What makes just 16 missiles such a deadly threat in the South China Sea

Reuters – James Holmes writes that “In a move that should surprise precisely no one, China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has positioned surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) on one of its South China Sea islands — namely Woody Island, home to Sansha, the administrative capital for the islands, atolls, and other geographic features Beijing claims in the Paracels and Spratlys. For Beijing this move makes eminent sense on many levels: it constitutes yet another reply to American and Southeast Asian challenges to its claims of “indisputable sovereignty” over most of the South China Sea.”

Beijing plans S. China Sea buildup after US warship makes second pass near island

Asia Times – China toned down vitriolic rhetoric in response to the recent passage of a US warship near a disputed island in the South China Sea…But the restraint may come with a cost: China is now showing signs that the two warship visits are likely to speed up plans to militarize the South China Sea islands.

Powers Jockey for Pacific Island Chain Influence

Defense News – The extensive chains of Pacific islands ringing China have been described as a wall, a barrier to be breached by an attacker or strengthened by a defender. They are seen as springboards, potential bases for operations to attack or invade others in the region. In a territorial sense, they are benchmarks marking the extent of a country’s influence.

This Is China’s Master Plan to Destroy the U.S. Navy in Battle

National Interest – When Chinese officers go to bed at night, what do they fear most? Despite all the hard work, all the billions of dollars spent, no Chinese sailor wants to tangle with the U.S. Navy. As one retired Chinese senior defense official told me in late 2014: “The 3 A.M. crisis ‘call’ I feared the most is that we were at war with your navy.”

Can China Copy the U.S. Marine Corps?

National Interest – Much has been reported about the recent structural reforms undertaken by China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA)—the end goal being a leaner and meaner military force, capable of undertaking a broad spectrum of missions under modern, high-tech conditions. Part of this drive towards a “new-age” PLA has been efforts to modernize the PLA Marine Corps (PLAMC).

China on ‘High Alert’ to Prevent Japan from Entering South China Sea Disputes

USNI News – Chinese officials claim to be on “ high alert against Japan’s attempt to poke its nose in the issue of the South China Sea,” following an interview published Sunday in which Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for the international community to “raise its voice” against Chinese encroachment.

Access vs. anti-access: China, US posture in anti-ship missile face off

Asia Times – The People’s Liberation Army last month disclosed new details about its new intermediate-range anti-ship ballistic missile known as the DF-26. The missile can be armed with nuclear or conventional warheads and supplements the shorter range DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile that along with the DF-26 are elements of a military strategy of building arms designed to force the US military to operate further away from Chinese shores.

Flying close to Beijing’s new South China Sea islands

BBC – Last year the BBC’s Rupert Wingfield-Hayes travelled across the South China Sea in a fishing boat and became the first journalist to observe close-up how China is constructing new islands on coral reefs. A few days ago he returned to the area in a small aircraft – provoking a furious and threatening response from the Chinese Navy.

China may pay ‘international price’ in South China Sea legal case, experts say

Reuters – When an international court ruled in late October that it had jurisdiction to hear a case filed by the Philippines against China over the disputed South China Sea, Beijing dismissed the decision, saying it would “lead to nothing”…Legal experts say Manila has a significant chance of success, citing the court’s detailed rejection of China’s arguments in the hearing on jurisdiction.

Pentagon confirms patrols of Chinese nuclear missile submarines

Washington Times – China has begun patrols with nuclear missile submarines for the first time, giving Beijing a new strategic nuclear strike capability, according to the U.S. Strategic Command and Defense Intelligence Agency. U.S. intelligence and strategic nuclear officials, however, remain uncertain whether China’s four Jin-class missile submarine patrols are being carried out with nuclear-tipped JL-2 missiles on board.