Tag Archives: James Fanell

PLA officer says China must establish Air Defense Identification Zone in South China Sea

On Nov. 23, 2013, China announced that it had set up an East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) that includes the Japan-held Senkaku Islands, which Chinese call Diaoyutai and over which China also claims ownership.

China-Japan ADIZs

On Feb. 2, 2014, in a Foreign Ministry press release, Beijing dismissed Japanese media reports that said China was preparing to establish a South China Sea ADIZ, but seemed to leave open the possibility that China might do so in the future.

Beijing claims ownership of islands in the South China Sea, which is contested by a number of countries, including Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Brunei, and Taiwan.

South China Sea

However, 19 days later on Feb. 21, 2014, a senior researcher and officer in China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) said that establishing an ADIZ in the South China Sea is essential to China’s national interest.

Reuters reports that Senior Colonel Li Jie, a researcher at the PLA Navy’s Military Academy and frequent media commentator, said “The establishment of another ADIZ over the South China Sea is necessary for China’s long-term national interest.”

Li’s remark came in the context of a discussion about remarks made by U.S. Captain James Fanell, director of intelligence and information operations at the US Pacific Fleet. As The Diplomat reported, at a recent U.S. Naval Institute conference Capt. Fanell said that the PLA had held a drill to practice defeating Japan’s Maritime Self Defense Forces in the East China Sea as a prelude to seizing the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands. Fanell also predicted that China would establish an ADIZ in the South China Sea by 2015 at the latest.

See “Dir. of US Navy Intelligence: Chinese Navy in drills to take Senkaku and invade Okinawa.”

Col. Li characterized Fanell’s remark as America’s attempt to deter China from establishing a South China Sea ADIZ.

The Pentagon quickly distanced itself from Fanell’s remarks, with Pentagon spokesperson Rear Admiral John Kirby saying that “those were his views to express. What I can tell you about what Secretary 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.  We continue to want to improve our bilateral military relations with China.” Blah. Blah. Blah.

See also:

~StMA

Dir. of US Navy Intelligence: Chinese Navy in drills to take Senkaku and invade Okinawa

3 ADIZs

From Taiwan’s Want China Times of April 15, 2014:

China has the ability to deploy 2,000 troops to the disputed Diaoyutai islands (Diaoyu to China, Senkaku to Japan) in just five hours using its four Zubr-class air-cushioned landing craft purchased from Russia, according to an Apr. 2 report in the Wall Street Journal.

A Zubr-class landing craft. (Internet photo)

A Zubr-class landing craft

Although Lieutenant General John Wissler, the commanding general of the US Marine Corps in Okinawa, says that the United States is capable of wiping out invading Chinese forces without mobilizing ground forces, Western military experts have begun to question whether Washington and Tokyo are capable of defending Okinawa from a potential PLA invasion.

A single Zubr-class landing craft can transport 500 soldiers and 150 tonnes of equipment.

The Bell Boeing MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, deployed by the US in Okinawa, is four times faster than the Zubr-class landing craft; however, it would still be unable to stop a full-scale Chinese invasion of the islands because a single tiltrotor aircraft is only able to carry 24 combat personnel and six tonnes of equipment, according to the paper.

According to the Tokyo-based Diplomat magazine, if the islands were to be taken by the PLA, the next likely step would be for China to launch another invasion against Okinawa.

James Fanell, director of the US Navy’s Intelligence and Information Operations told the magazine that the PLA Navy has been carrying out amphibious assault drills to practice taking territory in the East China Sea in a “short sharp war” against Japan aimed at reasserting their claim over Diaoyutai. If the uninhabited islands came under Chinese control, the PLA could then attack Okinawa to remove the facilities of the US Air Force and Marine Corps from the island, according to Fanell.

Major General Zhu Chenghu, dean of China’s National Defense University, told the state-run Global Times that statements from US secretary of defense Chuck Hagel and Wissler suggest that Washington has decided to side with Tokyo on the issue. “The threat of China has always been used by the United States as an execuse to deploy more of its troops to East Asia,” Zhu said.

Update (Nov. 15, 2014):

Capt. Fanell has been removed from his post as director of Navy Intelligence. See “Dir. of U.S. Navy Intelligence sacked for warning about China’s aggressive plans in East China Sea“.

~StMA