A worst-case scenario in South China Sea



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FOR defense, China prepares its more than 5000 kilometers of strategic tunnels, 41 underground air bases, and subway system in every major city for civil and military defense; insures that its extensive air defense system covering its entire east coast is in good working condition; and its anti-submarine monitoring system bounded by the first island chain are ready for action at anytime. As for active defense, China deploys it fleet of nuclear attack submarines to patrol the east coast of the US; ready to retaliate if the US attacks the Chinese or Russian mainland.

After the contingency plan is completed and both offense and defense are readied, correct timing comes next. Since China’s military doctrine states: We will not be the first to attack; but if we are attacked, we will surely counter-attack. This doctrine refers to the strategic level. At the operational and tactical level, China’s doctrine is always to seize the initiative. If the US and its major allies, for instance, conduct a naval blockade against China in the South China Sea or in the Malacca Strait, such a move is considered a declaration of war and an “attack” at the strategic level; hence, China can now launch its counter-attack at the operational and tactical level. The perfect timing is for China to wait for the US alliance to poise itself for an assault on the artificial islands in the South China Sea; then seize the initiative by striking first. With China’s advanced C4ISR, it is easy for China to know the right moment to strike.

The worst-case scenario in the South China Sea now unfolds. China simultaneously targets all adversary bases and aircraft carrier strike groups within 4,000 kilometers from the China mainland. Key US satellites used for C4ISR (command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance) are attacked by ground-based direct ascent anti-satellite missiles and directed energy (laser) weapons. Monitored US nuclear submarines prowling within the first island chain are attacked by swarms of unmanned underwater vehicles, anti-submarine aircraft and helicopters, and land and ship-based anti-submarine missiles. In less than 15 minutes, all air bases with stealth aircraft and advanced model combat aircraft are destroyed and US air cover is reduced to rubble on the ground.

Loss of air bases means loss of air support; and loss of air support means loss of the war itself. But the most dramatic of all would be the fate of the US aircraft carrier strike groups, the pride of US military might—all up in smoke and on their way to the bottom of the sea. These 15 minutes of high-intensity action will usher in the dawn of a new era in warfare; and demonstrate to the world the devastating impact of the revolution in military affairs (or RMA).

The start of the missile attacks by China against US bases in its periphery also signals the start of action by China’s allies Russia and Iran. Russian Iskander M ballistic missiles and Kalibr cruise missiles near its borders and those in Kaliningrad, Crimea, and Belarus attack all the US missile defense system deployments in Poland, Romania, and other NATO allies. Russia also deploys its nuclear attack submarines to patrol the eastern coast of the US, ready to retaliate if the US decides to attack Russia or the Chinese mainland.

Meanwhile, Iran blocks the Strait of Hormuz, effectively stopping oil tanker traffic in the whole of the Persian Gulf. Iran’s missiles are also ready to strike Saudi and Qatari oil and gas facilities if they make a move.

Impossible scenario! One may tend to exclaim. A worst-case scenario is based on the capabilities of contending parties. So, in order to know if our worst-case scenario is possible or not, we just have to determine if China possesses the capabilities described in our scenario. Does China possess anti-ship ballistic missiles capable of hitting aircraft carriers 4,000 km from the Chinese mainland? Can these same missiles hit fixed targets on land such as air bases hosting stealth aircraft from Korea all the way to Guam? Can China destroy US satellites used for C4ISR with its anti-satellite missiles and other anti-satellite weapons? Can China monitor and destroy US submarines within the first island chain using hydroponic sensors and anti-submarine UUVs, aircraft, helicopters, and missiles?

Does China possess hypersonic glide vehicles in its ballistic missiles that can bring warheads to their targets 4000 kilometers away in less than 15 minutes from launch? Does China possess the C4ISR needed to find and hit their targets with precision beyond the horizon? Are China’s ICBMs capable of hitting any target in the US with relative precision? Are China’s nuclear submarines capable of deploying in the west coast of the US? Are China, Russia, and Iran in a secret alliance as a result of US diplomatic blunders? Will they work together militarily against the US in contingency situations? Are Chinese and Russian nuclear submarines capable of interdicting US supply/logistics lines in the Pacific, Indian, or Atlantic Oceans? Is there a possibility that the US will be confronted in several major fronts simultaneously: South China Sea, Syria, and Strait of Hormuz internationally, and the west and east coasts of the US domestically?

Simply answer yes or no. Then you can decide for yourself if this scenario is impossible or not.


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  1. Hildegarde Hammhocker on

    I find it “interesting” that there is not a reply facility for the post of VICTOR N. CORPUS. Yet there is for every one else. Hmmmm makes you think . Now to answer this person with his half baked , really dumb comment(s) I would say if ONE Russian nuke can take out a WHOLE country like Britain , France and Israel ( Israel by the way, in spite of what is said .really has NO nukes) but even if only Britain and France fired THeiR nukes. . . It would be bye bye Russia and China…and do you think India ans Pakistan would sit on the sidelines waiting to see who won so ]they could pick them off? No ,, your brain cells seems to have had a serious meltdown…the interesting thing here is that you have concluded that the USA could not destroy them by itself….do you NOT do any research? The USA accounts for 46% of the ENTIRE worlds military spenind while Britain and France combined account for MORE than China spends and you mention Australia but NOT Japan….and you don’t even know that Australia ALL by itself has a pre determined plan that if it fights China ALL ALONE…..that it’s plan says it cant win, but it has the plan that paints the scene that it has the capability of devestating China to the extent that China wont enjoy the victory at all. NOPE , your information is not informed and your brain cell is not working……………….

  2. very well crafted scenario. but you failed to mention US allies. Israel, Britain, Germany, Canada, Australia,
    and India. Don’t you think they will just watch and enjoy the game? Don’t you think the US was not
    anticipating these possible scenarios? The US is not a dumb nation militarily. Look at history, especially
    world war 2. What happened?

    • Victor N. Corpus on

      US allies Israel, Britain, and France are nuclear powers. If they use their nuclear arsenals against Russia or China, the latter two can retaliate. Since Israel, Britain and France lack geographic depth, a single Russian SARMAT ICBM can literally erase anyone of them from the map. Germany, on the other hand, is highly dependent on Russia for its oil and gas via the Nord Stream Pipeline. Hence it is doubtful if Germany will actively lead NATO against the Russia-China-Iran triumvirate. Australia is well within range of China’s DF26 IRBMs, and US bases in Australia will be among those that will be hit in the initial salvo. With regards to Canada, they can send some of their warships to accompany US aircraft carrier strike groups, along with those from UK, Israel, Japan, France, Australia and Germany; but all of them will be vulnerable to China’s anti-ship DF21D MRBMs, DF26 IRBMs, and HN2000 long-range cruise missiles. These land-based missiles can destroy all surface warships up to 4,000 kms from Chinese shores. Aside from these, there are still anti-ship supersonic cruise missiles from Chinese H6K bombers, J-20 stealth fighters, nuclear and diesel submarines, and destroyers, frigates, corvettes, and fast crafts.

  3. dating sundalo din on

    Any English Literature professor would give Mr. Corpuz an excellent grade in creative writing, and I am impressed myself, reading this “fiction” story. His articles are works of his imagination and I would say that he is one of the best military fiction writers second to the late President Marcos when he, himself, wrote the citations of his fake military awards and decorations during World War II engagement with the enemy, kunu. The fiction writing talent was passed on to his only beloved son, his namesake, for being an alumni, kunu, at Oxford University in England.

    I understand that Ret. Gen. Corpuz wrote a hypothetical scenario, making it sound like China has the mightiest, biggest, strongest, best led, best paid, and best fed military in the world. It would be unfair to compare with the U.S. Armed Forces because China’s military is like a “century” behind, meaning, way behind the U.S. A very simple comparison can be seen that China has one (1) refurbish aircraft carrier, U.S has nineteen (19), and more Littoral Combat Ships will be deployed soon.


  4. You are wrong. China knows it can not equal U.S. military. Not a chance. It is not even a mismatch. It will be massacre worst than the opium war. The only weapon the Chinese has is it’s cheap export. Without that, North America and its allies will self destruct. You have been in the mountain for so long Corpus. Try Again!.

  5. Amnata Pundit on

    This is why I believe the Americans are just simply bluffing to gain better leverage in behind the scenes negotiations that will usher in a new world order in the wake of this ongoing financial crisis which if not handled properly could result in the collapse of the western civilization as we know it. But I base this on the premise that the powers that be in America are still rational people, but what if they are not? Then the world will be destroyed. The only consolation is that the war will also bring down the evil empire.