Author Topic: The South China Sea battleground  (Read 1735 times)

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Offline Hardman

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The South China Sea battleground
« on: May 30, 2015, 06:35:09 PM »
This has been brewing for quite a while but I'm going to be very surprised if China backs down:

http://www.news.com.au/world/asia/us-demands-china-halts-south-china-sea-reclamations/story-fnh81fz8-1227375891476

Creating land to put bases on to establish sovereignty - I really do not think that will fly at The Hague, which is a bit ironic when you consider how much reclaimed land there is in Europe but the key difference is that in the efforts in Europe it is expanding from shore not making new islands or expanding a rock in mid-water.

It's creating a more than tense situation for the S.E nations with none of them very likely to back down either and the U.S. playing the International law of the sea card - quite correct but not exactly helpful.

There does seem to be one heck of a lot of resources at stake which is what it's about of course, oil and gas are well understood to be under the sea in huge quantities.

Someone is going to have to start suggesting a North Sea style deal, an excellent precedent, before having a couple of major and several lesser militaries rubbing up against each other catches fire...

Australia actually could be a good mediator but Canberra seems to be missing that point.

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Offline Rybags

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Re: The South China Sea battleground
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2015, 08:37:14 PM »
WTF are they doing anywhere near there?  At least Vietnam and Malaysia have some right to claim, but it's nowhere near any Chinese coastal area.

Fair enough it's a trade route, subject to piracy, subject to easy blockade by any rogue nation, of which I could safely assume is zero in the area (not counting China itself).

Offline Hardman

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Re: The South China Sea battleground
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2015, 08:48:17 PM »
It's a very long island chain mate, they took the Spratleys purely as being the low hanging fruit I suspect, but history aside their claim is absolutely very, very tenuous.

That is a scary precedent - WWII started on exactly the same set of dubious claims. In other words, yeah, but that's logic not what is happening....

I am not suggesting that Chinese Communism has Third Reich expansion intents but it is awfully easy to get into conflict potentials in these scenarios.

I will confess - concerned - mainly because China is factioned atm, the old party, the new money and the military, the last is the most visible in the news it seems if you look under the skirts.

Military can have a rather severe case of myopia and just go hostile.

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Offline AccessDenied

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Re: The South China Sea battleground
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2015, 03:06:04 PM »
This will be interesting to watch.  Look to Dubai and it's island chain.  The amount of dosh and effort they have to go to to keep their current man-made islands 'present' is massive.

I can see lots of effort on China's part, and all you'd have to do to dismantle those islands in times of war is disrupt the 'maintenance' and then let ocean currents do the work.

The foundations would crumble within months.

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Offline Hardman

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Re: The South China Sea battleground
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2015, 04:36:31 PM »
Yes, the European way with sea walls has permanency, always a bit interesting flying into Amsterdam where Schipol airport is actually below sea level on reclaimed land.

It's getting rather tense though as this, even allowing for spin illustrates:

http://www.news.com.au/world/asia/china-moves-weaponry-on-to-man-made-islands-in-south-china-sea/story-fnh81fz8-1227376895158

Wars really have happened over less.

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Offline Richo

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Re: The South China Sea battleground
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2015, 09:33:13 AM »

America: fuck off china you can't do that shit.

China: make me asshole.

Buckle up kiddos. Here comes a hell of a shitstorm.
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Offline Smokey

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Re: The South China Sea battleground
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2015, 01:37:43 PM »
Might be time to move to Tasmania, Or a pacific island where the homeys have a healthy taste for Chinese.

May as well start prepping incase the super market shelves become empty. Yes No ?  ;qo

Offline Hardman

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Re: The South China Sea battleground
« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2015, 03:05:24 PM »
The smart money says it will come down to negotiation, trouble is no one really thinks the present leadership in Beijing is that smart.

If it were the US versus China then as many advances as China has made in modernising its military they are still painfully aware that they cannot face up to the might of America without going nuclear and if they do that nobody wins but China would be the biggest loser. The Chinese nuclear capability is actually quite modest and quite old they have no ABM capability at all whereas the US would have a reasonable success rate at intercept.

Beijing is not that dumb but a conventional conflict because the US only really has a side-seat in this, the direct objections are from every Asian nation with some South China Sea waterfront, that is the danger. It could be the Philippines, who badly need those resources, it could be the re-emergent Japanese military who have long, long memories of Chinese embarrassment, it could be Vietnam which only has a relationship of convenience with China, they don't particularly get on or it could be an alliance but those three in particular are not going to stand still for this.

We could all too easily get dragged in whether we want it or not, China is cruising for a bruising and the US is definitely not averse to obliging, all it needs is pretext.

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Offline Richo

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Re: The South China Sea battleground
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2015, 08:58:17 PM »
The Japs will be straight in the fray if / when it starts. They hate the Chinese and have done for millenia.


If the US go to war then we do to. Aust, Canada, UK, etc.


The Philippines have little firepower and Vietnam way less than that even.
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Offline Richo

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Re: The South China Sea battleground
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2015, 09:04:47 PM »

Actually I got that wrong.. Vietnam is surprisingly capable.
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Offline Rybags

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Re: The South China Sea battleground
« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2015, 09:57:31 PM »
The problem is force projection - nobody except the US has much capability there though China has an aircraft carrier for what it's worth not to mention the sheer size of the country itself means it can fight multiple fronts with a home advantage.

Vietnam isn't exactly a fan of China either, in fact I'm not sure many of their neighbours are exactly closely tied to them.  They seem to have 35 Su-27s and some Su-30s on order, so fairly impressive there.

If the shit did hit the fan though, Russia is the big wildcard.  The way they've been going lately it'd be no surprise to see them throw their weight behind China.

Offline Hardman

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Re: The South China Sea battleground
« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2015, 06:27:35 AM »
Hmm.

Russia has been remarkably quiet about it all but as Ry says it is a matter of force projection, a bit of an issue for Russia and although they might support China I suspect not. Moscow would very likely see it as a great opportunity to take the high moral ground to distract from their schemes in Europe.

China has no issue about force projection at all, plus what they are doing in the end is building these islands up as air bases. The Americans never have to worry much in that regard but even less so in that region, big bases on Guam and in South Korea.

Japan does have a constraint, they are still bound by the terms of their WWII surrender but I somehow doubt that would make much difference any more and Vietnam and the Philippines are actually very militarily capable.

It's a powder-keg and not one that is going to go away easily.

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Offline Hardman

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Re: The South China Sea battleground
« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2015, 12:55:05 PM »
I think a lot of this article is media speculation but there's enough truth in there to cause continued concern:

http://www.news.com.au/technology/innovation/china-and-us-on-collision-course-for-war-over-south-china-sea/story-fnpjxnlk-1227398946930

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Offline Smokey

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Re: The South China Sea battleground
« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2015, 09:34:50 PM »
And another Bush running for president  ::w

Offline Hardman

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Re: The South China Sea battleground
« Reply #14 on: June 17, 2015, 07:05:52 AM »
Yes,

Could be THE dirtiest presidential campaign of all time and that is really saying something, Madam Clinton versus brother fixer Bush - I'm betting it will not be long at all before the smear campaigns get into full song.

It's rather hard to avoid really, the Clinton name will forever be associated with Oval Office blowjobs and the Bush name with rigged elections, Jeb having been governor of Florida when it was that state's down-to-the-wire vote than got little bro his mandate.

However if you duck beyond the mud slinging it's actually not a bad choice either way in terms of both domestic and international outcomes, Jeb is a much more effective world player than the idiot child, on a par with the father, for whom I had a lot of respect and no-one can deny Hilary did a superb job as Sec. state. You would have to expect Bill to be in the background for domestic, he really was very good there.

The trouble is that the transfer of power is still a long way away, a combination of world events are not going to sit around and wait for a new resident on Pennsylvania Ave, the South China Sea in particular is likely to boil over well before then.

The situation needs Statesmen, and to my mind there aren't any, not US, UK or Oz, not in region either. Our closest is Julia Bishop but I'm not sure she has the heft for this alone.

That is scary because it means the military could end up calling the shots, fortunately the JCS is pretty good at the moment and both Whitehall and Canberra are refreshingly free of war mongerers, Asia, very much more opaque...

Better hold on tight and cross them fingers, this sure is not Kansas....

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Offline Hardman

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Re: The South China Sea battleground
« Reply #15 on: June 29, 2015, 01:09:42 PM »
Geez, what on earth are China up to now?

http://www.news.com.au/technology/innovation/mini-submarine-captured-on-satellite-photo-of-chinese-dockyard/story-fnpjxnlk-1227419643477

I was aware of North Korea having these, for sneaking agents into the South mainly, and Sweden has a few for littoral patrolling but China, it seems odd.

One thought that did occur to me is that it might be rather more innocent. The Chinese submarine fleet is getting quite large and they patrol much further than they used to, even been detected off Hawaii but they do not have any submarine rescue capability. After the tragedy of the Kursk and Russia's lack of any rescue craft leading to them rejecting the offers from the West, strongly suspected to have been because Moscow did not want some secrets discovered, especially new torpedoes, it would seem reasonable China might decide it needs a rescue sub and they are typically quite small.

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Offline Hardman

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Re: The South China Sea battleground
« Reply #16 on: July 06, 2015, 01:01:58 PM »
I wasn't sure if to link this in the is a war coming thread or here - they seem almost worthy of merging.

http://www.news.com.au/world/china-responds-to-australian-japanese-united-states-talisman-sabre-exercise-with-call-to-boost-navy/story-fndir2ev-1227430453255

China really doesn't do live-fire exercises much, that pricked my ears up, but the veiled criticism of the US/Aus/Japan exercise was somewhat concerning, it is a regular exercise but it has been expanded and Japan added.

It is becoming more and more apparent that the historical animosity between China and Japan is still very much alive - I honestly had hoped when Japan began to export its manufacturing to China that would be the end of it, seems not.

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Offline Hardman

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Re: The South China Sea battleground
« Reply #17 on: July 14, 2015, 11:12:25 AM »
And more military talk-up from China:

http://www.news.com.au/technology/innovation/stealth-super-bomber-a-new-focus-of-chinas-growing-military-might/story-fnpjxnlk-1227441064314

The commentator is correct though, even if they were to steal the B-2 plans they'd still be a long, long way from a stealth bomber.

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Offline Hardman

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Re: The South China Sea battleground
« Reply #18 on: July 21, 2015, 04:59:17 PM »
Hmm,

Subic Bay reopening:

http://www.news.com.au/technology/innovation/philippines-moves-fighter-jets-into-south-china-sea/story-fnpjxnlk-1227451158684

Want to take a bet on how long before the US is rotating assets through the Philippines again ?

That should please the sailors, not to mention the Filipino hookers ;)

More seriously it really is about force projection and if the US builds Subic back up with local encouragement that gives them a very useful extra base in close.

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Offline Hardman

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Re: The South China Sea battleground
« Reply #19 on: July 24, 2015, 04:03:41 PM »
And the situation keeps on keeping on:

http://www.news.com.au/world/asia/china-sparks-dangerous-game-of-chess-china-rival-neighbours/story-fnh81fz8-1227455619935

Taiwan is badly positioned in the region but strangely may have more influence than even the media realize.

When China began its economic expansion the animosity between it and Taiwan, Japan and South Korea became somewhat sidelined in the interests of making money being Taiwan and SK were light-years ahead of China in electronics and mass production and Japan had reached a point where it had to move manufacturing offshore.

 That has led to a degree of interdependence but also to some very strong personal relationships that can well have a major influence in China. The politicians are starting to realise that money talks and the business of China is crucial to the nation's survival. That slow realisation is a pretty good clue as to how poorly aware the Chinese government is - they've had a classic example, Japan, of exactly that situation sitting right alongside them since 1945...

The thing is that the reasons for Taiwan are much less evident now as communism wanes on the mainland. Beijing is not going to take much notice of Tokyo, or Seoul, it may of Taipei.

Time will tell but the amount of military buildup in such a relatively small area of extremely high population is a potential global flashpoint that shows little to no sign of cooling off.

Cheers

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