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Asia Military Build-up Adds to Tensions Over Maritime Disputes

Military Build-up in Asia Pacific Adds to Tensions Over Maritime Disputesi
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May 10, 2013 6:28 PM
Asian countries are expanding their navies -- at a time of competing maritime claims over fishing rights and oil prospects. China is leading the way. VOA's Scott Stearns reports.
Military Build-up in Asia Pacific Adds to Tensions Over Maritime Disputes
Asian countries are expanding their navies -- at a time of competing maritime claims over fishing rights and oil prospects.  China is leading the way.

China is modernizing its navy with new spending on destroyers, frigates, submarines, and aircraft carriers.  But Beijing still has a long way to go, said King's College professor Geoffrey Till.

"The Chinese navy is, if you like, in many ways the new kid on the block facing a very steep learning curve," he said.

Till said anti-piracy operations in East Africa have improved China's long-distance naval capabilities.  But it is closer-to-home territorial disputes that most concern U.S. allies. "If China focuses exclusively on the defense of its near seas -- in the East and South China Sea -- it would pose a serious -- "risk" is the wrong word -- but a constraint on the freedom of operation of the U.S. navy in those particular areas," Till explained.

The United States is boosting security spending in the Asia-Pacific -- with the biggest single increase going to the Philippines.  Till said it is not yet an Asian arms race, but greater military spending does increase risks. "Any day in the disputed East and South China Sea could easily generate a crisis that turns a mild competition in risk-taking into a full-blown international crisis at sea," Till stated.

Chinese claims in the South China Sea are marked on maps by what Beijing calls a "nine-dashed line."

Johns Hopkins University professor Ruth Wedgwood said Washington could push back harder. "It really is nice to just say "Howdy, Howdy" every so often by cruising through the South China Sea, blundering through those nine dashed lines and urging China to resolve those issues in a legal, neighborly fashion," she said.

President Xi Jinping said China's navy will defend its maritime boundaries. American Enterprise Institute analyst Michael Auslin said Washington's influence here is limited. "The more pressure that's brought to bear I honestly don't think is going to change Beijing but it will make starker the differences in approach," he stated. "And quite frankly, the question Beijing needs to ask not only about the South China Sea but about Japan and the Senkakus [islands disputed with Japan] and about North Korea is: Does it want to be at odds with all of its neighbors?"

Auslin said China is facing a clear choice. "It's got tensions with India. It's got tensions with Russia. It's got tensions with Mongolia," he added. "Is that the world that Xi Jinping wants to inhabit for the next ten years? I don't think so."

He said countries that fear Beijing's navy still want to trade with China -- while they seek greater security cooperation with the United States.

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by: SEATO
May 13, 2013 8:53 AM
If Japan changes their consitutions,China would sh*t themselves and wouldn't go around causing so much problems like now


by: Jonathan Huang from: canada
May 11, 2013 3:13 AM
funny, who said China got tensions with Russia? China Russia relation is the best in a time now.
China has very good relationship with Pakistan, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodian, Bangladeshi, south Korea, Singapore.
BTW, It Japan has territory dispute with all its neighbours. With Russia on Kuril island, With Korea on Dokdo island, With China and Taiwan on Diaoyu island.

by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
May 10, 2013 9:31 PM
Maps produced by the Chinese government is the first line of offence by China for territorial claims against its neighbors, followed by incursions and military skirmishes. The tactic of China has to be condemned by all nations and Chinese aggression should be taken up in the UN Security Council and/or General Assembly.

Why other countries don't want to raise the Chinese problem in the UN? Why China insists to have one on one negotiations, while many territorial claims are multi-lateral involving several countries? Why one on one negotiations between China and India for more than six decades was not productive? Why China has territorial dispute with every neighboring country? Why China resist to refer its territorial disputes for arbitration with International Court of Justice?

China occupied Manchuria in 1947, Xinjiang belonging to Turkmenistan in 1949, Tibet in 1950 and Aksai Chin of India in 1962. The aggressive behavior of China is shown by claiming the whole South China Sea as its territorial waters. China has territorial disputes with (1) Japan regarding Senkaku/Diaoyu/Diaoyutai/ Pinacle Islands administered by Japan, (2) North Korea concerning islands in the Yalu and Tumen rivers, (3) Vietnam and Taiwan regarding Paracels Islands, (4) Philippines and Taiwan regarding Scarborough Reef, (5) India regarding occupation of Aksai Chin in 1962, occupation of parts of Kashmir and new claim for the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, (6) Taiwan regarding its sovereignty, and (7) Malaysia and Brunei regarding their territorial waters in the South China Sea, and (8) Malaysia, Philippines, Brunei, Indonesia, Taiwan and Vietnam regarding the Spartly's, Kalyan or Freedom Islands.
In Response

by: Jonathan Huang from: canada
May 11, 2013 3:19 AM
Thanks to the communist party for gaining so much territories for our Chinese. CCP is the hero! Only CCP can make China bigger and stronger!
Thank you Davis K. Thanjan from: New York, I will post your comments to other Chinese website to teach them how much has been done by CCP, and CCP is only working for the interest of Chinese.

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