What does China want? Why America's military is losing its edge 2 days ago   04:07

The Economist
An animated infographic depicting China’s territorial disputes. Is China trying to expand its territory?

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ONE reason China’s spectacular rise sometimes alarms its neighbours is that it is not a status quo power. From its inland, western borders to its eastern and southern seaboard, it claims territory it does not control.

In the west, China’s border dispute with India is more than a minor cartographic tiff. China claims an area of India that is three times the size of Switzerland, the state of Arunachal Pradesh.

Further west, China occupies Indian claimed territory next to Ladakh in Kashmir, an area called the Aksai Chin. China humiliated India in a brief, bloody war over the dispute in 1962. Since 1988, the two countries have put the dispute on the backburner and got on with developing commercial ties, despite occasional flare-ups.

More immediately dangerous is the stand-off between China and Japan over disputed islands in the East China Sea, known as the Senkakus in Japan and Diaoyu in Chinese.

Japan says they have always been its territory and admits no dispute, claiming also that China only started expressing an interest when it began to seem the area might be rich in oil and gas.

A new and much more dangerous phase of the dispute began in 2012 after Japan’s government nationalised three of the islands by buying them from their private owner.

China accused Japan of breaking an understanding not to change the islands’ status. Ever since, it has been challenging not just Japan’s claim to sovereignty over the islands, but its claim to control them, sending Chinese ships and planes to patrol them.

Raising the stakes is Japan’s alliance with America, which says that though it takes no position on who owns the islands, they are covered by its defence treaty with Japan, since it administers them.

Especially provocative to America and Japan was China’s unilateral announcement in November 2013 of an Air-defence Identification Zone, covering the islands.

The worry is less that big powers will deliberately go to war over these desolate little rocks, but that an accidental collision at sea or in the air might escalate unforeseeably.

Similar fears cloud disputes in the South China Sea, where the maritime claims in South-East Asia are even more complex, and, again, competition is made more intense by speculation about vast potential wealth in hydrocarbon resources.

Vietnam was incensed in May 2014 when China moved a massive oil-rig to drill for two months in what it claimed as its waters.

This was near the Paracel Islands, controlled by China since it evicted the former South Vietnamese from them in 1974.

To the south, China and Vietnam also claim the Spratly archipelago, as does Taiwan, whose claim in the sea mirrors China’s. But the Philippines also has a substantial claim. Malaysia and even tiny Brunei also have an interest.

But it is with Vietnam and the Philippines that China’s disputes are most active. The Philippines accuses China of salami-slicing tactics, stealthily expanding its presence in disputed waters. In 1995 it evicted the Philippines from Mischief Reef, and in 2012 from Scarborough Shoal.

This year it has tried to stop the Philippines from resupplying a small garrison it maintains on the Second Thomas Shoal, and appears to be building an airstrip on the Johnson South Reef.

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea—UNCLOS—is one forum for tackling these disputes. But UNCLOS cannot rule over territorial disputes, just over the waters habitable islands are entitled to.

And China and Taiwan point to a map published in the 1940s, showing a big U-shaped nine-dashed line around the edge of the sea. That, they say, is historically all China’s. This has no basis in international law, and the Philippines, to China’s fury, is challenging it at an UNCLOS tribunal.

In fact China often fails to clarify whether its claims are based on the nine-dashed line, or on claims to islands, rocks and shoals.

That lack of clarity alarms not just its neighbours and rival claimants, but the United States, which says it has its own national interest in the freedom of navigation in a sea through which a huge chunk of global trade passes

Also alarming is that if these arguments over tiny specks in the sea become so unmanageable, what hope is there for resolving the really big issues? And the biggest of all is the status of Taiwan, still seen by China as part of its territory, but in practice independent since 1949.

For now, Taiwan and China have a thriving commercial relationship. But polls suggest that few in Taiwan hanker after unification with the mainland. And China’s rulers still insist that one day they will have to accept just that.

Comments 3802 Comments

Michelle Pedral
Sana dumating jan s china ang pinakamalakas n tsunami para ma wash out n ung china😠 gahaman
iiOldTownRoad ii
Keran Kerai
They want revenge against the West for evil the west inflicted
Violeta Elmer
250 Millions ang soldiers ng China
Trung Nguyễn
Asean together. The World together . When China is a evil .
GK Fujiwara Esquibel
China wants to rule the world.

We cannot let that happen! 😡
rewei dg
9 dash line territories belong to the only one country- CHINA.
Shalley Ina
The croccodile eat only meat..but the pig eat everything,they want it all
ahhahaha it's clear that this video was made by a american xD
China is like the modern USSR 🤣
Take Shotax
fk u ass bitch
feels badman
The more you want, the more responsibilities you have to take
Jinchi Wei
Is there any problem with building an island in our own territory? Both Vietnam and the Philippines have built military facilities on their island. Let‘s talk about US military bases around the world.The most greedy is the American World Police.
Jinchi Wei
Is there any problem with building an island in our own territory? Both Vietnam and the Philippines have built military facilities on their island. Let‘s talk about US military bases around the world.
Jinchi Wei
Let‘s talk about US military bases around the world.
They only way to hurt China is by recognising Taiwan as a country and be given a sit in the UN.

The world should stop these land grabbing communist Chinese.
Crissjay Benyaweva
I know that Philippines have lot of gold why their very rude 😠 and wants to own the sea you fucking crazy your very lucky Marcos was gone . Because if he's still here Philippines is more dangerous than you country u fool if Aquino just did not destroy Marcos we were rich
Crissjay Benyaweva
Fuck China they have already bigger place and they want also our sea fuck u
*China is envy and bravery boldness*
WillJ Y
I swear to god xijinping is acting more and more suspicious like hitler before the start of ww2.... if anybody is going to causs ww3 it wont be trump but xijinping
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Why America's military is losing its edge What does China want? 2 days ago   03:32

Why America's military is losing its edge

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America’s ability to project power on behalf of its own interests and in defence of its allies has been the bedrock of the rules-based international order since the end of the Second World War. Critical to that effort has been the role of technology in maintaining a military edge over potential adversaries through the first and second “offset strategies”. In the 1950s it offset the Soviet Union’s numerical advantage in conventional forces by accelerating its lead in nuclear weapons. From the late-1970s, after the Soviets closed the gap in nuclear capability, America began making investments in emerging technologies that led to the ability to “look deep and shoot deep” with precision guided munitions. For the next quarter of a century American military dominance was assured.

Now, that decisive military edge is being eroded. Why?

The same technologies that made America and the West militarily dominant have proliferated to potential foes. In particular, precision-guided missiles are widely and cheaply available. Rather than investing in the next generation of high-tech weapons to stay far ahead of military competitors, the Pentagon has been focused more on the very different demands of counter-insurgency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

While America has been distracted, China has been busy developing asymmetric capabilities specifically designed to counter America’s power in the West Pacific. For over two decades it’s been investing double-digit defence budgets in an arsenal of highly accurate, submarines, sophisticated integrated air defence systems (IADS) and advanced cyber capabilities. All with the aim of making it too dangerous for American carriers to operate close enough to fly their tactical aircraft or cruise missiles. The Chinese call it “winning a local war in high-tech conditions”.

Meanwhile, America’s military establishment has shown little appetite for axing much cherished “legacy programmes” to pay for the game-changing new stuff, such as stealthy, long-range strike drones able to survive in the most contested airspace. For example, the Pentagon has committed to buy 2,500 semi-stealthy F-35 fighter jets even though their limited combat radius reduces their usefulness in many war-fighting scenarios. Meanwhile the navy persists with 11 fabulously expensive but increasingly vulnerable carriers when underwater vehicles both manned and unmanned may be better equipped to tackle enemies with advanced area denial capabilities.

Getting career airmen and sailors to give up their toys isn’t the only cultural challenge. These days the scientific and technological developments that will help sharpen America’s military edge, such as artificial intelligence for unmanned systems, are as likely to come from the consumer tech companies in Silicon Valley as the traditional defence industry. Just how these two very different cultures will mesh creatively remains to be seen.

America is determined to regain its military edge through a third offset strategy. But even if the political will and technical brilliance can be summoned up again, dominance will require continuous effort and innovation because technology proliferates so much faster these days. In part that is thanks to a previous project the Pentagon’s Defence Advanced Projects Agency itself helped into being, the Internet.

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