Tuesday, July 28, 2020
The Western block would consist of the US, NATO, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Israel, and Saudi Arabia. The Eastern block would consist of Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, basically all of the Middle East, Serbia, and Belarus. There will unlikely be any large scale fighting near American soil in a strictly conventional war situation. Firstly, let us start with Asia. The United States, Japan, and South Korea. would send their navy to counter North Korea, and China. South Korea would strictly focus on North Korea and would win with relative ease. The United States would focus on China, and Japan would focus on North Korea and China. The United States, India and Japan would form a blockade around China. This would lead to the US and Japan destroying their nuclear launch sites and all aircraft that can carry nuclear weapons. The US air-force, assisted by Japan, would control the skies over China. They would launch devastating airstrikes and would pierce their land defenses. This would all lead to the withdrawal of China, as they would probably not want to surrender. This would be a major victory for the US and Japan in Asia. Overall, it would be a costly US led coalition victory. China, would be recovering from the massive Japanese/American bombardment. North Korea would be under South Korean rule and they would begin to slowly recover and become prosperous. Japan would be trying to recover from the Chinese. They would still remain prosperous. The United States and Canada would remain relatively safe. America, being a war based economy, would profit greatly. Australia would be safe and would not really change at all.
The underlying factors are the growth of Chinese power, Chinese dissatisfaction with the US-led regional security system, and US alliance commitments to a variety of regional states. As long as these factors hold, the possibility for war will endure.
Whatever the trigger, the war does not begin with a US pre-emptive attack against Chinese fleet, air, and land-based installations. Although the US military would prefer to engage and destroy Chinese anti-access assets before they can target US planes, bases, and ships, it is extremely difficult to envisage a scenario in which the United States decides to pay the political costs associated with climbing the ladder of escalation.
Instead, the United States needs to prepare to absorb the first blow. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the U.S. Navy (USN) and U.S. Air Force (USAF) have to wait for Chinese missiles to rain down upon them, but the United States will almost certainly require some clear, public signal of Chinese intent to escalate to high-intensity, conventional military combat before it can begin engaging Chinese forces.
If the history of World War I gives any indication, the PLA will not allow the United States to fully mobilize in order to either launch a first strike, or properly prepare to receive a first blow. At the same time, a “bolt from the blue” strike is unlikely. Instead, a brewing crisis will steadily escalate over a few incidents, finally triggering a set of steps on the part of the US military that indicate to Beijing that Washington is genuinely prepared for war. These steps will include surging carrier groups, shifting deployment to Asia from Europe and the Middle East, and moving fighter squadrons towards the Pacific. At this moment, China will need to decide whether to push forward or back down.
On the economic side, Beijing and Washington will both press for sanctions (the US effort will likely involve a multilateral effort), and will freeze each others assets, as well as those of any co-belligerents. This will begin the economic pain for capital and consumers across the Pacific Rim, and the rest of the world. The threat of high intensity combat will also disrupt global shipping patterns, causing potentially severe bottlenecks in industrial production.
Whether US allies support American efforts against China depends on how the war begins. If war breaks out over a collapse of the DPRK, the United States can likely count on the support of South Korea and Japan. Any war stemming from disputes in the East China Sea will necessarily involve Japan. If events in the South China Sea lead to war, the US can probably rely on some of the ASEAN states, as well as possibly Japan. Australia may also support the US over a wide range of potential circumstances.
China faces a less complicated situation with respect to allies. Beijing could probably expect benevolent neutrality, including shipments of arms and spares, from Russia, but little more. The primary challenge for Chinese diplomats would be establishing and maintaining the neutrality of potential US allies. This would involve an exceedingly complex dance, including reassurances about Chinese long-term intentions, as well as displays of confidence about the prospects of Chinese victory (which would carry the implicit threat of retribution for support of the United States).
North Korea presents an even more difficult problem. Any intervention on the part of the DPRK runs the risk of triggering Japanese and South Korean counter-intervention, and that math doesn’t work out for China. Unless Beijing is certain that Seoul and Tokyo will both throw in for the United States (a doubtful prospect given their hostility to one another), it may spend more time restraining Pyongyang than pushing it into the conflict.
The US will pursue the following war aims:
1. Defeat the affirmative expeditionary purpose of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN).
2. Destroy the offensive capability of the PLAN and People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF).
3. Potentially destabilize the control of the CCP government over mainland China.t
Except in the case of a war that breaks out on the Korean Peninsula, the first task involves either defeating a Chinese attempt to land forces, or preventing the reinforcement and resupply of those troops before forcing their surrender. The second task will require a wide range of attacks against deployed Chinese air and naval units, as well as ships and aircraft held in reserve. We can expect, for example, that the USN and USAF will target Chinese airbases, naval bases, and potentially missile bases in an effort to maximize damage to the PLAN and PLAAF. The third task probably depends on the successful execution of the first two. The defeat of Chinese expeditionary forces, and the destruction of a large percentage of the PLAN and the PLAAF, may cause domestic turmoil in the medium to long term. US military planners would be well-advised to concentrate the strategic campaign on the first two objectives and hope that success has a political effect, rather than roll the dice on a broader “strategic” campaign against CCP political targets. The latter would waste resources, run the risk of escalation, and have unpredictable effects on the Chinese political system.
Japan is very much the flavor of the current Indian season. Especially when juxtaposed against China, Japan is acknowledged by New Delhi as being one of the most significant maritime players in the Indo-Pacific. Indeed, Japan’s steadily deteriorating and increasingly fractious relationship with China is a prominent marker of the general fragility of the geopolitical situation prevailing almost throughout the Indo-Pacific. Within this fragile environment, New Delhi is seeking to maintain its own geopolitical pre-eminence in the IOR and relevance in the Indo-Pacific as a whole by adroitly managing China’s growing assertiveness. In this process, Japan and the USA (along with Australia, Vietnam, South Korea, and Indonesia) collectively offer India a viable alternative to Sino-centric hegemony within the region. However, before it places too many of its security eggs in a Japanese basket, it is important for India to examine at least the more prominent historical and contemporary contours of the Sino-Japanese relationship. As India expands her footprint across the Indo-Pacific and examines the overtures of Japan and the USA to seek closer geopolitical coordination with both, it is vital to ensure that our country and our navy are not dragged by ignorance, misinformation or disinformation, into the law of unintended consequences.
Map of Sea of Japan. This could be the scenario in the conflict between India, Japan and USA against China and Russia. Although the videos are cartoon like, they are mostly accurate to some degree. With Japan, Ausrtalia, UK and Vietnam alliance China will be overwhelmed.
The influence of China, with its ancient and extraordinarily well-developed civilization, upon the much younger civilization of Japan has been enormous. Even the sobriquet for Japan — the Land of the Rising Sun — is derived from a Chinese perspective, since when the Chinese looked east to Japan they looked in the direction of the dawn. As Japan began to consolidate itself as a nation, between the 1st and the 6th Century CE, it increasingly copied the Chinese model of national development, administration, societal structure and culture. And yet, for all that, there is also a history of deep animosity between the two countries, which manifested itself across of whole range of actions and reactions. At one end was China’s disapproval of Japan attempting to equate itself with the Middle Kingdom (as when Japan Prince Shotoku, in 607 CE, sent a letter to the Sui emperor, Yangdi, “from the Son of Heaven in the land where the sun rises to the Son of Heaven in the land where the sun sets.”) At the other, lay armed conflict. Over the course of the past two millennia, Japan and China have gone to war five times. The common thread in each has been a power struggle on the Korean Peninsula. Even their more contemporary animosity dates back to at least 1894 — during the Meiji Restoration in Japan. It is true that, much like India and Pakistan, relations between China and Japan have witnessed periods of great optimism. For instance, Sino–Japanese relations in the 1970s and early 1980s were undeniably positive and ‘historical animosity’ was not a factor strong enough to foster tensions between the two nations at the time. However, it is also true, once again like India and Pakistan, that these periods of hope have been punctuated by a mutuality of visceral hatred. In the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95, China, which was mired in political conflict and civil war, suffered eight months of comprehensive defeats leading, amongst other indignities, to the occupation of Taiwan by Japan. The historical echoes of this horrific conflict and its humiliating aftermath for China resonate to this day.
The South China Sea has never occupied the top rung on Beijing’s foreign policy agenda, except perhaps during the Philippines’ initiation of arbitration against China’s claims of historic rights in 2013 and the Hague tribunal’s decision in 2016. Given economic reforms, protests in Hong Kong, President Tsai Ing-wen’s renewed mandate in Taiwan, censure of its security policies in Xinjiang, trade talks and great power rivalry with the United States, and the ongoing public health crisis of the novel coronavirus, Beijing will have its hands full. It may have little left in its tank for the South China Sea. In contrast, the six-way territorial and maritime row represents the most pressing security and foreign policy priority for other claimants. This sharp asymmetry may stimulate a willingness on the part of the biggest claimant to concede and negotiate with other disputants. That would jive well with China’s stated intention to project good neighborliness and settle the issue among the claimants without intervention by other powers. However, this readiness for dialogue may not necessarily extend to other maritime powers, especially as the South China Sea gradually emerges as a theater for great power competition.
China is apparently taking a more active role in conveying its narrative and engaging international think-tanks and publics. In April 2019, the South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative was launched by the Peking University Institute of Ocean Research. Earlier this year, the initiative has already held exchanges with regional counterparts in Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines. This is on top of the Hainan-based National Institute for South China Sea Studies setup in 2004 which has also been holding exchanges with foreign counterparts. Whether these attempts at public diplomacy allay concerns among Southeast Asian claimants remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, the high priority given to the dispute by other claimants means that they will exhaust the broad gamut of defense, diplomatic, and legal redress to safeguard their interests. Vietnam, for instance, concluded the 11th iteration of its Diplomatic Academy’s annual South China Sea conference in November 2019, drawing local and international experts. But pushback against Chinese incursions tends to wax and wane, and approaches vary among claimants. The nature of the threat posed by Chinese actions and the degree of economic ties with China are important variables to consider here.
Having lost the Paracels in 1974 and Johnson Reef in 1988, not to mention fighting China in a bitter land border war in 1979, Vietnam traditionally pushes back the hardest. Possible resort to legal means and international forums, especially as the country chairs ASEAN this year and assumes a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council (2020-2021), will diversify Hanoi’s toolkit and raise the stakes for future Chinese interference in Vietnam’s marine economic activities. The Philippines took a tougher stance after losing Mischief Reef in 1995 and control over Scarborough Shoal in 2012. The first incident pushed the country to modernize its armed forces (1995) and eventually sign a Visiting Forces Agreement (1999) with its longtime treaty ally, the United States. The second incident compelled the country to launch a legal challenge to China’s excessive maritime claims (2013) and allow U.S. troops a rotational presence in mutually agreed locations throughout the country via the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (2014). Last year, Manila also sought and obtained greater clarity on the scope of its Mutual Defense Treaty with the United States. However, Manila’s recent move to abrogate the Visiting Forces Agreement may undercut the value of the alliance at a time of growing Chinese presence in the disputed sea.
Further from China’s reach, Malaysia and Brunei have long pursued quiet diplomacy. But with Chinese outposts now enabling distant fishing fleets and patrols to scour the sea’s southern reaches, they, as well as Indonesia, may eventually recalibrate their strategy. Indonesia’s tough response to foreign illegal fishing in its waters and its strong posturing in the Natunas creates disquiet in its relations with China as well as with ASEAN neighbors like Vietnam. Thus, China’s assertiveness and the smaller claimants’ heightened sense of insecurity generates the potential for conflict, drawing other major powers in—to Beijing’s displeasure.
In addition, in the interest of gaining legitimacy, smaller claimants have been aligning their maritime claims with international law, notably the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. Malaysia’s submission of its second extended continental shelf (ECS) claim in the South China Sea last December is instructive. Prior to that, Vietnam and Malaysia jointly submitted an ECS claim in 2009, a move which compelled Beijing to officially articulate its nine-dash line claim. The Philippines, meanwhile, ratified its first ever maritime boundary delimitation agreement with Indonesia last year. These legal foundations may serve to pressure Beijing to bring its claims into conformity with international law. This is especially so after the landmark 2016 arbitral award invalidated China’s claimed “historic rights” and ruled that none of the features in the contested Spratly Islands are capable of generating exclusive economic zones (EEZs). Other claimants will likely continue to pursue their own ECS submissions and EEZ delimitations in the South China Sea.
Southeast Asian claimants will also push back against Chinese overtures to upend security engagement and offshore energy undertakings with other countries in the South China Sea. The deep and complex web of alliances and partnerships, to which security and economic engagement with China forms just one part, is integral to ASEAN’s centrality and autonomy, an aspiration threatened by growing major power rivalry. The 2019 defense white papers of Malaysia and Vietnam both recognized this context of great power competition. Hanoi, for one, added a new caveat in its defense policy, expressing readiness to develop military relations with other countries while still upholding its four nos policy: no military alliances, no siding with one country against another, no foreign military bases, and no use of force or threat to use force in its international relations. This is a significant departure in Vietnam’s strategic thinking and goes to show the extent to which Chinese actions are driving such shifts.
In relation to hydrocarbons in the South China Sea, Southeast Asian claimants resist Chinese demands to terminate upstream contracts with foreign companies from non-claimant states because doing so would adversely affect investor confidence even outside the energy sector. For example, despite being compelled to suspend Spanish firm Repsol’s offshore work in 2017 and 2018, Vietnam continued to encourage Russian, Japanese, Indian, and U.S. energy companies to operate in its EEZ in the South China Sea. The Philippines likewise suggested it would welcome involvement from Russian energy company Rosneft in the country’s oil and gas projects. This said, the continued retreat of Western investors from offshore projects around the South China Sea may facilitate Beijing’s proposed joint development model by leaving its neighbors with few options. For instance, the exit of U.S.-based Chevron from Malampaya, the Philippines’ largest natural gas field located in the South China Sea, and the purchase of its equity by Udenna Group may pave the way for China National Offshore Oil Corporation to acquire a stake in the aging gas field that supplies up to 40 percent of the electricity for Luzon, the country’s main island. Last year, Phoenix Petroleum, one of Udenna’s companies, signed a deal with the Chinese state-owned company to develop a liquified natural gas terminal. ExxonMobil was also rumored to be exiting from the Blue Whale project off Vietnam as part of the company’s divestment efforts.
In sum, notwithstanding bilateral and regional efforts at dispute management and confidence building, the level of importance that claimants will assign to the South China Sea disputes and the extent to which they will push back against coercion will foretell how tempestuous the South China Sea will get in 2020.
Strategy to Defeat China in The SCS
The air campaign in Desert Storm was a watershed for air power. It demonstrated the effectiveness of precision munitions, marked a high water point for electronic warfare and introduced radar stealth in a decisive manner. It also established a template for the application of air power that has taken root in Air Force culture and remains firmly established a quarter century later.
Continue to limit the access of the Chinese Surface ships to the Western Pacific islands by mining the ports and islands. Limit the energy resource and commercial maritime intercourse which China is so dependent upon. The primary objective here is to effectively neutralize certain elements of PRC military power by starving it of energy. In contrast with maritime interdiction, strategic interdiction is not an airtight blockade but a targeted effort to interdict primarily the production and transport of energy resources all the way back to the source. A campaign would have four elements:
The most prominent Sino-Japanese contributor to contemporary geopolitical fragility is the Senkaku/ Diaoyu Islands dispute. This is an extremely high-risk dispute that could very easily lead to armed conflict, especially in the wake of Japan’s nationalization of three of the islands in September 2013. Reacting strongly to this unilateral action by Japan, China established an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) on 23 November, 2013, encompassing (inter alia) these very islands. This, in turn, was immediately challenged by the USA, Japan, and South Korea. Within days of the Chinese declaration, military aircraft from all three countries flew through China’s ADIZ without complying with the promulgated ADIZ regulations. Perhaps because of the robustness of this response, China has not been enforcing this ADIZ with any great vigour, but has not withdrawn it either. It is appreciated that this is a long-term play, because China would acquire strategic advantage by asserting a maximalist position, then seeming to back down, while preserving some incremental gain — akin to a ‘ratchet’ effect. This is an example of ‘salami slicing’ — of which much has been made in a variety of Indian and Western media.
China’s increased military activities in this maritime area have certainly caused a fivefold rise in the frequency with which Japanese fighter jets have been forced to scramble in preparedness against Chinese aircraft intrusions into Japanese airspace over the East China Sea (ECS). Japanese aircraft have moved up from 150 scrambles in 2011 to a staggering 1,168 scrambles in FY 2016-17. (The Japanese FY, like that of India, runs from 01 April to 31 March.) Given that fighter pilots are young, aggressive, and trained to use lethal force almost intuitively, this dramatic increase in frequency of scrambles causes a corresponding increase in the chance of a miscalculation on the part of one or both parties that could result in a sudden escalation into active hostilities.
Even more worrying is the prospect that once China completes her building of airfields on a sufficient number of reefs in the Spratly Island Group, she would promulgate an ADIZ in the South China Sea. Should she do so, the inevitable challenges to such an ADIZ would probably bring inter-state geopolitical tensions to breaking point.
All in all, the increased militarization and current involvement of the armed forces of both countries in the Senkaku/ Diaoyu islands have grave implications for geopolitical stability. To cite a well-used colloquialism, “once you open a can of worms, the only way you can put them back is to use a bigger can.” In the case of the Senkaku/ Diaoyu Islands, both Japan and the PRC have certainly opened ‘a can of worms’ and now both are looking for a bigger can. Thus, both countries are jockeying for geopolitical options with both the USA as well as with other geopolitical powers that can be brought around to roughly align with their respective point of view. Japan’s alliance with the USA and its active wooing of India and Australia with constructs such as Asia’s Democratic Security Diamond is one such ‘larger can.’
Yet, Japan’s geopolitical insecurities in its segment of the Indo-Pacific are not solely about the Senkaku/ Diaoyu islands. Japan’s apprehension in 2004-05 that China’s exploitation of the Chunxiao gas field (located almost on the EEZ boundary line — as Japan perceives it) was pulling natural gas away from the subterranean extension of the field into the Japanese side of the EEZ boundary brought the two countries to the brink of a military clash. While the situation has been contained for the time being, it remains a potential flashpoint. Across the Sea of Japan /East Sea lie other historical and contemporary challenges in the form of the two Koreas, a Russia that appears to be in a protracted state of geopolitical flux, and of course, the omnipresent elephant in the room, namely, the People’s Republic of China.
Closer home, Japan’s Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) is present and surprisingly active in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) as well. Its interest in maintaining freedom of navigation within the International Shipping Lanes to and from West Asia in general, and the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Aden in particular, are well known features of Tokyo’s ‘energy security’ and ‘security-of-energy’ policies. Off the Horn of Africa at the southern tip of the Gulf of Aden, the ‘war-lord-ism’ that substitutes for governance in Somalia is a source of strategic concern at a number of levels.
Chinese soldiers sit atop tanks as they drive in a parade to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China in Beijing on Oct. 1. KEVIN FRAYER/GETTY IMAGES
Many observers believe China is building up its military, especially its navy, to break through the first and second island chains and push the United States out of the Asia-Pacific. China’s military expansion in the region is thus seen as a major threat against U.S. interests and security.
But there’s a big problem with the language involved. Phrases like “pushing the United States out of the Asia-Pacific,” “China’s military expansion in Asia,” or “breaking the two island chains” create the image of a physical process, of the Chinese military pressuring U.S. troops and bases in the Asia-Pacific until they can no longer resist and are forced to leave. In reality, both the goal and the process are different—and unless U.S. strategists rectify the way they think about this, they could come to dangerous conclusions.
This isn’t about a physical outcome, but a political one. It doesn’t refer just to U.S. bases in Japan or South Korea. The United States has no permanent bases in the Philippines, but, because of the two countries’ mutual defense treaty, U.S. troops would defend the Philippines in case of attack. China’s goal isn’t just to remove U.S. personnel or equipment from the region, or even to prevent rotational deployments or joint exercises in the Asia-Pacific; it’s to limit or eliminate Washington’s influence over countries in the region, including, ideally, through the termination of their defense treaties and the Taiwan Relations Act, which commits the United States to support Taiwan’s defense.
This doesn’t mean that China is looking to completely extricate the United States from Asian and Pacific countries: It’s OK if they continue trading, or if U.S. companies invest there. But China’s goal is to constrain Washington’s influence to the point that it would no longer try, or would be unable, to convince regional governments to take measures against China such as banning Huawei fifth-generation technology.As long as Washington remains their chief partner, the U.S. government would still be able to convince Tokyo and Seoul to take anti-China measures.
It will help Beijing little if U.S. troops leave Japan and South Korea, but their mutual defense treaties remain in force. As long as Washington remains their chief partner, the U.S. government would still be able to convince Tokyo and Seoul to take anti-China measures, such as restricting Chinese tech companies it considers national-security threats—even if the assurance of U.S. troops as a tripwire against aggression were removed.
Yet in both Beijing and Washington, there’s a belief that, if China establishes regional military superiority over the United States, it will be able to push the United States out of the Asia-Pacific region. But transforming that military superiority into political influence is far trickier than it seems.
Imagine that it’s 2025, and China’s military has become stronger and more active, while the United States failed to keep up in the Asia-Pacific. Think tanks and experts warn that the military balance has shifted in China’s favor and, in case of war, it’s likely that it would prevail. Would U.S. allies, from Seoul to Canberra, decide to ditch the United States and align themselves with the rising hegemon, fulfilling demands such as Chinese sovereignty over the archipelago in the South China Sea known as the Senkaku or Diaoyu Islands, or censorship of local anti-China voices? Or would they stick to the United States, building up their military capabilities and strengthening other military alliances?
Both U.S. allies and neutral countries in the Asia-Pacific already fear China’s growing power and its geopolitical demands. This is happening while the military balance is still in Washington’s favor. If China becomes more powerful, it will also become more threatening. With the exception of India, all other regional countries are dwarfed by China. If left alone, they would have to acquiesce to any and all demands coming from Beijing, as they would stand zero chance of prevailing in a bilateral military conflict.
The United States, even if weaker than China, would be their only hope in such an adverse geopolitical environment. A more menacing China would also galvanize the U.S.government and public to confront it. Military expansion can’t achieve China’s goals by itself.Unless the United States willingly abandons its competition with China, Beijing will never create the military gap necessary to scare the entire region into submission.
Chinese military power could force the United States out of the region in two scenarios: a China so dwarfing the U.S, presence in the region that its might is unassailable, or a decisive military victory. The first scenario needs the United States to weaken so much that regional military planners would no longer believe that it can impose enough costs on China, thus voiding alliances of any deterrent effect. Combined with Chinese economic sanctions or military skirmishes, Asian and Pacific countries might be forced to cut ties with the United States, if it’s clear that they serve no defense purpose. But the odds of a U.S. government ever allowing so vast a gap to emerge are very low.
The other scenario, a war, would necessitate a crystal-clear military victory over the United States, maybe including the invasion and occupation of an ally. A simple tactical win wouldn’t suffice. If China defeats the Japan-U.S. alliance by sinking a few ships and bombing some bases, leading to a diplomatic agreement that gave Beijing control of the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, would the Japanese government later surrender its defense treaty with the United States and remain at Beijing’s mercy? This would make no strategic sense. More likely, it would strengthen military ties with the United States and maybe develop a nuclear capability to deter any further Chinese threats. Only a devastating defeat in a full-blown conflict that risks nuclear war could achieve such a goal—something China desires as little as anyone else.
Posted by ASC at 8:10 AM
Monday, July 27, 2020
LET US CHANGE THE NAME SOUTH CHINA SEA TO THE PROPER NAME OF WEST PHILIPPINE SEA
Since the Philippines faces this body of water and China is more than a thousand miles away what would be more appropriate than to change the name to the West Philippine Sea. South China Sea with a total coastline measuring approximately 130,000 km (81,250 miles) long; whereas the Southern China’s coastline measured about 2,800 km (1,750 miles) in length.
Other proposals have included the “Indochina Sea” and the “Asean Sea,” though that last one bumps into the problem of Cambodia, a member of ASEAN, siding more with China (and earning Beijing’s appreciation along the way).The sea has had a variety of names throughout history, with “South China Sea” being a relatively recent invention (paywall), coming into use in the 1930s as a way to distinguish the waterway from the East China Sea.
China can play the name game, too. In the Chinese language, the sea is called simply Nanhai, or the South Sea. Some have proposed renaming the southern Hainan Province, which faces the sea, to “Nanhai Province.” Proponents contend the name change would help fortify China’s claims to the sea.
In English, changing the name of the sea to “South Sea” might work, argued Ellen Frost, a senior adviser at the East-West Center, earlier this year. Chinese nationalists would surely reject the “Southeast Asia Sea,” she noted (pdf). But they’d have a harder time arguing against the “South Sea”—even though it removes “China”—since in Chinese the name ”Nanhai” has been around for centuries. The northern end of the West Philippine Sea is at Hainan Island which is the Southern most part of China.
This is the patrimony of Southeast Asian nations, the lifeblood of their coastal communities, and the livelihood of millions of their citizens. The United States stands alongside the Philippines and other Southeast Asian partners to uphold a rules-based order that ensures sovereign, sustainable, and productive access to the South China Sea and its resources.
At last month’s ASEAN Summit, ASEAN leaders reaffirmed the importance of maintaining the South China Sea “as a sea of peace, stability, and prosperity.” To strengthen our support for sovereignty and freedom of the seas, this week, the United States announced an important change in US policy regarding maritime claims in the South China Sea.
As US Secretary of State Pompeo explained, the United States rejects any People’s Republic of China (PRC) maritime claims within the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone or continental shelf, and claims in waters beyond 12 nautical miles from the islands in the Spratlys. Beijing’s harassment of Philippine fisheries and offshore energy development within those areas is unlawful, as are any unilateral PRC actions to exploit those resources. Under the 2016 Arbitral Tribunal Award, which is final and legally binding, the Philippines enjoys sovereign rights and jurisdiction with respect to the natural resources in its EEZ. As Secretary of Foreign Affairs Locsin remarked this weekend on the anniversary of the ruling, “The arbitral tribunal’s award of 12 July 2016 represents a victory, not just for the Philippines, but for the entire community of consistently law-abiding nations.”
Why is this important? Here in the Philippines, the West Philippine Sea epitomizes the rich marine diversity of this country. In its waters, scientists have discovered hundreds of species of fish, coral, seagrass, and other marine life existing in interdependent systems that teach us about the planet’s complexity, fragility, and resilience. These habitats not only provide the fish that fill Filipino fishing vessels (and Filipino plates), they also serve as spawning grounds for schools that populate seas throughout Southeast Asia. Philippine scientists believe some of the species unique to these waters may also hold the key to biomedical breakthroughs, while climate researchers can study ecosystem changes to measure human impact on the environment.
Marine conservation begins with securing territorial integrity; when any nation uses coercion, subversion, disinformation, and other underhanded tactics to further its position in the South China Sea, it denies our friends and partners the right to build a sustainable future. ASEAN leaders expressed concern over activities and serious incidents in the South China Sea which have “eroded trust and confidence, increased tensions, and may undermine peace, security and stability in the region.” The United States remains committed to fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows, and will continue to defend the right of freedom of navigation in international waters and airways. Earlier this month, the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group conducted dual-carrier operations with the Ronald Reagan and Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carriers, demonstrating US commitment to mutual defense agreements and promoting peace and prosperity throughout the Indo-Pacific.
Posted by ASC at 7:34 AM
Thursday, July 16, 2020
Don't Allow China to grow militarily, Destroy their armed forces now and hopefully the CCP.
This is the time to do this planned control of a potential Nazi Germany in the making. and just as what Gen. Douglas MacArthur planned to do during the Korean war. If we do not control it it will be worse in the coming years.
Defense spending is one of the most direct ways of measuring a country’s potential military capability. Comparing defense spending between countries — whether nominally or as a percent of government expenditure — is a useful gauge of relative military strength. Spending patterns can also reveal key political events that have prompted an increase or decrease in defense allocations. No matter how much a country spends on its military, it still must translate its potential capability for power into desired outcomes.
Understanding the connection between Chinese military spending and Chinese military power is complicated by a lack of transparency. Although Beijing provides figures for its defense spending each year, outside estimates of China’s defense budget are often significantly higher than the official numbers. China provides limited information on the distribution of its military spending, which further obscures spending patterns.
Defense Spending Giants
This interactive compares China’s defense spending from 2000 to 2019 with other key countries. Use the filtering options to select other measures of spending or to look at another country grouping. Data provided by the
Tracking Chinese Military Spending
There is no universally accepted standard for reporting military spending. While international mechanisms exist, such as the UN Report on Military Expenditures, participation is voluntary. This allows governments to report their expenditure with varying degrees of detail. China joined the UN instrument in 2007, but it remains less transparent than many countries.
The Chinese government reports expenditure information annually. In May 2020, China announced a yearly defense budget of RMB 1.268 trillion ($178.6 billion),1 marking a 6.6 percent2 increase from the 2019 budget of 1.19 trillion yuan ($177.5 billion).3 This follows a recent trend that has seen yearly percent increases in spending fall to single digits.
Notwithstanding these differences, Beijing’s official figures may now more accurately represent defense expenditures than in the past. In 2002, the DoD reported that China’s actual defense spending may have been upwards of four times larger than its officially announced budget. In comparison, the 2019 estimate from SIPRI pegs China’s nominal defense spending at $261 billion – 1.5 times larger than the official figure.
Varying levels of transparency from Beijing compound outside efforts to estimate China’s defense budget. The publication of 11 defense white papers since 1995 has provided some insight into the nature of Chinese military spending, but with varying degrees of specificity. White papers published between 1998 and 2008 included comparative budget breakdowns between China and countries like Japan and Russia. These comparisons were removed from white papers after 2008, but reappeared in the most recent white paper that was released in July 2019.
Chinese Defense Expenditure Breakdown
Billions of Dollars (2017)
Amount Percentage (%)
Personnel 47.51 30.8
Training & Maintenance 43.41 28.1
Equipment 63.47 41.1
Total 154.39 100Source:United Nations
Most defense white papers – except those released in 2013 and 2015 – also outline three spending categories: personnel, training and maintenance, and equipment.4 Beijing states that it annually reports categorized military spending information to the UN; however, this information is only available from the UN in one-page reports for fiscal years 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2017. 5 The reports from the mid-2000s show roughly equal spending between each of these three categories. The 2019 white paper, which includes spending breakdowns between 2010 and 2017, reveals a noticeable shift away from this even distribution. Spending on equipment now accounts for the largest share of the defense budget, accounting for just over 41 percent of total spending in 2017.
Please note that the figures in the graph above are based on spending figures provided in the 2019 defense white paper and do not match with figures provided by the Ministry of Finance.
Official military spending is further complicated by the Chinese government’s inconsistent reporting of figures. Figures provided by the Ministry of Finance differ from the expenditures reported in the 2019 defense white paper.6 This discrepancy may be the result of the Ministry of Finance not including the costs associated with militia forces in its defense figures. In 2017, this inconsistency resulted in a difference of $2.9 billion.
China’s lack of transparency leads to discrepancies between official figures and outside estimates due to differences in what expenditures are included in the budget. Official figures do not account for a number of military-related outlays, including aspects of China’s space program, extra-budgetary revenues from military-owned commercial enterprises, defense mobilization funds, authorized sales of land or excess food produced by some units, recruitment bonuses for college students, and provincial military base operating costs.
Comparison of Official Military Spending Figures
|Billions of RMB (Billions of USD)|
|Year||Ministry of Finance||2019 Defense White Paper|
|2017||¥1023.7 ($151.5)||¥1043.2 ($154.4)|
|2016||¥954.6 ($143.7)||¥976.6 ($147.0)|
|2015||¥886.9 ($142.4)||¥908.8 ($145.9)|
|2014||¥805.5 ($131.1)||¥829.0 ($134.9)|
|2013||¥720.2 ($116.3)||¥741.1 ($119.6)|
|2012||¥650.6 ($103.1)||¥669.2 ($106.0)|
|2011||¥583.0 ($90.2)||¥602.8 ($93.3)|
|2010||¥518.2 ($76.5)||¥533.3 ($78.8)|
|Source: Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Defense.|
|USD values are based on average annual RMB-USD conversions using data provided by the IMF.|
Official military spending also excludes spending on public security, which includes the People’s Armed Police (PAP). The PAP is a paramilitary police component of China’s armed forces that is charged with internal security, law enforcement, and maritime rights protection. The Central Military Commission maintains direct control of the PAP. The official budget for the PAP was RMB 179.78 billion ($26.8 billion) in 2019.
China is not alone in excluding elements of defense-related spending from its official defense budget. India’s paramilitary forces, which make up the Central Armed Police Forces, fall under the Ministry of Home Affairs, not the Ministry of Defense. India is also not forthcoming about space and nuclear weapons expenditures. The United States funds its nuclear weapons through the Department of Energy and does not include these details in its defense budget. However, the US government maintains a high level of budgetary transparency, which enables analysts to readily account for discrepancies.
Estimates of China’s military budget are further complicated by the reporting of costs not typically included in many Western defense budgets. Historically, expenses incurred by military infrastructure construction were assumed to be included in the official figures, although many of these projects are designed to be dual-use and use funding from local and national non-defense budgets. Disaster relief is likewise funded through the defense budget and is to be reimbursed by non-defense agencies, but the mechanisms and effectiveness of this reimbursement remain unclear.
A Conversation With Richard Bitzinger
Prerequisites for retired senior officers — including offices, assistants, and special access to hospital facilities — are all funded through China’s defense budget. Many of these functions and associated costs are typically incurred in Western countries by nonmilitary organizations, a discrepancy that further complicates estimates of China’s military budget. It remains unclear what percentage these expenditures constitute of China’s total defense budget.
The inconsistencies in estimates are further complicated by a lack of pricing information. Beijing does not release accurate cost data for military goods and services, making it difficult to make calculations based on purchasing power parity (PPP). Some of the chief challenges are uncertainty over which goods to place in China’s defense spending basket, and which goods to compare between China and other countries. Independent organizations, such as IISS, caveat their PPP estimates, noting that no specific PPP rate applies to the Chinese military sector and that there is no definitive means through which elements of military spending can be calculated using PPP rates.
Comparing Chinese Military Spending
Calculations in this section are derived from the SIPRI Military Expenditure Database.8
China’s defense spending has seen a nearly seven-fold increase over the past two decades, jumping from $39.6 billion in 1999 to $266.4 billion in 2019. China currently spends more on defense than Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, and Vietnam combined, and China’s military spending is second only to the United States.
This growth in military spending is tied to China’s rising gross domestic product (GDP). Since 2000, China’s defense expenditures as a share of its GDP has hovered at around 2 percent. In comparison, Japan’s military spending remains set at approximately 1 percent of its GDP, but this could change in the future as Prime Minister Abe has pushed for a spending increase.
China’s rising defense spending follows from over two decades of modernization efforts. China began military modernization in earnest after the 1995–1996 Taiwan Strait crisis, which exposed fundamental weaknesses in China’s ability to deter foreign intervention in sovereignty disputes. The increase in China’s defense spending during this period was, in part, also a response to domestic policies that left China’s defense budget relatively stagnant prior to the 2000s.
Aggregate spending increases have corresponded with several high-profile procurement programs, military reforms, and doctrinal and strategic shifts within the People’s Liberation Army. These shifts have facilitated China playing a larger role in regional and international security. Some of these efforts, such as China’s participation in UN peacekeeping operations, antipiracy efforts, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief are welcome contributions to global governance. On the other hand, defending China’s growing security interests in the East and South China Seas has strained relations with other regional actors.
China’s naval expansion allows it to play a greater role in international security issues. As of 2018, the Chinese Navy consists of over 300 ships, making it larger than the US Navy’s 287 deployable vessels. Learn more.
Despite considerable increases over the past fifteen years, China’s military budget pales in comparison to that of the US. The US spent 3.4 percent of its GDP on defense in 2019, and its nominal expenditure was more than two and a half times higher than that of China. Even when accounting for reporting discrepancies, China would have to raise its spending considerably to match the US defense budget. However, it is worth noting that the United States maintains a global military presence while China remains primarily focused on security issues within the Indo-Pacific.
When considering military spending as a percent of total government expenditure, Chinese military spending has dropped noticeably — from 12.0 percent in 2001 to 5.4 percent in 2019. After a marked increase from 2002 to 2011, US spending has likewise decreased and returned to pre-September 11 levels (9.6 percent in 2001 and 9.4 percent in 2019). Although Russia’s spending remains high, it declined from 14.8 percent in 2016 to 11.4 percent in 2019. For the most part, spending elsewhere in the region either dipped in 2019 or remained steady.
Looking at broader regional trends, East Asia spends close to the same amount as Western and Eastern Europe combined. East Asian spending has increased from $92.8 billion in 1990 to $363 billion in 2019. Much of this growth in expenditure has been driven by China. In 1990, China constituted 23.6 percent of total East Asian expenditure. As of 2019, this number stands at 70.5 percent. In terms of the broader regional context, the Chinese military budget constitutes 52.2 percent of the total cumulative spending across all of Asia (including those in the Middle East)
What Do Chinese and Russians Think of the U.S. Military?
A recent article touches on U.S. perceptions of its military. But how do other countries view it?
In the article “The Tragedy of the American Military,” author James Fallows posits that the U.S. military escapes external scrutiny due to a growing gap between those who have and those who have not served. The result of this gulf is that “outsiders treat it both too reverently and too cavalierly, as if regarding its members as heroes makes up for committing them to unending, unwinnable missions…” Fallows postulates that this results in the creation of a “Chickenhawk Nation, based on the derisive term for those eager to go to war, as long as someone else is going. It would be the story of a country willing to do anything for its military except take it seriously.”
Fallows appears to have re-ignited a new discussion on civil-military relations in the United States as illustrated by the many thoughtful responses by readers of the article. However, after reading the article and going over some of the comments, what appears to be missing so far in the discussion is the view of the genuine outsiders: How do people in countries such as China and Russia view the U.S. military?
The default answer to that question is simple: They view it as a threat.
According to a Spring 2014 Attitudes Survey by the PEW Research Center, China sees the United States as its biggest threat. Another survey conducted in Russia showed that Russians are more afraid of the United States than the Islamic State. This should not come as a surprise. The one thing any foreigner cannot do is to refuse to take the U.S. military “seriously” – after all it is the most deadly force in the world and, given the history of U.S. civil-military relations, more likely to be used outside the United States than inside the country. So if, as Fallows postulates, there is a growing gap between the civilian and military worlds in the United States, and – most importantly – if the cost of war is only shared by a tiny percentage of the population, foreigners may be excused for assuming that this will perhaps lead to increased U.S. bellicosity.
While there is of course a difference in perceptions between U.S. allies and U.S. adversaries, I posit that the sensation of this latent fear holds true, in varying degrees, for a diverse range of countries (in 2013 another survey found that the United States was seen as the greatest threat to peace in the world). The United States is the indispensable military power, but this seldom translates into genuine gratitude and more often than not slides into open anti-Americanism, as history has illustrated time and again. Based on my own discussions with policymakers in Europe and Asia, the attitude of most U.S. allies is that the only thing worse than fighting with the United States is to fight without her.
No matter how much American pundits and scholars of U.S. civil-military relations point to the marginalization of the military within the United States, to outsiders, the perception is often that of a “New Prussia” – partially brought about by the everyday veneration of U.S. service personal, but more importantly by the sheer preponderance of U.S. military power. As I have pointed out elsewhere, a report by the Advisory Committee on Transformational Diplomacy illustrates how superior resources may cause a skewed perception:
DoD’s regional combatant commanders have come to be perceived by states and other actors as the most influential U.S. government regional representative. It is argued that the resources that combatant commanders control, their presence and frequent travel throughout the region, and even the symbolic impact of their aircraft and accompanying service members, all combine to place them in perceived position of preeminence.
This assertion is supported by a study of The Project on National Security Reform (PNSR), the most comprehensive effort to date to analyze the U.S. national security system and propose recommendations to alleviate many of its bureaucratic problems (disclaimer: I worked as a research analyst for PNSR). Its report conclusion emphasizes that an inequality of resources leads to an inequality in policy; i.e., the militarization of U.S. foreign policy.A
True or not, this perception is also widespread outside the United States. Consequently, the alleged militarization of U.S. Foreign Policy paired with Fallows’ assertion of the United States as a “chickenhawk nation” should cause some consternation among security analysts – not only in Beijing and Moscow, but perhaps also in Western European capitals.
China Threatens to Throw America 'Into the Mighty Sea of the Coronavirus.'
China is threatening to wreak havoc on America’s drug supply amid the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak. Thanks to our globalist elite and especially missteps during the Obama-Biden administration, Beijing has the power to do just that.
China is threatening to wreak havoc on America’s drug supply amid the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak. Thanks to our globalist elite and especially missteps during the Obama-Biden administration, Beijing has the power to do just that.
In an article in Xinhua, one of the Chinese Communist Party’s mouthpieces, Beijing threatened that it can impose pharmaceutical export controls after which America will be “plunged into the mighty sea of coronavirus.”
Unfortunately, Beijing isn’t bluffing about this capability.
As Rosemary Gibson, co-author of “China Rx: Exposing the Risks of America’s Dependence on China for Medicine,” testified to a congressional commission last summer, China has a dominant role in the manufacture of the generic drugs that comprise 90 percent of what Americans take.
Even finished drugs from other sources are dependent on China. Another major source of generic drugs is India, and 80 percent of that country’s drug ingredients come from China.
There are many culprits behind this betrayal, but some deserve special mention.
Foremost is the globalist cabal that exported our industries to China in the name of “free trade.” As Gibson also reports, within four years of passage of the Clinton-era law giving China unfettered access to U.S. markets and WTO membership, “the last penicillin fermentation plant in the U.S. closed; China’s vitamin C cartel forced the closure of the last U.S. production facility, and the last aspirin manufacturing facility ceased business because of predatory pricing by Chinese firms.”
The Chinese government has used its favorite playbook to make the world dependent on its drugs: protecting and subsidizing domestic manufacturers to undersell American competitors, aided by Chinese industrial espionage. Indeed, biotechnology is one of ten categories of Beijing’s “Made in China 2025” industrial strategy which has driven so much of its theft of intellectual property and dumping of goods at below-market prices to kill U.S. businesses.
Among the globalists, the former Obama-Biden administration is particularly culpable for putting America at risk. During the eight years of that administration, then-Vice President Biden was often the frontman for responding to the increasing number of foreign outbreaks to which America has been exposed.
During the H1N1 (swine flu) pandemic in 2009, Biden incorrectly addressed the public about the outbreak, “I would tell members of my family, and I have, I wouldn’t go anywhere in confined places right now… It’s that you are in a confined aircraft. When one person sneezes, it goes everywhere through the aircraft.”
Speaking about the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak, Biden recently said, “I was part of making sure that pandemic did not get to the United States, saved millions of lives.” In fact, the Obama administration admitted people known to have the disease to America.
During the Zika virus outbreak, Biden was in charge of pressuring Congress for funds.
Are we to believe that amid all of this attention to outbreak that Biden and his globalist colleagues didn’t know of America’s growing inability to make even the most basic pharmaceuticals? Throughout the Obama-Biden administration, our dependence on China got much worse.
Last month, Biden criticized the Trump administration’s response to Wuhan coronavirus. Initially, he slammed the president’s unprecedented decision to stop flights from China: “This is no time for Donald Trump’s record of hysteria and xenophobia--hysterical xenophobia--and fearmongering.”
Later he flip-flopped to accusing Trump of not doing enough, imagining if he were president that, “I would be on the phone with China making it clear we are going to need to be in your country. You have to be open. You have to be clear. We have to know what’s going on.”
Of course, Beijing’s unwillingness to allow anything of the sort is a reason their coronavirus has spread far and wide. Oddly, Biden and his fellow globalists remain sanguine about China and their ability to influence its communist government. Last year, he said of China, “they’re not bad folks,” and “they’re not competition for us.”
Of course Biden was not alone, and neither were the Democrats. The House of Bush was always fond of the myth that economic engagement of China, evidently on terms favorable to Beijing, would turn an adversary into an ally. The myth lives on. Bob Zoellick, who was George W. Bush’s trade kingpin, has been an outspoken opponent of Trump’s effort to end U.S. dependence on China, lamely claiming, “You can’t contain China.”
To fix this medical vulnerability, Trump should apply gradually increasing, permanent tariffs on Chinese drugs and ingredients. He should also establish a strategic reserve of drugs by requiring the Defense Department and Veterans Affairs to buy only drugs that are 100 percent made in America. This domestic demand would create domestic supply.
Trump should also press drug companies to start a crash program to achieve supply chain independence from China. If would be great if he could achieve this through an appeal to patriotism. If not, he should use the Defense Production Act of 1950 to force the issue.
It’s time to reverse the globalist sellout of America that has put Beijing in charge of our drug supply chain.
"China Is A Threat To The World, Building Military Rapidly": Donald Trump
China has hiked its military spending by seven per cent to USD 152 billion as Beijing aims at countering America's push into the disputed South China Sea.
"China is a threat to the world...they are building a military faster than anybody," Trump said
Expressing concern over China's growing military might, US President Donald Trump has said the Communist nation is a threat to the world and blamed his predecessors for not stopping it from stealing America's intellectual property to bolster its defence capabilities.
China has hiked its military spending by seven per cent to USD 152 billion as Beijing aims at countering America's push into the disputed South China Sea.
"Obviously China is a threat to the world in a sense because they are building a military faster than anybody and frankly they are using US money," Donald Trump, who was accompanied by visiting Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, told reporters in Washington on Friday.
Donald Trump said the US Presidents before him allowed China to take out USD 500 billion a year and more than that. "They have allowed China to steal our intellectual property and property rights and I'm not doing that," he said.
However, President Trump said the two countries were very close to having a trade deal.
"We work very closely, had intellectual property, all of the tough things work negotiated and then at the last moment, they said we cannot agree to this," he alleged, referring to the abrupt collapse of the trade deal with China early this year.
"I said that's all right we are charging you 25 per cent tariffs and then it's going up and it will continue to go up. Frankly we are making so many hundreds of the numbers that we are taking in to our treasury...Look at the great reports that came out two days ago on retailing, on consumers, on numbers that nobody believes," he added.
The world's two largest economies are locked in a trade war since Donald Trump in March last year imposed tariff hikes of up to 25 per cent on USD 250 billion of Chinese goods. In response, China, the world's second largest economy after the US, imposed tit-for-tat tariffs on USD 110 billion of American goods.
The two countries have resumed their trade negotiations.
Donald Trump has said that he will enter into a trade deal with Beijing only if he is confident that it is good for the US.
"We are taking hundreds of millions potentially over a short period of time, hundreds of billions of dollars worth of money is coming in from China that never came in before so China wants to make a deal, I think we want to make a deal," Donald Trump said.
"We will see what happens, but I view China in many different ways, but right now I am thinking about trade. But you know trade equals military because if we allow China to take USD 500 billion out of the hide of the United States that money goes into military and other things," said the US president.
Donald Trump went on to say that "They're having a bad year. Worst year in 57 years. Their tariffs aren't coming into us. We're taking in billions and billions of dollars of tariffs. They are devaluing their currency, which means the tariffs are not costing us probably anything, but certainly not very much. They're also adding a lot of money into their economy. They're pouring money into their economy, but were taking in many billions of dollars," he said.
"At some point in the not-too-distant future, it'll be over USD 100 billion. We've never taken in 100 cents from China. It was always the other way around. With that, they lost over 3 million jobs there. Supply chain is crashing, and they have a lot of problems. And want to make a deal. So, we'll see what happens," Donald Trump said.
Posted by ASC at 9:03 AM