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South China Sea thoughts?

Discussion in 'Geostrategic Issues' started by SpartanSG, Jul 14, 2012.

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  1. madokafc

    madokafc New Member

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    i am afraid if Malaysia right now is in such budget constraint, and their plan to raising a Marine brigade will be halt for foreseeable future, and their wishlist plan will be placed in 11th Malaysia Planning programme.

    Read more: Subsidies in 2014 to reach RM42 billion: Najib – Latest – New Straits Times

    They even halting their long awaited programs such as MRCA and AEW programs for their next planning programme in which will be started in 2015 till 2020. Nadjib administration put subsidies and other civic programs at priorities than for military spending.
     
  2. OPSSG

    OPSSG Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Agreed. There are seven points to note about Sino-ASEAN relations:-

    One, beyond COOPERATION 2009 and COOPERATION 2010 bilateral military exercises, in 2012, China sent a pair of giant pandas on a 10-year loan to the Singapore Zoo to boost bilateral ties. Su Hao, a professor at China Foreign Affairs University, said China and Singapore are interdependent. Singapore has helped China with its economic and administrative management expertise, while China's rapid growth offers investment opportunities for Singapore.

    Two, joint bilateral military exercises between China and individual ASEAN countries are not unique to Singapore. Indonesia (eg. Exercise Knife Sharp, anti-terror joint military exercise), Thailand (eg. Exercise Strike, a joint counter-terrorism exercise; and Exercise Blue Strike, an exercise between Thai and Chinese marine units), and Malaysia have conducted or are going to conduct bilateral exercises with China. Beijing's courtship of Jakarta and Bangkok includes trade agreements, foreign direct investment, market access, technical assistance, and includes offers of military hardware and military cooperation.

    Three, the Nine-dotted line was originally an "eleven-dotted-line" first indicated by the then Kuomintang government of the Republic of China in 1947 for its claims to the South China Sea. After the Communist Party of China took over mainland China and formed the People's Republic of China in 1949, the line was adopted and revised to nine as endorsed by Zhou Enlai. It should be noted that regulations approved by China's Hainan province require foreign fishing vessels in the South China Sea to ask for permission to enter its waters took effect on 1 January 2014. China claims to a U-shaped swathe of the South China Sea that over laps with the EEZ claims of Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan, and the Philippines. The US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki has said that the passing of these restrictions on other countries' fishing activities in disputed portions of the South China Sea is 'a provocative and potentially dangerous act.' On the other hand, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the move is unremarkable. He said, "China is a maritime nation, so it is totally normal and part of the routine for Chinese provinces bordering the sea to formulate regional rules according to the national law to regulate conservation, management and utilization of maritime biological resources."

    Four, at times, China’s moves are in response to perceived provocations by other countries, described by some as “reactive assertiveness.” The standoff between vessels from China and the Philippines, which was triggered in April 2102 by Manila’s dispatching a frigate to arrest Chinese fishermen engaged in poaching at Scarborough Shoal. This incident ended with China occupying the Shoal and it also revealed the Philippines’ misconceived expectations about the role of US and ASEAN.

    Five, in early April 2014, Indonesia will host Exercise Komodo, a 18 country multilateral exercise with ADMM Plus members to improve naval cooperation capabilities in disaster relief, in the Riau Islands. Commodore Amarullah Octavian of the Indonesian Navy Western Fleet said:-

    “Currently there has been no claim from China over the Natuna area but we do not want the Sipadan-Ligitan incident to happen again.”​

    On the side-lines of the planning of this ADMM Plus maritime exercise on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, Amarullah said that the Indonesian Navy would distribute exercise maps that display Indonesian border delineations including Natuna, to ensure that all countries recognize Indonesian borders. This precaution is obviously taken in response to China's muscle flexing and claims in the South China Sea through the so-called nine dotted lines. China claims a U-shaped swathe of the South China Sea under the nine dotted lines, which is administered under the authority of China's Hainan province. This swathe overlaps areas also claimed by several South East Asian nations. While the claim has yet to encroach Natuna waters, observers believe that China will eventually do so.

    Six, at the bilateral level, Singapore has attempted to balance a general disposition of deference towards China with firm resolve regarding its own autonomy and the right to assert it. At the regional level, Singapore’s efforts at engaging China have no doubt been complicated by regional circumspection about Chinese motives and power.

    Seven, the evolving security landscape has forced Kuala Lumpur to adopt a nuanced strategy, of courting China while preparing for the worst. In this regard, Malaysia is pursuing a three-fold strategy, as follows:-

    (i) Malaysia is engaging in confidence building measures with China, by making an effort to launch direct contact between Malaysia’s Naval Sea Region 2 (which is responsible for the area around the Spratly Islands), and China’s South Sea Fleet.

    (ii) It is working with its ASEAN neighbours on the defence and diplomacy track by establishing a maritime cable link between Malaysia’s Naval Sea Region 1, and Vietnam’s Southern Command (i.e. enables the two countries to directly contact each other during potential incidents in the South China Sea).

    (iii) It is also strengthening its ties with its Five Power Defence Arrangement (FPDA) partners in Exercise Bersama Lima 2013 and simultaneously improving its ability to respond to new threats via the commissioning of two Scorpène class submarines in 2009. In 2013, Malaysia has also quietly reactivated the base support arrangement with Singapore to enable the cross deployment of fighters on each other's bases. This base support arrangement enables the Malaysian and Singaporean air forces to assist each other should the need arise. ​
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2014
  3. STURM

    STURM Well-Known Member

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    OPSSG,

    A bit confused here. I recalled reading that RSAF F-5s and A-4s cross deployed to Butterworth and Kuantan for FPDA ADEX exercises in the 1990's.

    For Bersama Lima 2009, RMAF F-18s cross deployed to Paya Lebar with RSAF F-16s in turn operating from Butterworth. http://www.airforce.mil.nz/about-us/news/airforce-news/archive/132/exercisebersamalima.htm

    During Bersama Lima 2011 RMAF Hawks and Hornets landed at Changi East and RSAF F-16s landed at Kuantan. [Page 19] http://www.mindef.gov.sg/content/dam/imindef_media_library/pdf/air_force/118 (revised 29 Sep).pdf

    Were the previous cross deployments involving aircraft from both air arms part of the 'base support arrangement' or was it under something else?
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2014
  4. OPSSG

    OPSSG Super Moderator Staff Member

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    The examples you cited are deployments for exercises or air show invitations - these are one-time, time limited invitations by the host that ends with the exercise or air show.

    A base support agreement is different. This is an arrangement that reflects very close ties (almost as good as an alliance). Theoratically, this sort of arrangement will allow the RSAF to station a fighter detachment, to provide air cover (as a gap filler) or vice versa.

    For example, if Malaysia moves most of its air assets to East Malaysia, the base support arrangement will allow the RSAF to fly in a fighter detachment for coverage of gap. While Singapore may not be willing to fight for your country's claims or disputes with 3rd parties, it is another thing to allow a 3rd party's air assets to threaten KL.

    P.S. I may not be able to reply promptly for the rest of the week.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2014
  5. STURM

    STURM Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for the feedback; appreciate it.

    I guess that explains why Malaysia was so keen to revive the 'base support arrangement'. On paper it looks like Malaysia stands to benefit more from it than the other way around but either way, it's good that bilateral defence relations are on the rise. Any idea as to when the 'base support arrangement' was originally put in place and when it was dis-continued or put on hold?
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2014
  6. cdxbow

    cdxbow Member

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    I'm very interested in what options members feel are open to the Vietnamese in this current situation with the new oil rig. PRC seem to be following the old "Possession is nine-tenths of the law" routine, a tactic they may repeat in other settings.
     
  7. cdxbow

    cdxbow Member

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    The Straights Times has a couple of interesting articles regarding the current disputes in the SCC. The first by Dr Nguyen Hung Son, a Vietnamese scholar who puts the Vietnamese view of PRC current behaviour - China 'sending mixed signals to Asean'.

    The second is by an anonymous Chinese author described as "professor and director of the International Security Research Centre, affiliated to People's Liberation Army International Relations University" - Beijing sees Manila as a troublemaker.

    If you read the later there is a very disturbing statement "It is time the Philippines realised that the countries occupying Chinese territory will end up paying a heavy price". That is a very unambiguous threat.
     
  8. the concerned

    the concerned Member

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    I would have thought that a US navy mpa operating out of the Phillipines would be much more problematic for the Chinese than a few fa-50's. Or better still a destroyer.
     
  9. RobWilliams

    RobWilliams Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Seems like more of a political issue, the US probing Chinese assets is one thing, the Philippines doing it is another.
     
  10. STURM

    STURM Well-Known Member

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    Very true; as it is China accuses the U.S. of ''interference'' in an internal Chinese matter and views the Philippines as a U.S. ''puppet''. USN assets no doubt come in handy helping the Philippinos monitor their waters but there is a limit to what they can or will politically do; especially in instances where the Chinese and the Philippinos are in a standoff or when a ramming has occured.

    An interesting read - http://ericmargolis.com/2014/04/running-the-globe-is-tiring/
     
  11. Ananda

    Ananda Well-Known Member

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    Why some articles still talking on unified ASEAN response on the matter of South China Sea ? ASEAN is designed from beginning as an Economic Cooperation entity, and not a defense one. It's at best try to resolve the issue on soft diplomacy approach.

    Some of it's members have bigger economic ties with Beijing, compared to the rest of ASEAN members. Asean biggest challenge right now is to make sure their common free market in 2015 can be successful. That's much more bigger thing for ASEAN to prove as viable Economic society, rather than South China sea issue.

    Each of the members that facing counter claimed on South China sea with Beijing responses on different tact, mimicking each own approach with Beijing related to each economic interest. Asean is far from EU, and if their common Economic Market proved to be successful, then it's a much more significant glue for Asean as an Economic bloc rather than common approach on South China sea.

    Besides, if EU members so far has not reached common approach to Russia on the Ukraine fiasco, then how anybody believe the loosen Asean members can have unified approach on 'relatively' much less pressing issue like South China sea ?
     
  12. ASSAIL

    ASSAIL Defense Professional Verified Defense Pro

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    You have made an excellent point which many seem to have missed, ASEAN is NOT a defence pact.
    Cheers
     
  13. Volkodav

    Volkodav Defense Professional Verified Defense Pro

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    If China keeps pushing I am sure they will see the formation of an expanded defence pact in the region before too long. SEATO could be revived and expanded.
     
  14. ASSAIL

    ASSAIL Defense Professional Verified Defense Pro

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    SEATO was purely a mechanism to counter communist expansion in the region. Today it has no purpose or function, the membership of the France and UK could serve no purpose, Pakistan's membership was an enigma and it did not include/prededed the current important players such as Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia.
    The treaty only called for consultation in case of security concerns, not action and unlike NATO, it had no intelligence core. In short it is a dead duck.

    Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO), 1954 - 1953
     
  15. Volkodav

    Volkodav Defense Professional Verified Defense Pro

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    Fair enough, but if China keeps pushing there will be calls to push back and as no single regional nation is strong enough to do it on the own it means it must be done collectively. This may mean an agreement on where further encroachments or territorial grabs will not be tolerated.
     
  16. gf0012-aust

    gf0012-aust Grumpy Old Man Staff Member Verified Defense Pro

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    Chinas physical re-assertion into the region (as opposed to almost a 30 year absence until there was resource research done) has triggered a few local alliances

    eg Vietnam has increased contact with Russia, India and the US and is seeking to engage The Phillipines

    The Fils have just signed an agreement with the USN to rebuild and share a naval base near The Spratleys

    There are another 2 agreements being negotiated - and as was identified a few years back, the fastest growing submarine purchases are happening in the PACRIM.
    There would also be indicators that the fastest growing LHD/LHA purchases are happening in the PACRIM

    the fact that china has now provided her research fleets with a submarine for local patrol has also resulted in some neighbours looking at building or buying chasers
     
  17. Volkodav

    Volkodav Defense Professional Verified Defense Pro

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    Is it just me or is this sounding a lot like the Rudd White Paper coming true? Need to revitalise ASW, new long range subs and more of them, continuing the LHD build and reorienting the Army to better make use of the new assets.

    We now have talk of Singaporean and Australian F-35Bs, maybe time for a joint Singapore, Australian light carrier project and an Australian Virginia buy.
     
  18. gf0012-aust

    gf0012-aust Grumpy Old Man Staff Member Verified Defense Pro

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    what's been interesting is that China has blamed the newfound sense of pushing back by the regionals as the US fault - which is a joke as even 12 months ago quite a few were probably ambivalent if anything

    The region is doing the opposite of what China wanted and that would irk her more than anything - and not only are they doing it individually, but also collectively. the region wants the US visible more than ever.

    I'd love to be an investor in Damen.
     
  19. STURM

    STURM Well-Known Member

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    Some have voiced out the opinion that ASEAN - or at least the countries which are involved in the Spratlys dispute - should speak out with a common voice in order to convince China to refrain from any more agressive action and also convince China to be more flexible in her claims. Take note that ASEAN had previously spoken with one voice on a number of issues; the one that comes to mind was over Cambodia in the 1990's and the presence of Vietnam there.

    The problem with ASEAN speaking out with one voice is not only that it is not a defence pact or that various members have different levels of relationship with the Chinese but that countries like Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines also have overlapping claims in the disputed Spratlys. Different countries also have different views as to how they view China.

    http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/02/26/uk-malaysia-china-maritime-insight-idUKBREA1P1Z020140226

    http://thediplomat.com/2014/05/solving-intra-asean-south-china-sea-disputes/
     
  20. Ananda

    Ananda Well-Known Member

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    TNI lebih waspadai Natuna ketimbang Ambalat - ANTARA News

    Well for one thing, all this tensions in South China Sea did manage to bring all Asean members that have teritory bordering SCS to individually beefed up their military presences on that region. That's as close as it can get on any Asean common responses. Not as a group but more individually doing basically similar thing.

    Even Indonesia (as the article above) which officially did not participate as claimants, decide it's teritory facing SCS (Natuna Islands) are more security sensitive than other bordered disputed area such as Ambalat. Ranai AB in Natuna has been increased to be able handling F-16 flights, and even the Apache being procured is also plan to have at least one flight to be stationed there.