Fears of military build-up as China secretly leases entire island in South China Seas

The government of the Solomon Islands has reached a secretive deal with a Chinese company with close ties to the Communist party that grants it exclusive rights to develop Tulagi, once the seat of British colonial rule in the Pacific archipelago.  The confidential arrangement has alarmed residents and raised fears that Beijing could be planning to use the tiny territory for future military rather than just commercial purposes.  Tulagi, which has a protected deepwater harbour, has long been viewed as a strategic outpost. Japan occupied the island during World War 2…

China Knows It Can’t Protect Every Island It Builds (Think South China Sea)

Key point: China wants as many bases from which to wage war as it can get. China has built some islands in the South China Sea. Can it protect them? During World War II Japan found that control of islands offered some strategic advantages, but not enough to force the United States to reduce each island individually. Moreover, over time the islands became a strategic liability, as Japan struggled to keep them supplied with food, fuel and equipment. The islands of the SCS are conveniently located for China, but do…

Chinese survey ship leaves Vanguard Bank in South China Sea and heads to artificial island outpost

A Chinese-owned survey ship that has been at the centre of a stand-off with Vietnamese vessels in the South China Sea on Monday left the area and headed for a Beijing-controlled reef. The Haiyang Dizhi 8, or Marine Geology 8, departed from Vanguard Bank – claimed by both Vietnam and China – and sailed towards Fiery Cross Reef, according to data from MarineTraffic, which tracks vessel movements. Beijing did not say why the survey ship had left the area, but last month it also travelled from Vanguard Bank to Fiery…

China threatens military action if UK warship goes near disputed island

China has warned the UK not to do a “dirty job” for the US ahead of the first mission of the Royal Navy’s biggest and most advanced warship. HMS Queen Elizabeth will carry US military aircraft to hotly-contested islands currently controlled by China, the nation’s claim is not recognised internationally. The Freedom of Navigation mission in the Spratly Islands, scheduled to take place in 2021, has been dubbed “hostile action” by Beijing, which hinted it might respond. Speaking in London, China’s Ambassador to the UK, Liu Xiaoming, said Britain “should…

Putin Keeps Island Dispute With Japan Simmering, Rebuffs Abe Call For Peace Treaty

On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin told Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that Japan’s military ties to the United States make it difficult for them to sign a World War II peace treaty. So, almost 75 years after the Sept. 2, 1945 surrender of the Japanese to the Allied forces, it appears there are still some “loose ends” remaining to be resolved. One of the “loose ends” involves a chain of islands that run from the Japanese island of Hokkaido at the south and the Russian Kamchatka Peninsula in the north. They…