Chinese dredgers work on the construction of artificial islands on and around Michief Reef in the Spratly Islands of the South China Sea on May 2. The U.S. Navy recently sent a warship to patrol near the Chinese regime’s man-made islands. (U.S. Navy)Chinese dredgers work on the construction of artificial islands on and around Michief Reef in the Spratly Islands of the South China Sea on May 2. The U.S. Navy recently sent a warship to patrol near the Chinese regime’s man-made islands. (U.S. Navy)

The foundation of the Chinese regime’s legal case and strategy for exploiting the South China Sea rested on a supposed historical ownership—and on July 12, an arbitration court in The Hague declared that this foundation is false.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) quickly shot back. A statement from its Foreign Ministry says it views the Tribunal’s decision as “null and void and has no binding force,” and says it “neither accepts nor recognizes it.”

In spite of the bluster issuing from Beijing, the CCP has lost its main line for propaganda and its best chance to establish a moral ground for its position on the South China Sea.

Yet, according to Dean Cheng, a senior research fellow at the Asian Studies Center at the Heritage Foundation, “it’s important to recognize this issue isn’t over.”

A Battle of Deception

One of the main strategies the CCP has employed in the South China Sea is what it calls the “Three Warfares;” which are legal warfare, psychological warfare, and media warfare.

The strategy works by manufacturing “legal” arguments, creating psychological pressure on adversaries, and manipulating news coverage. The Office of Net Assessment, a Pentagon think tank, described the strategy in a May 2013 report as a “war-fighting process that constitutes war by other means,” and that uses deception as a way to “alter the strategic environment in a way that renders kinetic engagement irrational.”

Cheng said the CCP’s use of legal warfare “was not really a matter of what other legal authorities say.” He noted that already there are Chinese law professors and others trying to discredit the Tribunal, and saying it has been tainted or has no authority.

At its heart, the CCP’s Three Warfares is a strategy for disinformation—a form of propaganda that functions by manufacturing a lie with a grain of truth, then using this lie as a foundation to make seemingly legitimate arguments. A key goal of disinformation is to get coverage in otherwise credible news outlets and think tanks, which can then be used to make additional arguments.

In the South China Sea, this strategy has manifested in the CCP’s claims that it has historical ownership over nearly the entire region; which gives it the right to manufacture islands, declare defensive perimeters around its artificial islands, and to chase ships from other nations out of the region.

The Road Ahead

The Tribunal’s website went offline shortly after the announcement, but an archive of its press release is still available.

According to the press release, the CCP boycotted the Tribunal, but even in China’s absence, the Tribunal took steps to “test the accuracy of the Philippines’ claims,” it states. This included questioning the Philippines, appointing independent experts to “report to the Tribunal on technical matters,” and “obtaining historical evidence concerning features in the South China Sea and providing it to the Parties for comment.”

In the end, the Tribunal overwhelmingly found the CCP’s claims to be false. It said in the press release it “found that China’s claim to historic rights to resources was incompatible with the detailed allocation of rights and maritime zones” in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and that any historic rights the CCP had to resources in the South China Sea were “extinguished by the entry into force of the Convention to the extent they were incompatible with the Convention’s system of maritime zones.”

The claims of various nations in the South China Sea. (VOA)

The claims of various nations in the South China Sea. (VOA)

Regardless of the decision, however, the CCP has repeatedly stated it would “neither accept nor participate in the arbitration unilaterally initiated by the Philippines,” according to the press release.

According to Cheng, the Chinese regime did not attend the hearings for the simple reason that “they knew their case was not going to stand up to current tenets of international law.”
But according to Cheng, “the Chinese were not going to make any concessions in the South China Sea before this, and they’re not going to now.”

He added that “there weren’t many countries that believed the Chinese position to begin with.”

Moving forward, it’s likely the CCP will make a new propaganda push to discredit the Tribunal, and it may try to manufacture a new disinformation line to base its claims on. It’s also likely the CCP will make a stronger push either with military strength or by starting more civilian ventures in the South China Sea.

The CCP has four masks it can wear in the South China Sea conflict: one for military intimidation, one for peaceful civilian ventures, one for financial gain, and another for strategic deception.

The ruling has put a dent in the CCP’s mask for strategic deception, but its other fronts remain largely unscathed.

“I think the Chinese are going to play the tourist card,” Cheng said, noting that already it has done tourist flights to the South China Sea. He said the CCP will also likely make new pushes with military power and may look for an economic component as well in order to justify its unlawful ventures in the region.

He noted that the CCP may also try a diplomatic approach, and build its own alliance, which could include Laos, Cambodia, and Brunei. He said it may offer these countries an agreement “to say, work with us you get something, oppose us you’ll get nothing.”

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The Chinese navy docked three ships at Tanzania’s Dar es Salaam Port on May 30 for a four-day meeting on how to fight piracy in the Indian Ocean, according to a report from state-run news outlet Xinhua.
Chinese diplomats and Tanzanian Navy officials attended a welcoming ceremony at the port, and the brief report notes the Chinese navy has been sending warships to the Gulf of Aden since December 2008 (as have many other nations) for escort missions, mainly due to the threat of Somali pirates.
The more important element to this story, however, is what’s not being said. The real story was detailed in a report published in The Namibian on Nov. 19, 2014, which said China was planning to build 18 naval bases with a goal to surround the Indian Ocean.
It said these alleged naval bases would be in countries including Tanzania, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Burma, Djibouti, Yemen, Oman, Kenya, Mozambique, Seychelles, and Madagascar. The source of the article in The Namibian was a 2013 story published in a Chinese state-run newspaper, the International Herald Leader.
The Chinese regime initially denied the report, but in the time since then, China has signed deals with every country listed to either gain port access or cooperate on building new ports.
China has also been stirring up trouble with India, with naval incursions that Indian officials have deemed too close for comfort. As Indian defense officials began to express their concerns, a senior captain from China’s National Defense University warned India on June 1, 2015, saying the Indian Ocean is not India’s backyard.
I detailed some of these incidents in a report on Oct. 26, 2015, and explained that China has a long-term interest in gaining influence over key chokepoints, and all signs suggest that the Indian Ocean will be its next naval focal point.
Richard Fisher, senior fellow with the International Assessment and Strategy Center, said in a previous interview that “one of the opening moves in China’s quest for global military and economic dominance” is to first break out of the South China Sea, “and then project into the Indian Ocean.”

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A Chinese state-run news outlets, Global Times, published a response on May 29 to rumors that China would begin sending nuclear-armed submarines for patrols in the Pacific Ocean. While it notes the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has made no official announcements on the patrols, it states that it’s time for the People Liberation Army to send “nuclear submarines into the depth of the Pacific Ocean for regular patrols.”
The report argues that the CCP has a “no first use” policy on nuclear weapons, and because of this, its nuclear ambitions are benign. The problem is that China’s “no first use” policy is little more than a widely-parroted lie.
“With regard to ‘no first use,’ a careful look at the Chinese wording of China’s ‘no first use’ policy reveals that it commits them to nothing,” stated Mark Schneider, a senior analyst with the National Institute for Public Policy, during a congressional hearing in March 2012.
While the CCP’s policy suggests it would not use nuclear weapons unless another country used them first, its actual policy is that it could use nuclear weapons to counter regular military attacks as well.
Schneider noted a report from Kyodo News Agency, which obtained classified Chinese military documents stating China “will adjust the nuclear threat policy if a nuclear missile-possessing country carries out a series of air strikes against key strategic targets in our country with absolutely superior conventional weapons …”
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He also notes that in 2000, the CCP “adopted a nuclear doctrine which allowed for ‘a preemptive strike strategy,’” which allows it to use “its tactical nuclear weapons in regional wars if necessary.”
The use of pre-emptive strikes is still a key element in Chinese military writings, and as Michael Pillsbury notes in his book, “The Hundred-Year Marathon,” this concept is at the heart of its “Assassin’s Mace” strategy, which the CCP has designed to defeat technologically superior opponents such as the United States. The strategy includes the use of high altitude EMP (HEMP) attacks, which would leverage the EMP field generated by nuclear weapons to destroy communication and control systems of a targeted country.

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The Chinese regime may soon deploy submarines armed with nuclear missiles for patrols in the Pacific Ocean, according to the Guardian. It appears the Guardian’s story is based more on analysis and not from a direct announcement by the Chinese military, but the analysis does hold its ground.
Chinese military officials are not commenting on when they will start the first patrols of their nuclear-armed submarines, but the report says they “insist the move is inevitable.” The Guardian also cites a May 18 analysis by the Federation of American Scientists on a report from the U.S. Department of Defense about China’s nuclear forces.
“China will probably conduct its first SSBN [ballistic missile submarine] nuclear deterrence patrol sometime in 2016,” the report says, and the analysis notes China has deployed submarines capable of carrying nuclear weapons in the past, but it was unclear on whether or not they were armed.
It says all four of China’s operational Jin-class SSBNs are in its Longpo (Yulin) Submarine Base on Hainan Island. It says China also has two Shang-class nuclear submarines at the base, and is constructing a fifth Jin-class submarine as well.
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Any deployment of the submarines would inevitably have them pass through the South China Sea (where Hainan Island is located).
If China deployment of nuclear weapons in the South China Sea, it would very likely inflame the already volatile tensions in the region. The Chinese regime claims the South China Sea almost in its entirety and has enraged many neighboring countries by building artificial islands with military bases, and used its military to chase off foreign ships.

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The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) made a stream of announcements on May 24 and 25 that it is deepening its military ties with several nearby countries, including Russia, Thailand, Myanmar (formerly Burma), and Malaysia.
At any other time, it would just appear the CCP had gone through a brief spat of highly-successful diplomacy. But in this case, the timing is important. All these agreements come just one to two days after President Barack Obama met with Vietnamese leader Tran Dai Quang on May 23 and officially ended the U.S. arms embargo on Vietnam.
On May 25, the CCP joined the “China-ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Informal Meeting” in Laos, and on May 24 it held the “18th round of strategic consultation between Chinese and Russian militaries,” according to China Military Online.
Chinese state-run news reports said on May 25 that Myanmar vowed to deepen military cooperation with China, Thailand vowed to improve its military relations with China, and Malaysia announced that it would strengthen its naval cooperation with China.
During the May 24 meetings in Beijing, Russia and China held discussions on military strategy and cooperation. The meeting was between Jianguo, Deputy Chief of Joint Staff Department of China’s Central Military Commission; and Lieutenant General Sergey Rudskoy, Deputy Chief of General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces and Chief of the Main Operative Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces.
Read MoreChina’s Response to Vietnam Arms Embargo Reveals Regime’s Own Ambitions
China and Malaysia also held another set of meetings on May 24, where they agreed to cooperate more on defense. According to Xinhua, the meeting was between Vice chairman of China’s Central Military Commission Xu Qiliang, and Malaysian Navy chief Dato’ Seri Panglima Ahmad Kamarulzaman bin Haji Ahmad Badaruddin.
And to top it off, on May 23, the same day Obama made his announcement alongside Quang, the Chinese and Thai militaries fired anti-aircraft missiles during a training in Thailand. China Military Online waited two days to post the announcement, and noted the drill between the two was the first of its kind.
This is likely the CCP’s way of telling the coalition that has formed against its aggression in the South China Sea that it also has a coalition of nations behind it.

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On May 24, the United States made a diplomatic move in the Asia–Pacific region that strengthens the growing coalition against the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), deepens U.S. influence in the region, and expands the number of nations around China that are shifting away from pacifism and inaction.
The CCP’s response was to welcome the move, and declare it a healthy development for the world.
If that response seems uncharacteristic of the CCP, you’re right, but only because its interests rest much deeper.
The move in discussion is President Barack Obama’s lifting of the decades-old arms embargo on Vietnam. He met with Vietnamese leader Tran Dai Quang and declared, according to The Associated Press, “This change will ensure that Vietnam has access to the equipment it needs to defend itself and removes a lingering vestige of the Cold War.”
In response, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said, according to a transcript, that China is “happy to see Vietnam develop normal relations with all countries, including the U.S.”
With the CCP, all of its responses—whether through its Foreign Ministry spokesperson or its state-run news outlets—are going to be tightly regulated, and with something on this scale, also tightly calculated.
What’s interesting about this development is that the CCP seems to have assessed that it’s more in its interest to feign support for the development than to criticize it. And its likely interest is the potential that this could act as a springboard for it to begin lobbying the United States and the European Union to lift similar arms embargoes on China—which were set in place after its Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989.
Vietnam’s poor human rights record has been one of the deal’s main points of criticism, and the fact that Obama went ahead with the deal despite this likely has some Chinese leaders rubbing their hands together.
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The Chinese regime pushes an ideology in its form of diplomacy that human rights shouldn’t get in the way of politics. This policy has enabled it to forge alliances with some of the world’s most despotic regimes, and to build its own bloc of influence with countries the United States and European Union refuse to deal with.
This factor has brought strong criticism onto the CCP, since its support of countries like North Korea allows totalitarian regimes to sustain themselves when they would otherwise very likely collapse.
Of course, Vietnam isn’t as bad as North Korea, but it is run by a communist one-party government, and it also has some of the same human rights abuses as other communist states. According to a freedom ranking of countries by Freedom House, Vietnam scored 20 out of 100 with being the least free. It notes that Vietnam has almost no political freedom and few civil liberties.
What’s interesting about China’s response to the new deal is that its propaganda thinkers have apparently assessed that the benefit of a muted response outweighs the benefit of criticism—particularly since this will likely shift the tides further against its favor in the Asia–Pacific region.
The deal itself is more symbolic than anything. Its main impact will likely be much less on Vietnam’s military strength and much more on how Vietnam is perceived globally.
Vietnam was already buying military vehicles and equipment from Russia, and the shift in U.S. stance is unlikely to make Vietnam much more of a military threat to China than it already is. Vietnam has more military personnel than the United States, with close to half a million in active service and a reserve force of three million.
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But if recent history tells us anything, the CCP does view this new deal as a threat and is holding its tongue. When the United States began lifting its arms embargo on Vietnam in 2014, the CCP’s state-run People’s Daily criticized the deal and accused the United States of interfering with the “balance of power in the region.”
The “balance of power in the region” is what this new deal will likely impact most. What it changes is how the United States views Vietnam, and it may help Vietnamese diplomacy with other nations as well. As Japan Times reported, it will reduce the “political sensitivity” that nations would otherwise face when strengthening ties with Vietnam.

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The Chinese regime allegedly sent two fighter jets to intercept a U.S. military plane in international airspace in the South China Sea.
A brief Pentagon statement announcing the incident was posted on Twitter by Dan Linden of ABC News. The Department of Defense (DoD) did not immediately respond to a phone call and email to confirm the claims.
It states the DoD is reviewing the incident, which took place on May 17. Two “tactical aircraft” were sent by the Chinese regime to intercept a U.S. maritime patrol reconnaissance aircraft.
Read MoreNew Orders Tighten China’s Grip on Military Hackers
The incident took place in international airspace, it states, “during a routine patrol of the South China Sea.” It notes that “initial reports characterized the incident as unsafe.”
Many details are still unclear—particularly the exact location of the incident.
The incident comes on the heels of a similar incident a week ago, on May 10. The Chinese regime scrambled two fighter jets and three warships, and had them chase the USS William P. Lawrence, a guided missile destroyer, near the Fiery Cross Reef.
Read MoreChina Deploys Fighter Jets to Chase US Destroyer in South China Sea
The Fiery Cross Reef is part of the Spratly Island chain in the South China Sea, and it’s about 500 miles south of the Chinese mainland. It’s internationally recognized as being in international waters, but the Chinese regime has claimed the reef where it constructed an island and a military base—complete with a nearly 10,000-foot airstrip.

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The Chinese regime scrambled fighter jets on May 10 to chase a U.S. Navy ship in a region of the south China Sea about 500 miles south of the Chinese mainland.
The United States is continuing its “freedom of navigation” exercises in the region, which several different countries claim parts of, and which China claims in its entirety.
The USS William P. Lawrence, a guided missile destroyer, passed within 12-nautical miles of the Fiery Cross Reef, which is in the Spratly Island chain. According to Reuters, the Chinese regime responded by scrambling two fighter jets and three warships, which shadowed the U.S. ship and told it to leave.
China converted the reef into an artificial island in a highly controversial move in 2014, and satellite imagery in Sept. 2015 showed the Chinese regime had started building advanced military facilities on the man-made island, including sophisticated radar.
According to The Diplomat, the Chinese regime had also constructed a runway on the artificial island close to 10,000 feet long. On Jan. 2, it conducted its first landing on the newly-built airstrip.
This isn’t the first time the Chinese regime has scrambled jets to chase foreign ships or aircraft in the contested region. In 2013, soon after China created a largely unrecognized air defense zone in the disputed East China Sea, it began scrambling jets to chase U.S. and Japanese planes passing through the region.
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This may, however, be the first time the Chinese regime has scrambled jets to chase foreign ships in a region this far south of the Chinese mainland.
The Chinese regime only recently began deploying jets in the South China Sea. In February, it began deploying jets on Woody Island, part of the Paracel Island chain closer to Vietnam and Hainan.
The jets it used in the recent incursion, however, were likely the two J-11 fighter jets it deployed in early April to Woody Island.

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The Chinese regime went ahead with tests of its newest ballistic missile on April 12, which can allegedly carry up to 10 nuclear warheads to any part of the United States.
It conducted the tests while also expressing discord over an upcoming decision from an international arbitration court about China’s claims to the South China Sea. The case, brought to court by the Philippines, could discredit China’s claims to the region.
Unnamed Pentagon officials revealed details on the missile test to the Washington Free Beacon. They allegedly monitored the flights of two missiles, which appeared on military satellites and regional sensors.
The officials did not detail the location of the test, but the Free Beacon notes in the April 19 article that previous tests were carried out from the Wuzhai Missile and Space Test Center in central China.
It also notes the tests came just three days before Defense Secretary Ash Carter visited a U.S. aircraft carrier in the South China Sea, and around the same time that a high-ranking Chinese general “made an unusual visit to a disputed South China Sea island.”
According to Dr. Bernard D. Cole, who teaches Sino-American Relations and Maritime Strategy at the National War College, the test was likely planned long in advance
“The DF-41 has been in development for at least 15 years, probably longer, so this is just the end of a very long development cycle,” he said in a phone interview.
The Free Beacon also noted that Kanwa Asian Defense reported last month that China’s new intercontinental ballistic missile was in its final testing phase, and they were expected to deply it near Xinyang in Henan province, in central China.
Cole said that China having a nuclear weapon that can strike the United States may not have a significant impact on how the United States deals with China, but it could affect the behavior of the Chinese regime.
“I don’t know that it’s going to make the U.S. approach different, if at all, but it will give China more confidence as they deal with issues,” Cole said.
He added, “It will build a confidence in their diplomacy and their miltiary status.”
Another factor is that the Chinese regime has been mulling over plans to change its policy on nuclear weapons from “survivability” to a hair-trigger status that has its missiles ready to launch at any moment.
The Union of Concerned Scientists noted China’s potential shift in policy in a Feb. 16 report. It said China may be moving “toward a policy of launch-on-warning and hair-trigger alert,” and noted the United States also uses a hair-trigger alert.
“Such a change would dramatically increase the risk of a nuclear exchange or accident—a dangerous shift that the United States could help avert,” it stated.
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According to Cole, the “worse case situation” with China’s new missiles and its alleged policy changes woudl be if policies of mutually-assured destruction were to emerge between China and the United States, similar to what existed between the United State and the Soviets during the Cold War.
He said, however, that there seems to be no indication that things are moving in that direction, yet noted “it’s possible.”
With the latest test in particular, Cole said, “it’s an important development, but I don’t think it’s a crucial one.”

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A naval officer who flew some of America’s most secretive aircraft, and who attended U.S. Navy nuclear training schools, has been accused of spying on the U.S. military on behalf of China and Taiwan.
Lt. Cmdr. Edward Chieh-Liang Lin, who emigrated to the United States from Taiwan, is now being held in a Navy brig in Virginia, according to U.S. Naval Institute News (USNI News).
It reports that Lin served as a “nuclear-trained enlisted sailor,” and as a “signals intelligence expert on the Navy’s sensitive EP-3E Aries II surveillance aircraft.”
According to the complaint, Lin’s charges include two cases of espionage, three cases of attempted espionage, five cases of communicating defense information, one count of patronizing prostitutes, one case of violating general order, and one case of adultery (which violates military law).
The complaint is heavily redacted, and details on the case are still somewhat slim, but USNI News was able to gain more information on the case from unnamed sources and open source military reports.
An unnamed U.S. official with information on the case told USNI News that in addition to allegedly passing secret military information to the People’s Republic of China, Lin also allegedly passed information to Taiwan.
The situation should become more clear as the trial starts. As USNI News notes, it’s not uncommon for U.S. allies, such as Taiwan and even Israel, to spy on the United States, but it is not common for an individual to spy on the United States on behalf of two governments—and this is likely even more so with Taiwan and Mainland China, which don’t exactly get along.
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Although news of Lin’s case is only now being widely reported, he has allegedly been in pre-trial confinement for close to eight months as he awaits trial. His Article 32 hearing (similar to a preliminary hearing in civilian courts) under the United States Uniform Code of Military Justice was held on April 8.
It has allegedly been designated a “National Security Case,” and USNI News notes “The cases are tried under an additional set of rules than normal courts-martial due to the sensitivity of the evidence involved in the proceedings.”
Lin’s case is currently in the hands of U.S. Fleet Forces commander Adm. Phil Davidson, according to USNI News, who will decide if it will proceed to a court martial (a military trial).

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New images suggest the Chinese regime has deployed anti-ship cruise missiles on Woody Island, in its latest move to weaponize disputed territory in the South China Sea.
An image of a YJ-62 anti-ship missiles being fired on what appears to be Woody Island was posted on China’s Weibo blog on March 20. The missile has a 248-mile range, and is designed to sink modern warships.
Richard Fisher, senior fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center, explained the validity of the image in a report from intelligence company IHS Jane’s.
Fisher said the image of the missile is consistent with photos of the YJ-62 published in Chinese military magazines. He also notes the image “shows a radar dome that the Chinese blogger makes a strong case for being on Woody Island.”
The development would be consistent with recent Chinese news reports. A report from the South China Morning Post said the Chinese regime may deploy anti-ship missiles and other advanced weapons to islands in the South China Sea.
The Chinese news outlets cited Li Jie, senior researcher at the Chinese regime’s People’s Liberation Army Naval Military Studies Research Institute, making the claims.
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China has been in the process of weaponizing the islands—some of which it seized, and some of which it constructed itself.
The Chinese regime recently deployed jets, radar, and anti-air missiles on the islands. Reports also suggest it is building a helicopter base for anti-submarine warfare.
By weaponizing the islands, the Chinese regime is moving closer to what defense analysts have been warning about for years. They say China is trying to establish an anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) strategy to gain military control over the region.

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This news analysis was originally dispatched as part of Epoch Times China email newsletters. Subscribe to the newsletters by filling your email in the “China D-brief” box under this article.
The Chinese regime is trying to accelerate the capabilities of its defense industry, and this is bad news for democracy and human rights.
China is the world’s third largest arms exporter (with the United States in first and Russia in second). The problem with Chinese arms sellers is that they’ve had to find a niche in the global market—and that often means selling to countries that aren’t on good terms with the West.
Over the years, Chinese defense firms have been accused of breaking UN embargoes by selling weaponry to countries including North Korea, Iran, and Qaddafi-era Libya.
Human Rights Watch called on China in August 2014 to cease its supply of weapons including missiles, grenade launchers, and machine guns to South Sudan. It noted that while China was calling for peace talks, it was assisting the “extraordinary acts of cruelty against civilians, war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity.”
A Feb. 23 story from China’s state-run People’s Daily Online explains the target market of Chinese weapons. It says with China’s new FC-20 fighter jet, in particular, “Developing countries that do not have close military attachments with Western countries will be potential buyers” and they’re targeting countries that fit this description in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and South America (but don’t specify which).
China’s export of weaponry will not be hampered at all by political pretexts.”— People’s Daily, official mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party

While People’s Daily notes the United States views who it sells weapons to as “important diplomatic indicators for friends and enemies,” it states “China’s export of weaponry will not be hampered at all by political pretexts.”
Chinese weapons are often marketed for their low costs, and alleged close capabilities to Western technology. Both of these factors pull from the fact that a large number of Chinese weapons are counterfeits.
The U.S. Naval Institute gave a brief overview of China’s cloned weapons last year, noting that China’s J-15 Flying Shark is based on Russia’s Sukhoi Su-33, its J-31 jet pulls from the U.S. F-35B, and the list goes on for everything from unmanned vehicles to tanks, artillery, Humvees, infantry weapons, and other systems.
The Chinese regime also isn’t content with staying where they are in the market. Just this month, they’ve announced two major initiatives that will likely accelerate Chinese theft of foreign arms technology, and also get more advanced weapons into countries that aren’t on the best terms with the United States.
First, the defense industry in China has been moving to the private sphere—or at least as “private” as they can get in a country with strict arms controls, and where businesses with more than 50 employees are required to have a liaison from the Chinese Communist Party.
Second, according to Popular Science, China is starting its own version of the U.S. military’s research and development department, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)—although the analogy isn’t completely accurate.
More than 1,000 private defense companies are now operating in China, which is an increase of 127 percent since 2010.

The Chinese “DARPA” will be a committee that seems to be aimed more at oversight than the hands-on work. It will manage defense research and development, promote indigenous innovation, and coordinate how new developments are integrated into the Chinese military.
As Popular Science notes, “it’s hard to imagine China’s government authorizing even part” of what DARPA does. “Instead, the efforts of China’s advanced research might look a lot like those of other governments, since China’s already stolen plans for advanced military jets, ships, and lasers.”
It’s likely that the main focus for developments will still take place in the state-run Chinese arms companies, and through the Chinese regime’s new push for private defense firms.
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The state-run China Military Online reported on March 15 that “China has introduced specific measures to accelerate the opening of military industry to deeply push forward the development strategy of military-civilian integration.”
It states that more than 1,000 private defense companies are now operating in China, which is an increase of 127 percent since 2010. The movement is being spearheaded by the State Administration for Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (SASTIND).
This year, it adds, SASTIND will “accelerate” its operations to advance China’s weapons developments and promote the “export-oriented” defense industry.

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China may have just shot itself in the foot with its efforts to seize new territory. Its recent actions may draw India into the conflict, which could act as an essential piece to sway the situation against China’s interests.
Chinese troops have reportedly been seen at forward outposts along the Line of Control, along Pakistani side of Kashmir—and this has sounded alarms in India.
Strategically, the timing couldn’t have been worse. This happened right as India’s leaders are considering whether to join the dispute against China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea.
Soldiers from China’s People’s Liberation Army have been making “frequent incursions in Ladakh” in the Himalayas, and Chinese troops may be building infrastructure along the Line of Control, reported The Times of India on March 13.
Chinese troops are also digging tunnels in Leepa Valley in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir as part of its China-Pakistan-Economic Corridor that will build a highway from China to Pakistan, and pass under Karakoram Highway, which India says is being illegally occupied by China.
The Chinese efforts are causing a stir in India, just as India is considering offers from Japan and Vietnam to collaborate on efforts to counter China’s takeover of the South China Sea.
We shall continue to cooperate with other countries including India to exploit resources within our 200-nautical-mile EEZ.— Ton Sinh Thanh, Vietnam ambassador to India

Vietnam invited India on Feb. 24 to explore and exploit natural resources within its 200-nautical-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the South China Sea, and didn’t try hiding its intentions of countering China’s efforts in the same area.
“We are determined to protect our rights and maintain regular activities in our sovereign waters,” said Ton Sinh Thanh, Vietnam’s ambassador to India, according to The Economic Times. “Accordingly, we shall continue to cooperate with other countries including India to exploit resources within our 200-nautical-mile EEZ.”
For anyone who has been following the conflict, Vietnam’s request to India has deeper implications.
The Chinese regime placed an oil-drilling rig in waters 120-miles from the coast of Vietnam on May 2, 2014, and sent relations between the two countries into a nose-dive.
China had removed the oil rig in July 2014, but brought it back in January 2016. Vietnam’s request to India is meant to fire back at China’s efforts.
Vietnam isn’t the only country asking India to help counter the Chinese regime in the South China, either.
India is currently in talks with Japan to help with several efforts in the region—also meant to indirectly (yet without much subtlety) fight back against China’s efforts.
Japan and India are looking to work together on upgrading civilian infrastructure in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and may include the construction of a 15-megawatt diesel power plant on South Andaman Island.
India’s entrance into the conflict is likely the last thing Chinese leaders would want.

As New York Times reported on March 11, the collaboration would mark a shift of policy in India, “which has not previously accepted offers of foreign investment in the archipelago,” and the area has strategic importance in countering China. It states the islands are northwest of the Strait of Malacca and offer control of a “so-called choke point that is one of China’s greatest marine vulnerabilities.”
India’s entrance into the conflict is likely the last thing Chinese leaders would want. Not only are nations around China forming an alliance, but India is also seen as the emerging superpower that could challenge China’s economic ambitions in the near future.
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The two countries also have a history of not getting along. Conflicts between India and China have been ongoing since the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) established its dominance over China on Oct. 1, 1949.
India is involved in its own territorial dispute with China over the McMahon Line on the borders of Tibet—after the CCP invaded Tibet in October 1950, and claimed sovereignty over it a year later.
When the Tibetans feel that we do not threaten them with aggression and treat them equally, then we will solve the subsequent fate of this region.— Mao Zedong

The situation has grown complicated in recent years, but leaked Soviet documents, recently declassified and published by the Wilson Center give some insight into what actually took place.
Mao Zedong detailed some of his plans during a discussion on Feb. 6, 1949, with Soviet statesman Anastas Mikoyan.
“The Tibet question is very complicated,” Mao said prior to his invasion, according to the translated Soviet document. “In essence, it is a British colony, and only formally counts as China’s.”
Mao had also detailed his plans, saying that after the CCP finished its civil war, “when the Tibetans feel that we do not threaten them with aggression and treat them equally, then we will solve the subsequent fate of this region.”
Declassified documents showed that the Soviets were unhappy with China’s hasty takeover of Tibet, noting that they allowed the Dalai Lama to escape, and their aggression caught the attention of India.
The CCP’s conflict with India, and its disputes with activists for a free Tibet, have been ongoing since then.
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This conflict has only deepened with China’s increasing military cooperation with Pakistan.
China is also allegedly planning to build three military security divisions in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, which The Times of India says will use a local name “so that India does not protest.”
It notes the new Chinese military divisions will number around 30,000 troops and “will be deployed in and around the installations built by the Chinese firms.” Issues like this have Indian leaders worried, and its intelligence such as this that may spur the sleeping giant into action.

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This news analysis was originally dispatched as part of Epoch Times China email newsletters. Subscribe to the newsletters by filling your email in the “China D-brief” box under this article.
All the saber rattling in the world won’t do a thing if China is able to successfully implement its anti-access strategy in the South China Sea. China’s deployment of the strategy is likely nearing completion.
Defense analysts have warned that China is working on a strategy to lock the United States out of the South and East China Sea with what they call anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) systems and capabilities.
This would give China control of the Asia-Pacific region, and, among other things, make it difficult for the United States to intervene if the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) were to invade Taiwan.
Dean Cheng, a leading expert on the Chinese military, warned in a July 2014 report for The Heritage Foundation that the Chinese military was “comprehensively modernizing” forces, and incorporating A2/AD systems ranging from anti-ship missiles to political warfare methods, including legal, public opinion, and psychological warfare.
The world has now watched as China deployed these weapons and capabilities, over the last couple years.
China has recently deployed jets, radar, and anti-air missiles on islands in the South China Sea. It may also be building a new helicopter base for anti-submarine warfare, along with refueling stops scattered through the region. Chinese defense analysts are now calling for Chinese ships to ram and fire warning shots at U.S. ships passing through the region. Others are calling for the CCP to deploy anti-ship missiles and other advanced weapons.
When the CCP’s weapons and strategies used in the South China Sea are viewed as a whole, it now has systems to attack targets in the air, sea, and undersea. And it has accompanied this with a near constant barrage of propaganda and legal claims meant to change global perceptions on its actions.
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While the situation has appeared chaotic, the CCP’s strategy has actually moved along steadily.
The CCP announced in July 2015 that it was completing operations to build islands in the South China Sea. Epoch Times reported accurately that the CCP was merely moving to “phase 2” in its operations.
“It means they’re moving onto phase 2, which means the construction of facilities and capabilities on these islands,” said Mira Rapp-Hooper, director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at the Center for Strategic & International Studies, at the time.
The CCP is now well into that second phase, and when that’s complete, phase 3 will likely follow.
And that third phase is likely what defense experts have been warning about for years: a phase where the CCP acts on its threats, and starts attacking foreign military ships and jets passing through the region.
This next phase may not be far off. On Feb. 28, South China Morning Post reported, “China’s military is prepared ‘to defend sovereignty’ in the South China Sea.”
It quoted People’s Liberation Army General Wang Jiaocheng saying “No country will be allowed to use any excuse or action to threaten China’s sovereignty and safety,” and added, “the foremost mission is to safeguard rights and interests in the South China Sea.”
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From here, whether the CCP succeeds in its plan hinges on whether or not the United States chooses to back down—and it doesn’t appear the U.S. military plans on doing that anytime soon.
Commander of U.S. Pacific Command, Adm. Harry Harris, recently said the CCP is “changing the operational landscape in the South China Sea,” and said the United States will continue its patrols of the region as it always has, regardless of threats or claims from the CCP.
“Short of war, I’m aware of the threat. I’ll pay attention to the threat,” he said. “But that is not going to prevent us from flying, sailing or operating wherever international law allows.”

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The Chinese regime has begun construction on a military base in Djibouti, in the Horn of Africa, that will be used to extend the reach of its military.
“Currently, construction of infrastructure for the support facilities has started, and the Chinese side has dispatched personnel to Djibouti for relevant work,” said Colonel Wu Qian, spokesperson for China’s Ministry of National Defense, in a transcript of a Feb. 25 press briefing.
Qian said the base will logistical support will be among the base’s main uses. He claimed the Chinese regime would use it for missions to escort ships through the Gulf of Aden off the Somali coast, and for “peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance.”
According to other Chinese officials, however, the base could be the start of a more nefarious agenda.
A major general in the Chinese military recently called for China to contain the United States by attacking its finances, saying “that’s the way to control America’s lifeblood.”
The call was made by Maj. Gen. , a professor at the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) National Defense University, in an op-ed published in the official mouthpiece of the PLA, China Military Online.
Liang said a key part of this strategy, the CCP should place strategic importance on major shipping channels, including the South China Sea, the Malacca Strait, Gwadar Port, and the China–Pakistan Railway.
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The PLA’s military base in Djibouti is at the mouth of the Strait of Bab el-Mandeb, which sees close to 3.2 million barrels of oil pass through it each day.
Liang is one of two PLA officers who wrote the 1999 book, “Unrestricted Warfare,” which has become a roadmap for China’s use of unconventional warfare—from currency manipulation to cyberattacks.
In his recent op-ed, and noting a long-term strategy to control key points with geopolitical value, he states “To effectively contain the United States, other countries shall think more about how to cut off the capital flow to the United States while formulating their strategies.”

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