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South China Sea News & Discussions, incl Spratly Islands News

This is a discussion on South China Sea News & Discussions, incl Spratly Islands News within the Geo-strategic Issues forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; Originally Posted by legoboy i hope your joking. vn is seriously investing billions in upgrading its defense capabilities in order ...


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Old September 26th, 2011   #31
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Originally Posted by legoboy View Post
i hope your joking.
vn is seriously investing billions in upgrading its defense capabilities in order to protect their national interests. No one wishes for war but they are preparing to the extent that they can afford.

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Originally Posted by legoboy View Post
how is vietnam firing torpedoes at chinese ships meant to scare the chinese off ?
The chinese would probably counter attack and it would be fifty times more deadly.
The vietnamese could try and deter the chinese by having a larger military presence, e.g. More ships in the area, more advanced fighter jets. But firing torpedoes is crossing the line and asking for war.
if a paracels type situation arose in the disputed areass, do you honestly think vn would sit idly by and let the chinese have their way. I see the vn investment in upgrading their capabilities drawing from past lessons learned and the paracels conflict is still fresh in their minds. Would they strike first, who knows? They're not stupid nor suicidal but they will defend what they believe to be their interests. .

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Originally Posted by legoboy View Post
you have to remember the strength difference between these two countries is huge.
China has very little to lose in a conflict with vietnam, while vietnam could be decimated.
the strength difference between nvn and the us was even wider but look at the result. You' seem to be focused on a wholesale war whereas i'm envisioning limited clashes. I think my scenario is far more likely.

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what does vietnam have to gain from a conflict with china ?
I'm sure a bit of national pride isn't worth thousands of lives.
if it serves their national interests to enter into conflict, they will do so. That's their call to make and any potential gain is something that they can best weigh and appreciate. They are no strangers to sacrifice.

Last edited by OPSSG; September 26th, 2011 at 09:12 AM. Reason: Fixed quote
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Old September 26th, 2011   #32
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I understand what you are getting at, but I don't believe the Vietnamese will enter a battle they CANNOT win. They have far too much to lose and absolutely NOTHING to gain. National pride comes only if you are successful, and getting slaughtered does not bring that.

Yes the Vietnamese Military is making good advancements and investing in their defensive capabilities, but at the end of the day, their military spending doesn't even reach 5% of China's.

You said it yourself, they are not stupid. No matter what they do, they will come out of a conflict with China worse off. So it is clearly NOT in their national interests to engage in a conflict.

I'm not sure how there can be just limited clashes if the Vietnamese are firing torpedoes at Chinese ships. Unless these are paper torpedoes.


Oh and if your talking about the Tonkin Incident, the Vietnamese came out of that on the bottom. The Americans suffered 0 casualties, while the Vietnamese lost 4 men and had 6 injured. How exactly is that a positive outcome ?
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Old September 26th, 2011   #33
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The US military policy in Asia right now seems to be aiming at encircling China.
U.S. policy is to maintain a diaogue with China whilst reassuring allies and friends in the region that the region will remain an area of importance to the U.S., NOT ''encircle'' China. A policy of encircling or containing China, will be counter productive.

Robert Kaplan has written that China is already surrounded by a ''Great Wall'' - South Korea and Japan [U.S. strategic allies], Taiwan, the countries of ASEAN [most of whom have more established defence ties with Uncle Sam, and further afield, Australia and New Zealand.
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Old September 26th, 2011   #34
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I understand what you are getting at, but I don't believe the Vietnamese will enter a battle they CANNOT win. They have far too much to lose and absolutely NOTHING to gain. National pride comes only if you are successful, and getting slaughtered does not bring that.

Yes the Vietnamese Military is making good advancements and investing in their defensive capabilities, but at the end of the day, their military spending doesn't even reach 5% of China's.

You said it yourself, they are not stupid. No matter what they do, they will come out of a conflict with China worse off. So it is clearly NOT in their national interests to engage in a conflict.

I'm not sure how there can be just limited clashes if the Vietnamese are firing torpedoes at Chinese ships. Unless these are paper torpedoes.


Oh and if your talking about the Tonkin Incident, the Vietnamese came out of that on the bottom. The Americans suffered 0 casualties, while the Vietnamese lost 4 men and had 6 injured. How exactly is that a positive outcome ?
Obviously VN doesn't see it as black and white i.e. let China have their way because they are bigger and stronger or face destruction in any war with China. There are many other outcomes possible andthey alone can be the judge of what price is or isn't acceptable to achieve their objective. And no, its not the Tonkin incident but a potential replay of the Paracels clash that they are preparing for.
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Old September 26th, 2011   #35
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I understand what you are getting at, but I don't believe the Vietnamese will enter a battle they CANNOT win. They have far too much to lose and absolutely NOTHING to gain. National pride comes only if you are successful, and getting slaughtered does not bring that.

Yes the Vietnamese Military is making good advancements and investing in their defensive capabilities, but at the end of the day, their military spending doesn't even reach 5% of China's.

You said it yourself, they are not stupid. No matter what they do, they will come out of a conflict with China worse off. So it is clearly NOT in their national interests to engage in a conflict.

I'm not sure how there can be just limited clashes if the Vietnamese are firing torpedoes at Chinese ships. Unless these are paper torpedoes.


Oh and if your talking about the Tonkin Incident, the Vietnamese came out of that on the bottom. The Americans suffered 0 casualties, while the Vietnamese lost 4 men and had 6 injured. How exactly is that a positive outcome ?
I really do not understand your position. First of all you are overestimating the ability of the combined PLA forces. It is only natural that China has to spend a lot on defense because they are a large country with a large army. Naturally, they'd spend a lot on payroll then they'd have to budget for research, production of hardware, logistics, etc. You can't just expect the full might of China to hammer down on Vietnam. They share borders with India and Russia, not to mention North Korea and some of the former SSRs. Then they have internal problems in Tibet and with the Muslim Chinese in Xinjiang. The PLA also functions mainly as a well-equipped police force throughout China, including garrisons in Beijing and their major coastal cities. And they have Taiwan to watch out. They'd also have to deploy some of their naval assets to the Yellow and East China Seas. They'd have to pay a lot to maintain all of these.

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VietNam is very sensibly putting in defense resources and diplomatic alliances to pursue its interests. Both sides know a full-scale war is detrimental to both.. more likely are brief, violent clashes followed by disengagement and diplomatic maneuvering.
Check out how Georgia 'diplomatically maneuvered' against Russia in the South Ossetian War. Even the results of military engagements like the Soviet-Afghan War, the Winter War and even the Third and First Indochina Wars if the Vietnam War wasn't enough for you are proof that your concept of 'a 20 year old professional boxer VS a 7 year old girl' is absurd. Vietnam is self-sufficient enough and has great military tradition for it to weather an economic and military attack by China. Right now, having a bigger gun matters but it's how it's used that counts.

Vietnam never needed to match China's might, they only had to put up a good deterrence and that is what they are doing right now.
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Old September 26th, 2011   #36
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U.S. policy is to maintain a diaogue with China whilst reassuring allies and friends in the region that the region will remain an area of importance to the U.S., NOT ''encircle'' China. A policy of encircling or containing China, will be counter productive.

Robert Kaplan has written that China is already surrounded by a ''Great Wall'' - South Korea and Japan [U.S. strategic allies], Taiwan, the countries of ASEAN [most of whom have more established defence ties with Uncle Sam, and further afield, Australia and New Zealand.
Well, that's what the politicos in Washington say. I think America is still interested in having a strategic balance in the Pacific and having force-projection in the region. If they weren't, then explain the recent Wikileaks concerning American intervention in Philippine politics and the US investing a lot of infrastructure (as in airports, ports and highways) in the Philippines through USAID. Looks like America is building potential forward bases in the Philippines. Going off-topic, I'd add and this is my opinion that South Korea will most likely not be involved in a conflict between US and China, since ROK has always maintained good relations with China and they have never agreed to a trilateral with Japan. Same if Korea came under attack against China, I wouldn't expect Japan to aid any war effort or if so, only minimal.
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Old September 27th, 2011   #37
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Well, that's what the politicos in Washington say. I think America is still interested in having a strategic balance in the Pacific and having force-projection in the region. If they weren't, then explain the recent Wikileaks concerning American intervention in Philippine politics and the US investing a lot of infrastructure (as in airports, ports and highways) in the Philippines through USAID. Looks like America is building potential forward bases in the Philippines..
Of course it is ''still interested in having a strategic balance in the Pacific and having force-projection in the region'' - who is saying otherwise? Washington has made it clear that the Asia Pacific region is an area of prime importance and that it will continue to remain engaged. That is a profound difference from you suggesting that the U.S. has a policy of ''surrounding'' China, which would be extremely counter productive and would not make any sense.

Yes, American defence planners are aware the bases in the Philippines will be extremely useful in the highly unlikely event of full scale hostlities breaking out. Bear in mind that even if bases in the Philippines were not available, the U.S. already has beses in places like Guam and Okinawa, and for sustained ops against places such as Hainan or other southern areas in China, bases in Malaysia or Vietnam would be just as useful as those in the Philippines.

America has been ''intervening'' in Philippine politics or the country as a whole from the late 1800's - way before China was seen as a potential ''troublemaker'' - so what's so new or revealing about this wikileaks report? America is the largest provider of military aid to to the Philippines and provides the country with a security umbrella in the event of a foreign threat, though the Philippines is an independent, sovereign nation, it is natural that Uncle Sam would want something in return and would have more influence in the country than any other foreign nation.

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Going off-topic, I'd add and this is my opinion that South Korea will most likely not be involved in a conflict between US and China, since ROK has always maintained good relations with China and they have never agreed to a trilateral with Japan. Same if Korea came under attack against China, I wouldn't expect Japan to aid any war effort or if so, only minimal.
All countries in the region have maintained mostly good relations with China throughout the past few centuries, despite the occasional war or severing of ties. The fact that the Koreans may have had good relations in the past with China provides no indication whatsoever of how South Korea would respond in any future skirmish or clash involving the U.S. and China. Any full scale war with the U.S. and China will most certainly involve South Korea due to the country's location and its ties with the U.S. After investing billions to rebuild South Korea in the years after the war and providing it with a security umbrella for almost 50 years, do you seriously imagine that the U.S. would not expect South Korean co-operation?? Would it not also be in the interest of South Korea to ensure the U.S. prevails and that it does all it can to be helpful?

Last edited by STURM; October 13th, 2011 at 10:16 AM.
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Old October 5th, 2011   #38
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Interesting insight about the South China Sea as the Future of Conflict, based on this well written article by Robert D. Kaplan of Foreign Policy magazine...

The South China Sea Is the Future of Conflict - By Robert D. Kaplan | Foreign Policy
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Old October 13th, 2011   #39
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Our warships will keep going to S China Sea: Antony

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India today made it clear that its naval warships would continue visiting the South China Sea for exercises and to protect Indian interests, despite Chinese claims of sovereignty over the entire sea.
Naval war games close to China beneficial: Antony

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New Delhi, Oct 12 (IANS) In observations that could raise the hackles of China, India Wednesday acknowledged the benefits of holding joint exercises with global and regional powers such as the US, Japan and Vietnam in the South China Sea, East China Sea and the Western Pacific Ocean.

‘The several joint maritime exercises with have had with regional navies in South China Sea, East China Sea and the Western Pacific have brought benefits,’ Defence Minister A.K. Antony said while addressing a conference of Indian Navy commanders.

The Indian Navy has been frequently venturing to these seas close to China for war games with the Americans and Japanese, and the Vietnamese.
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However, Antony stressed the need to maintain a balance between the various responsibilities of the Indian Navy.

‘Although reaching out to our extended neighbourhood is important, you must always be mindful of the core area of your responsibility that mainly includes preserving and strengthening our shorelines and coastal security.’ he said.

Antony also pointed out that India had the ability to be a potent and stabilising force in the Indian Ocean region with major international shipping lanes passing closer to its island territories.
Mixed statements by Antony on Indian role in South China Sea.
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Old October 13th, 2011   #40
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Interesting insight about the South China Sea as the Future of Conflict, based on this well written article by Robert D. Kaplan of Foreign Policy magazine...
If you liked the article, his latest book, ''Moonson'' will certainly be of interest to you.
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Old October 13th, 2011   #41
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If you liked the article, his latest book, ''Moonson'' will certainly be of interest to you.
Monsoon is a great book with in depth research but its only flaw is such a major flaw that it undermines the entire research. It only discusses one side of the coin of every country and region. Nonetheless, a good read.

Although the book is basically an advice to U.S. on how to sail in the Indian Ocean in some ways it also highlights that U.S. would only be playing 2nd fiddle in the future with the rise of China & India. My own assessment is that the Indian Ocean would be bipolar theater divided between India and China or undivided with China and India competing. Smaller states occupying strategic locations would be controlling littoral seas as well.
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Old October 14th, 2011   #42
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Taiwan recently announced that it is planning to deploy Chaparral or Tien Chien I missiles on it's largest claimed island Taiping and Pratas in the Spratly's for it's coast guard ...

Taiwan plans missile deployment on disputed islands - Channel NewsAsia
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Old October 16th, 2011   #43
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US urged Taiwan to remain CALM and reconsider the plan deployment of missiles on Taiping island in the disputed Spratly's while the Philippines remain UNFAZED of the missile threat...


US to missile-deploying Taiwan on Spratlys: Keep calm - Interaksyon.com
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Old October 16th, 2011   #44
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Those Taiwanese missiles are short-range Sidewinder clones and defensive in nature so they really aren't that destabilizing.. more of symbolic posturing than anything to get agitated about.
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Old October 17th, 2011   #45
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US and the Philippines military will hold 11 days of of military drills from Oct. 17 to 28 around the disputed Spratly Islands that will include a hostile beach assault ...


US and Philippine marines hold drill near Spratlys - Yahoo! News
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