World View: China Threatens Military Seizure of South China Sea Island from Philippines

World View: China Threatens Military Seizure of South China Sea Island from Philippines

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Vietnam reverses policy and become openly anti-China
  • China threatens military seizure of South China Sea island from Philippines
  • China tests hypersonic speed missile vehicle

Vietnam reverses policy and becomes openly anti-China

Up until recently, Vietnamese policy was to very carefully avoidoffending China, even to the point of using security forces to crushany civilian anti-China protests. However, Vietnam has apparently nowcompletely reversed that policy. 

The occasion is theanniversary of a naval clash between South Vietnamese andChinese naval forces on January 19, 1974. China’s superiornaval power crushed the Vietnamese forces, and China seized someof the Paracel Islands controlled by Vietnam and has occupiedthem ever since.

For forty years, Vietnam has never mentioned the battle for fear ofoffending China; it’s not even included in modern history books. Now, however, Vietnam’s state media is publicly marking the event and printingnumerous articles on the subject, describing how the islands weretaken by China by force and the heroic actions of the Vietnamesesailors. Public meetings have been held to commemorate the battle, andthere are calls to recognize the “martyrdom” of the fallen soldiersand offer support to their families.

This highly nationalistic policy change by Vietnam’s government comesjust a few days after China demanded foreign fishing vessels askpermission from China’s military before fishing in the South ChinaSea, something that infuriated the Vietnamese who, at the very least,claim to have as much right to fish in the South China Sea as theChinese do.

Things have really changed rapidly in the past few months.China has threatened Japan militarily over the Senkaku/DiaoyuIslands, and Japanese nationalism has surged. Nationalismhas sharply increased in the Philippines and Vietnam. For years we’ve been reporting on the vastly increased nationalismin China, especially among the younger generations. With tensionsgrowing throughout the region, it would not take much foran accident or miscalculation to spiral into a larger militaryconfrontation. BBC

China threatens military seizure of South China Sea island from Philippines

A Chinese media article published over the weekend says that China ispreparing for a military invasion of the second-largest of the SpratlyIslands. Pagasa Island is administered by the Philippines. Chinacalls it the Zhongye Island and claims ownership, along with vast areas ofthe South China Sea including regions that have historicallybelonged to Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines.China has threatened to use its vast military power to threaten andsubdue any neighboring nation that disobeys its orders. This comesjust a few days after China escalated tensions by demanding that anyforeign fishing vessel ask permission from China’s military beforefishing in the South China Sea.

Pagasa Island is designated a town in the Philippines with a civilianpopulation of nearly 200 and an airstrip with 50 soldiers. In March2011, the Philippine military announced plans to upgrade the airfield.

According to a translated summary of the Chinese media report:

Relying on US support, the Philippines is so arrogantas to announce in the New Year that it will increase its navy andair force deployment at Zhongye Island, a Chinese island that ithas illegally occupied for years. It will be an intolerableinsult to China.

According to experts, the Chinese navy has drawn a detailed combatplan to seize the island and the battle will be restricted withinthe South China Sea. The battle is aimed at recovery of theisland stolen by the Philippines from China. There will be noinvasion into Filipino territories.

A report in the Philippines Star confirmed the Philippinesmilitary buildup on the island.

The article said that the attack will occur in 2014. This would bethe second such military seizure by China. In 2012, China used threatof military force to seize the Scarborough Shoal from the Philippines.

Some analysts are speculating that China’s new military policy will beto seize all the islands in the South China Sea, one by one, countingon the fact that no single military act would force a response by theUnited States. China Daily Mail and Philippine Star

China tests hypersonic missile vehicle

China’s military on January 9 tested a new ultra-high speed missile aimed at delivering warheads too quickly for U.S. missiledefense to respond. The new weapon is being dubbed the WU-14 by thePentagon. The military advantages of hypersonic craft include precisetargeting, very rapid delivery of weapons, and greater survivabilityagainst missile and space defenses. 

Generational Dynamics predictsthat China is rapidly and aggressively preparing for preemptive waragainst the United States. As we’ve reported on a number ofoccasions, China is rapidly preparing new missile systems for anattack with maximum surprise and maximum force striking America’scities, military installations, aircraft carriers, and satellites.America’s defenses have been weakened in recent years by defensecutbacks, and the massive release of secret information by EdwardSnowden may have left America’s defenses completely exposed. 

OnWednesday, China confirmed the test of the new hypersonic missiledelivery vehicle but claimed that it was a scientific test, not amilitary test. Free Beacon (Washington) and Reuters

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