“At what point do you say, ‘Enough is enough’? " P.Noy
- China is holding military drills across the East and South China Seas that may further disrupt domestic air travel and add to tensions with neighbors over territorial disputes in the region.
From Bloomberg News:
China is holding military drills across the East and South China Seas that may further disrupt domestic air travel and add to tensions with neighbors over territorial disputes in the region.
China begins five days of drills in the East China Sea on July 29, the Ministry of National Defense said in a statement on its website. Those exercises, which the ministry called routine, come while China is holding live-fire drills off Beibu Bay, or the Gulf of Tonkin, near Vietnam and drills in the Bohai Strait that both end Aug. 1.
While the scale of the current drills is bigger than in the past, it’s a coincidence the annual exercises are being held at the same time, Beijing News reported today, citing Zhang Junshe, a researcher at Navy Military Research Institute.
President Xi Jinping has been expanding the reach of China’s navy and using the added muscle to more aggressively assert territorial claims in the region. Chinese and Japanese ships regularly tail one another off disputed islands in the East China Sea, while deadly, anti-Chinese riots broke out in Vietnam in May after China set up an oil rig in waters also claimed by that country. The Philippines has sought United Nations arbitration in its maritime spat with China.
China claims much of the South China Sea, which may be rich in energy and mineral deposits, under its “nine dash-line” map first published in 1947, which extends hundreds of miles south from China’s Hainan Island to equatorial waters off the coast of Borneo, taking in some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. In the East China Sea, Japan and China both lay claims to a chain of uninhabited islands known as Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu by the Chinese. The U.S. has said it will come to Japan’s defense in any clash over the islands.
With the current drills “what’s different from the past is that China is doing it in a more high-profile way, which does make China appear to be raising military tensions,” said Suh Jin Young, a professor emeritus of Chinese politics at Seoul’s Korea University. “But in Chinese eyes, the tensions were begun by the U.S. and Japan, and China thinks it’s only conducting what it has been doing annually.”
In a rare sign of military cooperation with the two countries, China is participating along with the U.S. and Japan in the five-week-long Rim of the Pacific Exercise that runs through Aug. 1 in waters off Hawaii. China’s four ships make up the second-biggest naval contingent after the U.S. of the 22 nations taking part.
The current Chinese military activity is having repercussions on the mainland. China Southern Airlines Co. said today that its flights in the eastern part of the country might experience large-scale delays because of “special activities.” Airlines last week were ordered to cut a quarter of their flights at a dozen airports, including two in Shanghai, because of “high frequency exercises,” state media reported on July 22.
Military and civil aviation authorities have taken steps to minimize the impact of the new drills, the ministry said in the statement.
That order was issued a week after the People’s Liberation Army began three months of live-fire drills in six regional military commands, including the one that oversees Shanghai, state-run Xinhua News Agency reported. Some training sessions would be conducted under a “complex electromagnetic environment,” the report said.
The Chinese military controls about 52 percent of the airspace in eastern China, home to the country’s biggest cities of Beijing and Shanghai, according to a 2011 June report by the official China News Service. China’s civil aviation uses about a fifth of available routes within the nation’s airspace, Shi Boli, who heads the department of Air Transportation Regulation at CAAC, said in a 2013 interview.
The Chinese Bully Strategy versus the Philippines
MANILA — President Benigno S. Aquino III called for nations around the world to do more to support the Philippines in resisting China’s assertive claims to the seas near his country, drawing a comparison to the West’s failure to support Czechoslovakia against Hitler’s demands for Czech land in 1938.
Like Czechoslovakia, the Philippines faces demands to surrender territory piecemeal to a much stronger foreign power and needs more robust foreign support for the rule of international law if it is to resist.
“If we say yes to something we believe is wrong now, what guarantee is there that the wrong will not be further exacerbated down the line?” he said. He later added, “At what point do you say, ‘Enough is enough’? Well, the world has to say it — remember that the Sudetenland was given in an attempt to appease Hitler to prevent World War II.” P.Noy
“Since [the standoff], we have begun to take measures to seal and control the areas around the Huangyan Island,” Maj. Gen. Zhang Zhaozhong, of China’s People’s Liberation Army, said in a television interview in May, using the Chinese term for Scarborough. (That there are three different names for the same set of uninhabitable rocks tells you much of what you need to know about the region.) He described a “cabbage strategy,” which entails surrounding a contested area with so many boats — fishermen, fishing administration ships, marine surveillance ships, navy warships — that “the island is thus wrapped layer by layer like a cabbage.”
There can be no question that the cabbage strategy is in effect now at Ayungin and has been at least since May. General Zhang, in his interview several months ago, listed Ren’ai Shoal (the Chinese name for Ayungin) in the P.L.A.’s “series of achievements” in the South China Sea. He had already put it in the win column, even though eight Filipino marines still live there.
General Zhang also seemed to take some pleasure in the strategy. Of taking territory from the Philippines, he said: “We should do more such things in the future. For those small islands, only a few troopers are able to station on each of them, but there is no food or even drinking water there. If we carry out the cabbage strategy, you will not be able to send food and drinking water onto the islands. Without the supply for one or two weeks, the troopers stationed there will leave the islands on their own. Once they have left, they will never be able to come back.”
By Michelle FlorCruz (IBT)
The Shanghai-based news-blog, The Shanghaiist.com, a particularly strident pro-government local newspaper, Weweipo, published a war-mongering article describing the “Six Wars China Is Sure to Fight In the Next 50 Years.”
The article essentially predicts that most of China’s current border disputes will eventually lead to war.
Over the next 50 years, the article expects China to be engaged in war over the following issues:
1. Taiwanese unification (2020-2025)
While China and Taiwan currently have fairly peaceful relations, the mainland continues to strive for “unification.”
2. South China Sea islands (2025-2030)
According to a translation of the original article, as published by StratRisk.com, following the inevitable "return" of Taiwan, “South East Asian countries” will “already be shivering.” This momentum will be the driving force behind negotiations to “reconquer” South China Sea islands like the Spratlys, which neighboring governments like Taiwan, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam all lay claim to.
3. “Southern Tibet" (2035-2040)
Though China and India share a long border along China’s southwest region, a Himalayan area claimed as "southern Tibet" is the main point of contention between the two huge nations. The article suggests that “the best strategy for China is to incite the disintegration of India” by dividing the nation into several smaller countries so “India will have no power to cope with China."
4. East China Sea islands (2040-2045)
Unsurprisingly, the newspaper reaffirms that the East China Sea island groups of Diaoyu and Ryukyu, known in Japan as Senkaku and Okinawa, belong to China. While the article says the conflict won’t take place until 2040, other scholars have estimated that a war between China and Japan, and likely the U.S., could happen sooner.
5. “Outer” Mongolia (2045-2050)
“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,” the article reads.
6. “Recover the territory seized by Russia” (2055-2060)
The article recognizes the current good relations between China and Russia but insists that “China never forgets the lands lost to Russia” in past centuries, adding that “when the chance comes, China will take back the lands.”