China - and the dangerous drift to war in Asia

But doesn't appear to see UK naval assets as tools of an independent UK foreign policy.

Perhaps if the UK felt that the UK's strategic priorities in the Far East were being looked after by the US, we'd be more prepared to look after US interests in other places.

Except that we have a Treaty obligation with the USA (and 28 others) that covers defence of Europe, but none that looks after UK trade interests in the Pacific. The USA appears to be suggesting that by swash-buckling off to the SCS, we may not have the capacity to fulfil our Treaty obligations.
 
The USA appears to be suggesting that by swash-buckling off to the SCS, we may not have the capacity to fulfil our Treaty obligations.
The US perception of threat may not be the UK's.

Given the US National Security Statements' usual definition of 'threat', I'd go so far as to say pursuing UK interests automatically runs counter to US ones.
 
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Except that we have a Treaty obligation with the USA (and 28 others) that covers defence of Europe, but none that looks after UK trade interests in the Pacific. The USA appears to be suggesting that by swash-buckling off to the SCS, we may not have the capacity to fulfil our Treaty obligations.
FPDA?
 

As it says 'Agreements', not a Treaty; and apart from the chance for some exercising in the humid sunshine of Malaysia and Singapore, how much British military power has it generated?
 
While that's quite possible, I'm prepared to take this one at face value. The UK hasn't been a major player in Pacific since the Battle of Coronel (albeit the good work done by the British Pacific Fleet in 1945, but how much did that really militarily affect the outcome against Japan?)
And in that time the US have come to think of the Far East as belonging to them and don't like the idea of Global Britain rocking up and taking business that would otherwise have gone to US companies.

The current UK government have a clear policy of using defence to further diplomacy, and using diplomacy to further the interests of the UK economy. The Far East and the Indian Ocean are where much of the world's economic growth is going to happen in this century, and the UK want a slice of it.

The USA sees one of only 3 European-based fleet carriers swanning off to the Pacific, when it could add more deterrence value, and be less vulnerable to embarrassing logisitcs/maintenance issues, in European waters.
The thing about aircraft carriers is that they can move around. If the Russian army shows up on the other side of the channel the fleet can be recalled home. That doesn't look like it's going to happen any time this year, so I'm pretty sure there's not much risk in setting sail for somewheres east of Suez.

The foundation of UK power in the 19th century and the first half of the 20th was its global trade and business network that let it draw resources from around the world that it could not obtain at home. Letting that atrophy would be the most dangerous thing the UK could possibly do.
 
The foundation of UK power in the 19th century and the first half of the 20th was its global trade and business network that let it draw resources from around the world that it could not obtain at home. Letting that atrophy would be the most dangerous thing the UK could possibly do.

Which shows nicely what has occurred over the past 100 years.
 
And in that time the US have come to think of the Far East as belonging to them and don't like the idea of Global Britain rocking up and taking business that would otherwise have gone to US companies.

The current UK government have a clear policy of using defence to further diplomacy, and using diplomacy to further the interests of the UK economy. The Far East and the Indian Ocean are where much of the world's economic growth is going to happen in this century, and the UK want a slice of it.


The thing about aircraft carriers is that they can move around. If the Russian army shows up on the other side of the channel the fleet can be recalled home. That doesn't look like it's going to happen any time this year, so I'm pretty sure there's not much risk in setting sail for somewheres east of Suez.

The foundation of UK power in the 19th century and the first half of the 20th was its global trade and business network that let it draw resources from around the world that it could not obtain at home. Letting that atrophy would be the most dangerous thing the UK could possibly do.
18th Century. Britain become a Global superpower and the sole Martime Superpower by it's ability to dominate trade during the early to mid 18th Century.
 
18th Century. Britain become a Global superpower and the sole Martime Superpower by it's ability to dominate trade during the early to mid 18th Century.


... once it had had a Dutch king on the throne to show the two maritime mercantile rivals how to play nicely together.
 
... once it had had a Dutch king on the throne to show the two maritime mercantile rivals how to play nicely together.
Not really. William III had to be very careful not to be seen by the British Governing classes as favouring in any way, or appearing to favour, Dutch interests.

The Dutch VOC made the error of investing in the wrong market, spices, when the EIC had to invest in India and it's fabric market, along with some spices. The EIC ended up being significantly more profitable than the VOC. And had the advantage of a much larger market as the Americas grew. From which the VOC was barred by the 1652 Navigation Act, which William III dared not void in any way.

William III wanted a quiet and supportive Britain to help fund his defence of the Netherlands against France.
 
I am always intrigued by this notion that Britain is somehow maintaining its global trade network by sailing a lone aircraft carrier around the South China Sea, how exactly? Just how many contracts for widgets manufactured in Wolverhampton are sold on the back of this deployment that virtually no one outside of this forum knows anything about?

If anything, upsetting the Chinese and getting involved in an argy-bargy with them and all that that entails, is more likely to put Asian businesses, who generally prefer a quiet life, off trading with the UK.

How do the Dutch or the Germans or the Koreans or for that matter the Japanese maintain their trade links without having a shiny aircraft carrier to waltz around the balmy seas? What's their secret?
 
I am always intrigued by this notion that Britain is somehow maintaining its global trade network by sailing a lone aircraft carrier around the South China Sea, how exactly? Just how many contracts for widgets manufactured in Wolverhampton are sold on the back of this deployment that virtually no one outside of this forum knows anything about?

If anything, upsetting the Chinese and getting involved in an argy-bargy with them and all that that entails, is more likely to put Asian businesses, who generally prefer a quiet life, off trading with the UK.
The plan apparently is to build up diplomatic ties by showing what a useful ally the UK can be, and then leverage this into negotiations for more comprehensive trade deals. This will take years to bear fruit, so you won't see the results next week or next month.

How do the Dutch or the Germans or the Koreans or for that matter the Japanese maintain their trade links without having a shiny aircraft carrier to waltz around the balmy seas? What's their secret?
The South Koreans and the Japanese are already local players. The Dutch and the Germans are on the outside looking in.

The UK have put a big emphasis on joining the CPTPP (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) free trade agreement. This includes Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Other countries are looking at joining.

Including the UK, the total GDP of the CPTPP countries would be roughly the same as that of the EU. It also has higher economic growth than the EU. The UK see having increased ties with this region as the one having the greatest potential for increasing UK prosperity.
 
The plan apparently is to build up diplomatic ties by showing what a useful ally the UK can be, and then leverage this into negotiations for more comprehensive trade deals. This will take years to bear fruit, so you won't see the results next week or next month.


The South Koreans and the Japanese are already local players. The Dutch and the Germans are on the outside looking in.

The UK have put a big emphasis on joining the CPTPP (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) free trade agreement. This includes Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Other countries are looking at joining.

Including the UK, the total GDP of the CPTPP countries would be roughly the same as that of the EU. It also has higher economic growth than the EU. The UK see having increased ties with this region as the one having the greatest potential for increasing UK prosperity.
Superficially that sounds good and it's just the sort of reason trotted out for these "flying the flag" exercises but the merest glance at trade statistics proves this idea is meaningless and the sort of thing that chaps in Whitehall and the Admiralty would have come up with in 1950. In this day and age the idea that sending a Royal Navy vessel into a tropical port has the natives all aquiver and desperate to buy Austin 1100s is anachronistic nonsense.

First of all the biggest trading partner with the rest of Asia is China, no one is going to piss off their best customer, creditor and supplier by waving the Union Jack as the Queen Elizabeth circumnavigates the South China Sea. After China comes Japan and South Korea, neither of which have ever based their trade policies on willy-wagging naval adventures, quite the opposite in fact. Then comes the EU, again, far from being "outsiders looking in" they have massive business links with the region and the EU seems to manage to trade perfectly well with Asia and the rest of the world without having an aircraft carrier to its name.

Somewhere down the list of trading nations with Asia comes the UK, a not insubstantial player by any means, far from it, but none of this trade, none of it, is either based on, or more absurdly protected by, the Royal Navy, that idea died a death some time around 1941.

Rest assured, no businessman in the Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka or for that matter Chile or Angola is making his future plans based on a Royal Navy expedition.
 

JCC

LE
Superficially that sounds good and it's just the sort of reason trotted out for these "flying the flag" exercises but the merest glance at trade statistics proves this idea is meaningless and the sort of thing that chaps in Whitehall and the Admiralty would have come up with in 1950. In this day and age the idea that sending a Royal Navy vessel into a tropical port has the natives all aquiver and desperate to buy Austin 1100s is anachronistic nonsense.

First of all the biggest trading partner with the rest of Asia is China, no one is going to piss off their best customer, creditor and supplier by waving the Union Jack as the Queen Elizabeth circumnavigates the South China Sea. After China comes Japan and South Korea, neither of which have ever based their trade policies on willy-wagging naval adventures, quite the opposite in fact. Then comes the EU, again, far from being "outsiders looking in" they have massive business links with the region and the EU seems to manage to trade perfectly well with Asia and the rest of the world without having an aircraft carrier to its name.

Somewhere down the list of trading nations with Asia comes the UK, a not insubstantial player by any means, far from it, but none of this trade, none of it, is either based on, or more absurdly protected by, the Royal Navy, that idea died a death some time around 1941.

Rest assured, no businessman in the Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka or for that matter Chile or Angola is making his future plans based on a Royal Navy expedition.

And that sort of undermines any case for building the bloody things in the first place. All they'll do is drag the UK into things that they would be better staying away from.
 
And that sort of undermines any case for building the bloody things in the first place. All they'll do is drag the UK into things that they would be better staying away from.
Without providing the UK with any critical advantage once dragged in.
 
It seems that President Duterte is eating a chunk of humble pie.

'Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has restored a key defense pact with the United States that governs the presence of US soldiers in the Southeast Asian nation, reversing a decision that had caused concern in Washington and Manila.

'Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana announced Duterte's decision in Manila on Friday during a joint press conference with his visiting US counterpart, Lloyd Austin.

'The Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) provides protocols for the rotation of thousands of US soldiers for combat exercises and drills.'


 
Why this, if the PRC's intentions and ambitions are so benign?

'Chinese president Xi Jinping said that the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) ‘commands the gun’ and asked the military to make resolute efforts to transform China’s army into the world’s best army by 2027 on par with the US army. Xi’s comments come on the eve of China’s army day and are a reiteration of what was decided during the plenary session of the CPC in October 2020.

'Xi while addressing a group study session of the CPC Political Bureau on Saturday asked the army to build the determination to work hard and achieve the goal set for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) which celebrates its 100 years in 2027. He said that the goal is in alignment with national strength and it fulfils the future national defence needs of China.

'Xi heads the powerful Central Military Commission (CMC) which is the overall high command of the Chinese military. He also emphasised on holding military exercises in real battle conditions to win wars and rapid modernisation of the PLA.'


 
Why this, if the PRC's intentions and ambitions are so benign?

'Chinese president Xi Jinping said that the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) ‘commands the gun’ and asked the military to make resolute efforts to transform China’s army into the world’s best army by 2027 on par with the US army. Xi’s comments come on the eve of China’s army day and are a reiteration of what was decided during the plenary session of the CPC in October 2020.

'Xi while addressing a group study session of the CPC Political Bureau on Saturday asked the army to build the determination to work hard and achieve the goal set for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) which celebrates its 100 years in 2027. He said that the goal is in alignment with national strength and it fulfils the future national defence needs of China.

'Xi heads the powerful Central Military Commission (CMC) which is the overall high command of the Chinese military. He also emphasised on holding military exercises in real battle conditions to win wars and rapid modernisation of the PLA.'


You find it surprising that a politician would give a speech on an anniversary date of the army in which he says the army should be the best in the world? Isn't that what all politicians would do?
 
Why this, if the PRC's intentions and ambitions are so benign?
Because it's an annual ritual. Every CMC head does it.

China's 20th Century historic example has been of 'the gun' getting too big for its boots - aka the warlord era - and both the KMT and CCP learned the lessons of keeping their militaries firmly under civil control.
 
China and Russia are holding exercises in western China near the border with Afghanistan.
Chinese, Russian militaries hold joint drills in northwest China

The exercise aims to "deepen the joint anti-terrorism operations between the Chinese and Russian militaries and demonstrate the firm determination and strength of the two countries to jointly safeguard international and regional security and stability," Xinhua said, citing Chinese and Russian officials.

"It reflects the new height of the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era and of the strategic mutual trust, pragmatic exchanges and coordination between the two countries," Xinhua said.

The announcement was long and vague (as such things usually are), but it made some reference to a desire to "deepen the joint anti-terrorism operations between the Chinese and Russian militaries and demonstrate the firm determination and strength of the two countries to jointly safeguard international and regional security and stability" and to "jointly protect peace and stability in the region".
"The objectives of the combat training event are to strengthen the development of Russian-Chinese relations, comprehensive partnership and strategic interaction, build up the level of military cooperation and friendship between the armed forces of the two countries, demonstrate the determination and ability of Russia and China to fight terrorism, and jointly protect peace and stability in the region," the Russian Defence Ministry said.

This might be related to current events in Afghanistan. I don't have any reason to believe that either China or Russia intend to have a go at running the show there after the US failure and the ongoing rapid collapse of the US backed government, but I might speculate that should the Taliban decide to have a go at Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, or Turkmenistan after they have finished taking over in Kabul then both Russia and China would likely step in to try to stop them.
 
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