• Why China is risking war with US

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    RELATED to the subject matter of my past two columns (on the PH-China dispute over the West Philippine Sea), this current discussion pursues the topic rather alarmingly. The former Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) chief, Lt. Gen. Victor Corpus, has a way of calling my attention, through a post on Facebook, to a video richly detailed with US military maneuvers in the South China Sea beginning January this year. It was, of course, a post open for perusal by any visitor to his FB page, but coming as it did on the heels of my two pieces on the the Philippine case at the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration, I gave the video presentation more than a cursory glance.

    Carrying a YouTube post tag “US Military Turns Up the Heat on China with More US Navy Ships,” the video clip is titled “Current Escalations in the South China Sea,” published by South Front Analysis and Intelligence through the website Tactical Clips.com. The presentation immediately strikes one as anything but about peace, with an aerial shot, for the opening, of a fleet of navy ships cutting trails of white across the blue of ocean waters, a giant carrier at the head of the v-column, with destroyers flanking it on both sides. Cut to a medium-close view of a fighter jet taking off from the runway of the carrier, which in a change-angle surges close toward cam to reveal its awesome, fearsome size, followed by shots of the maneuvers of destroyers. These sea movements are interspersed with anti-Chinese mass protest by Filipinos, a news conference by top US officials, a landing on the aircraft carrier by evidently a high war official, which cuts to a Chinese destroyer surging through the water, the Chinese flag fluttering on its mast.

    And then the huge blast in the water.

    It is not a naval exercise that’s going on. Those are shots of actual maneuvers in US military operations.

    Are we into war already? I asked myself impulsively.

    I thought I should get the answer from the accompanying article of the YouTube post.

    Aided with computer graphics, the article said for an opener: “The USS John C. Stennis, carrying a strike group, sailed off to the contested region from Washington on January 15th (2016), passing through the Luzon Strait separating Taiwan and the Philippines. The USS Stennis was accompanied by carriers USS Antietam and USS Mobile Bay and guided missile destroyers USS Stockdale and USS Chung-Hoon. The USS Blue Ridge was also in the area.”

    As the video narration would put it, these navy ships were sent to the South China Sea for purposes eventually proclaimed in the Trilateral Talks held the following March. In the talks, participated in by the US Navy, the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Forces and the Philippine Navy, it was agreed in no uncertain terms that the US, Japan and the Philippines would bind together in confronting China over the South China Sea. The video narrator elaborated that the specific purposes of the talks were, first, to promote the security of the Philippines and the region and, second, to develop a framework for future multilateral training and exercises.

    The trilateral talks were held on the USS Blue Ridge, which is the flagship of the US Seventh Fleet in the Pacific Region.

    The article revealed that the US has also increased surveillance flights over the South China Sea area. “China,” it said, “which has had control over the Woody Island and the Paracel Islands after Vietnam lost to them, has shown to have a strong military airbase on Woody Island. China has also deployed jets to the island, and has not ceased to attack Spratly Islands and other surrounding islands.”

    According to the article, the Royal Australian Navy and the Philippine Navy have both deployed new ships that have bolstered the current US presence. The Japanese Prime Minister has voiced his willingness to have the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Forces help patrol the South China Sea. It has likewise been reported that the US and Australia have been negotiating to have US tankers and bombers on strategic Australian bases.

    As revealed by the video narrator, the likelihood of war over the South China Sea is not farfetched. It will come about either as a product of conscious design or miscalculation. We remember that in May, a US battleship made that so-called sail-by near Chinese-occupied territories in the Spratlys. That was testing the waters, so to speak. In quick reaction, China scrambled to fly its jet fighters from the Fiery Cross Reef and Mischief Reef, to put up with the US move.

    If the US maneuver was a feeler, China’s scrambling to send jet fighters to counter the maneuver signaled its readiness to deal with what it perceives as US intrusion into its territory.

    Below are photo-grabs from the video presentation:

    112233Top photo shows the US naval attack group as it enters the South China Sea in March via the Luzon Strait after sailing across the Pacific Ocean from Washington last January. The group was composed of the USS Stennis in the lead, together with carriers USS Antietam and USS Mobile Bay and guided missile destroyers USS Stockdale and USS Chung-Hoon.

    The USS Blue Ridge, flagship of the US Seventh Fleet in the Pacific Region, joined the group later and became the site for the Trilateral Talks the following March participated in by the US Navy, the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Forces, and the Philippine Navy for coordinated action against China for the security of the Philippines and the Pacific Region.

    The USS Curtis Wilbur and USS Lassen were later additions to the US naval contingent ensuring strong US presence in the area.

    At the same time, surveillance flights (see photo–grab, below) were conducted by US Air Force Boeing P-8 Poseidon with a crew of nine (two pilots and seven operators), maximum speed of 907 KMpH, and combat radius of 3700 KM; and Boeing B-62 Stratofortress with a crew of five, maximum speed of 957 KMpH, and combat radius of 7210 KM.44

    Meantime, China has a much-strengthened military airbase on Woody Island (see photo–grabs below) with newly-built hangars, munitions storage buildings, two batteries of HQ-9 surface-to-air missile launchers, engagement radar, Type 3058 AESA Acquisition radar, and J-11 Fighters that were instantly sent in the air to counter, just in case, a truly belligerent move of the US carrier that made a sail-by in May near a Spratly Island Chinese emplacement. 5566The photo–grabs below, meanwhile, show rapidly developing similar airbases on Fiery Cross Reef and Mischief Reef, features of the South China Sea that are part of the complaint lodged by the Philippines before the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA). It is in relation to the Philippine-China dispute at the PCA that the video presentation proves to be alarming. In the event of a Philippine win in the case—which is held very likely in the light of UNCLOS rules—China will be constrained to use its veto power as one of five permanent members of the UN Security Council to prevent implementation of a PCA ruling favorable to the Philippines. That will give the US just that needed moral ascendancy to use force against China in the pretext of implementing a legitimate decision by the United Nations.

    Will China risk countering that US force? 7788(To be continued)

     

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    16 Comments

    1. Hildergarde Hammhocker on

      Unfortunately the Philippines has nothing to offer ANY one, not the USA not the Chinese and not even it’s own people. One quarter of the economy is generated by prostitution, another one quarter by overseas foreign workers remittances home, their is no substantial manufacturing base, the transport system is a mess, unemployment is not 6 &% as claimed but more like 60% . The ONLY reason the USA sticks up for the Philippines is a really SIMPLE one…….they need some one to stand up for THEM, Just like Britain said it would fight Germany in the 2nd W W if Germany invaded Poland….and it did and Britain declared war…..Britain had nothing to gain by Poland but everything to lose by Germany who wanted to impose it’sron rule and culture of death and cleansing on OTHER sovereign countries as does CHINA seems willing to want to do….WHO DO YOU WANT PHILIPPINES? A PROTECTOR OR AN INVADER …..stand up for FREEEEDOMMMMMMM!!!!!

      • China has never and will never invade the Philippines, we are brothers and cousins… never in history, past or future will China shed Filipino blood except in a blood brother pact…

    2. Hey man. Can you tell us where you found that pot you’ve been smoking??
      That must be some reaaaallllly good stuff based on your bizarre post.
      Its time to run off to bed now and let the grown ups talk because we have news for you.
      china’s preposterous claim to “sovereignty” over the international waters of the south china sea and the EEZs of its smaller neighbors is not only arrogant and stupid.It’s also ILLEGAL.
      Buy a history book not written by Mao you silly wabbit…

      • Any serious observer of the situaiton would know that this Grisleda is the one on pot..;

    3. dio san pedro on

      The Chinese is not risking war with the US over claims in the South China Sea or the West Philippines Sea. What the Chinese did was miscalculated US intentions and have taken a very bad bait. Iraq’s Saddam Hussein did the same thing by invading Kuwait. Oil was the reason the US got into that gulf war. Now it will be about the protection of trillions of dollars of US commerce passing through this water way. It is not to protect any country like the Philippines but to protect US interest. And for US interest the US will go to war. The new Philippine President is absolutely correct when he asked where was the US when China started building upon these rocks. And this new president exactly knows what the US wants and plays along. Chinese leaders are smart that is the reason why China is the only empire or nation that have continuously existed while others have perished. It would be good for China to know what this game is or it will end up like Iraq and perish.

    4. Curious George on

      The USA should just walk away from the Philippines and let the Chinese take over the country. The Philippines displays little to no respect for the USA and is not deserving of any support from the USA.

      Maybe then the corruption of the elected officials, government employees and the elite clans would quickly come to an end as the Chinese Government liquidated such people in short order.

      • Why don’t you all white @sses get out of the PH: your American Companies are just exploiting, or stealing, a more appropriate word, our natural resources; your stupid Edca and VFA US troops, whose purpose is to guard your American Companies and creating US bases in all parts of the PH, and to promote prostitution; your money-making US Embassy that is milking the Filipinos by the millions every year by making it very difficult to get a US visa, while you white-@sses get PH visa without any difficulty—where is the reciprocity of friendship and hospitality here between US-PH?; and your American pedophiles who only visit the PH to sexual molest our young for amongst the youngsters. Are you one of them whitey?

    5. Kudos for the principled and courageous analysis of Mr. Samonte, objective and accurate which the title summarizes – and to state it simply – China will fight the U.S. hegemonist and its Asian puppets Abe and the Amboys in the Philippines for – and this is the ultimate message of Vic Corpus – that China will no longer be defeated by the Americans (and neither will Russia in the Easter European front, where preparations are on the way to war [limited???] on Russia —- corollary to that first message of Vic Corpus is that the Philippines will be made by the U.S. the main battleground by its insertion of the EDCA military bases taht hold nuclear weapons hence necessairly drawing the retaliation of China in the first hours to neutralize the EDCA bases and its weaponry (simultaneous with all the other U.S. bases in Asia while Russia hits all the U.S. bases in Europe) — the apparent trolls writing in behalf of the Americans I see on these comments like the humorously name Tan Sa Kit (get it? Sakit?) and this Griselda, CArlque, Balbutin, and this Sean all rooting for the U.S. despite its 100 years record of grizzly murderous colonialism all over and in the Philippines as well, are intent on inviting the utter destruction of the Philippines this second time around after the traitorous use of the country as sacrifical lamb in the second world war… Vic Corpus, and I believe the second part of Samonte’s article will show this, explains that China’s main interest in the China Sea is denial of the sub marine hideouts to American nuclear submarines that would be essential launching a shipping embargo to China and in attacking China… this argument that Chinese covets the oil resources thereat is hogwash as they can and have been buying all these from all over the World and with it two long term oil and natural oil strategic contracts with Russia and then with Iran…. The U.S. hegemony however, as VicCorpus commjnicates, will come to an end wether it likes it or not as the defensive and offensive military technology of the two are now superior to the U.S. except in quantity if taken individually – but together the U.S. is toally outclassed not only in quality for parity is likely achieved in quantity… China is ready to talk about the claims and no imperialist offers to talk like the U.S. which just goes ahead with “shock and awe”bombing Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya etc… yet never wins its wars — do these Amboys and Amgirls in the Philppines think the U.S. can win and even beliee it can win against real military capabilities of Russia and China?

      Add to all these the turmoil in Europe and the Brexit which eventually will cause the Nato break up (but which may prod the U.S. to accelerate its attack on Russia in the hopes of consolidating its control over Europe again)…

      In sum, the Pax Americana is in the last hours of its dawning age… the Philppines must kick ouut the EDCA US bases, ally with Russia, China and the BRICS and Duterte has th emandate of change to do this… then the global community can overcome against the 1/10 of 1% controling the globe today under U.S. hegemony and its ultra-capitalist agenda with the TTIP and TPP …

    6. I admire the simplicity of Mr. Samonte’s article, i.e. the sole interest of USA is just to protect our (Philippine) interest and to fight our battle! Outside of their love for their former colony, USA is willing to sacrifice its trade and other relationship with China.

      Moreover, he implies our navy as an equal of the US and Japanese navies. Let us not fool ourselves but look back at WWII and try to learn a lesson.

      I don’t think that either China or USA or even our old WWII foe – Japan – is willing to go into battle just for our West Philippine Sea territory.

      Mabuhay ang Filipinas!

    7. Hi. Some errors above”for an opener: “The USS John C. Stennis, carrying a strike group, ” Actually it is the USS John C Stennis CARRIER strike group. Next “The USS Stennis was accompanied by carriers USS Antietam and USS Mobile Bay ” Actually it is the USS Stennis was accompanied by CRUISERS USS Antietam and USS Mobile Bay.
      SO, lets start here by correctly stating the US naval forces in the video.
      ” A truly belligerent US move” comment by the author is truly waaaaay off base.
      The waters around the Philippines and indeed throughout Asia have been safe for international trade and local fishermen BECAUSE of the rules based order china has chosen to threaten with preposterous claims to ownership of the international waters of the south china sea AND the EEZ of the Philippines and the EEZs of VietNam, Malysia, Brunei, Taiwan, Japan and now apparently, Indonesia. The author isn’t alarmed by the fleets of chinese coast guard and navy ships, fleets of semi militarized fishing boats, claims of sovereignty over the waters of the Philippines EEZ, plans to build a base immediately offshore of Manila, refusal to consider that china doesn’t own the acs, veiled threats, the killing of Filipino soldiers, the seizing of Scarborough and blockage of Filipino fishermen , yada , yada, yada? Really? There is cause for alarm alright, however the author seems to be rather confused about who is claiming sovereignty over Filipino territory and who is there to ensure china doesn’t gain the ability to block sea and air borne traffic around the Philippines that ravels to allies, S Korea, Japan, Taiwan.
      The author ought to be far more concerned about this issue, unless of course he plans on studying Mandarin and living in a non democratic country like china.
      The article reveals an incredible naivety regarding Filipino rights, security and modern international law. Start over.

    8. Meanwhile, the Philippines is biding its time while UNCLOS is about to render its decision in the next few weeks. When a decision favourable to the Philippines comes out, President -elect Duterte should start negotiating with China for it to get out of the Philippine EEZ starting with the Scarborough Shoals. If the US’s answer to Duterte’s question “Are you with us?” is yes, then the Philippines can use a stronger persuasion to drive the Chinese Navy away from the contested waters with the backing of the US if the Chinese are stubborn enough not to make any move.

    9. Ignacio Balbutin on

      The US naval ships are in that area not to make war but to have joint patrol with the allied countries who are alarmed by the Chinese build up in the spratly islands. The Philippines should be the one leading this patrols because we are the agrieved party since we own that islands through Unclos. We should be thankful for the kindness shown by the US and our other allies in being with us against the bullying of China. Nobody wants to go to war especially China who are more worried about their economy than anything else.

    10. Having in depth knowledge of the China fleet and submarines operating out of Hainin Island China for the last 15 years I guarantee you China is working on a plan to take all of this region and the USA will be in no position now to stop them.

      Chna has nuclear weapons and nuclear missiles on it’s subs also. What you do not see if all the China subs under the water already every day just off the coast of the Philippines.

      The Philippines made a massive mistake by trying to get rid of the USA air and ship bases from the Philippines. Without the USA you could very easily be overtaken by China in a matter of days.

      My advice is do all you can to get the USA fleet and air bases operational again in the Philippines and stop hating them. Support them or you have very dark days ahead.

      • Kudos for the principled and courageous analysis of Mr. Samonte, objective and accurate which the title summarizes – and to state it simply – China will fight the U.S. hegemonist and its Asian puppets Abe and the Amboys in the Philippines for – and this is the ultimate message of Vic Corpus – that China will no longer be defeated by the Americans (and neither will Russia in the Easter European front, where preparations are on the way to war [limited???] on Russia —- corollary to that first message of Vic Corpus is that the Philippines will be made by the U.S. the main battleground by its insertion of the EDCA military bases taht hold nuclear weapons hence necessairly drawing the retaliation of China in the first hours to neutralize the EDCA bases and its weaponry (simultaneous with all the other U.S. bases in Asia while Russia hits all the U.S. bases in Europe) — the apparent trolls writing in behalf of the Americans I see on these comments like the humorously name Tan Sa Kit (get it? Sakit?) and this Griselda, CArlque, Balbutin, and this Sean all rooting for the U.S. despite its 100 years record of grizzly murderous colonialism all over and in the Philippines as well, are intent on inviting the utter destruction of the Philippines this second time around after the traitorous use of the country as sacrifical lamb in the second world war… Vic Corpus, and I believe the second part of Samonte’s article will show this, explains that China’s main interest in the China Sea is denial of the sub marine hideouts to American nuclear submarines that would be essential launching a shipping embargo to China and in attacking China… this argument that Chinese covets the oil resources thereat is hogwash as they can and have been buying all these from all over the World and with it two long term oil and natural oil strategic contracts with Russia and then with Iran…. The U.S. hegemony however, as VicCorpus commjnicates, will come to an end wether it likes it or not as the defensive and offensive military technology of the two are now superior to the U.S. except in quantity if taken individually – but together the U.S. is toally outclassed not only in quality for parity is likely achieved in quantity… China is ready to talk about the claims and no imperialist offers to talk like the U.S. which just goes ahead with “shock and awe”bombing Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya etc… yet never wins its wars — do these Amboys and Amgirls in the Philppines think the U.S. can win and even beliee it can win against real military capabilities of Russia and China?
        Add to all these the turmoil in Europe and the Brexit which eventually will cause the Nato break up (but which may prod the U.S. to accelerate its attack on Russia in the hopes of consolidating its control over Europe again)…
        In sum, the Pax Americana is in the last hours of its sunset age… the Philppines must kick ouut the EDCA US bases, ally with Russia, China and the BRICS and Duterte has th emandate of change to do this… then the global community can overcome against the 1/10 of 1% controling the globe today under U.S. hegemony and its ultra-capitalist agenda with the TTIP and TPP …

      • Well said Sean, I’m not American but I agree with you on this. They should have not let the us out at first.