Thursday, March 24, 2022

Mischief Reef |Mar. 25

 WH keeping public in dark on what Biden demanded of China’s Xi over arming Putin​

Mar. 18 - The White House was tight-lipped Friday about what President Biden told Chinese President Xi Jinping beyond saying there would be “consequences” if China supplies weapons for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Press secretary Jen Psaki repeatedly deflected questions at her afternoon White House briefing regarding what, if anything, Biden threatened during a nearly two-hour video call between Biden and Xi.

“He made clear what the implications and the consequences would be if China provides material support to Russia as it conducts brutal attacks against Ukrainian cities and civilians,” Psaki said, repeating the vague term “Implications and consequences” multiple times under withering questioning from reporters.

Reporter Joey Garrison of USA Today pressed Psaki, “What can you say about the severity of the implications and consequences for China if they do indeed … provide material support to Russia? Does this rise to the level where it would really make China think twice before assisting Russia?”

Psaki again deflected on specifics and wouldn’t characterize the possible “consequences” — leaving it unclear if China would face sanctions or some other penalties, such as trade policy changes or a more symbolic step such as a public verbal reprimand.

“It’s up to President Xi and the Chinese to make that decision, but the president again laid out very clearly and directly in the call what the implications and consequences would be if they provided material support,” Psaki said.

​Garrison persisted, “Why is the White House choosing not to elaborate and disclose more about what the consequences would be?”

​Psaki responded, “Because we feel that it would be most constructive to have those conversations directly with the Chinese.”

Later, she gave the same answer to another reporter, saying Biden was “specific” with Xi, but failing to provide specifics to the public.

Xi made clear Friday that China would not join NATO-led sanctions against Russia to punish its invasion of Ukraine, but hinted at potential openness to holding back weapons transfers requested by Russian President Vladimir Putin...     more to read

China fully militarizes key South China Sea features
​Ukraine war may have provided strategic cover for China’s full militarization of Mischief, Subi and Fiery Cross reefs

Mar. 25 - While international attention is transfixed on the war in Ukraine, China has fully militarized three of its occupied islands in the contested South China Sea.

Speaking aboard a P-8 Poseidon on patrol in the South China Sea, US Indo-Pacific Commander Admiral John Aquilino said on March 20 that “China has fully militarized at least three of several islands it built in the disputed South China Sea, arming them with anti-ship and anti-aircraft missile systems, laser and jamming equipment and fighter jets in an increasingly aggressive move that threatens all nations operating nearby.”

​According to Aquilino, China’s facilities on Mischief Reef, Subi Reef and Fiery Cross Reef appear to have been completed. He said it is yet to be seen whether China will start construction of additional military facilities in its other occupied features in the maritime area...     more to read

USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) is a guided missile destroyer of the United States Navy. She is the lead ship of the Zumwalt class and the first ship to be named after Admiral Elmo Zumwalt.[10][11] Zumwalt has stealth capabilities, having a radar cross-section similar to a fishing boat despite her large size.[12] On 7 December 2015, Zumwalt began her sea trial preparatory to joining the Pacific Fleet.[13] The ship was commissioned in Baltimore on 15 October 2016.[1] Her home port is San DiegoCalifornia.

​quoted from Wikipedia
China ‘fully militarized’ three islands in South China Sea: US commander
Mar 22, 2022

China has fully militarized three islands in the South China Sea, according to a top U.S. military commander. U.S. Indo-Pacific Commander John Aquilino says China armed three of its seven artificial islands with anti-ship and anti-aircraft missile systems. The move directly threatens all nations in the region, he says. To counter China’s expansionist ambitions, the U.S. military says it will deploy its Zumwalt-class destroyer in the Indo-Pacific as early as the end of next year. 

U.S. Indo-Pacific Commander John Aquilino and two AP reporters recently went onboard a U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon to patrol the skies over the South China Sea.

During the patrol, they saw that Mischief Reef, Subi Reef, and Fiery Cross Reef were armed with missile systems, fighter jets, and other weapons systems, as well as military facilities. The three artificial islands were, quote, “fully militarized,” according to Aquilino.

The U.S. commander said China was undermining regional security and betraying its past promises that the islands would not be turned into military bases.

Su Tzu-yun
Institute for National Defense and Security Research
Actually, over in the South China Sea, China is believed to be building an eighth artificial island. The land reclamation work is reportedly underway. At present, it’s very obvious that the three islands named in the report have been militarized. Of course China’s purpose is to announce its expansionist designs. The second thing is that China will continue to militarize its islands, and possibly turn the entire South China Sea into a military fortress.

To contain China, the U.S. plans to deploy its Zumwalt-class destroyer in the Indo-Pacific starting the end of next year. The destroyer can be equipped with the Aegis system for air defense, and it has anti-submarine capabilities. Russia said recently that it deployed hypersonic missiles against Ukraine, marking the weapon’s first use in combat. The U.S. plans to fit one Zumwalt-class destroyer with hypersonic missiles by 2025. Experts say the move is meant to deter China from invading Taiwan.

Su Tzu-yun
Institute for National Defense and Security Research
The vertical launch tube on the Zumwalt-class destroyer can be used to launch hypersonic missiles. With its stealth capabilities, the Zumwalt can operate closer to the East China Sea or around the Taiwan Strait. It can take countermeasures against the Chinese military threat, launching a strike at the source.

In the face of the rising regional threat, the U.S. is keeping a close eye on China’s every move.

The South China Sea dispute explained
Aug 9, 2018
China and several of its neighbours have been involved in a decades-long dispute over who controls the South China Sea. China claims most of the sea as its territory, but the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan say parts of the sea belong to them. Tensions have risen over the years and resulted in several confrontations as well as US involvement. The South China Morning Post looks at the origins of the dispute, what these countries are fighting over and what they’re doing to assert their territorial claims.

​China’s military buildup on South China Sea islands threatens region: US commander

Mar. 21 - ...The P-8A Poseidon flew about 15,000 feet over the islands, where multi-story buildings, warehouses, hangars, seaports, runways and radar installations could be seen. 

Aquilino said the construction of military structures on Mischief Reef, Subi Reef and Fiery Cross appear completed, but it’s unclear if China will pursue construction in other areas. More than 40 vessels were apparently anchored near Fiery Cross.

“The function of those islands is to expand the offensive capability of the PRC beyond their continental shores,” he told the wire service, using the acronym for China’s official name, the People’s Republic of China. “They can fly fighters, bombers plus all those offensive capabilities of missile systems.”

Civilian and military planes could easily fly within range of the missile systems on the islands in the disputed waterway, Aquilino noted.

“So that’s the threat that exists, that’s why it’s so concerning for the militarization of these islands. They threaten all nations who operate in the vicinity and all the international sea and airspace,” he said.

China began building bases on the islands about 10 years ago to bolster its territorial claims over the South China Sea.

The US deployed ships to the region to ensure unfettered navigation in the international waterway as part of a mission it calls freedom of operation but which China terms a provocation.

The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei also claim part of the sea through which roughly $5 trillion worth of goods are shipped every year...     quoted from New York Post

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  WH keeping public in dark on what Biden demanded of China’s Xi over arming Putin​ Mar. 18 - The White House was tight-lipped Friday about ...