Category Archives: Japan

International tribunal rejects China’s territorial claims in South China Sea

China’s territorial claims over the South China Sea were dealt a blow today when in a landmark ruling, an international tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, rejected Beijing’s claims.

Six regional governments have overlapping territorial claims in the South China Sea, waters that are rich in fishing stocks and potential energy resources and where an estimated $5 trillion in global trade passes each year.

South China Sea - China's claim

South China Sea – China’s claims

The AP reports that China claims vast areas of the South China Sea have been Chinese territory since ancient times and demarcated its modern claims with the so-called nine-dash line, a map that was submitted under the U.N. treaty.

In 2013, under a U.N. treaty governing the seas, the Philippines had asked The Hague for arbitration on a number of issues it had with treaty co-signee China, on the grounds that China’s claims infringe upon the Philippines’ 200-mile exclusive economic zone.

On July 12, 2016, the five-member panel from the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands, unanimously ruled against China. The tribunal also found the following:

  • Any historical resource rights China may have had in the South China Sea are nulled if they are incompatible with exclusive economic zones established under the U.N. treaty signed by both China and the Philippines.
  • China had violated its obligations to refrain from aggravating the regional dispute while the settlement process was ongoing.
  • By building up artificial islands in the Sea, China had caused “permanent irreparable harm” to the coral reef ecosystem.
  • China had violated the Philippines’ maritime rights by:
    • Disrupting Philippine’ oil exploration at Reed Bank.
    • Disrupting fishing by Philippine vessels within the country’s exclusive economic zone, and failing to prevent Chinese fishermen from fishing within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone at Mischief Reef and Second Thomas Shoal.

China, which boycotted the entire proceedings, immediately rejected the ruling as a “farce” and “a US-led conspiracy,” and declared it does not accept the panel’s jurisdiction. Beijing regards bilateral talks with the other claimants as the only way to address the South China Sea disputes.

China’s foreign ministry declared that “the award is null and void and has no binding force. China neither accepts nor recognizes it,” and that “China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea shall under no circumstances be affected by those awards.” The ministry repeated China’s often-expressed stance that the Philippines’ move to initiate arbitration without China’s consent was in “bad faith” and in violation of international law.

The editor-in-chief of China.org.cn writes:

The U.S. actions near China, particularly those on the South China Sea issues, are part of its Asia-Pacific Rebalance strategies. Its intentions are no more than containing China to preserve its interests in the Asia-Pacific region and its global hegemony.

The U.S. motives are apparent to the world, especially to the Chinese people. The current China is nothing like the country it was one hundred years ago. Any act that tries to violate China’s territorial sovereignty will fail.

Although the tribunal has no power of enforcement, nor can its findings reverse China’s actions, nevertheless the ruling constitutes a rebuke with the force of the international community’s opinion. A professor of Asian political economy said the ruling could be a “transformative moment” in the region. Speaking outside the Peace Palace in The Hague, Leiden University professor Jonathan London said the decision will “give countries with a common interest in international norms something to point to and to rally around.” He said they can say to China: “Look, here are the results of an international organization that has found that your claims have zero historical basis.”

The tribunal’s decision also gives heart to small countries in Asia that have helplessly chafed at China’s expansionism, backed by its military and economic power.

In Manila, dozens of rallying Filipinos jumped for joy, wept, embraced each other and waved Philippine flags after news of their victory. One held up a poster that said: “Philippine sovereignty, non-negotiable.”

Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay hailed the ruling as a “milestone decision” and “an important contribution to ongoing efforts in addressing disputes in the South China Sea,” and called on “all those concerned to exercise restraint and sobriety.” For his part, Philippines’ former Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario, who helped oversee the filing of the case at Hague, said the ruling underscored “our collective belief that right is might and that international law is the great equalizer among states.” He urged that the ruling be accepted by all relevant countries — without exception — in order to maintain international order “so that we can work together on how remaining issues can be peacefully resolved.”

Vietnam’s government also welcomed the ruling. Just today, Vietnam accused Chinese vessels of sinking a Vietnamese fishing boat in disputed waters. Nguyen Thanh Hung, a local fisheries executive in the central province of Quang Ngai, said two Chinese vessels chased and sank the Vietnamese boat around midday Saturday as it was fishing near the Paracel islands. The five fishermen were rescued by another trawler around seven hours later.

Japan’s Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said the tribunal’s decision is “final and legally binding” and that the two sides should comply with it. He said in a statement that “Japan strongly expects that the parties’ compliance with this award will eventually lead to the peaceful settlement of disputes in the South China Sea.”

The disputes have also increased friction between China and the United States. Washington has ramped up U.S. military presence in the region as China expands its navy’s reach farther offshore.

At a news conference in Afghanistan where he was meeting with U.S. commanders, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said the ruling is an opportunity for everyone in the region to act in a sensible way in accordance with the rule of law in order to settle disputes. The United States has not taken sides in the South China Sea disputes but has worked to ensure freedom of navigation and overflight in the region.

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70% of U.S. youth are too fat, uneducated, and criminal to serve in military

childhood obesity rates of U.S., China, Japan, So. Korea & India

Michael Cook reports for MercatorNet, Nov. 9, 2015, that in a 2009 report, Ready, Willing, And Unable To Serve, more than 450 retired generals and admirals in a lobby group called Mission Readiness concluded that young Americans are “too fat to fight” and that “The best aircraft, ships and satellite-guided weaponry alone will not be enough to keep our country strong”.

According to the report:

Startling statistics released by the Pentagon show that 75 percent of young people ages 17 to 24 are currently unable to enlist in the United States military. Three of the most common barriers for potential recruits are failure to graduate high school, a criminal record, and physical fitness issues, including obesity.

That was in 2009. Alas, nothing has changed since.

Mission Readiness 2014 report, Retreat is Not an Option,  found that:

Obesity is one of the main reasons why more than 70 percent of young Americans are unable to serve in today’s military. This includes young adults in families with generations of military service, and others who have the critical skills our military needs but cannot join simply because of too many extra pounds.

There are 3 reasons for why 75% of young Americans are unfit to serve in the U.S. military:

  1. Inadequate education: About 25% of young Americans lack a high school diploma. Even those who have one, many are substandard at reading and mathematics, which explains why as many as 30% of potential recruits with a diploma fail the Armed Forces Qualification Test.
  2. Criminal records: About 10% of young U.S. adults are disqualified because they have had at least one prior conviction for a felony or serious misdemeanour. According to the Pew Center on the States, “One in 30 [American young] men between the ages of 20 and 34 is behind bars.”
  3. Obesity and other health problems: 27% of young Americans are too fat to join the military. Many never even try to join. But of those who do, 15,000 fail their entrance physicals every year because they are too fat. Another 32% of all young people have other disqualifying health problems –asthma, eyesight or hearing problems, mental health issues, or recent treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. In total, half of young U.S. adults cannot join because of health problems.

Study after study show that the best early education program is a stable home with a loving mother and father. But the Obama administration’s Pentagon, instead of realising that young Americans need the strength and security that comes from intact biological families, recommend the usual government solution — better early education programs, better school meals, and better physical education programs. What the Pentagon refuses to say for politically correct reasons, is that America’s national security is at risk because America’s families are dysfunctional.

This is emphasized by a 2014 report by Brad Wilcox and Robert I. Lerman for the American Enterprise Institute and the Institute for Family Studies, which concluded that:

“what is largely missing from the public conversation about economics in America is an honest discussion of the family factor. The retreat from marriage … plays a key role in the changing economic fortunes of American family life. Growing up with both parents (in an intact family) is strongly associated with more education, work, and income among today’s young men and women.”

And they make better soldiers, too.

Retired Rear Admiral James Barnett said, “Our national security in the year 2030 is absolutely dependent upon what is going on in pre-kindergarten today.” In healthy families, kids learn to respect authority, value education and take responsibility for their health. They learn how to cooperate and to work as a team. They build a stronger moral sense. And all this costs the taxpayer nothing, unlike the government-funded programs recommended by the retired generals and admirals.

But after two generations of me-centred marriages and unstable families, America’s human capital increasingly is degraded. The introduction of same-sex marriage would only accelerate the process. As The Economist says about the challenges ahead: “The result is that America may be unable, within reasonable cost limits and without reinstituting the draft, to raise the much bigger army it might need for such wars.

At the moment, the Pentagon relies upon a weak job market to lure young men and women into the services. But it worries and should worry about what will happen when the economy eventually picks up.

Lastly, America’s obese young are not just bad for the military, they constitute a looming national health crisis.

Time magazine reports that researchers at a recent American Heart Association annual meeting in Florida warned that excess weight in children can lead to potentially harmful changes in the hearts of kids as young as 8.

Linyuan Jing, a post doctoral fellow from the Geisinger Health System, and her colleagues studied 20 obese children—i.e., those with a body mass index over 35, whereas a healthy range is 18.5 to 25—and 20 normal-weight children. All had MRIs of their hearts.

The researchers found that obese children:

  1. have 12% thicker heart muscle overall compared to the normal-weight children. Thicker heart muscle means the heart is working harder to pump blood. Previous studies have linked thickened heart muscle in adults to premature death from heart-related causes.
  2. show 27% thicker left ventricles, the chamber of the heart responsible for pumping blood to the body.
  3. show signs of having less cardiac muscle contractility, which is a possible early sign of decreased heart function.

Jing said, “It’s surprising to see evidence of heart disease among eight year olds. Because that implies that children younger than eight could have signs of heart disease as well.”

-StMA

Japan’s Parliament passes legislation allowing military to fight in foreign wars

Both the Chinese government and people long have feared and accused post-WWII Japan of “remilitarization” — a revival of and return to its imperialist military aggression.

Now that Beijing has declared its sovereignty (via an Air Defense Identification Zone) over the disputed Sengaku or Diaoyu islets in the East China Sea, as well as over the South China Sea, that Chinese accusation is becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. On July 16, 2015, the Japanese Parliament approved of legislation that, for the first time since the end of the Second World War, empowers the military to fight in foreign conflicts.

China-Japan ADIZsJonathan Soble reports for the New York Times, July 16, 2015, that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s party and its allies in the lower house of Parliament approved the package of 11 security-related bills after opposition lawmakers walked out in protest and as demonstrators chanted noisily outside, despite a gathering typhoon. The upper chamber, which Abe’s coalition also controls, is all but certain to endorse the legislation as well.

The legislation would allow the Japanese military, known as the Self-Defense Forces, to cooperate more closely with United States forces by providing logistical support and, in certain circumstances, armed backup in international conflicts. It complements guidelines in a bilateral agreement governing how Japanese and United States forces work together, which was signed by the two governments this year.

The vote was the culmination of months of contentious debate in a society that has long embraced pacifism to atone for wartime aggression. It was a significant victory for Abe, who has devoted his career to moving Japan beyond guilt over its militarist past and toward his vision of a “normal country” with a larger role in global affairs.

But Abe’s agenda goes against the wishes of much of the Japanese public, and his moves have generated unease across Asia, especially in countries Japan once occupied and where its troops committed atrocities. Final passage of the bills would represent a break from the strictly defensive stance maintained by the Japanese military in the decades since the war.

Critics, including a majority of Japanese constitutional specialists, say the legislation violates the country’s postwar charter, which renounces war. But the legislation is supported by the United States, which has welcomed a larger role for Tokyo in regional security as a counterweight to a more assertive China. In an address to a joint meeting of the United States Congress in April, Abe had pledged that he would enact the legislation to strengthen Japan’s already close ties to the United States.

Abe’s success pushing through the vote has political costs: Voters oppose the legislation by a ratio of roughly two to one, according to numerous surveys. The Abe government’s support ratings, which were once high, have fallen to around 40% in several polls taken this month.

Katsuya Okada, head of the largest opposition party, said before the opposition walkout, “It is a huge mistake to set aside a constitutional interpretation built up by governments for 70 years without sufficient public understanding and debate.”

Abe has presented the package as an unavoidable response to new threats facing Japan, in particular the growing military power of China. He seized on the murder of two Japanese hostages by the Islamic State militant group in January as an example of why Japan needs to loosen restrictions on its military, suggesting that the military might have rescued them if it had been free to act. “These laws are absolutely necessary because the security situation surrounding Japan is growing more severe,” he said after Thursday’s vote.

China condemned passage of the bills, describing them as a potential threat to peace in Asia and invoking Japan’s wartime aggression. Hua Chunying, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, said in a statement: “We solemnly urge the Japanese side to draw hard lessons from history, stick to the path of peaceful development, respect the major security concerns of its Asian neighbors, and refrain from jeopardizing China’s sovereignty and security interests or crippling regional peace and stability.”

With opposition lawmakers boycotting the vote, the bills passed with the support of the Liberal Democratic Party, led by Abe, and its smaller coalition partner, Komeito, which control a majority of seats in the legislature’s lower house, the House of Representatives. To become law, they must still be approved by the upper chamber, but in the unlikely event that the package is rejected, the lower house can override that decision. Japanese judges are mostly unwilling to overrule the government on matters of security.

The upper house is scheduled to debate the legislation for 60 days, keeping the issue in the public eye and potentially fueling more protests.

Abe has long argued that the Constitution should be amended to remove its restrictive antiwar provisions, but changing the charter would require a national referendum that he would probably lose. For now, at least, a contested reinterpretation of the Constitution appears to be the most he can hope for.

On Wednesday night, large crowds gathered outside Parliament after the bills were approved by a committee in an emotional and chaotic session. The crowds were estimated by organizers to number some 100,000, which would make the protest the largest antigovernment demonstration in Japan since protests in 2012 against the proposed restart of nuclear power plants, a year after the nuclear accident in Fukushima.

See also:

~StMA

Military-aviation website forecasts economic collapse & massive depopulation for U.S. by 2025

Deagel.com, a military equipment and civil aviation guide website, is causing a buzz on the Internet for its dire forecast that in a mere 10 years, by the year 2025, the United States would be unrecognizable, a shadow of its former self. Specifically, the U.S.’s:

  • Population will be reduced by 254 million (or 78%), plummeting from today’s 318,890,000 to 64,879,100.
  • GDP will be reduced by $16.54 trillion, plummeting from today’s $17.42 trillion to $881.804 billion.
  • Power purchase parity will be reduced by $45,739, plummeting from today’s $54,800 to $9,061.

What is Deagle.com? Wikipedia does not have an entry on Deagle.com. This is what the precious metals website Silver Doctors says about Deagle.com:

Deagel.com is a military equipment and civil aviation guide website. I have spent time trying to figure out who is behind iit and whether or not it is legitimate – and what the purpose of it is. Certainly it seems legitimate as a catalog of military equipment, the corporations which manufacture the equipment and the Government organizations involved with anything related to the military.

Here’s a screenshot of Deagle.com’s home page (click to enlarge):

Deagle.com1

In a statement about its forecast, Deagle.com claims that:

  • Its forecasts employ mainly data from two sources:
    • Institutions such as the CIA, IMF, UN, and USG (U.S. government).
    • “Shadow sources such as Internet gurus, unsigned reports and others.”
  • Governments lie. Like the economic lies that communist regimes told their people and the world, present-day governments of seemingly-affluent countries like the United States also generate fake statistics about their economies.
  • The implosion of the U.S. will be triggered by a financial and economic collapse.
  • That, in turn, will result in a massive loss of population from deaths and out-migration.

Here’s Deagle.com’s statement in its entirety:

There have been many questions about the countries forecast specially the one focusing on the United States of America (USA). They won’t be answered one by one but below you can find some explanation, thoughts and reflections. We are going to keep this as short as possible. The majority of the economic and demographic data used in the making of the forecasts is widely available by institutions such as the CIA, IMF, UN, USG, etc. You can see the most relevant data at every single country’s page. There is a tiny part of data coming from a variety of shadow sources such as Internet gurus, unsigned reports and others. But all these sources are from the internet and are of public domain for at least a minority. For example, several years ago Dagong, the Chinese ratings agency, published a report analyzing the physical economy of the States comparing it with those of China, Germany and Japan. The conclusion was that the US GDP was something between $5 to $10 trillion instead of $15 trillion as officially reported by the USG. We assume that the official data, especially economic, released by governments is fake, cooked or distorted in some degree. Historically it is well known that the former Soviet Union was making up fake statistics years before its collapse. Western as well as other countries are making up their numbers today to conceal their real state of affairs. We are sure that many people out there can find government statistics in their own countries that by their own personal experience are hard to believe or are so optimistic that may belong to a different country. Despite the numeric data “quantity” there is a “quality” model which has not a direct translation into numeric data. The 2014 strain of Ebola has a death rate of 50-60% but try to imagine what would happen if there is a pandemic of Ebola with hundreds of thousands or millions infected with the virus. So far the few cases of Ebola-infected people have “enjoyed” intensive healthcare with anti-viral and breathing assistance but above all with abundant human support by Physicians and nurses. In a pandemic scenario that kind of healthcare won’t be available for the overwhelming number of infected leading to a dramatic increase of the death rate due to the lack of proper healthcare. The “quality” factor is that the death rate could increase to 80-90% in a pandemic scenario from the stated 50-60% rate. The figure itself is not important what is relevant is the fact that the scenario can evolve beyond the initial conditions from a 50% death toll to more than 90%. By the way, no pandemic or nuclear war is included in the forecast. The key element to understand the process that the USA will enter in the upcoming decade is migration. In the past, specially in the 20th century, the key factor that allowed the USA to rise to its colossus status was immigration with the benefits of a demographic expansion supporting the credit expansion and the brain drain from the rest of the world benefiting the States. The collapse of the Western financial system will wipe out the standard of living of its population while ending ponzi schemes such as the stock exchange and the pension funds. The population will be hit so badly by a full array of bubbles and ponzi schemes that the migration engine will start to work in reverse accelerating itself due to ripple effects thus leading to the demise of the States. This unseen situation for the States will develop itself in a cascade pattern with unprecedented and devastating effects for the economy. Jobs offshoring will surely end with many American Corporations relocating overseas thus becoming foreign Corporations!!!! We see a significant part of the American population migrating to Latin America and Asia while migration to Europe – suffering a similar illness – won’t be relevant. Nevertheless the death toll will be horrible. Take into account that the Soviet Union’s population was poorer than the Americans nowadays or even then. The ex-Soviets suffered during the following struggle in the 1990s with a significant death toll and the loss of national pride. Might we say “Twice the pride, double the fall”? Nope. The American standard of living is one of the highest, far more than double of the Soviets while having added a services economy that will be gone along with the financial system. When pensioners see their retirement disappear in front of their eyes and there are no servicing jobs you can imagine what is going to happen next. At least younger people can migrate. Never in human history were so many elders among the population. In past centuries people were lucky to get to their 30s or 40s. The American downfall is set to be far worse than the Soviet Union’s one. A confluence of crisis with a devastating result. The Demographic crisis in the former Soviet Union countries has extended for over two decades, if we accept that it ended early in this decade (2010s). The demographic crisis will hit the World in the near future and is projected to last between three and eight decades more or less depending on technological breakthrough and environmental issues. The aftermath is more likely a frozen picture with the population numbers staying the same for a very, very long period of time. The countries forecast population numbers do reflect birth/deaths but also migratory movements. Many countries are going to increase their gross population due to immigration while their native population may shrink. Over the past two thousand years we have witnessed the Western civilization built around the Mediterranean Sea shifting to Northern Europe and then by the mid 20th century shifting to an Atlantic axis to finally get centered into the States in the past 30 years. The next move will see the civilization being centered in Asia with Russia and China on top. Historically a change in the economic paradigm has resulted in a death toll that is rarely highlighted by mainstream historians. When the transition from rural areas to large cities happened in Europe many people unable to accept the new paradigm killed themselves. They killed themselves by a psychological factor. This is not mainstream but it is true. A new crisis joins old, well known patterns with new ones. Sorry to disappoint many of you with our forecast. It is getting worse and worse every year since the beginning of the pre-crisis in 2007. It is already said that this website is non-profit, built on spare time and we provide our information and services AS IS without further explanations and/or guarantees. We are not linked to any government in any way, shape or form. We are not a death or satanic cult or arms dealers as some BS is floating around the internet on this topic. Take into account that the forecast is nothing more than a model whether flawed or correct. It is not God’s word or a magic device that allows to foresee the future. Sunday, October 26th, 2014

The United States isn’t the only country for which Deagle.com has a dire forecast. Here are some other countries that will experience drastic population losses:

  1. United Kingdom: From 63,740,000 to 22,570,600
  2. Germany: From 80,990,000 to 48,123,620.
  3. Italy: 61,680,000 to 45,526,880.
  4. France: 66,260,000 to 43,548,080.
  5. Ireland: 4,830,000 to 1,506,920.
  6. Greece: 10,770,000 to 3,295,240
  7. Netherlands: 16,880,000 to 10,483,760
  8. Spain: 47,740,000 to 25,745,560
  9. Poland: 38,350,000 to 35,329,520
  10. Israel: 7,820,000 to 2,856,300
  11. Russia: 142,470,000 to 136,979,080
  12. Canada: 34,830,000 to 24,594,680
  13. Japan: 127,100,000 to 46,640,420.
  14. Taiwan: 23,360,000 to 15,431,900
  15. Australia: 22,510,000 to 8,882,220
  16. New Zealand: 4,400,000 to 3,398,200

Countries that will increase in population include:

  1. China: 1,350,000,000 to 1,360,720,000
  2. India: 1,240,000,000 to 1,357,200,000
  3. Indonesia: 253,610,000 to 269,846,400
  4. Pakistan: 196,170,000 to 222,018,120
  5. Brazil: 202,660,000 to 217,859,380
  6. Argentina: 43,020,000 to 44,104,700
  7. Colombia: 46,240,000 to 49,759,520
  8. Iran: 80,840,000 to 83,357,560

To see Deagle.com’s 2025 forecasts for all 182 countries, go here. Silver Doctors writes: “I leave it up to the reader to decide whether or not this is a legitimate forecast from a legitimate organization. […] But, having said that, I have 100% conviction that the U.S. is heading toward a devastating financial and economic collapse that will trigger massive social upheaval and civil unrest. What just happened in Baltimore is small taste of what that will look like.”

UPDATE (May 8, 2015):

Here are my critique and analysis:

  1. Deagle.com’s flawed data: The website itself admits that governments, including the U.S. government, lie about their economic statistics. And yet Deagle.com says “most” of its data come from public information sources that include USG and other governments.
  2. Deagle.com’s faux numerical precision: Despite its flawed data, the website manages to make forecasts 10 years into the future with numerical precision of specific population numbers and GDPs in exact dollar amounts.
  3. There does not appear to be a discernible logic for the order of countries in Deagle.com’s list of 182 countries in 2025. The countries are arranged neither alphabetically, nor geographically (by region or continent), nor by their fortunes (decline or improvement), nor by the severity of their projected decline.
  4. If one assumes that the economic collapse of the U.S. dollar and of the U.S. economy would be the trigger event, that could explain why other western countries (Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand) and Japan would also decline. But why would China, whose economy is so dependent on the U.S. market for its exports, be exempt from the predicted precipitous decline, but instead is predicted to have a population increase of 10.72 million and only a slight $466 decrease in its PPP (from $12,900 to $12,566? That makes no sense.
  5. Making even less sense is that present-day 4th-world countries like Burkina Faso in Africa is projected to increase its population from 18,360,000 to 18,402,380, and its PPP from $1,700 to $1,841.

~StMA

China builds military base on offshore island to reclaim contested Senkakus

At the end of the Ryukyu archipelago in the East China Sea is a cluster of small islands called Senkaku by the Japanese and Diaoyutai by the Chinese, the ownership of which is contested by Beijing and Tokyo. The waters surrounding the islets are believed to contain sub-soil oil and natural gas deposits.

On November 24, 2013, China made a bold move toward its claim by declaring an East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) that includes the air space over the contested islands.

At first, the United States appeared to challenge China’s ADIZ by flying B-52 bombers over the area. Two days later, China demonstrated its resolve by sending warplanes into the ADIZ. The Obama administration then backed off, told U.S. commercial airlines to abide by China’s rules in the ADIZ, then seemed to signal that the U.S. would accept China’s ADIZ in the East China Sea although the U.S. official position is that it does not recognize the Chinese air defense zone as it covers large areas of international airspace and waters.

Now China has made another move to reclaim the islands.

China vs. Japan ADIZs

Bill Gertz reports for The Washington Free Beacon, Jan. 27, 2015, that recent satellite photos of an island off the coast of China confirm Beijing’s buildup of military forces within attack range of the Senkaku islands.

In October 2014, construction of a helicopter base on Nanji Island was observed by a commercial spy satellite. The island is off the coast of China’s Zhejiang province—some 186 miles northwest of the Senkakus. The imagery, obtained from the Airbus Defense and Space-owned Pleaides satellite, reveals China is constructing an airfield with 10 landing pads for helicopters on Nanji Island.

Click images below to enlarge

Nanji1Nanji2Military analysts say the new military base on Nanji Island appears to be preparation by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army for an attack or seizure of the Senkakus. Rick Fisher, a senior fellow with the International Assessment and Strategy Center, said:

“China’s new heli-base on Nanji Island demonstrates that the PLA is preparing for an offensive military operation against the Senkaku/Daiyoutai Islands. If you want to rate the level of tension, this is the PLA reaching for its holster. When forces start deploying to Nanji Island, that means the hammer is cocked.

The military buildup on Nanji was first disclosed by Japan’s Kyodo News Service last month. Kyodo, quoting Chinese sources, said a landing strip was being built. However, the satellite photos, reported last week by IHS trade publication Jane’s Defence Weekly, did not indicate construction of an airstrip, only helicopter landing pads. The helicopter base construction is new because photos taken earlier than October 2013 do not show any visible construction. In addition to the helicopter pads, wind turbines on a ridge on the southeast part of Nanji also are visible additions to the island. Radar and communications equipment also is visible. The helicopter pads are an indication that China plans to use the base for transporting troops and forces by helicopter and not for longer-range air transports or fighter jets.

China has been engaged in a tense confrontation with Japan over the Senkakus since 2012, when Tokyo, in a bid to clarify the status of the uninhabited islands, purchased three of the islands from private owners in a bid to prevent Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara from buying them. Since then, Chinese ships and warplanes, as well as unmanned surveillance drones, have been flying close to the islands, prompting numerous Japanese maritime and aerial intercepts.

Yang Yujun

Yang Yujun

China’s Defense Ministry did not dispute the military buildup on Nanji.

On Dec. 25, 2014, at the same time as he called Japanese news reports of the construction on Nanji “irresponsible,” Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman PLA Sr. Col. Yang Yujun told reporters in Beijing that “There is no doubt that China has the right to conduct activities and construction on its own territory. Some media in Japan make irresponsible speculations on China’s legitimate activities and construction and play up tensions in the region. It is pure media hype.”

Questions were raised during the discussion with Yang as to whether the buildup is part of China’s declaration of an air defense identification zone over the East China Sea that covers the Senkakus.

Retired PLA Maj. Gen. Xu Guangyu, a senior adviser at China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, a Beijing-based research group, told Singapore’s Today newspaper on Dec. 23, that the Nanji military construction was “normal” and that “China has military bases in several strategically important coastal islands and the Nanji is one of them. The Japanese media is only singling out the Nanji and making a big fuss, [and] this can be misleading.”

Jane’s said the Nanji construction appears to be part of a “quiet military buildup around the Senkaku/Daioyu islands by both sides. For its part, Japan is putting aside funds to buy land for a coastal surveillance radar unit on Yonaguni island, which is the westernmost of its islands and only 150 kilometers from the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands, while it is also training up and kitting out a small marine corps-style force that will be based in Nagasaki.”

The lack of an airfield is a “gap” in Chinese plans for military operations against the Senkakus, Jane’s said. The closest PLA air base to the Senkakus currently is located at Luqiao, some 236 miles from the Senkakus, where J-10 fighters are based.

Fisher, however, said Nanji could be used by the PLA to base its large Zubr air-cushioned hovercraft that are capable of moving troops and tanks in a takeover of the Senkakus or an assault against Taiwan.

A Japanese Embassy spokesman declined to comment on the Chinese military construction: “We are in the process of gathering information on this, and thus not able to comment.” A Pentagon spokesman did not respond to an email request for comment.

Note: The United States has a mutual defense treaty with Japan, and a Congressional act with the Republic of China on Taiwan called the Taiwan Relations Act (1979), wherein the U.S. states it is committed to the maintenance of peace and security in the Western Pacific (which includes the Taiwan Strait).

See also:

~StMA

China expands maritime reconnaissance-strike capabilities to undermine Japan and U.S. power

China maritime reconnaissance

Below is the Introduction to Ian Easton’s monograph for the Japan Institute of International Affairs, China’s Evolving Reconnaissance-Strike Capabilities: Implications for the U.S.-Japan Alliance, February 2014. Easton is a research fellow at the Project 2049 Institute in Arlington, VA.

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is investing considerable resources into a military architecture that has the potential to alter the strategic fabric of the Western Pacific region. This includes the development of multiple redundant sensor capabilities for monitoring a vast maritime domain extending off of China’s coastline and deep into the Pacific. China’s expanding reconnaissance infrastructure is designed to support an array of precision strike capabilities for targeting ships at sea, command and control nodes, air bases, ports, and other critical facilities. The purpose of these reconnaissance-strike capabilities is to undermine the Unites States military’s ability to project power into the region during periods of crisis or conflict to meet its security commitments to its allies and coalition partners.

How China’s reconnaissance-strike capabilities develop in the years ahead will be a key determinant influencing the evolution of regional stability. Indeed, China’s ability to hold strategic assets at risk in times of conflict with conventionally armed projectiles will challenge the security of Beijing’s maritime neighbors to a far greater degree than its development of aircraft carriers or other traditional ship or aircraft platforms. Precision strike assets such as modern ballistic and cruise missiles based on road mobile launchers are exceedingly difficult to defend against and inherently destabilizing. However, China’s weapons systems are not invulnerable to countermeasures that could be fielded in the years ahead.

Japan is one of the countries that will be most directly impacted by China’s evolving reconnaissance-strike capabilities. Both Tokyo and Beijing are deeply distrustful of the others’ intentions due to a long list of historical grievances, and, more recently, the two sides have seen a sharp downturn in their relationship due to a territorial dispute in the East China Sea. To minimize the potential for conflict erupting, it will be important for Japan and the United States to strengthen their alliance as a stabilizing force to balance against China’s growing military power. Given the budgetary constraints facing the American military, wise investments and a more “normal” Japanese force posture will be essential to keep the region peaceful as China becomes more militarily capable.

This paper will examine China’s emerging reconnaissance-strike capabilities and discuss their implications for the U.S.-Japan alliance. It will begin by describing China’s increasing capabilities, and explain why they would be destabilizing to regional security if left unchecked. Next, this paper will explore efforts currently underway in China to assure its capacity to acquire, track and target adversaries’ naval and air operations. Then it will assess capability gaps in the Japanese and American militaries that create vulnerabilities China could exploit to undermine the defensive utility of the alliance. Finally, this paper will conclude with a brief set of recommendations on countermeasures that Tokyo and Washington could take to assure the defense of Japan in the years ahead.

Omitted by Easton is the fact that China’s enhanced maritime reconnaissance-strike capabilities will also negatively affect the security of Taiwan, as well as impede the United States military’s power projection in the event of a China-Taiwan conflict.

Read the rest of Easton’s 31-page monograph here.

See also:

~StMA

Dir. of U.S. Navy Intelligence sacked for warning about China’s aggressive designs in East China Sea

Capt. James FanellCapt. James Fanell

In February of this year, at the U.S. Naval Institute’s WEST 2014 conference, Capt. James Fanell, 52, the director of intelligence and information operations at U.S. Pacific Fleet, said that the Chinese Navy was practicing for a “short sharp war” against Japan.

According to Fanell, the PLA Navy had been carrying out amphibious assault drills to practice taking territory in the East China Sea, specifically the Senkaku or Diaoyu islands that are claimed by both Japan and China. Once the uninhabited islands come under Chinese control, the PLA could then attack Okinawa to remove the facilities of the US Air Force and Marine Corps from the island. (See my post “U.S. Navy intelligence chief: China training for a quick war against Japan”)

Fanell also stated that China is at the center of virtually every maritime territorial dispute in the Asia-Pacific and that the Chinese were engaging in a blatant land-grab of islands that would enhance their exclusive economic rights to fishing and natural resources.

“I do not know how Chinese intentions could be more transparent,” he said, adding that when Beijing described its activities as the “protection of maritime rights,” this was really “a Chinese euphemism for the coerced seizure of coastal rights of China’s neighbors.”

Now comes news that Captain Fanell has been removed from his position as director of Navy Intelligence by Pacific Fleet (PACFLT) boss Adm. Harry Harris and reassigned within the command.

David Larter reports for Navy Times, Nov. 10, 2014, that Capt. Fanell’s remarks about China preparing for a “short sharp war” with Japan ran counter to the Pentagon’s talking points on building ties to the increasingly assertive Chinese navy, which forced top defense officials, including the 4-star head of the Army and the Pentagon spokesman, to respond to his comment in the following days.

PACFLT did not disclose the relief, saying that Fanell was not a commanding officer and therefore was entitled to increased privacy. “It is inappropriate to publicly discuss the internal reassignment of non-command triad personnel,” PACFLT said in an Nov. 7 statement.

The reasons for Fanell’s firing are cloudy, but two sources said the relief stems from alleged mishandling of classified information and fostering a negative command climate. Capt. Darryn James, top spokesman for PACFLT, declined to say whether Fanell’s relief was related to his controversial views, citing privacy concerns.

Fanell’s relief is the latest turmoil in the Navy’s intelligence community, and has raised questions about whether an intel officer was cashiered for publicly voicing a view that contradicted Pentagon public statements.

Fanell’s views have supporters inside naval intelligence, and he has become a high-profile spokesman for a more alarmist view of the rise of China than those espoused by Navy senior leadership, an intelligence source who spoke to Navy Times said. Fanell’s articles on China have been published by Hoover Digest, Naval Intelligence Professionals Quarterly and the U. S. Naval Institute’s Proceedings.

But his public remarks stirred a major controversy and forced both the Pentagon’s top spokesman and members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to repudiate his comments.

John Kirby

John Kirby

Pentagon Press Secretary and Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters that Fanell’s comments were his to express and that they weren’t reflective of the organization’s stance on China: “What I can tell you about what [Defense] Secretary [Chuck] Hagel believes is that we all continue to believe that the peaceful, prosperous rise of China is a good thing for the region, for the world.”

Ray Odierno

Ray Odierno

Fanell’s comments in early 2014 came at an awkward time, coinciding with Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno‘s trip to Beijing in February, when he was asked by a reporter to respond to Fanell’s analysis. Odierno said, “I’ve seen no indications of that at all,” referring to Fanell’s analysis that China was preparing for war with Japan.

The comments also ran contrary to the messaging from Adm. Jon Greenert, who has made engagement with China one of

Jonathan Greenert

Jonathan Greenert

the hallmarks of his time as chief of naval operations. Later in 2014, Greenert stated that talking openly of war with China — and a Chinese war with Japan would almost certainly trigger a war with the U.S. — was unnecessarily antagonistic. “If you talk about it openly, you cross the line and unnecessarily antagonize,” Greenert said at a forum in Newport, Rhode Island. “You probably have a sense about how much we trade with that country. It’s astounding. ”

Fanell is a California native and nearly 29-year career intelligence officer commissioned in 1986. He was responsible for damage assessments for Pacific Fleet during operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield. He served as a China maritime watch officer at Joint Intelligence Center Pacific in 1991, and served on board the carriers Kitty Hawk, Carl Vinson, as well as the amphibious command ship Blue Ridge.

He has been reassigned as an aid to Rear Adm. Randy Crites, head of the maritime headquarters at PACFLT.

See also:

~StMA