Monday, January 27, 2014

What Can We Do? Kasi Amaran Aja La!

Photo taken from China's MOD website regarding their fleet exercises in the South China Sea during the past week, including off James Shoal
Many may not be aware that this happened again over the weekend. Nonetheless what can we do but lodge a political protest after the fact. It is a fact of life that those who are weak will be steamrolled by the strong. Anything more will elicit a response that we may not be able to counter. And strength is something that we do not have now. And in the near term, will not. Even if the naval base in Bintulu is built tomorrow, what assets can we put there anyway without losing our presence elsewhere? On a positive side, maybe this incident may push the Government to buy a HMS Daring class ship...........


 Chinese ships patrol area contested by Malaysia 
Published: Sunday January 26, 2014 MYT 7:28:00 PM
Updated: Sunday January 26, 2014 MYT 7:34:03 PM

 A screengrab from Google Maps showing the location of James Shoal.

BEIJING (Reuters): Three Chinese ships on Sunday patrolled the James Shoal, an area also claimed by Malaysia, and soldiers and officers on board swore to safeguard its sovereignty, in the latest sign of Beijing's territorial assertiveness in the South China Sea.

The group was made up of an amphibious landing craft, the Changbaishan, and two destroyers, state news agency Xinhua said.

"During the ceremony held in the Zengmu Reef area, soldiers and officers aboard swore an oath of determination to safeguard the country's sovereignty and maritime interests," Xinhua said. Zengmu Reef is the Chinese term for James Shoal.

Xinhua said the fleet commander Jiang Weilie "urged soldiers and officers to always be prepared to fight, improve combat capabilities and lead the forces to help build the country into a maritime power".

China is in an increasingly angry dispute with its neighbours over claims to parts of the potentially oil and gas-rich South China Sea. China lays claim to almost the whole of the sea, which is criss-crossed by crucial shipping lanes.Beijing regards the James Shoal as the southernmost part of the country's territory.

Last March, Malaysia protested against the incursion of four Chinese ships in James Shoal, about 80km off Sarawak on Borneo island. Chinese sailors fired guns in the air during the visit to the shoal.
In April, a Chinese maritime surveillance ship returned to James Shoal to leave behind steel markers to assert its claim.

China upset the Philippines and the United States this month when rules went into force demanding fishing boats seek permission to enter waters under the jurisdiction of China's southern province of Hainan, an area the provincial government says covers much of the South China Sea.

Vietnam, Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines also claim other parts of the South China Sea. China has a separate dispute with Japan in the East China Sea.

(Reporting by Sui-Lee Wee; Editing by Ron Popeski)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Jumping The Gun?

Some bloggers have posted that the SKN 24 Corvettes will be downgraded based on what was said in a press conference after delivering his New Year Message to the Navy posted below.

From minute 41 it can can be seen that there is a program to install a new optical director for the SKN 24. It seems that with the installation of a new optical director on the Laksamana class corvettes, they are to be downgraded to a FAC-G class vessel. Personally I have my doubts about this but since I was not at the press conference and have not had the time to watch the video I reserve judgement because I feel that this should not have any effect on their guided missile control systems, obsolete it may be. Nonetheless the loss of its ASW capabilities as the systems has been transferred to the SKN 22 vessels as part of the SLEP program is understandable as I was made to understand that operationally the small size of the Laksamana class vessel coupled with the engine location does not allow for an effective ASW process on board.

There has been no news in the mainstream media about this yet so I hope the truth about the actual program will be revealed later.