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OH YES THEY DID: As Expected, China Installs Weapons Systems on Artificial Islands

U.S. Navy leadership and senior officers from the Chinese People's Liberation Army (Navy) meet for lunch aboard the Chinese destroyer Harbin (DDG 112) marking the conclusion of a U.S.-China counter piracy exercise between Harbin and the guided-missile destroyer USS Mason (DDG 87). Mason is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Gary M. Keen/Released)

The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies said its findings come despite statements by the Chinese leadership that Beijing has no intention to militarize the islands in the strategic trade route, where territory is claimed by several countries.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) –David Brunnstrom reports: China appears to have installed weapons, including anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems, on all seven of the artificial islands it has built in the South China Sea, a U.S. think tank reported on Wednesday, citing new satellite imagery.

“It now seems that these structures are an evolution of point-defense fortifications already constructed at China’s smaller facilities on Gaven, Hughes, Johnson, and Cuarteron reefs.”

The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) at the Center for Strategic and International Studies said its findings come despite statements by the Chinese leadership that Beijing has no intention to militarize the islands in the strategic trade route, where territory is claimed by several countries.

DigitalGlobe overview imagery from June 3rd, 2016 of the Fiery Cross Reef located in the South China Sea. Fiery Cross is located in the western part of the Spratly Islands group. Photo DigitalGlobe via Getty Images.

“These gun and probable CIWS emplacements show that Beijing is serious about defense of its artificial islands in case of an armed contingency in the South China Sea. Among other things, they would be the last line of defense against cruise missiles launched by the United States or others against these soon-to-be-operational air bases.”

AMTI said it had been tracking construction of hexagonal structures on Fiery Cross, Mischief and Subi reefs in the Spratly Islands since June and July. China has already built military length airstrips on these islands.

“This is the first time that we’re confident in saying they are anti-aircraft and CIWS emplacements. We did not know that they had systems this big and this advanced there. This is militarization. The Chinese can argue that it’s only for defensive purposes, but if you are building giant anti-aircraft gun and CIWS emplacements, it means that you are prepping for a future conflict.”

“It now seems that these structures are an evolution of point-defense fortifications already constructed at China’s smaller facilities on Gaven, Hughes, Johnson, and Cuarteron reefs,” it said citing images taken in November and made available to Reuters.

“This model has gone through another evolution at (the) much-larger bases on Fiery Cross, Subi and Mischief reefs.”

Satellite images of Hughes and Gaven reefs showed what appeared to be anti-aircraft guns and what were likely to be close-in weapons systems (CIWS) to protect against cruise missile strikes, it said.

Images from Fiery Cross Reef showed towers that likely contained targeting radar, it said.

AMTI said covers had been installed on the towers at Fiery Cross, but the size of platforms on these and the covers suggested they concealed defense systems similar to those at the smaller reefs.

“These gun and probable CIWS emplacements show that Beijing is serious about defense of its artificial islands in case of an armed contingency in the South China Sea,” it said. Read the rest of this entry »

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OH YES THEY DID: China Cranks Up Incursions Around Disputed Senkaku Islands

Haijing 31239 is the first armed Chinese ship to approach the disputed islands

China has stepped up its incursions around the disputed Senkaku or Diaoyu islands in what Japanese officials claim is a new attempt at changing the status quo in the East China Sea.

Noting a marked shift in China’s behaviour around the islands since last December, a Japanese foreign ministry official said: “The situation in the East China Sea is getting worse.”

The incursions threaten an improving relationship between the two nations since Chinese president Xi Jinping and Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe shook hands in November 2014.

Tension over the group of five uninhabited islands and three barren rocks mounted in September 2012, when the Japanese government — which has administered the islands since 1895 — bought them from a private owner.

Japanese officials fear Beijing is using the shift in international attention towards the South China Sea — where China has been constructing artificial islands — to mount a new push in the waters further north.

Tokyo has formally protested the Chinese actions, which it calls a “forceful, coercive attempt to change the status quo”, but has so far avoided any escalation with countermeasures of its own.

In late December, China sailed an armed vessel into territorial waters around the disputed islands for the first time.

Sailing with three other Chinese vessels, a former naval frigate converted for coastguard use but carrying four quick-firing 37mm cannon, entered the 24 nautical mile “contiguous zone” around the islands for the first time on December 22, and the 12 nautical mile territorial waters on December 26. Read the rest of this entry »


With a Few Words, Japan Escalates Its Standoff With China in the South China Sea

japan-china-vicenews

Japan isn’t the only one pushing back against China’s expansion in the region.

Jennifer Peters reports: Japan has put its foot down — at least in writing — over China’s attempts to assert greater control of the South China Sea.

In an outline of a defense white paper due to be released at the end of July, Japan calls China’s efforts to lay claim to the much-disputed Spratly Islands “high handed.” The diplomatically sharp words come in the wake of China’s reclamation efforts of the islands, which have included laying the foundations of a military base on Fiery Cross Reef at the western edge of a part of the South China Sea fittingly named Dangerous Ground.

“The Chinese take kind of a Leninist approach to these things,” Currie said. “They probe with the bayonet until they hit steel, and then they’ll stop. When they start to see that people are serious about pushing back, then they will back off a bit.”

Over the past year and a half, China has built up seven reefs in the region, adding 800 hectares — about three square miles — to islands and putting an airstrip and the beginnings of the base on Fiery Cross Reef. China has claimed that its structures in the South China Sea are for civilian purposes — or at most for a defensive military role — and would benefit other countries. But Japan’s fight with China over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea has seemingly left them wary of Beijing’s intentions.

A Japanese patrol plane, pictured in 2011, flying over the disputed islands in the East China Sea.

A Japanese patrol plane flying over the disputed islands in the East China Sea. Japan Pool, via Jiji Press

“The US plays a unique role, because it’s not an Asian nation, as a relatively distant and disinterested outsider there. The interest we have is not territorial, it’s not to benefit ourselves in any way other than maintaining this open trade order that we benefit from economically, but not in any of the traditional ways that usually cause war.”

Japan’s decision to act on this wariness so stridently, however, is a recent phenomenon. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been pushing for legislation that would allow Japan to participate in collective self-defense for the first time since World War II.

[Related: China Goes on the Offensive in the South China Sea]

“[This is] a shift that’s been coming,” Kelley Currie, a senior fellow with the Project 2049 Institute, told VICE News. “The language is definitely stronger, and the whole effort around reinterpretation to the self-defense constitution has been a response to the multi-year trend of the Chinese being more aggressive and pushing their military advantage in the region.”

Japan's Self-Defense Force honor guards prepare for a welcoming ceremony of new Defence Minister Gen Nakatani in Tokyo on December 25, 2014. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe promised December 24 at the start of his new term to revive Japan's economy so he can pursue "powerful diplomacy", but China's state media warned him to be wary about changing the pacifist constitution.  AFP PHOTO / KAZUHIRO NOGI        (Photo credit should read KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images)

China’s state media warned Abe to be wary about changing the pacifist constitution. AFP PHOTO / KAZUHIRO NOGI 

“China is actually very worried about Japan and how far Japan might go.”

— Michael Auslin, resident scholar and director of Japan Studies for the American Enterprise Institute

Japan isn’t the only one pushing back against China’s expansion in the region. The Philippines is taking China to court over territorial claims to the South China Sea, with top Filipino officials appearing at The Hague to argue their case before a United Nations arbitral tribunal. China has called it a “political provocation.”

[Read the full text here, at VICE News]

“The Chinese take kind of a Leninist approach to these things,” Currie said. “They probe with the bayonet until they hit steel, and then they’ll stop. When they start to see that people are serious about pushing back, then they will back off a bit.”

Other than the United States, Japan is the only nation that can truly challenge China in the region militarily. Read the rest of this entry »


ゴジラ!Godzilla Resurrected as Kabukicho Tourism Ambassador

Godzilla

The Yomiuri Shimbun reports: Godzilla is playing a leading role again — this time as a tourist attraction in the Kabukicho district of Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo, where the monster is working to resurrect the area’s reputation as a film hub.

“The 12-meter-high Godzilla head is a centerpiece of the building. The sculpture is installed 52 meters above ground level — matching the height of the original monster that appeared in the first film in 1954.”

The 30-story Shinjuku Toho building opened Friday in Kabukicho on the site of the former Shinjuku Koma Stadium theater. Thanks to the installation of a colossal sculpture of Godzilla’s head, the monster himself appears to be hovering over a terrace on the eighth floor. The new building houses a fancy movie theater and a hotel with rooms from which Godzilla can be observed close-up.

Kabukicho shopkeepers, restaurant owners and other business operators expect the new building to help reinvigorate the district as a center for cinema lovers. “We’ll do our best to make Kabukicho a safe, secure place,” said Mototsugu Katagiri, the 66-year-old head of the district’s commerce association, at a dedication ceremony Thursday.

The Yomiuri ShimbunAn aerial photograph of the Shinjuku Toho building constructed on the site of the former Shinjuku Koma Stadium theater

The Yomiuri Shimbun – An aerial photograph of the Shinjuku Toho building constructed on the site of the former Shinjuku Koma Stadium theater

Kabukicho was formerly home to more than a dozen movie theaters, but that number has dwindled as fewer people have been going to the cinema. Shinjuku Milano Theater was shuttered at the end of last year, leaving the district without a single movie house.

The Shinjuku Toho building was constructed on the site of the former Shinjuku Koma Stadium theater, which closed in 2008. The new facility features a hotel and a movie complex.

With 12 screens and 2,347 seats, Toho Cinemas Shinjuku occupies the third to sixth floors. The theater features deluxe seats equipped with marble tray tables and power recliners. Read the rest of this entry »


Japan is Paying to Have Japanese-Language Nonfiction Books Translated into English

JBOOKS

Government opens another front in public relations battle with China, South Korea

TOKYO— Peter Landers writes: Japan’s government is paying to have Japanese-language nonfiction books translated into English, with the first works to be produced under the program arriving in American libraries this month.

“Japan is among the top nations in the world in terms of books published, but unfortunately, they’re just published in Japanese. If they were known around the world, there are a lot of books that people would find really interesting.”

The move is one of several nontraditional public-relations steps by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration, which is trying to enhance Japan’s profile among U.S. opinion leaders and the general public as it engages in a public relations battle with China and South Korea.

“Some efforts have been overtly political. South Korea has created a website in seven languages to make its case that two islets claimed by both Tokyo and Seoul rightly belong to South Korea, and last year sponsored an exhibit in France on forced prostitution by the Japanese military during World War II.”

Japan’s foreign ministry has boosted its public diplomacy budget. Measures include spending $5 million to fund a professorship in Japanese politics and foreign policy at Columbia University. Another program, begun last year, sends Japanese people from various walks of life to places like Lawrence, Kan., and Lexington, Ky., to talk about life in Japan.

The books translated into English with Japanese government funds will carry the imprint “Japan Library” and be published by the government itself—a different approach from that of some other nations that subsidize private translations. Read the rest of this entry »


Hammer Cocked: Satellite Photos Reveal China Military Buildup on Island Near Senkakus

Chinese-military121025

 reports: Recent satellite photos of an island off the coast of China confirm Beijing’s buildup of military forces within attack range of Japan’s Senkaku 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.”

— Rick Fisher, a senior fellow with the International Assessment and Strategy Center

Construction of a helicopter base on Nanji Island was observed by a commercial spy satellite in October. The island is off the coast of Zhejiang province—some 186 miles northwest of the Senkakus, a group of resource-rich islets China calls the Diaoyu Islands.

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.

The Pléiades system was designed under the French-Italian ORFEO program (Optical & Radar Federated Earth Observation) between 2001 and 2003

The Pléiades system was designed under the French-Italian ORFEO program (Optical & Radar Federated Earth Observation) between 2001 and 2003

Military analysts said the new military base appears to be preparation by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army for an attack or seizure of the Senkakus.

“China’s new heli-base on Nanji Island demonstrates that the PLA is preparing for an offensive military operation against the Senkaku/Daiyoutai Islands,” said Rick Fisher, a senior fellow with the International Assessment and Strategy Center.

“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.”

© CNES (2014), Distribution Airbus DS / Spot Image / IHS

© CNES (2014), Distribution Airbus DS / Spot Image / IHS

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 Jane’s Defence Weekly, a trade publication, did not indicate construction of an airstrip, only helicopter landing pads. 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.

Jane’s reported the helicopter base construction is new. The construction is not visible in photos taken earlier than October 2013.

Google Earth screenshot

Google Earth screenshot

Wind turbines also are visible additions to the island that are located on a ridge on the southeast part of the island. Radar and communications equipment also is visible.

China’s Defense Ministry did not dispute the military buildup on Nanji. Read the rest of this entry »


Japan’s Defense Ministry Asks for Record Budget Increase in Response to China’s Heightened Military Aggression

A Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force Type 90 armored tank fires during an annual training session near Mount Fuji in Gotemba, west of Tokyo, Aug. 19, 2014. Reuters
A Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force Type 90 armored tank fires during an annual training session near Mount Fuji in Gotemba, west of Tokyo, Aug. 19, 2014.  – Reuters

TOKYO—Took Sekiguchi reports: Japan’s Defense Ministry has requested a budget of ¥4.899 trillion ($47.1 billion) for the coming fiscal year starting April 1, a 2.4% increase over the amount for the current year. If granted, it would be the third year in a row Japan has expanded its military spending following a decade of cuts.

“We have an immediate neighbor whose military expenditures are at least twice as large as Japan’s and second only to the U.S. defense budget.”

— Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

The figure, requested by ministry Friday, doesn’t include spending related to U.S. bases in Japan, or for the purchase of a new government airplane for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. If these items are included, the total budget request would be ¥5.054 trillion, the largest ever for the ministry. It would also come as Mr. Abe continues his program to beef up the country’s defense capabilities.

“So call me a right-wing militarist if you want..”

Citing the continuing need for ocean surveillance amid tensions with China over disputed islands in the East China Sea, the ministry is requesting 20 patrol planes and five patrol helicopters. It is also looking into acquiring an early-warning radar system and aerial drones. Read the rest of this entry »


America Chooses a Navy: Competition with China for the Global Future

USSRonald

George Will writes: Russia’s ongoing dismemberment of Ukraine and the Islamic State’s erasing of Middle Eastern borders have distracted attention from the harassment of U.S. Navy aircraft by Chinese fighter jets over the South China Sea. Beijing calls this sea, and the Yellow and East China seas, the “near seas,” meaning China’s seas. The episodes involving aircraft are relevant to one of Admiral Jonathan Greenert’s multiplying preoccupations — CUES, meaning Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea.

“Cascading dangers are compelling Americans to think afresh about something they prefer not to think about at all — foreign policy.”

This is designed to prevent incendiary accidents, a topic of special interest during this month’s centennial commemorations of the beginning of a war that, ignited by miscalculations, ruined the 20th century. Greenert, chief of naval operations, has carrier-based aircraft flying from the Persian Gulf to targets in Iraq. He is, however, always thinking about the far side of the largest ocean.

su-closeup

One hundred years ago, the principal challenge of world diplomacy, which failed spectacularly, was to peacefully integrate a rising, restless power — Germany — into the international system. Today’s comparable challenge is China. Greenert, who knows well his Chinese counterpart, Admiral Wu Shengli, radiates a serene patience about China. Read the rest of this entry »


China Warns U.S. to Stop Close-in Surveillance

china-su27

BEIJING, Aug. 23 (Xinhua) — Chinese Defense Ministry here on Saturday urged the U.S. side to stop close-in surveillance of China, and create a sound atmosphere for bilateral military ties.drudge-china-distance

The ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said in a statement that one U.S. anti-submarine plane and one patrol aircraft flew to an airspace about 220 kilometers east of China’s Hainan Island to conduct close-in surveillance Tuesday morning, and then a Chinese fighter jet took off to make regular identification and verification.

Commenting on relevant criticism made by the U.S. side, Yang said that was “totally groundless,” as the Chinese pilot, with professional operation, kept the jet within a safe distance from the U.S. aircraft.

ministry-n-d-china

Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun

[Also see – Report: Chinese Su-27 Jet Threatened U.S. Navy Intelligence Aircraft Near Japan]

It was U.S. massive and frequent close-in surveillance of China that endanger the two sides’ air and marine security, and is the root of accidents, he said. Read the rest of this entry »


Report: Chinese Su-27 Jet Threatened U.S. Navy Intelligence Aircraft Near Japan

su-closeup

Defense officials said the Chinese Su-27 interceptor jet flew within 50 feet of the P-8 anti-submarine warfare jet near Japan

 reports: A Chinese jet fighter flew dangerously close to a U.S. Navy P-8 anti-submarine warfare aircraft near Japan this week in an encounter that highlights China’s continued aggressiveness in the region.

The P-8, a new, militarized Boeing-737 anti-submarine warfare aircraft, was conducting routine surveillance of the Chinese coast over the East China Sea on Monday when the incident occurred, said U.S. defense officials familiar with reports of the encounter.

3401

In 1991 China purchased an initial batch of 24 SU-27s for about $1 billion which were delivered in late 1992 and based at Wuhu Air Base, 250 kilometers west of Shanghai. In May 1995 China purchased a second batch of 24 SU-27 aircraft through Russia’s main state-run arms exporting company Rosvooruzheniye.

Su-27 profile from fas.orgsu27_01

Codenamed `Flanker’ by NATO, the J-11 [Su-27] is a multi-role fighter bomber and air superiority aircraft which can also be used in the maritime strike role. The Flanker has an operational radius of around 1500 km, and is equipped with an inflight refuelling facility extending their radius by another 500 km.  Although normally configured for conventional operations, the J-11 could provide China with a high-performance nuclear-capable strike aircraft. The acquisition of Su-27, after China had attempted for years to develop the J-10 aircraft with equivalent technology to perform similar functions, demonstrates a lack of confidence in domestic industrial capabilities…(read more)

More from Washington Free Beacon‘s : These were delivered in April 1996 and based at Suixi Air Base in Southern China. The 48 Su-27-type aircraft include 36 one-seat Su-27SK manufactured in Komsomolsk-on-Amur and 12 two-seat Su-27UB manufactured in Irkutsk, worth a total of 1.7 billion dollars.

In 1991 China purchased an initial batch of 24 SU-27s for about $1 billion which were delivered in late 1992 and based at Wuhu Air Base, 250 kilometers west of Shanghai. In May 1995 China purchased a second batch of 24 SU-27 aircraft through Russia’s main state-run arms exporting company Rosvooruzheniye. These were delivered in April 1996 and based at Suixi Air Base in Southern China. The 48 Su-27-type aircraft include 36 one-seat Su-27SK manufactured in Komsomolsk-on-Amur and 12 two-seat Su-27UB manufactured in Irkutsk, worth a total of 1.7 billion dollars. Read the rest of this entry »


Three Chinese Nuclear Missile Submarines Photographed in South China Sea

Three Chinese Type 094 nuclear missile submarines recently in the South China Sea

Three Chinese Type 094 nuclear missile submarines recently in the South China Sea

For the Washington Free Beacon writes: China has deployed three nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarines to a naval base in the South China Sea, according to a recent photo of the vessels that appeared on the Internet.

The three Type 094 missile submarines were photographed at the Yalong Bay naval base on Hainan Island, located at the northern end of the South China Sea.

The submarines appear to be part of China’s plan to begin the first regular sea patrols of nuclear missile submarines.

“This will give China its first credible sea-based nuclear deterrent, probably before the end of 2014.”

Adm. Samuel Locklear, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, voiced concerns about Chinese missile submarines in testimony to the House Armed Services Committee in March.

“China’s advance in submarine capabilities is significant,” Locklear said. “They possess a large and increasingly capable submarine force. China continues the production of ballistic missile submarines. … This will give China its first credible sea-based nuclear deterrent, probably before the end of 2014.”

Disclosure of the strategic submarine deployment comes as China sharply increased tensions over the weekend after one of its naval vessels rammed and sank a Vietnamese fishing boat in disputed waters claimed by both countries in the region. Read the rest of this entry »


The Hammer: How to Stop Putin

stop-putin

The U.S. needs a serious foreign policy

Charles Krauthammer writes:  The president of the Los Angeles World Affairs Council challenges critics of President Obama’s Ukraine policy by saying “What are you going to do, send the 101st Airborne into Crimea?” Not exactly subtle. And rather silly, considering that no one has proposed such a thing.

[Charles Krauthammer is the author of  Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics” Check it out at Amazon]

The alternative to passivity is not war but a serious foreign policy. For the last five years, Obama’s fruitless accommodationism has invited the kind of aggressiveness demonstrated by Iran in Syria, China in the East China Sea, and Russia in Ukraine. But what’s done is done. Put that aside. What is to be done now?

We have three objectives. In ascending order of difficulty: Reassure NATO. Deter further Russian incursion into Ukraine. Reverse the annexation of Crimea.

Reassure NATO:

We’re already sending U.S. aircraft to patrol the airspace of the Baltic states. That’s not enough.

1. Send the chairman of the Joint Chiefs to the Baltics to arrange joint maneuvers.

2. Same for the four NATO countries bordering Ukraine — Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania.

3. Urgently revive the original missile-defense agreements concluded with Poland and the Czech Republic before Obama canceled them unilaterally to appease Russia.

Read the rest of this entry »


Japan Plans Special Force for Island Defense

An amphibious assault vehicle lands during the U.S.-Japan military exercise Iron Fist outside Camp Pendleton in California on Feb. 19. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

An amphibious assault vehicle lands during the U.S.-Japan military exercise Iron Fist outside Camp Pendleton in California on Feb. 19. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

TOKYOYuka Hayashi reports:  Japan plans to establish a 3,000-troop unit specializing in amphibious operations “as swiftly as possible,” the defense minister said, publicly outlining details of the new unit for the first time as tensions with China continue over disputed islands.

“Our nation has numerous remote islands and islands of various sizes, and they give us the basis for our exclusive economic zone that ranks sixth in the world…That makes it important to provide defense for islands over the coming years.”

Japan has undertaken an ambitious project to create a force similar to the U.S. Marine Corps, and Japanese Self-Defense Force Troops have been receiving increasingly frequent training from their U.S. counterparts in the past few years.

A plan to strengthen amphibious capabilities was laid out in Japan’s new defense guidelines released in December. In detailing some of the specifics Sunday, Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said the new force is expected to include units specializing in handling types of equipment currently unfamiliar to Japanese troops, such as amphibious vehicles and the V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft.

Read the rest of this entry »


Chinese military lashes out at Japanese defense documents

Air-Sea Battle and the pivot seem an overreaction to China’s rise, given the number of challenges Beijing already faces.

BEIJING, Dec. 20 (Xinhua) — Chinese military on Friday accused Japan of using the pretext of safeguarding its own national security and regional peace for military expansion.

The Japanese government approved its first national security strategy on Tuesday. Based on it, new defense program guidelines and a mid-term defense buildup plan were also adopted.

“China is firmly opposed to Japan’s relevant actions,” said Defense Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng in a statement.

He said the three documents aimed at playing up the “China’s military threat”, increasing regional tensions and using the pretext of safeguarding Japan’s own national security and regional peace for its military expansion.

On the one hand, Japan claimed that it is a peace-loving country, and that it adheres to a defensive defense policy and will not be a military power. On the other hand, Japan is peddling the so-called “proactive pacifism”, said Geng.

Read the rest of this entry »


Here’s What a Shooting War in the East China Sea Might Look Like

Tensions are escalating as China tries to claim a new zone of airspace authority—which the U.S. promptly ignores. Here’s what to expect if this cold war involving Japan, China, the U.S., and other East Asian nations heats up.
A Taiwan navy Kidd-class destroyer launches a SM-2 surface to air missile during a livefire drill at sea near the east coast of Taiwan on September 26, 2013. Sam Yeh/AFP/Getty Images

A Taiwan navy Kidd-class destroyer launches a SM-2 surface to air missile during a livefire drill at sea near the east coast of Taiwan on September 26, 2013. Sam Yeh/AFP/Getty Images

Joe Pappalardo writes:  This past weekend China escalated tensions in the East China Sea by unilaterally establishing what it calls an Air Defense Identification Zone that includes islands claimed by other nations. China released a map and coordinates of this zone, demanding that any aircraft report to China before entering the airspace, declaring that its armed forces “will adopt defensive emergency measures to respond to aircraft that do not cooperate in the identification or refuse to follow the instructions.”

This posturing got an early test on Monday when the United States flew two B-52s straight through the zone China has claimed, with no response from China. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has said the flight, which took off from Guam, was part of a prescheduled exercise. But it seems clear that the U.S. is also sending a message that it won’t respect such a claim. “We view this development as a destabilizing attempt to alter the status quo in the region,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said this weekend. “This unilateral action increases the risk of misunderstanding and miscalculations.”

Read the rest of this entry »


Analysis: In the East China Sea, Three Broader Policy Lessons for America

U.S. Navy exercises last week in the South China Sea (Naval Surface Forces)

U.S. Navy exercises last week in the South China Sea (Naval Surface Forces)

Tom Rogan writes: When America and China have a falling out, the world tends to take notice.

That’s no surprise, of course. This relationship doesn’t just shape the interests of two nations; it heavily influences the economic, military, and political trajectory of the world. Indeed, because of this reality, the prospective consequences of a serious U.S.-Chinese dispute actually help decrease the likelihood of such a dispute’s occurring.

Still, I think there are three lessons that we can take from the present crisis.

1. In order to be real, American power must be projected.

As I suggested earlier this week, it’s very likely that this new ADIZ flowed from China’s desire to test American resolve. Yet even as the Obama administration has (thus far) acted courageously, the very fact that China decided to launch this challenge should be a serious cause for concern.

For all the imagery of American military power — jets shooting off carrier decks, tanks storming across deserts, vast ground deployments abroad — American power isn’t real unless it’s perceived practically. Just as our aircraft carriers cut waves through the sea, those vessels also cut waves of geopolitical consequence. This is a truth that we must embrace. In order to positively influence American foes and consolidate American friends, the United States must apply its power without apology.

Read the rest of this entry »


Air Chess: China Patrols Air Zone Over Disputed Islands

A Japanese patrol plane, pictured in 2011, flying over the disputed islands in the East China Sea.

A Japanese patrol plane, pictured in 2011, flying over the disputed islands in the East China Sea. Japan Pool, via Jiji Press

BEIJING — Jane Perlez and Martin Fackler report:  China sent fighter jets on the first patrols of its new air defense zone over disputed islands in the East China Sea on Thursday, the state news agency, Xinhua, said.

The patrols followed announcements by Japan and South Korea that their military planes had flown through the zone unhindered by China.

The tit-for-tat flights between China on one side and South Korea and Japan on the other heightened the tensions over the East China Sea where China and Japan are at loggerheads over islands they both claim.

The airspace in the new zone announced by China last week overlaps a similar zone declared by Japan more than 40 years ago. Both zones are over the islands known as Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan.

China has said that noncommercial aircraft entering the zone without prior notification would face “defensive emergency measures.”

China would take “relevant measures according to different air threats” to defend the country’s airspace, Xinhua reported.

Read the rest of this entry »


China warns Japan against stationing workers on disputed isles

Vessels from the China Maritime Surveillance and the Japan Coast Guard are seen near disputed islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, in the East China Sea, in this photo taken by Kyodo September 10, 2013. Mandatory Credit. Credit: Reuters/Kyodo

Vessels from the China Maritime Surveillance and the Japan Coast Guard are seen near disputed islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, in the East China Sea, in this photo taken by Kyodo September 10, 2013.  Credit: Reuters/Kyodo

TOKYO/BEIJING (Reuters) – China said it would not tolerate provocation after Japan’s top government spokesman said on Tuesday Japan might station government workers on disputed islands in the East China Sea to defend its sovereignty. Read the rest of this entry »