7) China: Military bases. Lesson thirtynine

We have touched this topic in previous lessons.

China was leading negotiations with the small state of Djibouti at the Horn of Africa, about building a Chinese military base there. The base officially opened in 2017. There is an American Navy Regiment in Camp Lemonnier in the small country that is no larger than 200 km x 150 km (124 miles x 93 miles). Djibouti is also where the Americans base the bulk of their armed drones, UCAVs that operate over the alQaida-infested Yemen, or they used to at least. Camp Lemonnier is a center for about 6 drone and surveillance bases that extend straight from west to east and symbolically splits northern Africa from southern Africa. Due to its strategic location, Camp Lemonnier serves as a hub for aircraft carriers and aviation operations in the Gulf region. There are about 4,000 American soldiers in Djibouti. Djibouti serves as a base for a number of foreign powers, e.g. for the French fleet and the Foreign Legion. In 2015 Japan built, their first foreign military base since wwii, in Djibouti.

Chinese bases in Gwadar and Djibouti creates an opportunity for China to gain military influence over the oil commerce in the Persian Gulf. and thus an economic influence over the US and Europe. It’s an effective and fearful way, a potential game changer. I mean, the Chinese don’t even have to pass through the Red Sea with their merchant ships to reach their homeland from the Persian Gulf or from African trading partners.

China’s President Xi Jinping visited Pakistan in April 2015. Several formal visits between China and Pakistan have taken place in recent years. During his visit, it was expected that Xi Jinping was to announce extensive Chinese strategic infrastructure investments in Pakistan. The planned Chinese investment in Pakistan is expected to reach 46 billion dollars. The main purpose of the investments was to create what is known as the Chinese-Pakistani economic corridor. It will become a network of roads, railways and oil pipelines between the two countries. The corridor stretch about 483 km (300 miles), from western China into Pakistan.

Today, most of China’s trade and oil imports run through the Malacca Strait, and Beijing fears that, in the event of a conflict, the US fleet can easily carry out a blockade at the “chokepoints” of the Malacca Strait, the Sunda Strait and the Lombok Strait, thereby giving a hard blow to China’s economy. One could accomplish this remote blockade with 16 smaller military vessels, plus support and rotations, someone has figured out. In reality, a remote blockade requires relatively extensive efforts to search ships and take care of the seized vessels, etc. But practices and regulations are well established by the Royal Navy in the past.

The investments in Pakistan are a key part of an overall Chinese strategy to increase China’s influence around Asia. The United States, and perhaps especially India, regards the Chinese investments with great skepticism. The planned Chinese investment in Pakistan is significantly higher than the US investment in the country. Closer links between China and Pakistan are also not welcomed by the strategic antagonist India. But in Pakistan, they speak very positive about it. The poor country is in great need of investments for its deficient infrastructure. The Government in Islamabad is hoping that the Chinese projects can help turn Pakistan into a regional economic center. The port city of Gwadar is located near the Strait of Hormuz between the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf. But not as near as the two American air bases in Bahrain and Qatar in the Persian Gulf lies to the Strait of Hormuz. Two US airbases are even located right next to the Strait of Hormuz in the UAE.

In Burma east of India, the Chinese operate the Kyaukpyu port. According to the IDSA – Institute for Defense Studies and Analysis, the Chinese are building a 982 km (610 miles) long oil pipeline from the port to Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province in southern China. A motorway will be built along this pipeline to connect the port with China and railways will be linked together. The pipeline shortens the distance by 1,200 km (745 miles) bypassing the normal vessel route through the Malacca Strait, for at least part of China’s oil demand.

Bangladesh in the depths of the Bengali Gulf at east India, and China signed several co-operation agreements and economic agreements, in March and June 2010, including the construction of a nuclear reactor to meet the energy challenges. China also sells modern military equipment to Bangladesh, instead of the second-hand weapons and the outdated technology that the western powers provided them.

On the large island of Sri Lanka off India’s southeast coast, in July 2011, the first part of the Hambantota port was built by the Chinese company Harbor Engineering Company with a Chinese 425 million dollar loan, according to PortCall’s Asia. Hambantota is just one of four ports built or upgraded. China played a major role both militarily as it provided the Sri Lankan government forces with military equipment that became crucial to defeat the Tamil Tigers’ uprising on the island. And China also played a major role politically as they supported international organizations to counter persistent allegations of government’s human rights violations. The small state of Sri Lanka sides with Pakistan.

The dispute between India and Pakistan has prompted Pakistanis to support the Chinese in order to in return gain military support from China. A strengthened Pakistan can force India to take a defensive stance in the event of a war with China over territorial claims, because if Pakistan is allied with China, India will be in a difficult seat with two enemies and thousands of miles of militarized border. According to an article in Reuters electronic edition in January 2012, China was an important supplier of technology and equipment to Pakistan. In the 1980s and 1990s, China provided Pakistan with knowledge so that Pakistan could develop nuclear weapons, and the Chinese also provided the Pakistanis with short-range ballistic missiles in 1992. The Chinese also built a facility to produce this type of weapon near the town of Rawalpindi. In 2004, the Chinese helped Pakistan build two nuclear reactors in the Punjab province, and more recently, China has planned to build two more reactors at the same construction site.

Neither the Indian nor the Pakistani side have attempted to resolve the issue politically. Instead, India has in April 2012 developed and launched its first long-range ballistic nuclear weaponry that can reach targets at a distance of 5,000 km including targets anywhere in Chinese territory. This makes India a member of a very selective club of countries which owns intercontinental ballistic missiles, along with the US, Russia, China, UK and France.

China builds or invests in, from East to West, the port of Tanjung Priok in Jakarta Indonesia, and Port Klang, Penang and Tanjung Pelepas in the Malacca Strait in Malaysia. These are at present date not military Naval ports.

Sources; Raimundo Oliveira, Social and Political Scientist, and SR; Ekot on April 20, 2015. Modified by the author.

 

Homework:

Why do you think China would need a Naval base in Djibouti for? Please explain your thoughts.

https://anchor.fm/roger-mikael-klang

Roger M. Klang, defense political Spokesman for the Christian Values Party (Kristna Värdepartiet) in Sweden

5) China: Options. Lesson thirtyseven

What, then, does the future have in its womb? China is the world’s second largest economy. China, which is a hybrid system, partly communist and partly super-capitalist, has now replaced the United States as Asia’s largest trading partner. CIA WORLD FACTBOOK 2018-2019 estimated that China’s defense budget in 2016 was 1.9 percent of GDP. But China does not publish open documents describing the country’s military doctrine or strategy. However, China is said to not make any major secret of which new systems and platforms are produced. I can imagine that China will continue its economic growth, develop its prosperity and raise the standard of living for more and more Chinese citizens. We can then end up in a situation where;

A) The western powers and China will end up in a conflict and with armed forces will fight for trade routes and commodity assets and the oil from the Arab world and Africa. In that case, colonialism will increase in one way or another and the Arab world and Africa will lose. At present time, this scenario is unlikely as long as China is dependent on shipping of oil and agricultural products through the Malacca Strait, which is one of China’s weak spots, for its raw material-consuming industry and its vehicles and food for its demanding population. China hardly controls its own backyard, the South China Sea. China’s military fleet cannot match US Navy before the next 20-30 years. China has only got one or two aircraft carriers, but they have a strong but largely outdated submarine weapon including 7 nuclear-weapon submarines (2012).

B) The western powers will do everything to sugar the financial bids for Africa’s raw materials, and do everything to convince them that they should let our side make investments in different countries and that they should sell the products to our side. China will do the same. In this scenario, the third world will gain greater influence. Depending on how the scenario develops, it may be to our advantage alt. to our disadvantage that China has invested in agricultural production in Africa.

C) The western powers and China eventually end up in a cold war with reasonably civilized competitive conditions where Africa and the Arab world does not get too much influence.

 

Choose which alternative you prefer and then act accordingly. There is nothing that excludes B from following on C following on A, or any other combination of these three options. I am not mixing Russia into the compote so it won’t be so complicated, but it is probable that China and Russia will enter into a deeper unholy alliance, because it was like that already. China has electronic technology and Russia has commodity resources and natural resources, it is the perfect “reasoning marriage” to use General Major Karlis Neretnieks words. Fortunately, western and Chinese immorality are on different levels, so that the Chinese do business with morally corrupt countries in Africa while the West condemns it, if we can. At the same time, western powers are doing business with morally corrupt Arab countries and also arming these countries to the teeth in the process. But what options for war are then available to China if alternative A becomes dominant? There are two options that I see, and both require a strong Chinese fleet and control over the South China Sea;

1. China builds or invests in, from east to west, the port of Tanjung Priok in Jakarta Indonesia, and Port Klang, Penang and Tanjung Pelepas in the Malacca Strait in Malaysia. The sea route then goes on to the Indian Ocean to Hambantota on the island of Sri Lanka off India’s south coast. In Hambantota there is a port which China has bought. China needs, in order to be able to threaten the western world, to control the well-trafficked Malacca Strait between the island state of Sumatra northwest Australia and the peninsula Malaysia, where 40 percent of world trade, and 80 percent of China’s oil imports go through. But also 100 percent of Japan’s and 90 percent of South Korea’s oil imports go through the Malacca Strait. China can if they control the mentioned seas and straits, and have bases in Gwadar, colonize selected African countries and exert harmful influence on its east Asian neighbors, on African commodity nations, on the Middle East and Europe and the US. If necessary, they can attack European interests via the Djibouti strait between the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea at the Horn of Africa and further through the Suez Canal, but they must then be able to dispose of Djibouti with the exclusive right among the Great Powers. In short, the Malacca Strait is the key to world domination and it is the United States that still has the upper hand. Commodities worth 1 billion dollars passes the Strait of Hormuz at the Persian Gulf every day. 85 percent of that oil goes to Asia, 8 percent goes to Europe and 7 percent goes to the US and others. It is because of the strategic Malacca Strait, the Sunda Strait and the Lombok Strait that the United States has an expeditionary troop of 1,250 Marine soldiers in the small town of Darwin in the Northern Territory of Australia. The United States has long had a Marine Corps in Darwin, which was supposed to be greatly strengthened according to a decision by Obama. Probably if the Chinese attack Europe in an Attila style women conquer campaign, it is first initiated by cruise missile attacks from apparently civilian or military Naval ships against military targets and then follows a landing up through Greece-Bulgaria-Romania and on rails through Greece-Serbia-Hungary into Central Europe.

2. In this option, China still has to secure the Malacca Strait and keep Australia and New Zealand at bay alt. invading port cities, keeping their shipping routes to the Middle East and Africa open while keeping the Americans 3rd fleet in California, Washington and Hawaii and the smaller 7th fleet in Apra Harbor Guam and in Yokosuka Japan away from uploading in the Pacific sea. China surprise attacks and strikes the US expeditionary Marine Corps in Australia and the bulk of the US fleet in the Pacific Ocean, the US base in Djibouti at the Horn of Africa, the marine base of the small island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean and the 5:th fleet in the Persian Gulf, leaving the opportunities open to China to control selected parts of Africa and the Persian Gulf, while giving Europe an opportunity to stay out of the war by delimiting the Chinese influence plus the assets of the raw material countries in Africa, but above all leaving the oil countries in north Africa free so that they can sell or exchange oil for weapons with the Europeans. This scenario is less likely due to the US nuclear super power status.

 

China was demanding a 35-year lease with Greece for the port of Piraeus, if they were to help the Greeks by buying government bonds. The port has now been incorporated under Chinese trustee. The port of Piraeus is well protected in the Greek archipelago in very close proximity to the capital Athens. So you know what awaits you Greeks! The Chinese must control the strategically important western gateway to the Mediterranean. And perhaps they make a mark on Italy’s foot or at least take Sicily, Malta and knock out the fleet base in the Taranto Gulf on Italy’s boot hills in a first step and then disembark in the coastal areas of Slovenia, or disembark in Slovenia’s capital Trieste in the Gulf of Trieste in the northern Adriatic Sea east of Italy. All available ports will be used. Then follows a deployment up to Central Europe through Austria. They will certainly try to discourage the United States from intervening, and they may even be able to buy the United States by a delimitation of China’s own influence in the oil-producing countries of Africa. The Chinese must initially strike France’s and Britain’s strategic submarines already in port if possible. The Chinese also need to bridge the logistically gigantic distances if they want to control the western gateway to the Mediterranean. They are trying to solve this problem through recent investments in Spain and Portugal (2017). It is possible to achieve, but the Chinese-controlled ports i.e. the logistics nodes then become opportune targets. Therefore, the whole scenario is a gamble. Thus, we can expect a Chinese surprise attack and deployment of anti-ship missile systems and air defense systems on the British base in Gibraltar to take control of the Gibraltar strait.

China will not attack Europe by road with green forces on any route in the next decade. India and Pakistan stand in the way of the Chinese, so they cannot with an army forcefully access Europe on the south land route. But in order to afford to attack Europe by land, China first needs normal trade relations with India and Pakistan. Therefore, the Chinese are planning new routes to link Beijing with Pakistan and India via Kazakhstan to the north. The Kremlin is either trying to counter this or not.

The ideal way for the Chinese to deploy directly to Europe is via Kazakhstan-Uzbekistan-Turkmenistan and then Iran and Turkey. Should they take the possible route north through Kazakhstan and Russia or west of the Caspian Sea via Iran, then Russia must allow the Chinese to pass by either Volgograd, or directly through the oil installations in the Caucasus in a situation where the oil in the Caucasus will be cut off by the Chinese. If the Chinese circumvent Russia, then they must finally cross a narrow strait called the Bosphorus in Istanbul Turkey before reaching Europe, which is far from ideal whether it is intended to be via the three bridges or via ferries or both bridges and ferries. The train tunnel requires control of the energy network, it is not that easy as just loading on combat vehicles on a train trailer. But China’s ability to invade parts of Europe in an Attila style women conquer campaign can shift to China’s favor if China controls the Malacca Strait and preferably the Balabac Strait, the Makassar Strait, the Mindoro Strait, the Lombok Strait and the Sunda Strait.

In particular, they already have access to the port of Hambantota in Sri Lanka off India’s southeast coast and has built military bases in Gwadar in Pakistan and they have a base in Djibouti on the Horn of Africa. China has built a railway from Djibouti to Addis Ababa in central Ethiopia. The railway line may have, or is of logistical advantage.

A brand new railway will be built between Budapest in Hungary and Belgrade in Serbia, which connects to an already existing railroad between Belgrade and the port city of Piraeus near Athens in Greece, a port which the Chinese already run under their own control. However, the Chinese must invade Gibraltar in a surprise attack first, and deploy air defense systems and anti-ship missiles there, before they can attempt an invasion of Europe’s inland from the Mediterranean, which would be fairly easy given that the British normally lack qualified and relevant military systems in Gibraltar. An attack in advance on Gibraltar becomes the trigger that reveals that a major war has started. Therefore, one should be vigilant when Chinese aircraft carriers and other warships visit mainly Spanish and Portuguese ports, especially in combination with supposedly civilian Chinese ships.

The train tunnel under the strait of Bosphorus I do not believe much in initially in an invasion scenario. The Chinese do not know anything about the capacity of bridges or ferries yet. The whole endeavor would be a blind operation with a gigantic and long logistics chain that would be very vulnerable. But if they succeed in establishing the new Chinese silk road project “Silk Road Economic Belt” in the future, then maybe they can succeed with an invasion scenario by land.

 

Homework:

How do you figure the Turks will react when they learn about this coming Chinese venture? Will they go along with it in order not to pay the ultimate price in women losses and losses of Turkish lives?

Surely the Iranians would let the Chinese transit through their country?

Do the Chinese first have to make the country of Afghanistan their private brothel as once the Mongols did before them in history, in order for the Chinese to gain possession of a build up area and a grain storehouse before they embark on the further invasion of Europe?

Please motivate your opinion.

Roger M. Klang, defense political spokesman for the Christian Values Party (Kristna Värdepartiet) in Sweden

4) China: Rare Earth Elements. Lesson thirtysix

Although China extracts 98 percent of the world’s rare earth elements, like Neodymium, which in small amounts together with some Boratoms to keep everything in place are used to “dope” magnetic iron so that they become stronger (Neodymium magnets) and other elements that have recently been used in high-tech contexts, it’s difficult for them to use the ore as an economic weapon.

There are also much China is dependent on which comes from the surrounding world, like agricultural products and fuel oil, as well as copper and other metals. China alone stands for 2/5 of the worlds consumption of coal, aluminum, zinc and copper. Therefore, the Chinese are doing mining and oil business with countries that Europe and America consider too dubious to do business with, African countries with a horribly low level on human rights, that China benefits from. China is a relatively resonable trading partner for western countries. As of 2015, the only mining company of its kind in the United States – Molycorp – which used to capitalize rare earth elements, filed for bankruptcy due to unfavorable Chinese competition.

The problem is that REE (rare earth elements) is so difficult to extract from the soil. In May 2012, Japanese researchers discovered an estimated 6.8 million tonnes of rare earth metals near the island of Minami-Tori-Shima, which can supply Japan’s current industrial consumption for over 200 years.

Another recently developed source of rare earths is discarded electronics and other scrap that have components of REE. Progress in recycling of electronics has made the extraction of REE from junk possible and recycling stations have recovered hundreds of thousand tonnes of REE from electronic junk. In France, two factories have been built that will recycle 200 tonnes of REE per year from end-of-life fluorescent lamps, magnets and batteries.

China has no real market advantage despite their introducing of restrictive export quotas from 2010 and also their stopping of production, and despite their extraction of REE in China linked to the Chinese state. In March 2012, the United States, the EU and Japan confronted China in the WTO. China claimed that the export quotas were maintained for the sake of the environment. (Well, sometime would be the first.) Chinese export restrictions failed in 2012 since prices on REE fell in response to the opening of other production sites. [In January 2015, China lifted all export quotas of REE, but export licenses will still be required. It is unclear if they thought they were the only ones who had raw materials in sufficient quantities, but the Chinese had misjudged the power of the free market and for the moment being they have already used up their advantage.

In 2013, Rand Corporation published a report that stated that the US economy is “critically dependent” on 14 different raw materials produced in countries with weak regimes and that China has a market-controlling position on 11 of these raw materials. China has introduced production monitoring, export restraints, closing of mines and restructuring of production within China’s own borders. In the same year, the United States’ Energy Department announced that they had created a new institute with an annual budget of $ 120 million called the Critical Materials Institute. The aim is to avoid the consequences of scarcity of raw materials, which threaten to put obstacles in the way of transition to alternative energy forms. Five so-called rare earth metals (neodymium, europium, terbium, dysprosium and yttrium) are listed on the institute’s website as such critical raw materials. Two non REE raw materials are also included in this category. Calculations showed that there would be an imbalance of about thirty percent between supply and demand already in 2016. This primarily affects electricity production by wind and solar power. A major problem is that there is no acceptable alternative to oil for propulsion of vehicles and aircraft. There is no other substance with that much energy content per transported unit than oil products and which does not cost astronomical sums to produce with now known technology. Without transport, we would return to the stoneage. Every country needs to look out for its supply of crude oil to meet both civil society’s need for fuel in peacetime and sustain its military in the event of conflict. Source: KKrVA, Ingolf Kiesow

Source; KKrVA, Ingolf Kiesow

 

Homework:

Will REE become a big issue in the future you think? Short term or long term?

Roger M. Klang, defense political Spokesman for the Christian Values Party (Kristna Värdepartiet) in Sweden

1) China: Nine Dash Line. Lesson thirtythree

There is a slim possibility for the Americans, but still a possibility, to fuel conflicts on several fronts so that they would not have to face China alone. Here’s what the CIA’s former public site LIGNET expressed on July 17, 2013:

Why the Indian Ocean Could Be the Next Theater of War
While China has loudly trumpeted its new aircraft carrier and its developing “blue water” navy, India has quietly embarked on its own naval modernization program, with a new aircraft carrier on order from Russia and a new nuclear submarine now undergoing sea trials. Both China and India have their eyes on the Indian Ocean and on guarding the oil tankers that traverse it. The recent advances in the navies of both nations set up the potential for a clash there.

And here’s what the CIA expressed on LIGNET september 24, 2013:

China, Russia Compete for Influence Over Central Asia
China and Russia are engaged in an intense rivalry for hegemonic control over Central Asia, a rivalry that could jeopardize the close friendship that has developed between them over the past two decades. What will China’s unquenchable thirst for energy and Russia’s desire to revive the glory of its former empire mean for the future of the region?

The United States has no desire that the Spratly Islands and the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea should explode in their face. Some of the Spratly Islands are controlled by Vietnam, others by the Philippines and some islands by Taiwan and some by China. The islands are hard to reach but the surroundings are believed to contain raw material resources. Due to the seemingly unresolvable disputes, there have been no serious explorations of deposits in the areas, so the estimation of commodity resources is largely extrapolated from mineral deposits in neighboring areas.

China has built a runway, 10 flight minutes in mach 1 (approximate speed for sound waves or 1,224 km/h) from the Philippine Islands, on one of the Spratly Islands called Mischief Island 200 nautical miles (370 km or 230 miles) from the Philippines. Conflicts (i.e., Chinese hijacking) regarding the ownership of the islands are undesirable. China claims virtually the whole of the South China Sea and commits violations of other countries’ legal rights to an economic zone under the UNCLOS Convention on the Law of the Sea. China calls their self-imposed demarcation lines for the nine-dash line.

On the largest island, known as Woody Island in the States, in the disputed Paracel archipelago south of China, it is believed that China has deployed surface-to-air missiles. In 2012, China established a military garrison as well as the city of Sansha on the island to administer the entire South China Sea. In 2015, China temporarily deployed fighter jets on Woody Island. Many countries claim ownership of several of the Paracel Islands in the archipelago, countries such as Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei. Woody Island is located about 300 km (186 miles) southeast of the giant island of Hainan in southern China.

China wants to conduct bilateral negotiations, but many of China’s neighboring countries argue that China’s strength and size are giving the country an unfair advantage. ASEAN (Association of SouthEast Asean Nations) cannot even resolve the dispute. The US says they do not choose side in territorial disputes, but they have frequently sent military ships and flights near the disputed islands and they call it “Freedom of navigation” operations. In addition to these islands, there are dozens of rocky reefs, atolls and sandbanks, such as Scarborough shoal, mostly uninhabited. These data were current in July 2016.

Already President Obama declared in his State of the Union speech on February 12, 2013, that he (America) intended to pursue a Pacific Trade Agreement. With these few words in an one-hour speach he declared his intentions:

”To boost American exports. Support American jobs. And level the plane-field in the growing markets of Asia. We intend to complete negotiations on a transpacific partnership. And tonight I’m announcing that we will launch talks on a comprehensive transatlantic trade and investment partnership with the European Union. Because trade that is fair and free across the Atlantic, supports millions of good paying American jobs.”

What did he mean by “And level the plane-field in the growing markets of Asia”? It can only be interpreted in one way; an Obamish economic War declaration against China, by financially binding other east Asian countries to the United States, North Korea excluded. It should have been a piece of cake but Trump is less skillful and kid-gloved than most people.

Was it China that started the contentions? In 2012, China initiated formal talks in an economic union with a number of countries in east Asia and other places, including Australia, New Zealand, India, Japan and South Korea. The rounds of negotiations have succeeded each other and are known as RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership). The discussions have been going on for a long time, but God knows if they have reached an agreement as late as in November, 2018.

 

Homework:

What do You think Obama meant by “And level the plane-field in the growing markets of Asia”? Was it an unfriendly perhaps even hostile sentence?

And if it was hostile, was it a legitimate sentence? Please motivate your conclusions! Before answering the question, I want you to make an effort to justify your conclusions by searching for background material about the conflict so that you get training in fact finding and screening of information. Don’t come back to me with a foggy response, because you are biased and think this and that, only trying to prove what you already presuppose.

Fact searching means being able to walk a few miles in your opponent’s moccasins, i.e. you need to search for information and screen information not only on the home team’s site but on all possible sites. It is not the same as being unbiased because nobody really is, but If you always assume that your home team is right and that you therefore do not need to listen to the other side, you might as well skip doing this homework altogether. Be generally critical when seeking out information.

Every time you get suspicious, keep the thought in the back of your head until you can confirm it or until it has been falsified, even if it will take years of fact searching and contemplating. Your level of perseverance determines if you will become a good intelligence person or not.

Roger M. Klang, defense political Spokesman for the Christian Values Party (Kristna Värdepartiet) in Sweden