Former admiral warns about China’s actions!

Japanese scene:
Katsuya Yamamoto said China is telling its soldiers and sailors that whatever happens in the waters west of the first island chain is a domestic matter.

A former Japanese navy admiral told a defense forum that the international community should take note of China’s „grey zone” activities by its maritime militia and coast guard west of the first island chain, an area where Beijing seeks to establish full control. Taipei on Friday.

China is exploiting freedom of navigation by deploying its maritime fighters in international waters to increase its „grey zone” operations, Katsuya Yamamoto, who was in the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force, told an international conference on sea lane security. Marine Affairs Council and National Sun Yat-sen University.

„Grey zone” operations refer to actions that fall between traditional concepts of war and peace, usually involving ambiguous or non-traditional methods aimed at achieving strategic objectives without overtly crossing the threshold for open conflict.

Photo: Reuters

Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft continue to cross the median line of the Taiwan Strait and are considered to be within the scope of China’s operations. In the past few months, the Philippines has used its coast guard and maritime militia to intimidate ships operating near the second Thomas Shoal (Renai Shoal, 仁愛暗沙) in the Spratly Islands (Nansha Islands, 南沙群島) – which Taiwan also claims. Deployed military-grade lasers and water cannons against them.

China is blocking fishermen from visiting traditional fishing grounds within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, negatively affecting local economies, foreign media reported.

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China has accused Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party of increasing pressure for independence and asserted its right to patrol waters around the Spratly Islands.

Yamamoto, who now heads the security studies program at the Tokyo-based Sasakawa Peace Foundation, said China’s maritime fighters are part of the PLA and have participated in wars, including the 1979 Sino-Vietnam War.

Under international humanitarian law, maritime combatants are defined as a regular part of a country’s armed forces and a combatant, he said.

China instills in its soldiers and sailors the idea that whatever happens in the waters west of the first island chain — a string of islands from the Japanese archipelago through Taiwan and the Philippines to Borneo, Indonesia — is a „domestic matter.”

Based on that premise, all hostile elements west of the chain would have to be eliminated — which would fall to the Chinese coast guard, he said.

The Chinese coast guard is different from its foreign counterparts because it functions as a „full-fledged naval force,” he said, which can operate independently even if China increases its „gray zone” operations, with the coast guards of Taiwan, Japan and the Philippines in such a situation requiring the support of their respective navies.

If democracies ignore the „gray zone” situation that China wants to establish with its maritime fighters, the international order will turn into a „Chinese-style international order” envisioned by Beijing, Yamamoto said.

It is important for the international community to increase visibility and transparency of what is happening in the waters west of the island chain, share intelligence and collectively condemn and push back against challenges to the „status quo.”

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