Tag Archives: South China Sea

​China, Russia to hold first-ever Mediterranean naval exercise

ARCHIVE PHOTO: Chinese and Russian naval vessels are seen during Joint Sea-2014 naval exercise outside Shanghai on the East China Sea, May 23, 2014

The Russian and Chinese Navies are to hold a joint exercise in the Mediterranean Sea in mid-May, a first in that part of the world. A total of nine warships from the two countries are to participate, Beijing said.

“The aim is to deepen both countries’ friendly and practical cooperation, and increase our navies’ ability to jointly deal with maritime security threats,” Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng said on Thursday in a monthly news briefing.

“What needs saying is that these exercises are not aimed at any third party and have nothing to do with the regional situation,” he added, saying that the Chinese Navy would contribute its warships currently on an anti-piracy mission in the Gulf of Aden.

Russia and China have previously held joint naval exercises in the Pacific in waters they both have direct access to. The Mediterranean Sea Cooperation-2015 drill would focus on navigation safety, at-sea replenishment, escort missions and live fire exercises, Geng said.

Moscow and Beijing are intensifying defense cooperation as both countries oppose US criticism of its military policies. China is being accused of aggressive deployments in the South China Sea, where it is contesting territories with several regional nations. The PLA’s Navy and Air Force have been increasingly at odds with Japan and South Korea, key American allies.

Russia has been subjected to economic sanctions over its position in Ukraine which, according to Washington, is threatening its NATO allies in Eastern Europe.

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US denies 10yr Philippines security pact aimed against China

Protest rally against the up-coming visit of President Barrack Obama.

A new security treaty between the US and the Philippines to be signed Monday isn’t aimed at containing China’s military might, but is rather ensuring stability in the Asia-Pacific region, American officials said.

The Enhanced Defense Cooperation agreement would permit the enhanced “rotational presence” of US forces in the Philippines.

The American military will also be able to train and conduct exercises with their Philippine counterparts for maritime security, disaster assistance and humanitarian aid.

It would also allow US troops, aircraft and ships to pass through the Philippines and see the creation of storages facilities for American equipment.

“We are not doing this because of China. We are doing this because we have a longstanding alliance partner [the Philippines]. They are interested in stepping up our military-to-military,” Evan Medeiros, Obama’s top advisor on Asia, was cited as saying by AFP.

Filipino negotiators previously said that the deal wouldn’t allow the US to establish military bases in the country, or position nuclear weapons there.

But Medeiros still called the document “the most significant agreement that we [the US] have concluded with the Philippines in decades.”

The treaty runs for 10 years, which is shorter than Washington was originally asking for, but it can be prolonged if both sides see it necessary, two senior US officials told Reuters.

An armed US marine patrols next to seahawk helicopters on the deck of 7th Fleet command ship, USS Blue Ridge shortly after arriving at the international port in Manila on March 18, 2014, for a port visit.

An armed US marine patrols next to seahawk helicopters on the deck of 7th Fleet command ship, USS Blue Ridge shortly after arriving at the international port in Manila on March 18, 2014, for a port visit.

Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and US ambassador Philip Goldberg will put their signatures under the deal on April 28, just a few hours before President Barack Obama arrives to the Philippine capital, Manila, as part of his week-long Asian tour.

The United States is expected to gradually deploy combat ships, a squadron of F18s or F16s and maritime surveillance aircraft to the Philippines under the deal, a military source told Reuters.

“We are considering bases in Northern Luzon like Clark and Subic, and Fort Magsaysay, to accommodate the US forces. We will set aside space in those bases for their troops,” the source said.

Clark and Subic were the two military bases maintained by the US military northwest of Manila until 1992, when the Philippines Senate voted to evict American troops from the country.

However, eight years later, the Senate approved an agreement allowing for temporary visits by US forces and joint military drills between the armies of the two states.

A total of 149 US Navy vessels visited the Philippines last year – almost a two-fold increase in comparison with 68 ships in 2012.

Manila has been seeking greater military and diplomatic support from the US in recent years, due to a territorial dispute with China.

Beijing, which claims most of the resources-rich South China Sea, has seized control of Scarborough Shoal in 2012 despite the island being situated far closer to the Filipino landmass than the Chinese.

The Chinese refused to participate in the UN tribunal on the validity of its territorial claims, which the Philippines imitated, saying that the move “seriously damaged” bilateral relations.

In March, Chinese vessels tried to block ships, which were bringing supplies to a Philippine military outpost on a tiny reef also claimed by Beijing.

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Missing Malaysia Plane Forces Countries to Weigh Security Secrets

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The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 launched an international hunt for any sign of the plane, causing dozens of countries to wrestle with putting aside national security and military secrets to try and find the plane.

After Malaysia admitted that its civilian air radar lost contact with the plane early Saturday morning, attention quickly turned to more advanced methods of detection, including military radar and satellites.

Now, all of the countries involved in the search – numbering at least 25 – are wrestling with how to share helpful information without giving away data that could threaten their safety later.

  • Malaysia was accused of being coy with satellite and radar data in the early days of the investigation, not releasing key radar data showing the plane’s turn-around until four days after the disappearance. The Minister of Foreign Defense said that the country was willing to put its own national security aside to try and find the plane.
  • Thailand waited 10 days after the plane disappeared to mention publicly that its military radar detected a plane that may have been Flight 370. Thai authorities said they didn’t share the information earlier because they weren’t specifically asked for it.  
  • China’s proposal to send four warships to help search for the plane was in jeopardy by India, which said it didn’t want to allow Chinese military access to its strategic Andaman and Nicobar islands, where India has a military base, according to the Times of India.
  • As the search moved from the South China Sea and Strait of Malacca to the Indian Ocean off Australia, Australian authorities would not describe what satellite imagery they used to determine where to search for plane wreckage. Australian and U.S. military have satellites controlled from Australia, but the investigators would not answer questions about the satellites due to proprietary state secrets.
  • The search has also forced countries with tense relationships to work together, including the United States, Pakistan and Iran. As U.S. investigators focused on hijacking as a possible cause for the disappearance, they quickly vetted two Iranian nationals who used fake passports to get on the plane, casting suspicion that Iranian terrorists had hijacked 370.
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China satellites spot suspected Malaysia Airlines plane debris

This aerial picture taken from aboard a Vietnamese Air Force Russian-made MI-171 helicopter shows a ship, as seen from the cockpit, sailing below during a search flight some 200 km over the southern Vietnamese waters off Vietnam’s island Phu Quoc on March 11, 2014 as part of continued efforts aimed at finding traces of the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370.

Chinese satellite images show three floating objects suspected to be debris from the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, according to reports. Coordinates place the fragments in the South China Sea between Malaysia and Vietnam

The three objects are sized 13×18, 14×19, and 24×22 (meters), according to CNN.

The images, from China’s State Administration for Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense, were taken on Sunday morning but only released Wednesday, the BBC reported.

Flight MH370 went missing on Saturday morning local time. The China-bound plane left Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with 239 people on board. The plane lost communication about an hour after taking flight.

If the location holds true, it would indicate that the plane crashed not far from the last confirmed radar contact with MH370. It would also contradict reports this week that the plane had turned around, heading back to Malaysia as far as the Strait of Malacca.

“It also ties in with an earlier claim from an oil rig worker who claimed he saw a plane on fire over the South China Sea, southeast of Vietnam,” the Guardian wrote.

Malaysian authorities who met with the relatives of the flight’s passengers on Wednesday told them that the last radio transmission from MH370 was either “All right, roger that,” or “All right, good night,” according to different reports.

RT News.

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Breaking News: Vietnam Navy official says Malaysian plane crashed into sea near Vietnam’s Tho Chu island: state media

reuters

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