Great Powers Play Children’s Games


China regards its rights and interests as its core interests so that when the US sent 2 aircraft carrier battle groups to force China to accept the arbitration award that deprives China of its rights and interests in the South China Sea, China challenged the US with war. The US certainly did not want to fight a war for the interests of its ally the Philippines so that there was no war there.

However, in order to prove its existence in the South China Sea, the US sent warships to conduct freedom of navigation operations there.

As pointed out in my previous post “South China Sea Disputes are about Oil, Gas, fishing Not Navigation” on February 2, US warships did not affect China’s core interests, China only drove away US warships.

Both the US and China were satisfied. One has succeeded in proving its military existence in the South China Sea and the other, protecting its sovereignty there. However, isn’t such operation like children’s games instead great powers’ moves. Stupid!

In addition, US Navy Times says in its report “Another busy week in the South China Sea” that US F-35B jets conducted training over the Philippines to the east of the South China Sea but regard it as US activities in the South China Sea that China routinely objects. Is Navy Times ignorant of geography.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Navy Times’ report, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.navytimes.com/news/your-navy/2019/02/11/another-busy-week-in-the-south-china-sea/

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U.S. destroyers sail in disputed South China Sea amid trade tensions


February 11, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two U.S. warships sailed near islands claimed by China in the South China Sea on Monday, a U.S. official told Reuters, a move likely to anger Beijing at a time of tense relations between the world’s two biggest economies.

Beijing and Washington are locked in a trade war and the two sides are trying to hammer out a deal ahead of a March 1 deadline when U.S. tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports are scheduled to increase to 25 percent from 10 percent.

Related Coverage

China angered as U.S. navy ships enter South China Sea

Escalating tensions between the United States and China have cost both countries billions of dollars and roiled global financial markets.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the two guided-missile destroyers traveled within 12 nautical miles of Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands.

The operation was the latest attempt to counter what Washington sees as Beijing’s efforts to limit freedom of navigation in the strategic waters, where Chinese, Japanese and some Southeast Asian navies operate.

China claims almost all of the strategic South China Sea and frequently lambastes the United States and its allies over naval operations near Chinese-occupied islands.

China and the United States have repeatedly traded barbs in the past over what Washington says is Beijing’s militarization of the South China Sea by building military installations on artificial islands and reefs.

China defends its construction as necessary for self-defense and says it is the United States that is responsible for ratcheting up tensions in the region by sending warships and military planes close to islands Beijing claims.

Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia and Taiwan have competing claims in the region.

Fears have grown in recent months that the U.S.-China trade dispute is just one element in a bilateral relationship that is fast cooling across the board, with top U.S. administration officials sharply criticizing Beijing for everything from human rights abuses to cyber espionage in the United States.

The two countries are also at odds over regional security, including Washington’s overtures to the self-ruled island of Taiwan, which China claims as its own.

Reporting by Idrees Ali and Mary Milliken; Editing by Peter Cooney

Source: Reuters “U.S. destroyers sail in disputed South China Sea amid trade tensions”

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


South China Sea Disputes are about Oil, Gas, fishing Not Navigation


Reuters and other Western media are fond of relating the disputes in the South China Sea to navigation stressing the volume of trade through the sea while they are clearly aware that the disputes are about the energy and fishing resources and have nothing to do with navigation there.

Of the four nations contending with China there, Malaysia and Brunei have agreed with China on peaceful cooperation there. The Philippines has an agreement with China for cooperation in energy exploration and exploitation and China has allowed its fishermen to fish in disputed waters.

Vietnam has expressed intention of cooperation with China but still tried to extract oil and gas alone. However, no one dare to provide know how or equipment to cooperate with Vietnam for energy exploitation there against China’s opposition. Its energy exploitation and fishing are restricted by Chinese coast guards.

Moreover, the disputes only concern the special economic zones along the disputing claimants’ coasts. Those claimants have to conduct win-win cooperation with China for energy exploration and exploitation there but if they do not China has the strength, funds, technology and equipment to do so alone.

China can and will explore and exploit oil and gas exclusively in the vast area outside the zones and within China’s nine-dash line.

The US dare not interfere as since China’s construction of artificial islands and deployment of defense military capabilities there, it has no hope to win a war with China there. It sent two aircraft carrier battle groups to nearby area to force China to accept an arbitration award that entirely denies China’s rights and interests there but refrained from fighting when China challenged it with war.

Since then, it has only conducted a few freedom of navigation operations a year there, which are entirely irrelevant as freedom of navigation has never been a problem there. Such operations scare no one nor please anyone. Sorry, it pleases some Westerners perhaps.

Reuters says in its report “Factbox: China’s oil majors tap new discoveries as they step up drilling” yesterday that China’s state-owned oil giant CNOOC has found recoverable gas reserves of 2.5 trillion cubic feet at Lingshui 17-2 block 150 km off the coast of China’s Hainan Island

The average water depth there is 1,450 meters (4,750 feet) but China has the equipment and technology to extract gas there. The report says CNOOC made its final investment decision in March 2018 to make estimated total investment of 20 billion yuan ($2.78 billion) for extraction of the gas there.

Energy exploration and exploitation take time and cost a lot but China is capable of doing so. Its Hai Yang Shi You 981 oil platform can drill at the sea bottom 3,000 meters deep and drill 12,000 meters deep. China has several such platforms now for oil and gas exploration and exploitation there.

The report says, “China’s national oil companies are raising spending on domestic oil and gas drilling to the highest levels since 2016, responding to Beijing’s call to boost national energy security.” I means that China’s energy exploitation will be intensified there in the future.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ report, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-oil-exploration-factbox/factbox-chinas-oil-majors-tap-new-discoveries-as-they-step-up-drilling-idUSKCN1PQ3Q2


China makes ‘stern representations’ over U.S. warship in South China Sea


BEIJING (Reuters) – China has lodged “stern representations” with the United States over a U.S. navy vessel sailing through the disputed South China Sea, its foreign ministry said on Monday.

A U.S. guided-missile destroyer sailed near the disputed Paracel Islands in the South China Sea claimed by China as U.S. officials joined trade talks in Beijing to seek a de-escalation in the Sino-U.S. trade war.

Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a regular briefing that the U.S. operation in the region violated China’s law and urged the United States to stop such actions.

Reporting by Michael Martina; Writing by Christian Shepherd; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

Source: Reuters “China makes ‘stern representations’ over U.S. warship 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.


China has ‘stern’ words with U.S. over ship in South China Sea


November 30, 2018

BEIJING (Reuters) – China said on Friday it had lodged “stern representations” with the United States after the U.S. Navy sailed a ship through the contested South China Sea, passing near islands claimed by China.

Tension between the two powers in disputed Asian waters comes as their relationship has between strained by a row over trade involving increasingly severe rounds of tariffs on billions of dollars worth of each other’s imports.

The U.S. guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville sailed near the Paracel Islands on Monday to challenge China’s “excessive maritime claims”, the U.S. Pacific fleet said in a statement.

China foreign ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, told a daily news briefing the U.S. ship had entered Chinese waters without permission and China had made its position known with its “stern representations”.

The Chinese army said it had sent ships and planes to watch the U.S. ship and to warn it to leave.

The Chancellorsville’s voyage was the latest in what the United States calls freedom of navigation operations aimed at challenging what it sees as Chinese activity limiting freedom of movement in the strategic waters.

In particular, the United States has criticized China’s construction of islands on tiny reefs and shoals and its installation of military facilities on them, including air strips and docks.

China claims “irrefutable” sovereignty over most of the South China Sea and the islands in it, and accuses the United States of raising military tension with its navy presence there.

Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam all claim parts of the waterway, through which about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes each year. Taiwan also claims the waters.

(This version of the story was refiled to remove extraneous word “said” from paragraph one)

Reporting by Christian Shepherd; Editing by Robert Birsel

Source: Reuters “China has ‘stern’ words with U.S. over ship 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.


China, Philippines to Cooperate on Oil, Gas Exploitation in Disputed Sea


SCMP says in its report “China-Philippine relations ‘never been better’, says ex-president Gloria Arroyo” that during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s just finished visit to the Philippines, the two countries signed 29 deals including a memorandum of understanding to cooperate on oil and gas development in the South China Sea.

Preceding his visit to the Philippines, Xi visited Brunei and agreed with it “on further win-win cooperation in exploiting oil and gas resources in the disputed South China Sea”, according to SCMP’s report “China and Brunei to step up oil and gas development in disputed South China Sea” on November 19.

I said in my comment on SCMP’s that report titled “China Solving South China Sea Disputes by Oil, Gas Exploitation Cooperation” on November 20:

Xi is to visit the Philippines today and may conclude some agreement on cooperation in exploiting oil and gas with the Philippines. As Vietnam and Malaysia also have similar desire on cooperation with China, there are prospects that China’s disputes with its neighbors over the South China Sea will be resolved peacefully through win-win cooperation.

Some may think Philippine current president Duterte’s pro-China strategy is exceptional, but Philippine former president and present speaker of House of Representatives Arroyo precisely adopted a similar pro-China strategy in her nine years as Philippine president until 2010.

During the nine years, the Philippine also cooperated with China on oil and gas development with a US$15 million deal – known as the Joint Maritime Seismic Undertaking – to jointly conduct seismic prospecting for oil in the sea. The deal was later joined by Vietnam.

Arroyo’s successor former President Aquino, instead, is an exception. He tried to exploit US pivot to Asia to deny China’s rights and interests in the South China Sea with US military support, but failed in disgrace. He makes Duterte’s pro-Beijing strategy popular as his failed speculation showed that the US does no care about its ally’s interests. Though Philippines’ military ally, the US is not willing to fight for Philippines’ interests.

That make Duterte’s policy of dumping the US popular among Philippine people.

In fact, Philippine elite knew US selfishness long ago as shown by their driving away of US military bases in the Philippines in the 1990s.

The US believes that it is popular in the Philippines. Duterte’s popularity proves precisely the contrary.

China is popular among developing nations as it respects them, cares for their interests and is generous in providing financial aids for them

SCMP’s another report today “Faced with a mounting economic crisis, the cash-strapped Maldives is looking to renegotiate its piles of Chinese debt” proves precisely that. Its title tries to make readers believe that Maldives is in China’s debt trap, a term Western countries use to demonize China.

The fact reflected in the report proves the contrary.

SCMP quotes China’s ambassador as telling the local Avas.mv website that in fact only about half of the Maldives’ external debt pile of US$1.2 billion was owed to Beijing.

He said the loans carried an interest rate of 2 per cent and a five-year grace period, while also disputing claims of a debt trap.

“We have nothing to gain if a friendly country falls into debt,” he said. “There is no single (piece of) evidence to support the so-called debt trap claim.”

In spite of the busy demonizing by Western politicians and media, China remains popular as it pursues win-win cooperation with other nations. And in spite of US boasting of its so-called good intention to help other nations, the US remains unpopular due to its arrogant invasion of Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. interference in other countries’ internal affairs by causing regime changes and exporting its democracy that does not bring prosperity and unity even in its own country.

Comments by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s reports, full text of which can respectively be viewed at https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/2174384/china-philippine-relations-never-been-better-says-ex-president and https://www.scmp.com/news/asia/south-asia/article/2174413/faced-mounting-economic-crisis-cash-strapped-maldives-looking.


China’s Defense Buildup Effective Deterrence of US Aggression


Washington Free Beacon’s article “China Speeding Up Large-Scale Military Buildup” says China’s military modernization “undermines deterrence and increase risk of war”

The article is based on the recently published annual report by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

It tries to make others believe that there will be risk of war if the US has lost its military superiority.

The fact is precisely the contrary. When there was military balance between the US and the Soviet Union in the Cold War period, the US was very careful not to fight a war for fear of Soviet involvement. Its defeat in Vietnam has taught it a humiliating lesson.

When the US became the only superpower in the world after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the US became arrogant. It recklessly invaded Afghanistan and Iraq and boasted its ability to fight two conventional wars simultaneously.

It is a pity that in spite of its superiority in weapons and military technology, it is unable to win the wars. It has to keep its troops in Afghanistan to deal with Taliban that it cannot conquer after more than a decade of fighting.

Its occupation of Iraq gave rise to ISIS that it had to eliminate by its proxies.

Economically, the two wars have left the US heavily in debt and made it realize that it cannot afford a war in a relatively large country such as Iraq, let alone China.

China’s military buildup is precisely the deterrence of US wars of aggression it works as a balance to US aggressive military power.

It first of all aims at deterrence of US military intervention in China’s Taiwan issue.

Taiwan is a province of China, but the article regards it as a country. It shows some Americans’ ambition to separate Taiwan from China. China has to make its military much stronger than the US to prevent that.

The US manipulated to have the International Court of Arbitration at the Hague to give an arbitration award that entirely deny China’s rights and interests in the South China Sea. China rejected the award and the UN issued a statement that the arbitration court is not a UN agency. In spite of that the US sent two aircraft carrier battle groups to force China to accept the award.

If China had not built up its air force and navy, constructed its artificial islands and deployed defensive weapons there, it would not have effectively deterred US military intervention in China’s disputes with its neighbors in the South China Sea.

China’s military buildup is entirely legitimate and necessary for its national security and defense.

The above facts prove that contrary to what the article claims, China’s military buildup deters and decreases the risk of war.

The article shows that the US is scared by China’s military buildup but that is only the beginning. I have pointed out in my previous posts that China’s military buildup is still far from enough. Only when China has developed the capability of strikes of US homeland can entirely deter US attack of Chinese homeland. That will take a decade or two.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Washington Free Beacon’s article, full text of which can be viewed at https://freebeacon.com/national-security/china-speeding-large-scale-military-buildup/?utm_source=Freedom+Mail&utm_campaign=577f6fb70d-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_11_14_10_55_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b5e6e0e9ea-577f6fb70d-46069085.