Golez: Let this be a warning to the Philippines: "China Doesn't Care about Your Rules-Based Order" https://t.co/scYWcjz323 Philippine Star INQUIRER.net Rappler MANILA BULLETIN ABS-CBN News ANC 24/7 DZRH DZXL Super Radyo DZBB 594khz Karambola Dwiz Cmn Catholicmedia
I quote from this National Interest article:
1. China undertook island-building in spite of global; outrage: "In case anyone needs reminder: Beijing’s island-building in the South China Sea was subjected to a torrent of criticisms, including from scientists who warned of a marine ecocide by the massive dredging work.
2. China ignored arbitral tribunal ruling: "And the biggest poke into Beijing’s eye—the Arbitral Award on Manila’s legal challenge, announced in July last year.
"The award took China aback, albeit only temporarily. It refrained from escalation and mended ties with its Southeast Asian rivals through enticements. But Beijing has been obfuscating its deeds in the South China Sea. Behind diplomatic niceties championing cooperation with ASEAN, it persists with fortifying those artificial islands. Does Beijing care about being called out by others? Truth is, it doesn’t, but instead passes them off as “defensive” preparations against foreign meddling while others denounced such as militarization.
3. China will continue ignoring rule of law and global order: "So let’s get real, Beijing will continue with this lawfare, justifying what it does as following what others have been doing to itself. And for better effect, couch this all within the boilerplate “Century of Humiliation” narrative: China was victimized in the past, but was too weak then to resist. A stronger China now should right the wrong and is beyond reproach.
4. China does not mind what others say: "With its newfound diplomatic, economic and military clout comes newfound confidence—real or misplaced if you may call it—that Beijing will exploit for its interests. Never mind what others say. Only historical grievances matter. Such pent-up resentment translates into strength to challenge those perceived wrongs.
5. China rewriting rules: "For one, Beijing sought to paint the existing rules-based order as an archaic Western-centric product. The West’s perceived decline fuels China’s quest to rewrite rules, and propagate an alternative vision for rules-based order. Following Donald Trump’s election and the looming anti-globalization wave, Xi was quick to seize the opportunity to present China as the world’s new stabilizing force, in his keynote address in Davao early this year.
6. China projects Asia for Asians (reminiscent of Japan's call during the Second World War): "In other words: Asians run Asian security affairs, the others should butt out of it. This logically includes the maritime disputes Beijing has long been entangling with its neighbors. The “new Asian security concept” gives Beijing self-conjured legitimacy to rule every extra-regional involvement as “meddling” and therefore, justified for tough counteraction. More insidiously perhaps, this exclusivity concept allows Beijing complete leverage over its weaker rivals shorn of extra-regional support, using its suite of carrots and sticks.
6. China's double standard: "It’s one thing about the PLA Navy exercising freedom of navigation and overflight off foreign coastlines, quite another about defending against foreign encroachment into “Chinese airspace and waters” that are over the twelve-nautical-mile territorial limit surely. But there’s no double standard from Beijing’s standpoint.
"Therefore, no point calling out Beijing on its double standard, since it won’t pay heed. While it cherry picks on international rules and norms to pursue interests abroad, including freedom of navigation and overflight for the PLA, it’ll also ensure more resolute response against foreign military activities off its coastline, even in international realms. One needs to brace for more high-octane action from the “heroic” PLA just not too long ago exhorted by Xi to “defeat all invading enemies.”
7. Note China's moves: History indicates that the future trajectory doesn’t augur well.
- August 2014: a PLA J-11 fighter jet came within twenty feet of a U.S. Navy P-8 maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft in international airspace over the South China Sea, performing a barrel-roll at close range and flashed past the nose of the American plane with its undersides exposed to show its weapons.
- May 2016: a pair of Chinese J-11 jets conducted an unsafe intercept of a U.S. Navy EP-3 reconnaissance plane in international airspace over the South China Sea.
- May 2017: a pair of PLA Su-30 jets confronting a U.S. Air Force WC-135 reconnaissance plane over the East China Sea. One of them even flew inverted directly above the American aircraft.
- May 2017: a pair of PLA J-10 fighter jets flew about 200 yards in front of a U.S. Navy P-3 Orion and began conducting multiple turns which restricted the latter’s ability to maneuver, in international airspace over the South China Sea.
- July 2017: a pair of Chinese J-10 jets intercepted a U.S. Navy EP-3 in international airspace over the East China Sea. One of them flew underneath at high speed, decelerated and pulled up some 300 feet in front of the American plane.
8. Chinese moves not good for confidence building: "Well-informed observers are aware of these trends. But more troubling are two things. First, the recurrence of these incidents is not for want of confidence-building measures. Three months after the August 2014 intercept, Chinese and U.S. defense authorities promulgated the Memorandum of Understanding on the Rules of Behavior for Safety of Air and Maritime Encounters. A Supplement to this MOU was published the following September. Captain Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman noted after the May 2016 incident that “Over the past year, we have seen improvements in PRC actions, flying in a safe and professional manner.” Perhaps CBMs did have an effect. Yet the Pentagon’s observation began to sound hollow after the recurring incidents in 2017.
"Second, what’s worrisome is that Chinese official justifications for dangerous intercepts appear to indicate acceptance of this practice by the PLA frontline units—at least acquiesced even if not officially sanctioned by the top party and military leadership. Predictably, Beijing would dismiss such close-proximity intercepts as completely legitimate. “The relevant actions were professional and safe,” Senior Colonel Wu Qian, the Chinese defense ministry spokesman stated in response to the May 2017 unsafe intercepts.
"Well, never mind that in the first place, there is no tactical or intelligence rationale, or value to maneuver a highly agile fighter jet this close to a typically ungainly target like the EP-3 or P-8, do barrel rolls or pull up from underneath. Therefore, such maneuvers are either trying to impress the pilot’s aerobatic finesse upon the victim, or purely for intimidation purposes, or even both. It’s baffling to see Beijing justifying such antics. But one just needs to look back in history.
"Remember Lieutenant Commander Wang Wei? He was the Chinese naval fighter pilot presumed dead after colliding with a US Navy EP-3 reconnaissance plane during an unsafe intercept in international airspace off Hainan back in April 2001. Over sixteen years since, this incident might have faded away from the outsiders’ memories. But Wang remained deeply etched in collective Chinese nationalistic memory—a noteworthy victim of contemporary China’s sufferance under foreign humiliation.
"Wang’s loss back then was a tremendous blow to the PLA combat aviation, for he enjoyed an illustrious record as an accomplished fighter pilot, one of the few who swiftly qualified for “all weather” overwater flight operations and one of the first amongst his peers to hit 1,000 flying hours. However, for all his accolades as an up-and-rising star of PLA combat aviation, Wang was also known to be a risk-taker—a trait which resulted in the collision and his demise. Yet Beijing never regarded his actions as reckless. Following the fateful incident, Wang was posthumously conferred the honorific title “Guardian of Territorial Airspace and Waters,” and the Order of Heroic Exemplar First Class—the highest military decoration awarded by the Chinese Government. If anything, it appeared to be the top leadership’s glowing endorsement for daredevil, if recklessly fatal, action.
"Wang has since been immortalized and sets the benchmark for PLA combat aviators to emulate. They are expected to demonstrate similar patriotic zeal when confronting foreign aggressors. A comic strip designed by some avid Chinese artist, revolving around contemporary PLA intercepts of American plane (in this rendition, the P-8 was featured), and several memorials of the lost aviator, including a specially dedicated website, impressed upon this obligation.
"Back then, Wang flew the mediocre J-8 fighter jet, a late-Cold War relic gradually phased out from frontline service. The present PLA that Xi presided over during the recent parade is bristling with newer, state-of-the-art equipment, and more in the pipeline. Wang’s successors—today’s young breed of PLA combat aviators—fly vastly more capable Sukhoi jets and indigenous clones. Just like how newfound material clout has given Beijing newfound confidence to seek its place under the sun, including its way of cherry picking on international rules and norms, so is the case for these aviators.
"Yet the picture is more troubling than that. Wang didn't pull a barrel roll at American planes; his younger successors did while flying more capable jets. Even if one considers conservatism within the frontline units, at least the nationalistic and brash ones would strive to best Wang's zeal. Such customary, inherent instincts that typify a combat aviator—that being aggressiveness and initiative—could only be fed steroids by loud and shrill popular sentiments carrying certain societal expectations of their duties.
"And the warning sign is worrisome. In February this year, an armed Russian Su-24 jet buzzed the USS Porter in the Black Sea, closing within 200 yards of the destroyer at an altitude of just 300 feet and a speed in excess of 500 knots. Chinese netizens cheered the daredevil action and even called upon the PLA to emulate the Russians. Granted, this might not be mainstream, but it does have a potential to magnify into one. Somewhat uncannily, three months after the Black Sea incident the pair of unsafe intercepts over the East and South China Seas took place. Did popular sentiments have an effect of egging on PLA combat aviators to prove their zeal? We won’t know with perfect certainty.
"But what’s certain is that when foreign militaries seek to exercise freedom of navigation and overflight in international domains near Chinese coasts, they can expect more aggressive behavior from PLA service personnel helming high-performance killing machines. Forget about Beijing’s double standard regarding user state’s rights in the EEZ. Believing that China will alter its behavior just because of foreign criticisms amounts to dangerous wishful thinking. One can continue trying to socialize Beijing into mainstream practice on freedom of navigation and overflight, but likely not meet progress because of its ingrained prejudices conditioned by history and contemporary world view.
10. Need for stressing international rules and norms: "Emphasizing international rules and norms is necessary of course, but not the panacea. Things evolve much faster at the tactical and operational levels, and that’s where the real dangers reside. It’s time for regional governments to talk less and do more on operational CBMs. But what truly matters is at the national-level, where concerned governments seriously need to ensure they do not send the wrong signal, for political mileage, to their militaries (and coastguards, and populace at large for that matter) by encouraging impulsive, reckless actions on the ground that can have potentially dire strategic repercussions. They need to stress upon professional ethics amongst service personnel destined for deployment into harm’s way. By so doing, maybe we stand a higher chance of averting a repeat of the April 2001 tragedy."
America: China Doesn't Care about Your Rules-Based Order
The National Interest