China reorganizing military to close gap with US

China’s armed forces are undergoing a sweeping five-year reorganization aimed at creating central control over the military’s nearly autonomous branches and creating a more lethal fighting force to close the gap with U.S. capabilities, analysts say.

The restructuring is the most profound undertaken since the 1950s when Soviet advisers helped modernize the nation’s post-civil war military, changes that will likely challenge long-held assumptions by the Pentagon, according to David M. Finkelstein, director of the China Studies division of CNA, a Washington, D.C.,-based research center. [READ MORE]

China started using artificial facilities to establish de facto control over the South China Sea

On January 2nd 2016, the Vietnamese Press voiced condemnation against China’s test flight to the Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratlys Archipelago, quoting Vietnamese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Le Hai Binh when he asserted that China’s above-mentioned action had seriously violated Viet Nam’s sovereignty over the Spratlys, run counter to the common understanding of high-level Vietnamese and Chinese leaders and the Agreement between Viet Nam and China on the basic principles guilding the settlement of sea-related issues as well as the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), threatening peace and stability in the South China Sea, diminishing political trust between the two countries and negatively affecting the neighbourliness and good sentiments between the Vietnamese and Chinese peoples.

India will not step back in the South China Sea

SCSC - On 1st September 2015, the Chinese Taipei’s Want China Times reported that India's Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) was ready to move an oil platform into the South China Sea for oil and gas exploration in the sea of Viet Nam.

All of a sudden, China’s media blatantly criticized the Indian project signed with Viet Nam on oil and gas exploration in the South China Sea, declaring such project an illegal and unwise action that would affect the Sino-India relations[1].

Kerry to press China over North Korea, urge ASEAN unity over South China Sea

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry began a visit to Asia on Sunday in which he plans to press China to put more curbs on North Korea after its nuclear test and to urge Southeast Asia to show unity in response to Beijing's claims in the South China Sea.

Kerry started what will be a three-day stay in the region in Laos, the 2016 chair of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). He will head to Cambodia on Monday night and then on to Beijing for talks on Wednesday with the leadership there. [READ MORE]

Countries Should Play By Same Rules In South China Sea: Barack Obama

WASHINGTON: In a clear signal to China, US President Barack Obama today said all countries should play by the same rules in international law including freedom of navigation in the South China Sea while India can be an anchor of stability in the Asia Pacific and Indian Ocean region.

He also said India and US will continue to expand their military exercises and maritime cooperation so that the two forces become "interoperable". [READ MORE]

US forces to continue flying, sailing in South China Sea

Moscow – US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has stated that Beijing is taking steps which will lead to international isolation amid ongoing tensions over disputed territories in the South China Sea.

The comment by the Pentagon top official was made on Friday at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Carter offered that the US is not seeking an excuse for a clash with China, but noted that the American military will keep operating in the region. [READ MORE]

Japan and India need to deal with the South China Sea dispute

China’s recent acknowledgement that it is establishing its first overseas military base in the Indian Ocean rim nation of Djibouti, located on the Horn of Africa, represents a transformative moment in its quest for supremacy at sea.

With Chinese submarines now making regular forays into India’s maritime backyard right under the nose of its Andaman & Nicobar Command, New Delhi must now face up to a new threat from the south. [READ MORE]

Vietnam Objects to Chinese Oil Rig in Disputed Waters

HANOI, Vietnam — The Vietnamese government has lashed out against the presence of a Chinese oil rig in the disputed waters of the South China Sea, the latest in what Vietnam says are a series of provocative actions by Beijing this month.

While the dispute raised tensions between the Communist neighbors, there were no signs yet of the heated escalation that characterized a similar episode in 2014, when relations between the two countries plummeted and anti-Chinese demonstrations spiraled into deadly riots. [READ MORE]

By 2030, South China Sea will be ‘virtually a Chinese lake,’ study warns

China will have so many aircraft carriers by 2030 that the South China Sea will be “virtually a Chinese lake,” a new U.S. study warns, arguing that the balance of power in the Asia-Pacific region was shifting away from the United States.

Meanwhile, President Obama’s strategic “rebalance” to Asia has neither been clearly enough explained nor sufficiently resourced to cope with rising threats from China and North Korea, the report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies found. [READ MORE]

Deterring Chinese Coercion in the South China Sea

Realizing the strategic importance of the South China Sea (SCS) in its “rebalancing” policy, the United States in 2015 took several specific actions to challenge China’s maritime claims in the region.

Doctrinally, the Defense Department released the Asia-Pacific Maritime Security Strategy, which described China as the major source of instability, and articulated U.S. efforts to stabilize the SCS. [READ MORE]

China nearly completes 2 more runways in S. China Sea: U.S. think tank

The Center for Strategic and International Studies, a major think tank in Washington, revealed the finding after China conducted a first series of test flights earlier this month on a runway it already built in the Spratly Islands.

The United States believes China has built or is building airstrips on artificial islands on at least three reefs through massive reclamation in the Spratlys, where China is involved in territorial disputes with other claimants such as the Philippines and Vietnam. [READ MORE]

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