South China Sea on brink of war after world warned 'China and US planning for conflict'

China has controversially seized control of much of the South China Sea due to its Nine Dash-Line claim, a demarcation for what the country believes to be its waters. The South China Sea is hotly contested because of its lucrative shipping lanes, capacity for strategic military advantages and wealth of natural resources such as oil and minerals. At the centre of this disagreement are various island clusters such as the Spratly Islands and the Paracel Islands. 

China has had particularly tense relations with Vietnam and the Philippines over islands in the region.

And these countries have found support from the US, as Washington has sent military personnel to bases in the Philippines and provided patrol vessels to Vietnam.

However, as the US and China have grappled for control in recent years – analysts have warned on a number of occasions that there is serious risk of an accidental conflict.

Hu Bo, director of the Centre for Maritime Strategy Studies at Peking University, said that the deployment of US vessels was aimed at stopping China from taking advantage of a “power vacuum”.

Speaking in 2017, he also warned there was a risk that such incidents could result in a miscalculation and escalate into military conflict.

He added: “This kind of provocative behaviour was totally driven by political needs aimed at showing force and demonstrating strength, but that can become an accident.”

He also said that there could be parties with the US military aiming to create a small-scale and “controllable” conflict with their Chinese counterparts.

Hu Bo concluded: “However, how can you predict and control the consequences of a war?”

READ MORE: WW3 ‘threat is real’ warning amid North Korea-China row

A leaked set of photos given to a Filipino newspaper showed just how elaborate China’s development of military bases has been.

Some photographs showed cargo ships and supply vessels, which the newspaper said appeared to be delivering construction materials to the China-controlled islands.

Others show runways, hangars, control towers, helipads and radomes as well as a series of multistorey buildings that China has built on reefs.



South China Sea on brink of war after world warned 'China and US planning for conflict'

China has controversially seized control of much of the South China Sea due to its Nine Dash-Line claim, a demarcation for what the country believes to be its waters. The South China Sea is hotly contested because of its lucrative shipping lanes, capacity for strategic military advantages and wealth of natural resources such as oil and minerals. At the centre of this disagreement are various island clusters such as the Spratly Islands and the Paracel Islands. 

China has had particularly tense relations with Vietnam and the Philippines over islands in the region.

And these countries have found support from the US, as Washington has sent military personnel to bases in the Philippines and provided patrol vessels to Vietnam.

However, as the US and China have grappled for control in recent years – analysts have warned on a number of occasions that there is serious risk of an accidental conflict.

Hu Bo, director of the Centre for Maritime Strategy Studies at Peking University, said that the deployment of US vessels was aimed at stopping China from taking advantage of a “power vacuum”.

Speaking in 2017, he also warned there was a risk that such incidents could result in a miscalculation and escalate into military conflict.

He added: “This kind of provocative behaviour was totally driven by political needs aimed at showing force and demonstrating strength, but that can become an accident.”

He also said that there could be parties with the US military aiming to create a small-scale and “controllable” conflict with their Chinese counterparts.

Hu Bo concluded: “However, how can you predict and control the consequences of a war?”

READ MORE: WW3 ‘threat is real’ warning amid North Korea-China row

A leaked set of photos given to a Filipino newspaper showed just how elaborate China’s development of military bases has been.

Some photographs showed cargo ships and supply vessels, which the newspaper said appeared to be delivering construction materials to the China-controlled islands.

Others show runways, hangars, control towers, helipads and radomes as well as a series of multistorey buildings that China has built on reefs.



'China needs the UK' British power over China triggers Bejing U-turn on attack plot

A top China expert from Oxford University has explained why China will be forced into a humiliating climbdown from their threats against the UK. Reports in the Sunday papers claim that China is planning a “9/11 style cyber attack on the UK” in revenge against Britain’s stance on Hong Kong and potentially pulling out of the Huawei deal. Ministers fear China could unleash a devastating online attack on the country amid increasing tensions between London and Beijing.

After Australia adopted a similar hard line on Huawei, it was hit by a sustained large-scale cyber attack.

However, the director of Oxford University’s China Centre, Professor Rana Mitter, revealed that this was simply a bluff from the Chinese.

He said that China “needs an awful lot from the UK” and he predicted that the tense relations between London and Beijing will thaw within six months.

Speaking to LBC, Professor Mitter said China will soon realise how much it relies on Britain for some services.

JUST IN: Beijing on alert after Russia uncovers top-secret US spy plane

He called on the British to exploit this advantage, and make it “work best for the UK rather than simply being a service provider to China”.

LBC’s Andrew Castle asked: “Is China a threat to the United Kingdom?”

Professor Mitter said: “It doesn’t have to be a threat if we don’t want it to be.

“The conversation is becoming very fearful. It is all about what China could be able to do to the UK.

“China wouldn’t be so foolish to launch a massive cyber attack on the UK immediately after a Huawei decision.

“If they did, no free country would ever do a deal to China again.”

He predicted that tensions in Hong Kong will also settle down once China “realise they have a tremendous interest in keeping Hong Kong a major financial centre and actually keeping a line in some of the internationalised areas of the British economy”.

Tobias Ellwood, the chairman of the Commons defence select committee, warned that China posed more of a threat to the UK than Soviet Russia did during the Cold War.

Earlier today, the US has warned its citizens in China to “exercise increased caution” because of a heightened risk of arbitrary detention. 

The warning, sent in an email to US citizens in China, comes after Beijing passed a national security law for Hong Kong, with the legislation drafted to cover people “from outside Hong Kong”, including non-residents.



'China needs the UK' British power over China triggers Bejing U-turn on attack plot

A top China expert from Oxford University has explained why China will be forced into a humiliating climbdown from their threats against the UK. Reports in the Sunday papers claim that China is planning a “9/11 style cyber attack on the UK” in revenge against Britain’s stance on Hong Kong and potentially pulling out of the Huawei deal. Ministers fear China could unleash a devastating online attack on the country amid increasing tensions between London and Beijing.

After Australia adopted a similar hard line on Huawei, it was hit by a sustained large-scale cyber attack.

However, the director of Oxford University’s China Centre, Professor Rana Mitter, revealed that this was simply a bluff from the Chinese.

He said that China “needs an awful lot from the UK” and he predicted that the tense relations between London and Beijing will thaw within six months.

Speaking to LBC, Professor Mitter said China will soon realise how much it relies on Britain for some services.

JUST IN: Beijing on alert after Russia uncovers top-secret US spy plane

He called on the British to exploit this advantage, and make it “work best for the UK rather than simply being a service provider to China”.

LBC’s Andrew Castle asked: “Is China a threat to the United Kingdom?”

Professor Mitter said: “It doesn’t have to be a threat if we don’t want it to be.

“The conversation is becoming very fearful. It is all about what China could be able to do to the UK.

“China wouldn’t be so foolish to launch a massive cyber attack on the UK immediately after a Huawei decision.

“If they did, no free country would ever do a deal to China again.”

He predicted that tensions in Hong Kong will also settle down once China “realise they have a tremendous interest in keeping Hong Kong a major financial centre and actually keeping a line in some of the internationalised areas of the British economy”.

Tobias Ellwood, the chairman of the Commons defence select committee, warned that China posed more of a threat to the UK than Soviet Russia did during the Cold War.

Earlier today, the US has warned its citizens in China to “exercise increased caution” because of a heightened risk of arbitrary detention. 

The warning, sent in an email to US citizens in China, comes after Beijing passed a national security law for Hong Kong, with the legislation drafted to cover people “from outside Hong Kong”, including non-residents.



China is now so powerful no-one dare confront her says 'China Research Group' MP

Mr Ellwood made his remarks in the wake of last week’s brutal clashes in the disputed Ladakh region in the north of India, in which at least 23 Indian soldiers were killed in brutal hand-to-hand clashes which he said were reminiscent of the Middle Ages. On Tuesday both sides agreed to take a step back, government officials in New Delhi and Beijing said on Tuesday in an apparent bid to de-escalate the situation – but tensions remain high.

The Bournemouth East MP, who is a prominent member of Parliament’s Chinese Research Group, said he was increasingly concerned by the situation.

He added: “It’s not just the two largest nations on the planet, these are ones with nuclear weapons in their back pockets.

“Therefore we need to watch developments here very carefully.”

China has since blamed India for initiating the violence – but Mr Ellwood said: “What we are seeing with China is a greater resolve to promote its ambitions in a more aggressive style.

“There’s been the South China Sea, Hong Kong and Taiwan and now the Indian /Chinese border in eastern Kashmir.

“The last time they really went head to head was in the 1960s.

READ MORE: Kim Jong-un dead – Japan on alert after clues spotted in North Korea

In recent days, fresh evidence had emerged suggesting China was staking a claim to 80 more islands in the South China Sea, some of them underwater, he pointed out.

The situation was complicated by the lack of any obvious mechanism for mediating in the dispute.

Mr Ellwood explained: “China has managed to neutralise the international organisations which would normally arbitrate.

“If India went to the United Nations Security Council, an international resolution would not make the floor – it would be vetoed by China as a permanent member.

“Therefore China is in the perfect place – it is able to advance its own agenda, leveraging the rickety, wobbly world order that nobody is able to improve – and that’s a very dangerous place to be for the rest of us.

“What we are seeing is another front opening up in the conflict with China.”

Addressing the specifics of the Ladakh dispute, Mr Ellwood said: “It’s a bit like Kashmir between Pakistan and India.

“There are a series of localities around China which China has long-claimed going back decades.

“They have never gone beyond written or oral statements but what we are seeing now is a far more aggressive stance where they are willing to move troops into an area and – although not in this case yet – plant flags.”

Mr Ellwood cited a 1996 agreement banning guns from the Ladakh region, a similar situation to that which applied to Cold War Berlin to minimise the risk of conflict between rival soldiers.

He said: “To avoid that there is this large area in the Galwan Valley where no firearms are allowed which means that if you are going to have any impact you have go in there with bats and other things and go hand to hand in the old medieval way.

“But ironically it is abiding by the 1996 agreement.”