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Thursday, July 27, 2017
Greedy China, like Nazi Germany claims territories of 23 countries, even though it only has borders with 14
The US Pacific Fleet chief said he would obey a hypothetical order to launch a nuclear strike against China if the president chose to give it. Commander of the US Navy’s Pacific Fleet Admiral Scott Swift was speaking at an Australian National University security conference on Thursday, RT reported.
The remarks follow the director of the CIA’s recent assessment that Beijing poses a major threat to the US in the long run. Responding to a question on whether he would initiate a nuclear strike against China at President Donald Trump’s orders “next week,” the admiral bluntly said: “The answer would be: Yes.”
Swift, who has led the Pacific Fleet since 2015, explained: “Every member of the US military has sworn an oath to defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic and to obey the officers and the president of the United States as commander and chief appointed over us.”
He then struck a conciliatory tone, saying: “This is core to the American democracy and any time you have a military that is moving away from a focus and an allegiance to civilian control, then we really have a significant problem.”
The statement came in the wake of the massive US-Australian biennial exercise Talisman Saber 2017, which involved 36 vessels, including the aircraft carrier USS ‘Ronald Reagan,’ 220 aircraft and 33,000 military personnel.
It also came just a day after CIA Director Mike Pompeo asserted in a rare interview that China is more of a long-term threat to US national security than any other world power, including Russia.
“It’s hard to pick between China, Russia and Iran to be honest with you. I guess if I had to pick one with a nose above the others, I’d probably pick China,” Pompeo told the Washington Free Beacon on Wednesday.
“They have a real economy that they have built, unlike Russia that lives and dies on how many barrels of oil they can pluck out of the ground. And Iran that is similarly very single sector derivative and not to the scale of China population-wise,” the intelligence chief explained.
According to Pompeo, Beijing is willing to become a near-peer opponent to the US.
“I think it’s very clear when they think about their place in the world, they measure their success in placing themselves in the world where they want to be vis-à-vis the United States and not as against anyone else,” he said.
Following Admiral Swift’s comments, Pacific Fleet spokesman Captain Charlie Brown explained that he was referring to the principle of civilian control over the armed forces.
“The admiral was not addressing the premise of the question, he was addressing the principle of civilian authority of the military,” Brown said. “The premise of the question was ridiculous.”
There has been no response from China so far. While remaining major trading partners, the US and China still share several points of contention. The most acute ones involve tensions over the status of the South China Sea, an area crossed by numerous maritime shipping lanes.
Whereas Beijing claims that its sovereignty over key parts of the sea dates back centuries, Washington insists on what it calls freedom of navigation.
To back its stance, the US regularly deploys warships and combat aircraft to contested waters. Beijing frequently protests those missions and deploys its own military assets to counter the projection of US power.
US Navy destroyer John S McCain challenges China's claims in South China Sea by sailing within 12 nautical miles of artificial island 'Mischief Reef'
USS John S. McCain on Thursday traveled within 12 nautical miles of the man-made island as part of a 'freedom of navigation operation'
China has territorial disputes with its neighbors over South China Sea
Thursday's sailing was latest attempt to counter what Washington sees as Beijing's efforts to limit freedom of navigation in the area
China responded by saying the operation had violated international and Chinese law and seriously harmed Beijing's sovereignty and security
A US Navy destroyer carried out a 'freedom of navigation operation' on Thursday, sailing within 12 nautical miles of an artificial island built up by China in the South China Sea known as 'Mischief Reef,' it was confirmed by Navy officials.
The 'routine' operation came as President Donald Trump's administration seeks Chinese cooperation in dealing with North Korea's missile and nuclear programs and could complicate efforts to secure a common stance.
The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the USS John S. McCain traveled close to Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands, among a string of islets, reefs and shoals. China has territorial disputes with its neighbors over the area.
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This US Navy photo obtained August 10 shows destroyer USS John S. McCain as it patrols the South China Sea on January 7. The warship on Thursday sailed close to an artificial island built by China as part of a 'freedom of navigation' operation
The destroyer on Thursday sailed within 12 nautical miles of an artificial island built up by China in the South China Sea known as 'Mischief Reef'
Pictures from June show how underground storage facilities, radars and shelters have been built on Mischief Reef
It was the third 'freedom of navigation operation' since Trump took office in January.
An official told the Associated Press that Chinese vessels were nearby when the US warship sailed near Mischief Reef. It was not immediately clear if the Chinese demanded the US destroyer leave as they have done in the past.
Thursday's operation, first reported by Reuters, was the latest attempt to counter what Washington sees as Beijing's efforts to limit freedom of navigation in the strategic waters, and comes as Trump is seeking China's cooperation to rein in Kim Jong-Un's regime.
China's foreign ministry said the operation had violated international and Chinese law and seriously harmed Beijing's sovereignty and security.
'China is very displeased with this and will bring up the issue with the US side,' the ministry said in a statement.
The United States has criticized China's construction of seven islands, including three with runways, and build-up of military facilities in the sea, and is concerned they could be used to restrict free nautical movement and project Beijing's military might.
It was the third 'freedom of navigation operation' since Trump took office in January. This US Navy file photo taken on March 21, 2013 shows the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain sailing in the waters off the Korean Peninsula
Washington has accused China of militarising the vital waterway and fears this could be used to restrict free movement through the South China Sea, an important trade route
The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI), part of Washington's Center for Strategic and International Studies, said rocket launchers and warplanes could now be sent there 'at any time'
China started construction at disputed Fiery Cross Reef In May
Twelve nautical miles marks the territorial limits recognized internationally. Sailing within those 12 miles is meant to show that the United States does not recognize territorial claims there.
The United States has said that it would like to see more international participation in freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea.
The US military has a long-standing position that its operations are carried out throughout the world, including in areas claimed by allies, and they are separate from political considerations.
The Trump administration has vowed to conduct more robust South China Sea operations.
In July, a US warship sailed near a disputed island in the South China Sea claimed by China, Taiwan, Vietnam.
Experts and officials have criticized former President Barack Obama for potentially reinforcing China's claims by sticking to innocent passage, in which a warship effectively recognized a territorial sea by crossing it speedily without stopping.
President Trump responded to latest nuclear tests carried out by North Korean by warning Pyongyang it would face 'fire and fury' if it further threatened the United States
China's claims in the South China Sea, through which about $5trillion in ship-borne trade passes each year are contested by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.
In the latest sail-by Thursday, US military officials notified Philippine counterparts of the maneuver, a Philippine official told the AP, adding Filipino forces were not involved.
US Pacific Fleet spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Nicole Schwegman said all Navy operations 'are conducted in accordance with international law and demonstrate that the United States will fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows.'
'That is true in the South China Sea as in other places around the globe,' she said.
The Pentagon declined to provide any additional details but struck a similar note in saying that all operations are conducted in accordance with international law.
Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have risen recently after North Korea carried out two nuclear tests last year and two ICBM tests last month, prompting a strong round of UN sanctions. That angered Pyongyang which has threatened to teach the United States a 'severe lesson.
Trump responded by warning North Korea earlier this week it would face 'fire and fury' if it further threatened the United States.
On Thursday, the commander-in-chief doubled down on his earlier remarks, saying that his North Korean counterpart should be 'very, very nervous' about US retaliation for a possible strike against the US Pacific territory of Guam.
'Because things will happen to them like they never thought possible, OK?' h
China Territory Claims
The total area of China’s claims on other countries exceeds the size of modern China itself, but Beijing refuses to budge on its claims.
Many are based on unsubstantiated (outside China) and unprecedented “historical precedents” dating back centuries.
And while China only has land borders with 14 countries, it is claiming territory from at least 23 individual nations.
These include Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei, maritime territory which is 1000 kilometres from the closest Chinese soil (well outside the internationally recognised 200 kilometre EEZ).
The following is a list of China’s current claims against other countries, all of which it has made painfully clear it is willing to go to war over:
Parts of the East China Sea, particularly the Senkaku Islands. Also, on occasion, the Ryukyu Islands, on the grounds that the completely independent Kingdom of Ryukyu was once a vassal state of China. The Kingdom of Ryukyu terminated tributary relations with China in 1874.
There are continual unilateral claims by China on Kazakhstan territory, despite new agreements, in China’s favour, signed every few years.