John J. Xenakis
January 16, 2014
Up until recently, Vietnamese policy was to very carefully avoid offending China, even to the point of using security forces to crush any civilian anti-China protests. However, Vietnam has apparently now completely reversed that policy.
The occasion is the anniversary of a naval clash between South Vietnamese and Chinese naval forces on January 19, 1974. China’s superior naval power crushed the Vietnamese forces, and China seized some of the Paracel Islands controlled by Vietnam and has occupied them ever since.
For forty years, Vietnam has never mentioned the battle for fear of offending China; it’s not even included in modern history books. Now, however, Vietnam’s state media is publicly marking the event and printing numerous articles on the subject, describing how the islands were taken by China by force and the heroic actions of the Vietnamese sailors. Public meetings have been held to commemorate the battle, and there are calls to recognize the “martyrdom” of the fallen soldiers and offer support to their families.
This highly nationalistic policy change by Vietnam’s government comes just a few days after China demanded foreign fishing vessels ask permission from China’s military before fishing in the South China Sea, something that infuriated the Vietnamese who, at the very least, claim to have as much right to fish in the South China Sea as the Chinese do.
Things have really changed rapidly in the past few months. China has threatened Japan militarily over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, and Japanese nationalism has surged. Nationalism has sharply increased in the Philippines and Vietnam. For years we’ve been reporting on the vastly increased nationalism in China, especially among the younger generations. With tensions growing throughout the region, it would not take much for an accident or miscalculation to spiral into a larger military confrontation. BBC.
A Chinese media article published over the weekend says that China is preparing for a military invasion of the second-largest of the Spratly Islands. Pagasa Island is administered by the Philippines. China calls it the Zhongye Island and claims ownership, along with vast areas of the South China Sea including regions that have historically belonged to Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. China has threatened to use its vast military power to threaten and subdue any neighboring nation that disobeys its orders. This comes just a few days after China escalated tensions by demanding that any foreign fishing vessel ask permission from China’s military before fishing in the South China Sea.
Pagasa Island is designated a town in the Philippines with a civilian population of nearly 200 and an airstrip with 50 soldiers. In March 2011, the Philippine military announced plans to upgrade the airfield.
According to a translated summary of the Chinese media report:
Relying on US support, the Philippines is so arrogant as to announce in the New Year that it will increase its navy and air force deployment at Zhongye Island, a Chinese island that it has illegally occupied for years. It will be an intolerable insult to China.
According to experts, the Chinese navy has drawn a detailed combat plan to seize the island and the battle will be restricted within the South China Sea. The battle is aimed at recovery of the island stolen by the Philippines from China. There will be no invasion into Filipino territories.
A report in the Philippines Star confirmed the Philippines military buildup on the island.
The article said that the attack will occur in 2014. This would be the second such military seizure by China. In 2012, China used threat of military force to seize the Scarborough Shoal from the Philippines.
Some analysts are speculating that China’s new military policy will be to seize all the islands in the South China Sea, one by one, counting on the fact that no single military act would force a response by the United States. China Daily Mail and Philippine Star.
China tests hypersonic missile vehicle
China’s military on January 9 tested a new ultra-high speed missile aimed at delivering warheads too quickly for U.S. missile defense to respond. The new weapon is being dubbed the WU-14 by the Pentagon. The military advantages of hypersonic craft include precise targeting, very rapid delivery of weapons, and greater survivability against missile and space defenses.
Generational Dynamics predicts that China is rapidly and aggressively preparing for preemptive war against the United States. As we’ve reported on a number of occasions, China is rapidly preparing new missile systems for an attack with maximum surprise and maximum force striking America’s cities, military installations, aircraft carriers, and satellites. America’s defenses have been weakened in recent years by defense cutbacks, and the massive release of secret information by Edward Snowden may have left America’s defenses completely exposed.