Lessons from Paracels XXI: Bald eagle challenging the protogonistic panda

China encroaching into neighbours EEZ territories as defined by UNCLOS (1982) and relationship is sliding downwards

China encroaching into neighbours EEZ territories as defined by UNCLOS (1982) and relationship is sliding downwards, with the ‘Nine-Dash-Line’ unsubstantiated claims

United States is considering to deploy the US Navy around the disputed are of multiple claims in South China Sea, as a projection of force in an international waters which China claimed to be part of ‘Nine-Dash-Line’.

CNN.com story:

China cautions U.S. Navy on patrols in South China Sea

By Brad Lendon and Jim Sciutto, CNN
Updated 0106 GMT (0806 HKT) May 14, 2015

Source: CNN

150511-N-VO234-286 SOUTH CHINA SEA (May 11, 2015) The littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) conducts patrols in international waters of the South China Sea near the Spratly Islands as the People’s Liberation Army-Navy [PLA(N)] guided-missile frigate Yancheng (FFG 546) transits close behind. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Conor Minto/Released)
U.S. considering surveillance of South China Sea

150511-N-VO234-286 SOUTH CHINA SEA (May 11, 2015) The littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) conducts patrols in international waters of the South China Sea near the Spratly Islands as the People’s Liberation Army-Navy [PLA(N)] guided-missile frigate Yancheng (FFG 546) transits close behind. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Conor Minto/Released)
U.S. considering surveillance of South China Sea

Story highlights
South China Sea is the subject of numerous rival territorial claims
U.S. considers deploying aircraft and ships to contest Chinese claims to disputed islands
China cautions U.S. it doesn’t have “free access” to China’s territorial waters
Washington (CNN)The U.S. is considering deploying aircraft and ships to contest Chinese claims to disputed islands in the South China Sea, U.S. officials said Wednesday.

Options are on the table to fly surveillance aircraft and sail Navy ships nearby in a move that puts the U.S. directly into a contentious territorial contest in East Asia, in which, until now, the U.S. has avoided overtly taking sides.

The South China Sea is the subject of numerous rival — often messy — territorial claims, with China, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam disputing sovereignty of several island chains and nearby waters.

China on Wednesday cautioned the U.S. against taking any actions that might be considered provocative, according to a report from the state-run Xinhua news service.

While Beijing supports freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, the U.S. must be careful in how it uses that right, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in the report.

“Freedom of navigation does not give one country’s military aircraft and ships free access to another country’s territorial waters and airspace,” Hua is quoted as saying in the Xinhua report.

A U.S. Navy statement Wednesday said the littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth arrived for resupply in the Philippines after completing a weeklong patrol in the South China Sea that took it near the disputed Spratly Islands.

The Navy said it was the first time an LCS, one of the newest vessels in the U.S. fleet, had operated in international waters near the islands. The Spratlys have been claimed in whole or in part by China, Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia, according to the U.S. State Department.

“As part of our strategic rebalance to bring our newest and most capable Navy platforms to the Indo-Asia-Pacific, (the LCSs have) a regular presence in Southeast Asia. Routine operations like the one Fort Worth just completed in the South China Sea will be the new normal as we welcome four LCSs to the region in the coming years,” Capt. Fred Kacher, commodore of the Navy’s Destroyer Squadron 7, said in the Navy release.

The Navy said the Fort Worth came across “multiple” Chinese warships during its patrol. A photo released by the Navy showed the Fort Worth being trailed by a Chinese guided-missile frigate, the Yancheng.

“Our interactions with Chinese ships continue to be professional,” the commander of the Fort Worth, Cmdr. Matt Kawas, said in the statement.

China building ‘Great Wall of Sand’ in South China Sea
China building ‘Great Wall of Sand’ in South China Sea 02:12
Kawas said his vessel followed the international Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea to “clarify intentions and prevent miscommunication” with the Chinese ships.

Tensions over the Spratlys have increased in recent months as China has built facilities on five reclaimed-land sites in the islands, including a 10,000-foot (3,050-meter) airstrip.

James Hardy, editor of Jane’s Asia Pacific, told CNN in February that China was executing “a methodical, well-planned campaign to create a chain of air and sea capable fortresses across the center of the Spratly Islands chain.”

The disputed areas in the islands include fertile fishing grounds and potentially rich reserves of undersea natural resources.

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PLAN building a permanent airstrip and jetty in an atoll which was illegally occupied and contravened the UNCLOS

PLAN building a permanent airstrip and jetty in an atoll which was illegally occupied and contravened the UNCLOS

This projection of force by US Navy is one of the reaction welcome by some of the countries which is affected by China’s aggressive military maneurvres. China’s expansionary attitude and doctrine is well demonstrated by PLA Navy (PLAN) operations within the ‘Nine-Dash-Line’.

In March, China has been caught to been building permanent airstrips and jetties which suggest that this ‘occupied’ atolls would be used as a forward base for PLAN troops and assets.

Published in: on May 14, 2015 at 12:00  Comments (18)  

PM Najib: UNCLOS is the solution for ‘Nine-Dash-Line’

Chairman for ASEAN Summit 2015 Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak urges to quickly implement the Code of Conduct (based on Document of Conduct ASEAN inked which include China in Nov 2002 and UNCLOS 1982) to resolve the multiple claims of South China Sea or ‘Nine-Dash-Line’.

Channel News Asia story:


ASEAN needs to address China’s reclamation in disputed sea: Statement


By Melissa Goh, Malaysia Bureau Chief, Channel NewsAsia
POSTED: 28 Apr 2015 19:54


UPDATED: 28 Apr 2015 23:59 A day-late release of the concluding ASEAN summit statement by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was stronger than expected on the South China Sea.

PHOTOSVIDEOS
LANGKAWI: ASEAN needs to urgently address Beijing’s reclamation work in the South China Sea.

This was the key takeaway as Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak wrapped up a summit that focused on the issue as a potential threat to regional stability.

A day-late release of the concluding ASEAN summit statement by Prime Minister Najib Razak was stronger than expected on the South China Sea. It reflected concerns by the Philippines and Vietnam and was amended at the last minute and only released a day after the summit ended.

Analysts had expected the grouping to steer clear of comments about China, but Manila has warned that failure to call China to task over the reclamation work on islands it also claims would undermine ASEAN credibility and solidarity.

Najib denied that the issue has split the grouping. “I see there is strong ASEAN unity and solidarity, we may defer slightly in our approaches but we are all on the same page – the principles on how we deal with South China Sea.”

He said ASEAN would continue to engage China through non-confrontational means by adhering to international laws, in particular the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

ASEAN foreign ministers meanwhile are tasked to urgently address the issue and push for early conclusion of a code of conduct with China in the South China Sea.

But the Philippines still wants an international tribunal. “We are still pursuing our case for arbitration in a tribunal,” said Philippines Foreign Minister Alberto Rosario.

However, other member countries prefer a softer approach. “China is an important partner of ASEAN and ASEAN is an important partner for China. We will try to intensify our dialogue with China,” said Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi.

China is ASEAN’s largest trading partner. Two-way trade is targeted to reach US$1 trillion by 2020. Beijing in the past year has tried to improve ties with its ASEAN neighbours by unveiling plans for massive investment in Asian infrastructure.

ASEAN, Najib said, is supportive of China’s proposal to help build new overland and maritime trade routes between Asia and Europe under the one belt one road initiative.

– CNA/ec

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We have had extensive and repetitive discussion here about the ‘Nine-Dash-Line’ and China’s attitude and aggressive approach towards the motive of expanding its control and territorial claims all over South China Sea.

We would to add a commentator’s take on the matter and brief history on the development of the unsubstantiated claims by China:

“Simply put, if the Chinese have their way, we will lose about a quarter of our territory! Yet not much has been really made known to public, as if we can simply sweep this under the proverbial carpet. In comparison, we are so concerned about a bunch of rag tag fighters taking over a small kampung named Tanduo in Lahad Datu.

Much had been said about Chinese claims over most of South China Sea and how it is according to them, “indisputable based on historical facts and maps”.

Check out the following link to The Philippine’s Institute of Maritime and Ocean Affairs.

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18010607/catalogue_historical_truth_liesLOW.pdf

They took the pain to researched and published all these maps going back to 1136 AD where a stone etched map from Fuchang, China made during the Song Dynasty. The map titled ‘Hua Yi Tu’ or ‘Map of China and the Barbarian Countries’ was published in the 1900s and is now in the Forest of Stone Steles Museum in Xi’an, China. (Yup – they call everybody else “barbarian”).

This and another 71 maps, including 15 maps from China itself consistently show Hainan Island as the southernmost territory of China. On the other hand the sometimes 10 dash line, sometime 11 dash line and more recently 9 dash line is only based on some Chinese idiot’s sketch in 1947. It is only officially lodged (vaguely and not in compliance with UNCLOS or international standard and norm) to the UN in 2009!!

The Chinese “Historical Facts” is just a Giant Historical Lies!! Yet they have no qualm pushing their way and pretending like they are in the right.”

Published in: on April 29, 2015 at 12:47  Comments (8)  

Dirgahayu, TLDM

In the current flavour of the 26th ASEAN Summit now in Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi where Malaysia is chairing, the world should be reminded that the Royal Malaysian Navy celebrates its 81st anniversary today.

It was formed as Straits Settlement Naval Volunteer Reserve and it has grown so far ever since. RMN is now a formidable and respectable naval force in region, especially after acquiring submarine force capability and assets since 2009.

Two RMN Perdana Class submarines in Sepanggar Bay and an RMAF S61 Nuri helicopter approaching and the Mount Kinabalu as the backdrop

Two RMN Perdana Class submarines in Sepanggar Bay and an RMAF S61 Nuri helicopter approaching and the Mount Kinabalu as the backdrop

Malaysia is a maritime nation. 30% of the nation’s food resource and over 90% of the trade requires safe passageway in the open seas.

Coupled with the fact that the world’s second most busiest maritime passageway, the Straits of Melaka and South China Sea are part of the nation’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) as defined under United Nation Conference Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS), arisen the requirement for a strong naval and maritime force.

A detailed map of China's claims into ASEAN nations' EEZ

A detailed map of China’s claims into ASEAN nations’ EEZ

It is imperative that a seemingly formidable naval and maritime force exist to police and serve the security and defense requirements and obligation, to maintain the safe passageway as well as sovereignty and the defence of the realm.

In the complexity of modern day hybrid of economic, political and even military projection of power and eventually control and dominance, Malaysia too must keep herself abreast with all these developments. Needless to say, makes the necessary preparations and upgrade existing capability and role and positioning.

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

China should back off from its aggressive maneuvers in South China Sea and stick to commitment of the Document of Conduct (DOC)  signed with ASEAN in November 2002, which agreed to resolve issues which include multiple claims on disputed territories via multilateral discourses based on United Nations Convention Law of the Seas (UNCLOS) dated 1982.

The fact is that many are watching all the military manoeuvres by PLAN and tough diplomatic warnings, China is out to set ‘De Facto Control’ in the South China Sea.

The Wall Street Journal story:

China Set to Consolidate ‘De Facto Control’ of South China Sea, Philippine Official Says

By JASON NG and BEN OTTO

April 26, 2015 6:39 a.m. ET

KUALA LUMPUR—The Philippines cautioned Sunday that China will likely continue reclamation work in the South China Sea and called on Southeast Asian nations to confront the issue before their much-larger neighbor extends its influence over the contested waters.

Beijing claims sovereignty over nearly the entire South China Sea. In recent months, China has been expanding two islands it controls and began construction of seven new islets in the sea under its reclamation program.

China is “poised to consolidate de facto control of the South China Sea,” Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario told his counterparts during a meeting of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

The implications, he said, are “urgent and far-reaching, going beyond the region to encompass the global community.”

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Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and Brunei—all members of Asean—lay claim to part of the sea. Asean members and China signed a nonbinding pact in 2002 to refrain from actions in the disputed region such as building on islets. That pact was to lead to a legally binding code of conduct in the region, which remains pending.

The Philippines and Vietnam have accused China of breaking the deal through its recent activities, while China says it is entitled to undertake construction projects within its own sovereign territory. Manila has long led the charge against China in the disputed waters, last year warning Asean members that Chinese reclamation threatened to militarize the region and filing a complaint at the United Nations.

Mr. Del Rosario warned that if China successfully completes its reclamation work before signing the binding code—“which is likely to happen”—any eventual agreement would have the effect of “legitimizing China’s reclamation.”

“Asean should assert its leadership, centrality and solidarity,” Mr. Del Rosario stressed. “Asean must show the world that it has the resolve to act in the common interest.”

Chinese officials didn’t immediately comment publicly on Mr. Del Rosario’s remarks.

Write to Jason Ng at jason.ng@wsj.com and Ben Otto at ben.otto@wsj.com

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It is a very important ingredient to maintain sovereignty, safe passageway for maritime and economic purposes, serve the extension of foreign and other policy and above all, maintain neutrality.

The progression of China’s attitude of territorial expansion and imperialism, especially in the unsubstantiated claims of the Nine-Dash-Line is a growingly thorny and worrying issue to ASEAN nations. One of hand China wants to be ‘friendly’ with ASEAN but the aggressiveness and  actions of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy points the other way.

The Code of Conduct

The signatories of the Document  of Conduct

Despite being signatory to the Declaration of Conduct in November 2002 with ASEAN, China has demonstrated her unwillingness to progress further to ensure that Conduct of Conduct (COC) is complied but intead stubbornness to adhere.

Almost a year ago, ASEAN through its Secretary General made the call that “China should exit the ‘Disputed Waters’ , which will conducive to restore confidence in the talks to resolve the multiple0claims by others”.

It is necessary that the desire which has since been translated into wrongful (as per defined by UNCLOS) occupation should be impeded from further progression.

Associated Press story:

Philippines urges ASEAN to stop China’s land reclamation in South China Sea

Published April 26, 2015 Associated Press
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – The Philippines on Sunday urged the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations to take immediate steps to halt land reclamation by China in the disputed waters of the South China Sea, warning that failure to do so will see Beijing take “de facto control” of the area.

Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario told a meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers that if China’s construction of artificial islands on reefs claimed by other countries is allowed to be completed, then Beijing will impose its claim over more than 85 percent of the sea.

Rosario urged the grouping to “stand up” to China by urging it to halt its reclamation work.

China, Taiwan and ASEAN members Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Brunei have overlapping claims in the South China Sea.

ASEAN has maintained a cautious stand in the dispute to avoid angering China, a key trading partner.

Rosario said the reclamation threatened to militarize the region, infringe on rights of other states and damage the marine environment.

He warned that China, which has been dragging its foot on ASEAN’s push for a binding code of conduct governing behavior in the sea, will aim to complete its reclamation activities before it agrees to conclude the code.

If this happens, he said that the code will legitimize China’s reclamation.

“The threats posed by these massive reclamations are real and cannot be ignored or denied,” he said. “ASEAN should assert its leadership, centrality and solidarity. ASEAN must show the world that it has the resolve to act in the common interest.”

The Philippines filed a case with an international arbitration tribunal in 2013 challenging China’s claim.

Beijing has defended the reclamation, saying it is Chinese territory and the structures are for public service use and to support Chinese fishermen.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman said Friday that ASEAN leaders are expected to raise concerns over Chinese land reclamation at their two-day summit starting Monday and will seek to speed up plans for the code of conduct with China.

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Atolls and reefs within the Nine-Dash-Line that China illegally occupy or for lack of better words, invaded, have since witness the rapid reclamation exercise and construction for bigger permanent facilities such as an airstrip.

IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly story:

China starts work on Mischief Reef land reclamation

Airbus Defence and Space imagery dated 19 July 2014 and 30 January 2015 shows the start of dredging by China at Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands. (CNES 2014/Distribution Airbus DS/IHS)

Airbus Defence and Space imagery dated 19 July 2014 and 30 January 2015 shows the start of dredging by China at Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands. (CNES 2014/Distribution Airbus DS/IHS)

James Hardy, London and Sean O’Connor, Indianapolis, IN – IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly
11 March 2015

Airbus Defence and Space imagery dated 19 July 2014 and 30 January 2015 shows the start of dredging by China at Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands. (CNES 2014/Distribution Airbus DS/IHS)
China has begun to create land on Mischief Reef in Beijing’s latest move to firm up its South China Sea claims.

IHS Maritime identified the dredger as Tian Kai , a trailing suction hopper dredger operated by CCCC Tianjin Dredging Co Ltd that was in the area from 14 January to 16 February.

The Airbus imagery shows Tian Kai dredging a channel close to one of China’s existing platforms in the reef, and depositing the spoil on the reef to create a landmass.

China’s existing presence on Mischief Reef consisted of two small concrete platforms that included buildings and shelters for fishermen.

Other data from IHS Maritime suggests that China is deploying its latest China Coast Guard (CCG) offshore patrol vessels to monitor potential outside interest in the dredging activities. AISLive data showed that Haijing 3307 , a 3000-tonne OPV fitted with water cannon and capable of embarking a helicopter, patrolled an area to the southeast of Mischief Reef from 5 to 24 January and again from 12 to 27 February.

Chinese media have also released satellite images suggesting China is beginning to create a landmass at Subi Reef, which is about 25 km southwest of the Philippine-occupied Thitu Island: Manila’s only Spratly island to have an airstrip. China’s presence on Subi Reef previously consisted of a concrete platform that included buildings, a helipad, and geodesic dome probably fitted with communications equipment.

Meanwhile, Beijing has reacted strongly to comments by the Vietnamese head of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in which he rejected China’s ‘dashed-line claim’ to the South China Sea.

ASEAN secretary general Le Luong Minh told Philippine reporters in Jakarta on 4 March that all ASEAN claimants opposed the dotted line concept because it did not accord with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and because the dotted line covered “90% of the South China Sea”.

“There is no way it can be accepted by any party to UNCLOS,” Le said.

Le described China’s land reclamation activities in the Spratly Islands as potentially dangerous as they were changing “the status quo”.

“The expansion and illegal [occupation] of islands affect the status quo and [they are] complicating the situation,” he added.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei responded on 11 March by saying that ASEAN was not a party to the South China Sea dispute and that Le “has many times made partisan statements that do not accord with the facts nor suit his position” as ASEAN secretary general.

“This is a serious deviation from the neutral position ASEAN and its secretary general ought to have on the relevant issue, and damages the image of ASEAN as a regional international organisation,” Hong added.

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It is considerably unlikely that China would bow to diplomatic pressure and response positively, despite the steady growth of trade between the ambitious neo-pesudo Super Power and ASEAN. A good example is that being a signatory of DOC, China refuse to resolve the Scarborough Shoals issues with the Philippines at the International Court of Justice.

The only way to check on PLAN for further illegal intrusion and possession on atolls and reefs especially in disputed multiple-claims territory such as the Spratlys and most of South China Sea under the unsubstantiated Nine-Dash-Line is to have a formidable naval force.

Hence, the Royal Malaysian Navy must be expanded in its role and capability in the soonest and shortest time to ensure that it serves the obligation to provide defence of Malaysia’s EEZ on top of its new role as the ‘extension of Malaysia’s foreign policy’.

Published in: on April 27, 2015 at 01:30  Comments (14)  

Not allowed under the “Queen’s peace” rule?

The relatives of those who killed by the British Army in 1948 near Batang Kali, are claiming from the British Government to own up for the shooting of the 24 men.

BBC.com story:

1948 Malayan killings case reaches UK Supreme Court

14 minutes ago
From the section UK

Relatives of the dead men lost a case at the Court of Appeal last year

Relatives of the dead men lost a case at the Court of Appeal last year

Relatives of 24 men killed by British troops in Malaya in 1948 have begun making their case in the UK Supreme Court for a public inquiry.


Five judges are considering whether the UK has a duty under human rights laws to investigate the shooting of villagers at Batang Kali.


The families, who say the men were “massacred”, had their case rejected by the UK Court of Appeal last year.
British forces at the time of the killings said the men were insurgents.


Lawyers for the families argue that Britain has a responsibility to commission an independent inquiry under the European Convention on Human Rights – even though the convention was signed after the incident took place.
BBC legal affairs correspondent Clive Coleman said the case was “extraordinary and very troubling”.
He said the relatives of the 24 men had fought a “six-and-a-half-decade battle to get the case to the highest court in the land”.


Among those attending the Supreme Court proceedings was 78-year-old Madam Lim Ah Yin, who was 11 years old at the time of the killings.


She said: “I want to let them [the judges] know the struggle and hardship that my beloved mother suffered after the death of my dad during the massacre.”


The families’ solicitor, John Halford, said those killed were “British subjects living in a British Protected State”.
“They and their families have a right to meaningful British justice.”


Last year, the Court of Appeal heard that at least three of the soldiers who were on patrol and at least five villagers who were at Batang Kali were still alive.


They were told oral evidence from living witnesses, including soldiers and the appellants, would be available to an inquiry.
line


What is the case about?

Last year relatives said their “journey to seek redress and justice has not come to an end”

On 11 and 12 December 1948 – when Malaya was still a British colony – 24 villagers were killed by a platoon of Scots Guards during a raid at Batang Kali.


The men were Chinese migrant workers suspected by the British of helping rebels during the Malayan Emergency – a conflict between communist guerrillas and British and Commonwealth forces, which lasted 12 years.
An investigation at the time cleared the soldiers of wrongdoing, but in 1970 some of the soldiers said the villagers had been executed.


In the 1990s, authorities in Malaysia opened an investigation, but it was halted before a conclusion was reached.
There have been numerous calls for a public inquiry – all of which have been rejected by the UK.
line


‘Deeply regrettable’
Giving last year’s Court of Appeal’s ruling, Lord Justice Maurice Kay said it was alleged that 24 civilians were “executed without any justification, and that the authorities thereafter have either covered up what occurred or have been reluctant to take the necessary steps to enable the truth – whatever it may be – to be revealed”.


He added: “This has never been accepted by the British authorities, who have maintained that the deceased were shot while they were attempting to escape.”


Michael Fordham QC, representing relatives, said that what happened in 1948 remained a “hugely significant and unresolved instance of human rights abuse”.


He told the court that, despite the passage of time, it was still worthwhile for “historic wrongs” to be investigated.
The judges acknowledged that the original investigation into the killings had been “woefully inadequate”, and said it was “probable” the relatives’ case would succeed in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.


In 2012, a UK government spokesman called the 1948 incident “deeply regrettable” but said a public inquiry “would not be able to reach any credible conclusions given the length of time passed”.

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It is thought that all responsible or had first hand knowledge of this bloody incident are no longer alive. Hence, no one is unable to come forth, to testify if there is any inquiry or tribunal.

This include if any of these men of G platoon, 2nd Scots Guard who rounded up Chinese villagemen in a plantation near Batang Kali Selangor on 12 December 1948, who believed they acted under the “Queen’s Peace” rule.

After all, the British and Commonwealth Forces were present in Malaya were in a state of war, despite it wasn’t declared as a ‘war’.

Malayan Communist Party, whose members are the Malayan People’s Liberation Army and predominantly of Chinese ethnicity, continued the struggle of an armed rebellion as terrorists despite Japanese Imperial Army surrender on 15 August 1945.

They were initially armed by British commandoes at the start of World War II as part of the resistance group in Malaya, during the Japanese occupation (8 December 1941 – 15 August 1945).

A quarter of million dollars bounty for Chin

A quarter of million dollars bounty for Chin “Butcher of Malaya” Peng, from a 1950s Straits Time headline

On 16 June 1948, these rebels killed three British planters in Sungai Siput, Perak and the British government administering Malaya summarily declared the whole peninsular under a state of emergency.

They terrorised the common people, paralysed infrastructure, destroyed amenities and this adversely affected economy. Rubber trees in plantations were hacked, factories, smokehouses and dredges were attacked and destroyed.

War is a tragedy. The man who started and led this armed rebellion to begin with and for over 42 years, has too died since.

The attempt to absolve this case in the name of human rights should also be extended to the other over 10,000 souls perished as the result of brutality caused by the armed rebellion of MCP. Mr Fordham QC should consider this larger lot as well.

Published in: on April 22, 2015 at 23:59  Comments (12)  

PLA protagonists’ powerful ploy

China People’s Liberation Army finally admitted using cyber-technology as an offensive weapon, affirming their position on their cyberspace prowess in the age where all walks of everyday life is dependent on communication and connectivity.

China (Finally) Admits to Hacking

An updated military document for the first time admits that the Chinese government sponsors offensive cyber units.

shannon-tiezzi
By Shannon Tiezzi
March 18, 2015

China’s military has finally pulled back the curtain on its cyber strategy, admitting for the first time that it (like countries around the world) has cyber units set up not only for defense, but for attack.

Officially, China’s line has always been that its government does not sponsor any form of hacking. Those denials rang hollow to foreign experts, however, who pointed both to evidence of Chinese cyberattacks and to the sheer folly of a country of China’s size and global importance not including cyberespionage in its intelligence-gathering arsenal.

Now Beijing may finally be ready to drop the charade. The updated edition of The Science of Military Strategy, an authoritative analysis of China’s military thinking, includes references to China’s cyber-warfare units. “This is the first time we’ve seen an explicit acknowledgement of the existence of China’s secretive cyber-warfare forces from the Chinese side,” Joe McReynolds of the Center for Intelligence Research and Analysis told The Daily Beast. “[T]hey’ve come out and said, ‘Yes, we do in fact have network attack forces, and we have teams on both the military and civilian-government sides.’”

The Science of Military Strategy, published in Chinese in 2001 (and translated into English in 2007) is a staple reference not only for Western scholars but for senior PLA strategists and decision makers, explains Andrew Erickson, an expert on Chinese military affairs at the U.S. Naval War College. The updated edition was published in Chinese in December 2013 but only recently became available to foreign analysts. China is well aware that the book is widely studied by foreign experts as well as Chinese military thinkers, meaning the reference to cyber-attack forces was likely a carefully considered decision.

McReynolds said China has dedicated cyber units operating in both the military and the civilian sphere. Within the PLA, China has “specialized military network warfare forces” for carrying out both offensive and defense cyber operations. China also has cyber specialists within civilian organizations, including the Ministry of State Security and the Ministry of Public Security, “authorized by the military to carry out network warfare operations.”

China has previously acknowledged that its military employs cyber experts – for example, a story about a 30-person “Blue Army” of PLA cyber-specialists made headlines in 2011. However, China continued to insist that its cyber capabilities were 100 percent focused on defending Chinese networks, rather than probing foreign systems for information or weaknesses. “The Blue Army’s main target is self-defense. We won’t initiate an attack on anyone,” a senior PLA official insisted when news of the unit’s existence broke.

Foreign Ministry and Defense Ministry spokespeople have likewise consistently and categorically denied that the Chinese government sponsors hacking activities of any kind. Now that The Science of Military Strategy has stated otherwise, “[t]hey can’t make that claim anymore,” McReynolds said.

The news that China does, in fact, have units of cyber spies won’t be “earth-shattering” to foreign experts, James Lewis, an expert on China’s cyber strategies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told The Daily Beast (see here for more from Lewis on China’s cyber activities). However, the new openness on the part of the PLA could have long-lasting implications if it does turn out to be part of a policy shift.

The U.S. government has been seeking to entice more PLA transparency on cyber issues by openly explaining its own cyber-strategy. Those overtures hadn’t paid off – China continued to block any real discussion by denying it partakes in any cyber-espionage activities. The acknowledgement of offensive cyber units in The Science of Military Strategy may mean that Beijing is increasing cyber transparency, which could pave the way for discussions on the issue.

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This very much attest the theory of China’s invasionary and dominance attitude.

Published in: on April 13, 2015 at 18:30  Comments (10)  

770 surface combat ships compared to 710

US Navy has lost its supremacy as the most feared naval force to China’s Peoples’ Liberation Army (PLA) Navy when a USN Admiral told US lawmakers about the six more submarines against Uncle Sam’s.

RT.com story:

China outpaces America in sub numbers – US admiral

Published time: February 26, 2015 07:51 Get short URL
Reuters/Guang NiuReuters/Guang Niu

The Chinese Navy now has more diesel and nuclear attack submarines than America does, a US Navy admiral told lawmakers. Some of them are “fairly amazing” and Beijing is exploring new ways of projecting its power on the seas.

The Chinese are experimenting with new geographic location, length of missions and new weapons, Vice Admiral Joseph Mulloy, deputy chief of naval operations for capabilities and resources, told the House Armed Services Committee’s Seapower Subcommittee on Wednesday.

“They may not be the same quality, but their submarine forces are growing at a tremendous rate. They now have more diesel and nuclear attack submarines than we have,” the admiral told the lawmakers. “They are producing some fairly amazing submarines and they are actually deploying them.”

Read more
​NATO member Turkey to buy $3.4 billion worth of incompatible Chinese antimissiles

The Chinese naval missions included at least three deployments into the Indian Ocean, Mulloy told the committee. They can also send strategic ballistic missile submarines on missions lasting for 95 days.

“We don’t think they have nuclear weapons on board, but we’ve seen them producing the missiles and testing them,” the admiral said. “We know they are out experimenting and looking at operating and clearly want to be in this world of advanced submarines.”

The US Navy reported having 71 commissioned submarines. The Chinese, according to Pentagon estimates voiced last year, has 77 principal surface combatant ships, more than 60 submarines, 55 large and medium amphibious ships, and about 85 missile-equipped small combatants.

Read more
US could permanently base warships in Australia – admiral

Despite having world largest defense budget, the US has been looking wearily at other nations building up their armed forces. China is investing heavily in new technology, seeking to project its military power in the Pacific region.

Washington has repeatedly criticized Beijing, saying it’s using its military to put leverage on other regional players, including US allies like Japan and South Korea, in territorial disputes.

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If a submarine is deemed to be the equivalent of ten surface warships when a consideration for naval conflict is drafted, then PLAN  now has 60 additional surface warships as compared to the USN.

USN currently operates 283 ships and 3,659 aircrafts.

The U.S. Navy has identified a need for 313 combat ships, but under the current plans will only be able to afford 232 to 243. In March 2014, the Navy is considering counting deployable ships such as minesweepers, patrol craft, and hospital ships in the “battle fleet” in order to reach a count of 291 and also ships that have been put in “shrink wrap”.

The navy had established a minimum requirement for 11 aircraft carriers, but dropped to 10 when Enterprise was retired in December 2012, before Gerald R. Ford enters service.

As compared to PLAN, as of 1987, it consisted (as it does now) of the naval headquarters in Beijing; three fleet commands – the North Sea Fleet, based at Qingdao, Shandong; the East Sea Fleet, based at Ningbo; and the South Sea Fleet, based at Zhanjiang, Guangdong and about 2,000 ships.

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

This massive naval force power is without a doubt be a major threat around the region, especially with China’s heavy-handedness attitude and approach towards issues such as multiple claims on specific areas which include Exclusive Economic Zone such as the fictitious Nine-Dash-Line.

PLAN has been deploying warships right into EEZ of her neighbours, which include Malaysia. The oath taking in James Shoal almost two years ago is still fresh in everyone’s mind.

This is new development is something not comforting.

Published in: on February 26, 2015 at 20:27  Comments (5)  

Orde-Wingate’s Burma Brigade To Be Revived For Cyber Warfare

Brigadier Charles Orde-Wingate’s legendary 77th Brigade “Chindits” is to be revived to fight the growing cyber-warfare and psychological warfare, particularly in social media.

BBC.com story:

Army sets up new brigade ‘for information age’

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British soldiers in silhouette
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The Army is setting up a new unit that will use psychological operations and social media to help fight wars “in the information age”.

Head of the Army General Sir Nick Carter said the move was about trying to operate “smarter”.

The 77th Brigade, made up of reservists and regular troops and based in Hermitage, Berkshire, will be formally created in April.

It has been inspired by the Chindits who fought in Burma in World War Two.

‘Bespoke skills’
An Army spokesman said the unit would “play a key part in enabling the UK to fight in the information age” and that it “consists of more than just traditional capabilities”.

Chief of the British Army Gen Sir Nick Carter. The Army, led by Gen Sir Nick Carter, could face cuts following the general election

He said: “77 Brigade is being created to draw together a host of existing and developing capabilities essential to meet the challenges of modern conflict and warfare.

“It recognises that the actions of others in a modern battlefield can be affected in ways that are not necessarily violent and it draws heavily on important lessons from our commitments to operations in Afghanistan amongst others.”

Recruitment for the brigade, 42% of whose personnel will be reservists, will begin this spring.

Its members will come from the Royal Navy and RAF as well as from the Army.

One former commander of British forces in Afghanistan has warned the new operation should not mean fewer troops on the frontline.

Colonel Richard Kemp said: “My view is that this should not be done at the expense of combat troops. Where are these 2,000 people going to come from?”

“They are likely to come from savings made in combat troops. I think that’s a mistake.

“I think the British forces have already been cut far too much in a very uncertain and increasingly dangerous world.

He acknowledged the need for this type of innovation, but said “it should be added to the forces, not created out of savings found elsewhere.”

The creation of the new unit is part of a major restructuring of the military under the Army 2020 plan, which will see the military scaled down to around 82,000 regular troops in the next five years.

Chindits in the Burmese jungle, 1943
The new unit is said to share the “spirit of innovation” of the Chindits in the Burma Campaign of 1942-45
The unit will also seek “new ways of allowing civilians with bespoke skills to serve alongside their military counterparts”.

The Army spokesman said it would share the “spirit of innovation” of the Chindits in the Burma Campaign of 1942 to 1945.

Chindits was the name given to the Long Range Penetration (LRP) groups that operated in the Burmese jungle behind enemy lines, targeting Japanese communications.

The new unit will also use the old Chindit insignia of a Chinthe, a mythical Burmese creature which is half-lion and half-dragon.

Tony Redding from Kent, whose father was in the Chindits, told the BBC he was disappointed by the move. He said: “Sadly the Ministry of Defence didn’t inform the surviving Chindit veterans of the decision to use the badge in this way.

“I’ve tried very hard to look for similarities and the only common denominator I can find is that the Chindits 70 years ago were a highly unconventional force. Perhaps this new force are to use some unconventional means of warfare.”

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Brigadier Charles Orde-Wingate commanded the 77th Brigade in Burma during World War II and the highly effective guerrilla warfare gave the Japanese Imperial Army a good run for their money.

It is part of the Ministry of Defense (MOD) strategic media game where the control of perception and first impression of the world public matters, in the challenges with dynamism of the integral communication and information at cyber speed and reach.

The ability to control social media has become a priority in the strategy of controlling any fields of warfare.

It is believed that the traditional politically adverse nations to the UK and United States such as Russia, China and even North Korea have invested a lot to be strategically commanding in the cyber warfare game.

The ongoing global warfare against international terrorism such as the current conflict against Islamic State so-called Jihadist is getting more chronic and complicated. The battle has been taken into cybersphere when the US Central Command social account was hacked by pro-IS ‘Cyber Caliphate’.

BBC.com story:

12 January 2015 Last updated at 23:10

US Centcom Twitter account hacked by pro-IS group

Centcom Twitter
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The Twitter and YouTube accounts of the US military command were suspended for a few hours after being hacked by a group claiming to back Islamic State.

One message on Centcom’s Twitter feed said: “American soldiers, we are coming, watch your back.”

It was signed by Isis, another name for the Islamic State. Some internal military documents also appeared on the Centcom Twitter feed.

Centcom said it was “cyber-vandalism” and not a serious data breach.

In a statement, it said there was no operational impact and no classified information was posted.

“We are viewing this purely as a case of cyber-vandalism,” it said. Later on Monday, its Twitter feed became visible again, although not active.

Embarrassingly, the hack happened as President Barack Obama was giving a speech on cyber-security.

Reflecting on major breaches like a recent hack of Sony Pictures, Mr Obama said in his speech the US had been reminded of “enormous vulnerabilities for us as a nation and for our economy”.

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President Obama said the internet creates “enormous vulnerabilities”
His spokesman Josh Earnest said the US is looking into the Centcom hacking.

He said they were investigating the extent of the incident, and that there was a significant difference between a large data breach and the hacking of a Twitter account.

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Analysis – Jonathan Marcus, BBC defence correspondent
This is an irritating hack rather than a matter of major security concern, but it will inevitably lead to a review to see if there are any more fundamental vulnerabilities in the US military’s public facing web and Twitter accounts.

The material posted on the site represents an amateurish and unconvincing attempt to publicise “secrets”. Most of the information is hardly secret at all – the postal address at the Pentagon of the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey.

A variety of maps and diagrams were also posted by the hackers. Two appeared to be slides from a presentation at the Lincoln Laboratory – a government funded think-tank at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

They showed maritime defences on the Chinese coast, but not in any great detail. There were also simple maps of North Korea showing population centres, nuclear installations and missile sites.

You can find maps showing the same things on the websites of many US think-tanks.

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The White House says it is monitoring the extent of the hack
An unnamed Pentagon official told Reuters the hacking was an embarrassment but did not appear to be a security threat.

And Professor Alan Woodward, from the University of Surrey, said he did not consider the attack to be a major breach of security.

“I wouldn’t say it’s trivial, but it’s just a slip,” he told the BBC.

“Twitter accounts are usually looked after by an individual in an organisation – it’s very easy to give away that password.

“In terms of if this is a hack into something secret, or sensitive – no, it’s not. An individual has made a slight mistake.”

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IS have been very effective using the media, which include social media for their publicity. Their psychological warfare which encompasses the recoding of execution of foreign nationals and journos managed to struck fear in the eyes and minds of millions of people worldwide.

This is on top of their overwhelming success in recruiting fighters and sympathisers from ordinary people, through their strategic use of social media.

Thousands of multinationals which include 40-50 Malaysians, not only just men but women too, to be drawn into their organised international terrorism which have since grown into a formidable conventional army in Syria and Iraq.

The inability to control the cyber warfare would prove to be disastrous.

Almost ten years ago, the suicide bombers struck a co-ordinated attack on the London Underground system and bus. 52 people were killed and 770 others were injured. It was later proven that the suicide bombers communicated using ams just before the attack commenced.

That was a very painful lesson for the Brits and their paranoia did prove to be substantial.

Almost three weeks ago, British Prime Minister David Cameron pronounced that encrypted communication which include social media would not be allowed in the UK.

The Telegraph story:

Spies should be able to monitor all online messaging, says David Cameron

The Tory leader said: ‘If I am prime minister I will make sure that it is a comprehensive piece of legislation that does not allow terrorists safe space to communicate with eachother’

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David Cameron
David Cameron Photo: SkyNews
Christopher Hope By Christopher Hope, Senior Political Correspondent3:50PM GMT 12 Jan 2015

The Security Services will be given the powers to read all messages sent over the internet, if the Conservatives win the general election.

David Cameron, the Prime Minister, made the pledge at a campaign event attended by up to 100 Conservative activists in Nottingham.

The police and the intelligence agencies have expressed concerns that they are not able to access the content of some of the new ways to communicate over the internet.

The Prime Minister – who on Monday morning chaired a meeting of the Security Services to discuss lessons that be learned from last week’s terrorist attacks on Paris – said a Tory Government would pass a law in the next Parliament to ensure that the police and Security Services can read internet messages.

The problem at the moment was that new ways of communicating over the internet were impossible for the agencies to keep track of, he said.

Plans for a Communications Data Bill – branded a “snoopers’ charter” by critics – were blocked by Liberal Democrat opposition in the Coalition, but Conservatives have signalled they will revive the legislation if they secure an overall majority in May’s general election.

Mr Cameron said: “The next Government will have to legislate again in 2016. If I am prime minister I will make sure that it is a comprehensive piece of legislation that does not allow terrorists safe space to communicate with eachother.

“That is the key principle: do we allow terrorists safer spaces for them to talk to each other. I say no we don’t – and we should legislate accordingly. And if I am in Government that is what you will get.”

He added: “I have a very simple principle which will be the heart of the new legislation that will be necessary. In our country, do we want to allow a means of communication between people which even in extremis, with a signed warrant from the home secretary personally, that we cannot read? “Up until now, governments have said: ‘No, we must not’.

“That is why in extremis it has been possible to read someone’s letter, to listen to someone’s telephone, to mobile communications.

“But the question remains: are we going to allow a means of communications which it simply isn’t possible to read. My answer to that question is: ‘No we must not’.

“The first duty of any government is to keep our country and people safe. The attacks in Paris demonstrated the scale of the threat that we face and the need to have robust powers through our intelligence and security agencies in order to keep our people safe.

“The powers that I believe we need, whether on communications data, or on the content of communications, I feel very comfortable these are absolutely right for a modern, liberal democracy.”

Mr Cameron also said that a Tory Government would pass a new law to ensure that the intelligence agencies would be able to track phone calls and internet messages.

He said that this power to track “who made which call, to which person, and when” was “absolutely crucial not just in terrorism but finding missing people, murder investigations, almost every single serious crime.
“What matters is that we can access this communications data whether people are using fixed phones, mobile phones or more modern ways of communicating via the internet.”

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Published in: on February 1, 2015 at 04:30  Comments (4)  

Lessons from Paracels XX: Najib’s Extended and Multi-tiered Diplomacy

China's imaginary and unsubstantiated Nine-Dash-Line

China’s imaginary and unsubstantiated Nine-Dash-Line

Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak’s extended and multi-tiered and multi-pronged diplomacy is his administration’s strength to manage the multiple geo-political issues arisen from the multi nations’ claim over the Nine-Dash-Line in South China Sea.

Eurasia Review story:

1, ANALYSIS, BUSINESS, CHINA, MALAYSIA

MORE NUANCED THAN JUST ‘HEDGING': MALAYSIA AND SOUTH CHINA SEA DISPUTES – ANALYSIS

JANUARY 16, 2015 RSIS LEAVE A COMMENT
By RSIS

As ASEAN Chairman this year Malaysia has to tackle the South China Seas disputes. Malaysia’s supposed “hedging” stance should be viewed more comprehensively.

By Oh Ei Sun*

2015 sees Malaysia stepping up to the rotating chairmanship of ASEAN, just as the ten member states are poised to embrace the much anticipated ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). Amidst the continued global economic slowdown, it is perhaps understandable that much attention has been focused on AEC as yet another impetus to spur regional economic growth, and by extension on Malaysia’s hopefully adroit skill in ASEAN’s driver’s seat.

Nevertheless, the disputes over the territorial and maritime sovereignty of a large part of the South China Sea, although apparently quietened down late last year, continued to be a latent challenge for all regional parties concerned. How skillfully Malaysia, both as a claimant party as well as ASEAN chair, handles the South China Sea disputes in relation to its three ASEAN co-claimants as well as China is crucial to regional peace and security.

Priority for economic cooperation

Recently, some researchers characterised Malaysia’s management of its South China Sea dispute with China as a “hedging” one, balancing its national interest of maintaining close economic relations with Beijing with the “regional” interest of ASEAN solidarity vis-a-vis China. While this “hedging” label on Malaysia may be partially accurate, it begs a more comprehensive and nuanced view of Malaysia’s international role as well as a more realistic regional outlook.

Firstly, for hundreds of years, Malaysia (and its preceding constituent states) has been a vibrant regional trading hub. This is especially so when the country undertook rapid industrialisation in the last half century, albeit with the vital assistance of foreign investments. The prevalent Malaysian national psyche, including and especially that of the ruling elite, thus exhibits a strong natural predilection toward economic concerns such as improved trade and investment, as opposed to overly ideological and nationalistic concerns.

Malaysia’s trade volume with China is indeed tremendous, surpassing US$100 billion annually over the last few years, making China its largest overall trading partner, and Malaysia China’s largest trading partner in Southeast Asia. These fruitful and escalating bilateral economic ties thus understandably overshadow the intermittent South China Sea disputes, which do not show any immediate or even medium-term resolution.

Malaysia’s non-adoption of the more confrontational approaches of Vietnam and the Philippines in the South China Sea disputes is therefore not surprising. Vietnam unfortunately experienced protracted and traumatic armed conflicts in its road towards nation-building, and its arguably more nationalistic attitude can thus be somewhat understood. The Philippines for obvious domestic reasons was not endowed with the massive economic development (and the resulting preference for trade) seen in the case of Malaysia.

Regional solidarity

But even if the term “hedging” were to describe Malaysia’s handling of the South China Sea disputes, it should at least be construed in a wider context. It is widely known that in addition to maintaining fertile trading relations with China, Malaysia, not unlike its many Southeast Asian neighbours, also welcomes the United States to continue playing a constructive role in regional security matters. Joint exercises (including maritime ones in or near the disputed waters), port calls and anti-terror efforts, to name but a few, continue to be cornerstones of US-Malaysia security cooperation.

Malaysia’s US-friendly stance, at least in security-related aspects, thus does not differ substantially from that exhibited by either Vietnam or the Philippines. It is perhaps also interesting to note that Malaysia and China will reportedly hold their first-ever joint military field exercise later this year.

Indeed, Malaysia certainly did not abandon regional solidarity with its neighbours when it comes to the South China Sea disputes. Malaysia remains committed and is proactively pushing for eventual region-wide solutions to the disputes. Malaysia is also equally comfortable with China’s preference for bilateral dealings over the South China Sea issue.

But whether bilaterally or multilaterally, Malaysia is flexible in terms of the ways and means – direct negotiation, mediation, joint development, arbitration, adjudication or otherwise – for resolving the disputes. Most of these have been successfully employed to conclusively settle its territorial disputes with neighbours such as Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore.

Malaysia, in this respect, looks favourably toward the region-wide (including both China and Southeast Asian claimant states) adoption of the Code of Conduct (COC) on the South China Sea. Although the COC supposedly does not touch on sovereignty issues, it should provide a pragmatic framework for potentially managing, if not resolving, the South China Sea disputes. As ASEAN chairman Malaysia is likely to accord high priority to the adoption of the COC.

Confrontational benefits elusive

More fundamentally, it could also be argued that the more aggressive approaches preferred by the Philippines and Vietnam in dealing with China on the South China Sea disputes did not quite produce the results that they would have desired. For example, in the aftermath of the Philippines’ 2012 run-in with China over the Scarborough Shoal (which China calls Huangyan Island), Beijing assumes de facto control over access to the territory.

Similarly, despite Vietnam’s repeated skirmishes with China over the Paracel Islands/Xisha, these remain firmly under Chinese administration. As such, other Southeast Asian claimants, Malaysia included, could not elicit positive lessons from such confrontational styles.

Even the Philippines and Vietnam did not always confront China resolutely over the South China Sea disputes. In the midst of the Scarborough Shoal standoff, the Philippines inaugurated a China-funded dam project. Vietnam, which shares similar ideological outlook with China, often sees its South China Sea conflicts with China tone down after high-level party-to-party visits between the two countries.

For all these reasons, and with the benefit of a more comprehensive grasp of regional and international power-play realities, Malaysia may be said to more than just “hedge” its way out of the South China Sea disputes. It hews to a more comprehensive approach towards the eventual peaceful resolution of these disputes.

*Oh Ei Sun is a Senior Fellow with the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University. A version of this commentary also appeared in Global Times.

 

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Oh’s brief analysis basically sums up Prime Minister Najib’s diplomacy and friendship with world leaders which include President Xi Jinping of China, President Barack H. Obama of United States of America, President Vladimir Putin of Russia and President David Cameron of United Kingdom.

This is not withstanding the extremely close relationship with Brunei Sultan Sir Hassanal Bolkiah, the Philippines President Benigno “Nonoy” Acquino III and Singapore Prime Minister Brig. Gen. (NS) Lee Hsien Loong.

The continuous and pro-active work spearheaded by Foreign Minister Dato’ Seri Anifah Aman fortified the foreign policy and extended multi-tiered and multi-pronged diplomacy further, which include the non-permanent membership of UN Security Council, Chairmanship of ASEAN and in the Commonwealth Office in Whitehall.

The ‘consultive approach’ really bore fruit even in the trickiest spot.

However, some statements made through media by Cabinet colleagues such as Defense Minister Dato’ Seri Hishamuddin Hussein is taking all these good work a few steps the other direction.

NST story:

Eastern Sabah hotspot for militant activities: Hishammuddin

BY TASNIM LOKMAN – 23 JANUARY 2015 @ 5:38 PM

LABUAN: Eastern Sabah continues to be a hotspot for militants to spread their skewed ideologies, in line with the Islamic State (IS) belief, said Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.

Speaking to reporters at the Labuan Air Force Base site visit, Hishammuddin said based on intelligence, terror activities were very much active here with existence of Darul Islam elements.

He said it was important that countries in the regions, specifically Brunei, Indonesia and the Philippines were on the same page in handling the terror threat, adding that the government will take preventative measures to avoid the situation from getting worse.

“What we are doing here (making Labuan Air Force Base as the front line and working with the Asean community in addressing militancy activities) now is to have preventative measures.

“Terror activities, especially IS, is still under control but if we don’t take immediate action, it can be very serious and worsened,” he said, adding that Syria and Iraq failed to address it earlier, having to bear the cost now.

On making Labuan as the front line and headquarters for the Air Force, Hishammuddin said the decision saw the state as a strategic defence location.

He said the stability and security of the region needs to be holistic, where they will use a more creative approach.

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It is not sure the rational for the Minister in-charge of External Security to share all these information with the general public and how it would benefit them or the nation. Especially when these matters provide little comfort or worse still, reduced confidence for the general Malaysian public and a few notches lower for the international perception towards Malaysia.

However, the media crave politician would capitalise every moment to be relevant in the Malaysian media and hopefully, in the international media even at the expense of the political implication or perception towards the country.

Published in: on January 24, 2015 at 23:59  Comments (10)  

The Rising of the Land of the Rising Sun

Japan is making pro-active moves towards playing a more significant role as a military might, especially in the wake of the need to balance China’s ‘expansionary attitude and manoeuvres’.

The Sydney Morning Herald story:

Australia-Japan military ties are a ‘quasi-alliance’, say officials

Date October 26, 2014 – 11:45PM

John Garnaut

Asia Pacific editor for Fairfax Media
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Tony Abbott with Japanese PM Shinzo Abe in Parliament House in July. Photo: AFP
Military ties between Australia and Japan have been growing so fast that they amount to a “quasi-alliance”, according to Japanese officials.

Ties have expanding so rapidly that each country had become the other’s most important defence partner behind the United States, said the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Another official, Takuma Kajita, principal deputy director of the National Security Policy Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in an interview that an unprecedented decision this month to explore the possibility of jointly developing Japan’s coveted submarine technology showed the “two countries would be tied up in the most important area of security”.

He said this and other recent moves, including the sharing of Australian space surveillance intelligence (which could potentially be linked to ballistic missile defence systems) reflected years of bipartisan commitment, recent challenges from China and also a close personal rapport between prime ministers Tony Abbott and Shinzo Abe.

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“Mr Abe wants to raise the relationship between Japan and Australia considerably, his instructions are very clear, and he wants good trilateral relations between Japan, Australia and the US,” said Mr Kajita.

A unique “Australia-Japan Defence Co-operation Office” was established within Japan’s Ministry of Defence on April 1 this year in order to handle the rapid escalation of activity.

Publicly, especially in Australia, officials have been circumspect about the pace of change in part to avoid triggering an escalatory response from China.
Officials say there are no plans to progress the relationship into a formal treaty that would include reciprocal obligations to defend each other in the event of war.

And Japan is constrained by a sceptical population and pacifist constitution imposed in the wake of World War II that, among other things, requires its armed forces to operate as the Japanese Self-Defence Forces.

But some analysts warn that the Australian public has not yet grasped the dimensions and implications of deepening military ties, including the possibility of being drawn into armed conflict over the Senkaku Islands (Diaoyu in Chinese) in the East China Sea.

“The dual-tightening of Australia’s alliance with the US and its defence partnership with Japan is the most important strategic decision that Australia has made in the post-cold war era,” said Malcolm Cook, a regional security expert at Singapore’s Institute of Southeast Asian studies.

“If there is fighting in the East China Sea then the US will be drawn in. And can you imagine the pressure for Australia to become involved?”

Japanese sources say that the two most dangerous incidents occurred just months ago, in May and June, when Chinese fighter planes used provocative measures including firing afterburners to intercept Japanese surveillance planes at a time of Sino-Russian military drills.

But the temperature has cooled considerably since then.

A high-level maritime co-operation forum resumed on September 25, after a 28-month interregnum. And what had been almost daily Chinese maritime incursions into Japanese-controlled waters have dropped substantially in frequency and intensity.

“Chinese ships now enter Japanese territorial waters every two weeks, for exactly two hours,” said one Japanese official who was present at the maritime meeting. “It used to be four, six or even eight ships but now it is only three or four,” said the official, while noting that Chinese activities in the “contiguous zone” had not diminished at all.

Japanese officials say the continuing incursions are “unacceptable” but nevertheless the atmosphere had become conducive to a first meeting between Mr Abe and China’s President Xi jinping on the sidelines of next month’s APEC meeting in Shanghai.

The new Australia liaison office in Tokyo illustrates how Australia has leapfrogged all nations except the US in Japanese military thinking.

South Korea was listed as Japan’s second most important military partner in a strategy document released less than a year ago, but those ties have cooled due to disagreements over the memory of World War II.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/australiajapan-military-ties-are-a-quasialliance-say-officials-20141026-11c4bi.html#ixzz3HFyCH2fS

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Japan  under Prime Minister Shintaro Abe is seeking to reinterpret ate and probably to amend the ‘pacifist’ post World War Two Constitution, paving the way for Japanese military forces to fight abroad. Since the times of General of the Army Douglass McArthur, Japan only allowed to have a ‘Defence Forces’.

United States supports this notion with the excuse that Japan should play a more significant role to defend itself.

Obviously, China is disturbed by this development.

The BBC story:

9 October 2014 Last updated at 07:10

China media criticise ‘growing’ US-Japan military ties

Papers in China criticise the US for pursuing closer military ties with Japan and Vietnam.

Ties between China and Japan have been strained in recent months over territorial disputes in the East China Sea.

According to reports, Japan and the United States are revising their mutual defence guidelines to pursue a wider partnership.

The US, in an interim report released on Wednesday, said that the new guidelines “are in response to new threats extant in the world and to a new willingness of Japan to embrace a greater role in the world”.

Responding to the report, an article in the Liberation Army Daily warns the US is “inviting calamities by nurturing a tiger”.

“By requesting Tokyo to support its military actions, the US is still sticking to the old arrangement of Japan taking instructions,” notes the article written by Liu Qiang, a strategic expert at the Liberation Army Institute for International Relations.

Japan may become the “destroyer of peace” because it feels threatened and wants to expand its military, and Washington may not be able to control it, he cautions.

“If Washington is not on its guard against Tokyo’s military development and continues to allow it to expand, the US may not be able to control its development effectively in the future. By turning a blind eye to Japan’s actions, Washington is inviting trouble, and that is worrisome,” he adds.

A commentary in the People’s Daily overseas edition points out that the US and Japan are treating China as an “imagery enemy”.

“The idea of sharing hegemony between Washington and Tokyo is secretly developing. With the permission of the US, Japan may become a new international police…Such dangerous development is worrying many countries,” it says, warning that the alliance will instead “increase distrust and worsen conflicts” in the region.

Chen Yan, an expert on Japan affairs with the Qianjiang Evening News, however, points out that the new guidelines will not affect China.

“The US will not confront China because of Japan, and in reality, Japan will not want to go to war with China too. Both are only putting up a gesture to pressurise China,” he argues.

Defence capability
Meanwhile, several state-run media outlets, including Xinhua News Agency and the People’s Daily website, have published photos of a completed airport runway and ongoing construction works on Yongxing Island (Woody Island), the largest of the disputed Paracel Islands in the South China Sea.

The Philippines and Vietnam are two of several nations currently engaged in territorial disputes with China over the islands.

Several other media outlets note that the completion of the 2,000m-long runway will allow military jet to station, and “it will hugely raise China’s defence capability in the Spratly and Paracel Islands”.

Elsewhere, some state-run media outlets criticise US-Vietnam ties as Washington eases its ban on arm sales to Hanoi.

The US announced last week that it would partially lift its decades-old embargo on providing lethal military support to Vietnam to help improve its maritime security.

“Hanoi is looking to the US for support in its maritime territorial dispute with China, especially since tensions between Vietnam and China escalated earlier this year amid a dispute over China’s oil drilling operations in the South China Sea,” notes an article in the China Daily.

However, the commentary reminds the Southeast Asia state that “it is only one small piece on the US’ strategic rebalancing chessboard” and there is “deep acrimony and distrust” between the two countries.

“Besides, both need to be mindful that their strengthened military ties do not compromise each country’s relationship with Beijing. After all, a head-on confrontation in the South China Sea would serve no one’s interests,” it warns.

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In the wake against China’s aggressive military-centric expansionary attitude and premonition, Japan started to exert herself into the clout of anti-China sentiments around Asia. Despite China’s strong opposition, Japan has continued on the new policy which would see a balance to China’s military might in East Asia.

*Updated midnight

Published in: on October 26, 2014 at 21:00  Comments (9)  

Eagles Vs Dragon

The most productive and economically progressive region in the world has come much closer into threats of Super Powers flexing their muscle in more aggressive manner, which in turn would compound the escalation into a race of demonstration of serious military presence and projection and power.

President Barack H. Obama is asserting a more protagonist role in East and South East Asia as “A top priority”, in the wake of China’s ‘expansionary attitude and manoeuvres’ of late.

A detailed map of China's claims into ASEAN nations' EEZ

A detailed map of China’s claims into ASEAN nations’ EEZ

This China’s ‘expansionary attitude’, is vastly demonstrated in the claims over disputed territories all over South China Sea at the ‘Nine Dash Line’. Most of these territories have been defined as part of an ASEAN nation’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) under United Nations Convention Law of the Seas (UNCLOS), which China is a signatory.

Reuters story:

Chuck Hagel Accuses China Of ‘Destabilizing’ Asia Over South China Sea Claims

Reuters
Posted: 05/31/2014 7:50 am EDT Updated: 07/31/2014 5:59 am EDT

HAGEL

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By David Brunnstrom and Lee Chyen Yee

SINGAPORE, May 31 (Reuters) – The United States and China squared off at an Asian security forum on Saturday, with the U.S. defense secretary accusing Beijing of destabilizing the region and a top Chinese general retorting that his comments were “threat and intimidation”.

Using unusually strong language, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel took aim at Beijing’s handling of territorial disputes with its Asian neighbors.

“In recent months, China has undertaken destabilizing, unilateral actions asserting its claims in the South China Sea,” Hagel said.

He warned Beijing that the United States was committed to its geopolitical rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region and “will not look the other way when fundamental principles of the international order are being challenged”.

Hagel said the United States took no position on the merits of rival territorial claims in the region, but added: “We firmly oppose any nation’s use of intimidation, coercion, or the threat of force to assert these claims.”

His speech at Singapore’s Shangri-La Dialog, Asia biggest security forum, provoked an angry reaction from the deputy chief of staff of the Chinese Army, Lieutenant-General Wang Guanzhong.

“I felt that Secretary Hagel’s speech is full of hegemonism, threat and intimidation,” he told reporters just after the speech.

Wang said the speech was aimed at causing trouble in the Asia-Pacific.

Hagel’s comments followed the keynote address by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the same forum on Friday evening, who pledged “utmost support” to Southeast Asian countries, several of which are locked in maritime disputes with China.

“I felt that they were just trying to echo each other,” Wang said.

Hagel later held a bilateral meeting with Wang, where the Chinese military leader expressed his surprise at the U.S. defense secretary’s speech.

“You were very candid this morning, and to be frank, more than our expectations,” he said. “Although I do think those criticisms are groundless, I do appreciate your candor  likewise we will also share our candor.”

A senior U.S. defense official said that, despite Wang’s opening remarks, the tone of the meeting had been “businesslike and fairly amicable”.

While Hagel went over ground he covered in his speech, Wang spent most of the meeting talking about U.S.-China military-to-military contacts, including Chinese participation in forthcoming military exercises, the official said.

The U.S. official said Hagel’s speech had been well received by other Asian delegations with the exception of China.
ONLY IF PROVOKED

In Beijing, President Xi Jinping said China would not initiate aggressive action in the South China Sea but would respond if others did, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

“We will never stir up trouble, but will react in the necessary way to the provocations of countries involved,” Xinhua quoted Xi as saying in a meeting on Friday with Prime Minister Najib Razak of Malaysia.

China claims almost the entire oil- and gas-rich South China Seas, and dismisses competing claims from Taiwan, Brunei, Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia. Japan also has a territorial row with China over islands in the East China Sea.

Tensions have surged in recent weeks after China placed an oil rig in waters claimed by Vietnam, and the Philippines said Beijing could be building an airstrip on a disputed island.

Japan’s defense ministry said Chinese SU-27 fighters came as close as 50 meters (170 ft) to a Japanese OP-3C surveillance plane near disputed islets last week and within 30 meters of a YS-11EB electronic intelligence aircraft.

Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said Tokyo perceived an “increasingly severe regional security environment”.

“It is unfortunate that there are security concerns in the East and South China Seas,” he said. “Japan as well as all concerned parties must uphold the rule of law and never attempt to unilaterally change the status quo by force.”

On Friday, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pitched his plan for Japan to take on a bigger international security role and told the Singapore forum that Tokyo would offer its “utmost support” to Southeast Asian countries in their efforts to protect their seas and airspace.

In a pointed dig at China, he said Japan would provide coastguard patrol boats to the Philippines and Vietnam.
JAPAN OFFER SNUBBED

Wang, China’s deputy chief of staff, also snubbed an offer for talks with Japan made by Defense Minister Onodera, the semi-official China News Service said.

“This will hinge on whether the Japanese side is willing to amend the erroneous policy towards China and improve relations between China and Japan,” he said. “Japan should correct its mistakes as soon as possible to improve China-Japan ties.”

The strong comments at the Shangri-La Dialog come as Abe pursues a controversial push to ease restrictions of the post-war, pacifist constitution that has kept Japan’s military from fighting overseas since World War Two.

Despite memories of Japan’s harsh wartime occupation of much of Southeast Asia, several countries in the region may view Abe’s message favorably because of China’s increasing assertiveness.

Hagel repeatedly stressed Obama’s commitment to the Asia-Pacific rebalance and said the strong U.S. military presence in the region would endure.

“To ensure that the rebalance is fully implemented, both President Obama and I remain committed to ensuring that any reductions in U.S. defense spending do not come at the expense of America’s commitments in the Asia-Pacific,” he said. (Additional reporting by Rachel Armstrong and Masayuki Kitano in Singapore and John Ruwitch in Shanghai; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Alex Richardson)

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United States, which is maximising this “China’s expansionary attitude and manoeuvres” by exerting its diplomatic and military might around the region, is also attempting to play the international diplomacy drama by asking China to ‘cool off’. As expected, it was ignored.

Reuters story when ASEAN Head of Government met at Myanmar:

U.S. call for South China Sea ‘freeze’ gets cool response from China

BY PAUL MOONEY AND LESLEY WROUGHTON
NAYPYIDAW Sat Aug 9, 2014 1:46pm EDT

CREDIT: REUTERS/NICOLAS ASFOURI/POOL
RELATED NEWS
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(Reuters) – A U.S. proposal for a freeze on provocative acts in the South China Sea got a cool response from China and some Southeast Asian nations on Saturday, an apparent setback to Washington’s efforts to rein in China’s assertive actions.

To China’s annoyance, the United States is using a regional meeting in Myanmar this weekend to step up its engagement in the maritime tension by calling for a moratorium on actions such as China’s planting of a giant oil rig in Vietnamese waters in May.

Its ally the Philippines has also called for a freeze as part of a three-step plan to ease tension in the resource-rich sea, through which passes $5 trillion of trade a year.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Myanmar’s capital, Naypyidaw, on Saturday for the ASEAN Regional Forum, joining foreign ministers and other top diplomats from China, Russia, Japan, India, Australia, the European Union and Southeast Asia among others.

“The United States and ASEAN have a common responsibility to ensure the maritime security of critical sea, lands and ports,” Kerry said in opening comments.

“We need to work together to manage tensions in the South China Sea and to manage them peacefully, and also to manage them on the basis of international law.”

But Le Luong Minh, secretary-general of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said the U.S. proposal was not discussed by ASEAN ministers because there was already a mechanism in place to curtail sensitive action such as land reclamation and building on disputed islands.

CHINA SAYS SITUATION STABLE

The top ASEAN diplomat said it was up to ASEAN to work with China to reduce tension by improving compliance with a 2002 agreement, as they also work to conclude a binding Code of Conduct for maritime actions. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan also lay claim to parts of the sea.

“It is up to ASEAN to encourage China to achieve a serious and effective implementation of this commitment, rather than ASEAN asking whether it should support or not support the (U.S.) proposal,” he said.

Most claimants have flouted the 2002 guidelines, leading to rising tension in the South China Sea between four ASEAN claimant nations and China, which claims 90 percent of the waters. The rancour has split ASEAN, with several states including some of the claimants reluctant to antagonize Asia’s economic giant.

China rejects U.S. involvement in the dispute and has already dismissed the proposal for a freeze. China accuses the United States of emboldening claimants such as the Philippines and Vietnam with its military “pivot” back to Asia.

“Currently the situation in the South China Sea is stable on the whole. There has not been any problem regarding navigation in the South China Sea,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters.

“Someone has been exaggerating or playing up the so-called tensions in the South China Sea. We don’t agree with such a practice.”

Philippine Foreign Minister Albert del Rosario also appeared to tone down his proposal for a freeze or moratorium on activities causing tension in the South China Sea, calling instead for a “cessation” in remarks to reporters on Friday.

A senior U.S. official said the change in language was not significant. “Maybe they just want to differentiate their proposal from our proposal.”

ASEAN includes Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

(Editing by Stuart Grudgings and Robert Birsel)

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Also the dispute which has escalated into a military stand off with Japan at Senkaku Island, a couple of rocks in the middle of huge hydrocarbon deposits off Taiwan.

Reuters:

China criticizes U.S. missile defense radar in Japan

BEIJING Thu Oct 23, 2014 6:56am EDT
(Reuters) – The United States is damaging stability in the Asia-Pacific region by positioning a missile defense radar in Japan, China said on Thursday.

Japan, an ally of the United States, has voiced growing anxiety over China’s more assertive posture in the East China Sea, where the neighbors are locked in a dispute over control of a group of uninhabited islets.

North Korea has carried out a series of missile tests this year, including two medium-range missiles capable of hitting Japan. Pyongyang has also threatened another nuclear test.

Japan’s defense ministry has said an X-Band radar system was delivered on Tuesday to the U.S. military’s communication facility in Kyoto in the western part of the country. It is scheduled to be fully operational by the end of the year.
“Neighboring countries pushing forward the deployment of anti-missile systems in the Asia-Pacific and seeking unilateral security is not beneficial to strategic stability and mutual trust in the region,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular briefing.

“It is not beneficial to peace and stability in Northeast Asia.”

Countries should not use “excuses to harm the security interests of other countries,” Hua added, describing the situation as “deeply concerning”.

China has racheted up military spending in recent years, putting in place new submarines, surface ships and anti-ship ballistic missiles, which the U.S. sees as a counter to its military presence in the region.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has said two Navy destroyers equipped with missile defense systems would be deployed to Japan by 2017 in response to provocations from North Korea.

(Reporting by Megha Rajagopalan, Additional reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka in TOKYO; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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That invited reciprocity from the Dragon of East Asia. The fact is that as part of China’s military build up, the Peoples’ Liberation Army has planned and acquired various nuclear weapon systems and programs, which include nuclear submarines with ICBM capability.

A Wall Street Journal story:

Deep Threat

China’s Submarines Add Nuclear-Strike Capability, Altering Strategic Balance

BY JEREMY PAGE

One Sunday morning last December, China’s defense ministry summoned military attachés from several embassies to its monolithic Beijing headquarters.

To the foreigners’ surprise, the Chinese said that one of their nuclear-powered submarines would soon pass through the Strait of Malacca, a passage between Malaysia and Indonesia that carries much of world trade, say people briefed on the meeting.

Two days later, a Chinese attack sub—a so-called hunter-killer, designed to seek out and destroy enemy vessels—slipped through the strait above water and disappeared. It resurfaced near Sri Lanka and then in the Persian Gulf, say people familiar with its movements, before returning through the strait in February—the first known voyage of a Chinese sub to the Indian Ocean.

The message was clear: China had fulfilled its four-decade quest to join the elite club of countries with nuclear subs that can ply the high seas. The defense ministry summoned attachés again to disclose another Chinese deployment to the Indian Ocean in September—this time a diesel-powered sub, which stopped off in Sri Lanka.

China’s increasingly potent and active sub force represents the rising power’s most significant military challenge yet for the region. Its expanding undersea fleet not only bolsters China’s nuclear arsenal but also enhances the country’s capacity to enforce its territorial claims and thwart U.S. intervention.

China is expected to pass another milestone this year when it sets a different type of sub to sea—a “boomer,” carrying fully armed nuclear missiles for the first time—says the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence, or ONI.

China is hardly hiding its new boomers. Tourists could clearly see three of them at a base opposite a resort recently in China’s Hainan province. On the beach, rented Jet Skis were accompanied by guides to make sure riders didn’t stray too close.

These boomers’ missiles have the range to hit Hawaii and Alaska from East Asia and the continental U.S. from the mid-Pacific, the ONI says.

“This is a trump card that makes our motherland proud and our adversaries terrified,” China’s navy chief, Adm. Wu Shengli, wrote of the country’s missile-sub fleet in a Communist Party magazine in December. “It is a strategic force symbolizing great-power status and supporting national security.”

To naval commanders from other countries, the Chinese nuclear sub’s nonstop Indian Ocean voyage was especially striking, proving that it has the endurance to reach the U.S. Pacific Fleet’s headquarters in Hawaii.

“They were very clear with respect to messaging,” says Vice Adm. Robert Thomas, a former submariner who commands the U.S. Seventh Fleet, “to say that, ‘We’re a professional navy, we’re a professional submarine force, and we’re global. We’re no longer just a coastal-water submarine force.’ ”

In recent years, public attention has focused on China’s expanding military arsenal, including its first aircraft carrier and stealth fighter. But subs are more strategically potent weapons: A single one can project power far from China and deter other countries simply by its presence.

China’s nuclear attack subs, in particular, are integral to what Washington sees as an emerging strategy to prevent the U.S. from intervening in a conflict over Taiwan, or with Japan and the Philippines—both U.S. allies locked in territorial disputes with Beijing.

And even a few functional Chinese boomers compel the U.S. to plan for a theoretical Chinese nuclear-missile strike from the sea. China’s boomer patrols will make it one of only three countries—alongside the U.S. and Russia—that can launch atomic weapons from sea, air and land.

“I think they’ve watched the U.S. submarine force and its ability to operate globally for many, many years—and the potential influence that can have in various places around the globe,” says Adm. Thomas, “and they’ve decided to go after that model.”

China’s nuclear-sub deployments, some naval experts say, may become the opening gambits of an undersea contest in Asia that echoes the cat-and-mouse game between U.S. and Soviet subs during the Cold War—a history popularized by Tom Clancy’s 1984 novel “The Hunt for Red October.”

Back then, each side sent boomers to lurk at sea, ready to fire missiles at the other’s territory. Each dispatched nuclear hunter-killers to track the other’s boomers and be ready to destroy them.

The collapse of the Soviet Union ended that tournament. But today, as China increases its undersea firepower, the U.S. and its allies are boosting their submarine and anti-sub forces in Asia to counter it.

Neither China nor the U.S. wants a Cold War rerun. Their economies are too interdependent, and today’s market-minded China doesn’t seek global revolution or military parity with the U.S.

Chinese officials say their subs don’t threaten other countries and are part of a program to protect China’s territory and expanding global interests. Chinese defense officials told foreign attachés that the subs entering the Indian Ocean would assist antipiracy patrols off Somalia, say people briefed on the meetings.

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Asked about those meetings, China’s defense ministry said its navy’s activities in the Indian and Pacific Oceans “comply with international law and practice, and we maintain good communication with all relevant parties.”

Submarines help Beijing fulfill international duties without changing its defense policy, says China’s navy spokesman, Sr. Capt. Liang Yang. “If a soldier originally has a handgun, and you give him an assault rifle, you’ve increased his firepower, but his responsibilities haven’t changed.” He declines to comment on boomer patrols.

Still, the U.S. has moved subs to the forefront of its so-called rebalancing, a strategy of focusing more military and diplomatic resources on Asia. Sixty percent of the U.S. undersea force is in the Pacific, U.S. naval commanders say, compared with half the U.S. surface fleet. The U.S. Navy plans to station a fourth nuclear attack sub in Guam next year, they say.

Since December, the U.S. has positioned six new P-8 anti-submarine aircraft in Okinawa, Japan. The U.S. has also revitalized an undersea microphone system designed to track Soviet subs and is testing new technologies such as underwater drones to search for Chinese subs.

Related Article: As China Deploys Nuclear Submarines, U.S. P-8 Poseidon Jets Snoop on Them

Several nearby countries, including Australia, have said they plan to expand or upgrade their submarine and anti-sub forces. Vietnam, which is embroiled in a territorial dispute with China, has since December received at least two of the six Russian-made attack subs it has ordered.

Australia’s navy chief, Vice Admiral Tim Barrett, told a parliamentary committee on Wednesday that the 12 subs his country is buying to replace its six-strong current fleet would need to operate far afield, potentially in contested areas of the South China Sea. “There are other nations in the area that are building their submarine forces as well,” he said. “The issue for us is to be able to consider that we may need to counter those things.”

Rear Adm. Phillip Sawyer, the commander of U.S. submarine forces in the Pacific, says that many more submarines are now operating in the region than during the Cold War. “One of my biggest concerns truthfully is submarine safety,” he says on a recent dive aboard the USS Houston, a nuclear-attack sub based in Hawaii. “The more submarines you put in the same body of water, the higher the probability that they might collide.”

China now has one of the world’s biggest attack-sub fleets, with five nuclear models and at least 50 diesel models. It has four boomers, the ONI says.

Beijing’s quest for a nuclear-sub fleet dates to the 1960s, say Chinese historians. Mao Zedong once declared, “We will build a nuclear submarine even if it takes us 10,000 years!”

China has used diesel subs since the 1950s, but they have proved easy to find because they must surface every few hours. Nuclear subs are faster and can stay submerged for months. China launched its first nuclear sub on Mao’s birthday in 1970 and test-fired its first missile from underwater in 1988, although its first boomer never patrolled carrying armed nuclear missiles, U.S. naval officers say.

China officially unveiled its nuclear undersea forces in October 2013 in an unprecedented open day for domestic media at a nuclear-sub base. Its capabilities aren’t close to those of the U.S., which has 14 boomers and 55 nuclear attack subs.

The U.S. concern is how to maintain that edge in Asia when the Navy projects that fiscal constraints will shrink its attack-sub fleet to 41 by 2028.

Beijing isn’t likely to try matching the U.S. sub force, having studied the way the Cold War arms race drained the Soviet Union’s finances. “We’re not that stupid,” says retired Maj. Gen. Xu Guangyu, a former vice president of the People’s Liberation Army Defense Institute.

“But we need enough nuclear submarines to be a credible force—to have some bargaining chips,” he says. “They must go out to the Pacific Ocean and the rest of the world.”

On his desk is a glass-encased naval chart with white labels marking China’s submarine bases. Drawn on the map are two lines marking “First Island Chain” and “Second Island Chain.”

Over the past few years, Chinese attack subs have broken beyond the first chain to operate regularly in the Philippine Sea and have started patrolling year-round, Adm. Sawyer says. Penetrating the second chain is the next logical step, he adds: “They are not just building more units and more assets, but they’re actually working to get proficient with them and understand how they’d operate in a far-away-from-home environment.” Related article: When Sub Goes Silent, Who Has Control of Its Nuclear Warheads?

Adm. Sawyer declines to say whether China has sent a sub as far as Hawaii but says the December Indian Ocean expedition shows that it has “the capability and the endurance” to do so.

That was a Shang-class sub, a type naval experts say China first launched in 2002 that can carry torpedoes and cruise missiles. In peacetime, China would probably use these hunter-killers to protect sea lanes, track foreign vessels and gather intelligence, naval experts say. But in a conflict, they would likely try to break through the First Island Chain to threaten approaching vessels and disrupt supply lines.

Still, the two recent sub voyages highlighted a weak point for China. Its subs must use narrow straits to reach the Pacific or Indian Oceans. Those chokepoints—among them, the Malacca, Sunda, Lombok, Luzon and Miyako Straits—can be relatively easily monitored or blockaded.

Moreover, China’s anti-sub capabilities remain relatively weak. U.S. subs can track their Chinese counterparts even near China’s shores, where U.S. ships and planes are vulnerable to Chinese aircraft and missiles, American naval officers say.

Adm. Sawyer declines to say whether the U.S. tracked the Shang or how close U.S. subs get to China, saying only: “I’m comfortable with the U.S. submarine force’s capability to execute whatever tasking we’re given.”

The USS Houston returned recently from a seven-month deployment to the Western Pacific. Its commanding officer, Cmdr. Dearcy P. Davis, declines to say exactly where the sub went but adds, “I can say that we went untracked by anyone. We have the ability to break down the door if someone [else] can’t. That’s not trivial.”

China’s missile-carrying boomers present a longer-term challenge.

From the Lan Sanya beach resort in Hainan, guests can easily make out the matte-black hulls of what naval experts say are three of China’s new boomers, known as the Jin-class, and one Shang-class attack sub. As he threw open a hotel room’s curtains, a bellboy beamed with pride and pointed out the vessels across the bay. “Better not go that way,” joked a Jet Ski guide on a recent ride. “They might shoot at us.”

China hasn’t said when it might launch boomer patrols. But Western naval officers saw the October nuclear-sub event as a signal that the Jin subs and their JL-2 missiles were ready to start.

Adm. Jonathan Greenert, a former submariner who is now the U.S. chief of naval operations, says that the U.S. is waiting to see how China will use its new boomers. “Is it an occasional patrol they’re going to choose to do? Is it going to be a continuous patrol? Are they going to try to be sure that this patrol is totally undetected?” he says. “I think that’s all going to be in the equation as to our response.”

Soviet boomers ventured far into the Pacific and Atlantic into the 1970s because their missiles couldn’t reach the U.S. from Soviet waters. As missile ranges increased, Soviet subs retreated to so-called bastions, such as the Sea of Okhotsk. The U.S. deployed hunter-killers around those bastions.

Similar dynamics are at play as China decides whether to send its own boomers into the Pacific. Their JL-2 missiles can travel about 4,600 miles—possibly enough to strike the U.S. West Coast from East Asia, the ONI says. To strike more U.S. targets, they would need to lurk throughout the Pacific.

But China’s boomers probably couldn’t pass undetected through many straits, say U.S. officers and Chinese experts. “The Jin class is too noisy: It’s probably at the level of the Soviets between 1970 and 1980,” says Wu Riqiang, a former missile specialist who studies nuclear strategy at Beijing’s Renmin University. “As long as you are noisy, you won’t even go through the chokepoints.”

Early in the Cold War, the U.S. built a network of seabed microphones to listen at chokepoints leading to the Pacific and Atlantic. In recent years, the U.S. has revitalized parts of that network, called the Sound Surveillance System, or Sosus. The U.S. is also now adding mobile networks of sensors—some on underwater drones—and seeking surveillance data from Asian countries. Related Article: Underwater Drones Join Microphones to Listen for Chinese Subs

Meanwhile, China is trying to replicate Sosus, say several naval experts. A government-backed scientific journal reported last year that China had built a fiber-optic acoustic network in the South China Sea.

Last November, China declared an “air-defense identification zone” over the East China Sea and warned of measures against aircraft that entered without identifying themselves in advance. Many U.S. officials expect China to do the same over the South China Sea, although Chinese officials say they have no immediate plans for that.

In August, the Pentagon said a Chinese fighter had flown dangerously close to a U.S. P-8 near Hainan. China’s defense ministry publicly said that its pilot flew safely and asked the U.S. to cease such operations.

The problem with confining boomers to the South China Sea is that Beijing fears that missiles fired from there could be neutralized by the next stages of a U.S. regional missile-defense system, Chinese nuclear experts say.

Prof. Wu, who has taken part in nuclear-strategy negotiations with the U.S., predicts that over the next two decades, China will make quieter boomers that can patrol the open sea even as the U.S. pursues a global missile-defense system.

“I hope the U.S. and China can break this cycle,” he says, “but I’m not optimistic.”

—Rob Taylor in Canberra contributed to this article.

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Another interesting fact is that the truth about the United States has never faced with a Super Power like what China is today, so economically driven and progressing but backed and controlled by sophisticatedly strategically minded communists leaders and their plans to move forward.

The Hufftington Post story:

Bob Hawke Headshot

America Has Never Faced a Power Like China

Posted: 06/19/2014 11:38 am EDT Updated: 08/19/2014 5:59 am EDT 125941046
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The article is an excerpt from a speech delivered at the 2nd International Symposium on Security and Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific Region, hosted by the China Institute for International Strategic Studies in Beijing.

BEIJING — There can be no doubt that the biggest question today about Asia’s future order revolves around the relationships among three nations — the United States, China and Japan. If a solid and durable foundation can be found for cooperative relations among the three powers, building a sustainable new order in Asia will not be difficult. If rivalry among them escalates, it might become impossible.

STATUS QUO VS. A NEW ORDER

The differences between their separate visions are not hard to see. America wants to preserve the status quo in which its leading position remains the keystone of the regional order, and the Chinese acceptance of U.S. leadership is the basis of U.S.-China relationship. While it is willing to consult more closely with China on a wide range of issues as China’s power grows, it does not envisage any fundamental change in the nature of their relationship, or of China’s role in Asia, over the coming years.

Americans argue that this status quo has worked very well for Asia — including for China — for many years, and they believe that it remains the best basis for regional stability in the future.

China, on the other hand, wants to change the status quo. President Xi Jinping has made this quite clear in his repeated calls for a “new type of major-power relationship.” By this, he does not just mean that he hopes the U.S. and China can avoid the rivalry that throughout history has so often escalated between rising and established powers.

He also means that to avoid escalating rivalry, America and China should agree on a new basis for their relationship, different from the basis that was agreed between Chairman Mao Zedong and former U.S. President Richard Nixon back in 1972. Clearly, China does not believe that Chinese deference to the U.S. leadership is any longer an acceptable basis for U.S.-China relations.

From America’s side, there seems to be increasing concern that China’s real aim is to push America out of Asia and establish its own version of regional primacy. They point to China’s assertive diplomacy over regional maritime sovereignty questions as evidence of China’s malign intentions, and its willingness to use force to shape the regional order in its favor.

From China’s side, there is an equal but opposite fear that America’s real aim is to contain China’s rise in order to preserve U.S. primacy. China points to U.S. President Barack Obama’s “pivot to Asia,” including its highly-publicized military elements designed to bolster U.S. combat power in Asia, as evidence of America’s mala fide intentions and its willingness to use force to achieve them. These suspicions clearly make it much harder for the two sides to contemplate serious accommodation with one another.

Many Americans seem still to underestimate just how much China’s wealth and power have grown, and how strong China’s ambitions have become. They do not yet take China’s challenges to the status quo in Asia seriously.

On April 30, London-based Financial Times had a front-page banner headline that read, “China to take over from U.S. as top economic power this year.” The story beneath the headline reported the World Bank’s latest comparative survey of the size of national economies in 2011 based on their relative purchasing power.

It showed that on this measure, China’s economy in 2011 was 87 percent the size of America’s, and was trending to overtake it this year. Perhaps it has already done so.

The word “historic” is often applied rather freely, but this really is a historic moment. As the Financial Times noted, America overtook Britain to become the largest economy in the world in 1872. For almost 150 years U.S. economic preeminence has been the foundation and the source of American power, and the American power has done more than anything else to define a whole era in world history, and shape the world as we know it today.

It would be a profound mistake for America not to see what this means. It does not mean that America is in decline. Nor does it mean that China will necessarily replace America at the pinnacle of global power that it has occupied for so long: China will not “rule the world.”

But it does mean that China today is a country that is fundamentally more powerful than any that America has ever had to encounter before. It is also a country that has a stronger sense of its place and status than any country in the world except perhaps America itself.

Both need to rid themselves of the assumption that the other cannot be a trusted partner in such a deal. There is no reason at all to assume that a mutual accommodation cannot be reached between them. America will not accept the establishment of Chinese primacy over Asia, but it might well be brought to accept that it should share the leadership in Asia with China, thus according China far more status and influence in Asia than it has enjoyed for centuries.

As Japan considers how far it can rely on U.S. assurances of support for its position on the disputed islands, it is also wondering how far it can continue to rely on the U.S. for Japan’s overall security as America’s relative power and influence in Asia decline.

Likewise as America considers how far it should go in supporting Japan in the East China Sea dispute, it is also thinking about the consequences for the U.S.-Japan alliance, and for the whole U.S. position in Asia, of any failure to fulfill its alliance commitments.

The stakes therefore could hardly be higher for all three countries, which is what makes the situation rather risky. And it suggests that to reduce those risks, it will be necessary not just to reach some agreement on the islands themselves, but to address the underlying questions about the roles of the U.S., China and Japan in Asia’s new order.

MORE:

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Since 2008, China has openly demonstrated its aggressiveness to be a Super Power when it embarked on various nuclear weapon programs that followed suit the admission of its military might expansionism.

That actually brought various Asian nations to work closer together and in a metaphoric way diplomatically isolating China as the ‘neighbourhood bully’.

The Bloomberg story:

Japan and India Pledge to Strengthen Ties as China Rises

By Isabel Reynolds and Maiko Takahashi Sep 2, 2014 10:05 AM GMT+0800 – Comments Email Print

Japan, India Look to Strengthen Ties
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged an upgrade of economic and security ties with India, saying Japan would double investment and expand defense cooperation amid concerns about China’s growing influence in the region.

Abe and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi at a summit meeting in Tokyo yesterday agreed to elevate ties to a special strategic and global partnership. Abe offered 50 billion yen ($480 million) in infrastructure loans and pledged 3.5 trillion yen of public and private investment and financing in India in five years.

“I often say that Japan-India relations have more potential than any other ties in the world,” Abe said. “This time, hand in hand with Prime Minister Modi, I want to boost ties in every possible field and elevate this to a special strategic and global partnership.”

The declaration comes three months after Modi took office pledging to take a tougher stance with neighbors China and Pakistan on border disputes, and hours after Japan said three Chinese coast guard vessels entered waters near disputed islands. Japan is courting India as it seeks to counter China and deter the use of force in disputes over contested territory.

The two leaders are known to have a close relationship, and Abe made the unusual gesture of traveling to the ancient capital of Kyoto at the weekend to host an informal dinner for Modi. Abe also accepted an invitation to visit India for a summit in 2015. Modi, 63, brought a delegation of executives with him on the four-day trip. He was set to meet Emperor Akihito and deliver a speech today, before leaving Tokyo tomorrow.
Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg
Narendra Modi, India’s Prime Minister, gestures as he makes a speech during a luncheon… Read More
‘Strong Bond’

China remains India’s largest trading partner, accounting for about 9 percent of the country’s total commerce, more than four times that of Japan, according to Indian Commerce Ministry data. Japan is the fourth-largest foreign direct investor in India, while China is not in the top 10, the data show.

“We are determined to increase our economic cooperation and the magnitude to which Japan is offering financial support signals a strong bond between our two countries,” Modi said after the meeting. “The success of the 21st century will largely depend on the path our two nations follow.”

Japan and India agreed to speed up talks on the transfer of US-2 amphibian rescue aircraft to India and on the signing of an agreement on civil nuclear power. They consented to look into ways to cooperate on defense technology.

Territorial Spats

The two leaders also affirmed their commitment to maritime security, freedom of navigation and the peaceful settlement of disputes under international law, a veiled dig at China, which is involved in disputes with at least half a dozen Asian nations over territory in the East and South China Seas and in the case of India, on land.

Modi earlier criticized the expansionist policies of some countries during a speech to business leaders in Tokyo.

“The world is divided in two camps. One camp believes in expansionist policies while the other believes in development,” Modi told a gathering of business leaders in Tokyo. “We have to decide whether the world should get caught in the grip of expansionist policies or we should lead it on the path of development and create opportunities that take it to greater heights.”

Japan and China have been embroiled in a dispute over a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, while India accuses China of occupying 38,000 square kilometers (about 15,000 square miles) of its territory.

When asked about these comments, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said China and India are strategic partners that seek common development.

“The increasing intimacy between Tokyo and New Delhi will bring at most psychological comfort to the two countries,” China’s Global Times said today in an editorial. “If Japan attempts to form a united front centered on India, it will be a crazy fantasy generated by Tokyo’s anxiety of facing a rising Beijing.”

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To contact the reporters on this story: Isabel Reynolds in Tokyo at ireynolds1@bloomberg.net; Maiko Takahashi in Tokyo at mtakahashi61@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Andrew Davis at abdavis@bloomberg.net Andy Sharp, Neil Western

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It is no mystery that China is hungry for energy, around the region, to power and drive its near galloping economy. That is a threat to the West. Never the less, China too is very aggressive to exert control over the world’s most productive and potential trade area, where the second most busiest and strategic waterway runs through.

The fact that China’s attitude of ‘Take All and Sundry’, is the worrying bit for the rest of Asia plus friends (United States and Australia) that when China devours, there would nothing left to be shared by others.

The rest of East and South East Asia do not wish to be sovereign but subservient states and serve China, economically and most of all, politically.

Published in: on October 25, 2014 at 12:00  Comments (5)  
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