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The situation has grown beyond the title "US/Japan Alliance" so I'm making a new thread. So things like joint-exercises and such will go here.

 

The number one cause for the formation of this, what I would not be too hesitant in calling Asia-Pacific allies, is China's activities in the South China Sea. There are many separate issues that exist between China and any of the other countries in the Asia-Pacific such as 1) Japan and the East China Sea, 2) South Korea and situation with North Korea, 3) US and cyber theft, etc, 4) Taiwan and independence status, and so on. But it is the South China Sea that puts China against the interest of many countries single handedly, creating a common ground for all these countries to form security relations.

 

At the moment, the most important members of these allies are, perhaps in the giving order, are the US, Japan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Australia, and Taiwan. I would name the US and Japan first because that is where the power is coming from. Without them, China can do as it pleases. But Vietnam and the Philippines have the important position of being at the front line. Australia is additional help via its own interest in keeping China in checked to not let China because too powerful in waters south of Indonesia. And Taiwan is involved because it has one island, although perhaps the largest of the naturally occurring islands in the South China Sea, with a 1,200 meter long runway. And Taiwan has the Pratas islands further up north that doesn't get much news, although they are a "natural park" so probably no military installations on those.

 

What makes this not like the Cold War between the US and the SU in the second half of the 20th century is that all these member countries have have large economic relations with China whereas I'm pretty sure the economies of the West and the SU were very separate, certainly much less than the economic connections between China and these Asia-Pacific allies. These economic relations evolved to a large volume about 10-15 years more or less before the security issue in the South China Sea became severe enough to cause the coming together of these allies. How much longer can economic relations last? How long can economics prevent escalation to war. I'm reminded of the economic relation between the US and Imperial Japan. Japan invaded Shanghai and Nanking in 1937, fought major battles against the Chinese though to 1938 and a long stalemate war ensured afterwards. The US didn't start really pressing Imperial Japan economically until 1941 with the oil embargo in July 1941 IIRC. In short, I do not think that the current economic situation guarantees the prevention of an actual shooting war to occur. Especially if CCP China might see that a small and quick shooting war might serve to actually benefit CCP's hold of dominant power on China.

 

One thing to note is that with the Imperial Japan and US example above, what probably caused the US to take economic action against Imperial Japan was the possible risk of outside enemy powers to exceed US power, namely a Europe being dominated by Nazi Germany and an Asia dominated by Imperial Japan. It is pretty difficult to imagine China exceeding the power of these forming Asia-Pacific alliance, so it seems likely that China won't be tempted to actually start a war. But like in the Imperial Japan and US example, there were other factors in the world, namely Nazi Germany. In today's world, there's Russia, Iran, and North Korea. So well, in short, we'll see.

 

One of three other things worth mentioning are potential future members to the Asia-Pacific allies. Those countries are Indonesia and Malaysia. They have maintained a neutral position towards China on one hand and the Philippines/Vietnam/the US/Japan on the other. But recently, I would say they have slightly slanted their position towards the latter but time will tell if they go further in that direction.

 

The second point are somewhat associated counties with the Asia-Pacific allies. These are countries that haven't raised the South China Sea as a primary concern, for a number of reasons respective to their cases. These are India, South Korea, and maybe New Zealand and Singapore. India will use the tactic of throwing its weight into the SCS as a means of countering China's moves to grow its power in the Indian Ocean. South Korea is by large tied up with North Korea so are in a delicate diplomatic situation with China and probably won't want to get involved in the SCS because of that like how Japan is able to get involved. Although they still seem to no mind selling weapons to say, the Philippines, weapons that obviously benefit the Philippines in is struggle against China in the SCS. Also, South Korea and the US share their own security alliance. New Zealand seems to tag along where Australia goes. Singapore sometimes hosts US military assets but that doesn't necessarily put Singapore diplomatically opposed to China in the SCS.

 

The final 3rd post are counties more aligned with China in proximity to the SCS. These are Laos and Cambodia. These two countries seem to sometimes disrupt ASEAN processes on the behalf of China.

 

The best possible outcome if that while China is militarily kept in check by these allies, that China will transform from within to become a more transparent and open society and that China makes changes their 9 dash line stance. So it'll be a long time until that happens. On this long road, hopefully no fighting actually breaks out.

 

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So to start off, the 2016 Balikatan exercises between the Philippines and the US just got underway which will have 5,000 US troops, nearly 4,000 Philippine soldiers, and 80 from Australia.

http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/international/asia-pacific/2016/04/04/us-philippine-war-games-begin-china-warns-outsiders/82636000/

 

 

 

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I think its worth pointing out that a democratic China wouldn't necessarily behave differently. Nationalism has been stoked by the CCP and were it to yield some or all of its a power to a democratic process, the voting body wouldn't necessarily disagree with the CCPs position regarding the SCS. I think its a moot point because I believe the CCP will hold onto power right up to the point of actually starting a war just to do so, so I don't see democratizing China as an actual option that could be pursued to conflict regardless.

 

The real question the Asian powers are asking themselves is 'how long is the US going to stay in this game'? China is there to stay, but if any of their previous policies of the last couple decades are anything to go by they will be a much less accommodating hegemony than the US. Where as the US represents the only possible opposition to China and a much more benign hegemony, but at any time could remove itself from the game and generally not suffer horribly as a result. Thus the balancing act some of the powers in that second group are playing. Had China been less belligerent, you'd probably see a lot more countries hedging, but China has almost gone out of its way to annoy the entire region.

Given the declining nature of the global economy and the demographics of BOTH countries (huge elderly population about to leave the work force), the long term question seems to be: will the US maintain its presence long enough with its shrinking budgets such that China begins a steep economic decline that ultimately make it less of a regional power? Or will the US back out and allow the Chinese to extend their control over the region before the country reaches its economic boiling point? Or will to two both enter into conflict and if so; what is the world's end state when the two largest economies in the world are openly hostile to each other?

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Aside from Trump, US interest in the Asia-Pacific seems really strong. The US bases in Okinawa have been under enormous local pressure. But the US doesn't budge on it's stance in maintaining bases there. The US has been quite active in forming cooperation between other countries in the Asia-Pacific. The US even tries to get South Korea and Japan to work things out and to develop a trilateral defense relation. And finally, the US stance on Taiwan has never shown signs of literally abandonment. It'll take a lot to dislodge that interest I think. China may be going strong, but at the same time, Japan has shed itself of that pacifist position. That provides a big boost to the US standing. Combined with a determined Philippines, Vietnam, and Australia, I don't think China can throw the US out. If Trump happens, and things go as he says, India might fill in, partially filling up what the US left open. And Japan would increase military output to make up the rest of the open space. But the balance of power would be better to the interest of Japan, the Philippines, etc, if the US stayed in. It's more secure, and by the points I made in the beginning of this post, I think the US see it to its interest to stay in as well.

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I'm thinking in terms of a decade from now. The rise of Trump and Bern this election cycle point to a US populace that increasingly thinks free trade agreements don't benefit it and sees a large US military commitment that it has to pay for. In a rising economy, the status quo will rule. Given a couple of election cycles of a declining US economy that needs international trade rather less than anyone in the Pacific and no longer is overly dependent on mid-east oil (for own use), I think you're going to see a new wave of isolationism set in over the long haul. That said, China is in for some serious changes as well - their ability even short term to come to grips with their bloated state owned commodity based businesses is questionable, let alone how they will deal with the demographic inversion brought about by the one child policy.

China can't throw the US out on any time scale, really. The US can opt out, and China can try to start a conflict such that the US decides its not worth blood and treasure to remain in the region, but ultimately the US has strategic depth such that any attempt to remove it forceably from the Pacific rim over even a medium time frame will be impossible unless the US on some level decides its no longer worth the price of admission. The US can destroy targets on the mainland and engage shipping globally; China cannot directly attack the US short of nukes and can't engage shipping globally (and the US is far less vulnerable to such action, even sans navy). The US needs global trade far less than China does, both in terms of total % of GDP but especially in terms of energy. Those relative positions are not going to invert in the next couple decades, if ever.

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It's a lot of good points. TPP sure seems dead by the time it reaches US legislature. Although maybe they'll be a comeback, if not for TPP, but for just "free trade" in generally if opinions of Trump start to fall as he might have recently past his zenith.

 

20 years down the road is sure a long time. China has issues coming up as you said, but it would be a mistake for others to conclude that China won't make an aggressive move because of those challenges. They likely will if they can. So many variables can change but one thing is for sure, China has an outwardly assertive stance. So the Asia countries will be sure to stick together to ensure their security in going ahead.

 

I think a reduction in relative US power would provide the US with greater incentive to stick to the alliances they created.

 

But if the US ever does go total isolationistic again, Japan might really remilitarize and the Philippines, Vietnam, and Taiwan might be armed to the teeth with Japanese high tech weaponry.

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On the contrary, I think it exceedingly likely China will make an aggressive move precisely because of its internal challenges. It would be perfectly capable of having a small little war with a regional power even at the risk of a limited conflict with the US. In the latter case it would come out with less shiny ships and planes but might otherwise be perfectly unscathed and newly unified, *IF* it could manage the escalation well enough. They could have heavy casualties but potentially no significant loss of strategic position outsider perhaps minor embarrassment. The CCP was perfectly willing to have a war with Vietnam that cost it a six figure casualty rate in two weeks to almost no gain. It is perfectly willing to 'lose' a war casualty wise if it maintains the CCPs dominance and costs it almost nothing in terms of strategic position. Though clearly annoying the US to the point of it blockading trade, particularly oil, isn't going to be a very successful strategy.

 

As for Japan rearming - I don't know to what degree they could support that quickly, but if the US truly pulled out of the region obviously Japan and ROK go nuclear over the course of a long holiday weekend.

I suspect any re-alignment of US priorities however would be gradual, not sudden, barring a conflict that sudden makes the US jump all in or all out - and not necessarily one in the Asia Pacific.

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Agreed on the first paragraph.

 

Japan can't militarize societally quickly. The country is still not close to that culturally. But if the time scale is 20 years, I think it could happen if Japan is slowly pressed against the wall. Japan will be spared of that transformation as long as the US stays in.

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On the contrary, I think it exceedingly likely China will make an aggressive move precisely because of its internal challenges. It would be perfectly capable of having a small little war with a regional power even at the risk of a limited conflict with the US. In the latter case it would come out with less shiny ships and planes but might otherwise be perfectly unscathed and newly unified, *IF* it could manage the escalation well enough. They could have heavy casualties but potentially no significant loss of strategic position outsider perhaps minor embarrassment. The CCP was perfectly willing to have a war with Vietnam that cost it a six figure casualty rate in two weeks to almost no gain. It is perfectly willing to 'lose' a war casualty wise if it maintains the CCPs dominance and costs it almost nothing in terms of strategic position. Though clearly annoying the US to the point of it blockading trade, particularly oil, isn't going to be a very successful strategy.

 

To be precise the Sino-Vietnamese war was about certain faction's of CCP dominance. There was an opposition to Deng, not least in the military, making them look like fools and replacing with his people was a part of power struggle. Four Modernizations included the military, failure in Vietnam made it possible.

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But if the US ever does go total isolationistic again, Japan might really remilitarize and the Philippines, Vietnam, and Taiwan might be armed to the teeth with Japanese high tech weaponry.

Boom in Japanese manufacturing.

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The Japanese training submarine JS Fuyushio, the 6th submarine of the Harushio-class, was a training submarine starting in March 2011. It's been relieved of that role in March 2015. In that same month, JS Oyashio was turned into a training submarine. Now, here is Oyashio making a port call to the Philippines at Subic port for a 3 day stay, together with JS Ariake and JS Setogiri.

 

 

http://philippinesblog.net/archives/57112624.html

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WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!

 

 

I hope there is vid of A-10 doing strafing runs at Fort Magsaysay. :wub:

 

Meanwhile:

 

http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/561765/news/nation/newly-acquired-air-force-c-130-lands-in-cebu

 

 


One of the two C-130T Hercules aircraft acquired by the Philippines from the US arrived Tuesday night at the Benito Ebuen Air Base in Mactan, Cebu.
The aircraft with tail number 5011 touched down at around 11:25 pm after an almost four-day trans-Pacific flight, the Philipine Air Force said in a statement posted on its Facebook page.
The aircraft took off from Tucson, Arizona last Saturday, April 2 and made stopovers in California, Hawaii, Wake Island and Guam before reaching the Philippines. An all-Filipino crew under the command of Col. Alejandro Baclayon, deputy wing commander of the 220th Airlift Wing, flew the aircraft.
The C-130T was taken from the US Marine Reserve's active fleet of aircraft was reconfigured from a tanker into a heavy lift transport aircraft.
Edited by Corinthian
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On the contrary, I think it exceedingly likely China will make an aggressive move precisely because of its internal challenges. It would be perfectly capable of having a small little war with a regional power even at the risk of a limited conflict with the US. In the latter case it would come out with less shiny ships and planes but might otherwise be perfectly unscathed and newly unified, *IF* it could manage the escalation well enough. They could have heavy casualties but potentially no significant loss of strategic position outsider perhaps minor embarrassment. The CCP was perfectly willing to have a war with Vietnam that cost it a six figure casualty rate in two weeks to almost no gain. It is perfectly willing to 'lose' a war casualty wise if it maintains the CCPs dominance and costs it almost nothing in terms of strategic position. Though clearly annoying the US to the point of it blockading trade, particularly oil, isn't going to be a very successful strategy.

 

To be precise the Sino-Vietnamese war was about certain faction's of CCP dominance. There was an opposition to Deng, not least in the military, making them look like fools and replacing with his people was a part of power struggle. Four Modernizations included the military, failure in Vietnam made it possible.

 

Well, I wasn't getting into the motivation, merely that for a rather trivial point to be made to the Vietnamese, the Chinese seemed more or less ok with loosing twice as many dead as the US in the entire Vietnam war in two weeks.

 

I think its a DPRK saying; "We'd be willing to loose our entire arm before you were willing to loose your pinky." Or something like that.

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USMC shooting off HIMARS, so good, that it had to be posted twice :)

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JGSDF, JASDF, JMSDF to train together for the first time with the US this year.

 

Ministry of Defense Joint staff said on April 5th that this year in October and November, the JGSDF, JASDF, and JMSDF will for the first time join together and train with US forces in the West Pacific islands of Guam and Tinian in order to improve US-Japanese joint countermeasures.

The ministry said that the reason for conducting the joint exercise at Tinian and Guam which are over 2,000km away from Japan is that "there are few training restrictions and that it'll be possible to effectively carry out training with the US." It's thought that the aim of actual training is to display US-Japan deterrence power when bearing in mind that the Chinese navy and air force is increasingly extending its activities beyond the East China Sea and into the West Pacific Ocean.


防衛省統合幕僚監部は5日、日米共同対処能力を向上させるため、今年10~11月に初めて西太平洋のグアムとテニアンに陸海空の3自衛隊を集結させ、米軍との共同統合演習を実施すると発表した。

 同省は日本から2000キロ以上離れたテニアン、グアムで共同演習を実施する理由について、「訓練の制約が少なく、日米が統合訓練を効果的に行うことができる」としている。中国海軍・空軍が東シナ海を越えて西太平洋に活動を拡大させていることを念頭に、実動演習で日米の抑止力を顕示する狙いがあるとみられる。

 

 

http://news.infoseek.co.jp/article/160405jijiX320/

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M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) loaded to KC-130J aircraft at Clark Air base, Philippines. This rocket system will be forwarded to Palawan as part of US-Philippines Balikatan 2016 training .

 

 

The ones shooting earlier were doing so in the main island of Luzon at Crow Valley.

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Fitted for, but not with ammo :lol:

 

http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/us-seen-to-leave-himars-battery-in-palawan-base/

 

US allegedly to leave HIMARS vehicle at Palawan. No ammo.

 

Am thinking is trigger. Bomb it and is wor wor hehehe

 

They'll be waiting for shipments of new missiles.

 

Raytheon’s new long-range weapon will engage targets at approximately 500 kilometers. LRPF is primarily meant to attack fixed ground locations, like helicopter staging areas or hardened bunkers.

 

http://www.armyrecognition.com/march_2016_global_defense_security_news_industry/raytheon_to_offer_new_missile_design_for_us_army_s_long-range_precision_fires_requirement_21703161.html

 

That would put Mischief Reef will within range from Palawan.

 

Sept2015_MischiefReef.jpg

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Tensions in the South China Sea went up momentarily between two supposed allies when precious liquids were provocatively released resulting to a glorious battle between the two camps over racial discord that was eventually settled, leaving the area with a dozen lifeless bodies remaining.

 

Do you want to know more?

 

:lol:

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MANILA, Philippines - The United States on Thursday revealed for the first time that American ships have started conducting joint patrols with the Philippines in the South China Sea, a somewhat rare move not done with many other partners in the region.

 

At the same time, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced at a joint news conference with Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmi that the United States will be keeping nearly 300 troops, including Air Force commandos armed with combat aircraft and helicopters, in the Philippines through the end of the month. It’s part of a military build-up sure to inflame tensions with Beijing in the South China Sea.

 

The U.S. will also begin sending forces on increased rotations into the Philippines, it was disclosed, to beef up training and to support increased military operations in the region.

 

The increase in military support comes just days after a Philippine diplomat asked that the U.S. help convince China not to build in the nearby Scarborough Shoal, which is viewed as important to Filipino fishermen. Philippine Ambassador to Washington Jose Cuisia Jr. said the Philippines is not capable of stopping China from constructing there. China has built man-made islands in other contested spots in the South China Sea.

 

Beijing summons G-7 envoys over island-building dispute

 

According to the Pentagon, the U.S. forces that will remain here are already in the Philippines participating in the Balikatan or shoulder-to-shoulder combat exercises which will end Friday. About 200 airmen, including special operations forces will remain at Clark Air Base, along with three of their Pave Hawk attack helicopters, an MC-130H Combat Talon II special mission aircraft and five A-10 combat aircraft.

 

This initial contingent will provide training to increase the two militaries’ ability to work together, laying the groundwork for forces to do joint air patrols as well as the ship movements.

 

Also, up to 75 Marines will stay at Camp Aguinaldo to support increased U.S. and Philippine combined military operations in the region.

The troops and aircraft are expected to leave at the end of the month, but other U.S. forces and aircraft would do similar rotations into the Philippines in the future. A defense official would not say how frequently those rotations would happen, but said the size schedule and makeup would fluctuate. The official was not authorized to discuss the issue publicly so spoke on condition of anonymity.

 

The increased troop presence is part of a broader U.S. campaign to expand its assistance to the Philippines, as America shores up its allies in the Asia Pacific. And it comes as territorial disputes with China, including Beijing’s increasing effort to build manmade islands in the South China Sea, roils nations across the region.

 

The U.S. and others have consistently said the military exercises and assistance packages are not aimed at China but represent America’s continued support for its allies in the region. But China views any increased U.S. military presence and activities in the region as a threat.

 

Last week the Pentagon announced that the U.S. will send about $40 million in military assistance to the Philippines to beef up intelligence sharing, surveillance and naval patrols. Carter said the aid will include an enhanced information network for classified communications, sensors for patrol vessels and an unmanned aerostat reconnaissance airship.

 

The patrol sensors and surveillance equipment will help the Philippines keep a watch over its territory, including areas where there are overlapping claims in the South China Sea.

 

Officials also recently announced that the U.S. will get access to five Philippine military bases to house American forces that will rotate in and out of the country for training and other missions.

 

Scarborough Shoal is at the center of a case that Manila filed with the Permanent Court of Arbitration, an international panel, in January 2013 after Chinese coast guard ships took effective control of the disputed land following a tense standoff with Filipino ships.

 

The shoal sits about 145 miles (230 kilometers) west of the Philippines, and 620 miles (1,000 kilometers) from the Chinese coast.

The court has agreed to take the case and is expected to rule in the coming months. Beijing has objected, saying the panel has no jurisdiction in the matter.

 

Cuisia said that a senior U.S. Navy official reported spotting a suspected Chinese survey ship in the Scarborough Shoal a few weeks ago The Philippine military checked but found nothing, possibly because the Chinese ship later left the shoal, he said. Philippine officials worry that China is eyeing the vast atoll as its next target for island building.

 

China has said it has completed construction work to turn seven reefs into islands in the disputed Spratlys archipelago in the South China Sea, a move condemned by the U.S. and other partners in the region. Officials have also seen runways, fighter jets and other weapons on some of the islands.

 

Beijing says it owns the Spratlys, which it calls the Nansha Islands, and has a right to build there.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2016/04/14/us-and-philippines-jointly-patrol-south-china-sea/83020368/

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Beijing has used Malcolm Turnbull's first visit to China as Prime Minister to warn Australia's economic interests will be harmed unless it softens its position on the South China Sea.

 

The blunt message was published in the state sanctioned, English language newspaper China Daily to coincide with Mr Turnbull's arrival in Shanghai on Thursday and his keynote speech to open the biennial Australia in China Week.

 

A record delegation of more than 1000 Australian business people has travelled to China for the event which is seeking to capitalise on opportunities created by the coming into force last year of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement.

 

Mr Turnbull used his speech to push back, telling China that her continued march towards prosperity required open markets and upholding the rule of law.

 

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Lucy Turnbull at the Australia week in China. Andrew Meares

"Freedom, enterprise, open markets, embrace of the global community in all it's diversity - those are the qualities that have delivered progress, rising living standards and growth," he said.

 

The comments were a template for a stronger message he would be delivering to China's leaders in private.

He stressed the mutual importance of allowing free-two-way internet trade after The Australian Financial Review reported this week that barriers had been thrown up to e-commerce.

 

The China Daily, effectively a mouthpiece for Beijing, said Mr Turnbull needed to be "careful and considerate about Canberra's stance on the South China Sea".

 

It notes his visit, which included bilateral discussion with both Premier Li Keqiang and President Xi Jinping, "comes right after Turnbull called China's military deployments in the South China Sea counterproductive" and four months after the FTA came into force.

 

Mr Turnbull raised Australia's concerns over China's inflammatory land grab in the region when he met both leaders on the sidelines of international summits late last year and he planned to raise it again. He was scheduled to meet Premier Li in Beijing on Thursday night and President Xi in Beijing on Friday.

 

The newspaper quoted Han Feng, deputy head of the national Institute of International Strategy of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences as saying Australia should put its economic interests with China first.

"It will be a test of Australian leaders' political wisdom," he said.

 

Zhang Yuyan, from the academy's Institute of World Economics and Politics, said the South China Sea issue will "more or less impact" the economic relationship between the two countries.

 

"It will cast a shadow on the promising cooperation if such a tendency keeps developing,' he said.

Mr Turnbull has said both publicly and privately that China's actions threaten her own march towards middle-class prosperity.

Mr Turnbull also used separate talks with communist party secretary Han Zheng to seek assurances that impediments to internet trade would be removed.

 

Officials said Mr Han accepted ecommerce was a growing and vital element of China's expansion and gave a commitment to open and free e-commerce.

 

Mr Turnbull referred to this in his speech as well.

 

"We look forward, as I am sure do Chinese consumers, to the implementation of recent changes affecting e-commerce imports so that trade can continue to grow for mutual benefit."

 

He quoted former leader Deng Xiaoping who said in 1984 that China had been strong and prosperous when it opened its doors to the world and had fallen into poverty and ignorance when the Emperors closed those doors.

 

He said China and Australia's economies were similar insofar as they were transitioning away from resources towards services.

 

"This means a better deal, from wages to deposit rates for Chinese households purchasing power to the people,' he said.

 

"Out parallel economic transitions explain why it was so important that we delivered the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement.

 

"I'm here to help Australia exporters open do vrs which had been locked."

 

The tensions over trade and security came as China's foreign ministry summoned envoys from the Group of Seven (G7) advanced economies to complain about a statement their foreign ministers issued during a meeting in Japan regarding China's behaviour.

 

China is isolated in its claim to most of the South China Sea and is actions of building artificial reefs and islands to further those claims is causing disputes with such nations Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam while Australia and the United States see it as a threat to peace and stability.

 

Mr Turnbull has said both publicly and privately that China's actions threaten her own march towards middle-class prosperity.

http://www.afr.com/news/politics/beijing-warns-malcolm-turnbull-to-be-careful-on-south-china-sea-20160414-go6d3b

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MANILA (Reuters) - Defense officials from the Philippines and Vietnam will meet this week to explore possible joint exercises and navy patrols, military sources said, shoring up a new alliance between states locked in maritime rows with China.

 

Ties have strengthened between the two Southeast Asian countries as China's assertiveness intensifies with a rapid buildup of man-made islands in the Spratly archipelago, to which Vietnam and the Philippines lay claim.

 

Both states are also on the receiving end of a renewed charm offensive by the United States, which is holding joint military exercises in the Philippines to be attended this week by U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter.

 

Vietnam and the Philippines would discuss patrols and exercises, but a deal this week was unlikely, a senior military official told Reuters.

 

"These are initial discussions," he said. "These may take time but we would like to move to the next level."

 

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. The information was confirmed by another defense ministry source in Manila.

 

Naval patrols between the Philippines and United States were proposed by Manila in January. They could happen within a year, a foreign ministry official said.

 

"The two sides are still talking about this," the official told Reuters.

 

Vietnam and the Philippines agreed on a strategic partnership in November to boost security relations as China expands its presence in the strategic waterway and deploys military equipment in the Spratly and Paracel islands.

 

Their closer ties mark a bold step in a region where China's economic influence has made some countries reluctant to take a joint stand against its maritime maneuvering.

 

The meeting between Vietnam's vice defense minister, Nguyen Chi Vinh, and Honorio Azcueta, the Philippine undersecretary of defense, is scheduled for Thursday and comes as a court in The Hague nears a decision in an arbitration case lodged by Manila.

 

The ruling in the case, which seeks to clarify parts of a United Nations maritime law, could dent China's claim to 90 percent of the South China Sea, parts of which Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei also claim.

 

The South China Sea will figure in the talks between the two countries, as will bilateral exchanges, information-sharing, military logistics and defense technology, the sources said.

 

Vinh would tour Philippine bases, including a major naval facility. Vietnam's state media has not reported the visit.

 

Two Vietnamese frigates made port calls to Manila in 2014 and a Philippine warship may do the same in Vietnam this June. Troops from both sides have played sports together twice since 2014 on disputed islands they occupy.

 

On Monday, Philippine Foreign Minister Jose Rene Almendras was the first foreign dignitary to meet Vietnam's new prime minister, Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

http://www.businessinsider.com/r-philippines-vietnam-to-explore-joint-patrols-in-south-china-sea-sources-2016-4

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Two Japanese escort ships arrived at an international seaport in the south-central Vietnamese province of Khanh Hoa on Tuesday to commence their visit to the Southeast Asian country.

 

The two vessels, JS Ariake and JS Setogiri, carrying 500 crew members of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force docked at Cam Ranh International Seaport in the afternoon.

 

This is the first visit to the port by the Japanese naval unit, according to Morishita Osamu, commander of the two vessels.

The occasion is aimed at sharpening the skills of Japanese naval officers via an extended sea journey as well as an exchange of activities with their Vietnamese counterparts.

 

At the welcome ceremony, Japanese Ambassador to Vietnam Fukada Hiroshi read a letter written by Japan's Minister of Defense Gen Nakatani.

 

Being a free and open maritime area, the East Vietnam Sea plays an essential role in the peace and prosperity of the region, Hiroshi quoted the Japanese minister as saying.

 

Maintaining the East Vietnam Sea as a tranquil and safe maritime route in accordance with international law has become a top priority in determining stability for the region and the world, according to Minister Nakatani.

He also evaluated the Cam Ranh port favourably, saying that the facility, in its strategic location, would provide vital assistance to the cooperation of civil and military ships from many nations.

 

The Japanese minister hoped that more visits to the Vietnamese international seaport could be conducted by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force in order to further deepen the relationship between Japanese and Vietnamese people, the military, and the two navies in particular.

 

The visiting naval unit from Japan is scheduled to meet with leaders of the Khanh Hoa People’s Committee and the 4th Regional Command of the Vietnam People’s Navy.

 

Officers from both two naval forces will also participate in friendly volleyball games.

Following the exchange, officers on the two escort ships are expected to carry out a training session with their Vietnamese counterparts, focusing on exercising the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES).

Weighing 4,550 metric tons, the JS Ariake is 151 meters long and 17.4 meters wide, while the JS Setogiri weighs 3,550 metric tons, is 137 meters long, and measures 14.6 meters wide.

 

The naval ships are both equipped with multiple artilleries, surface-to-air missiles, and anti-ship missiles.

Prior to the visit to Vietnam, the two vessels, accompanying a submarine, arrived in the Philippines for the first time in 15 years, AFP reported.

 

Their journey to the two nations started on March 19 and is anticipated to conclude on April 27, according to Osamu.

 

 

http://tuoitrenews.vn/politics/34256/japanese-naval-ships-arrive-in-vietnam

 

Edited by JasonJ
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With very little fanfare, JS Hakuryu sailed through the heads about 11:00am, accompanied by two Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force warships and led by HMAS Ballarat.

 

The Soryu class Hakuryu is the first Japanese submarine to enter Sydney Harbour in three quarters of a century, and will take part in Exercise Nichi Gou Trident with the Royal Australian Air Force and Royal Australian Navy.

 

"This exercise, which has been conducted between Australia and Japan since 2009, is an opportunity to develop and enhance the bilateral naval relationship by practising maritime skills and improving levels of interoperability between our two navies," the Defence Department said in a statement.

 

"This is the first opportunity to conduct the exercise off Sydney."

 

The Defence Department said the joint exercise aimed to "improve interoperability and mutual understanding" between the two navies.

HMAS Ballarat, HMAS Adelaide and HMAS Success will take part in the exercise, along with aviation elements including Navy's 816 Squadron's S-70B Seahawks and the Air Force's AP-3C Orion and Hawk 127 aircraft.

 

Japanese officials were also using the opportunity to show off the capability of their high-tech Soryu class submarine that Tokyo hopes would be selected as the preferred model for Australia's future submarine fleet.

 

Japan is locked in a Competitive Evaluation Process with France and Germany to decide who will be selected for the lucrative $50 billion defence contract.

 

The historic arrival of the Japanese submarine has revived memories of 1942, when then-Imperial Japan famously slipped three midget subs into Australian waters, attacking Sydney and Newcastle and sinking the converted ferry HMAS Kuttabul, killing 21 sailors.

 

Jean Nysen, 93, was then serving in the Women's Royal Australian Navy (WRANS).

"It was a terrible shock and we couldn't do anything about it," she said.

 

"They were building the boom net and they were preparing people for any invasion."

 

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http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-15/japan-maritime-vessel-arrives-in-sydney-harbour/7328970

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1ZwHyDYVK8

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More of 2016 Balikatan.

 

CH-53E Super Stallion and retrieve troops from Antique air field.

 

Philippine Marines set up a Forward Area refueling point (FARP) at Antique.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7PpQj3WEpws

 

Combined logistics support.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJ1f6A54sME

 

Shoreing Lifting and Hauling Breaching Rope Rescue.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drQAGHRLDw0

 

M777 howitzer live fire.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7yIRXvIIK0

 

Philippines and US Marines Conduct Ground Assault.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYi84UxctAU

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JLENS? That's the only blimp program I'm aware the US currently has.

 

http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/563149/news/nation/us-to-give-phl-observation-blimp-to-track-activity-in-disputed-seas

 

Oh, perhaps this one:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tethered_Aerostat_Radar_System

 

Anyhow, I'm reminded of the blimp-that-escaped incident that happened in recent memory.... :lol:

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