Saturday, May 16, 2015

High Stakes Rivalry In Skies Above S China Sea, UN Urges New Israeli Government To Scrap Settlement Plans




U.S., China set For High-Stakes Rivalry In Skies Above South China Sea




When the U.S. navy sent a littoral combat ship on its first patrol of the disputed Spratly islands in the South China Sea during the past week, it was watching the skies as well.
The USS Fort Worth, one of the most modern ships in the U.S. navy, dispatched a reconnaissance drone and a Seahawk helicopter to patrol the airspace, according to a little-noticed statement on the navy's website.
While the navy didn't mention China's rapid land reclamation in the Spratlys, the ship's actions were a demonstration of U.S. capabilities in the event Beijing declares an Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the area - a move experts and some U.S. military officials see as increasingly likely.
"It's not inevitable but if we are betting paychecks I'll bet that they will eventually declare one, I just don't know when," said a senior U.S. commander familiar with the situation in Asia.
ADIZs are not governed by formal treaties or laws but are used by some nations to extend control beyond national borders, requiring civilian and military aircraft to identify themselves or face possible military interception.
"It's not inevitable but if we are betting paychecks I'll bet that they will eventually declare one, I just don't know when," said a senior U.S. commander familiar with the situation in Asia.
ADIZs are not governed by formal treaties or laws but are used by some nations to extend control beyond national borders, requiring civilian and military aircraft to identify themselves or face possible military interception.

China sparked condemnation from the United States and Japan when it imposed an ADIZ in the East China Sea, above uninhabited islands disputed with Tokyo, in late 2013.
Chinese military facilities now under construction on Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratlys, including a 3,000-metre (10,000-foot) runway and airborne early warning radars, could be operational by the year-end, said the U.S. commander, who declined to be identified.
Recent satellite images also show reclamation work on Subi Reef creating landmasses that, if joined together, could make space for a similar sized airstrip.
Growing concern in Washington that China might impose air and sea restrictions in the Spratlys once it completes work on its seven artificial islands is likely to be on the agenda when U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets Chinese leaders in Beijing this weekend for previously scheduled talks.



UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon deplored Friday the latest plans to build Jewish settlements in Palestinian territories and urged the new Israeli government to scrap the construction projects.
Ban made the appeal after the Israeli parliament late Thursday approved Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new right-wing government.
The UN chief said he “strongly deplores the advancement of settlement activities on three occasions over the past three consecutive weeks” in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem.
He pressed the “government of Israel to halt and reverse such decisions in the interest of peace and a just final status agreement.”

The United Nations has repeatedly called on Israel to halt the construction of Jewish settlements on Palestinian land, which it has branded as illegal and a move to erase the prospect of a Palestinian state.

“The international community will not recognize unilateral actions on the ground and that the status of Jerusalem can only be resolved through negotiations,” Ban said in a statement.
Robert Serry, then the outgoing UN envoy for the Middle East, told the UN Security Council in March that the settlements were threatening to “kill the very possibility of reaching peace.”
Serry, who has since been replaced by Bulgarian diplomat Nickolay Mladenov, said he did not “know if it is already too late.”



No comments: