Friday, January 29, 2016

Scuffle in the South China Sea #21

Here is China's conceptualization, or so sayeth the Sinologists, of their strategy for the South China Sea. 

The head admiral of the People's Liberation Army Navy defended China's actions in the South China Sea to the US admirals in a teleconference.

China apparently warned a civilian plane will with officials from the Philippines away from some of the disputed islands, but the Chinese are claiming the claims are exaggerated.  China has also been flying aircraft to and from the disputed islands, some military, some civilian.  The Philippines protested those actions.

Taiwan's President Ma is visiting some of the disputed islands for the first time for a president of Taiwan.  Vietnam is protesting the visit.

The Australians are considering freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea.

The US Navy is planning on more freedom of navigation ops in the South China Sea.   Some are even spinning the planned ops as challenges to Chinese territorial claims.

The Philippines and the US have agreed to a basing arrangement allowing American aircraft and naval ships to use the facilities the US formerly had prior to the volcano blowing its top in the early 1990s.  This is pretty significant: the Filipino constitution explicitly bans foreign powers from basing in the country.  Yet, the Supreme Court of the Philippines has cleared the way for the use of the bases to take place.  The Chinese protested that arrangement.

Some are suggesting the US ought to deploy a fighter wing (26 aircraft +/-) to the Philippines on a regular basis.

Additionally, the Philippines' Navy is seeking joint patrols with the US Navy in the South China Sea.

By some accounts, the next administration is going to be tougher on China than the Obama or Bush administrations. 

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