Lessons from Paracels X: Panda Protagonist Pt II

China's military maneurvres affecting neighbouring nations and region the past 40 years are centred on hydro-carbon deposits

China’s military maneurvres affecting neighbouring nations and region the past 40 years are centred on hydro-carbon deposits

Trouble is brewing in the South China Sea. The tension arisen from border dispute and China’s invasion of Paracel Islands forty years ago is heightened as China registered vessel is believed to has intentionally  rammed into Vietnamese Coast Guard patrol boats.

Reuters story:

Tensions mount between Vietnam and China in South China Sea

BY NGUYEN PHUONG LINH AND MICHAEL MARTINA
HANOI/BEIJING Wed May 7, 2014 7:35am EDT

China »
(Reuters) – Vietnam said on Wednesday a Chinese vessel intentionally rammed two of its ships in a part of the disputed South China Sea where Beijing has deployed a giant oil rig, sending tensions spiraling in the region.

The foreign ministry in Hanoi said the collisions took place on Sunday and caused considerable damage to the Vietnamese ships. Six people sustained minor injuries, it said.

“On May 4, Chinese ships intentionally rammed two Vietnamese Sea Guard vessels,” said Tran Duy Hai, a foreign ministry official and deputy head of Vietnam’s national border committee.

“Chinese ships, with air support, sought to intimidate Vietnamese vessels. Water cannon was used,” he told a news conference in Hanoi. Six other ships were also hit, other officials said, but not as badly.

Dozens of navy and coastguard vessels from both countries are in the area where China has deployed the giant rig, Vietnamese officials have said.

“No shots have been fired yet,” said a Vietnamese navy official, who could not be identified because he was not authorized to speak to media. “Vietnam won’t fire unless China fires first.”

The tensions between the two Communist nations come as both are trying to put aside border disputes and the memories of a brief but bloody border war in 1979. Vietnam is usually careful about public comments against China, with which it had bilateral trade surpassing $50 billion in 2013.

However, Hanoi has strongly condemned the operation of the drilling rig in what it says are its waters in the South China Sea, and told China’s state-run oil company CNOOC to remove it.

The United States has also criticized the move.

The row comes days after U.S. President Barack Obama visited Asia to underline his commitment to allies there, including Japan and the Philippines, both locked in territorial disputes with China.

Obama, promoting a strategic “pivot” toward the Asia-Pacific region, also visited South Korea and Malaysia, but not China.

China has not yet responded to the Vietnamese allegations of ramming, but Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said earlier on Wednesday that the deployment of the rig had nothing to do with the United States, or Vietnam.

“The United States has no right to complain about China’s activities within the scope of its own sovereignty,” she said.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea, rejecting rival claims from Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei.

TENSIONS WITH PHILIPPINES

Tensions are also brewing in another part of the South China Sea where Beijing has demanded the Philippines release a Chinese fishing boat and its crew seized on Tuesday.

Chief Superintendent Noel Vargas of the Philippine National Police Maritime Group said a maritime police patrol apprehended a Chinese fishing boat around 7 a.m. on Tuesday off Half Moon Shoal in the Spratly Islands.

The boat has 11 crew and police found about 350 turtles in the vessel, some of which were already dead, a police report said, adding that a Philippine boat with crew was also seized, and found to have 70 turtles on board. Several species of sea turtles are protected under Philippine law.

Maritime police are now towing the boats to Puerto Princesa town on the island of Palawan where appropriate charges will be filed against them, Vargas said.

China said the Philippines had to release the boat and the fishermen.

“China’s Foreign Ministry and China’s ambassador to the Philippines have made representations to the Philippines side, demanding that it provide a rational explanation and immediately release the people and the vessel”, ministry spokeswoman Hua said.

“We once again warn the Philippines not to take any provocative actions,” she said, adding that China had “indisputable sovereignty” over the Spratly Islands.

There are frequent tensions in the South China Sea between China and the other claimant nations, particularly Vietnam and the Philippines, both of which say Beijing has harassed their ships in the waters there.

While there are frequent stand-offs between fishermen and the various claimant states in the South China Sea, the actual detention of Chinese fishermen or the seizure of a boat is rare.

NOT COMMERCIALLY DRIVEN

An oil industry official in China said the deployment of the rig owned by China’s CNOOC oil company to waters near Vietnam appeared to be a political decision rather than a commercial one.

“This reflected the will of the central government and is also related to the U.S. strategy on Asia,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

“It is not commercially driven. It is also not like CNOOC has set a big exploration blueprint for the region.”

However, Wu Shicun, president of the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, a government think-tank in the southern province of Hainan, said China was unlikely to pay much heed to Vietnamese concerns.

“If we stop our work there as soon as Vietnam shouts, China will not be able to achieve anything in the South China Sea,” Wu said.

“We have lost a precious opportunity to drill for oil and gas in the Spratlys. Also this time we are drilling in Xisha (Paracel Islands), not Nansha (Spratlys), there is no territorial dispute there. I think China will keep moving ahead with its plan (in Xisha), no matter what Vietnam says and does.”

Tran Duy Hai, the Vietnamese foreign ministry official, raised the possibility of Hanoi taking the dispute to international arbitration.

“We cannot exclude any measures, including international legal action, as long as it is peaceful.

“We are a peace-loving nation that has experienced many wars,” he said. “If this situation goes too far, we will use all measures in line with international law to protect our territory. We have limitations, but we will stand up to any Chinese aggression.”

The Philippines has already taken its dispute with China to an international arbitration tribunal in The Hague.

(Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in Beijing, Manuel Mogato in Manila and Charlie Zhu in Hong Kong; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

**********************

and BBC’s story:

7 May 2014 Last updated at 11:57

Vietnam and China ships ‘collide in South China Sea’

The Vietnamese navy says China used water cannons on their vessels in the South China Sea

Continue reading the main story

Vietnamese maritime police official Ngo Ngoc Thu told media in Hanoi on Wednesday that Chinese boats had collided with Vietnamese vessels three times since 3 May.

Continue reading the main story
Analysis

Nga Pham
BBC News
Details are sketchy, but there is no doubt that this is one of the highest escalations of tension in many years between the two neighbours.

China wants to establish an oil rig and start drilling soon in the area only 120 miles (193km) from Vietnam’s coast. This is the first time China has tried to explore the disputed waters between the two countries using its own rig and Vietnam does not want China to set a precedent.

Hanoi said it would do everything possible to protect its rights and does not rule out taking legal action against China at an international tribunal.

The US called China’s plan “provocative” and urged restraint from both sides. But with dozens of ships from both sides confronting each other in the area, any careless move could ignite a bigger and potentially much more damaging conflict.

Chinese officials said during a regular briefing on Wednesday that the oil rig was within China’s territorial waters.

“The disruptive activities by the Vietnamese side are in violation of China’s sovereign rights,” Hua Chunying said.

The incident came as Philippine police seized a Chinese fishing boat and detained its 11 crew in another disputed part of the South China Sea on Wednesday.

The boat carrying “large numbers of endangered species” was seized “to enforce maritime laws and to uphold Philippine sovereign rights”, the Philippine foreign ministry said in a statement.

‘Armed men’
China’s foreign ministry called the action provocative and demanded the immediate release of the fishermen, who have been taken to a Philippine port.

The Chinese fishing boat was being towed to shore and charges would be brought against the crew members, a Philippine maritime official told Reuters news agency.

China’s Xinhua state news agency said the fishing boat – named as Qiongqionghai 09063 – had been seized by an “unidentified armed vessel”.

“Several armed men forced themselves on to the boat and fired four or five shots in the air. They then took control of the boat,” Xinhua said.

China claims ownership of large parts of the South China Sea, including shoals and reefs, located off the coast of the Philippines.

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

***********

Apparently, China tried to erect an oil rig in disputed area between China and Vietnam and Vietnamese authorities were in the area to stop them.

Associated Press story:

 

Vietnam Tries to Stop China Oil Rig Deployment

HANOI, Vietnam May 6, 2014 (AP)
By CHRIS BRUMMITT Associated Press

Chinese ships are ramming and spraying water cannons at Vietnamese vessels trying to stop Beijing from setting up an oil rig in the South China Sea, according to Vietnamese officials and video evidence Wednesday, a dangerous escalation of tensions in disputed waters considered a global flashpoint.

 

With neither side showing any sign of stepping down, the standoff raises the possibility that more serious clashes could break out. Vietnam said several boats have been damaged and six people on the vessels have been injured by broken glass.

 

Vietnam, which has no hope of standing up to China militarily, said it wants a peaceful solution and — unlike China — hadn’t sent any navy ships to areas close to the $1 billion deep sea rig. But a top official warned that “all restraint had a limit.”

 

“Our maritime police and fishing protection forces have practiced extreme restraint, we will continue to hold on there,” Ngo Ngoc Thu, vice commander of Vietnam’s coast guard, told a specially arranged news conference in Hanoi. “But if (the Chinese ships) continue to ram into us, we will respond with similar self-defense.”

 

China’s stationing of the oil rig, which was accompanied by a flotilla of military and civilian ships, on May 1 has been seen as one of its most provocative steps in a gradual campaign of asserting its sovereignty in the South China Sea, parts of which are also claimed by Vietnam, the Philippines and other Southeast Asian nations.

 

Vietnam immediately dispatched marine police and fishery protection vessels to the area, but they were harassed as they approached, Thu said.

 

Video was shown at the news conference of Chinese ships ramming into Vietnamese ones and firing high-powered water cannons at them. Thu said such incidents had occurred repeatedly over the last three days. He said Vietnam had not carried out any offensive actions of its own in waters close to the rig, around 220 kilometers (140 miles) off the Vietnamese coast.

 

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular news briefing Wednesday that the oil rig was in China’s territorial waters and therefore drilling is “normal and legal.” The country previously announced that no foreign ships would be allowed within a 3-mile (4.8-kilometer) radius of the rig.

 

“The disruptive activities by the Vietnamese side are in violation of China’s sovereign rights,” she said.

 

A Vietnamese official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the issue’s sensitivity said earlier that Vietnam’s ships were outnumbered by the Chinese flotilla escorting the rig. He said the ships were trying to stop the rig from “establishing a fixed position” at the spot where it wanted to drill.

 

China’s assertiveness along with its growing military and economic might is alarming many smaller countries in the region even as they are aware they need to keep relations open with a vital trading partner. The United States, which is undertaking a military and economic “pivot” toward Asia in part to counter Chinese influence, shares the concerns of the smaller nations.

 

In a strongly worded statement in Washington on Tuesday, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki called China’s action “provocative and unhelpful to the maintenance of peace and stability in the region.”

 

Asked about the U.S. statement, Hua said, “we want to tell the U.S. that the U.S. has no right to make irresponsible and unwarranted remarks on China’s sovereign rights.”

*************

This latest aggression by China is an extension of its projection of power, in the region. This could also be seen as China’s ‘Panda Gambit‘, to rest the reaction of international community, especially United States of America.

The report about the Philippines authorities boarded and arrested Chinese fishermen for ‘illegal fishing’ in territorial waters, defined as Pinoy’s EEZ under United Nations Convention Laws of the Seas (UNCLOS).

Meanwhile, analysts opined that China would not heed any calls by Vietnam nor the Philippines for aggression in disputed areas which under UNCLOS are EEZ territories of the two ASEAN nation, and back of.

Reuters story:

Vietnam and China face off in South China Sea

BY NGUYEN PHUONG LINH AND MICHAEL MARTINA
HANOI/BEIJING Wed May 7, 2014 8:18am EDT

China »
(Reuters) – Vietnam said on Wednesday a Chinese vessel intentionally rammed two of its ships in a part of the disputed South China Sea where Beijing has deployed a giant oil rig, sending tensions spiraling in the region.

The foreign ministry in Hanoi said the collisions took place on Sunday and caused considerable damage to the Vietnamese ships. Six people sustained minor injuries, it said.

“On May 4, Chinese ships intentionally rammed two Vietnamese Sea Guard vessels,” said Tran Duy Hai, a foreign ministry official and deputy head of Vietnam’s national border committee.

“Chinese ships, with air support, sought to intimidate Vietnamese vessels. Water cannon was used,” he told a news conference in Hanoi. Six other ships were also hit, other officials said, but not as badly.

Dozens of navy and coastguard vessels from both countries are in the area where China has deployed the giant rig, Vietnamese officials have said.

“No shots have been fired yet,” said a Vietnamese navy official, who could not be identified because he was not authorized to speak to media. “Vietnam won’t fire unless China fires first.”

The tensions between the two Communist nations come as both are trying to put aside border disputes and the memories of a brief but bloody border war in 1979. Vietnam is usually careful about public comments against China, with which it had bilateral trade surpassing $50 billion in 2013.

However, Hanoi has strongly condemned the operation of the drilling rig in what it says are its waters in the South China Sea, and told China’s state-run oil company CNOOC to remove it.

The United States has also criticized the move.

The row comes days after U.S. President Barack Obama visited Asia to underline his commitment to allies there, including Japan and the Philippines, both locked in territorial disputes with China.

Obama, promoting a strategic “pivot” toward the Asia-Pacific region, also visited South Korea and Malaysia, but not China.

China has not yet responded to the Vietnamese allegations of ramming, but Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said earlier on Wednesday that the deployment of the rig had nothing to do with the United States, or Vietnam.

“The United States has no right to complain about China’s activities within the scope of its own sovereignty,” she said.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea, rejecting rival claims from Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei.

TENSIONS WITH PHILIPPINES

Tensions are also brewing in another part of the South China Sea where Beijing has demanded the Philippines release a Chinese fishing boat and its crew seized on Tuesday.

Chief Superintendent Noel Vargas of the Philippine National Police Maritime Group said a maritime police patrol apprehended a Chinese fishing boat around 7 a.m. on Tuesday off Half Moon Shoal in the Spratly Islands.

The boat has 11 crew and police found about 350 turtles in the vessel, some of which were already dead, a police report said, adding that a Philippine boat with crew was also seized, and found to have 70 turtles on board. Several species of sea turtles are protected under Philippine law.

Maritime police are now towing the boats to Puerto Princesa town on the island of Palawan where appropriate charges will be filed against them, Vargas said.

China said the Philippines had to release the boat and the fishermen.

“China’s Foreign Ministry and China’s ambassador to the Philippines have made representations to the Philippines side, demanding that it provide a rational explanation and immediately release the people and the vessel”, ministry spokeswoman Hua said.

“We once again warn the Philippines not to take any provocative actions,” she said, adding that China had “indisputable sovereignty” over the Spratly Islands.

There are frequent tensions in the South China Sea between China and the other claimant nations, particularly Vietnam and the Philippines, both of which say Beijing has harassed their ships in the waters there.

While there are frequent stand-offs between fishermen and the various claimant states in the South China Sea, the actual detention of Chinese fishermen or the seizure of a boat is rare.

NOT COMMERCIALLY DRIVEN

An oil industry official in China said the deployment of the rig owned by China’s CNOOC oil company to waters near Vietnam appeared to be a political decision rather than a commercial one.

“This reflected the will of the central government and is also related to the U.S. strategy on Asia,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

“It is not commercially driven. It is also not like CNOOC has set a big exploration blueprint for the region.”

However, Wu Shicun, president of the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, a government think-tank in the southern province of Hainan, said China was unlikely to pay much heed to Vietnamese concerns.

“If we stop our work there as soon as Vietnam shouts, China will not be able to achieve anything in the South China Sea,” Wu said.

“We have lost a precious opportunity to drill for oil and gas in the Spratlys. Also this time we are drilling in Xisha (Paracel Islands), not Nansha (Spratlys), there is no territorial dispute there. I think China will keep moving ahead with its plan (in Xisha), no matter what Vietnam says and does.”

Tran Duy Hai, the Vietnamese foreign ministry official, raised the possibility of Hanoi taking the dispute to international arbitration.

“We cannot exclude any measures, including international legal action, as long as it is peaceful.

“We are a peace-loving nation that has experienced many wars,” he said. “If this situation goes too far, we will use all measures in line with international law to protect our territory. We have limitations, but we will stand up to any Chinese aggression.”

The Philippines has already taken its dispute with China to an international arbitration tribunal in The Hague.

(Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in Beijing, Manuel Mogato in Manila and Charlie Zhu in Hong Kong; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

*****************

This blatant disregard for international diplomacy, disrespect of UNCLOS and utter arrogance of China, which growingly being seen as the ‘neighborhood bully’ by international community would just escalate the matter further. This is a precursor of United States military presence in the region at the level during the height of the Vietnam War 45 years ago.

*Updated 2200hrs

Published in: on May 7, 2014 at 19:30  Comments (17)  

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17 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. In my opinion, we should seriously get the mrca program restarted or lease the gripens asap. Also get some second hand frigates. Screw the fiscal consolidation…cancel brim and reduce the subsidies. This is serious

    • Yes, get anything that’ll enable us to stand up against the big bully anywhere he shows up. But not enough. However much we yell at them, they’ll look at us as small boys and try to push us aside. Ship ramming and all. Damn the bully.

      No other way but to have the International Police stand behind us. Firm up whatever arrangements that’ll ensure their military presence in this area, even at the level of the Vietnam War 45 years ago. Quit talking about pride to stand on our own because we don’t have strong legs and cannot get strong legs at any time ever to stand on our own against a big bully.

      The Philippines have signed an agreement with the US and have former US bases at Clarke (Air) north of Manila and Subic Bay (Naval) not far away for US military hardware and accompanying manpower to be stationed.

      Malaysia may not have that sort of arrangement but why not the arrangement that US has been hoping to get with us. True, we must not sell out just for the Policemen to be committed to us more than in just words but in deeds as well. Tweak and twist the arguments that have been going on between our and the US representatives negotiating the TPPA or whatever agreement it is called.

    • If it is an arrangement that brings in more US trade, economic and business interests parked in the country to the extent that US will automatically come to protect them, and in so doing, protect the country as well from being threatened by a bully, why not?

      Surely we can get measures in place to counter any attempts at usurping our sovereignty by the US interests, by plain or subtle means, even by the US Government. Has there been a country which has suffered as a result of such an arrangement? Can any one give an example, complete with detailed facts and authorities on those facts, not mere opinions?

      Here are some of the arguments against TPPA by “Bantah” which is headed by an oil and gas-background fellow, thin on facts heavy on opinions (the ones in brackets are my comments) –

      1. Sovereignty – “.. giving trade partners free passports to have claim onto our domestic regulations and ultimately, our sovereignty (opinion) .. only 6 of the 29 negotiated chapters are about trade. The remaining chapters are all ‘potential threats to Malaysia’s sovereignty and economic development.” (opinion. The agreement is in draft form and is being negotiated, isn’t it?)

      2. Protectionism – “.. will TPPA guarantee that the US will not resort to protectionism forever? (opinion, even a mere question) ..our shrimp producers have been slapped with 60% anti-dumping and countervailing duties by the US Fair Trading Commission .. (the circumstances not stated, and, it happens when there is no TPPA between us and the US) .. costly for our producers to comply with the US technical regulations, standards and conformity assessment procedures. The US has higher standards than us and it is likely that their standards will be imposed on us in case the TPPA comes into force. (opinion, and the Malaysian negotiators can ask that these be tweaked, modified, made more acceptable to us)

      3. Competition – there is no clear link between competition promotion and the TPPA. Malaysia already has Competition Act 2010 which regulates competition in Malaysia and the law does not discriminate between local and foreign companies. (If no clear link, make them clear. Bantah just for the sake of bantah?) ..mandatory recommendations that come from outside the country.” (How come? Isn’t this the sot of things that need to be tweaked and twisted by the Malaysian negotiating team? The negotiations are still on-going, aren’t they?)

      The above are enough to show a lack of justification for the Bantah on TPPA. I maintain that it is OK to have the pact and the collateral benefits are more clear than the collateral damage that such people as Bantah speculate on.

    • Having increased US business, trade and economic interests in this country will certainly lead to a “re-balance” in the investment scenario in this country, China vs US.

      China’s big companies are carving out large tracts of Iskandar and other development projects in the country, like they have been doing in Africa and elsewhere.

      But a Chinese naval vessel ramming a Vietnamese ship is a scary thought on what these people who have been used to Mao Zedong communist ways might do. And mind you, remnants of Chin Peng communist terrorist-minded blokes are still around in nooks and corners, like presumably in Sitiawan where Chin Peng came from.

      And the DAP extremists, seditionists, subversives with anarchistic Red Beans are aplenty in this country. Remember, Lim Kit Siang spoke for Chin Peng to be allowed to enter Malaysia. And Lim Guan Eng is China-inclined – never mind the Malaysia First Chinese Second propaganda he put out – he even wanted Penangites to look to China when he officiated the opening of a building named Sun Yat Sen. No doubt Sun Yat Sen was not communist, but it’s the idea of revolution, of going against established authority that he wanted to drive into the minds of the Chinese when he did the officiating.

      It’s not far-fetched at all to think of these blokes forming a Fifth Column for China should a physical or military conflict come about out of China’s arrogance and intransigence. Yes, Malaysia must make all the necessary alliances and I agree with Hasnan that Malaysia must get whatever military hardware it can afford in the face of the menacing Chinese activities in the South China Sea.

  2. I am pretty sure that similar move will be made against us in our waters. It is just a matter of time and/or timing.

    Our economy is growing at about 5% annually, yet the government tells us that there is not enough money to spend on defense. If there is not enough money for defense at this growth rate, then at what kind of growth rate will we have the money? Mind you that the days of 8 to 10% growth are all but over.

    Funny things is countries with economy that grow much less than us on recent average such as Japan, Korea, Australia and even Singapore (in the past few years) seem to always have the money to allocate for defense and security.

    There is still no decision on the MRCA replacement, contract for the SGPV-LCS has been delayed for years, no sign of Multi Role Support Ships, no third regiment of MLRS nor attack helicopters.

    Just like Lahad Datu, in the immediate aftermath everybody especially the politician start talking about “doing whatever it takes” to improve security there, but to date there is still no proper/major equipment that had been acquired. Then we have another abduction and everybody start talking cock again, promising this and that. So the cycle just repeat itself.

    I guess that speaks a lot about the present leadership. Make you wonder, perhaps even idiots like Mat Sabu and that Kua Kia Kong guy or whatever can do no worse than this. Maybe..

  3. I’m quite surprised to find the following making-fun view of our RMAF in the Internet – can any one verify the correctness of the RMAF aircraft configuration stated below, and can we, likewise, know the full complement of, for example, Singapore Air Force aircraft?

    “Strange Air Forces: Royal Malaysian Air Force

    http://forum.keypublishing.com/showthread.php?125805-Strange-Air-Forces-Royal-Malaysian-Air-Force&s=398c8fe4b51f77e09ca6bba5c576cb7d

    The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) is one of the wierdest airforces in the world IMO for two reasons:

    Operate a total of 5 combat types in a fleet that’s only 60 aircraft strong)

    18 x Su-30MKM
    8 x F/A-18D
    10 x MiG-29 (6 more unserviceable)
    6 x RF/F-5E/F (maybe 8 more in reserve)
    19 x Hawk 108/208

    Small squadrons

    In the past they were even wierder with really small squadrons (8-9 aircraft). E.g. original fleet of 18 MiG-29s was divided between 2 squadrons.

    This still persists with small F/A-18 and F-5 fleets as well as Hawk 108/208 fleet which is assigned to two squadrons.

    MiG-29 squadrons were apparently merged due to lack of aircraft, whilst all Su-30MKMs were assigned to a single “normal” sized squadron.

  4. Believing that the Air Force are the ones usually the first to go to war, and that many readers are as poorly knowledgable about Malaysian Air Force matters as I am, let me reproduce excerpts from the same blog on subjects I think are of interest for any one to comment on if he so pleases –

    1. “In the near past RMAF buys both from russia and the west as a hedge should any one of them withheld support in times of crisis (as happened to Indonesia during the east timor conflict) but in the 80’s when most of its aircraft is western sourced, and squadrons operating the A-4PTM skyhawks (2 sqns) have 20 planes each.

    In the near future the F-5 and the MiG’s are planned to be replaced by a new MRCA (if funds permitting), and if the beloved Hornets could be persuaded to be sold to other current users, the fighter types could be reduced to just 3 types (MKM hi-end, The New MRCAs mid and Hawks low-end)”

    2. “agreed most of the Malaysian sources sum it up as

    Russian:
    pros: very few political barriers
    cons: flakey support and costs

    US:
    pros: good support and operation costs
    cons: more potential political barriers

    short term solution
    consolidate on just two types, get more Su-30MKM, maintain existing F-18 Hornets and perhaps convince Finland or Kuwait to give up theirs
    retire F-5, Mig-29, Hawk

    long term solution
    even more Su-30MKM, a new type to replace the F-18 Hornet.. either something European or Super Hornet.

    they should just mimic India and do Flankers and Rafales.. at least that way they can share some training and equipment with them too.”

    @@@@

    I think signing TPPA would not oblige us to purchasing US military hardware but would buying theirs bring price and other benefits when such purchases are meant to give us longer life in the event of a Chinese onslaught, before the arrival of help from US etc?

    • Not entirely accurate, but yes it is strange – strange enough that it should make all of us cry.

      To be fair to the service, RMAF (and all the other branch of services) does not have the final say on what kind of asset that will be acquired. That is a well known facts. You can read more about it in our local defense blog.

      Unfortunately, this is what happened when defense acquisition decision were muddled with the so called “national interest” factors.

    • Jitu

      Why doesn’t Malaysia just sign on to the F-35 programme, like Australia just did?

      This would “kill” a few birds with one stone

      The idea of having a foot in both camps, a la India, by having both US and Russian hardware, is passé.

      It’s time that Malaysia decided who it’s friends are and where it’s long term permanent interests are served.

      And in the current geopolitical environment, it means hewing close to the US and it’s allies (both treaty and non-treaty).

      In any case, from a economic and strategic viewpoint, it makes sense to have the “big 3 pillars” of the US, EU and China firmly anchored in the Malaysian economy.

      If that means negotiating more FTAs and “Comprehensive Partnerships”, then go for it.

      • I always like to jump in when you come in, Olov. And I must say I have less problems with your comments this time.

        But you have to compare Malaysia with others again, must you? Never thought of Australia having different tactical air defence needs? What are they? Why should I tell when you don’t tell your reasons – you not even telling what “few birds killed with one stone.”

        And glorifying Singapore as usual? But I won’t be harsh on you as your comment is tolerable this time.

        But who Malaysia’s friends and what Malaysia’s long-term interests are need not necessarily be those you think they are. And judging from your comments in the past, they certainly are not those who you think should be. And your opinion is not even in the majority.

        China’s participation in the Malaysian economy is acceptable under certain situations. But taking them as a friend is blinding yourself to such things as pointed out by BD’s post above.

      • Ok, I will bite….this time.

        Just what are Malaysia’s “tactical air defence needs”? Has this been spelt out in any defence strategy or government white paper? Or is it ” seat of the pants flavour of the month” strategic planning, depending on what the incumbent government and defence chiefs think?

        Are you advocating that Malaysia adopt an air defence, air deterrence or air superiority strategy? Are the country’s financials on good enough shape to bear the kind of expenditures that will be required short-, medium- and long-term, bearing in mind the competing priorities for infrastructure and socioeconomic development?

        Australia is an island nation – it has to keep an eye on what Indonesia is doing, as well as keeping tabs on Chinese and Indian strategies in the Indian and Pacific oceans.

        Based on this, it has to fight it’s air wars well outside it’s territory, and ensure air superiority over Australian air space. Hence the need for the F-35 programme, long range radar facilities operated together with the US and the hosting of a US Marine Corps detachment in Darwin.

        Note the careful calibration here…and the treaty alliance with the US.

        That means that even the most gung-ho Indonesian and Chinese governments will think twice about “adventures” with Australia.

        Is there an equivalent careful calibration of Malaysia’s defence policy and the concomitant defence assets procurement?

        I am not attempting to “glorify” Singapore, but I would venture to suggest that it has it’s defence priorities well sorted out. So, it has decided to remain friendly with the US, China, India, Japan and Australia – which pretty much covers all the bases.

        More on this later.

    • In any case, there are no longer any strategic advantages in maintaining multiple front line combat aircraft like the MiG-29, Sukhoi SU-30 and the F-18.

      I’ve always thought that the F-18 acquisition wasn’t thought through properly. If you look at the timeline, the decision was made to acquire the MiGs and F-18s first. Then, after some years, came the decision to acquire the SU-30s.

      The RSAF, for instance, would have gained an operational knowledge of the MiGs and SU-30s in it’s bilateral air exercises with the Indian Air Force.

      And with the RSAF having permanent detachments of it’s F-15s on training assignments in the US, where interoperability with the USAF is part of the programme, the “strategic differential” is widened.

      In Malaysia’s case, I would argue that equal importance has to be given to the Navy. In fact, given that Malaysia is a major trading nation, the importance of keeping it’s trading routes open and secure, and it’s ports and coastline safe, is a major concern.

      Military threats to Malaysia are most likely to come from the sea than over land or from the air.

      It makes sense therefore to organise the country’s defence posture accordingly.

      • And who says “there are no longer any strategic advantages in maintaining multiple front line combat aircraft like the MiG-29, Sukhoi SU-30 and the F-18”? You are talking nonsense. And my opinion is as good as yours.

        And your reasoning for the F-18 acquisition is not even clear.

        Equal importance to the Navy? Ever heard the statement the best form of defence is offence? That which even the war-renouncing Japanese “Self-Defence Forces” have been grappling with since their rise as an economic power from the total ruins of World War II. And their fighter jets been practicing “hot pursuits” that even go into the air space of other countries, once in a while “scrambled to” by the fighter jets of the countries concerned?

        And the US and the Super Powers “have Air Force capabilities” in their aircraft carriers. Though the role of their navies in relation to their Air Forces are more complicated than those of the small nations.

        And in any case, Malaysia has a couple of submarines already. You wanna have aircraft carriers? That which even the second world economic power China has just constructed only one solitary unit that they tested only a month or so ago.

        Military threats to Malaysia .. from the sea? Ever heard of attacks by airplanes from aircraft carriers? Like by the Japanese on Pearl Harbour that made the US join the Second World War in 1941. So, you wait for the aircraft carriers to enter your territorial waters because you don’t have enough jet fighters to roam the skies beyond your territorial waters during times of armed conflict? Banyak cantik, lu.

      • So, are you saying that the acquisition and maintenance of multiple “platforms” makes sense?

        Like, for instance, MiGs, Sukhois and F-18s for FCA roles?

        I would be interested to see if you can quote any defence analysts to support your thesis.

        And it is interesting, your cavalier dismissal of the need to maintain a strong and operationally effective Navy.

        I would think that Malaysia, being a maritime and trading nation, has to have a strong Navy.

        The “nine-dash” line in the South China Sea, any possible conflicts over the Spratly and Paracel islands and the protection of Malaysia’s O&G reserves are not going to need sophisticated FCA assets

        In any case, a US Navy carrier battle group on permanent deployment in the South China Sea will concentrate minds wonderfully!

        Not the USAF showing the Stars and Stripes occasionally in the South China Sea theatre!

      • The man didn’t dismiss “the need to maintain a strong and operationally effective Navy.” He was talking in relative terms – importance of the Air Force compared to the Navy.

        Difficulty in dealing with this sort of guy is that he thinks he is expert in everything – economics, politics, military, etc. Without his military expertise credentials, been told his opinion is as good as anybody, he doggedly wants to win the argument.

      • Really, Isa? Is that the best that you can come up with?

        What “relativity” are you writing about?

        If it’s all about being “relative”, then what about the needs and development of the Malaysian Army?

        Are you saying that, ” relatively” speaking, the Air Force should get top priority, followed by the Navy and then the Army as a distant third?

        I don’t claim to be an “expert” in anything or everything. But it’s hard not post an opinion when confronted with arrant gobbledygook!

      • State your opinion, substantiate each one with facts as much as you can, quote the authorities, provide the links where you think your opinion is important to you, otherwise, having said your pieces, just listen to the others’ opinions because, as pointed out to you so many times, theirs is as good as yours.

        You may rebut, but don’t sound cocky, or appear trying to run down anybody, then we can have a pleasant discourse, never mind being on different sides of the divide.

        Sure there’s the right to dissent but dissent in an ordinary manner. Otherwise you get plonked, plus made to gobble your gook – shitted at, the word often used when you irritate people. For example, your last sentence in the above comment. And your words “cavalier dismissal” and the unnecessary exclamation marks in the comment before that.

        And I’m not irritated .. yet.


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