Escalating Threats and Military Tensions

If China is seeking a reset of relations with the Biden administration, it has a strange way of showing it. Instead of backing off from some of its more menacing behavior, Beijing is doubling down. Not only is the Chinese military buzzing Taiwan with 13 fighters and bombers, but Beijing has taken dangerous steps to escalate tensions in the South and East China Seas. Little noticed in Washington, Beijing last week greeted the new U.S. administration with a dubious and unprecedented new law that throws a monkey wrench into U.S.-Chinese…

Philippines files protest over China’s new coastguard laws in South China Sea

The Philippines Foreign Minister said a diplomatic protest had been filed over China’s passing of a law allowing its coastguard to open fire on foreign vessels, describing it as a “threat of war”. Key points: The Phillipines said the law was “a verbal threat of war” The law permits China’s coastguard to use “all necessary means” against foreign ships China has competing territorial claims with its neighbours in the South China Sea China passed legislation on Friday allowing its coastguard to use “all necessary means” to stop or prevent threats…

China defends land reclamation in South China Sea

BEIJING — Defying a U.S. call to halt the project, China defended its land reclamation in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea on Monday, saying the work is for public service use, although a London-based security group says the new island could host a military airfield to intimidate neighbors. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the construction on some reefs in the archipelago was to enable Chinese citizens working there to “better perform international obligations in terms of search, rescue and other public services.” In a recent…

Manila frowns at China law on firing at sea

BW FILE PHOTO THE PHILIPPINES on Monday said the use of force is prohibited under international law, as China passed a law allowing its coast guard to fire at foreign vessels in the South China Sea. “The use of force is generally prohibited,” presidential spokesman Harry L. Roque told an online news briefing. States may use force in self-defense or when authorized by the United Nations (UN) Security Council, he added. Any laws passed by nations must be according to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which…

‘2034,’ Part I: Peril in the South China Sea

The third update was most puzzling of all. The controls of the F-35, the one whose flight had brought Chowdhury into the Situation Room early that snowy Monday morning, had locked up. The pilot was working through every contingency, but at this moment, he was no longer in control of his aircraft. “If the pilot isn’t flying it, and we’re not doing it remotely from the carrier, then who the hell is?” Chowdhury snapped at Hendrickson. A junior White House staffer interrupted them. “Dr. Chowdhury,” she said, “the Chinese defense…

Bill filed reviving ROTC for college students

MANILA, Philippines – A bill has been filed at the House of Representatives seeking the revival of the mandatory Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) to instill patriotism among college students in the face of disputes with China in the West Philippine Sea. Valenzuela City Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian is making a push for the return of the ROTC program as a prerequisite for graduation among tertiary level students through House Bill 2338. In an explanatory note, the congressman said the ROTC would be a means of “inculcating in the youth patriotism…

Vietnam rescues Filipino fishermen stranded at sea

By Phan Anh  &nbspJanuary 25, 2021 | 02:40 pm GMT+7 The KN 472 vessel of the Vietnam Fisheries Resources Surveillance receives four Filipino fishermen stranded at sea, January 23, 2021. Photo by VOV. Four Filipino fishermen were rescued by a Vietnamese fishing vessel after being separated from their ship at sea. At around 7 a.m. Saturday, Ednor Villacino, 30, Rolly Baleso, 30, Rommel Evan, 32, and Eraed Dayot, 41, departed Filipino fishing vessel Athan to fish. But they got lost and stranded around 24 nautical miles to the southeast of…

For Wars of the Future, Pentagon Looks to Distant Past: the B-52

OVER THE EAST CHINA SEA—“Go back,” the Chinese air controller warned. “You are now approaching Chinese airspace. Turn around immediately or you will be intercepted.” The crew of the B-52 lumbering 100 miles off China’s coast rebuffed the warning that crackled through the radio, and the 60-year-old aircraft stayed its course. This was a bomber presence mission, a taxiing flight designed to demonstrate the U.S. military’s long reach and uphold the right of international passage in disputed airspace. It was also a window into the Pentagon’s plan to rely on…

Palace denies downgrading Sabah claim in deal over sea dispute

Malacañang denied on Monday a Vera Files report that the Philippines had offered to downgrade its Sabah claim in exchange for Malaysia’s support for its case against China before the United Nations. “Absolutely, no truth to that information that there’s a supposed quid pro quo to drop the Sabah claim,” said Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte in a text message to the Inquirer. Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma confirmed the subject report’s claim that the Department of Foreign Affairs recently sent a note verbale to the Malaysian embassy in Manila. However,…

Facebook inexplicably logs out iPhone users

Facebook isn’t down, but it did start an odd trending topic on Twitter Friday night as confused iPhone owners tried to figure out why the social network logged them out. I haven’t found an explanation for why this happened, but it appears that everyone accessing the app via an iOS app has to log back in, and many people who use SMS two-factor authentication were initially having trouble reconnecting. Based on social media posts, many of the people with two-factor authentication enabled were eventually able to log back in, but…