In pushback to U.S., China says ‘has no fear of trouble’ in South China Sea


China's Joint Staff Department Deputy Chief Admiral Sun Jianguo speaks at the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore June 5, 2016. REUTERS/Edgar Su

China’s Joint Staff Department Deputy Chief Admiral Sun Jianguo speaks at the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore June 5, 2016. REUTERS/Edgar Su

China rebuffed U.S. pressure to curb its activity in the South China Sea on Sunday, restating its sovereignty over most of the disputed territory and saying it “has no fear of trouble”.

On the last day of Asia’s biggest security summit, Admiral Sun Jianguo said China will not be bullied, including over a pending international court ruling over its claims in the vital trade route.

“We do not make trouble, but we have no fear of trouble,” Sun told the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, where more than 600 security, military and government delegates had gathered over three days.

“China will not bear the consequences, nor will it allow any infringement on its sovereignty and security interest, or stay indifferent to some countries creating chaos in the South China Sea.”

The waterway has become a flashpoint between the United States, which increased its focus on the Asia-Pacific under President Barack Obama’s “pivot”, and China, which is projecting ever greater economic, political and military power in the region.

The two have traded accusations of militarizing the waterway as Beijing undertakes large-scale land reclamation and construction on disputed features while Washington has increased its patrols and exercises.

On Saturday, top U.S. officials including Defense Secretary Ash Carter warned China of the risk of isolating itself internationally and pledged to remain the main guarantor of Asian security for decades.

Despite repeated notes of concern from countries such as Japan, India, Vietnam and South Korea, Sun rejected the prospect of isolation, saying that many of the Asian countries at the gathering were “warmer” and “friendlier” to China than a year ago. China had 17 bilateral meetings this year, compared with 13 in 2015.

“We were not isolated in the past, we are not isolated now and we will not be isolated in the future,” Sun said.

“Actually I am worried that some people and countries are still looking at China with the Cold War mentality and prejudice. They may build a wall in their minds and end up isolating themselves.”

During a visit to Mongolia on Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged Beijing not to establish an air defense identification zone over the South China Sea, as it did over the East China Sea in 2013.

Kerry, who will visit China next, said an ADIZ would be “a provocative and destabilizing act”, which would question Beijing’s commitment to diplomatically manage the dispute.

The South China Sea is expected to feature prominently at annual high-level China-U.S. talks starting in Beijing on Monday, also attended by U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.

U.S. concerns about Chinese trade policy and the difficulty foreign businesses say they face operating in China will add to what will likely be difficult discussions.

COURT DECISION

On the upcoming decision by the international tribunal in The Hague in the case brought by the Philippines to contest China’s claims in the territory, Sun reiterated Beijing does not recognize the court’s authority.

Sun said China wanted to solve the dispute with the Philippines bilaterally and said the door was open for dialogue with incoming President Rodrigo Duterte.

Duterte said on Thursday he would not surrender the country’s rights over the disputed Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea, which China seized in 2012.

China claims almost the entire sea. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims.

“China has the patience and wisdom to settle any disputes through dialogue. We also believe the related countries have the wisdom and patience to make peace,” Sun said. “I’ve always believed that shaking hands is better than clenching fists.”

Vietnam’s deputy Defence Minister Nguyen Chi Vinh warned the rising tensions could lead to an arms race with “disastrous and unpredictable consequences” if not addressed. The United States lifted Vietnam’s arms embargo last month.

Most countries at the summit stressed the importance of freedom of navigation and overflight in the waters, through which trillions of dollars in trade is shipped every year.

Sun denied such concerns should be focused on China.

“If there is any restriction …it will definitely not be China’s fault. If you don’t believe it, just wait and see.”

(Additional reporting by Paige Lim and Masayuki Kitano in Singapore, Ben Blanchard in Beijing and Yeganeh Torbati in Ulaanbaatar; Editing by Lincoln Feast)

Source: Reuters “In pushback to U.S., China says ‘has no fear of trouble’ in South China Sea”


Diplomatic tag as countries find new ways of standing up to China


U.S. Secretary of Defence Ash Carter meets with South Korea's Minister of Defence Han Minkoo (R) and Japan's Minister of Defence Gen Nakatani for a trilateral at the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore June 4, 2016. REUTERS/Edgar Su

U.S. Secretary of Defence Ash Carter meets with South Korea’s Minister of Defence Han Minkoo (R) and Japan’s Minister of Defence Gen Nakatani for a trilateral at the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore June 4, 2016. REUTERS/Edgar Su

U.S. Secretary of Defence Ash Carter meets India's Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar for a bilateral at the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore June 4, 2016. REUTERS/Edgar Su

U.S. Secretary of Defence Ash Carter meets India’s Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar for a bilateral at the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore June 4, 2016. REUTERS/Edgar Su

When U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter spoke at a key Asian summit at the weekend, he used the word “principled” 38 times, floating his vision of a U.S.-backed “security network” of countries in the region.

Several delegations were quick to respond to the idea at the annual Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, but it seemed to evolve into a form of diplomatic tag-team wrestling as a loose coalition of nations lined up to criticize China.

Nations including Japan, India, France and Vietnam joined calls for greater respect for international law to resolve worsening tensions over the South China Sea, a dig at Beijing which has said it will not accept any ruling by a U.N.-backed court on the dispute.

Chinese officials, meanwhile, stressed Beijing’s commitment to being a peaceful, lawful and inclusive nation but said it would not be bullied.

“No one has the right to point their fingers at China,” said Admiral Sun Jianguo, deputy chief of the joint staff department of China’s Central Military Commission, as he faced a string of questions at one public forum at the summit on Sunday.

“Belligerence does not make peace.”

Sun was sharing a podium with Vietnamese deputy defense minister Nguyen Chi Vinh, who said he was cutting short his own responses to allow his Chinese counterpart more time to rebut criticisms raised of Beijing.

Concern at China’s assertiveness over the vital trade route was deepening, several envoys said on the sidelines of the summit, particularly given the prospect of Chinese military facilities on new artificial islands built by on reefs in the South China Sea.

Those concerns were forcing regional countries to band closer together to find new ways of standing up to Beijing.

Carter’s urging of greater regional efforts, particularly from China, to create his “principled security network” was underpinned by warnings that China risked isolating itself by its actions “on the seas, in cyberspace, and in the region’s airspace”.

Many militiaries in the region, he said, were working closer together, both among themselves and with the United Sates.

Japan’s defense minister, Gen Nakatani, said Japan would seek to participate annually in naval exercises together with the United States and India, similar to drills due to take place off the Japanese port of Sasebo later this week.

“It is very meaningful from the standpoint of securing safety in the wide area of the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, for Japan, the United States and India to cooperate on security and defense areas and to conduct training,” Nakatani said.

GREAT WALL OF ISOLATION

Carter’s warnings that China faced a looming “Great Wall of isolation” were rejected by Chinese officials, but some analysts said an “us versus them” divide may suit Beijing in current circumstances.

“It might sound tough talk, but my worry is that China’s leaders will simply welcome that kind of view,” Lee Chung Min, a professor at Seoul’s Yonsei University, told Reuters.

“If its economy slows, China’s leaders might welcome the chance for the isolationist talk to stir some domestic nationalism.”

Major General Yao Yunzhu, of China’s Academy of Military Science and prominent figure during the weekend sessions, acknowledged perceptions that some nations might be “ganging up” on China but said this did not represent “objective reality”.

“The South China Sea is not the only security issue in the region, and events like this one are not quite full reality,” she told Reuters. “Each nation has to think of its bilateral relations with China as well, and many other security issues, that pull us closer together.”

Admiral Harry Harris, commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific, made clear that while the U.S. military was attempting to engage and co-operate with China’s rapidly modernizing military, it was prepared for a darker outcome.

“The bottom line is this: we want to co-operate where we can, but we just have to be ready as a military to confront them if we must,” he said.

Malaysia defense minister Hishammuddin Hussein spelt out the costs to smaller regional countries if great power rivalries escalate, however.

Whatever happens between major powers must not “leave us on the beach when the tide goes out”.

(Additional reporting by Lee Chyen Yee.; Editing by Lincoln Feast)

Source: Reuters “Diplomatic tag as countries find new ways of standing up to China”


US Fails to Help Its Philippine Ally While Boasting its Challenge to China


A handout photo shows two Chinese surveillance ships which sailed between a Philippines warship and eight Chinese fishing boats to prevent the arrest of any fishermen in the Scarborough Shoal, a small group of rocky formations whose sovereignty is contested by the Philippines and China, in the South China Sea, about 124 nautical miles off the main island of Luzon April 10, 2012. REUTERS/Philippine Army Handout

A handout photo shows two Chinese surveillance ships which sailed between a Philippines warship and eight Chinese fishing boats to prevent the arrest of any fishermen in the Scarborough Shoal, a small group of rocky formations whose sovereignty is contested by the Philippines and China, in the South China Sea, about 124 nautical miles off the main island of Luzon April 10, 2012. REUTERS/Philippine Army Handout

In its report titled “US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter warns China against building ‘Great Wall of self-isolation’”, SCMP quotes US Defense Secretary Ash Carter as saying that the United States is committed to upholding the freedom of navigation and commerce and peaceful resolution of disputes.

Now, China does not allow freedom of navigation of Philippine ships and boats in a large area around Scarborough Shoal since the standoff between China and the Philippines there, but the US has done nothing to help its ally the Philippines.

According to Reuters’ report on May 26 titled “Philippines’ Aquino says China breaks deal on South China Sea outcrop”, the US has brokers a deal between China and the Philippines for both countries to withdraw their vessels from Scarborough Shoal to put an end to Scarborough standoff. Philippine President Aquino said that the Philippines had withdrawn to implement the agreement but China did not and is now forbidding Philippine fishing boats fishing there.

In my previous post, I held that China should allow Philippine fishermen fishing there as they had been fishing there for generations and rely on fishing there for their livelihood.

I believe that Carter may hold the same view but why has he not order US powerful navy to do anything there to help US ally the Philippines, especially the deal has been brokered by the US.

Will it not be better for US warships to ensure Philippine fishermen’s freedom of navigation and peaceful solution of disputes there than conducting freedom of navigation near China’s artificial islands?

Will others, even US allies, not lose confidence in the US when the US has not do anything to honor its promises and ensure the implementation of the deal it brokered?

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP and Reuters reports. Full text of SCMP’s report can be viewed at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/1957204/us-defence-secretary-ashton-carter-warns-china-against while that of Reuters’ can be viewed below:

Philippines’ Aquino says China breaks deal on South China Sea outcrop
Thu May 26, 2016 9:13am EDT

Philippine President Benigno Aquino on Thursday accused China of breaking a U.S.-brokered deal between the two nations on the Scarborough Shoal, an uninhabited rocky outcrop in the South China Sea.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea, believed to have rich deposits of oil and gas. Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines also claim the waterway, through which about $5 trillion in ship-borne goods pass every year.

Beijing seized control of Scarborough Shoal, near the main Philippine island of Luzon, in June 2012, following a three-month standoff after a Philippine Navy vessel tried to arrest Chinese fishermen found illegally hauling giant clams there.

On Thursday, Aquino said the United States moved in quickly to resolve the standoff, brokering a “face-saving” deal by asking both nations to pull out their ships, but only the Philippines withdrew.

“Now, their continued presence is something that we have continuously objected to,” Aquino told reporters in his hometown in Tarlac, north of the Philippine capital.

“There was a deal, which we observed religiously. We hope the other side will do what we have done.”

China’s embassy in Manila did not respond to Reuters’ request for comment on Aquino’s remarks.

Beijing has denied ever making a deal with Manila and Washington, a Philippine diplomat who was involved in the negotiations told Reuters, on condition of anonymity, because he was not authorised to speak to the media.

China has reclaimed seven reefs in the Spratlys islands, building two airfields, ports, lighthouses radars, and other military structures, which the United States has called a clear move to militarise the disputed area.

In March, Washington warned that China might next reclaim the Scarborough Shoal, after Beijing sent survey ships to the area, although a Philippine military aircraft despatched to check the reports did not find a survey ship there.

“China is not reclaiming Scarborough Shoal,” Aquino said, allaying the fears that Beijing might reclaim the shoal, just outside the former U.S. naval base in Subic.

There have been many “red lines” in China’s assertive behaviour in the South China Sea, Aquino added, such as harassing a survey ship hired by an Anglo-Philippine firm seeking oil and gas in the Reed Bank.

Both Reed Bank and Scarborough Shoal lie in the Philippines’ 200-mile exclusive economic zone, Aquino said, calling China’s actions a violation of a 2002 pact on the South China Sea between China and ten Southeast Asian nations.

(Reporting by Manuel Mogato; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)


US Will Not Fight for Taiwan if China Takes Taiwan by Force


Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen addresses during an inauguration ceremony in Taipei, Taiwan May 20, 2016. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen addresses during an inauguration ceremony in Taipei, Taiwan May 20, 2016. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

People, especially Chinese people, are used to reading between lines in political leaders’ important speeches.

Therefore, according to Reuters’ report today titled “China says its people will never stand for Taiwan independence”, China responded strongly at Taiwan’ new president’s inauguration speech telling China to “set aside the baggage of history”, which if understood by reading between lines means that Taiwan being a part of China is but history and that China shall regard reunification of Taiwan with China as its historical burden, i.e. “the baggage of history”. Tsai wants China to throw away that burden as it does not benefit China in any way.

China responds by saying that the 1.37 billion people will never allow Taiwan to become independent.

Tsai says that Taiwan will no longer conduct trade talks with China as if China depends on Taiwan economically.

China retorted by pointing out the tension and upheaval in cross-strait relations that may be brought by Tsai if Tsai’s refuse to accept China’s one China claim. China obviously means that Taiwan will no longer enjoy the preferential treatment China has been granting Taiwan to please it and in addition there will be tension and even upheaval caused by pro-China elements in Taiwan and even military confrontation.

It is very simple now that Taiwan president and its pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) want independence but as the US does not support Taiwan independence, they are not daring enough to declare independence. Instead, Tsai upholds maintaining the status quo, i.e. maintaining Taiwan’s de facto independence now.

Taiwan’ preceding president Ma Ying-jeou has the vision that if Taiwan is not reunited with China it is inevitable that China will take Taiwan by force given China’s growth and US decline in military strength. He wants a peace treaty with China to avoid military attack, for which Taiwan will accept China’s sovereignty but maintain its de facto independence. However, Taiwanese people do not want that. That is why his party, the KMT, suffered a landslide defeat in recent presidential and parliamentary elections.

As pointed out in Reuters’ report, China has responded by pointing out that it’s the 1.37 billion Chinese people instead of the 0.02 billion people in Taiwan that decide Taiwan’s future.

Indeed, Taiwan’s future is not decided by Taiwanese people as they lack the strength to choose their future.

The United States that protects Taiwan with its Taiwan Relations Act will play an important role in determining Taiwan’s future. The question now is: Will the US fight for Taiwan if China tries to take Taiwan by force?

If one reads US Defense Secretary Carter’s recent speech, one will be very clear that the US will not fight for Taiwan if China takes Taiwan by force.

US media Defense One says in its report titled “For China, like the old Soviet Union, the U.S. defense secretary bets ‘internal logic’ will dictate a change—eventually” that US Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on May 25 that the U.S. military’s effort to keep the Asia-Pacific region stable and secure in the face of a rising China is akin to the 50-year Cold War standoff with the Soviet Union.

If reading between lines, Carter certainly means that the US will not fight if China invades Taiwan. In its five decades of Cold War with the Soviet Union, the US indeed did not fight when the Soviet Union invaded Hungary and Czechoslovakia. If it had fought, it would not have been Cold War but a hot war. Now, the US is to fight a cold instead of hot war with China. Taiwan shall be clear that it cannot rely on US military support if China takes it by force.

Perhaps Carter did not mean that and did not even expect that people will understand his speech that way. However, we shall not forget that North Korea invaded South Korea in 1950 precisely because the then US Secretary of State’s failure in his speech to include South Korea in the areas of US protection.

The military situation is quite different now. During the Korean War, the US is the strongest military power in the world and dominated the air and sea in Korea while now US aircraft carriers cannot go near China within the range of China’s DF-21D and DF-26 anti-ship ballistic missiles while China’s artificial islands in the South China Sea make the US unable to attack China with cruise missiles launched from its attack nuclear submarines. The US has to develop and build lots of B-21 prompt strike bombers to conduct air raid at Beijing, but it takes at least a decade for the US to develop and perhaps another decade to build enough B-21s to attack Beijing.

Who knows what progress China will make in enhancing its military capabilities in the two decades! Taiwan simply has no hope to rely on the US to protect it when China invades it during the decades-long cold war between the US and Taiwan.

In my previous post, I pointed out the side effects of US diplomacy in improving its ties with India and Vietnam. Compared with the side effect of Carter’s speech, those side effects are nothing.

However, according to Defense One, Carter bets “internal logic” will eventually dictate a change in China like the Soviet Union. If so, there will eventually a change in Taiwan along with China if it has been taken by China. It means no harm either to Taiwan or to the US; therefore, let China take Taiwan. Carter obviously lacks confidence in US ability in winning its cold war with China. He believes that the US has to rely on the “internal logic” in China to enable the US to win.

However, there has been prediction for more than 3 decades that such “internal logic” will make China collapse but such prediction has never come true.

China is not a stagnant communist economy like the Soviet Union. It is a dynamic mixed economy growing much faster than the US and making most Chinese people comparatively well-to-do and very happy. Such “internal logic” though does not exist can make Carter and other politicians happy in allowing China to take Taiwan.

Sorry, President Tsai, that is the reality.

Comments by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters and Defense One’s reports. Full text of the reports can be viewed below:

Full text of Reuters’ report:
China says its people will never stand for Taiwan independence
Fri May 27, 2016 5:24am EDT

China’s 1.3 billion people are united in their determination never to allow self-ruled Taiwan to become independent, China’s top official in charge of ties with the island was quoted as saying on Thursday, in Beijing’s latest blast at Taipei.

China has repeatedly warned Taiwan’s pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, whose leader Tsai Ing-wen assumed the presidency last week, of negative consequences if they fail to recognize Taiwan is a part of China under Beijing’s “one China” principle.

Tsai has said democratic principles will rule Taiwan’s ties with Beijing and urged China in her inaugural speech Friday to “set aside the baggage of history” and engage in positive dialogue.

Meeting a group of Taiwan business representatives in Beijing, Zhang Zhijun, head of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, said anything that goes against the “one China” principle would only bring tension and upheaval to ties.

“There is no future in Taiwan independence, and this cannot become an option for Taiwan’s future. This is the conclusion of history,” the official Xinhua news agency cited Zhang as saying.

“Some people say you must pay attention to broad public opinion in Taiwan, and that one can understand the attitude and feelings of Taiwan’s people formed by its special historical experiences and social environment,” Zhang added.

“But, Taiwan society ought to understand and attach importance to the feelings of the 1.37 billion residents of the mainland,” he said.

China has regarded Taiwan as a wayward province, to be taken by force if necessary, ever since defeated Nationalists fled to Taiwan in 1949 after a civil war with China’s Communists.

Referring to late 19th and early 20th century period when foreign powers strove to carve off bits of the declining Chinese empire for themselves, Zhang said China’s people had a deep memory of that period of national weakness and humiliation.

“They have a rock-solid will that has remained consistent towards protecting national unity and not allowing the country to be split,” he added.

The Mainland Affairs Council, Taiwan’s ministerial agency in charge of ties with China, said in response to Zhang’s comments that Tsai has said she is committed to ensuring the status quo in relations with China and to maintaining peace and stability.

China does not permit public discussion of views which challenge the notion of Taiwan being a part of China.

Taiwan was a Japanese colony from 1895-1945, having gained control of the island from imperial China.

Many Taiwanese have a broadly positive view of Japanese rule, saying it brought progress to an undeveloped, largely agricultural island.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Additional reporting by J.R. Wu in Taipei; Editing by Nick Macfie)

Full text of Defense One’s report on Carter’s recent speech:
Pentagon Playing the Long Game in the South China Sea, Carter Says
May 25, 2016 By Bradley Peniston

For China, like the old Soviet Union, the U.S. defense secretary bets “internal logic” will dictate a change—eventually.

NEWPORT, R.I.— The U.S. military’s effort to keep the Asia-Pacific region stable and secure in the face of a rising China is akin to the 50-year Cold War standoff with the Soviet Union, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Wednesday. Chinese and U.S. actions and reactions in the South China Sea are just one part of a grand pattern in an era he predicted will end when China changes internally.

It’s “going to be a long campaign of firmness, and gentle but strong pushback for probably quite a number of years,” Carter told sailors at the Naval War College on Wednesday. “Our Asia rebalance isn’t ‘try it out for a little while.’ It’s a long-term kind of thing.”

“The internal logic” of China and its society will eventually dictate a change, “but that’s almost academic at this point because their leadership is way on the other side of that equation right now,” he said.

Recent headlines about U.S. aircraft and warships passing through the South China Sea — where China has been creating islands from dredged sand, then building military-grade runways on them — are only the most visible piece of a larger plan, Carter said earlier in the week.

“The rebalance is a lot more than freedom-of-navigation operations,” he said after addressing sailors at Sub Base New London in Connecticut. “It’s a whole program of enhanced activities in the Asia-Pacific — by the way, diplomatic and economic as well as military.”

“It is shifting forces to that part of the world, it is modernizing forces in that part of the world, it is the enormous pattern of bilateral and multilateral exercising we do, partnerships with the militaries in the region who are very eager to work increasingly with the United States,” he said. “It’s a whole lot of things that are intended to keep the system of peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific that served the region so well for so long.”

As for freedom-of-navigation operations — the U.S. has sent three warships sailing close by China-claimed areas since October, and flown aircraft nearby as well — those aren’t just about the South China Sea, Carter said.

“That’s something we do worldwide. It’s not just about any one country, including China,” he said. “There are other claims in the South China Sea, and we challenge those claims as well.”

Such claims ought to be settled in a peaceful way, not by militarizing them, not by coercion, Carter said.

“That’s a principle we stand for all over the world, and it’s important all over the world, from the South China Sea to the Arctic,” he said, where Russia and other countries have been advancing new claims. “The United States has been, and other countries have been standing up for this for a couple hundred years.”


U.S. to give Philippines eye in sky to track South China Sea activity


U.S. Defence Secretary Ash Carter (R) and U.S. ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg stand at attention while the American anthem is played at the American cemetery in Taguig, metro Manila April 14, 2016.  REUTERS/Ezra Acaya

U.S. Defence Secretary Ash Carter (R) and U.S. ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg stand at attention while the American anthem is played at the American cemetery in Taguig, metro Manila April 14, 2016. REUTERS/Ezra Acaya

The United States will transfer an observation blimp to the Philippines to help it track maritime activity and guard its borders amid rising tensions in the South China Sea, a U.S. diplomat said on Monday.

Philip Goldberg, U.S. ambassador to the Philippines, said Washington would give Manila, its oldest Asia-Pacific security ally, $42 million worth of sensors, radar and communications equipment.

“We will add to its capability to put sensors on ships and put an aerostat blimp in the air to see into the maritime space,” Goldberg said in an interview with CNN Philippines,

The blimp is a balloon-borne radar to collect information and detect movements in the South China Sea, a Philippine military official said.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea, believed to have huge deposits of oil and gas. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims to parts of the waters, through which about $5 trillion in trade is shipped every year.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter visited the Philippines last week to reaffirm Washington’s “ironclad” commitment to defend Manila under a 1951 security treaty.

China has been expanding its presence on its seven artificial islands in the Spratly archipelago and on Monday landed a military plane for the first time on one of them, Fiery Cross Reef.

It comes ahead of a planned U.S. freedom of navigation patrol this month near the Spratlys.

Carter’s visit also signals the start of U.S. military deployment in the Philippines, with 75 soldiers to be rotated in and out of an air base north of Manila.

Goldberg said the two allies had agreed to set up a system for “secure and classified communications” as part of a five-year, $425 million security initiative by Washington in Southeast Asia.

Manila will receive some $120 million in U.S. military aid this year, the largest sum since 2000 when the American military returned to the Philippines for training and exercises after an eight-year hiatus.

They signed a new deal in 2013 allowing increased U.S. military presence on a rotational basis and storage of supplies and equipment for maritime security and humanitarian missions.

(Reporting By Manuel Mogato; Editing by Martin Petty and Nick Macfie)

Source: Reuters “U.S. to give Philippines eye in sky to track South China Sea activity”


US Shows Its Intention to Be Both China’s and Russia’s Enemy


A satellite image released by the Asian Maritime Transparency Initiative at Washington's Center for Strategic and International Studies shows construction of possible radar tower facilities in the Spratly Islands in the disputed South China Sea in this image released on February 23, 2016. REUTERS/CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative/DigitalGlobe/Handout via Reuters

A satellite image released by the Asian Maritime Transparency Initiative at Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies shows construction of possible radar tower facilities in the Spratly Islands in the disputed South China Sea in this image released on February 23, 2016. REUTERS/CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative/DigitalGlobe/Handout via Reuters

I said in my post yesterday “US the Major Party of Maritime Territorial Disputes with China Now” that at China’s militarization of its artificial islands in the South China Sea, the “US is frustrated and really upset, but it can do nothing other than some humiliating but harmless freedom-of-navigation operations.”

It seems that I am wrong. Reuters says in its report today titled “China’s militarization of South China Sea will have consequences: U.S.”, “U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Tuesday warned China against what he called ‘aggressive’ actions in the South China Sea region, including the placement of surface-to-air missiles on a disputed island, and said they would have consequences.”

Reuters quotes Carter as saying, “China must not pursue militarization in the South China Sea. Specific actions will have specific consequences.”

I wonder why the deployment of HQ-9 surface-to-air missiles shall be regarded as “aggressive” as obviously, it is an air defense system that cannot be used for attack.

The problem for the US is that if it fails to take action to cause the specific consequence threatened by Carter against the deployment of defensive weapons that it regards as aggressive, it means that the US is helpless with China’s militarization of the islands. As a result, the US will in fact encourage China to militarize the artificial islands by deployment of attack weapons there, which is precisely China’s aim in building its artificial islands.

I have repeatedly made clear that China builds the artificial islands first of all for its national security to prevent the US from attacking it with submarine-launched cruise missiles from the South China Sea. Otherwise, China would not have incur such huge costs in building the artificial islands and the facilities on them.

However, compared with the costs of building attack nuclear submarines that cost more than US$1 billion each, the costs in building those artificial islands are much smaller. A submarine can only be used for a few decades but theoretically an artificial island can be used forever. In addition, an artificial island can bring income through development of fish farming and tourism and support the exploitation of natural resources in the South China Sea.

Therefore, there are indeed good reasons for the US to be upset by China’s construction of artificial islands, as the US does have the intentions to attack China with attack nuclear submarines. Now, it has to incur huge costs to develop and purchase lots of B-21 long-range strike bombers solely for bombing China.

However, I do not understand the wisdom of Carter taking aim at both China and Russia to make them tighten their de factor alliance. Even when the US was much stronger, Kissinger had the wisdom to open the door of China to realize his wise strategy of making US-Soviet and US-Chinese relations better than Chinese-Soviet relations. Why should the US not at least use one of them to deal with the other. Is the US strong enough to deal with both China and Russia at the same time?

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ report, full text of which is given below:

China’s militarization of South China Sea will have consequences: U.S.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Tuesday warned China against what he called “aggressive” actions in the South China Sea region, including the placement of surface-to-air missiles on a disputed island, and said they would have consequences.

“China must not pursue militarization in the South China Sea,” Carter said in a wide-ranging speech at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. “Specific actions will have specific consequences.”

He did not elaborate, but underscored the U.S. military’s determination to safeguard maritime security around the world, and particularly in the South China Sea region, which sees about 30 percent of the world’s trade transit its waters each year.

The U.S. defense chief also took aim at both Russia and China for their actions to limit Internet access, as well as state-sponsored cyber threats, cyber espionage and cyber crime.

In his prepared remarks, Carter drew a sharp contrast between such behavior by Russia and China and what he described as much healthier U.S. actions to preserve Internet freedom.

“We don’t desire conflict with either country,” he said. “But we also cannot blind ourselves to their apparent goals and actions.”

He urged cooperation with U.S. technology companies to ensure data security and necessary encryption levels, despite growing controversy over the FBI’s request to circumvent security features on an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino, California, shooters.

Carter, on his third visit to the technology-heavy Silicon Valley since taking office a year ago, said he could not address the case specifically since it was under litigation, but made clear that the Defense Department viewed encryption as a necessary part of data security.

“It’s important to take a step back here, because future policy shouldn’t be driven by any one particular case,” Carter said in what appeared to be a departure from the Justice Department’s view.

Carter noted that the Defense Department is the largest user of encryption in the world and needed it to be as strong as possible.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)


Neither ASEAN Nor EU Sides with the US in South China Sea Dispute


Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said ""No country wants to choose sides between U.S. or China" in his keynote address of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore May 29, 2015. REUTERS/Edgar Su

Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said “”No country wants to choose sides between U.S. or China” in his keynote address of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore May 29, 2015. REUTERS/Edgar Su

After losing to China with respect to the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the US retaliated by provoking China with its superior air force and navy.

By doing so the US reveals its long-time deception in reiterating repeatedly that it does not take sides in China’s maritime territorial disputes with other claimants.

Other claimants only claim a part of the area within China’s nine-dash line while the US now, alleging it does not take sides, regards all the area within China’s nine-dash line as international waters and declared its plan to send warships and warplanes into the area of dispute.

Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leaders will be dismissed if they back down in the face of US superior navy and air force. CCP will be overthrown if it supports its leaders in submitting to US pressure.

US strategists believe that by joining the dispute the US has checkmated China. Unexpectedly, China responded by publishing its defense white paper stating that its military’s major task is to safeguard China’s sovereignty. China’s determination to carry on its land reclamation in the South China Sea is as hard as a rock, declared Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Wang’s stance was repeated by Chinese military leader General Fan Changlong in Fan’s meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry.

China is ready to fight as it has developed enough capabilities to destroy US navy near its coast and showcased its nuclear second-strike capabilities to prevent the US from retaliating with nuclear weapons.

The worst scenario is the US cutting China’s trade lifelines, but China can also use its large number of submarines to cut US trade lifelines. China at least has railway link with Europe and the Middle East through Russia while the US has no land link whatsoever with those areas. Both the US and China will suffer if there is a conventional war between them.

China has to take the risk. Otherwise Xi Jinping’s Chinese Dream to make China strong to prevent China from being bullied by foreign power will be but empty talks.

I said in my previous post China is certain to fight and asked whether the US was determined to fight.

It seems that the US is not.

US Defense Secretary switched to diplomatic approach to pit other countries against China’s land reclamation in the South China Sea but that does not seem hopeful.

Reuters says in its report “Break the vicious cycle, Singapore tells South China Sea rivals” yesterday that in his inaugurating speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said, “No country wants to choose sides between U.S. or China”.

Lee perhaps represents ASEAN’s view.

What about Vietnam, a claimant second only to the Philippines in confronting China in the maritime territorial disputes?

Reuters says in the report that China’s representative to the Dialogue Admiral Sun Jianguo held a bilateral meeting with Vietnam’s deputy defense minister General Nguyen Chi Vinh.

Sun said on the meeting, “We believe that through mutual cooperation the two parties will be able to solve the South China Sea dispute”.

What about the EU?

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe failed to make the EU take sides. In a separate report yesterday titled “EU, Japan say wary of unilateral actions in South China Sea” yesterday, Reuters says Abe and EU leaders expressed their concerns over “any unilateral actions that change the status quo and increase tensions”

The statement says, “We urge all parties … to refrain from unilateral actions, including the threat or use of force and coercion”.

The statement does not specify China’s land reclamation as both China and other claimants are carrying out land reclamation. However, it specifies the threat of use of force and coercion, which is what only the US is doing.

The message in the statement is clear: The EU does not want to take sides but oppose US unilateral “threat of use of force and coercion.

Sad for the prospects of Carter’s failure in the Shangri-La Dialogue.

Source: Reuters “Break the vicious cycle, Singapore tells South China Sea rivals” and “EU, Japan say wary of unilateral actions in South China Sea”

Full texts of the reports can be viewed respectively at http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/05/29/us-asia-security-singapore-idUSKBN0OE1IZ20150529 and
http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/05/29/us-eu-japan-idUSKBN0OE1Q220150529