Southeast Asia - one of the main areas of expansion of China

Discussion in 'China' started by amoy, Dec 20, 2012.

  1. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

    Jan 17, 2010
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    machinery translation Китайский фактор АСЕАН - ВПК.name

    Currently, there are two identical concepts: Geographic - "South East Asia" and political - "ASEAN". After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Beijing began gradually, and in recent years increasingly to gain regional influence, lost Moscow. The value here in China in almost all areas is becoming increasingly important, and sometimes exceeds the U.S. role and their strategic allies - Japan. One of the areas in which Russia can compete in the region with the Chinese and the Americans - the military-technical cooperation (MTC).

    All 10 countries in the region are included in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Association of South East Asian Nations) - ASEAN. From a military point of view, they can be divided into three categories. The first consists of the five states that have very strong armies (Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam). The second - the two armies of the Mexican type, that is large in number of personnel, but focused almost exclusively on the counterinsurgency war (the Philippines and Myanmar). The third - two poor post-communist countries (Laos and Cambodia), and very rich, but a little oil monarchies of Brunei, whose army is weak. Consider regional opportunities for imports of arms and military-technical cooperation.


    Country with a huge population and vast territory, located on thousands of islands, has a very large, but quite archaic army. This situation is partly due to the absence of serious external threats. Terrestrial components of the armed forces (Army and Marines) are focused on combating various separatist groups. In addition, the military build-up in Indonesia affect budget constraints.

    Of modern weapons for the Air Force acquired five Su-27 and Su-30, is expected to purchase another six Su-30. In addition to the existing 10 F-16A / B will be sold in the U.S. are 24 used F-16C / D. Navy already significant but modern ships and submarines are not (except for the four corvettes of the "Diponegoro" Dutch construction). However, in an old frigate, launched in the Netherlands, set the WLS with the Russian anti-ship missiles "Yakhont". For the Marine Corps purchased 51 BMP-3F. In order to re Army purchased 37 French wheel ACS "Caesar", 36 Brazilian MLRS "Astros-2" from Germany in the next two years should reach 103 tank "Leopard-2A4" and 50 BMP "Marder". "The Leopard" will be the first main battle tanks in the Armed Forces of Indonesia for their entire history.

    The country has a well developed military-industrial complex (MIC), capable of producing light armored vehicles, transport and patrol aircraft, and various helicopters. Proposed to develop a combat aircraft together with the Republic of Korea.


    The armed forces of Malaysia Indonesian less, but are more modern and balanced. Their service in the past two decades, received 48 Polish PT-91 tanks, 111 BMP Korean KIFV (K-200), about 400 Russian MANPADS "Igla" and 18 MiG-29 (two of them lost in crashes) and Su- 30, 8 F-18D, the latest two French submarines "Skorpen." Malaysian military imports very diversified, it becomes military equipment in the U.S., UK, France, Sweden, Russia, the Republic of Korea, Brazil, Poland, Spain, Italy, Germany and Switzerland.

    Malaysia, like other countries in ASEAN, is in a conflict with China over the Spratly Islands. In this regard, it strengthens the military alliance and military-technical relations with India.


    Quite small in size republic, based on their economic success, is building a very strong and balanced forces. In recent years there has been a rapid qualitative upgrade them both through imports and through in-house production. Purchased 132 German tanks "Leopard-2A4", a division of Israel's air defense system "Spider", 24 American fighter-bomber F-15SG (version F-15I) in addition to 60 F-16 (20 C, 40 D), 20 American attack helicopters AN-64D, two Swedish submarine type "Vestergetland" in addition to the four submarines "Sheormen" of the same country, six French frigates of the "Lafayette". In terms of the size of the state Singapore army, perhaps, is the second in the world after the Israeli forces. This situation is very interesting in light of the fact that Singapore, unlike Israel in fact has no external enemies. The political influence of China in this country is still very limited, and the military is generally absent, although 75 percent of the local population are ethnic Chinese.


    This country has a large and powerful military forces, targeting both the classical and in the counterinsurgency war. Kingdom has the second (after Vietnam) in ASEAN tank fleet, however, is as obsolete. To update it expected to purchase 200 Ukrainian tanks "Hold" (T-84). Also in Ukraine purchased 38 BTR-3E, and France - six ACS "Caesar." In the Air Force, along with the obsolete F-5 has 65 F-16 fighters acquired 12 Swedish JAS-39. National Navy is the largest in Southeast Asia, and in their composition a Spanish aircraft carrier construction, which has aircraft with vertical takeoff and landing "Harrier" (bought in Spain), and eight frigates built in the United States and China. While in the Navy do not have any subs.

    In general, along with Pakistan, Thailand is one of two countries that are both American and Chinese strategic allies. While in the military influence of the United States is stronger, but gradually guide the kingdom enhances diversification in terms of procurement of arms and military contacts.

    Thailand has a rather complex relationship with its Eastern neighbors - ASEAN Laos and Cambodia, as well as supporting their Vietnam. Compared with the second half of the twentieth century, today the tension between the two countries has decreased slightly, but it will still occur regularly. Although the Thai army is much stronger Laotian and Cambodian, in conflict with these countries military kingdom proved mediocre.


    Vietnamese armed forces since 1945 have demonstrated a very high level of combat readiness, and in the wars of different types. They have consistently achieved victory over the armies of France, the U.S. and China.

    Today, the Vietnam People's Army is the largest among the ASEAN countries (primarily due to the Army), though very archaic. In this case, the update occurs gradually by maintaining an exclusive relationship with Russia in the field of military-technical cooperation. In our country, acquired on 12 Su-27 and Su-30, and will continue to purchase the latest, modern aircraft missiles X-31 and X-59, S-300PMU-1 (two divisions, 12 launchers, 62 missiles). Purchased missile boats - first four Project 12411, and then 12 Project 12418, of which two were built in Russia, and the other ten - in the Vietnam. These boats are armed with anti-ship missiles "Uranus". The Vietnamese side also got two Russian frigates of project 11661 and four patrol boats project 10412. The contract for the supply of six submarines of Project 636, which would make the owner of the most powerful republic in ASEAN submarine fleet. Finally, Vietnam has purchased in Russia the most modern coastal missile system "Bastion" with RCC "Yakhont" (part of the same family of missiles that Indo-Russian "BrahMos").

    At the same time in 2002 on the initiative of Russia's lease terminated Hanoi HMB "Kamran." Vietnamese traditionally viewed the base on its territory in terms of containment of Chinese. Loss of interest in Vietnam to maintain this object has occurred not only and not so much due to the reduction of the Russian military presence there, but because of the rapprochement between Moscow and Beijing, that is, in the eyes of the Vietnamese leadership Russia has ceased to act as a counterweight to China.

    Although at present the Vietnam-China relationship is formally considered normalized, there is not the slightest doubt that the strengthening of the combat power of the Vietnamese army was mainly directed at containing China. Of course, the economic capacity of Hanoi is much lower than in Beijing. Vietnamese military industry is in its infancy, and mainly confined to the manufacture of munitions, although in recent years began to develop naval shipbuilding. The weakness of defense explains the high interest of the republic in the military-technical cooperation with Russia. However, even with Russian help Vietnam might not be able to catch up its armed forces with the Chinese army at least in the individual components. Vietnam but this is not required, because it is certainly not going to attack China. The task of deterring aggression from China by inflicting unacceptable damage is achievable, Hanoi's efforts are clearly aimed at the solution.

    Air and maritime character of purchases of equipment indicates that the country is primarily seeking to prevent the full control over the water area of ​​Beijing, the islands and the shelf of the South China Sea. In addition, due to their complexity and knowledge-based naval and aircraft acquired during the Soviet era, is outdated and far more a question of its renewal for Vietnam was more important. No weapons for the Army for 20 years Hanoi did not buy because of what it is in general very outdated in terms of equipment. This could mean that the Vietnamese Chinese threat on land considered irrelevant or are considering the forces available as sufficient to neutralize it.

    Now there is a strengthening of relations between Hanoi and New Delhi to jointly contain China. For the same reason began a rapprochement with Washington (despite mutual memories of the war) until the of the 2010 joint naval exercises. This caused extreme anger in Beijing, it came to a direct threat that Hanoi regret it in the future. However in 2012, have been held yet another Vietnamese-American scientist. Therefore, we can assume that Vietnam will be one of the main members of any anti-Chinese alliance that may arise in the short term. Accordingly, it will continue to strengthen the capacity of its armed forces.


    This island nation has almost pure counterinsurgency army with large numbers of personnel with the extremely small number of obsolete military equipment. Thus, the tank fleet consists of 65 British "Scorpio", no BMP, ACS, MLRS. Warplanes also actually not available, except for those of 15 OV-10 and S-211. In service with the Navy has no submarines or carriers of any missiles. But there is a big marines, well above the amphibious capabilities of the fleet.

    Republic is involved in a conflict with China, Taiwan and several ASEAN countries over the Spratly Islands, being militarily weak from all the parties in dispute. Given the significant increase in the power of the Chinese navy in the event of military action to defend the Philippines can not even their geographic location. Proposed acquisition in Korea 12 fighters FA-50, and in Italy - two frigates of the "Maestral" the situation will not change.


    On the number of personnel Army Republic is among the ten largest in the world. The number of vehicles is very limited, most of it is very outdated. Some exceptions are acquired in the former Soviet Union 50 T-72 and 10 MiG-29 fighters. Deliveries of the MiG-29 from Russia will be continued, and Russia won the bid from the Chinese JF-17. This is somewhat surprising, given the highest degree of dependence on China Myanmar. The country's economic, political and military fully focused on China. Beijing considers the republic as a corridor to the Indian Ocean, a springboard for expansion in ASEAN and an important link in the strategic encirclement of India. However, in recent time, the Americans are trying to "recapture" the State from the Chinese, but it is very doubtful that they will be able to achieve this success.

    Laos, Cambodia, Brunei

    The armed forces of Laos and Cambodia are a small number of landfills obsolete Soviet and Chinese technology. At the same time, in conflict with those of Thailand (Laos - in early 1988, Cambodia - in 2009-2011-m) of the Thai army resisted almost equal. Perhaps this was due to the limited scope of the collision, as well as support from Vietnam.

    Brunei army general is negligibly small (except for the Navy, where there are three missile boats), due not so much the size of the country, but about the lack of real opponents.

    The View from Beijing

    Southeast Asia is often seen in Russian and Western sources as the main direction of the potential expansion of the PRC. It is believed that this region is oriented Chinese concept of strategic borders and living space, which is essentially a justification for expansion. First, it is assumed that China wants to put under full control and shelf waters of the South China Sea and its biological and geological resources.

    Indeed, Beijing announced that it considers its entire area and the islands of the sea. There is a conflict between China and Vietnam over the Paracel Islands, multilateral conflict for the possession of the Spratlys. On these limited waters of the South China Sea areas of land, except China, which controls seven of them, claiming Vietnam (owned 27 islands), Philippines (8), Malaysia (3), Taiwan (1). From the point of view of international law, the Chinese claim is unfounded, but for China it will never make any difference, it is guided by their ideas of law.

    It is obvious that the island itself, which area is very small, no interest in terms of economic potential or territory for the populations. This is a place to put the air force and naval bases. In addition, the right to determine the ownership of islands in the adjacent shelf, rich in oil. We can say that China is hydrocarbons are the main factor determining its special interest in the South China Sea. And we have in mind not only the process of production, but also the security of communications passing through the sea on which the republic receives oil from Africa and the Middle East.

    The interests of China in Southeast Asia is much broader than the control over the oil resources of the sea shelf. This region is seen by Beijing as an extremely important from the point of view of national security and the expansion of its sphere of influence.

    It can be assumed that China is trying to create a sort of "great East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere" in the new version, although roughly the same ideological justification (perhaps somewhat less rigidly accented). If Japan in the first half of the 40 years of the twentieth century tried to do it by using military force, China will focus primarily on the economic and demographic expansion.

    Relation to the region this way of action is much easier for Beijing because in these countries up to 70 percent of the wealth in the hands of ethnic Chinese. Most of them in Indonesia (7.3 million) and Thailand (5.7 million). All in all, South-East Asia is home to about 30 million people from China. Their share is highest in Singapore (77%), Malaysia (30%) and Thailand (10%). The presence of such a powerful economic and demographic base greatly increases the influence of China in the region and facilitates the expansion, without the use of military means.

    It is likely that Beijing considers the South-East Asia as a unique rear, providing, first, communication with the Middle East and Africa, and secondly, the expansion to the north and west, the Chinese are much more important (because it needs territories and resources are found Russia and Central Asia), but also much more complex. In a sense, this is also repeated conduct of Japan in 1941, when it decided to first capture resources in the south, to use them to carry on the expansion to the north (against the USSR). There is little doubt that for the foreseeable future, China is not considering the option of direct absorption of the ASEAN countries. Beijing is enough that these states were of him in complete political and economic independence and is not even a local military threat. Locking them militarily, China is only slightly solves the problem of lack of resources, and the issues of overpopulation and lack of arable land was further aggravated, and new subjects will be disloyal to Beijing. This is especially true in Vietnam, which has very rich experience of successful warfare - both classical and partisan, which, however, in no way means these countries lack the military threat from China. On the contrary, the growing power of the PLA will be the most important factor underpinning the "peaceful" expansion. Not excluded military clashes at sea and in the air for the shelf of the South China Sea. Finally, Beijing may well want to "teach a lesson to the rebellious."

    Given the economic and demographic factors, seriously resist Chinese expansion to the south will only Vietnam and the Philippines. The latter, however, are a negligible quantity in the military, which severely limits their capabilities. Malaysia and Indonesia's position is difficult to predict, it will affect a lot of countervailing factors. So far, however, they hold more anti-Chinese direction. In any case, "the front line" confrontation Beijing will only Hanoi. It would be a natural ally of India, but the communication between them in sensitive situations can be blocked by China.

    Excellent historical context, partly preserved to this day, can expect to strengthen the relations between Russia and Vietnam, which is for our country exceptional value. Therefore the creation of geopolitical triangle Moscow - Delhi - Hanoi (including the formation of a military alliance with mutual obligations) instead of extremely harmful chimera called Moscow - Delhi - Beijing should have been the main task of our diplomacy. But alas, we have a much more important Chimera real geopolitical interests. Therefore, India and Vietnam will gradually move closer to the U.S., leaving us alone with China a "strategic partner."

    Alexander Khramchikhin, deputy director of the Institute of Political and Military Analysis

    Published in issue â„– 50 (467) for December 19, 2012

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