Tuesday, June 20, 2023

"U.S. Coast Guard to widen Indo-Pacific presence with eye on China"

In the outro from a June 15 post we mentioned the giant Coast Guard vessels that China has been deploying in the South China Sea, larger than American guided missile cruisers. Not frigates, not destroyers, but cruisers. 

Here's more on what's going on. First up Nikkei Asia, June 12:

Admiral eyes teaming with Japan, boosting guards in Southeast Asia, Oceania

The U.S. Coast Guard plans to increase maritime patrols and training activities in the Indo-Pacific, the top-ranking officer of the branch says, as China extends its reach into the region's waters.

Adm. Linda Fagan, the commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, attended the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore this month, an annual gathering that brings together senior defense officials in Asia. It was her second straight year participating in the conference.

"The Indo-Pacific is clearly a consequential region for America's future. The United States Indo-Pacific Strategy identifies an expanded role for the U.S. Coast Guard as a top Administration priority as we seek to ensure a region that is free and open," Fagan said in a written interview with Nikkei. "The U.S. Coast Guard will continue its long history of operational presence in the [Indo-Pacific] region with additional cutter patrols and deployable specialized forces."

The Harriet Lane, a coast guard cutter based in the state of Virginia, will be deployed to the region in December, Fagan added.

Fagan is the first woman to head any branch of the U.S. armed services.

The U.S. Coast Guard, which operates under the Department of Homeland Security in peacetime, conducts law enforcement patrols against crimes such as smuggling and illegal fishing while also working to detect and disrupt terrorist attacks. The branch also is involved in maritime search and rescue operations as well as immigration enforcement.

In 2021, the coast guard commissioned three fast-response cutters in the U.S. territory of Guam. It urged Congress to let the branch acquire four additional fast-response cutters in the Indo-Pacific by requesting the vessels in its "unfunded priorities list" for the fiscal 2024 budget.

"The U.S. Coast Guard is increasing capacity-building efforts across the Indo-Pacific region and will deploy resources to Southeast Asia and Oceania for security cooperation and humanitarian and capacity-building activities," Fagan said. "No single country or agency can alone tackle the challenges facing the Indo-Pacific."....


Japan, The Philippines and the U.S. just conducted a week-long joint exercise with more to come. From The Washington Post, June 20:

Southeast Asian nations move ahead with plan for navy drills near disputed area of South China Sea

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is moving ahead with plans for joint naval exercises in September, the first held by countries in the bloc on their own, at a time when several are responding more strongly to increasing Chinese assertiveness in the area.

The Indonesian military said Tuesday that ASEAN member countries held an initial planning conference for the joint exercises, to be held Sept. 18-25 near a disputed area of the South China Sea, despite skepticism from Cambodia.

China says the vast majority of the South China Sea lies within its “nine-dash line,” which it uses to demarcate what it considers its maritime border. That has brought it into tense standoffs with the ASEAN nations of Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines, with Chinese fishing boats and military vessels becoming more aggressive in the disputed waters.

Indonesia’s military chief, Adm. Yudo Margono, initially said the exercises would take place in an area of the South China Sea which Indonesia renamed the North Natuna Sea in 2017 to underscore its claim that the area, which includes natural gas fields, is part of its exclusive economic zone. Similarly, the Philippines has named part of what it considers its territorial waters the West Philippine Sea.

In a statement Tuesday, however, Indonesia, which holds the rotating chair of ASEAN, said the exercise is now being planned for the waters of South Natuna, just outside the nine-dash line.

ASEAN members Cambodia and Myanmar, which maintain close ties with China, declined to take part in the planning conference, according to the Indonesian military....


From that June 15 post, here is what China says is theirs:

The Chinese Coast Guard has been  low-key confrontational with the Philippines recently in part to enforce their  "Nine-Dash-Line" claim (shown here with many more dashes):


The situation is getting to the point that Emperor Xi is going to have to be slapped down.

Here's a bit of history seen in our July 2021 post (and a few others back to 2014), "China's Emperor Xi And The Threat To Destroy Japan":

Xi Jinping risks emulating another Chinese autocrat, the founder of the Ming Dynasty, Emperor Hongwu. As retold in a different context a few months ago:

....China's defiance of any norms and blithe, there is no other word for it—lying—as it pursues its goals is one of the major facts of life in the world today. But there is a history of Chinese arrogance.

For 100 years, from the Chinese/Mongol attempts to conquer Japan in 1274 and 1281 to the demands of the founder of the Ming Dynasty from 1369 to 1382 that Japan pay tribute:

...The threat of military force was evident in Ming China’s effort to bring Japan into the tribute system. Japan’s Prince Kanenaga imprisoned and executed a number of the Chinese envoys that Emperor Hongwu had sent in 1369 to demand tribute, apparently angered at the condescending tone of the diplomatic letter denoting Chinese superiority. When the Ming court threatened invasion, the Japanese reminded it of the Mongols’ failed attempts in 1281 to conquer Japan. A letter Kanenaga sent in 1382 explicitly denied the legitimacy of Chinese dominance: ‘Now the world is the world’s world; it does not belong to a single ruler … . I hear that China has troops able to fight a war, but my small country also has plans of defence … . How could we kneel to and acknowledge Chinese overlordship!’88  ... 

—Oxford Journals' Chinese Journal of International Politics, Summer 2012

UPDATE: The Oxford Journals link to The Chinese Journal of International Politics is now gated with a stub entry.
If interested here is "Chinese Hegemony: Grand Strategy and International Institutions in East" with the quote and some background on what Prince Kanenaga was dealing with.
Quite an inspiring guy. 

"Heaven and earth are vast, they are not monopolized by one ruler.
The universe is great and wide, and the various countries are created each to have a share in its rule.
Now the world is the world's world; it does not belong to a single person."