Confrontal Actions, Friendly Conversations: China, US in South China Sea


An F/A-18E Super Hornet performs a flyby on March 7, 2016, during an aerial change of command ceremony above USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) in the Philippine Sea. (Photo: MC Seaman Tomas Compian/Navy)

An F/A-18E Super Hornet performs a flyby on March 7, 2016, during an aerial change of command ceremony above USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) in the South China Sea. (Photo: MC Seaman Tomas Compian/Navy)

US has been conducting freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea. It sent an aircraft fleet to patrol there South China Sea for five days, which US media Navy Times regards as a show of strength in its report titled “After U.S. show of force, China takes hard line on South China Sea”.

According to Navy Times, the patrol “prompted a hard-line response from China doubling down on its claim to nearly all of the resource-rich sea”.

It quotes Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi as saying a day after US carrier left the South China Sea, “”The South China Sea has been subject to colonial invasion and illegal occupation and now some people are trying to stir up waves, while some others are showing off forces. However, like the tide that comes and goes, none of these attempts will have any impact. History will prove who is merely the guest and who is the real host.”

That response in words is described by Navy Times’ report as a hardline one, but is is nothing compared with Chinese navy’s move in sending warships to surround US fleet.

It seemed that military conflict is imminent, but in fact that impression is entirely wrong.

In fact, according to the report, the patro, the US Stennis group, said the interactions with the Chinese navy were professional and non-threatening.

Navy Times quotes Cmdr. Tom Ogden, commanding officer of destroyer Chung-Hoon, as saying in a press release. “Based on the bridge-to-bridge communications USS Chung-Hoon had with the [People’s Liberation Army-Navy] ships, it is clear that the Chinese Navy prides itself on professional communications and interactions”.

As a result, in spite of its intention to show hostilities, Navy Times has to say, “While tensions remain high in the South China Sea, China’s navy and the U.S. Navy have continued to talk and have sought to head off any unnecessary hostilities, which has come in the wake of high-level run-ins.”

Obviously, both sides want to make shows. The US wants to show its strength in order “to assure allies and regional partners that the U.S. is committed to their interests in the region”, according to Bryan Clark, a retired submarine officer and analyst with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

China wants to show back its strength to safeguard its claimed sovereignty to the vast area of the South China Sea.

It seems that so far both sides have been satisfied with their shows.

What will follow then? The US will keep on humiliating China and pleasing its allies with its repeated freedom-of-navigation operations while China will keep on building its artificial islands and installing military facilities for self defense with the excuse of responding response to others’ show of military strength.

When China has built sufficient facilities to prevent US attack nuclear submarines from attacking it with cruise missiles, it will stop the construction and militarization of its artificial islands.

U.S. military experts have given the advice on attacking China that way. The US has at least 30 6,000-ton and 3 16,000-ton attack nuclear submarines armed with 1,500km- to 2,500km-range cruise missiles that are able to hit deep into Chinese homeland from the South China Sea where the water is deep enough for such submarines to operate.

The US is certainly upset by China’s move to make its expensive submarines unable to attack China and is forced to develop long-range strike bombers for bombing Beijing.

I believe that the US will not begin a war with China as it will be too hard to have an aircraft carrier sunk by China with a maximum casualty of 5,000 crew, nor can it even afford the loss of more than 100 crew of a nuclear submarine. As for China, it certainly does not want and is not capable to fight the US. It has the strength to take the islands claimed by it but occupied its neighbors though it is much stronger than them because China wants peace instead of war.

Comments by Chan Kai Yee on Navy Times’ report.

The following is the full text of Navy Times’ report:

After U.S. show of force, China takes hard line on South China Sea
David Larter, Navy Times 8:17 a.m. EST March 9, 2016

The four-ship U.S. strike group that patrolled the disputed South China Sea was followed by Chinese warships, a show of force that prompted a hard-line response from China doubling down on its claim to nearly all of the resource-rich sea.

China’s foreign minister said his country’s sovereignty claims are supported by history and made a veiled reference to the 5-day patrol by the Stennis Carrier Strike Group, as well as recent passes by China’s man-made islands by destroyers Lassen and Curtis Wilbur in recent months.

“The South China Sea has been subject to colonial invasion and illegal occupation and now some people are trying to stir up waves, while some others are showing off forces,” Wang Yi said, according to an Associated Press report, a day after the Stennis CSG departed the South China Sea. “However, like the tide that comes and goes, none of these attempts will have any impact. History will prove who is merely the guest and who is the real host.”
_______________________________________________________

NAVY TIMES

The U.S. just sent a carrier strike group to confront China
_______________________________________________________

Yi also batted away suggestions that China was militarizing the region, a charge levied last month by U.S. Pacific Command head Adm. Harry Harris at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

“China cannot be labeled as the most militaristic. This label is more suited to other countries,” Wang said.

Aircraft carrier John C. Stennis, cruiser Mobile Bay, and destroyers Chung-Hoon and Stockdale, left the South China Sea after five days in the region. Two ships are still operating in the South China Sea: the command ship Blue Ridge and the cruiser Antietam, which stopped for a back.

The Stennis group’s said the interactions with the Chinese navy were professional and non-threatening.

“Based on the bridge-to-bridge communications USS Chung-Hoon had with the [People’s Liberation Army-Navy] ships, it is clear that the Chinese Navy prides itself on professional communications and interactions,” said Cmdr. Tom Ogden, commanding officer of destroyer Chung-Hoon, in a press release.

The U.S. Navy has characterized the patrol through the South China Sea as a “routine” operation, similar to its closely-watched freedom of navigation patrols near China’s recently built islands. In October, before the Lassen’s patrol within 12 miles of the Spratly Islands, the chief of naval operations called the mission non-provocative, adding that it was “part of routine navigation in international waters.”
________________________________________________________

NAVY TIMES

U.S. Navy sends destroyer by man-made islands in challenge to China’s claims
_________________________________________________________

Patrols such as the one made by the Stennis Carrier Strike Group are intended to assure allies and regional partners that the U.S. is committed to their interests in the region, said Bryan Clark, a retired submarine officer and analyst with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

“Nobody in Beijing thinks that the United States doesn’t care about what’s happening in the South China Sea, but they might tell our allies that,” he said. “They might say, ‘Hey, you say the U.S. has your back but we don’t ever see them around here.'”

While tensions remain high in the South China Sea, China’s navy and the U.S. Navy have continued to talk and have sought to head off any unnecessary hostilities, which has come in the wake of high-level run-ins.

The command ship Blue Ridge is slated to make a visit to China later this spring, during which the sailors are going to play sports with their Chinese counterparts while 7th Fleet head Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin will be holding talks with his counterparts about steps to increase communication and prevent confrontations at sea.

Advertisements

2 Comments on “Confrontal Actions, Friendly Conversations: China, US in South China Sea”

  1. Joseph says:

    5 Days? Was that all? Once upon a time the US could deploy full carrier battle groups for months. Now it is going to hurt their pocket just to deploy a carrier and tiny escorts for more than 5 days. How the mighty has fallen. They may have sweetened their wordings, but the damage to their reputation has already been done. Never before a regional power challenge American battlegroup, even a miniature one. Now people talks and wonders, is the US too weak against China now? Or has China become too strong for the US? The US would wish they did not send the aircraft carrier. For gun boat diplomacy, it is better to not sending any ships than sending handicap ones.

    Like

  2. Steve says:

    As long as China reflects the verbal blasting of the US like an echo, everything else is just muscular posturing and gorilla chest thumping. China has an inventory of sophisticated weaponry in missile and rocket technology not inferior to the US and by demonstrating the PLAN warships shadowing the US fleet, clearly demonstrates it’s ability to counter strike. Time is the essence for China to militarise those laborious but formidable islands and establish a perimeter for radar surveillance and underwater detection in the SCS.

    Like


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s