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South China Sea: Satellite Imagery Makes Clear China’s Runway Work at Subi Reef

Satellite imagery of Subi Reef in the South China Sea taken September 3, 2015 clearly shows subgrading for a runway. At a width of approximately 60 meters, the subgrading could support a runway equal in width to that recently constructed by China at Fiery Cross Reef.

The current extent of subgrading at Subi is approximately 2,200 meters, with obvious preparations for a longer span underway. [READ MORE]

US may send fleet to pass South China Sea islands: Nikkei

After China sent a fleet of ships through the Bering Strait off the coast of Alaska in the run-up to the military parade in Beijing to mark the 70th anniversary of World War II on Sept. 3, the US is considering deploying ships and planes to pass by China's man-made islands in the South China Sea, according to Tokyo-based magazine Nikkei Asian Review.

Five PLA ships passed through US territorial waters when they passed within 12 nautical miles of the Aleutian islands. [READ MORE]

Japan, U.S. running undersea listening post to detect Chinese subs

The Maritime Self-Defense Force and the U.S. Navy are jointly operating an undersea submarine detection system on the floor of the Pacific side of the Nansei Island chain, including Okinawa, as part of efforts to counter China’s rising maritime activities, sources said.

The latest model of the sound surveillance system, or SOSUS, allows Tokyo and Washington to detect Chinese submarines traveling from the East China Sea and Yellow Sea to the Pacific, sources in the Defense Ministry and the MSDF said Wednesday. [READ MORE]

China’s Boastful Display of Military Might and its Economic Weakness

If you fill a glass to the top with water, then add a few milliliters more, you get a bump of surface tension which – with a minute amount of pressure – breaks and spills water down the sides of the glass.

This is a fairly accurate metaphor for China’s policies of expansion, land reclamation, military displays of strength and general economic growth plans over the past few years. Since China was officially formed in 1949 as a ‘people’s democratic dictatorship,’ the country has been one of the fastest growing economies and one of the most dynamic world powers. [READ MORE]

Malaysia and U.S. in Talks to Ramp Up China Spying

The U.S. and Malaysia have been secretly discussing expanded use of Malaysian territory for hosting U.S. spy planes to patrol the South China Sea, in response to increased Chinese activity in the disputed territory.

Following a series of incursions into Malaysian waters by Chinese vessels in recent months, talks between the U.S. government and the office of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak have intensified, two senior U.S. defense officials said. [READ MORE]

Australia keen to join India, U.S. naval drills

Australia wants to join India, the United States and Japan in joint naval exercises in the Indian Ocean, widening participation in multilateral drills as China's influence in the region grows.

Australian Defence Minister Kevin Andrews said expanding the exercises to include more countries would help avoid military mistakes in a region where China and India are increasingly competing. [READ MORE]

SecDef Carter Tells McCain Chinese Can Come To RIMPAC

In a July 16 letter to Senate Armed Services Committee chairman John McCain, Carter goes to some lengths to avoid offending China, on the one hand, and, on the other, to placate McCain and the committee’s ranking member, John Reed, who don’t want China taking part in RIMPAC 2016.

The two defense lawmakers wrote Carter a May 21 letter about this. In his response to the SASC leaders, Carter says China “is engaging in some conduct that is causing us to respond and to draw closer to the many allies and partners that share our concern.” [READ MORE]

Japan joins U.S.-Philippine humanitarian drills amid China Sea dispute

Japan has joined U.S.-led maritime humanitarian exercises off the Philippines for the first time, as concerns mount among the three allies about China's growing assertiveness in the disputed South China Sea.

A Japanese navy replenishment ship was in Subic Bay, a former U.S. naval base, to refuel a U.S. Navy floating hospital en route to Vietnam for the seven-nation humanitarian mission. [READ MORE]

US, China bicker over territorial claims in South China Sea

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — The United States and China clashed Wednesday over who is to blame for rising tensions over territorial disputes in the South China Sea with Washington demanding a halt to "problematic actions" in the area and Beijing telling foreign parties to keep out.

In blunt but diplomatic terms, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi suggested that efforts to ease tensions over competing claims remained a contentious work in progress despite hopes for movement on ways to resolve them here at a Southeast Asian regional security forum. [READ MORE]

Southeast Asian Countries Warm to US-Proposed Freeze on South China Sea Land Reclamation

Ahead of the ASEAN Regional Forum summit this week, a number of Southeast Asian countries have called for a halt to land reclamation activities in the South China Sea, Reuters reports.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman (and this year’s ARF chairman) said that the ASEAN members agreed that “exercising self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would complicate or escalate tension must be enhanced.” [READ MORE]

Defense white paper stresses threat posed by China

The Defense Ministry said Tuesday it remains deeply concerned about China’s maritime ambitions in the region, particularly in the light of Chinese domestic trends.

The defense white paper for 2015 examines a range of global threats and pays particular attention to China’s growing military assertiveness in the East China Sea and South China Sea, accusing it of “high-handed” actions to change the status quo by force. [READ MORE]

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