Archive for the Malaysia Category

“US faces another debacle on Pacific economic treaty” – TPP, fake free trade pact, in trouble [World Socialist Website]

Posted in Anti-China propaganda exposure, Australia, Canada, Capitalism crisis early 21st century, Chile, China, China-bashing, Economic crisis & decline, Economy, Encirclement of China, EU, European Union, Germany, Japan, Malaysia, Media cover-up, Mexico, New Zealand, Obama, Peru, Protectionist Trade War with China, Singapore, south Korea, U.K., US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War, Vietnam on April 5, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Mike Head
4 April 2015

Having suffered a decisive defeat in its efforts to block other countries from joining the new China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the US government faces mounting difficulties with regard to its most far-reaching move to dominate the Asia-Pacific region: the so-called Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

In Hawaii last month, the latest round of five-year-long TPP talks between the 12 governments involved broke up without any further agreement. For the third year in a row, the White House’s deadline for a final deal looks set to be breached in 2015.

Significantly, the main stumbling block this time was reportedly not ongoing differences between the US and Japan over auto and agricultural markets, but doubts over President Barack Obama’s capacity to get congressional approval for the pact.

Falsely presented as a “free trade” deal, the TPP is the opposite. It is aimed at creating a vast US-controlled economic bloc. In return for favoured access to the US market, which is still the largest in the world, the TPP requires its members to scrap all legal, regulatory and government impediments to American investment and corporate operations.

The TPP is an essential component of Washington’s military and strategic “pivot” to Asia, aimed at establishing unchallenged hegemony over the region, including China, which has thus far been excluded from the treaty. The “partnership” seeks to restructure every aspect of economic and social life across the Asia-Pacific in the interests of Wall Street finance capital and the largest US corporations, particularly the IT, pharmaceutical and media conglomerates.

A similar drive is underway to incorporate the European Union into a Transatlantic Trade and I nvestment Partnership (TTIP) bloc. Like the TPP, the European treaty is being negotiated behind the backs of the international working class amid tight secrecy, with hundreds of the world’s largest corporations taking part.

Obama has resorted to blatant anti-Chinese rhetoric in a bid to overcome opposition to aspects of the TPP from sections of the Democratic and Republican congressional leaderships. In one recent interview, the US president declared: “If we don’t write the rules out there, China’s going to write the rules and the geopolitical implications of China writing the rules for trade almost inevitably means that we will be cut out or we will be deeply disadvantaged. Our businesses will be disadvantaged, our workers will be disadvantaged.”

Washington is concerned that other imperialist powers, such as Germany, Britain and Japan, could strengthen their positions in China at the expense of the US unless America “writes the rules” for world trade in the 21st century.

Global financial commentators are drawing attention to what is at stake. Under the headline, “Round two in America’s battle for Asian influence,” David Pilling wrote in the London-based Financial Times on April 1: “Washington’s attempt to lead a boycott of the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank ended in farce after Britain broke ranks and other nations from Germany to South Korea fell over themselves to join. If round one was a defeat for America, round two hangs in the balance.”

Pilling noted that the TPP’s exclusion of China, on the grounds that its economy was state-owned and centrally planned, was obviously concocted. “In a peculiar display of diplomatic contortion,” he wrote, “Vietnam — a country whose economy is as centrally planned and as rigged [sic] as the best of them — is somehow considered fit for entry.”

The Financial Times Asia editor pointedly added that the TPP was “just as likely to annoy America’s allies in the region as reassure them” because of its intrusive demands, which include the dismantling of state-owned enterprises, tendering restrictions, financial regulations, data protection rules and intellectual property laws.

Washington’s aggressive drive to establish the TPP and TTIP economic blocs marks a reversal of its post-World War II role, when the ascendancy of American industry permitted it to champion the reconstruction of its Japanese and European rivals, albeit always for its own benefit, including via the expansion of markets for its exports.

Today, amid the ongoing decline of US industry, its ruling elite depends increasingly on the parasitic activities of Wall Street, the exploitation of patents by Silicon Valley, Hollywood and the drug companies, and contracts for the supply of military hardware. These rapacious interests will most directly benefit from the TPP.

Many details remain secret, but pro-TPP lobbying efforts highlight the anticipated profit bonanzas. Mireya Solis of the Brookings Institution think tank stressed advantages such as “internationalisation of financial services, protection of intellectual property and governance of the Internet economy.”

US technology firms would benefit from a ban on requiring companies to house customers’ data within a specific country. “If we’re going to serve the customer of Malaysia from, say, a data center in Singapore, the data has to be able to move back and forth between those two countries,” Brad Smith, Microsoft general counsel, told the Wall Street Journal.

Central to the treaty are punitive Investor-State Dispute Settlements (ISDS) clauses, which permit transnationals to sue governments for losses allegedly caused by official policy decisions. WikiLeaks last month published a chapter of the TPP treaty showing that firms could bypass a country’s courts to obtain damages for changes in “environmental, health or other regulatory objectives.”

Apart from the US and Japan — the two biggest partners by far — the other TPP participants are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

The willingness of many of these countries to make the required concessions to the US has been undermined by Obama’s failure to secure support for a Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill so that he can sign the TPP and then have it ratified by Congress with a single “yes” or “no” vote. Without TPA, Congress could force amendments to the negotiated pact, effectively rendering the agreement void.

According to a Japan Times report: “Several negotiating partners, including Canada and Japan, have publicly stated they will not put their final negotiating positions on the table until Congress grants TPA for the Obama administration. With a presidential election looming in the United States, further delay creates a real risk of TPP being delayed until 2017.”

Much of the US congressional resistance is bound up with protectionist lobbies, based on national-based industries and their trade unions. In response, the Obama administration is ramping up a campaign that explicitly spells out the expected benefits to corporate America.

On March 30, the White House published letters from former senior economic officials, including 10 ex-commerce secretaries representing every administration, Democratic and Republican, since 1973, urging congressional leaders to give Obama TPA authority.

The commerce secretaries stated: “Once completed, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will give the United States free trade arrangements with 65 percent of global GDP and give our businesses preferential access to a large base of new potential customers.”

This demand for “preferential access” by US imperialism threatens to break up the world economy into the kind of rival blocs that preceded World War I and World War II.

Edited by Zuo Shou

Article link: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/04/04/tppo-a04.html

AIIB, a paradigm power shift [Xinhua]

Posted in Beijing, Brazil, BRICS - Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, China, Early 21st Century global capitalist financial crisis' US origins, Economic crisis & decline, Economy, France, Germany, India, Italy, Malaysia, Pakistan, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Taiwan, US imperialism, USA, Wall Street on April 2, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

BEIJING, March 31 (Xinhua) — …As of 6 p.m. Tuesday, 46 countries had applied to be founders of the bank, but the United States and Japan have remained on the sidelines. The financial authority of China’s Taiwan said on Tuesday afternoon that the island has submitted a letter of intent on joining the mainland-proposed AIIB. Founders will be finalized on April 15.

TIMELINE

The bank was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in October 2013.

A year later, and 21 Asian nations, including China, India, Malaysia, Pakistan and Singapore had signed an agreement to establish the bank, headquartered in Beijing.

On March 12, 2015, Britain applied to join the AIIB as a prospective founding member, the first major western country to do so. France, Italy and Germany quickly followed suit.

Other nations will still be able to join the bank after the deadline, but only as ordinary members.

Negotiations on the AIIB charter are expected to conclude in the middle of the year and the bank should be formally established by the end of this year.

BUILDING FOR SUCCESS

As its name suggests, the AIIB will finance infrastructure–airports, mobile phone towers, railways, roads–in Asia.

There is a yawning infrastructure funding gap in Asia. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) pegged the hole at about eight trillion U.S. dollars between 2010 and 2020.

The World Bank and Asian Development Bank are more focused on poverty reduction and their funds alone are insufficient to bridge the gap, according to Hans-Paul Burkner, chair of the Boston Consulting Group.

While both the ADB and World Bank focus on a broad range of development programs including agriculture, education and gender equality, the AIIB will concentrate on infrastructure alone. The IMF, World Bank and ADB have all welcomed the AIIB initiative and see room for collaboration

The bank will have an authorized capital [of] 100 billion U.S. dollars and the initial subscribed capital is expected to be around 50 billion dollars. Although hardly enough to meet demand, it will still be a helpful boost.

GOOD FOR ASIA; GOOD FOR ALL

As the first China-proposed multilateral financial institution that has included developed nations as members, the AIIB offers an opportunity to test China’s ability to play its role as a responsible country, analysts said.

The initiative followed years of frustrated attempts to reform the existing international financial institutions, which have failed to reflect the changing landscape of global economy.

The existing economic system, shaped by the Bretton Woods agreement seven decades ago, is dominated by western countries and increasingly unrepresentative of the world’s economic architecture. Since the global financial crisis, emerging markets are becoming the main development drivers. Asian countries now make up one third of the global economy.

As global economic power shifts to emerging markets, it is only fair that they should play a bigger role in global institutions. Burkner said, “if it is not happening, then it is important to create additional institutions which, to some extent, cooperate and compete with existing institutions.

“There will be cooperation and also some healthy competition with the ADB and the World Bank.”

Good for Asia; good for the world as a whole.

Jin Liqun, secretary general of the interim secretariat of the AIIB, regards the bank as a complement to, rather than a substitute for, the World Bank and the ADB. It will improve the existing international financial system, not overturn it, Jin said.

The AIIB is just the start. Jim O’Neil, coiner of the BRICs acronym and former chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, believes there are plenty more areas where China needs to be drawn in.

With its Belt and Road initiatives, the AIIB and other entities (a joint development bank with BRICs partners Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa, for example) China is trying to make its own development beneficial to the whole continent.

After over three decades of fast expansion, benefiting from globalization and opening-up, China can now share the fruits of its development and build a “community of common destiny” through international and regional cooperation.

INTO THE UNKNOWN

Even after membership is finalized, many questions will remain. How will the AIIB be governed? What will be the decision-making process be? Wha t lending criteria will it adopt? Will its policies be transparent and address issues like the environment?

The answers to those questions will determine whether the bank stands or falls.

While details are pending, China has repeatedly stated that the AIIB will uphold high standards and learn from the best practices at existing multilateral financial institutions.

During an interview with Xinhua, Lou Jiwei said the bank will have a three-tier structure — a council, a board of directors and management, as well as a supervising mechanism to ensure sufficient, open and transparent policy-making.

The prime challenge for the AIIB is how to channel funds to the most productive projects while maintaining security of repayment.

Zhang Yuyan, chief of the institute of world economics and politics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a government think tank, believes that, since infrastructure projects usually have long funding cycles and great potential for waste, sustainable profitability will be the real test of the AIIB.

Rigorous consultation and skillful management to coordinate and balance various demands and interests among members will be of the essence, Zhang said. This will be challenging at the very least, with so many histories, cultures and development stages on show.

Edited by Zuo Shou

Article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2015-03/31/c_134114065.htm

Military contractor pleads guilty in US Navy corruption scandal [World Socialist Website]

Posted in China, Encirclement of China, Malaysia, Obama, Pentagon, Thailand, US foreign occupation, US imperialism, USA on March 14, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Nick Barrickman
19 January 2015

On Thursday, military contractor Leonard Glenn Francis pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of fraud and bribery for his role in a scheme intended to fleece the US Navy out of tens millions [sic] of dollars. Francis must forfeit $35 million in funds obtained by the firm and faces up to 25 years imprisonment for his role. Including Francis, five naval officials and two other contractors have been indicted for their part in the affair.

The guilty plea is connected to a federal investigation into military defense contractor Glenn Marine Defense Asia (GMDA) over a ten-year period beginning in 2004. Throughout this time, GMDA officials bribed naval officials with “top-shelf” luxury goods, paid vacations, hotel and spa visits, prostitutes, and other items so that the naval brass would give the firm preferential treatment and steer ships to its private ports.

At these locations, naval officials were paid to “drive the big decks [aircraft carriers]” into “fat revenue” ports, according to Francis’s memos presented by the prosecution. GMDA, which won a US government contract worth $200 million despite numerous complaints stemming from the firm’s exorbitant fees, would then conspire with naval officials and subcontractors in order to vastly inflate the costs of services rendered. Despite a clause in its contract that fixed the prices the firm was allowed to charge the government, the company was able to exploit loopholes by bribing a number of officials in charge of processing appeals for so-called “incidental services.”

The federal investigation found that the firm registered 282 false quotes for services rendered at three Thailand-based ports during a nine-month period in 2011-2012 alone, resulting in an overcharge of nearly $2.3 million. At two of the ports, the firm utilized shell companies posing as local government officials to impose fictitious tariffs on passing vessels, raking in additional millions.

“Francis maintained corrupt relations with scores of Navy officials,” stated Assistant US Attorney Mark Pletcher to Reuters. A contractor speaking under conditions of anonymity told the Washington Post of GMDA’s practices that “[t]here is no way that anybody who’s been there for five minutes can’t have smelled something.” The contractor continued, “But the Navy routinely decided to look the other way. It was just constantly outrageous.”

Six others have pled guilty to charges stemming from the scandal, including Navy Capt. Daniel Dusek, who also pleaded guilty Thursday to one charge of conspiracy to commit bribery and is the highest-ranking military official to be indicted. Others involved include US Navy Commander Jose Luis Sanchez, who pled guilty last month of accepting $100,000 in cash, entertainment, and other items; retired Lt. Commander Edmund A. Aruffo; and GMDA manager Alex Wisidagama.

Two senior military officials, Vice Admiral Ted Branch and Rear Admiral Bruce Loveless, directors of Naval Intelligence and Intelligence Operations, respectively, have had their access to classified material halted pending further investigation. Navy Commander Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz has pled not guilty to charges against him in the affair.

In conjunction with a vast network of bribes, the firm was able to reap increasingly high profits as a component of the Obama administration’s “pivot to Asia,” in which vast military resources have been deployed to areas surrounding the Asian continent in preparation for a confrontation with the US’s global competitor, China. A 2013 Washington Post article notes that in 2009, four of the firm’s ports in Thailand and Malaysia received seven visits from US forces. One year later, the number grew to 48 visits, a sevenfold increase…

Edited/excerpted by Zuo Shou

Full article link: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/01/19/navy-j19.html

‘Cold War Two’ – excerpt from “The Anti-Empire Report” # 131 [Williamblum.org]

Posted in 9/11, Anti-communism, Assassination, Black propaganda, Corporate Media Critique, EU, European Union, Fascism, Germany, IMF - International Monetary Fund, Iraq, Malaysia, Media cover-up, Media smear campaign, Nazism, Psychological warfare, Russia, State Department, Syria, Ukraine, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War, USSR, Vietnam on November 4, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By William Blum – Published August 11th, 2014

= Cold War Two =

During Cold War One those of us in the American radical left were often placed in the position where we had to defend the Soviet Union because the US government was using that country as a battering ram against us. Now we sometimes have to defend Russia because it may be the last best hope of stopping TETATW (The Empire That Ate The World). Yes, during Cold War One we knew enough about Stalin, the show trials, and the gulags. But we also knew about US foreign policy.

E-mail sent to the Washington Post July 23, 2014 about the destruction of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17:

Dear Editor,

Your July 22 editorial was headed: “Russia’s barbarism. The West needs a strategy to contain the world’s newest rogue state.”

Pretty strong language. Vicious, even. Not one word of hard evidence in the editorial to back it up. Then, the next day, the Associated Press reported:

Senior U.S. intelligence officials said Tuesday that Russia was responsible for ‘creating the conditions’ that led to the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, but they offered no evidence of direct Russian government involvement. … the U.S. had no direct evidence that the missile used to shoot down the passenger jet came from Russia.

Where were these words in the Post? You people are behaving like a rogue newspaper.

– William Blum

I don’t have to tell you whether the Post printed my letter. I’ve been reading the paper for 25 years – six years during Vietnam (1964-1970) and the last 19 years (1995-2014) – usually spending about three hours each day reading it very carefully. And I can say that when it comes to US foreign policy the newspaper is worse now than I can remember it ever was during those 25 years. It’s reached the point where, as one example, I don’t take at face value a word the Post has to say about Ukraine. Same with the State Department, which makes one accusation after another about Russian military actions in Eastern Ukraine without presenting any kind of satellite imagery or other visual or documentary evidence; or they present something that’s wholly inconclusive and/or unsourced or citing “social media”; what we’re left with is often no more than just an accusation. 1 Do they have something to hide?

The State Department’s Public Affairs spokespersons making these presentations exhibit little regard or respect for the reporters asking challenging questions. It takes my thoughts back to the Vietnam era and Arthur Sylvester, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, the man most responsible for “giving, controlling and managing the war news from Vietnam”. One day in July 1965, Sylvester told American journalists that they had a patriotic duty to disseminate only information that made the United States look good. When one of the reporters exclaimed: “Surely, Arthur, you don’t expect the American press to be handmaidens of government,” Sylvester replied: “That’s exactly what I expect,” adding: “Look, if you think any American official is going to tell you the truth, then you’re stupid. Did you hear that? – stupid.” 2

Such frankness might be welcomed today as a breath of fresh air compared to the painful-to-observe double-talk of a State Department spokesperson.

My personal breath of fresh air in recent years has been the television station RT (formerly Russia Today). On a daily basis many progressives from around the world (myself included occasionally) are interviewed and out of their mouths come facts and analyses that are rarely heard on CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, NPR, PBS, Fox News, BBC, etc. The words of these progressives heard on RT are typically labeled by the mainstream media as “Russian propaganda”, whereas I, after a long lifetime of American propaganda, can only think: “Of course. What else are they going to call it?”

As for Russia being responsible for “creating the conditions” that led to the shooting down of Flight 17, we should keep in mind that the current series of events in Ukraine was sparked in February when a US-supported coup overthrew the democratically-elected government and replaced it with one that was more receptive to the market-fundamentalism dictates of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and the European Union. Were it not for the coup there would have been no eastern rebellion to put down and no dangerous war zone for Flight 17 to be flying over in the first place.

The new regime has had another charming feature: a number of outspoken neo-Nazis in high and low positions, a circumstance embarrassing enough for the US government and mainstream media to turn it into a virtual non-event. US Senator John McCain met and posed for photos with the leader of the neo-Nazi Svoboda Party, Oleh Tyahnybok (photos easily found on the Internet). Ukraine – whose ties to Naziism go back to World War Two when their homegrown fascists supported Germany and opposed the Soviet Union – is on track to becoming the newest part of the US-NATO military encirclement of Russia and possibly the home of the region’s newest missile base, target Moscow.

It is indeed possible that Flight 17 was shot down by the pro-Russian rebels in Eastern Ukraine in the mistaken belief that it was the Ukrainian air force returning to carry out another attack. But other explanations are suggested in a series of questions posed by Russia to the the Secretary-General of the UN General Assembly, accompanied by radar information, satellite images, and other technical displays:

“Why was a military aircraft flying in a civil aviation airway at almost the same time and the same altitude as a civilian passenger aircraft? We would like to have this question answered.”

“Earlier, Ukrainian officials stated that on the day of the accident no Ukrainian military aircraft were flying in that area. As you can see, that is not true.”

“We also have a question for our American colleagues. According to a statement by American officials, the United States has satellite images which show that the missile aimed at the Malaysian aircraft was launched by the militants. But no one has seen these images.” 3

There is also this intriguing speculation, which ties in to the first Russian question above. A published analysis by a retired Lufthansa pilot points out that Flight 17 looked similar in its tricolor design to that of Russian President Putin’s plane, whose plane with him on board was at the same time “near” Flight 17. In aviation circles “near” would be considered to be anywhere between 150 to 200 miles. 4 Could Putin’s plane have been the real target?

There is as well other serious and plausible questioning of the official story of Russia and/or Ukrainian anti-Kiev militias being responsible for the shootdown. Is Flight 17 going to become the next JFK Assassination, PanAm 103, or 9-11 conspiracy theory that lingers forever? Will the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and the Syrian chemical weapons be joined by the Russian anti-aircraft missile? Stay tuned…

Excerpted; full article link (with footnotes): http://williamblum.org/aer/read/131

Activists stage protest near U.S. Embassy in Manila [Xinhua]

Posted in Anti-USA protest, Japan, Malaysia, Obama, Pentagon, Philippines, south Korea, US foreign occupation, US imperialism, USA on May 4, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

2014-04-29

Activists rip apart a mock U.S. flag during a protest rally near the U.S. Embassy in Manila, the Philippines, April 29, 2014. U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday wrapped-up his two-day visit to the Philippines, the last leg of his four-nation Asia trip which also covered Japan, South Korea, and Malaysia…

Click link for photo article: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/photo/2014-04/29/c_133298879_2.htm

Provocative remarks by US Pacific fleet commander fuel disputes with China [World Socialist Website]

Posted in Anti-China propaganda exposure, China, China-bashing, Diaoyu Islands, Encirclement of China, Hillary Clinton, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Obama, Pentagon, Philippines, Russia, South China Sea, Taiwan, US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War, Vietnam on March 29, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Nick Beams
21 March 2014

The US has increased tensions over territorial disputes in the South and East China Seas, warning that a Crimea-like crisis could develop as a result of China’s “revanchist tendencies.”

Speaking at a meeting of the Jakarta International Defence Dialogue on Wednesday, in the presence of Chinese delegates and South-East Asian officials, the US Pacific Fleet commander, Admiral Harry Harris, pointed to the “global tensions caused by one neighbour against another in the Crimean Peninsula.”

Harris, who took up his post last October, added to his inflammatory remarks in an interview with the Financial Times on the sidelines of the conference. He said maritime tensions were at the highest point he had seen for thirty years because of what he called China’s “destabilising” influence.

“We welcome the rise of a strong and prosperous China that adheres to international norms,” he said. “What worries me though is China’s lack of transparency at times and their revanchist tendencies. I worry about that and I think it’s destabilising the region.”

The use of the term “revanchist” is significant. In diplomatic parlance it refers to a drive by a country to recover lost territory. In other words, China is accused of expansionist aims.

Replying to Harris, Sun Jianguo, the Chinese army deputy chief of general staff, rejected claims that China was responsible for increased tensions. Rather, it faced “pressing and immediate risks” because of provocations by other countries.

“We face so many disputes and some disputes are very thorny and difficult to tackle,” he said. In remarks directed at the United States, while not directly naming it, he continued: “In particular, some are trying to take advantage of these disputes to realise their own strategic objectives. Our goal is to make sure these disputes are properly managed and will not blow into conflict or war.”

The “strategic objectives” to which he referred are contained in the Obama administration’s “pivot” to Asia, which is aimed at isolating China, diplomatically and militarily in the region, with the goal of ensuring continued US dominance.

This is what is meant by the American insistence that China must adhere to “international norms.” Its economic growth is to be “welcomed,” provided China remains subordinate to the geo-political and economic relationships dictated by the US.

The US is demanding that the territorial disputes in the South China Sea, which involve China, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam, be dealt with on a multilateral basis so that Washington can intervene. China, by contrast, insists that the disputes be settled through bilateral negotiations.

The long-running territorial disputes—some have continued for more than three decades—were elevated from second-order issues into matters of global significance through the intervention of the US.

In mid-2010, even before the “pivot” was officially announced, Hillary Clinton, then secretary of state, declared that the US had a “national interest” in “freedom of navigation” in the South China, effectively giving support to Vietnam and the Philippines…

Excerpted; full article link: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/03/21/usch-m21.html

Manila’s base plan targets China [People’s Daily]

Posted in China, Diaoyu Islands, Guam, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, South China Sea, Tokyo, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War, Vietnam on August 12, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Zhao Shengnan (China Daily)
July 30, 2013

Troop relocation invites outside intervention in region, experts say

Manila’s plan to relocate its major air force and navy camps to a former US naval base near the South China Sea is designed to increase pressure on China and introduce more outside forces to the region to contain the country, experts said.

As soon as funding is available, the Philippine government plans to transfer air and naval forces, with their aircraft and warships, to Subic Bay, northwest of Manila, to gain faster access to the South China Sea, Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said on Sunday.

“It’s for the protection of our West Philippine Sea,” said Gazmin, using Manila’s newly adopted name for part of the South China Sea.

Subic’s location will cut the time it takes for fighter aircraft to get to the South China Sea by more than three minutes, compared with flying from Clark Air Base, north of Manila, where some air force planes are currently based, according to a confidential defense department document obtained by The Associated Press.

The natural deep harbor can also accommodate two large warships that the Philippines recently acquired from its ally the United States, and will grant visiting US forces, ships and aircraft temporary access to more of its military camps to allow for more joint military exercises than are currently held, the media reported.

The first US coast guard cutter was relaunched as the Philippines’ largest warship in 2011. Philippine President Benigno Aquino III will lead ceremonies on Aug 6 to welcome the second ship at Subic, the Philippine navy has said…

– Facility has long history –

Subic Bay is located about 100 km northwest of Manila Bay. It was formerly the site of US Naval Base Subic Bay, a major maritime facility. It is now an industrial and commercial area known as the Subic Bay Freeport Zone under the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority.

It holds a hallowed place in naval history. According to the SBMA’s official website:

In 1800, Spain discovered it was a naturally deep and strategically located harbor and soon built a naval fortress.

In 1898, a US fleet seized the port after destroying the Spanish fleet in the Battle of Manila Bay.

In 1909, the US navy selected it as a repair and supply depot. During the Vietnam War, Subic Bay’s piers and anchorages were used as repair and refueling stops for hundreds of ships each month.

In 1992, after almost 90 years as a US military facility, Subic Bay was turned over to the Philippines.

Excerpted; full article link: http://english.people.com.cn/90786/8345287.html