July 5, 2016

Near Miss Japanese-Chinese Encounters in East "China" Sea


A promising candidate for the beginning of World War III is the East China Sea and within that the disputed sea. land and airspace involving the uninhabited Senkaku Islands:

-  so "Senkaku Islands" is the Japanese name. Japan regards the islands as a part of the city
   of Ishigaki in Okinawa Prefecture
-  "Diaoyu Islands" is the Mainland China/PRC name, and
-  Tiaoyutai (Taiwan/Republic of China name)

Unusually, unhelpfully (and maybe tellingly) both China and Taiwan agree that these Islands are part of Toucheng TownshipYilan County, Taiwan.

Claims/Interests rest on:

1.  Traditional-legal claims of ownership going back centuriesJapan claims it legally annexed the 
     Islands from the then dysfunctional Chinese Empire in 1895 (Japan having won the "First" Sino-
     Japanese War). China claims that as Japan lost WWII, under the 1945 Potsdam Declaration Japan
     should return them to China. China, being in a Civil War up until 1949, could not impose its 
     Potsdam claim on these Islands during the more appropriate 1945-1949 period.

2.  More tangibly there are economic reasons (including fishing rights and future undersea oil/gas) for
     the dispute. 

3.  But probably the main issue is the geo-strategic value of the Islands. The issue is getting hotter
     because China is proving that it is skillful and determined in its militarised island building. Like
     some South China Sea islands the currently uninhabited Senkaku islands may become occupied
     and militarised in five years time if China had its way.

So as Submarine Matters frequently deals with non-submarine (but East Asian generalised strategic issues) S and Pete will describe in the next few days aerial confrontations between China and Japan. A side but major issue is, as Chinese air superiority fighters become more formidable and numerous,  the smaller number of current Japanese F-15s and future Japanese (F-35) Joint Strike Fighters will not be able to cope. Japan will need a F-15 replacement - a replacement probably like an export spec F-22. 

Pete

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

Japan did not annex the Senkaku Islands from Qing dynasty as a result of won in the Shino-Japanese War July/25/1894-Nov/30/1895). Japan had very carefully confirmed that the Senkaku Islands were not under the control of China at all, and has declared that the Senkaku Islands belonged to Japan on Jan/18/1895 before end of the Shino-Japanese War on Nov/30/1985.

Ministry of Foreign affairs of Japan expresses the official position on the Senkaku Islands in its home page (http://www.mofa.go.jp/region/asia-paci/senkaku/index.html)

CEP criticized that Japan was not so enthusiastic in the submarine tender. Japan has to be very nervous about the submarine technology transfer, especially in the current tense situation, resulting in possible hesitation or miss-judgement.

Regards
S

Peter Coates said...

Hi S

Australia should not be drawn into the escalating China/Taiwan versus Japan struggle over the Senkakus. That Australia did not buy the Japanese submarines in 2016 has helped keep Australia from being drawn into this unnecessary Chinese versus Japanese confrontation.

Basically China and Taiwan in the 1940s were too weakened by Civil War and by Japanese Occupation to make their claim to the Senkakus.

In contrast the South China Sea is more on the midline of both Japanese and Australian strategic interest. China's historical claims are far weaker over the South China Sea.

Regards

Pete

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

Relationship between Japan and Australia is based on concept of free bondage between free nations. This freedom does not mean limitless freedom, and it implicitly requires respect a certain duty as such rule of the law.

Japan has no right to enforce her idea to Australia, and vice versa. But, we should respect rule of the law and make a judgement from the view point of compliance with the laws. I think power politics should not be code of conduct of modern countries.

Regards
S

Anonymous said...

Japan should consider AEGIS Ashore to complement their AEGIS destroyers. AEGIS Ashore could be deployed to Myakojima and Ishigaki as well as on Okinawa. They could enhance it with SM-6 support. I would back up fighters with a solid sophisticated SAM and AWACS networks.
KQN

Anonymous said...

Besides stealth, Japan should also focus on electronic jammers as well as aerial decoys, both of which can effectively act as force multipliers to stealth.
KQN

Peter Coates said...

Hi KQN [at 6/7/16 4:00 AM]

From what I can glean from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japan_Self-Defense_Forces#Anti-ballistic_missile_deployment Japan seems to have networked much of its onship Aegis guidance via satellite to its late model onshore PAC-3 Patriot network.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japan_Self-Defense_Forces#Anti-ballistic_missile_deployment indicates:

"In 2003, the Japanese government decided to deploy two types of ABM system, air defense vehicles, sea-based Aegis and land-based PAC-3 ABM.

The four Kongō class Aegis destroyers of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force were modified to accommodate the ABM operational capability.[34] On December 17, 2007, JDS Kongō successfully shot down a mock ballistic missile by its SM-3 Block IA, off the coast of Hawaii.[35]

The first PAC-3 (upgraded version of the MIM-104 Patriot) shooting test by the Japan Air Self-Defense Force was carried out in New Mexico on September 17, 2008.[36] PAC-3 units are deployed in 6 bases near metropolises, including Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Sapporo, Misawa and Okinawa.

Japan participates in the co-research and development of four Aegis components with the US: the nose cone, the infrared seeker, the kinetic warhead, and the second-stage rocket motor.[37][38]"

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi KQN [at 6/7/16 7:59 AM]

S mentions Japanese F-15 carried flare and chaff decoys in tomorrow's Aerial Confrontation Over Senkakus article. The F-15s like all/most advanced fighters have standard and specialised add-on pod electronic jamming equipment.

More specialised jamming capability aircraft include: Japan's EF/RF-4EJs, E-767s, C-1s, NAMC YS-11s, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japan_Air_Self-Defense_Force#Equipment.

So these could be used to further obscure Japan's future F-35s from Chinese radar.

Cheers

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi S [at 5/7/16 9:40 PM]

Japan and Australia each have alliances with the US but not with each other. So any combined Japanese and Australian action (say over Chinese aggression in the SOUTH China Sea) would be voluntary.

I see international treaties as more based on codified politics than the larger country's (too often the US's) interpretation (and John Kerry is unconvincing and weak).

The "rule of the law" is open to different interpretations by different countries.

For example, China's "rights" under the (WWII P5 victors club) Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to have Nuclear weapons should not prevent Japan from also arming itself with nuclear weapons for defence.

Regards

Pete

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

Thanks. I was misunderstood that Japan-Australia Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation (http://www.mofa.go.jp/region/asia-paci/australia/joint0703.html) was military alliance treaty between Australia and Japan.

I cannot support nuclear armament of Japan.

Regards
S

Anonymous said...

Pete,
Australia did the right thing when it selected the Growler and ALQ-99 jammers. Most air forces do not put sufficient emphasis on distributed offensive electronic jammers. Both Australia and Japan should invest in the NG jammers.
By aerial decoys, I mean the MALD-J and its future variants.
KQN

Peter Coates said...

Hi S [6/7/16 7:45 PM]

The Japan-Australia Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation ( http://www.mofa.go.jp/region/asia-paci/australia/joint0703.html ) certainly goes unmentioned publically and politically in Australia. Also the wording seems to avoid action against China (only North Korea?). While Abbott may have been enthusiastic about a Military Alliance with Japan - he was out of step with broader Australian and ADF sentiment about most military matters.

Also see Australia security partnership with Indonesia
http://dfat.gov.au/geo/indonesia/pages/joint-declaration-on-comprehensive-partnership-between-australia-and-the-republic-of-indonesia.aspx . That certainly doesn't make us allies with Indonesia.

On nuclear preparedness I think Japan should continue its hedging strategy, ie. :
- maintaining its Epsilon peaceful delivery system capability
- maintain its expensive U and Pu reprocessing plant
- retain the long held device details and cold test data.

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi KQN [7/7/16 2:28 AM]

Yes Australia's Growlers are a good buy even if Australia's future F-35s are not really-really operational till 2021. A Growler-normal Super Hornet combo is useful against normal enemies (short of Russia and China).

Australia has so a long shopping list (especially naval) that Next Generation (NG) perhaps should be planned for but not bought or fitted - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Next_Generation_Jammer

As an outsider comment I think Japan needs to develop much more of its own military tech industry which is not reliant on US key technology. The Trump isolationist direction may regularly crop up - even if the actual Trump doesn't win this time around (Nov 2016).

Regards

Pete

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

The followings are for mutual understanding in future, and are not for criticism of past.

The fact “the Japan-Australia Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation is undisclosed in Australia is a bit surprising, but, I can understand difference in stance of the submarine tender between Australia and Japan.

Japan has only two alliances, i.e., US and Australia and she thinks that she should listen to requests by these countries even if they are somewhat unreasonable. Basically submarine technology is not for selling for Japan, but, she could not refuse the request by ALP government of the alliance. That is why PM Abe could persuade JMSDF. The submarine tender was a measure of alliance for Japan, but it was just business for Aussie who did not perceive Japan as an alliance.

So, Japanese officers were angry when CEP officer did not answer strategic meaning of submarine tender in Tokyo. They felt as if their faith in the alliance was abused.

Regards
S

Peter Coates said...

Hi S [at 7/7/16 7:43 PM]

I need to do more research on Australian public and media attitudes to the Japan-Australia Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation

Certainly our Foreign Minister in 2016 thought it important http://foreignminister.gov.au/speeches/Pages/2016/jb_sp_160216a.aspx?w=tb1CaGpkPX%2FlS0K%2Bg9ZKEg%3D%3D

"Since signing the Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation in 2007 there has been excellent progress in elevating our bilateral security and defence relationship...."

Regards

Pete