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, 2015. (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, 2015. (U.S. Navy)

BEIJING—China’s air force said Saturday that it has conducted a combat air patrol over disputed areas of the South China Sea to improve its fighting ability.

The announcement comes after Beijing said it wanted to tamp down tensions following its strong rejection of an international tribunal that ruled that its claim to virtually all of the South China Sea has no legal basis.

China refused to take part in the case taken by the Philippines to the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration and continues to assert that islands in the South China Sea are its territory.

The air force didn’t say when the exercises took place. Last month, after the July 12 ruling, the air force said that it had conducted patrols over the South China Sea and would make it “a regular practice.”

Air force spokesman Senior Col. Shen Jinke said in an online statement that the patrol was “to enhance combat capabilities to deal with various security threats” and to safeguard the country’s sovereignty and maritime rights and interests.

Shen said bomber and fighter aircraft, early warning aircraft, reconnaissance planes and planes that can refuel in flight patrolled the airspace around the Spratly Islands, Scarborough Shoal and surrounding areas.

The Spratlys and Scarborough Shoal are claimed by both China and the Philippines. Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam also claim the Spratlys.

Last week, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the U.S., Japan and Australia were “fanning the flames” of regional tensions after they released a joint statement urging China not to construct military outposts or reclaim land in disputed waters.

On Wednesday, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that “China stands ready to continue its efforts to peacefully resolve relevant disputes in the South China Sea.”

Read the full article here

BEIJING—China rejected a protest from Vietnam over a flight test it has conducted on a new airstrip on a man-made island in the South China Sea, saying it is part of China’s territory.

Vietnam Foreign Ministry spokesman Le Hai Binh said that the test flight violated Vietnam’s sovereignty, breached mutual understanding and hurt the bilateral relations.
“Vietnam resolutely protests Chinese above-said action and demand that China immediately stop, not repeat similar actions,” he said in a statement.
In a response Saturday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the test flight on the newly built airstrip on Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratly Islands was carried out to find out if the new airfield met the standards for civil aviation.
MORE:Philippines Gets 1st Fighter Jets in a Decade Amid Sea FeudIn Signal to China, Obama to Give 2 Ships to PhilippinesHow to Deal With China, According to the Victims of Communism
“Relevant activity falls completely within China’s sovereignty,” Hua said in a statement. “The Chinese side will not accept the unfounded accusations from the Vietnamese side.”
China has become more assertive in pressing its claims to the South China Sea islands, an archipelago rich in natural resources that is the focal point of rival claims by neighboring governments.
China has recently piled sand on coral reefs atop of which it built airfields, radar installations and docking facilities. As with most of its policy in the South China Sea, Beijing has remained opaque about its plans for the island airstrips.
MORE:China Answers US Challenge in South China Sea With PropagandaCHINA SECURITY: Are China’s New ‘Floating Islands’ Being Built for the Indian Ocean?China to Extend Military Control to Indian Ocean
Beijing insists its island building works are justified and don’t constitute a threat to stability and freedom of navigation. The U.S. and its regional allies have expressed concern that China’s robust assertion of its claims has aggravated tensions.
Although Vietnam already has an airstrip in the Spratlys, it is just long enough to accommodate slow-moving cargo and surveillance planes. China’s airstrip on Fiery Cross Reef is long enough for bombers capable of launching cruise missiles.

Read the full article here

China's reclamation of Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea on May 11. (Ritchie B. Tongo/Pool Photo via AP)China's reclamation of Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea on May 11. (Ritchie B. Tongo/Pool Photo via AP)

The Chinese regime was quick to mobilize its own forces after the U.S. Navy sent the USS Lassen destroyer late Monday to patrol within 12 nautical miles of China’s man-made islands in the disputed South China Sea.

Rather than send warships or jets, however, the Chinese regime mobilized a very different system—its vast network of propaganda agents, state-run news outlets, and systems to control the flow of information.

The response highlights the approach the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has built to fight modern conflicts. It uses what the Pentagon has branded a “non-kinetic” form of fighting, which targets human perception and forms the CCP’s core strategy for taking the South China Sea.

Almost all the CCP’s propaganda channels use an identical line.

Soon after the U.S. exercise, more than 200 million users of the WeChat smartphone messaging app in China received a message on their news feeds, obtained by Epoch Times, which claimed the U.S. military “illegally” entered “China’s South Sea.”

The message appears to reflect the line being pushed out by the CCP’s propaganda arms, and is designed to instill notions that what the United States did was both aggressive and illegal, built on the concept unrecognized by other nations that the CCP is right to have a military perimeter around the man-made islands.

A similar line was picked up by the Chinese news program, “Xinwen Lianbo,” which is the most watched and most heavily controlled news program in China. Andrew Chubb, a doctoral candidate in International Relations, wrote on his “South Sea Conversations” blog that the program, which airs on the state-run CCTV, “carries the Party Line to the masses.”

The show’s host states the U.S. warship “illegally” entered waters near “China’s relevant islands and reefs in the Spratly archipelago.”

Similar to China’s state-run Xinhua news outlet, Chubb notes the CCTV program presents the CCP’s general line on a topic and “legitimizes other media to focus on the issue.”

He wrote, “This must reflect a choice by the ruling party that it wants the issue near the top of the broad public’s agenda, at least in the short term.”

The conventional channels also seemed to use this line. The Chinese Foreign Ministry released a statement saying the U.S. ship “illegally” entered “China’s Spratly Islands.”

The ‘Three Warfares’

The CCP has been hard at work for the last two years dredging sand, and pumping it onto reefs and shallow waters in the Spratly Island and Paracel Island chains of the South China Sea.

Using this method, it has built five artificial islands in the South China Sea, which it now claims as Chinese territory. Despite the fact that the Spratly Islands, in particular, are close to 1,000 miles south of China’s southernmost point on Hainan Island, the CCP claims an unofficial defensive perimeter around the man-made islands, which other nations largely do not acknowledge.

To challenge these claims, the United States is holding “freedom of navigation” exercises, meant to ensure that international ships can still pass freely through the South China Sea.

The Chinese response to these exercises closely follows the CCP’s main strategy in the South China Sea, which the Pentagon and U.S. defense experts have previously detailed.

The Chinese regime calls this strategy the Three Warfares, which consists of media warfare, psychological warfare, and legal warfare.

The system technically breaks down propaganda into three roles: one to control what’s being said in the press, another to target the psychology of their adversaries, and a third to validate their claims by manipulating international laws.

A defense contractor report, produced for the Office of Net Assessment, a Pentagon think tank, detailed the strategy. The 556-page report from May 2013 was broadly cited by various news outlets around March 2014, and detailed one of the CCP’s key strategies for political warfare designed to push the United States out of the Asia–Pacific region.

“The Three Warfares is used by China to project psychological pressure, publicize ‘legal’ arguments and to assert China’s claims to resources and territory in regions ranging from the East and South China Seas to the Poles,” states the report.

It describes the strategy as a “war-fighting process that constitutes war by other means.” Its design hinges on deception, with a goal to “alter the strategic environment in a way that renders kinetic engagement irrational.”

In the recent event, the CCP revealed the secret of its strategy: it isn’t fighting over the South China Sea with military strength. It’s fighting with propaganda.

Its goal is to paint the CCP as a victim, the United States as an aggressor, and the CCP’s neighbors as unreasonable.

Read the full article here

Original Article click here