US Navy warships have often patrolled near the disputed waters of the South China Sea. (Reuters)
Washington has repeatedly expressed concerns that China’s development of artificial islands in South China Sea poses a threat to freedom of navigation in a major artery for international trade.
NDTV Date: June 05, 2017 By: Agence France-Presse
BEIJING: China has expressed “firm opposition” to remarks made by US Pentagon chief
Jim Mattis during a regional defence summit over the weekend, after he criticised Beijing’s “militarisation” of the South China Sea.
Washington has repeatedly expressed concerns that China’s development of artificial islands in the region poses a threat to freedom of navigation through its waters, a major artery for international trade.
Competing claims to the sea, which is believed to sit atop vast oil and gas deposits, have for decades made it one of Asia’s potential military flashpoints.
“The scope and effect of China’s construction activities in the South China Sea differ from other countries in several key ways,” Mattis noted, saying Beijing’s “militarisation” and “disregard for international law” showed its “contempt” for other nations’ interests. [FULL STORY]
US President Trump has brought uncertainty to Sino-American ties, ‘If a serious bilateral crisis develops, [foreigners] in China may become unacceptably vulnerable to expulsion or detention,’ said Matthew Brazil.
The News Lens Date: 2017/05/13 By: Matthew Brazil
Since the 2016 General Election, American relations with the People’s Republic of China
(PRC) have followed a rollercoaster-like trajectory. Days before his inauguration, President Trump briefly reversed decades of predictable American conduct in a telephone conversation with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and hinted a departure from the “one China policy,” (CNA.com.tw, Dec. 3, 2016; Reuters, Jan. 12). During his confirmation hearings, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson proposed blocking access to China’s artificial islands in the South China Sea and triggered an outraged response from Beijing (C-SPAN, Jan. 11, Global Times, Jan. 13).
Then came the public reversals. With little explanation, Trump endorsed “One China” during his call with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) in early February. (Xinhuanet, Feb. 10). PRC Prime Minister Li Keqiang subsequently expressed optimism about the U.S.-China relationship in the lead up to the Xi-Trump meeting in early April (XinhuaNet and New York Times, March 15).
During Secretary of State Tillerson’s visit to Beijing a week later, he adopted Chinese phraseology to describe the bilateral relationship, something that previous U.S. administrations had carefully avoided (Xinhuanet and Washington Post, March 19).
If this was solace for some who seek signs of stability in this important bilateral relationship, the events that followed betrayed potential for future instability. The new American president appears committed to punishing China for its trade surplus, and the U.S. Navy plans to enhance “freedom of navigation operations” near China’s artificial islands in the South China Sea (Navy Times, Feb. 12).
Meanwhile, early Chinese objections to American THAAD anti-missile defenses in South Korea became a hotter topic with their rushed deployment in March, and April brought disquiet to Chinese policymakers in the form of the U.S. missile strike against Syria and the deployment of the USS Carl Vinson strike group to Northeast Asia (Hangzhou Military television, July 11; China Daily, March 15; Navy Times, April 9). Trump now views Chinese assistance with North Korea as essential. [FULL STORY]
Reuters Date: Apr 28, 2017 By Jeff Mason, Stephen J. Adler and Steve Holland | WASHINGTON
U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday spurned the Taiwanese president’s suggestion that the two leaders hold another phone call, saying he did not want to create problems for Chinese President Xi Jinping when Beijing appears to be helping efforts to rein in North Korea.
In a White House interview, Trump brushed aside the idea after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen told Reuters on Thursday she would not rule out talking self-ruled Taiwan is possibly the most sensitive issue between Washington and Beijing.
“Look, my problem is I have established a very good personal relationship with President Xi. I really feel that he is doing everything in his power to help us with a big situation,” Trump told Reuters, referring to signs that China may be working to head off any new missile or nuclear test by Pyongyang, Beijing’s neighbor and ally.
“So I wouldn’t want to be causing difficulty right now for him,” Trump added. “I think he’s doing an amazing job as a leader and I wouldn’t want to do anything that comes in the way of that. So I would certainly want to speak to him first.” [FULL STORY]
CNBC.com Date: March 9, 2017 By: Clay Dillow, special to CNBC.com
China is lashing out at South Korea and Washington for the deployment of a powerful missile defense system known as the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, or THAAD, deposited at the Osan Air Base in South Korea on Monday evening.
The deployment of THAAD follows several ballistic missile tests by North Korea in recent months, including the launch of four missiles on Monday, three of which landed in the sea off the coast of Japan. Though THAAD would help South Korea protect itself from a North Korean missile attack, China is vocally protesting the deployment of the system, claiming it upsets the “strategic equilibrium” in the region because its radar will allow the United States to detect and track missiles launched from China.
North Korean provocations aside, THAAD’s arrival on the Korean Peninsula comes amid heightened tensions between the new U.S. administration and China, as well as uncertainty surrounding the U.S. military’s commitment to its security relationships in the region and around the world. Within that context, THAAD’s deployment packs a significant amount of symbolic firepower alongside its battery of interceptor missiles.
Already there has been a blacklash. Liu Yuan, a retired Chinese general who is generally outspoken on Chinese security matters, wrote for China’s state-run Global Times that the Chinese military could conduct a “surgical hard-kill operation that would destroy the target, paralyzing it and making it unable to hit back.” [FULL STORY]
Donald Trump with Steve Bannon, former executive of Breitbart News and the President's chief strategist Reuters
Observers agree all-out conflict equals global disaster, even if nuclear weapons are not used
Independent February 5, 2017 By: Jon Sharman
China has accused Donald Trump’s administration of putting regional stability in East Asia at risk following remarks by the President’s defense secretary that a U.S. commitment to defend Japanese territory applies to an island group that China claims.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang has called on Trump’s administration to avoid discussion of the issue and reasserted China’s claim of sovereignty over the tiny uninhabited islands, known in Japanese as the Senkaku and Chinese as Diaoyu.
The 1960 US-Japan treaty is “a product of the Cold War, which should not impair China’s territorial sovereignty and legitimate rights,” Lu was quoted as saying in a statement posted on the ministry’s website.
“We urge the U.S. side to take a responsible attitude, stop making wrong remarks on the issue involving the Diaoyu islands’ sovereignty, and avoid making the issue more complicated and bringing instability to the regional situation,” he added. [FULL STORY]
The election of Donald Trump to the White House now paves the way for Beijing to exert
more influence and control in the region. It will also leave long-time allies nervous, and puts the U.S. at economic and strategic risk, writes Hunter Marston.
With the election of Donald Trump, American voters voiced support for “America-first” isolationism, rejecting the likely continuation of Barack Obama’s liberal internationalism. Southeast Asia will almost certainly shift to the backburner and lose the high level of attention it received during the Obama years. The implications for regional trade and security are grave, and mostly negative.
Trump has openly questioned the value of U.S. alliances in Asia and even suggested that South Korea and Japan should acquire nuclear weapons to fend for themselves. This cool indifference to the security of our Asian allies belies a fundamental misunderstanding of the benefits the United States derives from overseas alliances and basing agreements, and it opens the possibility of catastrophic conflict sparked by nuclear brinkmanship.
In Southeast Asia, risk of nuclear conflict may be absent, but the withdrawal, or weakening, of the U.S. security commitment enhances China’s influence to its south and will leave the U.S. outside the regional trade architecture.
The Philippines, which under populist President Rodrigo Duterte has tilted away from the United States and sought closer relations with China, will likely continue in this direction – though Trump and Duterte, who has been dubbed “the Trump of the East,” may find something in common with each other, which could in turn warm the frosty U.S.-Philippines relationship. [FULL STORY]
A Chinese fighter jet (like the one above) conducted one of many “dangerous intercepts”. Picture: Office of the Defense Secretary/AP
The Courier Mail Date: June 8, 2016 By: Rohan Smith, news.com.au
WHAT is going on in the skies over the South China Sea?
If you listen to the Americans, jet pilots behind the controls of Chinese fighter aircraft are consistently engaging them in dangerous manoeuvres.
The latest incident took place on Tuesday in international airspace when, according to the US Pacific Command, two Chinese J-10 fighter planes carried out an “unsafe” intercept of a US spy plane on a routine patrol.
“One of the intercepting Chinese jets had an unsafe excessive rate of closure on the (American) aircraft,” Pacific Command said in a statement.
“Initial assessment is that this seems to be a case of improper airmanship, as no other provocative or unsafe manoeuvres occurred.”
It’s not clear how close the Chinese fighter jet came to the US plane and it’s not the first time it’s happened. [FULL STORY]
A Chinese Navy submarine takes part in an international fleet review to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army Navy in Qingdao, Shandong province April 23, 2009. REUTERS photo
Forbes Date: MAY 29, 2016 By: Tim Daiss
Just as most Americans settle in for a nice three-day Memorial Day weekend, news broke
that China is planning to send submarines armed with nuclear missiles to the Pacific Ocean for the first time. The U.K.-based Guardian newspaper, citing Chinese officials, first reported the news on May 27.
According to the report, Beijing is claiming that U.S. weapons systems have become so advanced and so undermine China’s existing deterrent force that Beijing has little choice but to send in the submarines armed with nukes.
Beijing claims that U.S. plans disclosed in March to station the Thaad anti-ballistic system in South Korea, and the development of hypersonic glide missiles potentially capable of hitting China less than an hour after being launched, as major threats to the effectiveness of its land-based deterrent force.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon’s latest annual report to Congress released less than two weeks ago predicted that China will probably conduct its first nuclear deterrence patrol sometime this year. [FULL STORY]
A U.S. Department of Justice seal is displayed on a podium during a news conference on Dec. 11, 2012, in Brooklyn, New York City. The Department of Justice recently expanded its definitions of national security cases in its U.S. Attorneys' Manual. (Ramin Talaie/Getty Images)
Epoch Times May 3, 2016 By: Joshua Philipp
Over the course of just three weeks in April, there were four cases involving Chinese espionage against the United States. And Facing this threat, the United States has broadened its rules for prosecuting cases that involve national security.
A letter from Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates was allegedly circulated among federal prosecutors in March, which New York Times claimed to have obtained a copy of. The letter says, “All cases affecting national security, even tangentially, now require coordination and oversight in Washington.”
New York Times notes this “had always been the intention of the rule,” but the new update “made it explicit.” The letter also allegedly states, “The term ‘national security issue’ is meant to be a broad one.”
The piece doesn’t clarify what has actually been changed, but a closer look at the rules for these cases gives a much clearer picture.
A spokesperson from the Department of Justice told Epoch Times in an email that any official changes to the rules would appear in the U.S. Attorneys’ Manual—and the handbook does show two sections were updated in March 2016. [FULL STORY]
A man reads a board extolling China's contribution to the fight against Ebola, along a road in Monrovia November 15, 2014. China is dispatching health experts and medical staff to Liberia and Sierra Leone in response to U.N. calls for a greater global effort to fight the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa. REUTERS/James Giahyue (LIBERIA - Tags: POLITICS HEALTH DISASTER MILITARY) - RTR4E9LL
The News Lens By: Jeffrey Tsai
Following its establishment of a logistics center in Djibouti, Africa, China has
expressed hopes to construct more military bases to “safeguard its national interests.”
One prime concern was piracy in the region; the Horn of Africa where Djibouti is located is seen as one of the major regions of piracy. China had been involved in anti-piracy operations in the region since 2008. With the creation of the logistics center, Colonel Wu Qian stated its mission to be “logistical support and personnel recuperation of the Chinese armed forces conducting such missions as maritime escort in the Gulf of Aden and waters off the Somali coast, peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance.”
This followed China’s increased participation on the international stage, such as expanding its UN peacekeeping force by 8,000 troops and the inauguration of a joint gasline project with Ethiopia, set to be completed by 2018.
Understanding that the move to build more military facilities would draw suspicion, China avoids describing its facility in Djibouti as a ‘military’ base, preferring to use the terms ‘support facilities’ or ‘logistical facilities’ instead. As work began on the logistics center in Djibouti, the Chinese foreign ministry confirmed its role to be purely logistical in nature, not power projection.
When asked about the initiative, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi says the move is “reasonable, logical and compatible with international norms.” He pointed out the tremendous number of Chinese businesses operating across the world and the concern to provide adequate security to its citizens; Chinese naval vessels had to evacuate hundreds of Chinese and foreigners from Yemen in April due to civil war.
It is important to note that Djibouti also has military bases established by the United States, France and Japan. China however seeks to not adhere to the “old method of expansionism” of constant infringement of sovereignty and power-politics that the West is historically associated with. [FULL STORY]