February 2, 2017

Duterte invites China to patrol southern Philippine seas shared with Malaysia & Indonesia


Over the last 24 hours Philippine President Duterte has exceeded even Trump's best brainstorms by inviting Chinese ships to patrol the Philippines southern shared seas against pirate, Islamist and separatist activities. Major problems with Duterte's invitation include:

-  Chinese patrols would also be close to, or in, Malaysian and Indonesian claimed waters in the still 
   unnegotiated Tri-border area (see map below).

-  Undersea oil exists nearby, especially in the Malaysia versus Indonesia disputed Ambalat parcel.

-  Duterte's invitation to China may therefore increase regional (territorial and oil claim) tensions
   between the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia and with China. 

-  any Chinese ships patrolling would act as a potential wedge-threat against Australian shipping
   trade and strategic connections with southeast and northeast Asia (including US and Japanese

-  even though only Chinese Coast Guard vessels might do the patrolling. The long range "Coast 
   Guard" ships are armed and weigh up to 12,000 tons like destroyer-cruisers (see photo below).

-  Where the Chinese Coast Guard goes the Chinese Navy (PLAN) may back it up and follow it. 

-  Chinese Coast Guard patrol aircraft and helicopters, may be next. They would need bases in the
   southern Philippines.

-  Duterte's invitation comes at a bad time of rapidly decreasing US international and Asia-Pacific
   regional popularity, triggered by Trump's statements and notorious Tweets.

Dutertes February 2017 suggestion basically invites China to patrol seas in the still unnegotiated "Tri-border area". This includes seas the Philippines shares with Malaysia (Sulu Sea) and with Indonesia (Celebes Sea) (Map above courtesy Stratfor). 


Here is a small part of Kinling Lo of the South China Morning Post's, February 1, 2017, article: 

“China ‘likely to agree to Duterte’s request for anti-piracy patrols”

...China is likely to agree to Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s request to sending sea patrols to help stop growing crime by Islamist militants along the southern coast of the Philippines.
Duterte said earlier in a speech to newly promoted Filipino generals that he had asked China to “patrol the international waters without necessarily intruding into the territorial waters of countries” in the southern waters of the island country in response to abducting sailors and attacking vessels in waters off the southern Philippines.

...Zhu Xin, associate professor at Beijing’s University of International Relations, believed China would again make a supportive gesture by agreeing to Duterte’s request.
“It is obvious that China feels positive about Duterte,” Zhu said. “Furthermore, China would probably consider the terrorist problem a regional one rather than only considering its relations with the Philippines.”

...Xu Liping, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, shared the view that it was “highly possible” that China would respond positively to the deal as it had already cooperated with other Asian countries like Malaysia to fight terrorism.

BACKGROUND - Chinese "Coast Guard" Ships

China is building and converting very large "coast guard" ships that are more tools of long range regional power projection. Participating in patrolling southern Philippine water soon may be Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) ship 2901. This is one of China's largest coast guard ship class, along with sister ship 3901, displacing 10,000-12,000 tons. Built in a Shanghai Jiangan Shipyard by China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC). For photo and comments see China Defense Blog more details in Popular Mechanics

China is also modifying modifies 2,000 ton Type 053 frigates into coast guard ships, including CCG 1002 and 1003Globasecurity lists several classes of CCG ships of different tonnages - all carrying the "Hai Jing" prefix which could be translated as "Chinese ship" . 



Anonymous said...

China commissioned in 2016 25 surface combatants, apparently this is the same level as the previous 2 years.
China is assembling 3 type 055 in parallel, 2 in Shanghai and 1 in Dalian. The 1st unit will be commissioned in 1Q17 and the 2nd in Q4. So far the type 055, although larger 12000 tons, is on a shorter production schedule than the smaller type 052D. Apparently Chinese engineers have revamped fully the manufacturing process between the 2 types.
At the same time, Qingdao naval base is being enlarged to accept a 2nd carrier.
Also they have pitched a 039 against a 636M in a real 1 versus 1 which was reported on TV.
While news reported the latest phone call between POTUS and Australia PM did not go down well. We shall see how it goes with PM Abe next week given the spat on currency manipulation.

Peter Coates said...


Thanks for the Chinese shipbuilding details. I'd be grateful for website details - as I could use them in a future "Chineses Shipbuilding" article.

On America's sweetheart Trump - seems Trump is incapable of a confiedential phone call with the leader of a close ally without resorting to Twitter https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/34323298/i-will-study-this-dumb-deal-trump-speaks-out-after-hanging-up-on-turnbull/#page1 . Lightweights use Twitter.

However I understand Trump is on better terms with Putin as "personal, cult of personality" nuclear weapon powers gotta stick together. Hear about Trump's latest real estate deal with Putin - Ukraine back to Putin next month!



Anonymous said...

I read the French blog East Pendulum. The author studied Chinese defences for years. He predicted correctly the firings of HQ9 in the Paracels and the recent ICBM MIRV (which turned out to be the DF5c) prior to them happening. I was surprised to learn from his blog Chinese exercises are much more complex as they also run "Agressor" type of exercises. China is also moving towards more flexible Western doctrine rather than the old rigid ex Soviet.

Anonymous said...

It appears China will be launching a newt type or SSN and SSBN given the construction of a new yard dedicated for them which will be finished by late 2017. Those new subs will use a new reactor that allows cooling via natural convection of liquid cooling (no pumps), hybrid single/double hulls. At the same type, the latest SSN type 9-III has at least 3 VLS launchers in a side by side configuration for the Klub-like YJ-18, thus that hump after of the conning tower. The type 9-III also shows smoothing of the outer hull similar to the latest SSK variant 039C. Apparently they are also building 3 new SSK of a new variant 039D. No wonder USN oceanographic vessels have been active since mid 2016 outside of the Chinese sub bases, probably expecting to catch those new SSN or SSK?

G Klerk said...

Rodrigo Duterte knows what he is doing. Strengthening his power with geopolitical friends. Were the USA had so now and then critique on The Philipines leader, China will support him in every way. In fact Duterte will becomes China's pet-dictator, like Bashas Assad is Putins'. And Donald Trump doesn't has a clue how geopolitical chess will be played. Diplomacy, it's an art.

Peter Coates said...

Thanks KQN [at 3/2/17 7:08 AM]

I've located East Pendulum (EP), a professional looking website, at http://www.eastpendulum.com/ EP seems to have deep analytical experience like IHS Janes.

The fine description at EP of the 10 x MIRV DF-5C is at http://www.eastpendulum.com/df-5c-licbm-chinois-avec-10-mirvs . Also Free Beacon has broader description at http://freebeacon.com/national-security/china-tests-missile-10-warheads/



Peter Coates said...

Hi KQN [at 3/2/17 9:10 AM]

Thanks for the East Pendulum and other sources info on new generations Chinese SSN and SSBN developments. I'll need to look at further sources before turning the following into an article:

[Pete Comment from http://www.eastpendulum.com/nouveaux-sous-marins-nucleaires-en-preparation ] Records China launching a new type of SSN (likely "Type 095" or "Type 09V" (expected commissioning in 2025?) and/or SSBN "Type 096" or Type 09VI" [1] several years after the new assembly shed(s) are finished late 2017 at the Bohai Shipyard (BSIC) (China's only nuclear submarine builder).
[1] China's use of of Roman numeral (eg "VI") adds an additional level of confusion, which has security benefits for China.

Thanks KQN for "Those new subs will use a new reactor that allows cooling via natural convection of liquid cooling (no pumps), hybrid single/double hulls. At the same type, the latest SSN type 9-III has at least 3 VLS launchers in a side by side configuration for the Klub-like YJ-18, thus that hump after of the conning tower. The type 9-III also shows smoothing of the outer hull similar to the latest SSK variant 039C."

[Pete Comment] Certainly EP describes several Type 039Cs being built at Wuhan http://www.eastpendulum.com/type-039c-nouvelle-classe-sous-marin-anaerobie . The 093C with horizontal planes on the fin, X plane tail and likely Stirling AIP looks increasingly like a Japanese Soryu. I wonder if this is the product of designers at KHI or MHI speaking too openly to Ethnic Japanese agents for China?

Thanks KQN for "Apparently they are also building 3 new SSK of a new variant 039D. No wonder USN oceanographic vessels have been active since mid 2016 outside of the Chinese sub bases, probably expecting to catch those new SSN or SSK?"



Peter Coates said...

Hi G Klerk

Duterte is certainly playing/benefitting from the rivalries between US, Russia, China and Japan. The 4 powers seems to be lining up to give the most military and non-military aid to the Philippines - hence "aid auction".

I don't think Duterte will become China's pet or puppet in the next 5 years because he is also manipulating US, Russia and Japan.

Still Duterte should watch his back concerning what Trump does/orders as Trump is too much like Duterte. Both are unprdictable, bullying, almost-mafia types. Both, so far, rate subtle diplomacy as low priorities compared to raw power and plain vindictive words.



Anonymous said...

POTUS definition of alliance sums to dollar signs so I have doubts that Duterte's play off strategy will work. Plus it is a rare case that 2 authoritarian leaders will like each other since a strongman tends to see all others as vassals. Case in point is the latest border spat between Russia and Belarus, besides Ukraine. If I am Lithuanian and Estonian, I will be very worried given Kaliningrad nearby and you could easily get 1 division of paratroopers dropped on you without much notice.

I agree that China intelligence must be working overtime on Japan. That said, I will also give credits to the 4 decade long investments into advanced engineering and sciences that China has made. Since the early 1980s. Chinese graduate and doctoral students dwarf American counterparts at all the US top engineering schools like MIT, Caltech,, Stanford, Berkeley, etc. That investment is paying off. Take supercomputers where China entered only in 2004 and by 2013, China dominates over the US. In 2016, China fastest is 5X faster than the American best while consuming less power per petaflops. Worst, that design no longer uses Intel Xeon but China's own CPU and accelerator (the Intel ad is now obsolete). In 2016, there are now more Chinese supercomputers than American ones. So in lithography and ASIC design, China is getting up there. You use supercomputers to run for example CFD on a hypersonic vehicle. At International conferences, it is very clear China works are impressive to say the least. And their hypersonic test bed had better success rate than the US so far.

Peter Coates said...


True that Donald "Grab-her" may reduce all to "whats in it $$$ for me and da Trump Cosa Nostra".

On "2 authoritarian leaders will like each" - already it seems Trump likes Putin. Of course small fry leaders may engineer handouts but not expect to be "liked" as equals. eg. small Australia loyally labours for handouts of strategic protection.

Historical precedent involving an authoritarian leader "liking" a Russian leader is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molotov%E2%80%93Ribbentrop_Pact if only temporarily.

A stream of Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian refugees fleeing a Trump endorsed Russian advance is not beyond the limits of possibility.

Yes the Chinese use all open and covert sources and skills (pure and applied science) with a great deal of patience to make complex military and dual-use devices.

A worry is the ability of ever faster Chinese supercomputers to conduct ocean research simulations for ASW. This may impact foreign sub ops in the South China Sea. Looks like China has the two top spots for "non-distributed" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TOP500#Top_10_ranking .