SCMP says in its reports “Chinese navy deploys drones in South China Sea missile drills” today that according to Chinese military media PLA Daily’s report yesterday three target drones were used in China’s recent naval drill to fly over a warship formation at various heights and directions to gather information about the fleet.
The timing of the PLA Daily’s report right after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reaffirmed in his recent visit to Beijing US deep concerns about China’s building and militarizing its outposts in the South China Sea shows China’s firm determination to safeguard its core interests there.
SCMP says, “The drones had already been sent out several hundred times during more than 30 previous drills, according to the newspaper.”
China can station lots of drones on its artificial islands, which will be great geographical advantages for Chinese military. With the artificial islands, China’s dominance over the South China Sea is ensured. US deep concerns may not make China change its claim. The only way for the US to recover its dominance there is to fight a full-out war, but no one can ensure that the US may win the war.
The only alternative for the US is perhaps to fight a trade war with China. US President Trump is precisely doing that in spite of China’s concession to reduce US trade deficit by $70 billion through the purchase of more US goods.
Trump’s choice of a trade war to hurt both China and the US instead of accepting China’s concession that will benefit the US shows that he, like other US morons, prefer hurting the US itself while hurting others to maintain US hegemony. I wonder whether American common people are so obsessed with hegemony.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s report, full text of which can be viewed at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2150957/chinese-navy-deploys-drones-south-china-sea-missile.
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
Former US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had a shrewd scheme to contain China with the Quad to push India to the forefront to counter China.
Indian Prime Minister, however, is shrewder. He simply wants no part in the Quad, especially no role as the vanguard to confront China for US interests.
Being obsessed with hegemony, the US views India in its own perspective and believes that India will confront China as India is pursuing regional hegemony in South Asia. On the other hand, out of its own perspective, the US believes that China is also pursuing regional Asian and even world hegemony so that the two countries are bond to fight each other.
Modi’s surprise visit to China must be quite enough to break US dream about the Quad, but US still has the dream that India will finally seek hegemony and pull the chestnut out of fire for it.
In fact, India’s participation in the Russia- and China-led Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) must be a clear sign that India wants cooperation instead of confrontation with China.
SCMP says in its report “Indian leader Modi wants no part of China-US rivalry, but still manages to keep Beijing happy” on June 5, “Asia and the world ‘have a better future when India and China work together’, prime minister says.”
SCMP says that due to Modi’s keynote speech at Shangri-la Dialogue on June 1. In the speech, Modi did not even mention the Quad (the “quadrilateral strategic dialogue” – a US-led grouping of four regional powers including Australia, Japan and India) that the US has been eager to form to contain China and wants India to play the major role in confronting China.
Regarding to the Indo-Pacific region, the term that the US has invented for the Quad to contain China, SCMP quotes Modi as saying,“India does not see the Indo-Pacific region as a strategy or as a club of limited members, nor as a grouping that seeks to dominate. And by no means do we consider it as directed against any country. A geographical definition, as such, cannot be.”
SCMP says in the report, “Modi said that India’s relations with China had ‘many layers’. And despite their months-long military stand-off on the Doklam plateau last summer, ‘Asia and the world will have a better future when India and China work together in trust and confidence, sensitive to each other’s interests’.”
US Defense Secretary’s dream of China-India confrontation has been thoroughly broken by Modi’s speech. He realized that to stop China’s rise, the US shall come out in the forefront to confront China. That was why he attacked China so fiercely in his speech the day after Modi’s speech.
There is the saying: “It takes two to tango”. If China does not respond so strongly as the head of its delegation to Shangri-la Dialogue did, there will not be such high tension that may trigger a war now. China’s strong response may well cause the US to attack China as deep in Thucydides Trap, quite a few US politicians and media do want such a war to put an end to China’s rise. South China Sea (SCS) is not a good excuse for war as the US has no interests there, but the US only wants an excuse acceptable by its people while its media has done a lot to demonize China on the SCS issue.
As US media has already pit American people against China, to avoid the war, China had better keep a low profile instead of responding strongly because the best the US can do is but to carry out some freedom of navigation operations, which can only hurt China’s dignity instead of its interests there.
China’s hardline response has raised the questions: Is a war with the US acceptable to China? Why?
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s report, full text of which can be found at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2149237/indian-leader-modi-wants-no-part-china-us-rivalry-still.
In its report “He Lei responds to US Defense Secretary’s speech: Welcome to visit China! Challenge China’s red line, no way!” on June 4, China’s official TV media CCTV quotes He Lei of the PLA’s Academy of Military Sciences, as saying in response to US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’ speech at Shangri-la Dialogue on the US helping Taiwan build up its defense capabilities that Taiwan is China’s core interests, a red line no one can challenge.
He Lei is the head of Chinese delegation to the Shangri-la Dialogue. He says that the PLA has the determination, confidence and capabilities to defend China’s core interests.
On Mattis’ accusation of China’s militarization of its islands in the South China Sea, He Lei also responded very strongly. Reuter quotes He as saying, “It is China’s sovereign and legal right for China to place our army and military weapons there. We see any other country that tries to make noise about this as interfering in our internal affairs,”
US officials and media justifies Mattis’ accusation on the ground that Chinese President Xi Jinping told former US President Obama that China would not militarize its artificial islands. However, at that time there was Chinese official statement that China will deploy defense weapons there.
Now, US officials and media accuse China of having landed a bomber on its Woody island, which is not an artificial island!
They accuse China of deploying air and naval defense missiles on the artificial islands and claim that such weapons threaten its neighbors. Reuters says in its report “U.S. weighs more South China Sea patrols to confront ‘new reality’ of China” on June 3, “Regional military attaches say they are now bracing for China’s next moves, which some fear could be the first deployment of jet fighters to the Spratlys”.
Are those military attaches so stupid? They must have the common sense that with the airstrips and hangars on the artificial islands, China can deploy warplanes on the islands within hours if there is the need. Why shall China deploy warplanes there now to incur much more costs for their maintenance?
The US has no core interests in the South China Sea. Its accusation of China’s militarization shows that it’s deep in Thucydides Trap. Its freedom of navigation is no excuse for its violation of China’s sovereignty by sailing within 12 nautical miles of China’s islands. Such challenges of China’ sovereignty are entirely attempts to induce China to attack US warships that have violated Chinese territorial waters. If China does so the US will have the excuse to start a war with China. According to US political scientists’ research, in history Thucydides Trap gave rise to wars in most cases.
I said in my previous posts that China shall avoid strong response to US Thucydides challenges to avoid war. Now it seems China is doing the contrary. Does China want a war with the US?
Comments by Chan Kai Yee on CCTV and Reuters’ reports, full text in Chinese of the former can be viewed at http://mil.huanqiu.com/world/2018-06/12163592.html and that of the latter in English, at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-asia-security-southchinasea/u-s-weighs-more-south-china-sea-patrols-to-confront-new-reality-of-china-idUSKCN1IZ03B.
I said in my post “From Economic Connection to Expansion, Belt and Road Enters 2nd Stage” on May 31:
China’s investments in Libya and South Sudan in Africa and Venezuela to ensure oil supply from there are sad failures. China has learnt lessons not to make investments in countries without political stability unless the investments in the connections abroad are indispensable for China’s national security.
China has now invested heavily in building and fortifying its artificial islands in the South China Sea to extract oil and gas from its own marine areas. The West is unhappy, but just as Australian retired general Molan describes China has been so soundly established there, the West cannot dislodge China without a full-out war.
How much energy resources are there under the bottom of the sea? Only China knows as it has conducted years of exploration there, for which China has built a few huge deep-sea drilling rigs at the cost of US$1 billion each.
There must be lots of oil and gas there. Otherwise, China will not spend billions of dollars in building artificial islands to ensure its control of the sea there. The situation there is just as Gen. Molan describes: The West cannot dislodge China without a full-out war.
Now, according to SCMP’s report “US will ‘compete vigorously’ in South China Sea, Defence Secretary Jim Mattis warns Beijing”, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis showed US displeasure at China landing of H-6K bombers on China’s Woody Island and warned China that the US would ‘compete vigorously’ with China in the South China Sea.
How? Fight a full-out war? The US cannot win a limited war in the South China Sea as China has geographic advantages there. Only a full-out war will do.
Is the US so mad as to fight such a war? Not likely, but not impossible. Lots of US politicians, media and influential people have been fallen deep into Thucydides Trap and may stop China’s rise with a war. The South China Sea issue may just be their excuse to start the war.
The factor that may prevent the war is China’s de facto alliance with Russia. The US has to think twice before attacking China as in spite of the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia remains quite strong militarily especially in nuclear weapons and air force.
However, China has to conduct an arms race in earnest with the US to grow strong enough its military deterrence.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s report, full text of which can be found at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2148866/us-compete-vigorously-south-china-sea-defence-secretary.
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 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 https://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/south-china-sea-battle-already-lost-jim-molan/news-story/f32cebefde596ecb42a93cbaa81e60cc and http://mil.huanqiu.com/world/2018-05/12061593.html (the latter is in Chinese).