Posts tagged ‘South China Sea’

FRIDAY FOTO (June 25, 2021)

Peaceful Scene on a Sea of Troubles.

(U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Rawad Madanat)

The U.S. Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) transits the South China Sea on June 15, 2021 with the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Halsey (DDG 97) and the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG 67).

Reagan, part of Task Force 70/Carrier Strike Group 5, conducting maritime security operations, flight operations, maritime strike exercises, and coordinated tactical training between surface and air units while in the South China Sea, according to the Navy.

The South China Sea has become one of many flashpoints in the testy relationship between China and the United States, according to al Jazeera, with Washington rejecting what it calls unlawful territorial claims by Beijing in the resource-rich waters, which are also claimed by Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia.

In a show of force against the Chinese claims, U.S. warships have passed through the South China Sea with increasing frequency in recent years, invoking freedom of navigation rights.

June 25, 2021 at 12:36 am Leave a comment

ASIA-PACIFIC: First Contingent of U.S. Marines Lands in Australia

Destination: Darwin

U.S. Marines have begun arriving in Australia in the first six-month rotation as part of a cooperation agreement between the two countries. But the pact has raised concerns with China and at least one other country in the region.

About 200 members of Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment arrived Tuesday (April 3) in the northern city of Darwin. They are the first contingent of 2,500 Marines expected to be deployed in Australia by 2017. It’s all part of an agreement signed by President Barack Obama and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard when Obama was Down Under in November, the New York Times reported.  At that time, Beijing criticized the move as a figment of “Cold War mentality” that would destabilize the region.

U.S. Marines on parade with the 5th Battalion (Mechanised) Royal Australian Regiment during welcome ceremony at Robertson Barracks, Darwin. (Australian Defence Force photo by CPL Christopher Dickson)

The Marines will be there largely to train with the Australian Defence Force – particularly in amphibious warfare operations, which the Marines see as one of their primary skills – and a primary reason for continued funding in hard budgetary times. The Third Marines are based in Hawaii.

The agreement between the U.S. and Australia also calls for greater access to Royal Australian Air Force bases for U.S. aircraft and eventually more visits by U.S. Navy vessels to the western Australian naval base outside Perth. The Marines, who will be stationed at Robertson Barracks outside Darwin, will also be better positioned to respond to natural disasters in Southeast Asia and provide humanitarian assistance, U.S. officials told the Voice of America. There will be no U.S. base in Australia, officials said.

Australia has been a close U.S. ally since World War II. Australia sent troops to the Korean and Vietnam wars and Australia has been one of the largest non-NATO contributors of military personnel in Afghanistan. Last year, for the fourth time, the U.S. and Australian militaries conducted a biennial training exercise, Talisman Sabre in northern Australia and adjoining waters. Fourteen thousand U.S. and 9,000 Australian troops participated in the exercise last July.

Amphibious Assault Vehicles with 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, on Freshwater Beach during a mock amphibious assault rehearsal for Exercise Talisman Sabre 2011 with Australian Defence Forces. (U.S. Marine Corps photo)

Under the November agreement, the U.S. troops will be rotated in an out of Australia but not permanently based there. The deployment is part of the Obama administration’s strategy shift focusing on the Asia Pacific region after more than 10 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan. The U.S. has also reached an agreement with the island nation of Singapore to base two of the Navy’s new Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) there. Singapore has been a key player in the efforts to halt piracy in the area near the Malacca Strait, a major maritime choke point through which much of the world’s oil is shipped. Australia is also negotiating with Washington about allowing U.S. unmanned aircraft to fly surveillance missions out of the Cocos Islands, an Australian territory in the Indian Ocean about 1,700 miles/2,750 kilometers from Perth.

The Philippines is also in negotiations with the U.S. to allow a large U.S. troop presence in the former American colony, which evicted U.S. forces from a large air base and naval station there in the 1990s. Filipino law bars U.S. troops from fighting on Philippines oil although there are U.S. military advisers providing medical, veterinary and educational assistance as well as instruction in counter insurgency tactics. But like many of its neighbors, the Philippines has had territorial – and sometimes physical – confrontations with the China, which claims sovereignty over all of the South China Sea.

Australia from CIA World Factbook

In addition to alarming China, the Marine deployment and the other military moves in Asia raised concerns in Indonesia, according the Australian Boadcasting Corp.

April 5, 2012 at 9:08 pm 2 comments

FRIDAY FOTO (Oct. 15, 2010)

Oh Ho!


Defense Secretary Robert Gates (left side) at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Defense Minister's Meeting. (Defense Dept. photo by Master Sgt. Jerry Morrison)


How ironic is this: Former Cold Warrior Robert Gates, the U.S. defense secretary, meeting with his Asian counterparts beneath a gilded bust of communist North Vietnam’s founding father, Ho Chi Minh, at Hanoi’s Presidential Palace?

At 4GWR, we think this is one of the most remarkable images in U.S.-Vietnamese relations since Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) — on a goodwill mission to Vietnam — visited a war museum in the old Hanoi Hilton where he was held as a prisoner of war.

Gates was in Hanoi for the first-ever meeting of defense ministers from the 10-member Association of of Southwest Asian Nations (ASEAN) and their counterparts from eight other nations with a stake in the Asia-Pacific area.

During his visit, Gates also held bilateral meetings with officials from Vietnam, Japan, Australia, the Philippines and China. At the meeting with Chinese Defense Minister Gen. Liang Guanglie, Gates accepted an invitation to visit Beijing next year.

Angered by the U.S. sale of military equipment to Taiwan, China dis-invited Gates to a scheduled vist earlier this year, and called a halt to all military-to-military ties with the U.S. China sees Taiwan as a breakaway province, while the U.S. has tried to discourage Beijing from mounting an invasion of the island by selling Taiwan advanced weaponry.

In addition to the 10 ASEAN member nations – Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam – defense ministers from Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Russia and the U.S. attended the meeting known as ADMM-Plus (for ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting Plus).

During the meeting, Gates called for a peaceful resolution of territorial disputes, mostly in the South China Sea. Hina has locked horns about ownership and fishing rights with Vietnam over the Paracel Islands, with Japan over the Diayou Islands (or Senaku Islands in Japanese) and with Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan over the Spratlys Islands, which are believed to have large deposits of oil and natural gas beneath them.

For a slide shows of the Hanoi meeting, including Gates’ review of goose-stepping Vietnamese troops, click here.

October 15, 2010 at 12:43 pm Leave a comment


March 2023


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