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The South China Sea NEWS ONLY

bobbymike

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About 20 years late developing Intermediate-Range strike options for the SCS but better late than never I guess.

Should consider a COTS solution of modifying an existing SRM like the GEM series with a precision front end/warhead combination.
 

Grey Havoc

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COTS / spin-on might not be the best solution though, given the generally poor record of such approaches in the post-Cold War era. But they do need something in a hurry.
 

Foo Fighter

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I see a short but nasty little contra-temps sometime soon out there if they do not get a grip of the situation.
 

bobbymike

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Grey Havoc

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The worrying precedent in China’s quarrel with Australia (ft.com)

“If you make China the enemy, China will be the enemy”. That sentence, attributed to a Chinese government official, has been splashed all over the Australian press in recent days. It deserves to resonate well beyond that country’s shores. The rapid deterioration in the relationship between Beijing and Canberra is much more than a bilateral affair. It demonstrates how a more assertive China is now seeking to intimidate nations that are a long way from its shores, by resorting to a bullying style of “wolf warrior” diplomacy. The treatment of Australia sets a worrying precedent since China is making demands that would impinge upon the country’s domestic system — affecting basic liberties such as freedom of speech. Democratic countries should watch this conflict closely and be prepared to support each other in pushing back against Chinese pressure. Without such co-ordination, Beijing will be encouraged in its efforts to divide and rule, inflicting real political and economic damage on democratic countries that defy its will. For some decades, Australia has successfully ridden two horses. It has maintained a strategic alliance with the US and developed a close economic relationship with China. China is the largest market for its exports, and Chinese demand has helped propel many decades of Australian growth. This economic reliance on China was always likely to put Australia in an awkward position if — as is happening now — relations between China and the west deteriorated. Beijing has made it clear that it regards Australia as far too closely aligned to US foreign policy on a range of issues from the South China Sea to inward investment, 5G technology and Covid-19. In response, it is turning the economic screw. China has put tariffs on exports of Australian barley, restricted beef imports and started an anti-dumping inquiry into Australian wine. It has said further measures could be in the works, if Australia does not “correct its mistakes”. The corrections that Beijing is demanding are not simply to do with foreign policy or trade. In a 14-point memo handed to the Australian media outlining China’s grievances, Beijing also pointed to what it regards as hostile media reporting — as well as Australian government financing for think-tanks that have produced work Beijing dislikes. Unable to tolerate free speech at home, Beijing now appears intent on controlling speech overseas as well. China clearly feels that it is in a good position to intimidate Australia — a country which, despite its vast landmass, has a population of just 25m people. At the same time, Beijing appears anxious about any suggestion that Australia is part of a broader community of democratic nations that could come to its support. When Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the US — a grouping known as the “Five Eyes” — recently released a joint statement on Hong Kong, the foreign ministry spokesman in Beijing responded: “No matter if they have Five Eyes or 10 eyes, if they dare to harm China’s sovereignty . . . they should beware of their eyes being poked and blinded.” Such language does not help Beijing’s case. In an ideal world, tempers will cool in both Beijing and Canberra, and China will take advantage of a change of administration in Washington to rein in its “wolf-warrior” diplomats. If that does not happen, democratic countries should co-ordinate their responses to Chinese efforts at intimidation. As Benjamin Franklin put it in the 18th century: “We must all hang together or most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”
 

Grey Havoc

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Grey Havoc

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Chinese warplanes simulated attacking US carrier near Taiwan (ft.com)

Chinese military aircraft simulated missile attacks on a nearby US aircraft carrier during an incursion into Taiwan’s air defence zone three days after Joe Biden’s inauguration, according to intelligence from the US and its allies. The People’s Liberation Army sent 11 aircraft into the south-western corner of Taiwan’s air defence zone on January 23, and 15 aircraft into the same area the next day, according to Taiwan’s defence ministry. People familiar with intelligence collected by the US and its allies said the bombers and some of the fighter aircraft involved were conducting an exercise that used a group of US Navy vessels led by the carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt in the same area as a simulated target. Pilots of H-6 bombers could be heard in cockpit conversations confirming orders for the simulated targeting and release of anti-ship missiles against the carrier, the people said. The revelations highlight that the intense military competition between the two superpowers around Taiwan and the South China Sea has not eased, posing a challenge to any attempts the Biden administration might make to improve US relations with Beijing. China’s development of missiles capable of targeting US ships and aircraft in the region has helped counter America’s military dominance in Asia and the western Pacific. Although Chinese experts have said that Beijing remains unwilling to risk open conflict with the US, the PLA’s new muscle is forcing the US to adjust its posture and strategy in Asia. The area where Taipei reported the incursions last weekend is located between Pratas, a Taiwan-held atoll in the northern part of the South China Sea, and Taiwan proper, where the Taiwan Strait meets the Bashi Channel, a main passageway between the western Pacific and the South China Sea.“ The Su-30 [fighters] can carry Kh-31 anti-ship missiles, and the H-6 bombers and J-16 fighters can both carry YJ anti-ship missiles,” said Su Tzu-yun, an analyst at the Institute for National Defense and Security Research, a think-tank backed by Taiwan’s defence ministry. “All three aircraft are clearly a display of threat against surface ships.”

The US Indo-Pacific Command said on January 23 that the US carrier strike group had sailed into the South China Sea that day. According to ship-tracking data, it passed through the Bashi Channel. The Chinese aerial manoeuvres sparked a strong response from the new US administration, which warned Beijing to stop intimidating Taiwan.“ We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic and economic pressure against Taiwan,” the US state department said, before adding that China should remember that Washington’s relationship with Taipei was “rock solid”.Mr Biden sent another message to China reaffirming the US commitment to help Japan defend the Senkaku Islands, which are administered by Tokyo but claimed by Beijing, which calls them the Diaoyu. China experts in Washington expect that Mr Biden will adopt a less chaotic approach than former president Donald Trump in setting policy. In an early sign that relations between Washington and Beijing would remain tense over Taiwan and a range of other issues, Antony Blinken, the new US secretary of state, this week said he agreed with the Trump administration, which had said the Chinese government’s repression of Uighur Muslims in detention camps in Xinjiang province was “genocide”. In his confirmation hearing last week, Mr Blinken said that while he disagreed with how Mr Trump had implemented his policies towards China, he was “right in taking a tougher approach”. According to an announcement by China’s Maritime Safety Administration, the PLA is conducting another exercise in the South China Sea, which is due to wrap up on Saturday. Taiwan’s defence ministry has reported larger than average Chinese air incursions into its air defence zone since that latest exercise started on Wednesday.
 

TomcatViP

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I believe this was the one that should have played red-force in the late joint Japan-US exercise instead of the US one.
 

bobbymike

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From Wednesday:
 

In_A_Dream

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I have to wonder how much of this is real and how much is simulated 'stick' (Biden's attempts at the carrot haven't gone too well so far).
Before, we pretended to be "strict" with China, with nothing really deterring them or any meaningful legislation/executive actions being executed to stop the US from helping build them into what they are today. America seemed to have the same problem after rebuilding Germany after WWI. Corporate America couldn't quite let go until the last possible second. Seems we'll be in the same boat with China.
 

Grey Havoc

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(The first story is from the week before last)
 

Grey Havoc

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US concerned at Chinese law allowing coast guard use of arms | Financial Times

Demetri Sevastopulo in Washington, Kathrin Hille in Taipei and Robin Harding in Tokyo
YESTERDAY

The US has expressed concern about a new law that authorises the Chinese coastguard to fire on foreign ships operating in disputed waters claimed by Beijing in the South China Sea and East China Sea.

The state department said it was “specifically concerned” that the law ties the use of force to Beijing’s enforcement of its maritime claims, including in the East China Sea where its coastguard conducts frequent patrols around the Senkaku Islands, which are controlled by Tokyo but claimed by China.

“The US joins the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Japan and other countries in expressing concern with China’s recently enacted coastguard law,” Ned Price, state department spokesperson, said on Friday.“Allowing the coastguard to destroy other countries’ economic structures and to use force in defending China’s maritime claims in disputed areas, strongly implies this law could be used to intimidate the PRC’s maritime neighbours,” Price added.

The criticism underscores how US-China tensions have shown no sign of abating since Joe Biden succeeded Donald Trump as president. The US last month warned Beijing to stop intimidating Taiwan after Chinese warplanes flew into the island’s air defence zone and simulated attacks on a nearby US aircraft carrier.

Biden also recently reassured Tokyo that the US-Japan mutual defence treaty applied to the Senkaku, which China claims and calls the Diaoyu.

Global Times, a Chinese state-run ultranationalist tabloid, said the new law would help China “safeguard sovereignty” related to the Diaoyu.

Toshimitsu Motegi, Japan’s foreign minister, said Tokyo was “seriously concerned” about the law because Chinese coastguard ships make daily incursions into waters around the Senkaku.

Highlighting the danger, Commandant Takahiro Okushima, head of Japan’s coastguard, said he could not rule out of the use of weapons under his policing powers: “With a feeling of tension, we’ll prepare the best we can.

”Greg Poling, a South China Sea expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the law was not “wildly out of step” with international standards, but said it was worrying because the Chinese coastguard was “already aggressive”.

Allowing the fleet to use force to remove structures on Chinese islands or defend Chinese claims “increases the likelihood of violence in any given stand-offs”, he said, making China’s neighbours very anxious.

Elbridge Colby, a former Pentagon official, said the Chinese coastguard was a “formidable” force that has grown in size in recent years. “I could see this as a way to try to drive a wedge between Washington and Tokyo to see whether the US was willing to pay the piper,” he said.

Hsiao Bi-khim, Taiwan’s representative in Washington, said the law could cause miscalculation and conflict around the Senkaku, which are also claimed by Taipei.

China’s neighbours view the law as another assertive and destabilising move from a country that has continuously increased aggressive enforcement of its expansive maritime claims over the past decade.

“I’m very concerned about this law because it might cause miscalculations and accidents,” Delfin Lorenzana, defence secretary of the Philippines, told CNN.

The law is the final piece of a multiyear reform that combined four different Chinese maritime law enforcement agencies — tasked with issues from fisheries to smuggling — into what is now the Chinese coastguard.

The new rules permit the Chinese coastguard to fire handheld weapons when foreign ships conduct “illegal” operations in Chinese waters and resist law enforcement. Larger weapons, such as shipborne cannons, can be used in counter-terrorist operations, or in any violent incident.

Chinese analysts counter that the law prevents destabilisation because it clearly stipulates certain kinds of behaviour in specific situations.

Zhang Nianhong of the East China University of Political Science and Law argued that previous coastguard practices — such as ramming foreign fishing vessels as a way of enforcing domestic laws — “did not correspond with international practice and were not even in line with domestic laws”.
 

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