Vietnam quietly upgrades Spratly Island outpost — report

Vietnam quietly upgrades Spratly Island outpost — report Patricia Lourdes Viray (Philstar.com) – April 10, 2019 – 9:26pm MANILA, Philippines — While China sent its maritime militia in response to the Philippines’ upgrade of its facilities on Pag-asa Island, Vietnam has also been expanding its facilities on its outposts in the Spratly chain in the South China Sea. Washington-based think tank Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative reported that Hanoi has extended its runway on Spratly Island, its largest outpost and administrative center in the area. Contrary to China’s industrial-scale dredging…

Asia Times | Maritime race at crossroads of 21st century

History revolves around two things – actions and ideas. If we take into account ideas, then the name of Alfred Thayer Mahan is worth mentioning. Mahan, a 19th-century naval strategist and author of the book Influence of Sea Power upon History, argued that “national prosperity and power depended on control of the world’s sea-lanes. Whoever rules the waves rules the world.” Putting the above into action, one can conclude that it was imperative for the United States to become a naval power in order to be successful. And, to achieve this goal, it required two things – the acquisition of overseas naval bases and coaling stations. Thus one of the key factors in achieving its superpower status was its maritime presence around the world and its successful maintenance. China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy…

Vietnam ‘quietly upgrades’ Spratly Islands facilities – think tank

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 10) — Vietnam is ‘quietly upgrading’ its facilities in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea “apparently without facing the same reaction from China’s maritime militia forces as the Philippines recently has,” a U.S. think tank reported. The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) in a report released Monday said Vietnam “continues to quietly upgrade” its facilities on occupied features in the contested region. AMTI noted that Vietnam occupies 49 outposts spread across 27 features in the Spratly Islands — 10 are called islets while…

U.S. Warship Sails Near Disputed Island in South China Sea

The USS Wasp, an amphibious assault ship carrying helicopters and F-35B short take-off and vertical-landing (STOVL) fighter jets, was recently spotted in waters “near the Scarborough Shoal,” the Philippines’ ABS-CBN News reported on April 9. Scarborough Shoal, which is also claimed by Taiwan, was seized by China in 2012 after an extended standoff with the Philippines. Bloomberg reported that the Wasp joined the annual joint Exercise Balikatan with the Philippines this month. The Wasp didn’t pass within 25 nautical miles of the shoal, according to a U.S. defense official who…

How China’s Military Is Becoming More Dangerous By the Day

Overall the DIA report is an unclassified regurgitation of open source material, but as a Taiwan military official said after reading the report: “the report provides endorsements and confirmation of the open source information it draws from.” TAIPEI – The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency’s 125-page report, “China Military Power – Modernizing a Force to Fight and Win,” details China’s military modernization efforts with an emphasis that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is not a “national army” but a military arm of the Chinese Communist Party that exists to guarantee the…

Russia and China are outwitting America

Vance Serchuk is executive director of the KKR Global Institute and adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security. With U.S. politics as polarized as at any point in modern history, it would seem an unlikely moment for a new bipartisan consensus about U.S. foreign policy to emerge. Yet that’s precisely what has happened over the past 18 months, as Democrats and Republicans alike have embraced the idea of “great-power competition,” with China and Russia as a common framework for thinking and talking about the world. There…

China’s Belt and Road Initiative: Towards a British Response Strategy

Since its inception in 2013, China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has seen enormous expansion over 2018 and the first quarter of 2019. It has become President Xi Jinping’s foreign policy ‘brand’. At present, the BRI aims to connect 71 economies through Europe, Asia and Africa, with a vast ‘belt’ of overland economic corridors and a corresponding maritime ‘road,’ ostensibly promoting trans-continental cooperation whilst maximising Chinese prosperity. Estimates for cost differ as the BRI expands, although the Asia Development Bank has estimated it will cost around $8 trillion. It already…

China’s swarming: ‘Cabbage strategy’ | Philstar.com

A CHINESE general gave a preview way back in 2013 of how their People’s Liberation Army deploys a swarm of vessels around disputed islands in the South China Sea in what he called a “cabbage strategy” to take full control. We were then surprised that the Chinese swarming of Pagasa island off Palawan was initially dismissed by President Duterte’s spokesman as if it were something as innocent as cruising around the block to look for a parking slot. We dug up old Postscripts on that cabbage strategy. It was probably by force…