Friday, January 19, 2018

THE QUAD (US, INDIA, JAPAN & AUSTRALIA) WAKES UP! Golez: China's aggressiveness has triggered a coalition against itself, a coalition of big powers whose combined military and economic might is much bigger than China's power:

THE QUAD (US, INDIA, JAPAN & AUSTRALIA) WAKES UP! VERY LIKELY, VIETNAM WILL JOIN THIS GROUP. THE PHILIPPINES MUST CLOSELY MONITOR THIS POWERFUL GEOPOLITICAL DEVELOPMENT LEST WE BE LEFT ISOLATED IN CHINA'S DEADLY EMBRACE.
Golez: China's aggressiveness has triggered a coalition against itself, a coalition of big powers whose combined military and economic might is much bigger than China's power: "China is a ‘disruptive power’, say Naval chiefs of India, Australia, Japan and US “China’s military power is expanding. In order to deter Chinese provocations, India, the US, Australia and Japan have to cooperate with one another.” https://t.co/XqtRzHaTQ4 via @scroll_in 
I quote from the article:
“China’s military power is expanding,” Kawano said. “In the East and South China seas, China has been ignoring international law. In order to deter Chinese provocations, India, the US, Australia and Japan have to cooperate with one another.”
"Beijing’s naval power was expanding and it had been ignoring international law, Japanese Admiral Katsutoshi Kawano said."
"China is a ‘disruptive power’, must be contained, say Naval chiefs of India, Australia, Japan and US Naval chiefs of the Quadrilateral nations – India, United States, Australia and Japan – called China a “disruptive power” on Thursday, and pushed for a new regional security architecture to contain Beijing, The Times of India reported.
“China is a disruptive, transitional force in the Indo-Pacific,” US Pacific Commander Admiral Harry Harris said on the last day of the Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi. “We must be willing to take tough decisions in 2018 against unilateral ways to change the use of shared natural resources with rule-based freedom of navigation.”
INDIA: "IF CHINA CAN DO IT, WHY CAN’T WE?” "However, Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said China had been a “motivator and example” for India in some ways. “People think that if China can do it, why can’t we?” he said. “To some extent, China has opened up the international order allowing India to make its presence felt. Its rise has many facets.”


China is a ‘disruptive power’, must be contained, say Naval chiefs of India, Australia, Japan and US

SCROLL.IN

Beijing’s naval power was expanding and it had been ignoring international law, Japanese Admiral Katsutoshi Kawano said.


Naval chiefs of the Quadrilateral nations – India, United States, Australia and Japan – called China a “disruptive power” on Thursday, and pushed for a new regional security architecture to contain Beijing, The Times of India reported. 
“China is a disruptive, transitional force in the Indo-Pacific,” US Pacific Commander Admiral Harry Harris said on the last day of the Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi. “We must be willing to take tough decisions in 2018 against unilateral ways to change the use of shared natural resources with rule-based freedom of navigation.”
Indian Navy Chief Sunil Lanba, Australian Navy Chief Vice Admiral Tim Barret, and Japanese Admiral Katsutoshi Kawano echoed Harris’ sentiments. Lanba said China’s Navy had changed its deployment pattern around Indian waters.
“They have a base in Djibouti. They have developed a port in Hambantota [in Sri Lanka], though we have been told there will be no permanent presence of the Chinese Navy there,” Lanba said. “China is developing ports and infrastructure that are not viable.”
“China’s military power is expanding,” Kawano said. “In the East and South China seas, China has been ignoring international law. In order to deter Chinese provocations, India, the US, Australia and Japan have to cooperate with one another.”
However, Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said China had been a “motivator and example” for India in some ways. “People think that if China can do it, why can’t we?” he said. “To some extent, China has opened up the international order allowing India to make its presence felt. Its rise has many facets.”
The foreign secretary said that China was not just a rising global power but also a “very different power.” India, Jaishankar said, was part of the “solution”. “India has committed around $25-30 billion [Rs 1.6 lakh crore to Rs 1.9 lakh crore] in credits and grants in our extended neighbourhood, from East Africa to South East Asia”. 
We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.

China is a ‘disruptive power’, must be contained, say Naval chiefs of India, Australia, Japan and US. Scroll Staff

Golez: The Quad - India, Australia, Japan and the US - starting to push back and they have big muscles.

China is a ‘disruptive power’, must be contained, say Naval chiefs of India, Australia, Japan and US

Beijing’s naval power was expanding and it had been ignoring international law, Japanese Admiral Katsutoshi Kawano said.

Naval chiefs of the Quadrilateral nations – India, United States, Australia and Japan – called China a “disruptive power” on Thursday, and pushed for a new regional security architecture to contain Beijing, The Times of India reported. 
“China is a disruptive, transitional force in the Indo-Pacific,” US Pacific Commander Admiral Harry Harris said on the last day of the Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi. “We must be willing to take tough decisions in 2018 against unilateral ways to change the use of shared natural resources with rule-based freedom of navigation.”
Indian Navy Chief Sunil Lanba, Australian Navy Chief Vice Admiral Tim Barret, and Japanese Admiral Katsutoshi Kawano echoed Harris’ sentiments. Lanba said China’s Navy had changed its deployment pattern around Indian waters.
“They have a base in Djibouti. They have developed a port in Hambantota [in Sri Lanka], though we have been told there will be no permanent presence of the Chinese Navy there,” Lanba said. “China is developing ports and infrastructure that are not viable.”
“China’s military power is expanding,” Kawano said. “In the East and South China seas, China has been ignoring international law. In order to deter Chinese provocations, India, the US, Australia and Japan have to cooperate with one another.”
However, Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said China had been a “motivator and example” for India in some ways. “People think that if China can do it, why can’t we?” he said. “To some extent, China has opened up the international order allowing India to make its presence felt. Its rise has many facets.”
The foreign secretary said that China was not just a rising global power but also a “very different power.” India, Jaishankar said, was part of the “solution”. “India has committed around $25-30 billion [Rs 1.6 lakh crore to Rs 1.9 lakh crore] in credits and grants in our extended neighbourhood, from East Africa to South East Asia”. 
We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.


XI JINPING AND HIS GENERALS: CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER DEAN CHENGJANUARY 18, 2018. War on the Rocks

XI JINPING AND HIS GENERALS: CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER

JANUARY 18, 2018
It was reported this week that Chinese general Fang Fenghui was “transferred to the military prosecution authority on suspicion of offering and accepting bribes.” Fang had reportedly been under investigation since late last year. Gen. Fang had been a senior member of the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) Central Military Commission – the entity that heads China’s armed forces. Before that, he led the Joint Staff Department – an organization that succeeded the General Staff Department and is effectively in charge of China’s warfighting and war-planning organizations.
Fang’s fall began at the same time that his counterpart Gen. Zhang Yang, former head of the PLA’s Political Work Department (previously the General Political Department), was also placed under investigation. Zhang hanged himself last November.
Fang and Zhang join a growing list of senior PLA officers that have been arrested, expelled from the Party, and imprisoned on corruption charges. These have included Gen. Guo Boxiong and Gen. Xu Caihou, former vice chairmen of the Central Military Commission (and therefore the most senior uniformed officers in the PLA), Gen. Li Jinai (another former head of the General Political Department), and Gen. Liao Xilong (former head of the General Logistics Department). Gen. Du Jincai, head of the Central Military Commission’s Discipline Inspection Commission (and therefore top graft-buster), had also retired, reportedly due to corruption charges as well.
All told, since Xi Jinping came to power in 2012, over 100 PLA general officers have reportedly been forcibly retired or placed under investigation. In another sign of the extensiveness of these probes, perhaps 90 percent of the PLA officers that attended last October’s 19th CCP Party Congress were first-time attendees. As long-time China leadership observer Cheng Li noted, this marks an unprecedented turnover in the top ranks of the PLA.
It may be that the PLA is a massively corrupt organization. Having enjoyed nearly a quarter century of double-digit growth in its budget, the military has enjoyed an enormous influx of resources, which means greater opportunities for graft. In this regard, the PLA is not alone — Xi Jinping’s entire first term since 2012 has been marked by a massive, ongoing anti-corruption campaign aimed at both the military and civilian systems.
This large-scale uprooting, however, is also likely to be driven in part by Chinese internal politics. Many of the senior officers that have been summarily fired and imprisoned are linked to Xi Jinping’s predecessors, both Jiang Zemin (who was China’s leader from 1992 to 2002) and Hu Jintao (2002 to 2012). As with Xi’s anti-corruption efforts against various civilian leaders, those targeted appear to be political rivals, although this is not to say they may not also be corrupt.
Intriguingly, some of the most senior officers thus far removed (Xu Caihou and Guo Boxiong) were accused by a senior Chinese official of planning a coup. At the 19th Party Congress last October, Liu Shiyu, chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission declared that Xu and Guo, along with Bo Xilai (former Party Secretary for Chongqing), Zhou Yongkang (former member of the Politburo and head of the Ministry of Public Security), and Ling Jihua (former head of the General Office of the Chinese Communist Party) had been plotting “to usurp the party’s leadership and seize state power.” The other person Liu listed was Sun Zhengcai, Party Secretary for Chongqing until this past summer and rumored to be among the short list for future leaders of China.
The fall of Sun, his linkage to Bo Xilai, General Guo and General Xu raises questions about the extent of internal dissension, and how far that dissent might extend within the PLA.
That, in turn, may also overlap with professional considerations. Xi Jinping unveiled a massive overhaul of the Chinese military at the very end of 2015. This represented perhaps the most fundamental reformation of the PLA since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. It included the formal establishment of three new services; a consolidation of seven military regions into five war zones; and an expansion of the Central Military Commission to include 15 departments, subordinate commissions, and offices. At the same time, Xi has redoubled efforts to push the PLA’s doctrine and approach to warfare completely into the 21st century.
Such efforts undoubtedly entailed the disruption of a variety of bureaucratic stove-pipes, as well as cozy relationships, which most likely would have engendered slow-rolling and other forms of organizational resistance. By wielding and openly applying the cudgel of anti-corruption (and publicly breaking senior officers such as former vice chairmen of the Central Military Commission), Xi may well have ensured that his professional efforts to overhaul the PLA would meet with minimal resistance (if not enthusiastic cooperation).
As the PLA continues to push its modernization program towards its first milestone of 2020, it is likely to be much more thorough-going and successful than might have been expected, as a result of high level support and pressure, including the neutering of bureaucratic resistance.
Implications for American Decision-Makers
Coming out of the 19th Party Congress, Xi Jinping has consolidated his public hold on power. The Politburo and its Standing Committee, constituting the top leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, are now staffed by Xi’s own picks. Yet, the fate of Sun Zhengcai, who became Party Secretary of Chongqing under Xi, and whose program was praised by Xi in 2016, suggests that there is limited certainty under Xi.
For the PLA, this is likely to mean a redoubled focus on implementing military reform and modernization. Whereas lining one’s nest and engaging in political machinations could lead to being cashiered, or worse publicly disgraced, executing the ambitious reform effort is more likely to lead to accolades. Given the extensive reforms that are underway, including further deepening joint interoperability, improving training, and extending civil-military integration, there is plenty of work to occupy the PLA’s officer corps. By 2020, when it is believed that the first phase of these reforms should be completed the PLA will be fielding more ships, naval infantry, and modern fighters. As important, they are likely to be better trained, more integrated, and have the support of a massive industrial and human capital base.
For American and allied planners in the Indo-Pacific region, this means they will be facing a much more capable potential adversary in a few short years.

Dean Cheng is the Senior Research Fellow for Chinese Political and Security Affairs at the Heritage Foundation. Prior to joining Heritage, he worked at the Center for Naval Analysis and SAIC.
Image: Xinhua

Surf and Turf: China Ramps Up Navy to Challenge U.S. Dominance JANUARY 18, 2018 The Cipher Brief

Surf and Turf: China Ramps Up Navy to Challenge U.S. Dominance

PHOTO: KEITH TSUJI/GETTY
Bottom Line: As part of its ambitious strategy to evolve into a leading global power by 2050, China has spent considerable resources upgrading its naval capabilities. Through such undertakings, China has significantly enhanced its force projection in East Asia, where it has staked claim to disputed islands and waters as a means of expanding its sovereignty and procuring additional resources. China’s emphasis on upgrading its navy represents a worrying trend for the U.S. and its regional allies, as it threatens their territorial integrity and may ultimately enable China to challenge U.S. naval supremacy in the region.
Background: Since the mid-1990s, China has vastly upgraded its navy by undertaking across-the-board naval modernization. That includes the development of high-tech ships, advanced anti-ship ballistic and cruise missiles, unmanned vehicles and enhanced surveillance and reconnaissance systems.
  • The Chinese Navy, known as the Peoples Liberation Army – Navy (PLA-N), possesses more than 300 vessels, including surface combat ships, submarines, amphibious ships and patrol craft, according to a report released by the Department of Defense in May 2017.
  • China commissioned its first aircraft carrier, Liaoning, into service in September 2012, and its second, Shandong, was put into the water for its final stages of construction in April 2017. Furthermore, China reportedly is constructing its third aircraft carrier and could grow its carrier fleet by an additional three in the coming years.
  • China’s submarine force consists of five nuclear attack submarines, four nuclear ballistic missile submarines, and 57 diesel attack submarines, according to the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence. The Pentagon projects that, by 2020, China’s cadre of submarines will likely grow to more than 70 boats. China’s four operational JIN-class nuclear-powered submarines represent Beijing’s first sea-based nuclear deterrent. Each is armed with 12 JL-2 nuclear-armed submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs).
  • In addition, China has invested heavily in advanced anti-ship missiles, such as the hypersonic DF-21D, referred to by some experts as the “carrier killer.” Such weapons could be used to protect Chinese interests abroad, including in the Middle East and Africa, especially as China established its first overseas naval base in Djibouti this summer. China also is working on a deal with Pakistan to establish a naval base near the Chinese-built port of Gwadar in the southwest of the country.
  • During a visit to China’s naval headquarters last May, Chinese President Xi Jinping emphasized the need for China to become a great maritime power. China’s defense ministry quoted Xi as saying that the navy should “aim for the top ranks in the world” and that “building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top-ranking global military.”
Adm. (ret) Paul Becker, former Director of Intelligence, the Joint Chiefs of Staff
“The Chinese Navy, known as the Peoples Liberation Army – Navy (PLA-N), has been increasing its proficiency both on and under the waves by building and employing sophisticated missile-equipped ships and silent submarines with advanced weaponry and developing a growing network of sensors that extend from space to the seabed. When it comes to naval missilery, China is second to none. The PLA Air Force has also increased their overwater strike training profiles in the last several years, and is producing land-based short- and medium-range anti-ship ballistic missiles which can reach as far as Guam. Functionally, PLA capabilities have improved through extensive live fire, command and control and electromagnetic spectrum training. They’ve improved seagoing skills by extended underway periods in traditional operating areas within the First Island Chain, and for the past several years out to the open seas, which includes a near-continuous presence in the Indian Ocean. The reclamation of land and militarization of disputed areas in the South China Sea, development of overseas port infrastructure in Southwest Asia and a base in Africa establishes a foundation for PLA-N’s sustained presence and operations in both near and distant seas.”
Adm. (ret.) Jonathan Greenert, former Deputy Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet and Commander, U.S. Seventh (Asia-Pacific) Fleet
“China’s ‘recent’ naval capability upgrade is embedded in, and a part of, an overall strategy to improve PLA readiness and capability. To become a great power, China assessed its economic, diplomatic-influence and security posture. In particular, looking northeast, east and south, China concluded it was vulnerable, contained by the U.S. and its allies. Further, it was least capable in the maritime domain. A key element of their series of five-year plans was building the capability and force structure to defend key interests and be able to influence or control events within the First Island Chain – an area roughly defined by Japan’s islands, the Philippine Islands, the South China Sea, Malaysia and Indonesia.”
Issue: China has used its enhanced naval capabilities to project maritime power in East Asia at the expense of U.S. strategic interests and the territorial integrity of U.S. regional allies. Through its naval might, China has laid claim to various disputed outposts in the South and East China Seas and threatens the freedom of navigation in these contested waterways.
  • Beijing and its neighbors have staked sovereign and economic claims over various outposts in the East and South China Seas, sparking ongoing disputes. In the South China Sea, the Scarborough Reef is contested by China, the Philippines and Taiwan. The Luconia Shoals are disputed by China, Taiwan and Malaysia. Reed Bank is claimed by China, Taiwan and the Philippines. The Paracel Islands are contested by China and Vietnam. Parts of the Spratly Islands are claimed and occupied by China, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam. In the East China Sea, China and Japan have an ongoing dispute over the Senkaku Islands.
  • The U.S. Department of Defense report released in May cited the controversy over China’s “nine-dash line,” which Beijing claims demarcates its territories in the East and South China Seas. “China has depicted its territorial claims in the South China Sea with a nine-dash line that encompasses most of the waters in the South China Sea,” the Pentagon reported. “China remains ambiguous about the precise coordinates, meaning, or legal basis of the nine-dash line. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam all contest aspects of China’s territorial and maritime claims in the South China Sea.”
  • China has also built artificial islands in the South China Sea, particularly within the contested Spratly Islands. The U.S. has criticized China’s buildup of military facilities on the artificial islands and is concerned they could be used to restrict free movement through the South China Sea, an important trade route. By deploying its navy throughout the region, China has disrupted the freedom of navigation in these areas.
Adm. (ret.) Sandy Winnefeld, former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
“China’s asymmetric, anti-access area-denial approach is specifically designed to inhibit our ability to support allies and partners in the region. For example, it is becoming more and more hazardous to operate on and even above the sea in the Western Pacific. Advanced anti-satellite, anti-ship ballistic missiles, and anti-ship cruise missiles are particularly concerning. We have not been attacked in recent years by a state-of-the-art cruise missile, and it is a very difficult threat to counter – you can’t wish it away.  In particular, China is determined to build capabilities that will first develop and then sustain their freedom of action inside the first island chain, including the South China and East China Seas.”
Adm. (ret.) Jonathan Greenert, former Deputy Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet and Commander, U.S. Seventh (Asia-Pacific) Fleet
“China’s strategic interests are regional, vital-interest defense and influencing and controlling events and areas within the First Island Chain. Further, China is developing and deploying the capability to protect the ‘lines of communication’ to assure global access to energy. For example, China is undertaking ‘piracy’ deployments to the Gulf of Aden and increased operations in the Indian Ocean.”
Response: The U.S. government has worked to craft a strategy in response to China’s rapidly evolving naval capabilities. By enhancing its own naval capabilities, augmenting regional force posture, reaffirming commitments to allies, and ensuring the freedom of navigation, the U.S. Navy has bolstered its unrivaled naval supremacy in East Asia.
  • The U.S. Navy has initiated expansive measures to further improve capabilities, prioritizing the readiness of its service members, the incorporation of new technology and equipment, and cooperation with partners and allies.
  • In the Pacific, the U.S. Navy plans to augment its force posture by increasing its share of forward-deployed ships from approximately 54 to around 67 by 2020.
  • The U.S. has cooperated with allies to offset China’s expanding regional presence. For example, a May 2016 deal between the U.S. and the Philippines permitted the U.S. to deploy conventional forces at five bases in the Philippines for the first time in decades.
  • The U.S. has also sailed warships through the South China Sea to promote the freedom of navigation in contested waters. In October, a U.S. Navy destroyer sailed near the Paracel Islands, emitting a response from the Chinese Defense Ministry, which called the act a “provocation.” While these flare-ups carry the potential for larger conflict, the U.S. undertakes such measures to signal its commitment to preserving critical freedoms of navigation as China expands its military presence in the South China Sea.
Adm. (ret.) James Stavridis, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander and Dean at The Fletcher School at Tufts University
“The U.S. must continue to operate in strong support of freedom of navigation by conducting maritime and aviation patrols over Chinese-claimed international waters; strengthen partnerships and alliances with key nations in the region — Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and others; build a much stronger partnership with India, an emerging superpower and potential ally; work on the technological and tactical counters to Chinese programs; and — conversely — work on creating a modus vivendi with China. We are not ‘destined for war,’ but we could certainly stumble into one if we are not careful. We need a mix of confrontation and cooperation, and an effective diplomatic strategy to lay aside a capable military in the region. We are a Pacific nation in every way, and need to continue our engagement in the Indo-Pacific region.”
Anticipation: China’s commitment to boosting its naval capacity represents a growing challenge to U.S. naval supremacy in the Pacific Ocean and beyond. Although the U.S. government has worked to formulate a strategy to ensure that its Navy maintains its competitive advantage on the high seas, China’s rapidly evolving naval capabilities present an alarming cause for concern.
Adm. (ret.) James Stavridis, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander and Dean at The Fletcher School at Tufts University
“China is waking up to the global maritime strategy of Alfred Thayer Mahan, an influential U.S. naval officer and historian, and will challenge the U.S. seriously on global waterways as the century unfolds.”
Bennett Seftel is director of analysis at The Cipher Brief. Follow him on Twitter @BennettSeftel.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

China research ship Kexue to survey Benham Rise is jointly owned by PLA NAVY (PLAN) and civilian government and listed as part of PLA Navy Fleet

WARNING

My info: China research ship "Kexue" jointly owned by PLA Navy or China Navy. "Type 625C, named as Science (Kexue, 科学) .."manned by a mixed crew of civilian and naval crew" because these this is "jointly owned by PLAN and civilian governmental agencies.” 

Please note that it is listed as part of the PLAN Fleet (China Navy). IMHO survey to be conducted in Benham Rise will be a Naval survey in support of China's military objectives in the Western Pacific.

"The method of deployment of the third and fourth ships of Type 625C, respectively named as Science (Kexue, 科学) 1 and Practice (Shiian, 实践) 3, reverted to the way it was done for earlier Type 625A/B series in that these ships are manned by a mixed crew of civilian and naval crew because these ships are jointly owned by PLAN and civilian governmental agencies. Build by the same shipyard, Science 1 cost ¥ 16.88 million and has a different internal layout than earlier two units, with a total ten labs on board. Construction of Science 1 actually begun before the two naval units, and the ship was also launched before the two naval units. However, because many new equipment was incorporated, most of which was for the very first time, sea trials took much longer and the ship entered service after the two naval units and hence considered the third ship of Type 625C. Experienced from Science 1 helped the fourth unit, Practice 3, which had more advanced scientific instruments. In addition to equipment on board, Practice 3also differs from previous three units in that it has a total of fourteen labs on board. Specification:[2]
  • Length (m): 104
  • Draft (m): 4.9
  • Displacement (t): 3324
  • Main propulsion: two diesel engine @ 5280 hp each
  • Cruise speed (kn): 15
  • Max speed (kn): 19
  • Range (nmi): 8000
  • Accommodation: 38 crew + 63 scientists
 Type  Pennant #  Builder  Laid down  Launched  Commissioned  Status  Fleet 
625COcean 11Hudong-Zhonghua ShipyardSept 1980Jun, 1981Nov 24, 1981ActivePLAN
625COcean 12Hudong-Zhonghua ShipyardSept 1980Jul, 1981Nov 24, 1981ActivePLAN
625CScience 1Hudong-Zhonghua ShipyardDec 4, 1979Jan 19, 1981ActivePLAN
625CPractice 3Hudong-Zhonghua ShipyardActivePLAN

From Wikipedia


image: http://media.philstar.com/images/the-philippine-star/headlines/20180118/kexue-benham-rise.jpg
Weighing 4,711 tons, China Daily described Kexue as a “moving laboratory on the sea” capable of global voyages and all-day observations. Photo from Institute of Oceanology of Chinese Academy of Sciences website

Read more at http://beta.philstar.com/headlines/2018/01/18/1779010/xQgdjQBpsJlq7Apy.99#BqzMpZg4HOwTKyXt.99


MANILA, Philippines — China will deploy its most sophisticated research ship to study Philippine waters, including the potentially resource-rich Benham Rise (Philippine Rise).
Rep. Gary Alejano (Magdalo party-list) earlier slammed the Department of Foreign Affairs for allowing the Institute of Oceanology of Chinese Academy of Sciences (IO-CAS) to conduct research in waters off Eastern Luzon, where Benham Rise is located, and off Eastern Mindanao.
The Chinese marine exploration will take place on January 24 to February 25 this year.
In a press conference in Beijing last Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang confirmed that Chinese research vessel "Kexue" will survey Philippine eastern waters, adding that such a cooperation would further strengthen the two countries’ bilateral relations.
“China commends this decision made by the Philippine side on agreeing to China's scientific activities and offering facilitation,” Lu said.
“We welcome Philippine scientific research institutions' participation and would like to work with them to advance maritime practical cooperation in marine research and other fields so as to create a favorable environment for the sound, steady and sustainable development of bilateral ties,” he added.
The $87.5-million Kexue was handed over to IO-CAS in 2012, newspaper China Daily reported. In September 5 last year, Kexue reportedly finished a month-long scientific exploration of the western Pacific Ocean.
Weighing 4,711 tons, China Daily described Kexue as a “moving laboratory on the sea” capable of global voyages and all-day observations.
Kexue can also conduct water body detection, atmospheric exploration, deep-sea environment exploration and remote sensing information verification.
In 2012, the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf approved the Philippines’ undisputed claim to the Benham Rise.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier signed an Executive Order officially renaming Benham Rise to “Philippine Rise” to assert the country’s sovereignty there following reports that Chinese research vessels were spotted surveying the area in 2016.
The Philippine Navy now regularly patrols the continental shelf.
According to Alejano, the Chinese researchers will be joined by the University of the Philippines – Marine Science Institute “as a requirement.”
Alejano also revealed that a similar plea was lodged by French-based non-profit organization Tara Expeditions Foundation, but it was declined by the DFA.
The lawmaker said Tara Expeditions was a better choice if Manila was seeking additional resources and manpower to study eastern waters, noting that France, unlike China, has no territorial conflict with the Philippines.
For his part, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said the law gives equal chance to foreign countries to study Philippine waters as long as there are Filipinos on board.
Foreign marine researchers must also share their findings and data with their Filipino counterparts, Cayetano added.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The National Interest Why Navy Aircraft Carriers Might Be Unsinkable The National Interest

THE BUZZ

The National Interest

Why Navy Aircraft Carriers Might Be Unsinkable

The National Interest 
Although U.S. aircraft carriers are protected by the most potent, multi-layered defensive shield ever conceived, they do not take chances when deployed near potential adversaries.  Their operational tactics have evolved to minimize risk while still delivering the offensive punch that is their main reason for existing.  For instance, a carrier will generally not operate in areas where mines might have been laid until the area has been thoroughly cleared.  It will tend to stay in the open ocean rather than entering confined areas where approaching threats are hard to sort out from other local traffic.  It will keep moving to complicate the targeting challenge for enemies.  It will also use links to other joint assets from the seabed to low-earth orbit to achieve detailed situational awareness.
Large-deck, nuclear-powered aircraft carriers are the signature expression of American military power.  No other combat system available to U.S. warfighters comes close to delivering so much offensive punch for months at a time without requiring land bases near the action.  As a result, the ten carriers in the current fleet are in continuous demand from regional commanders -- so much so that extended overseas combat tours are becoming the norm.
Nobody really doubts the utility of large-deck carriers. There's nothing else like them, and the United States is the only nation that operates a fleet big enough to keep three or more carriers continuously deployed at all times.  However, two issues have come up over and over again since the Cold War ended that have led at least some observers to question why carriers are the centerpiece of America's naval fleet.  One concern is that they cost too much.  The other is that they are vulnerable to attack.
The cost issue is a canard.  It only costs a fraction of one-percent of the federal budget to build, operate and sustain all of the Navy's carriers -- and nobody has offered a credible alternative for accomplishing U.S. military objectives in their absence.  Critics say carriers are more expensive than they seem because an accurate accounting would include the cost of their escort vessels, but the truth of the matter is that the Navy would need a lot more of those warships if it had to fight conflicts without carriers.
The vulnerability issue is harder to address because putting 5,000 sailors and six dozen high-performance aircraft on a $10 billion warship creates what military experts refer to as a very "lucrative" target.  Taking one out would be a big achievement for America's enemies, and a big setback for America's military.  However, the likelihood of any adversary actually achieving that without using nuclear weapons is pretty close to zero.  It isn't going to happen, and here are five big reasons why.
(Recommended:  5 Ultimate Battleships)
Large-deck carriers are fast and resilient:  
Nimitz-class carriers of the type that dominate the current fleet, like the Ford-class carriers that will replace them, are the biggest warships ever built.  They have 25 decks standing 250 feet in height, and displace 100,000 tons of water.  With hundreds of watertight compartments and thousands of tons of armor, no conventional torpedo or mine is likely to cause serious damage.  And because carriers are constantly moving when deployed at up to 35 miles per hour -- fast enough to outrun submarines -- finding and tracking them is difficult.  Within 30 minutes after a sighting by enemies, the area within which a carrier might be operating has grown to 700 square miles; after 90 minutes, it has expanded to 6,000 square miles.
Carrier defenses are formidable:  
U.S. aircraft carriers are equipped with extensive active and passive defenses for defeating threats such as low-flying cruise missiles and hostile submarines.  These include an array of high-performance sensors, radar-guided missiles and 20 mm Gatling guns that shoot 50 rounds per second.  The carrier air wing of 60+ aircraft includes a squadron of early-warning radar planes that can detect approaching threats (including radar periscopes) over vast distances and helicopters equipped for anti-submarine, anti-surface and counter-mine warfare.  All of the carrier's defensive sensors and weapons are netted together through an on-board command center for coordinated action against adversaries.
Carriers do not operate alone.  Carriers typically deploy as part of a "carrier strike group" that includes multiple guided-missile warships equipped with the Aegis combat system.  Aegis is the most advanced air and missile defense system in the world, capable of defeating every potential overhead threat including ballistic missiles.  It is linked to other offensive and defensive systems on board U.S. surface combatants that can defeat submarines, surface ships and floating mines, or attack enemy sensors needed to guide attacking missiles.  In combination with the carrier air wing, these warships can quickly degrade enemy systems used to track the strike group.  Carrier strike groups often include one or more stealthy attack subs capable of defeating undersea and surface threats.
Navy tactics maximize survivability: 
Although U.S. aircraft carriers are protected by the most potent, multi-layered defensive shield ever conceived, they do not take chances when deployed near potential adversaries.  Their operational tactics have evolved to minimize risk while still delivering the offensive punch that is their main reason for existing.  For instance, a carrier will generally not operate in areas where mines might have been laid until the area has been thoroughly cleared.  It will tend to stay in the open ocean rather than entering confined areas where approaching threats are hard to sort out from other local traffic.  It will keep moving to complicate the targeting challenge for enemies.  It will also use links to other joint assets from the seabed to low-earth orbit to achieve detailed situational awareness.
New technology is bolstering carrier defense: 
Although there has been much speculation about emerging threats to aircraft carriers, the Navy invests heavily in new offensive and defensive technologies aimed at countering such dangers.  The most important advance of recent years has been the netting together of all naval assets in an area so that sensors and weapons can be used to maximum effect.  Initiatives like the Naval Integrated Fire Control - Counter Air program link together every available combat system in a seamless, fast-reacting defensive screen that few adversaries can penetrate.  Numerous other advances are being introduced, from the penetrating recon capabilities of stealthy fighters to shipboard jamming systems to advanced obscurants that confuse the guidance systems of homing missiles.
The bottom line on aircraft carrier survivability is that only a handful of countries can credibly pose a threat to America's most valuable warships, and short of using nuclear weapons none of those is likely to sink one.  Although the Navy has changed it tactics to deal with the proliferation of fast anti-ship missiles and the growing military power of China in the Western Pacific, large-deck aircraft carriers remain among the most secure and useful combat systems in America's arsenal.  With the unlimited range and flexibility afforded by nuclear propulsion, there are few places they can't go to enforce U.S. interests.  And at the rate the Navy is investing in new warfighting technologies, that is likely to remain true for many decades to come.
Loren B. Thompson is Chief Operating Officer of the non-profit Lexington Institute and Chief Executive Officer of Source Associates, a for-profit consultancy. Prior to holding his present positions, he was Deputy Director of the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University and taught graduate-level courses in strategy, technology and media affairs at Georgetown. He has also taught at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
This first appeared in 2016.