Tag Archives: Spratlys

China builds artificial island in South China Sea

South China Sea China is stepping up its irredentist claim to ownership of islands in the sub-soil  oil and gas rich South China Sea, by constructing an artificial island in the Spratlys.

Kristine Kwok and Minnie Chan report for Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post, June 7, 2014:

China is looking to expand its biggest installation in the Spratly Islands into a fully formed artificial island, complete with airstrip and sea port, to better project its military strength in the South China Sea, a Chinese scholar and a Chinese navy expert have said.

Chinese artificial island in South China Sea The planned expansion on the disputed Fiery Cross Reef, if approved, would be a further indication of China’s change of tack in handling long-running sovereignty disputes from a defensive stance to an offensive one, analysts said.

They said it was seen as a step to the declaration of an air defence identification zone.

The Philippines last month protested against China’s reclamation activities at nearby Johnson South Reef, site of a 1988 skirmish between the Chinese and Vietnamese navies that was triggered by China’s occupation of Fiery Cross Reef.

With recent developments in the South China Sea having again focused the international spotlight on China, the analysts warned reclamation at the Fiery Cross atoll – which China, the Philippines and Vietnam all claim – would further strain Beijing’s relations with neighbours. South China Sea The proposal to build an artificial island there had been submitted to the central government, said Jin Canrong, a professor of international relations at Renmin University in Beijing.

The artificial island would be at least double the size of the US military base of Diego Garcia, a remote coral atoll occupying an area of 44 square kilometres in the middle of the Indian Ocean, Jin added.

The reef currently houses Chinese-built facilities including an observation post commissioned by Unesco’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission. Li Jie, a naval expert from the Chinese Naval Research Institute, said the expanded island would include the airstrip and port. After the expansion the island would continue to house the observation post and to provide military supplies and assistance, he said.

A retired People’s Liberation Army senior colonel, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the construction of a landing strip on Fiery Cross Reef would allow China to better prepare for the establishment of an air defence identification zone over the South China Sea.

Beijing’s declaration of such a zone over the East China Sea in December prompted concerns among Southeast Asian countries that a similar arrangement could be imposed in the South China Sea.

Fiery Cross Reef, known as Yongshu in China, Kagitingan in the Philippines and Da Chu Thap in Vietnam, is close to sea lanes and could serve as a strategic naval staging post, said Alexander Neill, a Shangri-La Dialogue senior fellow.

Jin said consideration of whether and how to go ahead with the Fiery Cross Reef proposal would depend on progress on reclamation at Johnson South Reef. “It’s a very complicated oceanic engineering project, so we need to learn from the experience” on Johnson South, Jin said.

Late last month, renditions of a proposed artificial island were circulated among Chinese media. Citing a report posted on the website of the Shanghai-based China Shipbuilding NDRI Engineering, the Global Times said the unidentified artificial island could include a landing strip and a 5,000-tonne berth.

Zhang Jie, an expert on regional security with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said China had long been researching island reclamation. Institutes and companies had drafted various designs over the past decade, said Zhang, adding that she had attended deliberation of one proposal years ago. “We had the ability to build artificial islands years ago, but we had refrained because we didn’t want to cause too much controversy,” she said.

However, this year had seen a “turning point” in which Beijing appeared to be making more offensive moves in the area, said Zhang, citing the recent deployment of an oil rig to disputed waters near Vietnam.

“Building an artificial island can no doubt provide supplies to ships and oil rigs nearby, but this would also cause very severe negative impacts in the region.” Such moves, she added, would further deepen mistrust among China’s neighbours and cause instability in the region.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Defence in Beijing did not respond to requests for comment.

H/t CODA’s Sol Sanders

See also:

~StMA

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As China-VN relations worsen, U.S. Navy seeks stronger ties with Vietnam

South China Sea

Greg Torode reports for Reuters, May 15, 2014

The U.S. navy renewed calls on Thursday for more ship visits to Vietnam against the backdrop of a dramatic breakdown in relations between Vietnam and its giant neighbor, China.

The Seventh Fleet, which guards U.S. interests in the Pacific, restated its desire for stronger naval ties with Vietnam in a statement sent to Reuters, just as Hanoi looked to be running out of options in its territorial row with Beijing.

Anti-China riots broke out this week in Vietnam, killing more than 20 people and setting fire to factories perceived to have been Chinese-owned, after China towed a giant oil rig into waters claimed by both nations in the South China Sea.

“We are interested in engaging with all our partners in the South China Sea and would welcome increased port visits with Vietnam,” fleet spokesman Commander William Marks said in an emailed response to questions about U.S. naval relations with Vietnam.

The United States and Vietnam have been gradually deepening military ties in the face of what they perceive as Chinese expansion in the South China Sea, but Hanoi has so far limited U.S. port calls to one visit of up to three ships each year.

Vietnamese military officials say they are intensifying talks with U.S. counterparts over deeper naval engagement, but are sensitive to China’s reaction to this development.

“We’re talking to U.S. but it is too early to say how the tensions now will change our approach,” one Vietnamese military source said. “We have a lot to consider.”

Alarmed at China’s military rise and territorial assertiveness, Vietnam has broadened a host of military relationships in recent years, most notably with its Cold War-era patron,Russia, and India.

Vietnamese military officials also keep close ties with the Philippines, which is also locked in a worsening territorial dispute with China in the South China Sea.

China and Vietnam fought a brief but bloody border war in 1979, and clashed at sea in 1988, when China occupied its first holdings in the strategic Spratly islands.

The U.S. navy is also keen for more extensive exercises with Vietnam’s expanding navy, which now includes state-of-the-art Russian-built ships and Kilo-class submarines.

A search-and-rescue exercise off Vietnam’s central coast last year marked the first time ships from the two navies had maneuvered together.

“Any time we can increase the complexity of an exercise, it improves the communication and interoperability between our navies,” Marks said.

“The overall goal is improved security and stability in the region, and working together is a big part of that.”

U.S. military officials said the U.S. navy had not changed deployments due to the Sino-Vietnamese crisis but was conducting daily surveillance flights over the South China Sea.

The Seventh Fleet’s command ship, the USS Blue Ridge, and a destroyer are also currently in the South China Sea.

Carl Thayer, an expert on the Vietnamese military at the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra, said he believed Hanoi should seize any opportunity to expand military engagement with the United States, including intelligence sharing.

“At this point, kissing up to the U.S. has got to be in Vietnam’s long-term interests, as well as being a vital tactic in the short-term,” he said. “It is one of the only options Vietnam’s got right now.”

~StMA

China’s irredentist nationalism and the six wars sure to come

On July 8, 2013, the pro-PRC Chinese-language newspaper, Wenweipo, published an article titled “中國未來50年裡必打的六場戰爭 (Six Wars China Is Sure to Fight In the Next 50 Years)”.

The anticipated six wars are all irredentist in purpose — the reclaiming of what Chinese believe to be national territories lost since Imperial China was defeated by the Brits in the Opium War of 1840-42. That defeat, in the view of Chinese nationalists, began China’s “Hundred Years of Humiliation.” (See Maria Hsia Chang, Return of the Dragon: China’s Wounded Nationalism. Westview, 2001).

Below is the English translation of the article, from a Hong Kong blog, Midnight Express 2046. (The year 2046 is an allusion to what this blog believes will be the last year of Beijing’s “One County, Two Systems” formula for ruling Hong Kong, and “the last year of brilliance of Hong Kong.”)

Midnight Express 2046 (ME2046) believes this article “is quite a good portrait of modern Chinese imperialism.” What ME2046 omits are:

  • the original Chinese-language article identifies the source of the article as 中新網 (ChinaNews.com).
  • The Chinese-language title of the article includes the word bi (), which means “must” or “necessarily” or “surely.” That is why I inserted the word “sure” in the English-language title of the article.

PLAN

The Six Wars [Sure] To Be Fought By China In the Coming 50 Years

September 16, 2013

China is not yet a unified great power. This is a humiliation to the Chinese people, a shame to the children of the Yellow Emperor. For the sake of national unification and dignity, China has to fight six wars in the coming fifty years. Some are regional wars; the others may be total wars. No matter what is the nature, each one of them is inevitable for Chinese unification.

The 1st War: Unification of Taiwan (Year 2020 to 2025)

Though we are enjoying peace on the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, we should not daydream a resolution of peaceful unification from Taiwan administration (no matter it is Chinese Nationalist Party or Democratic Progressive Party). Peaceful unification does not fit their interests while running for elections. Their stance is therefore to keep to status quo (which is favourable to the both parties, each of them can get more bargaining chips) For Taiwan, “independence” is just a mouth talk than a formal declaration, while “unification” is just an issue for negotiation than for real action. The current situation of Taiwan is the source of anxiety to China, since everyone can take the chance to bargain more from China.

China must work out a strategy to unify Taiwan within the next ten years, that is, by 2020. By then, China will have to send an ultimatum to Taiwan, demanding the Taiwanese to choose the resolution of peaceful unification (the most preferred epilogue for the Chinese) or war (an option forced to be so) by 2025. For the purpose of unification, China has to make preparation three to five years earlier. So when the time comes, the Chinese government must act on either option, to give a final answer to the problem.

From the analysis of the current situation, Taiwan is expected to be defiant towards unification, so military action will be the only solution. This war of unification will be the first war under the sense of modern warfare since the establishment of the “New China”. This war will be a test to the development of the People’s Liberation Army in modern warfare. China may win this war easily, or it may turn out to be a difficult one. All depend on the level of intervention of the U.S. and Japan. If the U.S. and Japan play active roles in aiding Taiwan, or even make offensives into Chinese mainland, the war must become a difficult and prolonged total war. On the other hand, if the U.S. and Japan just watch and see, the Chinese army can easily defeat the Taiwanese. In this case, Taiwan can be under control within three months. Even if the U.S. and Japan step in in this stage, the war can be finished within six months.

The 2nd War: “Reconquest” of Spratly Islands (Year 2025 to 2030)

After unification of Taiwan, China will take a rest for two years. During the period of recovery, China will send the ultimatum to countries surrounding the Islands with the deadline of 2028. The countries having disputes on the sovereignty of Islands can negotiate with China on preserving their shares of investments in these Islands by giving up their territorial claims. If not, once China declares war on them, their investments and economic benefits will be taken over by China.

At this moment, the South East Asian countries are already shivering with Chinese military unification of Taiwan. On one hand, they will be sitting by the negotiation table, yet they are reluctant to give up their interests in the Islands. Therefore, they will be taking the wait-and-see attitude and keep delaying to make final decision. They will not decide whether to make peace or go into war until China takes any firm actions. The map below shows the situation of territorial claims over the Spratly Islands. (Map omitted)

Besides, the U.S. will not just sit and watch China “reconquesting” the Islands. In the 1stwar mentioned above, the U.S. may be too late to join the war, or simply unable to stop China from reunifying Taiwan. This should be enough to teach the U.S. a lesson not to confront too openly with China. Still, the U.S. will aid those South East Asian countries, such as Vietnam and the Philippines, under the table. Among the countries surrounding the South China Sea, only Vietnam and the Philippines dare to challenge China’s domination. Still, they will think twice before going into war with China, unless they fail on the negotiation table, and are sure they can gain military support from the U.S.

The best option for China is to attack Vietnam, since Vietnam is the most powerful country in the region. Beating Vietnam can intimidate the rest. While the war with Vietnam goes on, other countries will not move. If Vietnam loses, others will hand their islands back to China. If the opposite, they will declare war on China.

Of course, China will beat Vietnam and take over all the islands. When Vietnam loses the war and its islands, others countries, intimidated by Chinese military power, yet still with greediness to keep their interests, will negotiate with China, returning the islands and declaring allegiance to China. So China can build the ports and place troops on these islands, extending its influence into the Pacific Ocean.

Up till now, China has made a thorough breakthrough of the First Island Chain and infiltrated the Second one, Chinese aircraft carrier can have free access into the Pacific Ocean, safeguarding its own interests.

The 3rd War: “Reconquest” of Southern Tibet (Year 2035 to 2040)

China and India share a long border, but the only sparking point of conflicts between the two countries is only the part of Southern Tibet. China has long been the imaginary enemy of India. The military objective of India is to surpass China. India aims to achieve this by self-development and importing advanced military technologies and weapons from the U.S, Russia and Europe, chasing closely to China in its economic and military development.

In India, the official and media attitude is more friendly towards the U.S, Russia and Europe, and is repellent or even hostile against China. This leads to unresolvable conflicts with China. On the other hand, India values itself highly with the aids from the U.S, Russia and Europe, thinking it can beat China in wars. This is also the reason of long lasting land disputes.

Twenty years later, although India will lag behind more compared to China in military power, yet it is still one of the few world powers. If China uses military force to conquer Southern Tibet, it has to bear some losses. In my opinion, the best strategy for China is to incite the disintegration of India. By dividing into several countries, India will have no power to cope with China.

Of course, such plan may fail. But China should at least try its best to incite Assam province and once conquered Sikkim to gain independence, in order to weaken the power of India. This is the best strategy.

The second best plan is to export advanced weapons to Pakistan, helping Pakistan to conquer Southern Kashmir region in 2035 and to achieve its unification. While India and Pakistan are busy fighting against each other, China should take a Blitz to conquer Southern Tibet, at the time occupied by India.

India will not be able to fight a two front war, and is deemed to lose both. China can retake Southern Tibet easily, while Pakistan can control the whole Kashmir. If this plan cannot be adopted, the worst case is direct military action to take back Southern Tibet.

After the first two wars, China has rested for around ten years, and has become a world power both in terms of military and economy. There will only be the U.S. and Europe (on the condition that it becomes a united country. If not, this will be replaced by Russia. But from my point of view, European integration is quite probable) able to cope with China in the top three list in world power.

After taking back Taiwan and Spratly Islands, China has great leap forward in its military power in army, navy, air force and space warfare. China will be on the leading role in its military power, may be only second to the U.S. Therefore, India will lose this war.

The 4th War: “Reconquest” of Diaoyu Island [Senkaku] and Ryukyu Islands (Year 2040 to 2045)

In the mid-21st century, China emerges as the real world power, accompanied with the decline of Japan and Russia, stagnant U.S. and India and the rise of Central Europe. That will be the best time for China to take back Diaoyu Island and Ryukyu Islands. The map below is the contrast between ancient and recent Diaoyu Island and Ryukyu Islands (map omitted).

Many people may know that Diaoyu Island is the land of China since the ancient times, but have no idea that the Japanese annexed Ryukyu Island (currently named as Okinawa, with U.S. military base). The society and the government of China is misled by the Japanese while they are discussing on the issues of the East China Sea, such as the “middle-line” set by the Japanese or “Okinawa issue” (Ryukyu Islands in Chinese), by coming to think that Ryukyu Islands are the ancient lands of Japan.

What a shame for such ignorance! From the historical records of Chinese, Ryukyu and other countries (including Japan), Ryukyu has long been the vassal states of China since ancient times, which means the islands are the lands of China. In this case, is the “middle line” set by Japan in the East China Sea justified? Does Japan have anything to do with the East China Sea? (Those who have no idea in these details may refer to “Ryukyu: An indispensable part of China since the ancient times” written by me)

The Japanese has robbed our wealth and resources in the East China Sea and unlawfully occupied Diaoyu Island and Ryukyu Islands for many years, the time will come that they have to pay back. At that time, we can expect that the U.S. will be willing to intervene but has weakened; Europe will keep silent; Russia will sit and watch the fight. The war can end within half of a year with overwhelming victory of China. Japan will have no choice but to return Diaoyu Island and Ryukyu Islands to China. East China Sea becomes the inner lake of China. Who dare to put a finger on it?

The 5th War: Unification of Outer Mongolia (Year 2045 to 2050)

Though there are advocates for reunification of Outer Mongolia at the moment, is this idea realistic? Those unrealistic guys in China are just fooling themselves and making a mistake in strategic thinking. This is just no good to the great work of unification of Outer Mongolia.

After taking Taiwan, we should base our territorial claims on the constitution and domain of the Republic of China (some people may raise a question here: why should we base our claims on the constitution and domain of the Republic of China? In such case, isn’t the People’s Republic of China being annexed by the Republic of China? This is a total bullshit. I will say: the People’s Republic of China is China; the Republic of China is China too. As a Chinese, I only believe that unification means power. The way which can protect the Chinese best from foreign aggression is the best way to the Chinese people.

We also need to know that the People’s Republic of China recognizes the independence of Outer Mongolia. Using the constitution and domain of the People’s Republic of China to unify Outer Mongolia is naked aggression. We can only have legitimate cause to military action using the constitution and domain of the Republic of China. What’s more, it is the case after Taiwan being taken over by China. So isn’t it meaningless to argue which entity being unified?). China should raise the issue of unification with Outer Mongolia, and to take propaganda campaigns inside Outer Mongolia. China should also pick the groups advocating the unification, aiding them to take over key posts in their government, and to proclaim Outer Mongolia as the core interests of China upon the settlement of Southern Tibet issue by 2040.

If Outer Mongolia can return to China peacefully, it is the best result of course; but if China meets foreign intervention or resistance, China should be prepared to take military action. Taiwan model can be useful in this case: giving an ultimatum with deadline in the Year 2045. Let Outer Mongolia to consider the case for few years. If they refuse the offer, then military action takes off.

In this moment, the previous four wars have been settles. China has the political, military and diplomatic power to unify Outer Mongolia. The weakened U.S. and Russia dare not to get involved except diplomatic protests; Europe will take a vague role; while India, Africa and Central Asian countries will remain silent. China can dominate Outer Mongolia within three years’ time. After the unification, China will place heavy troops on frontier to monitor Russia. China will take ten years to build up elemental and military infrastructure to prepare for the claim of territorial loss from Russia.

The 6th War: Taking back of lands lost to Russia (Year 2055 to 2060)

The current Sino-Russian relationship seems to be a good one, which is actually a result of no better choice facing the U.S. In reality, the two countries are meticulously monitoring the each other. Russia fears the rise of China threaten its power; while China never forgets the lands lost to Russia. When the chance comes, China will take back the lands lost.

After the victories of the previous five wars by 2050, China will make territorial claims based on the domain of Qing Dynasty (similar way by making use of the domain of the Republic of China to unify Outer Mongolia) and to make propaganda campaigns favoring such claims. Efforts should also be made to disintegrate Russia again.

In the days of “Old China”, Russia has occupied around one hundred and sixty million square kilometre of lands, equivalent to one-sixth of the landmass of current domain of China. Russia is therefore the bitter enemy of China. After the victories of previous five wars, it is the time to make Russians pay their price.

There must be a war with Russia. Though at that time, China has become an advanced power in navy, army, air and space forces, it is nevertheless the first war against a nuclear power. Therefore, China should be well prepared in nuclear weapons, such as the nuclear power to strike Russia from the front stage to the end. When the Chinese army deprives the Russians’ ability to counter strike, they will come to realize that they can no longer match China in the battlefield. They can do nothing but to hand over their occupied lands and to pay a heavy price to their invasions in the past time.