Amid South China sea tension, bill introduced to enhance US maritime in APAC region

The bill authorises the Secretary of Defense, in concurrence with the Secretary of State, to provide assistance for the purpose of increasing maritime security and domain awareness for countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

By: PTI | Washington | Published: April 28, 2016 3:51 pm
South China sea, US South China Sea, CHina, CHina SCS, China disputed islands, US China SCS islands South China Sea islands.

Concerned over China’s provocative actions in the disputed South China Sea, four top US Senators have introduced a legislation to enhance US maritime power in Asia Pacific region and provide more military aid to its American allies.

The Asia-Pacific Maritime Security Initiative Act of 2016 authorises the Secretary of State to provide Foreign Military Financing assistance and International Military and Education Training activities in the Asia-Pacific for maritime security capacity building.

Introduced by Senators Ben Cardin, Cory Gardner, Robert Menendez and Brian Schatz, the bill authorises appropriations for the State Department’s Southeast Asia Maritime Law Enforcement Initiative; and upgrades the Philippines’ military procurement status to the same level that its closest allies enjoy under US law.

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The bill authorises the Secretary of Defense, in concurrence with the Secretary of State, to provide assistance for the purpose of increasing maritime security and domain awareness for countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

Seeking to prioritise Asia-Pacific regional allies and maritime ASEAN member states for transfer of excess defense
articles: the act requires the administration to report on plans for freedom of navigation assertions, maritime security partner capacity building and China’s activities in the South China Sea.

“China’s provocative actions in the South China Sea, including its aggressive island-building campaign, threaten not just regional stability but long-standing US interests in the free-flow of commerce, freedom of navigation, and the peaceful resolution of disputes consistent with international law,” Cardin said.

“China’s ongoing reclamation activities and militarisation of the South China Sea threatens regional stability and represents a clear and fundamental challenge to the international law,” Gardner said. “The Asia-Pacific Maritime Security Initiative Act codifies US policy that US military will routinely enforce freedom of navigation rights, will stand up for international law, and will provide its partners the resources and training they need to protect their maritime domains,” he said.

“For too long as China continues its aggressive and expansive policies, the US has played the role of observer, or perhaps protestor, but not yet actor,” Menendez said. “With this legislation, we offer this new way forward:
challenge the Government of China on its destabilising policies in the region, assert legal and rightful international authority over maritime boundaries, and send a signal to our friends and allies in the region that the international community – led by the US – will no longer tolerate China’s efforts to militarise its foreign policy,” he said.

China’s ongoing actions to unilaterally redraw the region’s maritime borders exacerbates the risks of misperceptions and conflict,” Schatz said.

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  1. T
    Tony
    Apr 28, 2016 at 10:37 am
    The operating concept of the US Navy in countering the ever expanding PLAN submarine fleet is tracking. It was, is, and will be in the future. That means monitoring every departure, shadowing every patrol, and logging every return to port. If war occurs, and it will, a surgical strike against the PLAN submarine fleet would be one of the very first actions. Readiness to execute that order at all times is a central tenant of US military policy.lt;br/gt;China's coastline has a natural barrier to the open ocean in the First Island Chain. Breaking that is a priority for the PLAN. Capturing Taiwan and the South China Sea are both answers to the problem. The art of the doable provides the answer to which comes first.lt;br/gt;The South China Sea has several choke points, the Malacca, Lombok, Sunda and Luzon straits. The US Navy's sensor networks monitor them all. Together with patrol aircraft, UUVs and attack boats these networks provide real time surveillance. Failure to maintain surveillance would mean the US Navy's surface fleet would be at great risk in time of war. Particularly if the PLAN submarine threat could impose a virtual no-go area in the South and East China or Philippine Sea. A lack of ets on station is now making that threat a real possibility for the Americans. Congress is prevaricating on expanding the fleet of Virginia cl boats. More units are necessary in response to China's growing capability.lt;br/gt;America's covert monitoring has caused serious friction in the South China Sea. Over two decades it has resulted in several incidents. An innocent world has failed to recognize these were not just accidents of proximity. In fact, they are the visible part of a continual and growing challenge to America's in your face surveillance of China's submarine activities based in Hainan Island. One of these monitoring chains covers the Luzon gap. Its control bunker, located below an old Spanish Church on the north Luzon coast, plays a central role in US Navy plans to close the Luzon Gap. America's response to China's next move, building a new island on the Scarborough Shoal, is revealing. They are very worried.lt;br/gt;Along China's long coastline, Yulin is the point closest to the continental shelf. It is fifty nautical miles from the base to the two hundred meter isobath. From here, the most obvious route into the wider waters of the South China Sea is east along the Xisha valley. US Navy hunter killer submarines patrol the mouth of this undersea feature. Their presence ensures that every patrol is an opportunity to garner fresh intelligence. Yulin lies next to the tourist resort of Sanya frequented by cruise liners. Yalong Bay National Resort District is the home of many por hotels; The Banyan Tree, Sheraton, and Ritz Carlton are just outside the entrance to the base. It is a key naval base for both China's hunter killer and strategic missile submarines. Many cruise ships fulfill a secret role in depositing sensors close to the base itself. Together with the fixed networks, these provide the US and Royal Navy with a treasure trove of intelligence.lt;br/gt;Alderic Au, a former defense analyst, with intimate knowledge of all this knows of what he speaks. He gives a clue to what is really going on in his excellent new book, China: Showdown. It may reveal more than it should in opening a window on the truth. Doubtless, he hoped it would p unnoticed.
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    1. S
      sangos
      Apr 28, 2016 at 12:14 pm
      Cutting through the propaa BS what it means is ' The US is spending more to muscle its way in the Asian region so that that its navy/military can surveil all with impunity'. Btw they also do the same to us along our coastline(allies?)
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