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consequences for China's South China Sea militariz

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    Posted: May 03 2018 at 3:23pm

U.S. says will be consequences for China's South China Sea militarization

Reuters
By David Brunnstrom and Idrees Ali
,
Reuters

By David Brunnstrom and Idrees Ali

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States has raised concerns with China about its latest militarization of the South China Sea and there will be near-term and long-term consequences, the White House said on Thursday.

U.S. news network CNBC reported on Wednesday that China had installed anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missile systems on three outposts in the South China Sea. It cited sources with direct knowledge of U.S. intelligence.

Asked about the report, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told a regular news briefing: "We’re well aware of China’s militarization of the South China Sea. We’ve raised concerns directly with the Chinese about this and there will be near-term and long-term consequences."

Sanders did not say what the consequences might be.

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said U.S. intelligence had seen some signs that China had moved some weapons systems to the Spratly Islands in the past month or so, but offered no details.

CNBC quoted unnamed sources as saying that according to U.S. intelligence assessments, the missiles were moved to Fiery Cross Reef, Subi Reef and Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands within the past 30 days.

They would be the first Chinese missile deployments in the Spratlys, where several Asian countries including Vietnam and Taiwan have rival claims.

China's defense ministry did not respond to a request for comment. Its foreign ministry said China has irrefutable sovereignty over the Spratlys and that necessary defensive deployments were for national security needs and not aimed at any country.

"Those who do not intend to be aggressive have no need to be worried or scared," ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.

CNBC said the YJ-12B anti-ship cruise missiles allowed China to strike vessels within 295 nautical miles. It said the HQ-9B long-range, surface-to-air missiles could target aircraft, drones and cruise missiles within 160 nautical miles.

Eric Sayers, a former consultant to the commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, called the missile deployment "a major escalation" and said one immediate U.S. response could be to rescind Beijing's invitation to this year's RIMPAC multilateral naval exercises beginning in Hawaii in July.

"When China sees that it can get away with these types of actions with little cost - as they did all through 2015 and 2016 - it only makes it more likely they will keep pressing," said Sayers, currently an adjunct fellow at Washington's Center for Strategic and International Studies.

"China sees its participation in the exercise as a sign of its acceptance among the world's maritime powers but Beijing should not be allowed to militarize this open maritime domain and still be honored as a welcomed member of the maritime community."

Last month, U.S. Admiral Philip Davidson, nominated to head U.S. Pacific Command, said China could use its "forward operating bases" in the South China Sea to challenge the U.S. regional presence and "would easily overwhelm the military forces of any other South China Sea claimants."

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote carbon20 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 03 2018 at 3:24pm

China quietly installed defensive missile systems on strategic Spratly Islands in hotly contested South China Sea

  • China has installed anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missile systems on three of its fortified outposts in the South China Sea, sources tell CNBC.
  • By all accounts, the new coastal defense systems are a significant addition to Beijing's military portfolio in one of the most contested regions in the world.
A PLA Navy fleet including the aircraft carrier Liaoning, submarines, vessels and fighter jets take part in a review in the South China Sea on April 12, 2018.
VCG | Getty Images
A PLA Navy fleet including the aircraft carrier Liaoning, submarines, vessels and fighter jets take part in a review in the South China Sea on April 12, 2018.

China has quietly installed anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missile systems on three of its fortified outposts west of the Philippines in the South China Sea, a move that allows Beijing to further project its power in the hotly disputed waters, according to sources with direct knowledge of U.S. intelligence reports.

Intelligence assessments say the missile platforms were moved to the outposts in the Spratly Islands within the past 30 days, according to sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The placement of the defensive weapons also comes on the heels of China's recent South China Sea installation of military jamming equipment, which disrupts communications and radar systems. By all accounts, the new coastal defense systems represent a significant addition to Beijing's military portfolio in one of the most contested regions in the world.

The United States has remained neutral – but expressed concern – about the overlapping sovereignty claims to the Spratlys.

"We have consistently called on China, as well as other claimants, to refrain from further land reclamation, construction of new facilities, and militarization of disputed features, and to commit to managing and resolving disputes peacefully with other claimants," a Pentagon official told CNBC when asked about China's recent military activity in the area. "The further militarization of outposts will only serve to raise tensions and create greater distrust among claimants."

The recent intelligence, according to sources, indicates the deployment of anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missiles on Fiery Cross Reef, Subi Reef and Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands. The Spratlys, to which six countries lay claim, are located approximately two-thirds of the way east from southern Vietnam to the southern Philippines.

Satellite photo of Fiery Cross Reef in the South China Sea taken on January 1, 2018.
Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative/Center for Strategic and International Studies
Satellite photo of Fiery Cross Reef in the South China Sea taken on January 1, 2018.

The land-based anti-ship cruise missiles, designated as YJ-12B, allow China to strike surface vessels within 295 nautical miles of the reefs. Meanwhile, the long-range surface-to-air missiles designated as HQ-9B, have an expected range of targeting aircraft, drones and cruise missiles within 160 nautical miles.

The defensive weapons have also appeared in satellite images of Woody Island, China's military headquarters in the nearby Paracel Islands.

"Woody Island serves as the administrative and military center of China's presence in the South China Sea," Gregory Poling, Center for Strategic and International Studies fellow and director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, told CNBC in a prior interview.

"We assume that anything we see at Woody will eventually find its way farther south to more directly menace China's neighbors," he added.

A hotly contested part of the world

The South China Sea, which is home to more than 200 specks of land, serves as a gateway to global sea routes where approximately $3.4 trillion of trade passes annually.

The numerous overlapping sovereign claims to islands, reefs and rocks — many of which disappear under high tide — have turned the waters into an armed camp. Beijing holds the lion's share of these features with approximately 27 outposts peppered throughout.

Beijing's interest in developing the crumbs of land across the South China Sea is by no means new.

For instance, China first took possession of Fiery Cross Reef and Subi Reef in 1988 and has since outfitted the features with deep-water ports, aircraft hangars, communication facilities, administration offices and a 10,000-foot runway.

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via GIPHY

Satellite images of Subi Reef from July 2012 and December 2017. Source: Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Last week, U.S. Navy Adm. Philip Davidson, the expected nominee to replace U.S. Pacific Command Chief Adm. Harry Harris, described China's increased presence in the South China Sea as "a substantial challenge to U.S. military operations in this region."

In written testimony to the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, Davidson said the development of China's forward operating bases in the hotly contested waters appear to be complete.

"The only thing lacking are the deployed forces. Once occupied, China will be able to extend its influence thousands of miles to the south and project power deep into Oceania," Davidson wrote. "In short, China is now capable of controlling the South China Sea in all scenarios short of war with the United States."

Davidson's comments echo a steady drumbeat of warnings made by Harris regarding China's growing strength.

Earlier this year, Harris told Congress that Beijing's impressive military buildup, including its pursuit of hypersonic weapons, could challenge the United States "across almost every domain."

"While some view China's actions in the East and South China Seas as opportunistic, I do not. I view them as coordinated, methodical and strategic, using their military and economic power to erode the free and open international order," Harris told the House Armed Services Committee.

Harris, whom President Donald Trump is reportedly set to nominate as U.S. ambassador to South Korea, currently oversees approximately 375,000 military personnel and is responsible for defending a theater that spans nearly half of the Earth's surface.

"Ladies and gentlemen, China's intent is crystal clear. We ignore it at our peril," Harris said.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote carbon20 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 03 2018 at 3:27pm

Two US airmen injured by Chinese lasers in Djibouti, DoD says

By:     4 hours ago

Chinese People's Liberation Army personnel attend the opening ceremony of China's new military base in Djibouti. (STR/AFP via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON ― Two U.S. airmen suffered “minor” injuries as a result of the use of the Pentagon believes are Chinese-deployed lasers in Djibouti, the Defense Department’s chief spokeswoman said Thursday.

Dana White told reporters that the U.S. has formally lodged a diplomatic complaint, known as a demarche, with the Chinese government, requesting an investigation into the incident.

“This activity poses a true threat to our airmen,” White said. “It’s a serious matter, so we’re taking it very seriously.”

Maj. Sheryll Klinke, a Pentagon spokeswoman, confirmed to reporters after the briefing that the injuries were the result of one incident, in which two pilots of a C-130 aircraft were hit by a “military grade” laser. The pilots are not expected to suffer any long-term effects, Klinke said.

White did not have an exact number for how many incidents there had been, putting it between two and 10, all within the last few weeks. News of the injuries was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

She did, however, indicate there were similar incidents in the past, where the U.S. did not take the formal step of issuing a diplomatic complaint. The decision to do so now was the result of “both” the injuries and the increased rate of incidents, White said.

Asked about potential motivation for the incident, White replied: “I’d have to ask you [to] ask the Chinese about the motivation. But it’s serious, we take it seriously, and that’s why we demarched them.”

But the U.S. has been bracing for issues in Djibouti ever since China decided to open a military base just miles from Camp Lemonnier, currently the only permanent U.S. military base in Africa. China began construction of the base in March 2016 after it secured a 10-year lease for the facility.

China has described the facility as a logistics-support base for ship resupply, as well as a hub for peacekeeping and humanitarian missions in the Gulf of Aden and Arabian Sea. But analysts who have studied open-source imagery of the base have instead described it as a fortress that will allow China to have significant influence in Africa.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote carbon20 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 03 2018 at 3:28pm

China upped the ante by installing missiles at key South China Sea outposts. Warplanes are likely next

  • China has installed anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missile systems on three of its fortified outposts in the South China Sea.
  • And it means China will likely soon send warplanes to the area, too, according to an expert on the region.
A Chinese Naval officer stands guard beside a submarine at the Ngong Shuen Chau Naval Base in Hong Kong.
Reuters
A Chinese Naval officer stands guard beside a submarine at the Ngong Shuen Chau Naval Base in Hong Kong.

Beijing has upped the ante with its latest deployment of anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missile systems to fortified outposts in the hotly contested waters of the South China Sea.

And it means China will likely soon send warplanes to the area, too, according to an expert on the region.

"This should be seen as China crossing an important threshold. Missile platforms present a clear offensive threat," Gregory Poling, Center for Strategic and International Studies fellow and director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, told CNBC. "[The missile deployment] is a pretty clear threat to the other claimants and furthers China's goal of establishing complete control over the water and airspace of the South China Sea."

According to U.S. intelligence reports, the installations mark the first Chinese missile deployments to Fiery Cross Reef, Subi Reef and Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands. The Spratlys, to which six countries lay claim, are located approximately two-thirds of the way east from southern Vietnam to the southern Philippines.

Map of the South China Sea.
CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative/CNBC
Map of the South China Sea.

The land-based anti-ship cruise missiles, designated as YJ-12B, allow China to strike surface vessels within 295 nautical miles of the reefs. Meanwhile, the long-range surface-to-air missiles designated as HQ-9B, have an expected range of targeting aircraft, drones and cruise missiles within 160 nautical miles.

Intelligence assessments say the missile platforms were moved to the outposts in the Spratlys within the past 30 days, according to sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

"It has been clear that these were coming since at least last year when China constructed shelters for them at each of the islands, but the actual deployments are still significant," Poling said. "Now every ship or plane moving near the Spratlys is operating within Chinese missile range."

While the installation of missile platforms are new to the Spratlys, China has already deployed similar systems in the nearby Paracel Islands.

Satellite images of Woody Island, Beijing's military headquarters in the South China Sea, show deployments of Y-8 transport aircraft as well as J-10 and J-11 fighter jets.

CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative/DigitalGlobe

China first took possession of Woody Island in 1955 and has since outfitted it with ports, aircraft hangars, communication facilities, helipads and a runway.

Poling notes that this particular outpost serves as a blueprint for China's future developments on Fiery Cross Reef, Subi Reef and Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands.

Looking ahead, Poling said China will most likely work to boost its air power on the reefs in the Spratlys.

"Next up will be deployments of combat aircraft, which we should expect sooner rather than later," he said.

In terms of airspace capabilities, China is the only nation to boast airstrips that are 10,000 feet long, which can accommodate cargo planes, surveillance aircraft, fighter jets and bombers.

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the Peace thing with North Korea is a Ruse...................

China has bigger plans................
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