said.
    He said sending rescue and humanitarian aid teams to flooded regions in southern China will be a sincere gesture from a regional neighbor with "its own share of natural calamities, like the deadly Ondoy-induced floods."
    Recto previously urged more trade between the Philippines and China to secure an "economic victory" against the world's second-largest economy.
    He said "we now have an opportunity to open a new door of engagement which is humanitarian and relief effort."

    According to the senator, rescue teams from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), Philippine National Police (PNP), and the civilian Philippine Red Cross would be worth "thousand Philippine patrol boats in Spratlys waters."
    NDRMMC Executive Director Benito Ramos refused to comment about Recto's proposal, saying "this (would be) a government-to-government arrangement."
    Senior Superintendent Agrimero Cruz Jr., Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesman, said the police are ready to deploy teams to China as soon as the order is given.
    He said the police have gained experience in rescue operations from natural calamities in the past, notably the 2009 Typhoon Ondoy that submerged much of Luzon in floods.
    "We also have enough rescue equipment in our inventory," Cruz told Sun.Star in a text message.
    China has been experiencing heavy rains in recent weeks, causing flooding along the Yangtze river.
    The floods have reportedly affected 36.57 million Chinese in Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui, Fujian, Jiangxi,Hubei, Hunan, Guangdong, Sichuan, Guizhou and Yunnan, the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and the municipality of Chongqing.
    China and the Philippines have been at odds over Chinese incursions into areas of the Spratlys claimed by the Philippines.
    The Philippines has sent its flagship, BRP Rajah Humabon, to patrol the islands.
    China also sailed a maritime patrol ship, the Haixun 31, through the disputed area and on to Singapore.
    On Wednesday, President Benigno Aquino III visited Cotabato to oversee relief operations but the Cotabato City Mayor said the relief goods given away were from the local government.
    Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman has denied this.
    "I am surprised about the statement because a C130 came yesterday and the day before, carrying 2,000 food packs from the national warehouse," Soliman said in a radio interview Thursday. (Jonathan de Santos/Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)
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  2. #22
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    Default Re: South China Sea: China shows more muscle in face-off with Vietnam

    China warns US to stay out of maritime spat ( 0)<="" div=""> Print This
    By News Bulletin
    AFP via Google
    Thursday, Jun 23, 2011

    (AFP) BEIJINGChina on Wednesday warned the United States to stay out of the deepening territorial spat in the South China Sea and accused other countries in the region of provocation, a report said.


    Vice foreign minister Cui Tiankai said neighbouring countries, including Vietnam, were responsible for recent incidents in the disputed waters and dismissed calls for Washington to play a greater role in resolving tensions .


    "I believe some countries now are playing with fire. And I hope the US won't be burned by this fire," Cui was quoted by the Wall Street Journal saying.


    Tensions between China and other rival claimants to the strategically vital waters -- home to two potentially oil-rich archipelagos, the Paracels and Spratlys -- have escalated in recent weeks.


    The Philippines and Vietnam in particular have expressed alarm at what they say are increasingly aggressive actions by China in the disputed area, but Beijing has repeatedly said it was committed to resolving the issue peacefully.


    US Senator John McCain on Monday called for Washington to expand military and political support to Southeast Asian nations to stand up to China over the increasingly volatile issue.


    But Cui -- speaking ahead of weekend talks in Hawaii with US Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell on Asia-Pacific affairs -- said Washington should limit itself to urging "more restraint and responsible behaviour from those countries that have been frequently taking provocative actions".


    "Some American friends may think the US can provide some help. We appreciate the gesture, but sometimes such help can only make things more complicated," he was quoted saying.


    Foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Tuesday China's territorial claims in the South China Sea did not interfere with other countries' right to travel in the hotly contested waters -- but maintained its sovereignty in the area.


    "China's maintenance of sovereignty in the South China Sea and rising interest will never influence the freedom of navigation of other countries in the South China Sea," Hong told reporters.


    "There has never been a problem with freedom of navigation in the South China Sea."
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  3. #23
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    Default Re: South China Sea: China shows more muscle in face-off with Vietnam

    Australia to move warships to see off Indian Ocean threat

    Australia is to move its warships and aircraft to the north-west of the country to protect the booming oil and gas sector and address the military rise of nations on the Indian Ocean rim.


    HMAS Arunta leads an Australian Navy task force including HMAS Hobart, HMAS Darwin and HMAS Manoora Photo: AP


    By Bonnie Malkin, Sydney
    7:13PM BST 22 Jun 2011

    Stephen Smith, the defence minister, said a defence review to be handed down early next year, was suggesting relocating amphibious assault ships, Joint Strike Fighters and troops to the nation's north and west coastlines.

    The coasts of Western Australia and the Northern Territory are home to several multi-billion dollar oil and gas projects and also lie closest to China and the Indian Ocean. However, there is only one major military base in the region, located in Perth.

    The Australian Defence Force mainly operates from the south-east of the country, with a major base in Sydney and large army garrisons in Sydney, Brisbane, Townsville and Darwin.

    The distribution of forces has remained largely unchanged since the end of the Cold War.

    "As circumstances change our posture needs to change," Mr Smith said.

    "Off the coast of the northwest of Western Australia and off the coast of the Northern Territory we are now seeing a significant petroleum resources energy belt.

    "So into the future, considerations arise which go not just to the physical security of a growing resources industry infrastructure but also the general question of energy and energy security."

    China's growing military might has alarmed other countries in the region, especially Japan and Taiwan. In March, China said it would boost defence spending by 12.7 per cent in 2011 and has made modernising its navy a priority.

    India is also building a navy to extend its reach, while modernising its armed forces.

    A similar review is under way in Washington, which also plans to increase its Asia Pacific presence, Mr Smith said.

    As well as changing relations with other countries in the region, Mr Smith said security of energy resources from offshore oil and gas projects posed a new security challenge.

    Australia currently has more than $200 billion (」123bn) of proposed liquefied natural gas export projects in the pipeline.

    "This is the appropriate time to do a force structure review, because of the strategic and security factors of the modern era," Smith said.

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    Default Re: South China Sea: China shows more muscle in face-off with Vietnam

    You know... I'm seeing another powder keg being loaded here on this one.
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    Default Re: South China Sea: China shows more muscle in face-off with Vietnam

    Companion Thread:



    Experts call for US, China policy shift to avoid war

    CRUNCH TIME:A Perryman Group report highlighted the ‘positive impact’ of selling F-16s to Taiwan, such as generating US$8.7 billion and creating 16,000 jobs

    Fri, Jun 24, 2011

    By William Lowther / Staff reporter in Washington

    Experts told a conference in Washington on Wednesday that to avoid war over Taiwan, Beijing and Washington must change their current policies.

    “China must renounce the use of force against Taiwan or Washington must declare clearly, unequivocally and publicly that it will defend Taiwan against Chinese attack,” said Joseph Bosco, who served in the office of the US secretary of defense as a China country desk officer in 2005 and 2006.

    The US, China and Taiwan urgently need a “declaration of strategic clarity,” he said.

    Quoting former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger, Bosco said that while ambiguity was sometimes the lifeblood of diplomacy, it could not be maintained indefinitely.

    Bosco told the conference, organized by the Center for National Policy and held in a US Senate meeting room, that Taiwan was now seen by many in Washington as an “irritant” to good US-China relations.

    However, the overwhelming majority of Taiwanese “have no intention of subjecting themselves to Chinese communist rule,” he said.

    As a result, there will come a point when Beijing thinks Washington is too “war-weary, distracted and financially distressed” to intervene and will be “sorely tempted” to make a military move against Taiwan, he said.

    “If and when that happens, Congress and the American people will demand that the US come to Taiwan’s defense and in that scenario, China and the US will once again find themselves in military conflict,” he said.

    Delays by the US government in selling F-16C/D aircraft to Taiwan “is sending the wrong signal to Beijing and others in the region,” Bosco said.

    Southeast Asian nations have appealed to Washington to become more deeply involved in the region to counterbalance the reemergence of the Chinese threat, he said.

    By clarifying US commitment to Taiwan, Washington would send a clear signal to China and to the countries of the region that the US would neither abandon nor be driven from East Asia, he said.

    In that case, the “prudent choice for China” would be to “learn to get along with its neighbors and respect the international norm.”

    Justin Logan of the CATO Institute said Taiwan was not spending enough on its own defense.

    At the same time, he said, Taiwan’s national will to fight, to resist Chinese aggression, “is not a factor that mitigates in Taiwan’s favor.”

    There was too much reliance on an assumption that the US would come to Taiwan’s defense, he said.

    “It is notable that debates are raging, outside the public view, about simply giving up Taiwan or Finlandizing Taiwan,” Logan said.

    “These options are becoming more common in the face of China’s growing military power and Taiwan’s atrophying military capabilities,” he said.

    “What is needed is a wholesale change in national attitude on the island [Taiwan] about the threat posed by the PRC [People’s Republic of China] and the policies that should be embraced in order to influence the outcome,” he added.

    However, the needed change in attitude in Taiwan was “unlikely” without significant change in Washington’s policies, he said.

    US-Taiwan Business Council president Rupert Hammond--Chambers, who was the last speaker at the conference, said the mechanism used by the US to sell arms to Taiwan was “broken.”

    While the administration of US President Barack Obama still needed to be persuaded to sell F-16C/D aircraft to Taiwan, he was encouraged by pressure from the US Congress for the White House to go ahead with the sale.

    Following the conference, -Hammond-Chambers released a new report by the Perryman Group on the “positive economic impact” in the US of the sale of 66 F-16C/Ds to Taiwan.

    The report estimates the F-16 program would generate US$8.7 billion in gross product -output and provide about 16,000 jobs.

    “The single most significant reason that the Obama administration has not moved forward on this issue is over concerns regarding China’s sensitivities, when the US should instead be evaluating the sale based on the needs of Taiwan and on its beneficial impact on the US economy,” Hammond-Chambers said.

    Center for National Policy vice president Scott Bates said after hearing the three speakers: “This is the most sobering assessment of the security situation in the Taiwan Strait I have heard.”

    “We are looking at a situation where the strategic balance may be tipped irrevocably unless steps are taken,” he said.

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    Default Re: South China Sea: China shows more muscle in face-off with Vietnam

    China is under the gun here. They have until 2012 to attack Taiwan and win successfully.

    After that they will have to deal with the new President, who won't be commie connected.
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    Default Re: South China Sea: China shows more muscle in face-off with Vietnam

    Chinese warships cross high seas off Japan island


    TOKYO (AP) Japan's Defense Ministry says 11 Chinese warships have been spotted in international waters off the country's southern island of Okinawa.

    No territorial violations were claimed by Japan, but the movements are sensitive because Japan and China have a dispute over small islands in the East China Sea.

    The ministry on Thursday said the Chinese warships were monitored passing from the Pacific Ocean into the East China Sea.

    Ministry spokesman Shuichi Fukuya said they were believed to be returning from target practice and refueling exercises in waters about 1,500 kilometers (930 miles) south of Okinawa.

    He said the Japanese military saw the Chinese warships heading out to the area June 8-9.

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    Nikita Khrushchev: "We will bury you"
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    Default Re: South China Sea: China shows more muscle in face-off with Vietnam

    Practice makes perfect...
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    Default Re: South China Sea: China shows more muscle in face-off with Vietnam

    All At Sea Over Beijing Brinksmanship
    June 27, 2011

    A MAN-MADE tempest is gathering in the South China Sea. Time and again in recent months, Chinese naval and paramilitary vessels have confronted ships from Vietnam and The Philippines in contested waters rich in energy deposits and fish.

    Now the US has entered the ring, signalling it will back Manila if the crisis turns to conflict.

    Chinese and US officials met at the weekend to try to break the spiral of mistrust between the two powers. But temperatures remain high, especially between China and Vietnam, with a Chinese state newspaper warning Hanoi that Beijing was ready for war.

    All players are making shows of force. The US and The Philippines plan to hold military exercises in the days ahead. China and Vietnam have staged their own rival firing drills and manoeuvres.

    The present parade of posturing will probably subside. But a disturbing pattern of brinksmanship is emerging in maritime Asia. If unchecked, it could throw the region into repeated crises, any of which could end in war at sea. This would have ruinous consequences for trade and stability in Australia's wider Indo-Pacific region.

    The vital question is: why Beijing's assertiveness? Recent years have brought a spate of dangerous incidents, such as a tangle with a US surveillance ship and cases of close-range harassment of Japanese warships by Chinese helicopters. China has also refused to condemn its ally North Korea's sea attacks on South Korea.

    Six months ago, the trouble seemed to ease. The hawks in China's internal strategic debates had spooked their compatriots as well as the region. Beijing's international rhetoric softened, and long-suspended military talks with Washington resumed.

    But the respite turned out to be brief. If the situation is to be brought back under control, the world needs to understand the reasons for Beijing's risky deeds at sea. These are more complex than some simple notion of strategic aggression.

    To be sure, Beijing is modernising its military, including with offensive capabilities such as anti-ship ballistic missiles. Its navy is ranging further and with increased firepower. An aircraft carrier may begin sea trials soon.

    The logic of all of this is partly defensive. China has legitimate reason to protect its trade interests and energy imports. But Beijing also wants the option of taking Taiwan and keeping US forces at bay.

    The big security picture in Asia involves changing deterrence and war-fighting strategies by China, the US and Japan. These involve expanded maritime patrols and intelligence-gathering, making more chances for close-range encounters. Meanwhile, nationalism and growing resource needs are reinforcing the value of territorial claims in the East China Sea, disputed by Japan and China, as well as the South China Sea.

    Short-sighted internal rivalries compound the risks of conflict. In China, the generals are becoming a force in foreign policy. Some zealous officers may be provoking incidents at sea to advance their careers and prove their patriotism. And sometimes the hardliners are not military: China's fisheries and maritime law-enforcement agencies seem to be running their own expansive agendas.

    For now, the risk of a major-power war escalating from maritime incidents centres on China's frictions with the US, Japan and other nations in East Asia.

    But the tensions could reach across the wider Indo-Pacific region as the power and interests of China and India expand.

    The region is ill-prepared to cope with this threat.

    Asia's infrastructure of what the experts call confidence-building measures such as military dialogues, real-time communication channels and formalised "rules of the road" is flimsy and little-used.

    Some politicians, scholars and officials wishfully claim that co-operative activities such as ship visits, combined disaster-relief exercises or partnership against piracy will translate into wider strategic trust. But there is little sign this is happening.

    Meanwhile, China is showing little appetite in Asia for the diplomatic safety net that helped keep the Cold War cold: continuous hotlines between rival militaries and agreements on managing incidents at sea.

    This stems from a difference of views about the point of military diplomacy. And this relates to fundamental clashes of interests, notably over military strategies and sovereignty, hence China's confrontational opposition to US surveillance in its exclusive economic zone. The prevailing view in Beijing is that trust should precede major advances in dialogue. In Washington and elsewhere, the standard view is that confidence-building measures are needed when trust is absent.

    One glimmer of hope is that the Chinese view is not monolithic or static. New research is revealing a submerged debate in Beijing about the self-defeating dangers of belligerence at sea. The tragedy is that it is too late for moderates to gain a hearing once the shooting starts.
    I don't think it is a coincidence that this is occurring as China is about to bring their aircraft carrier out.

  10. #30
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    Default Re: South China Sea: China shows more muscle in face-off with Vietnam

    Mark my words on this one. This will go to the edge of brinkmanship, the Chinese will "pull back" suddenly and things will calm again for another 2-3 years as it gets closer and closer to being an issue again.

    One day... POW, Zap ZOWIE! The Chinese will strike when we least expect it, they WILL drop nukes on us, shut down "hacked chinese chips" in circuits, and attack us in force.

    Unless Obama is voted out of Office in 2012, we're going to be AT war with the Chinese before the end of the next Presidential term..... 2015-2016 will see a massive nuclear war, invasions on our shores, fighting everywhere in the world against the Chinese by us and a very, very select few other countries. The UK MIGHT be involved, but I'm beginning to see dwindling returns from them as well.
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    Default Re: South China Sea: China shows more muscle in face-off with Vietnam

    Well, all I can say is that it is a good thing that Fox and the other news channels are focusing on the really important things like the Anthony and Blago trials rather than a possible conflict between the US and China in the South China Sea.

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    Default Re: South China Sea: China shows more muscle in face-off with Vietnam

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Ruck View Post
    Well, all I can say is that it is a good thing that Fox and the other news channels are focusing on the really important things like the Anthony and Blago trials rather than a possible conflict between the US and China in the South China Sea.
    Another thing to add to my list of shit to be pissed off about.

    WTF is with Fox news lately? NO ONE is covering this China Sea thing. They've mentioned it in passing, but are ignoring the whole thing in general....

    I don't get what is wrong here with the world.

    Are all the media outlets in cahoots now to keep us poor sheep from panicking?

    WTF?>
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    Default Re: South China Sea: China shows more muscle in face-off with Vietnam

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Donaldson View Post
    They've mentioned it in passing...
    Did they? I didn't even catch that.

    Honestly, if I hadn't read about it here, I don't think I would have heard about it.

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    Default Re: South China Sea: China shows more muscle in face-off with Vietnam

    'Kelly@foxnews.com'; 'Foxreport@foxnews.com'; 'Hannity@foxnews.com'; 'glennbeck@foxnews.com'; 'Cavuto@foxnews.com'; 'warstories@foxnews.com'



    To all whom I’ve written;

    There is seriously lacking coverage of something that many of us have already become aware, and yet day in and day out on the news all we are hearing about are actors and actresses being bad (Sheen and the stupid blonde chick who can’t pass her alcohol test, etc).

    Are ANY of you aware of the South China Sea and the depth and width the situation has grown? I am sure Col. North is likely aware of the threat the Chinese are to America, but not sure the rest of you are.

    Are any of you aware of a CIA paper (that was released as unclassified) around the year 2000 making it clear that at least one Chinese General is absolutely confident they Chinese will be at war with the US by 2015?

    Are any of you AWARE of the threat to American infrastructure over “cheap Chinese microchips”?

    No – I guess everyone thinks the American public is dumb enough to drink up the crap on Blagoavich and Anthony trials and keep going, right?

    Please, I IMPLORE you folks to stop with the mindless nonsense, especially Shepard Smith when it comes to the trials of Blaggo, Anthony and the rest. Let us PLEASE start investigating the real stories out there, the threat of the Chinese RIGHT NOW, TODAY in the South China sea. They are facing off with America as you read this message, along with Vietnam (and yes, we’re siding with Vietnam it appears).

    The borders are a mess, America is overrun with millions of illegal aliens, the government is wasting money right and left and wanting to tax Americans more. And yet, we’re inundated with CRAP news about Blago, Sheen, Anthony and other nonsense, over-the-top ridiculous news stories, OVER AND OVER.

    PLEASE cover the real news, like China.

    Rick Donaldson
    Colorado Springs, CO
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  15. #35
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    Default Re: South China Sea: China shows more muscle in face-off with Vietnam

    China's claim on sea leads Asian neighbors to strengthen ties with U.S.

    By Erik Slavin Stars and Stripes
    Published: June 27, 2011

    View Gallery (4 images)
    Royal Malaysian Navy Lt. Cmdr. Emmry Shahril peers at a ship formation aboard USS Howard during a bilateral exercise in the South China Sea on June 13. Recent incidents between Chinese vessels and other nations in the sea, which China claims most of as its sovereign territory, have led Southeast Asian nations to seek closer ties with the U.S. Navy.
    Christopher S. Johnson/Courtesy


    YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Naval tensions between the U.S. and China have cooled for now, but recent incidents in the South China Sea have proven that their fundamental differences over the balance of power in the Pacific aren’t going away.
    Chinese vessels haven’t been obstructing U.S. ships in 2011 as frequently as they did during the past two years — most notably in 2009, when five commercial ships surrounded the USNS Impeccable. Instead, China is using similar tactics on its smaller neighbors as part of a strategy to solidify its claim on the South China Sea as sovereign territory.
    Recent examples include a June run-in that damaged a Vietnamese survey ship’s cable, and confrontation with a Philippine survey ship near the contested Spratly Islands in March.
    As a result, nearly all of the nations bordering the South China Sea are seeking closer ties to the United States through more frequent ship presence and increasingly complex naval exercises, Navy officials tell Stars and Stripes.
    Events like the ongoing Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training — a series of annual bilateral exercises with most of Southeast Asia’s seagoing nations — are publicly touted by the U.S military as “relationship builders” targeting piracy and terrorism. Keeping shipping lanes secure from pirates and fighting insurgents are important parts of U.S. policy. But so is assuring the region’s smaller powers that they won’t have to fight alone for the right to sail freely in what most of the world considers international waters.
    “An unspoken benefit [of the exercises] is assuring the region that the USA is committed to helping balance against Chinese power,” said Denny Roy, senior fellow at the East-West Center, a U.S.-based public diplomacy institute.
    The flashpoint of friction in the South China Sea is the Spratly Islands, a collection of more than 100 small islands and reefs spread over 158,000 square miles of sea.
    They have no native inhabitants and total about 2 square miles of land. But they do have abundant fish and vast potential for oil and natural gas reserves.
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    Vietnam, Malaysia, The Philippines, Brunei and Taiwan — all of whom receive arms from or conduct naval exercises with the United States — have claims on some of the islands and their fisheries. China claims everything within a “U-shaped line” around the sea that omits only the coastal waters of the other countries.
    Those claims, combined with China’s growing military might and assertiveness, are leading other nations to ask for more intense bilateral training scenarios than in years past. For example, Malaysia’s June exercise with the U.S. included anti-submarine warfare for the first time.
    The U.S. and Vietnam will soon conduct a more low-key exchange. However, that too represents strengthening ties: A few years ago, the U.S.-Vietnam military relationship consisted of little more than ship tours.
    Even South China Sea nations without Spratly claims are increasingly looking to the U.S. as a hedge on China’s ambitions. Singapore said this month that it is open to the United States forward deploying its new littoral combat ships in its territory. Indonesia, which recently welcomed U.S. Seventh Fleet ships based in Japan, wants to increase the frequency and complexity of its bilateral naval exercises.
    “There is definitely an eagerness there to move that relationship forward,” Seventh Fleet spokesman Cmdr. Jeff Davis said Tuesday.
    China views these developing partnerships as a U.S.-allied bid to prevent their rise on the Asian stage by encircling them, Roy said.
    This has led Beijing to ratchet up its rhetoric. Last year, it declared the South China Sea a core national interest on par with Tibet and the recapture of Taiwan.
    Last week, it decried attempts to internationalize South China Sea disputes. In a thinly veiled reference to the U.S., the government-vetted Liberation Army Daily published an editorial opposing the meddling of any “unrelated countries” in the area.
    The Chinese claim that they have historically navigated the South China Sea, which ought to make it area theirs. They also say that Vietnam and other nations did not raise objections to their sovereignty over the Spratly and Paracel Islands until scientists discovered the potential for oil and natural gas in recent decades.
    Nations opposing China’s sovereignty contend that there is no basis in the 1982 U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea for granting an international body of water to one country.
    The Obama administration maintains that doing so would wreck the principle of freedom of navigation, which the U.S. has pledged to protect.
    The administration’s stance has bipartisan support in Congress. Earlier this month, Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., and Sen. James Inhofe, R.-Okla., cited the principle, along with a long list of Chinese maritime incidents, as part of a Senate resolution they introduced to condemn China’s actions.
    Last week, Sen. John McCain cited those same actions as reasoning for U.S. naval resources to be increasingly focused in the region.
    “If persistent bullying enabled one state to impose its territorial claims by force, and to turn the South China Sea into a virtual no-go zone for the commercial and military vessels of other nations, including the United States, the effects would be dire,” McCain said at a Central for Strategic and International Studies gathering in Washington D.C. “It would bring us closer to a day when the U.S. Navy judges that it can no longer safely access and operate in the Western Pacific.”
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    Default Re: South China Sea: China shows more muscle in face-off with Vietnam

    China and Vietnam Agree to Talks on South China Sea Dispute

    By EDWARD WONG

    Published: June 26, 2011






    BEIJING — China announced Sunday that it and Vietnam had agreed to hold talks on how to resolve conflicts arising from a sovereignty dispute over the South China Sea, an issue that has escalated tensions between them and led to angry protests by the Vietnamese.
    The announcement came after Dai Bingguo, the senior Chinese official in charge of foreign affairs, met with Ho Xuan Son, a Vietnamese vice foreign minister and special envoy, on Saturday in Beijing, according to Xinhua, China’s state news agency.
    Xinhua said both countries had agreed to “adopt effective measures to jointly safeguard peace and stability of the South China Sea” and to take seriously a multination pact reached in 2002 that was supposed to help resolve territorial disputes. The pact has long been ignored.
    The Chinese and Vietnamese navies held joint exercises this month despite the intensifying maritime tensions.
    Xinhua’s report gave no details of how the China-Vietnam talks would proceed. The dispute over the South China Sea, which is believed to be rich in oil and gas deposits, has festered for years, and neither country has made any concessions despite conflicts involving fishing vessels, maritime surveillance boats and oil exploration ships. In January, Nguyen Van Tho, Vietnam’s ambassador to China, said the two sides would hold more talks at some point on the dispute, and that he was optimistic. The talks never took place.
    Then in two episodes in May and June, Vietnam accused Chinese vessels of severing cables to Vietnamese oil exploration ships. Chinese officials said any such events were accidental or provoked by what they called Vietnam’s unilateral oil exploration. China has insisted that countries should only explore jointly in the region.
    Taiwan, Malaysia, the Philippines and Brunei also have made claims to all or parts of the sea.
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    Default Re: South China Sea: China shows more muscle in face-off with Vietnam

    A U.S. role in the South China Sea




    By Editorial, Published: June 26


    PHILIPPINE Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario was in Washington last week for a rather specific purpose: to seek U.S. support in his country’s growing territorial dispute with China in the South China Sea. Mr. del Rosario told us he was seeking a “clarification” of the mutual defense treaty between the Philippines and the United States; he would like a U.S. statement suggesting it applies to a gas-rich seabed the Philippines and China are contesting. His government also would like help in beefing up its navy, perhaps through the lease of patrol boats.
    These are tricky requests for the Obama administration, which has been trying to avoid taking sides in the increasingly dangerous clashes between China and its neighbors over a huge and vital Asian waterway that Beijing — in apparent contravention of international law — claims entirely for itself. China would like the United States to stay out of its disputes with the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei, so that it can deal with each of those weaker countries in turn. “I believe the individual countries are actually playing with fire,” Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai said Wednesday, “and I hope the fire will not be drawn to the United States.”

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    Comments










    Such menacing language makes clear why the United States needs to exert its influence. Up to one-third of global trade passes through the South China Sea, so preserving freedom of navigation is a “national interest,” as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton put it last year. As important is checking China’s impulse to bully its neighbors, including not only friendly but weak democracies such as the Philippines but also Japan, which has its own maritime disputes with Beijing.
    The Obama administration has made gestures in this direction. In addition to Ms. Clinton’s statement — which she repeated last week — Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates pledged recently that “five years from now the United States’ influence” in Asia will be “as strong if not stronger than it is today.” After meeting with Mr. del Rosario, Ms. Clinton said the United States was committed to the defense of the Philippines and to providing it with weapons, though she would not comment on the U.S. response to a potential attack by China in the South China Sea.
    Such rhetoric ought to be coupled with initiatives. Ms. Clinton has suggested the United States could play a role in fostering multilateral discussions on the South China Sea; Washington should press China to formalize a “code of conduct” with Southeast Asian nations for handling territorial disputes. Notwithstanding its neutrality on territorial disputes, the Obama administration could point out the ways in which China’s claims objectively are at odds with United Nations conventions. And if Mr. del Rosario’s government wishes to shift its long-standing defense cooperation with the United States from counterterrorism to the patrol and defense of its territorial waters, the Pentagon should be ready to cooperate.
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    Default Re: South China Sea: China shows more muscle in face-off with Vietnam

    Noy thanks US for Spratly aid commitment
    By Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) Updated June 28, 2011 12:00 AM Comments (1)


    CEBU, Philippines – President Aquino thanked the United States yesterday for its promise of military assistance in the event of a shooting war in the Spratlys, and expressed relief at China’s assurance that it had no plans to invade the Philippines.
    “We are grateful to the US for their offer of help,” Aquino told reporters in an informal interview here, where he led the launching of the 200-megawatt power plant of Korean Electric Power Co. in Barangay Colon, Naga City in this province.
    “We’re of course glad that the Mutual Defense Treaty has been reiterated,” Aquino said, referring to assurances from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Ambassador Harry Thomas Jr. among others.
    But while he is thankful for China’s “no invasion” assurance, Aquino said he is deeply worried about the large presence of Chinese troops as well as permanent structures in the disputed territories.
    But he stressed this should not get in the way of diplomatic discussions.
    “Although in fairness we have been talking to them (Chinese). I think the only right solution, direction will be to continue talking with all the claimant-countries as far as the Spratlys are concerned,” he said.
    “The focus here should be on how to maintain stability and increase trade. That will increase the standards of living for all the people concerned,” he told reporters.
    “So we maintain the direction towards improving the standards of living, rather than going into a conflict situation,” he said.

    But Aquino said the Philippines, although a small nation, is ready to deal squarely with aggression.
    Qu Xing, president of the China Institute of International Studies, said over the weekend that fears of a Chinese invasion of the Philippines were “totally groundless.”
    “We have never sent troops to invade other countries and we have never used forces against other countries,” Qu told a media briefing.
    Tensions in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) have escalated in recent weeks, with Vietnam and the Philippines protesting what they see as China’s increasingly aggressive stance in the strategic region.
    “China safeguards its sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea, which does not affect freedom of navigation... enjoyed by countries according to international law,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said in a press conference in Beijing recently.
    Match words with action
    After introducing a resolution condemning China’s reported bullying in Southeast Asia, US Sen. Jim Webb (Virginia) said it’s now time for his country to “back (its) policy with action.”
    The Washington Post, meanwhile, aired the same call in its editorial recently.
    Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said Webb relayed to him his position during a meeting recently.
    “Senator Webb believes that it is now time to back policy with action,” the DFA said in a statement.
    Webb chairs the Senate subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs of the Foreign Relations committee. Webb co-authored his resolution with Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe.
    Del Rosario met with Webb in Washington a few days after the resolution was filed.
    The resolution calls for “a peaceful and multilateral resolution to maritime territorial disputes in Southeast Asia.”
    The senator has expressed confidence that the US Senate will approve his resolution this week.
    Webb, an author and a decorated Vietnam War veteran, has visited the Philippines twice - the first as a journalist and later as Secretary of the Navy.
    He authored a book on World War II, “The Emperor’s General,” about a third of which is set in the Philippines during the years 1944-1945.
    Del Rosario told the media that he was seeking a “clarification” of the mutual defense treaty between the Philippines and the US, particularly its relevance to competing claims over potentially oil-rich areas in Southeast Asia. Del Rosario, in his US trip, had also sought help for beefing up the Philippines’ naval forces.
    “These are tricky requests for the Obama administration, which has been trying to avoid taking sides in the increasingly dangerous clashes between China and its neighbors over a huge and vital Asian waterway that Beijing - in apparent contravention of international law - claims entirely for itself,” The Washington Post editorial said.
    “I believe the individual countries are actually playing with fire,” Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai said Wednesday, “and I hope the fire will not be drawn to the United States,” The Post quoted the Chinese Foreign Ministry official as saying.
    “Such menacing language makes clear why the United States needs to exert its influence. Up to one-third of global trade passes through the South China Sea, so preserving freedom of navigation is a national interest,” as expressed by Clinton, the paper said.
    “Such rhetoric ought to be coupled with initiatives. Ms. Clinton has suggested the United States could play a role in fostering multilateral discussions on the South China Sea; Washington should press China to formalize a ‘code of conduct’ with Southeast Asian nations for handling territorial disputes,” it said.
    “And if Mr. del Rosario’s government wishes to shift its long-standing defense cooperation with the United States from counterterrorism to the patrol and defense of its territorial waters, the Pentagon should be ready to cooperate,” the editorial read.
    War games begin
    Meanwhile, the joint Philippine-US naval exercises begin today in Palawan, where most of the disputed islets, shoals and reefs are located.
    The joint naval maneuver called CARAT 2011 (Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training 2011) would be held near the Sulu Sea.
    Two Philippine Navy ships with 300 sailors – BRP Rizal (PS 74) and BRP Pangasinan (PS 31) – will take part in the drill together with the USS Chung-Hoon, USS Howard and USNS Safeguard.
    Chung-Hoon and Howard are guided missile destroyers while Safeguard is a dive and salvage warship of the US 7th Fleet.
    US Navy Lt. Cmdr. Mike Morley, CARAT’s point of contact, said the 11-day naval exercise will train the sailors in dealing with different operational problems both in land and at sea.
    “Ashore training includes such specialties as Visit, Board, Search and Seizure (VBSS) exercises; diver training; salvage operations; joint medical, dental and civic action projects, and aircrew familiarization exchanges,” he said.
    “The at-sea phase of CARAT focuses on developing maritime security capabilities in areas such as maritime interdiction, information sharing, combined operations at sea, patrol operations and gunnery exercises,” he said.
    US servicemen are also set to visit Hulugan Bay in the West Philippine Sea for a scheduled tour of the world renowned Underground River.
    “Highlights of CARAT 2011 are the personnel exchange between the two ships for the effective communication of information between the PN and USN; friendship games; and PN-hosted and USN-hosted reception dinners to further strengthen the relationship between the two parties involved,” the Philippine Navy said in a statement.
    “Civil military operations are also scheduled to be able to reach out to the residents of Palawan, particularly medical and dental civic action at Barangay Tagabinet; engineering civic action at Barangay Mangingisda Elementary School; and community relation activity at Tagburos Elementary School and Gregorio Oquendo Memorial Elementary School,” the Navy’s press statement said.
    Naval show
    Meanwhile, naval forces from the Philippines and more than 20 other countries will join a fleet review that will highlight the 3rd Brunei International Defense Exhibition (BRIDEX) in Brunei Darussalam on July 2.
    Navy spokesman Lt. Col. Omar Tonsay said they will join their counterparts from countries including China, Malaysia and Brunei in the activity to learn more about innovations in defense warfare.
    A fleet review is a ceremonial gathering of different navies. Other countries that will send naval personnel and equipment to the review are the US, Pakistan, Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore and Thailand.
    Tonsay said the Philippine Navy will send the BRP Apolinario Mabini and BRP Mariano Alvarez to the event. The vessels, with combined crew of 105, will leave Sangley Point, Cavite on June 28.
    “This activity will enable the crew of the two patrol vessels and members of the organized task group to gain insights and appreciation on technology advancements and industry developments, particularly on defense warfare,” Navy chief Vice Adm. Alexander Pama said.
    “BRIDEX also provides an excellent platform for building vital alliances, forging partnerships and capturing new business opportunities in a fast growing South East Asian region,” Tonsay said. – Jaime Laude, Alexis Romero, Pia Lee-Brago
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    Default Re: South China Sea: China shows more muscle in face-off with Vietnam

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    Default Re: South China Sea: China shows more muscle in face-off with Vietnam

    New Report Warns of Clashes at Sea in Asia









    SYDNEY, June 27, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Risks are growing that maritime incidents involving China could lead to war: this is a stark conclusion of a major new report from Australian think tank the Lowy Institute.


    The report warns that risk-taking behaviour by Chinese naval and auxiliary forces, combined with Asia's lack of 'confidence-building measures', adds up to real possibilities of diplomatic crisis and armed confrontation drawing in the United States and other powers. The trouble is concentrated on the South and East China seas, but tensions could eventually reach across the Indo-Pacific region.


    "There is an urgent need to improve and actually use communications channels between the Chinese and other militaries," says principal author Rory Medcalf.
    "Current posturing in the South China Sea may be easing, thanks to talks involving China, America and Vietnam.


    "But the drivers of crisis remain. These include over-confidence, national pride, resource pressures, sovereignty disputes and frictions between Chinese and US military strategies, which rely on long-range patrols and close surveillance."


    Mr. Medcalf, a former Australian diplomat and intelligence analyst, now director of Lowy's international security program, said that the cause of each incident usually remained a mystery. China's reluctance to allow continuous channels of communication with foreign forces at sea meant it was hard to tell if an incident was an accident, the work of an over-zealous officer, or an assertive act of policy. And it seemed some non-military entities, like fisheries and survey agencies, were pushing assertive agendas.


    "One glimmer of hope is the submerged debate among Chinese security thinkers – some genuinely worry about incidents leading to conflict. But moderates will find it hard to get attention once any shooting starts."



    The report, to be launched in Canberra on June 28, is based on consultations with security experts and practitioners in China, Japan, the United States and India.


    Crisis and Confidence: Major Powers and Maritime Security in Indo-Pacific Asia is published under the Lowy Institute's partnership with the Asia Security Initiative of the John T. and Catherine D. MacArthur Foundation. It was written by Rory Medcalf and Australian National University scholar Raoul Heinrichs, with Lowy Naval Fellow Justin Jones.


    The report can be accessed here: http://www.lowyinstitute.org/Publication.asp?pid=1618.


    For more information, please contact:

    Rory Medcalf at rmedcalf@lowyinstitute.org or on + 61 417 799278
    Follow his commentary on twitter @Rory_Medcalf
    SOURCE Lowy Institute for International Policy
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