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China’s Atypical Response To US Navy FONOPS May Be a Message to Trump Administration

Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Decatur, left, and Chinese warship PRC 170, right, during what the US Navy called an unsafe and unprofessional incident in the South China Sea on Sept. 30, 2018. US Navy photo, obtained by gCaptain.

China ratcheted up its response to U.S. Navy freedom of navigation operation over the weekend, sending a Luyang-class destroyer on a near-collision-course with USS Decatur (DDG-73), but the reasoning behind the move is likely more nuanced than defending territory.

No Chinese captain of a vessel would risk this type of confrontation – coming within 45 yards of Decatur – without being told to do so. And there is little chance this event occurred without the approval of China’s President Xi Jinping, China expert Bonnie Glaser told USNI News. Glaser is the senior advisor for Asia and director of the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“The first thing I’d say is, I’m a little baffled why China reacts strongly in some cases and not others,” Glaser said.

In this particular case, she noted, the two land features near the Gaven Reef involved in the freedom of navigation operation (FONOP) are small and not among the significant bases China has built in the South China Sea. Plus, these features are considered high-tide elevations, which the U.S. does not dispute– meaning Decatur would have conducted what’s called an innocent passage. The Navy has not commented on the incident beyond a limited statement released Monday, and did not address what the ship was doing as it conducted the mission and whether it was an innocent passage or not.

“All they did was sail through what (China) would consider territorial waters, and yet (the U.S. Navy) got the strongest reaction ever,” Glaser said.

The U.S. Navy routinely conducts such FONOPS in the South China Sea. Afterward, Chinese government officials typically issue statements expressing varying degrees of outrage over the FONOP.

On Tuesday, Wu Qian, a spokesperson with China’s Ministry of National Defense, released a statement saying, “the U.S. side has sent warships into waters near China’s islands and reefs in South China Sea time and again, which has posed a grave threat to China’s sovereignty and security, severely damaged the relations between the two militaries, and significantly undermined regional peace and stability. The Chinese military resolutely opposes such actions.”

Wu’s statement described the incident as one where a Luyang-class destroyer carried “identification and verification procedures in accordance with law, and warned the U.S. vessel off.” It did not mention how close the two ships came.

The Navy said on Monday that “the (People’s Republic of China) PRC destroyer conducted a series of increasingly aggressive maneuvers accompanied by warnings for Decatur to depart the area. The PRC destroyer approached within 45 yards of Decatur’s bow, after which Decatur maneuvered to prevent a collision.”

Photos obtained by gCaptain show just how close the two ships came to colliding.

“Rules of engagement in China are usually set by the central military commission, so Xi Jinping would have been involved in approving this rule of engagement. And to be clear, this is a change in the ROE. Before the rules were, you shadow the U.S. ship and you don’t get too close. If they communicate with you, you respond,” Glaser said. “It seems like those ROE were thrown out the window.”

Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Decatur, left, and Chinese warship PRC 170, right, during what the US Navy called an unsafe and unprofessional incident in the South China Sea on Sept. 30, 2018. After the Chinese ship came within 45 yards of Decatur, the US destroyer maneuvered to avoid a collision. US Navy photo, obtained by gCaptain.

But why the change, especially after this FONOP – which had Decatur passing within 12 nautical miles of a relatively unremarkable reef, that is considered to meet the definition of having territorial waters?

The reason for China’s more aggressive stance likely has more to do with unhappiness about other recent interactions with the U.S., Glaser said. There are tensions surrounding trade tariffs and a military arms deal between the U.S. and Taiwan.

“The only way I can understand this is the Chinese decided to use this opportunity to send a signal to the Trump Administration, and this is to me evidence that the tensions in one area are spilling into another area,” Glaser said.

The Chinese ship did not approach until Decatur was ending its FONOP and heading out of the 12-nautical mile zone around the reef, Glaser said. Decatur maneuvered away from the Chinese ship and headed out to sea.

But, if the Chinese ship approached Decatur at the start of the FONOP, Glaser said the entire incident could have played out very differently. Decatur’s captain would have faced a set of issues, such considering the optics of scrapping the FONOP and looking as if the U.S. backed down from the Chinese ship. At the same time, Glaser said Xi Jinping doesn’t want to be seen as weak either.

“He must be seen as defending China’s interests and China’s sovereignty, and that’s what they were trying to convey with this FONOP,” Glaser said. “But the risk of collision is really serious. It’s incredible how close those ships got. It’s dangerous stuff.”

  • Very interesting point about the incident coming as Decatur was already leaving. That does make it sound like the Chinese wanted to make a statement but were interested in avoiding escalation.

    • DaSaint

      This time.

      • Curtis Conway

        The Chinese vessel was probably not in a position to intercept earlier. When they got there is when they got there. THEN, they did what they could to make the point. I recall more than once that the moment we were at the 12 mile mark and steaming down the line, they were just on the other side of the line and pacing us the whole way.

        • Good point, unless we get more information we can’t know if they chose to intercept at that time or if that was their only option.

  • Ed L

    Shame we don’t have a battleship to steam in that area

    • Kypros

      Yes indeed!

    • SDW

      That would definitely be an example of “gunboat diplomacy”. The word “gunboat” carries bad baggage in Chinese history and we are well advised to not use it.

      • incredulous1

        why? That would be kowtowing to their BS. We didn’t steal those islands from our allies, they did.

        • SDW

          The West’s historic use of gunboats along the coast and up the rivers of China to enforce abusive treatment and unequal treaties is not a period or practice that anyone should look back on with fondness. It is much like referring to Gulf War One as a “crusade to liberate Kuwait”. Word selection counts and needlessly prodding another country is not only foolish it’s counterproductive.

          As to who stole which islands… Some of the current island claims have some merit but many of these shoals, rocks, and islands were seen for a very long time more as hazards to navigation than geographic features with any particular value. Also, some claims don’t seem to be more valid for one country over another. Two of the greatest factors that changed the generally disinterested view towards the end of the 70s were an increase in the industrial scale of fishing and exploitation of other natural resources–notably oil–and reassertion of Chinese claims to nearly the entire SC Sea independent of the existence of (or lack of) true islands around which legal baselines can be defined.

    • Ser Arthur Dayne

      Hear HEAR!

  • tim

    Only shows dictator xi is under pressure … Trump’s strategy works … self nominated dictator xi’s economy crumbles and he is running out of options … now it is time to double down!

    • DaSaint

      That reasoning may be correct, but may also be premature.

  • Lazarus

    Not really much different than USS Yorktown and USS Caron playing bumper cars with Soviet Krivak and Grisha class frigates in 1988 and 1989 in the Black Sea. Welcome back to great power competition.

    • Marc Apter

      Big difference today, now you have social media to ratchet up the every time this happens, where in the 70’s and 80’s ….. The posts below show it is an excuse to do more then a Freedom of Navigation cruise.

      • Lazarus

        That characterization could be attached to any comparison between today’s news and that of the 1980’s. Most importantly, USN CO’s and their ships no longer posses the skills to play chicken at sea and their bosses are equally unenlightened in such gray zone tactics.

        • Marc Apter

          I think your second sentence should more accurately read, “Most importantly, USN CO’s and their ships no longer trained in the skills to play chicken at sea and their bosses are equally unenlightened in such gray zone tactics.” When was Freedom of Navigation Pre-Deployment Training removed from crews training?

          • SDW

            It wouldn’t surprise me to find out that the Decatur had a pair of JAG officers along for the day.

          • Lazarus

            Agree on the lack of training. The idea of crashing one’s multi-billion dollar AEGIS warship into other ships; even in direct support of US national policy, seems to have gone away with the end of the Cold War.

          • jack anderson

            Stephen Decatur must be rolling in his grave, a brave man’s namesake driven by a coward and run off the ocean by China, they are laughing at us in Beijing.

    • jack anderson

      what i don’t get is why the Coward of the Decatur still has his job, were i his Commodore he would have been gone before lunch. Letting China push around the US Navy is not acceptable.

    • vetww2

      Not much different a response, either.

  • the Dysfunctional Veteran

    i really REALLY hope the Decatur crew is trained better than the McCain or Fitzgerald crews were… otherwise, i see another disaster in the works- this time warship vs warship and someone not properly trained or having another instance of the CIC watch standers not talking to the Bridge watch standers is going to trigger an International Incident…

    • BillyP

      Absolutely right! I wonder what the COLREGS situation was in the Decatur~FRC 170 incident was one overtaking another? Crossing? Who did what to whom?

      Will someone please brief the PRC brass as to just how dangerous it is to approach an ARLEIGH BURKE within, say, five miles – please!

      • SDW

        One tactic from the bad-old days was to get ahead of the ship you wish to annoy and then slow down drastically. The following ship must then turn hard to avoid.

        This is the same technique as used on the freeways of LA to commit insurance fraud.

        • BillyP

          That would, of course, be agin’ the COLREGS – as if that had any relevance .. ..
          Are our girls’ & boys’ shiphandling skills up to this level of finesse?

          • SDW

            At least the recent mishaps have been surprises to the poorly trained and led. I can’t imagine that being the situation here. In fact, I have a hard time imagining there being anyone more junior than an LT and SCPO on the bridge during this short-cut through shoal-filled waters.

          • incredulous1

            I would hope that we would have provided real time video surveillance link to NSA HQ or at least Pearl HQ with a senior PACCOM command rank on the line for all FONOPS. Anyone know how we handle that? I assume so since Glaser has more details and this photo was taken.

  • Airedale

    Stay frosty out there shipmates!

  • Mike

    I say bring it on China! It just takes one “MOAB” bomb to obliterate these Chinese outpost. It is about time we have a US President who is willing to stand up to the Chinese, North Koreans, and Iran.

    • .Hugo.

      it has to be dropped from a c-130, just because of that will rule out such possibility. 🙂
      .

      • Ctrot

        Wrong. Deliverable by B-2.

        • waveshaper1

          FYI; I think you may be confusing these 2 bombs “MOP versus MOAB”.
          – GBU-43 “MOAB”, total weight 21,600 lbs, and the C-130 can carry 1 GBU-43.
          – GBU-57 “MOP”, total weight 30,000 lbs, and the B-2 can carry 2 GBU-57’s.

          • Ctrot

            MOP/MOAB, either would produce the desired result.

          • .Hugo.

            the df-16 can produce the same desired result on u.s. bases in guam and okinawa as a retaliation too. 🙂

        • .Hugo.

          then it’s not a moab but a gbu-57 mop.
          .
          also you should know that every b-2 is visually and digitally monitored. you just can’t hide them in the airfield, and there are only 21 to track. rather easy for countries like china to monitor them all on a daily basis. 🙂
          .

          • Ctrot

            Oh I’m sure that China, Russia etc. knows when the B-2’s are sitting in a hangers here and there, but when they’re in the hanger is not when China/Russia needs to worry about what they’re doing.

          • .Hugo.

            not the case at all, especially when they are in hangers in guam or alaska.

    • Duane

      We’ve been doing FONOPs for many decades. Trump didn’t invent anything.

  • Taitennek

    I wonder how the USN would react if a Chinese warship would do a sightseeing tour along the American coast in the Gulf of Mexico.
    These FONOPS take place to provoke the Chinese to react and thus provide the ultimate excuse to react (militarily).

    • Pat Patterson

      You are FOS and must be pro-Chicom stooge.

      • Taitennek

        Sure 🙂

      • R’ Yitzchak M

        Name calling styfles the debate.. if you have only partsan supporters of a single party line “views” you are done. Science is a matter of the DEDUCTABLE LOGIC as oposed to the DOGMA’s religious? Or the political one but NEVER MILITARY one.

    • Duane

      Stupid point. Chinese are allowed, like any other naval power, to operate freely in international waters. The US has never attempted to restrict such operations unless in war.

      Chinese ships do indeed operate in international waters in close proximity to US territorial seas as well as those of of other nations bordering the seas. Our ships do not challenge the Chinese, nor do our ships intentionally violate COLREGS or operate unsafely intentionally.

      • Taitennek

        It is not a stupid comment.
        The problem with Americans is that they only want to accept their view as the only truth and apparently do not notice that there is a whole world outside the USA that perhaps has a different opinion. I really don’t want a military clash between the USA and the PRC and/or Russia.
        But add the extensive military presence in the region to the rather offensive statements of American politicians and administrators about Russia and the PRC and I wonder who is really aggressive.
        Cannon-boat policy may work well with countries that only have a marginal defence capability, but regional/global powers do not.take this.
        I would like the USA to stop its policy of intervention. There are enough domestic problems that are actually much more important. For example the national debt, issues regarding infrastructure, the care for veterans, homeless and less fortunate people and environmental issues.
        (I used a translator for this comment)

        • SDW

          The Netherlands does not have a separate “truth” than that of the US. In fact, the PRC is very lonely in its assertion that artificial islands built on shoals have territorial seas or extend an EEZ. The Dutch Royal Navy may choose not to exercise its claim that such actions are unlawful but then it has not sailed those waters very much since 1949. You seem to assume that a lack of Dutch FONOPS indicates official acceptance of China’s claims. I think you are mistaken.

          Yes, all people of good will do not want a military clash anywhere. It is in China’s hands to make the South China Sea peaceful for the long term. The must only negotiate with their neighbors the fair and equitable delimitation of the SCS.

          BTW: The US lack of acceptance of the PRC claims does not mean that the US accepts those of the Philippines, Viet Nam. Malaysia, etc.

          • .Hugo.

            china doesn’t need a crowd in its assertion, as you have the order wrong — unclos allows coastal states to build in their eez, not to build things to claim eez. 🙂
            .
            it is not in china’s hands to stop the u.s. provocations, it is only in china’s hands to safeguard its territorial integrity. the scs has been peaceful before the u.s. backed the philippines to invade chinese islands and shoals and ignored vietnam of doing the same from the 1960s, as long as china has remained a communist state. 🙂
            .
            by the way, the philippines has refused to negotiate with china on splitting the eez as it wants the entire region (and to name it the west philippine sea), which is a direct violation of proper unclos dispute settlement procedures. 🙂
            .

      • BillyP

        “…not violate COLREGS” – – really? Have we all forgotten the JOHN S MCCAIN and FITZGERALD collisions?

        • Duane

          Those were errors, both in judgment, and in machinery operations … neither accident was intentional … that’s why they call them “accidents”.

          • BillyP

            That’s a very charitable interpretation of events as reported: BOTH ships violated the COLREGS for either crossing or overtaking vessels, respectively. BOTH vessels failed to keep a lookout – not spotting the other vessel until almost touching. The lookouts on the FITZGERALD were mostly (3 out of 4) posted on the port (non-threatened) side, or not posted AT ALL (depending on which report is true, the Japanese or the USN. Either way, the lookouts did not lookout, and nor did anyone else on the bridge.
            Operationally, we had the officers in charge of the bridge and the CIC who so disliked each other personally that they refused to speak to each other.
            The list could go on .. ..

          • Duane

            You’re not getting the point … or rather, as a troll, you are purposefully ignoring the point.

            The ships violated COLREGS for all the reasons delineated in the investigations. It all came down to unintended command and crew incompetence.

            The President or SecDef did not order those ships to collide with merchant ships … as in DUHHHH!!!!

            It is extremely clear that Chinese authorities deliberately ordered their ship to operate unsafely. The Chinese ship itself issued warnings over the radio for the American ship to vacate the international waters in which it was legally sailing.

            End of story. Take your trolling elsewhere.

          • BillyP

            The “DUHHH!!!!” comment reveals (somewhat inarticulately) an over blown sensitivity. I wonder why .. ..

          • .Hugo.

            and they were still violations.
            .

  • Thein Maung

    FONOPS no one questions the freedom of navigation in International Waters – Merchant Vessels probably by the thousands go back and forth through the South China Seas, without any problems other than the occasional collisions, in particular with US Navy vessels.
    The question that one should pose to the US Navy in particular, do you need to be just moving back and forth just being deliberately difficult trying to prove a point with regards to FONOPS, rather than an innocent passage from the Pacific onwards to the Indian Ocean via the Straits and without impinging on Territorial Waters – when Merchant vessels do not appear to have had any problems whatsoever

    • Graeme Rymill

      One of the factors international courts and tribunals take into consideration when adjudicating on competing sovereignty claims is whether the countries opposing a country’s territorial claims have consistently opposed those claims. If long periods of time pass without any form of protest than that is seen as de facto acceptance of the contested claims and will inform the judgement. The Chinese claims to these “islands” is not recognized by international law. The US and other countries are therefore obliged to regularly assert their rights to freedom of navigation in these international waters.

      • .Hugo.

        what “these islands” are you talking about? the ones claimed by china for centuries or the ones built by china which was allowed by unclos?
        .
        and which international law are you referring to? unclos? well, unclos cannot judge island ownership and it can’t be applied when ownership of historical title is involved. 🙂

    • Duane

      The point of FONOPs is to tell the Chinese their claims are illegal, and will be ignored. The idea is to make a political point with a naval asset. Navies have been used for that purpose for thousands of years – they are political tools used to make a show, among other purposes.

      • Thein Maung

        if it is illegal, should this not be fought out in a Court of Law.
        I cannot see how freedom of navigation and or innocent passage has is solved by marching up and down ones front door – to compound they are also a threat to navigation as has been witnessed by the recent collisions involving USN.

        • Refguy

          What court? It’s hard to go to court when you haven’t ratified the treaty and have declared yourself not bound by the court.

          • Thein Maung

            exactly, the US bleats about the Rule of Law and are not even signatories and recently have proven, they have decided to back out of those that they are/were signatories to.

          • SDW

            Bringing up irrelevant treaty withdrawals doesn’t help your case. Furthermore, the US plan to withdraw from the Treaty of Paris (the “climate” accord) is in accordance with the treaty’s Article 28. The so-called Iran Nuclear Deal is not a treaty and thereby law. There is no requirement in law for the US to continue its adherence. Whether the US can, unilaterally, re-impose the harsh UN sanctions is a different question but only in its application to other countries.

          • Refguy

            The treaty of amity was a treaty.

          • SDW

            (I don’t get out much…)

            Has the US formally invoked Article XXIII to withdraw from the treaty or is it citing Iran’s lack of “Amity”? “Death To America” chants hardly invoke friendly feelings, do they?

            As to the ICJ ruling about Iran… I don’t know enough yet to have an opinion. (Don’t laugh, it can happen.)

          • Refguy

            Pompeo announced on Wednesday that we are terminating the treaty and added that this action is long overdue. This was because of dissatisfaction with an International Court of Justice ruling against us.

          • .Hugo.

            the icj has ruled against the u.s. of mining the nicaraguan harbor, the u.s. ignored the ruling.
            .

          • SDW

            .Hugo., my friend. I remember the ICJ case against the US. My personal opinion is that the US went too far in it’s desire for a regime change. The US argument that it was acting on El Salvador’s defensive behalf was very weak. Nor was there any UN resolution upon which to base these actions. I believed then and still do that that the ICJ ruling was correct. I would be happier if Somoza, prior to running away, filed a ICJ suit against Cuba for all if its meddling in Nicaragua. It was more than ironic that Nicaragua’s case was centered generally on the obligation of one country to not mess with another. The only substantive difference was that Cuba was successful and the US was not.

            I hope someday you will gain an appreciation of the right to have and publicly express an opinion different than that of the state.

          • .Hugo.

            doesn’t matter on how you like to comment on the icj case, the fact is that the u.s. has not observed *real* international court judgment. the u.s. is still threatening the u.n. legal arm and other member states even until today if they dare to judge or vote against the u.s.
            .
            i hope someday you will gain an understanding of the u.s. imperiousness even in the u.n. 🙂
            .

          • SDW

            You brought it up. I assumed you had a point.

            Maybe someone gave you some assurance that the PRC would abide by any ICJ ruling. Nonetheless, If China is so sure that a Tribunal or the ICJ would rule in its favor then it should file an action.

          • .Hugo.

            china has not allowed itself to enter a situation which will bring it to either a tribunal or the icj in the first place, that’s called law abiding. only the u.s. wants to set laws for the rest but not itself to follow.
            .
            maybe you are not so sure the difference between an arbitration that china has rejected based on its convention rights than a real legal icj case instead? 🙂
            .
            .

          • SDW

            You are mistaken. President Reagan officially committed the US to abide by the UNCLOS III except for the seabed mining sections. The US did ratify UNCLOS I and most of the matters involving land forms, seas, and sea features did not change between I and III (except for some clarifications such as territorial seas extending 12 NMI instead of 3). Leaving aside the US claims, the Philippines brought an action against the PRC in accordance with the provisions of UNCLOS III. The PRC lost its case but has chosen to ignore an actual ruling.

            It is false to assume (or mislead others) that lack of US ratification means that ratifying countries are not bound by UNCLOS provisions in matters relating to the US.

            If the US and others were to longer assert its claims by, for example, conducting FONOPS then the claims would lapse and the PRC’s unlawful claims would be accepted de facto.

          • Refguy

            Treaties have to be ratified by Congress to have the force of law; that hasn’t happened.

          • SDW

            Yes, but which treaty are you referring to? UNCLOS is not a treaty though it is treated as one being subject to senate ratification. Reagan’s statement is sufficiently binding in terms of being directive to US government executive branch departments and agencies. Any president (the current one included) could rescind the directive but none has so far.

          • .Hugo.

            unclos is a convention, a set of laws to manage maritime resources and navigation.
            .
            as it will restrict u.s. naval activities very much, the u.s. has refused to sign on it.
            .

          • SDW

            That dream-like delusion has a Chinese soundtrack.

          • .Hugo.

            dream or no dream, the u.s. has still refused to sign on unclos, which is the convention to manage maritime resources and navigation.
            .
            and we all know why. 🙂
            .

          • Mysterre

            Exactly. SDW’s talking points sound like the US government: do what I say, not what I do. Or else.

          • .Hugo.

            “america first” 😀

          • .Hugo.

            nothing is mistaken, the u.s. has never signed on unclos iii, it is never a signatory.
            .
            …but it still wants to enjoy its rights
            .
            (update 12 oct 18)
            also the philippines has not complied with unclos part xv in full, and it has ignored china’s unclos rights and declaration upon signing. when china has exercised its unclos rights to reject the philippine pca fiasco, it has void all further proceeding.
            .

          • SDW

            “…enjoy its rights” doesn’t make sense. There are no special rights that derive from being a UNCLOS signatory. The US could proceed just like it is doing now by citing customary international law. The real question is why doesn’t the PRC follow the law as described in UNCLOS? If the PRC wants to file a suit under the applicable parts of UNCLOS against the US assertions of the correct delimitation of territorial seas etc. then the US can’t prevent the PRC from doing so.

          • .Hugo.

            wrong.
            .
            the specific rights are eez and the use of maritime resources exclusively by the signatory.
            .
            so which “customary international law” can replace unclos? care to enlighten me? if there is one then why we need unclos, and even to its third version?
            .
            since the u.s. has refused to sign on unclos (but still wants to enjoy its rights, clever), how can china file a suit by unclos against the u.s.? and since when the u.s. will comply with any international judgement which is against its interest? haha….
            .

          • SDW

            1. UNCLOS III described and defined the Exclusive Economic Zone. The ICJ held that UNCLOS Article 57 is customary international law. If the PRC has an issue with the US (or any other non-signatory) it could file suit in the International Court.

            2. It is not a question of which or whether customary international law *replaces* the UNCLOS. The important fact here is that customary international law has and still exists independent of the UNCLOS. Most usually, UNCLOS articles restated custom. The International Court has held that much of the UNCLOS was, in fact, customary international law and binding on states even if either or both were not parties to the UN Convention. Here are 12 provisions of Part II, Section 2 “Limits of the Territorial Sea” of the UNCLOS that the ICJ has found as being part of customary international law:

            Article 2—legal status of the territorial sea, of the airspace over the territorial sea
            and of its bed and subsoil;
            Article 3—breadth of the territorial sea;
            Article 5—normal baseline;
            Articles 7(1), 7(3), and 7(5)—straight baselines;
            Article 7(4)—straight baselines;
            Article 10—bays;
            Article 13(1)—low-tide elevations;
            Article 15—delimitation of the territorial sea between states with opposite or adjacent coasts;
            Article 17—right of innocent passage; and
            Article 18—meaning of passage.

            (Do you want the case citations?)

            The UNCLOS refers to customary law. Here are two of these references;

            Part II, section 1, Article 2, item 3 “The sovereignty over the territorial sea is exercised subject to this Convention and to other rules of international law.”
            Part IV, Article 74, item 1 “The delimitation of the exclusive economic zone between States with opposite or adjacent coasts shall be affected by agreement on the basis of international law, as referred to in Article 38 of the Statute of the
            International Court of Justice, in order to achieve an equitable solution.”

            3. If China files an action against the US and the ICJ rules in China’s favor then even if the US should deny the ICJ’s jurisdiction it would all look good for the PRC. If the PRC really thought it had the law on its side then why wouldn’t it file suit?

          • .Hugo.

            the question was “which customary international law” can replace unclos, and you answered (which was a copy and paste one in which i can also find the source — your ‘gold mine’?) was like saying that unclos itself is the customary international law. funny logic when you are basically saying that “unclos can replace unclos.” 🙂
            .
            and still the u.s. is not an unclos signatory, it has no unclos legal obligation. intruding other’s territorial waters is not an area covered by unclos but a matter of national defense anyway. 🙂
            .
            unclos has more than 320 articles, and by quoting 12 you say “the international court has held that MUCH of the unclos was customary international law”. your argument is really ‘powerful’…. 😛
            .
            also clearly stated in unclos and as a CUSTOMARY international law, an arbitration can only proceed when all parties agree on it. so since when china has agreed on any form of arbitration in the scs island issue? who has observed your beloved customary international law in this case?
            .
            please don’t use “customary law” as your excuse, as at the end of the day the u.s. has still refused to sign on unclos, meaning that it is free to interpret any unclos article in your beloved “customary” way to avoid being ruled against. we have seen how the u.s. has done that even in your source of reference.
            .
            and as article 58.3 has stated that:
            .
            “States shall have due regard to the rights and duties of the coastal State and shall comply with the laws and regulations adopted by the coastal State in accordance with the provisions of this Convention and other rules of international law…”
            .
            are you trying to tell me that the u.s. will simply follow chinese maritime time in chinese eez as “customary”? seems like you have adopted a wrong approach this time. 😀
            .
            .

          • Mysterre

            The PRC lost no such case in the UN. You must be referring to the PCA, which is NOT an organ of the UN (that would be the ICJ, which pointedly distanced itself from the PCA after that specific ruling). It consisted of 3 retired judges paid entirely by the Philippines government (talk about complete conflict of interest), and has no authority of law recognized by any international body. Neither did China actually agree to this “arbitration”, a word which by definition requires all aggrieved parties to agree to it.

          • SDW

            The Philippines’ action against the PRC was completely in accord with UNCLOS III, Part XV and Annex VII. This includes the fees and expenses that the Philippines paid. The two countries were to have paid half each but then the PRC refused to participate, didn’t it? If the PRC objected to any of the arbitrators then there was ample opportunity to raise those issues. The arbitrators were selected from the list drawn up and maintained by the UN Secretary-General.

            The definition of the entire process is detailed including the process to be followed if one of the parties (in this case the PRC) chooses not to participate. Your statement that a duly constituted arbitral tribunal has no recognized authority is false on its face. When China signed the UNCLOS it agreed to this process.

      • .Hugo.

        when china announced its maritime border in 1947, the u.s. did not protest, it has even asked the then chinese government to confirm island names and ownership, and it has even asked the then chinese government to conduct survey and rescue missions in the islands.
        .
        and everything became “illegal” when communist china took the u.n. seat and oil and gas were discovered in the 1970s? hmm….that’s very logical….. 😀
        .

  • R’ Yitzchak M

    Openning 2 fronts at the same time.. ?

  • Ctrot

    Wikipedia article on Chinese destroyer Lanzhou (170) has been updated to reflect this incident, obviously from the wording it was written by someone sympathetic to the Chinese:

    “On September 30 of 2018, the US Navy’s “Decatur” destroyer broke into the waters adjacent to the Nanxun Reef, and the Lanzhou (170) destroyer was ordered to drive away.”

  • Leroy

    And finally SecDef and the United States Navy has decided upon an aggressive response – we hope – this coming today via CNN:

    US Navy proposing major show of force to warn China

    “The US Navy’s Pacific Fleet has drawn up a classified proposal to carry out a global show of force as a warning to China and to demonstrate the US is prepared to deter and counter their military actions, according to several US defense officials.

    The draft proposal from the Navy is recommending the US Pacific Fleet conduct a series of operations during a single week in November.

    The goal is to carry out a highly focused and concentrated set of exercises involving US warships, combat aircraft and troops to demonstrate that the US can counter potential adversaries quickly on several fronts.”

    From CNN.

    Hopefully any exercise will involve some live firing, this in order to show Beijing that we are not intimidated, we will react with force if China attempts further militarization of the SCS (an ADIZ supported by fighter aircraft on those fake islands – that’s where things are now headed), and we will not tolerate hazarding our naval assets in what is globally-recognized international air- and sea-space.

    A PLA troll that obscenely posts (trolls) here boldly proclaimed; “China has not authorized any foreign vessels to open fire in its waters”. What the troll says is irrelevant, but what Beijing says does matter, and this is what they believe. That the SCS belongs to them and they will determine rules concerning access, especially around their fake islands. Well guess what?

    China does not order the U.S. Navy (and our other services, or our allies) around, and we will do what is legal not under Beijing’s diktat, but legal under international law. We should do it soon, we should do it large, and we should do it (FON) with forceful regularity. We must also aggressively defend our ships. Aggressive as in kinetic if they make it necessary.

    Hopefully Xi and the PLA will get the message – get it loud and clear. If not, if we acquiesce, the Chinese will only grow bolder in their actions against US Navy shipping and air assets like P-8, B-52, EP-3, Global Hawk, Triton, etc. And if we allow this to happen, allow ourselves to meekly walk away tail firmly tucked between our legs, the world will conclude that we are a power in decline, a nation that speaks loudly but carries not a big stick, not a little stick, but rather that we carry no stick at all. That we will let any nation push us around. If we ever allowed this to happen we will rue the day (and reap the whirlwind of great power military and economic decline, as well as put at risk worldwide peace and stability).

    We must act with bold resolve, and not be afraid to kinetically defend ourselves if that’s the only choice Beijing leaves us. For now, this potential plan as reported by CNN is a good next step. That said – keep eyes sharp, maintain firm resolution, and most of all – keep the powder of our guns and missiles dry! Yes, keep them very dry and at the ready in case we need to use them to defend ourselves.

    • Mike

      Thank you for sharing this! Let’s see what China’s tin metal boats are capable of.

      • .Hugo.

        afraid of being rammed, we can easily see who has tin metal boats. 🙂

    • .Hugo.

      all china has to send are spy ships to monitor the exercises. if the u.s. vessels intrude chinese waters then all 3 chinese fleets plus naval aviation will be ready to take necessary actions to maintain order. so at the end money wasted and fuel burned for the u.s. and gain nothing. 🙂
      .
      it’s the u.s. being the first to set up adiz right at china’s doorstep, if china declares an adiz over its scs territory, then it means china is ready for any u.s. challenge.
      .
      and the fact is still work unclos, china is eez in the scs, and no foreign vessel is authorised by china to conduct any military drill.
      .
      and you don’t have to make the world to believe, for it knows you are a power in decline, and your loud president is a laughingstock in the u.n. 😀
      .

      • Leroy

        Declare that ADIZ. Declare that U.S warships are not allowed to transit or train in the SCS. Please do that. It’s long past time that the PLA, PLAN and PLA AF gets taught a powerful lesson.

        It’s very cold at the bottom of the sea. Very cold indeed!

        • .Hugo.

          you have some really wrong concept here. adiz is not to stop anything but is an early warning zone, that is what the “i” — identification, means.

          u.s. warships and planes are already being intercepted in the scs chinese territory without an adiz anyway. i just don’t see anything in the bottom of the sea. 🙂

          • Leroy

            “i just don’t see anything in the bottom of the sea.”

            Impede us or our allies, especially Japan, in any way, and you will! : )

            PS. How do you like those Sōryūs doing undersea patrols and wargames in the SCS? What, you couldn’t see them? lol! I thought so. Your ASW sucks, so until they decide to sink a PLAN ship with a torpedo, you never will. But I hope they decide to send you that gift soon. Even fish, crabs and lobsters gotta eat! Think of your sank ship as a buffet. They thank you.

          • .Hugo.

            japan is always impeded by china in the diaoyu waters, and the japanese fleet was under close chinese watch in the scs。
            .
            this picture was taken from the japanese vessel kaga during the exercise, see how close the chinese destroyer was?
            .
            cdnDOThk01DOTcom/media/article/233238/
            thumbnail/498666afe97aa48d2e21ec6684b5c52d.jpg
            .
            i have to wonder who could not see whom…. 😀
            .
            and how would you know that the japanese sub was not being tracked by chinese subs too? would anyone tell you that when it’s highly classified?
            .

  • Eyes open

    Maybe the Chinese destroyer was looking to unrep with the Decatur!

  • R’ Yitzchak M

    Yuri Andropov sent Russian silent sub to “shadow” 2 Chinese subs order was to launch allout thermonuclear attack on the West Coast. Captain of the Russian sub sadotaged that event by destroying the sub an the crew. Chinese could do exactlly the same before “smoke clears” there would be Russia and America missing on the new issue of Chinese global charts.. Two fronts at the same time.. not good

  • R’ Yitzchak M

    U.S is spending close to 700 bilion dollars a year, medical care 800 billions one percent increase in the interest rates on National debit constitutes 800 BILLION DOLLARS added expenditure just to service THE INTEREST on the national debit.

    Trase War increases cost of goods which translates into the INFLATION.. 15% 25% tarifs coresponds to simmilar increase in prices so the interest rates wold go from 1.75 to 11.75% .. yes i know sum price pressure is a lot smaller but to factor the market hysteria it would be very close to that level a open Trade War would expose all non secured loans OF about 300 TRILLION Dollars to the scrutiny of REALITY. China is major RECIPIENT of the interest cost of debit. They are preparing for such event for the last 25 years.. to shift on a dime toward the DOMESTIC MARKET. Road eithout cities, cities without the roads.. the DOMESTIC MARKET INFRA STRUCTURE internal 1.5 billion consumer base?

    To deal with the China is to be clear a really MILITARILLY CLEAR that game of strategic attrition is over.. SOVEREIGNTY of the nations is ABSOLUTE. And rule of respect of every national sovereignity must be respected.. but then the NATO is by far the worse offender on the globe today.

    I am really not strong in “poetry” that is the CNN’s “job”

    I hope that “optics” and “make it beleve universe” of CNN and their decipled would be REPLACED by some common sense.

    A true justice is only hope for peace

  • Leroy

    What we see here is more proof (besides the dramatic fall in the Shanghai Composite and Hang Seng) that China is losing the trade war. And like all totalitarian governments, Xi the dictator cannot hold on to absolute power, which he has, if he loses face.

    He has left himself little wiggle-room as President Trump rightly demands equity in commerce, and Xi has steadfastly denied it. So what’s next? The game plan is tried and true – Xi will show he is a man of power by distracting the Chinese with some level of military conflict. He will prey upon Chinese nationalism. This incident makes it pretty obvious.

    So this trade war could easily escalate into a real war. But President Trump is right, the inequities in trade – inequities which have been going on for decades – must stop. And stop them we will!

    If China chooses war, just know it is their choice, fault, mistake, blunder, and exactly what happens when a power is totalitarian and expansionist. Hitler tried it, Tojo tried it, and now Xi may try the exact same thing. And it is NOT just about trade, but encompasses China’s plan to expel us from Asia and impose their form of oppressive government and society upon the world.

    So gird yourselves accordingly, and of course back President Trump. It’s inaction by previous Administrations, both Democrat and Republican, that has brought us to this point. That and China’s global imperialist ambitions. Of those FACTS make no mistake.

    • R’ Yitzchak M

      Common SENSE of course have to prevail RECIPRCITY is a critical starting point BASED on a real justice. Even agreements between the people is negotiated and the STRONG agreements solidify THE RELATIONSHIPS.

      Jewish couples draw agreement of eachother duties and interests so it cuts on unnecessary drama immensely. Amendment could and perhaps should be made from time to time. Everything has PRICES – coseqences. On subject who will “loose the most” revisit that subject more carefully. I agree that we have demand RECIPROCITY and we have to HAVE RECIPROCITY across the board with every trading PARTNER. It is just a common sense. That must to be clearly explained to the people of our trading partners. We should have FREE AND FAIR Trade

      • tteng

        Reciprocity only works if two sides are equal, which is not the case with the US against split EU, or Mexico, or Canada…We pretty much run rough shod over them in trade negotiations.

        OTOH, China, economically, is peer (and soon surpass) because of its world’s largest market, production base, and talent pool. In the long term, size does matter.

        • R’ Yitzchak M

          In a “pocker game” bluff works to the point. You very eloquently explained that point. IN The game or IN the BUSINESS with your partners there is a huge difference especially in Chinese PARTNERSHIPS the TRUST is a huuuuuge powertool of Chinese economic success. I am not going into “romantic” mode but Asian miracle is based on values that proved trough the milenias that TRUST DOES MATTER. Advantage or disadvantage has to be clearly and openly negotiated and should incorporate the beneficent direction of both parties.. Agreements are possible and the PEACE is essential to the survival of species

      • China has never in its 3000 year history believed in reciprocity. Every Chinese interaction with the outside world has been a one way street – even after suffering defeat after defeat at the hands of the European powers the Chinese continued to believe that they could dictate terms.

        • R’ Yitzchak M

          Gingis Khan summarized that approach very simply “Are you with me or against me..” and the consequences where there for everyone to see (bad very bad.. optics for a wrong answer)

          But in my dealings I loved my Chinese business partners they were the best and by far the most reasonable and by far THE MOST TRUSTWORTHY PEOPLE I DELT WITH and they really delivered everything you hoped to find in business. Intellect and the humility to hear you. We should perhaps send our kids to their schools ?

    • tteng

      There are two extreme outcomes for trade war, and I don’t see either outcome produces a war (from Chinese ends).

      The most pro-China outcome: Beijing subsidizes (using its $3T foreign exchange and annual $350B trade surplus) the $120B extra tax (i.e. $500B Chinese export at 25% tariff) for next 2-6 years, to keep its export sector going. And to reduce tariff for certain hi-tech sector import (e.g. Boeing aircraft, semiconductor) to keep them coming (and siphoning off IP). At the same time, China will target tariff on agri/mineral states (such as Iowa corn and Texas oil) to weaken their support for the POTUS.

      The most anti-China outcome: complete separation of US-China commerce, a draw down of 2.7% GDP for China (wiping out $350B trade surplus out of $13T GDP annually). To make up the difference, China still trades with the rest of the world, minus the US. And, there is the B&R in investing the non-western world. Also, China has world’s largest industrial economy (the US has the largest overall economy, but China has the largest industrial sector economy in nominal term.), so it does not see itself out-competed by anybody.

      In both extreme outcomes, if China goes stupid and starts a war with the US, it will lose all these economic gains (from past to future). Two things we can predict: the eventual US-China trade resolution will be somewhere between the two extreme outcomes. And Beijing ain’t stupid (go to war, that is).

      • Leroy

        As world investment in Chinese stocks flee, the Chinese stock markets could crash.

        Beijing may control their citizens, and they may control their entrepreneur class (through fear and intimidation, as the CEO of Anbang Insurance found out, and Jack Ma may have feared because you are prohibited from gaining power, in this case financial, over Xi and the CCP by amassing great wealth), and they may control private and government-sponsored companies, but they DO NOT control the flow of capital into the country from abroad (and get hurt, the Yuan does, when they try to curb outflows). Ergo – the possibility of a stock market crash.

        One more thing. China’s problem is structural, and the world should have realized this a long time ago. You cannot have a communist government and capitalist economy. It cannot work, and eventually one or the other will collapse. Isn’t our fault. But when it comes, and it will come (whether through revolution or government crackdown), it’s gonna be a he_l of a lot of messy. I can’t predict the final winner, but can conclude that no matter what, there will be many Chinese losers – as in the Chinese people themselves. One way or another many are destined to die. Our challenge is to make sure it’s contained.

        • tteng

          Yes, Beijing does control the flow of capital in/out of its border (for the most part)- because everything in China (including its stock market) is denominated in RMB, and RMB is not a freely trade-able currency across the border.

          2nd, Chinese stock market is like gambling, has no bearing on China’s economy. Look at the Shanghai Composite Index: before the 2008 crash, it was at 5818 with GDP of 4.5T. Today, SCI sits at 2725 with GDP of 13T- so the stock got halved while the GDP went up almost 3 folds.

          “..You cannot have a communist government and capitalist economy. It does not work…”

          Well…you know…like your local Chinese eatery..we aren’t exactly sure what kind of meat (and the secret sauce) is in the pot, but they sure taste good. Only the chef (or in this case Beijing) knows what’s going on, and the only thing that validates that is: it taste good. (or its economy has been humming along for 3 decades). Your above statement might be true theoretically, but it might not be describing the Chinese system as Beijing knows it.

          As for your prediction of ‘China fail’…well, the average rise&fall of Chinese dynasty (which I consider PRC as one) lasts about 200-250 years. PRC is almost 70 years old, still about 30-50 years from averaged half way mark. It is not to say CCP won’t be forced to transform as overall Chinese society becomes richer and folks become more self aware of their ‘keeps and rights of’- as had former Taiwan/ROK/Singapore autocracies had to transform as those societies became richer…So, you might be on to something that, as China becomes richer, CCP might have to change to stay in power.

          • R’ Yitzchak M

            Capitalism works lala universe kils .. driving the bus of 1.5 billions of “passengers” while daydreaming of Mao’s “paradise” is a crime. That dreamer murdered 55 millions of Chinese.

            Capitalism has to provide 3 simple things to work.

            Product that people want
            Competitive Price
            And the competitive Service

            And That is it!

            Socialism..??

            Only guns to keep robing its subjects A FARM OF VICTIMS out of everything. Socialism is a NEOFEUDALISM people are divested of humanity – CHOICES and become nothing but the “SUBJECTS” slaves

          • Leroy

            US money, a large source of investment money, flows via ADRs. That’s why all these Chinese companies are scrambling to list on the NYSE and Nasdaq. With investor confidence in China ebbing, money is flowing out of these depository receipts, and out of the Chinese stock market. Their indices reflect.

            They are in trouble, and Beijing knows it. They cannot control foreign investors decisions to invest or not to invest. Many are fleeing Chinese stocks. Just look at the PPS for companies like Alibaba and Weibo. Sina. Baidu. Dropping severely. Not good for China. Rocking their entire stock market. Their RMB is dropping in value. I hope it collapses them. The very least these tariffs is doing is causing them lots of pain, while we are at 50 year high levels of employment.

          • tteng

            Chinese companies come to the US IPO market to accrue capitals for their oversea business expansion.

            The money maybe flow out of Chinese stock market, that does not mean that money can be converted from RMB to $/euro/Yen freely, and go offshore freely. It is not to say the companies won’t try, but they either do it with consent of the Chinese government, or they try to do it ‘illegally’ and risks having their CEOs incurring Beijing’s wrath (and you know how these folks wind up.) In China, it’s a deterrence when money can’t buy the best lawyer to buy one’s way out. And there is a such thing call Capital-Control in China; money does not go in/out freely. Also, China is a net positive foreign direct investor ( e.g. B&R ), its sovereign wealth holding for foreign investment stands at $3T.

            The RMB devaluation is a mechanism to combat the tariff. For example: if Trump enact a tariff of 20%, and Beijing de-valuate its currency by 20%, the US importer of Chinese goods will not see the tax impact. Like I said, Chinese stock market is like gambling, it has little bearing on China’s economy (as I gave you the example of its stock market index vs. their GDP histories, their stock market simply does not reflect their real economy).

          • .Hugo.

            also tax incentives to chinese exporters (both domestic and foreign) to offset the tariff. in fact, the market has pretty much digested the bad news of the tariff and there is no sharp fall or great fluctuations to the currencies directly caused by the trade war.

          • SDW

            (The more I agree with your individual posts the more worried I become.)

          • .Hugo.

            then agree with the other side as trump wants you to, while i continue to observe the situation and acknowledge the facts. 20% of total chinese exports is important but not critical, it won’t kill china when the market will balance itself. better worry about how much longer american farmers can sustain, and how worry free boeing and other u.s. companies in china can still be in the next 2 years. 🙂
            .

          • Leroy

            Devalue the Yuan, and wealthy Chinese find ways to dump the RMB. We saw that happen two years ago. For China, the results were frightening.

          • tteng

            Wealthy Chinese are like ‘wealthy xxxx’ (fill in the blank, of any nationalities) of anywhere, they like their money, and they will do anything to gain/protect it in spite the damage they can do to their nation (for example: the outsourcing for the last 30 years has enriched the 1% and decimated the mfg. middle class sector of this nation, and all that wealth stashed away in Swiss bank and Caymen island.) So, no, I won’t use the example of ‘the wealthy and their wealth’ as symbol of a nation’s true state of reflection.

            Just so you know, in China, money does not buy/control politics; money can be result of accrued power, but it is not power.

          • .Hugo.

            how has the rmb fallen when for the past month it has been stable or even appreciated against most major world currencies? we all know why it will depreciate against the usd too, when chinese goods are cheaper to the u.s. buyers, just let’s see how much more tax can trump add onto them which violates wto terms even more. 🙂
            .

          • SDW

            Real economic growth in the countryside has been starkly different than in the cities. Why not spread the wealth using the power of central planning and control? Could it be that the neo-mandarins rely on a huge pool of (literally) hungry people stuck under the thumb of the central committee (the Chinese lumpen prolitariat)? Let’s say the migration of the economically privileged turns into a rush reminiscent of the Hong Kong exodus. The Chinese economy could go through some very bad times but the party would blame the running dog crypto-capitalists and replace them with a new batch of pliant instruments of the state.

          • tteng

            If you google ‘Chinese growth of inland cities’, plenty will pop up on the growth of inland 2nd/3rd tier cities outpacing the coastal China (which mean the overall growth has been shifting away from the coastal 1st tier cities of Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen to more spread out interior China). Since cities are nodes of economic activities for their surrounding rural areas, a more spread out nodes mean more rural areas are positively affected by the nearby city growth.

            And you asked: how does Beijing spread the wealth. One example, right now China has (I generalize) 4H4V (4 east/west and 4 north/south) high-speed rail network crisscrossing the nation, and it is working on 8H8V HSR network.

            “..Could it be that the neo-mandarins rely on a huge pool of (literally) hungry people stuck under the thumb of the central committee (the Chinese lumpen prolitariat)?”

            You made it sound like CCP is a ruling class separated from the masses. It is not. Every member sitting on that central committee started their careers and rose from the bottom (go ahead google their names and their bios). CCP, in some way, is like the US military (a meritocratic system), every officer starts as a lieutenant and go thru the up-or-out selection based on ‘mission and accomplishment’.

            ” (if economy fails). party would blame the running dog crypto-capitalists and replace them with a new batch of pliant instruments of the state.”

            Remember the phrase “when you have absolute power, you have absolute corruption”, let me re-phrase (as per Chinese history, teaching and philosophy) ” when you have absolute power, you have absolute responsibility ” (or known as: mandate of Heaven). So if CCP screws up, as per Chinese history (everything Chinese does, public to private, from large matter to small, is examined by the recorded tradition), it will no one to blame except itself.

            I think..why the rest of the world don’t get China..is because they think in ‘why China succeed, in such short time, in spite of CCP’. I think the truer question should be ‘why China succeed because of CCP’. Until they get the question right, you can’t get to the answer.

          • SDW

            My assertion is not that only the coastal cities have done well, rather that the cities have done hugely better in proportion to the countryside (i.e., the rural areas outside of the cities). The Han Chinese, the major beneficiaries of CCP power, constitute a larger percentage of the city residents than the surrounding rural areas and this is not by chance. The highspeed rail net will aid the whole country to prosper or, at least, the cities that it connects. It would be interesting to follow where the money goes in building this network and whether it will be like the “ghost cities” that lie empty while the builders move their money and their grandchildren out of the country.

            That CCP does function as a “meritocracy” in that one rises through the ranks until the highest reaches like the central committee. What I claim is that the what amounts to merit in this meritocracy is service to the party and growth (not just perpetuation) of its monopoly on political power in the PRC–not the people in whose name the CCP cynically rules. True democracy is evident in the existence of choice and not the “opportunity” to agree with what the party leadership desires. When the electorate has no choice nor right to challenge the party’s grip on control there is only another version of despotism. This is whether it’s the electorate voting for a congress member or the congress rubber stamping the central committee’s decisions, or the central committee agreeing with whatever the president-for-life wants.

            I also claim that the children of the CCP (and military)leadership constitute a large percentage of the growing privileged class. This is due to the age-old reality that wealth follows power and power follows wealth. Yes, many leave the country fearing being “disappeared” for challenging the party while others leave to live off the bribery money. It sometimes seems that anyone that can leave the country does and many that can’t leave send their pregnant grand-daughters to the US to pick up a US birth certificate.

          • tteng

            Urbanization is an important part of China’s poverty alleviation, simply because it is much easier to offer services (e.g. Infrastructure, education, public health) to a concentrated populace than a spread out one. And Han-Chinese, being that they are 90+% of the population, I don’t think ethnicity plays into any favortism if one belongs to a super majority ethnicity- in fact, in areas like Tibet and Xinjian, Beijing plows inordinate amount of resources to cement Beijing’s hold of the border regions, and any Chinese (as in nationality) of any ethnicity can take advantage of the opportunity that comes with the funding, should they decide to follow Beijing’s rule, that is, as long as they (Han or otherwise) think themselves as Chinese first and ethnicity second they will be treated equally. Otoh, if they put their ethnicity first and Chinese-nationality second, Beijing won’t tolerate that.

            Regarding democracy or other form of governance, they are all means to an end with the end supposedly defined by good economy where people can make gainful living. In China, CCP is the only choice as mean, but it does deliver avg 6-8% growth for 3 decades. Would China, if under democracy during that time, performed the same? We just don’t know. Therefore, while we in the west will never swap our democracy for anything else, CCP, otoh, did prove its efficacy for China’s rapid development.

            As for Chinese oversea travel, while stories of ‘cheaters and grafters’ do catch our attention, they by and large are normal people going about their normal pursuit of better living, both in and outside of China…I think my point is: China is a real world success story (if measured by practical criteria of economy and national power), therefore one must evaluate it with equanimity, even if it is competing with the US directly.

          • tteng

            This reply is to Mr. Altman (for some reason, disquis says your post was inactive, even though it is only couple hours old, anyway..)

            I didn’t pencil in HRC nor Trump on my 2016 ballot either, I guess that makes 2 of us. I do agree Americans are fair and decent minded folks, however, I disagree Trump instinctively believes in that (none of his pre-POTUS days indicated he was of such person. But then, of course, every politicians from Trump to Xi to Putin clothes themselves in righteousness for their political persona in order to co-op our deepest desire and fears, in the case for Americans- the seemly rise/decline of China/US, and a sense and fear and unknown if autocratic China, out of all systems, takes the pole place…personally, I grew up under the autocratic KMT (another previous-Chinese benign despotism) in Taiwan before my dad moved us here, so my experience is different from Americans who have experience/known no other system.

            Let’s talk about ‘decoupling’. First of all, the ‘globalization of supply chain’ was first initiated by the profit-driven corporate America during the Reagan years (that’s how I internalize it because that’s when I was first cognizant of the ‘outsourcing’ nomenclature and practice). While we have since known the practice has lay waste the middle-class mfg.sector blue collar America, the financial sector has gained enormously from the practice. Therefore, to ‘in-source’ back to bring us back to the pre-1990 era is to take the $candies$ away from the fundamental bedrock sector of American political/societal oil machine- the profit. (e.g. Apple sells its Iphone for $800, pays Foxconn $10 to do all the work of world’s most advance supply chain management as ‘China cost’).

            2nd, the other day Boeing announced it’s planning to compete against anyone on its forecast of 7500+ new planes in the Chinese market for next 10-20 years. To give you a sense of what that mean: that’s 1 to 2 planes (at $300M a pop) a day for the next 10-20 years.

            3rd, I live in the Silicon Valley, my sense of surrounding mainland-Chinese presence is about that between 1/3 to 4/10 of techies are from mainland China. If you go (web search) to any higher-ed institution’s STEM graduate programs, you’ll find 4/10 of graduate students are from China.

            So, if there is decoupling of the US-China relationship, the US will lose the world’s biggest market for its only remaining competitive sector (hi-tech), production base (decimation of profit), and source of talent (future seed of American competitiveness). We are not talking about money here..after all, think about this, the US has barred China from buying this and that with their US-dollars, so other than natural resource (which China can get elsewhere) and U.S. treasury buys, the green backs don’t mean much anymore to Beijing- therefore, it sees no alternative to compromise.

            Anyway, to Beijing, I think they realize: money is not everything. Market/Industrial production capability and capacity/Talent pool are their biggest advantage and calling cards to the world.

            As for your other points, I’ll come back later…

    • .Hugo.

      as i am typing this reply, djia is down, s&p is down, nasdaq is down.
      .
      u.s. soybean price has dropped from $460/mt to $383/mt. should the farmers thank trump? 😀
      .
      for the past month, the shanghai composite index has risen from 2651 to 2821. in fact, it has been in a downward trend since mid-2015, i.e. long before the trade war. this is mainly caused by righter regulatory control and money supply — both are policy driven. simply put, the chinese economy is in an adjustment period.
      .
      hong kong’s hang seng index has also been in a downward trend for some time. as it is more tied with global markets, is has fallen too as almost all markets in the world is falling.
      .
      i have to wonder why are you not quoting the taiwan index too? does it because it has fallen quite a bit too? or is it just “collateral damage” at the expense of a so-called “ally”? 😀
      .
      many asian and middle-eastern countries, which are also the so-called “u.s. allies”, are totalitarian states too. when compared with xi, their leaders are simply enjoying more concentrated power, so when is trump going to move onto them? or that won’t happen when they are useful to the u.s.?
      .
      what is your “equality in commerce” when the u.s. is a developed economic superpower while china is a developing country as defined in the wto? why not filter out the products not really made in china and add in the u.s. service export surplus to the equation? then we will see a fairer picture (and trump will lose its case). 🙂
      .
      xi won’t have to show he’s a man of power at all, as his power is vested from the national people’s congress — the largest law making body in the world, i.e. the people themselves.
      .
      china won’t be the one to choose war first, we can easily see that when it is the u.s. continuing to provoke china. it’s just gunboat diplomacy that the u.s. is employing, roosevelt tried it, wilson tried it, truman tried it, johnson tried it, bush tried it, and now trump is trying the exact same thing. china always knows the u.s. intention is not just trade but to crush its defiance to u.s. hegemony.
      .
      the global imperialist ambitions is never with china but with the u.s.
      .

      • Leroy

        The war is on. Let’s see whop wins it! Hint: Totalitarianism always loses in the long term. This you will learn.

        • .Hugo.

          totalitarianism? i guess you are referring to states like singapore (the lee’s), thailand (the junta), and most middle eastern states you call “allies”? so how have they “lost”? 😀
          .

  • John Locke

    Good grief…….. a Chinese destroyer cuts off a U.S. destroyer and OMG it’s WWIII!

    We used to play chicken with Ivan all the time. I shot video myself of an AGI so close on our stern that when we dumped trash we dumped it on his deck.

  • SFC Steven M Barry USA RET

    A country sending its warships into the territorial waters of countries it threatens war against is not a “FONOP,” it is a blatant provocation.

    • AmPatriotSmith

      But it’s not their territorial waters; that’s the whole idea.

      • .Hugo.

        it’s not chinese waters after oil and gas were discovered, i.e. 20 years after chinese maritime border announcement? that’s the whole idea. 🙂
        .

    • Duane

      That is an irrelevent comment. The South China Sea is not the territorial waters of China, they are totally international waters, according to the entire rest of the world.

      • .Hugo.

        12 n.m. off the island shore is china’s territorial waters, that’s why the u.s. vessel was forced out by the chinese navy. your “entire rest of the world” has long recognized the chinese ownership in the publications and in international meetings throughout the mid-20th century. 🙂
        .

    • incredulous1

      Wow SFC. Patriot has it correct. Not only are these waters not China’s, but they belong to a number of our treaty allies, and China has no rights to these features and this sea. Are you willing to let Chairman Xi blockade over 30% of the world’s oil and 1/3 of the world’s commerce shipping with the anti ship and anti aircraft missile batteries he placed on these islands after promising Obama he would never militarize them? This is not much different than the Cuban missile crisis, except it’s not on our doorstep, but that of our treaty allies’

      • .Hugo.

        china owns the 4 major island chains in the scs by historical title, therefore it enjoys 12 n.m. of territorial waters and 200 n.m. of eez delimited from the island shore.
        .
        china has never threatened anyone of a blockade, only other countries have continued to threaten china of a blockade.

  • Yamanote

    This playbook has been used before. Collisions at sea used by the para military China Coast Guard and bogus fishing vessels against the Japan Coast Guard when the dispute over the Senkaku Islands heated up (stirred by the China). Videos on Youtube.

    • .Hugo.

      actually first stirred by the u.s., then japan. 🙂
      .

  • vetww2

    I would wager that this was an action of the Chinese captain ONLY and will result in a rebuke by his superiors. He was probably ordered to escort, but not interfere.

  • Joseph T. Kinge

    What if the Chinese vessel just disappeared? Without time to comm? Who is to say what happened or where it went? They might blame the US but would have no proof !! We might even have video of it sailing away to a free country?