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China Thinks It Can Defeat America in Battle — War is Boring — Medium

China Thinks It Can Defeat America in Battle — War is Boring — Medium.

But Beijing doesn’t seem to take into account U.S. submarines

The bad news first. The People’s Republic of China now believes it can successfully prevent the United States from intervening in the event of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan or some other military assault by Beijing.

Now the good news. China is wrong—and for one major reason. It apparently disregards the decisive power of America’s nuclear-powered submarines.

Moreover, for economic and demographic reasons Beijing has a narrow historical window in which to use its military to alter the world’s power structure. If China doesn’t make a major military move in the next couple decades, it probably never will.

The U.S. Navy’s submarines—the unsung main defenders of the current world order—must hold the line against China for another 20 years. After that, America can declare a sort of quiet victory in the increasingly chilly Cold War with China.

A Chinese Type 071 amphibious assault ship. Via Chinese Internet

How China wins

The bad news came from Lee Fuell, from the U.S. Air Force’s National Air and Space Intelligence Center, during Fuell’s testimony before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 30.

For years, Chinese military planning assumed that any attack by the People’s Liberation Army on Taiwan or a disputed island would have to begin with a Pearl Harbor-style preemptive missile strike by China against U.S. forces in Japan and Guam. The PLA was so afraid of overwhelming American intervention that it genuinely believed it could not win unless the Americans were removed from the battlefield before the main campaign even began.

A preemptive strike was, needless to say, a highly risky proposition. If it worked, the PLA just might secure enough space and time to defeat defending troops, seize territory and position itself for a favorable post-war settlement.

But if China failed to disable American forces with a surprise attack, Beijing could find itself fighting a full-scale war on at least two fronts: against the country it was invading plus the full might of U.S. Pacific Command, fully mobilized and probably strongly backed by the rest of the world.

That was then. But after two decades of sustained military modernization, the Chinese military has fundamentally changed its strategy in just the last year or so. According to Fuell, recent writings by PLA officers indicate “a growing confidence within the PLA that they can more-readily withstand U.S. involvement.”

The preemptive strike is off the table—and with it, the risk of a full-scale American counterattack. Instead, Beijing believes it can attack Taiwan or another neighbor while also bloodlessly deterring U.S. intervention. It would do so by deploying such overwhelmingly strong military forces—ballistic missiles, aircraft carriers, jet fighters and the like—that Washington dare not get involved.

The knock-on effects of deterring America could be world-changing. “Backing away from our commitments to protect Taiwan, Japan or the Philippines would be tantamount to ceding East Asia to China’s domination,” Roger Cliff, a fellow at the Atlantic Council, said at the same U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission hearing on Jan. 30.

Worse, the world’s liberal economic order—and indeed, the whole notion of democracy—could suffer irreparable harm. “The United States has both a moral and a material interest in a world in which democratic nations can survive and thrive,” Cliff asserted.

Fortunately for that liberal order, America possesses by far the world’s most powerful submarine force—one poised to quickly sink any Chinese invasion fleet. In announcing its readiness to hold off the U.S. military, the PLA seems to have ignored Washington’s huge undersea advantage.

The missile submarine USS ‘Georgia.’ Navy photo

The Silent Service

It’s not surprising that Beijing would overlook America’s subs. MostAmericans overlook their own undersea fleet—and that’s not entirely their own fault. The U.S. sub force takes pains to avoid media coverage in order to maximize its secrecy and stealth. “The submarine cruises the world’s oceans unseen,” the Navy stated on its Website.

Unseen and unheard. That why the sub force calls itself the “Silent Service.”

The Navy has 74 submarines, 60 of which are attack or missile submarines optimized for finding and sinking other ships or blasting land targets. The balance is ballistic-missile boats that carry nuclear missiles and would not routinely participate in military campaigns short of an atomic World War III.

Thirty-three of the attack and missile boats belong to the Pacific Fleet, with major bases in Washington State, California, Hawaii and Guam. Deploying for six months or so roughly every year and a half, America’s Pacific subs frequently stop over in Japan and South Korea and occasionally even venture under the Arctic ice.

According to Adm. Cecil Haney, the former commander of Pacific Fleet subs, on any given day 17 boats are underway and eight are “forward-deployed,” meaning they are on station in a potential combat zone. To the Pacific Fleet, that pretty much means waters near China.

America has several submarine types. The numerous Los Angeles-class attack boats are Cold War stalwarts that are steadily being replaced by newerVirginia-class boats with improved stealth and sensors. The secretiveSeawolfs, numbering just three—all of them in the Pacific—are big, fast and more heavily armed than other subs. The Ohio-class missile submarines are former ballistic missile boats each packing 154 cruise missile.

U.S. subs are, on average, bigger, faster, quieter and more powerful than the rest of the world’s subs. And there are more of them. The U.K. is building just seven new Astute attack boats. Russia aims to maintain around 12 modern attack subs. China is struggling to deploy a handful of rudimentary nuclear boats.

Able to lurk silently under the waves and strike suddenly with torpedoes and missiles, submarines have tactical and strategic effect greatly disproportionate to their relatively small numbers. During the 1982 Falklands War, the British sub Conqueror torpedoed and sank the Argentine cruiserGeneral Belgranokilling 323 men. The sinking kept the rest of the Argentine fleet bottled up for the duration of the conflict.

America’s eight-at-a-time submarine picket in or near Chinese waters could be equally destructive to Chinese military plans, especially considering the PLA’s limited anti-submarine skills. “Although China might control the surface of the sea around Taiwan, its ability to find and sink U.S. submarines will be extremely limited for the foreseeable future,” Cliff testified. “Those submarines would likely be able to intercept and sink Chinese amphibious transports as they transited toward Taiwan.”

So it almost doesn’t matter that a modernized PLA thinks it possesses the means to fight America above the waves, on land and in the air. If it can’t safely sail an invasion fleet as part of its territorial ambitions, it can’t achieve its strategic goals—capturing Taiwan and or some island also claimed by a neighboring country—through overtly military means.

That reality should inform Washington’s own strategy. As the United States has already largely achieved the world order it struggled for over the last century, it need only preserve and defend this order. In other words, America has the strategic high ground against China, as the latter must attack and alterthe world in order to get what it wants.

In practical military terms, that means the Pentagon can more or less ignore most of China’s military capabilities, including those that appear to threaten traditional U.S. advantages in nukes, air warfare, mechanized ground operations and surface naval maneuvers.

“We won’t invade China, so ground forces don’t play,” pointed out Wayne Hughes, a professor at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School. “We won’t conduct a first nuclear strike. We should not adopt an air-sea strike plan against the mainland, because that is a sure way to start World War IV.”

Rather, America must deny the Chinese free access to their near waters. “We need only enough access to threaten a war at sea,” Hughes said. In his view, a fleet optimized for countering China would have large numbers of small surface ships for enforcing a trade blockade. But the main combatants would be submarines, “to threaten destruction of all Chinese warships and commercial vessels in the China Seas.”

Cliff estimated that in wartime, each American submarine would be able to get off “a few torpedo shots” before needing to “withdraw for self-preservation.” But assuming eight subs each fire three torpedoes, and just half those torpedoes hit, the American attack boats could destroy all of China’s major amphibious ships—and with them, Beijing’s capacity for invading Taiwan or seizing a disputed island.

The sonar room on the USS ‘Toledo.’ Bryan William Jones photo

Waiting out the Chinese decline

If American subs can hold the line for another 20 years, China might age right out of its current, aggressive posture without ever having attacked anyone. That’s because economic and demographic trends in China point towards a rapidly aging population, flattening economic growth and fewer resources available for military modernization.

To be fair, almost all developed countries are also experiencing this aging, slowing and increasing peacefulness. But China’s trends are pronounced owing to a particularly steep drop in the birth rate traceable back to the Chinese Communist Party’s one-child policy.

Another factor is the unusual speed with which the Chinese economy has expanded to its true potential, thanks to the focused investment made possible by an authoritarian government … and also thanks to that government’s utter disregard for the natural environment and for the rights of everyday Chinese people.

“The economic model that propelled China through three decades of meteoric growth appears unsustainable,” Andrew Erickson, a Naval War College analyst, told the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

What Erickson described as China’s “pent-up national potential” could begin expiring as early as 2030, by which point “China will have world’s highest proportion of people over 65,” he predicted. “An aging society with rising expectations, burdened with rates of chronic diseases exacerbated by sedentary lifestyles, will probably divert spending from both military development and the economic growth that sustains it.”

Wisely, American political and military leaders have made the investments necessary to sustain U.S. undersea power for at least that long. After a worrying dip in submarine production, starting in 2012 the Pentagon asked for—and Congress funded—the acquisition of two Virginia-class submarines per year for around $2.5 billion apiece, a purchase rate adequate to maintain the world’s biggest nuclear submarine fleet indefinitely.

The Pentagon is also improving the Virginia design, adding undersea-launched dronesextra missile capacity and potentially a new anti-ship missile.

Given China’s place in the world, its underlying national trends and America’s pointed advantage in just that aspect of military power that’s especially damaging to Chinese plans, it seems optimistic for PLA officers to assume they can launch an attack on China’s neighbors without first knocking out U.S. forces.

Not that a preemptive strike would make any difference, as the only American forces that truly matter for containing China are the very ones that China cannot reach.

For they are deep underwater.

David Axe’s new book Shadow Wars is out. Sign up for a daily War is Boring email update here. Subscribe to WIB’s RSS feed here and follow the main page here.

China reveals ‘ace’ against U.S. military

China reveals ‘ace’ against U.S. military.

WASHINGTON – Members of the Chinese military are looking to use an electromagnetic pulse as part of a “one-two punch” to knock out – literally within seconds – all defensive electronics not only on Taiwan but also on U.S. warships that could defend the island.

This revelation comes in an article by Lou Xiaoqing who says the People’s Liberation Army sees an EMP weapon as the primary means of incapacitating Taiwan and disabling American defenders nearby.

Given that such a strategy was made public in an article entitled “Electromagnetic pulse bombs are Chinese ace,” it is seen as reflecting the official Chinese government position.

Xaoqing said that if the Chinese were to use a high-altitude nuclear device which would create the destructive EMP impact on Taiwan’s electronics, it would be exploded at an attitude of 18 miles to avoid damaging civilian and military equipment on the Chinese mainland, which might happen if the bomb exploded at a higher altitude.

“China is attracted to the fight against the U.S. military after the effective range, using them as a means of surprise attack or an intimidation factor,” Xaoqing said. “The United States will abandon the use of aircraft carrier battle groups to defend Taiwan.”

Xaoqing said that the Chinese military has calculated that the U.S. military is too fragmented and, coupled with the downturn in the economy, would be less likely to come to Taiwan’s assistance, forcing Taiwan to defend itself.

Contrary to popular belief, the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act does not require the United States to intervene militarily if the Chinese mainland attacks Taiwan. Instead, it has adopted what is called a policy of “strategic ambiguity” in which the U.S. neither will confirm nor deny that it would intervene on Taiwan’s behalf.

The legislation, however, does require the U.S. to “provide Taiwan with arms of a defensive character” and “to maintain the capacity of the United States to resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security, or the social or economic system, of the people of Taiwan.”

Read the documentation that’s sparking the worry about the EMP threat, in “A Nation Forsaken.”

As WND previously has reported, China is giving a priority to developing EMP weapons that could be used against U.S. aircraft carriers, which increasingly are arriving in the South and East China Seas as part of the new U.S. “pivot” policy toward Asia.

That policy is to challenge China’s claims over all of the East and South China Seas and the increasing assertiveness by Beijing, which is trying to gain exclusive control over vital minerals and energy in the region.

There already have been instances of military confrontations between China and neighbors such as Vietnam, the Philippines and Japan.

With a history of animosity, China and Japan now have conflicting claims of ownership over two South China Sea islands.

China calls the islands Diaoyu while Japan refers to them as Senkaku. The Japanese have evidence of their claim – in having purchased them from private citizens years ago – and the U.S. supports Japan’s claim.

A 2005 U.S. National Ground Intelligence Center study that was classified secret but released two years ago said China’s development of high-powered microwave weapons is part of its “assassin’s mace” arsenal – weapons that allow a technologically inferior country such as China and even North Korea to defeat U.S. military forces.

Microwaves and the gamma rays from a nuclear blast are forms of electromagnetic energy. The bombs are designed to be exploded at a high altitude to knock out all unprotected electronics, including electrical grids, computers and automobiles over a wide geographical area.

Even the declassified NGIC report pointed out that the use of an EMP against Taiwan at an altitude of 30 to 40 kilometers would “confine the EMP effects to Taiwan and its immediate vicinity and minimize damage to electronics on the mainland.”

The report particularly said that China’s DF-21 medium-range ballistic missile could be the platform to be used to launch an EMP attack on Taiwan.

In outlining China’s one-two punch, Xaoqing said that in the first punch the Chinese military would disable non-hardened electronics and command and control centers.

He said that an EMP would be especially attractive because it acts with the speed of light in any kind of weather, would hit multiple targets over a wide area and minimize damage in politically sensitive environments.

Given the relatively low altitude of 18 miles at which a Chinese EMP would be detonated over Taiwan, Xaoqing said the second punch would create certain health effects from exposure to an EMP.

He said that based on Chinese research in 2005 that assessed the effects of an EMP on heart cells, it would make peoples’ hearts unable to function as well as they should, with possible death or serious damage of the heart and, by extension, death to those exposed to an EMP.

If exposed to explosions at higher altitudes, the effects of an EMP would be less damaging to peoples’ health, he said.

While there wouldn’t be a 100 percent kill rate, Xaoqing said, he said it could lead to long term disability to those most susceptible to an EMP, such as the elderly, young and unborn.

Get “A Nation Forsaken” by Michael Maloof and become part of the solution rather than part of the problem.
Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2014/01/chinas-reveals-ace-against-u-s-military/#3v8gQZeDTmUzQlPi.99

Are We On The Verge Of A Massive Emerging Markets Currency Collapse?

Are We On The Verge Of A Massive Emerging Markets Currency Collapse?.

Currency CollapseThis time, the Federal Reserve has created a truly global problem.  A big chunk of the trillions of dollars that it pumped into the financial system over the past several years has flowed into emerging markets.  But now that the Fed has decided to begin “the taper”, investors see it as a sign to pull the “hot money” out of emerging markets as rapidly as possible.  This is causing currencies to collapse and interest rates to soar all over the planet.  Argentina, Turkey, South Africa, Ukraine, Chile, Indonesia, Venezuela, India, Brazil, Taiwan and Malaysia are just some of the emerging markets that have been hit hard so far.  In fact, last week emerging market currencies experienced the biggest decline that we have seen since the financial crisis of 2008.  And all of this chaos in emerging markets is seriously spooking Wall Street as well.  The Dow has fallen nearly 500 points over the last two trading sessions alone.  If the Federal Reserve opts to taper even more in the coming days, this currency crisis could rapidly turn into a complete and total currency collapse.

A lot of Americans have always assumed that the U.S. dollar would be the first currency to collapse when the next great financial crisis happens.  But actually, right now just the opposite is happening and it is causing chaos all over the planet.

For instance, just check out what is happening in Turkey according to a recent report in the New York Times

Turkey’s currency fell to a record low against the dollar on Friday, a drop that will hit the purchasing power of everyone in the country.

On a street corner in Istanbul, Yilmaz Gok, 51, said, “I’m a retiree making ends meet on a small pension and all I care about is a possible increase in prices.”

“I will need to cut further,” he said. “Maybe I should use my natural gas heater less.”

As inflation escalates and interest rates soar in these countries, ordinary citizens are going to feel the squeeze.  Just having enough money to purchase the basics is going to become more difficult.

And this is not just limited to a few countries.  What we are watching right now is truly a global phenomenon

“You’ve had a massive selloff in these emerging-market currencies,” Nick Xanders, a London-based equity strategist at BTIG Ltd., said by telephone. “Ruble, rupee, real, rand: they’ve all fallen and the main cause has been tapering. A lot of companies that have benefited from emerging-markets growth are now seeing it go the other way.”

So why is this happening?  Well, there are a number of factors involved of course.  However, as with so many of our other problems, the actions of the Federal Reserve are at the very heart of this crisis.  A recent USA Today article described how the Fed helped create this massive bubble in the emerging markets…

Emerging markets are the future growth engine of the global economy and an important source of profits for U.S. companies. These developing economies were both recipients and beneficiaries of massive cash inflows the past few years as investors sought out bigger returns fostered by injections of cheap cash from the Federal Reserve and other central bankers.

But now that the Fed has started to dial back its stimulus, many investors are yanking their cash out of emerging markets and bringing the cash back to more stable markets and economies, such as the U.S., hurting the developing nations in the process, explains Russ Koesterich, chief investment strategist at BlackRock.

“Emerging markets need the hot money but capital is exiting now,” says Koesterich. “What you have is people saying, ‘I don’t want to own emerging markets.'”

What we are potentially facing is the bursting of a financial bubble on a global scale.  Just check out what Egon von Greyerz, the founder of Matterhorn Asset Management in Switzerland, recently had to say…

If you take the Turkish lira, that plunged to new lows this week, and the Russian ruble is at the lowest level in 5 years. In South Africa, the rand is at the weakest since 2008. The currencies are also weak in Brazil and Mexico. But there are many other countries whose situation is extremely dire, like India, Indonesia, Hungary, Poland, the Ukraine, and Venezuela.

I’m mentioning these countries individually just to stress that this situation is extremely serious. It is also on a massive scale. In virtually all of these countries currencies are plunging and so are bonds, which is leading to much higher interest rates. And the cost of credit-default swaps in these countries is surging due to the increased credit risks.

And many smaller nations are being deeply affected already as well.

For example, most Americans cannot even find Liberia on a map, but right now the actions of our Federal Reserve have pushed the currency of that small nation to the verge of collapse

Liberia’s finance minister warned against panic today after being summoned to parliament to explain a crash in the value of Liberia’s currency against the US dollar.

“Let’s be careful about what we say about the economy. Inflation, ladies and gentlemen, is not out of control,” Amara Konneh told lawmakers, while adding that the government was “concerned” about the trend.

Closer to home, the Mexican peso tumbled quite a bit last week and is now beginning to show significant weakness.  If Mexico experiences a currency collapse, that would be a huge blow to the U.S. economy.

Like I said, this is something that is happening on a global scale.

If this continues, we will eventually see looting, violence, blackouts, shortages of basic supplies, and runs on the banks in emerging markets all over the planet just like we are already witnessing in Argentina and Venezuela.

Hopefully something can be done to stop this from happening.  But once a bubble starts to burst, it is really difficult to try to hold it together.

Meanwhile, I find it to be very “interesting” that last week we witnessed the largest withdrawal from JPMorgan’s gold vault ever recorded.

Was someone anticipating something?

Once again, hopefully this crisis will be contained shortly.  But if the Fed announces that it has decided to taper some more, that is going to be a signal to investors that they should race for the exits and the crisis in the emerging markets will get a whole lot worse.

And if you listen carefully, global officials are telling us that is precisely what we should expect.  For example, consider the following statement from the finance minister of Mexico

“We expected this year to be a volatile year for EM as the Fed tapers,” Mexican Finance Minister Luis Videgaray said, adding that volatility “will happen throughout the year as tapering goes on”.

Yes indeed – it is looking like this is going to be a very volatile year.

I hope that you are ready for what is coming next.

Wheelbarrow of Money

The Complete Chinese War Preparedness And Military Update | Zero Hedge

The Complete Chinese War Preparedness And Military Update | Zero Hedge.

With China increasingly in the news involving some new diplomatic or geopolitical escalation, a new territorial claim, the launch of a brand new aircraft carrier, or just general chatter of military tensions surrounding the aspirational reserve currency superpower, it is time for yet another update of the complete “military and security developments  involving the people’s republic of China”, courtesy of the annual report to Congress discussing precisely this issue.

The only Org Chart that matters:

 

China Sovereignty Claims:

 

Chinese Ground Forces:

 

Chinese ground force distribution map:

 

Chinese Navy:

 

Chinese Airforce:

 

Chinese airforce distribution map:

 

China Taiwan Strait and SRBM Coverage:

 

China Conventional Strike Capabilities:

 

Chinese Missile balance:

 

China Precision Strike capabilities:

 

Chinese ICBM reach capabilities:

 

The full report link – pdf.

Philippine Navy Adds to Regional Arms Build-Up | The Diplomat

Philippine Navy Adds to Regional Arms Build-Up | The Diplomat.

The Philippine navy hopes to add two more warships to its fleet as Southeast Asian countries continue to expand their militaries in response to the Chinese government’s increasingly assertive territorial ambitions in the South China Sea, also known as the West Philippine Sea.

Armed forces chief of staff General Emmanuel Bautista said the new acquisitions would come under the fresh U.S. military assistance plan announced last month by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry when he visited the Philippines.

China began widening its territorial claims about five years ago to include nearly all of the seas dividing Southeast Asian countries and their northern neighbor. The claims defy international standards and maritime law, and Beijing refuses to have the dispute heard before an international court.

Its attitude has angered Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines, but the four countries have struggled to forge a united front within the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) when dealing with Beijing over the issue.

Adding to recent tensions was Liu Yazhou, political commissar at the People’s Liberation Army National Defense University, who said in a magazine interview that the Chinese military could match the U.S. by “seizing opportunities.”

“An army that fails to achieve victory is nothing,” Liu was quoted as saying by a defense magazine “Those borders where our army has won victories are more peaceful and stable, but those where we were too timid have more disputes.”

That type of language again irritated its neighbors.

The Vietnamese have for the first time publicly marked a naval battle fought against China over disputed islands 40 years ago. Commemorations came a month after the Chinese government published new rules requiring foreign fishing vessels to seek Beijing’s permission to operate in much of the South China Sea.

Taiwan has rejected those regulations, described by some as potentially state piracy, while others have rejected or ignored them.

Vietnam has also moved to bolster its own defenses, taking delivery of its first Russian-made Kilo class submarine, which is part of substantial military upgrade by Hanoi – primarily through a multi-billion-dollar deal with Moscow. Malaysia has also added two French-made Scorpene submarines, boosting its own maritime capabilities.

Indonesia and Singapore are also expanding their fleets in what The New York Times described as “The Submarine Race in Asia.” The paper noted that much of this arms competition was being propelled by growing wealth in Southeast Asia but added these countries and China should realize that increasing their armaments can only undermine their security as well as the stability that nurtures their economies.

Luke Hunt can be followed on Twitter at @lukeanthonyhunt.

China Plans To Seize South China Sea Island From Philippines, Says “Battle Will Be Restricted” | Zero Hedge

China Plans To Seize South China Sea Island From Philippines, Says “Battle Will Be Restricted” | Zero Hedge.

Following Japan’s proclamations that it will take over another 280 ‘disputed ownership’ islands, it appears the increasingly dis-approved of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s path of militarism and provocation is working. As China Daily Mail reports,citing experts, China intends to take back Zhongye Island – ‘illegally’ occupied by the Philippines, according to the Chinese. The Chinese navy has drawn a detailed combat plan to seize the island and the battle will be restricted within the South China Sea. Philippines military is building up on the island and the Chinese see as ‘intolerable’ the “arrogance” relying on US support. It seems the Obama administration may have to ‘not take sides’ in another fight soon.

 

Background on the build-up…

Eugenio Bito-onon Jr, mayor of the Kalayaan island group, part of the contested Spratly islands administered by the Philippines, recently confirmed that the Western Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines has deployed new air force troops in rotation to the disputed island of Thitu, according to Jaime Laude in a report for the Manila-based Philippine Star on Jan. 5.

 

 

Known as Pag-asa in the Philippines and Zhongye island by both China and Taiwan, Thitu is the second largest in the Spratly island chain in the South China Sea and the largest of all Philippine-occupied Spratly islands.

 

Laude said that the air force troops were deployed to Thitu island by naval aircraft, which will give the residents of the island a chance to visit Kalayaan aboard the returning plane. He added that China’s maritime expansion into the South China Sea continues to put pressure on the Philippines, and the Philippine Navy have also been stationed in the area to defend the islands.

 

 

Six countries – Taiwan, China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei — claim in whole or part to the South China Sea and its island chains and shoals.

And the Latest Tensions…

Via China Daily Mail (translated from Chinese media),

Relying on US support, the Philippines is so arrogant as to announce in the New Year that it will increase its navy and air force deployment at Zhongye Island, a Chinese island that it has illegally occupied for years.

 

It will be an intolerable insult to China

 

According to experts, the Chinese navy has drawn a detailed combat plan to seize the island and the battle will be restricted within the South China Sea.

 

The battle is aimed at recovery of the island stolen by the Philippines from China.

 

There will be no invasion into Filipino territories.

 

A report in the Philippines Star confirmed the Philippines military buildup on the island.

Source: qianzhan.com “Sudden major move of Chinese troops this year to recover Zhongye Island by force”

 

Of course, claims that “battle will be restricted” are nothing but taunting and should China launch an offsensive here, we suspect the already dry and brittle tinder box in the South (and East) China Sea could rapidly escalate.

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US challenges ‘provocative’ China sea law – Asia-Pacific – Al Jazeera English

US challenges ‘provocative’ China sea law – Asia-Pacific – Al Jazeera English.

The US is already at odds with China over its air defence zone over the East China Sea [Getty]
The United States has described as “provocative and potentially dangerous” new Chinese restrictions of foreign fishing vessels in disputed waters in the South China Sea.

From January 1, China has required foreign fishing vessels to obtain approval to enter waters it says are under its jurisdiction. It rejects territorial claims by the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam.

Jen Psaki, a spokeswoman for the US State Department, said on Thursday that China gave no justification under international law for the new restictions.

“Our long-standing position has been that all concerned parties should avoid any unilateral action that raises tensions, and undermines the prospects for a diplomatic or other peaceful resolution of differences,” she said.

“The passing of these restrictions on other countries’ fishing activities in disputed portions of the South China Sea is a provocative and potentially dangerous act.” 

The US is already at odds with China declaring in November an air defence zone over an area of the East China Sea claimed by Japan and South Korea.

The US flew B-52 strategic bombers into the new zone in defiance, raising tensions further in the Pacific.

The new Chinese rules do not outline penalties, but the requirements are similar to a 2004 national law that says boats entering Chinese territory without permission can have their catch and fishing equipment seized and face fines of up to $82,600.

Hua Chunying, a Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman, said regulating the use of marine resources was a normal practice.

China’s ties with the Philippines have been especially frosty over the South China Sea.

Raul Hernandez, a spokesman for the Philippine foreign ministry, said Manila had asked its embassy in Beijing to get more information on the rules.

China Re-Escalates, Deploys Warplanes To Air Defense Zone | Zero Hedge

China Re-Escalates, Deploys Warplanes To Air Defense Zone | Zero Hedge.

A few days ago, in the latest escalation over the its territorial dispute with Japan regarding several islands in the East China Sea, China unveiled a so-called “Air Defense Identification” zone, shown on the map below, which includes not only the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands in question, but stretches from South Korea all the way to Taiwan, and which requires that any overflights submit their plans to Beijing in advance.

The response by Japan and the US was immediate, with Japan blasting China’s retaliation to its own annexation of the Senkakus a year earlier and demonstratively neither Japan Airlines nor ANA complying with China’s demands, while the US, demonstrating its allegiance to Japan, flew B-52 bombersabove the Air Defense Zone.

China promptly responded to what it perceived was Western hypocrisy:

China’s announcement to establish an Air Defense Identification Zone in East China Sea has drawn criticism from the United States and Japan, yet their blame is wrong.

 

Their logic is simple: they can do it while China can not, which could be described with a Chinese saying, “the magistrates are free to burn down houses while the common people are forbidden even to light lamps.”

 

It is known to all that the United States is among the first to set up an air defense zone in 1950, and later more than 20 countries have followed suit, which Washington has taken for granted.

 

However, as soon as China started to do it, Washington immediately voiced various “concerns.” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Saturday voiced concerns over the zone, fearing it might “constitute an attempt to change the status quo in the East China Sea,” and a White House spokesman on Monday called the Chinese announcement over the weekend “unnecessarily inflammatory.”

 

 

Japan set up such a zone in the 1960s and it even one-sidedly allowed the zone to cover China’s Diaoyu Islands. But when China set up the zone covering the Diaoyu Islands, Tokyo immediately announced it “unacceptable” and Abe even called China’s move “dangerous.” It is totally absurd and unreasonable.

 

In one word, both Washington and Tokyo are pursuing double standards.

The latter should not come as a surprise to China, and the reason why such double standards are allowed to exist in a US superpower legacy world is because neither Japan nor the US believe China would actually dare to re-escalate further. However, in a world in which the US is no longer an undisputed superpower (especially in the aftermath of the Syrian debacle in which Putin schooled the Obama administration) that is changing.

The first clear indication that China would not just sit there and do nothing, came overnight when China’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, passed through the Taiwan Strait on Thursday morning on its way to a training mission in the South China Sea.

Naturally, the training mission is just the pretext. China’s long-running if dormant feud with Taiwan, officially the Republic of China, is perhaps the best proxy of US interests in the region, where thanks to the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, the US sells arms and provides military training to the Taiwanese armed forces. China considers US involvement disruptive to the stability of the region, and made that quite clear in 2010 when Obama announced the decision to sell $6.4 billion in military hardware to the island leading to threats of economic sanctions from the mainland.

Which is why China crossing the Straits of Taiwan for the first time with its brand new aircraft carrier is nothing short of a message to Obama. From Xinhua:

It took about 10 hours for the carrier and its four escort ships to get through the strait separating the Chinese mainland and Taiwan.

 

The Liaoning entered the Taiwan Strait on Wednesday afternoon after it left its home port in Qingdao of east China’s Shandong Province on Tuesday for the South China Sea on a scientific and training mission.

 

It was escorted by two missile destroyers, the Shenyang and Shijiazhuang, and two missile frigates, the Yantai and Weifang.

 

The narrative gets scarier:

“During the voyage, the carrier has kept a high degree of vigilance against approaches from foreign warships and aircraft, according to Liaoning Captain Zhang Zheng. This is the first time the carrier has conducted a cross-sea training voyage and passed through the Taiwan Strait since it was commissioned into the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy in September last year, according to Zhang.”

But where it gets worst is that as BBC reported minutes ago, China has not only sent a symbolic message to the US, but a very literal one to Japan and everyone else who thought China would just sit there and do nothing, when it dispatched its own warplanes over the air defense zone.

China has sent warplanes to its newly declared air defence zone in the East China Sea, state media reports.

 

The vast zone, announced last week, covers territory claimed by China, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea.

 

China has said all planes transiting the zone must file flight plans and identify themselves, or face “defensive emergency measures”. But Japan, South Korea and the US have all since flown military aircraft through the area.

 

China’s state news agency Xinhua quoted an air force colonel as saying the the warplanes had carried out routine patrols. The zone includes islands known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, which are claimed by Japan, China and Taiwan.

What happens next: will Japan once again prod the not so sleeping dragon, and continue flying commercial (and military) airplanes over China’s expanded zone of control, without preclearance with Beijing, and will the US send some more strategic bombers just to prove that Obama didn’t win the Nobel peace prize for nothing?

And will then China once again re-escalate, perhaps through an “accidental” engagement with what it “vigilantly” thought was an offensive act by “foreign warships and aircraft?” resulting in a major diplomatic scandal or worse. Or will it simply, and more effectively, launch a salvo of a few hundred billion US Treasurys into the electronic ether, sending the 10 Year yield over 3% and the Fed scrambling to preserve its centrally-planned house of cards?

So, the ball is now in the court of Japan, which lately has been engaging in increasingly more desperate and irrational actions to preserve a sense of control over its imploding economy and the whole “Fukushima thing”, and which means that much more entertainment is imminent.

 

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