Australia and Canada blamed the Chinese fighter jets for conducting aggressive maneuvers during patrols near North Korea, which included one fighter spraying metallic chaff in the path of an Australian surveillance craft.
China played down the incident and questioned aloud why planes from Canada and Australia were so close to its territory.
“Australia military planes have traveled thousands of miles to China door to conduct close reconnaissance in coordination with the United States’ Asia-Pacific strategy to threaten and deter China,” one Chinese official said, according to The New York Times. “Australia must realize that it is not the U.S. military, and it cannot afford the cost of a military conflict with China or a mishap. Australia must deeply realize that on this issue it is only a chess piece of the United States, a pawn.”
The Canadian military said these CP-140 Aurora long-range surveillance planes were over international airspace to enforce sanctions that were imposed on North Korea by the United Nations. They are based out of Japan.
The military said planes got so close that crews could see each other. Canada said there were cases where its planes had to take defensive maneuvers in order to avoid collision.
The Chinese position is that these planes should not be there in the first place and Beijing claims that these flights threaten its security interests. Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles said a Chinese J-16 fighter released chaff while flying in front of an Australian P-8.
The chaff’s aluminum strips, which are designed to confuse radars and enter the P-8′s engine, Defense News reported.
“Recently, under the pretext of enforcing UN Security Council resolutions, Canadian warplanes have intensified close-in reconnaissance of China and acted provocatively, endangering Chinese national security and the safety of frontline personnel from both sides,” Wu Qian, the Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman, said, according to CNN. “China urges Canada to face up to the seriousness of the situation, strictly control its frontline troops, and stop taking any risky and provocative actions; otherwise, Canada will have to take all responsibilities for any serious consequences from such actions.”
Tensions have been brewing in the region over a confluence of issues ranging from North Korean missile tests and Taiwan. (See “CHINA WON’T STOP AT TAIWAN, SO WHERE SHOULD AMERICA DRAW THE LINE?” “U.S. LAUNCHES COLD WAR 2.0: CHINA LAMBASTS ‘COLD-WAR MENTALITY’” and “AUSTRALIA ACCUSES CHINA OF COMMITTING ACT OF AGGRESSION.”)
We reported last month that Australia accused China of aggressive acts after Beijing sailed an intelligence ship about 250 nautical miles from the coast in Western Australia.
Canberra’s defense minister accused China of carrying out an “unprecedented” act of aggression. The exclusive economic zone is 200 nautical miles from the Australian coast. Australia’s territorial waters are considered within 12 nautical miles.
Australia announced in March that it will spend about 30 percent more on its military over the next two decades—its largest boost in spending since the Vietnam War. Canberra will use some of its new personnel to operate the nuclear-powered submarines it will receive under the AUKUS partnership with the U.S. and UK.
One of the incidents occurred on 26 May, but it is not the first time China worked to send a strong message to Canada. CNN pointed out that in 2019, Chinese fighters buzzed a Canadian warship in the East China Sea in what Chinese media called a “warm welcome.”
TRENDPOST: The West has decided that the best way to deal with China and Russia is to try to intimidate and isolate them.
What Western leaders can’t seem to understand is that these countries are too important and powerful to be shoved in the corner. Indeed, we forecast that by decade’s end, China’s economy will be larger than America’s and its military is already too powerful to confront..
Australia and Canada claim that these incidents occurred over international waters and allegations that a Chinese fighter released chaff seems like a dangerous new level of aggression. But China is sending a message that it will no longer sit idly by while the U.S. advances its agenda in the region.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was in Singapore last week for an Asian security forum and touted the AUKUS deal. But he said the agreement is far more impactful than simply providing Canberra with nuclear-powered submarines.
He said it also “holds out the promise of progress across a range of emerging tech areas that can bolster our deterrence, from [artificial intelligence] to hypersonics.”
Hypersonics? Beijing doesn’t need to think too long about what cities these missiles will be trained on.
And, the bottom line that is most important, is what is the West doing in the East?
As the Chinese official noted, “Australia military planes have traveled thousands of miles to China’s door to conduct close reconnaissance in coordination with the United States’ Asia-Pacific strategy to threaten and deter China.”
Yet, if Chinese “military planes traveled thousands of miles” to America’s door to “conduct reconnaissance and coordination,” Washington would be screaming intrusion and demand their withdrawal… from sea to shining sea.
JAPAN DOUBLING UP ON MILITARY SPENDING TO COUNTER CHINA
Japan, which currently has a military budget of about $46 billion a year, announced that it will double the amount It spends on its military within five years in an apparent effort to counter the threat posed by China.
Nobuo Kishi, the defense minister, said the increase to about 2 percent of the country’s GDP, is intended to give Japan “counter-strike capabilities” to defend against aggression in the region.
He did not mention China by name, but Beijing did notice Japan’s decision to open an active-duty military attaché at its de facto embassy on Taiwan to help the Taiwanese military with intelligence gathering, WSWS.org reported.
The website pointed out that the Chinese Communist Party’s Global Times newspaper ran an editorial excoriating Tokyo’s saber-rattling.
“Japan is doing something that threatens China’s core national interests, and China will not remain indifferent. We must remind Japan of what this step means. The Taiwan question is China’s internal affair. If an outsider wants to step in, we will “break its leg,” the paper said.
The Trends Journal has reported that some of the side effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are that vulnerable countries have begun to look at their larger neighbors with more suspicion. (See “JAPAN: WILL CHINA ATTACK TAIWAN LIKE RUSSIA INVADED UKRAINE?”)
Fumio Kishida, the Japanese prime minister, visited British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in London last month and told reporters that Ukraine could very well be “East Asia tomorrow.”
Tokyo was criticized for appearing ambivalent in 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea, but this time around, Japan has been clear in its opposition.
Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported that Tokyo “has marched in lockstep with Western allies on unprecedented sanctions and tough rhetoric, even sending non-lethal military aid.”
Kishi met with NATO officials last week in Tokyo to discuss Japan’s ambition to strengthen ties with countries in Europe and praised NATO’s new involvement in the Pacific, The Diplomat said.
“The security of Europe and Asia are closely intertwined, especially now with the international community facing serious challenges,” he said. Notably, Japan’s decision to spend 2 percent of its GDP on the military is in line with NATO’s demands.
WSWS.org pointed out that Japan’s announcement came shortly after the high-profile Quad Summit that included U.S. President Joe Biden. Tokyo also plans to make regulatory changes that will allow the country to export fighter jets and missiles to allied countries in the region, according to Nikkei Asia.
The theory is that exporting these products could help the country lower costs and ramp up production. The report said, “government officials hope the spread of Japanese-made equipment to neighboring countries will deepen the country’s security cooperation with like-minded countries.”
The report said that Tokyo is planning to develop new fighter jets and medium-range anti-aircraft missiles with the U.S. and the UK.
TREND FORECAST: Even if Japan comes through and doubles its military spending, China will still be spending almost five times that amount on its own military.
That is why the Trends Journal maintains its position that there will be no military forces from other nations that will challenge Communist China’s military might when it comes to Taiwan.
Confirming what we had long noted regarding China’s superiority to Taiwan and the inability of the U.S. and NATO to stop a Chinese attack on Taiwan, Gordon Arthur, a military analyst and Asia-Pacific editor of Shepherd, a defense news portal, said last month that, “It’s no secret that the Taiwanese Navy is totally overmatched by the PLA Navy.”
“Last year, for example, China commissioned some combined 170,000 tonnage of new warships—this is more than the combined Taiwan’s fleet, and reflects Chinese additions in just one year,” he said.
CHINA’S FINANCING OF CAMBODIAN NAVAL BASE RILES WASHINGTON
Chinese and Cambodian officials on Wednesday celebrated the groundbreaking to mark the beginning of major renovations to a naval base in Cambodia that will be financed by Beijing.
Any move by China to fortify its relationship with its neighbors is generally met with disdain from the West and nearby competitors. This project is no different, despite assurances.
Phnom Penh and Beijing have stressed that the base will not target any third party and point out that Cambodia’s constitution does not permit foreign troops to occupy bases. But the West said the Ream Naval Base project has been shrouded in secrecy, especially after statements from Cambodia that say the project “will be conducive to even closer practical cooperation between two militaries.”
Western political observers see the base as an example of China’s growing reach in the Indo-Pacific region.
Wendy Sherman, the U.S. deputy secretary of state, raised concerns about the base and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the developments were concerning, according to CNN.
“We’ve been aware of Beijing’s activity at Ream for some time, and we encourage Beijing to be transparent about its intent and to ensure that its activities support regional security and stability,” he said.
Blake Herzinger, a civilian Indo-Pacific defense policy specialist and U.S. Navy Reserve officer, wrote in Foreign Policy that Western countries should not be too alarmed about the cooperation because any “potential arrangement would be like the United States’ own arrangement for support in Singapore, which hosts hundreds of U.S. military personnel as well as dozens of ship and aircraft visits every year, but it would never allow its soil to be used as a launch pad for attacks against other Southeast Asian states or China.”
The Wall Street Journal reported in 2019 that there were whispers of an agreement between the two countries that called for China being able to use part of the base exclusively, which would give Beijing its first “dedicated naval staging facility in Southeast Asia.”
Cambodia denied the reports.
The Trends Journal has long reported on China’s expanding military power. U.S. President Joe Biden has identified Beijing as the top challenger to Washington. (See “BIDEN RAMPS UP PRESSURE ON CHINA,” “U.S. LAUNCHES COLD WAR 2.0: CHINA LAMBASTS ‘COLD-WAR MENTALITY’,” “CHINA 2021: THE CHINESE CENTURY” and “CHINA STANDS WITH RUSSIA. TELLS E.U. AND U.S. FU!”)
In April, we reported on China’s budding relationship with African nations through its arms sales and training of militaries throughout the continent. (See “CHINA ARMING AFRICA.”)
The Biden administration was also in panic mode earlier this year over China’s ambitions to develop a military base in Equatorial Guinea. He sent top officials to the country to dissuade Malabo from agreeing to any deal with Beijing, which has already made significant inroads in the West African country.
China already has a base on the northeast coast of the Horn of Africa in Djibouti. (See “U.S. EXPANDING WARZONE TO STOP CHINA’S EXPANSION.”)
Wang Wentian, China’s ambassador to Cambodia, denied sinister plans for the base.
“Hopefully certain countries will abide by what they have said and join and cooperate with the countries in the Asia-Pacific region. China is a neighboring country which is a friend that Cambodia can trust and can rely on forever,” he said.
Tea Banh, Cambodia’s defense minister, was seen taking a swim with Wang Wentian, the Chinese ambassador to Cambodia, near the naval base to mark the groundbreaking. He thanked Beijing for providing “non-binding grants” to dredge sand at the location and for the overall construction project. China will also provided 36,900 sets of naval uniforms and build a hospital, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. The report said China will also construct a slipway and a ship repair warehouse over the next two years.
TRENDPOST: An anonymous U.S. official told Reuters that the “lack of transparency” about China’s intention at the base has been “extraordinary” and that the two countries have taken steps to obfuscate their relationship that borders “on the absurd.”
“What we are calling for, what the region is calling for, is more transparency, around the PRC activities and that lack of transparency has been cause for concern and cause for suspicion among countries around the region,” the official said.
President Joe Biden said a key goal of his administration is to not let China “win the 21st century.”
Susannah Patton, a research fellow with the Lowy Institute in Sydney, wrote in The New York Times last week that China is already winning throughout much of Asia on both the economic and diplomatic fronts, “and nothing the United States is doing seems likely to change that.”
“Twenty years ago, just 5 percent of exports from Southeast Asia went to China, and 16 percent to the United States. By 2020, they were even at around 15 percent. China’s increasing clout becomes clearer when considering total trade: It does around two and a half times more volume in the region than the United States. China is now the largest trading partner of almost every Asian country,” she wrote.
TOP TREND 2021: THE RISE OF CHINA: As we have forecast, the 20th century was the American century—the 21st century will be the Chinese century. The business of China is business; the business of America is war.
While America spent countless trillions waging and losing endless wars and enriching its military-industrial complex, China has spent its trillions advancing the nation’s businesses and building its 21st-century infrastructure.
And while America and Europe have outsourced their manufacturing to China and developing nations to increase profit margins, China’s dual circulation/self-sustaining economic model is directed toward keeping jobs and trade and profits within the nation, thus relying less on global trade.
U.S., CHINA FACE OFF, TENSIONS MOUNTING
Top military officials from the U.S. and China met last week to discuss issues of the day that largely focused on the 800-pound island in the room: Taiwan.
The leaders meet during the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.
Wei Fenghe, China’s defense minister, blamed the U.S. for smearing Beijing and interfering in internal affairs. He said the relationship cannot improve as long as that interference remains an issue. He also did not rule out a conflict with Washington over Taiwan.
“We request the U.S. side to stop smearing and containing China. Stop interfering in China’s internal affairs. The bilateral relationship cannot improve unless the U.S. side can do that,” he said, according to CNBC. “However, if you want confrontation, we will fight to the end. The two militaries should make positive efforts for a positive relationship.”
“If anyone dares to secede Taiwan from China, we will … fight at all costs and we will fight to the very end. This is the only choice for China,” he said.
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who was present at the forum on Saturday last week, accused Beijing of taking part in “provocative and destabilizing” exercises near Taiwan.
“Our policy hasn’t changed, but unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be true for the PRC,” Austin said. (See “BIDEN DOUBLES DOWN ON HIS PLEDGE THAT THE U.S. WILL DEFEND TAIWAN IF CHINA INVADES.”)
TREND FORECAST: The U.S. hopes that by taking that position Taipei will not formalize its independence and will deter Beijing from attacking. (See “CHINA WON’T STOP AT TAIWAN, SO WHERE SHOULD THE U.S. DRAW THE LINE?” “BIDEN SAYS THE U.S. WILL FIGHT FOR TAIWAN, WHITE HOUSE FLACKS QUICKLY BACKTRACK” and “BIDEN SAYS (AGAIN) THAT THE U.S. WILL DEFEND TAIWAN.”)
Last October, Biden made headlines during a CNN town hall when he told an audience member that the U.S. would defend Taiwan if China invaded. Anderson Cooper, the moderator, had the president clarify that the U.S. would defend Taiwan, and the president confirmed his position again.
“Yes, we have a commitment to do that,” he said.
There are times that Biden appears out of lockstep with his own administration and the White House was forced to clarify those remarks, saying that there was no change in policy and insisting that the U.S. remains guided by the Taiwan Relations Act for 1979.
The act states that Washington is committed to providing Taipei with arms for its defense. It is under the act that the U.S. described its relationship as that of “strategic ambiguity.”
Austin told the forum that Washington is committed to the “one-China policy,” and that the U.S. does not support Taiwan’s independence.
The Associated Press reported that Austin brought up the Ukraine War and said Russia’s “indefensible assault on a peaceful neighbor has galvanized the world and … has reminded us all of the dangers of undercutting an international order rooted in rules and respect.”
A day after Austin spoke, Wei called the Taiwan issue a dead end.
“A certain country has violated the principle and commitments on ‘one China’ regarding the Taiwan issue,” Wei said, according to The New York Times. “Taiwan independence is a dead end, a delusion. Leaning on the support of foreigners will not succeed. Forget about it.”
TREND FORECAST: Despite condemnations when they do so, there will be no military forces from other nations that will challenge Communist China’s military might. Indeed, America, with the largest military in the world, has not won a war since World War II and cannot even win against third-world nations such as Afghanistan after invading that nation some 20 years ago.
Should war break out between China and Taiwan, we forecast the Taiwanese military will not aggressively fight back, since doing so would result in millions of deaths and mass destruction.
Washington talks about the risks of a Chinese invasion in Taiwan to keep military contractors paid. The U.S. does not want to fight with China for the same reasons Ukraine remains on its own.