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Chinese sea threat

China's sea aggressive policy acquires a systemic and clearly structured nature

Chinese sea threat

The share of China's maritime industries (marine energy, shipbuilding, fishing, etc.) in GDP increased from 3% in 2000 to 10% in 2011, and it may grow significantly in 5-10 years.

During the period of rapid economic growth, in particular in the 1990-ies, the maritime sectors of the economy - port and coastal zone development, preferential terms for foreign investment in coastal areas, increased maritime traffic, construction of a sea fishing fleet with the expansion of areas Farms of aquaculture and many other things.

Practically everything that was undertaken was successful and brought tangible benefits. The new government has set a goal for 2020 year to double the current share of maritime industries in GDP. The implication is that the development of seabed gas fields and ocean fishing should make a major contribution.

China, more acutely than other states feeling limited space and land resources as a limiting factor of economic development, has long relied on the sea direction, understanding that the sea vector of progress is becoming a paradigm of geopolitical success in the 21st century. And in achieving this success, China has neglected the ideas of Deng Xiaoping, who in foreign policy called for restraint, modesty, waiting, trying not to attract attention. China’s maritime ambitions are at the forefront of a range of key national interests. They are not only not disguised, but also aggressively promoted.

The CPC Congress held in November 2012 set the goal of "building a powerful maritime state." The new leader of the Chinese communists, Xi Jinping, reaffirmed this course, repeatedly calling for "developing the maritime economy." A possible decline in GDP growth rates is expected to be overcome by developing marine resources. At the same time, a goal is set - forcing territorial claims in the sea, mastering sea spaces, strengthening marine energy and fishing interests in the World Ocean.

Maritime culture and the ideas of marinism

First of all, let us pay attention to raising the level of the marine culture of the nation and promoting the ideas of marinism. In China, in 2005, a new commemorative date was instituted - the Day of Navigation, which is celebrated on 11 July. This date is set in honor of the 600 anniversary of the first great sea voyage of the Ming era, which was carried out by the military commander Zheng He (1371-1434). One of the goals of establishing a memorable date is to turn the eyes of the Chinese people to the sea, to strengthen the consciousness of belonging to the great sea nation.

From 1405 to 1433 year, Zheng He, on the orders of the Emperor, made seven long sea voyages. In search of tribute, the commander went around the coasts of Southeast Asia, rounded the Hindustan Peninsula, reached the shores of East Africa, and achieved the revitalization of China's trade in the southern seas. The fleet under his command consisted of hundreds of ships that visited the harbor more than 30 countries of the time. And in the Minsk era, the interests of trade with neighboring countries (or taxing them) contributed to the development of China as a maritime power, albeit for a short time. A recent archaeological find confirms the existence at that time of China's trade with the eastern coast of Africa. In Kenya, found a gold coin of Chinese coinage 600-year-old.

To take advantage of the fruits of medieval overseas expansion, which seemed to be successful, the Celestial Empire did not succeed in the following time. And for many long centuries, China has remained primarily a continental country, solving constantly emerging intra-domestic problems. But time and the latent logic of events often lead to unexpected turns, forcing to extract from the "zagashniki" of the past previously unrequired rarities.

Marine muscles and expansion of base ports

Of course, the leading role in the spread of maritime influence and its strengthening belongs to the Navy (Navy). In the Pacific, the United States has the greatest influence. However, in recent years, this predominance no longer looks so certain. Marine muscle builds up China and begins to demonstrate its Pacific ambitions. So, in May 2007 of the year, during a visit to China by the Chief of Staff of the Pacific Fleet of the US Navy, Admiral T. Keating from China, a proposal was made to divide the Pacific Ocean into spheres of influence of the two countries. The United States was assigned a part of the Pacific Ocean east of the Hawaiian Islands, and China - the Pacific regions to the west. Of course, the US military outwardly perceived this proposal as a joke. On the other hand, after some time, Chinese proposals were published in the US media. This indicates that the Chinese proposal is being considered and studied. Of course, not in order to accept it. But not to take into account the demonstration of the growing influence of China is also not expected.

Following the example of the leading Western powers (the USA, Great Britain, France), the Chinese are striving to acquire a chain of naval bases in the friendly countries of Beijing in South-East and South Asia, and now in the Indian Ocean.

China step by step is on the way of acquiring rights to strategically important ports along the shores of the Indian Ocean. The last example is the rights to manage and modernize the seaport of Pakistan Gwadar at the very entrance to the Holmes Strait are transferred to Singapore's TNC PSA by Chinese port companies. The amount of the transaction is $ 35 million. In this case, China took advantage of the deterioration of relations between Pakistan and the United States after the destruction of bin Laden by US special services. The planned construction of roads and pipelines from the Uyghur Autonomous Region to Gwadar will link the interior regions of China with the sea routes through the Holmes Strait.

To date, China is developing port construction in at least 9 countries in Southeast Asia and East Africa, including Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sudan, Tanzania, Mozambique and others. By creating a strong port infrastructure in a number of Indian Ocean countries, China is strengthening its relations with government circles, facilitating the subsequent use of its ports. In particular, for calls of vessels of the Chinese Navy (Navy).

The Chinese Navy persistently implement the maritime strategy of going beyond the so-called second island chain. According to the Observer magazine (No. 6 for 2011 a year), in 2010, the Chinese strategy for expanding the operational reach zone included the Indian Ocean in probabilistic terms. But in 2012 and 2013, probability becomes reality. The new strategy “Defense of the Far Seas” is being implemented in the Indian Ocean. The port facilities created by Chinese forces along the perimeter of the Indian Ocean coast (the so-called “pearl necklace” strategy) create a practical and political opportunity to base the Chinese Navy in this basin, facilitate naval diplomacy and ensure the safety of their sea lanes.

China holds a fairly powerful grouping of warships also in the Gulf of Aden. The PLA Navy sent a 31 ship to the Gulf of Aden and the coastal waters of Somalia. There is a constant demonstration of the Chinese flag in the far oceanic regions, including the waters of Latin American countries, the first Chinese circumnavigation was carried out in 2002.

Only in 2012, the Chinese Navy conducted the “Breakthrough of the island line” seven times, leaving the western part of the Pacific Ocean through the straits of the Okinawa Japanese archipelago. These actions are aimed at limiting the maritime influence of the United States and Japan, which have naval bases on the line Okinawa - Taiwan - Philippines.

Exploration of the deep sea

China continues to demonstrate an offensive maritime and oceanic position, leading the research fleet to deep-sea areas of marine depressions. The Chinese deep-water dwelling unit "Zhaolong" held the next descent in June 2012 year, reaching a record depth for China of 7000 m in the region of the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean. In July 2011, also in the Pacific, the experiment ended successfully with the immersion of this device to a depth of 5188 m.

According to the Xinhua News Agency, in the near future in China it is planned to create an apparatus capable of conquering the depths up to 11 000 m, that is, the deepest part of the Mariana Trench.

Analysts from Vietnam, the Philippines and other coastal states of the South China Sea believe that China will use this device for research in the South China Sea, the bottom of which has many very deep-water areas.

There is an unresolved maritime territorial dispute between these countries of Southeast Asia and China. China will be able to use scientific and technical superiority to resolve territorial disputes in its favor. It is known that the disputed areas are abundant in fish stocks, oil and gas bearing areas are found in the depths of the sea, besides, the disputed islands are an important strategic foothold from a naval point of view and to ensure the safety of maritime trade routes. Underwater research is also essential for expanding the boundaries of the continental shelf beyond the outer limits of the 200-mile zone.

Extension of the boundaries of the continental shelf

Meanwhile, China has made an application to expand the boundaries of the continental shelf in the East China Sea. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China, an application to expand the borders of China's continental shelf beyond the boundaries of the 200-mile zone, measured from the baselines, was submitted to the UN Commission on the Delimitation of the Continental Shelf in December 2012. China is seeking to expand its rights within the East China Sea. In this case, claims extend to the water area up to the Okinawa Depression, including the southern part of the Japanese Ryukyu (Okinawa) archipelago.

It is believed that such an act of China is one of the steps against Japan's nationalization of the Senkaku Islands in the southern part of the Ryukyu archipelago. China announced its intention to file an application during the September anti-Japanese demonstrations, using opportunities in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

At present, the boundaries of the continental shelf and exclusive economic zones (EEZ) in the East China Sea have not been established between Japan and China. Therefore, due to the constant non-intermittent contradictions between the two countries, the UN Commission on shelf delimitation is unlikely to accept the Chinese application (as happened in 2001 with the application of Russia regarding the expansion of the Russian borders of the continental shelf in the Sea of ​​Okhotsk). At the same time, it is clear that friction between Japan and China over the territorial identity of the Senkaku Islands and the rights to develop gas fields in the East China Sea will increase.

The Chinese side in its application to the UN Commission points out that "the Okinawa hollow is the extreme point of continuation of the Chinese continental shelf in the East China Sea," and on this basis China has the rights to develop this shelf.

In this regard, the 14 of December 2012 of the year in the Chinese press, in the central newspaper of the CPC Zhenminizhibo, contains an article by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of China, which addresses the problem of the Senkaku Islands. In particular, it is reported: "Although the Sino-Japanese relations are regulated properly, we will strongly challenge the illegal actions of Japan, such as" the acquisition of islands "and other similar steps." China makes it clear that it will intensify the protests against Japan, as well as its actions to nationalize the Senkaku Islands.

Island Control Policy

Under the jurisdiction of the People's Republic of China are 6500 islands of more than 500 square. M, 400 of which are inhabited. In addition, in the surrounding marine areas of China there are about 10 000 small uninhabited islands, the status of which has not yet been determined. Despite the fact that the Chinese society does not attach importance to such islands, the specialists of the maritime affairs of this country consider that their significance is immense in terms of economic development and national security.

Statements do not end with statements. In the South China Sea on the Paracel Islands, China is strengthening field airfields, and 10 billion yuan has been spent to create a primitive infrastructure on the Spratly Islands. In addition, the three islands of the Spratly Archipelago are included in the administrative structure of Hainan Province. But these same islands include Vietnam, the Philippines and a number of other Southeast Asian countries.

As a result, in the regions of the South China Sea, China is experiencing an escalation of tension with its neighboring countries because of island territorial claims.

In China, the Law on Island Protection (Law on Island Protection), which came into force on 1 March 2010, is beginning to be implemented, including the preservation and practical use of uninhabited islands. The law was considered for a long time, the first project was submitted to the NPC in 2003. And already at the stage of consideration attracted the attention of neighboring states.

Chinese diplomats say: “Resolving territorial issues, including maritime territorial disputes, is an extremely important, albeit difficult task. However, negotiating with neighbors is necessary. The first step has been taken - negotiations have begun with neighbors. ”

At the same time, the Director of the State Oceanic Agency of China said that his country would stop any attempts to infringe upon its interests in the East China and South China Seas, referring to countries like Vietnam, the Philippines and Japan, with which in the bordering sea areas China has tensions.

Marine Control Authority

Chinese naval scientists have long noted the need to form a specialized maritime authority in the government. The possibility of raising the status of the oceanic agency has recently attracted the attention of virtually all Chinese media.

The main purpose of creating a specialized maritime control body is to defend territorial rights and claims. As informed sources in China believe, for this a new maritime authority needs the right to use weapons when conducting maritime police operations in identifying and suppressing offenses at sea.

The next step is likely to be the acceleration of the adoption of the law on the fundamentals of maritime activities, as a logical continuation of the program put forward to qualify for the leading maritime powers. It is reported that the NPC Foreign Affairs Committee is already developing the text of the new draft law.

Among other key areas of development of China, put forward at the XII Congress of the NPC, held in March 2013, the marine vector stands out, which is worded as follows: "Strengthening integrated control at sea, increasing the potential for developing marine resources, protecting the maritime interests of the state." In addition, the marine vector of politics (in addition to the naval component) includes the development of all maritime industries and the preservation of marine ecosystems.

China's concentrated maritime interest in "control and protection" is understandable, because China has many ambitious neighbors in the Southeast Asian region, which have to compete hard for sea areas and resources. In response to the growth of marine activity in China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and other coastal states of the South China Sea are forced to build up military budgets in recent years, which does not add stability to the region.

An alarming situation here is becoming more and more explosive.

For example, 10 in March 2013 of the year was announced to establish the Marine Police Authority of China, which is formed on the basis of the Marine Patrol Service through the transfer of a new structure of police supervision rights. In addition, the new service will belong to the fisheries administration. To what extent, it is difficult to say. But practical steps are already being taken.

Ahead of the event, the Chinese Fishery Inspection mobilized three thousand people and sent a patrol vessel of large and medium tonnage to patrol the South China Sea near the Spratly Islands 21. Chinese media emphasize that patrols will be conducted on an ongoing basis. According to the Japanese newspaper Sankey Shimbun, 12 March 2013, large-capacity helicopter carriers of the State Oceanic Administration joined this action. The reaction of neighbors in the region - especially Vietnam and the Philippines - can be very painful.

The XII Congress of the NPC decided to establish the State Maritime Board, which will take decisions on the most important issues of the maritime policy of the state. The powers of the State Oceanic Service, which carries out research and patrolling the ocean, have also been strengthened.

This decision is based on the fact that in the existing system of managing various aspects of maritime activities, numerous functions are scattered between various services and departments, which in this situation are not able to pursue a unified maritime policy. Thus, the maritime police of the State Security Service controls the maritime patrols of the State Oceanic Inspectorate, the Ministry of Security’s maritime police carries out law enforcement functions, the Fisheries Administration of the Ministry of Agriculture decides on fisheries security, the control of cargo transportation by sea is carried out by the Customs Service, etc.

The State Maritime Collegium will become the highest deliberative body that will work out the state maritime development strategy and carry out comprehensive tactical action planning in the field of maritime policy and economics. The chairman of the board will be the Secretary General of the Chinese Communist Party Xi Jinping, which speaks of the special status of the new maritime authority.

The reaction of neighbors

The greatest activity in counteracting the growing Chinese aggression in the sea is shown by Vietnam. One of the measures is the creation of special naval units to counter Chinese fishing vessels in the South China Sea.

December 5 Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung signed a government decree to form, starting on January 25 2013, “special forces” that will monitor the actions of foreign vessels conducting unauthorized fishing or other illegal activities in the waters of Vietnam. So, on the eve of this decision, Chinese fishing vessels cut the cable of an oil-search vessel in Vietnam.

The Chinese side strongly opposes the creation by Vietnam of “special forces” and threatens to use “force measures”.

The known frictions over the Senkaku Islands (Diaoyu) and the dividing line of the boundaries of the 200-mile zones in the East China Sea have recently forced Japan to keep itself under strain. The acquisition of state-owned part of the archipelago by the metropolitan prefecture of Tokyo extremely heated relations between the two countries. In March 2013, the new leadership of China took certain steps to defuse tensions in bilateral relations. In general, Japan is ready to meet. However, according to Japanese media, the problem of the Senkaku Islands may become the “needle eye” of this process. Japan’s political observers believe that Sino-Japanese relations "will become the most important issue on the agenda of the 21st century on international politics and national security in the region."

Growing concerns about the sea hegemony of China are stepping up the naval cooperation of the Pacific countries.

Vietnam and Indonesia are trying to counteract the Chinese submarine fleet, increasing the number of its own submarines. So, Vietnam has already received the first (out of six planned) diesel submarines from Russia class 636MV. Indonesia receives one submarine in the Republic of Korea and two builds independently. This is not comparable in power with the Chinese submarine fleet in this area, which has 60 units, but can force to change the dislocation and plans of action of the Chinese fleet.

Vietnam is ready to consider the possibility of entering the ships of the Russian Navy in its ports. The intention was announced on the basis of the visit to this country of the Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation, Sergei Shoigu. This issue is considered through the prism of countering Chinese maritime activity in the South China Sea.

Known examples and military-technical cooperation. So, Australia and Japan have reached agreement that Japan will transfer to the Australian side top-secret submarine construction technologies. In the light of China’s growing naval threat, this step is aimed at deterring Chinese maritime aggression. Australia updates the navy. In particular, taking out the outdated submarines from the 6 fleet, she plans to introduce 12 new ones. Japan in the 2011 year weakened the three principles on arms exports. And now, in order to ensure security, joint international developments and production.

China operates in the oceans in such a way as to outperform, where possible, other countries in the development of the ocean, neglecting complications with its neighbors. An inevitable manifestation and consequence of such a policy is the emergence of territorial frictions in relations with neighboring countries, which can conceal the danger of military conflicts, as well as increased controversy in the field of fisheries.

Foreign analysts point out that China’s increased sea ambitions are caused by claims to the role of the global superpower. But for this, first China needs to become a leading maritime power capable of ensuring its interests in the oceans, including the development of its various resources and the use of sea routes. In fact, by the end of 2012, China has already reached the first place in the world in terms of turnover ($ 3,87 trillion), now overtaking the United States ($ 3,86 trillion).

Maybe someone was late with the estimates?

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