China’s Economic v. US Military Approach Regarding Artificial IslandsPosted: April 16, 2015
China must use the vast sea areas it claims for economic development instead of military purpose.
That is very important because if China is so stupid as to use those islands for military purpose now, it will make its repeated statements on its pursuit of peaceful rise a 100% lie.
Moreover, is there any need for China to militarize those islands now? No. Even less is the need for it to set up a South China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).
Chinese President Xi Jinping has shown his wisdom in conducting its nationwide mass-line education campaign for democratic supervision of officials by common people, anti-corruption storm that has brought down powerful officials and generals without giving rise to revolt and further thorough economic reform step by step without encountering severe hindrance from the vast number of Maoists.
In addition, he has succeeded in winning support for his free trade area Asian Pacific (FTAAP), One Belt And One Road and AIIB initiatives in spite of Strong US opposition.
As a result, this blogger sees Xi’s wisdom and has predicted in his posts that China will use the artificial islands for peaceful goals to exploit energy and other natural resources and develop fishery, fish farming and tourism.
I have pointed out that according to recent photos of the islands no airstrips have so far been built on those islands.
In my previous posts, I pointed out that the large-scale land reclamation project in the South China Sea was a well planned one. For transportation to those artificial islands, China has developed large ground effect vehicles similar to Soviet Caspian Sea Monsters and has been developing world largest amphibious aircrafts. As a result, there is no urgent need for airstrips.
However, the military value of those islands is obvious. That worries US military as they cherish the dream of their capabilities to counter other countries anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) strategy.
US military is unrealistic to turn a blind eye to its counter A2/AD failures in Korea, Vietnam and Iraq in the past and in Afghanistan now. How can US military have access to areas in China.
US military expert Dave Majamdar lamented that US aircraft carrier groups are unable to have access to Chinese land area and suggested replacing aircraft carriers with attack nuclear submarines to have access to attack China’s land areas with cruise missiles.
He is not aware that China lags much behind the US in aircraft carriers but its nuclear submarines are now of world standards. Moreover, China may surpass the US in nuclear submarines soon when it has built its fourth-generation super fast and super quiet nuclear submarines with magnetic liquid propulsion. As pointed out in my previous post, a Chinese provincial official declared in a provincial meeting that his province has succeeded in building such a submarine.
Chinese experts believe what the province has built is a small prototype and it takes a few years for China to build a large one armed with enough weapons to dominate the sea.
With such Chinese attack nuclear submarines, it is now the time, on the contrary, for the US to develop its own A2/AD capabilities to prevent such Chinese submarines from attacking US homeland in retaliation of US attack at China’s homeland.
I cannot refrain from pointing out how sad the reality of US anti-A2/AD capabilities is now. There are about 100 US citizens in danger in Yemen and need US navy to rescue them, but US navy is no willing to do anything because it is too dangerous to rescue them from Yemen.
The US is not able to counter Yemen’s A2/AD!
Too sad that the US still cherishes the wishful dream of having access to much larger countries’ land areas.
Besides, US military is unrealistic that they do not study other countries’ actual strategy but believes that other countries adopt the strategy that exists in their imagination.
China’s previous leader Hu Jintao made China’s strategy during his reign very clear. It is a strategy to wipe out the enemy at sea so that there will be no destruction caused on its land by its enemy. For that, China has already acquired the capabilities through the development of its DF-21D ballistic and YJ-18 and other cruise anti-ship missiles.
Chinese current president Xi Jinping’s strategy is to develop China’s integrated space and air capabilities for both attack and defense to defend China’s trade lifelines. A possible approach is to develop large aerospace bomber capable of destroying a whole aircraft carrier battle group at high sea in minutes.
There is no need for militarization of the artificial islands in both Hu’s and Xi’s strategies.
China is wise in exploiting the islands, reefs and sea areas it claims for peaceful economic development. It is also wise and generous in advocating the peaceful cooperation with other claimants in exploiting the resources there.
Of all the claimants, only the Philippines does not accept China’s offer. Malaysia and Brunei have accepted while Vietnam is accepting the offer now.
The US has repeatedly stated that it takes no side in the maritime territorial disputes between China and other claimants but now strongly accuses China of its peaceful land reclamation. In contrast, it has not opposed any of other claimants’ development of military bases in the disputed area.
US President Obama has recently openly accused China of bullying others in the South China Sea. According to Reuters report “China reef work could lead to new air exclusion zone: U.S. commander” today, US “Admiral Samuel Locklear, speaking at a congressional hearing in Washington, described as ‘aggressive’ the land reclamation and construction projects China has been conducting at eight military outposts in the South China Sea.”
Reuters says: “The building in the Spratleys included better berthing space for ships, as well as what was presumed to be an airfield on the Fiery Cross Reef, Locklear, head of the U.S. Pacific Command, said in testimony to the House Armed Services Committee.”
Interesting, Locklear is so good in imagination in regarding all the eight artificial islands as military outposts and presuming Chinas construction of an airfield there.
In addition, Reuters quotes Locklear as saying, “It allows them to exert basically greater influence over what’s now a contested area. Expanded land features down there also could eventually lead to the deployment of things such as long-range radars, military, and advanced missile systems. And it might be a platform if they ever wanted to establish an air defense zone.”
China has already built long-range radars and deployed enough ballistic and cruise missiles to cover all the South China Sea including some areas in the Philippines, why shall it spend a lot of funds in building the artificial islands for such radars and missiles?
China has 5,000 km tunnels to hide those missiles and air force and navy to defend its radars along its coast. Radars and missiles on those islands are much more vulnerable to enemy attack.
Does Admiral Locklear lack military common sense in giving such testimony?
Certainly not. He gave the testimony with the mentality of containing China so that he described China’s each and every peaceful move as military move with imagination.
However, it is natural for Admiral Locklear, as a military commander to see China’s moves in his military perspectives.
It was wield that US President Obama accused China of bullying in the South China Sea. Of the contending claimants mentioned in Reuters reports, only the Philippines is suffering from hindrance of its fishing boats in fishing in disputed areas. China has no problems with Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan while its problems with Vietnam are being solved peacefully and even friendly now.
What is wrong with Obama?
He has failed in hindering Xi Jinping’s FTAAP, AIIB and One Belt And One Road peaceful economic initiatives and is unable to put forth his own economic initiatives to counter Xi’s. What he can only do is to sow discords between China and ASEAN countries. However, as he cannot provide economic benefits while China’s above-mentioned initiatives have brought and will bring much benefit to ASEAN, the only approach left for Obama is a military one.
It does not work due to Xi’s peaceful offensive. Xi has made great economic concessions to please the US and is seeking to build brand new superpower ties with the US.
The game between big players must be very interesting. It has attracted this blogger to write quite a few posts on it.
I do hope to see some wise moves by American leaders in the game. Otherwise, people will lose their interest in a poorly matched game.
Source: Reuters “China reef work could lead to new air exclusion zone: U.S. commander”
Full text of Reuters report can be found at http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/15/us-southchinasea-usa-idUSKBN0N62EB20150415