Navy steams near contested Spratly Island reefs militarized by China – Pacific

Navy steams near contested Spratly Island reefs militarized by China YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — The Navy on Saturday sent a warship steaming past two of the seven features China has militarized in the contested Spratly Islands, according to the 7th Fleet. The USS Montgomery operated near Johnson and Fiery Cross reefs, according to Navy photos from the advanced littoral combat ship. Johnson and Fiery Cross reefs are among the seven Spratly Island land features China has militarized, according to the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative. Vietnam and…

The Pacific must mean more than Korea rotations for the Army to counter China

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The first hurdle Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy has to clear when talking about his service in the Pacific is that there’s a bigger focus than the Korean Peninsula. While that always tense situation will remain an Army priority, the force has more troops dedicated to the Indo-Pacific Command than any other, including Europe, McCarthy told an audience of more than 100 at the Brookings Institution Friday. That’s all part of larger efforts to team with allies and partner militaries to better compete with China as…

Indonesia president visits islands also claimed by China – Pacific

Indonesia president visits islands also claimed by China JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Wednesday reaffirmed his country’s sovereignty during a visit to a group of islands at the edge of the South China Sea that China claims as its traditional fishing area. Widodo, accompanied by top military officials, toured Natuna Islands on a naval ship in a move designed to send a message to Beijing. “Natuna is part of Indonesia’s territory, there is no question, no doubt,” Widodo said in a speech after the…

China’s Pacific Expansion Is A Hard Test for Australia

A decade ago, then-U.S. President Barack Obama billed himself as the “first Pacific president” and announced, several years later, a foreign-policy “pivot to Asia.” But the pivot proved largely illusory, and the region only grows more complex. The growing challenges faced by Pacific island countries requires significant reassessment as the region becomes one of the tensest political battlegrounds in the world. A growing battle of diplomatic and economic statecraft is playing out on remote islands. China is acutely aware that the fledgling democracies of the Pacific are prone to shortsightedness—and…

The great power game in the Pacific: What Japan can do

WASHINGTON – The Pacific island states have never been at the center of geopolitical discussion. The names of the 14 Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs) — nations such as Fiji, Kiribati, Palau and Samoa — may evoke a romanticized image of a remote paradise in the Pacific, but certainly not as a point of strategic importance. Not anymore. Pacific island countries have become front and center in the geopolitical arena among the major democracies in the Asia-Pacific — the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Japan — as China…

How a South Pacific War Between America and China Might Begin

Celebes Sea, approximately 850 nautical miles from Fiery Cross Reef – 0030 Local “Romeo’s closed up,” came the call from the port bridge wing. Raising the red and yellow romeo flag to the top of the stays was the signal USS Omaha, an Independence-class Littoral Combat Ship, was beginning its approach to the Japanese oiler Mashu. Lieutenant Junior Grade Hassan Caterall’s hands betrayed a slight tremor as he flicked his eyes in the direction of his Executive Officer, the ship’s second-in-command. The XO, Commander Morgan Dennis, a former enlisted sailor…

Would China Try to Claim Most of the Pacific Ocean?

Key point: China’s use of “mapfare” can lead to truly absurd claims. The neverending ups and downs of what is quickly becoming the hottest geostrategic flashpoint on the planet, none other than the South China Sea, was the subject of a conference at Yale University this last May. Panels were filled with world-class experts promoting their latest research (including yours truly) detailing the various claims, counterclaims and strategic challenges surrounding this important body of water. And yet, it wasn’t the heated Q&A sessions or slick powerpoints that drove debate among…

US military flights over South China Sea common but not publicized, Pacific Air Forces commander says – News

US military flights over South China Sea common but not publicized, Pacific Air Forces commander says While the press regularly covers Navy warships passing through disputed territory in the South China Sea, U.S. military aircraft operating there often fly under the radar. Pacific Air Forces commander Gen. Charles Q. Brown noted the differing treatment during a recent teleconference from Hawaii. “We’ve been flying in and around the South China Sea for really about the past 15 years, and I would probably tell you we’ve done some as…

US is losing the battle for Pacific power | US news

If something demonstrates the interconnectedness of the 21st-century world, it’s how a call made within the Solomon Islands, inhabitants 650,000, within the distant South Pacific, can have an effect on the behaviour of highly effective nations on the opposite facet of the globe. That, in a means, is precisely what occurred final week when Nato leaders met in London. High of their agenda was Donald Trump’s demand that Europe pay extra for its defence. However why is the US so exercised about so-called “burden-sharing”? Partly as a result of, today,…

Top Indo-Pacific commander says goals of Hong Kong protesters dovetail with U.S. vision – Pacific

Top Indo-Pacific commander says goals of Hong Kong protesters dovetail with U.S. vision The demands of protesters in Hong Kong echo the values of America’s vision of a “free-and-open Indo-Pacific,” the U.S. military’s top commander in the Pacific said Saturday. “I think some of the challenges you’re seeing in Hong Kong today are reflective of the attributes and values that are represented in that free and open vision — that nations in the region want free societies, freely elected officials and the freedom to protect their own sovereignty…