PublishedSep 16, 2019, 2:36 am SGT
WASHINGTON (AFP) – Maritime operations, missile tests, landing exercises: the Pentagon has been sharply stepping up its efforts to counter China’s growing military power, seen increasingly as a threat.
On Friday an American warship approached the Paracel Islands, an island chain claimed by Beijing in the South China Sea, to affirm international “freedom of navigation” in the region.
The USS Wayne E. Meyer, a guided-missile destroyer, passed near the islands to contest Beijing’s sweeping claims to the seas around the archipelago, which is also claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam.
The Chinese claim would block “innocent passage” by other countries’ ships and is “not permitted by international law,” a US Seventh Fleet spokeswoman, Commander Reann Mommsen, said.
Friday’s was the sixth “freedom of navigation operation” – or FONOPS in naval jargon – this year, a clear acceleration in pace.
There were a total of eight in 2017 and 2018, and only six during the entire Obama presidency.
On Wednesday, the US Marine Corps announced it had conducted exercises on the Japanese islet of Tori Shima, hundreds of miles south of Tokyo, to practice landings on “hostile” shores and the seizure of landing strips.
The exercises were clearly designed to highlight the ability of the American military to invade a disputed island and establish a supply base for aerial operations.
“This type of raid gives the commanders in the Indo-Pacific region the ability to project power and conduct expeditionary operations in a potentially contested littoral environment,” one of the officers in charge, Commander Anthony Cesaro, said in a statement.
Such a forthright description, coming from a Pentagon hardly known for unguarded talk, reflects the fresh impetus Defense Secretary Mark Esper has given to the US policy of “strategic rivalry” with China and Russia.
Esper, who chose Asia for his first overseas trip only weeks after being sworn in as Pentagon chief, has made clear that the US wants to rapidly deploy new missiles in Asia – possibly within months – to counter China’s rising military power.
TO ‘CHANGE THE GEOMETRY’
On Thursday, acting US army secretary Ryan McCarthy, speaking in a Senate confirmation hearing, defended the development of such new missiles.
He said the new medium-range conventional missiles Washington wants to develop – now that the US is no longer constrained by the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, which the Trump administration abandoned last year – would “change the geometry within Southeast Asia.”
“If we can get the appropriate partnerships, expeditionary basing rights with partners within the region,” McCarthy said, “we can change the geometry and basically reverse anti-access, area-denial capabilities that have been invested by near-peer competitors” – jargon for pushing back against sovereignty claims by China and Russia.
Last month the Pentagon chose the Pacific Ocean for its first test of a conventional medium-range missile since the end of the Cold War – effectively driving a nail into the coffin of the INF treaty, which banned the use of land-based missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500km.
And in late August, Washington formally established its Space Command, or Spacecom, a new unified command charged with ensuring US domination in space, where China has been increasingly active.
Beijing rattled US military officials in 2007 when it launched a missile that located and then destroyed a Chinese satellite, in a dramatic demonstration of China’s growing ability to militarise space.
Source: Straits Times “Pentagon steps up efforts to counter China’s rising power”
Note: This is Straits Times’ article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.
US President Trump has withdrawn from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that aims to contain China economically. Instead, he is enthusiastic in establishing satisfactory personal ties with Chinese President Xi Jinping in order that his country may better access to China’s huge market. As a result, there has been no military pivot to Asia to contain China either since Trump came to office.
In order to keep on containing China so as to please the large number of US elite hostile to the rise of China, Trump’s previous secretary of state Rex Tillerson wanted to replace Obama’s pivot to Asia with the Quad of the US, Australia, India and Japan to contain China.
However, according to Asia Times’ article “The Quad’ is fading into obscurity”, Australia does not want to hurt its trade relations with China while India has persisted in its non-alliance doctrine, only the US and Japan remain in the Quad to counter China now.
In fact Japan has been seeking improvement of ties with China as shown in its enthusiasm in Abe’s visit to Beijing and Xi’s visit to Tokyo soon. There is no Quad to contain China at all now.
The writer of the article worries what will be done if China takes Taiwan by force for reunification of China.
Will the US fight for Taiwan alone without the assistance from its Quad allies?
In a war between China and the US, China will surely has Russia’s support but who will support the US? The US will be really isolated in the war but no one is to blame. The US pursues isolationism and gets isolation.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Asia Times article, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/03/article/the-quad-is-fading-into-obscurity/.
American people are so happy at Obama’s words that the United States will never be the number two in the world. That has perhaps been a part of the American Dream for a long time.
For Chinese leaders and people under Hu Jintao’s reign, however, the Chinese dream is but to grow powerful enough to put an end to China’s miserable past of being bullied by foreign powers. As China has not grown powerful enough yet, China relied on the United States to avoid being bullied.
Like a girl courting a handsome and wealthy man, China has done almost everything to please the United States.
First, the US wants a peaceful solution of the Taiwan issue. China has done the best to win over Taiwan peacefully.
Second, China avoided persecution of the dissidents the US openly supported and even allowed them to leave for the US. When dissident Chen Guangcheng had broken strict house arrest and fled into US embassy for political asylum, China accepted the then US Secretary of State Clinton’s arrangement and allowed Chen to leave China for the US. In that exceptional case, China did quite an extraordinary favor to the United States.
You may protest: What about Liu Xiaobo?
Liu Xiaobo was imprisoned for advocating multi-party democracy, i.e. depriving the CCP of its monopoly of state power. In my book “Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements”, I describe the current Chinese regime as the CCP Dynasty. Does any dynasty in Chinese history allow its monopoly of state power to be deprived?
Third, China was willing to incur heavy losses to please the United States.
The most obvious example was China’s support of American actions in overthrowing Libyan dictator Gaddafi in spite of the heavy loss China might and has indeed suffered due to that.
The US, however, always looks down on China due to China’s one-party autocracy, different values and human rights system, etc. and keeps on ignoring China’s courting.
Encirclement of China
However, as Chinese economy continues it tremendous growth and has surpassed Japan, the US began to regard China as a real threat that might replace it as the number one in the world.
In fact, to remain number 1, the US has always been restraining its potential contenders such as Russia and China, what is different now is that the US has begun to encircle China
The US calls its new strategy of encircling China its “return to Asia”.
What does it mean? In fact, there is no need to return as the US has never left Asia. However, Asian countries who have territorial disputes with China, immediately realized that what the US meant was that the US would be the big brother in Asia to support them in their disputes with China.
Before US “return”, there were disputes but no tension. Soon after US declaration of its “return”, with big brother’s support, all contenders have risen up to challenge China. They were supported by Japan and Australia so that China soon found itself tightly encircled.
However, the parts of the encirclement to the north and west of China are Russia and India and Vietnam who relied on Russian support in their territorial disputes with China.
Before the US began to restrain China, Russia had been doing so too as it thought that China’s rise might be a threat to it; therefore, Russia kept on supplying India and Vietnam weapons better than those it supplied China. Moreover, Chinese support for US and other Western countries’ efforts to contain Russia in the Middle East displeased Russia. In fact, China did so also for its own security as it believed that a strong Russia might be a threat especially because China has a long border with Russia.
The US certainly wants to play its role in having India and Vietnam joining US encirclement of China. When Leon Panetta was US secretary of defense, he visited the two countries in 2012 in addition to other Asian countries for that purpose.
Due to US efforts to contain and encircle China, Deng Xiaoping’s strategy of “keeping a low profile and hiding China’s luster” no longer works, China began to develop friendship with Russia to combine strength to resist the US and strengthen its military to resist US interference with its South China Sea disputes with its neighbors.
China Can Say No
China has kept on strengthening its economy and military till Chinese President Xi Jinping believes that China has entered a new era able to say no to the West. (See my post “Xi Jinping Thought, Declaration of ‘China Can Say No’ (1)” on December 14, 2017)
Article by Chan Kai Yee
SCMP says in its report “Chinese engineers plan 1,000km tunnel to make Xinjiang desert bloom”, “Chinese engineers are testing techniques that could be used to build a 1,000km tunnel – the world’s longest – to carry water from Tibet to Xinjiang, experts involved in the project say.”
According to the experts the water will turn Xinjiang’s desert into rich agriculture area like California, which also lacked water but became prosperous after drawing in water from elsewhere.
China is building a 600km tunnel in Yunnan, which can be regarded as a project to test the technology and equipment for the 1000km tunnel.
The cost of the project will certainly be enormous but the report quotes Zhang Chuanqing, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Rock and Soil Mechanics in Wuhan, Hubei province, as saying, “In five to 10 years from now, the technology will be ready and the cost affordable, and the temptation of the benefits will be difficult to resist.”
The tunnel is expensive but the loss of water in transfer will be small. There are other schemes such as building a dam and canal with much loss of water in transfer. Anyway, diverting water from Yarlung Tsangpo River will certainly reduce the water in its downstream Brahmaputra River, which is a major water source of the Ganges, India’s largest river.
China wants to be India’s friend. For friendly neighbors, they certainly shall discuss a way to cause less reduction of water in Brahmaputra and Ganges, but India wants to join the US in containing China. If so, India becomes a hostile instead of friendly neighbor. To contain its enemy India, China had better divert as much water from Yarlung Tsangpo River as it can. After all, China needs the water.
The US wants India’s help to contain China in order to maintain its number one status in the world. What will India get from the US in doing so? Some very expensive weapons that will be useless as no one want to fight a war?
The US will make lots of profit by selling expensive weapons to India and will get India’s help to lord over other nations. What will India get? Think twice before you leap!
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s report, full text of which can be found at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/2116750/chinese-engineers-plan-1000km-tunnel-make-xinjiang-desert-bloom.
David Brunnstrom, Matt Spetalnick October 31, 2017
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – China’s ambassador to Washington said on Monday U.S. President Donald Trump’s state visit to Beijing next week was a historic opportunity to boost cooperation between the world’s two largest economies, but warned against attempts to “contain” Beijing.
Cui Tiankai also stressed the urgency of efforts to find a negotiated solution to the crisis over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs and warned of a “more dangerous” situation if tensions between the United States and Pyongyang continued.
Cui sought to play down differences over China’s massive trade surplus with the United States, saying Beijing was looking for ways to cut this and he was confident of “significant outcomes” from Trump’s Nov. 8-9 visit on the trade and economic fronts.
Speaking after senior U.S. officials, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, outlined an Asia-Pacific strategy involving greater cooperation between Japan, India, and Australia in the face of China’s rise, Cui said relationships should not be seen as a “zero-sum game” at the expense of another county.
“I don’t think it will really serve the interests of these countries if their aim is to sort of contain China … I don’t think anybody would be able to contain China,” he said.
Cui said Washington should not try to “interfere” in regional efforts to resolve disputes in the South China Sea, a vital strategic waterway that China claims, most of which is contested by several Asian countries.
“Maybe it would be better for the U.S. to let the regional countries … find a way a way of managing the situation.”
Cui was asked about a call on Friday by a senior U.S. State Department official for revival of four-way dialogue between the United States, Japan, India and Australia to deepen security cooperation and coordinate alternatives for regional infrastructure financing to “predatory” Chinese options.
”I don’t think any attempts to form exclusive clubs in the region … would help anybody,’ he said. “When people are saying these things about China, they might just look into the mirror…it might be describing themselves.”
Despite the cautionary words, Cui said he was sure the summit between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping would be successful, following on from their first meeting in Florida in April.
“This is a historic opportunity,” he said.
Cui reiterated China’s call for Washington to return to talks, while stressing Beijing’s willingness to step up pressure on Pyongyang through U.N. sanctions.
“We are ready to take up more cost and make greater efforts if there are more Security Council resolutions” he said.
Editing by Bernadette Baum
Source: Reuters “China warns against attempts to contain Beijing before Trump visit”
Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.