China warships in Pacific raise alarm

Discussion in 'China' started by Ray, Feb 15, 2014.

  1. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    China warships in Pacific raise alarm

    Bejing flexesits maritime muscles with unannounced war exercise in international waters.

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    Three Chinese warships have sent dark new clouds scudding over Australia's strategic horizon, adding to growing unease across the region as Beijing flexes its muscles through the Indian Ocean to the western Pacific.

    The sudden appearance near Australia of the guided missile destroyers Wuhan and Haikou, in company with the advanced, 20,000-tonne landing ship Changbaishan, led to the RAAF Orion patrol aircraft being scrambled and sent north of the continent.

    Although operating legally in international waters, the unannounced passage of the ships through the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra to the Lombok Strait off Bali has been seen as a clear message that China is now a major maritime power operating wherever it wants to go.

    The series of 10 exercises between Indonesia and Australia was also a demonstration of China's increasing might, reach and sophistication as the emerging superpower ramps up its territorial claims.

    The implications have triggered concern also in India, Japan, Southeast Asia and the Philippines, and raised further questions about Beijing's increasing presence in the South Pacific - particularly its development and expansion of ports in Tonga and Papua New Guinea.

    The United States has already responded with a shift in its naval emphasis to the region, increasing its marine presence in Australia and the intention to base 60 per cent of its warships in the Asia-Pacific region by 2020.

    By that time China's navy will have become even more formidable. Funded by an economy that is now the world's second-largest and on track to become the biggest, Beijing's US$110 billion ($132 billion) defence budget is exceeded only by the US.

    Its sole aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, bought from Ukraine and refurbished, will be joined by an 80,000-tonne nuclear-powered vessel within six years, with plans for four more. As well as a larger, advanced surface fleet, China's ballistic and attack submarine force will also be significantly expanded.

    Chinese warships are rapidly gaining new potency through advanced technology. This month a Song class diesel-electric attack submarine slipped past screening US warships to surface within striking range of a US aircraft carrier. That set the alarm bells ringing.

    In the Lombok Strait, the three Chinese warships conducted exercises including fast-response electronic warfare, anti-missile defence, and attack co-ordination.

    State television said no advance warning of the mission had been given as "part of the navy's plan to simulate actual combat conditions".

    Analysts have seen a number of signals in the deployment beyond the demonstration of power, reach and "self-confidence" advocated by policymakers in Beijing.

    Among these is the ability to protect the sea lanes vital for its energy imports, and the potential to use alternatives to the Malacca Strait if the key route was closed.

    The exercise was also the first to extend beyond the western waters of the Indian Ocean, and to come so close to Australia.

    Last October, similar capabilities were demonstrated when Chinese warships, supported by bombers and patrol aircraft, passed through the Japanese archipelago to conduct war games in the western Pacific, alarming Japan.

    With tensions already high over the disputed Senkakus/Diaoyu islands, Tokyo increased its defence budget, announcing plans for more strike jets, warships and other hardware.

    India is also concerned at China's operations in the eastern Indian Ocean, worrying that Beijing is placing the crucial waters around the Andaman and Nicobar islands within reach of its military.

    China insists that its naval operations present no threat to other countries in the region and that its Lombok Strait exercises were part of annual training plans during which its navy upheld its right to free passage in international waters.

    China has also been increasing cooperation within the region, joining US warships for search-and-rescue exercises near Hawaii last year, and sending ships on goodwill visits to Australia and New Zealand. This year it will take part in the huge American Rimpac naval exercise off Hawaii.

    Prime Minister John Key has said New Zealand "doesn't feel concerned by anything [China] might be doing", a view also expressed after the Lombok exercises by Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.

    Noting that the exercises took place in international waters, Bishop said: "The Chinese navy is growing, commensurate with the increase in size and strength of the Chinese economy and its place in the region and its place in the globe."

    Lowy Institute international security programme director Rory Medcalf wrote that there was nothing illegal or fundamentally hostile in the exercises, and that a greater Chinese role in the Indian Ocean was inevitable.

    China warships in Pacific raise alarm - World - NZ Herald News
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    Good show.

    These type of Chinese naval incursions is music to the US' ear.

    Australians were not too enamoured with their Govt allowing US to base troops in the North.

    Now, they will get spooked and with warmly embrace the plans of the US' Asia Pivot. NZ will have no option but to follow suit.

    The Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra to the Lombok Strait off Bali are as in the map.

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    These straits are important for China for access into the Indian Ocean if the Malacca Strait is blocked.

    The Chinese intent is clear as crystal.

    More of these unannounced exercises and forays and the Pacific Rim countries will embrace the US hug!

    China's aggressive policies will be its downfall in promoting its so called ''Peaceful Rise''!
     
    W.G.Ewald, sayareakd and Srinivas_K like this.
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  3. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    China's military is on the march and Canberra must take note

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    Through a stretch of water where Australians' attention is usually fixated on asylum-seeker boats, a flotilla of very different ocean vessels passed largely unremarked early this month.

    Three Chinese warships on an exercise that included combat simulations sailed through the Sunda Strait, turned east, passed by Christmas Island before skirting the southern edge of Java and turning north again. Never before has a Chinese naval drill come so close to Australia.
    It's a bit like walking down the street with a gun.

    Unlike the asylum-seeker boats, the Chinese ships took Australian officials by surprise. China had not announced the route of the exercise, nor informed Canberra. Rather, Australian defence officials were reportedly alerted by their American counterparts. There was consternation enough for Defence to order a P-3 Orion surveillance plane north to keep an eye on the warships.

    Officially, Australia is relaxed about the exercise. A spokesman for Defence Minister David Johnston said there was ''no legal obligation'' for China to inform Australia, and declined to comment on whether Defence believed China was expanding its blue-water navy capabilities in Australia's approaches.

    sked about the significance of the exercises on Friday, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told the ABC China's growing power in the region and around the globe needed to be acknowledged.

    ''The United States has long been the single greatest power in the Pacific, in Asia, in fact globally,'' she said. ''But we recognise that there are other countries that are emerging as stronger economies, other countries are building up their militaries.''

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    he move did win attention in Canberra. Military planners and strategic analysts have long known that China's naval ambitions were growing, with far-reaching strategic consequences for our region. This month's exercise took the theory a step closer to reality, bringing China's bold ambitions virtually to Australia's doorstep. In doing so, it has crystalised the challenge our military planners face in preparing for a very different world.

    It is a wake-up call for our defence planners. Lowy Institute international security program director Rory Medcalf says ''they're going to have to expect the Chinese to be able to operate in considerable force in the vicinity of our ocean territories''.
    ''That is a new thing,'' he says.

    China's military budget is expected to be as much as $200 billion this year. That still pales against the US, which spent roughly $700 billion last year. The difference is that Beijing's budget is growing at 10 per cent a year, while Washington is cutting spending.

    Li Mingjiang of Singapore's S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies estimates China is ''about halfway'' through the transition of taking its navy from a coastal defence force to a proper ''blue-water'' navy, capable of projecting power far from home.

    It is widely accepted the course of the 21st century turns on whether the established superpower, the US, and the rising great power, China, learn to live with each other. How this plays out is being complicated by China's disputes with its neighbours over territory in the South China Sea and East China Sea. Beijing's recent bellicose postures have prompted the conservative government in Japan to muscle up in return.

    Australia is an ally of the US and a geographically strategic landmass, sitting between the Pacific and Indian Oceans. As such, we are a significant player.

    As a giant economy and a great power, China asserts its right to expand its military. Neither the US nor Australia denies this right, arguing only that the expansion should be transparent and that China should signal its intention to be a constructive global player, rather than a disruptive player that wants to bully its neighbours.

    Strategic experts in Australia say there was nothing inherently hostile in China's recent naval exercise. Indeed, an expanding naval power will inevitably cross thresholds - in this case the Indonesian archipelago.

    But most analysts also see a clear message in the manoeuvre. Medcalf says it is part of a pattern the Chinese military has lately established.

    Last June, in the face of tensions with Tokyo, Chinese warships sailed all the away around Japan, to show they could go where they liked. In October, a large contingent of Chinese ships converged in the western Pacific to show they could breach the so-called ''first island chain'' that has traditionally formed a notional maritime boundary.

    In December, China's first aircraft carrier held exercises in the South China Sea. One of its escort ships nearly collided with an American destroyer in an incident Medcalf says ''could have turned nasty''.

    ''All of this may not quite add up to gunboat diplomacy of the coercive kind, but it does show a pattern of China testing its capabilities and wanting to show it can go where it wants when it wants.''

    A former senior Defence official and veteran analyst now at the Australian National University, Hugh White, puts it this way: ''They are saying, 'We are not that constrained.' It's a bit like walking down the street with a gun.''

    The view from the Chinese strategic establishment is that the region should get used to it.

    ''Expect more of China's naval exercises around [Australia], per international law,'' says Shen Dingli, professor of international relations at Fudan University in Shanghai.

    There are plenty of reasons why China wants to grow militarily, some of them understandable or benign, others less so. It shows no real expansionist tendencies - all of its claims are to territories it argues were its own to begin with.

    Medcalf says China's growing interests far from home give it one good reason for extending its naval power, notably into the Indian Ocean. More than 1 million Chinese nationals live in Africa and it has substantial economic interests in the Middle East. China depends heavily on oil imports from the Persian Gulf that are transported through the Indian Ocean and on through the busy Malacca Strait, which ends at Singapore.

    He adds that the Lombok Strait, through which the three Chinese warships passed on their recent exercise above Australia, is a possible emergency alternative route to the Malacca Strait, which could be blockaded in the event of a war in Asia. If the territorial disputes in the East China Sea or South China Sea did spark a war, China's energy supplies could be better safeguarded.

    The less palatable side is its growing ability to push others around. The goal of good strategy is not conflict but coercion - getting what you want without having to fight. White has long pointed out that China does not have to outclass the US Navy in Asia - merely to threaten it in order to dissuade it from intervening on behalf of its friends Japan or Taiwan. It now has that power.

    ''Fifteen years ago, China had very little capacity to find and sink American aircraft carriers,'' White says. ''Today that capacity is formidable and growing … That affects the way America responds to things like the Senkakus [dispute with Japan].''

    White, who is well known for his belief that the US must make strategic room - up to a point - to accommodate China, says the West's behaviour will play a big part in whether China becomes a constructive or disruptive power.

    Shen says that as a ''normal great power'', China has every right to build its navy in order to deter American ''interference''.

    ''China's legitimate national interests are still undermined by the US,'' he says. ''America has interfered in mainland China's unification with Taiwan, and its region-based alliances have served its purpose of military intervention. Australia is on the US strategic chessboard for such purpose … Australia shall not expect to be entitled to follow the US to threaten China without hurting itself.''

    There are, it should be noted, some optimistic signs as well, with China using its military power for some positive purposes.

    Li Mingjiang says China sent its largest hospital ship to the Philippines after typhoon Haiyan even though it is in a territorial dispute with the country. Its contribution was meagre next to that of the US and Japan, but it was the first time it had made such a substantial military-humanitarian mission. ''It was not very satisfactory in the eyes of many regional observers,'' Li says. ''They could have done a lot more … But it was a positive first step.''

    China has also done counter-piracy work in the Indian Ocean for five years. And one of the ships on the recent exercise near Australia was a brand new landing ship that can carry hundreds of marines - perfect for stabilisation operations, evacuations and disaster relief.

    Medcalf says that whatever the lingering ambiguity over how China means to use its new power, the growth of its navy and the recent exercise ought to play heavily in the thinking of Australia's military planners as they prepare the next defence white paper over the coming year.

    Obvious immediate steps will include much greater use of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands for maritime surveillance, which will need to include an upgrade of the airstrip for the Royal Australian Air Force's new P-8 Poseidon surveillance planes. The latest Chinese manoeuvre also bolsters the case for Australia to invest in long-range surveillance drones, Medcalf says.

    In the longer term, Australia's planning depends heavily on whether the US can maintain its strategic ''pivot'' to Asia given its fiscal problems. Some analysts are already calling for Canberra to start hedging by building closer relations with India, the only possible counterweight to China in the event of US decline.

    Medcalf points out that the defence boffins plan mostly according to what other countries can do militarily, not by guessing what they intend to do. Intentions change.

    While writing a defence white paper is herculean task, at least one aspect has become easier: China is showing the world what it can do.

    China's military is on the march and Canberra must take note
     
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  4. Srinivas_K

    Srinivas_K Senior Member Senior Member

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    Chinese may try to block any shipments through SCS to Japan in case of confrontation over the Senkaku Islands and at the same time their are sending a message to Japan that they have the reach and capability to block the second way .i.e through Indonesia.

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    The Chinese navy exercises are close to Indonesian Islands.
     
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  5. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    This is after reassurance by china of Peace in scs ,China has little credibility.
     
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  6. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    Chinese can do little usa has bases all around china and has prepared for
    Over a decade for any scenario.
     
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  7. Srinivas_K

    Srinivas_K Senior Member Senior Member

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    USA has the capability to destabilize China and oust the CCP, But their intention is to back Asian nations against China. They do not want to confront China but support nations all around China.

    They have their own plans to stop Asian rise.

    If Asian nations fight each other and China becomes week like Nazi Germany and Europe after World war 2, then West will benefit.

    The Best way for Asian nations to confront China is to not let the Chinese GDP grow by not doing trade with Chinese and at the same time form an alliance against China.


    India and Japan is doing exactly the same , Both the nations are linking up ASEAN with the economies of India and Japan.

    Chinese are wise and they have fear of downfall compared to Nazis.
     
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  8. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    War is the only was the west can guarantee future prosperity. China needs to stop
    Displaying military strength, all it will take is one stupid move to start a conflict.
     
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  9. Srinivas_K

    Srinivas_K Senior Member Senior Member

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    There is no space for two powers to co exist in a single region, let the Chinese show their foolish hegemony only to fall.

    This decade India will do well both militarily and Economically.

    Within a Decade India will be neck to neck with the top powers in the world, Only question is to survive until them with out any confrontation and war. Japan is not a pushover either, they have the capability and technology to confront china.

    Japanese are not fools to watch China growing last decade, they have their plans.
     
  10. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    There has to be other avenues other than military buildup.
    Any conflicts involving Asian giants will not end fast or pretty.
    These are not small European nations like ww2. India and china
    Each have populations larger than Europe.
     
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  11. sayareakd

    sayareakd Moderator Moderator

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    What if some ship is sinked due to these unannounced exercise?
     
  12. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

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    Chinese are busy expanding Yongxing Island - [​IMG]


    If u can locate Chinese controlled Spratly/Paracel reefs/islets like Yongxing (Woody Island), Mischief, Scarborough, etc., u'll understand "Malacca Dilemma" is not for China alone. :lol:
    [​IMG]

    Now they look like this >>
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    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2014
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