Panatag Shoal: Flag


While thousands of Pinoy protesters -- led by Communists, certain "civil society" so-called NGOs operating within the Catholic Church, and their allies -- are demonstrating, rioting, and attacking the US Embassy in Manila, in response to the 2012 Balikatan Exercise, no Pinoys are demonstrating against Red China's intrusions and military aggression in Panatag.

Balikatan is Tagalog for "shoulder-to-shoulder, and Balikatan 2012 is the 28th iteration in a continuing series of exercises designed to ensure the interoperability and readiness of Philippine and U.S. military forces.

The Republic of the Philippines and the USA have a Mutual Defense Treaty. The Philippine Constitution does not allow long-term basing by any other another country in the Philippines. The last of the US military bases at Subic and Clark were closed twenty years ago.

The first Balikatan exercises were conducted from 1991 until 1994. In 1995, the Philippines ended Balikatan because of a dispute over the Visiting Forces Agreement, which gives the United States jurisdiction over crimes committed by military personnel while on duty in a foreign country. A new VFA was negotiated in 1999,and the Balikatan exercises resumed in that same year. Part of the the Balikatan 2002 exercise was called Operation Freedom Eagle. Freedom Eagle was combined with the counter-terrorism training portion of Balikata; and Following the end of the 2002 exercise, the mission became part of Operation Enduring Freedom - Philippines (OEF-P).

This year's Balikitan training will consist of a computer-simulated command post exercise (CPX), multiple field training exercises (FTX), and medical, veterinary, and engineering humanitarian and civic assistance (HCA) projects.

The exercises, which began on 2012.04.16, will involve approximately 4,500 U.S. personnel, 2,300 Philippine Armed Forces personnel from all services, 20 participants from ASEAN, 385 local health professionals supporting the HCA activities, and 15 colleagues from partner nations contributing to the CPX.

Besides the joint-training of military forces, American and Philippine engineers and medical professionals will work on improve the local infrastructure, treat patients, and vaccinate livestock and pets against disease.

The military exercises would mostly focus on humanitarian missions and disaster preparedness but would also include combat maneuvers including the mock retaking of an marine oil rig supposedly seized by terrorists.

In the past, the exercises were held in Philippine regions plagued by decades-long and ongoing Muslim and Communist terrorists. This year's main venue is the Philippines' southwestern island province of Palawan, in the Sulu Sea (north of the Malaysian state of Sabah, in Borneo).

Philippine military chief Gen. Jessie Dellosa said at the Balikatan opening ceremony that the exercises were timely, "given the international situation we are in. It is imperative for our ground forces to sustain operational readiness, keeping in mind the critical times that we are in now. It is during these times that our alliances must be reaffirmed."

The Philippine military has recently sought to upgrade its ships, fighter jets and radars, with matériel from the USA and other allies, in response to repeated and continuing Communist Chinese intrusions into Philippine territorial waters, in the Panatag Shoal (Scarborough Shoal/Reef) and vicinity. A U.S.-supplied warship began to patrol the disputed waters last year.

Panatag Shoal: Greyscale Map

South China Sea: Disputes

Panatag Shoal is located 137 nautical miles from Luzon; and is therefore within the Philippines' 200-n.m. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), as defined by the United Nations Convention of the Law of Seas (UNCLOS).

UNCLOS, Article57:

"Breadth of the exclusive economic zone: The exclusive economic zone shall not extend beyond 200 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured."

It is one of a number of rocks, shoals, reefs, islets, atolls, cays and islands in the South China Sea that are claimed by The Republic of China, Communist China, The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei. The Philippines refers to the South China Sea as the West Philippine Sea. Vietnam calls it the East Sea.

In effect, Communist China claims sovereignty over the entire South China Sea -- as is clear from maps, in PRC state-run media and schools -- but maintains an ambiguous official policy as diplomatic, economic and military conditions shift.

[PRC maps in school textbooks used to also show all of Korea as PRC territory, on the basis of the historical, centuries-long Mongol and Manchu control over Korea. Communist Vietnam also maintains cold relations with its "fraternal" neighbor to the north, since China controlled Vietnam for a millennium, and the PRC invaded Vietnam in 1979.]

The main territorial dispute in the South China Sea is over the Spratly Islands, called Kalayaan Island Group by The Philippines, which claims and occupies eight of the islands. Panatag/Scarborough is not part of the Kalayaan/Spratlys.

Besides the Philippine assertion of its UN-recognized economic rights within its 200-n.m. EEZ, the basis for the Philippine claim over Panatag and its 8 Kalayaaan islands is discovery, effective occupation, and administration.

Panatag means "calm" in Tagalog/Pilipino. The reef is claimed by The Phillipines, The Republic of China, and Red China. The ROC calls the reef Nányán Dǎo (南巖島; "South Rock Island"). The Chi-Coms used to call Panatag "Mínzhǔ Jiāo" (民主礁; "Democracy Reef"), but now calls it "Huáng​yán​ Dǎo" (​黄岩岛/黃岩島; "Yellow Rock Island").

It is basically a rocky sandbar; a group of small islands and reefs in an atoll shape. The largest island is South Rock. The shoal forms a triangle-shaped chain of reefs and islands (but mostly rocks) 55 kilometres around, with an of area 150 square kilometers. It has a lagoon with area of 130 km² and depth of about 15 metres. Several of the islands are 0.5 to 3 metres high, and many of the reefs are just below water at high tide.

On 2012.04.10, Communist China began an ongoing occupation of Panatag, using the standard Chi-Com "stranded fishing boats" tactic. In recent years, poorly-equipped and run-down Phillipine fishing boats have been repeatedly harassed by larger and faster Chi-Com fishing boats, which are soon backed up by Chi-Com naval vessels, which have left the area after the dispatch of Philippine naval vessels, including the aforementioned U.S.-supplied warship.

In the most recent Chinese incursion, Chinese fishing boats anchored in the shoal, and refused to depart when Philippine naval ships arrived. The PRC embassy in Manilla issued a demand that all Philippine nationals and vessels vacate what it calls Chinese territory and territorial waters. The Chi-Com airforce then deployed planes to "buzz" (flyover, intimidate) Philippine fishihermen in the area. After a few days, and in response to a Philipine counter-demand that all Chinese elements depart the area, the Chi-Coms backed-down, and claimed that the Chinese fishing vessels had merely anchored in Panatag to seek shelter from rough waters -- which is an absurd claim, not supported by any meteorological evidence.

On 2012.04.14, the Philippines' Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) released Coast Guard reports that: The PRC had sent back one of its ships after having withdrawn 2 of them earlier; a white, blue-striped Chi-Com aircraft had conducted fly-bys near a Philippine Coast Guard vessel; and a Chinese ship harassed a Philippine-registered vessel with 9 French nationals, which had been conducting archaeological surveys.


Over the past week, the Philippine Coast Guard has intercepted Chinese fishing boats encroaching and poaching in Philippine waters.

Eight Chinese "civilian" vessels have left Panatag Shoal, but one remains, together with one Philippine Coast Guard ship remain in the disputed territory. Each government is now demanding that the other nation's ship be first to leave the area.

The Philippines' Foreign Secretary, Albert del Rosario, attended an official function in Washington on 2012.04.15; while Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Liu Weimin urged the Philippines "to work together with us" to resolve the territorial dispute.

The PRC's "booming" economy is driven by the mostly urban and coastal corrupt elites' exploitation of the peasantry, using them as a steady source for the mostly powerless proletariat that pumps out China's low-cost exports, even as the situation in rural areas gets worse and worse and the average age of population keeps rising. The Chi-Coms are driven to their increasingly belligerent measures in the South China Sea by their desperate drive to seize all possible energy and mineral resources, needed to maintain their Communocapitalist slave-economy.

So far, the most fatal Chi-Com incursion resulted in the death of about 70 Vietnamese naval personnel on 1988.03.14 in the Spratlys (The Johnson South Reef Skirmish / Battle of Fiery Cross Reef), and the subsequent Chi-Com occupation of seven more reefs and rocks of the Spratly Islands.

The Philippines decision to avoid military conflict with the PRC when it infringed on Philippine sovereignty in the Mischief Reef (130 nautical miles from Palawan, well inside the Philippines' EEZ; also claimed by Vietnam and the ROC) only emboldened the Chi-Coms to increase its provocations. Filipino fishermen used to fish at the reef. In 1994, the PRC Navy built structures on stilts there, which it claimed were simply shelters for fishermen. In 1999, the PRC added military installations to the reef. The Philippines refers to this and similar provocations as "China's creeping invasion." The PRC also planted buoys in Sabina Shoal, 70 nautical miles from Palawan. The Chi-Coms modus operandi is to first put down buoys "to assist fishermen", then to build concrete markers, then temporary wooden or bamboo shelters; then, if unchallenged, permanent military forts. In this "game", the Philippines tries to destroy the buoys or markers before the PRC has time to build larger structures.

Rommel Banlaoi, a security studies expert, has written,

"There is no doubt that China has to do a lot of enormous explaining to effectively convince its neighbors that its growing military power and increasing visibility in the Spratlys will not pose risks of war."

The PRC's belligerence towards the ROC, Vietnam, The Philippines, Malaysia and Japan, combined with the economic threat it poses, and the danger of its dragging the region down in a race to the bottom, is what motivates all these countries to support the U.S. role as the regional superpower.

PH defense chief sees no need for US help vs China

By Katherine Evangelista, Inquirer: Global Nation, 2012.04.17

MANILA, Philippines—Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin on Tuesday maintained that the Philippines need not seek help from the United States amid the ongoing stand-off with China at the Scarborough Shoal, locally called Panatag. He made known his stand a day after the formal opening of the US-Philippines joint war games, dubbed Balikatan.

In a press briefing at the Department of National Defense, Gazmin said that the Philippines has not asked for help from the United States, particularly with regards to monitoring the situation in the shoal. “Dito sa mga bagay na ito ay hindi natin kailangan humingi ng tulong sapagkat ito’y atin, eh (When it comes to this kind of matters, we don’t need to ask for help because this territory is ours),” Gazmin told reporters.

Kung tutulong sila, kusa dapat silang tumulong, hindi natin kailangan humingi sa kanila ng tulong dahil atin ang lugar na ito. Maliwanag na maliwanag na atin ito, na kahit anong batas, tayo ay mananaig (If they will help, they should do so on their own, we don’t need to ask for help because this territory is ours. It’s very, very clear that it is ours, and under any law we shall prevail),” he added.

Gazmin also lashed at legislators calling for the strengthening of the Philippine-US alliance as a way to deter China from bullying the Philippines.

Hindi naman yata tama yung ganun na parati na lang tayong umaasa sa ibang bansa. Kinakailangan nating tumayo on our own (We shouldn’t be relying on anyone, we should stand on our own and right now, we are in the process of trying to diplomatically settle the issue),” Gazmin said.

Gazmin opined that the US will help the Philippines if the Panatag stand-off will affect its own interests.

Meanwhile, Gazmin said that despite the ongoing stand-off, the Philippine government is still seeking for a diplomatic solution to the conflict, as per instructions of President Benigno Aquino III.

“Our command guidance is to fight for what is ours, we shall remain in the area and we will not leave and we will continue talks between the Chinese authorities here in the Philippines and our foreign affairs department,” Gazmin said in Filipino.

He also expressed his confidence that a peaceful solution will be found.

“I am very optimistic that we will reach a peaceful conclusion. I’m sure China will not go to war because of this, we cannot afford a war at this time,” Gazmin said.

He added that a solution to this stand-off would be for both countries to appear before an international court of justice. However, Gazmin said that China has consistently refused international court proceedings.

Tayo lang ang nagpoporsigi na dalhin do’n sa korte. Sila (China) ayaw nila. Sabi nila kanila but ang basis nila is history, tayo yung atin, may batas na nagde-declare na atin talaga yun (We are the ones pushing that this be brought to a court. China doesn’t want that. They base their claim on history, and our claim is based on the law, which declares the territory is ours),” Gazmin said referring to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which affirms the Philippines’ claim over Panatag.

Gazmin confirmed that tensions are still high in the Panatag area since there are still two Chinese maritime surveillance ships, numbers 81 and 71, and a Chinese fishing vessel in the vicinity. Meanwhile, the Philippines still has its Coast Guard ship 002, a private ship, MY Sarangani, which was commissioned by the National Historical Institute to conduct archaeological survey in the area, and a Filipino fishing vessel.

Philippines urges China to bring shoal row to international court

By Jaime Marie Elona, Inquirer: Global Nation, 2012.04.17

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines is inviting China to bring their simmering territorial dispute to a UN-linked tribunal in a bid to end the weeklong standoff in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said that international law "would be the great equalizer" as he urged Beijing to raise the issue before the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (ITLOS).

"In pursuing a peaceful settlement of the Scarborough Shoal issue, we fully intend to humbly invite our Chinese friends to join us in the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea," said Del Rosario.

He said that ITLOS would be the one to ascertain who between the Philippines and China has sovereign rights over Scarborough Shoal "where Chinese ships are currently engaging in illegal activities within the Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone."

The Chinese Embassy, however, ignored the proposal Tuesday and asked the Philippines to withdraw its vessels from the shoal "and restore peace and stability there."

ITLOS is an independent judicial body established by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea that serves as mediator for "disputes arising out of the interpretation and application of the Convention. The Tribunal is composed of 21 independent members, elected from among persons enjoying the highest reputation for fairness and integrity and of recognized competence in the field of the law of the sea," the tribunal said on its website.

"The whole world knows that China has myriad more ships and aircraft than the Philippines. At day's end, however, we hope to demonstrate that international law would be the great equalizer," Del Rosario said.

The Philippines says the uninhabited shoal, which it calls Panatag, lies 230 kilometers (143 miles) from its Zambales province and is well within the country's 230-mile exclusive economic zone that is recognized under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, or UNCLOS. China's nearest territory to the shoal, Hainan province, is 872 kilometers (542 miles) away, Filipino officials say.

Chinese Embassy spokesman Zhang Hua acknowledged the UNCLOS allows countries to claim such exclusive economic zones but said they could not exercise sovereignty on areas within those waters that are owned by other countries. An ancient Chinese shipwreck can be found off Scarborough, which China calls Huangyan, but the Philippine research ship has no right to salvage it, Zhang said.

The standoff at the Scarborough Shoal started last week after the Philippine Navy deployed the BRP Gregorio del Pilar to the Scarborough Shoal in a bid to stop Chinese fishermen from poaching in the area. China then sent surveillance vessels and prevented the Philippine army vessel from arresting the poachers.

Chinese Embassy spokesman Zhang Hua in Manila said that although China and the Philippines disagree over who possesses the shoal, "both sides agreed not to do anything to complicate or aggravate the situation."

Several rounds of talks have failed to end the impasse, which began April 10 when two Chinese ships prevented a Philippine warship from arresting several Chinese fishermen who were accused of illegal entry and poaching. The fishermen slipped away from the shoal over the weekend.

The Philippines lodged another protest with China on Monday, accusing one of the Chinese ships and an aircraft of harassing a Philippine-registered yacht to force it to leave the Scarborough area. Several French citizens are on the yacht, which has been conducting archaeological research in the shoal, Philippine Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez said.

Zhang said that the yacht infringed on China's rights "and violates relevant international conventions."

SAYS DEFENSE CHIEF: Filipinos are being oppressed in Scarborough Shoal dispute

By Frances Mangosing, Inquirer: Global Nation, 2012.04.18

MANILA, Philippines—Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin on Wednesday called on Filipinos to support the Philipines’ stand on Panatag or the Scarborough Shoal, the disputed waters between China and Philippines.

Kinakailangan lang talagang malaman ng mga tao na itong ginagawa ng gobyerno ay para sa kapakanan ng bawat Pilipino so that kinakailangang tumulong ang mga tao upang sa ganun malaman ng buong mundo na tayo ay naaapi (We need to inform the public that what we’re doing is for the welfare of [our fellow] Filipinos and we need to help each other so the world will know we’re the ones being oppressed [by the Chinese])," he told reporters in a phone interview.

Gazmin said the support is a way of showing love for country.

The Philippines has reiterated its claim over Panatag Shoal, saying it was located 124 nautical miles west of Zambales, which is within the 200 nautical miles of exclusive economic zone.

Responding to alleged claims that the Philippines is the one oppressing China, Gazmin said in Filipino, “How would an ant oppress an elephant?”

People's Liberation Navy - Offshore Defense [Undated]

In 1985, the CMC approved a PLAN component of the "Active Defense" strategic guidelines known as "Offshore Defense". The PLAN also refers to this concept as the "Offshore Defense Strategy." Operationally, "Offshore Defense" adheres to the following basic tenets of "Active Defense":

  • "Overall, our military strategy is defensive. We attack only after being attacked. But our operations are offensive."
  • "Space or time will not limit our counteroffensive."
  • "We will not put boundaries on the limits of our offensives."
  • "We will wait for the time and conditions that favor our forces when we do initiate offensive operations."
  • "We will focus on the opposing force's weaknesses."
  • "We will use our own forces to eliminate the enemy's forces"
  • "Offensive operations against the enemy and defensive operations for our own force protection will be conducted simultaneously"

"Offshore Defense" as a Strategic Paradigm Shift

Adopting "Offshore Defense" represented a significant strategic paradigm shift for both PLAN operations and naval modernization. It revised the strategic-level operational guidance to the PLAN, directing it to shift from preparing for operations close to Chinese shores to preparing for maritime operations in the seas off the Chinese littoral.

The PLAN's previous strategic concept of "Coastal Defense" focused planning and operations on a close-in defense of China's coast in support of a major land war. Specifically, "Coastal Defense" addressed an anticipated Soviet land invasion from the north supported by operations against the Chinese coast by the Soviet Pacific Fleet. Hence, the PLAN was landward-focused and was expected to play a supporting role in China's most likely assessed future contingency.

As a result, with the promulgation of "Offshore Defense" in 1985, the PLAN's strategic orientation was redirected-out to sea. As is usually the case in China, this major shift in maritime strategic reorientation was a response to a changed assessment of the "international security environment" and changes in global military capabilities. By 1985, Beijing no longer believed that a Soviet land invasion was likely. Furthermore, Chinese assessments of the changes in naval warfare, especially the increasing reach of modern naval weapons, led to requirements for a naval service that could defend China by operating credibly further out at sea.

The adoption of "Offshore Defense" also matched China's changing priorities, specifically Deng's focus on economic modernization and the realization that ocean resources-food and energy sources-would be of increasing importance to China's future development. Moreover, the need for greater strategic depth for the maritime defense of China's coastline was clear given that the PRC's economic center of gravity was quickly shifting from deep in the interior to China's eastern seaboard.

Finally, "Offshore Defense" and the PLAN's move out to sea coincided with increased international of ocean resources, issues associated with the sovereignty of territorial waters, and, equally important, competing maritime claims among the nations of Asia.

"Offshore Defense" as a Broad Strategic Concept

According to PLAN writings, "Offshore Defense" is simply an overarching strategic concept that directs the PLAN to be prepared to accomplish its three key missions "for the new period" by engaging in maritime operations out at sea and building a naval service that is capable of sustaining operations out at sea. Those three key missions are to:

  • Keep the enemy within limits and resist invasion from the sea
  • Protect the nation's territorial sovereignty
  • Safeguard the motherland's unity and maritime rights

The Changing Definition of "Offshore"

Among many foreign specialists of the PLAN, the meaning behind "Offshore Defense" as a broad strategic-level operational concept has often become enmeshed with the associated questions of "operational reach," strategic intentions, and PLAN modernization programs. An example is the idea of operating within the "two island chains" or out to the 200-nauticalmile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The first island chain is usually described as a line through the Kurile Islands, Japan, the Ryukyu Islands, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Indonesia (Borneo to Natuna Besar). The second island chain runs from a north-south line from the Kuriles through Japan, the Bonins, the Marianas, the Carolines, and Indonesia. Together, they encompass maritime areas out to approximately 1,800 nm from China's coast, including most of the East China Sea and East Asian SLOCs.

Most commonly, the discussion about "Offshore Defense" has used terms that link it to geographic boundaries out at sea, future aspirations to control various zones of ocean, or intentions to dominate island chains. When the "Offshore Defense" concept was first being formulated in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and for some time after its formal adoption in 1985, the PLAN engaged in a good deal of debate and produced a good number of studies on the issue of how far offshore "Offshore Defense" should be. Many of the internal debates did in fact argue in terms of geography.

Moreover, PLAN officers have often explained the "Offshore Defense" concept to foreigners in terms that are justified by the "right of China" to defend its claims of sovereignty over its EEZ, thus confusing the issue by implying a 200-nm limit on the concept. It is clear, however, that "Offshore Defense" has evolved beyond the question of geography or geographic reach. Research strongly suggests that, today, the term "Offshore Defense" does not imply any geographic limits or boundaries. It does not appear that there is today, in fact, any official minimum or maximum distances out into the oceans associated with the "Offshore Defense" concept.

According to the PLA's Academy of Military Science, "Prior to the 1980s, the PLAN considered 'offshore' to mean 200 nm from China's coast. Under Deng Xiaoping's guidance in the 1980s, China's 'offshore' included the Yellow Sea, East China Sea, South China Sea, the Spratly Islands, the sea area inside and outside of Taiwan and the Ryukyu Islands, and the sea area in the northern Pacific Ocean." In 1997, Jiang Zemin provided guidance to the PLAN that it "should focus on raising its offshore comprehensive combat capabilities within the first island chain, should increase nuclear and conventional deterrence and counterattack capabilities, and should gradually develop combat capabilities for distant ocean defense."

So, how far "offshore" will "Offshore Defense" take the PLA Navy? According to PLAN officers, and implied in some PLAN publications, the answer appears to be: as far as the PLA Navy's capabilities will allow it to operate task forces out at sea with the requisite amount of support and security.

For many PLAN officers, this is still a function of the operational reach of the PLA's landbased aircraft and the PLAN's antisubmarine warfare capabilities.

PRC military theorists conceive of two island "chains" as forming a geographic basis for China's maritime defensive perimeter. The precise boundaries of these chains have never been officially defined by the Chinese government, and so are subject to some specualtion. By one account, China's "green water" extends eastward in the Pacific Ocean out to the first island chain, which is formed by the Aleutians, the Kuriles, Japan's archipelago, the Ryukyus, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Borneo. Further eastward is "blue water" extending to the second island chain running from the north at the Bonin Islands and moving southward through the Marianas, Guam, and the Caroline Islands.

Adm. Liu Huaqing was chief of the PLAN (1982-88) and later vice chairman of the Central Military Commission (1989-97). Liu and others defined [Memoirs of Liu Huaqing] (Beijing: People's Liberation Army, 2004)] the First Island Chain, or current limit of most PLAN operations, as comprising Japan and its northern and southern archipelagos (the latter disputed by China), South Korea, Taiwan, and the Philippines. The Second Island Chain, which Liu envisioned as being fully within the scope of future PLAN activities, ranges from the Japanese archipelago south to the Bonin and Marshall islands, including Guam.

Initially, China would seek to be able to control over the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea and the South China Sea. The three seas are all located within the "first island chain" of the Pacific Ocean, including the Philippines and the Ryukyu Islands. Some Chinese analysts writing publicly include Diego Garcia, the key US military base in the Indian Ocean, as an element in the geostrategic belt enveloping China's coasts. Writing in Guofang Bao [Jiang Hong and Wei Yuejiang, "100,000 US Troops in the Asia-Pacific Look for 'New Homes,'" Guofang Bao, June 10, 2003, 1, FBIS-CPP20030611000068], Jiang Hong and Wei Yuejiang depicted the first island chain as sweeping all the way through the Indonesian archipelago to Diego Garcia in a single, unbroken arc. That is, in this conception the "first island chain" are the sea lines of communication between China and the oil fields of South West Asia.

The waterways within the "second island chain" including the Japan Sea, the Philippines Sea and Indonesia Sea, covering Kuriles, Kokkaido, and Marianas and Palau Islands in the south. To prevent deployment of naval forces into western Pacific waters, PLA planners are focused on targeting surface ships at long ranges. US DOD analyses of current and projected force structure improvements suggested as of 2007 that in the near term, China was seeking the capacity to hold surface ships at risk through a layered defense that reaches out to the "second island chain" (i.e., the islands extending south and east from Japan, to and beyond Guam in the western Pacific Ocean). One area of apparent investment emphasis involves a combination of medium-range ballistic missiles, C4ISR for geo-location of targets, and onboard guidance systems for terminal homing to strike surface ships on the high seas or their onshore support infrastructure. Other analysts believe that if China truly intends to expand its regional control to the "second island chain," they will have to build or acquire aircraft carriers to achieve this capability.

In the conception of Jiang Hong and Wei Yuejiang, the second island chain runs through Guam - another forward redoubt for US forces - and ends at Australia. Other analysts see Guam as in a "third island chain." Some unofficial Chinese publications refer to a "Third Island Chain" centered on America's Hawaiian bases, viewed as a "strategic rear area" for the US military.

Two Versions of The PRC's Two-Island-Chain Offensive "Defense"

The PRC's Two-Island-Chain Offensive

The PRC's Two-Island-Chain Offensive



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