INTELDROP 19 March 2016 [Asia]

map_2_scarborough_shoal_slideshow

East Asia Correspondent – David McDonald

U.S. Sees New Chinese Activity Around South China Sea Shoal

17 March 2016

Reuters (WASHINGTON) — On 17 March U.S. Navy Admiral John Richardson stated that the U.S. has been observing Chinese activity at Scarborough Shoal, which it seized from the Philippines.  The U.S. is concerned that China would disregard an international court ruling on the land claims.  China is conducting survey activities around the shoal.  It is unknown whether these activities around the shoal are due to the pending adjudication.  Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-southchinasea-china-scarborough-exclu-idUSKCN0WK01B (Reliability: Moderate)

Philippine Officials Say China Blocked Access To Disputed South China Sea Atoll

2 March 2016

Reuters (MANILA) — Several Filipino fishing boats were unable to access waters around Quirino Atoll due to China’s demands for commercial vessels to leave the region.  China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei stated that the Chinese had coast guard vessels in the region because the Chinese Ministry of Transportation had to tow a grounded foreign vessel.  The Philippines Foreign Ministry did not see the same coast guard ships two weeks later.  It continues to monitor the region.  Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-southchinasea-china-philippines-idUSKCN0W402A (Reliability: Moderate)

Analysts Forecast Role Of China’s Future Carrier Force

3 March 2016

IHS Janes (ENGLEWOOD) — Analysts with expertise on the PLAN forecasted the operational role of China’s future carrier force.  They believe that China will use the carriers to reinforce its territorial and economic claims.  The analysts explain that the secondary role of the ships will be to protect China’s oversea interests.  PLAN Rear Admiral Yin Zhuo stated that the creation of a carrier force makes sense for China given its increasing number of international interests, and need to protect its territory.  Source: http://www.janes.com/article/58528/analysts-examine-role-of-china-s-future-carrier-force (Reliability: High)

South Sea Fleet Is Lynchpin Of China’s Naval Power Projection In The Indo-Pacific

8 March 2016

CIMSEC (SCOTTSDALE) – China assigned its most recently commissioned destroyer to the South Sea Fleet.  This fleet is not only present in the South China Sea, but is expanding its operations into the Indian Ocean region.  The January re-deployment of the Haiyang Shiyou 981 (HD 981) oil-rig in Vietnamese waters displays China’s intent of pushing southward.  The PLA Navy’s most recent exercises in the Indo-Pacific region include combined anti-piracy exercises with the Bangladesh navy and participation in India’s International Fleet Review 2016.  Source: http://cimsec.org/south-sea-fleet-the-emerging-lynchpin-of-chinas-naval-power-projection-in-the-indo-pacific/22035 (Reliability: High)

Chinese Coast Guard Loots Vietnamese Fishing Boat

8 March 2016

Thanh Nien News (HO CHI MINH CITY) — Crewmen of a Chinese coast guard vessel stopped and boarded a Vietnamese fishing vessel located off the Paracel Islands on 6 March.  Local media reported that once on board the ship the Chinese crewmembers stole food and fuel and destroyed fishing equipment.  The fishing boat crew reported the damages to the local coast guard.  Numerous countries have scolded China for its past harassment of Vietnamese ships.  Vietnam and China both claim ownership of the Paracel Islands and hostilities continue in the region.  Source: http://www.thanhniennews.com/politics/vietnamese-fishermen-say-attacked-robbed-by-chinese-ship-60002.html (Reliability: Moderate)

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