Monday 24 November 2008

Rough Waters in the South China sea

Rough Waters in the South China
Sea: Navigation Issues and
Confidence-Building Measures
S U M M A R Y In the wake of a collision between a U.S. spy plane and a Chinese
jet fighter off the coast of Hainan in April 2001, verbal skirmishing between
the United States and China revealed sharply different conceptions of jurisdictional
and navigational principles. These differences persist and will likely be
the cause of future conflicts; they have already caused strife among countries
ringing the South China Sea. Central to these conflicts are the exclusive economic
zones (EEZ) that extend 200 nm into the sea from coastal nations’ baselines.
Created by the UN Law of the Sea Convention, these zones attempt to
accommodate coastal states’ interest in controlling offshore resources and maritime
powers’ interests in maintaining freedom of navigation. But ambiguities in
the Convention’s language combined with coastal states’ proliferating EEZ
claims have created a tinderbox. The situation will remain volatile as long as the
focus remains on jurisdictional disputes. But confidence-building efforts aimed
more narrowly—on practical navigation issues and managing “incidents at
sea”—offer a starting point for first bilateral and then multilateral agreements.
The April 1, 2001, collision between a U.S. spy plane
and a Chinese jet fighter 70 nm off the southeast
coast of Hainan dramatically brought to the world’s
attention an ongoing area of dispute between the
United States and China: the rules governing navigation
in the exclusive economic zones (EEZ) of the
South China Sea. The United States says that its spy
plane was flying over international waters and had
freedom of navigation. China says that it was flying
in China’s EEZ and was subject to the laws and regulations
of China. Though the return of the plane to
U.S. soil brought the incident to an end, the underlying
causes of the dispute remain and similar disputes
can be expected to erupt. China demands that
the United States halt its spy flights off the Chinese
coast, the United States, saying its flights are standard
and legal, resumed the flights in early May.
This dispute, though exceptionally high profile, is
one of many that occur each year on and over the
South China Sea. Conflicts over freedom of navigation
in EEZs are increasing in the South China Sea
—a semi-enclosed sea bounded by China, Vietnam,
the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, and Indonesia, in
which extended jurisdictional claims are replacing the
high seas with EEZs. Today, with virtually all travel
through the South China Sea passing through one or
more EEZs, the rules of navigation are frequently
contested. The nations rimming the sea have all had
their disputes, and just as the U.S.-China conflict is
not likely to be the last between those two nations,
there are likely to be further disputes between other
nations, and disputes of increasing intensity. To reduce
the number and intensity of the disputes, a
multilateral confidence-building arrangement focused
on the practical issues of navigation (as opposed to the
territorial issues) would be ideal, but a regional agreement
is most likely to be achieved in increments, with
bilateral agreements paving the way. The agreements
should, while respecting the resource regulations of
coastal states, guarantee freedom of navigation and
regulate the behavior of naval activities in the air and
on the sea in the EEZs. First steps in this direction
were taken in January 1998, when China and the
United States entered into a Military Maritime Consultative
Agreement (MMCA) designed to establish a consultation mechanism comprising annual meetings,
working groups, and special meetings to strengthen
military maritime safety and prevent accidents at sea.
Though a meeting was held in July 1998, the agreement
was shelved by the Bush administration. But the
MMCA could serve as the first step in confidencebuilding
measures; eventually, it could be a model
for a regional agreement.
The South China Sea
The South China Sea is a strategic waterway providing
the key maritime link between the Indian Ocean
and East Asia. Sea lines of communication (SLOCs)
of the South China Sea are a matter of life and death
for the Asia Pacific countries, and SLOC security has
been a fundamental factor contributing to regional
economic development. More than 41,000 ships a
year pass through the South China Sea, more than
double the number that pass through the Suez Canal,
and nearly triple the total for the Panama Canal.
More than half of the world’s annual merchant-fleet
tonnage passes through the straits of Malacca, Sunda,
and Lombok. For the United States, the Malacca
Strait is critical to the mobility and flexibility of its
Seventh Fleet.
But the SLOCs are hardly secure. The provisions
of the UN Law of the Sea Convention (LOSC) relating
to the principle of freedom of navigation are interpreted
variously by different countries. Many navies,
including those of the maritime powers (nations with
blue-water navies), are maneuvering in EEZs of the
South China Sea, where multiplying and overlapping
jurisdictional claims confuse the rules of passage. In
addition, sea piracy and pollution, which observe no
national borders, are on the increase. The inability
to control them threatens SLOC security.
LOSC, EEZ, and Freedom of Navigation
The UN Law of the Sea Convention was opened for
signature in 1982, after more than 14 years of negotiations,
and entered into force in November 1994.
LOSC contributes to the building of a stable maritime
regime. To date, 135 countries have ratified it.
Though the United States played a key role in its
formulation, it wasn’t until 1994 that a U.S. president
signed the Convention, and the U.S. Senate has
yet to ratify it. Nevertheless, its provisions are widely
observed, although it offers only general rules and
principles and is ambiguous on many issues. The EEZ,
which the treaty formalized, is one of the most widely
accepted products of the Convention.
Based on the earlier concepts of “exclusive fishing
zone” and “fishing protection zone,” the EEZ regime
attempts to accommodate the competing interests of
coastal states and the maritime powers—the former
seeking greater control over offshore resources, and
the latter concerned with maintaining their traditional
freedom of action in waters beyond coastal
states’ territorial seas.The EEZ is a specific water area different from
territorial seas and from high seas. It does not belong
to the high seas, and is subject to the specific legal
regime established in LOSC. LOSC stipulates that in
the EEZ, the coastal state has sovereign rights over
the exploration and exploitation of natural resources
and has jurisdiction over marine scientific research;
the establishment and use of artificial islands, installations
and structures; and the protection and preservation
of the marine environment (Article 56). LOSC
also stipulates that in the EEZ, all states enjoy freedom
of navigation and freedom of overflight, and in
exercising their rights in the zone, “States shall have
due regard to the rights and duties of the coastal
State and shall comply with the laws and regulations
adopted by the coastal State in accordance with the
provisions of this Convention and other rules of international
law in so far as they are not incompatible
with this part” (the provisions regarding the EEZ)
(Article 58). Evidently LOSC recognizes the continued
freedom of navigation through the waters of an
EEZ, but the freedom is subject to the laws and regulations
of the coastal state that are in conformity
with the appropriate articles of LOSC.
As for air navigation in the EEZ, “In any event,
the application of this freedom of the air in EEZ or
of the special conventions that regulate it, must be
understood not as an extension of the regime of the
high seas, but as a part of the zone’s regime, and,
consequently, subject to the same rules, restrictions,
and modalities that emanate from the accommodation
of uses and interests to the extent applicable.”i
There are now two trends regarding the nature of
the EEZ, one favored by the maritime powers, and
the other favored by coastal states. The maritime
powers want to “internationalize” the EEZ. They
hold that the EEZ has to be assimilated into the high
seas without much concern for the jurisdiction of
the coastal state over the resources. The coastal states
want to “territorialize” the EEZ. They maintain that
the interests of the coastal states must predominate
in the EEZ, subordinating the freedom of navigation
to the satisfaction of those interests. The national
security concerns of many regional countries might
often lead to conflicts between navigation rights andcoastal states’ rights of control over their EEZs. The
challenge is to find a balanced relationship among
the vital interests involved in the issue.
High Seas and International Waters
Traditionally, high seas and international waters had
the same meaning, i.e., sea areas beyond territorial
seas were high seas, and belonged to international
waters. But since the formulation of LOSC, this is
no longer the case.
High seas are now defined as those parts of the
world oceans beyond the limits of national jurisdiction.
According to LOSC, high seas refer to “all parts
of the sea that are not included in the exclusive economic
zone, in the territorial sea or in the internal
waters of a State, or in the archipelagic waters of
an archipelagic State” (Article 86). LOSC has not
addressed the term international waters.
Maritime powers now use the term international
waters in place of the term “high seas” and maintain
their traditional definition. For example, the United
States holds that: “All waters seaward of the territorial
sea are international waters where the ships and aircraft
of all States enjoy the high seas freedom of navigation
and overflight”; “International waters include
the contiguous zone, exclusive economic zone, and
high seas”; The international respect for freedom of
the seas guarantees legal access up to the territorial
waters of all coastal countries of the world.”ii It is the
United States’ intention to equate the EEZ with high
seas in freedom of navigation.
The freedoms of the high seas comprise the freedom
of navigation and overflight, freedom to lay
submarine cables and pipelines, freedom to construct
artificial islands and other installations, freedom of
fishing, and freedom of scientific research. But when
these freedoms are applied in the EEZ, they are subject
to relevant laws and regulations of coastal states.
Freedom of navigation and overflight in EEZs is subject
to the resource-related rights of coastal states.
Different countries have different attitudes toward
the stand taken by the maritime powers. Some support
it; some oppose it; and many countries have reservations
and take a neutral stance. Meanwhile, theUnited States regards others’ EEZs as international
waters, while demanding that foreign planes in its
“Air Defense Identification Zone” (500 miles from
its shores) obey its procedures and fly according to
its stipulated course.
Existing Problems in the EEZs of the South
China Sea
Due to the different interpretations of the freedom of
navigation in EEZs and overlapping jurisdictional
claims in the South China Sea, many problems now
exist.
Military activities and the danger of encounters
and collisions. Regarding the issue of military uses
of the EEZ, the coastal states have a firm basis for
opposing any non-peaceful use of their EEZs. Article
301 holds special importance in this regard because
it requires the abstention from “any threat or use
of force against the territorial integrity or political
independence of any State or in any other manner
inconsistent with the principles of international law
embodied in the Charter of the United Nations.” The
question here is what “peaceful use” means—is a spy
flight peaceful? And what if it were interfering with
communications or targeting sites? Another issue is
whether foreign naval and air forces have total freedom
in the EEZ. “There is no doubt that the key
principle of the 1982 Convention is that foreign war
fleets have open access to the EEZ, since in effect it
is an integral part of the freedom of navigation and
overflight. The exercise of this right, however, is subject
to some restrictions in reference to that zone, such
as the limitations of a political nature and those that
are derived from economic rights.”iii
The United States, Russia, Japan, China, and some
regional countries have conducted surveillance or spying
activities off the coasts of others. One report says
that the United States flies more than 400 reconnaissance
missions per year around China, an average of
over one per day. Other well-informed sources say that
Japan-based U.S. electronic-intelligence-gathering
(ELINT ) aircraft have for the past year been flying
about four missions per week off the Chinese coast.China conducts similar missions in the three China
Seas, but with much less frequency. It is reported
that China operates a major ELINT facility within
Lingshui Airbase, where the EP-3E spy plane was
grounded. The EP-3E incident is the latest in a series
of close encounters between the United States and
China. U.S. sources say, “Chinese fighters repeatedly
have interfered with U.S. air operations over the
South China Sea and nearby waters. In one case a
fighter flew so close to one U.S. aircraft that it broke
up a formation of carrier aircraft.”iv “U.S. aircraft routinely
fly such missions, and the Chinese routinely
intercept and monitor them. U.S. military sources
estimate one-third of these missions prompt the
Chinese to scramble their aircraft.”v
Dangers of encounters and collisions do exist.
The April 1 collision may have been preceded by
another potentially dangerous incident on the sea.
It is reported that on March 24, 2001, the Chinese
Jiangwei III-class frigate Huangshi switched on its
gunnery control radar and closed to within 100 m
of the U.S. underwater surveillance vessel Bowditch,
which was tracking the Chinese nuclear-powered
ballistic missile submarine Xia in the Yellow Sea at
the time of the incident. And the April 1 air collision
may be followed by other clashes if no measures are
taken. On May 28, 2001, as a U.S. ship was conducting
intelligence-gathering activities in the East
China Sea, a Chinese Y8 plane flew over the ship
several times, and there was a standoff.
Conflicts over the activities of survey ships. Seeking
resource security, littoral states are increasing their
surveys for oil and gas resources in their overlapping
EEZs. China has sent several survey ships to the South
China Sea, and this has aroused several protests from
Vietnam and the Philippines.
The disputes between China and Japan in the East
China Sea serve as an example. For decades, China
and Japan have clashed over each other’s survey activities
in contested and overlapping areas in the East
China Sea. The latest round of tensions followed a
sharp rise in the number of Chinese survey vessels in
the past two years, in areas that Japan considers to be
within its own EEZ. Japan wants notification beforeChinese maritime research ships enter its EEZ; China
says that it does not recognize the EEZ announced
unilaterally by Japan and that its activities are in
accordance with international law.
The controversial deployment of sea-based TMD
component. It is reported that the U.S. Defense
Department has concluded that a sea-based component
using the Aegis air defense system is critical
to the success of the theater missile defense (TMD)
system. Missiles launched from sea-based systems
could avoid being misled by decoys by destroying an
enemy missile in its boost phase, shortly after liftoff.
But to do so, the surface ships and submarines
carrying the anti-ballistic missiles would have to be
rather close to the launch site—within a few hundred
miles.vi The South China Sea is one possible place
for deploying such a sea-based component. The seabased
component’s mobility and need for proximity
to a country’s coast illustrate the U.S. Navy’s growing
concern with freedom of navigation in the South
China Sea. If the U.S. deploys sea-based TMD components
in the South China Sea, it would arouse
strong opposition from China.
The need for coordinated anti-piracy measures
in EEZs. Sea piracy has emerged as a growing and
significant threat to maritime security in the Asia
Pacific region. Piracy in Southeast Asia has generally
accounted for about 60 percent of the total reported
piracy in the world. According to the International
Maritime Organization, pirate attacks in the year
2000 rose by 57 percent over the previous year to
469 incidents worldwide; more than two-thirds of
these attacks occurred in Asian waters, and 75 were
in the Malacca Strait.
Defining piracy is a problem. Under LOSC, piracy
is limited to an illegal act committed on the high
seas. Because most attacks occur within territorial
waters, they fall outside the LOSC definition. LOSC
is at fault in this regard, but littoral states should fill
the gap.
The different spheres of jurisdiction over waters in
the South China Sea have caused severe problems in
the regional fight against piracy. Given the sensitivitiesin the region regarding maritime jurisdiction and sovereignty,
cross-jurisdictional arrangements between
the region’s coastal states have been conspicuously
absent. The restrictions on cross-jurisdictional rights
written into most countries’ maritime agreements
have undermined efforts against piracy. In a number
of instances, pirates have used this legal gap to their
advantage, deliberately fleeing to territorial or archipelagic
waters, or to areas of contested jurisdiction,
where it is most risky for naval vessels to operate unilaterally.
Overlapping claims over EEZs further complicate
the problem. Littoral countries are generally
unwilling to prosecute offenders for acts of piracy
committed in overlapping EEZs, and prefer to deport
them instead.
Disputes over fishing. Continuing population
growth in regional countries has placed heavy pressure
on the region’s fishing industry. Countries in
the region are expanding their fishing efforts, and
disputes among them over fishing have been increasing.
Fishermen are routinely arrested and their equipment
confiscated by coast guard authorities in the
region. Chinese fishing boats are frequently sighted
off Palawan, situated east of the disputed Spratly
Islands, and several incidents involving naval units
from the Philippines and Chinese fishing boats have
been reported. In March 2000, Vietnamese fishermen
were arrested by the Philippine navy and coast guard
on Fearless Shoal, near the southern tip of Palawan.
On June 25, 2001, the captain of a Malaysian vessel
suspected of illegal fishing in Indonesian waters was
reportedly shot by an Indonesian navy boat.
Disputed EEZ claims, outright poaching, and the
ambiguity regarding the extent to which coastal states
can govern the passage of foreign vessels in their EEZs
are factors contributing to the fishing disputes. While
recognizing the rights of vessels, including fishing
vessels, of all states to enjoy freedom of navigation in
the EEZ, LOSC stipulates that coastal states have
sovereign rights over living and non-living resources
in EEZs, and that foreigners cannot fish without permission.
It further stipulates that “Nationals of other
States fishing in the EEZ shall comply with the conservation
measures and with the other terms andconditions established in the laws and regulations
of the coastal State” (Article 62:4). Thus, a coastal
state can require foreign fishing vessels in its EEZ to
obey its fishing laws and regulations, but the extent
to which a coastal state could govern the passage of
foreign fishing vessels in its EEZ is controversial. For
example, Malaysia’s Fisheries Act of 1985 “allows
foreign vessels to exercise the right of innocent passage
in Malaysian fishery waters which are the waters
of the EEZ,” but “the law requires prior notification
for fisheries vessels to enter the Malaysian EEZ.”vii
The provisions have aroused protests from Thailand.
A Confidence-Building Arrangement
To reduce the continued threat to SLOC security in
the South China Sea, regional countries must establish
confidence-building measures on navigation, or
a navigational code of conduct. These might begin
with the United States and China, since their conflicts
may be the most dangerous of all. Based on
the 1998 MMCA, the two sides might formulate
an agreement along the lines of the 1972 “Incidents
at Sea” agreement (INCSEA) between the United
States and Soviet Union, which has proven effective
in regulating the interaction of their fleets on the
high seas. One defense analyst suggested: “A Chinese-
American Incidents at Sea Agreement would be
desirable because it would supplement the security
dialogue of MMCA with formal rules of interaction.
This would reduce both the likelihood of inadvertent
clashes, as well as promote understanding and
reduce the long-term likelihood of conflict.”viii
The value of a regional INCSEA agreement lies in
the obligation of regional countries to consult regularly
on safety. The purpose of a regional INCSEA
would be to prevent collisions at sea and in the air
that could affect relations among regional countries;
to minimize the chance of accidents resulting from
normal activities; and to develop more predictable
standard operating procedures at sea for promoting
mutually beneficial regional cooperation in naval
operations.
An INCSEA-type arrangement in the South China
Sea could take different forms and operate at differentlevels. Initially, its contents could be simple and later,
more comprehensive. The development of a mutual
prior-notification regime for surface and air reconnaissance
missions might be the first step. Prior notification
is a procedure normally frowned upon by
the U.S. military out of fear that it could represent
the first step down the slippery slope toward prior
approval. But, “[t]he fact that a country has a right
to fly surveillance missions in international waters
adjacent to another country without prior notification
does not preclude them from providing such
notification as a military confidence-building measure.”
ix The agreement on a mutual prior notification
mechanism reached between China and Japan
in mid-February 2001, pertaining to maritime research
activities in the Chinese and Japanese EEZs,
provides a useful model for regional countries to
study.
An INCSEA-type arrangement might be bilateral
at first and multilateral later. An immature multilateral
approach could quickly become bogged down
by particularistic interests. “China is also unlikely to
accept a regional solution to the problems of accidents
at sea: it has a marked preference for bilateral
agreements that escape the influence of third parties.”
x Putting aside China’s considerations, a multilateral
agreement would be more feasible once a
number of regional bilateral agreements have been
established.
In the longer term, a comprehensive regional
INCSEA for the South China Sea, together with
supervisory mechanisms, would be needed to prevent
or minimize conflict escalation and the likelihood
that potentially dangerous naval confrontations
would occur. Its contents might include the following.
• Definition and clarification of the extent of the
jurisdiction coastal states have over resources andmarine scientific research in the EEZ, vis-Ã -vis the
detailed application of the principle of freedom
of navigation in the EEZ
• A set of rules to govern air-to-air and air-to-sea
encounters, including methods of preventing aircraft
collisions; rules governing the interception
of reconnaissance aircraft and of engagement at
sea; and standard operating procedures
• Procedures governing notification of the intent to
conduct marine research in the EEZ
• Procedures governing notification of the intent to
conduct naval exercises in the EEZ
• Procedures to prevent the collision of submarines
with other undersea craft and with surface craft
• Regulations governing the tracking of submarines
• Emergency consultation systems, such as on the
deployment of sea-based TMD components
• Procedures to prevent the escalation of conflicts
that result from accidental or unintended weapons
use, or unauthorized weapons use by subordinates,
and implementation of a reporting process
for such incidents
• The means for increasing military transparency,
especially with regard to naval build-ups and naval
strategy
• Plans for cooperative action to guarantee transportation
of oil and gas imports
• Anti-piracy measures and systems for joint patrol
• Cooperation in humanitarian assistance, search
and rescue, mine countermeasures, and cooperation
in combating drug trafficking and illegal
migration
• Regulations governing fishing
• A regime governing sea transport of ultrahazardous
radioactive materials
• Initiatives for the protection of the environment

China plans to build a 48,000-ton conventional-powered aircraft carrier ????

Citing a source familiar with Chinese military issues, the Hankyoreh Shinmun is reporting that China is secretly pushing the construction of a nuclear-powered “supercarrier” of 93,000 tons.
The source, presenting internal Chinese Communist Party documents, said China plans to build a 48,000-ton conventional-powered aircraft carrier (so-called “Project 085) and a 93,000-ton monster carrier (”Project 089). The materials presented said China’s Central Military Commission had recently approved both projects and spelled out both vessels’ displacement.

It was well known that China was planning to build a conventional carrier, but Beijing has yet to make public its plans to build a nuclear carrier.

According to the documents, the nuclear carrier—to be completed by 2020—is to be tasked to China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation’s Shanghai Jiangnan Shipyard , which is capable of building oil tankers of 300,000 tons. The documents apparently mention that the planned carrier should be the size of the Ul’yanovsk the planned Soviet nuclear carrier that was never completed.

If China completes the carrier, it would give the Chinese Navy a carrier approaching the size of the U.S. Nimitz class , which is roughly 97,000 tons in displacement.

The documents say the conventionally powered Project 085 is a transitional project to the nuclear-powered Project 089. The mid-sized conventional carrier, to be completed by 2010, would displace 48,000 tons standard and 64,000 tons fully loaded. It will be able to hold 30-40 Jian-10 fighters , which China began deploying last December. China is currently developing a naval version of the Jian-10; prior to development, China plans to decorate the ship with a compliment of 10-20 Russian-made Su-33s .

The conventional carrier will be a modified version of the Soviet-built Varyag, which the Chinese have been playing with at China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation’s Dalian Shipyard since the Ukrainians sold it to them. Dalian Shipyard will be designing and building the conventional carrier. After Project 085 has been completed, the hull of the Varyag will be used for carrier landing exercises.

China’s carrier plans are in-line with comments made by the head of China’s National Defense Science, Technology, and Industry Commission, Zhang Yunchuan, who told reporters on March 16 that if things went smoothly, China could complete its indigenously built carrier by 2010.

A general-admiral rank figure in Korea’s Ministry of Defense, however, told the Hankyoreh Shinmun that while Chinese plans to build a nuclear carrier are as of yet unknown, one could expect that China would ultimately want to possess a nuclear-powered carrier.

Wednesday 19 November 2008

Tensions grow along North Korean border with China



The land border between the two countries was closed at the beginning of last month,
immediately after the Mass Games celebration of North Korea’s 60th anniversary.Chinese tourists trying to visit North Korea have had to fly direct to Pyongyang from Beijing or Shenyang, and no tourists have been permitted from the three provinces neighbouring North Korea in case they are exiled former citizens.
There are now reports that all transport links between China and North Korea will be cut on
December 10 as the rogue state becomes even more secretive. On Wednesday, North Korea announced it would close its border with South Korea on December 1.
China’s relations with North Korea have long been characterised as being “as close as lips and
teeth” after they fought side-by-side during the 1950-53 Korean War. However, China has been
building a fence along the border since 2006, when North Korea tested a nuclear device.In
addition, US officials told the Financial Times that the Chinese military has boosted troop
numbers along the border amid concerns about the health of Kim Jong-il, the North Korean leader.
The United States and Japan are drawing up contingency plans in the event of Kim’s demise, but Beijing has refused to discuss the scenario.Kim is believed to have suffered a stroke and was operated on by Chinese doctors in August.
Critics have questioned the veracity of photographs of Kim that have been released since, saying
they appear to be doctored.
Sources in Dandong were unable to confirm if troop numbers had risen recently, but said there had been an increase two years ago and that at least 150,000 People’s Liberation Army troops are at the border.
Meanwhile, South Korea said it was disappointed by North Korea’s decision to close the border and said the country was trying to escalate the situation in order to improve its bargaining
position.
“If we consider North Korea’s clear negotiation pattern, its strategy has always been to create a
crisis before resolving something, and trying to use that point to secure further concessions,”
said Yu Myung-hwan, the foreign minister.

Tuesday 18 November 2008

Mystery Chinese Hospital Ship: What's It For?


Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) accepted its first purpose-built floating hospital, the 10,000-ton "Ship 866." What's It For?Ship 866 has its roots in the 2004 tsunami. Many world powers sent ships to help out in the aftermath of the storm, which killed more than 200,000 people in countries bordering the Indian Ocean. But not China: the PLAN didn't have any ships capable of assisting. "The tsunami embarrassed them," he says. "The Chinese respond to embarrassments in very focused ways." In this case by building a hospital ship.Ship 866 is probably intended to support the growing Chinese amphibious fleet, which in turn is meant for enforcing China's claim to South China Sea oil reserves. It's a far cry from humanitarian soft-power missions.

Of course, intentions are only intentions. Regardless of the original motive, the PLAN now has a ship capable of both humanitarian missions and supporting amphibious assaults. The Chinese are still decades from matching the U.S. Navy's huge amphibious and humanitarian fleet, but it's a start.

Foreign contents of PLA Weapons


China's submarine no threat to Japan

Japan's patrol airplane tailed after China's submarine
"China's submarine" became a hot topic among Japan's media and military since report said a Chinese submarine was spotted close to its coastline by Japanese marine forces.

According to Japanese media report, at around 8:00 a.m. November 12, a Japanese marine Self-Defense Forces' P-3C anti-submarine patrol airplane discovered a submarine sailing on the sea in the water area of Osumi Strait.

The submarine was about 40 km off Japan's coastline and around 18 km away from Japan's territorial waters. The crew of the plane saw that the submarine, flying China's National Flag, was sailing southwestward from northeast. Crew members on the Japanese patrol plane immediately reported the situation to the Defense Agency.

The Defense Agency then ordered the patrol airplane to tail after and keep the Chinese submarine under surveillance. Japan's patrol airplane kept circling over the Chinese submarine for several hours without discovering any unusual activities by China's submarine.

According to reports, Japanese Defense Agency was working intensively on countermeasures while the patrol plane was tailing China's submarine. After it was confirmed that the Chinese submarine posed no "threatening action", the Staff Department of Japan's Defense Agency released the news.

It is disclosed that Japan's Defense Agency quickly reported the situation to US forces stationed in Japan, the latter immediately sent out a reconnaissance airplane, which, together with Japan's patrol airplane, followed and supervised the Chinese submarine. But the Chinese submarine did not conduct any dialogs and contacts with the Japan-US reconnaissance plane. Soon afterwards, the Chinese submarine went under water and disappeared into the vast sea.

Japan's Defense Agency claimed that they did not know what the submarine was doing near Japan's water area.

Japanese and world media's guesses

Japanese and world media then paid great attention to the movement and "aim" of the Chinese submarine. Immediately after the release of the news by Japan's Defense Agency, all major Japanese newspapers, radios and TV stations reported the news, talking glibly about the "threat of the Chinese submarine". The Associated Press and Reuters also made several follow-up reports. In almost all these reports, analyses were focused on the aim and reason for movement of the Chinese submarine.

One saying was that the action was designed to keep close watch over Japan-US joint military exercise. An Aisahi Shimbun report said: "From November 7-16, Japan and the United States conducted military exercises in the vicinity of Kyushu Island and the surrounding water regions of Japan. The Chinese submarine emerged in the nick of the time of the military drill. It was quite possible that it was to make surveillance over the exercise." Malaysia's Sinchow Daily also said that the activity of the Chinese submarine might possibly be directed at the military exercise, the largest of its kind over the past 50 years.

Another saying was that China was "showing its strength" to Japan. An official with the research department of the "Japan International Forum" said: China was to indicate that it could deploy its submarine at a distant place and show that the Chinese armed forces had been steadily upgrading its (submarine) technology. He added that the Chinese submarine sailing swaggeringly "very close" to the Japan's water region was obviously aimed to "show its strength" to Japan.

An overseas media also pointed out that the Chinese mainland's submarine cruised the oceans, one of its missions was to frighten and stop the "Taiwan independence" forces. A Hong Kong "Sun Daily" report said that the mainland's submarine flying a National Flag set out on a "high-key" ocean voyage. Its prowling range had gone far beyond the distance from the mainland's southeast coast to the east of Taiwan Island. The newspaper said this was done for Chen Shui-bian to see.

Some military strategists approached the matter from another perspective. In the opinion of an analyst with a Canadian intelligence center, the fact that Chinese submarine was discovered only after it surfaced in the vicinity of a Japanese water region showed the improvement in the concealment function of the new-type submarine of the Chinese Navy.

Chinese submarine's navigation: reasonable and legal

Surprisingly, although discussion on the Chinese submarine among Japan's Self-Defense Forces and US troops stationed in Japan is still going, Japanese newspapers and news agencies has already stopped their coverage on the issue.

Analysis believe the reason for the phenomenon obviously was that Japan's Defense Agency had told major media organizations that the matter should be handled calmly in order not to affect the Japan-US joint military maneuvers. Experts also pointed out that this phenomenon also shows that the Chinese submarine's navigation on the Osumi Strait is reasonable and legal, which makes it impossible for the Japanese side to make rash charges.

Chinese Foreign Ministry's spokesman Liu Jianchao on November 13 openly indicated that the Chinese submarine's entry into a nearby Japanese sea area is a normal training on the sea.

Chinese experts on the International Law of the Sea said that Japan's territorial waters are within the limit extending 12 nautical miles (about 22 km) outward from its coastline. The Chinese submarine was then 40 km away from Japan's coast, according to the stipulations of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the place is an international water region, though it belongs to Japan's exclusive economic zone water area, foreign warships can navigate freely.

From the perspective of common international practice, there is nothing improper about the move. This is recognized even by Japan's Defense Agency and various major media organizations. Furthermore, the important straits and channels belonging to international water regions are of course the places where warships must sailing through. In addition, the Chinese submarine floated up on its own when it passed through the Osumi Strait and did not take any anti-control measures against Japan-US surveillance in the process of navigation. This implies that the Chinese submarine's navigation contains no hostility and is entirely normal training.

Japan is worried about China's "threat on the sea"

However, why some people in Japan were so sensitive to the normal training of the Chinese submarine? The security of surrounding water areas has always been a factor that affects the nerve of the Japanese.

As Japan is surrounded by waters, the ocean bears on the clothing, food, housing and transportation for the Japanese. Take food for an example. A survey shows one-third of foods on the dining table of the Japanese are seafood. The average annual consumption of aquatic products for a Japanese exceeds his or her weight, to reach more than 70 kg.

The importation and exportation of Japan's petroleum, minerals, foods and finished industrial products cannot be carried out without the surrounding seas. Based on such an oceanic concept, the Japanese government is extremely sensitive to the security of the surrounding water regions.

Statistics from the London International Strategic Research Institute show that the naval vessels of various countries are conducting very frequent activities in the East Asian water areas. The United States, Russia, Japan, the Republic of Korea have deployed a total of nearly one hundred submarines. Several dozen of them are often prowling in the vicinity of Japan. The Japanese government is very worried about the situation.

However, Japan was really oversensitive to the appearance of the Chinese submarine this time. A reporter made a random search on Japanese websites, and he was stunned by the result. One can find almost every move relating to China's national defense, even information on the maintenance of a Chinese warship was available.

The "Defense White Papers" issued by Japan's Defense Agency for several consecutive years all pointed out: The frequent appearance and disappearance of Chinese naval vessels in Japan's offshore constituted threats to Japan. So-called Japan's offshore includes the water areas near China's Diaoyudao Island, the Tsu Garu Strait, the Korean Strait and the Osumi Strait and several other international channels; while China's naval vessels even include China's icebreakers, oceanographic research ships.

For this reason, Japan's Self-Defense Forces have constructed an anti-submarine network with the largest density in the East Asian region, equipped with over 100 high-function anti-submarine patrol airplanes and numerous anti-submarine warships.

What is disturbing is that this network is "self-protection" in name, but does not stick to defense in fact. It was reported that in July this year, a P-3C anti-submarine patrol airplane of Japan's marine Self-Defense Forces flew very close to China's territorial waters.

An American expert on international issues said that as an island country, Japan's stress on the security of surrounding sea areas is understandable, but Japan is evidently oversensitive. It regards its neighboring countries as threat; on this basis, Japan has excessively developed its sea power, which, in turn, constitutes threat to its neighboring countries.

Tuesday 11 November 2008

Darwin


Darwin, of course, is the capital city of Australia's Northern Territory. Charles Robert Darwin was an English naturalist who proposed evidence that species evolved from common ancestors through natural selection.


Australia certainly will not likely name its new class of submarine (currently in early planning stages) after Darwin, but the evolution of ultra-modern designs will certainly be incorporated into the new class of boats.


When it comes to submarines, what is stated must be suspect, and what is unstated must never be dismissed. It is not known how many new submarines will eventually be built for Australia, or other countries.


Defence planners will focus on producing a larger, quieter, faster and more deadly version of the existing six Collins-class submarines. ... [O]ne of the options to be considered for the new submarine fleet will be small unmanned mini-subs that can be launched from the "mother" submarines. ... These unmanned mini-submarines, crammed with high-tech sensors, could travel remotely tens of kilometres away from the mother vessel to conduct surveillance, detect enemy submarines or carry an SAS team. Another priority for the new submarines will be the new generation air-independent propulsion systems, which allow conventional submarines to stay underwater for longer periods, greatly increasing operational effectiveness. Defence says the new post-Collins submarines will have more flexible designs, allowing them to be quickly reconfigured for different types of missions, from intelligence gathering to strategic strikes. source


Quickly reconfigured implies modular design offering access to and replacement of critical equipment packages. This applies to the pressure hull exterior as well as inside sub-safe boundaries. SSN-21 and Virginia class subs now share such features.


New generation of improved fuel cell (or simply RTGs) AIP propulsion system contradicts the larger and quieter rhetoric, but certainly does not eliminate the potential for motherships suited for UUVs or SAS teams. This point was made here. Compare the dimensions to those of today's current Collins class: Submerged Displacement - 3,353 tons; Length -77.8 m; Beam -7.8 m with this (between 72m and 78m in length, around 3,000 tons displacement and still crewed by 30 sailors and room for 20 or so SEALs or mission hardware).


Considering that the Collins class itself had been the evolution of five generations of Sweden's non-nuclear submarine development, would anyone be surprised by super upgrades based upon this? Hint: Gotland class require only relatively small crews of about 25. Larger submarines may be in Australia's future, but it contradicts the obvious difficulties involved.

Chinese Defence Ministry: Military exercise to reveal PLA's openness

An official with China's Defence Ministry on Wednesday said that an upcoming military exercise would show openness of the People's Liberation Army (PLA).

The exercise to be performed by the PLA in the northern Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region on Thursday has invited more than 110 military delegates and observers from 36 countries.

"In the exercise, the number of foreign observers we have invited is the largest in history," said Geng Yansheng, an officer with the Defence Ministry. "We are pushing forward PLA's openness and transparency."

The war game, code-named "Warrior 2008," will showcase how China's mechanized troops enhance their combating capacity under simulated conditions of information warfare.

According to Geng, both sides of the war game would be allowed to freely deploy their defence and offence without being given prepared plans to show the troop's abilities as much as they could.

"The exercise will send a message to the world that China will continue its military openness and transparency," said Geng, adding that PLA will also enhance exchange and cooperation with foreign militaries.

The exercise will be the sixth large-scale maneuvre of the PLA which is open to foreign military officers since 2003.

The ministry invited the foreign army delegations and observers "with aims to increase military exchange between the PLA and foreign armed forces, and to strengthen mutual trust and understanding," according to a briefing of the ministry.

More than 5,200 soldiers and officers from the Beijing Military Area Command, the Jinan Military Area Command and the air force will participate in the one-month war game at the Zhurihe training base in Inner Mongolia since Aug. 26.

So far the "Red Army" and the "Blue Army" have finished long-distance maneuvers and strategy planning, and are conducting combat exercise with live ammunition, according to the ministry.

Sea patrol force to get more muscle

China's marine surveillance (CMS) force will be strengthened to guard and manage 3 million sq km of ocean and 18,000 km of coastline under the country's jurisdiction.

Sun Shuxian, CMS's deputy director, said: "The force will be upgraded to a reserve unit under the navy, a move which will make it better armed during patrols.

"The current defensive strength of the CMA is inadequate for protecting the country's marine resources from transgression and damage," he said.

Sun, however, he did not say when the CMS will become a naval reserve unit.

With equipment upgraded to military level, the CMS will be able to strengthen its routine patrols, he said.

The force, currently under the authority of the State Oceanic Administration, was established in 1998.

In the past decade, the CMS has spent about 1.3 billion yuan ($19 million) on equipment and the recruitment of staff.

Today, the force is 8,000-strong with nine aircraft and more than 200 patrol vessels.

Every day, there are at least six vessels and three aircraft on duty to guard China's marine resources against transgression by foreign vessels, unauthorized reclamation of land, illegal fishing, excessive exploration, and marine pollution.

CMS figures show that from 2001 to last year, it detected more than 15,000 illegal incidents in territorial waters, and nearly 10,000 cases have been prosecuted.

"The CMS plays a big role in protecting the country's marine resources," Sun said.

Wuhan is a deep water port

Wuhan is a deep water port about two hundred kilometers upriver from the mouth of the Yangze River. Wuhan Shipyard was started there seventy five years ago. But under Communist control, it has become the primary builder of China’s non-nuclear submarines. In May, on the occasion of its anniversary, it displayed a new variant of the Song class guided missile submarine, longer than the parent, which, it was said, has an Air Independent auxiliary propulsion unit. Also in May two photographs were taken of a different, rather larger submarine, also at Wuhan shipyard. It appears the new submarine is as large or slightly larger than the 244 foot long (2350 ton displacement) Kilo Project 636. The DOD disclosed that this new class of conventional submarine has the code name “Yaun.”

It had been reported in the Chinese press that China had built its own version of the Russian “Kilo” class. It was stated that the submarine had been modified, and that the Chinese variant was “better” than its Russian counterpart. Analysts discounted this report as mere propaganda. Even the publication of a model of the submarine by an aviation magazine caused no change in this view: building a model is a lot easier than building a full sized submarine. But the photographs of the submarine, launched and undergoing the usual floating fitting out process at Wuhan, has caused a reinterpretation of this report. It is clear that this submarine is nearly ready for sea and that she is, indeed, a variant of the Russian Kilo class. However, it is not an exact copy. The diving planes are on the sail, and there are other detail changes. Given the Chinese have already fitted AIP in both Ming and Song type hulls, the possibility this is an AIP variant of the Kilo should not be discounted. It also may be able to launch cruise missiles from torpedo tubes, as the Song class do. Evaluation of the model indicates it is large enough. If so, it might indeed be said to be a “better” version of the Kilo than the Russian version.

There is another implication of this development. China has barely completed taking delivery of half a dozen of the third group of Ming class, It is now building the third variant of the Song class. There are two sub groups of Kilo with eight more building for delivery in 2006 and 2007. The first 093 class SSN is expected to commission in a few weeks. The first 094 SSBN is well under construction. Now we have another sub type of Kilo nearing completion. Clearly China has decided to acquire many types of submarines, more types than any other nation. The Chinese perception that its submarines are its first line warships is reinforced by the appointment of a submarine officer as the new commander of the navy (PLAN, or People's Liberation Army Navy). And it appears that the size of the Chinese submarine force is not declining, as was widely reported. Instead it appears that in excess of eighty submarines will be available (in one state or another) for the medium term. It also appears that this force is modernizing fast, and that in waters of interest to China, it probably has a significant, and growing, operational capability.

There's been some claim that the new Chinese sub is a radical "surprise" for the U.S. Navy. Despite the charges that the Navy "didn't know" they were building it, in fact the Navy did. The "surprise" was that the boat was ready sooner than expected, but it's really hard to tell when a boat will be finished, given that they're always built under a shed. As for its capabilities, well, a lot is being said, but while the new boat seems to be different from the previous class, it's not clear that she's a major leap forward.-

Sunday 2 November 2008

US intelligence caught napping over Chinese Nuclear submarine readiness.

US intelligence was caught off guard this week by the announcement that China is in the process of outfitting the latest in its line of nuclear ssiles launched from North Korea and its effectiveness would be impaired by a sea based launch platform carrying long ranged missiles.
It is also believed that China is developing or has developed sea launched a multiple warhead system that would be able to penetrate Americas proposed missile defense screen as well as existing anti missile systems.
The JL-2
Also of concern to the US is the development of the JL-2, Chinas newest generation of sea launched nuclear capable missiles. Defense sources have speculated that the JL-2 could have a range of 7,500 miles, sufficient to allow a nuclear strike against the American mainland when launched from an 094 class submarine in the waters surrounding China.

[The JL-2 has sufficient range] "to strike targets throughout the United States,"
The House Select Committee on U.S. National Security and Military/Commercial Concerns with the People's Republic of China
It has been claimed that Chinas newest generation of nuclear warheads, to be carried by the JL-2, may be based on designs stolen from the US, though this is thought to be based on supposition rather than intelligence sources.
It is thought that the 094 is capable of carrying 16 JL-2 missiles.
Missile Penetration, Second strike Capabilities
If China were to posses a truly effective second strike weapon capable of penetrating or partially penetrating a missile defense screen around the US or US bases in Japan, it could force the US to alter any strategies for launching offensives or counter offensives again the Chinese mainland. Forcing it to modify its strategy or face heavy casualties in the face of an enemy that can strike back against it.
"In the very near future, China will have a secure, second-strike nuclear attack capability"
Richard Fisher, Vice President, International Assessment and Strategy Center, Washington
A second strike weapon is one deployed after an enemies initial attack has been made against you, and a Chinese second strike weapon deployed from a seaborne platform would be of serious concern to the US.
A sea based nuclear platform could potentially enable sufficient Chinese missiles to survive a pre emptive attack against the mainland, and to launch in retaliation minutes, days or even weeks after the destruction of land based missile sites, and from locations within the US defense perimeter or with poor missile defenses.
"a new ballistic missile submarine will improve the force's ability to survive a first strike,"
US Defense Intelligence Agency
The 094 is thought to be far quieter and to have a much longer range than any other Chinese submarines, and to have the potential to penetrate US fleet defenses and deliver a conventional or nuclear strike against American forces stationed in or departing from Japanese Okinawa and the Japanese mainland in the event of a conflict over Chinese Taiwan.
A nuclear armed 094 carrying the newest generation of Chinese missile could survive a determined US nuclear strike against China and deploy nuclear weapons against key infrastructure target or population centers in Japan in retaliation, it could also strike against infrastructure target or population centers on the US mainland without leaving the effective radius of Chinese mainland defenses, a prospect that is of great concern to a US administration that based its election strategy on homeland defense.
"Instead of venturing into the open ocean to attack the United States, the Type 094-class submarines could remain near [Chinese] waters.
The House Select Committee on U.S. National Security and Military/Commercial Concerns with the People's Republic of China
If China were to launch such a second strike, the US could suffer high home front casualties, and the possibility of Chinese retaliation against US base in Japan would promote and˜concern among Americas pacific allies, both of which would present a deterrent to the US.
In the event of a US nuclear strike against China, it is certain that China would respond in kind.
Chinese Naval Forces
The 094 adds to the Yuan-class, a diesel-electric powered attack submarine, the Xia missile submarine and the older 091 Han class nuclear submarine.
Unlike the Han, which has been described as "noisy" and as having a history of reactor problems, and is though to be unlikely to survive combat with US forces, the 094 has been described by US intelligence officials as being "China's first truly intercontinental strategic nuclear delivery system."
When fully operational, it [the 094] will represent a more modern, more capable missile platform,"US Official
It is believed that the submarine that penetrated Japanese waters, close to the Sakishima islands, earlier this year was a 091 Han Class, it is not yet known how easily the more modern 094 could be located in Japanese or open waters.

SELECTED EXCERPTS ON CHINESE SPACE AND COUNTERSPACE ACTIVITIES FROM:

ANNUAL REPORT ON THE MILITARY POWER OF THE
PEOPLEs REPUBLIC OF CHINA

Space Development
China has the capability to launch military photoreconnaissance satellites; however, the
technology employed is outdated by Western standards. Beijing does not possess a realtime
photoreconnaissance capability, but eventually may deploy advanced imagery
reconnaissance and earth resource systems with military applications. The China-Brazil
Earth Resources Satellite (CBERS) was launched in October 1999 and the experience
gleaned from operating this satellite will support Beijing's efforts to develop improved
military reconnaissance satellites. CBERS also will provide some militarily useful data.
China also may attempt to deploy a near-real-time electro-optical imaging satellite within
the next decade, as well as a high-resolution film-based photoreconnaissance satellite. In
the interim, Beijing can be expected to exploit commercial SPOT and LANDSAT
imagery. Use of other commercial higher resolution satellite imagery also can be
anticipated, as it becomes available.
China already has launched three low-orbit meteorological satellites and a
geosynchronous weather satellite. Although Beijing has received some degree of foreign
technological assistance in the areas of reconnaissance, surveillance and targeting
capabilities, many of its system development efforts appear to have a substantial
indigenous component. In the future, however, Beijing could be expected to acquire and
incorporate greater amounts of foreign technology and hardware to expedite program
development.
China is interested in 400-500 kilogram (kg) satellites and plans an oceanographic
research satellite Haiyang 1 (Ocean-1) in this class that is scheduled for launch in 2001.
Other missions for satellites of this class that Beijing eventually may field include earth
observation, communications, and navigation. China also is developing minisatellites
(weighing less than 100 kgs) for missions, which include remote sensing and networks of
electro-optical and radar satellites. A joint venture between China's Tsinghua University
and Great Britain’s University of Surrey is building the "Tsinghua" system, a
constellation of 7 minisatellites with 50-meter (m) resolution remote sensing payloads.
The first satellite is scheduled for launch in 2000. Later satellites in the series probably
will have improved resolution. In addition, Beijing participates in the Asia-Pacific Small
Multi-Mission Satellite Project as part of the Asia-Pacific Multilateral Cooperation in
Space Technology and Applications Program, which reportedly includes Iran, Pakistan,
Thailand, Mongolia, South Korea, and Bangladesh.
Although China is improving its overall space launch program, there is no evidence that
it currently is developing the capability to conduct "launch-on-demand space launch
operations," i.e., the capability to use satellites and space launch vehicles in storage to
launch within 24 hours of a decision to do so.
Exploitation of space--to include manned space operations--remains a high priority.
Although nearly all major aspects of China's manned space program began within the last
five years or so, Beijing is still aiming for a possible first manned launch by 2001. While
one of the strongest motivations for this program appears to be political prestige, China's
manned space efforts could contribute to improved military space systems in the 2010-
2020 time frame. In addition to scientific and technical experiments, Chinese astronauts,
for instance, could investigate the utility of manned reconnaissance from space.
China is said to be acquiring a variety of foreign technologies, which could be used to
develop an anti-satellite (ASAT) capability. Beijing already may have acquired technical
assistance which could be applied to the development of laser radars used to track and
image satellites and may be seeking an advanced radar system with the capability to track
satellites in low earth orbit. It also may be developing jammers, which could be used
against Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers. In addition, China already may
possess the capability to damage, under specific conditions, optical sensors on satellites
that are very vulnerable to damage by lasers. Beijing also may have acquired high-energy
laser equipment and technical assistance, which probably could be used in the
development of ground-based ASAT weapons. Given China's current level of interest in
laser technology, Beijing probably could develop a weapon that could destroy satellites in
the future. Although specific Chinese programs for laser ASAT have not been identified,
press articles indicate an interest in developing this capability and Beijing may be
working on appropriate technologies.
China has extensive space-related cooperation programs with many countries. Although
most of these projects are described as scientific or civilian in nature, militarily
significant technology transfer nonetheless likely occurs in many of them.
According to press reporting, Moscow and Beijing currently have 11 joint space projects
underway. These include cooperative manned space activities. The Chinese also have
shown strong interest in Western--Canadian and German--radar satellite capabilities, to
include a possible purchase of synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellite systems. China
recently signed a contract to launch an Italian-built communications satellite with 28 kuband
transponders in 2001; two earlier contracts appear to involve research into
"observation and data detection satellites" that will be built jointly by both countries.
China’s Xian Satellite Control Site and the French national space agency announced a
program of cooperation for satellite command and control in February 1999. A December
1998 press report stated that China has signed intergovernmental agreements and
memoranda on aerospace cooperation with the United States, Canada, Germany, Italy,
France, Britain, Russia, Pakistan, India, and Brazil. In addition, Beijing has promoted
technical and economic cooperation and exchanges of different types, including jointly
developing satellites, with corporations, enterprises, and research institutes in more than
70 countries and areas.
Since 1998, China and the United States have signed three intergovernmental agreements
on launching services. Several US satellite-manufacturing companies have signed
agreements on commercial satellite launching services, involving a total of some 30
satellites. The satellite "Sinosat"--jointly developed by China, France, and Germany--was
launched successfully in 1999. Moreover, in the form of a joint venture, China and
Germany have made improvements to the Dongfanghong 3 communications satellite and
have worked on a new generation of similar satellites.
According to December 1998 South Korean press reports, South Korea and China are
expected to share data and information collected by their respective remote sensing
satellites. November 1998 Chinese media reported a jointly funded contract with Holland
for a cooperative project to develop and use a new satellite to monitor desertification and
crop yields in China. Chinese scientists likewise have been reported studying
minisatellite technologies in Great Britain. Chinese and British entities apparently have
established a joint venture to build and launch China's first privately built satellite.
China’s aerospace industry also is seeking to integrate GPS and Russian Global
Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS) guidance technology into fighters and
helicopters. The China Aerospace Corporation displayed a GPS receiver at an exhibition
in Beijing in September 1996 and provided brochures advertising both a 12-channel GPS
receiver and a 12-channel GPS/GLONASS receiver. One brochure showed a space
launch vehicle, suggesting GPS use in missile applications. Information obtained at a
more recent air show indicates that all of China's new fighters will incorporate GPS
navigation systems. China's military-backed industries also have entered into joint
ventures with foreign firms to produce GPS receivers, which may find their way to
military weapons. To complement GPS/GLONASS navigation aids, China has been
attempting to acquire commercial satellite imagery from various foreign countries. This
widely available satellite imagery could be used in conjunction with GPS/GLONASS to
develop digital terrain maps for targeting, missile guidance, and planning.
ANNUAL REPORT TO CONGRESS
MILITARY POWER OF THE PEOPLES REPUBLIC OF CHINA
H. Counterspace Development
Publicly, China opposes the militarization of space, and seeks to prevent or slow the
development of anti-satellite (ASAT) systems and space-based missile defenses.
Privately, however, China’s leaders probably view ASATs – and offensive counterspace
systems, in general – as well as space-based missile defenses as inevitabilities. In
addition to passive counterspace measures – such as denial and deception – China is said
to be acquiring a variety of foreign technologies, which could be used to develop an
active ASAT capability.
China probably has a thorough knowledge of U.S. and foreign space operations, based, in
part, on access to open-source information on U.S. space systems and space operations.
Beijing already may have acquired technical assistance that could be applied to the
development of laser radars used to track and image satellites and may be seeking an
advanced radar system with the capability to track satellites in low earth orbit. It also
may be developing jammers that could be used against Global Positioning System (GPS)
receivers. In addition, China already may possess the capability to damage, under
specific conditions, optical sensors on satellites that are very vulnerable to damage by
lasers. Beijing also may have acquired high-energy laser equipment and technical
assistance, which probably could be used in the development of ground-based ASAT
weapons. Given China's current level of interest in laser technology, Beijing probably
could develop a weapon that could destroy satellites in the future. Although specific
Chinese programs for laser ASAT have not been identified, press articles indicate an
interest in developing this capability and Beijing may be working on appropriate
technologies. For example, a Hong Kong newspaper article in January 2001 reported that
China had developed and tested an ASAT system described as a “parasitic
microsatellite.” This claim is being evaluated. Nonetheless, a number of countries,
including China, are developing and proliferating microsatellite (10- to 100-kg mass) and
nanosatellite (1- to 10-kg mass) technologies.
J. New Concept Weapon Systems
China is pursuing research and development programs to introduce so-called "new
concept" weapon systems into the PLA inventory. Key weapon systems in this category
include laser and radio frequency weapons.
Laser Weapons
China is pursuing a robust research and development program for laser weapons. The
Chinese have openly stated that their scientists have “laid a firm technical foundation” in
laser technology and are capable of developing laser weapons. China reportedly is
focusing its laser weapon development on anti-personnel, counter-precision guided
munitions air defense, and ASAT roles.
China’s research into laser weapon technologies already has resulted in the development
and fielding of several systems. In 1995, China North Industries Corporation
(NORINCO), a military trading company, introduced the ZM-87 laser weapon at defense
exhibitions in Manila and Abu Dhabi. Since that time, Chinese writings indicate a
continuing effort to develop additional laser systems. A second system was unveiled at
the 50th Anniversary Military parade in 1999, when the Chinese displayed a probable
laser-based ATGM countermeasure on its Type 90-II tanks. Additional Chinese ground
combat systems include laser pointers, laser range finders, and laser target designators.
These devices are routinely marketed at defense exhibitions. In the future, China can be
expected to continue to develop and field military weapon and non-weapon laser systems.
Using a combination of indigenous capabilities and foreign assistance, China could
emerge as a leading producer and exporter of military lasers by 2020.
Radiofrequency Weapons
Finally, China may consider RF weapons with an ASAT capability. An ASAT mission is
undoubtedly one of the most stressing RF weapon applications. For a ground-based
system beaming RF energy into space, HPM sources operating at very high power levels
as well as large transmitting antennas having high gain would be required. For an RF
weapon delivered via a direct-ascent missile or deployed as an orbital system, there are
severe constraints on system size and mass and the question of competitiveness with
other ASAT systems that also must approach the target. Even if the Chinese commit
resources to a major ASAT RF development program, they likely will be unable to
deploy such a weapon for at least fifteen years.
ANNUAL REPORT TO CONGRESS
MILITARY POWER OF THE PEOPLES REPUBLIC OF CHINA 2004
Counterspace Developments
China is expected to continue to enhance its satellite tracking and identification network.
Beijing’s only current means of destroying or disabling a satellite, however, would be to
launch a ballistic missile or space launch vehicle armed with a nuclear weapon. Such
weapons, however, risk collateral damage to “friendly” space systems. According to
press accounts, China can use probable low-energy lasers to “blind” the sensors on low-
Earth-orbiting satellites, although whether this claim extends to actual facilities is
unclear.
A Hong Kong newspaper article in January 2001 reported that China had developed and
ground-tested and would soon begin space-testing an antisatellite (ASAT) system
described as a “parasitic microsatellite.” This claim is being evaluated. Nonetheless, a
number of countries, including China, are developing and proliferating microsatellite (10-
to 100-kilogram mass) and nanosatellite (1- to 10-kilogram mass) technologies.
Moreover, China clearly is working on, and plans to field, ASATs. Additional press
reports and activities at several laser institutes suggest Beijing most likely will continue
to pursue development of ground-based laser ASAT weapons and radars. China's current
level of interest in laser technology suggests that it is reasonable to assume Beijing
eventually could develop a weapon to destroy satellites.
ANNUAL REPORT TO CONGRESS
MILITARY POWER OF THE PEOPLES REPUBLIC OF CHINA 2005
Space and Counterspace
Beijing has focused on building the infrastructure to develop advanced space-based
C4ISR and targeting capabilities. Building a modern ISR architecture is likely one of the
primary drivers behind Beijing’s space endeavors and a critical component of its overall
C4ISR modernization efforts. Beijing’s ongoing space-based programs with potential
military applications include:
China launched its first manned spacecraft into Earth orbit on October 15, 2003.
Chinese press reports indicate that it will send up a two-person crew on a five-day
mission in September 2005.
China has two remote-sensing satellite programs known as Ziyuan-1 (ZY-1), also
known as the China-Brazil Earth Resources Satellite, and ZY-2. China launched the ZY-
1B in October 2003. A third ZY-2 satellite was launched in October 2004. ZY-2
payloads probably are digital imagery reconnaissance satellites and have worldwide
coverage. Beijing also tested new film-based imagery satellites and small digital imagery
satellites in 2003 and 2004.
China is interested in electronic intelligence (ELINT) or signals intelligence (SIGINT)
reconnaissance satellites. Although these digital data systems probably will be able to
transmit directly to ground sites, China may be developing a system of data relay
satellites to support global coverage. Furthermore, Beijing has acquired mobile data
reception equipment that could support more rapid data transmission to deployed military
forces and units.
China is studying and seeking foreign assistance on small satellites. It has launched a
number of them, including an oceanographic research satellite, Haiyang (HY)-1, in 2002
with at least two more satellites in this series, HY-2 and -3, expected. Beijing launched
four small satellites during 2004; two of these probably have imagery missions and the
other two possibly are conducting space environmental research. Other missions for
satellites of this class include Earth observation, communications, and navigation.
• China is developing microsatellites – weighing less than 100 kilograms – for remote
sensing and networks of electro-optical and radar satellites. In April 2004 Beijing
launched a microsatellite with a probable imagery mission.
• A joint venture between China's Tsinghua University and the UK’s University of Surrey
is building a constellation of seven minisatellites – a class of satellites weighing between
101 and 500 kilograms – with 50-meter-resolution remote-sensing payloads. Later
satellites in the series probably will have improved resolution.
In 2004, China placed 10 satellites into orbit, the most of any year, and has a similar
schedule through 2006. It hopes to have more than 100 satellites in orbit by 2010, and
launch an additional 100 satellites by 2020. In the next decade, Beijing most likely will
field radar, ocean surveillance, and improved film-based photo-reconnaissance satellites.
China will eventually deploy advanced imagery, reconnaissance, and Earth resource
systems with military applications. In the interim, China probably will supplement
existing coverage with commercial SPOT, LANDSAT, RADARSAT, Ikonos, and
Russian satellite imagery systems.
Anti-Satellite Weapons (ASATs). China is working on, and plans to field, ASAT
systems. Beijing has and will continue to enhance its satellite tracking and identification
network – the first step in establishing a credible ASAT capability. China can currently
destroy or disable satellites only by launching a ballistic missile or space-launch vehicle
armed with a nuclear weapon. However, there are many risks associated with this
method, and consequences from use of nuclear weapons. China is also conducting
research to develop ground-based laser ASAT weapons. Based on the level of Chinese
interest in this field, the Defense Intelligence Agency believes Beijing eventually could
develop a laser weapon capable of damaging or destroying satellites. At lower power
thresholds, Chinese researchers may believe that low-energy lasers can “blind” sensors
on low-Earth-orbiting satellites; whether Beijing has tested such a capability is unclear.
Trends in Space Modernization
China seeks to become a world leader in space development and maintain a leading role
in space launch activity. Beijing’s goal is to place a satellite into orbit “within hours
upon request.” The Long March series of rockets can support that requirement as long as
adequate satellites remain in reserve. With ever-bettersatellites, China is becoming a peer
in quality to the world’s leading producers. In manned space, after the two-person
mission scheduled for this fall, China hopes to conduct space walks and docking missions
with a space lab by 2010, followed by a full space station by 2020.
ANNUAL REPORT TO CONGRESS
MILITARY POWER OF THE PEOPLES REPUBLIC OF CHINA 2006
Anti-Satellite (ASAT) Weapons.
Beijing continues to pursue an offensive anti-satellite system. China can currently
destroy or disable satellites only by launching a ballistic missile or space-launch vehicle
armed with a nuclear weapon. However, there are many risks associated with this
method, and potentially adverse consequences from the use of nuclear weapons.
Evidence exists that China is improving its situational awareness in space, which will
give it the ability to track and identify most satellites. Such capability will allow for the
deconfliction of Chinese satellites, and would also be required for offensive actions. At
least one of the satellite attack systems appears to be a ground-based laser designed to
damage or blind imaging satellites.
Radio Frequency and Laser Weapon Development
Chinese technicians are working to develop several types of “new concept” weapon
systems, two of which are radio frequency and laser-based systems. Long-range beam
weapons would use narrow radio frequency (RF) beams to engage targets such as aircraft
or precision guided munitions (PGMs). Short-range systems would be packaged into
missiles or artillery shells and launched into the vicinity of targets such as radars or
command posts before releasing an RF pulse. In recent years, the application of RF
weapons has expanded to include deployment on small vehicles or in suitcases for
targeting critical military or civilian infrastructures where close access is possible.
PRC officials have publicly indicated their intent to acquire RF weapons as a means of
defeating technologically advanced military forces. Chinese writings have suggested that
RF weapons could be used against C4ISR, guided missiles, computer networks,
electronically-fused mines, aircraft carrier battle groups, and satellites in orbit.
Analysis of Chinese technical literature indicates a major effort is underway to develop
the technologies required for RF weapons, including high-power radiofrequency sources,
prime-power generators, and antennas to radiate RF pulses. Chinese scientists are also
investigating the effects of RF pulses on electronics and the propagation of these pulses
through building walls and through the atmosphere. Furthermore, China appears to be
assessing its own vulnerability to RF weapons and exploring ways to “harden”
electronics.
China is also involved in advanced, state-of-the-art research and development in laser
technologies, including both low- and high-energy lasers. While much of China’s efforts
are commercial in nature, the PLA and the government directly support some of this
research, suggesting that discoveries or findings could be used to develop future laser
weapons. Moreover, China has fielded in its own forces and marketed for sale abroad
low energy laser weapons. Non-weapon military lasers are already widespread in the
PLA.
ANNUAL REPORT TO CONGRESS
MILITARY POWER OF THE PEOPLES REPUBLIC OF CHINA 2007
Space and Counterspace.
Chinas space activities and capabilities, including anti-satellite programs, have
significant implications for anti-access/area denial in Taiwan Strait contingencies and
beyond.
China further views the development of space and counter-space capabilities as
bolstering national prestige and, like nuclear weapons, demonstrating the attributes of a
world power.
China has accorded space a high priority for investment. Premier Wen Jiabao, marking
the 50th anniversary of China’s aerospace industry in October 2006, stated that “China’s
aerospace industry is standing at a new starting point and facing a new situation and
tasks. It is now necessary, he said, “to implement the principle of independent
innovations, leaps in key areas. …carry out major state science and technology special
projects in manned space flights and a lunar probe, and achieve new breakthroughs in
research and development [of] aerospace equipment and . . . space technology.”
Reconnaissance. China is deploying advanced imagery, reconnaissance, and Earth
resource systems with military applications. Examples include the CBERS-1 and -2
satellites and the Huanjing disaster/environmental monitoring satellite constellation.
China is planning eleven satellites in the Huanjing program capable of visible, infrared,
multi-spectral, and synthetic aperture radar imaging.
In the next decade, Beijing most likely will field radar, ocean surveillance, and highresolution
photoreconnaissance satellites. In the interim, China probably will rely on
commercial satellite imagery (e.g., SPOT, LANDSAT, RADARSAT, and Ikonos) to
supplement existing coverage.
Navigation and Timing. China has launched four BeiDou satellites with an accuracy of
20 meters over China and surrounding areas. China also uses GPS and GLONASS
navigation satellite systems, and has invested in the EUs Galileo navigation system.
Manned Program. In October 2005, China completed its second manned space mission
and Chinese astronauts conducted their first experiments in space. Press reports
indicate China will perform its first space walk in 2007-2008, and rendezvous and
docking in 2009-2012. China’s goal is to have a manned space station by 2020.
Communications. China uses foreign providers, like INTELSAT and INMARSAT, for
communications, but is expanding indigenous capabilities in this area. China may be
developing a system of data relay satellites to support global coverage, and has
reportedly acquired mobile data reception equipment that could support more rapid data
transmission to deployed military forces and units.
Small Satellites. Since 2000, China has launched a number of small satellites, including
an oceanographic research, imagery, and environmental research satellites. China has
also established dedicated small satellite design and production facilities. China is
developing microsatellites – weighing less than 100 kilograms – for remote sensing,
and networks of imagery and radar satellites. These developments could allow for a
rapid reconstitution or expansion of China’s satellite force in the event of any disruption
in coverage.
Anti-Satellite (ASAT) Weapons. In January 2007, China successfully tested a directascent
ASAT missile against a Chinese weather satellite, demonstrating its ability to
attack satellites operating in low-Earth orbit. The direct ascent ASAT system is one
component of a multi-dimensional program to generate the capability to deny others
access to outer space.
In a PLA National Defense University book, Joint Space War Campaigns (2005),
author Colonel Yuan Zelu writes:
[The] goal of a space shock and awe strike is [to] deter the enemy, not to provoke the
enemy into combat. For this reason, the objectives selected for strike must be few and
precise . . .[for example] on important information sources, command and control
centers, communications hubs, and other objectives. This will shake the structure of
the opponent’s operational system of organization and will create huge psychological
impact on the opponent’s policymakers.
China’s nuclear arsenal has long provided Beijing with an inherent ASAT capability.
However, in recent years Beijing has pursued a robust, multidimensional counterspace
program. UHF-band satellite communications jammers acquired from Ukraine in the
late 1990s and probable indigenous systems give China today the capacity to jam
common satellite communications bands and GPS receivers. In addition to the direct
ascent ASAT program demonstrated in January 2007, China is also developing other
technologies and concepts for kinetic (hit-to-kill) weapons and directed-energy (e.g.,
lasers and radio frequency) weapons for ASAT missions. Citing the requirements of its
manned and lunar space programs, China is improving its ability to track and identify
satellites – a prerequisite for effective, precise physical attacks.
ANNUAL REPORT TO CONGRESS
MILITARY POWER OF THE PEOPLES REPUBLIC OF CHINA 2008
Space and Counterspace
China’s space activities and capabilities, including ASAT programs, have significant
implications for anti-access/area denial in Taiwan Strait contingencies and beyond. China
further views the development of space and counter-space capabilities as bolstering
national prestige and, like nuclear weapons, demonstrating the attributes of a world
power.
Reconnaissance. China is deploying advanced imagery, reconnaissance, and Earth
resource systems with military applications. Examples include the Ziyuan-2 series, the
Yaogan-1 and -2, the Haiyang-1B, the CBERS-1 and -2 satellites, and the Huanjing
disaster/environmental monitoring satellite constellation. China is planning eleven
satellites in the Huanjing program capable of visible, infrared, multi-spectral, and
synthetic aperture radar imaging. In the next decade, Beijing most likely will field radar,
ocean surveillance, and high-resolution photoreconnaissance satellites. In the interim,
China probably will rely on commercial satellite imagery to supplement existing
coverage.
Navigation and Timing. China has launched five BeiDou satellites with an accuracy of 20
meters over China and surrounding areas. China also uses GPS and GLONASS
navigation satellite systems, and has invested in the EU Galileo navigation system.
However, the role of non-European countries in Galileo currently is unsettled, as the
Europeans are focusing on internal funding issues.
Manned Space and Lunar Programs. In October 2005, China completed its second
manned space mission and Chinese astronauts conducted their first experiments in space.
In October 2007, China launched its first lunar orbiter, the Chang’e 1. Press reports
indicate China will perform its first space walk in 2008, and rendezvous and docking in
2009-2012. Chinas goal is to have a manned space station and conduct a lunar landing,
both by 2020.
Communications. China increasingly uses satellites, including some obtained from
foreign providers, like INTELSAT and INMARSAT, for communications, may be
developing a system of data relay satellites to support global coverage, and has reportedly
acquired mobile data reception equipment that could support rapid data transmission to
deployed military forces.
Small Satellites. Since 2000, China has launched a number of small satellites, including
oceanographic research, imagery, and environmental research satellites. China has also
established dedicated small satellite design and production facilities, and is developing
microsatellites – weighing less than 100 kilograms – for remote sensing, and networks of
imagery and radar satellites. These developments could allow for a rapid reconstitution or
expansion of China’s satellite force in the event of any disruption in coverage, given an
adequate supply of boosters. Beijing’s efforts to develop small, rapid reaction space
launch vehicles currently appears to be stalled.
Anti-Satellite (ASAT) Weapons. In January 2007, China successfully tested a directascent
ASAT missile against a PRC weather satellite, demonstrating its ability to attack
satellites in low- Earth orbit. The direct-ascent ASAT system is one component of a
multi-dimensional program to limit or prevent the use of space-based assets by its
potential adversaries during times of crisis or conflict.
In a PLA National Defense University book, Joint Space War Campaigns (2005), author
Colonel Yuan Zelu writes:
[The] goal of a space shock and awe strike is [to] deter the enemy, not to provoke the
enemy into combat. For this reason, the objectives selected for strike must be few and
precise . . .[for example] on important information sources, command and control centers,
communications hubs, and other objectives. This will shake the structure of the
opponent’s operational system of organization and will create huge psychological impact
on the opponent’s policymakers.
Chinas nuclear arsenal has long provided Beijing with an inherent ASAT capability; the
extent to which China’s leaders have thought through the consequences of nuclear use in
outer space or of nuclear EMP to degrade terrestrial communications equipment is
unclear. UHF-band satellite communications jammers acquired from Ukraine in the late
1990s and probable indigenous systems give China today the capacity to jam common
satellite communications bands and GPS receivers. In addition to the direct-ascent ASAT
program demonstrated in January 2007, China is developing other technologies and
concepts for kinetic and directed-energy (e.g., lasers and radio frequency) weapons for
ASAT missions. Citing the requirements of its manned and lunar space programs, China
is improving its ability to track and identify satellites – a prerequisite for effective,
precise counterspace operations.
Information Warfare. There has been much writing on information warfare among
China’s military thinkers, who indicate a strong conceptual understanding of its methods
and uses. For example, a November 2006 Liberation Army Daily commentator argued:
[The] mechanism to get the upper hand of the enemy in a war under conditions of
informatization finds prominent ex-pression in whether or not we are capable of using
various means to obtain information and of ensuring the effective circulation of
information; whether or not we are capable of making full use of the permeability,
sharable property, and connection of information to realize the organic merging of
materials, energy, and information to form a combined fighting strength; [and,] whether
or not we are capable of applying effective means to weaken the enemy side’s
information superiority and lower the operational efficiency of enemy information
equipment.
The PLA is investing in electronic countermeasures, defenses against electronic attack
(e.g., electronic and infrared decoys, angle reflectors, and false target generators), and
CNO. China CNO concepts include CNA, computer network exploitation (CNE), and
computer network defense (CND). The PLA sees CNO as critical to achieving
“electromagnetic dominance early in a conflict. Although there is no evidence of a
formal PLA CNO doctrine, PLA theorists have coined the term “Integrated Network
Electronic Warfare” (wangdian yitizhan ) to prescribe the use of electronic
warfare, CNO, and kinetic strikes to disrupt battlefield network information systems that
support an adversary’s warfighting and power projection capabilities.
The PLA has established information warfare units to develop viruses to attack enemy
computer systems and networks, and tactics and measures to protect friendly computer
systems and networks. In 2005, the PLA began to incorporate offensive CNO into its
exercises, primarily in first strikes against enemy networks.

China's Opposition to TMD Is More About Politics Than Missiles

One of the greatest irritants in the U.S.- Japan-China triangular relationship is something
that does not even exist yet. Although it will not be operational until 2007 at the
earliest, the proposed theater missile defense (TMD) system currently under development by
Washington and Tokyo has met with intense Chinese opposition. The pursuit of missile defense
is a "a dangerous act," according to a January 1999 article in China's Liberation Army
Daily, that is motivated by America's "pursuit of strategic superiority and hegemony."
Although China tends to view missile defense as part of a grand strategy for American
domination, the debate in the U.S. is driven by fairly narrow, clear-cut threats.
In July 1998, a Congressional panel, chaired by former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld,
concluded that the U.S. faced a growing danger from emerging ballistic missile programs in
rogue states like North Korea, Iran, and Iraq.
As if to prove the "Rumsfeld report" correct, North Korea test fired a Taepo Dong missile,
which overflew Japan, just one month later. This launch--coupled with memories of 28 U.S.
soldiers killed by a single Iraqi Scud missile during the Gulf War--solidified political
support for theater missile defense (TMD) to protect American troops and allies abroad and
national missile defense (NMD) to defend the U.S. itself.
While NMD is intended to defend against inter-continental ballistic missiles capable of
striking North America, TMD will need to defend against a variety of long-, medium-, and
short-range missiles. In addition to a high-altitude "exo-atmospheric" interceptor, TMD will
incorporate an improved version of the Patriot, the "PAC-3," to intercept shorter-range
missiles, which typically fly at much lower altitudes. Ship-based low- and high-altitude
interceptors are also under development.
Although China is most vocal in its opposition to TMD, it is actually NMD that presents the
greater strategic challenge to Beijing. According to the Central Intelligence Agency, China
has only 20 missiles that can strike the continental United States, each capable of carrying
only a single nuclear warhead. The U.S., by comparison, has up to 6,000 nuclear
weapons--including those carried on land-based missiles, submarines, and bombers--that could
potentially hit China. But even 20 nuclear warheads is enough to make the U.S. think twice
before getting into a serious tangle with China. During the March 1996 Taiwan Strait crisis,
Lt. General Xiong Guangkai, the deputy chief of the People's Liberation Army General Staff,
reportedly told a U.S. official that "you [Americans] are not going to threaten us again
because, in the end, you care a lot more about Los Angeles than Taipei." An effective NMD
capability, however, would mean the U.S. might not face such a tradeoff.
The PRC is already hard at work developing new road-mobile, solid-fueled missiles capable of
striking the United States (the PRC successfully tested one of these rockets, the DF-31,
last August) and is researching both multiple warhead and maneuverable warhead technologies,
which are useful for defeating missile defenses. But even though China is modernizing its
missile force, it still wants to avoid the expense of a massive-strike capability, which
would involve hundreds of missiles and divert funds badly needed in other areas of the
military.
TMD is not as strategically significant for China as NMD. Although TMD might reduce China's
ability to psychologically intimidate Taiwan with missile tests, it would not be enough to
counter China's formidable array of short- and intermediate-range missiles. China currently
has about 50 intermediate-range missiles capable of striking the main islands of Japan and
as many as 200 short-range missiles deployed opposite Taiwan.
More Chinese missiles are coming on-line and the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency estimates
the PRC could have as many as 650 short-range rockets capable of striking Taiwan by 2005.
In short, China seems confident that it could easily overwhelm any missile defense system,
especially one extending to Taiwan. "The gap across the Taiwan Strait is only 130 kilometers
so it's difficult for TMD to respond quickly and make an effective intercept," said Luo
Yuan, a strategic expert in China's Military Science Institute, in a recent interview with
the Beijing Youth News, "...even if TMD were able to intercept 80 to 90 percent of ballistic
missiles, given the density of cities, people, transportation hubs, telecommunication hubs,
power grids, and nuclear power stations on Taiwan, only a small number of missiles would
have to get through...".
But, at a fundamental level, China's objections to TMD have little to do with whether the
system will actually succeed in shooting down missiles.Rather, China objects to TMD because 1) it would integrate Taiwan into the U.S.-Japan Security Alliance, 2) it further elevates the role of Japan in regional security, and 3) it signals America's intention to strengthen its military presence in the region and prevent China's emergence as the predominant regional leader.
China argues that Taiwan is pursuing TMD for political reasons, namely to improve its
overall relations with the United States.A March 1999 article in the Chinese journal Reunification Forum, says that by seeking to join TMD, Taiwan is "using 'military diplomacy' with the United States to strengthen Taiwan-U.S. relations, secure entry for Taiwan in the U.S. security structure in the Asia-Pacific, internationalize the issue of Taiwan's security, and use foreign forces to insure 'balance' in the Taiwan Strait."
Indeed, it is the close military cooperation between the U.S. and Taiwan that TMD would
require, more than the actual system itself, that worries the PRC. Since it cancelled its
mutual defense treaty with Taiwan in 1979 (a requirement for normalizing relations with
Beijing), the U.S. has sold weapons to Taiwan for the Taiwanese to operate on their own.
TMD would represent a radical departure from the simple arms-sales approach to Taiwan's
defense. Taiwan's participation in such a region-wide system would most likely require

direct, real-time communications links between the U.S. and Taiwanese militaries.

American launch-detection satellites and command and control centers would need to feed

targeting data to interceptors based on Taiwanese soil. It is this "hard-wiring" of Taiwan

into a region-wide network that Beijing claims would be tantamount to making Taiwan a de

facto member of the U.S.-Japan Alliance.

Although Taiwan is the focus of Beijing's opposition to missile defense, China's concerns

about TMD also involve its historical fear of Japan.

In China's eyes, TMD is very much a U.S.-Japan "joint venture." In August, Japan pledged to

contribute 20-30 billion yen for TMD research and development and is, so far, the only Asian

ally to pledge funds.

Coming amid the recent strengthening of the U.S.-Japan defense guidelines, the current

debate in Japan over possible revision of Article 9, and Japan's decision to develop its own

reconnaissance satellites, China sees TMD as just one part of Japan's overall

remilitarization plan.

More broadly still, TMD represents an American recommitment to the region that threatens to

frustrate China's desire to become a predominant regional leader. From the 1970s to the

early 1990s, as the U.S. reduced troop levels and closed its bases in the Philippines, China

enjoyed a sense that America was slowly pulling out of East Asia. TMD, in the context of the

enhancement of the U.S.-Japan Alliance, is viewed in Beijing as part of the U.S. effort to

grow new roots for itself in East Asia and contain China's rise.

Just as many of China's objections to TMD are political in nature, so too are the potential

consequences should the U.S. and Japan proceed with missile defense. TMD will impact the

overall relationship the U.S. and Japan have with the Middle Kingdom. TMD will heighten the

PRC's sense that it is the victim of an American neo-containment policy. As a result, China

will have a greater motivation to cooperate with Russia, and even France, to restrain U.S.

power. (On December 2, Russia, China, and France all voted in favor of a UN General Assembly

resolution upholding the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty and indirectly criticizing U.S.

missile defense plans.)

Japan, however, may have more to lose in terms of Chinese cooperation than the United

States. If TMD is extended to Taiwan, Japan may see its relationship with China further

mired in the Taiwan issue and Tokyo may find Beijing less helpful in critical areas like

North Korea, non-proliferation, and environmental concerns such as acid rain. Also, TMD will

surely harden China's resistance to a permanent seat for Japan on the United Nations

Security Council and, more generally, to Japan's efforts to become a "normal" country with a

more independent foreign and defense policy.

Because TMD is so potentially damaging to U.S.-China and Japan-China relations, does this

mean that Washington and Tokyo should give up on missile defense? Certainly not.

The U.S. and Japan must make policy based on their interests, not on what is acceptable to

the PRC. Although TMD is not meant to be an impenetrable shield, it is still of value,

especially in the Middle East and East Asia where there are "rogue" states with small

ballistic missile arsenals. TMD would reduce the risks of grouping large numbers of troops

and equipment in small areas (the 28 Americans killed in the Iraqi Scud attack were all in a

single barracks) and limit the ability of countries like North Korea to use their nascent

missile forces to blackmail neighbors. There is no question that the U.S. should allow

treaty allies like Japan to participate in TMD if they desire. Building missile defenses to

protect Americans while leaving Japanese vulnerable is a sure way to undermine the

U.S.-Japan Alliance that has been so important for regional stability.

Nor will canceling TMD prevent China from modernizing its missile and nuclear forces. China

will upgrade its capabilities regardless. The People's Liberation Army has been developing

its new DF-31 missile since 1970 and has been working on multiple warhead technology since

the early 1980s, long before TMD became an issue. Also, scrapping TMD will not eliminate the

deeper difficulties in the U.S.-China and Japan-China relationships--including China's fear

of Japanese remilitarization and its growing dissatisfaction with the U.S. "hegemony".

But just because Tokyo and Washington should not let the PRC dictate their decisions on

missile defense does not mean they should simply ignore all of China's concerns and fail to

consider strategies for minimizing the damage vis-a-vis Beijing. Whether the U.S. and Japan

succeed in developing effective missile defense in East Asia while simultaneously avoiding a

major confrontation with the PRC will hinge on how the question of Taiwan's participation in

TMD is handled.

Recently, Chinese leaders have hinted that they might be able to live with TMD so long as

Taiwan is excluded. "Whether or not you build a TMD, that's your business," said Premier Zhu

Rongji in an April 1999 interview with CNN, "But if you were to get Taiwan involved in this

TMD, then China's position is that it would be adamantly opposed to such an action, because

this action would be an intervention in China's internal affairs, as well as a transgression

and encroachment on China's sovereignty."

Similarly, Sha Zukang, the leading Foreign Ministry official in charge of arms control, said

in November that China "does not reject the whole concept of theater missile defense." China

understands the value of TMD for protecting troops, Sha said, but still opposes TMD being

used as a form of national missile defense to protect whole countries.

In fact, China evidently sees potential in missile defense since it is working on its own

TMD technology, including a missile interceptor--the Hongqi-15, which China calls the

"Eastern Patriot"--and, according to some press reports, a laser weapon capable of shooting

down missiles.

The above comments indicate there may be room for a compromise whereby Taiwan remains

officially outside a region-wide TMD system but is still provided with the missile defense

technology it needs. A number of Taiwan military leaders worry that TMD may not be worth the

cost given Taiwan's proximity to China. Indeed, Taiwan's former Minister of National

Defense, Chiang Chung-ling, once described TMD as a "money pit." South Korea, which faces a

similar close-range threat from a Communist neighbor, has shown little interest in

participating in TMD because of similar cost-benefit concerns.

It may make more military and economic sense for Taipei to concentrate on developing, with

U.S. assistance, its own self-contained missile defense system designed specifically for the

Taiwan Strait. In August, Taiwanese Defense Minister Tang Fei announced that the military

would build its own anti-missile network regardless of whether it is invited to join TMD.

The U.S. is already helping this effort by providing Patriot missiles and a new

early-warning radar approved for sale last spring. Also, Taiwanese officials claim the U.S.

has agreed to sell four Aegis destroyers, which come with important anti-missile technology.

If Taiwan needs the higher-altitude protection afforded by TMD, sea-based interceptors could

be deployed near Taiwan on American naval ships. This would give Taiwan a credible defense

against missile attack while avoiding the explicit linkages that the PRC finds so

politically intolerable.

It also goes without saying that China, for its part, should not repeat its reckless missile

tests of 1995 and 1996. If China were to respond to American restraint on TMD with a an

additional buildup of missiles on its side of the Taiwan Strait and more menacing "test"

firings, then any reasons Washington might have to accommodate Chinese concerns would

disappear.

The whole point of missile defense is to increase security. To the extent that TMD and NMD

can give Americans and Japanese protection from limited threats, such as those posed by

North Korean, then missile defense is a worthwhile effort, even if it causes some strains

with Beijing. But if the United States and Japan proceed to build a TMD network in a way

that guarantees maximum damage to U.S.-China, Japan-China, and Taiwan-China relations, then

missile defense will likely result in a net decrease in security for all involved. Even if

missile defense succeeds beyond expectations, it will not eliminate the need for the U.S.,

Japan, and especially Taiwan to maintain stable relations with China.