No ‘let-up’ in freedom of navigation operations in South China Sea

The U.S. Air Force’s chief of staff says there are no plans to reduce freedom of navigation operations in or over the South China Sea, which China cites as the source of increased tensions in the region. Speaking to reporters in Manila on Friday, Gen. Dave Goldfein said, “There will be no let-up in our willingness or our ability to fly or sail where we need to and when we need to.” “That’s our commitment to the region,” Goldfein said. The U.S. is committed to keeping the global commons open…

Scott Morrison makes thinly veiled swipe at Beijing’s aggression in the South China Sea

Updated August 23, 2019 07:42:56 Photo: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison (centre) and his wife Jenny were welcomed in Vietnam. (AAP: Lukas Coch) Prime Minister Scott Morrison, speaking during a trip to Vietnam, has urged China’s neighbours to resist coercion, warning the entire region would suffer if their sovereignty were undermined. Key points: The PM made a veiled swipe at China’s aggression in the South China Sea While business is the focus of his visit to Vietnam, but China is the subtext Australia is seeking to diversify as China is…

U.S. Says China Is Blocking Trillions in Oil and Gas, Will Send Navy for Asia Drills

The United States has accused China of preventing Southeast Asian countries from accessing trillions of dollars worth of untapped oil and gas reserves in the South China Sea as the Pentagon planned to hold its first exercise with regional powers near the strategic region. In a press statement, State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said Thursday that the “United States is deeply concerned that China is continuing its interference with Vietnam’s longstanding oil and gas activities in Vietnam’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) claim” following recent incursions there by Chinese survey ship…

China Is Taking Down Fort Dredge in the South China Sea

More than a century before France built the ill-fated Maginot Line, Napoleon Bonaparte supposedly was presented with a similar fortification plan, and his response (perhaps apocryphal) was, “What are you trying to defend me against, smugglers?” American General George S. Patton is on the record saying, “Fixed fortifications are monuments to man’s stupidity.” More broadly, from the SWAT team preparing to bring in a criminal holed up in a bank, to a bunker-buster bomb crippling the best-engineered underground fortress, if there’s one thing governments know how to do, it’s how…

China warned crackdown on Beijing supremacy ‘no1 priority’ of US – ‘Watching carefully’ | World | News

US Defence Secretary Mark Esper told Fox News in his first interview since he became Pentagon chief in July that China has committed the “greatest theft of intellectual property in human history”. He added, in reference to Indo-Pacific territory, that Beijing is also expanding its military to “push the United States out of the theatre”. He said: “China is the number one priority for this department. It’s outlined in the National Defence Strategy, why we think it’s a long-term strategic competitor and one that is pursuing a maximisation campaign, if…

Philippine Leader Looking to Push for Resource-Sharing Deal with China

President Rodrigo Duterte expressed hope that a joint oil and gas exploration deal in the South China Sea could help ease tensions with Beijing, which in recent weeks deployed warships in or near Manila’s territorial waters. Duterte, who is scheduled to visit Beijing next week, made the statement during a speech on Wednesday, a day after warning that Chinese warships must seek clearance before passing through Philippine waters so as to avoid any misunderstanding. Speaking during the Wednesday night inauguration of a solar power project in central Romblon province, Duterte…

Philippines considers opening Thitu Island in…

Thitu Island (Photo from Asia Transparency Maritime Initiative) TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – In an effort to shore up its territorial claims in the South China Sea, the Philippines is considering organizing tourist visits to Pag-asa Island, known internationally as Thitu Island, of the Spratly Islands. Thitu Island is the largest feature administered by Manila among the disputed island chain. According to reports, Manila is in the midst of a major refurbishment project on what is its most strategic outpost in the hotly contested South China Sea. …

Duterte told to prioritize Sea Lanes measure

JUSTICE ANTONIO T. CARPIO — PHILSTAR/MICHAEL VARCAS PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte should certify as urgent the passage of a bill that will designate areas in the South China Sea where foreign vessels can pass through, a Supreme Court magistrate said. Justice Antonio T. Carpio said Congress should hasten the approval of the Archipelagic Sea Lanes Passage bill. “The law can require foreign ships exercising the right to archipelagic sea lane passage to turn on their automatic identification system and for submarines to surface and show their flag,” the magistrate said.…

Beijing has done its dash in the South China Sea

But as conspicuous as the bases’ capacity to project China’s offensive power is how little of that might Beijing has actually deployed there. The Pentagon’s latest report on China’s military notes that no new militarisation has been observed since China placed air defence and anti-ship missiles in the Spratlys last year. General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently remarked that if China’s militarisation of the islands had plateaued, it was because they had achieved the military capability China required of them. If that’s true,…