China tells U.S. to mind it’s own business

US must ‘get used to China’s rise’

(China Daily)    07:38, May 22, 2014

Washington’s engagement in territorial issues ‘complicates problems’

Chinese and Western observers seemed to reach a consensus on Wednesday over President Xi Jinping’s proposal to establish a new framework for security cooperation in Asia, and he also sent a veiled warning to Washington.

“To beef up a military alliance targeting a third party is not conducive to regional common security,” Xi said without mentioning the United States when delivering a keynote speech at a regional security forum in Shanghai on Wednesday.

The Chinese navy conducts drills in the South ...

Continue reading “China tells U.S. to mind it’s own business”

Beijing’s dangerous arrogance in the South China Sea

Philip Bowring says Beijing’s superiority complex and selective reading of Southeast Asian history have become the toxic brew fuelling tensions in the South China Sea

Philip Bowring BIO

China’s current behaviour vis-à-vis its South China Sea neighbours is aggressive, arrogant and smacks of Han chauvinism and ethnocentrism. Far from being an expression of national pride, it is giving patriotism a bad name. Patriotic Hongkongers should recognise it for what it is: a dangerous ploy.

Not only has Beijing bared expansionist teeth to Vietnam and the Philippines, it has now succeeded in shifting Indonesia from a position of trying to act as a moderator between China and the other South China Sea states to opponent. Twice in recent months, Indonesia has accused China of claiming part of its Natuna island archipelago. So much for a “peaceful rise” when you rile neighbours with populations of more than 400 million, who you assume to be weak. Continue reading “Beijing’s dangerous arrogance in the South China Sea”

China hints it is ready for war with the Phillipines

The Philippines’ tough stance can only end in embarrassment

(People’s Daily Online) 13:04, May 13, 2014

This year, the Philippines’ conduct on the South China Sea issue has been bewildering: At first, it pretended to be a victim of China’s “threat of force”, complained that China was preventing it from supplying the warship beached on the Ren’ai Reef, and accused China of refusing to accept arbitration on the issue. Then before the quest for sympathy had even had a chance to run its course, the Philippines suddenly adopted a hard line. On May 6, 2014, armed personnel from the Philippines detained a Chinese fishing boat around the Half Moon Shoal in the Nansha Islands, and on the same day a senior military official of the Philippines announced a so-called “Defense Plan of the South China Sea” through Japanese media channels.

The Philippines tough stance was not taken on a whim: their confidence to challenge China on the South China Sea issue stems from the belief that they have the protection and support of the US. Continue reading “China hints it is ready for war with the Phillipines”

War of words erupts as John Kerry calls Beijing ‘provocative’ in South China Sea disputes

Foreign minister hits back after John Kerry calls Chinese actions in South China Sea ‘provocative’

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 May, 2014, 5:09pm

Teddy Ng and Agencies in Hanoi and Washington

Several thousand Vietnamese workers protested at Chinese-owned factories yesterday, vandalising some of them, as anger flared at Beijing’s deployment of an oil rig in the Paracel Islands. Photo: SCMP Pictures

China and the United States exchanged heated words yesterday over the recent tensions between Beijing and its neighbours about disputed territory in the South China Sea. Continue reading “War of words erupts as John Kerry calls Beijing ‘provocative’ in South China Sea disputes”

China warns Vietnam to leave South China Sea drilling area – Situation is Escalating Rapidly

Beijing accuses Vietnamese vessels of ramming Chinese ships, and tells Washington to mind its own business as tensions rise in South China Sea


English: Map (rough) of South China Sea, own w...

Teddy Ng in Beijing

China has demanded that Vietnam withdraw its ships from a part of the disputed South China Sea where a Chinese firm is establishing an oil rig, and accused Vietnamese vessels of ramming Chinese ships in the area.

After the latest confrontation between vessels from the two countries, a senior Foreign Ministry official in Beijing said China was “shocked” at the “provocations of Vietnam” and vowed the drilling in the disputed Paracel Islands would continue. Continue reading “China warns Vietnam to leave South China Sea drilling area – Situation is Escalating Rapidly”

Ships collide as Vietnam tries to stop China oil rig deployment in disputed waters

Beijing hits out after Philippines seizes fishing vessel and collision with Vietnamese boats


Just Added from the – A low-quality version of that video has been posted on Youtube. It appears to have been taped by one of the media outlets that attended the press conference. English language subtitles of Thu’s remarks also appear on the video:



PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 May, 2014, 4:42pm

Teddy Ng in Beijing and Agencies in Hanoi and Manila


Tensions in the South China Sea flared up yesterday as China exchanged harsh rhetoric with the Philippines and Vietnam after confrontations in the waters. Continue reading “Ships collide as Vietnam tries to stop China oil rig deployment in disputed waters”

Chinese media threatens Vietnam with a ‘lesson it deserves’ over oil rig row



PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 May, 2014, 10:47am


Map of the South China Sea


Agence France-Presse in Beijing


Vietnam reacted furiously to a decision by Beijing to move a deep-water drilling rig into disputed waters for the first time. Photo: Xinhua


China should give Vietnam a “lesson it deserves to get” if Hanoi ratchets up tension in the South China Sea, an aggressive editorial in state-run media said on Tuesday.


The editorial in the Global Times newspaper comes after Vietnam reacted furiously to a decision by Beijing to move a deep-water drilling rig into disputed waters for the first time. Continue reading “Chinese media threatens Vietnam with a ‘lesson it deserves’ over oil rig row”

Manila’s provocations reflect weakness

“The Philippines could do nothing but provoke China like a clown under the indulgence of some Western forces”
BRP Artemio Ricarte (PS-37), a Jacinto class c...
(Global Times)    07:36, March 31, 2014

The Philippines on Sunday filed a case against China’s “territorial invasion” with the UN arbitral tribunal. This comes a day after a nearly two-hour standoff between Chinese coastguard ships and Philippine supply vessels ferrying food and soldiers to Ren’ai Reef. Witnessed by more than a dozen Philippine and Western journalists invited onboard a Philippine ship, the Philippine boats “eventually maneuvered away from the Chinese blockade” and arrived at the reef, winning applause from domestic public opinion and support from the Western media. Continue reading “Manila’s provocations reflect weakness”

China will never tolerate Philippines’ infringement on its territory

(People’s Daily Online) 08:35, March 14, 2014

– The Philippines’s ulterior motive – to occupy the reef – is unmistakable.

– We will not take anything that isn’t ours, but we will defend every inch of territory that belongs to us.” The Philippines have chosen to turn a deaf ear to China’s warnings.

While China was working with other ASEAN countries such as Malaysia, Vietnam, and Indonesia to search for the missing Malaysia Airlines aircraft, and the country was worrying about the safety of the passengers in the missing plane, two ships loaded with construction materials and carrying the flags of the Philippines approached the Ren’ai Reef on March 9, 2014.

The Ren’ai Reef falls under the dominion of China’s Nansha Islands, and China claims indisputable sovereignty over the Reef. In 1999 a Philippine warship grounded on the reef, claiming it had been stranded. Since then, China has repeatedly demanded that the Philippines retrieve the warship, but the Philippines have refused to do so on the basis of claimed “technical reasons”. The Philippines’s ulterior motive – to occupy the reef – is unmistakable. Continue reading “China will never tolerate Philippines’ infringement on its territory”

Men with stolen IDs on missing Malaysian jet used stolen Austrian and Italian passports

Men with stolen IDs on missing Malaysian jet not of Asian appearance

Photo: EPA

The two unidentified men who used stolen passports to board the Malaysian airliner that went missing on Saturday were not of Asian appearance, the chief Malaysian investigator said today. Flight MH370 disappeared early on Saturday about an hour into its flight from Kuala Lumpur after climbing to a cruising altitude of 35,000 feet.

Interpol confirmed on Sunday at least two passengers had used stolen passports and said it was checking whether others aboard had also used false identity documents.

Debris not from missing Malaysian plane – Vietnam

A floating object previously reported to resemble an overturned liferaft was not part of the Malaysia Airlines plane that went missing over the South China Sea, Vietnamese authorities said Monday. Continue reading “Men with stolen IDs on missing Malaysian jet used stolen Austrian and Italian passports”

Southern air defence zone ‘crucial for China in long term’, PLA expert says

–  “The establishment of another ADIZ over the South China Sea is necessary for China’s long-term national interest.”

UPDATED : Saturday, 22 February, 2014, 4:51am

Minnie Chan and Reuters in Washington

  • bcb39ad6e73b3da37cfec4e023b23f58.jpg
US Army Chief of Staff Raymond Odierno and General Wang Ning salute while reviewing an honour guard in Beijing. Photo: Reuters

Establishing a second air defence zone – this time over the South China Sea – was in China’s long-term interest, a senior People’s Liberation Army researcher said yesterday.

Senior colonel Li Jie , of the PLA Navy’s Military Academy, said a senior US intelligence officer’s remarks last week about China’s intention to declare another air defence identification zone (ADIZ) were meant to deter China from making such a move. Continue reading “Southern air defence zone ‘crucial for China in long term’, PLA expert says”

West 2014: What about China Video ( while available + youtube transcript ) Plus Nuke California Claims

EEV:  PLA: War Games Plan to Nuke Seattle ,L.A. San Francisco and San Diego at about 27:30 Possible kill target of 5-12 million Americans

Transcript: A Youtube Transcript – Accuracy is Sketchy

from her store in the navy with what is now I’m socket Alan waters
waiters for anyone else’s he rehearses on the tip of the spear

Senior Navy intelligence officer ” China was training its forces to be capable of carrying out a “short, sharp” war with Japan in the East China Sea “

Pentagon plays down intelligence officer’s provocative China assessment

Segment found at about 26:28

Source: Reuters – Fri, 21 Feb 2014 01:31 AM

Author: Reuters

WASHINGTON, Feb 20 (Reuters) – The Pentagon on Thursday played down remarks by a senior Navy intelligence officer who told a public forum that he believed China was training its forces to be capable of carrying out a “short, sharp” war with Japan in the East China Sea.

The comments by Captain James Fanell, director of intelligence and information operations at the U.S. Pacific Fleet, were little noticed when he made them last week at a conference on maritime strategy called “West 2014” in San Diego. They can be seen here: Continue reading “Senior Navy intelligence officer ” China was training its forces to be capable of carrying out a “short, sharp” war with Japan in the East China Sea “”

Filipinos back Manila’s move to confront China over South China Sea

Move to challenge China’s territorial claims in UN-backed court popular: poll

UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 February, 2014, 1:27am

Raissa Robles in Manila


Philippine Foreign Affairs Department spokesman, Raul Hernandez. Photo: AFP

A majority of Filipinos back the Philippine government’s move to challenge China’s territorial claims over the South China Sea before an international arbitration court, according to the results of a poll released yesterday.

The poll also showed that Filipinos did not trust China much.

Philippine pollster Social Weather Stations  said 81 per cent of Filipinos it surveyed backed last January’s decision to challenge Beijing’s claims in the South China Sea in the UN-backed tribunal. Continue reading “Filipinos back Manila’s move to confront China over South China Sea”

Beijing denounces ‘groundless’ US remarks on South China Sea

– Beijing claims the South China Sea almost in its entirety, even areas a long way from its shoreline, but portions are also claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.

Friday, Feb 07, 2014

BEIJING – Beijing on Friday dismissed a US official’s warning against possible Chinese expansion in the skies over the South China Sea, calling the remarks “irresponsible”.

The United States had urged Beijing to clarify or adjust its claims in the South China Sea, calling for a peaceful solution to one of Asia’s growing flashpoints.

“Some US officials make groundless accusations against China,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters at a regular briefing. He added that “right-wing forces in Japan” were responsible for stirring up “rumours” on the issue. Continue reading “Beijing denounces ‘groundless’ US remarks on South China Sea”

U.S. Pacific forces chief concerned over Japan-China tension


Jan. 24, 2014 – 03:00PM JST


The commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific said Thursday the tensions between China and Japan are likely to grow unless they talk to each other.

The two Asian powers are at loggerheads over remote islands that are administered by Japan but also claimed by China. Beijing has also been angered by a recent visit by Japan’s prime minister to a controversial war shrine.

Maritime claims in the South China Sea

Adm. Samuel Locklear told a news conference that “the risk calculation can grow” when two large powers have a disagreement but aren’t talking to each other and when there’s no clear resolution in sight. Continue reading “U.S. Pacific forces chief concerned over Japan-China tension”

Japan condemns China fishing curbs; vows to defend islands

Map of the South China Sea
Map of the South China Sea (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Kiyoshi Takenaka

National Jan. 13, 2014 – 06:35AM JST

– require foreign fishing vessels to obtain approval to enter disputed waters in the South China Sea, which the local government says are under its jurisdiction


Japan on Sunday joined the United States in criticizing China’s new fishing restrictions in the South China Sea, saying the curbs, coupled with the launch last year of an air defense zone, has left the international community jittery. Continue reading “Japan condemns China fishing curbs; vows to defend islands”

China bitterly attacks Japanese prime minister over air zone remarks / “The Diaoyus are an inherent territory of China. Japan’s seizure and occupation of the islands are illegal and invalid”

China bitterly attacks Japanese prime minister over air zone remarks

Shinzo Abe’s comments that Beijing is violating freedom of aviation are condemned as ‘malicious slander’

Shinzo Abe, Japan's prime minister

Staff and agencies in Beijing, Sunday 15 December 2013 00.02 EST


Shinzo Abe, Japan’s prime minister

Shinzo Abe, Japan’s prime minister, at an Asean meeting in Tokyo where he criticised China’s air zone over islands claimed by both countries. Photograph: Toru Hanai/Reuters

China has condemned Shinzo Abe, the Japanese prime minister, for “maliciously slandering” its self-proclaimed air defence zone, ratcheting up the war of words between the neighbours over Beijing’s annexation of the skies over a group of disputed islands.

Abe told a news conference that China’s recent announcement of the air defence identification zone over disputed islands in the East China Sea was “unjustly violating the freedom of aviation over the high seas” and demanded Beijing rescind it.

In the most bitter remarks so far in the dispute, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei defended the zone, which has triggered protests from Japan, the United States and South Korea.

“We express strong dissatisfaction with Japan’s leader using an international occasion to maliciously slander China,” Hong said in a statement seen on the ministry website on Sunday.

The islands are claimed by Beijing as the Diaoyus and by Tokyo as the Senkakus.

“The Diaoyus are an inherent territory of China. Japan’s seizure and occupation of the islands are illegal and invalid,” Hong said, arguing that the air zone was in line with international laws and practices, and did not affect aviation freedom. Continue reading “China bitterly attacks Japanese prime minister over air zone remarks / “The Diaoyus are an inherent territory of China. Japan’s seizure and occupation of the islands are illegal and invalid””

US and Chinese warships nearly collide amid tensions over airspace

USS Cowpens was near Liaoning aircraft carrier in South China Sea when another Chinese ship closed in, officials say

Reuters in Washington,   Friday 13 December 2013 22.30 EST

China's Liaoning aircraft carrier

China’s Liaoning aircraft carrier on an East China Sea exercise in November. Photograph: AP

A US guided missile cruiser operating in international waters in the South China Sea was forced to take evasive action last week to avoid a collision with a Chinese warship, the US Pacific Fleet has revealed.

The USS Cowpens had been operating in the vicinity of China’s only aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, at a time of heightened tensions in the region following Beijing’s declaration of an air defence zone farther north in the East China Sea, a US defence official said.

Another Chinese warship came near the Cowpens in the incident on 5 December. The US ship was forced to take evasive action to avoid a collision, the Pacific Fleet said in its statement.

“Eventually, effective bridge-to-bridge communications occurred between the US and Chinese crews, and both vessels manoeuvred to ensure safe passage,” said a defence official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The Cowpens had been in the Philippines helping with disaster relief in the aftermath of typhoon Haiyan, which hit the region in November. The US navy said it was in the South China Sea conducting routine “freedom-of-navigation” operations – which are intended to assert the right of passage through a disputed area – when the incident occurred.

Continue reading “US and Chinese warships nearly collide amid tensions over airspace”

Taiwan Risks Tensions With Survey of Disputed Spratlys

Oct. 9, 2013 – 02:06PM   |

TAIPEI — Taiwan has conducted a natural gas and oil survey in the disputed Spratly Islands, a legislator said Wednesday, the latest in a string of moves that risk stoking tensions over the South China Sea archipelago.

A team of technicians from the state-run CPC Corporation, Taiwan sailed to Taiping, the island in the chain that is controlled by Taipei, on Monday, legislator Lin Yu-fang’s office said in a statement.

“They completed the survey on Tuesday afternoon and were on their way back to Taiwan escorted by a naval fleet” composed of a dock landing ship and a frigate, the statement said.

Taiwan risks ratcheting up regional tensions over the Spratlys with the move. The islands are also claimed entirely or in part by Brunei, China, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

All the claimants except Brunei have troops based on the group of more than 100 islets, reefs and atolls, which are spread across a vast area but have a total land mass of less than five square kilometers (two square miles).

A senior assistant to Lin told AFP the step is expected to be followed by more sensitive surveys of the water in the vicinity, declining to provide details.

The geological survey came after the Taiwanese government granted the company permission in 2011 to explore for oil and natural gas in the waters off Taiping.

Taiwan maintains a small coastguard garrison on Taiping, 1,400 kilometers (870 miles) from its southern coast, and earlier this year sent new mortar and anti-aircraft systems to the islet, angering Vietnam.

Taipei also said it plans to build a dock big enough for warships in the disputed archipelago, an upgrade from the existing pier that caters only to small patrol boats.

Taiwan built a 1,150-meter (3,800-foot) runway on Taiping in mid-2006, despite protests from other countries.

The Philippines and Vietnam have been strengthening their military deployment in the area after complaining that China is becoming increasingly aggressive in asserting its own claims.

China warns U.S., Japan, Australia not to gang up in sea disputes

Politics Oct. 07, 2013 – 02:05PM JST


China said on Monday the United States, Australia and Japan should not use their alliance as an excuse to intervene in territorial disputes in the East China Sea and South China Sea, and urged them to refrain from inflaming regional tensions.

On Friday, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry raised the maritime disputes during a trilateral strategic dialogue in Bali, Indonesia.

Relations between China and Japan, the world’s second- and third-largest economies, have been troubled in recent years by a row over tiny, uninhabited islands in the East China Sea known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China.

In the South China Sea, Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei and China are involved in long-standing sovereignty disputes over the potentially oil- and gas-rich island chain.

A joint statement from the U.S.-Japan-Australia meeting opposed “coercive or unilateral actions” that could change the status quo in the East China Sea and called on claimants to maritime disputes in the South China Sea to refrain from destabilising actions, according to the State Department website.

“The United States, Japan and Australia are allies but this should not become an excuse to interfere in territorial disputes, otherwise it will only make the problems more complicated and harm the interests of all parties,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Monday.

“We urge the relevant countries to respect facts, distinguish right from wrong, be cautious, and stop all words and deeds that are not beneficial to the proper handling of the issue and undermine regional stability,” she said in comments on the ministry website.

The U.S.-Japan-Australia meeting took place on the sidelines of an annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting on the Indonesian island of Bali.

Separately, another Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Qin Gang, voiced China’s opposition to Kishida’s raising of maritime security at an informal breakfast meeting with foreign ministers, saying that it has long been considered inappropriate to discuss issues of political security or sensitive and controversial topics at APEC.

“There has not been a problem with freedom and security of navigation in this region for a long time,” Qin said in another statement released late on Sunday.

“Playing up so-called maritime security issue goes against real efforts for the freedom and security of navigation.”

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2013.

Anon posts Filipino president’s phone numbers

EEV: As with all information being claimed to be leaked ,or hacked information, without validation. This information is for entertainment value only.




Attempts to give Aquino a wake-up call and democracy a kick-start

By Phil Muncaster

Posted in Security, 17th June 2013 06:23 GMT

Customer Success Testimonial: Recovery is Everything

An Anonymous hacktivist has published what he claims to be three telephone numbers belonging to the Philippine president Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino III, including his private mobile number, in a bid to urge voters to confront their leader directly.

Going by the pseudonym “#pR.is0n3r”, the hacker posted the numbers to his 10,000+ followers on Facebook on Friday night alongside the president’s home address and the address of Aquino’s office in the House of Representatives Batasan building.

Beneath the numbers is the message “This is now the chance for your voice to be heard”, alongside an Anonymous logo.

There was no confirmation as to the veracity of the phone numbers but an Aquino spokesman, Ricky Carandang, didn’t sound too happy.

“It’s cyber vandalism plain and simple,” he told AFP [1]. “We’re dealing with it. That’s all I can say for now.”

When the news wire tried to contact the numbers on Saturday morning they had apparently stopped working.

There was no further info on the Facebook page [2] of #pR.is0n3r as to exactly how he obtained the numbers but in a message sent to local paper The Star [3], the hacktivist claimed he was “100 per cent” sure they were Aquino’s.

He also complained that the president was “very silent when it comes to national issues”, adding, “We want to hear him.”

Anonymous has had run-ins with the Acquino administration in the past, most notably in January when it defaced several government web sites in response to the Cybercrime Prevention Act [4] 2012.

Local hacktivists claiming to be affiliated with the group have also been involved in a bitter online battle between Filipino and Malaysian hackers [5] which erupted after bloody clashes in the northern Borneo region of Sabah, and in tit-for-tat exchanges with patriotic Chinese over the disputed group of rocks known as Scarborough Shoal [6]. ®

Indian navy prepared to deploy to South China Sea to protect oil interests: Asian giants could be on a collision course

India has sparred diplomatically with China in the past over its gas and oil exploration. -AFP

Mon, Dec 03, 2012         AFP

NEW DELHI – The Indian navy is prepared to deploy vessels to the South China Sea to protect India’s oil interests there, the navy chief said on Monday amid growing international fears over the potential for naval clashes in the disputed region.

India has sparred diplomatically with China in the past over its gas and oil exploration block off the coast of Vietnam. China claims virtually the entire mineral-rich South China Sea and has stepped up its military presence there. Other nations such as Vietnam, Philippines and Malaysia have competing claims.

Indian state-run explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) has a stake in a gas field in the Nam Con Son basin, off Vietnam’s south coast.

Indian Navy Chief Admiral D.K Joshi said while India was not a claimant in the dispute over territorial rights in the South China Sea, it was prepared to act, if necessary, to protect its maritime and economic interests in the region.

“When the requirement is there, for example, in situations where our country’s interests are involved, for example ONGC … we will be required to go there and we are prepared for that,”Joshi told a news conference.

“Now, are we preparing for it? Are we having exercises of that nature? The short answer is yes,” he said.

He described the modernisation of China’s navy as “truly impressive” and acknowledged that it was a source of major concern for India.

Any display of naval assertiveness by India in the South China Sea would likely fuel concern that the navies of the two rapidly growing Asian giants could be on a collision course as they seek to protect trade routes and lock in the supply of coal, minerals and other raw material from foreign sources.

“It is one of the most important international waterways and freedom of navigation there is an issue of utmost concern to India because a large portion of India’s trade is through the South China Sea,” said Brahma Chellaney, analyst at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi.

Chellaney, however, played down Joshi’s comments, saying the Indian navy’s focus would remain on the Indian Ocean, which the Asian nation views as its strategic backyard.


In September 2011, an Indian warship sailing in the South China Sea to the Vietnamese port of Haiphong was challenged when a caller identifying himself as an official of the Chinese navy warned the ship on an open radio channel that it was entering Chinese waters.

Nothing happened, the ship sailed on, and both India and China have since played down the incident, with New Delhi saying the vessel was well within international waters in the South China Sea and that there was no confrontation.

China’s neighbours are fretting about a recent Chinese media report on new rules that will allow police in the southern Chinese province of Hainan to board and seize control of foreign ships which “illegally enter” its waters from Jan. 1.

The Philippines on Saturday condemned the Chinese plan as illegal and Singapore, home to the world’s second-busiest container port, said on Monday it was concerned.

Asked about the report of China’s plan to board ships, Joshi said India had the right to self-defence.

Estimates for proven and undiscovered oil reserves in the South China Sea range as high as 213 billion barrels of oil, the US Energy Information Administration said in a 2008 report. That would surpass every country’s proven oil reserves except Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, according to the BP Statistical Review.

China plan to board ships sets off alarm : ” potential military flash point, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes “

News Desk Philippine Daily Inquirer Publication Date : 01-12-2012

Southeast Asia’s top diplomat warned yesterday of great anxiety over China’s plan to board and search ships that illegally enter what it considers its territory in the disputed South China Sea and said it could lead to naval clashes and undermine confidence in East Asia’s economy.

Beijing, however, moved to ease international alarm over the issue and said it attaches “great importance” to freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, a day after state media said police in its southern island province of Hainan will carry out the new plan.

“All countries have freedom of navigation in the South China Sea in accordance with international law,” foreign ministry spokesperson Hong Lei told a daily news briefing.

New rules to come into effect on January 1 will allow police in the southern Chinese province of Hainan to board and seize control of foreign ships that “illegally enter” Chinese waters, the official China Daily reported on Thursday.

The report, which was also carried by other state media, further ratchets up tensions over Southeast Asia’s biggest potential military flash point, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes where several countries claim sovereignty.

President Aquino ordered the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Thursday to verify reports about the new Chinese border rule.

If the reports are true, the Philippines will defend its interests, Aquino told a news conference in Mandaue City, Cebu province.

Aquino said the Philippines had two options: raise a diplomatic protest to Beijing or bring the dispute to an international court.

“In advancing our interest, we might accelerate and bring it [to] the appropriate international tribunal to finally settle the matter or at least start the process of settling it legally and completely,” he said.

China’s plan would be difficult to implement because it runs counter to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, he said.

Aquino said China had made repeated statements that it would not block freedom of navigation in the area.

Surin Pitsuwan, secretary general of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), said yesterday that China’s plan was an escalation of tensions and a “very serious turn of events.”

“It certainly has increased a level of concern and a level of great anxiety among all parties, particularly parties that would need the access, the passage and the freedom to go through,” Surin told Reuters in an interview from Thailand.

Surin, using unusually strong language, said the plan could lead to a major incident that would affect confidence in East Asia, a major engine of global economic growth.

“It is extremely important to exercise restraint and to try to approach this development with a level head and be open to listen to concerns of all parties, all sides,” he said.

China claims virtually the entire South China Sea. Asean members the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia claim various parts, and so does Taiwan.

The shortest route between the Pacific and Indian oceans, the South China Sea has some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. More than half the globe’s oil tanker traffic passes through the South China Sea.

Analysts said the plan to board foreign vessels would roil global financial markets, add to global economic uncertainty, and impact global trade that would impact China as well, said Scott Harrison, managing director of Pacific Strategies and Assessments in Manila.

In Manila, Defence Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said the Philippines should protest China’s plan.

“That’s not a good statement from China. We will just have to see what we can do to avoid this situation where they will be boarding our ships. Maybe at this point we need to file right away a protest,” Gazmin told reporters after celebration rites for the 149th birth anniversary of national hero Andres Bonifacio in Camp Aguinaldo.

Peter Paul Galvez, spokesperson for the Department of National Defence (DND), said Gazmin’s recommendation would be “the action once [the new Chinese plan] is made official” by a statement from the Chinese government itself.

Galvez said the DND was gathering more information about the new Chinese border rule.

“We are waiting for an official statement from the Chinese government,” Galvez said. “That will be something that the Department of Foreign Affairs will clarify.”

Rep. Rodolfo Biazon, chair of the House committee on national defence, said China’s plan was bound to affect the interests of countries that use the South China Sea, including the United States and European countries.

Biazon, a former military chief, urged Aquino to convene the National Security Council “so we will have a uniform voice.”

“China’s move will definitely escalate tensions in the area,” he said.

Ben Evardone, chair of the House committee on public information, said China’s plan was “provocative”.

He said Asean, the United States, and the United Nations should deal with the new Chinese move in a “collective action”.

“Clearly China is trying to bully the Philippines and other countries in the region,” Evardone said. “The Asean, UN and the US should initiate moves to preserve peace in the area and to ensure navigational freedom in the West Philippine Sea.”

Biazon said the DFA should clarify the reports directly with Beijing, and check if the order came only from Hainan province.

He said it should boost Manila’s rejection of Beijing’s insistence on bilateral talks to solve the territorial dispute between the Philippines and China.

“The problem should not be limited [to] Asean. It should be tackled at the level of the UN and include the US,” Biazon said.

“Not only [countries] in Asia will be affected. You also have countries [in] Europe, the Middle East, and Latin and North America [that] use the areas to be policed by China,” he said.

The DFA, he said, should be clarified about what “particular activities” will be covered by the new Chinese border rule.

“[How] would the order affect the international principle of innocent passage?” Biazon asked.

Reports from Nikko Dizon and Christian V. Esguerra in Manila.

Chinese police plan to board vessels in disputed seas

From Jan 1, Hainan police will seize control of foreign ships which “illegally enter” Chinese waters. -Reuters

Thu, Nov 29, 2012


CHINA – Police in the southern Chinese island province of Hainan will board and search ships which enter into what China considers its territorial waters in the disputed South China Sea, state media said on Thursday, a move which could raise tensions further.

The South China Sea is Asia’s biggest potential military trouble spot with several Asian countries claiming sovereignty.

New rules, which come into effect on January 1, will allow Hainan police to board and seize control of foreign ships which “illegally enter” Chinese waters and order them to change course or stop sailing, the official China Daily reported.

“Activities such as entering the island province’s waters without permission, damaging coastal defence facilities and engaging in publicity that threatens national security are illegal,” the English-language newspaper said.

“If foreign ships or crew members violate regulations, Hainan police have the right to take over the ships or their communication systems, under the revised regulations,” it added.

China’s assertion of sovereignty over the stretch of water off its south coast and to the east of mainland Southeast Asia has set it directly against Vietnam and the Philippines, while Brunei, Taiwan and Malaysia also lay claim to parts.

China occasionally detains fishermen, mostly from Vietnam, who it accuses of operating illegally in Chinese waters, though generally frees them quite quickly.

Hainan, which likes to style itself as China’s answer to Hawaii or Bali with its resorts and beaches, is the province responsible for administering the country’s extensive claims to the myriad islets and atolls in the South China Sea.

The newspaper said that the government will also send new maritime surveillance ships to join the fleet responsible for patrolling the South China Sea, believed to be rich in oil and gas and straddling shipping lanes between East Asia and Europe and the Middle East.

The stakes have risen in the area as the US military shifts its attention and resources back to Asia, emboldening its long-time ally the Philippines and former foe Vietnam to take a tougher stance against Beijing.

China has further angered the Philippines and Vietnam by issuing new passports showing a map depicting China’s claims to the disputed waters.

India and China row over new map in passport – Claims part of India plus disputed areas of the Philippines, Vietnam, and Taiwan

A fresh row has broken out between India and China over territorial claims in the north-eastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh and the Aksai Chin area in eastern Kashmir.

In new passports, China’s maps show the two areas as Chinese territory.

The Indian embassy in Beijing is said to have retaliated by stamping Chinese visas with a map of their own which shows the territories in India.

Several of China’s neighbours have also protested against the new map.

Vietnam, the Philippines, and Taiwan have all objected because it shows disputed islands in the South China Sea and Taiwan to be a part of China.

They have described the new design as a violation of their sovereignty.

Chinese official maps have long shown Taiwan and the South China Sea to be part of its own territory, but the inclusion of such claims on the passport has caused considerable anger.

The potentially oil-rich Paracel Islands, claimed by Vietnam since their troops were forced to leave by China in the 1970s and also claimed by Taiwan, make an appearance on the map, as do the Spratly Islands, part of which are claimed by the Philippines.

The disputed Senkaku or Diaoyu islands, at the centre of recent tension between China and Japan are not included in the new document.

Relations between India and China have been uneasy – the two countries dispute several Himalayan border areas and fought a brief war in 1962.

Delhi is yet to officially take up the row over the map with Beijing.

(BBC News)

China angers neighbors with sea claims on new passports


By Manuel MogatoPosted 2012/11/22 at 4:58 am EST

MANILA, Nov. 22, 2012 (Reuters) — The Philippines and Vietnam condemned Chinese passports containing a map of China’s disputed maritime claims on Thursday, branding the new design a violation of their sovereignty.

The map means countries disputing the Chinese claims will have to stamp microchip-equipped passports of countless visitors, in effect acquiescing to the Chinese point of view.

Stand-offs between Chinese vessels and the Philippine and Vietnamese navies in the South China Sea have become more common as China increases patrols in waters believed to hold vast reserves of oil and natural gas.

“The Philippines strongly protests the inclusion of the nine-dash lines in the e-passport as such image covers an area that is clearly part of the Philippines’ territory and maritime domain,” Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said on Thursday, referring to the lines on the passport map.

Vietnam had written to China in protest against the new passports and had asked it to “reverse their incorrect content”, said Luong Thanh Nghi, a spokesman for Vietnam’s foreign ministry.

“This action by China has violated Vietnam’s sovereignty to the Paracel and Spratly islands as well as our sovereign rights and jurisdiction to related maritime areas in the South China Sea, or the East Sea,” he told a news conference.

Malaysia and Brunei are also claimants in the dispute which overshadowed an Asian leaders’ summit in Cambodia this week. China is also embroiled in a territorial dispute with Japan.

China’s foreign ministry said in a faxed response to questions that the new passports met international standards.

“The passports’ maps with their outlines of China are not targeting a specific country. China is willing to actively communicate with the relevant countries and promote the healthy development of Sino-foreign personnel exchanges,” it said.

It was not clear when China began printing the new passports.

The dispute spilled over into Southeast Asia’s normally serene government summits this year, with China accused of seeking to stall debate and divide the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) over the issue.

Philippine diplomats accused China at this week’s summit in Phnom Penh of using its influence over host Cambodia to push a formal statement saying that ASEAN did not want to “internationalize” the dispute.

The Philippines, which sees its alliance with the United States as a crucial check on China’s claims at a time when the United States is shifting its military focus back to Asia, protested to Cambodia and succeeded in having that clause removed from the final statement.

(Additional reporting by Sui-Lee Wee in Beijing and Ngo Chau in Hanoi; writing by Stuart Grudgings in Kuala Lumpur; Editing by Nick Macfie)

Temperature rising in the South China Sea / Territorial showdown overshadows Obama’s trip to Southeast Asia


November 21, 2012 06:00


BANGKOK, Thailand — China’s largest claimed island in the disputed South China Sea, Yongxing, is just over half the size of New York’s Central Park. Its next-largest claim in the sea, Taiping Island, would fit inside Beijing’s Forbidden City palace with room to spare.

These outcroppings are crumbs peeking up from a vast abyss. Many are swallowed by waves at high tide. Yet many of the sea’s dribs and drabs of soil are the focus of a territorial dispute with ever-sinking odds of resolution.

This week’s East Asia and Asean summits in Cambodia highlighted again the inability of the many countries involved to reach a consensus on how to reduce tensions. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao fervently defended his country’s claim to almost all of the sea, while Obama urged Asean to work cooperatively toward a solution but stopped short of backing smaller nations against China.

China’s chief rivals in the conflict are Vietnam and the Philippines, both trumped by Beijing’s military and diplomatic might. Both now contend that as China summons more villagers, troops, tourists and even aerial drones to these islands, the dispute appears more intractable by the day.

“We’d like to shake hands with China. But it’s difficult to shake hands when your foot is on my foot,” said Henry Bensurto Jr., secretary general of the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs’ maritime commission.

“There is a saying … if you’re being raped, maybe it’s good to just enjoy it,” Bensurto said. “We refuse to be like that.”

Both Vietnam and the Philippines claim dominion over large blocks of the sea extending off their shorelines. China, however, claims nearly the entire body of water. In July, it locked this zone into be a new prefecture named Sansha: a mere five square miles worth of actual land swimming in an aquatic zone larger than France.

“China’s act of defending its sovereignty is necessary and legitimate,” Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said at this week’s summit.

Much of this territory is far closer to either Vietnam or the Philippines than China’s mainland. But China’s claim rests not on proximity but on accounts of ancient mariners who got there first and occasionally left a few fishermen behind.

According to a Chinese government statement obtained by GlobalPost, the government has drawn upon “local chronicles” and ancient maps to determine that its seafarers reached these islands as early as the Han Dynasty (2nd-century BC) and no later than the Tang Dynasty in the late 8th century.

“They have been parts of China’s territory since ancient times,” according to the report. As for the yawning distance between these islands and China’s mainland turf, the report maintains that “many countries have territories which are far away from their home territory but are closer to other countries.”

Philippine or Vietnamese incursions onto these islands — sometimes situated less than an hour’s boat journey from their home terrain — are seen as “acts of invasion.” Both Vietnam and the Philippines insist that old maps don’t cut it.

“Some of these claims aren’t even generated from international law,” said Nguyen Thi Lan Anh, deputy director of Vietnam’s Center for South China Sea Studies. “They’re from historical titles. At least we need rules for this game. If no one knows the rules of the game, we can’t control the outcome.”

The driver behind this conflict is not dominion over sandy atolls jutting above the surf. These nations desire the resources that lie beneath the sea. According to China, the region is home to more than 200 billion barrels’ worth of untapped oil, an amount equal to 80 percent of Saudi Arabia’s acknowledged reserves.

Neither the Philippines or Vietnam have the money or tech savvy to conduct their own studies. “It’s just too costly and too expensive to do so at the moment,” Anh said. Still, Bensurto said, China’s citing of 1,000-year-old mariner routes is hardly a claim to the seabeds that hold all that oil.

“Is it possible,” he said, “for a country to actively claim historical title over a seabed in the Song Dynasty? Was there a submarine in the 11th century that allowed some entity to occupy property under the sea?”

Today, however, China does ply the sea with submarines. So does another lurker, the United States. Announced nuclear submarine visits to the Philippines, a longstanding ally and former US colony, are paired with forays by American surveillance ships near China’s new submarine bases in the region. In recent years, these missions have goaded China’s navy into surrounding US vessels — a message to get off Chinese turf.

China also uses airborne drones to maintain a gaze from above. Recently, the Philippines’ naval defense department threatened to shoot Chinese drones out of the sky. Recurring standoffs between Philippine and Chinese vessels at sea have revived anxiety over American intervention as the US is treaty-bound to protect the Philippines from foreign invasion.

But the South China Sea’s potential to become a new naval battlefield between the two major powers — China and the US — is still low, Bensurto said. “A very good plot in a very good movie,” he said, “but it’s not reality … our hope is that these two superpowers will come together and find a way to stop this.”

Treaty or not, America can’t risk scrambling its relationship with China over this marine dispute, said Kavi Chongkittavorn, a senior fellow at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies at Thailand’s Chulalongkorn University.

“They have deep interdependency. They might not agree on everything but they will definitely not go into open conflict,” Kavi said. “The South China Sea is not the Middle East. The Philippines is not Israel.”

So far, China’s harshest rebukes of its rivals are voiced through government media. An op-ed in the state’s “China Internet Information Center” diminishes the Filipino and Vietnamese argument to a dishonest distraction technique: “To prevent the economic crisis from turning into social unrest, some neighboring countries chose to divert domestic tensions by hyping the so-called ‘China Threat’ and territorial disputes in the South China Sea.”

Both the Philippines and Vietnam are open to discussing joint-development projects that would benefit both China and their own governments. “The peace and stability of the region is in jeopardy,” Anh said. “We have to shelve the sovereignty dispute.”

But China, for now, appears unbudging. The government continues to promote cruise ship tourism to its claimed islands while also deploying troops and barreling ahead with oil-drilling projects in disputed terrain.

“We at least need rules of engagement so we’re able to avoid accidents with each other,” Bensurto said. “A protocol to make sure the guns pointed at each other don’t shoot.”

At the close of the Asean summit on Tuesday, they were no closer to this goal.

Japan warns that South China Sea row could damage regional stability: China stalled on a plan to ease tensions


Reuters Monday, Nov 19, 2012

PHNOM PENH – Japan warned on Monday that a row over the South China Sea could damage “peace and stability”in Asia as China stalled on a plan to ease tensions and disagreements flared between the Philippines and Cambodia over the dispute.

The acrimony provided an uneasy backdrop to United States President Barack Obama’s arrival in Cambodia for a regional summit where he is expected to urge China and Southeast Asian nations to resolve the row, one of Asia’s biggest security issues.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda challenged efforts by summit host Cambodia, a staunch China ally, to limit discussions on the mineral-rich sea, where China’s territorial claims overlap those of four Southeast Asian countries and of Taiwan.

“Prime Minister Noda raised the issue of the South China Sea, noting that this is of common concern for the international community, which would have direct impact on peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific,” a Japanese government statement said after Mr Noda met Asean leaders.

That followed a statement on Sunday from Mr Kao Kim Hourn, a Cambodian foreign ministry official, who said South-east Asian leaders “had decided that they will not internationalise the South China Sea from now on.”

In a sign of tension, Philippine President Benigno Aquino disputed the Cambodian statement and said no such agreement was reached, voicing his objections in tense final minutes of discussions between Noda and Southeast Asian leaders.

As Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen began to conclude the meeting with Mr Noda, Mr Aquino abruptly raised his hand and tersely interjected.

“There were several views expressed yesterday on Asean unity which we did not realise would be translated into an Asean consensus,” he said, according to his spokesman.

“For the record, this was not our understanding. The Asean route is not the only route for us. As a sovereign state, it is our right to defend our national interests.”

Alternative diplomatic routes for the Philippines would likely involve the US, one of its closest allies, which has said it has a national interest in freedom of navigation through the South China Sea’s vital shipping lanes.

Asean on Sunday agreed to formally ask China to start talks on a Code of Conduct (CoC) aimed at easing the risk of naval flashpoints, according to its Secretary General, Surin Pitsuwan.

But Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao appeared to play down the need for urgent action in talks on Sunday night with Mr Hun Sen.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said he could “not recall” Mr Hun Sen making a formal request for talks.

“It takes some time for China and Asean to discuss the CoC,” he said. He repeated Cambodia’s statement that Asean had reached a “common position” not to internationalise the issue, directly contradicting Mr Aquino.

Mr Obama will meet South-east Asian leaders on Monday evening before sitting down with Mr Wen on Tuesday.

China’s sovereignty claims over the stretch of water off its south coast and to the east of mainland South-east Asia set it directly against US allies Vietnam and the Philippines, while Brunei, Taiwan and Malaysia also lay claim to parts.

Sino-Japanese relations are also under strain after the Japanese government bought disputed islands known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China from a private Japanese owner in September, triggering violent protests and calls for boycotts of Japanese products across China.

China prefers to address conflicts through one-on-one talks.

US risks drawing Beijing’s ire with military cruise in disputed waters

USS George Washington enters South China Sea as display of naval strength and support of smaller Asian nations claims


  • Associated Press on board the  USS George Washington
  •,             Saturday 20 October 2012 10.10 EDT
US carrier strike group cruises in South China Sea

The nuclear-powered USS George Washington aircraft carrier cruising the disputed South China Sea. Photograph: Brian H. Able/EPA

A US aircraft carrier group cruised through the disputed South China Sea on Saturday in a show of American power in waters that are fast becoming a focal point of Washington’s strategic rivalry with Beijing.

Vietnamese security and government officials were flown onto the nuclear-powered USS George Washington ship, underlining the burgeoning military relationship between the former enemies.

A small number of journalists were also invited to witness the display of maritime might in the oil-rich waters, which are home to islands disputed between China and the other smaller Asian nations facing the sea.

The visit will likely reassure Vietnam and the Philippines of American support but could annoy China, whose growing economic and naval strength is leading to a greater assertiveness in pressing its claims there.

The United States is building closer economic and military alliances with Vietnam and other nations in the region as part of a “pivot” away from the Middle East to Asia, a shift in large part meant to counter rising Chinese influence.

The Vietnamese officials took photos of F-16 fighter jets taking off and landing on the ships 1,000-foot-long flight deck, met the captain and toured the hulking ship, which has more than 5,000 sailors on board.

The mission came a day after Beijing staged military exercises near islands in the nearby East China Sea it disputes with US ally Japan. Those tensions have flared in recent days.

China claims nearly all of the South China Sea, where the US says it has a national interest in ensuring freedom of navigation in an area crossed by vital shipping lanes.

Vietnam, the Philippines and several other Asian nations also claim parts of the sea.

The disputes attracted little international interest until the late 1990s, when surveys indicated possible large oil reserves.

American rivalry with China has given the disputes an extra dimension in recent years.

The US navy regularly patrols the Asia-Pacific region, conducting joint exercises with its allies and training in the strategic region.

The trip by the George Washington off the coast of Vietnam is its third in as many years.

A second aircraft carrier, the USS John C Stennis, has also conducting operations in the western Pacific region recently, according to the US Pacific Fleet.

Captain Gregory Fenton said the mission was aimed in part at improving relations with Vietnam and ensuring the US had free passage in the South China Sea.

China’s military buildup, including the launch of its own carrier last year and rapid development of ballistic missiles and cyber warfare capabilities, could potentially crimp the US forces’ freedom to operate in the waters.

The United States doesn’t publicly take sides in the territorial disputes among China and its neighbors.

“It is our goal to see the region’s nations figure out these tensions … on their own, our role of that to date is to conduct freedom of navigation exercises within international waters,” Fenton said in an interview on the bridge.

Although claimant countries have pledged to settle the territorial rifts peacefully, the disputes have erupted in violence in the past, including in 1988 when China and Vietnam clashed in the Spratly Islands in a confrontation that killed 64 Vietnamese soldiers.

Many fear the disputes could become Asia’s next flash point for armed conflict.

Vietnam is pleased to accept help from its one-time foe America as a hedge against its giant neighbor China, with which it also tries to maintain good relations.

Still, the Hanoi government reacted angrily to recent moves by Beijing to establish a garrison on one of the Paracel islands, which Vietnam claims. The United States also criticized the move by Beijing, earning it a rebuke from the government there.

“China will take this (cruise) as another expression by the United States of its desire to maintain regional domination,” said Denny Roy, a senior fellow at the East-West Center in Hawaii.

“The US also wants to send a message to the region that it is here for the long haul … and that it wants to back up international law.”

While most analysts believe military confrontation in the waters is highly unlikely anytime soon, they say tensions are likely to increase as China continues pressing its claims and building its navy.


Images Provide Clues to China’s Naval Might

Sep. 29, 2012 – 01:52PM   |
China's first aircraft carrier berthed at Dalian port is seen Sept. 5.

China’s first aircraft carrier berthed at Dalian port is seen Sept. 5.   (AFP)
  • TAIPEI — As China celebrated the launch of its first aircraft carrier last week, images and video posted on the Internet raise new questions as to how far along the country has come in the development of its carrier capability.

Soon after the carrier, named Liaoning, was commissioned Sept. 25 at Dalian Naval Base, Western analysts began dissecting photos and videos posted by the country’s state-controlled media. Some believe the images raise the possibility that Liaoning might be closer to fielding a carrier-based fighter jet capability than previously thought, while others are unconvinced.

In the past, photos of what appeared to be the Shenyang J-15 Sea Shark fighter, a variant of the Russian Sukhoi Su-33, on the deck of the carrier were dismissed by analysts as mock-ups. No photos or videos have been seen of a fighter landing on or taking off from the carrier, but images and video from the induction ceremony show skid marks on the flight deck. A video also shows what appear to be the tail wings of two J-15s in the hangar deck.

Chinese media have consistently reported that the new carrier would be used primarily as a training platform and “to practice how to integrate with a combined task force,” said Gary Li, an analyst at U.K.-based Executive Analysis. Whether real aircraft or mock-ups, the presence of the planes on the ship indicates the Chinese are likely already — at the very minimum — practicing plane-handling techniques on the first-of-its-kind carrier.

According to Chinese state-controlled media, Liaoning is outfitted with state-of-the-art weapons, including a 150-kilometer-range active phased array radar capable of tracking 200 air targets; a 250-kilometer-range Sea Eagle surface-search radar; a 10-kilometer-range Red Flag 10 (FL-3000N) anti-missile system; and a two-kilometer-range 30mm 1030 automatic cannon for anti-ship missiles.

Besides the J-15, other aircraft could include the Zhi-8 transport helicopter and Kamov Ka-28 anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopter.

Some analysts said the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) might use the carrier initially as a helicopter carrier, akin to Japan’s Hyuga-class helicopter destroyers or the U.S. Navy’s Wasp-class amphibious assault ships.

“It is clear from certain pictures taken by the Chinese press in and around the carrier during the induction ceremony that there has been testing of the J-15 on the Liaoning,” Li said. “Tire marks on the runway suggest taking off and landing during sea trials, and one cameraman even managed to capture a J-15 test plane in the below deck hangar.”

But not everyone is convinced.

“I’m having trouble believing they’ve actually landed J-15s on this thing,” said Roger Cliff, a China military specialist at the Project 2049 Institute. Skid marks on the deck could be “touch-and-go” landings.

“The skid marks are well forward of where the arresting gear is,” he said. There is the possibility that they are also practicing takeoffs at sea.

“They could put J-15 prototypes, or even J-11s [Su-27], on the ship with a crane, take the ship out to sea, and practice taking off, landing back on dry land,” he said.

China would need a fighter that can handle a 3-degree angle of drop and a pilot would need to make several land-based arrested landings before trials can begin at sea, where the deck is pitching, Cliff said.

“When practicing on land, the consequence of touching down a foot behind where the deck starts is a poor landing score. If you do that on a carrier, you’re looking at a new aircraft, a new pilot, and repairs to the stern of the carrier,” he said.

Li said the J-15 is just one piece of the puzzle China needs to figure out.

“The lack of an early warning aircraft like the E-2 Hawkeye, even though a prototype has been spotted recently, and not enough dedicated ASW assets to go around in the form of Ka-28s [ASW helicopters], will mean that the Liaoning is not going to be conducting carrier operations in the true sense of the word for some time,” Li said.

Regional Jitters

The carrier could have a future combat role. Though analysts disagree about its capabilities, especially against the U.S. or Japanese navies, neighbors with territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea, such as the Philippines and Vietnam, are taking the threat seriously.

“China operating a large carrier is no doubt raising concern among the other Asian nations,” said Bernard “Bud” Cole, author of “The Great Wall at Sea.” The addition of a carrier provides the PLAN “for the first time with a classic means of effectively projecting naval power at significant distances.”

“My sense is that the Chinese carrier has already served China well as a powerful information warfare tool, despite having not operated as a carrier yet,” said Bob Nugent, vice president of naval advisory services at AMI International, based in Seattle. From a strategic point of view, he said, the ship “sends the same message that much of the rest of its naval development over the past 20 years has — China will be a global naval power.”

What specific mission Liaoning and its successors will carry out remains to be seen, Nugent said, but the “inherent flexibility of the carrier flight deck, perhaps the ultimate ‘reconfigurable mission module,’ means that whatever the mission — from defensive sea denial to offensive power projection — the ship and its follow-ons can be quickly adjusted and moved to be ready.

“While she is clearly a test platform first, it is worth keeping in mind that other navies have pressed their test carriers into wartime service when needed,” Nugent said.

In a broader sense, the Chinese carrier program could spark an arms race in the region.

“The carrier will provide additional motivation for the other Asian nations to continue and perhaps accelerate their ongoing naval modernization programs,” Cole said.

Cole points to Japan’s acquisition of small carriers and new submarines; Australia’s plan to acquire a new class of submarines and its efforts to modernize its Navy in general; acquisition of submarines by Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore; and a stated desire to acquire submarines by Thailand and the Philippines.

“Further, the Indian Navy has very ambitious modernization plans, to include nuclear-powered submarines and three aircraft carriers: Those plans will likely receive a significant boost the first time a Chinese carrier steams west of [the Strait of] Malacca,” Cole said.|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE

China Navy Takes Delivery of 1st Aircraft Carrier: Report

Sep. 23, 2012 – 12:28PM   |
China's first aircraft carrier berthed at Dalian port is seen Sept. 5.

China’s first aircraft carrier berthed at Dalian port is seen Sept. 5.   (AFP)

BEIJING — China’s first aircraft carrier was handed over to the navy of the People’s Liberation Army on Sept. 23, state press said, amid rising tensions over disputed waters in the East and South China Seas.

The handover ceremony of the 300-meter (990-foot) ship, a former Soviet carrier called the Varyag, took place in northeast China’s port of Dalian after a lengthy refitting by a Chinese shipbuilder, the Global Times reported.

During the handover ceremony the aircraft carrier raised the Chinese national flag on its mast, the PLA flag on its bow and the navy’s colors on its stern, the short online report said. A ceremony to place the ship into active service would be held sometime in the future, the paper said without elaboration.

China’s defense ministry was unavailable to comment on the ceremony.

The announcement comes at a time of heightened tensions over maritime disputes in the Asia-Pacific region, where China’s growing assertiveness has put it on a collision course with Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines.

On Sept. 23, China also postponed a ceremony marking the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties with Japan, due to a noisy territorial dispute with Tokyo over the Diaoyu Islands, known in Japanese as Senkaku. Tensions have also risen this year with Vietnam and the Philippines over disputed islands in the South China Sea.

Beijing confirmed last year it was revamping the old Soviet ship, and has repeatedly insisted the carrier poses no threat to its neighbors and will be used mainly for training and research purposes.

But numerous sea trials of the aircraft carrier — currently only known as “Number 16” — since August 2011 were met with concern from regional powers including Japan and the United States, which called on Beijing to explain why it needed an aircraft carrier.

Construction of the Varyag originally ended with the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union. China reportedly bought the carrier’s immense armored hull — with no engine, electrics or propeller — from Ukraine in 1998 and began to refit the vessel in Dalian in 2002.

The PLA — the world’s largest active military — is extremely secretive about its defense programs, which benefit from a huge and expanding military budget boosted by the nation’s runaway economic growth. China’s military budget officially reached $106 billion in 2012, an 11.2 percent increase.

According to a report issued by the Pentagon in May, Beijing is pouring money into advanced air defenses, submarines, anti-satellite weapons and anti-ship missiles that could all be used to deny an adversary access to strategic areas, such as the South China Sea. China’s real defense spending amounts to between $120 billion to $180 billion, the report said.

Territorial row is a ticking time bomb for Asia

Thursday, Sep. 20, 2012

SINGAPORE — As the struggle to control disputed islands and valuable offshore resources has intensified in the East and South China Seas over the past few years, the United States has said repeatedly that it does not take sides in the disagreements among Asian countries over who has ownership rights.

Maintaining an impartial position helps the U.S. to legitimize its “honest broker” role, and thus gain regional acceptance for moves to counter-balance growing Chinese power.

However, this has been easier for the U.S. in the South China Sea than it has in the East China Sea because America’s alliance bonds are looser and more ambiguous in the South China Sea, where only one of the four Southeast Asian claimants, the Philippines, is a U.S. ally.

In the East China Sea, America is tied by history and treaty to Japan’s side in the current surge of tensions between its ally and China.

Having the world’s top three economies involved in this way makes the situation much more dangerous. It explains why the U.S. is now calling on Japan as well as China to handle the confrontation carefully and give primacy to maintaining peace and stability.

As U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta tours the region this week, holding high-level talks in both Tokyo and Beijing, he says he will be calling for cool heads to prevail.

Noting Europe’s slowdown and U.S. economic difficulties, Kurt Campbell, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, pointed out on Sept. 11 that East Asia was “the cockpit of the global economy, and the stakes (in the dispute over the Senkakus) could not be bigger.”

The flare-up followed the Japanese government’s decision earlier this month to nationalize some of the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea by buying them from private owners, despite Beijing’s insistence that they belong to China.

In an orchestrated display of national resolution, China’s top civilian and military leaders have all vowed to contest Japan’s move to tighten administration of the Senkakus.

Even before Japan acted, senior Chinese military leaders visiting Washington expressed “China’s strong concerns over issues related to China’s vital and core interests,” including U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, territorial disputes over islands and maritime boundaries in the East and South China seas, and U.S. close-range military reconnaissance activities directed at China.

Reporting on last month’s visit, the official Xinhua news agency quoted Gen.Cai Yingting, deputy chief of the Chinese armed forces general staff, as saying that China opposed the U.S. stance that the Senkakus — which China calls the Diaoyu Islands — fall within the scope of the 1960 U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security, obliging Washington to help its ally if Japanese-administered islands come under foreign armed attack.

As if to underscore this commitment, Japanese forces and U.S. Marines are in the midst of a 37-day exercise to practice defense and re-capture of vulnerable and lightly guarded islands in the Ryuku archipelago south of the Japanese main islands.

The Senkakus are strategically located in this area between China, Taiwan and Japan. They are run by Japanese authorities as part of the southernmost prefecture of Okinawa, where the U.S. has a major military base. It serves as a hub for projecting American power and influence in East Asia.

Japan says it placed a sovereignty marker on the Senkakus in 1895 after surveys that found them unoccupied.

China contests this view, saying it discovered, named and used the islands going back to the early 15th century. It insists the Senkakus were administered by Taiwan (then ruled by imperial China) prior to 1895 and that the islands were ceded to Japan in a treaty forced on China after it was defeated by Japan in a two-year war.

China (and Taiwan) say that they were promised at a 1943 meeting in Cairo during World War II with U.S. and British leaders that when Japan was defeated, all the territories it had “stolen from the Chinese,” including Formosa (Taiwan), would be restored to China.

Japan (and evidently the U.S.) dispute the view that the Senkakus were part of Taiwan. They say that the 1951 peace treaty in San Francisco between victorious wartime allies and vanquished Japan placed the Senkakus and other southern Japanese islands under temporary U.S. trusteeship.

This ended when a 1971 U.S.-Japan agreement handed Okinawa and surrounding islands back to Japanese control.

However, neither the People’s Republic of China, which has ruled the mainland since 1949, nor the Republic of China on Taiwan, were invited to the San Francisco conference. Neither Beijing nor Taipei are parties to the treaty.

So far, China has talked tough but only carried small sticks in repeatedly asserting sovereignty over the Senkakus. Nothing it has done in the latest flareup suggests that an invasion of the islands by Chinese regular armed forces is imminent.

China’s Global Times, which often voices nationalist views and is controlled by the ruling Chinese Communist Party, noted on Sept. 11 that Japan had an advantage because it was in actual control of the Senkakus. “Therefore, China should set a long-term goal, which is to change the current situation in terms of who controls the islands,” the paper said.

China appears confident that as its economic and military power continues to grow, Japanese and U.S. resolve to defend the Senkakus will diminish. Meanwhile, the uninhabited islands remain a time bomb that could explode with devastating consequences for Asia if China, Japan or the U.S. miscalculate.

Michael Richardson is a visiting senior research fellow at the Institute of South East Asian Studies in Singapore.