Obama’s Beijing Policy Faces Criticism on Capitol Hill

FILE - In this July 14, 2016 file photo, a woman walks past a billboard featuring an image of an island in South China Sea on display with Chinese words that read: "South China Sea, our beautiful motherland, we won't let go an inch" in Weifang in east China's Shandong province. Two state-owned companies have announced plans to develop floating nuclear reactors for use by oil rigs or island communities. If they succeed, the achievement would raise concern the reactors might be sent into harm’s way to support oil exploration in the South China Sea, where Beijing faces conflicting territorial claims by neighbors including Vietnam and the Philippines. (Chinatopix via AP, File) CHINA OUT

FILE – In this July 14, 2016 file photo, a woman walks past a billboard featuring an image of an island in South China Sea on display with Chinese words on top of the billboard reads: “South China Sea, our beautiful blue territory”, while those at bottom: “Chinese territory, we won’t let go an inch.” The billboard is in Weifang in east China’s Shandong province. Two state-owned companies have announced plans to develop floating nuclear reactors for use by oil rigs or island communities. If they succeed, the achievement would raise concern the reactors might be sent into harm’s way to support oil exploration in the South China Sea, where Beijing faces conflicting territorial claims by neighbors including Vietnam and the Philippines. (Chinatopix via AP, File) CHINA OUT

South China Sea militarization continues amid efforts to ‘cooperate’ with China

BY: Morgan Chalfant September 22, 2016 10:25 am

Experts in Asia studies and maritime law on Wednesday criticized the Obama administration’s approach to Chinese land reclamation on disputed features in the South China Sea and said more needs to be done militarily and diplomatically to deter Beijing.

The administration’s policy toward Beijing has failed to discourage the country from unlawfully asserting sovereignty over islands in the region and has in some ways allowed for China’s actions, experts said in testimony before the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces on Capitol Hill.

Dr. James Kraska, an international law professor at the U.S. Naval War College, said during the hearing that the U.S. government has not called out China for its “unlawful” claims in the South China Sea, which has worked in China’s favor.

“We have to talk plainly about the issues,” Kraska said. “It begins even with the nomenclature that we use for China’s claims, which in the U.S. government we call them ‘excessive’ claims. I would suggest that they’re not excessive claims, they’re unlawful claims. We ought to just speak plainly.”

“We should get rid of these euphemisms, which I think raise doubt and ambiguity and play into China’s hands,” Kraska added.

China has been dredging and building structures that can be used for military purposes on artificial islands in the South China Sea to enforce its territorial claims. China says that its so-called “nine-dash line” outlines its vast territory in the international waters of the South China Sea, but an international tribunal ruled on July 12 that Beijing’s claims have no legal or historical basis.

The decision was rejected by Beijing, despite the United States and other powers urging it to accept the ruling.

Bonnie Glaser, an Asia studies expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said Wednesday that it is “essential” to stop further reclamation in the South China Sea but that the United States has thus far been unwilling to put itself on the line and “incur some risk” so that China will take America “more seriously.”

Glaser went on to say that the Obama administration has prioritized cooperation with China on climate change and the Iran nuclear deal over admonishing Beijing for its actions in the South China Sea.

“Because the United States has prioritized cooperation with China on a vast number of issues, some of which are very important—climate change, the agreement with Iran to prevent Iran from going nuclear—there has been, I think, a belief in the administration that we can’t have those and then at the same time put pressure on China to stop taking destabilizing actions in the South China Sea,” Glaser said.

“But I think we can do both and we have to be willing to very clearly tell the Chinese that their behavior is unacceptable.”

While experts and lawmakers credited the administration with taking notice of the challenges in the South China Sea and bolstering military presence in the Indo-Asia-Pacific, they agreed that a stronger U.S. military presence is needed to thwart China’s island building campaign.

The U.S. Navy has conducted freedom of navigation patrols in the South China Sea, sailing warships under the rules of “innocent passage” within 12 nautical miles of features claimed by China. The exercises have been criticized by Beijing, though experts said Wednesday that the U.S. military needs to do more to deter Chinese provocations.

“I would not have selected innocent passage, which is the most restrictive navigational regime in the [U.N. Convention on the] Law of the Sea, in order to challenge unlawful claims,” said Kraska, who explained that there are no lawful territorial seas around the features or artificial islands over which China claims sovereignty.

Kraska recommended the United States fly aircraft over features that Beijing has built up, such as the Mischief Reef, and conduct more freedom of navigation operations, some combined with other countries, including Japan. Tomomi Inada, Japan’s defense minister, said last week that the country wants to conduct joint training patrols with the U.S. Navy in the South China Sea.

Glaser encouraged more “regular” freedom of navigation exercises in the region. She said that China’s activities in the South China Sea suggest Beijing wants to exercise control over the waters and airspace in the region and lock out the U.S. military.

“Acquiring greater control over the South China Sea may well be a key step in a long-term Chinese strategy to constrain or even block the U.S. Navy’s access to the region and to maneuverability within the waters of the first island chain,” Glaser said.

China says it has conducted reclamation on the Spratly and Paracel Islands for non-military purposes. However, satellite images show that China has constructed airstrips on the Fiery Cross, Subi, and Mischief Reefs in the Spratly Islands and is building reinforced hangars on the features that will be able to accommodate two dozen fighter jets and larger air craft, as well as other air support infrastructure.

China has landed civilian planes on all three airstrips and also landed a military jet on the Fiery Cross Reef in April, drawing protests from the U.S. government. Beijing has also deployed surface-to-air and anti-ship missiles as well as fighter jets to Woody Island in the Paracel chain.

There is also evidence that Beijing is preparing to dredge around the Scarborough Shoal over which the Philippines also claims sovereignty, which Glaser described as alarming.

“A military outpost on that feature would enable China to deploy radar aircraft or cruise missiles within range not only of Manila but also several Philippine bases to which the United States has recently gained access,” she said.

Chinese ships have also increasingly made trouble in the region. Chinese maritime law enforcement ships were involved in more than 70 percent of major incidents in the South China Sea since 2010, according to analysis from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank based in Washington, D.C.

Chinese vessels have also made more incursions in waters around the disputed Senkaku Islands, which are claimed by Japan, in the East China Sea.

Dr. Andrew Erickson, a professor at the U.S. Naval War College’s China Maritime Studies Institute, criticized U.S. officials during congressional testimony Wednesday for not publicly acknowledging China’s third “maritime militia” sea force operating in the South China Sea along with its Navy and Coast Guard ships. He called for a more comprehensive military strategy addressing the situation in the region.

The hearing took place two weeks following President Obama’s final trip to Asia, during which he participated in the G-20 and ASEAN summits and formally adopted the stipulations of the Paris climate deal alongside Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Some worried Wednesday that Beijing could take advantage of Obama’s final months in office—or the transition to the next administration—to redouble its efforts in the South China Sea.

“With the end of the Obama administration approaching, I believe we are entering a time of vulnerability and opportunity,” Rep. Randy Forbes (R., Va.), who chairs the subcommittee, said during opening remarks.

“I am concerned that China’s president and the Chinese government may see President Obama’s last few months as a window of opportunity for establishing an air defense identification zone, expanding reclamation activities to Scarborough Shoal, accelerating the militarization of the artificial features or some move that will test our resolve,” Forbes said.

“At the same time, I also see an opportunity for a new administration to take a new and stronger stance on the South China Sea and redouble our efforts to maintain peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region,” the congressman added.

Source: Washington Free Beacon “Obama’s Beijing Policy Faces Criticism on Capitol Hill”

Note: This is Washington Free Beacon’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


11 Comments on “Obama’s Beijing Policy Faces Criticism on Capitol Hill”

  1. Fu Man-Chu says:

    After the illegal intrusion into Syrian territory by warplanes of the international coalition of American forces “against” ISIS into Syrian sovereign territory and criminal murder of 90 plus Syrian soldiers and wounding hundreds more defending the land against a beseiging ISIS terrorists, Samantha “biggest necon hawk” power – American representative in the UN, shrieked at the Russians for calling an emergency UNSC meeting. Meantime, the pre-rehearsed and well orchestrated American CIA let off a red flag bomb in New York and another red flag destruction of UN sponsored Red Cross humanitarian convoy in Aleppo raised more than than eye brow at the co-incidental timing and the canned blaming of the Russians for these incidents in American and European mass medias. Obviously a diversion from the spotlight that would had been focused squarely on the American “mistake” in assuming the Syrian Army for ISIS terrorists.

    I am glad however, and I am sure THE world is glad to hear that Russian planes recently took out the coalition of American forces’ foreign intelligence HQ in Aleppo decimating more than 30 Israeli, American, French, English, Norwegian, Turkish, and other foreign intelligence officers who were responsible for the blatant illegal and criminal bombing of Syrian forces in Deir -Ezzor, a city in a sovereign country. As usual, the Western mainstream medias suppressed or rather, censored, this news so that the world does not know the just retribution avenged by the angry Russians. This news should be on all global news medias and on you tube under perhaps an account named “America Uncensored”.

    I say, “hurrah” and “Jolly good show” President Putin.

    And here we continue to have Obama’s mouthpieces to distort and misinform the situation here in the South China Sea and East Sea?


    • Peter says:

      The world fought Adolf Hitler and General Tojo who invaded and conquered other countries rendering them colonies. Now the U.S. has done and doing the same thing, colonizing all countries in south east and east Asia after defeating Tojo’s imperial troops and assuming these lands belong to it. Countries like Vietnam, Korea, Okinawa, Guam, Philippines, Samoa, and other islands in the Pacific, including Japan now a vassal state. Other countries are assumed as being under their dominance or influence and no other country is or allowed to have influence over it; Countries like Indonesia, Taiwan, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, and Pacific islands; Countries where repugnant and condemnable massacres and genocides have been perpetrated by America’s unseen hand to further this doctrine. In other words, America was NO saviour of the world. It WAS and IS just another imperialist power replacing Hitler and Tojo, dominating the world but taking the opportunity to look like a saviour; a knight on a white horse. The world had exchanged one imperialist for another.

      The world fought Adolf Hitler and General Tojo. More so, Russia who sent its sons to fight both and died in the process. It appears the world has to take up the cudgel again, this time against the arrogant backward looking Establishment in America’s Washington who deem themselves the inheritors or emperors of the Imperial Roman Empire. Intelligent leadership is won by character and respect. Washington is currently controlled by morons and cavemen who thinks only in terms of brute force.

      No doubt the world has now to fight a new imperialist which considers the world its Empire. World War III has already begun.


      • Johan Hartono says:

        Looks like the fall of the imperial American Empire is starting now .. and the “barbarians”, self-created enemies, are the Russians, Chinese, Iranians, and North Koreans. Not to mention dissension and uprising of the “barbaric” Goths, Slavs, Saxons, Romans, Spaniards, and Huns in Europe. And that does not even include the native and Latin Americans in South and Central America. What more for the Middle Eastern countries and Africans increasingly aware of the violence and chaos caused deliberately by America – its CIA, military, politicians, State dept., and other covert forces. Last but least, the grave dismay and dissatisfaction amongst Anglo-Saxons in the 5-Eyes countries at the venal and corrupt leadership, or lack of leadership rather, or short-sighted “leadership”, in the Black House for the last 12-15 years.

        With the crumbling economy and financial collapse, the fall of the American Empire is indeed nigh. America is a modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah. Vile, wicked and bereft of morals and decency. Indeed, it deserves to fall.


  2. Mat H Ari says:


    Professor James Kraska, Ms Bonnie Glaser and Dr Andrew Erikson fails to understand the customary nature of local laws here in the South China Sea since 1421. They are being too legalistic about the entire matter and thereby exacerbate the misunderstanding rather pushing it to a solution. More so, when people like Bonnie Glaser and Andrew Erikson are confirmed paid mouthpieces of the American Empire.

    English law includes customary law as relates to land, possessions and chattels. Why is it so hard for these three seemingly educated people understand this? Customary law as pertaining to heriditary titles and claims to land, properties, dwellings, possessions and chattels ARE very common and alive in South East Asia. Some have even codified it or continue to follow such traditional conventions in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Cambodia, and I am sure, in the Philippines, and even Vietnam too.

    Legalese is a Western invention, developed and introduced into South East Asia or East Asia in the last 150 years. Before 1940, American, European and Japanese powers had no such fond regards for law or technical niceties. No, it was brute power, ambition, territorial and resources greed that was the over-riding motivation in their behaviour, hence the colonization of established countries and civilizations plus habited and uninhabited islands. So, to Glaser, Erikson and Draska, please, you have nothing to teach us. The veil has been removed for some time now and we can see that all words uttered and printed and broadcasted by you, the Obama Administration, Washington and America are words of an EMPIRE. All are narratives of an Empire wishing to hold on to their power and control of faraway lands, seas and civilization who don’t quite agree with your military bases belligerently harbouring weapons of war like warships, warplanes, submarines, drones, missiles, nukes, etc., aimed at a developing China in particular. No, we don’t buy all your disinformative and misinformative, not to mention racist, narratives in your controlled mass medias and even alternative medias.

    If you consider yourselves superior beings, what right do you have travelling all the way from the West, using Chinese gifted navigation maps, to invade, conquer, colonize and plunder Eastern countries. Where are your superior moralities and role modelling? All you know today is carry a big stick, showing off the big stick and threatening to scrub us all with that club. Well, since you are being an existential threat to us all, the natural response is to roll up our sleeves, pick up a big stick and prepare to defend ourselves. You leave us no choice.

    Had you been smarter, you would had achieved a single world order had you behaved like the Russians who absorbed may ethnic, national, communities, societies, countries and republics into a greater Russian Federation or Soviet Union irregardless of all stripes of religions and beliefs. Alack, you have less than brighter people in charge and leading for the last 70 – 200 years, and this shall be the downfall of the American Empire; The American Anglo-Saxon Empire. Other Anglo-Saxon nations and communities will breakaway from you because of your failure of leadership. You have NOT grown with the times. We who have been educated in Anglo-Saxon countries retain fond memories of them but NOT the U.S. of A.

    You want to be a world leader? Show yourself to be a world leader and BEHAVE like one. President Xi and Beijing are rational and reasonable. Had the South China Sea been better and more wisely handled by Obama and Washington instead of it being subsumed by your shallow, questionable, geopolitical and military power posturing, this situation would not be where it is today. Beijing is a willing student but unfortunately, an insecure Washington is not a willing and wise teacher.

    Who is running America?


    • Joseph says:

      Of course that professor James Kraska, and his cronies are being too legalistic about the SCS. After all, legality is their playing field to twist around for their benefits. But their fatal flaw is to ignore that it is their legality, not regional legality. They may twist it around in Western courts and forums, but it has no valid legality unless the region is willing to adopt it. And today the region is not so dumb and passive to let some Western pressure to dictate them. We are back to follow the code of conducts that has been established for millenia before the arrived of European interests. The West just never learn. They may create any code of conducts they want but they have to have their own mean to enforce it. They cannot say their way is riight and we have to obey, especially when it benefits only them and makes us the fall. They should learn the lesson from Zimbabwe, where they made law to protect White immigrants, where they expect the Zimbabwean authority must enforce it while the White immigrant treat them with arrogances and contempt to the point they only recognized British authority in the now-sovereign country. It did not work in Zimbabwe, it will not work in SE Asia. The recent ASEAN summit had reflected our attitude to this kind behavior when everyone isolated US president Obama, including his ‘closest’ ally, Phillipines president Duterte. The truth is, Kraska and his gang do not even have the right to speak about us. This is not America, we are not their subjects.


      • Johan Hartono says:

        Aye, as a colonial or imperial overlord, they have us accept a continued second class “citizen” status while their own citizens and kind, bestowed with the tacit first class ranking. Class and power comes from the barrel of the gun, so it seems under the current brutish American “leaders”. The only way to achieve full and complete equality is to get rid of that yoke of military subservience to America.

        Even the TPP is but an attempt to corral all the foolish member countries – led by equally foolish, dumb and sell-out traitorous politicians – into the American Empire as a neo colony where its economies would be controlled by America.

        Singapore I can understand but Vietnam? Incredible! They have the most unbelievably stupid leaders in that regard : Selling out the country to America as a colony after millions of Vietnamese died defending their country against colonization by America! Crazy.


  3. Steve says:

    These war mongrel writers are intend on beating the SCS war drums, all well paid in US dollars to mislead the world. China has issued the White Papers on the relevant historical claims and ownership of the SCS. It is biased that the PCA award has disproved China’s claims as illegal. In fact, it’s practically impossible to refute All of China’s historical claims to the SCS as irrelevant. Something filthy on back door closed deals between the three Alibaba thieves of US, Japan and PH to divide and conquer the maritime domination of the SCS.

    The US wants to rewrite the rules of the SCS and maintain their maritime dominance with it’s naval power especially nuclear submarines and military based in the Philippines. The Filipinos has being colonised by foreign powers for almost 495 years and continue to pursue servitude to their Masters. As President Duterte said ‘we are not your little brown monkeys,’ but the problem with the PH population is that they do not know what it is like to be ‘your own master.’ They are used to receiving gifts and donations from foreign powers. For instance, Duterte said the Aquino
    Government bought the KA50 supersonic jets from Korea (American design) with No gifted missiles (sounds really strange), the Japanese are donating 10 coastguard vessels, the US donating military aid and China building a drug rehabilitation centre.

    China has pursued the direction of righteousness and courage by engineering those seven islands. I have to say that the timing is most favourable, although two years ago, it could have being a miscalculation, but the CCP leadership understands the relevance and importance of its maritime security of its Motherland.

    Any further interventionist policies by the US into the maritime domain of the SCS will be counter-productive. China will no longer back away from war as the air and naval combat patrols
    has already intensified China’s legal historical claims.


  4. Simon says:

    The SCS is Chinese territory and no business for America to exert its influence. All the provocations are from America and it is China who is and should be taking action to deter American provocations. Until China start patrolling off the coast of mainland America the yanks should not complain and stick to their business.


  5. johnleecan says:

    The Americans’ behavior are really alarming. They are trying to shift the focus of their unlawful, deceitful and murderous destruction and killing of civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria. Their support for killings and bombings in Yemen. Their cowardly and deliberate killings of civilians in Pakistan using drones for testing and show so their weaponry can sell. These are all in the present.

    The Americans force nations to follow its rules or else bring down or murder their leaders, destroy their economy and impose sanctions. No wonder the Islamist want to conquer America and plans to impose Sharia law to let the Americans have a taste of their own medicine.


  6. Fre Okin says:

    All these American professor, congressman, ‘expert’ simply haven no credibility when they never say anything negative about the other disputants who have been plundering the South China Sea of Billions of Dollars worth of fish, oil/gas before China start to take action to redress the wrong did to her.

    Plus, since US have not ratified UNCLOS yet, they should just shut up and let other Western countries make their opinions known. Very few Westerners dare to publicly support China for fear of losing their jobs or being branded a traitor to Western interests. The only hope is some honest journalism to expose the truth. An Australian researcher Greg Austin is one rare example who dare to speak the truth and point fingers at other nations for causing trouble there.