The South China Sea Crisis

Fourth collision this year shows stress on US Pacific fleet

By Patrick Martin, 26 August 2017

The disasters point to a deep erosion of morale as the Navy has engaged in a high tempo of operations, particularly amid the US confrontation with North Korea.

US naval collision raises questions about morale, training

By Peter Symonds, 22 August 2017

The USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker yesterday morning in waters near Singapore, leaving five sailors injured and 10 missing.

US to launch drone bombing campaign in the Philippines

By Joseph Santolan, 10 August 2017

The US military was involved in the initial attack by Philippine forces that led to the declaration of martial law and US surveillance planes have directed the daily bombing.

Canadian warships join “freedom of navigation” exercises in South China Sea

By Roger Jordan, 27 July 2017

The Canadian navy is joining exercises mounted by the US and its principal Asia-Pacific allies with the aim of threatening and preparing for war with China.

US B-1 bombers challenge Chinese claims in South China Sea

By Peter Symonds, 8 July 2017

The bomber flight is the latest US provocation ahead of the G20 summit aimed at pressuring China to take stronger action against North Korea.

Trump’s frosty phone call with Chinese President Xi

By Peter Symonds, 4 July 2017

Trump is adopting a more confrontational stance toward China in an effort to pressure Beijing to force North Korea to bow to US demands.

US warship intrudes into Chinese-claimed waters in South China Sea

By Peter Symonds, 3 July 2017

The US naval provocation, following the approval of a large arms deal with Taiwan and US sanctions on Chinese companies, heightens the risk of war with China.

Australia sends spy planes to join US military intervention in the Philippines

By Mike Head, 24 June 2017

Although the initial deployment consists of just two aircraft, they will form part of an intensive operation by US Special Forces.

US warship carries out “freedom of navigation” exercise in Chinese-claimed waters

By James Cogan, 26 May 2017

China’s foreign ministry said the move “undermined China’s sovereignty and security,” and risked causing “unexpected air and sea accidents.”

The Coming War on China: A pacifist appeal

By Richard Phillips, 14 April 2017

Pilger’s documentary exposes something of Washington’s escalating war plans against China but suggests that protests can prevent a nuclear conflagration.

Tensions erupt between the Philippines and China over disputed island

By Joseph Santolan, 30 March 2017

Sharp divisions emerged in the Duterte administration after a Chinese official announced plans for an environmental monitoring station on the Scarborough Shoal.

Japan expands military operations in Asia

By Peter Symonds, 15 March 2017

While operating under the umbrella of its strategic alliance with the US, Tokyo is rearming militarily to pursue its own imperialist ambitions.

US sends drones, assassination squad to South Korea

By Peter Symonds, 14 March 2017

The military build-up by the Trump administration takes place as the White House considers launching strikes on North Korean nuclear and military sites.

US officials accuse China of building missile bases in South China Sea

By Mike Head, 23 February 2017

Media reports have declared the latest claims to be “an early test of US President Donald Trump.”

US conducts show of force in South China Sea

By Mike Head, 20 February 2017

The USS Carl Vinson’s operation is being mounted amid a sharp escalation in US trade war and military threats against China since the inauguration of Trump.

Chinese foreign minister warns against war with the US

By Peter Symonds, 9 February 2017

Trump’s top adviser Steve Bannon declared last March there was “no doubt” that the US would go to war with China over the South China Sea in “five to ten years.”

Senior Chinese military official warns of rising danger of war

By Peter Symonds, 31 January 2017

The remarks reflect growing concerns in the Chinese regime over the bellicose remarks of Trump and his advisers toward Beijing.

Trump threats on South China Sea heighten risk of nuclear war

By Peter Symonds, 25 January 2017

The only means of barring China from access to its islets in the South China Sea is a naval and air blockade, an act of war.

Former Australian prime minister denounces Trump over China

By James Cogan, 16 January 2017

Paul Keating stated that a Trump administration threatened to “involve Australia in war with China.”

China and Russia to counter US anti-missile systems in Asia

By Peter Symonds, 14 January 2017

While nominally directed against North Korea, the THAAD deployment in South Korea is part of the US military buildup in Asia for war against China and Russia.

Trump’s China policy threatens nuclear war

By James Cogan, 13 January 2017

President-elect Donald Trump and the cabal of billionaires and ex-generals who will comprise his cabinet have signaled they will substantially intensify the United States’ conflict with China.

Taiwanese president meets senior Republicans, fuelling US-China tensions

By Peter Symonds, 12 January 2017

To underline Beijing’s concerns about closer US ties with Taiwan, the Chinese navy sailed its aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, through the Taiwan Strait.

US think tank urges Trump to confront China in South China Sea

By Peter Symonds, 3 January 2017

Well aware of the dangers of full-scale war, the report nevertheless insists that the US and its allies must challenge China sooner rather than later.

Chinese vessel seizes US undersea drone in South China Sea

By Peter Symonds, 17 December 2016

With Washington issuing a formal protest, the incident could rapidly heighten the already tense standoff between the US and China in the strategic waters.

US admiral pledges to confront China in South China Sea

By Peter Symonds, 15 December 2016

The aggressive remarks by Admiral Harry Harris, commander of US Pacific Command, were encouraged by Trump’s belligerent stance toward China during and since the election.

Chinese fears about Trump and the South China Sea

By Peter Symonds, 28 November 2016

A Chinese think tank director warned that “strategic rivalry between China and the US is likely to continue over the South China Sea.”

US and Philippine militaries maintain “robust” ties

By Peter Symonds, 26 November 2016

US Admiral Harry Harris, head of Pacific Command, dismissed any suggestion that Philippine President Duterte’s anti-American remarks would derail the US-Philippine alliance.

Election of Donald Trump foreshadows trade war in Asia

By Peter Symonds, 25 November 2016

Trump has not only sunk the Trans Pacific Partnership but called into question the entire basis of the post-World War II order in the Asia Pacific.

Philippine President Duterte continues US military basing deal, hails Trump election

By Joseph Santolan, 11 November 2016

The decision to continue the basing pact represents a reversal of previous statements by Duterte that he would “separate” from the United States.

Australian foreign policy strategists discuss US-China nuclear war

By Patrick Kelly, 10 November 2016

At a forum on “China’s rise,” former defence official Hugh White repeatedly warned of the danger of nuclear war.

Malaysian prime minister forges closer military ties with China

By Peter Symonds, 3 November 2016

During his visit to Beijing, Prime Minister Najib wrote in the state-run media that former colonial powers should not lecture smaller countries over the conduct of their internal affairs.

Indonesia and Australia discuss joint naval patrols in the South China Sea

By Peter Symonds, 2 November 2016

The naval operations would be anything but routine, given that the Indonesian navy has already clashed with Chinese fishing trawlers in the South China Sea.

Philippine President Duterte says he wants US troops out of the country in two years

By Joseph Santolan, 27 October 2016

The abrupt shift in Manila’s foreign policy toward China is an expression of the immense geopolitical tensions stoked by Washington's policies.

US “pivot to Asia” in disarray

By Peter Symonds, 26 October 2016

Far from making a retreat, Washington’s response to its setbacks will be to escalate its diplomatic intrigues and military provocations in the Asia Pacific.

Report signals renewed US pressure on Australia to line up against China

By Peter Symonds, 24 October 2016

The US Studies Centre document examines risks to the US-Australia alliance, raising concerns, in particular, about the lack of public support for the US military build-up in Asia.

US navy sends destroyer to challenge China in South China Sea

By Peter Symonds, 22 October 2016

The latest US “freedom of navigation” operation came as Philippine President Duterte’s tilt to Beijing dealt a blow to Washington’s “pivot to Asia” strategy.

Philippine president declares “separation from the US” during visit to China

By Oscar Grenfell, 21 October 2016

Duterte’s statements were met with bewilderment and consternation in Washington.

Philippine president in China seeks to cement closer ties

By Peter Symonds, 19 October 2016

Duterte has signalled that he is open to closer military relations with China and Russia as he seeks billions of dollars in Chinese aid and investment.

Philippine President Duterte tilts toward China

By Peter Symonds, 12 October 2016

In advance of Duterte’s trip next week to China, his defence secretary announced a suspension of joint exercises with the US in the South China Sea.

US seals military basing deal with Australia

By Mike Head, 10 October 2016

The cost-sharing pact will mean billions of dollars being spent on upgrading facilities across Australia for the US military.

France calls for its own “pivot to Asia” amid US war drive against China

By Kumaran Ira, 10 October 2016

French imperialism is laying out an aggressive military strategy in the Asia-Pacific as Washington intensifies its war drive against China.

Australian Labor Party restates call for military challenge to China

By James Cogan, 8 October 2016

Labor’s statements indicate frustration within the US and Australian establishments over the Turnbull government’s refusal to order an operation in the South China Sea.

Escalating war games in the South China Sea

By Peter Symonds, 6 October 2016

Tensions have only worsened since the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled in favour of the US-backed Philippine challenge to Chinese maritime claims.

US defence secretary announces “third phase” of military build-up against China

By Peter Symonds, 4 October 2016

Ashton Carter made clear that the US would sharpen its “military edge” in the Asia Pacific so as to remain the most powerful military in the region.”

Philippine President Duterte declares end to joint war games with the US

By Joseph Santolan, 1 October 2016

As Duterte has sought to pursue ties with China, Washington, using the pretext of human rights as a means to pressure the Philippine president, has criticized his murderous drug war.

Anti-China witch-hunt targets former Australian foreign minister

By Peter Symonds, 28 September 2016

The attack on Carr, an establishment figure with strong ties in Washington, is a sign that nothing less than full support for the US war drive against China will be tolerated.

Japan to conduct South China Sea patrols with US

By Peter Symonds, 19 September 2016

Japan has no claims in the South China Sea but, like the US, is exploiting the territorial disputes to further its own interests in South East Asia.

Philippine foreign secretary says Manila will no longer be US “little brown brother”

By Joseph Santolan, 19 September 2016

As President Duterte downplays the South China Sea dispute with China, Washington is mounting a cynical “human rights” campaign to pressure the Philippines back into line.

Philippine president calls for US special forces to leave Mindanao

By Joseph Santolan, 15 September 2016

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s statements mark a further souring of ties between Manila and Washington under the new president.

US ambassador backs campaign against “Chinese influence” in Australia

By Peter Symonds, 15 September 2016

Berry’s intervention confirms American involvement in the anti-Beijing crusade, and highlights US determination to ensure Canberra’s support for its war drive against China.

The witch-hunt against Chinese influence in Australia

By Peter Symonds, 14 September 2016

The campaign against politicians, commentators and businessmen not fully supportive of the US “pivot” against China is a warning of the advanced character of war preparations in Asia.

Obama heightens antagonisms with China at East Asia Summit

By Joseph Santolan, 9 September 2016

Unable to enlist the Philippines or a reliable proxy from other ASEAN members, Obama was compelled to directly intervene.

Australian senator falls victim to anti-China witch-hunt

By Mike Head, 9 September 2016

Dastyari’s removal sends a wider message to the parliamentary elite that no dissent will be tolerated to the bipartisan policy of backing Washington.

Knives out for Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull

By James Cogan, 7 September 2016

The political atmosphere resembles that before the June 2010 political coup that removed Labor leader Kevin Rudd.

Obama cancels meeting with Philippine President Duterte

By Joseph Santolan, 6 September 2016

The real source of the tensions is Washington’s increasing displeasure over Duterte’s failure to play his assigned role in the US pivot to Asia.

Australia: Opponents of war with China labelled “rats, flies, mosquitoes and sparrows”

By James Cogan, 6 September 2016

The language provides an ominous warning of the chauvinism and hysteria that is set to engulf Australian politics.

Obama and the US secret war in Laos

By Peter Symonds, 6 September 2016

Obama is the first US president since the Vietnam War to visit Laos, the scene of one of US imperialism’s bloodiest crimes, even as his administration is preparing new wars on a far greater scale.

Rising global tensions surface at G20 summit

By Nick Beams, 5 September 2016

It is a sure sign of the deepening malaise of the global capitalist economy, afflicted by lower growth and falling trade, that “overcapacity” in steel was at the very centre of the G20 economic agenda.

Intelligence agencies reportedly question Australian PM’s “stance” on China

By James Cogan, 5 September 2016

The question mark over Turnbull’s allegiance to the US alliance and anti-China agenda has been raised under conditions in which he holds office by a thread.

New Zealand defence minister blames Beijing for South China Sea tension

By John Braddock, 3 September 2016

The comments indicate a shift within the government, following US Vice President Biden’s recent visit, closer to Washington’s belligerent anti-China position.

Australian Labor senator branded a “Manchurian candidate”

By James Cogan, 2 September 2016

Payments accepted by Dastyari have been linked with political positions he advanced on China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea.

War clouds overhang Obama’s Asian trip

By Peter Symonds, 1 September 2016

Obama will attend international summits in China and Laos amid escalating geo-political rivalries, particularly between Washington and Beijing.

Australian establishment discusses prospect of US-China war

By James Cogan, 1 September 2016

ASPI began with the question “under what circumstances would Australia join in a war against China?”

Australia becoming “geopolitical flashpoint” amid sharpening US-China rivalry

By Peter Symonds, 17 August 2016

The Financial Times comment underscores the dilemma facing the Australian ruling class as its strategic ally, the US, confronts its largest trading partner, China.

Vietnam bases long-range rocket launchers in South China Sea

By Peter Symonds, 11 August 2016

Hanoi’s move is certain to further accelerate the arms race already underway and to heighten the danger that an incident could lead to military conflict.

“Thinking Through the Unthinkable”

RAND Corporation lays out scenarios for US war with China

By Peter Symonds, 5 August 2016

The RAND Corporation study provides further evidence that a US war against China is being planned and prepared in the upper echelons of the American military-intelligence apparatus.

Kerry backs Duterte’s murderous anti-drug campaign: “Placing a cheapness on the lives of Orientals”

By Joseph Santolan, 4 August 2016

US Secretary of State Kerry pledged $32 million to fund Philippine President Duterte’s anti-drug campaign, involving death squads, police murders and concentration camps, in order to secure support for Washington’s war drive against China.

China issues warning to Australia over South China Sea

By Peter Symonds, 2 August 2016

The state-owned Global Times newspaper suggested that Australia would be “an ideal target for China to warn and strike” if it intruded in South China Sea disputes.

US-China underwater rivalry in South China Sea

By Peter Symonds, 28 July 2016

While submarines play an important part in conventional warfare, the preoccupation of China and the United States is their role in a nuclear war.

US stokes divisions over South China Sea at ASEAN summit

By Peter Symonds, 25 July 2016

The Philippines and Vietnam are at loggerheads with Cambodia over a reference in the final communiqué to the recent UN-backed court ruling negating China’s maritime claims.

US vice president’s trip triggers debate on US-China conflict

By Mike Head and James Cogan, 23 July 2016

A full-scale US assault on China would almost certainly escalate into a nuclear war, in which millions would die.

Arch-rivals India and Pakistan take opposed stands on Hague court’s anti-China ruling

By Deepal Jayasekera, 22 July 2016

While India has lined up behind Washington in supporting the provocative ruling issued in The Hague, Pakistan has backed China’s rejection of it.

US vice-president makes menacing warning to China

By Peter Symonds, 21 July 2016

Biden’s speech in Sydney made clear that the US will not tolerate any equivocation by Canberra and other regional allies in supporting its war preparations in the Indo-Pacific.

In Australia, US vice president issues belligerent challenge to China

By Mike Head, 20 July 2016

Biden’s trip to Australia came in the immediate aftermath of the arbitration court decision in The Hague declaring illegal Chinese land reclamation activities in the South China Sea.

US admiral holds “frank” talks in Beijing over South China Sea

By Peter Symonds, 20 July 2016

The Chinese regime is playing directly into Washington’s hands by resorting to its own reckless military measures that heighten the danger of conflict.

Manila responds to South China Sea ruling

By Joseph Santolan, 15 July 2016

The Duterte government has reacted to the ruling with caution, seeking to placate Washington and Beijing, while the Maoist Communist Party of the Philippines has escalated its attacks on China.

The Hague ruling: A dangerous step toward war

By Peter Symonds, 14 July 2016

The court decision on the South China Sea will heighten tensions and the risk that a minor incident spirals out of control and triggers a conflict between the US and China.

Following South China Sea ruling, Australian Labor Party again demands military action

By James Cogan, 14 July 2016

Australia’s central role in the US preparations for war with China has proceeded despite the misgivings of sections of the ruling elite.

Despite South China Sea crisis, EU deepens relations with China

By Alex Lantier, 14 July 2016

EU officials are pointedly refusing to endorse US and Filipino claims against China in the South China Sea, as laid out in Tuesday’s court ruling in The Hague.

Hague court decision sets stage for US confrontation with China

By Peter Symonds, 13 July 2016

Yesterday’s tribunal ruling branding China’s actions in the South China Sea as “illegal” provides another pretext for the US to ramp up its military expansion in Asia.

Hague court decides South China Sea case today

By Joseph Santolan, 12 July 2016

Regardless of the details of today’s tribunal decision, Washington will exploit the ruling to escalate its war drive against China.

UN court to deliver decision on South China Sea disputes

By Peter Symonds, 11 July 2016

With a ruling imminent, the US has cranked up its propaganda apparatus and military activity in the South China Sea, setting the stage for a dangerous confrontation with China.

US planners prepare air war on China

By Peter Symonds, 7 July 2016

The Mitchell Institute report released last week reveals the detailed character of the Pentagon’s preparations and plans for a conflict with China.

Chinese military drills ahead of South China Sea court ruling

By Peter Symonds, 6 July 2016

The military exercises are meant as a warning to the US, which has deliberately inflamed territorial disputes in the sea over the past six years.

Indonesian naval vessels clash with Chinese fishing boats

By John Roberts, 24 June 2016

Indonesia’s aggressive fisheries enforcement regime has been encouraged by Washington as it prepares to step up military and diplomatic pressure on China.

Two US aircraft carriers in war games in western Pacific

By Peter Symonds, 21 June 2016

The show of force is a sign that the US intends to ramp up its confrontation with China following an imminent ruling on the Philippine legal challenge to Beijing’s maritime claims.

US-China tensions rise amid major naval exercises

By Peter Symonds, 16 June 2016

The Malabar war games involving the US, Japanese and Indian navies are “complex, high-end, war-fighting exercises” aimed against China.

ASPI think tank warns of war with China and attacks on Australia

By James Cogan, 13 June 2016

The Australian population has been kept in the dark about the content of the document.

US and Chinese military aircraft in second close encounter in East Asia

By Peter Symonds, 9 June 2016

The incident took place amid Washington’s increasingly aggressive stance toward Beijing over maritime disputes in the East China and South China Seas.

US confronts China over trade, investment in Beijing talks

By Peter Symonds, 7 June 2016

US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew set the tone for the annual dialogue with imperious demands that China slash overcapacity in steel and aluminium.

Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore

Washington and Beijing draw battle lines over South China Sea

By James Cogan, 6 June 2016

US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter threatened that China “could end up erecting a Great Wall of self-isolation.”

Sydney University’s US Studies Centre: A bastion of pro-war strategy and propaganda

By Oscar Grenfell—SEP candidate for Grayndler, 2 June 2016

The centre’s significance is underscored by the decision of Sydney University authorities to ban an anti-war meeting of the SEP on the Anzac Day weekend last year.

Union of Concerned Scientists warns of US-China nuclear war

By Peter Symonds, 1 June 2016

While graphically warning of the danger of nuclear conflict, the UCS has no proposal to prevent it—other than a vain hope in a diplomatic solution.

China prepares to send nuclear submarines into Pacific Ocean

By Peter Symonds, 31 May 2016

Chinese submarines will be deployed in an effort to prevent Beijing’s nuclear arsenal being wiped out in an American nuclear first strike.

The danger of nuclear war between the US and China

By Peter Symonds, 30 May 2016

A conspiracy of silence reigns over the preparations for war, aimed at deadening the consciousness of the population to the rising risks of nuclear conflict.

Indian warships enter South China Sea

By Deepal Jayasekera, 28 May 2016

While aggressively pursuing New Delhi’s own strategic ambitions, the Indian naval patrol is in line with the US “pivot to Asia” and preparations for war against China.

Australian election: Military spending is war preparation, not “industry policy”

By James Cogan—SEP candidate for the Senate in NSW, 26 May 2016

The greatest expenditure on hardware for the Australian military since World War II is being cynically portrayed as a public works program.

Obama seeks Vietnam military ties amid rising tensions with China

By Bill Van Auken, 23 May 2016

Part of the discussions in Hanoi will involve the pre-positioning of US military hardware at bases used four decades ago to wage war on the Vietnamese people.

Spy plane “intercept” highlights US push for South China Sea confrontation

By Mike Head, 20 May 2016

Allegations that Chinese aircraft “unsafely” intercepted a US surveillance plane underscore Pentagon calls for a “trigger” for conflict with China.

The queen’s China “gaffe”

By Robert Stevens, 16 May 2016

The state visit by China’s Xi Jinping to Britain last year proceeded despite trenchant complaints from sections of the military and intelligence apparatuses.