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PEOPLE AND PLACES
Tuesday, April 3, 2018
China shows the US they are backing Russia
Strategy Behind China Joining Russia ‘on NATO Doorsteps’ in Baltic Sea
China’s decision to join Russia for joint naval exercises in the Baltic Sea, a first to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), may be linked to a military strategy pioneered by a famous Chinese marshal during World War II, experts told Sputnik.
MOSCOW (Sputnik), Tommy Yang — The first stage of the Russian-Chinese joint naval exercises in the Baltic Sea dubbed Joint Sea-2017 started on Friday and is expected to run until July 28, the Russian Defense Ministry said. The drills will involve nearly ten ships of different classes, over ten aircraft and helicopters of both Russian and Chinese naval forces.The Chinese naval fleet, taking part in the joint military exercises, includes the Hefei guided-missile destroyer, the Yuncheng frigate, the Luomahu comprehensive supply ship, ship-borne helicopters and marines.
Friday’s joint naval drills marked the first time Chinese naval fleets entered the Baltic Sea as Beijing seeks to improve the PLA Navy’s capabilities in long-range missions.China’s decision to send its naval ships as far as to the Baltic Sea, which is the frontline of NATO expansion toward Russian borders, could have originated from a Chinese military strategy called “fanbian”, which was first introduced by a renowned Chinese military leader during World War II, military experts told Sputnik.
“As the United States continued its provocations in the South China Sea, China responded by joining Russia in naval drills on the doorsteps of NATO in the Baltic Sea. This is called the ‘fanbian’ strategy used by Chinese Marshal Luo Ronghuan during the Second World War,” Ni Lexiong, a military expert at the University of Politics and Law in Shanghai, told Sputnik.
During World War II, Chinese troops led by Luo were under siege from Japanese forces from almost all sides in eastern China’s Shandong province. Instead of fighting head on against the enemy forces, which outnumbered his troops by more than 10 times, Luo decided to attack a neighboring town behind enemy lines that was not well guarded to create a diversion. The surprise attack allowed Luo’s troops of about 3,000 soldiers to pull out to safety without severe casualties. Luo described this military strategy as “fanbian,” which literally means “change sides” in Chinese.The Shanghai-based military expert believes China employed the same strategy by sending its naval ships to the Baltic Sea as a military diversion against pressure from the US Navy in the South China Sea. In May, US Warships sailed within 12 miles of disputed islands in South China Sea, where China continued to build up its military presence.
The current international conditions and common strategic interests also drove China and Russia closer to each other, Ni suggested.
“It’s like China and Russia have their backs against each other now. They need to lean on each other for support to deal with hostilities from different fronts,” he said, adding that the two countries are trying to “keep each other warm by sticking together.”
Historically, as a nation built around agriculture, China never had a strong navy, which was not critical to its prosperity. Attempts by emperors in the Ming Dynasty to build a strong Chinese naval fleet incurred heavy costs on the national budget and shortened the rule of the Ming emperors by almost 100 years, Ni argued.However, following more than 30 years of explosive economic growth, China’s maritime interests continued to expand, and the sea route through the Strait of Malacca is being viewed as a “lifeline” to the Chinese economy with over 80 percent of the nation’s crude oil imports from the Middle East and Africa having to go via this route.
As a result, Chinese leaders are determined to build a strong navy to safeguard China’s economic interests, Ni explained.
“Chinese President Xi Jinping, as a son of the revolutionists who founded the current regime, is very focused on upgrading China’s military. I believe the PLA Navy can catch up or even surpass the US Navy in 10-20 years,” he said.
Global Presence of Chinese Navy
As the capabilities of the PLA Navy continue to improve, the world is expected to see increased presence of Chinese naval fleets, experts told Sputnik.
“China is building a ‘blue-water’ navy capable of long-range missions. In the future, I believe Chinese naval fleets will frequently appear in the north Atlantic, entering the key regions for Western countries in Europe and America,” Guo Peiqing, executive director of the Institute of Polar Law and Policy at the Ocean University of China, told Sputnik.
Analysts suggested China is sending a strong message globally by conducting the naval exercises in the Baltic Sea.“Conducting the exercise in the Baltic allows China to send other messages that it is a global power. It is capable of doing the same things in European waters which European powers such as the United Kingdom and France do in the Asia-Pacific,” James Goldrick, a non-resident fellow at the Lowy Institute for International Policy who served in the Royal Australian Navy for almost 40 years before retiring in 2012, told Sputnik.
Earlier this month, China established its first overseas naval base in Djibouti, a country on the Horn of Africa around the Gulf of Aden.
The Australian expert pointed out that, while China remains in many ways well behind the US Navy in overall capability and behind the Russian Navy in many warfare areas, it is advancing rapidly and the scale of its operations is increasing steadily.
Goldrick argued the PLA Navy’s effective capability to conduct extended deployments is now greater than the resource-constrained Russian Navy, adding that it is likely to become more obvious in the next few years, particularly after the first Chinese-built aircraft carrier becomes fully operational.
President Donald J. Trump chose the deck of the newest U.S. aircraft carrier, the $13 billion USS Gerald R. Ford, for a speech extolling his planned boost in military spending.
Trump vowed that the newest generation of "Ford Class" carriers - the most expensive warships ever built - will remain the centerpiece of projecting American power abroad.
"We're going to soon have more coming," Trump told an enthusiastic audience of sailors, declaring the new carriers so big and solidly built that they were immune to attack.
Trump vowed to expand the number of carriers the United States fields from 10 to 12. And he promised to bring down the cost of building three "super-carriers," which has ballooned by a third over the last decade from $27 to $36 billion.
The Gerald R. Ford alone is $2.5 billion over budget and three years behind schedule, military officials say. The second Ford-class carrier, the John F. Kennedy, is running five years late.
Trump's expansion plans come as evidence mounts that potential enemies have built new anti-ship weapons able to destroy much of the United States´ expensive fleet of carriers. And as they have been for decades, carriers remain vulnerable to submarines.
In a combat exercise off the coast of Florida in 2015, a small French nuclear submarine, the Saphir, snuck through multiple rings of defenses and "sank" the U.S. aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt and half of its escort ships. In other naval exercises, even old-fashioned diesel-electric submarines have beaten carriers.
The drums of war are beating ever louder, precisely as VT predicted when Trump first squeezed his fat orange ass into the big chair in the oval office. Just as we pointed out, one of the key tasks of the Trump regime was to stir up tensions with Russia and China, both militarily and economically.
Clearly, Moscow and Beijing are not going to take this lying down, quite the contrary, they are standing together in partnership against the aggressive, belligerent attitude of the US and it’s Western allies.
With Putin looking more secure in his office than ever, with a resounding landslide victory in the recent election and Xi Jinping being even more secure after being given lifelong hegemony over China, there are no signs of either country being weakened by the economic and propaganda attacks inflicted on them, we are facing an ever more tense and dangerous geopolitical situation.
The economic sanctions have backfired spectacularly, Russia and China have developed closer trading and economic ties as a result, a most effective countermeasure, replacing lost trade with new trade links that do not include the West.
There is no reason to think that military measures would be any more effective, but we fear that this will not stop the criminals who run the West from attempting a military solution.
The old Chinese curse of ‘may you live in interesting times’ has never felt more apropos…
Beijing sent a delegation to Russia to show Washington the unity of Russian and Chinese military forces and “support” Russia at the 7th Moscow Conference on International Security.
Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe voiced strong support for Russia during the talks with his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoigu. While stressing “the united position” on the international arena, the Minister said that one of the main goals of the visit was to send a message to Western powers, RT reported.
“The Chinese side came to let the Americans know about the close ties between the Russian and Chinese armed forces,” Wei said.
It is General Wei’s first foreign trip since he was appointed head of the Chinese Defense Ministry. The choice of the destination is not a coincidence, but underlines the “special character” of the bilateral partnership, according to Shoigu.
Prior to the visit, the Chinese state-run Global Times newspaper published an article titled “Western pressure brings China and Russia closer.”
The report quoted analysts, who believe that the current international environment – including Western anti-Russia hysteria and the looming US-China trade war – will only strengthen the Sino-Russian alliance.
Two sea vessels delivered the first regimental set of S-400 Triumf long-range anti-aircraft missile systems to China, according to a source.
The missing equipment that had been earlier damaged while being shipped by a third vessel will be sent to the customer in the summer, a military-diplomatic source told TASS.
“Two vessels have delivered the first regimental set of S-400s from the port of Ust-Lug, Leningrad Region, to China within the time limit established by the contract. It includes a command post, radar stations, launching stations, energy equipment and other property. It lacks the equipment that was onboard the third vessel,” the source said.
“The work continues, and the missing equipment is expected to be delivered to the customer in the summer,” the source specified.
In January, the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation reported that after a storm in the English Channel the third vessel returned to the port of shipment for inspection of the support equipment and assessment of the damage under the specified insurance event.
The Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation declined to comment on the information provided by the source.
In November 2014 it emerged that Russia signed a contract with China to deliver S-400s, and in November 2015 Russian Presidential Aide for Military-Technical Cooperation Vladimir Kozhin confirmed the signing of the contract. China became the first foreign client for these anti-aircraft systems. In June 2016, Rostec CEO Sergey Chemezov reported that the Chinese army would receive the systems not earlier than in 2018.
The S-400 Triumf is a Russian long-and mid-range anti-aircraft missile system designed to hit attack and reconnaissance aircraft (including aerial vehicles based on stealth technology) and any other air targets under conditions of intensive enemy fire and electronic countermeasures.