17:38 GMT +330 March 2017
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    This photo taken on May 10, 2016 shows crew members of China's South Sea Fleet taking part in a logistics supply drill near the James Shoal area on South China Sea

    Beijing Outmaneuvering US Navy in South China Sea

    © AFP 2017/ STR
    Military & Intelligence
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    The US Navy’s ability to address the concerns of allies and to keep at bay potential enemies in the South China Sea is an “open question,” military analysts suggest, pointing to a large-scale build up of missiles and warships by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), that could tip the scales of naval dominance in the region.

    China has thousands of ballistic missiles aimed squarely at neighboring Taiwan. US President Donald Trump has proposed a $54-billion military spending increase, while China has increased defense expenditures with double-digit percent rises “almost every year for the last two decades,” according to Pete Apps in a Wednesday column for Reuters.

    The South China Sea has been hot with development by Chinese organizations in recent months. Satellite imagery taken of the Spratly islands revealed significant construction of military outposts, structures which American intelligence officials later said could be used to house surface-to-air missiles. 

    On Tuesday, Sputnik reported that Chinese researchers have conducted deep-sea drilling missions as part of an initiative to develop the world’s first underwater observatory platform. 

    PLAN has rounded up significant sources of new funding to support a goal of projecting Chinese naval power globally, largely prompted by the unpredictability of Trump. The outspoken US President has publicly backed Japan in the dispute over Senkaku/Diaoyu islands in the East China Sea, talked on the phone with Taiwan’s top leader, and berated Beijing as the “grand champion” of artificial currency devaluation.

    Trump’s Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, has not publicly disagreed with Trump. Last Thursday, Mnuchin said his department would conduct a study and publish a report on April 15, but “we’re not making any judgements until we go continue that process.”

    Regarding Beijing’s elevated spending levels on defense projects, “the PLA Navy has really been the beneficiary of a lot of this new spending in the past 15 years,” according to Richard Bitzinger, a fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore. Bitzinger said it is not possible to know precisely how much Beijing spends on its navy, "but simply extrapolating from the quantity and the quality of things that are coming out of their shipyards, it’s pretty amazing.”

    According to the Royal United Services Institute, a UK-based think tank, China’s navy is "moving toward an ambition of 500 warships, including aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines, amphibious ships, and a burgeoning frigate and destroyer force." The fleet could add three aircraft carriers, 100 submarines, and other combat vessels, according to some estimates. A spokesperson for the think tank contended that since "it is hard to recall growth at a similar pace in any navy across history…Beijing is slowly pulling ahead."

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    Tags:
    militarization, US Navy, PLA, Royal United Services Institute, Steven Mnuchin, Donald Trump, Singapore, Japan, United States, China, East China Sea, South China Sea
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    • Drain the swamp
      China and Russia should station 24/7 nuclear powered barges (or bare bone pretend aircraft carriers) off both the coasts of the US, armed with nuclear missiles. Apart from being a great deterrent of any mischief of the great satan, they would serve as EARLY WARNING STATIONS, as in any first strike by the great satan they would have to be targeted FIRST, giving enough warning to far away Russia and China.
    • avatar
      teddy j
      this is excellent news for the world and my region of asia, pacific. china is the middle kingdom of history in asia. and it is natural that china is the main center of power in the region...and not the usa. which is just a trouble-making invader and occupier. and disturbs normal relations between neighbors
    • dee_snutz
      seagooks
    • avatar
      newdaysin reply toteddy j(Show commentHide comment)
      teddy j, sometimes normal relationships need to change to become better. more equal. That being said, you are right on in stating it is not the US job to be there. What it did do was highlight the poverty of US which enhances Trumps push for growth. Growth, under trump, not to take over the world but to be another power .in the world along with China and Russia and one day perhaps Vritish Commonwealth.
      The "Cold War" kept peace far better than the aftermath. Not we are seeing another change a President of the US not a US president of the World. There may be hope yet for regions to grow together. BRICS is a wonderful format - all around the South China Sea do not need to agree on everything but need to find and grow commonality of purposes.
    • avatar
      peaceactivist2
      Just look at China skyscrapers, bridges over valley, over oceans, bullet trains tracks, etc and one can conclude that another five to ten years, every nation on earth will look at china from behind.
    • avatar
      Tolerance
      China is the number one economic, scientific and technological country; USA is the number one murderer and terrorist country.
    • avatar
      jas
      PLAN has rounded up significant sources of new funding to support a goal of projecting Chinese naval power globally, largely prompted by the unpredictability of Trump.
      --
      Another trump hit piece. Fake news by fake reporters. Not fooling anyone. Trump is certainly one of the most transparent POTUS's in modern history. It just silly to keep with the "unpredictable" nonsense.
    • avatar
      Mitach2002
      Good, I love it. Anything to push the terrorist American government into more spending.
      Spend spend spend, memories of how Russia lost the arms race. Lol
    • avatar
      seanrkearney
      Just watch as construction continues, sea bridges are built and much more. This is China's back yard.
    • avatar
      jimbogoofball
      This article made me smile. That is nice to hear about. Go Xi and Mister Putin. Bravo.
    • avatar
      ivanwa88
      Steph I am.....yes the spend is 4 times greater but it will only produce an equivalent of China's acquisition if it is 15-20 times larger to compensate for vast differences in labour and material costs wastage and hi end corruption that filters Billions off into other sectors.

      Hence why US reportedly (by there own self admission) spend 650 Billion on military and again strangely 650 Billion in contributions to NATO.

      That strategy is aimed more at China than Russia for reasons of China's massive growth in weaponry of all levels and types.
      Russian forces have been modernized and firepower and efficiency manifestly increased but its material growth is very modest and miniscule compared to China.
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