Friday, March 13, 2009

Rattling Sabers in the South China Sea

The South China Sea is a rather interesting place right now. Appropriately, in the Chinese sense of the word.

North Korea is planning a "Satellite Launch," a well worn code-phrase for a ballistic missile test of the kind that the United Soviet Socialist States used to launch their satellites into space and test their ICBM's.

They are planning it during the annual US-South Korea Training Exercises, Operation Key Resolve, a defensive training exercise designed to simulate a North Korean Invasion across the 38th Parallel.

North Korea claims that these "War Games," which have been held annually since 1976, are pretexts to prepare for an invasion, a standard claim used by dictators in a Closed Fear Society to control their populace and claim an external threat against the populace and the state.

The US Navy and the Japanese Self Defense Fleet are currently planning to shoot down the missile, no matter the payload, to show North Korea that NATO and the US Major Non-NATO Allies mean business.

North Korea has thus threatened to destroy any aircraft not associated with North Korea that strays into the DPRK Air Space. Normally an Empty Threat, North Korea is not above doing so, as their history of sabotage and attempts to assassinate South Korean Leaders shows.

At this same time, the USNS Impeccable (T-AGOS-23), an Ocean Surveillance Vessel built atop a Catamaran Hull. It belongs to the Navy Sea Lift Command, and trails sonar probes to search for Chinese Submarines and track the conditions of under-sea fault lines in the area.

On March 8th, five vessels of the Chinese Navy shadowed the vessel, as Fishing Trawlers, many flying the flag fo the PRC, began to hamper the movements of the ship, stopping in fron of the vessel and forcing emergency "All Stop" manuevers by the US Navy to prevent an impact that would cause an International Incident.

This is just the latest in a long string of incidents between the Impeccable and the People's Liberation Army Navy, many of which resulted in Intelligence Gathering Ships contacting the Impeccable and threatening it with "Consequences" should it not leave the South China Sea, which the PRC has claimed as territorial waters. This despite constant incursions into American Territorial Waters by Chinese Fishing Ships, and Chinese Oil Rigs.

Don't you just love Hypocrites?

Now, the United States Navy Seventh Fleet is steaming for the Hainan Straight, home of China's primary Submarine Base, and a stand off is here.

Soon, North Korea's Missile will launch, and more than likely fall into the sea near Japan's coast, if it is not shot down outright.

Will North Korea follow through with their threat? Only time will tell...