China is believed to have the attitude and arrogance of aggression, encompassing defiance of international pressures, laws and treaties and resort to military maneuvres against its neighbours and nations around the region as long as its tactical and strategical objectives are met.
A retired People’s Liberation Army general Luo Yuan opined that China is prepared to go to war with Japan over disputed territories which include
South China Morning Post story:
Chances of war between China and Japan increasing, says ex-PLA officer Luo Yuan
Retired PLA general says China is ready and rejects claims of Japanese combat superiority, although some analysts are not convinced
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 02 April, 2014, 6:21pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 April, 2014, 5:00pm
Luo Yuan says China is more than capable of defending itself.
A retired People’s Liberation Army senior officer says a war with Japan over territorial disputes is becoming increasingly likely and that China is more than capable of defending itself.
Other military experts are not convinced the PLA would win any future conflict, despite China’s military build-up and modernisation.
Some cite the PLA’s lack of battle experience as well as technological weaknesses in certain areas, aircraft engines for example, that could hinder the PLA’s fighting capability.
China and Japan moved closer to armed conflict after Beijing established its first air defence identification zone last November in the East China Sea to include the disputed Diaoyu islands, known as the Senkakus in Japan, Major General Luo Yuan said.
“China should remain in a high state of vigilance because Japan has a history of manufacturing small incidents to trigger military conflict,” Luo said.
Luo, a vice-president of a Beijing-based think tank of retired military officers, the China Strategy Culture Promotion Association, dismissed suggestions in some Japanese media reports that the country had air combat superiority because its pilots and crews had greater experience and training.
“That conclusion is a deceptive tactic used by Japan to confuse the public,” he said.
China has several military airports … that could provide logistical support LUO YUAN, RETIRED PLA MAJOR GENERAL
The PLA has deployed its most advanced aircraft and logistical support to military bases along China’s southeast coast, a move designed to show that the army is prepared for any military conflict in the area.
“So far, all aircraft sent by both countries to the Diaoyu waters have been third-generation fighter jets. The PLA’s newest and most advanced planes entered service at the turn of this century, including the J-10, J-11B and the [Russian-made] Su-27,” said Luo.
“In contrast, Japan has deployed to the region only about 30 F-15Js, which their air force has used since the 1980s.”
Luo declined to say how many fighter jets the PLA would mobilise in an armed conflict. He said China had an overwhelming advantage in the number and types of aircraft available.
“China has several military airports along the southeast coast that could provide effective logistical support to PLA fighter jets because those air force bases are much closer to the Diaoyus,” he said.
“But in Japan, there is just one airport close to the Diaoyus: Naha airport in Okinawa.”
Canada-based magazine Kanwa Asian Defence said the PLA’s missile strategic force had deployed its S-300 long-range surface-to-air missile batteries at bases in Fujian since 2012.
Ni Lexiong , director of a defence policy research centre at the Shanghai University of Political Science and Law, said he was not convinced the PLA would have the upper hand in any conflict.
“It’s a fact that China’s logistical support near the Diaoyus is better than Japan’s because military bases in Fujian and Zhejiang province have been ready for war with Taiwan since the 1950s,” he said. “But we shouldn’t ignore the Americans, who would play a decisive role in any armed conflict between China and Japan.”
Luo argued the US would not intervene in any conflict.
Macau-based military observer Antony Wong Dong said that if hostilities did break out with Japan, all military bases and facilities on land and sea would be targets for bombing.
“China has more fighter jets than Japan, but one Japanese pilot is probably equivalent to at least three PLA pilots due to their intensive training and joint drills with the US air force,” he said.
The uninhabited islands known Senkaku by the Japan or Daioyu by China was annexed by the Japanese Imperial Army after the first Sino-Japan War in 1895. It came under US administration after Japan was defeated at the end of World War II.
Although the United States does not have an official position on the merits of the competing sovereignty claims, the islands are included within the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan, meaning that a defense of the islands by Japan would require the United States to come to Japan’s aid.
In September 2012, the Japanese government purchased three of the disputed islands from their ‘private owner’, prompting large-scale protests in China. As of early February 2013, the situation has been regarded as “The most serious for Sino-Japanese relations in the post-war period in terms of the risk of militarised conflict”.
On 23 November 2013, the China set up the ‘East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone’ (ADIZ) which includes the Senkaku Islands and announced that it would require all aircraft entering the zone to file a flight plan and submit radio frequency or transponder information.
This is an alarming analysis because China’s expansionary behaviour and attitude towards the international community especially its neighbours, is getting more prevailing after the occupation of Scarborough Shoal. China’s PLA Navy (Navy) erected permanent structures on the island and has been warding off Filipino fishermen as they approach the atoll.
The atoll has been declared by President Ferdinand E Marcos in 1978 and reiterated by President Gloria Macapagal-Aroyo in 2009 as part of the Philippines’ EEZ, in accordance to the United Nations Convention Law of the Seas (UNCLOS), where China is a signatory since 1982.
It is interesting to note China is also a signatory to the Declaration of the Code of Conduct (DOC) with ASEAN members on 4 November 2002, where the reference is the UNCLOS. Controversial issues between neighbours and nations around the region such territorial and jurisdictional disputes which include multiple common border claims have been agreed to be resolved by peaceful means which include consultations, dialogues and negotiations without resorting to the use of force.
China instituted its marker and permanent structures on Scarborough Shoal and refuse to return the claim of the island back to the Philippines despite inked the declaration, even on the basis of honouring the Code of Conduct Declaration and friendship and in the spirit of regional co-operation, as neighbouring countries.
China also did not honour the principles agreed in the DOC such as consultation and dialogues to resolve the growingly chronic problem between the two neighbors,
The Diplomat story by renown analyst Carl Thayer:
To Isolate Philippines, China Woos ASEAN
Two potentially crosscurrent developments are shaping maritime security in the South China Sea.
By Carl Thayer
October 01, 2013
Maritime security in the South China Sea is being shaped by two overlapping and potentially crosscutting developments. The first development is the emergence of new tensions between the Philippines and China over Scarborough Shoal dating from late August. The second development is the initiation of official consultations on a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in mid-September.
Ever since the eruption of tensions between China and the Philippines over Scarborough Shoal in April 2012 Beijing has pursued “wedge politics” in an attempt to isolate Manila from other ASEAN states. For example, China’s new Foreign Minister Wang Yi pointedly omitted the Philippines from the itinerary of his two trips to the region this year.
In August China and the Philippines became involved in a diplomatic altercation over President Aquino’s attendance at the Tenth China-ASEAN- Expo in Nanning (3-6 September). The Philippines had been designated the “country of honor” and official host for this event. It was past practice for the host country to be represented by its head of government. On 28 August, immediately after President Aquino indicated his intention to attend the Expo China requested that he visit “at a more conducive time.” According to Philippine sources, China demanded the Philippines withdraw its arbitration case as a condition for Aquino’s visit. This was unacceptable and President Aquino declined to attend.
In the midst of these ructions, new tensions in China-Philippine relations erupted when Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin on September 3 released three aerial photographs of Scarborough Shoal taken on August 31. These photographs were taken at low tide and showed what the Philippines claimed were thirty concrete blocks, a concrete platform, two vertical posts and a white buoy lying in Scarborough Shoal. Three Chinese Coast Guard ships were also photographed on station in the area.
Gazmin speculated that the concrete blocks “could be a prelude to construction” and were a violation of the 2002 Declaration on Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC). Gazmin also stated he was unsure when the blocks were delivered. Philippine sources speculated that the blocks could be used to tether Chinese fishing vessels. An anonymous Philippine official was quoted as stating, “the concrete pillars and blocks… appeared to have been dropped from an aircraft.”
A day after Gazmin’s testimony, Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alberto del Rosario argued that China had plans to occupy disputed reefs in the South China Sea before the formal conclusion of a COC, and stated that Chinese activity “places the region in jeopardy in terms of peace and stability.” Del Rosario concluded that “we intend to file a diplomatic protest” with China.
On September 4, the Philippines Department of National Defense announced that new aerial photographs taken two days earlier revealed a total of 75 concrete blocks in a two-hectare area of Scarborough Shoal. The blocks were estimated at just over half a meter in length, width and height.
Official Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei responded to Philippine accusations by claiming they were “not in accordance with the facts” and that Scarborough Shoal was China’s “inherent territory.”
On September 10, Philippines Navy Vice Admiral Jose Luis Alano raised the rhetorical stakes by noting that government discussions were underway about how to respond to China, including whether or not to remove the blocks. Speaking at a Foreign Ministry press conference the following day, Hong Lei restated China’s “undisputed sovereignty” over “Huangyan Islands [Scarborough Shoal] and the neighboring sea.”
China released its own photos reportedly taken some time during the second week of September clearly showing rocks and coral jutting from the sea at low tide. Chinese sources claimed this was the same area of Scarborough Shoal depicted in photographs taken by the Philippines Air Force. As a direct result of this controversy the Philippines recalled its ambassador to China for consultations.
Shortly after the formal installation of Xi Jinping as president and Wang Yi as the new foreign minister back in March, China signaled a subtle change in its relations with Southeast Asia. The following month, at the 19th ASEAN-China Senior Officials Consultation, the Chinese side announced its willingness to commence discussions with ASEAN on a COC later in the year.
Two explanations account for China’s demarche. First, Chinese leaders reportedly viewed past policy on the South China Sea as counterproductive. They sought to insulate China-ASEAN relations from territorial disputes in the South China Sea. Second, China faced a more unified ASEAN. In 2013, Brunei assumed the ASEAN Chair and gave priority to initiating discussions with China on a COC. Thailand, as ASEAN’s country coordinator for dialogue relations with China, and Indonesia both began to play more proactive roles.
China responded by dispatching Foreign Minister Wang Yi on two trips to Southeast Asia to sound out his counterparts and to make preparations for the ASEAN-China Summit in October. Wang’s first visit in late April/early May included Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and Brunei; during the second visit in August he took in Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam.
At a press conference in early August, Wang Yi was careful to note that China and ASEAN had only “agreed to hold consultations on moving forward the process on the ‘Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC)’ under the framework of implementing the ‘Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC)….’” Wang also noted in a pointed reference to the Philippines that, “some parties” held “different ideas…on how to promote the process of COC.”
Significantly, Wang Yi highlighted four reasons for why the COC consultations would be a prolonged process. First, he stated that the expectations of unnamed parties for a “quick fix” were “neither realistic nor serious.” Second, Wang noted that no country or countries could impose their will and that consultations would proceed only on the basis of consensus. Third, he recalled that in the past outside interference had caused China-ASEAN talks on a COC to bog down. Fourth, he cautioned that consultations could only proceed “step-by-step.”
China and ASEAN held their first round of formal consultations on the COC in Suzhou, China from September 14-15. This meeting drew up a work plan on the DOC for 2013-14, approved an expert group to assist in developing the COC, and agreed to meet in Thailand in early 2014. Immediately after the meeting the China Daily reported, “Manila once again tried to disrupt China-ASEAN consultations. Before the Suzhou meetings, the Philippines again started a war of words with China. It fabricated a story that China had laid some concrete blocks on Huangyan Islands…”
Despite this promising start, it is clear that some major procedural differences will have to be overcome. China insists that consultations on the COC can only take place under the framework of the DOC. The 2002 DOC listed five areas for cooperation. Only four joint working groups have been set and so far not one project has been approved or funded. ASEAN prefers that the DOC and COC discussions be separated with each proceeding on its own track. Some in ASEAN argue that the COC should be implemented piecemeal, that is, as soon as agreement is reached on one measure it should be implemented immediately.
The 2002 ASEAN-China DOC calls for the parties “to exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability” and to refrain from occupying “presently uninhabited islands, reefs, shoals, cays, and other features and to handle their differences in a constructive manner.” The Philippine-China dispute over “blocks or rocks” at Scarborough Shoal is an illustration that positive diplomatic progress on a COC could be set back at any time by any party failing to exercise restraint. This applies equally to the Philippines and China.
Nearly a month has passed since the Philippines first raised allegations about new activities at Scarborough Shoal, yet no further information has been forthcoming. It is incumbent on the Philippines to provide further details to substantiate its accusations that China violated the 2002 DOC by placing concrete blocks in Scarborough Shoal as a prelude to construction.
The Philippines’ allegations raise more questions than answers. Is there any better imagery to determine if the blocks are not rocks, as the Chinese claim? Why hasn’t this imagery been released? When were the blocks placed in Scarborough Shoal? If, as some analysts argue, the blocks form a haphazard pattern, what is the basis for the conclusion that they are foundations for future construction?
China has been disingenuous in its dismissal of claims made by the Philippines. For example, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei responded to a question on this issue by stating, “what the Philippine side said is not true.”
This phrasing makes it unclear whether he was denying that China had placed the blocks there in the first place, or denying accusations that China planned construction activities in Scarborough Shoal, or both.
One regional security analyst, for example, has speculated that the concrete blocks were used as ballast by Chinese fishermen and discarded once they reached the fishing grounds at Scarborough Shoal. If this is the case, dumping concrete blocks would be an environmental not a security matter. China, which has physical control over Scarborough Shoal, should invite the world’s media and marine experts to visit Scarborough Shoal and make their own independent determination.
This is China’s second aggression in the region, taking islands deemed part of a neighbour’s EEZ (as per provided by UNCLOS). Forty years ago, China invaded Paracels which was under then South Vietnam’s border and administration. Today, China built a PLAN base on the island.
There have been increasing incidence of China’s projection of force and power in the region. The more glaring was exactly a year ago where the Jinggangshan amphibious task force with 1,000 armed marines and amphibious tanks escorted by two guided missile destroyers made live missile firing exercise and taking oath “To protect its borders and territories” at James Shoal (also known as Beting Serupai).
James Shoal is 50 nautical miles off the coast of Sarawak and it is part of Malaysia’s EEZ.
It is believed that China would plan to draw Japan into ‘ an armed provocation’ to justify a military option “To resolve incursion of Japan’s military assets” if and when the recent incursion of Chinese Coast Guard ships in the Senkaku Islands is being reciprocated. This is far remote from the ‘Panda Trap’ being invoked onto the Philippines.
Kyodo News International story:
Kyodo News International March 29, 2014 3:18pm
3 Chinese ships enter Japanese waters near Senkaku Islands
Three Chinese coast guard vessels intruded into Japanese territorial waters around the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea on Saturday, the Japan Coast Guard said.
The intrusion was the seventh this year, following one on March 15. The Japanese-controlled uninhabited islets are claimed by China and Taiwan, which call the islands Diaoyu and Tiaoyutai, respectively.
Japan is confident of projecting force against China’s position and military maneuvres into Senkaku Islands vicinity because of the motivation provided by United States. Department of State Assistant Secretary Daniel Russel announced United States position and willingness to stand by the Philippines in any dispute with China.
Associated Press story:
US: Will stand by allies in disputes with China
Posted: Thursday, April 3, 2014 12:29 pm
WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States says China should not doubt U.S. resolve in meeting its defense commitments to its allies.
Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel’s comments Thursday follow Chinese efforts to interdict Philippine vessels resupplying a small offshore garrison in the South China Sea.
The Philippines is a U.S. treaty ally and one of several nations with conflicting territorial claims with China in those waters.
Russel told a congressional hearing that China’s neighbors are worried that Russia’s annexation of Crimea might serve as a precedent for Beijing.
He said Russia’s action has heightened concern, particularly among Southeast Asian nations, about the possibility of China “threatening force or other forms of coercion to advance their territorial interests.”
Russel said China needs to demonstrate its commitment to peacefully resolving its territorial disputes.
China’s deployment and projection of power and force in the case of the invasion of Paracels, the Scarborough Shoal and Second Thomas Shoal stand off and the “Training exercise” at James Shoal (Beting Serupai) is rather crude mannerism in serving its strategic economic objectives. International and regional politics and upholding ideological struggles are far secondary motives, despite that China is the largest communist state in the world.
China is rather poor in hiding the real intent; It is about the much needed hydro-carbon deposits to fuel a galloping economy and enormous consumer market and control of the second most important international maritime passageway. Both are essential and integral components for China to sustain growth and economic position and resilience.
China is the world’s most populous country with a fast-growing economy that has led it to be the largest energy consumer and producer in the world. Rapidly increasing energy demand, especially for liquid fuels, has made China extremely influential in world energy markets.
China is the world’s second-largest consumer of oil and projected to move from second-largest net importer of oil to the largest in 2014.
China’s national oil companies dominate the oil and gas upstream and downstream sectors, although the government has granted international oil companies more access to technically challenging onshore and deep water offshore fields. China revised its oil price reform legislation in 2013 to further reflect international oil prices in the country’s domestic demand.
China’s largest oil fields are mature, and production has peaked, leading companies to invest in techniques to sustain oil flows at the mature fields, while also focusing on developing largely untapped reserves in the western interior provinces and offshore fields.
China’s national oil companies have rapidly expanded their purchases of international oil and gas assets since 2008 through direct acquisitions of equity and financial loans in exchange for oil supplies in order to secure more oil and gas supplies, make long-term commercial investments, and gain technical expertise in more challenging oil and natural gas plays.
Substantial oil demand growth and geopolitical uncertainties have increased pressure on China to import greater volumes of oil from a wide range of sources.
China is making headway on improving its domestic oil pipeline network to integrate its oil supply and demand centers and to diversify its oil import sources through pipeline links with Kazakhstan, Russia, and Myanmar.
As part of its goal to diversify crude oil import sources and meet oil product demand, China has steadily augmented its refining capacity, which climbed to more than 13 million bbl/d in 2013.
China’s plan to construct crude oil storage through both state-owned strategic petroleum reserves and commercial crude oil reserves is part of its need to secure energy in light of its growing reliance on oil imports. The government intends to build strategic crude oil storage capacity of at least 500 million barrels by 2020.
Although natural gas production and use is rapidly increasing in China, the fuel comprised only 4% of the country’s total primary energy consumption in 2011. Heavy investments in upstream development and greater import opportunities are likely to underpin significant growth in China’s natural gas sector.
Imagine the requirement to have crude oil storage of 500 million barrels in less than six years time.
It is believed that Chinese communist party leaders’ fear of inability to serve the strategic intent of hydro-carbon and energy requirements and control of the second most important maritime passageway would not ensure the dream of becoming the largest cucumber-based economy and the new global Super Power.
China’s military and aggressive geo-political maneuvres such as defiance of UNCLOS, DOC and ‘spirit of friendship and co-operation with neighbours’ and geo-political arm twisting like ‘refusal of multilateral dialogues in favour of separate bilateral dialogues’ are only sublime evidence pointing to strategic economic grounds. It is about planning to sought better position and bargaining when joint development programs are being instituted separately with the affected nations.
Greed is second most effective motivation. Number one goes to fear. And China is neither shy nor creative in masquerading both, even though the strategic intent has been projected by so many analysts and career diplomats.
It is a good opportunity for Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak reflect on China’s current position and projected economic, geo-political and military position and attitude and discuss the matter with Vietnamese leaders in his official visit starting tomorrow. The invasion of Paracels and all steps there on are good milestones to look at.
In the wake of recent developments in the South China Sea with the Philippines on Scarborough Shoal and East China Sea with Japan on the Senkaku Islands, China has been warned not to do what Russia did on to Crimea.
U.S. warns China not to attempt Crimea-style action in Asia
BY DAVID BRUNNSTROM
WASHINGTON Thu Apr 3, 2014 11:58pm EDT
1 OF 2. A group of disputed islands, Uotsuri island (top), Minamikojima (bottom) and Kitakojima, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China is seen in the East China Sea, in this photo taken by Kyodo September 2012.
(Reuters) – China should not doubt the U.S. commitment to defend its Asian allies and the prospect of economic retaliation should also discourage Beijing from using force to pursue territorial claims in Asia in the way Russia has in Crimea, a senior U.S. official said on Thursday.
Daniel Russel, President Barack Obama’s diplomatic point man for East Asia, said it was difficult to determine what China’s intentions might be, but Russia’s annexation of Crimea had heightened concerns among U.S. allies in the region about the possibility of China using force to pursue its claims.
“The net effect is to put more pressure on China to demonstrate that it remains committed to the peaceful resolution of the problems,” Russel, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asia, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Russel said the retaliatory sanctions imposed on Russia by the United States, the European Union and others should have a “chilling effect on anyone in China who might contemplate the Crimea annexation as a model.”
This was especially so given the extent of China’s economic interdependence with the United States and its Asia neighbors, Russel said.
Russel said that while the United States did not take a position on rival territorial claims in East Asia, China should be in no doubt about Washington’s resolve to defend its allies if necessary.
“The president of the United States and the Obama administration is firmly committed to honoring our defense commitments to our allies,” he said.
While Washington stood by its commitments – which include defense treaties with Japan, the Philippines and South Korea – Russel said there was no reason why the rival territorial claims could not be resolved by peaceful means.
He said he hoped the fact that the Philippines had filed a case against China on Sunday at an arbitration tribunal in The Hague would encourage China to clarify and remove the ambiguity surrounding its own claims.
Russel termed the deployment of large numbers of Chinese vessels in its dispute with the Philippines in the South China Sea “problematic” and said that Beijing had taken “what to us appears to be intimidating steps.”
“It is incumbent of all of the claimants to foreswear intimidation, coercion and other non-diplomatic or extra-legal means,” he said.
In Asia, China also has competing territorial claims with Japan and South Korea, as well as with Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan in potentially energy-rich waters.
Obama is due to visit Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines from April 22, when he is expected to stress his commitment to a rebalancing of U.S. strategic and economic focus towards the Asia-Pacific region in the face of an increasingly assertive China.
(Reporting by David Brunnstrom; Editing by Bernard Orr)
In our previous discussion, China could be motivated to follow Russia’s foot steps in defying international community opinion and European Union’s stern opposition for asserting the annexation of Crima back into the Federation by using the “Crimean people referendum” excuse.
The writing is already on the wall. Even though Panda is often assumed to be a cuddly, fury and cute animal especially in the form of effigies such as soft stuffed toys for children, it is actually a very dangerous animal with canines that live in the wild.