• China moves weapons to reclaimed areas – report

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    China has reportedly moved weapons to artificial islands it was building in areas it occupied in the West Philippines Sea (South China Sea), a report in an Australian newspaper said on Thursday.

    “Australian officials are concerned that China could also introduce long-range radar, anti-aircraft guns and regular surveillance flights that will enable it to project military power across a maritime expanse which include some of Australia’s busiest trading lanes,” a report in The Age read.

    Australia’s Defense Secretary Dennis Richardson in earlier statements challenged China’s reclamation works on areas it occupies in the West Philippine Sea.

    The Age report quoting sources said Australian diplomats have dropped “talking points” about Australia not taking sides in the multi-layered territorial contest, which Chinese officials have used as evidence of Australian support.

    But a draft of Canberra’s first “defense white paper” said Australian intelligence agencies are upgrading their strategic threat assessment of the situation.

    The revised strategic assessment, The Age report said, will show how the reclamations could enable China to greatly amplify threats of coercive force in order to play a gate-keeping role across hotly-contested maritime areas, if left unchecked.

    “Fairfax understands that these concerns are prompting discussions in senior military circles that could lead to Australian naval officers and air force pilots embarking on ‘freedom of navigation’ missions to demonstrate that Canberra does not accept Beijing’s hardening claims,” the report added.

    Fairfax refers to Fairfax Media Ltd., Australia’s biggest media company that owns the Melbourne-based daily The Age.

    Among the “freedom of navigation missions” in the West Philippine Sea that Australian security officials are considering include overflights and “sail throughs” as well as exercises involving various regional partners. These will be discussed thoroughly when Australian defense and military officials meet with Prime Minister Tony Abbot in the next two weeks.

    Japan, which is also mired in a territorial dispute with China in the East China Sea, recently announced its participation for the first time in the US-Australian military drills called Talisman Sabre, which kicks off in July in Rockhampton and Darwin in Australia.

    The possible involvement of the Australians in the West Philippine Sea dispute developed as US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told his Philippine counterpart, Voltaire Gazmin, on Wednesday that Washington’s pledge to defend the country remains “iron-clad” and called for an end to land reclamations in the South China Sea, officials said.

    “First, we want a peaceful resolution of all disputes and an immediate and lasting halt to land reclamations by any claimant. We also oppose any further militarization of disputed features,” Carter said.

    “Second, and there should be no mistake: The United States will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows, as we do all around the world,” he added.

    Gazmin is in Hawaii where the US Pacific Command, a unified combatant command of the US armed forces responsible for the Pacific Ocean, is based for talks with the Pentagon chief.

    Citing the 1951 Philippine-US mutual defense treaty, Carter “stressed that the US commitment to defend the Philippines is iron-clad,” the Pentagon said in a statement.

    The meeting came as Carter embarks on a tour of Asia and amid rising tensions over Beijing’s massive effort to build artificial islands in the South China Sea.

    Carter and Gazmin “agreed that all parties involved in the South China Sea should seek a peaceful resolution of disputes, immediately halt land reclamation[s]and stop further militarization of disputed features,” the Pentagon statement said.

    Manila has said it will keep flying over disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea despite Beijing’s warnings.

    Australian Defense Secretary Richardson on Wednesday said China’s “unprecedented” land reclamations raise questions of “intent” and risks of “miscalculation.”

    “It is legitimate to ask the purpose of the land reclamation[s], tourism appears unlikely,” Richardson told the New South Wales state Parliament.

    “Given the size and modernization of China’s military, the use by China of land reclamation[s]for military purposes would be of particular concern,” he said.

    Fomenting unrest
    Malacañang on Thursday said it welcomes US Defense Secretary Carter’s statements, particularly his call on China to cease its reclamation activities, noting that other countries around the world share the same view.

    “A number of countries have made statements expressing concern that China’s reclamation activities are not beneficial to the maintenance of stability and peace in the region. We continue calling for an unimpeded freedom of navigation and freedom of aviation over the disputed waters because this is crucial to the world’s economy and commerce,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said in Filipino.

    “It has been Manila’s position not to take unnecessary measures like the reclamation work[s]China is undertaking because in our view, the status quo should prevail and all should wait for the arbitral tribunal to have a clear-cut ruling on how the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea applies in this dispute,” Coloma added.

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    5 Comments

    1. Mariano Patalinjug on

      Yonkers, New York
      29 May 2015

      Now it should be clear to the whole world that Australia is no longer a “fence sitter” as far as China’s illegal reclamations and constructions on those disputed islands in the Spratlys are concerned.

      Like the Philippines, the US and Japan, Australia is waking up to the troubling fact that these are even now being MILITARIZED by China!

      It is possible, nay, probable, that sooner rather than later China may impose an ADIZ over the South China Sea, after it converts two or three of those islands on which it has set up WEAPONS, and declare to the whole world that 1] all aircraft intending to enter the ADIZ will first need to submit Flight Plans to the PLA in Hunan Province, and that 2] when inside the ADIZ, these will be required “to follow Chinese instructions.”
      And that’s not all. After converting those militarized islands into CHOKE POINTS, China may then 1] require all ships intending to go through the area [the sea lanes originating from the Middle East where Oil passes] first to submit its Navigation Plan to the PLA ‘somewhere’ and, when “allowed” to enter the area, to agree to be boarded by the PLA for one reason or another. Finally, China may impose a FEE or a TARIFF on all ships entering the area in the amount of, say, 1 percent of the value of its cargo based on the ship’s MANIFEST!

      Is that a scene out of Kafka? Wait and see.

      MARIANO PATALINJUG
      Lapulapu1927@yahoo.com

    2. Those weapons will not work because of poor quality…remember, those are “Made In China”

    3. The best way to defeat China is not by war but to stop buying Chinese product and move all those foreign owned factories back to their respective countries,if they dont want to move it back to their respective countries the government will charge 1000% tariff tax on any goods coming from China.

    4. Vic PenetranteVic on

      Some people aren’t satisfied from becoming strong, they have to test their strength with others.

    5. sonny dela cruz on

      I have said that before that a Chinese General said and I Quote “We are not afraid to go to war with the United States, we are ready”. Now, The Intelligence report of the Australian ministry said that Chinese weapons are moving inside the reclaimed island intended perhaps for their offense and defense capabilities. The Australian should demand inspection of the reclaimed islets for possible installation of Missile silos that could be fired by the Chinese as far as CITIES IN AUSTRALIA. Australian forces should moved in the region, side by side with the American forces station in the Asia-Pacific region. The SUPER CARRIER USS RONALD REAGAN will be deployed in the area and HOPE, the United States to demand the destruction of all the structures built by the Chinese in the reclaimed islets. NO MILITARY BASES BY THE CHINESE IN THE AREA OF INTERNATIONAL SEA LANE AND AIR SPACE ABOVE CHINA SEA. If the Chinese refused to comply with the order, the United States forces must DESTROYED IT because it hinders the flow of free navigation in the area. After destroying all the Chinese military structures is done and no confrontation occurs. The United Nations should take over and blockade the region until all the problems of the claimants are resolved. The United Nation should act fast to insure that International law of the sea and air is respected. This will diffused tensions in the West Philippine sea.