Make love, not war

China's unsubstantiated claim of the 'Nine-Dash-Line'

China’s unsubstantiated claim of the ‘Nine-Dash-Line’

Malaysia’s position for multilateral dialogues between ASEAN and friendly regional and superpower taking precedence over any attempts of projection of power and/or force in the region not with standing the complexity of the multiple claims dispute within the South China Sea, is the flavour of inaugural Putrajaya Forum.

Bernama.com story:

Najib Highlights Critical Role Of ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus

KUALA LUMPUR, April 18 (Bernama) — The ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM) Plus plays a critical role in balancing major power influence in the ASEAN region, allowing practical military cooperation to take place involving the middle and super powers of the world, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

The Prime Minister said this is very important as ASEAN, on its own, cannot guarantee peace in the region without support from friends and partners.

He said the ADMM Plus addressed regional defence and security challenges, including maritime security, counter terrorism, peace-keeping operations, humanitarian disaster and relief, military medicine, humanitarian mine actions and, soon, cyber security.

“These mechanisms will help guide us in the decades to come, long after ASEAN turns 50 next year,” he said when opening the 2016 Putrajaya Forum, held in conjunction with the Defence Services Asia Exhibition and Conference 2016 here today.

The ADMM is the highest defence consultative and cooperative mechanism in ASEAN which aims to promote mutual trust and confidence through greater understanding of defence and security challenges as well as enhancement of transparency and openness.

The ADMM Plus is a platform for ASEAN and its eight dialogue partners to strengthen security and defence cooperation for peace, stability, and development in the region.

ASEAN’s eight dialogue partners in the ADMM-Plus are Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia and the United States.

On new security threats, Najib said there were cyber terrorists who could operate with ease across any firewall that individual countries put up as well as extremists who do not accept the legitimacy of states and could radicalise from afar.

“Stepping up inter-agency cooperation is vital. Any rivalries and squabbling over jurisdiction and turfs must belong to the past.

“There is too much at stake. In this challenging time of economic uncertainty, governments are forced to optimise the use of resources,” he said.

Najib said Malaysia had adopted the National Blue Ocean Strategy which encourages inter-agency cooperation and collaboration.

The NBOS is the cooperation between the armed forces and the Royal Malaysia Police, he said.

He said that to meet the demands of defence and security challenges these days, a more comprehensive approach underscored by a spirit of openness and inclusiveness was needed.

“We must embrace the fact that defence and security are not the business of the government alone, but of all stakeholders who have common interests and goals,” he said.

— BERNAMA

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Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak reminded ASEAN and China, signatories the Document of Conduct in 2002 which agreed that dialogue based on the United Nations Convention Laws of the Seas (UNCLOS) shall take priority role to resolve issues.

In his keynote address at Putrajaya Forum 2016 Prime Minister Najib stated the importance of continuous multilateral non military engagement is way forward and ASEAN Defence Minister Meeting Plus is one of the ideal forum to achieve and maintain continuous peace and harmony.

The second of important maritime route and hydrocarbon deposits within China's unsubstantiated 'Nine-Dash-Line'

The second of important maritime route and hydrocarbon deposits within China’s unsubstantiated ‘Nine-Dash-Line’

It is an apt message amidst growing military manoeuvres which include superpower in the likes of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) – Navy and US Naby around the region. Particularly, in the disputed areas of South China Sea and building up tension in China’s unsubstantiated claims of the imaginary ‘Nine-Dash-Line’.

ASEAN is a very important global economic region and consumer market, amidst the encouraging regional growth and global trade prominence. This is not withstanding South China Sea is the second globally most strategic and important maritime passage.

This is further echoed by Deputy Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as Putrajaya Forum 2016 was officially closed on Tuesday.

NST story:

Maintaining peace, security and stability in Asean now a more complex task: Zahid

 

BY ALIZA SHAH – 19 APRIL 2016 @ 6:40 PM

KUALA LUMPUR: Territorial disputes in the South China Sea and the intercession of external interests make efforts to maintain Asean’s peace, security and stability even more complex.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the importance of the maritime realm of Southeast Asia that hosts strategic and vital sea lines communication would continue to attract the attention and interest of major powers.

“The geopolitics of the region is also changing rapidly with the competing interest of major powers contesting for supremacy in this part of the world.

“The importance of the maritime realm of Southeast Asia that host strategic and vital sea lines of communication, the Straits of Malacca and the South China Sea, will continue to attract attention and interest,” he said at the closing of the Putrajaya Forum 2016. Zahid said conflicts related to the territorial disputes and the intercession of external interest would require more than diplomatic efforts by all nations involved.

“Sincere efforts to diffuse tensions may now require a multitude of engagements as well as deft negotiation processes by the leaders of all nations involved.

“Malaysia has always advocated the importance of multilateralism and regional cooperation in particular, Asean, as well as the networks of diplomatic relationships which spans across the globe to collectively address emerging security challenges,” he said.

Read More : http://www.nst.com.my/news/2016/04/140226/maintaining-peace-security-and-stability-asean-now-more-complex-task-zahid

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Continuous dialogues within ASEAN and at ADMM Plus forum simply translate the all the nations and stakeholders develop their friendly position and maintain diplomatic channels above other options, even the itch to flex muscle by projection of force.

Published in: on April 20, 2016 at 04:01  Leave a Comment  

Lessons from Parcels XXVIII: The Empire oiling the blades

The empire of democracy and free market projected the power and force when US Navy did a massive naval exercise with the Philippines Navy within the disputed areas of South China Sea which the Philippines claim sovereignty, with the specific intention to tell of China.

The Straits Times story:

US gambles by flexing military muscle in South China Sea

PUBLISHED10 HOURS AGO

China may react by taking more aggressive action, some analysts warn
ABOARD THE USS JOHN C. STENNIS (In the South China Sea) • Over the last week in Asia, US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter has visited two aircraft carriers, revealed new military agreements with India and the Philippines, and generally signalled that the Obama administration has decided to lean more heavily on military power to counter China’s territorial ambitions in the region.

But the new, muscular approach on display during Mr Carter’s tour represents a gamble. While it sends a message that the United States will work with its allies to challenge Beijing’s expanding presence in the disputed South China Sea, it also plays into fears within the Chinese leadership about US efforts to halt China’s rise.

That may mean that the more the Pentagon steps up in the region, the more China may feel it needs to accelerate its military build-up, including the construction of new islands equipped with radar and airstrips in contested waters.

With a mix of showmanship and concrete initiatives during a six-day visit to India and the Philippines, Mr Carter left little doubt that the US intends both to strengthen alliances and move more hardware and troops here to counter China’s growing military reach.

On Friday, he rode a helicopter to a symbol of American power projection in the Pacific, a Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, as it cruised through the South China Sea near waters claimed by the Chinese.

Mr Carter (left) and Philippine Secretary of National Defence Voltaire Gazmin in a Marine Corps V-22 Osprey as they depart the USS John C. Stennis last Friday. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Mr Carter (left) and Philippine Secretary of National Defence Voltaire Gazmin in a Marine Corps V-22 Osprey as they depart the USS John C. Stennis last Friday. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Before visiting the carrier John C. Stennis, he marked the end of 11 days of military exercises between the US and the Philippines and said some US troops would stay behind “to contribute to regional security and stability”.

He also said the US had begun joint patrols of the South China Sea with the Philippine navy and would soon do the same with the country’s air force.

Earlier in the week, Mr Carter toured an Indian aircraft carrier, the first time a US defence secretary had boarded such a ship, and said the US would help India upgrade its carriers.

He also revealed a new logistics agreement and said the two nations would work together on other military technologies.

Together, the measures announced by Mr Carter hint at a potential US military resurgence in a part of the world where China believes it is destined to surpass the US in influence.

The Obama administration seems to be betting that China will back off rather than continue making moves that lead its neighbours to embrace the US military.

But some analysts warn that China could react to the Pentagon’s moves by taking more aggressive action, challenging America’s commitment to the region in a high-profile game of chicken and raising the risk of a military conflict.

The Chinese have been closely watching Mr Carter’s tour, which had included a stop in Beijing before it was abruptly scrubbed from the schedule a few weeks ago. In a late-night statement on Thursday, the Chinese Defence Ministry accused the US of reverting to a “Cold War mentality” and said the Chinese military would “pay close attention to the situation and resolutely defend China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime interests”.

On Friday, China also disclosed that its most senior uniformed military commander had visited the disputed Spratly Islands, which appeared intended to signal Beijing’s resolve in the South China Sea, most of which it considers Chinese territory.

Dr Su Hao, a professor of international relations at China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing, said: “China sees its actions in the South China Sea as legitimate in protecting its own sovereignty and integrity. China will not just change its behaviours or deployment plan simply because of the Americans.” NEW YORK TIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 17, 2016, with the headline ‘US gambles by flexing military muscle in South China Sea’. Print Edition | Subscribe

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Defense Secretary Carter had arrived on CVN 74 USS John C Stennis, which is operating in the South China Sea from the task force led by CVN-71 USS Theodore Roosevelt, where the US Navy and Marine Corp were doing their military manoeuvres.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtcKGsQEyro

Earlier, Secretary Carter already warned China that US Naval Forces would remained “Engaged” to the complexity of the problems arisen from the multiple claims on the disputed spots with South China Sea.

China proclaimed the are to be ‘Nine-Dash-Line’ without substantiating them and so far, refuse to enter into multilateral talks to resolve the dispute. This stubbornness of China is despite signing the code of conduct (COC) with ASEAN in November 2002, which stipulated that issues must be resolved based on the United Nations Convention Laws of the Seas (UNCLOS).

China's unsubstantiated claim of the 'Nine-Dash-Line'

China’s unsubstantiated claim of the ‘Nine-Dash-Line’

It is interesting how China PLA-Navy would react to this American provocation.

Published in: on April 17, 2016 at 16:00  Leave a Comment  

A living monster incarcerated

Justice after thirty years. The learned Bosnian Serbian leader Radovan Karadzic who invented the term ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ for the cold blooded massacre of 8,000 men and boys in and around Srebrenica in the summer of 1995, has been found “Criminally responsible” and guilty by International Court of Justice and sentenced to 40 years jail.

BBC.com story:

Radovan Karadzic jailed for Bosnia war Srebrenica genocide

11 minutes ago

Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic has been convicted of genocide and war crimes in the 1992-95 Bosnian war, and sentenced to 40 years in jail.
UN judges in The Hague found him guilty of 10 of 11 charges, including genocide over the 1995 Srebrenica massacre.
Karadzic, 70, is the most senior political figure to face judgement over the violent collapse of Yugoslavia.
His case is being seen as one of the most important war crimes trials since World War Two.
He had denied the charges, saying that any atrocities committed were the actions of rogue individuals, not the forces under his command.
The trial, in which he represented himself, lasted eight years.
The current president of the Bosnian Serb Republic, Milorad Dodik, condemned the verdict.
“The West has apportioned blame to the Serbian people and that guilty cliche was imposed on all the decision-makers, including in this case today… Karadzic,” he said at a ceremony to commemorate the anniversary of the start of Nato air strikes against Yugoslavia in 1999.
“It really hurts that somebody has decided to deliver this verdict in The Hague exactly today, on the day when Nato decided to bomb Serbia… to cause so much catastrophic damage and so many casualties,” Mr Dodik added.
Karadzic verdict vital to Bosnia’s future
Balkans war: a brief guide
Profile: Radovan Karadzic
Exploring the corridors of the Hague tribunal

Many Bosnians have been following the trial closely
Meanwhile, some relatives of victims expressed disappointment at the outcome.
“This came too late,” said Bida Smajlovic, whose husband was killed at Srebrenica.
“We were handed down a verdict in 1995. There is no sentence that could compensate for the horrors we went through or for the tears of only one mother, let alone thousands,” she was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency.
Karadzic’s lawyer said he would appeal, a process that could take several more years.
“Dr Karadzic is disappointed and astonished. He feels that he was convicted on inference instead of evidence and will appeal [against] the judgement,” Peter Robinson told journalists.
Karadzic faced two counts of genocide.
He was found not guilty of the first, relating to killing in several Bosnian municipalities.
But he was found guilty of the second count relating to Srebrenica, where Bosnian Serb forces massacred more than 7,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys.
“Karadzic was in agreement with the plan of the killings,” Judge O-Gon Kwon said.
Jump media playerMedia player helpOut of media player. Press enter to return or tab to continue.
Media captionWhat happened at Srebrenica? Explained in under two minutes
The massacre happened in July 1995 when Srebrenica, an enclave besieged by Bosnian Serb forces for three years, was overrun. The bodies of the victims were dumped in mass graves.
Karadzic was also found guilty of crimes against humanity relating to the siege and shelling of the city of Sarajevo over several years which left nearly 12,000 people dead.
The judge said he had significantly contributed to a plan which emanated from the leadership and whose primary purpose was to spread terror in the city.
Charges
Genocide
Count 1 – genocide (in municipalities of Bratunac, Foca, Klyuc, Prijedor, Sanski Most, Vlasenica and Zvornik) – not guilty
Count 2 – genocide (in Srebrenica) – guilty
Crimes against humanity
Count 3 – persecutions – guilty
Count 4 – extermination – guilty
Count 5 – murder – guilty
Count 7 – deportation – guilty
Count 8 – inhumane acts (forcible transfer) – guilty
Violations of the laws or customs of war
Count 6 – murder – guilty
Count 9 – terror (in Sarajevo) – guilty
Count 10 – unlawful attacks on civilians (in Sarajevo) – guilty
Count 11 – taking hostage of UN observers and peacekeepers – guilty
The full indictment
Mr Karadzic was also found guilty of orchestrating a campaign known as “ethnic cleansing” of non-Serbs from the territory of the breakaway Bosnian Serb republic, in which hundreds and thousands were driven from their homes.
He would only be expected to serve two-thirds of his sentence. His time spent in detention – slightly more than seven years – will count towards the total.
Top UN human rights official Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein welcomed the verdict as “hugely significant”.
He said the trial “should give pause to leaders across Europe and elsewhere who seek to exploit nationalist sentiments and scapegoat minorities for broader social ills”.
At least 100,000 people in total died during fighting in the the Bosnian war. The conflict lasted nearly four years before a US-brokered peace deal brought it to an end in 1995.
Gen Ratko Mladic, who commanded Bosnian Serb forces, is also awaiting his verdict at The Hague.
Karadzic Timeline
1945: Born in Montenegro
1960: Moves to Sarajevo
1968: Publishes collection of poetry
1971: Graduates in medicine
1983: Becomes team psychologist for Red Star Belgrade football club
1990: Becomes president of Serbian Democratic Party
1990s Political leader of Bosnian Serbs
2008: Arrested in Serbia
2009: Trial begins at The Hague
2016: Guilty verdict, sentenced to 40 years

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Profile of Karadzic:

Radovan Karadzic: Former Bosnian Serb leader

3 hours ago

Radovan Karadzic was handed over to the UN tribunal after 13 years on the run.

Radovan Karadzic, the former Bosnian Serb leader, was found guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity during the 1992-95 Bosnian war.

The atrocities during the war have been described as the worst crimes committed in Europe since World War Two.

At a UN tribunal in The Hague, judges found him guilty of 10 out of 11 counts of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and other atrocities in the Bosnian war of the 1990s, including leading the slaughter of thousands of Bosnian Muslims (Bosniaks) and Croats.

One count of genocide related to the massacre of more than 7,500 Muslim men and boys in the Srebrenica enclave in July 1995, which the UN said was part of a campaign to “terrorise and demoralise the Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian Croat population”.

He was found not guilty in one count of genocide, relating to the forcible expulsion of hundreds of thousands of non-Serbs from seven towns and villages in Bosnia.

The trial was a weighty affair – lasting five years, followed by an additional 18-month deliberation by the bench. Over 497 days, Mr Karadzic conducted his own defence, referring to some three million pages of evidence against him.

He was sentenced to 40 years in prison – though his lawyer has indicated he will appeal.
Balkans war: a brief guide
Serbia timeline
How do you define genocide?

Radovan Karadzic (L) reviews the Serbian Volunteers Guard in Bijeljina (Oct. 23, 1995)

Mr Karadzic’s political party organised Serbs to fight against Bosniaks and Croats in Bosnia
The former Bosnian Serb leader was also found guilty of orchestrating the shelling of Sarajevo, and the use of 284 UN peacekeepers as human shields in May and June 1995.

As he closed his case, he told the tribunal there was not a shred of evidence against him, although in a written statement he accepted that in his role as political leader of the Bosnian Serbs he bore “moral responsibility” for crimes they had carried out.

Radovan Karadzic spent 13 years on the run before being handed over to the tribunal.

He had been found living in disguise in Belgrade, under a false name and working as a New Age healer. He had even become well-known on the alternative health circuit, reportedly publishing a column in Healthy Living magazine.

A bushy grey beard and thick glasses had transformed his appearance.

Since the court adjourned to deliberate, Serbian prosecutors have arrested and charged eight people with playing direct roles in the Srebrenica massacre.

Poet and psychiatrist

Mr Karadzic was born in 1945 in a stable in Savnik, Montenegro.
His father, Vuk, had been a member of the Chetniks – Serb nationalist guerrillas who fought against both Nazi occupiers and Tito’s communist partisans in World War II – and was in jail for much of his son’s childhood.

Karadzic Timeline
1945: Born in Montenegro
1960: Moves to Sarajevo
1968: Publishes collection of poetry
1971: Graduates in medicine
1983: Becomes team psychologist for Red Star Belgrade football club
1990: Becomes president of Serbian Democratic Party
1990s Political leader of Bosnian Serbs
2008: Arrested in Serbia
2009: Trial begins at The Hague
2014: Judges begin 18-month deliberation
March 2016: Found guilty of 10 out of 11 counts

His mother, Jovanka Karadzic, described her son as loyal, and a hard worker who used to help her in the home and in the fields. She said he was a serious boy who was respectful towards the elderly and helped his school friends with their homework.

In 1960 Mr Karadzic moved to Sarajevo, where he later met his wife, Ljiljana, graduated as a doctor, and became a psychiatrist in a city hospital.

He also became a poet and fell under the influence of Serb nationalist writer Dobrica Cosic, who encouraged him to go into politics.

After working briefly for the Green Party, he helped set up the Serbian Democratic Party (SDS) – formed in 1990 in response to the rise of nationalist and Croat parties in Bosnia, and dedicated to the goal of a Greater Serbia.

Less than two years later, as Bosnia-Hercegovina gained recognition as an independent state, he declared the creation of the independent Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Hercegovina (renamed Republika Srpska) with its capital in Pale, a suburb of Sarajevo, and himself as head of state.

Mr Karadzic’s party, supported by Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic, organised Serbs to fight against the Bosniaks and Croats in Bosnia.

‘Ethnic cleansing’

A vicious war ensued, in which Serbs besieged Sarajevo for 44 months, shelling Bosniak forces but also terrorising the civilian population with a relentless bombardment and sniper fire. Thousands of civilians died, many of them deliberately targeted.

Mladic and Karadzic 5 August 1993,AFPImage copyrightAFP

Ratko Mladic was Radovan Karadzic’s military chief during the war

Bosnian Serb forces – assisted by paramilitaries from Serbia proper – also expelled hundreds of thousands of Bosniaks and Croats from their homes in a brutal campaign of “ethnic cleansing”. Numerous atrocities were documented, including the widespread rape of Bosniak women and girls.

Reporters also discovered Bosnian Serb punishment camps, where prisoners-of-war were starved and tortured.
War crimes were also committed against Serb civilians by the Bosnian Serbs’ foes in the bitter inter-ethnic war.
Mr Karadzic was jointly indicted in 1995 along with the Bosnian Serb military leader, Ratko Mladic, for war crimes they had allegedly committed during the 1992-95 war.

He was obliged to step down as president of the SDS in 1996 as the West threatened sanctions against Republika Srpska.

‘Immunity promise’

After the Dayton accord that ended the Bosnian war, he eventually went into hiding – possibly in the mountainous south-eastern area of the Serb-controlled part of Bosnia, protected by paramilitaries.

Mr Karadzic says Dayton’s chief architect, US diplomat Richard Holbrooke, promised him immunity from prosecution in exchange for quitting the political scene. Mr Holbrooke denies any such deal was struck.

Radovan Karadzic was working as a New Age healer when he was arrested in Belgrade

When he finally appeared before the UN’s International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in August 2008, he failed to respond to the charges against him and the court entered pleas of “not guilty” on his behalf.

Prosecutors accused him of using delaying tactics as he boycotted the initial hearings and insisted on representing himself.

Launching his own defence in 2012, he sought to cast himself as a “mild man” who should be “rewarded” for having tried to avoid war.

His performance was described by one publication as “by turns eloquent, historically provocative, and self-aggrandising”.

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The “Ethnic cleansing” tragedy of fellow Yugoslavian against Muslim men, women and children amongst their own community when the former red Republic of Yugoslavia collapse after the fall of Soviet Union, is the worst genocide and crimes against in Europe since World War II.

Balkans war: a brief guide

18 March 2016
From the section Europe
War in Yugoslavia

The former Yugoslavia was a Socialist state created after German occupation in World War II and a bitter civil war. A federation of six republics, it brought together Serbs, Croats, Bosnian Muslims, Albanians, Slovenes and others under a comparatively relaxed communist regime. Tensions between these groups were successfully suppressed under the leadership of President Tito.
War breaks out
After Tito’s death in 1980, tensions re-emerged. Calls for more autonomy within Yugoslavia by nationalist groups led in 1991 to declarations of independence in Croatia and Slovenia. The Serb-dominated Yugoslav army lashed out, first in Slovenia and then in Croatia. Thousands were killed in the latter conflict which was paused in 1992 under a UN-monitored ceasefire.
The conflict spreads
Bosnia, with a complex mix of Serbs, Muslims and Croats, was next to try for independence. Bosnia’s Serbs, backed by Serbs elsewhere in Yugoslavia, resisted. Under leader Radovan Karadzic, they threatened bloodshed if Bosnia’s Muslims and Croats – who outnumbered Serbs – broke away. Despite European blessing for the move in a 1992 referendum, war came fast.
Ethnic cleansing
Yugoslav army units, withdrawn from Croatia and renamed the Bosnian Serb Army, carved out a huge swathe of Serb-dominated territory. Over a million Bosnian Muslims and Croats were driven from their homes in ethnic cleansing. Serbs suffered too. The capital Sarajevo was besieged and shelled. UN peacekeepers, brought in to quell the fighting, were seen as ineffective.
An imperfect peace
International peace efforts to stop the war failed, the UN was humiliated and over 100,000 died. The war ended in 1995 after Nato bombed the Bosnian Serbs and Muslim and Croat armies made gains on the ground. A US-brokered peace divided Bosnia into two self-governing entities, a Bosnian Serb republic and a Muslim-Croat federation lightly bound by a central government.
The cost of war
In August 1995, the Croatian army stormed areas in Croatia under Serb control prompting thousands to flee. Soon Croatia and Bosnia were fully independent. Slovenia and Macedonia had already gone. Montenegro left later. In 1999, Kosovo’s ethnic Albanians fought Serbs in another brutal war to gain independence. Serbia ended the conflict beaten, battered and alone.

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Karadzic’s general, Gen .Ratko “Butcher of Bosnia” Mladic who commanded Bosnian Serb Forces, is also awaiting his verdict at The Hague. It is expected that he would face his fate next year.

Published in: on March 25, 2016 at 03:10  Comments (1)  

Lessons from Paracels XXVII: Kung Fun Panda growth

China's unsubstantiated claim of the 'Nine-Dash-Line'

China’s unsubstantiated claim of the ‘Nine-Dash-Line’

China PLA build up on disputed islands in South China Sea which they unilaterally claim as part of their hereditary territories ‘Nine-Dash-Line’ is clear and present danger.

BBC story:

South China Sea dispute: US attacks China ‘militarisation’

17 February 2016

Media captionWhy is sovereignty of the islands disputed and how serious could the row get? Rupert Wingfield-Hayes explains

US Secretary of State John Kerry says Washington is seriously concerned about increased Chinese militarisation in the contested South China Sea.

He was responding to reports Beijing has deployed surface-to-air missiles on a disputed island in the region.
China dismissed the reports as “hype”, but said it had the right under international law to defend itself.
Several nations claim territory in the resource-rich South China Sea, which is also an important shipping route.
A spokesman for Mr Kerry said satellite images appeared to confirm China had deployed anti-aircraft missiles on Woody or Yongxing Island in the Paracels.

The island is claimed by China, Taiwan and Vietnam and the presence of missiles would significantly increase tensions.

Woody Island with the Parcels: Evidence of the military installation built for the PLA-Navy

Woody Island with the Parcels: Evidence of the military installation built for the PLA-Navy

See images from Woody/Yongxing Island
China’s Island Factory
Flying close to Beijing’s new South China Sea islands
What is the South China Sea dispute about?
Mr Kerry said the US expected to have a “very serious conversation” with China over its presence.
“There is every evidence, every day, that there has been an increase of militarisation from one kind or another. It’s a serious concern,” he said.
Map showing military presence on Woody Island – 17 February 2016
The latest images of Woody Island were captured by ImageSat International.
A picture dated 3 February shows a beach on the island empty. By 14 February it contains several missile launchers and support vehicles.
But the Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, said reports were a Western media invention.
He defended “the limited and necessary self-defence facilities” on islands inhabited by Chinese personnel as “consistent with the right for self-preservation and self-protection…. under the international law”.
Map
China has been carrying out extensive land reclamation work in the region, which it says is legal and for civilian purposes.
But the work has angered other countries which also claim the territory, and there is growing concern about the implications of the area becoming militarised.
The South China Sea dispute has been a topic of debate at a meeting of South East Asian regional leaders in California.
US President Barack Obama said the members had discussed the need for “tangible steps” to reduce tensions.
line break
What is the South China Sea dispute?
Rival countries have wrangled over territory in the South China Sea for centuries, but tension has steadily increased in recent years.
Its islets and waters are claimed in part or in whole by Taiwan, China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei.
China has backed its expansive claims with island-building and naval patrols, while the US says it opposes restrictions on freedom of navigation and unlawful sovereignty claims – by all sides, but seen by many as aimed at China.
The frictions have sparked concern that the area is becoming a flashpoint with global consequences.

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US secretary of state John Kerry was aloud on his concern on the China PLA-N aggressive presence in South China Sea, which poised the military threat and stability in the region.

ABC story;

South China Sea: Militarisation of disputed island ‘a serious concern’, John Kerry says

By US correspondent Michael Vincent, China correspondent Bill Birtles and wires
Updated about 9 hours ago

Aerial of Sansha, on Woody Island
PHOTO: The surface-to-air missiles were deployed from Woody Island in the latest in the ongoing dispute over control of the South China Sea. (AFP)
RELATED STORY: Chinese missile base ratchets up tension in South China Sea
MAP: China
The US Defence Department has confirmed that China has deployed a surface-to-air missile system on a disputed island in the South China Sea, in a move Secretary of State John Kerry has described as a “serious concern”.

Key points:

South China Sea islands part of disputed territory
US, Australia concerned about new missiles deployed on Woody Island by China
China dismisses reports as ‘hype’, says it has right to defend itself
Images from civilian satellite company ImageSat International showed two batteries of eight surface-to-air missile launchers as well as a radar system on Woody Island, according to US outlet Fox News.

The Pentagon urged all countries that have staked claims to disputed areas in the region to address their territorial and maritime claims in accordance with international law, and to commit to peacefully manage or resolve their disputes.

The Taiwanese defence ministry confirmed that China had installed surface-to-air missiles on a disputed island, although China said its self-defence facilities had existed for many years and latest media reports were “hype”.

“But there is every evidence, every day that there has been an increase of militarisation of one kind or another — it’s of serious concern,” Mr Kerry said.

Mr Kerry said the US would raise its concerns with China to ensure the disputed claims in the South China Sea were resolved peacefully.

“Not through unilateral action, not by force, not through militarisation, but through diplomacy and by working with the other countries and claimants and trying to resolve these differences,” Mr Kerry said.

Vietnam and Taiwan also have claims on the island in question, Woody Island, which is part of the Paracel Islands.

Satellite image from ImageSat which show a Chinese missile set-up on the South China Sea’s Woody Island
PHOTO: Satellite image shows a Chinese missile set-up on the South China Sea’s Woody Island. (Supplied: ImageSat International)
Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop held talks with senior Chinese government officials in Beijing today, a day after raising concerns with China’s foreign minister about reports of surface-to-air missiles.

She met with China’s top-ranked diplomat Yang Jiechi for more than an hour.

Ms Bishop said the South China Sea was discussed, but in all meetings, the Chinese side challenged reports missiles had been deployed, but did not outright deny it.

When asked if she believed Beijing was militarising the disputed sea, she said: “It depends on the definition of militarisation.”

The United States has no territory claims in the South China Sea but has expressed serious concerns about how China’s increasingly assertive pursuit of territorial claims could affect the vital global trade routes that pass though it.

Before and after: South China Sea
See how China is converting reefs to military facilities by building artificial islands in the South China Sea.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters the “limited and necessary self-defence facilities” China had on islands and reefs where it has personnel stationed was “consistent with the right to self-protection that China is entitled to under international law”.

China claims most of the South China Sea, through which more than $5 trillion in global trade passes every year.

News of the missile deployment came as US President Barack Obama and leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) concluded a summit in California, where they discussed the need to ease tensions in the South China Sea.

It also followed a patrol by a US Navy destroyer within 12 nautical miles of Triton Island in the Paracels last month, a move China condemned as provocative.

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China has been projecting power with the manifestation of their military might through the constant manoeuvres within several ASEAN exclusive economic zone (Zone) as per outlined under the United Nations Convention Law of the Seas (UNCLOS).

The second of important maritime route and hydrocarbon deposits within China's unsubstantiated 'Nine-Dash-Line'

The second of important maritime route and hydrocarbon deposits within China’s unsubstantiated ‘Nine-Dash-Line’

Despite signing the Document of Conduct (DOC) with ASEAN nations in 2002 where all parties agreed to settle disputes which include multiple claim on overlapping territories using UNCLOS provisions.

The vast area in disputes by the various ASEAN nations which over lapped on China unsubstantiated ‘Nine-Dash-Line’ is world’s second most strategic maritime passage and hydrocarbon deposits of China’s much needed energy.

Published in: on February 18, 2016 at 22:00  Leave a Comment  

Lessons for Paracels XXVI: The Marines are coming!

Fiery Cross Reef, which is Cina PLA-Navy newest military installation in the disputed territories which the China name as the 'Nine-Dash-Line'

Fiery Cross Reef, which is Cina PLA-Navy newest military installation in the disputed territories which the China name as the ‘Nine-Dash-Line’

United States of America under President Barack H. Obama has taken their concern for the influence and control from the perspective of global diplomacy, geo-politics, international trade and military projection of power on the second most important and strategic maritime lane in the world; South China Sea.

The Diplomat story:

US-ASEAN Sunnylands Summit: What to Expect
A look at the summit’s objectives, format and potential outcomes.

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By Prashanth Parameswaran
February 12, 2016
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From February 15-16, U.S. president Barack Obama will host Southeast Asian leaders as well as the ASEAN Secretary-General for a special summit at the historic Sunnylands Center in Rancho Mirage, California.

As of now, eight Southeast Asian leaders are confirmed to attend – Vietnamese foreign minister Pham Van Binh is reportedly set to attend in place of Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, while Myanmar’s vice president Nyan Htun will attend on behalf of Prime Minister Thein Sein following a last minute cancellation.

While the Obama administration has been consistent in its commitment to Southeast Asia and ASEAN throughout its two terms in office, this U.S.-ASEAN summit in Sunnylands is historic as it marks the first time that Washington will host Southeast Asian leaders for a standalone summit in the United States.

Objectives

In holding the summit, the United States has three objectives in mind. Though I have outlined these in a separate piece on the significance of the summit, it is worth briefly reiterating them here before getting to the format of the deliberations as well as the expected outcomes (See: “Why the US-ASEAN Sunnylands Summit Matters”).

First, as is the first time that the United States will host ASEAN leaders for a standalone summit, it is a powerful indicator of the Obama administration’s commitment to the subregion as well as ASEAN as a grouping. That is no surprise to those who have followed the evolution of U.S.-ASEAN relations over the past few years. Arguably the most significant aspect of the administration’s so-called rebalance to the Asia-Pacific has been the greater share of attention devoted to Southeast Asia as well as ASEAN as a whole within U.S. Asia policy. Over the past few years, the United States has ratified the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation, become the first non-ASEAN country to appoint a resident ambassador to ASEAN, and institutionalized annual U.S.-ASEAN summits.

Second, the summit provides an opportunity for the United States and ASEAN to deepen and broaden their engagement. As I have written previously, in November the two sides had elevated their relationship to the level of a strategic partnership. At the Sunnylands summit, both sides can build on this momentum and begin to make headway on a plan of action they laid out to implement the strategic partnership out to 2020.

Third and lastly, with Obama now in his last year in office and the U.S. presidential race heating up, the Sunnylands Summit is an ideal time for his administration to signal the importance of ASEAN to its successor.

Format

Before delving into the summit itself, it is important to stress that the official interactions at the leader level will not be the only key engagements to watch. Other U.S. officials like U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, and U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker will also be at Sunnylands. There is also a senior officials meeting ahead of the summit.

In terms of the format of the summit iself, U.S. officials say the summit will comprise three main elements: a retreat session on economic issues, an informal working dinner, and a retreat session on political and security issues.

At the retreat session on economic issues, both sides will discuss ways for the United States and ASEAN to further boost trade and investment. The focus will be around innovation and entrepreneurship, with Obama and Southeast Asian leaders exchanging ideas on policy reforms needed to promote further growth and integration following the advent of the ASEAN Economic Community on January 1st this year.

Officials say there will also be conversations around the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), with four ASEAN members already part of the pact (Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam), three more looking to join it (Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand), and three others as of now unable to join as they are not part of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum (Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia).

The working dinner is designed to be more informal to share views on broader strategic developments. U.S. officials say they expect Obama to stress America’s commitment to the region as well as highlight the importance of good governance, accountable institutions and the rule of law.

The retreat session on political and security issues will address how the United States and ASEAN can address the key strategic and transnational challenges confronting the region, including maritime disputes, terrorism, trafficking in persons, climate change, and pandemic disease. The South China Sea will be a topic of conversation, with leaders discussing both general principles that should govern the management of lingering disputes there as well as recent events that have taken place like Chinese test flights at the newly constructed runway at Fiery Cross Reef. The Islamic State will be another key agenda item, especially given the recent attacks in Jakarta last month. They will also discuss ways to promote people-to-people ties, including through the Young Southeast Asia Leaders Initiative (YSEALI), the Obama administration’s signature professional development exchange program.

Ahead of the summit, there have been calls for the Obama administration to ensure that democracy and human rights are addressed as well given the poor record of some of the Southeast Asian nations that will be present. U.S. officials say the president will convey his concerns to Southeast Asian leaders both at the dinner as well as in any side bilateral conversations he has during Sunnylands. National Security Adviser Susan Rice has also met with civil society leaders before the summit. Nonetheless, hundreds of protesters are expected at Sunnylands, with some of them demonstrating against rights abuses in individual ASEAN states.

Outcomes

U.S. officials stress that this summit will be less formal relative to traditional U.S.-ASEAN meetings with strict agendas and tightly negotiated communiques, outcomes and deliverables. That said, an outcome document is expected that will highlight a set of agreed principles between the United States and ASEAN.

There will also be other separate engagements occurring both on the sidelines of the summit as well as following it that could produce outcomes of their own. For instance, the economic component of U.S.-ASEAN relations will be given further treatment at several other events, including an economic roadshow on February 17 involving U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and senior trade officials as well as a separate U.S.-ASEAN Business Council conference to be held in San Francisco after the Sunnylands Summit. That conference will feature, among other things, a keynote address by Indonesian president Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.

Individual ASEAN leaders will also have their own engagements as well during their visits to the United States apart from the Sunnylands summit. For instance, Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak, who has already arrived in California, is scheduled to meet with Malaysian diaspora and students in Los Angeles as well as hold a roundtable meeting with companies and businessmen. He will also address the opening ceremony of the summit as Malaysia is the country coordinator for U.S.-ASEAN relations from 2015 up to 2018.

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This is the East Asian Forum story:

United States goes a’courting ASEAN

15 February 2016
Author: Editors, East Asia Forum

President Barack Obama is hosting leaders of 10 Southeast Asian countries in Sunnylands in California this week in a bold move to deepen and broaden US engagement with ASEAN. This is a positive development but it also imposes risks that, in the end, will be up to ASEAN to manage.

Other Asia Pacific countries have regular meetings with ASEAN leaders. The United States has come late in acknowledging the geo-strategic significance of the organisation. Southeast Asian leaders have already had 18 summits with China and 17 with Japan.

The Sunnylands Summit is a continuation of the US rebalance to Asia which started in 2009. US–ASEAN summits have been held on the sidelines of East Asia Summit meetings since 2013 after the United States ratified the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation and appointed an ambassador to ASEAN — the first non-ASEAN country to do so.

The ASEAN group is the fourth largest trading partner of the United States and American companies are the largest single source of foreign direct investment in the region. In fact, US companies have invested more in Southeast Asia than they have in Japan, China and India combined. The US–ASEAN relationship was elevated to a strategic partnership in Kuala Lumpur in November 2015 and a Plan of Action is being worked out for engagement over the next five years.

The agenda for Sunnylands is to strengthen economic, political, security and people-to-people ties. But the meeting comes at a time when ASEAN is at sixes and sevens and has the potential to undermine regional coherence unless the ASEAN group is clear about what it wants from its relationship with the United States. This raises some big questions.

ASEAN is a central anchor in Asia’s geo-strategic order. Against how some realists called the odds, ASEAN has not only survived but has also been a useful fulcrum in managing relations among the major regional powers. Driven to unity and cooperation in its relations with large neighbouring countries, ASEAN has been larger than the sum of its parts. ASEAN’s approach to international diplomacy carries weight despite the contradictions in coordination and coherence across a vastly diverse group of nations.

ASEAN, in the face of China’s rise and its competitive rivalry with the United States, now seems more important than ever.

Maintaining ASEAN centrality will depend on progress with its own economic integration. The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) came into force at the beginning of this year. It is an ambitious project to move ASEAN towards a single market and production base. The United States, China, Japan, Australia and others in the region have a deep intersection of interests in a strong ASEAN. Making the AEC work is now essential to that.

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is being negotiated between ASEAN and its six East Asian free trade agreement partners China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand. RCEP is an ASEAN-led agreement that, if successfully negotiated, will entrench ASEAN centrality. At best it can reinforce and extend the AEC so it is of vital importance to conclude an ambitious agreement that ultimately matches or betters the ambition of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

High on the US agenda in Sunnylands will be a strategy for dealing with the maritime territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea and getting more countries lined up to sign on to the recently concluded TPP.

ASEAN cannot approach the TPP with a common position any time soon. Four ASEAN members — Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam — are members of the TPP and Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand have expressed interest in joining. It is unrealistic to expect that there can be movement towards their membership for half a decade or more. That leaves the three least developed countries, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos, still at the starting blocks given the high hurdles to entry and also because they are not members of APEC — a requirement under the current TPP arrangement. Meanwhile ASEAN’s engagement in the East Asian economy is the main game.

The TPP is yet to be ratified by its 12 members — which include Japan, Australia and the United States, but not China or India — and will not come into force until at least the beginning of 2018. It is very unclear how much longer after that new members will have to wait before they can expect to join. And even when they are eligible, they will have to negotiate entry separately through US Congress. This could be a very divisive process for the ASEAN group.

Former Indonesian trade minister, Mari Pangestu argues in this week’s lead that the discussion around the TPP this week should not be about urging ASEAN members to join the TPP. Instead, ASEAN should ‘address the potential diversion of trade and investment away from those ASEAN members not in the TPP. This is especially important for the least developed ASEAN countries, such as Cambodia, which are set to lose the most.’

‘The Summit should consider other initiatives that will help to secure ASEAN centrality and provide some transition flexibilities for countries choosing to join the TPP’, she says.

If individual countries chase entry to the TPP there is a risk that the focus in ASEAN will shift away from the AEC and ASEAN’s core agenda in East Asia through RCEP. Dealing with ASEAN countries bilaterally in this manner is precisely what the United States opposes China doing on territorial issues in the South China Sea. And yet, ironically, the conduct of its economic relations with the ASEAN economies embeds this strategic error.

In the economic and security spheres, ASEAN needs a common position that embodies the interests of all ASEAN members. The Philippines, Vietnam and Brunei have territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea. Peaceful resolution of these disputes and counterbalancing China’s assertiveness will be the other major agenda item in Sunnylands. The United States and ASEAN have similar positions on these issues but, as Pangestu suggests, it would be unwise of the United States to wrong-foot ASEAN efforts to secure agreement on its code of conduct in the South China Sea.

‘Leadership and neutrality from the largest ASEAN country, Indonesia — which is not a claimant — can help achieve’ a code of conduct that is being negotiated in an ASEAN-led regional forum, says Pangestu. That would seem to be a more likely way forward towards a peaceful resolution than a US-led response, especially since the United States is not yet signed up to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Of course, ASEAN will need American backing but it is with ASEAN that the diplomatic initiative needs to remain.

ASEAN needs to balance the United States and China. China is ASEAN’s most important economic partner. ‘Asian countries may support America against China to avoid Chinese hegemony’, says Hugh White, ‘but not to preserve US primacy. They are too polite to say that out loud, but if President Obama listens carefully to his guests … that is what he will learn’.

Let’s hope that ASEAN leaders speak up, and also hope that the importance of ASEAN centrality to the region is not accidentally overlooked in the pursuit of other objectives.

The EAF Editorial Group is comprised of Peter Drysdale, Shiro Armstrong, Ben Ascione, Ryan Manuel and Jillian Mowbray-Tsutsumi and is located in the Crawford School of Public Policy in the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific.

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It is very interesting how the ASEAN Heads of Government at the moment in Sunnyland, California going to reciprocate Obama’s new policy in South East Asia.

The current policy may be softer than many red neck hardliners would want it to be but in eleven months time, the Americans could vote in a gun-totting President and the Republican approach of ‘Might and Slight’ would automatically precede Obama’s consultative ways.

This is amidst very active China PLA-N manoeuvres all over South China Sea since 2008, in realising the communist republic’s very courageous claim of ‘Nine-Dash-Line’ and now building military installations.

*Updated 1630hrs

The growing tension by the projection of force by the China PLA-Navy (PLA-N) has been reciprocated by the presence of US Navy manoeuvres of the same intent. It has escalated after the dispute with the Philippines, drew many other external parties.

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

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

ASEAN and China signed the Document of Conduct in 2002 to agree that all disputes within the South China Sea, particularly on overlapping multi-claim territories be resolved in accordance with UN Convention Law of the Seas (UNCLOS) and multilateral dialogues.

However, PLA-N have been discovered to have build three separate military installations on previously reefs, for the purpose of projection of force.

The involvement of China and being reciprocated by the United States using the projection of force, is a manifestation of control for the access of a very strategic maritime trade passage and a much needed huge deposits of hydrocarbon.

China already benefitted from the ability to invade and take position of the Paracel islands, closer to off-the-coast of Vietnam forty two years ago. Today, China is exploring oil and gas in the area.

PLA-N ships have been mounting military manoeuvres at Beting Patinggi Ali, which is 50 nautical miles off the coast of Miri and is very much in Malaysia’s EEZ area. Two years ago, we talked about the same manoeuvres at Beting Serupai.

This should be a grave concern but the Minister of Defence Dato’ Sri Hishamuddin Hussein is attempting to don’t play the issue, amidst growing concerns by Sarawakians themselves.

NST story:

Two Chinese ship spotted near Sarawak not on our waters

BY HANI SHAMIRA SHAHRUDIN

– 15 FEBRUARY 2016 @ 3:35 PM KUALA LUMPUR: The two Chinese coast guard ship spotted near Luconia Shoals off Miri, Sarawak were not in Malaysian waters, said Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.

He said the situation was misreported and that reports published in several online portals were untrue. Asked if the presence of the ship would affect Barisan Nasional’s position in the upcoming Sarawak election, he said it should strengthen the party’s position.

“What happened in the South China Sea is not a simple matter, everyone admitted it is complex and I have said two days ago that I would arrange for the Chinese ambassador to explain to the state leadership on the vessel sightings.

“Secondly, I think the strength of BN’s government to be able to leverage and have diplomatic military relations with the super powers… Not many governments or countries can do that,” he said.

Hishammuddin added that the close relations could be seen at the height of the MH370 tragedy which saw 26 countries coming forward to work with Malaysia.

“We do not have the assets but the countries assisted us with their P-8 Poseidon, P3 Orion and the search planes… We had 26 countries working with us, if that is not the strength of BN’s government then what is,” he said.

Read More : http://www.nst.com.my/news/2016/02/127576/two-chinese-ship-spotted-near-sarawak-not-our-waters

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This issues brought in many levels of discourse within ASEAN itself and at odds on how the matter to be resolved. China is a very important trade partner for ASEAN.

So far, the approach has been through diplomatic channels though the Philippines already taken China to ICJ, despite little progress have been made.

Published in: on February 15, 2016 at 13:00  Leave a Comment  

The School for Supervising the Skyways

Department of Civil Aviation is an expanding its wing to be a global provider for the development civil and commercial aviation operations by developing countries which require a bugger regulator and operator agencies role.

DCA has started to pitch the presence in Africa continent through its civil aviation commission African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC). AFCAC comprises of 54 member states and it is very strong component in International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

ICAO is the United Nation body for commercial and civil aviation which issues the standards and recommended practices (SARP), in accordance with the international law for aviation.

In the recently 25th AFCAC Conference in Egypt, Minister of Transport Dato’ Seri Liew Tiong Lai said after the plenary session “The ties between Malaysia (DCA) with AFCAC is soaring. Malaysia and AFCAC have long standing of successful partnership”.

The training of foreign air traffic controllers, search and rescue and security supervision for airport management are being undertaken by the Malaysian Aviation Academy (MAvA). It is an arm under DCA.

MAvA is in the process of getting acredditation, is now an associate member of the ICAO Trainair Plus Programme network of training organisations. DCA is working to get the full membership with Train Air Plus.

DCA have trained AFCAC operators under Malaysian Technical Co-operation Program (MTCP), which a fund under the management and disbursement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.. The most recent is we have trained three of their personnel for “search and rescue” operation course.

Malaysia have also reached MOU with Latin American states.

Training programs for civil and commercial aviation authority operators on under and developed nations just like the one with MAvA utilsing the MTCP fund, is actually an extension of the Malaysian foreign policy.

It is derivative of the South-South Co-operation, where technical expertise are being extended.

This opens up the opportunity that the trainings offered by MAvA be operated in the host countries where more people could be trained and in their operating environment.

It is also good opportunity for Malaysians to go, be exposed and learn from their people there.

DCA have been the implementer for MTCP since 1984 and now with the expansion of MAvA, the role and exercise could be expanded further with the indirect benefit be translated through a further extension of the Malaysian foreign policy and better position in global arena.

This is already made history after the experience of the loss of MH370 on 8 March 2015 and MH17 on 17 July 2015, where recommendations made by the DCA through the Minister of Transport presentation in ICAO meetings, have been put to the works.

As the cliche’ goes, ‘People get wiser after the event’. Here is an opportunity where the wise comes before the event. It is wise for Malaysia. It wise of Malaysians travelling by air. It is wise for other people in other carriers travelling by air through the Malaysian airspace.

DCA offer training for courses that are not being offered by other agencies. In the words of DCA Director General Dato’ Seri Azharuddin Abd. Rahman, “We are already there, and we want to move forward”.

Published in: on January 8, 2016 at 02:45  Leave a Comment  

Orwell’s 1984, present

British Government is enacting a law which requires internet providers to keep information of website visitations and surfings for at a year.

BBC story:

Details of UK website visits ‘to be stored for year’

47 minutes ago
From the section UK Politics 912 comments

Media caption Home Secretary Theresa May: ”The threat is clear”

 

The internet activity of everyone in Britain will have to be stored for a year by service providers, under new surveillance law plans.

Police and intelligence officers will be able to see the names of sites people have visited without a warrant, Home Secretary Theresa May said.

But there would be new safeguards over MI5, MI6 and the police spying on the full content of people’s web use.
Mrs May told MPs the proposed powers were needed to fight crime and terror.

Follow the latest developments on our live page

The wide-ranging draft Investigatory Powers Bill also contains proposals covering how the state can hack devices and run operations to sweep up large amounts of data as it flows through the internet, enshrining in law the previously covert activities of GCHQ, as uncovered by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The draft bill’s measures include:
Giving a panel of judges the power to block spying operations authorised by the home secretary
A new criminal offence of “knowingly or recklessly obtaining communications data from a telecommunications operator without lawful authority”, carrying a prison sentence of up to two years

Local councils to retain some investigatory powers, such as surveillance of benefit cheats, but they will not be able to access online data stored by internet firms

The Wilson doctrine – preventing surveillance of Parliamentarians’ communications – to be written into law
Police will not be able to access journalistic sources without the authorisation of a judge

A legal duty on British companies to help law enforcement agencies hack devices to acquire information if it is reasonably practical to do so

Former Appeal Court judge Sir Stanley Burnton is appointed as the new interception of communications commissioner

Mrs May told MPs the draft bill was a “significant departure” from previous plans, dubbed the “snooper’s charter” by critics, which were blocked by the Lib Dems, and will “provide some of the strongest protections and safeguards anywhere in the democratic world and an approach that sets new standards for openness, transparency and oversight”.

‘Better balance’
But Shami Chakrabarti, director of civil rights campaign Liberty, said: “After all the talk of climbdowns and safeguards, this long-awaited Bill constitutes a breath-taking attack on the internet security of every man, woman and child in our country.

“We must now look to Parliament to step in where ministers have failed and strike a better balance between privacy and surveillance.”

And Mr Snowden warned the communications data covered by the proposed legislation was “the activity log of your life”.

In a message on Twitter he said: “‘It’s only communications data’ = ‘It’s only a comprehensive record of your private activities’.”

Jump media playerMedia player helpOut of media player. Press enter to return or tab to continue.

Media captionAndy Burnham: ”We support the government in its attempt to update the law in this important and sensitive area”

The proposed legislation, which will have to pass votes in both houses of Parliament, would order communications companies, such as broadband firms, to hold basic details of the services that someone has accessed online – something that has been repeatedly proposed but never enacted.

This duty would include forcing firms to hold a schedule of which websites someone visits and the apps they connect to through computers, smartphones, tablets and other devices.

Police and other agencies would be then able to access these records in pursuit of criminals – but also seek to retrieve data in a wider range of inquiries, such as missing people.

Mrs May stressed that the authorities would not be able to access everyone’s browsing history, just basic data, which was the “modern equivalent of an itemised phone bill”.

But investigating officers will not have to obtain a warrant, just get their request signed off by a senior officer, just as they do now – some 517,000 such requests were granted last year.

If officers want to mount more intrusive spying operations, including accessing the content of emails, hacking into computers and tapping phones, they will still need a warrant from the home secretary or another senior minister – 2,700 such warrants were signed last year.

But the draft bill proposes giving a new panel of judges, known as the Investigatory Powers Commission, the ability to veto such requests.

Background briefings on the plans
Will UK spy bill expose porn habits?
Read more: ‘Spying’ powers explained
A new licence for spies and police?

The Commons reacts to spying bill
When police or security agencies apply to intercept someone’s communications, their plans would have to be first signed off by the home secretary but then approved by one of these judges.

In urgent situations, such as when someone’s life is in danger or there is a unique opportunity to gather critical intelligence, the home secretary would have the power to approve an interception warrant without immediate judicial approval.

The judges would also be able to refer serious errors to an outside tribunal which could then decide to tell the individual their data has been illegally collected.

The bill does not propose forcing overseas companies to comply with these orders.

The bulk collection of internet messages flowing through the UK by GCHQ, as revealed by Edward Snowden, is currently in a legal grey area, covered by legislation originally meant for other purposes.

The security services argue they need access to large amounts of data to help them monitor suspected foreign terrorists or criminals deemed to pose a threat to the UK.

The new bill would aim to put bulk collection on a firm legal footing, with the home secretary given the power to issue warrants, as set out in the graph below.

The flow chart to determine

The flow chart to determine

Graphic showing the process for securing authorisation to collect bulk data under the new draft bill – 4 November 2015

The estimated cost to taxpayers of implementing the Bill is about £247m over the next 10 years, including storage of internet connection records and the new warrant approval regime.

The draft bill is a response in part to a review by the government’s terror watchdog, David Anderson QC, who said in June the UK needed a “comprehensive” new surveillance law to replace the current “fragmented” rules.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s PM programme, Mr Anderson gave Mrs May’s proposals “four stars” but said it would be for Parliament to determine the extent of surveillance powers and safeguards.

He said: “This isn’t a licence for the police to simply prowl over everything you have been doing, but I quite accept that a lot of data is being kept by these service providers and under the government’s proposals it would be kept for a very long time.”

Person using computer keyboardImage copyrightPA

This creates “obvious risks” he said, adding: “I simply wouldn’t vote for this unless I had been very substantially satisfied that those risks had been minimised.”

Labour’s shadow home secretary Andy Burnham backed the draft bill, saying it was “neither a snooper’s charter nor a plan for mass surveillance”.

Former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg said it was a “much improved model” of the legislation he blocked during the coalition government but said the “devil would be in the detail”.

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This is the added element into the British paranoia of terrorist attacks. For almost fifty years, Britons endured the threat of terrorist attacks which include bombing in public places which started by the Irish Republic Army. Now, its the Islamic State self proclaimed ‘Jihadists’.

United Kingdom is now a “Surveillance State”, where the nation boasts the highest number of surveillance cameras in the world at the ratio of  there is one every eleven people.

Telegraph story:

One surveillance camera for every 11 people in Britain, says CCTV survey

Britain has a CCTV camera for every 11 people, a security industry report disclosed, as privacy campaigners criticised the growth of the “surveillance state”.

 

Email
One surveillance camera for every 11 people in Britain, says CCTV survey
Photo: ALAMY
David Barrett By David Barrett, Home Affairs Correspondent6:30PM BST 10 Jul 2013 Comments128 Comments
The British Security Industry Authority (BSIA) estimated there are up to 5.9 million closed-circuit television cameras in the country, including 750,000 in “sensitive locations” such as schools, hospitals and care homes.
The survey’s maximum estimate works out at one for every 11 people in the UK, although the BSIA said the most likely figure was 4.9 million cameras in total, or one for every 14 people.
Both projections were higher than previous estimates which ranged between 1.5 million and four million.
Simon Adcock, of the BSIA, said: “This study represents the most comprehensive and up to date study undertaken into the number of CCTV cameras in use in the UK.
“Because there is no single reliable source of data no number can ever be held as truly accurate however the middle of our range suggests that there are around five million cameras.”

He added: “Effective CCTV schemes are an invaluable source of crime detection and evidence for the police. For example, in 2009 95 per cent of Scotland Yard murder cases used CCTV footage as evidence.”
But Nick Pickles, director of the privacy campaign Big Brother Watch, said: “This report is another stark reminder of how out of control our surveillance culture has become.
“With potentially more than five million CCTV cameras across country, including more than 300,000 cameras in schools, we are being monitored in a way that few people would recognise as a part of a healthy democratic society.
“This report should be a wake up call that in modern Britain there are people in positions of responsibility who seem to think ‘1984’ was an instruction manual.”
The survey included all cameras in public and private areas, regardless of whether the images are recorded or watched “live”.
It estimated there are between 291,000 and 373,000 cameras in public sector schools, plus a further 30,000 to 50,000 in independent schools.
Surgeries and health centres have an estimated 80,000 to 159,000, while there are believed to be between 53,000 and 159,000 cameras in restaurants, the report said.

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The ability to fulfil the objective of having access to anyone’s internet surfing history is practical if the website is not encrypted. Encryption is the key success factor to protect breach of information to unauthorised user and preserving secrecy and privacy.

Then again, the Home Ministry proposal to ban encrypted messages within UK communicators was attacked as “Economically irresponsible”.

Telegraph story:

Banning encryption would be economically irresponsible and ultimately futile

Forcing companies like WhatsApp and Snapchat to design security flaws in their software opens the door to everyone, not just benevolent spies

Email
Home Secretary Theresa May is considering the idea of giving senior judges the right to sign off intercept warrants

By Adam Afriyie MP10:55AM GMT 03 Nov 2015Comments122 Comments

The Government’s first duty must always be defend and protect British citizens, so I am delighted that it has kept cybersecurity firmly at the top of the political agenda.
In the same way that poorly implemented “stop and search” often exacerbated problems in the past, I worry that we could go down the same route with encryption technology.

Encryption keeps our details safe from fraudsters when we bank or pay for goods online and when we send private or commercially sensitive messages. It ensures that our passwords can’t be stolen by hackers and that we can keep our information safely on our computers.

The Government is rightly concerned about the risks of digital encryption technology, in the same way that it was concerned about invisible ink, encoded letters and faxes in the past.

If there is substance to rumours of a crackdown on encryption in the publication of new Investigatory Powers legislation, it would be as mistaken as it would be ineffective.
“Banning technology does not get rid of it”
Banning technology does not get rid of it. It either makes criminals of millions of normal internet users, or designates it the reserve of established criminals like drug dealers and terrorists.
Once a technology exists, you can’t wish it away, even if you underpin your objections with legislation. In China, where the Government has gone to great lengths to ban Facebook, an estimated 64 million people have slipped through the net.

Trying to enforce the unenforceable is a waste of taxpayers’ money and an unnecessary distraction for law enforcement agencies.
Let’s also remember that encryption is hugely beneficial to online security. To take one example, digital currencies rely on encryption to transparently verify online transactions. A record of every single digital currency payment is kept online independently, meaning that it is completely transparent and verifiable. Encryption therefore makes these transactions easier – not harder – to track.

If a criminal wants to remain invisible, they will stay offline, where the Government can’t track their conversations, emails or money transfers. The security services must embrace and adapt to popular, market-driven and ubiquitous innovations rather than seeking to put a billion horses back in the stable.

Knowledge of encryption is widespread in the technical and academic world. The futility of fighting dispersed knowledge of this kind would make book-burning look like a successful strategy.

Making encryption illegal in the UK will also push technical experts, businesses and entrepreneurs from our shores. Our welcoming and dynamic ecosystem of fast-growing technology clusters is attracting ever more businesses to Britain. Mixed messages from the Government about encryption risks warning off investors and businesses looking for their next base.
Encryption is the basis of many innovative companies that want to build trust with customers by keeping users’ details secure. We should be helping, not punishing the most successful cyber-security companies. Britain must remain open to the jobs and investments these companies bring. So let’s not endanger a job-creating, wealth-creating industry with clumsy laws.
Forcing companies to design security flaws in their encryption software opens the door to everyone, not just benevolent Governments. It would be ludicrous to ask for a “back door” for the security services, without recognising that it would undermine the integrity of the whole system. The security that encryption technology brings helps us all to feel safe online. If you remove that security then the trust between consumers and providers breaks down. That’s bad for consumers and potentially fatal for businesses.
“It is futile to fight the mathematics of encryption”
It is futile to fight the mathematics of encryption. The Government is right to continue with its tried-and-tested policy of asking companies to retain records of when, with whom and for how long people communicate, subject to proper judicial oversight.
A simple update of the existing powers to cover new technologies is really all that’s required. Companies that design internet communication software will now want to comply, if only to emphasise the point that an outright ban is unnecessary. This consensual approach will undoubtedly be the ultimate outcome, as the Government has recognised that a heavy-handed approach to encryption technology won’t work.
Banning apps like WhatsApp and Snapchat won’t work
We will stand a better chance of defeating cyber-crime by directing our efforts precisely rather than punishing millions of users in one fell swoop. If we’re serious about the emergence of digital Britain, now is the time to prove it. This requires sensible measures, not a knee-jerk response that could undermine an industry with the potential to keep Britain at the forefront of the global race.
Let’s go after the criminals, not the technology.
Adam Afriyie is Conservative MP for Windsor, Chair of the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology and a former IT entrepreneur

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

The debate now would be between the extreme advocates of privacy, access to free and uncensored information and personal rights and the paranoids of law enforcement agencies and the intelligence community.

Striking the balance between infringement on privacy and rights to have access to information and provide a blanket of security for the people against the enemies of state operating in the cybersphere as the main propaganda and recruitment enabler, is a very complex and abstract art of politics.

Considering Britain had a fair brutal and horrifying share of terrorist attacks in the past ten years, being paranoid is anytime much better than ‘getting wiser after the event’.

The organised 7 July 2005 London bus bombing near Tavistock Square and London Tube underground bombings at Edgware Rd station and King’s Cross-St Pancras station where 52 innocent people died and 700 others injured is forever resided as ghastly nightmare for Britons.

The back breaking challenge is to have the safeguard against the abuse of this law against ordinary people. In the information age where there are 1 billion smart phones and 1.5 billion Facebook accounts, it is very important that these tools are not misused for sinister purposes as well as preserving privacy and private information.

Philosophy fictional author prophecised this in his 1949 book ‘1984’.

Published in: on November 5, 2015 at 03:30  Leave a Comment  

Lessons to Paracels XXV: Bald Eagle and Panda must explain the showing of claws

Defence Minister Dato’ Sri Hishammuddin Hussein wanted United States and China to explain their recent project of force in an international waterway which is supposed to be a zone of peace, freedom and neutrality (ZOPFAN).

The Malay Mail online story:

Hishammuddin: Malaysia to seek explanations from China, US over presence of warships near Spratly Islands

Monday November 2, 2015
10:24 PM GMT+8

 

 

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 2 — Malaysia will seek explanations from China and the United States (US) over the presence of their warships in Spratly Islands, during the Asean Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) Retreat and 3rd ADMM-Plus which kick off in Subang tomorrow.

Malaysia’s Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said he strongly believed that the latest development on that particular issue would be brief by his counterparts, General Chang Wanquan from China and US Secretary of Defence Dr Ashton Carter during their meeting.

“I will be looking forward to be briefed on the latest development if it really involved the movement of assets between both sides.

“It is very difficult for me to say anything now because I’m not sure what is the latest development on the issue,” he told a press conference today after the final-round inspection of preparations for the ADMM Retreat and ADMM-Plus from Nov 3 to 5 in Subang, near here.

It was reported that the controversy centred on a swath of territory in the South China Sea that contains the Spratly Islands when Chinese officials condemned a US ship’s passage near the disputed islands recently.

Asked whether Malaysia welcomed United States’ challenge on China over the disputed islands, Hishammuddin said he only welcomed any movement that would not disrupt stability in this region.

China, Taiwan and Asean members, namely the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei, have been wrangling over ownership and control of the South China Sea, a resource-rich and busy waterway, in a conflict that has flared on and off for decades.

Hishammuddin said the 10 Asean countries should be united as a bloc.

“That is something that I put as my responsibility as long as I chair the Asean (Defence Ministers’ Meeting),” he said.

On another note, he said the Asean countries were closely monitoring the situation in the world, especially on what was happening in Ukraine, Syria, Iraq and other parts of the Middle East, and in other countries.

“As our region’s stability will also depend on how they conduct themselves in other parts of the world, I don’t think that what is happening there cannot replicate here,” he said.

ADMM is the highest defence consultative and cooperative mechanism in Asean on matters related to defence.

It is aimed at promoting mutual trust and confidence through greater understanding of defence and security challenges, as well as enhancement of transparency and openness.

Asean groups 10 countries, namely Malaysia, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam while its eight dialogue partners in the Asean Plus are Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia and the United States.

ADMM Plus meeting will be on “Asean — Maintaining Regional Security and Stability For and By the People”. — Bernama

– See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/hishammuddin-malaysia-to-seek-explanations-from-china-us-over-presence-of-w#sthash.moTfMIG8.dpuf

 

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

It is imperative for mutual trust and co-operation between Defence Ministers with ASEAN plus China and United States to be truthful on their apparent agenda of projection of force.

The ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting should also push forward the implementation of the Code of Conduct (COC), which ASEAN including China inked the Document of Conduct (DOC) in November 2002 which to adhere the UNCLOS 1982.

The Document of Conduct (inked 2002)

The Document of Conduct (inked 2002)

Part of COC is to have proviso to deal with multiple claims on territories and it should be sorted out multilaterally, having all vested parties involved in the process.

Current, China is interested to have multiple bilateral talks with multiple claimants on disputed territories, which is not as outline under UNCLOS.

Fiery Cross Reef, which is Cina PLA-Navy newest military installation in the disputed territories which the China name as the 'Nine-Dash-Line'

Fiery Cross Reef, which is Cina PLA-Navy newest military installation in the disputed territories which the China name as the ‘Nine-Dash-Line’

It is obvious that China wanted to have the position and advantage of arm-twisting when they engage in a bilateral talks on multiple claims between two nations. It is no brainer what the outcome shall be.

Last week, it was reported US Navy Arleigh Burke Class destroyer USS Lassen patrolled 12 nautical miles off Fiery Cross Reef, a China PLA-Navy massive military installation on an artificial island on a reef.

Amongst other things, these tit-for-tat projection of force is to provided the psychological effect if and when the bi-lateral or multilateral talks should begin.

China re-excerted her claims over the fictitious and unlawful claim of ‘Nine-Dash-Line’ and since modernising the China PLA-Navy in 2008, the communist state in far east has shown their aggressive tendencies of occupational traits. It started with the occupation of the Paracel Islands in january 1974 and later Scarborough Shoals.

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

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

Regardless, any parties weaving a loaded gun walking back and forth in front of our yard sends uncomfortable vibes if a cold sensation along the spine.

South China Sea is the second most important trade waterway globally and most of it falls within Malaysia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Published in: on November 3, 2015 at 00:15  Comments (1)  

Lessons to Paracels XXIV: The Empire strikes back

The diplomatic row over multiple disputed claims in South China Sea had escalated to controversy which had arisen to a military dispute as a US Navy guided missile destroyer maneuvres so close to the artificial island built known as Fiery Cross Reef, by the Chinese PLA-Navy.

CNN com. story:

U.S. warship sails close to Chinese artificial island in South China Sea

Jim Sciutto-Profile-ImageBarbara Starr-Profile-Image
By Jim Sciutto and Barbara Starr, CNN
Updated 0502 GMT (1302 HKT) October 27, 2015 | Video Source: CNN

U.S. sends warship within 12 nautical miles of one of China’s artificial islands
Move viewed as potential challenge to China in South China Sea
Washington (CNN)

The United States sent a warship very close to one of China’s artificial islands in the South China Sea on Tuesday, a potential challenge to Beijing’s territorial claims in the contested waters.

A U.S. defense official told CNN that the destroyer USS Lassen “conducted a transit” within 12 nautical miles of Subi Reef in the Spratly Islands on Tuesday morning local time.

The operation put the ship within an area that would be considered Chinese sovereign territory if the U.S. recognized the man-made islands as being Chinese territory, the official added.

Why are the United States and China frenemies?

Why are the United States and China frenemies? 02:25
The mission, which had the approval of President Barack Obama, has now concluded, the official said.

The United States had not breached the 12-mile limit since China began massive dredging operations to turn three reefs into artificial islands in 2014.

In little more than 18 months, China has reclaimed more than 2000 acres at three main locations in the Spratly Islands — Subi, Mischief and Fiery Cross reefs.

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

On Tuesday morning before it was confirmed that the U.S. warship had breached the 12-mile zone, Wang Yi, China’s foreign minister, said:

“We advise the U.S. side to think twice before action, not to conduct any rash action, and not to create trouble out of nothing.”

China has repeatedly said its activity in the South China Sea does not target any other country or affect freedom of navigation by sea or air.

In May, a U.S. surveillance plane carrying a CNN crew swooped over the Spratly Islands, triggering eight warnings from the Chinese navy to back off.

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

And

Fox News:

China warns US after Navy ship passes disputed islands claimed by Beijing

Published October 27, 2015

FoxNews.com
May 21: 2015: Chinese dredging vessels are purportedly seen in the waters around Fiery Cross Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea in this still image from video taken by a P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft provided by the United States Navy. (Reuters)
China’s Foreign Ministry reacted angrily Tuesday after a U.S. Navy ship passed within 12 nautical miles of disputed islands in the South China Sea late Monday in an apparent challenge to Beijing’s territorial claims in the region.

The ministry said that authorities monitored and warned the guided missile destroyer USS Lassen as it moved inside what China claims as a 12-mile territorial limit around Subi Reef in the Spratly Islands archipelago, a disputed group of hundreds of reefs, islets, atolls and islands in the South China Sea that is also claimed by the Philippines.

A defense official told the Associated Press the patrol was approved by the White House and took place without incident.

“The actions of the U.S. warship have threatened China’s sovereignty and security interests, jeopardized the safety of personnel and facilities on the reefs, and damaged regional peace and stability,” the ministry said on its website. “The Chinese side expresses its strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition.”

Meanwhile, the Philippines welcomed the sail-past by the USS Lassen, calling it a way of helping maintain “a balance of power”.

Since 2013, China has accelerated the creation of new outposts by piling sand atop reefs and atolls then adding buildings, ports and airstrips big enough to handle bombers and fighter jets — activities seen as an attempt to change the territorial status quo by changing the geography.

Navy officials had said the sail-past was necessary to assert the U.S. position that China’s man-made islands cannot be considered sovereign territory with the right to surrounding territorial waters.

“We are conducting routine operations in the South China Sea in accordance with international law,” a senior defense official told Fox News late Monday. “We will fly, sail, and operate anywhere in the world that international law allows.” International law permits military vessels the right of “innocent passage” in transiting other country’s seas without notification.

The Navy’s plan to send a destroyer near the Spratly Islands was first reported by Reuters. A Pentagon spokesman, Navy Cmdr. Bill Urban, declined to comment.

About 30 percent of global trade passes through the South China Sea, which is also home to rich fishing grounds and a potential wealth of undersea mineral deposits.

China says it respects the right of navigation, but has never specified the exact legal status of its maritime claims. China says virtually all of the South China Sea belongs to it, while Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam claim either parts or all of it.

Beijing’s response closely mirrored its actions in May when a navy dispatcher warned off a U.S. Navy P8-A Poseidon surveillance aircraft as it flew over Fiery Cross Reef, where China has conducted extensive reclamation work.

Speaking to foreign correspondents in Manila, Philippine President Benigno Aquino III said he supported the U.S. naval maneuvers as an assertion of freedom of navigation and as a means to balance power in the region.

“I think expressing support for established norms of international behavior should not be a negative for a country,” he said. “I think everybody would welcome a balance of power anywhere in the world.”

Without identifying China by name, he said “one regional power” has been making “controversial pronouncements” that if must not be left unchallenged.

“The American passage through these contentious waters is meant precisely to say that there are norms as to what freedom of navigation entails and they intend to exercise so that there is no de facto changing of the reality on the ground,” he said.

The Obama administration has long said it will exercise a right to freedom of navigation in any international waters.

“We have been clear that we take no position on competing territorial sovereignty claims to land features in the South China Sea,” the senior defense official told Fox News late Monday. “U.S. Freedom of Navigation (FON) operations are global in scope and executed against a wide range of excessive maritime claims, irrespective of the coastal state advancing the excessive claim. The longstanding FON program is not directed at any specific country.”

The Chinese Foreign Ministry statement said China adhered to international law regarding freedom of navigation and flight, but “resolutely opposes the damaging of China’s sovereignty and security interests in the name of free navigation and flight.”

“China will firmly deal with provocations from other countries. We will continue to monitor relevant situation in the sea and air and take any necessary measures when needed,” the statement said.

China’s assertive behavior in the South China Sea has become an increasingly sore point in relations with the United States, even as President Barack Obama and China’s President Xi Jinping have sought to deepen cooperation in other areas.

Despite those tensions, exchanges between the two militaries have continued to expand, with a U.S. Navy delegation paying visits last week to China’s sole aircraft carrier and a submarine warfare academy.

Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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

The Chinese PLA-Navy military installation which comprises of an air strip and harbour, is believed to the Chinese project of power in the world’s second busiest waterway. Chinese interest in the area is also about the rich hydro-carbon deposit.

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

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

China reiterated an insubstantiated claim of Kuomintang’s 1947 known as the ‘Nine-Dash-Line’ over most part of South China Sea. Most of the areas under this are EEZ of various ASEAN countries as per defined under the United Nations Convention Law of the Seas (UNCLOS) which was inked in 1982.

Extensively China PLA-Navy built military installation on Fiery Cross Reef

Extensively China PLA-Navy built military installation on Fiery Cross Reef

This armed US Navy maneuvres definitely would brought about a reaction in the projection of force by China. More than six months ago, United States already has been warned about military manoeuvres in the disputed areas.

Fiery Cross Reef, which is Cina PLA-Navy newest military installation in the disputed territories which the China name as the 'Nine-Dash-Line'

Fiery Cross Reef, which is Cina PLA-Navy newest military installation in the disputed territories which the China name as the ‘Nine-Dash-Line’

Almost six months ago, US Navy P8 Orion maritime patrol and surveillance aircraft flew very close to the said island.

The Arleigh Burke class destroyer’s USS Lassen very close proximity to China PLA-Navy military installation at Fiery Cross Reef is a projection of force, guided based on the demonstration US foreign policy for not recognising China’s illegitimate claim on the fictitious maritime borders of ‘Nine-Dash-Line’.

The illegitimate claim by China, which is deemed “Excessive”, is clearly against the norms and practices of the United Nations Convention Law of the Seas (UNCLOS) 1982.

*Updated midnight

China responded to USS Lassen’s manoeuvres near the China PLA-Nany artificially built military installation at Fiery Cross Reef by US Navy destroyer USS Lassen as “Illegal”.

BBC.com story:

China says US warship’s Spratly islands passage ‘illegal’

49 minutes ago
From the section China
Two warships underwayImage copyrightReuters
Image caption
Guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen seen with a South Korean ship in a photo from March
Chinese officials have condemned a US ship’s passage near disputed islands in the South China Sea as “illegal” and a threat to their country’s sovereignty.
The guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen breached the 12-nautical mile zone China claims around Subi and Mischief reefs in the Spratly archipelago.
The US has confirmed the operation took place, apparently as part of its Freedom of Navigation programme.
The operation is a challenge to China’s claims over the artificial islands.
Lu Kang, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry, said Beijing would “resolutely respond to any country’s deliberately provocative actions”.
He added that the ship had been “tracked and warned” while on the mission to deliberately enter the disputed waters.
The Chinese foreign ministry summoned the US ambassador to protest over the move.
Meanwhile, US Defence Secretary Ash Carter confirmed that the USS Lassen had passed within 12 miles of the islands, during questioning by the Senate Armed Forces Committee.
US Defence Department spokesman Cdr Bill Urban had earlier said that “the United States is conducting routine operations in the South China Sea in accordance with international law”.
The move was welcomed by several countries in the East Asia region, including the Philippines and Japan.

 

Map showing Chinese construction in the disputed Spratly Islands

Map showing Chinese construction in the disputed Spratly Islands

China claims most of the South and East China seas. Other countries in South-East Asia have competing claims for the Spratly Islands, Paracel Islands and Scarborough Shoal, which are thought to have resource-rich waters around them.
The reefs, which were submerged, were turned into islands by China by a massive dredging project which began in late 2013.
China says this work is legal and in a meeting with US President Barack Obama last month in Washington, President Xi Jinping said China had “no intention to militarise” the islands.
But Washington believes Beijing is constructing military facilities, designed to reinforce its disputed claim to most of the region – a major shipping zone.
Satellite image of an islandImage copyrightAFP
Image caption
A file photo from April shows what is claimed to be an airstrip under construction on the Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratly Islands
What is Freedom of Navigation?
The US Freedom of Navigation programme challenges what it deems to be “excessive claims” to the world’s oceans and airspace.
It was developed to promote international adherence to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, even though the US has not formally ratified the treaty.
In 2013 and 2014, the US conducted Freedom of Navigation operations of different kinds against China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam – each of whom occupies territory in the South China Sea.
China’s island factory
Why is the South China Sea contentious?
International maritime law allows countries to claim ownership of the 12-nautical mile area surrounding natural islands, but does not allow nations to claim ownership of submerged features that have been raised by human intervention.
A senior US defence official told Reuters news agency the warship began its mission early on Tuesday local time near the reefs and would spend several hours there.
Map of South China Sea
The USS Lassen, a guided-missile destroyer, was expected to be accompanied by a US Navy P-8A surveillance plane and a P-3 surveillance plane, according to the unnamed official, speaking to US media.
Additional patrols could follow in the coming weeks, the official added.
Jump media playerMedia player helpOut of media player. Press enter to return or tab to continue.
Media captionThe BBC’s Celia Hatton reports: ”This is a political issue and an economic one”
Why build a series of tiny islands in the middle of a vast sea? – Celia Hatton, BBC News, Beijing
China has altered Asia’s geography by dredging sand from the sea bottom and piling it on existing reefs to build several new islands.
Vague explanations have been offered to justify this costly exercise. Officially, the islands will be used for rescue operations and environmental projects.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has pledged the islands would not be “militarised”.
However, many are sceptical of China’s geopolitical aims. In recent years, China has amplified its claims in the South China Sea. Critics fear Beijing will use the islands’ airstrips to exert control over the area.
At the same time, the United States is exerting its own influence in Asia, pivoting more of its military and economic attention to the region. The new islands are relatively tiny, but the tensions they could create between Beijing and Washington could have global implications.
USS Lassen
USS Lassen (file image)Image copyrightUS Navy
The ship is an Arleigh Burke class missile destroyer, which the US Navy says is among the most powerful destroyers ever built.
It is 155m (509ft) long with a displacement of 9,145 tonnes when fully loaded.
Crewed by a staff of about 330.
It carries two Seahawk helicopters and uses the Aegis defence system.
Weapons include Tomahawk missiles, RUM-139 Asroc anti-submarine missiles and surface-to-air missiles.

Published in: on October 27, 2015 at 16:30  Comments (3)  

The conventional strategic defence initiative

RMN Perdana Class submarines KD Tunku Abdul Rahman and KD Tun Razak, in Sepanggar Bay, Sabah

RMN Perdana Class submarines KD Tunku Abdul Rahman and KD Tun Razak, in Sepanggar Bay, Sabah

The submarine force of any navy is the strategic non-nuclear capability which acts as a serious deterrent before any naval military manoeuvres and outcome is calculated. The role of the largest Commonwealth nation in the region is being measured on its submarine force capability.

The Diplomat story:

Australia’s Submarine Debate: Shipyards and Seas

The debate often misses the regional context surrounding Australia’s submarine program.
By Helen Clark
October 13, 2015

What’s being left out of Australia’s submarine and naval security debate? The region those subs will be patrolling.

In terms of defense news, the submarine debate on who will build Australia’s new fleet, and where it will be built, has had some staying power. However, the mainstream debate has not really looked at changes in the region. Many countries in the Asia-Pacific are now pursuing their own submarine plans, and nuclear-capable submarines in the Indian Ocean are not far away.

The South China Sea is a focus for new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull but the recent drill with India hasn’t received a lot of attention in the Australian press. What else is happening in the region, and what might that mean for future submarine and naval plans.

China and South China Sea a Priority

Turnbull gave his first serious interview on September 21. He spoke about domestic and foreign policy. ISIS, of course, remains a threat. But Turnbull has also come out strongly against China “pushing the envelope” in the South China Sea and suggested it is pushing regional instability whilst also ensuring a greater U.S. presence in the area, something that would seem contrary to Chinese interests.

How will this affect Australia and what will Australia’s role be in one of the busiest and most contested waters?

On this Turnbull was a little less clear: “Well our Defence Force has – and this is not a revelation … Our Defence Forces have to be able to play a role in a range of different potential conflict situations. But, you know, we’re not – we’re not seeking to, um, ah – I don’t want to – no-one – no-one, least of all the Australian Government, wants to exacerbate situations.”

Turnbull is right that China’s actions seems to be driving a greater U.S. presence and closer relations between it and certain nations.

He name checked the closer Vietnam-U.S. relationship. According to this mid-2014 piece from HIS Jane’s territorial disputes in the Asia-Pacific and “continued concerns over China’s military development – are driving defence spending across the region.

This has been characterised by some as an arms race, although it may be better viewed as a region-wide materiel upgrade propelled by resource competition, rising government revenues and declining markets elsewhere in the world.”

At the same time, both China and India are moving closer to having nuclear-capable submarines patrol the Indo-Pacific, and India and Australia are keen on naval exercises. Australia, in fact, wishes to participate in the Malabar exercises with India, the U.S. and Japan; Australia withdrew from those exercises in 2008.

The View in Australia, SEA 1000, etc.

China is a factor in many Australian plans, both economic and defense. China will also factor in the upcoming defense White Paper, which was delayed after former Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s shipbuilding announcement and may now make it out in October or November.

The Competitive Evaluation Process (CEP) between Japan, Germany and France and the issue over local build is front and center in the debate on the future submarine fleet. Sweden, which built the six Collins-class submarines the Royal Australian Navy currently operates, was ruled out early, to their and others’ surprise.

Japan was picked earlier, for strategic and alliance reasons, but the up and downsides remain, on a purely technical level, complex. Australia, with its enormous coastline, has special needs and can’t simply chose an off-the-rack purchase, even if domestic politics was not such an important factor.

The Australian Strategic Policy Institute has been running an excellent series on this on their Strategist blog, profiling the three nations and nearly every other aspect of the submarine process. The Kockums-built Collins-class were designed with Australian needs in mind, both the large coastline and a deterrence-based defense policy.

Though sometimes maligned, they are among the quietest and least detectable subs in operation. The question won’t be decided this year and new Defense Minister Marise Payne has already said she won’t be drawn into debate at this stage.

The CEP is politically loaded, of course, and Tony Abbott’s announcements of a A$90 billion ($65.6 billion) naval ship and submarine build and 2000 jobs for South Australia early last month were called a first “election salvo.”

A paper from the Defence Minister said in February, “Submarines are the most complex, sensitive and expensive Defence capability acquisition a Government can make.”

The go-or-no dogfighting capabilities of the F-35 pale in comparison to the complexities of a submarine fleet, especially one built for Australia’s unique needs. The winner of the CEP will have to build as much of the new fleet in Australia as possible, despite the poor report on the Air Warfare Destroyers and a lengthy report by RAND Corp commissioned by the Australian government earlier this year on the naval shipbuilding capabilities of the three main shipyards that suggested they were not quite competitive or effective enough.

One of the talking points of the Japanese Soryu-class, which former Abbott was earlier suggesting Australia should buy off-the-rack, was that it might have shored up something of a trilateral alliance between Australia, the U.S. and Japan.

The U.S. was certainly happy with the Soryu idea. Aussies however, were not remotely happy with the idea of coming to the aid of Japan should any conflict with China arise.

Ankit Panda has a more up-to-date analysis on what Malcolm Turnbull might mean for a Japanese sub-build.

The Missing Piece of the Debate

So far, so much the same ground covered. All this has been the view from Australia since last year. But the rest of the region is also engaged in its own submarine race. Politicians aren’t talking about that as much, outside of Turnbull’s South China Sea comments.

Vietnam has now taken possession of its six new Kilo-class Russian-made submarines, ordered in 2009. Vietnam also wants naval assistance from Washington, with President Truong Tan Sang saying during Ashton Carter’s June visit that he would like Washington to “provide all necessary assistance to Vietnam in raising the capacity of maritime law enforcement forces.”

Indonesia is now looking at Russian subs of its own, preferring when the budget allows it, to buy new and no longer second hand. More broadly, Indonesia wishes to increase its naval presence in the region. Thailand has been wanting submarine capability for a long time but has delayed purchase again after finally plumping for three Chinese-built subs. As Prashanth Parameswaran has noted, the Chinese option was unexpected, “given the significance of the purchase, the Thai military’s preference for Western equipment which was also on offer, and well-known suspicions about the reliability of submarines from Beijing….”

At the same time this worthwhile paper from the Lowy Institute has noted that China and India are moving to the test phase of their nuclear-armed submarines, which will patrol the Indo-Pacific, and discusses what that might mean for stability. China can apparently already put a nuclear-capable submarine out to sea with weapons. “Advocates of sea-based nuclear weapons see such fleets as providing stability because of their relative invulnerability to surprise attack… This was certainly the case during the Cold War. But what applied in the 20th century struggle between the West and the Soviet Union does not necessarily hold for the more complex strategic situation that is now evolving in Asia.” The security environment is changing rapidly, in other words.

The majority of Australia’s trade goes through an area already patrolled by half the world’s submarines, and with plans afoot for more in many nations this will increase.

Australia is concerned enough to have been involved in its first-ever war games with India, ones which had a submarine focus, which apparently unsettled the Chinese. Captain Sheldon Williams, defense advisor at the Australian High Commission in New Delhi told Bloomberg last month, that there is “potential for increased security tensions in the Indian Ocean.. We sit right in the confluence of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. We have a significant responsibility for its security. That’s how we’re looking at it now.”

Australia and India both have a stake in Chinese nuclear-capable submarines in the Indian Ocean. Australia has also requested to join the Malabar Exercise between India, the U.S. and Japan, though actually pulled out in 2008 under Kevin Rudd.

These wider strategic moves do not always make it into public debate over the circumstances Australian submarines might face. What would closer ties or a “democratic security diamond” (as Shinzo Abe has said of the Japan-U.S.-India-Australia quadrilateral arrangement) mean?

Would the pick of a customized Soryu be a good option for those reasons? What is Australia’s perception of these shifts in the security environment? Much may be cleared up once the White Paper finally arrives, but until then the debate will stick to shipyards and not seas.

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Again, Australian naval operations take into consideration the development is South East Asia where China is staking a claim for the ‘Nine-Dash-Line’, in a multinational dispute of territorial waters.

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

The South China Sea is the second most busiest and important merchant shipping waterway, on top of the rich hydrocarbon deposits. Both are within the ambit of China’s interest to have access to and control.

The ability to project force between the major naval powers in the region is not primarily for the South China Sea alone, but all the way across the vast Indian Ocean.

The projecting of force with effective submarine capability would provide an added burden to the potential aggressor. It is as when the risk is calculated, the potency of a submarine is equal to ten surface combat vessel.

It is very important for Malaysia to continue having a strong naval force with even more potent submarine force. Considering as maritime state Malaysia is dependent to sea for trade, food and other essential imports, the ability to project force is deemed necessary when the need arises.

It was a strategic decision to acquire the Perdana Class Scorpene submarines. However, it was heavily politicised with really bad demonisation-intent after tones.

In the interest of trade growth and stepping into a developed nation status, Malaysia should be moving forward by acquisition of more assets to improve the potency of the submarine force of the Royal Malaysian Navy and not pander to pessimism and lies and regress.

Published in: on October 15, 2015 at 11:30  Comments (5)  
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