China Adds Advanced Missiles to South China Sea Islands

Pentagon plans major response to Chinese hegemony

BY: Bill Gertz
June 14, 2018 5:00 am

China’s military has stepped up militarizing disputed islands in the South China Sea by deploying advanced missile systems on the Spratly islands, according to the Pentagon.

Defense officials disclosed to the Washington Free Beacon that the militarization has raised alarm bells about China’s creeping takeover of the strategic waterway used for some $5 trillion annually in international trade.

The officials previewed Defense Department concerns detailed in the forthcoming China military power report. The annual report to Congress is expected to be made public in the near future.

“China is continuing its gradual deployment of military equipment to its Spratly Islands outposts in the disputed South China Sea,” said one senior official.

“These deployments involve the delivery of military jamming equipment as well as advanced anti-ship and anti-aircraft missile systems to the outposts.”

The most worrisome weapons are missiles.

“The missile systems are the most capable land-based weapons systems deployed by China in the South China Sea,” the official said.

The missiles have been identified as YJ-12B anti-ship cruise missiles that give the Chinese military the ability to hit ships within 340 miles—enough to target U.S. warships that frequently transit the waters in conducting freedom of navigation operations.

The Pentagon has stepped up Navy warship passages near the disputed islands as part of a policy of asserting international freedom of navigation.

During the most recent operation May 27, two Navy missile ships, the cruiser USS Antietam, and the destroyer USS Higgins, Chinese navy vessels unsuccessfully attempted for force the ships out of the area.

Missile emplacements were first identified several years ago on the Spratlys by the Defense Intelligence Agency. At the time, the missiles assessed as very short-range coastal anti-ship missiles with ranges of a few miles.

The DIA, however, reported internally that the missile emplacements were built on the same infrastructure as could be used for longer-range anti-ship missiles, an indication China eventually planned to swap out the short-range systems and replace them with the more lethal weapons.

That appears to have happened with the recent deployment of the YJ-12Bs.

The air defense missiles were identified by the Pentagon as either HQ-9A or HQ-9B long-range surface-to-air missiles with ranges of up to 184 miles.

The HQ-9s are capable of shooting down aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, and cruise missiles.

U.S. military forces recently flew two pairs of nuclear-capable B-52 bombers near the contested South China Sea in a show of force.

Two B-52s were dispatched from the Navy support base on Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean and flew close to the South China Sea on June 5.

Two days earlier, another set of B-52s, this time from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, flew to the Indian Ocean but did not pass over the sea.

On Wednesday, another two B-52s flew from Guam to the East China Sea, passing close to Japan’s Senkaku Islands north of Taiwan. China is claiming the uninhabited Senkakus as its territory.

The defense official said the missiles remain in place on the Spratlys.

Fox News reported recently that China appeared to remove air defense missiles from Woody Island, part of another set of disputed islands, the Paracels, in the northern part of the sea.

The South China Morning Post, however, reported this week that the missiles were back.

China is claiming 90 percent of the South China Sea based on vague historical map claims. The islands are claimed by several other nations, including Philippines and Vietnam.

The international Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled in favor of the Philippines and against China’s expansive claims to own most of the South China Sea in July 2016. China has refused to observe the court’s ruling and continues to claim sovereignty of the sea.

China is building up military bases on a trio of Spratly islands located close to the Philippines, a U.S. ally in the region.

Fox News reported, based on satellite images May 9, that two batteries of HQ-9 surface-to-air missiles appeared from photographs to have been removed from Woody Island.

The senior official said the Pentagon is preparing to respond to Chinese military assertiveness in the South China Sea and elsewhere with a series of actions, the official said.

In addition to the missile emplacements, China angered the Pentagon by firing lasers at U.S. military cargo aircraft flying near the Chinese military base on the Horn of Africa at Djibouti.

The laser illumination injured the eyes of air crew members on two flights.

China also has been linked to cyber attacks, most recently a cyber intrusion against a Navy contractor engaged in cutting edge weapons research, including a new submarine-launched cruise missile.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis first outlined the Pentagon’s concerns about Chinese militarization of the islands during a June 2 speech at a defense conference in Singapore.

“China’s militarization of artificial features in the South China Sea includes the deployment of anti-ship missiles, surface-to-air missiles, electronic jammers, and more recently, the landing of bomber aircraft at Woody Island,” Mattis said.

“Despite China’s claims to the contrary, the placement of these weapons systems is tied directly to military use for the purposes of intimidation and coercion,” he stated.

To press the issue, Mattis noted that the militarization directly contradicted promises made by current Chinese supreme leader Xi Jinping in 2015 that China had no plans to militarize the islands.

In response to the weapons deployments, Mattis said the initial response was to disinvite the People’s Liberation Army Navy from the upcoming Rim of the Pacific international naval exercises involving forces from more than 40 militaries.

“China’s behavior is inconsistent with the principals and the purposes of the RIMPAC exercise, the world’s largest Naval exercise, an exercise in which transparency and cooperation are hallmarks,” Mattis said.

Mattis announced in Singapore he plans to travel to Beijing soon as part of efforts to expand the dialogue with China.

The new Pacific Command chief, Adm. Philip Davidson, told the Senate Armed Services Committee in a written statement in April that the electronic weapons deployed on the disputed Spratlys include a variety of radar and electronic attack capabilities on Cuarteron Reef, Fiery Cross Reef, Gaven Reef, Hughes Reef, Johnson Reef, Mischief Reef, and Subi Reef.

“These facilities significantly expand the real-time domain awareness, [intelligence, surveillance reconnaissance], and jamming capabilities of the PLA over a large portion of the South China Sea, presenting a substantial challenge to U.S. military operations in this region,” Davidson told the Senate Armed Services Committee in written answers to questions.

The Chinese military bases on the seven islands include hangars, barracks, underground fuel and water storage facilities, and bunkers for “offense and defensive kinetic and non-kinetic systems,” he said.

With the weapons systems on the islands, Davidson issued this stark warning: “The PLA will be able to use these bases to challenge U.S. presence in the region, and any forces deployed to the islands would easily overwhelm the military forces of any other South China Sea-claimants. In short, China is now capable of controlling the South China Sea in all scenarios short of war with the United States.”

Rick Fisher, senior fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center, said the missiles in the Spratlys could have been stored on Woody Island and moved south

“To deter China in the South China Sea it is necessary for the U.S. to base long range offensive ballistic and cruise missiles in that region,” Fisher said.

“If they cannot be based in the Philippines, we need to have them on ships, or quickly develop our own intermediate-range ballistic missiles to base on Guam.”

Fisher said Chinese Communist Party leaders “must be made to understand that any use of weapons from its South China Sea islands will result in the immediate destruction of its illegal island bases.”

Retired Navy Capt. Jim Fanell said if the missile deployments on the Spratlys are confirmed it would represent a significant increase in the military threat to the region.

“The PRC’s ultimate objective is to drive the U.S. military out of Asia and replace it with a PLA that is able to force the restoration of what Beijing believes is their sovereign territory—the entirety of the Nine Dash Line in the South China Sea,” Fanell said.

The failure of the Obama administration to confront China has limited U.S. options, Fanell said.

“However, the use of force should not be discounted,” he said. “As we’ve seen with this administration’s use of ‘maximum pressure’ against North Korea, the same approach can yield results against the Chinese Communist Party.”

Source: Washington Free Beacon “China Adds Advanced Missiles to South China Sea Islands”

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


China rejects ‘ridiculous’ U.S. accusation of South China Sea militarization

Reuters Staff May 31, 2018

BEIJING (Reuters) – U.S. assertions that China is militarizing the South China Sea are “ridiculous”, China said on Thursday, after U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Washington would confront China’s actions in the disputed waterways.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis testifies before a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the “Defense Department budget posture in review of the Defense Authorization Request for FY2019 and the Future Years Defense Program” on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 26, 2018. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

Mattis said on Tuesday the United States would push back against what it sees as China’s militarization of islands in the South China Sea despite China’s condemnation of a voyage through the region on the weekend by two U.S. Navy ships.

“The United States military presence in the South China Sea is greater than that of China and other countries that surround the seas combined,” Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular briefing.

Hua also questioned whether U.S. Navy “freedom of navigation” operations were really about preserving the right for ships to sail through the region or an attempt to maintain hegemony.

“This sounds like a case of a thief crying ‘stop thief’ to cover their misdeeds,” she said.

Speaking at a separate briefing, defense ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang said they had noted that the United States had recently been “turning a blind eye to the facts and hyping up” the militarization of the South China Sea.

No country has the right to “make irresponsible remarks” about China’s building of necessary defense facilities on its own territory, Ren said.

However, he said the United Sides had formally proposed Mattis visit China, and both countries were coordinating on details. He did not provide a date for a possible trip.

The Global Times, a state-backed Chinese tabloid that does not reflect official policy, said in an editorial on Thursday that China must prepare to forcefully respond to any “extreme” U.S. interference in the South China Sea.

“Aside from deploying defensive weapons on the Spratly Islands, China should build a powerful deterrence system, including an aerial base and a roving naval force and base,” the paper said.

Reuters first reported that two U.S. Navy warships sailed near South China Sea islands claimed by China on Sunday, prompting anger in Beijing, which claims most of the strategic waters where Chinese, Japanese and some Southeast Asian navies operate.

While the Sunday operation had been planned months in advance, and similar operations have become routine, it comes at a sensitive time and days after the Pentagon withdrew an invitation to China to attend a major U.S.-hosted naval drill.
Pentagon officials have long complained that China has not been candid enough about its rapid military build-up and using South China Sea islands to gather intelligence.

Recent satellite photographs showed China appeared to have deployed truck-mounted surface-to-air missiles or anti-ship cruise missiles at Woody Island.

This month, China’s air force landed bombers on disputed islands and reefs in the South China Sea as part of a training exercise.[L3N1SR08Q]

Mattis is expected to have strong words for China at a Shangri-la dialogue conference in Singapore beginning on Friday.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Christian Shepherd; Editing by Darren Schuettler, Robert Birsel

Source: Reuters “China rejects ‘ridiculous’ U.S. accusation of South China Sea militarization”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.

The West Has Already Lost to China Battle for Control over SCS

The Australian says in its report titled “South China Sea battle already lost: Jim Molan” that Australian retired major general Jim Molan, a senator now, said that the West has failed to stop China’s construction of artificial islands in the South China Sea (SCS) in time. Now, China has not only completed construction of but has also fortified and militarized the islands to obtain firm control of SCS so that China cannot be dislodged without a full-out war, which he knows will not be fought now.

Molan is of the same view as mine that China has full control of SCS now and US freedom of navigation operations (FONO’s) are useless. The Australian quotes Molan as saying that he was not convinced so-called FONO’s, in which warships sailed within 12 nautical miles of disputed territory as a means of making a point, were either “tactically or strategically significant’’.

On the other hand, China’s PLA Daily says in its report “First joint military, police and civilian patrol of Xisha Islands and Reefs drove away 10 foreign fishing boats” on May 20 that China has begun to conduct join naval, coast guards and civilian patrol of SCS and driven 10 foreign fishing boats away in their first patrol.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on The Australian’s and PLA Daily’s reports which can respectively be viewed at and (the latter is in Chinese).

US Intensifies Naval Challenge by Sailing 2 Warships into Chinese Waters

Reuters says in its report, “Exclusive: U.S. warships sail near South China Sea islands claimed by Beijing” that two warships sailed into Chinese territorial waters around China’s Xisha (also known as Paracel) Islands.

The report was confirmed by China’s official protest on US naval move.

When China has landed bombers on its islands, Pentagon said there would be consequence. True enough it soon uninvited China from a major U.S.-hosted naval drill and intensified its freedom of navigation into Chinese territorial waters by sending two warships instead one in all the previous US freedom of navigation operations to challenge China .

There will be consequences too. China will intensify its militarization of its artificial islands with US help as US move gives China the excuse to do so for “defense”.

The US is satisfied with the move as it shows its naval presence in the South China Sea while China though protested, is pleased to have the excuse it needs to militarize its artificial islands to turn the sea into its lake.

There seems to be tension there, but we can rest at ease there will be no war especially when China has militarized the artificial islands to obtain superior geographical advantages in the sea. Otherwise, why shall China have incurred billions of dollars costs in building the islands in the first place? I shall say there is wonderful cooperation between the US and China in the South China Sea whether there is intention of such cooperation is another question quite irrelevant?

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ report, full text of which can be viewed at

China installs cruise missiles on South China Sea outposts: CNBC report

Reuters Staff May 3, 2018

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – China has installed anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missile systems on three of its outposts in the South China Sea, U.S. news network CNBC reported on Wednesday, citing sources with direct knowledge of U.S. intelligence reports.

The move, if confirmed, would mark the first Chinese missile deployments in the Spratly Islands, where several Asian countries including Vietnam and Taiwan have rival claims.

Chinese officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

CNBC quoted unnamed sources as saying that according to U.S. intelligence assessments, the missiles were moved to Fiery Cross Reef, Subi Reef and Mischief Reef within the past 30 days.

The U.S. Defense Department, which opposes China’s installation of military facilities on outposts it has built up in the South China Sea, declined comment. “We don’t comment on matters of intelligence,” a spokesman said.

China has made no mention of any missile deployments but says its military facilities in the Spratlys are purely defensive.

Greg Poling, a South China Sea expert at Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank, said deploying missiles on the outposts would be important.

“These would be the first missiles in the Spratlys, either surface to air, or anti-ship,” he said. He added that such deployments were expected as China built missile shelters on the reefs last year and already deployed such missile systems on Woody Island further to the north.

Poling said it would be a major step on China’s road to dominating the South China Sea, a key global trade route.

“Before this, if you were one of the other claimants … you knew that China was monitoring your every move. Now you will know that you’re operating inside Chinese missile range. That’s a pretty strong, if implicit, threat.”

CNBC said the YJ-12B anti-ship cruise missiles allowed China to strike vessels within 295 nautical miles. It said the HQ-9B long-range surface-to-air missiles could target aircraft, drones and cruise missiles within 160 nautical miles.

Last month, U.S. Admiral Philip Davidson, nominated to head U.S. Pacific Command, said China’s “forward operating bases” in the South China Sea appeared complete.

“The only thing lacking are the deployed forces,” he said. Once these were added, “China will be able to extend its influence thousands of miles to the south and project power deep into Oceania.”

Davidson said China could use the bases to challenge the U.S. regional presence, and “would easily overwhelm the military forces of any other South China Sea-claimants.

“China is now capable of controlling the South China Sea in all scenarios short of war with the United States,” he said.

Reporting by David Brunnstrom; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

Source: Reuters “China installs cruise missiles on South China Sea outposts: CNBC report”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.

Pacom Nominee: China Military Islands Now Control South China Sea

Admiral urges rapid U.S. buildup of hypersonic and medium-range missiles to counter China threat

BY: Bill Gertz
April 20, 2018 5:00 am

China has deployed electronic attack systems and other military facilities on disputed islands in the South China Sea and is now capable of controlling the strategic waterway, according to the admiral slated to be the next Pacific Command chief.

Additionally, the command nominee Adm. Philip Davidson told the Senate Armed Services Committee in a written statement this week that the military urgently needs hypersonic and other advanced weaponry to defeat China’s People’s Liberation Army in a future conflict.

“In the future, hypersonic and directed energy weapons, resilient space, cyber and network-capabilities, and well-trained soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and coastguardsmen will be crucial to our ability to fight and win,” the four-star admiral said in written answers to questions from the Senate Armed Services Committee.

On China’s militarization and take over of the South China Sea, Davidson said the buildup of forward military bases began in December 2013 at Johnson Reef in the Spratly islands. Since then, the Chinese have fortified that reef and six others with military facilities, Davidson said.

“In the South China Sea, the PLA has constructed a variety of radar, electronic attack, and defense capabilities on the disputed Spratly Islands, to include: Cuarteron Reef, Fiery Cross Reef, Gaven Reef, Hughes Reef, Johnson Reef, Mischief Reef and Subi Reef,” Davidson said.

“These facilities significantly expand the real-time domain awareness, [intelligence, surveillance reconnaissance], and jamming capabilities of the PLA over a large portion of the South China Sea, presenting a substantial challenge to U.S. military operations in this region,” he added.

The bases on the seven islands include hangars, barracks, underground fuel and water storage facilities, and bunkers for “offense and defensive kinetic and non-kinetic systems,” he states.

The militarization contradicts a promise from Chinese supreme leader Xi Jinping not to militarize the South China Sea that is used as a waterway transit for an estimated $5.3 trillion in goods annually.

“These actions stand in direct contrast to the assertion that President Xi made in 2015 in the Rose Garden when he commented that Beijing had no intent to militarize the South China Sea,” Davidson said.

“Today these forward operating bases appear complete. The only thing lacking are the deployed forces.”

The occupied islands will permit China to extend its influence thousands of miles southward and project power deep into the Oceania.

“The PLA will be able to use these bases to challenge U.S. presence in the region, and any forces deployed to the islands would easily overwhelm the military forces of any other South China Sea-claimants,” Davidson said. “In short, China is now capable of controlling the South China Sea in all scenarios short of war with the United States.”

In the East China Sea, China continues to send aircraft and ships to waters near Japan’s Senkaku Islands, which China is claiming as its islands. The Chinese have continued a steady level of activity that reflects “China’s intent to coerce Japan without sparking a crisis or conflict,” Davidson said.

China’s relations with the democratic ruled island of Taiwan remain tense and any improvement in relations was described by Davidson as dim.

The statements revealed new details about China’s military buildup and regional expansion the prepared answers to policy questions.

The admiral described the Chinese military buildup as “the most ambitious military modernization in the world,” and warned “the threat to U.S. forces and bases is substantial and growing.”

China’s submarine forces still lag behind those of the United States but China is making progress in developing quieter submarines. Its air forces are also growing in sophistication with advanced stealth fighters, long-range bombers and advanced unmanned aircraft.

Beijing’s cyber warfare capabilities are significant and go well beyond intelligence-gathering with plans for attacks on military command and control networks, he said.

China also is weaponizing space with missiles, jammers, and lasers capable of killing satellites, key American military power projection tools.

The four-star admiral said if confirmed to lead the Pacific Command, he will carry out a buildup of Navy, Army, and Air Force forces in the region to confront the growing threat posed by China, in addition to continuing dangers from North Korea.

Current naval forces are insufficient in backing Pacific Command’s needs, he said.

To deal with China, “the United States should expand the competitive space by investing in next-generation capabilities (e.g., hypersonic technology) while simultaneously recognizing that China is already weaponizing space and cyber,” Davidson stated.

Outgoing Pacific Command commander, Adm. Harry Harris, has requested priority Pentagon development of a U.S. hypersonic weapon, part of the military conventional prompt strike program.

Davidson said he would continue to support a U.S. hypersonic missile to deal with China.

“I view the long-range, hypersonic weapon capability that Conventional Prompt Strike would provide as essential to our ability to compete, deter, and win against a strategic competitor such as China,” he said.

On Wednesday, the Air Force announced the award of a $928 million contract to Lockheed Martin for a hypersonic strike weapon.

China has conducted seven tests of a hypersonic glide vehicle fired atop a ballistic missile that travels and maneuvers at speeds of 7,000 miles per hour or greater. The high speeds and maneuverability make the missiles very difficult to target and counter with missile defenses.

Russia also is developing hypersonic missiles.

Rick Fisher, a senior fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center, said the admiral’s comments provide a great service in helping Americans recognize that China is working to shape the world according to its authoritarian model.

“Effective leadership can only emerge from such essential recognition of the facts,” Fisher said. “On this basis, the Admiral deserves rapid confirmation as he is very much needed in PACOM.”

In response to China’s two new medium- and intermediate-range anti-ship missiles, the United States needs to build similar missiles currently banned under the U.S.-Russian Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, Davidson stated.

“China continues to improve its ballistic missile capabilities, with the DF-21 and DF-26 missiles offering improved range, accuracy, lethality, and reliability over legacy Chinese systems,” he said.

“Simultaneously, China is pursuing advanced capabilities (e.g., hypersonic missiles) which the United States has no current defense against,” he said.

The advanced weapons place U.S. forces across the Indo-Pacific increasingly at risk.

Davidson said he favors building missiles banned under INF, a treaty violated by Moscow through the deployment of a new ground-launched cruise missile.

Additional missiles are needed beyond the plan for Conventional Prompt Strike weapons.

“In the Indo-Pacific, the absence of the INF Treaty would provide additional options to counter China’s existing missile capabilities, complicate adversary decision making, and impose costs by forcing adversaries to spend money on expensive missile defense systems,” the admiral said.

“I believe the INF treaty today unfairly puts the United States at a disadvantage and places our forces at risk because China is not a signatory.”

The comments by Davidson urging the United States to jettison the INF treaty likely will be opposed by arms control advocates who want the United States to remain limited by the treaty in the hope Moscow could return to compliance.

On China’s nuclear buildup, Davidson said the expansion of nuclear forces does not appear to indicate Beijing is abandoning its policy of not being the first to use nuclear arms in a conflict.

“China has developed or is developing advanced/precision [intermediate-range ballistic missiles] and [medium-range ballistic missile] systems,” he said. “These systems could support a variety of nuclear strike options, tactical-to-strategic and preemptive-to-retaliatory. However, they are not-themselves-indicative of any shift in China’s no first use policy.”

In response to a recent Rand Corp. study that warned the United States risks losing a war with China, Davidson said he has “increasing concerns” about a future conflict.

“China has undergone a rapid military modernization over the last three decades and is approaching parity in a number of critical areas; there is no guarantee that the United States would win a future conflict with China,” he said, noting U.S. advantages in personnel, training, and joint warfighting.

To bolster U.S. warfighting capabilities in Asia, the U.S. military should rapidly develop “high-end” weapons, preserve regional alliances, and continue to recruit high-quality people.

Davidson said critical investments are needed in several areas, including undersea warfare, added munitions stockpiles, standoff missiles, including air-to-air, air-to-surface, surface-to-surface, and anti-ship missile.

Also needed are intermediate-range cruise missiles, low cost/high capacity cruise missile defenses, hypersonic weapons, air and surface transport systems, cyber capabilities, air-air refueling capacity, and resilient communication and navigation systems.

Priorities for the Asia-Pacific weapons buildup are increasing stockpiles of precision guided munitions, submarine warfare systems, counter-missile systems, and more intelligence and surveillance systems.

Reflecting the Trump administration’s strategic policies that identify China as a threat, Davidson said China is using its development initiative called Belt and Road to advance anti-democratic expansion.

“It is increasingly clear that China wants to shape a world aligned with its own authoritarian model,” he said.

“The predatory nature of many of the loans and initiatives associated with the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) lead me to believe that Beijing is using BRI as a mechanism to coerce states into greater access and influence for China.”

Source: Washington Free Beacon “Pacom Nominee: China Military Islands Now Control South China Sea”

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

Duterte Wise to See China’s Militarization of Islands Directed at US

In its report “Philippines’ Duterte plays down China military facilities in disputed sea” yesterday, Reuters quotes Philippine President Duterte as saying that China’s construction of military bases on its artificial islands aims at defense against the US rather than confronting its neighboring states.

That is obvious. The construction has been costing China billions of dollars. China’s military has already been much stronger than its neighbors. Shall China have incurred such huge costs to deal with them?

However, Reuters has been trying hard to vilify China by describing China’s nine-dash line as aggression, the construction on the islands as aiming at restricting freedom of navigation in the area and the Court of International Arbitration at the Hague as a UN agency in spite of UN’s denial.

China built the islands to prevent attack by US submarines from the South China Sea when there were obvious danger of that but it refrained from militarizing them to avoid scaring its neighbors. However US Navy’s stupid freedom of navigation operations have provided China with the excuse to militarize them.

Duterte is wise enough to see that, but Philippine pro-US media want to spread false fear among Philippine people to please the US.

Duterte knows clearly that the Philippines cannot rely on the US in its disputes with China over the South China Sea so that it is entirely unable to confront China militarily.

What the Philippines has been fighting for is the rich fishery and energy resources in the South China Sea. China is entirely capable of taking the resources alone as proved by its ban of Philippine fishing at the Scarborough Shoal after the standoff there. The US simply refused to help the Philippines in the standoff as it will not fight for Philippines’ interests.

At the time of the Scarborough standoff, China has not built the artificial islands but the Philippines dared not to confront China militarily without US assistance. That clearly proves that the artificial islands are not necessary for China to deal with its neighbors.

Duterte is wise to become friendly with China so as to enable the Philippine to fish in the area around Scarborough Shoal and share the energy resources with China. Otherwise as China has the military strength and technology to extract the energy resources in the disputed waters alone and the Philippines will simply get nothing.

We shall regard China as generous to allow the Philippines to share the resources that China is wholly entitled to.

China has thus proved that it wants its relations with other countries to be mutually beneficial. That is why in spite of Western media’s vilification China is and will be more popular in the world.

The situation in the South China Sea now is:

China will be able to get the resources in the areas without disputes. In the areas with disputes, it will share with other claimants;

China has built and militarized its artificial islands sufficiently to make the South China Sea its lake; and

The US is unable to attack China with its navy and has to spend billions of dollars for development of new bombers to attack China.

US media such as the Reuters are unhappy with the situation, but they can do nothing except vilifying China. However, as China grows increasingly popular, they will become increasingly unpopular due to their unfounded vilification.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ report, full text of which can be found at