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Tensions Rise As China Launches Show Of Force

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Tensions Rise As China Launches Show Of Force


by Louisa Lim


August 5, 2010 -- China's air force this week is conducting a five-day exercise involving scores of aircraft and 12,000 soldiers. Dubbed "Vanguard 2010," it is the latest sign of China flexing its muscles amid rising military tensions with the United States.


The strains — especially over operations in the South China Sea — represent a new area of dispute between China and the U.S.


China's military drills were once top secret, announced only after they were completed. But these days China's armed forces seem to want to broadcast its movements to the world.


This latest exercise is taking place in the central province of Henan and eastern province of Shandong, which abuts the Yellow Sea, and includes 100 military aircraft. It is the latest in a series of high-profile maneuvers, including naval exercises last week in the South China Sea, which were the largest of their kind.


U.S. Asserts Its Regional Interests


China's renewed military assertiveness comes after pointed comments by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last month at the ASEAN Regional Forum in Hanoi.


Clinton defended freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. She said the U.S. had a national interest in resolving claims on islands in the South China Sea, an area disputed by China, Taiwan Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines.


It is the first time the United States has become involved in regional territorial tensions, and China's Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi reacted with fury.


Shi Yinhong, director of the Center for American Studies at People's University in Beijing, called Clinton's comments an "ambush."


"I don't think Washington made any serious pre-consultation or even [gave any] information to China, then suddenly launched this in Hanoi," Shi says. "I think that this strategic dispute is very unique and quite bad."


China had already been angered by joint war games between South Korea and the U.S. in the Sea of Japan, off the east coast of South Korea.


Actions, Reactions Following Sinking Of Ship


Those drills were aimed at North Korea following the sinking in March of the Cheonan, a South Korean warship. But China also felt threatened by the proximity of the exercises.


"What will Americans feel if the Chinese or Russian military travel across the ocean to hold exercises in the high seas not far from the coast of Florida, California or New York?" the China Daily asked in an editorial.


Now Beijing is issuing its own response with its recent military drills.


"What you see with the very rapid rise of China as a great naval power is the fact that China can flex its muscles a little bit more," says Ralf Emmers of Singapore's Nanyang Technological University and the author of a book about geopolitics and maritime territorial disputes in East Asia.


"We don't know to what extent China would use military force to impose its claims on the South China Sea. In fact, what we have seen since 1995 [is] a lot of restraint, a willingness to negotiate with various Southeast Asian countries and try come up with a code of conduct," Emmers says.


'Core National Interest'


No one knows how far China would go. In March, a senior Chinese official spoke for the first time of the South China Sea as a "core national interest," a category which formerly only encompassed Taiwan and Tibet.


Beijing's sovereignty claims over the South China Sea are not new, but it is clearly becoming more assertive. It has been exercising these claims by seizing Vietnamese fishing boats, detaining Vietnamese fishermen and pressuring western oil companies not to do business with Vietnam.


Now China's increased assertiveness is scaring the same Southeast Asian neighbors that Beijing has been wooing assiduously with loans and investment.


"A lot of Asian countries seem to be willing to join the hedging game against China, like Vietnam and Indonesia — both want to have some military cooperation with the U.S.," says Huang Jing, an expert in China and security issues of the National University of Singapore.


He says the latest developments could reflect a worrying trend.


"It seems to me that Chinese navy has outgrown China's strategic thinking. The strategic thinkers are lagging behind the naval expansion, which could be very, very dangerous," he says.


Lacking A Strategy?


China's navy and top generals don't "really have a thought-through strategy. They just behave according to capacity. There are very bad historical lessons — number one is Japan in the 1930s — but I think Chinese leaders should be more sophisticated than that," he says.


The escalation of tension is taking place at a time when military ties between the U.S. and China have been suspended. China cut military contacts in January in protest at arms sales to Taiwan.


"I don't think there's a real risk of open conflict in the South China Sea," Emmers says. "But misunderstandings and the risk of accidents should not be counted out. The Pentagon and the [Chinese military] will have to find channels of communication to prevent such misunderstandings from potentially escalating into diplomatic rows and then crises."


With this proliferation of war games, the heat is rising. And it could rise further. The South Korean navy is reportedly planning more war games in the Yellow Sea and monthly drills with the United States.


China's army-run daily newspaper is in a bellicose mood, warning that the army should "strengthen preparation for warfare."






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I figured something like this was coming. And now China is working on a new anti-ship missile considered a, "carrier killer" which should be ready to deploy in a year or two. China wants to be the Big Dog in Asia and definitely doesn't like us playing in their back yard.


...I guess it's time for more exercises to show them we're not intimidated...

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"What will Americans feel if the Chinese or Russian military travel across the ocean to hold exercises in the high seas not far from the coast of Florida, California or New York?" the China Daily asked in an editorial.


After the Cuban Missile Crisis and countless Bear intercepts, I don't think an exercise would be as startling for Americans as they are for the Chinese.

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Guest rscsjsuso5

here is some links for anyone interested:








i'm a proud supporter of the pla , and i not getting into this topic, just providing eye opening info/link, i could be writing about it here on what i think about it and it might stir up some feelings to many of you, i understand that most of you are supporters to western air forces and military groups around the world.


we all want peace and just to quote the first premier of china zhou enlai " china will not support any side whether soviet side or american side , china just wants peace and to build its national interests and also to establish friendly relations to all nations around the world."


peace to all :drinks:

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The Chineses would be fools if wanting to take by arms what they can dominate through trade and debt. The old tired nations of Europe, Russia and America are no match for them on that matter. Their only worthy opponent would be their emerging giant neighbour of India. Let's keep a close eye on both of them for the following decade.

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Every country is on the same side, their own. If another country's survival is in its best interests, then it will care, but only then.

The only reasons China supports North Korea is that it's communist, so it's about appearances, and because I honestly don't think they want to see a unified Korea, controlled by the current S Korean gov't, on their border. That's why they got involved in the Korean War.

There's no partnership with NK that benefits them either economically or militarily. They don't care about Kim, they just want continuity of his gov't for as long as they can get it.


I frankly don't know WHAT "nat'l interest" the US has in those stupid islands, but enough is enough already. We can't afford to stick our noses in every damn place people argue. Our only ally over there involved is Taiwan, and they really don't have any business getting involved with it because they're just not a significant military power unless they're counting on US, and I damn well don't want to get involved in some Taiwan-China conflict started because Taiwan thought it could get more because the US had to back it up no matter how stupid it acted.


I also think this lame Asian obsession with appearances has to stop. It's a major shortcoming of their egos that what they or another can do is far less important than what it LOOKS like they can do. They also don't understand that the rest of the world is NOT that way...people say things in the rest of the world all the time that have no basis in reality, they don't all require an indignant response. Sometimes the best thing to do is just IGNORE a dumb comment, like that one from Clinton.


Saber rattling is pointless, you don't GET anything from it.



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