World View: Japanese Warships Visit Vietnam, as China Moves Warplanes into South China Sea

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Japanese warships make historic port call to Vietnam
  • China deploys fighter jets to South China Sea
  • Russian fighter ‘strafing runs’ at US ship in Baltic Sea called ‘showboating’

Japanese warships make historic port call to Vietnam

Japanese ambassador to Vietnam Hiroshi Fukada (1st L, front) inspects a guard of honor on Tuesday at Cam Ranh Bay seaport.
Japanese ambassador to Vietnam Hiroshi Fukada (1st L, front) inspects a guard of honor on Tuesday at Cam Ranh Bay seaport.

Japan on Tuesday sailed two warships, the guided-missile destroyers JS Ariake and JS Setogiri, carrying 500 crew members, into Vietnam’s Cam Ranh Bay seaport. The visit is considered historic, since it is the first such visit since Japanese occupation of Vietnam ended at the end of World War II.

Cam Ranh Bay opens out into the South China Sea, and the visit by Japanese warships to Vietnam is clearly directed at China, and is an attempt to react to China’s belligerence. Japan’s constitution permits the military to be used only for self-defense, and these ships are part of the “Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force” (MSDF). But the concept of “self-defense” has recently been reinterpreted by Japan’s government to permit “collective self-defense,” which would allow the Japanese military to fight in a foreign in defense of an ally whose defeat could threaten Japan.

A statement by Japan’s Minister of Defense Gen. Nakatani said that he expected defense collaboration with Vietnam to grow and that Japan would work with other major powers such as the United States to ensure peace and stability in the South China Sea. Japan Times and Vietnam Net and The Diplomat

China deploys fighter jets to South China Sea

China plans for military control of the South China Sea have taken a big step forward, according to satellite imagery from April 7. Two Chinese Shenyang J-11 fighter jets have been deployed to Woody Island.

China is claiming the entire South China Sea, and is using its massive military force to confiscate regions that have historically belonged to other nations, especially Vietnam and the Philippines. China is building artificial islands and converting them to military bases with advanced missile and radar systems. ( “23-Feb-16 World View — China’s military buildup neutralizes America’s aircraft carriers”)

It is possible that the new deployment of jets was purposely timed to coincide with the port call of the two Japanese warships to Vietnam. Fox News and Sydney Morning Herald

Russian fighter ‘strafing runs’ at US ship in Baltic Sea called ‘showboating’

Russian jets appeared to be attacking the USS Donald Cook, sailing in the Baltic Sea. A U.S. official described the Russian maneuver as “strafing runs” without firing any weapons. The Russian aircraft were unarmed, but swooped in over the deck in the same flight profile that would have been used if an attack was underway. They buzzed the USS Cook 11 times, at one point within 30 feet of the ship.

This appears to be one of the political relations games that Russia’s president Vladimir Putin is playing to show how tough he is. The Navy did not shoot down the Russian planes because they were not a credible threat according to Capt. Rick Hoffman, and they were visibly unarmed.

According to Hoffman, the Russian “simulated attack” was nothing but showboating:

“Well, we’re not at war with Russia. It would be one thing to be operating and have a threatening attack profile from someone who might not recognize me — that’s not the case here.”

You don’t get to kill people just because they’re being annoying. …

It would be real interesting to see what shows up in the Russian papers in the morning, how they play it. It’s not that different from North Korea. He does something and then he plays it domestically however he needs to play it for the purposes of getting his people energized.”

When Russian warplanes in Syria repeatedly violated Turkey’s airspace last year, the Turks finally shot one down, creating an international incident. However, it’s believed that Russian warplanes no longer violate Turkey’s airspace. CNN and Navy Times and YouTube

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Japan, JS Ariake and JS Setogiri, Vietnam, Cam Ranh Bay, Gen Nakatani, China, South China Sea, USS Donald Cook, Russia, Rick Hoffman
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