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7 décembre 2015 1 07 /12 /décembre /2015 20:35
H-6K. Photo via Chinese Internet

H-6K. Photo via Chinese Internet

 

December 7, 2015: Strategy Page

 

In late November Chinese media made much of a training exercise over the South China Sea featuring their H-6K bomber. This is the latest version of China’s largest and most capable long range bomber. In the November exercise eight H-6Ks were seen more than a thousand kilometers out to sea and accompanied by electronic warfare aircraft. Four of the H-6Ks flew close to Okinawa and were photographed by Japanese aircraft. This was apparently an effort to demonstrate the Chinese capability to hit targets far from the Chinese mainland, especially American bases in Okinawa and Guam. This was but the latest effort to publicize the H-6K. In March China media heavily covered senior officials visiting airbases where the H-6K was shown off with media allowed to take close up photos of the aircraft, including the cockpit. Apparently that publicity did not do the trick so the November flights were used for emphasis.

 

The H-6K is the latest version of the H-6 and while much is known about it, there had been no pictures of the cockpit, at least none that the public could see, before the March media event. Apparently Western intel agencies had not had a look inside either as there was some buzz in the intel community when the propaganda pictures of the visit showed the inside of the cockpit and the modern (“glass”) cockpit that consisted largely of five flat screen touch displays rather than the older array of many switches and small indicators. These pictures also showed that the H-6K had a new side entry door that could use a stair or a ladder.

 

Since 2011 China has received over twenty of the H-6K. This model only entered service in 2011, after several years of development. The H-6K uses more efficient Russian engines (D30KP2) that give it a range of about 3,500 kilometers. Electronics are state-of-the-art and include a more powerful radar. The fuselage of the bomber has been reinforced with lighter, stronger, composite materials giving it longer range and greater carrying capacity. The rear facing 23mm autocannon has been replaced with electronic warfare equipment. The H-6K can carry six of the two-ton CJ-10A land-attack cruise missiles under its wings and one more in the bomb bay. These appear to have a range of up to 2,000 kilometers, as they are similar to the older Russian Kh-55 (which could be armed with a nuclear warhead). The CJ-10A is sometimes described as a high-speed (2,500 kilometers an hour), solid fuel missile. But that type of missile is a short range (about 300 kilometers) anti-ship system. The CJ-10A appears to be more of a copy of the American Tomahawk (using a much slower jet engine). The CJ-10A can carry a nuclear warhead but usually does not. Armed with these missiles the H6K can attack American bases on Okinawa and Guam with these cruise missiles. The H-6K can also carry up to eight anti-ship missiles, making it a threat to American carriers.

 

There are about a hundred H-6s in service (out of about 200 built). These are Chinese copies of the Russian Tu-16s (about 1,500 built). Although the Tu-16 design is over fifty years old, China has continued to rely on their H-6s as one of their principal bombers. The H-6 is a 78 ton aircraft with a crew of four and two engines. Most models can carry nine tons of bombs and missiles, with the new H-6K able to haul about 12 tons. Most H-6s carry the CJ-10A and C201 missiles, as well as bombs. It does not appear that China is building a lot of H-6Ks, perhaps no more than thirty. The Russians kept their Tu-16s in service until the early 1990s, but China kept improving their H-6 copy. Thus the H-6K is a capable heavy bomber that will apparently be around for another decade or two

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9 novembre 2015 1 09 /11 /novembre /2015 08:35
HMAS Stuart sailors stand at ease on the forecastle as they and HMAS Arunta prepare to come alongside in Zhanjiang, China

HMAS Stuart sailors stand at ease on the forecastle as they and HMAS Arunta prepare to come alongside in Zhanjiang, China

 

4 novembre 2015. Portail des Sous-Marins

 

Plusieurs bâtiments de la marine australiennes, les HMAS Arunta, Stuart et Sirius, ont rencontré en mer de Chine de Sud la frégate française Vendémiaire.

 

Les bâtiments s’étaient donnés rendez-vous le 3 novembre dans les eaux internationales au large du Vietnam.

 

Cette rencontre constituait une occasion pour les marines australienne et française de s’entraîner ensemble et d’améliorer le niveau d’interopérabilité et la connaissance de la situation maritime dans la région.

 

Les 4 bâtiments ont effectué une série d’exercices de routine : manœuvre, opérations de vol en hélicoptère, ravitaillement à la mer avec le Sirius et exercice de tir réel avec des armes de petit calibre sur une cible statique.

 

Le Vendémiaire devrait faire escale à Sydney en décembre. Il vient d’effectuer une escale en Chine, à Zhanjiang du 27 au 30 octobre.

 

Le chef d’état-major de la marine australienne, le vice-amiral David Johnston, a déclaré : « La conduite de ces exercices est une part importante de la construction de bonnes relations. Le Vendémiaire est bien connu dans notre région, l’occasion de s’entraîner avec lui est toujours bénéfique. »

 

Référence : MarineLink (Etats-Unis)

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8 novembre 2015 7 08 /11 /novembre /2015 07:20
Le ministre américain de la Défense met en garde contre un conflit en mer de Chine méridionale

Sec of Defense Ashton Carter photo R. Reagan Foundation

 

08 novembre 2015 Romandie.com (AFP)

 

Simi Valley (Etats-Unis) - Les Etats-Unis sont profondément inquiets d'un risque de conflit en mer de Chine méridionale en raison des revendications territoriales de plusieurs Etats, à commencer par la Chine, a déclaré samedi le secrétaire américain à la Défense, Ashton Carter.

 

Le ministre a également affirmé que Washington adaptait sa posture opérationnelle pour contrer toute agression russe, au cours d'un forum sur les questions de défense au sein de la bibliothèque présidentielle Ronald Reagan située à Simi Valley, en Californie.

 

S'exprimant au terme d'une tournée de huit jours, qui l'a vu rencontrer plusieurs homologues de la région Asie-Pacifique, M. Carter a déclaré que les profondes inquiétudes des Etats-Unis concernant le rythme et la portée des revendications territoriales en mer de Chine méridionale étaient largement partagées dans la région.

 

Ce haut responsable américain s'est dit préoccupé par les perspectives de militarisation accrue, ainsi que par le potentiel qu'ont ces activités d'accroître le risque de mauvais calculs ou de conflit entre les Etats ayant des revendications.

 

La Chine proclame sa souveraineté sur la quasi-totalité de la mer de Chine méridionale, dont certaines zones sont également revendiquées par le Vietnam, la Malaisie, les Philippines et le sultanat de Brunei.

 

Les Etats-Unis ont provoqué le mécontentement de la Chine en faisant croiser le 28 octobre un destroyer américain près d'îlots artificiels mis en place par Pékin dans l'archipel des Spratleys.

 

Le forum Reagan sur la défense nationale réunit chaque année des dizaines de personnalités de la défense des Etats-Unis, y compris des responsables politiques des deux camps, afin d'évoquer la politique américaine dans ce domaine.

 

M. Carter a utilisé cette plateforme pour s'en prendre aux manoeuvres militaires de la Russie.

 

En mer, dans les airs, dans l'espace et dans le cyberespace, les acteurs russes se sont engagés dans des activités provocatrices, a-t-il estimé.

 

Et, plus perturbant, les rodomontades russes autour du nucléaire posent question, selon lui.

 

Nous mettons à jour et perfectionnons nos plans de dissuasion et de défense compte tenu du changement de comportement de la Russie, a dit le chef du Pentagone.

 

Nous adaptons notre posture opérationnelle et nos plans d'urgence dans le travail que nous faisons - nous-mêmes et avec nos alliés - pour dissuader la Russie d'une agression, et pour contribuer à réduire la vulnérabilité de nos alliés et de nos partenaires, a-t-il encore affirmé.

 

M. Carter a précisé que Washington modernisait son arsenal nucléaire et investissait dans des moyens de haute technologie comme les drones, les bombardiers à long rayon d'action, les lasers, les canons électro-magnétiques et la guerre électronique.

 

Il a fait allusion à de nouveaux moyens militaires surprenants, ajoutant qu'il ne pouvait pas vraiment les décrire maintenant.

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3 novembre 2015 2 03 /11 /novembre /2015 13:35
USS Lassen - photo US Navy

USS Lassen - photo US Navy

 

03 novembre 2015 Romandie.com (AFP)

 

Pékin - L'armée américaine poursuivra ses déplacements en mer de Chine méridionale partout où l'y autorise le droit international, a assuré mardi à Pékin un haut responsable du Pentagone, peu après le passage d'un navire de guerre américain près d'îlots dont la Chine revendique la souveraineté.

Les eaux internationales et l'espace aérien international appartiennent à tout le monde et ne peuvent être sous la domination d'une quelconque nation, a prévenu l'amiral Harry Harris, chef des forces américaines dans le Pacifique, en visite en Chine.

Notre armée continuera de voler, de naviguer et d'opérer partout où le droit international nous y autorise. La mer de Chine méridionale n'est pas et ne sera pas une exception, a-t-il martelé, selon le texte d'un discours prononcé à l'Université de Pékin.

Le destroyer lance-missiles USS Lassen avait navigué le 28 octobre à moins de 12 milles d'îlots artificiels construites par Pékin en mer de Chine méridionale, dans l'archipel disputé des Spratleys.

Pékin avait réagi avec colère, dénonçant une incursion illégale, sans la permission de la Chine, et déplorant une menace pour sa souveraineté et ses intérêts sécuritaires.

Cela a créé un climat de discorde pour notre rencontre et cela est très regrettable, a déclaré le chef d'état-major de l'armée chinoise, le général Fang Fenghui, lors de son entretien mardi avec M. Harris.

L'appel lancé par Washington, exhortant Pékin à arrêter la militarisation de la mer de Chine méridionale, tout en envoyant un navire de guerre dans la zone était une tentative de priver la Chine de son droit à la légitime défense en tant qu'Etat souverain, a déclaré mardi la porte-parole du ministère chinois des Affaires étrangères, Hua Chunying.

C'est une expression typique d'hypocrisie et d'hégémonisme, a-t-elle ajouté.

La Chine considère comme ses eaux territoriales la zone des 12 milles autour de ces îlots qui affleurent parfois à peine au-dessus du niveau de la mer, ce que réfute Washington.

Pékin revendique des droits sur la quasi-totalité de la mer de Chine méridionale, se basant notamment sur une délimitation en pointillés apparue sur les cartes chinoises dans les années 1940 - une source de vifs différends territoriaux avec ses voisins.

Ces revendications, constamment rejetées par les Etats-Unis, ont été qualifiées d'ambiguës par l'amiral Harris, qui a évoqué la soi-disant +ligne en neuf traits pointillés+.

Pour asseoir ses prétentions dans la région, Pékin mène d'énormes opérations de remblaiement des îlots, accélérant depuis un an la transformation des récifs coralliens en ports, pistes d'atterrissage et infrastructures diverses.

 

- 'Pas pessimiste' -

Les Spratleys, qui comprennent une centaine d'îlots et de récifs inhabités, sont également âprement revendiqués par le Vietnam, la Malaisie, Brunei et les Philippines, un allié de Washington.

Les Etats-Unis et des pays d'Asie du Sud-Est redoutent un coup de force du géant chinois qui lui donnerait le contrôle sur l'une des routes maritimes commerciales les plus stratégiques du globe, par laquelle transite notamment un tiers des cargaisons mondiales de pétrole.

L'amiral Harris a néanmoins eu quelques mots conciliants mardi pour vanter le dialogue entre les marines chinoise et américaine et rappeler les visites effectuées par les navires de chaque nation dans des ports de l'autre pays.

Certains experts prédisent un affrontement à venir entre nos nations. Je ne souscris pas à cette vision pessimiste, a observé l'amiral, pointant de nombreux sujets où (les deux pays) trouvent un terrain d'entente.

Pékin a annoncé vendredi son rejet de toute conclusion de la Cour permanente d'arbitrage (CPA), organisation internationale qui s'était déclarée la veille compétente pour juger certains aspects du différend territorial l'opposant à Manille en mer de Chine méridionale.

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30 octobre 2015 5 30 /10 /octobre /2015 08:35
USS Lassen - photo US Navy

USS Lassen - photo US Navy

 

29 octobre 2015 Romandie.com (AFP)

 

Washington - Le chef de la marine chinoise et son homologue américain se sont entretenus par vidéoconférence jeudi, deux jours après une patrouille d'un navire de guerre des Etats-Unis dans une zone de la mer de Chine revendiquée par Pékin, selon le Pentagone.

 

Le chef des forces américaines dans le Pacifique, l'amiral Harry Harris, va par ailleurs se rendre la semaine prochaine à Pékin, pour une visite planifiée de longue date, a indiqué un responsable américain sous couvert de l'anonymat.

 

La visite aura lieu du 2 au 5 novembre, a précisé un autre responsable américain.

 

Les Etats-Unis ont envoyé mardi le destroyer lance-missiles USS Lassen croiser à moins de 12 milles d'îlots artificiels que Pékin a construit sur des récifs de l'archipel des Spratleys, en mer de Chine méridionale.

 

La marine américaine a aussi affirmé qu'elle comptait renvoyer d'autres navires dans la même zone.

 

La patrouille du Lassen a provoqué la colère de Pékin, qui a convoqué l'ambassadeur américain et prévenu que le gouvernement chinois défendrait résolument sa souveraineté territoriale et ses intérêts maritimes.

 

Jeudi, l'amiral américain John Richardson, chef d'état-major de la marine américaine, et son homologue chinois Wu Shengli se sont entretenus par vidéoconférence pendant près d'une heure, a indiqué le Pentagone.

 

La vidéo-conférence, décidée après la patrouille du USS Lassen, a duré à peu près une heure, et a été professionnelle et productive, a indiqué le capitaine de vaisseau Jeff Davis, porte-parole du Pentagone.

 

Le porte-parole n'a donné aucun détail sur la teneur des discussions, se bornant à confirmer que la question de la liberté de navigation dans les Spratleys avait bien été abordée.

 

Les deux amiraux ont convenu de l'importance de maintenir le dialogue actuel entre les deux marines et de se reparler par vidéoconférence d'ici la fin de l'année, a-t-il précisé.

 

L'archipel des Spratleys fait l'objet de revendications de la Chine mais aussi d'autres pays voisins, dont les Philippines, alliées de Washington, le Vietnam, la Malaisie et Brunei.

 

Les Etats-Unis affirment qu'ils ne veulent pas prendre parti sur le fond des querelles de souveraineté entre ces pays. Washington dit vouloir simplement assurer la liberté de navigation internationale à travers ces eaux situées à un point de passage stratégique pour le commerce mondial.

 

Mardi, le USS Lassen a d'ailleurs également patrouillé près des îles revendiquées par les Philippines ou le Vietnam, souligne les responsables américains.

 

La situation en mer de Chine méridionale sera dans tous les esprits la semaine prochaine, lors d'une réunion des ministres de la Défense de l'Association des Nations d'Asie du Sud-Est (Asean) à Kuala Lumpur, à laquelle participera le secrétaire américain à la Défense Ashton Carter.

 

La zone des 12 milles marins (22 km) est celle reconnue internationalement sur laquelle un Etat côtier peut appliquer sa souveraineté, dans les airs et sur mer.

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30 septembre 2015 3 30 /09 /septembre /2015 07:35
China Creates A Sovereign Presence

 

September 25, 2015: Strategy Page

 

Aerial and satellite photos indicate that Chinese military construction efforts on Woody Island (one of the disputed Paracel Islands) are largely complete. The garrison consists of a battalion of naval infantry (not quite marines but close) and a 2,300 meter long air strip. This is long enough to support warplanes and commercial transports as large as Boeing 737s (which China has a lot of). A school building was completed in 2013 for the 40 children of officials and their families stationed there. There is an artificial harbor that can handle ships of up to 5,000 ton displacement. This harbor is heavily used because there is no local water supply and much of the water still has to be brought in along with fuel for all the vehicle (land, sea and air) as well as the generators. While there is some recreational fishing going on, the two thousand people on the island require regular food deliveries from the mainland.

 

In addition to the military garrison there is also a civilian rescue detachment equipped with helicopters and small boats. This detachment is largely for the waters around Woody Island and a few smaller islands that amount to about 13 square kilometers of land. That is expected to increase by 10-20 percent via dredging.

 

Construction continues on facilities for the capital of Sansha, a new Chinese municipality (city). Sansha is actually Woody Island and dozens of smaller bits of land (some of them shoals that are under water all the time) in the Paracels and the Spratly Islands to the south. In fact, the new "city" lays claim to two million square kilometers of open sea (57 percent of the South China Sea). China has said it has completed similar construction projects in the South China Sea but satellite photos reveal this to be untrue.

 

China claims the South China Sea and all islands (and near islands like reefs) as Chinese property. To reinforce these claims of sovereignty China is occupying uninhabitable islands and creating new ones by dredging sand from reefs and shoals to create new uninhabitable islands. Like Woody Island, these new islands will be staffed with troops and government employees and be supplied, at great expensive, from the mainland.

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16 septembre 2015 3 16 /09 /septembre /2015 07:35
Editorial: Chinese Admiral - South China Sea ‘Belongs to China’

 

16 September 2015 By Franz-Stefan Gady – Pacific Sentinel

 

At a recent naval conference a Chinese Vice Admiral did not mince words.

 

Speaking at this year’s First Sea Lord/RUSI International Sea Power Conference in London, Chinese Vice Admiral Yuan Yubai, commander of the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s (PLAN) North Sea Fleet, did not shy away from controversy. He emphatically stated that the South China Sea belongs to China.

 

“The South China Sea, as the name indicates, is a sea area that belongs to China. And the sea from the Han dynasty a long time ago where the Chinese people have been working and producing from the sea,” he said through an interpreter, according to Defense News.

 

Yubai was sitting on a panel with the U.S. Assistant Deputy Chief of Naval Operations Rear Adm. Jeff Harley and the President of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force’s Command and Staff College, Vice Admiral Umio Otsuka, discussing the role of naval power in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

 

Yubai’s statement came in response to Otsuka criticizing the land reclamation activities of “certain state actors” in the region. “Land reclamation conducted by some countries has been a problem in the South China Sea (and) we have to admit that the rule of law is at risk in this region. The JMSDF will secure the credibility of a deterrence capability and seek a multilateral framework in the Indo-Pacific region,” he said.

 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

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18 mars 2015 3 18 /03 /mars /2015 17:35
The aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73), right, the George Washington Strike Group and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ships.

The aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73), right, the George Washington Strike Group and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ships.

 

March 18, 2015 todayonline.com

 

NEW YORK — The commander of the US Navy Seventh Fleet called on South-east Asian nations to form a combined maritime force to patrol areas of the South China Sea where territorial tensions flare with China.

Countries could streamline cooperation on maritime security while respecting sovereignty and coastal space, as in the case of counter-piracy efforts in the Gulf of Aden, Vice Admiral Robert Thomas said yesterday (March 17) at the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition in Malaysia.

The US has reassured allies in the region it will back them against China’s assertions to about four-fifths of the sea. China has ratcheted up pressure on some Association of South-east Asian Nations (ASEAN) members, and has accelerated reclamation work on reefs in the waters criss-crossed by claims from Vietnam, Taiwan, Brunei, the Philippines and Malaysia.

“Perhaps easier said than done, from both a policy and organisation perspective, such an initiative could help crystallise the operational objectives in the training events that ASEAN navies want to pursue,” Vice Admr Thomas said at a panel session with navy chiefs. “If ASEAN members were to take the lead in organising something along those lines, trust me, the US 7th Fleet would be ready to support.”

 

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9 mars 2015 1 09 /03 /mars /2015 17:35
INS Viramaditya (foreground) and INS Viraat – photo Indian Navy

INS Viramaditya (foreground) and INS Viraat – photo Indian Navy

 

March 8, 2015 by Dinakar Peri - thehindu.com

 

Reiterating that India-U.S. partnership is a “key component” of America’s “rebalance” to the Indo-Asia-Pacific, a top U.S. Admiral last week expressed concern over China’s increased “assertiveness” in enforcing its claims in the South China Sea and supported India’s increased role in the region under the principles of open sea lanes and freedom of navigation.

 

During the visit of U.S. President Barack Obama to India in January, both sides signed a strategic vision document, “U.S.-India Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region,” which specifically referred to safeguarding maritime security in the South China Sea. It had not gone down well with Beijing.

 

“The South China seas are international waters and India should be able to operate freely wherever India wants to operate. If that means the South China Sea, then get in there and do that,” said Admiral Harry Harris, Commander US Pacific Fleet while speaking at the National Maritime Foundation.

 

At the same time, the Admiral described China’s naval presence in the Indian Ocean as “positive” as it was involved in anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden.

 

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11 août 2014 1 11 /08 /août /2014 11:35
Five Scenarios for the South China Sea


11 Aug. 2014 Pacific Sentinel
 

A Vietnamese-American space scientist has published an article entitled Five Scenarios for East Sea on Hanoi-based online newspaper VietNamNet Bridge on August 1, analyzing the historical background of the Paracel Islands and Spratly Islands disputes, and arguing that Vietnam has never given up sovereignty over the former, as well as predicting five possible scenarios for the South China Sea–known as the East Sea in Vietnam–that may occur within the next ten years.

 

In the article Thai Van Cau said that in the first scenario, China will utilize military force to invade part of or the whole of the Spratly Islands in an attempt to "resolve disputes and establish sovereignty over the islands and its territorial waters by 2020," as Chinese scholars have suggested.

 

The precedent for this is China's use of military force against Vietnam in marine disputes during the 1970s and 1980s, he said.

 

China's military ventures in the Spratly Islands are motivated by its ambition to control all of the islands. This move is likely to destabilize the South China Sea region and affect marine traffic for countries such as the US, Japan, and India.

 

China has been monitoring the response of the US and the EU to the Ukraine crisis, to try and get an idea of the backlash that will be unleashed against it should the nation make any dramatic moves in the South China Sea, the report stated. The annexation of Crimea by Russia may not be the best guide for China to go by, however, due to geopolitical and economic differences, Thai said. 

 

Read the full story at Want China Times

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24 juin 2014 2 24 /06 /juin /2014 14:12
Insecurity in Southeast Asia and in the South China Sea area - IRSEM 25 Juin


20/06/2014 IRSEM

 

Mercredi 25 juin 2014,  Ecole militaire, amphi Lacoste,  de 14h à15h30

 

Round Table :  «Insecurity in Southeast Asia and in the South China Sea area»

 

Avec la participation de :

 

Rommel Banlaoi, professeur de relations internationales au Miriam College et directeur du Center for Intelligence and National Security Studies (CINSS), Manille

 

Marie-Sybille de Vienne, professeur à l’Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales (Inalco), directrice du Centre Asie du Sud et du Sud-Est (Ceasse), vice-présidente de l’Inalco pour les affaires internationales

 

Modération: Delphine Alles, professeur de science politique à l’Université Paris Est Créteil et spécialiste de l’Asie du Sud-Est

 

Introduction: Pierre Journoud, chercheur à l’Irsem et responsable du programme Asie du Sud-Est

 

À l’occasion de la venue à Paris du professeur philippin Rommel Banlaoi, l’Irsem organise une table ronde pour éclairer l’actualité politico-stratégique en Asie du Sud-Est, tout particulièrement la recrudescence des tensions en mer de Chine méridionale.

 

Les échanges se tiendront en anglais.

 

Inscription.

 

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3 avril 2014 4 03 /04 /avril /2014 11:35
L’Indonésie modernise sa base aérienne en mer de Chine du sud

 

2 avril 2014 par Edouard Maire  / Info-Aviation

 

La force aérienne indonésienne va moderniser sa base aérienne de Ranai sur l’île de Riau afin qu’elle puisse opérer des chasseurs Su-27 et des Su-30, a déclaré le commandant de la base le 27 mars.

 

Le lieutenant-colonel Andri Gandy a également révélé que des travaux de modernisation avaient déjà commencé sur la base aérienne, comme l’installation des feux de piste, des feux de voie de circulation et un radar intégré. L’armée indonésienne prévoit également d’étendre la longueur de la piste, qui est actuellement de 2500 mètres.

 

Les nouvelles installations comprendront des hangars sur la partie ouest de la base aérienne avec pour objectif à long terme de déployer de façon permanente un escadron d’avions de chasse Sukhoi sur les îles Natuna.

 

La force aérienne indonésienne opère un mélange de Su-27SK et Su-30MK, avec des commandes supplémentaires attendues pour des Su-30MK2. Un déploiement de quatre hélicoptères d’attaque Apache AH-64E fabriqués par Boeing a été annoncé séparément le même jour par le général Budiman, chef d’état-major de l’armée indonésienne.

 

Fajru Zaini, membre du gouvernement indonésien, a expliqué que le déploiement éventuel des Sukhoi sur les îles Natuna comme faisait partie de la politique de Jakarta pour développer « une force principale minimum » (« Minimum Essential Force »). Ce concept, introduit par le président Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono en 2005, vise à établir la nature et l’ampleur minimum des capacités militaires que l’Indonésie doit déployer en réponse à une menace stratégique (notamment chinoise).

 

Les îles Natuna, avec une superficie totale de 2631 km², sont situées sur les frontières maritimes de l’Indonésie avec le Brunei, la Malaisie et le Vietnam à la pointe sud de la mer de Chine du Sud.

 

Bien que l’Indonésie ne soit pas impliquée dans les différends territoriaux dans la mer de Chine du Sud sur les îles Paracel et Spratly, la Chine a déclaré qu’une « ligne de neuf en pointillés »* empiétait sur la zone économique exclusive revendiquée par Jakarta dans la région des îles Natuna. Or, la mer Natuna possède l’un des plus grands gisements de gaz au monde estimé à 1,3 milliards de m³ de gaz naturel et de condensats.

 

* La « ligne de neuf pointillés » est une ligne de démarcation utilisée par la Chine pour définir les parties de la mer de Chine du Sud qu’elle revendique.

L’Indonésie modernise sa base aérienne en mer de Chine du sud
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2 avril 2014 3 02 /04 /avril /2014 07:35
Crimea and South China Sea Diplomacy

 

April 01, 2014 By Sophie Boisseau du Rocher & Bruno Hellendorff – The Diplomat

 

Russia’s big move shows both the limits and importance of diplomacy in territorial disputes.

 

On March 18, China and ASEAN gathered in Singapore to pursue consultations on a Code of Conduct (COC) for the South China Sea, alongside talks on the implementation of the Declaration of Conduct (DOC). The gathering came at a time of rising preoccupation over a perceived creeping assertiveness by China in pursuing its maritime claims. Just one week before, Manila and Beijing experienced another diplomatic row, after Chinese Coast Guard vessels barred the resupply of Philippine marines based in the Spratly Islands.

In broader terms, several high-profile developments have hinted that China is becoming more inclined to consider the threat and use of force as its preferred vehicle for influence in the South China Sea. China’s considerable maritime build-up has been accompanied by the merging of its maritime agencies into a unified Coast Guard unit, the publication of maps with a 10-dash line covering Chinese claims in the South China Sea, and even the announcement of an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea, covering the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu islands. All have contributed to turning the South China Sea into “Asia’s cauldron,” as one renowned expert titled his last book. A widely circulated photograph picturing Chinese sailors forming the slogan “The Chinese dream, the dream of a strong military” on the deck of the Liaoning did nothing to help mitigate nervousness over Chinese aims and strategy in the region.

The timing of these China-ASEAN discussions coincided with rising tensions in Eastern Europe around the fate of Crimea. In recent days, neither international law nor European pressure have proved of much value in the face of Russian resolve. Illegal in many respects, the Crimean referendum was still deemed valid in Moscow, which subsequently annexed the region. The Ukrainian military bases in Crimea were rapidly overwhelmed by pro-Russian forces as the last vestiges of political control from Kiev were swept aside, making a return to status quo ante increasingly remote. Russia clearly has the upper hand in Crimea. It successfully promoted its interests through a combination of intimidation and crawling assertiveness while answering European and American criticisms by pointing to Western interventions in Kosovo and Libya. The larger consequences of this strategy for Euro-Russian relations and stability in Eastern Europe remain unclear. However, this demonstration of how, in certain situations, force prevails over diplomacy, a notion long fought by the European Union, has opened a new Pandora’s box.

Certainly, Russia’s bid to bend international norms in its favor through the use of force, and Western reactions to it are being watched with great interest, and probably some trepidation, in Beijing and Southeast Asia. Whether the Crimea issue will have influence in Southeast Asia, in the context of competing territorial claims, is far from clear. However, the Crimean and South China Sea issues have several elements in common. One of the most prominent is the complexity of managing—let alone solving—territorial disputes, especially when dealing with an evolving power. Another is that both cases stress the necessity but limited efficacy of diplomacy.

Confronted with a complex and contradictory China, Southeast Asian countries may derive a sense of urgency from developments in the Crimea. For ASEAN and its members, the crucial question may well be whether they can succeed in convincing China of the long-term benefits of diplomacy over force and fait accompli. It may well be ASEAN’s last chance: Negotiations began 22 years ago, in 1992, and have yet to produce convincing results for either party. If the 2002 Declaration reaffirmed a commitment to international law and freedom of navigation, there has been obvious evidence of unilateralism by certain parties, be they the Filipino government, the Chinese military or even the Hainan authorities. The case may be pressed further in light of the Crimea events: should a Code of Conduct be effectively agreed, with—as China made clear—no deadline for its actual implementation, will it suffice to curtail national frustration from any party, limit tensions and therefore avoid escalation?

Diplomacy is important. It is the channel through which the different stakeholders can showcase and explain their diverging perceptions and interests, communicate, negotiate, and ultimately create a path to de-escalation and stabilization for future common benefit. But it could also prove limited in that it is largely dependent on power configurations and functions under a series of conventions and norms that can either facilitate or constrain discussions. In the Crimean and South China Sea cases, diplomacy is largely, yet not exclusively, undertaken under the particular framework of one international institution (the EU or ASEAN) engaging one great power (Russia or China). Facilitating discussions is the fact that in both situations, stakeholders are connected through a series of strong economic, political and institutional interests. The bad news is that these networks of interests look rather fragile when history becomes a self-asserted, and emotional, argument. Moreover, internal divisions within both the EU and ASEAN have the consequence of blurring the common vision that their members may seek to promote, weakening their negotiating position and constraining the options available to their diplomats. In both cases, the basic worry for the EU and ASEAN alike is to come up with a compelling response to political and military resolve, with international law and negotiations offering little assistance.

The Singapore round of consultations on a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea produced no notable progress. That is not much of a surprise to experts already of the opinion that the very process is merely cosmetic and deserving of little attention, arguing that China will not give way on what it considers its national and sovereign territory. Other authors have explained that Chinese diplomats are content with the DoC, and will not push for quick progress on a CoC as the latter would inevitably hurt the national interest. Such speculation and doubt over the scope and effectiveness of the negotiations did not alter ASEAN’s official line: sanctions do not help; consultations are always better. Will the future prove that correct? It appears that ASEAN’s bet is to prove that China sees an interest in these talks and would gain in following certain rules not just in terms of image and status but also in promoting its views and “dream” through an ASEAN platform.

Before the recent events in Crimea, ASEAN’s diplomacy was considered adequate by most stakeholders—with the possible exception of the Philippines, which nonetheless ceaselessly appealed to the bloc for help. All claimant countries and their neighbors found an interest in pursuing dual-track negotiations with China, bilateral and multilateral, the latter stage mainly serving, via ASEAN, communication purposes. But now may be the time to consider adding more substance to the discussions, and more glue to the Southeast Asian claimants.

The Crimea is far from the South China Sea, and the two contexts certainly differ in many respects. But Russia’s bold move has shown that resorting to international law to contain a great power’s resolve is not always effective. Even in Moscow, few would disagree, pointing to the invasion of Libya or that of Iraq as counterexamples. Whether the events of the Crimea provide lessons to Chinese and ASEAN diplomats is unknown, but they have made a Code of Conduct for the South China Sea an urgent diplomatic imperative. Success would showcase China’s “peaceful rise” as it would ASEAN’s diplomatic capacity. The efforts of both partners to create stability and security would also be welcome news to a heavily challenged international community.

 

* Bruno Hellendorff is a Research Fellow and Dr. Sophie Boisseau du Rocher is an Associate Researcher at the Group for Research and Information on Peace and Security, Brussels.

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13 mars 2014 4 13 /03 /mars /2014 08:35
US Hits 'Provocative' China Move On Philippine Ships

 

Mar. 12, 2014 – Defense News (AFP)

 

WASHINGTON — The United States on Wednesday accused China of raising tensions by blocking two Philippines vessels as it urged freedom of navigation in the tense South China Sea.

 

The United States, a treaty-bound ally of Manila, said it was “troubled” by Sunday’s incident in which China prevented movement of two ships contracted by the Philippine navy to deliver supplies and troops to the disputed Second Thomas Shoal.

 

“This is a provocative move that raises tensions. Pending resolution of competing claims in the South China Sea, there should be no interference with the efforts of claimants to maintain the status quo,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

 

The Philippines on Tuesday summoned China’s charge d’affaires, accusing Beijing of a “clear and urgent threat” to Manila’s interests. Beijing countered that the ships “infringed China’s territorial sovereignty” and violated a 2002 declaration of conduct in the South China Sea.

 

The United States rejected China’s stance, saying that countries had the right to “regular resupply and rotation of personnel” to locations before the 2002 declaration.

 

The Second Thomas Shoal, which sits around 200 kilometers (125 miles) from the western Philippine island of Palawan, is claimed by the Philippines, China and Taiwan. Beijing calls it Ren’ai Reef.

 

Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam claim other parts of the Spratly Islands, which lie near vital sea lanes and rich fishing grounds and are also believe to sit on vast mineral resources.

 

The United States, while saying it takes no position on the sovereignty of disputed territories, has been increasingly robust in its criticism of China. Last month, the United States challenged the legal basis for China’s claims over a vast area across the South China Sea.

 

The United States has been seeking to prevent China from taking more drastic action in the South China Sea. In November, China declared an Air Defense Identification Zone — requiring planes to report to Beijing — over a vast area in the East China Sea where it has a separate but intense feud over Japanese-administered islands.

 

Japan and the Philippines have accused China of making growing incursions to challenge their control over territories. US President Barack Obama will visit both Japan and the Philippines next month

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18 décembre 2013 3 18 /12 /décembre /2013 12:35
ADIZ source BBC Asia 26 nov 2013

ADIZ source BBC Asia 26 nov 2013

 

December 18, 2013 By Zachary Keck - thediplomat.com

 

The warning was part of a broader criticism of China’s actions in the South China Sea.

 

On Tuesday, the U.S. rapped China on its actions in the South China Sea, and implored it not to seek to establish an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the area.

In a joint press conference with the Philippine Foreign Secretary, Secretary of State John Kerry reiterated America’s opposition to Beijing’s new East China Sea ADIZ, and warned it against creating new ADIZs in places like the South China Sea.

“Today, I raised our deep concerns about China’s announcement of an East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone. I told the foreign secretary that the United States does not recognize that zone and does not accept it. The zone should not be implemented, and China should refrain from taking similar unilateral actions elsewhere in the region, and particularly over the South China Sea,” Kerry said during the press conference.

Last month, China surprised the region by announcing an ADIZ in the East China Sea, a move that has been widely criticized by regional powers and the United States. Although most attention has focused on the immediate issue of the new ADIZ, there has also been a lingering concern over Chinese leaders repeatedly pledging to establish additional ADIZs in the future. Although these Chinese officials have not specified what areas such ADIZs might cover, most analysts see the South China Sea as the area most logically place to create a new ADIZ.

China claims nearly the entirety of the South China Sea under its nine-dotted-lines sovereignty claim. This sweeping claim to sovereignty puts China at odds with numerous other states with claims of sovereignty over the South China Sea, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei and the Philippines.

Of these other claimants, China has been especially at odds with the Philippines in recent years over the territorial dispute. In the spring of 2012, Chinese maritime agencies used a dispute involving a Chinese fisherman in the Scarborough Shoal to wrest control over the area from the Philippines. It has also been seeking to push the Philippines out of the Second Thomas Shoal. More generally, China’s Coast Guard and Navy have significantly increased their patrols and military maneuvers in the disputed waters, aided in part by the establishment of a division-level military garrison in Sansha City.

Besides warning China against creating an ADIZ in the South China, Kerry also offered a broader criticism of China’s actions in the areas. Much of this was criticism was implicit, though the target of it was undeniable. Thus, the secretary of State reaffirmed that the United States “strongly support[s] ASEAN’s efforts with China to move quickly to conclude a code of conduct as a key to reducing the risk of accidents or miscalculation.” Although Beijing has in theory endorsed discussing a joint Code of Conduct for the South China Sea, it has largely stonewalled efforts to begin negotiations. At the same time, it has continued to strongly encourage discussing the territorial disputes on a bilateral basis, where Beijing’s clout over its smaller neighbors will be greatest.

Kerry also implicitly criticized China on the basis of its claims of sovereignty over nearly the entire South China Sea. “We think that claimants have a responsibility to clarify their claims and to align their claims with international law.” This comment was undoubtedly aimed at Beijing, which bases its claims on ancient maps that are not generally recognized as conferring sovereignty under international law.

Finally, Kerry stated that “We support internationally recognized dispute resolution mechanisms such as those that are provided in the Law of the Sea Convention. The United States strongly opposes the use of intimidation, coercion, or aggression to advance territorial claims.” The first part of this statement seemed to be implicitly endorsing the Philippines’ efforts to have an international arbitrator decide its territorial dispute with China. Beijing has refused to acknowledge a third party’s jurisdiction over the case, and has not shown up to any of the hearings. The second part of Kerry’s statement again seemed to implicitly indict China for using increased maritime patrols to intimidate and coerce its weaker neighbors.

Kerry is currently in the Philippines as part of an almost week long trip to Southeast Asia that also included a stop in Vietnam. While in Vietnam earlier this week, Kerry announced that the U.S. was increasing its maritime security aid to Southeast Asian nations. The move was largely interpreted as aimed at strengthening the ability of regional powers to enforce their sovereignty claims against an increasingly assertive China.

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29 novembre 2013 5 29 /11 /novembre /2013 08:35
CV-16 Liaoning's sea trial in South China Sea

 

November 28, 2013 by Feng - informationdissemination.net

 

This week, CV-16 sailed forth with 2 051Cs and 2 054As escorts to South China Sea for what China calls a scientific and training mission.

There are some concerns that CV-16 was sent there for political purposes to intimidate neigbhouring countries. I personally think that's wildly inaccurate. As I talked about in the previous entry on 091, No. 404 (the first production version of Type 091) was sent to South China Sea for testing at PLAN's deep water testing facility in Hainan. It should not be a surprise that China's first carrier would spend time here given how little space it has to operate around the Qingdao naval base. One of well known posters on Chinese military forum recently posted the following list of uncompleted tests that will need to be carried through this time.
 

  1. Temperature related tests - Due to the colder temperature of north, certain tests that require hot climate (like air conditioning systems and refrigeration equipments) can only be completed in South China Sea at this time of the year. All of this will happen in the relatively high water temperature of South China Sea, which cannot be replicated around Qingdao.
  2. Deep water tests - The Bohai sea shelf around Qingdao is generally pretty shallow. South China Sea has long stretches of water depths of greater than 100 m (several hundreds of meters in many cases). ASW tests, especially against deep diving submarines, can really only be carried out here. Other tests including under water communications, acoustic countermeasures testing and deep water anchor testings,
  3. Testing command & control - As part of having 2 051C and 054A in this sea trial, CV-16 will be able to test the command & control systems leading a flotilla formation. More C&C tests can be completed in South China Sea given the concentration of new combat aircraft and naval ships in the area (including the nuclear submarines stationed at Sanya naval base). He also listed that 054As are part of the flotilla due to their strong ASW suites, which is important given the number of foreign submarines that will be looking to gather CV-16 acoustic signatures. I tend to that's a lost cause.
  4. Testing the new Carrier base - There is a new carrier base being constructed in South China Sea. Having this flotilla there will test out the ability of the new naval base to support a carrier group.


So there are a number of tests that will need to be carried out this time. In the long term, there will be probably multiple carriers home based in the carrier base in South China Sea. After all, there is far more room to operate there than around Qingdao. I think this will be the first of many trips that CV-16 makes to South China Sea until SSF gets its own carrier.

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14 novembre 2013 4 14 /11 /novembre /2013 08:35
China’s Air-Sea Battle Plan for the South China Sea

 

November 13, 2013 By  Zachary Keck - thediplomat.com

 

Last week a senior PLA officer detailed China’s plans for establishing air and sea control over the South China Sea.

In an interview with state media last week, Senior Colonel Du Wenlong was asked what China’s “trump card” was for establishing sea and air control over the South China Sea. In response, Du highlighted the importance of cooperation between China’s fighter jets and airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft would play in allowing to establish “sea and air control” in the South China Sea.

Specifically, he said that cooperation between the J-10 series, J-11 series, J-16, KJ 2000, and KJ 200 “gives China control over enemy targets in an extended airspace through strong air-to-air attack capability.” Once China gained command of the skies, Du noted, it would be able to impose control over the waters in the South China Sea by using aircraft with air-to-sea functions, backed by submarines and surface vessels like advanced destroyers and frigates.

Du went on to emphasize the importance of the J-16 fighter jet because it boasts extraordinary air-to-air, air-to-sea, and air-to-ground capabilities, and can therefore perform multiple roles in the PLA’s South China Sea battle plan simultaneously. The J-16 is a multirole fighter/bomber based off of Russia’s Su-30MK2, which China purchased over a decade ago. Want China Times has reported that China wants to make the J-16 the “fulcrum of its naval fighter force.”

Du also stressed the importance of acquiring more advanced AEW&C aircraft with air-to-sea and air-to-ground reconnaissance and early warning technology that had both greater accuracy and a larger scope than China’s current AEW&C aircraft. In such an environment, Du told reporters, China would control the sea and air over the South China Sea largely through cooperation between AEW&C aircraft and the J-16, working in close cooperation with naval assets. 

Notably, the first photos of China’s next generation early warning aircraft, the so-called KJ-500, appeared online just this week.

In the article, Du Wenlong is only identified as a military expert. However, he is a frequent commentator in China’s media and late last month China’s Ministry of Defense identified him as Senior Colonel Du Wenlong, a senior researcher with the PLA Academy of Military Science (AMS). Bates Gill and James Mulvenon have said that the AMS is the “’national center for military studies’ and is the premier military research organization in the PLA. It is directly subordinate to the Central Military Commission (CMC), but also receives direct tasking from the General Staff Department.”

According to the two scholars, it is the PLA’s largest research institution, and its 500 full time researchers “write reports for the military leadership, ghost-write speeches for top military leaders, and serve on temporary and permanent leading small groups as drafters of important documents like the Defense White Paper.”

Du himself often appears to be hawkish, and prone to bombastic rhetoric. When the PLA Navy’s (PLAN) three major fleets conducted a joint exercise last month, he proudly proclaimed that the first island chain had been “dismembered,” which he later characterized as something that had become quite normal for the PLA. Since fall of last year, when the dispute with Japan over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands began to escalate, Du has been stressing the importance of China establishing drone bases to use unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to monitor the islands and Japan’s movements along them. His words have apparently been finally taken up by the senior command. Many believe that this has made the standoff over the islands even more unstable.

The fact that Du’s calls for using drones in the East China Sea dispute were eventually heeded raises the possibility that his Air-Sea Battle plan for the South China Sea could become the PLA’s standard operating procedure.

It’s notable that, according to last week’s article, media outlets had asked Du what China’s “trump card” was for establishing sea and air control in the South China Sea. This suggests that the goal of establishing sea and air control was a given, and that the PLA or CCP wanted Du’s views on the subject to be read by ordinary Chinese and the PLA’s foreign military competitors.

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18 septembre 2013 3 18 /09 /septembre /2013 11:35
Philippines, US to hold war games near South China Sea

September 18th, 2013 defencetalk.com

 

The Philippines and the United States will begin war games near disputed South China Sea waters this week, showcasing fast-expanding military ties and likely further stoking tensions with China.

 

The annual exercises, which involve 2,300 marines from both sides, will take place amid the backdrop of ongoing negotiations to further increase an American military presence and the deployment of its hardware in the former US colony.

 

They also come three weeks before US President Barack Obama is due to visit Manila, a huge moment for the Philippines as it looks for US support amid a worsening row with China over rival claims to parts of the South China Sea.

 

“The Chinese will view these military exercises as yet another example of the Philippines stirring up tensions in the South China Sea and of the US taking advantage of the situation to increase its military presence,” regional security expert Ian Storey told AFP.

 

Beijing, which insists it has sovereignty to nearly all of the South China Sea, has repeatedly railed at the Philippines for refusing to back down in the territorial dispute and seeking to draw the US closer.

 

Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have competing claims to parts of the sea, which is believed to sit atop vast deposits of fossil fuels, but China has been particularly angered at the Philippines for being the most vocal.

 

For the Philippines, the dispute will continue to be “the central driver” of efforts to intensify its alliance with the US, according to Storey, a senior fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore.

 

The Philippine-US Amphibious Landing Exercises (Phiblex) will begin on Wednesday at a naval base in Zambales, a province on the western coast of Luzon island facing the South China Sea.

 

It is about 220 kilometres (135 miles) from Scarborough Shoal, a group of rocky outcrops in the Philippines’ internationally recognised exclusive economic zone which has been occupied by Chinese vessels since last year.

 

Scarborough Shoal has become the prime focus of the territorial dispute in recent weeks, with the Philippines accusing China of erecting concrete structures there.

 

The war games, which will last three weeks, will involve two US warships and live ground fire exercises, according to the Philippine military.

 

Staff planning exercises will also be held “that will increase the capability to conduct bilateral maritime security and territorial defence operation”, the US embassy said in a statement.

 

Neither side, however, would release the specific locations for the sea drills.

 

The exercises take place as the allies are moving closer to a planned deal that would expand the US troop presence in the Philippines, which wants the agreement struck before the end of the year.

 

The pact would allow the United States to bring military hardware on to local bases, and formalise more US troop visits.

 

The United States had a permanent military presence at two bases in the Philippines until 1992.

 

The bases were closed amid nationalist opposition, but the current administration of President Benigno Aquino has rallied pro-US sentiment to counter China.

 

Even ahead of the pact, there has been a “surge” in recent years of US troops passing through the Philippines, according to John Blaxland, a security and defence analyst at the Australia National University’s College of Asia and the Pacific.

 

This has dovetailed with Obama’s strategic “pivot” to Asia, which in turn has fuelled long-held Chinese concerns about the US trying to encircle China.

 

“The Philippines is one of the most enthusiastic supporters for the rebalancing in Asia, and the US is very happy to have regained routine access, if not formal basing at the naval and air facilities there,” Blaxland told AFP.

 

Storey also said that independent research data showed there had been an increase in US military visits.

 

The number of US warships making calls in the Philippines “has increased dramatically” to 80 this year, he said.

 

A Philippine Navy officer, who asked not to be named, confirmed the increase in port calls to Manila as well as in Subic, the former US naval base in Zambales.

 

AFP asked the US embassy in Manila for data on US military visits to the Philippines in recent years, but no information was provided.

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3 juin 2013 1 03 /06 /juin /2013 11:35
Chinese patrols in Asian seas ‘legitimate’: general

June 3rd, 2013 defencetalk.com (AFP)

 

Chinese warships will continue to patrol waters where Beijing has territorial claims, a top general said Sunday, amid simmering rows with neighbouring countries over the South China Sea and islands controlled by Japan.

 

Lieutenant General Qi Jianguo, deputy chief of the general staff of the People’s Liberation Army, defended the patrols as legitimate and said his country’s sovereignty over the areas could not be disputed.

 

“Why are Chinese warships patrolling in East China Sea and South China Sea? I think we are all clear about this,” Qi told the annual Shangri-La Dialogue security conference in Singapore.

 

“Our attitude on East China Sea and South China Sea is that they are in our Chinese sovereignty. We are very clear about that,” he said through an interpreter.

 

“So the Chinese warships and the patrolling activities are totally legitimate and uncontroversial.”

 

Qi was responding to a question from a delegate after giving a speech in which he sought to assure neighbouring countries that China has no hegemonic ambitions.

 

“China has never taken foreign expansion and military conquering as a state policy,” he said.

 

One delegate however said there appeared to be growing regional scepticism over China’s peaceful intentions because it was inconsistent with moves to send naval patrols to waters where other countries also have claims.

 

China is locked in a territorial dispute with Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam in the South China Sea.

 

The four states have partial claims to islands but China says it has sovereign rights to nearly all of the sea, including areas much closer to other countries and thousands of kilometres from the Chinese coast.

 

China also has a dispute with Japan over the Senkaku islands, which Beijing calls the Diaoyus, in the East China Sea.

 

“I do hope the statements of the good general today will be translated into action,” Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin told reporters.

 

He said Qi’s remarks about China having no hegemonic ambitions were “far from what is happening” in the sea.

 

Manila last month protested at what it called the “provocative and illegal presence” of a Chinese warship near Second Thomas Shoal, which is occupied by Philippine troops.

 

Among the other moves that have caused alarm were China’s occupation of a shoal near the Philippines’ main island last year, and the deployment in March of Chinese naval ships to within 80 kilometres (50 miles) of Malaysia’s coast.

 

Competing claims have for decades made the area — home to rich fishing grounds and vital global shipping lanes and believed to sit atop vast natural gas deposits — one of Asia’s potential military flashpoints.

 

China and Vietnam fought in 1974 and 1988 for control of islands in battles that left dozens of soldiers dead.

 

The US-China strategic rivalry also loomed large during the conference, with US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Saturday accusing Beijing of waging cyber espionage against the United States.

 

But General Qi on Sunday allayed concerns that China had dropped a pledge not to be the first to use nuclear weapons in a conflict.

 

Omission of the “no-first-use” pledge in a recent defence white paper had created ripples in military circles and sparked speculation that China may have abandoned the policy.

 

Qi also distanced his government from claims by some Chinese scholars that the Ryukyu Islands, which include Okinawa, do not belong to Japan.

 

“This is only an article of particular scholars and their views on these issues… it does not represent the views of the Chinese government,” he said.

 

Maritime disputes and the risks of conflicts that could hurt Asia’s economic growth were a running theme during the three-day conference that ended Sunday.

 

“Asia holds great promise for ourselves and the world but continued peace and prosperity in this region are neither fait accompli nor automatic,” Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen told the conference.

 

“Instead, if we are to continue to enjoy stability and progress, we must work effectively in unison to strengthen areas of common interests.”

 

The Philippines’ Gazmin defended Manila’s move unilaterally to bring its territorial dispute with China before a UN tribunal after China refused to take part.

 

“We hope that the arbitration tribunal will issue a clarification in accordance with international law that will direct China to respect our sovereign rights,” Gazmin told the forum.

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22 mai 2013 3 22 /05 /mai /2013 12:35
China claims to South China Sea – source eurasiareview.com

China claims to South China Sea – source eurasiareview.com

China claims to South China Sea

 

May 20, 2013 By Dr. Subhash Kapila - eurasiareview.com

 

Introductory Observations

 

The South China Sea region has been converted into a militarily turbulent one due to the illegal claims by China declaring sovereignty over the entire South China Sea.

 

China in the process has not only resorted to escalated military brinkmanship but also resorted to use of armed force and coercion against its less powerful South East Asian neighbours, namely, Vietnam and the Philippines.

 

Asian security as a whole today stands endangered by China’s military adventurism not only in the South China Sea against Vietnam and the Philippines, but extending to the Himalayan Borders of India with China- Occupied Tibet. Chinese military adventurism to reinforce its sovereignty over disputed borders is by now a well-established pattern.

 

India has a legitimate strategic interest in the South China Sea region encompassing political, economic and strategic factors. At the ASEAN-India Summit in New Delhi in December 2012, India had declared its position on the South China Sea disputes in consonance with the global sentiments.

 

Reiteration of India’s stand on the South China Sea conflicts should be a pointer that India stands firmly against any Chinese actions that violate international laws and UN Conventions. The recent assertions by the Indian Defence Minister, A K Antony were a welcome reiteration and reassurance and should go down well in South East Asian countries that look upon India as the regional balancer against China’s hegemonistic inclinations against its Southern neighbours.

 

Indian Defence Minister’s Assertions on South China Sea Security

 

Voicing concerns over China’s actions in the South China Sea region, the Indian Defence Minister addressing media persons on May 11, 2013 made the following assertions:

 

    “There should be freedom of navigation as per the UN conventions.”

    “India has commercial interests and though it is not a party to the dispute, it believes that disputes should be settled as per UN laws.”

    “The protection of Sea-Lanes of Communication is becoming more and more important. Economic development, trade and commerce depend on the security of Sea Lanes of Communication”

 

Indian Defence Minister’s Assertions Analysed

 

Taken at face value, the assertions made by the Indian Defence Minister’s may not count much and may not be counted as strong assertions. But coming from the Indian Defence Minister who is noted for his reticence and measured words, there are a lot of implicit messages for China on its aggressive postures on the South China Sea issues. Political signalling can therefore be read in these assertions.

 

Emphasis on UN Conventions and dispute/conflict resolution as per UN Laws (read UNCLOS) by the Indian Defence Minister clashes diametrically with China’s rigidly stated positions that the South China Sea disputes will be resolved by China only through “bilateral negotiations” with the other disputants. This simply because in a bi-lateral process China can bring to bear its awesome military coercion in play against small countries like Vietnam and the Philippines.

 

India’s opposition to China’s declaratory stands is therefore noteworthy. It is more noteworthy in the sense that such assertions by US dignitaries earlier drew strong protests from China as interference in its internal affairs. The United States ignored these protests. It is time that India too discards its deference to Chinese sensitivities.

 

Further, the assertion on freedom of navigation is in keeping with international pronouncements of commitments to “defence of global commons” Implicit in such international stands is the message for China that the South China Sea is a global heritage which cannot be consigned to the ‘full sovereignty over the whole South China Sea’ as declared by China. The Chinese stand apparently is being challenged by India in an implied manner along with the rest of the Asian community.

 

Protection of Sea Lanes of Communication that pass through the South China Sea can be read as India fears genuinely, as the rest of the world does, that China could threaten these vital maritime lifelines and that the global community has to take initiatives to forestall that threat. Can one read in this assertion by the Indian Defence Minister that India would be inclined to join any international effort to ensure that the South China Sea maritime arteries remain open without any restrictions or impediments by China?

 

More significantly, what needs to be considered is the contextual backdrop where the Indian Defence Minister was making the above assertions on the South China Sea.

 

These assertions by the Indian Defence Minister were not made at any Seminar or discussion event on the South China Sea conflict but these Indian concerns were expressed to media-persons after commissioning the first ship-deck based super-sonic jet fighter, the MIG 29K Squadron at Goa comprising 18 jet fighters for the Indian Navy. A total of 45 MIG 29K supersonic jet fighters have been purchased from Russia at a cost of over $ 2 Billion.

 

Contextually, these assertions by the Indian Defence Minister were made on the eve of the Chinese Prime Minister’s visit to India. Also they coincide with recent media reports of India upgrading its maritime surveillance and operational capabilities and infrastructure in South India for extended coverage of the Indian Ocean sea-lanes and threats.

 

The Indian Defence Minister also informed the media that India’s first indigenously built Aircraft Carrier would be launched on August 12 this year and the INS VIKRAMADITYA would arrive from Russia before the end of 2013.

 

In a context other than the South China Sea, but at the same event and with China still in mind, it was reassuring to hear the Indian Defence Minister declare that “As China has the right to improve, increase and strengthen and other facilities on its land; India has the right to develop its own infrastructure.”

 

India’s Commercial Interest in the South China Sea.

 

While on the subject of India’s legitimate strategic interests in the South China Sea, it needs to be remembered that India’s energy security quest led it also to set up a joint exploration project with Vietnam in two oil exploration blocks numbered 127&128 in Phu Khanh Basin.

 

Some quarters have wrongly reported that India’s oil-exploration projects are in disputed waters. That is the Chinese version. It needs to be clarified that these Indian oil exploration projects which China protested against are located in South China Sea waters in Vietnam’s jurisdiction and not Chinese jurisdiction. Hence China’s protests are not tenable when the provisions of the UN Convention on the Law of the Seas are kept in mind.

 

China neither has de-facto nor de-jure jurisdiction over the entire South China Sea. By unilateral and illegal declarations of its Nine Dashed Line, China cannot order all international oil-prospecting projects in the South China Sea region to stop their operations.

 

Concluding Observations

 

India may not be a party to the dispute in the South China Sea as regards the sovereignty of the disputed islands is concerned, but India should consider itself as a legitimate stake-holder in the security and stability of the South China Sea.

 

In the above context therefore, India as a major maritime power in the Indo-Pacific Region must consider that no major power including China is allowed to resort to aggressive military brinkmanship to redraw maps to establish China’s full sovereignty over the entire South China Sea. Tomorrow China would start claiming some portions of the Indian Ocean on historical grounds that some Chinese Admiral’s fleet traversed those areas centuries ago.

 

India to begin with may not be able to perform this task single-handedly. In tandem with its preparations for building up its maritime power, India must politically be more vocal in embedding in international consciousness that Asian stability and security stands endangered if China is allowed a free run in riding rough-shod over the sovereignty and legal claims of its smaller neighbours like Vietnam and the Philippines in the South China Sea.

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20 avril 2013 6 20 /04 /avril /2013 16:35
AUS: Exercise BERSAMA SHIELD concludes
 
 
Exercise BERSAMA SHIELD 2013 was conducted on the South China Sea, Singapore and the Malaysian Peninsula between 8-18 April.  
 
Australia was the only nation to deploy a submarine in support of Exercise BERSAMA SHIELD 13.  
 
Commanding Officer of HMAS Dechaineux Commander Glen Miles said operating as the enemy or “Red Force”, HMAS Dechaineux’s role in the exercise was to test the responses from participating nations’ navy vessels. 
 
“We operated in shallow waters amongst high concentrations of fishing vessels conducting simulated attacks on surface ships from Malaysian, Singaporean and New Zealand Navies,” Commander Miles said. 
 
“For the crew of HMAS Dechaineux, Exercise BERSAMA SHIELD 13 provided a fantastic opportunity to practice the ‘hide and seek’ of submarine warfare in busy waterways.” 
 
Throughout the exercise the submarine was “hunted” by two AP-3C Orion aircraft from Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) 92 Wing, based at RAAF Edinburgh in South Australia. 
 
The AP-3C Orion aircraft flew a total of seven sorties in support of the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA)-led exercise, allowing the AP-3C crews to hone their skills in a complex multinational exercise environment involving naval and air forces.  
 

 

The Five Power Defence Arrangements is the longest standing multilateral arrangement in South East Asia and has maintained relevance in the contemporary security environment.

 

The Australian Defence Force was a founding member of the Five Power Defence Arrangements and this year marks the 42nd anniversary of our involvement in these exercises.

 
Exercises such as BERSAMA SHIELD 2013 continue to reinforce the relevance of this long-term relationship to the regional strategic environment. 
 
92 Wing Exercise Detachment Commander Squadron Leader Jesse Laroche said “Exercise BERSAMA SHIELD further enhances the strength of the FPDA relationship, the aircraft and support personnel operated from Royal Malaysian Air Force Base Butterworth. 
 
“The squadron regarded the AP-3C participation as a great success, testing exercise interoperability, capability expansion and communication between the Five Power Defence Arrangements Nations,” Squadron Leader Laroche said. 
 
In addition to the AP-3C Orions and HMAS Dechaineux, the Royal Australian Navy and Royal Australian Air Force provided liaison officers who deployed to Royal Malaysian Air Force Base Butterworth.
 
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