China’s Offensives in South China Sea: Coordinated with Russia’s in Ukraine?Posted: May 19, 2014
One of China offensives was moving its huge oil rig to disputed waters with Vietnam. I described China’s strategy and goal in my post “China Takes the Offensive in South China Sea Disputes by Its Oil Rig Move” on May 13, 2014.
Another serious move is its construction of a military base at Johnson South Reaf. According to the information provided by Philippine government, China has already reclaimed 0.09 square km of land there.
On January 11, I said in my post “Chinese Troops to Seize Zhongye Island Back from the Philippines in 2014” that Chinese navy has drawn detailed combat plan to seize Zhongye Island back from the Philippines.
Two days later, in my post “Battle for Zhongye (Pag-asa) Island Seems Unavoidable”, I point out as the remote area of South China Sea is too far away for Chinese aircrafts to cover, China has to set up an air base somewhere in the middle of the sea. Zhongye Island seems a good choice due to its location. In addition, I point out building an air and naval base there costs much less than building an aircraft carrier. US carrier the Ford costs $11.2 to build but only has a deck area of 0.026 square kilometer while the Island base cost much less and has a land area much bigger ( 0.33 square km). And it is unsinkable.
However, the next day I said in my post “Chinese Attack of Zhongye Island Seems Unavoidable but Is Not Inevitable” that China had to consider the harm the attack might do to its relations with the US and ASEAN; therefore the attack was not inevitable.
I shall praise Chinese leaders wisdom that they pay attention not only to the strategic military significance of its islands in the South China Sea but also their economic benefits.
In my post “China to Build USD5 Billion South China Sea Military Base at Fiery Cross Reef” on February 22, I described China’s plans on building a military base on Fiery Cross Reef and a fishing and fish farming base on Mischief Reef so that China can recover the construction costs from the income of the fishing base.
When I learnt China’s ownership of the remote uninhabitable islands and reefs in South China Sea in my early childhood, I wondered what was the benefit in having those islands and reefs. I thought they were burdens as China had to keep a navy to defend them. Later, it turned out that there were rich oil and gas resources in the sea around them. How lucky China is! I described that in my post “South China Sea Disputes: Lucky China; Unlucky Philippines” on June 21, 2013.
Now, when China’s rivers are polluted and sea areas near China, not much better. It is indeed a wonderful idea to use the islands and reefs as unpolluted fish farms to satisfy Chinese people’s huge demand for fish.
China is conducting reclamation at Johnson South, Cuarteron and Dongmen Reefs.
It turns out Johnson South Reef is better for a military base as it is 2.4 km wide and 3.8 km long. By reclamation of its lagoon, China can easily get an area much bigger than Zhongye Island. The Reef is located also in the middle of the South China Sea area China claims as its own, and a littler further south than Zhongye Island, better for control of the remote southern area.
The reclamation on the other two reefs, I guess, is for construction of fishing and fish farming bases.
That will bring about a tremendous change in the situation there. The military base, if completed will be a well-equipped airport and naval base. The Philippines and even Australia will be within the range of China’s medium-range missiles and bombers.
Certainly, the Philippines can also build a military and fish farming base on an island it occupies to counter China’s move, but it lacks the financial resources. Even the US lacks the resources. Moreover, the Philippines will be blocked by Chinese coast guard ships and navy in conducting fishing and fish farming there, while the US lacks the human resourced to do so.
When the fish farming has proved profitable, China will develop all the large number of uninhabited reefs there. It will enjoy the benefit alone and refuse the Philippines to share any of the benefit.
What a sad future for the Philippines.
It is interesting that China does not prevent Malaysia from enjoying the benefit from a disputed island occupied by Malaysia. China has not interfered with the operation of a diving resort Malaysia built there. Is it because of Philippines’ attempt to pit the US against China? China regards the Philippines as selfish and mean in pursuing its small interest in disregard of the risk of world war in the confrontation it causes between China and the US.
Now, China’s reclamation and oil rig moves give Vietnam and Philippines the signals that China is not afraid of the US. What can Vietnam and Philippines do?
The most worrisome is China’s alliance with Russia. One Russia is already difficult for the US to deal with. Russia plus China is certainly too much for the US. US is not strong enough to fight a war against both China and Russia.
I sometimes wonder: Has there been a secret agreement between Russia and China that they conduct offensives simultaneously, one in Europe, the other in Asia?
Article by Chan Kai Yee
- China blames Vietnam, says will not cede inch of disputed territory dated May 16, 2014
- China Takes the Offensive in South China Sea Disputes by Its Oil Rig Move dated yesterday
- Tensions surge in South China Sea as China locks horns with Philippines, Vietnam dated May 7, 2014