US Timid, Stupid Freedom of Navigation Operation in South China Sea


In its report “U.S. destroyer challenges China’s claims in South China Sea” yesterday, Reuters tries to make believe that a US destroyer’s freedom of navigation operation within 12 nautical miles of China’s artificial island on Mischief reef was US challenge to China’s claims in South China Sea.

The US certainly wishes to challenge, but dare not challenge openly. Reuters says in its report that the officials who told Reuters about the operation spoke on condition of anonymity. China’s foreign ministry protested openly, but Reuters says in its report, “The Pentagon declined to provide any details but said that all operations are conducted in accordance with international law.” The US does not even admit that it has conducted the challenge. Poor America.

However, the operation gives China the excuse to deploy “defensive” weapons on its artificial islands, but lots of defensive weapons can also be used for attack. It is militarization with the excuse of preventing attack from US warships that sail near China’s islands so that China cannot be said to be militarizing its islands. US operation benefits China as China certainly wishes to militarize the artificial islands for defense against US attack.

However, sending warships near Chinese islands give China grounds to oppose the militarization of the South China Sea by the US. It enables China and ASEAN to agree to include a clause on non-militarization of the South China Sea in the code of conduct they are drafting.

Do you see any wisdom or courage in US operation?

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ report, full text is reblogged below:

U.S. destroyer challenges China’s claims in South China Sea

Idrees Ali August 10, 2017 / 4:57 PM / an hour ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. Navy destroyer carried out a “freedom of navigation operation” on Thursday, coming within 12 nautical miles of an artificial island built up by China in the South China Sea, U.S. officials told Reuters.

The operation came as President Donald Trump’s administration seeks Chinese cooperation in dealing with North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs and could complicate efforts to secure a common stance.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the USS John S. McCain traveled close to Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands, among a string of islets, reefs and shoals. China has territorial disputes with its neighbors over the area.

It was the third “freedom of navigation operation” during Trump’s presidency.

Thursday’s operation, first reported by Reuters, was the latest attempt to counter what Washington sees as Beijing’s efforts to limit freedom of navigation in the strategic waters, and comes as Trump is seeking China’s cooperation to rein in North Korea.
China’s Defense Ministry said two Chinese warships “jumped into action” and warned the U.S. ship to leave, labeling the move a “provocation” that seriously harms mutual trust.

“China is resolutely opposed to this kind of show of force and pushing of regional militarization by the U.S. that may easily cause an unexpected incident at sea or in the air,” it said in a statement.

China’s foreign ministry said the operation had violated international and Chinese law and seriously harmed Beijing’s sovereignty and security.

“China is very displeased with this and will bring up the issue with the U.S. side,” the ministry said in a statement.

The United States has criticized China’s construction of islands and build-up of military facilities in the sea, and is concerned they could be used to restrict free nautical movement.

Twelve nautical miles marks the territorial limits recognized internationally. Sailing within those 12 miles is meant to show that the United States does not recognize territorial claims there. (This blogger’s note: It is Reuters’ view. The US has never said so.)

The United States has said that it would like to see more international participation in freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea.

The U.S. military has a long-standing position that its operations are carried out throughout the world, including in areas claimed by allies, and they are separate from political considerations. (This blogger’s note: See US military regards the operation as separate from political consideration!)

The Trump administration has vowed to conduct more robust South China Sea operations.

In July, a U.S. warship sailed near a disputed island in the South China Sea claimed by China, Taiwan, Vietnam.

Experts and officials have criticized former President Barack Obama for potentially reinforcing China’s claims by sticking to innocent passage, in which a warship effectively recognized a territorial sea by crossing it speedily without stopping.

China’s claims in the South China Sea, through which about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes each year are contested by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

The Pentagon declined to provide any details but said that all operations are conducted in accordance with international law. (This blogger’s note: Though the Pentagon wants to challenge China, it dare not admit that the operation was a challenge. Poor America!)

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have risen recently after North Korea carried out two nuclear tests last year and two ICBM tests last month, prompting a strong round of U.N. sanctions. That angered Pyongyang which has threatened to teach the United States a “severe lesson”.

Trump responded by warning North Korea it would face “fire and fury” if it further threatened the United States.

For a graphic on turf war on the South China sea, click: here

Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in Beijing and Lee Chyen Yee in Singapore; Editing by Alistair Bell and Richard Pullin


US warship in operation near disputed island in South China Sea


FILE PHOTO: The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem transits waters east of the Korean peninsula during a photo exercise including the United States Navy and the Republic of Korea Navy during Operation Foal Eagle March 22, 2017. U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kurtis A. Hatcher/Handout via REUTERS

A U.S. warship sailed near a disputed island in the South China Sea claimed by China, Taiwan and Vietnam on Sunday in an operation meant to challenge the competing claims of all three nations, a U.S. Defense Department official said.

The USS Stethem, a guided-missile destroyer, sailed within 12 nautical miles of Triton Island, part of the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea, the official said.

The operation was first reported by Fox News on Sunday.

It was the second “freedom-of-navigation operation,” or “fonop,” conducted during the presidency of Donald Trump, following a drill in late May in which a U.S. warship sailed within 12 nautical miles of an artificial island built up by China in the South China Sea.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement the U.S. ship had made an unauthorized entry into China’s territorial waters.

The operation was a “serious political and military provocation,” the statement, issued late on Sunday said, citing ministry spokesman Lu Kang. It said China had sent battle ships and fighter jets to warn off the Stethem.

“China strongly urges the U.S. side to immediately stop this kind of provocative action which seriously violates China’s sovereignty and puts at risk China’s security,” Lu said. China would take all necessary measures to defend itself, he said.

Twelve nautical miles marks the territorial limits recognized internationally. Sailing within those 12 miles is meant to show that the United States does not recognize territorial claims there.

“Unlike in the Spratlys, where China has created new artificial territory in the last several years, it has effectively controlled the Paracels since 1974,” said Mira Rapp-Hooper, a South China Sea expert at the Center for a New American Security. “It claims illegal straight baselines around the Paracels, and the fonop may have been contesting these.”

Trump has heaped praise on Chinese President Xi Jinping, but his administration has also stepped up pressure on Beijing as he has become frustrated that China has not done more to pressure North Korea over its nuclear and missile programs.

On Thursday, the administration imposed sanctions on two Chinese citizens and a shipping company for helping North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, and accused a Chinese bank of laundering money for Pyongyang.

The Trump administration has also approved an arms package for Taiwan worth about $1.4 billion, the State Department said last week. China deems Taiwan its own and has never renounced the use of force to bring the self-ruled island under its control.

Trump is due to speak to Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Sunday, ahead of meetings he will hold with both leaders on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, next Friday and Saturday.

(Reporting by Yeganeh Torbati and David Brunnstrom; Additional reporting by Tony Munroe in BEIJING and Adam Jourdan in SHANGHAI; Editing by Leslie Adler, Peter Cooney and Paul Tait)

Source: Reuters “U.S. warship in operation near disputed island in South China Sea”

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


US Navy Unable to Provoke China in South China Sea


The Chancellorsville, a United States guided missile cruiser, in the Luzon Strait after a patrol of the South China Sea last year. Credit: Bryan Denton for The New York Times

New York Times says in its report “Trump’s Turn Toward China Curtails Navy Patrols in Disputed Zones” that US military wants to conduct freedom of navigation operation within 12 nautical miles of China’s artificial island but is not allowed by Trump administration.

In my previous posts, I described such freedom of navigation operation as stupid as the navy of a continuously rising China will grow much stronger than that of a continuously declining United States in the future. There may be a day in the future when China retaliates by sending its navy to conduct freedom of navigation operations within 12 nautical miles of US coast and threatens US national security.

New York Times says, “But Defense Department officials also said that Mr. Mattis and the Pentagon leadership wanted to look carefully at the strategic implications of such excursions on overall national security policy. While Mr. Mattis is far from opposed to the freedom of navigation trips, he is reviewing the American security posture around the world, Defense Department officials said.” Mattis is wiser than those US navy officers who want to conduct such operations near Chinese islands without consideration of the consequence.

China’s former navy chief Adm. Wu Shengli warned the US that there might be disasterous consequence of such operations. What the US navy will do if China sends a ship to crash on and sink the US warship when it conducts the operation. Is the US prepared to fight a war? China is prepared by building the artificial islands to ambush US navy with the fighter jets and missiles on them. Has the US enough aircraft carriers to fight China in the South China Sea where China has geographical advantage.

Such operations not only put US warships carrying the operations in danger but US homeland in danger in the future. Stupid US navy officers!

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on New York Times’ report, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/02/world/asia/navy-south-china-sea.html?_r=0


Puzzle: Does the US Want China to Militarize Its Artificial Islands?


A USS Boxer LHD travels at an offshore location in Goa October 29, 2006. REUTERS/Prashanth Vishwanathan

A USS Boxer LHD travels at an offshore location in Goa October 29, 2006. REUTERS/Prashanth Vishwanathan

China certainly wants to militarize the artificial islands it has built in the South China Sea in order to control the vast sea area it claims. However, to avoid strong opposition from its neighbors and the US, it alleges that the islands are mostly for civilian purpose and that only limited military facilities will be installed there for defense.

The US is upset but cannot stop China’s construction of the islands. To save face and show that it remains the only hegemon at sea, it conducts freedom of navigation operations, which play into China’s hand to give China the excuse to militarize the islands.

Reuters reports today on China’s response at the question it asked China about US suggestion to India on joint patrol of the South China Sea. It says that Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei responded with a statement saying, “Countries from outside the area must stop pushing forward the militarization of the South China Sea”.

Since other countries are pushing forward the militarization in the South China Sea, China is justified to militarize its artificial islands there!

In fact, who would have incurred such huge costs in building those artificial islands without the desire to militarize the islands to control the area?

Comments by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ report.

The following is the full text of the report:

China warns on South China Sea as U.S., India consider patrols

BEIJING Thu Feb 11, 2016 8:21am EST

China on Thursday responded to a Reuters report that the U.S. and India are discussing joint naval patrols in the disputed South China Sea, warning that interference from countries outside the region threatens peace and stability.

“No cooperation between any countries should be directed at a third party,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in an emailed statement to Reuters, in response to a request for comment on the report published on Wednesday.

“Countries from outside the area must stop pushing forward the militarization of the South China Sea, cease endangering the sovereignty and national security of littoral countries in the name of ‘freedom of navigation’ and harming the peace and stability of the region.”

The United States wants its regional allies and other Asian nations to adopt a more united stance against China over the South China Sea, where tension has spiked since China’s construction of seven islands in the Spratly archipelago.

China lays claim to most of the South China Sea, while Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam have rival claims.

A U.S. defense official told Reuters this week the United States and India had held talks about joint naval patrols that could include the South China Sea.

The Indian navy has never carried out joint patrols with another country and a navy spokesman told Reuters there was no change in the government’s policy of only joining an international military effort under the U.N. flag.

Neither the United States nor India have claims to the area, but the United States says it is concerned about shipping lanes running through the South China Sea, which carry an estimated $5 trillion of trade every year.

Hong urged caution.

“We hope that the relevant parties speak and act with caution, refrain from intervening in the South China Sea issue, and especially avoid being manipulated by certain countries and ultimately harming their own interests.”

China illustrates its claim to almost the entire South China Sea with a “nine-dashed line” on maps, that loops far to the south, with sections far closer to the coasts of countries like the Philippines and Vietnam than to its shores.

China’s more assertive claim has included dredging to build up islands and the construction of air fields and shipping facilities on some reefs. It recently launched flights to one artificial island.

The United States has responded by sending navy ships close to the islands China claims. China has condemned that as provocative.

India has a long-running land border dispute with China, and has stepped up its naval presence far beyond the Indian Ocean in recent years, deploying a ship to the South China Sea almost constantly, an Indian navy commander said.

(Reporting by Megha Rajagopalan and Pete Sweeney)


China Threatens to Drive Away US Warplane that Monitors Its Nuke Sub


A U.S. Air Force B-52 is seen through the window of another during a training mission in the United Kingdom's airspace, June 17, 2014. REUTERS/Andrew Winning

A U.S. Air Force B-52 is seen through the window of another during a training mission in the United Kingdom’s airspace, June 17, 2014. REUTERS/Andrew Winning

The waterways between China’s artificial islands on Fiery Cross Reef and Cuarteron Reef are vital for China’s strategic nuclear submarines to go to patrol the high seas.

That is why according to Chinese media mil.huanqiu.com China only issued a warning when US guided missile destroyer the Lassen conducted a freedom-of-navigation operation within 12 nautical mile of China’s artificial island on Subi Reef, but issued a warning on driving away when a US B-52 bomber came within 2 nautical mile of China’s artificial island on Cuarteron Reef.

How can China drive away a B-52 bomber? It has to send at least one fighter jet to do that, but it has to have a runway for the fighter jet to take off soon after the B-52 flew near.

Previously, a US anti-submarine reconnaissance aircraft went near China’s nuclear submarine base in Hainan Island and was driven away by a Chinese fighter jet. According to Pentagon, there was a dangerous encounter between the US and Chinese warplanes.

The B-52 obviously went near Cuarteron Island to see whether China was building a submarine base there, but Pentagon claims that the bomber went there by mistake.

Mistake or not, China will build runways on artificial islands to send its fighter jets to drive away US reconnaissance aircraft that flies near a Chinese artificial island to have a peep. China has daredevil pilot to conduct dangerous encounter and force down the most advanced US reconnaissance warplane.

Better send a reconnaissance drone as the US will suffer much smaller loss if the drone is shot down by China.

Comments by Chan Kai Yee on mil.huanqiu.com’s reports in Chinese“Taiwan says Cuarteron Reef controls the waterway for PLA strategic submarines as it is located at the southern end of the South China Sea” and “China knows how a B-52 enters the Nansha (Spratly) Islands, which may give rise to military conflict between the tow powers” and Reuters’ report in English “U.S. studying Chinese complaint that B-52 flew near man-made island”

The following is the full text of Reuters report:

U.S. studying Chinese complaint that B-52 flew near man-made island
WASHINGTON | By David Alexander Sat Dec 19, 2015 2:49am EST

The Pentagon said on Friday it was looking at Chinese complaints that a B-52 bomber recently flew near a Chinese artificial island in the South China Sea, a sensitive issue because the two powers disagree over Beijing’s territorial claims in the region.

Navy Commander Bill Urban, a Pentagon spokesman, said the United States regularly conducts B-52 training missions throughout the region but there was no plan for the B-52 to fly within 12 nautical miles of any artificial island.

“This was not a Freedom of Navigation operation,” said Urban, referring to regular U.S. Navy missions conducted to challenge what the United States believes are excessive territorial claims made by other countries.

“The Chinese have raised concerns with us about the flight path of a recent training mission,” Urban said. “We are looking into the matter.”

China’s defense ministry said in a statement on its website on Saturday that its forces had closely monitored the plane and warned the aircraft to leave.

Referring to the maneuver as “provocation”, the ministry said it urged the United States “to immediately adopt measures to put an end to such kind of dangerous actions, in order not to impact the two countries’ military relations.”

The U.S. guided missile destroyer USS Lassen sailed within 12 nautical miles of Subi Reef in late October to deliberately challenge China’s claims of territorial waters there. The decision drew an angry rebuke from China, which called it “extremely irresponsible.”

Subi Reef is an artificial island built up by China over the past year. Before Chinese dredging turned them into islands, Subi was submerged at high tide. Under the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, 12-nautical mile limits cannot be set around man-made islands built on previously submerged reefs.

The incident involving the B-52 bomber took place last week near the Cuarteron Reef in the Spratly Islands, disputed territory claimed by China and several of its neighbors, the Wall Street Journal said.

China complained the plane flew within 2 nautical miles of the reef, a U.S. defense official said on condition of anonymity. The official said the United States believed the plane was somewhat farther away but had mistakenly come within 12 nautical miles.
(Reporting by David Alexander. Additional reporting by Dominique Patton in BEIJING; Editing by Mohammad Zargham, Ken Wills and Ed Davies)