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10 Things You May Have Missed in DoD’s Asia-Pacific Maritime Security Strategy

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At first glance, the recently released Asia-Pacific Maritime Security Strategy looks like a rehash of a lot of old points about the US’ position on Pacific matters.

But upon closer examination, there is a key shift in language that those of us who watch the region will take note of.  Here are ten things you might have missed: [REAED MORE]

The military consequences of China’s island-building operations in Spratly archipelago

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SCSC - China is massively accelerating its land reclamation and island-building operations at a number of features that the country has occupied in Spratly archipelago. In addition, according to various satellite images and data collected by U.S. surveillance aircraft, China has placed artillery pieces[1] and extensively conducted military buildup, including a 3,000-meter long runway and airborne early warning radar systems[2].

China’s militarization of the Spratly area leads to a range of serious consequences.

First of all, as stated by U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense David Shear, Beijing could deploy long-range radars and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft (including unmanned aircraft) to claim a territorial sea or national airspace around any artificial features formed by China’s reclamation activities[3].

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How Should Vietnam Respond to China's South China Sea Oil Rig Return?

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The redeployment of a Chinese oil rig in the South China Sea (SCS) shows an inconsistency in the rhetoric and practice of China’s policy in the disputed waters. Together with its mass land reclamation activities, these actions are part and parcel of coercive diplomacy.

It affirms China’s territorial ambition in the highly strategic sea. But is it likely to escalate into regional conflict? [READ MORE]

PRESS RELEASE: Arbitration between the Philippines and the People’s Republic of China

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On Monday, 13 July 2015, the Arbitral Tribunal concluded the hearing on jurisdiction and admissibility in the arbitration instituted by the Republic of the Philippines against the People’s Republic of China under Annex VII to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (the “Convention”).

The hearing, which commenced on 7 July 2015, took place in the Peace Palace, the headquarters of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, the Netherlands. [READ MORE]

The geo–politics of Vietnam–US rapprochement

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The General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam, Nguyen Phu Trong, is currently on an official visit to the United States. Later this year, President Obama is also expected to pay a return visit to Hanoi. The visits are among a series of notable events that mark the 20th anniversary of bilateral normalisation this year.

The development of bilateral ties between the two Cold War enemies over the past 20 years is impressive. The United States is currently Vietnam’s largest export market. In 2014, Vietnam’s US exports amounted to US$28.66 billion, accounting for almost one fifth of the country’s total exports. By 2014, the United States had also become the seventh largest foreign investor in Vietnam, with the stock of registered capital reaching more than US$10 billion. [READ MORE].

Power play in the South China Sea

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The world is watching. It's the next step in the geopolitical calculus of power that includes the world's hot spots from Crimea, Syria and the South China Sea.

It’s been called many things: “death by a thousand cuts,” when each slice by the knife seems inconsequential until you get so many, you die; “salami slicing,” when you take it away slice by slice until it’s all gone; or “the cabbage strategy,” when an area is slowly surrounded by “leaves” like a fishing boat then a coast guard vessel – until it’s wrapped in layers like a cabbage. [READ MORE].

[Video] China has been changing the status quo of large-scale in the Spratlys

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SCSC - Recently, China has been conducting a large-scale land reclamation at 7 shoals and reefs in the Spratlys which they illegally took over from Vietnam. Notably, on Fiery Cross Reef, the reclamation area is five times larger than Itu Aba, formerly the largest island of the Spratlys.

International public opinion shows that the activities of China have violated international law, threatened peace and stability in the region, caused environmental pollution and destroyed marine ecosystems. SCSC is pleased to introduce a video clip reflecting this new situation.

Arbitration between the Republic of the Philippines and the People’s Republic of China

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Recently, the Permanent Court of Arbitration placed in The Hague, The Netherlands has issued its third Procedural Order for the case between the Republic of the Philippines against the People’s Republic of China. Down here the Southchinasea.com has edited and brought out the full text of the third Procedural Order.

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Another Look At The Military Base China Is Building On A Disputed Reef

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SCSC - A tropical coral reef has been transformed by the Chinese military into a base that could host a 3,000 - meter long airstrip and naval port, ready to push Beijing's territorial claim over the South China Sea.

Fiery Cross Reef, where China has constructed its new artificial island, lies in the Spratly Islands, a chain of 750 atolls and reefs. [READ MORE]

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Nytimes:China Said to Turn Reef Into Airstrip in Disputed Water

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SCSC - BEIJING — A major reclamation project by the Chinese government on a tiny reef 500 miles from the mainland would enable China to land military aircraft there, expanding its reach into the contested South China Sea, analysts have said.

The analysts’ report came as a group affiliated with the People’s Liberation Army hosted an international conference in Beijing on Friday and Saturday intended to showcase President Xi Jinping’s call for a new regional security architecture based on the concept of Asia for Asians, an idea that minimizes the role of the United States.[READ MORE]

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The Militarization of China’s Coast Guard

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 SCSC - Plans for China’s still nascent coast guard suggest troubled times ahead in disputed waters.

With new “China Coast Guard” ships entering service at regular intervals, it is easy to forget that the China Coast Guard as an organization does not yet exist in any complete sense. Legislation passed in March 2013 to integrate the ranks (duiwu) of four maritime law enforcement agencies into a new China Coast Guard within a re - constituted State Oceanic Administration (SOA) was a pledge of commitment rather than a plan of action. [READ MORE]

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