Meet China’s Type 055: Beijing’s Very Own Zumwalt Stealth Destroyer?


Image: Reuters.

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy is preparing to deploy a new, stealthy, heavily armed high-tech class of Type 055 destroyer intended to offer sea attack, air defenses and wartime support to carriers to carriers and amphibs at war on the open ocean.

by Kris Osborn July 10, 2020

Here’s What You Need To Remember: Commissioned earlier this year in January, the Nanchang has now completed its first replenishment exercises at sea. Interestingly, the ship represents China’s effort to engineer a stealthy destroyer by virtue of its blended body-bow, smooth exterior, absence of large protruding deck masts and few external deck-mounted weapons. In some respects, the ship does appear to resemble some elements of the U.S. Navy’s stealthy USS Zumwalt destroyer.

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy is preparing to deploy a new, stealthy, heavily armed high-tech class of Type 055 destroyer intended to offer sea attack, air defenses and wartime support to carriers to carriers and amphibs at war on the open ocean.

A story from China’s People’s Online Daily says the Nanchang, a first-in-class new generation of destroyers can fire anti-ship missiles, surface-to-air missiles, anti-submarine missiles and even land-attack missiles. China apparently plans to deploy the new destroyer in support of two of its operational aircraft carriers, the Liaoning and Shandong, the article says.

Commissioned earlier this year in January, the Nanchang has now completed its first replenishment exercises at sea. Interestingly, the ship represents China’s effort to engineer a stealthy destroyer by virtue of its blended body-bow, smooth exterior, absence of large protruding deck masts and few external deck-mounted weapons. In some respects, the ship does appear to resemble some elements of the U.S. Navy’s stealthy USS Zumwalt destroyer. The Nanchang has very similar-looking deck-mounted guns and a smooth, flat, roundly curved deckhouse. Like the USS Zumwalt, there is a decidedly linear, inwardly-angled hull-deckhouse connection. It has narrow command post windows and appears to mirror the hull deckhouse configuration of the USS Zumwalt to some extent with radar panels blended into sides of the ship. Also, the central placement of the deckhouse, blended with a back end area, might represent a deliberate effort to align the ship’s center of gravity and therefore decrease the possibility of capsizing in rough seas.

Some of the ship’s stealth features were pointed out in a 2018 story in The Diplomat which describes the ship as having a “flared hull with distinctly stealthy features including an enclosed bow,” and hidden mooring points and anchor chains. This deck structure indeed does reveal an apparent attempt to engineer a ship with a lower radar signature, as there are no externally mounted, angular or protruding weapons systems hanging from the sides of the ship. There are few separated large, pointy antenna masts apart from one aligned straight up on top of the deckhouse and a small cluster on the back end.

However, unlike the USS Zumwalt which aligns VLS (Vertical Launch Systems) along the periphery of the ship deck, the Diplomat describes the Type 055 destroyers as having a “64 cell block of VLS.” More concentrated VLS might seem to leave a ship more vulnerable to catastrophic attack should an incoming weapon hit the centralized group of VLS. Having VLS on the periphery, however, would enable many VLS to sustain functionality in the event that some were disabled or destroyed by enemy attacks. Also, closely stacked VLS would emit a larger heat signature should multiple missiles be launched concurrently.

Finally, the back of the Nanchang looks a little “busier” than the USS Zumwalt; there does not appear to be a large, flat rectangular helo landing area on the Nanching but rather a series of small antennas and mounted weapons and sensor systems on the back end. These, it would seem, appear less stealthy than a USS Zumwalt but bring an added advantage of close-in or attached firepower. For example, the Diplomat article points out an “eleven barrel H/PJ-11 30mm Cose-in-Weapons System. The USS Zumwalt does not appear to have a deck-mounted Close-In-Weapons System as an Arleigh Burke-class Destroyer does. CWIS can offer a critical last-layer attack-defense weapon able to use a phalanx area gun to knock out approaching close-in drones or small boat attacks—by blanketing areas with thousands of small projectiles per minute.

In addition, aggregated antennas in the back might localize the ship’s electromagnetic signature to some extent, enabling directional emissions and a single, concentrated signal area. This would preclude a need to emit multiple signals from different locations, potentially spreading out an electronic footprint. The deck-mounted guns on the Nanchang are less cylindrical and elongated as they are on the USS Zumwalt. In summary, it seems one could accurately characterize the appearance of the Nanching as a bit of a hybrid blending between a stealthy USS Zumwalt and an armed Arleigh Burke-class destroyer.

The Nanchang could also help support the Chinese expeditionary mission scope such as its increased amphibious assault capabilities and expansionist strategies. As far back as 2011, the Chinese Navy has been on the radar for its rapid maritime build-up, according to an essay in National Defense University Press which cites Chinese Frigate and Amphib construction. The 2011 paper, called “The Chinese Navy: Expanding Capabilities, Evolving Roles,” says the Chinese had at that point built 12 new Frigates, a new generation of fast-attack craft and a Type 071 20-ton Amphibious Landing Platform Dock warship. The LPD, as described by the essay, carries two helicopters, two air-cushioned landing craft, and the ability to carry up to eight hundred troops. These Chinese naval assets offer a series of mission scenarios through which the PLA Navy could use its new Nanching destroyer to fortify expansionist aims.

Kris Osborn is the defense editor for the National Interest. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a Masters Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University. This article appeared earlier this year.

Source: National Interest “Meet China’s Type 055: Beijing’s Very Own Zumwalt Stealth Destroyer?”

Note: This is National Interest’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


Meet China’s Type 055: Beijing’s Very Own Zumwalt Stealth Destroyer?


Image: Reuters.

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy is preparing to deploy a new, stealthy, heavily armed high-tech class of Type 055 destroyer intended to offer sea attack, air defenses and wartime support to carriers to carriers and amphibs at war on the open ocean.

by Kris Osborn July 10, 2020

Here’s What You Need To Remember: Commissioned earlier this year in January, the Nanchang has now completed its first replenishment exercises at sea. Interestingly, the ship represents China’s effort to engineer a stealthy destroyer by virtue of its blended body-bow, smooth exterior, absence of large protruding deck masts and few external deck-mounted weapons. In some respects, the ship does appear to resemble some elements of the U.S. Navy’s stealthy USS Zumwalt destroyer.

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The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy is preparing to deploy a new, stealthy, heavily armed high-tech class of Type 055 destroyer intended to offer sea attack, air defenses and wartime support to carriers to carriers and amphibs at war on the open ocean.

A story from China’s People’s Online Daily says the Nanchang, a first-in-class new generation of destroyers can fire anti-ship missiles, surface-to-air missiles, anti-submarine missiles and even land-attack missiles. China apparently plans to deploy the new destroyer in support of two of its operational aircraft carriers, the Liaoning and Shandong, the article says.

Commissioned earlier this year in January, the Nanchang has now completed its first replenishment exercises at sea. Interestingly, the ship represents China’s effort to engineer a stealthy destroyer by virtue of its blended body-bow, smooth exterior, absence of large protruding deck masts and few external deck-mounted weapons. In some respects, the ship does appear to resemble some elements of the U.S. Navy’s stealthy USS Zumwalt destroyer. The Nanchang has very similar-looking deck-mounted guns and a smooth, flat, roundly curved deckhouse. Like the USS Zumwalt, there is a decidedly linear, inwardly-angled hull-deckhouse connection. It has narrow command post windows and appears to mirror the hull deckhouse configuration of the USS Zumwalt to some extent with radar panels blended into sides of the ship. Also, the central placement of the deckhouse, blended with a back end area, might represent a deliberate effort to align the ship’s center of gravity and therefore decrease the possibility of capsizing in rough seas.

Some of the ship’s stealth features were pointed out in a 2018 story in The Diplomat which describes the ship as having a “flared hull with distinctly stealthy features including an enclosed bow,” and hidden mooring points and anchor chains. This deck structure indeed does reveal an apparent attempt to engineer a ship with a lower radar signature, as there are no externally mounted, angular or protruding weapons systems hanging from the sides of the ship. There are few separated large, pointy antenna masts apart from one aligned straight up on top of the deckhouse and a small cluster on the back end.

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However, unlike the USS Zumwalt which aligns VLS (Vertical Launch Systems) along the periphery of the ship deck, the Diplomat describes the Type 055 destroyers as having a “64 cell block of VLS.” More concentrated VLS might seem to leave a ship more vulnerable to catastrophic attack should an incoming weapon hit the centralized group of VLS. Having VLS on the periphery, however, would enable many VLS to sustain functionality in the event that some were disabled or destroyed by enemy attacks. Also, closely stacked VLS would emit a larger heat signature should multiple missiles be launched concurrently.

Finally, the back of the Nanchang looks a little “busier” than the USS Zumwalt; there does not appear to be a large, flat rectangular helo landing area on the Nanching but rather a series of small antennas and mounted weapons and sensor systems on the back end. These, it would seem, appear less stealthy than a USS Zumwalt but bring an added advantage of close-in or attached firepower. For example, the Diplomat article points out an “eleven barrel H/PJ-11 30mm Cose-in-Weapons System. The USS Zumwalt does not appear to have a deck-mounted Close-In-Weapons System as an Arleigh Burke-class Destroyer does. CWIS can offer a critical last-layer attack-defense weapon able to use a phalanx area gun to knock out approaching close-in drones or small boat attacks—by blanketing areas with thousands of small projectiles per minute.

In addition, aggregated antennas in the back might localize the ship’s electromagnetic signature to some extent, enabling directional emissions and a single, concentrated signal area. This would preclude a need to emit multiple signals from different locations, potentially spreading out an electronic footprint. The deck-mounted guns on the Nanchang are less cylindrical and elongated as they are on the USS Zumwalt. In summary, it seems one could accurately characterize the appearance of the Nanching as a bit of a hybrid blending between a stealthy USS Zumwalt and an armed Arleigh Burke-class destroyer.

The Nanchang could also help support the Chinese expeditionary mission scope such as its increased amphibious assault capabilities and expansionist strategies. As far back as 2011, the Chinese Navy has been on the radar for its rapid maritime build-up, according to an essay in National Defense University Press which cites Chinese Frigate and Amphib construction. The 2011 paper, called “The Chinese Navy: Expanding Capabilities, Evolving Roles,” says the Chinese had at that point built 12 new Frigates, a new generation of fast-attack craft and a Type 071 20-ton Amphibious Landing Platform Dock warship. The LPD, as described by the essay, carries two helicopters, two air-cushioned landing craft, and the ability to carry up to eight hundred troops. These Chinese naval assets offer a series of mission scenarios through which the PLA Navy could use its new Nanching destroyer to fortify expansionist aims.

Kris Osborn is the defense editor for the National Interest. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a Masters Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University. This article appeared earlier this year.

Source: National Interest “Meet China’s Type 055: Beijing’s Very Own Zumwalt Stealth Destroyer?”

Note: This is National Interest’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


Chinese Oil Major Strikes It Big In South China Sea


By Tsvetana Paraskova – Jun 29, 2020, 10:30 AM CDT

Updated: Jun 29, 2020, 10:30 AM CDT

The listed arm of China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) said on Monday that it had made a significant discovery of oil and natural gas in the eastern part of the South China Sea.

A discovery well at the Huizhou 26-6 discovery in the Pearl River Mouth Basin in the Eastern South China Sea was tested to produce around 2,020 barrels of oil and 15.36 million cubic feet of gas per day.

CNOOC expects the new oilfield to become the first mid-to-large sized condensate oil and gas field in the shallow water area of Pearl River Mouth Basin.

CNOOC’s new discovery could be a boon to China’s ambitions to boost its domestic oil and natural gas production in an attempt to lessen its dependence on oil and gas imports. State-controlled CNOOC is one of the companies that China has tasked with replacing domestic reserves, even as the oil price crash has forced Chinese state oil majors to cut capital expenditures for this year.

CNOOC, together with PetroChina and China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (Sinopec), are the national oil companies in Asia that have been the worst hit by the oil price collapse, analysts say. However, China’s NOCs are now prioritizing the increase of domestic oil and gas production and cutting overseas operations.

In the longer term, China’s push for boosting its energy security by increasing domestic production will support higher investments from the Chinese oil giants, according to Fitch Ratings.

CNOOC Limited “plays a strategic role in safeguarding the country’s energy security via its offshore upstream activities, both domestically and overseas,” Fitch said last week, affirming its A+ rating on the company with a “stable” outlook.

CNOOC’s revenue and EBITDA will be weak this year due to the price collapse, but they are expected to gradually recover from 2021, in line with Fitch’s oil and gas price deck.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

Source: oilprice.com “Chinese Oil Major Strikes It Big In South China Sea”

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


Beijing’s plans for South China Sea air defence identification zone cover Pratas, Paracel and Spratly islands, PLA source says


Plans for airspace controls over one of the world’s most disputed waterways have been in the pipeline for a decade, military insider says

Despite military build-up in region, Beijing remains wary of upsetting US and Southeast Asian neighbours with announcement of ADIZ, experts say

Minnie Chan

Published: 10:00pm, 31 May, 2020

Updated: 10:30pm, 31 May, 2020

US military aircraft, including RC-135U strategic bombers (pictured), conducted at least nine sorties and patrol operations over the South China Sea in April. Photo: Handout

Beijing has been making plans for an air defence identification zone (ADIZ) in the South China Sea since 2010, the same year it said it was considering the introduction of similar airspace controls over the East China Sea in a move that was widely criticised around the world, a military insider said.

The proposed ADIZ encompasses the Pratas, Paracel and Spratly island chains in the disputed waterway, according to a source from the People’s Liberation Army, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The plans for the zone were as old as those for the East China Sea ADIZ – which Beijing said it was considering in 2010 and introduced in 2013 – the source said, adding that Chinese authorities were waiting for the right time to announce them.

While Beijing might have been reticent on the subject, Taiwan’s defence ministry said on May 4 that it was aware of the mainland’s plans.

The militarised Subi Reef in the Spratly Island chain will be covered by China’s new ADIZ. Photo: AP

An air defence identification zone is airspace over a typically undisputed area of land or water in which the monitoring and control of aircraft is performed in the interests of national security. While many countries have them, the concept is not defined or regulated by any international treaty or agency.

Military observers said the announcement of China’s second ADIZ would add to its tensions with the United States and could cause irreparable damage to its relations with its Southeast Asian neighbours.

Lu Li-Shih, a former instructor at Taiwan’s Naval Academy in Kaohsiung, said that the construction and development of artificial islands – particularly the airstrips and radar systems built on Fiery Cross, Subi and Mischief reefs – that had been ongoing for the past several years was all part of Beijing’s ADIZ plan.

Recent satellite images show that the People’s Liberation Army has deployed KJ-500 airborne early-warning and control aircraft and KQ-200 anti-submarine patrol planes at Fiery Cross Reef,” he said, referring to pictures taken by Israel’s ImageSat International and the Asian Maritime Transparency Initiative at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a Washington-based think tank.

It was also clear that air-conditioned facilities were under construction on the reef, suggesting that fighter jets – which need to be protected from the high temperatures, humidity and salinity in the region – would soon be deployed there too, Lu said.

Once the PLA’s fighter jets arrive they can join the early-warning and anti-submarine aircraft in conducting ADIZ patrol operations.”

A satellite image captured by ImageSat International shows a KQ-200 anti-submarine patrol aircraft at a base on Fiery Cross Reef. Photo: Twitter

Li Jie, a Beijing-based naval expert and retired PLA senior colonel, said that countries normally waited to announce the establishment of an ADIZ until they had the necessary detection equipment, combat capabilities and other infrastructure in place to manage it.

But if there was an opportune time, Beijing might make the announcement sooner, he said.

Beijing declared the ADIZ in the East China Sea even though the PLA was still incapable of detecting, tracking and expelling intrusive foreign aircraft,” he said.

Another Chinese military source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said that as well as the preparedness issue, Beijing was aware that the South China Sea was much larger than the East China Sea and would therefore require far resources to patrol.

Beijing has been hesitant to declare the ADIZ in the South China Sea due to a number of technical, political and diplomatic considerations,” he said.

But the most practical problem is that the PLA has in the past not had the capability to scramble its fighter jets to expel intrusive foreign aircraft in the South China Sea, which is several times the size of the East China Sea, and the cost to support the ADIZ would be huge.”

Chinese KJ-500 early-warning and control aircraft have been deployed on Fiery Cross Reef. Photo: Handout

It was in 2010 that Chinese authorities told a Japanese delegation visiting Beijing that they were considering establishing the East China Sea ADIZ. According to a 2017 report by the CSIS, Beijing said the matter required discussion as its plans overlapped with Japan’s air defence zone.

The news angered Tokyo, which responded by establishing an ADIZ of its own, encompassing the Senkaku Islands – known as Diaoyu in Mandarin – a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea that are claimed by Japan, mainland China and Taiwan.

Tensions between Tokyo and Beijing escalated after the former bought the Senkakus from a private owner in September 2012, prompting Beijing to announce its ADIZ in November of the following year.

China announced the first ADIZ earlier than planned because of the need to assert its sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands,” Li said.

But the move was met with a backlash, with both Japan and the United States denouncing it.

While relations between Japan and China have improved in recent years, tensions between Beijing and Washington have been steadily rising, with the two sides clashing on multiple fronts – from trade and technology, to military and ideological issues.

Their relationship has come under further pressure as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, with senior officials trading accusations and insults over their respective handling of the health crisis and the possible origins of the deadly coronavirus.

Last month, US military aircraft, including EP-3E reconnaissance planes and RC-135U strategic bombers, conducted at least nine sorties and patrol operations over the South China Sea, according to the aviation tracking website Aircraft Spots.

While Beijing regards almost all of the sea as its sovereign territory, Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei have conflicting claims.

China has sought to build closer ties with its Southeast Asian neighbours in recent years, but Drew Thompson, a visiting senior research fellow at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, said it risked jeopardising them if it announced a South China Sea ADIZ.

Such a declaration would severely damage China’s relations with Southeast Asian states, which until now have largely acquiesced to China’s assertiveness and provocations, including land reclamation and militarisation of features,” he said.

But should China declare an ADIZ, they would be forced to choose, not between the US and China, but between their economic relationship with China and their own sovereignty.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: air defence zone plan ‘10 years in making’

Source: SCMP “Beijing’s plans for South China Sea air defence identification zone cover Pratas, Paracel and Spratly islands, PLA source says”

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


Tensions due to China’s Fishing Ban under Control unless US Interferes


SCMP says in its report “Beijing’s South China Sea fishing ban threatens to raise tensions with rival claimants”, “Fishing groups in Vietnam and the Philippines have urged their governments to take firm measures to resist ban, which is intended to preserve fish stocks”.

Vietnamese government has said something but not the Philippines.

In fact even during the Scarborough standoff, the Philippines has to observe the ban, though China disallowed it to fish in the area around the reef.

Fishing conflicts between China and Vietnam have been common. A Vietnamese fishing boat was sunk by Chinese coast guard ship even recently.

Such tension for resources are normal and will not be a big issue unless the US interferes with its navy.

In the past, Japan planned to use its navy to drive Chinese fishing boats away from the area around the disputed Diaoyu Islands, China showed that it was to respond with war. The then US Vice President Joe Biden had to visit China to prevent the naval war as the US would not support Japan’s move. Biden said that the US would not fight for a few rocks. After that, China sent fishing fleet larger than the past to the area and Japan did not drive Chinese fleet away.

China banned Philippine fishing in the area around Scarborough Reef after Scarborough standoff, but the US did not interfere though the Philippines is its ally. The ban was not lifted until the Philippines had improved its relations with China.

There may be tension or even war if the US interferes as China vows to defend its core interests in the South China Sea.

The ball is on US side.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s report, full text of which may be viewed at https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/3083304/delayed-south-china-sea-talks-expose-chinas-complex.


Failure to Pit ASEAN against China regarding South China Sea


The ASEAN Post tries hard in its article “China’s South China Sea Moves Raise Concerns” to pit ASEAN against China. The moves mentioned in the article are but China’s establishment of two districts and two new research stations and the presence of a Chinese survey ship in the areas claimed by both Malaysia and China in the South China Sea.

The article believes that the above mentioned Chinese moves raised concerns and said, “The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) should show some urgency regarding China’s latest actions in the South China Sea and hold a virtual meeting with member states to discuss this matter.”

However, of the 10 ASEAN members, only Vietnam protested China’s establishment of the said two districts. No other members have raised concerns.

The US is concerned and has issued a statement against China’s moves, but it is not an ASEAN member and located far away from the South China Sea.

The article is able to mention the opposition of only a former Philippine official and some analysts but not any of the governments of the other nine ASEAN members.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on The ASEAN Post’s article, full text of which can be viewed at https://theaseanpost.com/article/chinas-south-china-sea-moves-raise-concerns


The PLAN’s Renhai-Class Cruiser and the Future of Anti-Access and Area Denial


China’s next-generation cruiser will change the nature of military competition in Asia’s disputed waters.
By Zachary Williams
April 29, 2020
The PLAN’s Renhai-Class Cruiser and the Future of Anti-Access and Area Denial
Credit: Vnonymous via Wikimedia Commons

The Renhai-class (Type 055) cruiser is the newest addition to the PLAN, with the first hull commissioned in January of this year. Four more are on the docket to be ready by the end of the 2020s. Once these are deployed and patrolling with the rest of the Chinese naval inventory, the balance of force projection will shift in these highly disputed waters. This cruiser will be the linchpin in the Chinese strategy of anti-access and area denial (A2/AD), which they continuously employ within the entirety of the nine-dash line and within the first island chain. It will also be the ship to beat for everyone else asserting their power against the PLAN.

The Renhai brings strategic air defense, anti-surface, and subsurface capability that has the potential to surpass its predecessors like the Luyang-class destroyers. It far outpaces surface combatants of a similar class possessed by any of China’s neighbors, particularly the South Korean Sejong-class destroyer and Japanese Atago-class destroyer.

The Renhai will facilitate improvements in China’s surface warfare capabilities in three key ways. Improved anti-air capability will be capitalized on by using the HHQ-9, which is also in use by the Luyang class. Increased anti-surface capability will be seen with the YJ-18 anti-ship cruise missile (ASCM) and CJ-10 land attack cruise missile (LACM). Finally and most importantly, the potential to have a ship-borne anti-ship ballistic missile with ground-breaking ranges will be what distinguishes the Renhai from any other surface vessel.

For A2/AD to be successful, it is necessary to incorporate mutually supportive strategic surface-to-air missile defense. The HHQ-9, the naval variant in this family of surface-to-air missile systems, can engage air assets at 300-plus kilometers. Although the Luyang-class destroyers have the same weapon system for aerial defense, the Renhai has up to 128 vertical launch system (VLS) silos while the Luyang class has only 64. Additionally, these VLS silos are multirole and hold not only anti-air missiles but also ASCMs and LACMs.

In a South China Sea A2/AD scenario, four forward-deployed Renhai-class destroyers will be able to control the air traffic from the Luzon Strait to the western side of Taiwan. If they were to be deployed in strike groups, comparable to how the United States employs its Navy, they would be accompanied by an aircraft carrier such as the Liaoning. By 2030 China is expected to have three more carriers, which would complement the Renhai’s ability to carry out a pivotal A2/AD role. This would put the formidable HHQ-9 into play alongside J-15 air-to-air fighters, complicating a solution to the A2/AD problem set for any potential adversary.

Particularly concerning is the firepower the CJ-10 LACM provides. The assessed range of 1,500 kilometers would mean stand-off strike capability for a Taiwan seizure scenario or even the potential to strike anywhere within the first island chain where adversarial forces could be setting up expeditionary basing operations. Concurrently protecting the strike group with the supersonic YJ-18 ASCM at ranges up to 540 kilometers would provide the capability to strike shore-based coastal defense missile sites.  Airfields, destroyers, and other surface combatants well outside of the first island chain would simultaneously also be vulnerable.

China will invariably have the biggest stick in the pond by 2030 unless the United States’ acquisition programs are making calculated efforts to counter these capabilities. Though it is partially a force projection issue versus a technological gap when compared to the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, the balance will be tipped in Beijing’s favor, which could increase the potential for a calculated first strike instability problem within the first island chain. China will have the opportunity to expand its list of potential targets as they undermine Beijing’s political goals in the South China Sea. With several of nations laying claim to the territory, the Renhai cruiser should precipitate counterdevelopments by nations with a vested interest in freedom of navigation through these seas.

Source: The Diplomat “The PLAN’s Renhai-Class Cruiser and the Future of Anti-Access and Area Denial”

Note: This is The Diplomat’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


US Lie about China-Malaysia Standoff Fails to sow discord


SCMP saiys in its report “Malaysia urges peaceful resolution to South China Sea stand-off with Beijing” that according to a US think tank the Washington-based Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) there have been stand-off between Chinese and Malaysian vessels in the disputed waters of the South China Sea for months. However, China has clearly denied the existence of the stand-off and Malaysia has kept silent about that for fear of upsetting the US.

Moreover, the report says, “Last week, the Haiyang Dizhi 8, accompanied by a Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) vessel, entered Malaysia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and began a survey close to where the West Capella was operating.” How can the Chinese survey ship enter an area of dispute without naval convoy if there has been a long stand-off?

The US amd Australia responded with a naval drill in the area bit Malaysia has not evem responded by sending vessels to conduct a stand-off with Chinese survey ship there.

The report quotes Malaysian foreign minister Hishammuddin Hussein as saying “While international law guarantees the freedom of navigation, the presence of warships and vessels in the South China Sea has the potential to increase tensions that in turn may result in miscalculations which may affect peace, security and stability in the region,”

The report says the foreign minister said that as his first response to the stand-off, but obviously he said that first of all about the presence of US and Australian warships.

Yes Malaysia urges peaceful resolution but not about the non-existent stand-off but about US and Australia’s attempt on military solution.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s report, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.scmp.com/news/asia/southeast-asia/article/3081234/malaysia-urges-peaceful-resolution-south-china-sea-stand.


Beijing marks out claims in South China Sea by naming geographical features


China says it is asserting its sovereignty in the disputed waters in the face of Vietnam’s ‘aggression’

Latest move follows establishment of new administrative structures for Paracel and Spratly islands

Kristin Huang

Published: 6:30pm, 20 Apr, 2020

Updated: 12:08am, 21 Apr, 2020

China has given names to 80 geographical features in the disputed South China Sea in the latest move to assert its territorial claims in the face of increasing opposition from Vietnam.

According to a notice jointly released by China’s Natural Resources Ministry and Civil Affairs Ministry, it has given names to features in the Paracel and Spratly islands. These include 25 islands, shoals and reefs and 55 oceanic mountains and ridges.

The last such exercise was carried out in 1983, when China named 287 features in the area, where multiple nations have competing territorial claims.

Yan Yan, director of the Research Centre of Oceans Law and Policy in the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, said China had acted to assert its sovereignty and sovereign rights after Vietnam raised the stakes in their dispute.

Last month, Vietnam sent a diplomatic note to the United Nations to protest against China’s sovereignty claims over the South China Sea.

To reiterate its sovereignty claims over the South China Sea, China coined names for 80 more features after the 1983 exercise,” Yan said.

China is faced with an increasingly aggressive Vietnam as the country continues to fish illegally and conduct oil and gas exploration unilaterally in the South China Sea. And as this year’s chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Vietnam should exercise more restraint rather than acting aggressively.”

The statement came a day after China said it had set up two administrative districts – which it named Xisha and Nansha – to govern the Paracel and Spratly islands.

China also dispatched a scientific survey vessel, the Haiyang Dizhi 8, to sail into waters also claimed by Vietnam and Malaysia. The Haiyang Dizhi 8 has been accused of tagging an exploration vessel operated by Malaysia’s state oil company, but a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman insisted the Chinese ship was conducting normal activities.

China claims almost the whole South China Sea, but these claims are not recognised by its neighbours or most other countries.

It has adopted salami-slicing tactics to boost its claims, gradually building artificial islands and facilities that could be used for military purposes over the past six years despite repeated protests from the international community.

China’s latest actions in the South China Sea come amid renewed tensions with the United States and Vietnam.

This month Vietnam lodged an official protest with the Chinese government after a fishing boat was sunk following a collision with a Chinese coastguard vessel near the islands.

China said the Vietnamese boat had been fishing illegally and sunk after ramming the Chinese vessel.

The incident provoked an angry reaction from Washington, which accused China of exploiting the Covid-19 pandemic to act when other countries were preoccupied with the crisis.

Collin Koh, a research fellow from the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, said China’s latest moves would only deepen the lack of trust among Asean countries, which are currently negotiating a code of conduct for the area with China.

I think such moves are going to be counterproductive and backfire on Beijing,” said Koh. He said that its actions would increase international attention on the matter, something China had hoped to avoid.

Source: SCMP “Beijing marks out claims in South China Sea by naming geographical features”

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


National Interest Article’s Sensational Title Based on Rumors


National Interest’s article “Sunk: How China’s Man-Made Islands Are Falling Apart and Sinking Into the Ocean” on March 12, 2020 describes China’s artificial islands in the South China Sea by the phrase “Shoddy construction plus climate change equals unstable islands.”

Its an article “first appeared in 2019 and is being reposted due to reader interest”, according to National Interest.

Now in the year of 2020, none of the islands has collapsed or sunk What is the article’s sensational title based on?

The article says, “Rumors suggest the new islands’ concrete is crumbling and their foundations turning to sponge in a hostile climate. And that is before considering what a direct hit from a super-typhoon might do”.

The rumors are not about fact but only suggest. Can such speculating rumors be the basis of the title that China’s artificial islands “are falling apart and sinking into the ocean”?

Perhaps, such false title may not upset National Interest as its readers like such sensational but false title.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on National Interest’s article, full text of which can be viewed at https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/sunk-how-chinas-man-made-islands-are-falling-apart-and-sinking-ocean-132047.