Monday, February 29, 2016

The War Battleground by Erick San Juan

The War Battleground by Erick San Juan

Woody Island, also known as Yongxing Island (in Chinese) and Phu Lam Island (in Vietnamese), is the largest of the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea. It is part of the Amphitrite Island Group in the eastern Paracels. Woody Island has been under the control of the People's Republic of China since 1956. It lies about 250 miles southeast of Hainan Island, which contains one of China’s main submarine bases.

Woody Island is no natural preserve, however. It has a port, and China built a runway and airfield on the island a quarter-century ago, in 1990. Late last year, China’s deployment of the more advanced J-11BH/BHS fighter aircraft to Woody Island, revealed in photographs released via online Chinese-language media websites in late October, underscores how seriously the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) is taking its claims to the South China Sea.

The new location could prove troublesome for US surveillance aircraft, such as the EP-3 Aries and the P-8 Poseidon, that fly through the area on a regular basis. In 2001, a collision between a Chinese fighter and EP-3 resulted in the death of a Chinese fighter pilot and the forced landing of the EP-3 on Hainan Island. In 2014, a Chinese fighter harassed a P-8 in the vicinity of Woody Island, which followed with a strong verbal protest by the Pentagon.

Bonnie Glaser, director of the China Power Project, Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the Chinese are demonstrating to the US, other claimants to the South China Sea and their domestic audience that they intend to protect their sovereignty. (Various sources online).

With these things in place in the Paracel Island group before, to add more war materiel should not be a problem because as the Chinese say, they just “want to protect their sovereignty.” But the recent deployment of HQ-9 SAM (surface-to-air- missiles) to Woody Islands known as the “Red Banner”, (each missile has a top speed of Mach 4.2, range of 200-km and a flight ceiling of roughly 27-30km), the waters in the South China Sea began to boil again.

“At the end of the day, Obama and all the leaders of ASEAN agreed that any territorial disputes in the South China Sea should be resolved peacefully and through legal means. But there’s no joint mention of China. In reality, U.S. can do nothing about China’s militarization of Woody Islands, or any other islands for that matter, that Beijing chooses to, without starting a war.

And it’s hard for U.S. to justify a war with China over territorial disputes in the area without looking like a fool and hypocrite. U.S. would be a fool to start a war because if you look at the world map, there’s a country called Russia whose leader Vladimir Putin would orgasm the moment Barack Obama declares a war on China.

U.S. would be a hypocrite to say China cannot claim islands in the South China Sea because they are not within mainland China’s territory when America can claim Guam, which is thousands of miles away from home. Get real, Beijing doesn’t give two hoots about what U.S. thinks, let alone ASEAN countries’ scream for their fair share of the area.

Did US made a tactical mistake when they sent destroyers and P-8 Poseidon surveillance aircraft, spying and intimidating the Chinese? Now, Beijing can easily justify the needs to send more military equipments, including more HQ-9 SAM to their islands under the pretext of protecting the country’s people and assets. There are tons of reasons why China is claiming 90% of Spratly Islands.

For a start, the South China Sea is home to US$5 trillion in annual global trade. By China’s own calculations, the area has oil reserves of 7-billion barrels and 900-trillion cubic feet of natural gas, making South China Sea the second “Persian Gulf”. But most importantly, islands here will serve as strategic military outposts to China.

As military bases, these reclaimed islands are like “unsinkable aircraft carrier” to China. In addition to the Senkaku (Diaoyu) Islands; Spratly Islands, Scarborough Shoal, Paracel Islands and Pratas Islands are strategically located so that everything within the South China Sea could be reachable by Chinese military assets in two hours or less. (Source: Why China Can “Take” Any Island In South China Sea … And Get Away,

What was not told is China's thirst for more wealth through world war loots, rare earth metals and fresh drinking water which can be extracted in several Asian nations.

The mere fact that U.S. could do nothing about the Chinese expansion in the South China Sea through reclamation and militarizing it in the process without starting a war, did we ever consider the glaring fact that our “big brother” had to re-establish its relationship with its allies in the region to do the dirty work (a.k.a. proxy war) for them? Like in our case, we have been used in the past as the big brother’s cannon fodder and in the end we were short-changed, and now this.

The reality to start a war in the region (and later globally) is not far-fetched, and as I always say, any miscalculation and stupidity, and maybe through a false flag op, the battleground to the next war could be right in our backyard. Especially now that China's President Xi Jinping is fighting several fronts from within and from without.

No comments: