South China Sea thoughts?

Ananda

The Bunker Group
another to face a peer army armed with armour, artillery, trained infantry, airpower and everything else that a modern army brings to the battlefield. It's a whole different mindset.
Mindset is something that I'm still trying to read on what PRC preparing for their Armed Forces (PLA) on one hand, and their public on the other hand.
PLA seems preparing to fight on modern terms, and as OPSSG put they're already conducting numerous development especialy after they see how Modern combat drive in Gulf War practically rolled over Saddam more traditional/conventional combat structures deployment. Seems they are preparing for modern adversary engagement (which ROC Armed Forces clearly fall in that catagory).

On the other hand, base on what their Media and On Line Ten/Fifty Cents army putting. Clearly selling the idea of how fast ROC defense will crumble, and how ROC Armed Forces will have no guts to fight PLA in the field. I'm worried more on how their media and online forums sold the idea. Showing how their public being prepared for eventual PLA invasions to Taiwan, which will be done swiftly with little resistance. This is just how Imperial Japan preparing their publics.
 

STURM

Well-Known Member
The Thai armed forces is the only Southeast Asian military to hold annual exercises with all three branches of the PLA.
It was also the first of the original ASEAN members to procure Chinese military gear; starting from the late 1980's.

When some 7 to 8 of these vessels are complete and worked up to a point of competency, it's then I would feel China could potentially be in a position to seek a military solution.
An actual invasion might only occur after certain conditions have been met; when Taiwan has been sufficiently weakened by a protracted air/missile campaign in conjunction with a blockade and when China confident that for whatever reason U.S. military intervention will not be a major stumbling block.

Personally i expect that china will try to conquer all Paracel and Spratly islands first, bit by bit, before making an attempt to invade Taiwan.
China doesn't have to physically conquer the area; merely to influence [via a combination of diplomacy and military might] the other claimants to be more ''cooperative'' [in resisting U.S. pressure to be more assertive] and to limit as far as possible whatever leverage the U.S. has.

In times of conflict or tension; rather than physically occupy anything; China might instead restrict the sea and air access of the various claimants to the reefs they occupy and claim.

It's one thing to face insurgents with IEDS and another to face a peer army armed with armour, artillery, trained infantry, airpower and everything else that a modern army brings to the battlefield. It's a whole different mindset.
Very true indeed. A near peer adversary who will be operating in his backyard; who has had long to plan/exercise for such an eventuality and who has various means at his disposal.
 
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STURM

Well-Known Member
This seems to suggest the PRC has blinked
China to date - despite whatever objections/warnings from others - has eventually gotten away with everything it does. There will come a point where someone - at great risk of course - has to convince China that there are certain ''red lines'' [a cliche I'm not fond of using] that can't be crossed.
Failure to do that will only embolden China and convince it that nobody has the actual political will or desire to do anything.
 

Stampede

Well-Known Member
China to date - despite whatever objections/warnings from others - has eventually gotten away with everything it does. There will come a point where someone - at great risk of course - has to convince China that there are certain ''red lines'' [a cliche I'm not fond of using] that can't be crossed.
Failure to do that will only embolden China and convince it that nobody has the actual political will or desire to do anything.
The line in the sand cliché makes things black or white, not the ambiguity of grey.
At some point all nations affected by the China / Taiwan conundrum will have to make a call.
Come a hot war situation fence sitting will not be on the menu.


Regards S
 

swerve

Super Moderator
Both France and the Soviet Union had larger, better equipped militaries prior to WWII yet both were soundly defeated by Germany in the first half of the war. France capitulated and the USSR was saved only by having the space to retreat and regroup, being bolstered by massive transfers of equipment and Germany's over extension.

China is huge, China is investing massively in equipment and infrastructure, but China does not seem to do well at war, not since WWII, nor to be honest, historically either.
The French air force was considerably less well equipped than the Luftwaffe. The Dewoitine D.520 had the best performance of any French fighter, but according to Eric Brown, who I trust on such matters, it was "a nasty little brute" to fly. Every other French fighter was greatly outclassed by the Bf109E & could be outrun by the Bf110. IIRC the most successful fighter in French service in 1940 was the Curtiss H75, an export version of the P-36. When the RAF acquired a couple of hundred originally destined for the French in 1940, it thought them fit only for second-line roles. French bombers were worse.

The French army had more tanks, but I find it hard to classify a tank fleet in which most tanks, even in the latest types, had no radios, as better. The Somua S35 was the best French tank in most respects, & had some good features, such as the armour & (for 1940) the gun - but maybe 20% had radios, it had a "one and a half man" turret so the commander/gunner was grossly overworked, & poor situational awareness & reliability. It speaks well of the skill of French armoured troops that with roughly equal numbers they fought two Panzer divisions to a standstill at Hannut, given those disadvantages.

And so on . . .
 

STURM

Well-Known Member
Ultimately the French campaign was won by German Company, Battalion, Division and Corps commanders. What’s remarkable is the extent that field commanders were willing to disobey or ignore orders they knew were flawed. Most officers at a higher level (Army, Army Group, OKH and OKW) expected the campaign to drag on for months.

They didn’t fully grasp how warfare has evolved; the potential of all arms manoeuvre formations (which comprised a bare faction of the Heer). They were frightened of their own success; which led to the disastrous ‘halt order’ at Dunkirk.

IMO these should be essential reading for anyone interested in the subject.


 
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Sandhi Yudha

Well-Known Member
Foreign imperialistic intruders invade china's traditional fishing grounds....



(Cool title, maybe i can get a job at Xinhua News Agency)
 

OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
It’s good to have a sense of humour; when both you and I know that all ASEAN navies combined are an insignificant speck when compared to the JMSDF (as the 2nd largest Navy in Asia in 2021).

If compared to the rapidly growing PLA(N) by 2049, ASEAN’s combined in naval capability are less than an insignificant speck compared to the PLA(N) as the largest navy by tonnage — thankfully, Indonesia and Singapore have geography on our side. If some members of ASEAN can unite to voice common interests, taking into consideration the geography surrounding the South China Sea, we still have hope.
Foreign imperialistic intruders invade china's traditional fishing grounds....

(Cool title, maybe i can get a job at Xinhua News Agency)
It’s so good that Global Times will be keen to hire you, as foreign editor or as a social media consultant to guide its 50 cent online army. Lol
 
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ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Dirty Harry gives up! Philippines Duterte latest victim of China’s South China Sea battle (news.com.au) I have noticed a tendency in life, that very authoritarian personalities, display a tendency to 'Lick up and kick down'. This is strongly on display by Duerte.
Why doesn't that surprise me. Apart from his authoritarian and bullying attributes I also wouldn't be surprised if he isn't in cahoots with representatives of the CCP's United Front. It's typical of something that they would work at as a long term project.
 

OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
Conditioning to accept the progressive finlandization of some ASEAN members — Part 1

1. Beijing continues to claim an area known as the "nine-dash line" in the South China Sea and has backed its claim with island-building and patrols, expanding its military presence while maintaining that its intentions are peaceful. Meanwhile:
(a) maritime law enforcement agencies from Malaysia and Vietnam aim to sign the memo later in 2021 and resolve at least 15 years of trouble over the movement of Vietnamese fishing vessels. In Apr 2021, Bernama quoted the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency director-general saying he's confident the deal, now in its final stages, will solve the issue of Vietnamese fishing boats that enter Malaysian-claimed waters; and​
(b) Brunei publishes a new Defence White Paper 2021, where at pages 25 and 33, it states:​
"8. In the last decade, there also have been continued pressures placed on security in the maritime domain in the South East Asia region. Tensions over overlapping claims, over- and illegal fishing, and the security of sea lines of communication (SLOC) from those who seek to exploit internationally recognised laws, all have placed continued and growing demands on Brunei Darussalam’s security forces to secure and police its sovereign maritime borders and territory)…
10. In the next 15 years, the South East Asia region is likely to face five specific challenges which will, in turn, drive and shape the nature of the strategic security and defence environment for Brunei Darussalam:
10.1. The influence of major power dynamics in the region.
10.2. The impact of regional and global instability and the requirement for Brunei Darussalam to maintain its international obligations.
10.3. The continuous and increasing threats of terrorism, violent extremism, and transnational crimes in Brunei Darussalam or at its near borders.
10.4. The impact of technological development, especially in the cyber domain, and how these may be exploited by others for gain.
10.5. The impact from the increasing frequency and intensity of natural disasters and the way in which Brunei Darussalam can shape its ability to respond both at home and overseas.
26. Maritime. Despite efforts to maintain stability through collective measures and activity, security in the maritime domain continues to be placed at increasing risk. Tensions arise from a combination of threats… The maintenance of essential SLOC for all nations in the South East Asia region is fundamental to the security and prosperity of each state… Tensions related to overlapping maritime claims in the South China Sea have increased, as nations seek to dominate and influence in the region. Militarisation of maritime features will continue to be of grave concern as the reach of nations expand well beyond their own mainland shorelines and recognised Economic Exclusive Zones (EEZs). This risk of miscalculation and the ensuing spiralling of regional instability is potentially the most significant threat in the maritime domain. Left unchecked, the situation will only worsen… Beyond this, it will be necessary for nations to build more effective and integrated maritime security capabilities, blended with those of all other operating domains, to ensure the integrity of the oceans and seas. Additionally, efforts should be enhanced to ensure full and effective implementation of the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in its entirety, as well as, ensuring substantive progress is made in the negotiations towards an early conclusion of an effective and substantive Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) consistent with international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS."

2. Malaysia normally keeps quiet or protests out of public view when the militarily stronger China passes ships into EEZ waters and air space Kuala Lumpur sees as its own — in fact it “bends over backwards to accommodate” China because of their deep economic relationship, said Oh Ei Sun, senior fellow with the Singapore Institute of International Affairs.
(a) Malaysia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a 1 Jun 2021 statement it would summon the Chinese ambassador over 16 People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) planes, including Xi'an Y-20s and Ilyushin Il-76s that flew over a Malaysian maritime zone, in the South China Sea on 31 May 2021. Efforts to establish radio contact with the PLAAF flight formation were made but the Chinese aircraft did not even bother with any response.​
(b) As a result, Kota Kinabalu Air Traffic Control steered a Malaysian Airlines Boeing 737-800 and an AirAsia Airbus A-320 away from the Chinese aircraft and BAe Hawk Mk 208s from the Labuan Air Base were scrambled for visual identification.​
Why doesn't that surprise me. Apart from his authoritarian and bullying attributes I also wouldn't be surprised if he isn't in cahoots with representatives of the CCP's United Front. It's typical of something that they would work at as a long term project.
3. President Rodrigo Duterte, who since assuming office in 2016 has implemented an open-arms policy toward China. In Jun 2021, the Philippines and China agreed to further intensify vaccine cooperation, China’s participation in the Philippines’ Build, Build, Build Program, and and closer engagement within the ASEAN-China dialogue mechanism currently led by the Philippines as country coordinator.
(a) In contrast, on 20 Feb 2021, Philippines’ Foreign Affairs Secretary, Teodoro Locsin Jr. said that encounters or incidents that may arise involving Filipino vessels within the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) would show the value of the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) with Washington. Further, in early Mar 2021, more than 200 Chinese fishing vessels were spotted anchored at Whitsun Reef, a disputed territory in the South China Sea, sparking tensions in the Philippines, which lays claim to ithe area. Although Whitsun has been relatively uninhabited, in part because it’s completely submerged, three governments have staked overlapping claims to the boomerang-shaped reef. The Philippines claims Whitsun as part of its continental shelf and EEZ since it lies within the country’s 200-nautical-mile (370-km) delineation defined by the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea. China and Vietnam have for years skipped occupying Whitsun directly but have built bases elsewhere in Union Bank.​

(b) Defense Secretary Lorenzana, welcomed President Duterte’s decision to suspend the abrogation of the VFA between the US and the Philippines for a third time. In his press briefing on 24 May 2021 Roque, the presidential spokesman said that the President told him that he was still unsure about what to do; and further explained that one of the crucial factors that President Duterte was thinking of was if the VFA would be helpful in case the issue in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) goes south.​
(c) With a navy armed like a coast guard and an air force that cannot even maintain its gifted C-130 fleet, Manila is not a meaningful ally for Washington, since it is better at whining about its adversaries than arming against them. Nor is the Philippines likely to risk backing the U.S. against China — in a war involving Taiwan or Japan, for instance. The Pinoys need the 1951 MDT more than the Americans; who have no meaningful access or presence in bases in Philippines under the VFA. The US Navy’s main logistics presence and most reliable access to the South China Sea since 1991 is through Singapore. China is nothing short of a foreign policy fixation in Washington. So it doesn't take a genius to know what Biden may want in return for increased American aid to the Philippines. But whatever the state of relations with Manila in 2022, I see no possibility of a return to prior status quo for the bilateral relationship between America and the Philippines.​
(d) If Americans hold President Duterte as an anomaly, at a bilateral level, the two countries can change trajectories after the election on 9 May 2022. But if “independent foreign policy” is the Philippines’ direction, that doesn’t match with alliance commitment under the MDT. Much like many allies and partners in Asia were patient with the America under Trump, so have Biden’s team been with the Philippines. America’s alliance with the Philippines is not built by coercion or maintained by President Duterte’s threats to cancel the VFA. They should be grounded on a shared vision of the future. Under Team Biden, the US is working hard to repair the bilateral relationship and share a vision; but it will be incumbent upon the ruling elites of the Philippines to do the same.​
 
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OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
Conditioning to accept the progressive finlandization of some ASEAN members — Part 2

4. There is no threat of an invasion by China — instead, the PLA’s calibrated military pressure on Brunei, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam in the South China Sea is intended to instil a defensive psychology.

(a) The continued use of calibrated military pressure will serve to constrain ASEAN’s geopolitical freedom of action by making it permanently hostage to Chinese concerns, no matter how unreasonable it may be. I caution against over inflating the China threat as it will encourage the political weaponization of the issue, with China serving as a tool for ambitious politicians within ASEAN and in America to discredit opponents for being weak.​
(b) Even the Europeans in the G7 are also squeamish about getting dragged by the US into a showdown with China. US officials said Italy and Germany were uneasy with potential communique language that China might view as provocative. Stressing "balance," German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that "China is our rival in many questions but also our partner in many aspects." Emmanuel Macron said the G7 wanted to work with Beijing on climate, trade, development and other issues despite disagreements. "I will be very clear: The G7 is not a club hostile to China," the French President said.​
(c) NATO leaders called on China to uphold its international commitments and to act responsibly in the international system. They agreed on the need to address the challenges posed by China’s growing influence and international policies, and to engage with China to defend NATO’s security interests. Allied leaders also agreed an ambitious NATO 2030 agenda to ensure the Alliance can face the challenges of today and tomorrow.​
(d) Despite some European reassurance to China, allies at the NATO summit in Jun 2021 agree that an attack in space or from a weapon fired from earth against a satellite could trigger an Article 5 response (the principle of collective defence), bringing space in line with land, sea, air and cyber.​

5. Lack of respect for fellow ASEAN member states by the current Pinoy leadership of Rodrigo Duterte and Teodoro Locsin Jr earns them contempt (from the rest of ASEAN); and this is especially the case for Malaysia.

(a) The festering wound of unmet and unreasonable Pinoy claims to Sabah was reopened in July 2020 when a Twitter note from the US Embassy in Manila mentioned “Sabah, Malaysia.” The furious reaction from Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr was to deny that Sabah was in Malaysia.​

(b) Notes Verbale were filed by Malaysia and the Philippines at the UN over Malaysia’s extension of its continental shelf claim from Sabah’s coast facing the South China Sea. I note that Malaysia’s filing was consistent with UNCLOS, yet it drew an unpleasant response from the Philippines, which continues to entertain an archaic and illegal claim to Sabah territory.​

(c) Malaysia considers the Philippine claims over Sabah a “non-issue” as Sabah in 1963 along with Sarawak, and Singapore was part and parcel of the founding states of the Federation of Malaysia, which accordingly was an act of “self-determination.”​

(d) The lack of realism by Locsin sums up the whole illogical Philippine narrative centred on its anachronistic and illegal claim to Sabah. Philippine pundits may oppose or reject Sabah’s inclusion in Malaysia since 1963, but denying the fact of Sabah being a part of Malaysia amounts to abandoning reality. It is of no help to the Philippines itself or to its relations with Malaysia.​

6. ASEAN has enough real problems to manage when talking to its +8 external powers (like China, US, Russia, India, Australia and so on), NATO or the EU by virtue of its structure. It does not need the Pinoys to manufacture a fake one, like Sabah, for their domestic audience.

(a) If you ask me, the ASEAN Chairman (Brunei) is busy enough with the Feb 2021 Coup in Myanmar, the Sultan of Brunei does not need more current PRRD admin Bullsh!t. After the ASEAN Summit, as a follow up, ASEAN is also considering a proposal to send a humanitarian aid mission to Myanmar as a potential first step in a long-term plan to bring the Tatmadaw (aka the Myanmar Army), back to their barracks instead of shooting people in the streets.​
(b) The ASEAN Chairmanship will pass next to Cambodia and it will be hosting of the 16th ADMM and 9th ADMM-Plus at the end of 2021. It looks like 2022 will be a lost year, as China pulls the strings of its puppet again.​

7. In the 2014-2017 cycle, the areas of ASEAN cooperation in defence were expanded, to include the Expert Working Group (EWG) on Humanitarian Mine Action. This cycle saw the conduct of three joint full troop exercises (FTXs), namely:

(i) ADMM-Plus Maritime Security / Counter Terrorism Exercise;​
(ii) ADMM-Plus Military Medicine / HADR Exercise (AMHex); and​
(iii) ADMM-Plus Humanitarian Mine Action / PKO FTX (Exercise Force 18). The Standard Operating Procedures on Multinational Coordination Centre, adopted by the 11th ADMM in 2017 was developed during this cycle.​

8. On 10 Dec 2020 at the 10th Anniversary of the Founding of ADMM-Plus, Vietnam’s General Ngo Xuan Lich affirmed that as an active, proactive, and responsible member of ASEAN as well as ADMM-Plus, Vietnam will continue to make its greatest efforts, together with ASEAN and ASEAN’s friends, to make contributions to peace, stability, cooperation and development of the region. In the 2017-2020 cycle, the areas of ASEAN cooperation in defence were further expanded, with another EWG established in the area of cyber security. This cycle saw the conduct of five FTXs, namely:

(ii) ADMM-Plus Military Medicine FTX (Medex 2019);​
(iii) ADMM-Plus Counter Terrorism FTX;​
(iv) ADMM-Plus PKO FTX; and​
(v) ADMM-Plus Humanitarian Mine Action FTX.​

9. In addition, the EWG on HADR staged a staff exercise / communications exercise, while the EWG on Cyber Security organised a table-top exercise.

(a) Other major deliverables of the cycle are the launching of the Handbook on Military Medicine and the establishment of the ADMM-Plus EWG on Cyber Security portal.​
(b) During Vietnam’s 2020 ASEAN Chairmanship, they successfully organized numerous ADMM events through-out the year; which cumulated the 10th Anniversary celebrations of the Founding of ADMM-Plus (on 10 Dec 2020). At the Anniversary Vietnam’s General Ngo Xuan Lich affirmed that as an active, proactive, and responsible member of ASEAN as well as ADMM-Plus, Vietnam will continue to make its greatest efforts, together with ASEAN and ASEAN’s friends, to make contributions to peace, stability, cooperation and development of the region.​
(c) On 15 Jun 2021, during the 15th ADMM, the ADMM Bandar Seri Begawan Declaration in Commemoration of the 15th Anniversary of the ADMM towards a Future-Ready, Peaceful and Prosperous ASEAN was adopted. The Declaration reaffirmed ASEAN's commitment to tackle prevailing and emerging transboundary security threats in our region, particularly in the maritime security, counter-terrorism, Chemical, Biological and Radiological, cybersecurity and information domains.​
(d) The ADMM approved the establishment of a Cybersecurity and Information Centre of Excellence (COE) in Singapore, which will complement the ASEAN Cyber Defence Network in promoting regional exchanges, interactions and cooperation on cybersecurity matters. The COE will enable information sharing and capacity building among ASEAN defence establishments against cyberattacks, disinformation and misinformation. The ADMM also approved Singapore's proposal to host an ADMM-Plus conference on countering Chemical, Biological and Radiological threats in 2022.​
(e) Beyond ADMM initiatives, the Ministry of Defense of Singapore provided ISR support for the Battle of Marawi and also recently donated 50,000 Covid-19 test kits to the Philippines Department of National Defense (DND). "The test kits which were delivered at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) will be issued to the VMMC and the Armed Forces of the Philippines Medical Center," DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said.​
 
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OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
Conditioning to accept the progressive finlandization of some ASEAN members — Part 3

10. Indonesia (as ASEAN’s leader and G20 member) and Singapore (as a country occupying a choke point having ASEAN’s most capable navy and air force) must find a way to develop closer cooperation to enhance deterrence — against any potentially hostile enemy navy. It would be great if trust and capability between our countries can grow to the point, where:

(a) the TNI AL is receiving info and data from a Singaporean UAV or a Fokker 50MPA and a TNI AL FREMM frigate is using that data received from a Singaporean source to form a tactical picture in the South China Sea.​
(b) the TNI AL is sharing tactical data with the RSN, such that a 3,200 ton Formidable class frigate may be firing an Aster-15, based on data sent by a TNI AL FREMM frigate, like the French “Veille Coopérative Navale” (naval cooperative watch). This is a capability currently under development based on the principle of networking all the data of the sensors —it differs from tactical data linking by exchanging raw and much more accurate information directly from sensors; and​
(c) the two ASEAN navies are able to collaboratively use advanced systems like the Veille Coopérative Navale, to gain an optimized picture of the threat and sufficient information to implement even more effectively an anti missile system. This will facilitate the choice of the most suitable platform to deal with the threat. Veille Coopérative Navale relies among other things on V/UHF means made available by RIFAN step 2. The RIFAN (Réseau IP de la Force AeroNavale or naval and naval aviation’s IP network) was qualified in its “step 2” by the DGA in November 2015.​

11. We are starting to see the increasing finlandization of both Malaysia and the Philippines; where bending over backwards by small ASEAN member countries, like Brunei, is no longer enough. The authoritarian system in China excel at showcasing strengths and concealing weaknesses, including its earned hostility from Brunei, Indonesia and Vietnam. But it is important to distinguish between the image Beijing presents and the realities it confronts.

12. From the above, it can be argued that the process of finlandization (in the 2017 to 2021 time frame) is almost complete for Malaysia and the Philippines, viz a viz a rising China, as these are countries, that are each:

(a) without an airforce capable of air combat and for Malaysia, in particular, it has a tiny fighter fleet that is too small to fight;​

(b) that has a poorly armed navy that has too few fighting ships to form the task groups needed to contest their disputed EEZs; and​

(c) that has an army that struggles in their modernisation efforts and for the Philippines in particular, an army that cannot end its fight against multiple insurgencies.​
 
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