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Hypothetical War : Contest For The Spratleys

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And the US was going to fold up if Pearl was bombed...


Yes, exactly. :D And there is the more recent example of the US embarking on a war in the sandbox for 15 years, because of 'just' 2000 civilians being killed.


Considering how China seems to obsessed with Japan and the Second World War, they dont actually seem to have spent much time learning what happened.

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For some new context. An ASEAN survey published a couple of days ago. Not of mainstream population but of business leaders, think tanks, etc., sorts of people. Putting up 13 graphs, but there's more content in the link in the following post.















Edited by JasonJ
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USN and RN conducted joint training in SCS, which seems to be the first time to do so.




SOUTH CHINA SEA - Arleigh-Burke guided missile destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG 85) and Royal Navy Type 23 frigate HMS Argyll (F231) conducted operations together in the South China Sea Jan. 11-16.

At sea, McCampbell and Argyll conducted communication drills, division tactics, and a personnel exchange designed to address common maritime security priorities, enhance interoperability, and develop relationships that will benefit both navies for many years to come.

"We routinely train with regional allies and partners, but it is a rare opportunity for my team to work with the Royal Navy," said Cmdr. Allison Christy, McCampbell commanding officer. "Professional engagement with our British counterparts allows us the opportunity to build upon our existing strong relationships and learn from each other."

Argyll is currently deployed to the Indo-Pacific in support of regional security and stability. The cooperative deployment follows a trilateral anti-submarine warfare exercise between the U.S. Navy, Royal Navy, and Japan Maritime Self Defense Force Dec. 21-22.

''Following on from our successful time in North East Asia, contributing to promoting regional security and prosperity, we are pleased with the opportunity to train alongside our closest ally," said Cmdr. Toby Shaughnessy, Argyll commanding officer.

The U.S. Navy regularly flies, sails, and operates with allies and partners, both bilaterally and multilaterally to promote security and stability throughout the region. McCampbell is forward deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.


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200 China boats come up near one of the Philippine islands.

MANILA (Reuters) - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte told China on Thursday to "lay off" an island occupied by Manila in the disputed South China Sea and said he would deploy his soldiers there if Beijing touches it.


Duterte's remarks, which he said was not a warning but rather a word of advice to a friend, follow a statement made by the foreign affairs ministry calling the presence of more than 200 Chinese fishing boats near Thitu island illegal.


"I will not plead or beg, but I am just telling you that lay off the Pagasa because I have soldiers there. If you touch it, that's a different story. I will tell the soldiers 'prepare for suicide mission'," Duterte said in a speech, using the local name for Thitu.


Duterte has repeatedly said he would not go to war with China because it would be suicide.


The Philippines military has described the boats as a "suspected maritime militia".


"Such actions, when not repudiated by the Chinese government, are deemed to have been adopted by it," the Department of Foreign Affairs said in a rare rebuke of Beijing.


Duterte, who has pursued warmer ties with China since taking office in 2016 in exchange for billions of dollars of pledged loans and investment, said he would not allow China to occupy Thitu island because it "belongs to us".


The presence of the trawlers near Thitu island raises questions about their intent and role "in support of coercive objectives", the ministry said, days after the Philippines lodged a diplomatic protest with China.


In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang did not refer directly to Manila's protest, but he said bilateral talks on the South China Sea held in the Philippines on Wednesday were "frank, friendly and constructive".


Both sides reiterated that South China Sea issues should be resolved peacefully by parties directly involved, he said.


The Philippines has monitored the Chinese boats from January to March this year, according to military data.


"These are suspected maritime militia," Captain Jason Ramon, spokesman for the military's Western Command said this week.


"There are times when they are just there without conducting fishing. At times, they are just stationary."


The Philippines, Brunei, China, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam have competing claims of sovereignty in the South China Sea, a conduit for goods in excess of $3.4 trillion every year.


In 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague invalidated China's claim to sovereignty over most of the South China Sea.


"We call on concerned parties to desist from any action and activity that contravenes the ASEAN-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, as these generate tension, mistrust and uncertainty, and threatens regional peace and stability," the Philippines ministry said.


Last month, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo assured the Philippines it would come to its defense if it came under attack in the South China Sea.

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Philippine fishing boat rammed by Chinese boat and sank at Reed Bank which is off from Palawan island. 22 crew were left in the water, rescued by Vietnamese.

MANILA, Philippines A Chinese vessel hit and sank a Filipino fishing boat anchored in Recto Bank in Palawan last weekend, and sailed away without rescuing the Filipino fishermen floundering in the water. Vietnamese fishermen later arrived to help the Filipinos.


Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana yesterday lashed out at the Chinese for abandoning the distressed Filipino crew of F/B Gimver 1 after what he described as a collision on Sunday in the vicinity of Recto or Reed Bank in the West Philippine Sea, over which the Philippines has been awarded sovereign rights.


We denounce the actions of the Chinese fishing vessel for immediately leaving the incident scene and abandoning the 22 crewmen to the mercy of the elements. The F/B Gimver 1 was anchored at the time when it was hit by the Chinese fishing vessel, Lorenzana said. He was in Lanao with President Duterte for the celebration of Independence Day.


Other details of the incident were not immediately available, like the actual size and make of the vessels involved.


Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. also denounced the Chinese for not rescuing the Filipino fishermen.




He added the Vietnamese assistance will be the basis of enhanced Philippines-Vietnam military cooperation.


There have been previous reports of Chinese maritime militia vessels disguised as fishing boats harassing Filipino fishermen in the West Philippine Sea.


Lorenzana said the Philippine Navy ship BRP Ramon Alcaraz was called from patrol duty in the West Philippine Sea to assist the Gimver crewmembers.


We thank the captain and crew of the Vietnamese vessel for saving the lives of the 22 Filipino crew. However, we condemn in the strongest terms the cowardly action of the Chinese fishing vessel and its crew for abandoning the Filipino crew. This is not the expected action from a responsible and friendly people, the defense chief said.


He called for a formal investigation of the incident and appealed to authorities to take appropriate diplomatic steps.


Locsin, meanwhile, stressed he based his reaction only on Lorenzanas statement, as he had just landed in Geneva.


Ive been airborne. I am awaiting a West PH task force report. My reaction thus far relies exclusively on Def. Sec. Lorenzana. I cant rely on media; itd be irresponsible to rely only on media, Locsin said.


In a ruling in 2016, a UN-backed arbitral court based in The Hague invalidated Chinas massive claim in the South China Sea and reaffirmed the Philippines maritime entitlements. The ruling underscored the Philippines rights over Recto Bank, as it is indisputably well within the countrys EEZ.


COC in 3 years

Meanwhile, Chinese embassy chargé daffaires Tan Qingsheng said Beijing sees the completion of the Consultation on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea in three years.


Tan said the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China are committed to properly managing the South China Sea issue through the Bilateral Consultation Mechanism on South China Sea (BCM).


Whats more, we are working together with other ASEAN partners to strive to complete the Consultation on Code of Conduct in South China Sea in three years, with the aim of turning the South China Sea into a sea of peace, friendship and prosperity, Tan said at the dinner celebration for the 121st Independence Day of the Philippines and the 18th China-Philippines Friendship Day at the Philippine International Convention Center on Monday.


China maintained that based on a consensus with ASEAN, the consultation process for the Code of Conduct (COC) should be an internal process and not open to the public.


The Philippines is calling for a full and effective implementation of the ASEAN-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) while negotiations for a COC in the South China Sea are ongoing.


ASEAN and China signed the non-binding DOC on Nov. 24, 2002.


As China continues to project its power in the South China Sea, a US Navy carrier strike group led by USS Ronald Reagan concluded yesterday its joint exercise with three Japanese warships helicopter carrier Izumo, and destroyers Murasame and Akebono.


The Navys forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan participated in a cooperative deployment with Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) ships, the US 7th Fleet said in a statement.


The drill was held in the South China Sea, but the US and Japan did not disclose other details like specific location. The drill began on June 10.


The time we are able to spend at sea training and operating with our partners in the JMSDF is invaluable. Our alliance has never been stronger, and its never been more important to this region than right now, Capt. Pat Hannifin, USS Ronald Reagan commanding officer, said in a statement. With Pia Lee-Brago


https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2019/06/13/1926016/philippine-fishing-boat-hit-china-ship-sinks Edited by JasonJ
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the Phillipine President has been seeking closer ties with China at the expense of ties with America. How much closer than two ships touching does he want?


In some ways China seems to be making unforced errors these days


The response from the Philippines after several days shows a fairly weak push back. But only so much could be expected from the Philippines. They need a bigger economy to give themselves some more weight to through around.



MANILA (Reuters) - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has accepted China’s proposal to jointly investigate allegations that a Chinese fishing vessel abandoned 22 Filipinos after it sank their boat in the South China Sea, his spokesman said on Saturday.


But aside from China and the Philippines, Duterte wants a third country to be included in the joint investigating committee that will be created to determine what really transpired in the Reed Bank, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said.


“We are by no means relinquishing any inch of our sovereign rights, nor compromising the rights of our 22 fishermen. We are demanding justice for our countrymen, and we are using all legal means toward that end,” Panelo said in a statement.


Critics have accused Duterte of toeing China’s line rather than taking a stand in defense of his country’s fishermen and its sovereign rights after he described the sinking as a “little maritime accident”.


Duterte’s defense minister, navy chief and spokesman have publicly denounced the Chinese crew. His foreign minister, Teodoro Locsin had lodged a protest with Beijing and in a tweet on Friday rejected the idea of a joint investigation.


The issue could complicate what are determined efforts by Duterte to build a strong relationship with China, despite deep mistrust among his U.S.-allied defense apparatus, which remains wary about China’s maritime militarization and what it sees as bullying and denial of Manila’s access to its own offshore oil and gas reserves.


The sinking took place on June 9 near the Reed Bank, the site of untapped gas deposits that an international arbitration court in 2016 ruled the Philippines had sovereign rights to exploit. Beijing disputes that.


China’s embassy in Manila has said the crew had sought to rescue the Filipino fishermen but fled after being “suddenly besieged by seven or eight Filipino fishing boats”.


“A joint and impartial investigation will not only promote the expedient resolution of the issue, it will also be in accordance with international law ... which places paramount emphasis on the use of peaceful means to resolve international disputes”, Panelo said.


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A squad of young patriotic women have been working at Fiery Cross Reef (永暑礁) for about a year now. So an article with pictures to follow that -wonderful- experience. Towards the end of the article, some of the women are to be transferred to Mischief Reef (美济礁). Article dated June 7th, 2019.

Article in the first spoiler


















Eight more images in the spoiler




















Edited by JasonJ
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There's been a confrontation between the coast guard ships of Vietnam and China over a Vietnamese rig jointly operated with Russia. The rig itself is Japanese. One of China's coast guard ships is the 12,000 ton one.



Last week, the Vietnamese government announced that it would extend the operations of an oil rig on Vanguard Bank through September amid an ongoing standoff with China in the area. Hanoi and Beijing have been mired in a confrontation in recent weeks after China dispatched a survey ship and coast guard vessels to Vietnamese waters in the South China Sea, which it also claims under its capacious nine-dash line claim.

According to Vietnam’s Tuoi Tre newspaper, Vietnam’s Southern Maritime Safety Assurance Corporation announced that the Japanese-owned semi-submersible Hakuryu-5 oil drilling rig, which has been contracted by a joint Vietnamese-Russian venture, would conduct activities on Vanguard Bank through September 15. The decision represents an extension of operations from July 30. Hakuryu-5 began operations off the coast of Vietnam on May 12.

The announcement follows the Vietnamese government’s official call on China to pull back its assets from the disputed waters. “The Chinese survey ship, Haiyang Dizhi 8, and its escorts conducted activities in the southern area of the East Sea that violated Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf,” Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement earlier this month.

Haiyang Dizhi 8 is being accompanied by at least two China Coast Guard vessels, including the Haijing 3901, one of the largest coast guard vessels anywhere in the world.

The Vietnamese decision to extend the operations of the oil platform comes after the U.S. Department of State issued a statement backing Hanoi and criticizing China for what it termed “bullying” behavior in the area. Vietnam and China have faced off in recent years over access to probable hydrocarbon reserves in the South China Sea.

Morgan Ortagus, a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State, released a statement on Saturday condemning China’s “repeated provocative actions aimed at the offshore oil and gas development of other claimant states threaten regional energy security and undermine the free and open Indo-Pacific energy market.”

“China’s reclamation and militarization of disputed outposts in the [south China Sea], along with other efforts to assert its unlawful [south China Sea] maritime claims, including the use of maritime militia to intimidate, coerce, and threaten other nations, undermine the peace and security of the region,” the U.S. statement added.

In 2018, Chinese coercion succeeded in forcing Hanoi’s hand in canceling a project for Spanish oil firm Repsol in the area. In 2014, China moved an oil rig, the Haiyang Shiyou 981, into disputed waters, sparking a months-long crisis.

China and Vietnam, along with the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, and Taiwan, are claimant states in the South China Sea.


The location of the confrontation (Vangaurd Bank) seems to be in or around the yellow-marked area in the map image in the link below, so in a more southern area of the South China Sea and rather near Vietnam but just inside the 9 dash line.


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113 PRC fishing boats surround Pag-asa. The Philippines makes a protest.

Philippines protests to China over S.China Sea

The Philippines says it has lodged a protest with China after spotting more than 100 Chinese fishing boats around a Philippine-held island in the South China Sea.


The Philippine government says it recognized 113 Chinese fishing boats surrounding Pagasa, or Thitu island, on July 25.


The island in the Spratlys is effectively controlled by the Philippines, but China also claims territorial sovereignty.


The Philippine government said it lodged a protest with China through diplomatic channels. It says the Chinese ships were swarming to the island, but it stopped short of telling if they entered the nation's alleged territorial waters of 12 nautical miles from the island.


The Philippines says Chinese vessels have intermittently surrounded Pagasa since January, when the Philippine military began rebuilding a runway on the island. It says the count of Chinese ships in the area has reached 275 through April.


Philippine government officials say China may try to disturb the transportation of construction materials for the runway.


A public outcry has been mounting in the Philippines against China following a collision of a Chinese and a Philippine fishing boat near the Reed Bank in the South China Sea in June. The Chinese ship left the site, leaving the Philippine crew abandoned in the sea after their boat sank. The crew members were later all rescued by a Vietnamese ship.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20190731_47/ Edited by JasonJ
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PLA Navy Ships have started passing through waters through the Philippines without notification early this year. While Internationally legal, it has always been practiced that a notification was provided first.

Article is dated August 14th



MANILA (UPDATED) —Five more Chinese warships passed through Philippine waters without informing the country's authorities, officials said Wednesday.

Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines' Western Mindanao Command, said that 2 such warships were seen along the Sibutu Strait in Tawi-Tawi in July while 3 were spotted this month.

“Warship in general term, reconnaissance, basta armed ’yun, armed,” Sobejana said, describing the kind of warships they spotted.

He said the Western Mindanao Command used its air and naval assets to approach the Chinese warships.

“Since nakita ’yung presence natin agad naman silang umiwas, lumalabas sa teritorya ng ating bansa,” Sobejana said.

While the warships were not perceivably hostile, Sobejana said their movement could also not be considered innocent passage.

“Ang innocent passage, kasi, following the sea lanes of communications, straight line,” he said.

“Pagka medyo nag-korba ka, that is no longer considered as innocent passage."

Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, or UNCLOS, any foreign vessel may be allowed to cross a coastal state’s territorial waters without notifying the coastal state if they are conducting innocent passage, or movement in a straight path heading back out to sea, essentially just passing through.

However, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that the Philippines has always required passing navies to seek diplomatic clearance from the Philippine government when they are passing through, and that historically the world’s navies have followed this protocol until now.

“Since these are warships, their entry to our territory should be coordinated. So we informed the national leadership para sa ganu’n they can engage with their counterparts sa Department of Foreign Affairs o sa mga attachés d’yan sa Manila,” said Sobejana.

Lorenzana revealed last July that Chinese warships passed through Sibutu Strait in “4 instances” that began early this year without informing the Philippine government.


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Another articled dated August 14th about an observation of 4 other PLA Navy ships passing through Philippine waters on July 2nd.



MANILA, Philippines — Chinese warships have been recently spotted passing through unannounced within Philippine territorial waters, the military said Wednesday.

Western Mindanao Command chief Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said two Chinese warships were spotted in Sibutu Strait by the Philippine Navy on separate occasions in July and three more in August.

“It was not an innocent passage kasi ang innocent passage straight line lang ‘yun. ‘Pag medyo nag-kurba that is no longer considered an innocent passage,” he said.

Sibutu Strait is an international waterway located near Tawi-Tawi that is within the Philippines’ archipelagic and territorial waters.

The Chinese warships presumably changed course when it observed the Philippine military’s presence.

“Since nakita ‘yung presence natin agad naman silang umiwas, lumabas sa teritoryo ng ating bansa,” he added.

The warships have turned off their automatic identification systems on all occasions and they could not also be contacted through radio, Sobejana said.

“These are warships, their entry to our territory should be coordinated so we informed the national leadership,” he added.

This announcement from the military came after a series of reports on the similarly unannounced presence of Chinese warships and survey ships within the Philippine waters.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said last month that Chinese warships have passed through Sibutu Strait four times since February.

He said that foreign commercial ships have the right of innocent passage when passing through the country’s territorial waters, while foreign warships should notify Philippine authorities beforehand.

The Western Command also said last week that four Chinese warships, including its aircraft carrier Liaoning, passed through the vicinity waters of Balabac town in Palawan in June without informing Philippine authorities.

Last week, the Philippine government protested the unauthorized presence of two Chinese survey ships within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

It is also protesting the presence of more than 100 Chinese vessels on Pag-asa (Thitu) Island. /kga









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It appears that many of the claimants of various geographic features in the South China Sea do not quite respect the claims of the Philippines and Filipinos, either by actions or by policy.


The MFA of the Nationalist Chinese/Taiwanese is not going to endear itself to Filipinos by posting the following guidance on its website underneath the benevolent smile of their President Tsai regarding the SCS.


Sustainable Governance and Enduring Peace in the South China Sea

The South China Sea Islands are part of the territory of the Republic of China. That the ROC is entitled to all rights over the South China Sea Islands and their relevant waters in accordance with international law and the law of the sea is beyond dispute.

Issues in the South China Sea are highly complicated, given the overlapping claims by claimants, number of States involved, regional security and diplomatic issues, as well as the political and economic interests of the States concerned. The ROC government will continue to engage in cooperative consultations with each of the States.

The government will firmly safeguard the ROC’s territorial sovereignty in the South China Sea, as well as the rights over relevant waters it is entitled to under international law and the law of the sea. It will not renounce its sovereignty or legal rights.

Not only is Taiping Island part of ROC territory, it is also an important base from which Taiwan makes concrete contributions to regional peace and stability. On July 19, 2016, President Tsai Ing-wen put forth four principles and five actions pertaining to issues in the South China Sea.

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