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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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China Building Offshore Military Base in South China Sea

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SCSC - Satellite images reportedly reveal construction of artificial island large enough to accommodate an airstrip

China is reportedly building an island on a reef in the disputed Spratly Islands which is large enough to accommodate what could be its first offshore airstrip. [READ MORE]

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Maritime Disputes in the South China Sea: Five Minutes with Bill Hayton

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 SCSC - GJIA: Why is the threat of direct military confrontation in the South China Sea, a region with a long history of territorial disputes, higher now than ever before?

BH: Its important to understand that there are two kinds of dispute in the South China Sea. The first is the territorial dispute between the countries surrounding the sea, and the second is the larger set of disputes regarding the role of international law. [READ MORE]

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Indonesia as a Maritime Power: Jokowi's Vision, Strategies, and Obstacles Ahead

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 SCSC - Earlier this year, electoral debate in Indonesia powered up a national discourse about the country’s intent, capabilities, and roadmap as a maritime power in the Indo - Pacific region. Indonesia’s newly installed president, Joko Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi, promised in his election manifesto in May 2014 to (1) focus on strengthening Indonesia’s maritime security, (2) expand the canvas of regional diplomacy to cover the entire region of the Indo - Pacific, and (3) project the Indonesian navy as a respected regional maritime power in East Asia.

[1] He further announced in June 2014 that he aimed to transform Indonesia into a “global maritime axis” (poros maritim dunia). [READ MORE]

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Hard diplomacy ahead despite China showing its softer side

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SCSC - (Reuters) - From a military rules - of - the - road agreement with Washington to$ 20 billion in loans for Southeast Asia, Beijing has set aside the tensions of recent years to present a softer side to the world in the last week.

But proof of whether President Xi Jinping is serious about narrowing differences that have marked his first two years in office will depend on how China's festering disputes are managed in the months ahead. [READ MORE]

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Philippine President Aquino favours code of conduct in South China Sea row with China

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 SCSC - Seeking United Nations arbitration to settle the Philippines' territorial rows with China would not be necessary if a "code of conduct" governing the contentious South China Sea could be concluded, Philippine President Benigno Aquino said Wednesday.

"If there's a formal code of conduct, then probably there's no need for arbitration”, Mr Aquino said in an exclusive interview with The Straits Times. [READ MORE]

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Conflict in the East and South China Seas: A Wikistrat Simulation

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SCSC - Last week saw yet another meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) which was hosted by Myanmar President Thein Sein on Nov. 12 and 13. ASEAN nations had initially hoped for further progress on territorial issues related to the East and South China Seas, yet once again came away with little agreement from Beijing, other than a promise by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang of$ 20 billion in loans and Beijing’s willingness to sign “friendship treaties” with ASEAN nations. Beijing also pledged RMB3 billion ($ 489 million) toward the fight on poverty, as well as other initiatives to boost infrastructure and economic development, in an effort to curry favor with those nations with which it has territorial disputes.

Over the last few years, the East and South China Seas have seen increasing conflict largely due to a more assertive and powerful China, which claims over 90 percent of the disputed waters. [READ MORE]

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Abe’s Humiliation in Beijing

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SCSC - The atmospherics of his meeting with Xi suggest there is little cause for optimism in bilateral relations.

For decades, Sino - Japanese relations were conducted under the principle of “separating politics and economics” (seikei bunri). In fact, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s 2006 book Utsukushii Kuni e [Towards a Beautiful Country], which embodied his grand vision for Japan during his first prime ministership, referred explicitly to Japan’s bifurcated policy of seikei bunri as the guiding principle of the Japan - China relationship. [READ MORE]

China Sea: India surfaces to protect Asean 'minnows'

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SCSC - The Modi government is showing increasing willingness to stand up to China by forging regional alliances.

As tension in the South China Sea continues to rise, countries like Vietnam and the Philippines are increasingly looking toward other regional powers to increase and maintain their interest in the Western Pacific. With growing India - Vietnam defence ties, Hanoi in particular is keen on India's presence in the region, be it for economic or strategic reasons. [READ MORE]

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