USS America, Gabrielle Giffords, integrate operations

49656076242 ed1807959dSOUTH CHINA SEA - Amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6), flagship of Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 7, conducted operations with littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10), March 13.

America, the Navy’s newest amphibious assault ship and Gabrielle Giffords, the fifth Independence-class littoral combat ship, joined forces while operating in the South China Sea.

The two warships operated together exercising command and control and executing tactical maneuvers. This is the first time the two ships have worked together.

“Integrating Gabrielle Giffords into the America Expeditionary Strike Group for this underway period adds to one of the ESG's greatest strengths - our versatility,” said Rear Adm. Fred Kacher, commander, ESG 7. “By combining America's lethality provided by the Navy-Marine Corps Team with the speed and maneuverability of a littoral combat ship, we're forging new ways to operate together in one of the most important regions in the world.”

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How would China’s ‘String of Pearls Project’ affect India’s security?

tải xuống 1On July 12, 2017, Chinese troops have sailed for setting up the country's first-ever overseas military base in Djibouti (Africa). This Chinese step shows that China is trying to trap India through different base around its neighbouring countries. China is creating a ring around India which is named "String of Pearls" by the media.

What is “The String of Pearls” Project?

“The String of Pearls” is a geopolitical theory related to potential Chinese intentions in the Indian Ocean region. It refers to the network of Chinese military and commercial facilities and relationships along its sea lines of communication, which extend from the Chinese mainland to Sudan Port.

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Malaysia should embrace compliance on its overlapping continental shelf claim

tải xuốngRecently, international observers have been puzzled to see Malaysia undertaking oil and gas operations in the overlapping extended continental shelf area defined by its 2009 joint submission with Vietnam to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS). As reported by AMTI, the West Capella, a drillship contracted by Malaysian national oil and gas company Petronas, entered and began operations within the “Joint Defined Area” on December 21, 2019. This move has provoked a three-way standoff between Malaysia, China, and Vietnam involving warships, coastguard, militia, and civilian vessels. Why would Malaysia choose to ignore its 2009 joint submission with Vietnam and undermine ASEAN solidarity?

Whatever its motivations, Malaysia should err on the side of caution. Instead of venturing into undertakings in the Joint Defined Area which may not be lawful, Malaysia should consider doing what is certain to be consistent with international law.

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Why the Coronavirus Could Threaten the U.S. Economy Even More Than China’s

merlin 169675881 3eb0ddaf-b804-48d2-96c4-c30a9fa9d614-superJumboAfter a string of deaths, some heart-stopping plunges in the stock market and an emergency rate cut by the Federal Reserve, there is reason to be concerned about the ultimate economic impact of the coronavirus in the United States.

The first place to look for answers is China, where the virus has spread most widely. The news has been grim with deaths, rolling quarantines and the economy’s seeming to flat line, though the number of new cases has begun to fall.

Advanced economies like the United States are hardly immune to these effects. To the contrary, a broad outbreak of the disease in them could be even worse for their economies than in China. That is because face-to-face service industries — the kind of businesses that go into a tailspin when fearful people withdraw from one another — tend to dominate economies in high-income countries more than they do in China. If people stay home from school, stop traveling and don’t go to sporting events, the gym or the dentist, the economic consequence would be worse.

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Three-way fray spells toil and trouble in South China Sea

Malaysia-Vietnam-JDA-South-China-Sea-ATMI-MapMANILA – A new three-way dispute has broken into the open in the South China Sea, one that brings two Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) members into conflict along with China over coveted energy resources.

Malaysia, Vietnam and China have for weeks been locked in a quiet naval standoff in a disputed southwestern area of the sea, marking a new source of acrimony in ASEAN and Beijing’s latest bid to block Southeast Asian claimants from tapping the maritime area’s rich bounty of oil and gas.

Beijing has deployed its so-called “monster” China Coast Guard (CCG) vessels to an area it considers part of its continental shelf. Of the trio involved in the remote sea standoff, China has by far the greater naval firepower.

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Beijing: Factor that stirs up the South China Sea in 2019

tải xuốngThe award of July 12th, 2016 by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) on the Philippines vs. China case completely rejected China's "nine dash line" claim in the South China Sea. However, China neither followed the ruling nor ceased to promote field activities and propaganda to enforce their absurd claim, making the situation in the South China Sea in 2019 extremely tense.

In 2019, China has simultaneously increased the activities of survey, law enforcement, and militia vessels, increasingly violating the waters of Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and even Indonesia which are in the far south of the South China Sea.

The South China Sea File in ASEAN 2020

imagesVietnam takes on the rotating Chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as the situation in the South China Sea is extremely intense and the US-China strategic competition is getting fiercer over the South China Sea issue. Following the harassment and encroachment in Vietnam's waters from July 4 to October 24 of Chinese survey vessel group Haiyang Dizhi 8, which consisted of several coast guard and militia vessels, the fact that Chinese law enforcement vessels continuously violated Indonesian waters during the few last days of December 2019 signals a not so peaceful and calm South China Sea in 2020.

Observers question how Hanoi will handle situation in the context of an increasingly aggressive China in the South China Sea. This is considered a big challenge for Vietnam as ASEAN Chair. How should Vietnam handle this situation so that it does not become tangled in the US - China competition; at the same time, taking advantage of the support from the US as well as the international community to protect its legitimate interests in the South China Sea while saving face for its northern neighbor?

The South China Sea in 2019 and the vision in 2020

tải xuống 1The South China Sea in 2019 can be summed up with the following characteristics: China’s rise and increasing presence after the 2016 South China Sea ruling; the reaction of smaller countries wishing to restore the legal order based on the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982) when ASEAN has yet to produce an unified stance; the United States and its allies’ attempt to shape the Indo-Pacific strategy, and the desire for more presence of countries outside of the region. The South China Sea with its role of business linkage between two oceans, geostrategic position, economy, and resources still catches the attention of international public opinion.

After the completion of military features in the Spratlys, China expanded its activities to increase the presence of maritime law enforcement forces in the South China Sea to assert its nine-dash line claim. These activities have directly violated the exclusive economic zones (EEZ) and continental shelves of countries in the region as determined in accordance with UNCLOS 1982. From July to October 2019, Haiyang Dizhi 08 vessel conducted illegal exploration activities deep in Vietnam’s continental shelf and EEZ, sometimes only about 80 nautical miles from the Vietnamese coast. The scope of the survey was within the 9 blocks that China National Offshore Oil Corporation called for bidding in 2012 on the basis of its nine-dash line claim which was rejected by the Arbitral Tribunal in 2016. In February and May 2019, Chinese vessels besieged the Thitu island to block Philippine supply vessels and intended to expand construction on the island[1]. Malaysia said that by October 2019, Chinese vessels spent 258 days in waters claimed by Malaysia[2]. In September 2019, there was a rumor about Exxon Mobil withdrawing from a project off the coast of Vietnam[3]. There were also several rumors and pieces of information about fishing boats being sunk. In January 2019, Vietnam accused Chinese coast guard vessels of sinking fishing boats and then leaving[4]. In June 2019, Vietnamese fishing boat rescued Philippine fishermen at sea whose boat got sunk[5]. In December 2019, China returned to Scarborough Shoal to chase away Filipino and Vietnamese fishermen. The bases being built on Scarborough Shoal will create the PSS (Paracels-Scarborough-Spratlys) diamond triangle which gives China control to all maritime and security routes in the South China Sea. China continues to carry out projects on rescue centers, coastal cities, floating nuclear power plants in Spratlys; launch submarines, large underwater research equipment, and do military exercises with aircraft carriers in the South China Sea. These activities are the largest ever in terms of scope, scale, and time. They aim at: (1) asserting the nine-dash line claim and rejecting the 2016 ruling – after the ruling, China made new arguments on the Four Sha that Nanhai Zhudao has an EEZ and continental shelf, which essentially is to defend the nine-dash line claim for a strategic purpose of total control of the South China Sea; (2) pressuring the parties concerned to give up settling disputes by legal means; (3) pressuring foreign investors in oil and gas exploration to abandon projects with countries adjacent to the South China Sea in order to implement the policy which allows no non-regional country to participate in resource exploration and exploitation in the South China Sea; (4) promoting "setting aside dispute and pursuing joint development"; (5) protest against freedom of navigation activities by the US and other countries; (6) promote COC negotiations in a way that benefits China; (7) creating a counterbalance for the "Belt and Road" initiative to the Indo-Pacific strategy of the US and its allies; (8) being a bargaining card when needed in strategic competition among great powers; (9) launching an oceanography research strategy for the next decade. Still, it cannot be denied that China makes itself available for negotiation through channels such as a bilateral consultation mechanism on maritime issues between Malaysia and China established in September 2019[6], the China – Philippines Inter-Governmental Joint Steering Committee and the Inter-Entrepreneurial Working Group on oil and gas development established on August 29th, 2019. The mechanism of the working group on maritime issues between Vietnam and China is still maintained. Nonetheless, given China’s ambition to control the South China Sea, such mechanisms can barely make smaller countries feel at ease.

The South China Sea: A prediction for 2020?

tải xuống
The year 2019 ended with the “swirling waves” in the South China Sea due to increased Chinese bullying, threats, and aggressiveness against neighboring countries in the South China Sea. All the three countries directly involved in the South China Sea disputes, i.e. Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam - had to cope with violations by the Chinese coast guards, maritime militia, and survey ships.

These waves came to their peak when Chinese geological survey vessel Haiyang Dizhi 8 escorted by many coast guard and militia vessels went deep in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and continental shelf of Vietnam (sometimes only 100 nautical miles off the Vietnamese coast ) with their threats to obstruct and disturb Vietnam’s regular and established oil and gas activities.

2019 is also the year that the United States strongly engaged in the South China Sea by increasing both the frequency and the scope of the freedom of navigation operations (FONOPs) as well as American military air patrol; deployment of US Coast Guard coastal combat vessels; conducting joint exercises with ASEAN countries for the first time; coordinating with allies and partners for joint exercise, and encouraging them to increase their presences in the South China Sea.

Turbulence on the horizon in the South China Sea?

tải xuống 6The South China Sea remains a focal concern within the international community, grabbing headlines and placed firmly on the agendas of many bilateral and multilateral political and academic summits. While likely to remain relatively stable in 2020, worrying developments and uncertainties are on the rise.

Though negotiations over the text of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) are progressing, substantial divergences over key points are emerging and competition for influence and leadership in regional institution building is heating up. In particular, as the United States takes steps to implement its Indo-Pacific strategy, the South China Sea issue provides a major platform for containing China in the military and security domains.

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