Freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. UK/US/AU leading the way.

Yokel

LE
It is not just about the South China Sea, but the principle of Freedom of Navigation is absolutely key to trade and international stability. Letting certain regimes make noises, as if they own international waters, has to be answered with things like this, security operations in the Middle East (see below), or NATO activities in the Atlantic, Mediterranean, and Black Sea.

 

Yokel

LE
Ref. the UK's presence in Asia, the US defense secretary has made his opinion crystal clear....


But that cannot be true - @PhotEx says so! The recent UK defence and security review put NATO and the Euro Atlantic region first. That includes the flanks of NATO, the Mediterranean, and also the Middle East.

Without those regions being secure, we would struggle to do anything. Before you ask, the Chinese are starting to put naval forces in the Mediterranean and Atlantic.
 
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PhotEx

On ROPS
On ROPs
But that cannot be true - @PhotEx says so! The recent UK defence and security review put NATO and the Euro Atlantic region first. That includes the flanks of NATO, the Mediterranean, and also the Middle East.

Without those regions being secure, we would struggle to do anything.


Hoop.

This is American politicians wanting to stop us parking on what they regard as their private turf.

There is no credible threat to the SLOCS through the Med or across the Atlantic the local Navy's cant contain quite adequately.

In the next decade, Asia-Pacific will contribute 60% of the worlds economic growth.
Europe? Nothing, zip, zilch, nada.

We want some of that 60%, and if we get it, we will need to protect it.

We're going East - following the big money.
 
Ref. the UK's presence in Asia, the US defense secretary has made his opinion crystal clear....


The problem is that the FT article - even after amendment - badly misrepresented what Austin said. A headline ‘Austin welcomes CSG deployment’ would have been a more accurate reflection of what he actually said.
 
The problem is that the FT article - even after amendment - badly misrepresented what Austin said. A headline ‘Austin welcomes CSG deployment’ would have been a more accurate reflection of what he actually said.

It's a quote. Unless the FT has put words into the Def Sec mouth, l can't see how what he said can be misrepresented.

"The UK could be more helpful in other parts of the world" does not leave a lot of room for interpretation...
 

Yokel

LE
Is there any transcript of the speech? Or perhaps a video? Some academics have reached different conclusions to the FT and Mr Ellwood:

 
It's a quote. Unless the FT has put words into the Def Sec mouth, l can't see how what he said can be misrepresented.

"The UK could be more helpful in other parts of the world" does not leave a lot of room for interpretation...

I didn't have the means of copying the rough but largely accurate transcription done by someone on Twitter when responding earlier. This came about when Shashank Joshi queried whether this was the gist of what Austin had said:

From the IISS footage of Austin's answer to a question about the UK and US defence relationship


"I'm excited about what we're seeing with the interoperability that 's been demonstrated between the UK and our forces as we've made this journey from Europe to here. It's really been a successful endeavour and I look forward to more of that going forward. The UK and the US are global nations with global interests and so as we look to balance our efforts in various parts of the world.​
We're not only looking to help each other in the Indo-Pacific but we're looking to ensure that we help each other in other parts of the world as well as if... if... for example, we focus a bit more here are there areas the UK can be more helpful in other parts of the world .I have a great relationship with the UK MoD and these are discussions that we've had a number of times and again it's a balancing act - resources are scarce, no matter which country you're talking about... and again, we have interests around the globe, and we want to make sure that we work together to address all of those those interests.​
There are things, obviously that if... if nations are capable of providing resources and capability to help in this region we welcome that and we facilitate that where possible. But again, we have a global perspective and there are a number of places where we can help each other as we shift our stance."​


So - 'if, for example, we focus a bit more here' - the 'here' is generic and not the Indo-Pacific specifically. It's 'Ok, so we'll do.... here, and you do... there, OK?'

This was not Austin having a go at the UK sending a carrier to the Indo-Pacific. Within a couple of hours of it being questioned by Joshi and the transcript and link to the interview - the question is just after 45 minutes in to this -

- the FT had amended the original damning story since people were starting to suggest that it might fit in with a perceived editorial agenda at the newspaper regarding the UK and Europe (which I think might have been a bit tin-foil hatted from some of the comments).

The problem is that rather than do a wider search of Twitter, Tobias Ellwood helped perpetuate the original story's take, rather than going 'hang on. A number of people are suggesting that the story's take is a pile of poo'...
 
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Yokel

LE
What does Indo Pacific mean anyway? One could conclude that in includes the Indian Ocean and Middle East - already a theatre for British forces.

British Littoral Response Group ships to be based in Oman - UK Defence Journal

This will be enabled by the deployment of two Littoral Response Groups; the first in 2021 will be deployed to the Euro-Atlantic under a NATO and JEF construct, while a second will be deployed to the Indo-Pacific region in 2023. They will also be able to deliver training to our partners in regions of the world where maritime security is most challenging.

Euro Atlantic - West of Suez.
Indo Pacific - East of Suez.
 

PhotEx

On ROPS
On ROPs
What does Indo Pacific mean anyway? One could conclude that in includes the Indian Ocean and Middle East - already a theatre for British forces.

British Littoral Response Group ships to be based in Oman - UK Defence Journal

This will be enabled by the deployment of two Littoral Response Groups; the first in 2021 will be deployed to the Euro-Atlantic under a NATO and JEF construct, while a second will be deployed to the Indo-Pacific region in 2023. They will also be able to deliver training to our partners in regions of the world where maritime security is most challenging.

Euro Atlantic - West of Suez.
Indo Pacific - East of Suez.

Africa
SE Asia
 

Yokel

LE
Africa
SE Asia

The Indian Ocean is a huge region in itself. It includes the operation areas in the Persian/Arabian Gulf, Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, and Red Sea - already considered operational areas in terms of protecting shipping and deterring aggression

Africa also has an Atlantic coast, and a Mediterranean one.
 

RBMK

LE
Book Reviewer
More threats from the Chinese

I'd like to think that this is just willie waving and that it will be limited to a few low passes of aircraft and a few ships throwing insults at each other, but...

The rules of engagement will be an interesting read, and I don't think I'd want to be the skipper of Big Liz.
 

Crazy_Chester

Old-Salt
How do posters here think the killing of the British MSO working for Ambrey on the Israeli vessel off the coast of Oman will impact on maritime security in that region? Hearing the Master, a Romanian, was also taken out.
 

Yokel

LE
UK Defence Journal - Right versus might in the South China Sea

25 years ago this month, Southeast Asia’s foreign ministers called for a regional ‘Code of Conduct’ to try to put limits on China’s behaviour in the South China Sea. China has been stonewalling the idea ever since. The embassy’s claim that “China always advocates friendly negotiations and consultations on issues in relation to the South China Sea” will raise hollow laughs in regional capitals.

This is a key reason why the UK has sent the CSG through the South China Sea: to show solidarity with smaller states in the region struggling to assert their rights against China’s might. It is a case of enlightened self-interest. All countries with coastlines and seaborne trade depend upon UNCLOS.

If it collapses in Asia, it is weakened everywhere. By asserting the importance of the treaty and the rights of smaller states, the UK remains another step away from an anarchic world in which big countries simply order smaller ones around.
 

Yokel

LE
It seems that the concept of freedom of navigation is lost on Beijing, which getting stroppy about criticism.

Beijing says it will not consider a port call request from a German warship to stop at Shanghai until Berlin clarifies its intentions in sending the frigate through the South China Sea.

The warship Bayern began its mission to the Indo-Pacific region on Monday and plans to cross the South China Sea – a flashpoint between China and the US and its allies – on its return journey in December. It will be the first German warship to do so since 2002, but will not pass within 12 nautical miles of any land in the disputed region.
The mission started in Angela Merkel’s last days as German chancellor. Under her leadership, Germany has become increasingly vocal over China’s claims in the South China Sea as well as its human rights record.


From SCMP.
 
It seems that the concept of freedom of navigation is lost on Beijing
And on anyone who thinks it encompasses a right to berth in another country's ports.
 

Yokel

LE
And on anyone who thinks it encompasses a right to berth in another country's ports.

Well of course, but I am assuming that the Germans were planning a diplomatic visit as they do not need a port to stop at, but the CCP have refused unless told everything that the German vessel will do in international waters.

Some people might find this piece on the Thin Pin Striped Line blog to be interesting.

The near histrionic reaction from some of the Chinese press points to a level of insecurity to a degree – the offensive commentary determined to demean and diminish the Royal Navy presence in the region is actually surprisingly helpful in reminding us that, despite public messages to the contrary, Beijing does care about this deployment.

The reason for this is that it reminds the Chinese that the South China Sea is not a lake for the exclusive use of the PLAN. The message is that foreign nations from outside the region can, and will, sail at a time of their choosing in the area, and there is nothing that Beijing can do to stop this.

This in turn matters because the multi-national nature of the task group shows that this isn’t just ‘little Britain’ on a jolly trip. It’s an international task force, and if the UK and other nations are willing to work together operationally in the region for a deployment, when else might they be able to do so?

The message is that there is a capable and effective international carrier task group in the South China Sea. It is a direct challenge to a narrative, and a reminder that other nations are not prepared to cede effective control of these waters. When coupled with deployments by other nations – for example the French Navy recently operated here, and the Germans are on the verge of sending a frigate out to the region too.

Some will ask why the UK is interested in the remote waters of the Pacific – surely we have problems closer to home to take care of? This argument is easily made, but stands up to little scrutiny. We live in a world that is increasingly interconnected, and interdependent on each other.

The events of earlier this year, when the Suez Canal was blocked show that disruption to the global economy can occur because of an incident in a single location. The idea that weeks of supply chain impact, disruption to shop supplies and economic losses were incurred due to a single ship seems incredible, but is true – as a global society we are inextricably linked to each other.

An event in the maritime domain far from home can and will impact directly on us here in the UK. Piracy, hostage taking, attacks on shipping by rogue states – all of these could potentially impact on our way of life through shipping disruption, delays to port arrivals, or just the loss of parts in a ‘just in time’ supply chain.
 
Well of course, but I am assuming that the Germans were planning a diplomatic visit as they do not need a port to stop at, but the CCP have refused unless told everything that the German vessel will do in international waters.
Received assurances about 'innocent passage', in other words?

The Germans, of course, don't have to give them any - just as the PRC doesn't have to let anyone use their ports. Diplomacy is surely about give and take?
 

Yokel

LE
Received assurances about 'innocent passage', in other words?

The Germans, of course, don't have to give them any - just as the PRC doesn't have to let anyone use their ports. Diplomacy is surely about give and take?

What else could they be doing other than innocent passage - just passing through?

Neither the Germans or anyone else has to tell everyone what they plan to do in international waters. Just like a public road or the village green can be used by anyone.
 
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