- Deepening its "strings of pearls" strategy
of acquiring bases and cultivating ties from the Middle East to Southern
China, China is now planning a submarine facility on one of the Indonesian
islands close to the Malacca Straits, and Australia has protested this.
- Diplomatic sources said that China ostensibly wants to
protect the sealanes of communication in the Indian Ocean, especially the
transit of oil tankers from the Persian Gulf, but it is also seen as a
measure to preempt a US blockade of China's energy sources in the event
of a war with Taiwan.
- In January, The Washington Times published an internal
report for US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld in which the "strings
of pearl" strategy was posited, and the key under-construction Chinese
bases that were identified were Gwadar in Pakistan, and facilities in Bangladesh,
Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand, and the South China Sea generally, but Indonesia
is a new addition.
- The Pentagon report said, "China is building strategic
relationships along the sealanes from the Middle East to the South China
Sea in ways that suggest defensive and offensive positioning to protect
China's energy interests, but also to serve broad security objectives."
- The report added that "Chinais looking not only
to build a blue-water navy to control the sealanes, but also to develop
undersea mines and missile capabilities to deter the potential disruption
of its energy supplies from potential threats, including the US Navy, especially
in the case of a conflict with Taiwan."
- "The Iraq War, in particular," said the report,
"revived concerns over the impact of a disturbance in Middle East
supplies or a US naval blockade," adding that Chinese military leaders
wanted an ocean-going navy and "undersea retaliatory capability to
protect the sealanes."
- As a direct consequence of such thinking, China will
mass the Indian Ocean with attack submarines, and sources do not rule out
deployment of nuclear submarines as well.
- Because of anomalies in GPS data immediately available
to undersea submarines, diplomatic sources warned that there would be a
growing number of Chinese territorial violations in respect of India, and
Australia has already objected to the upcoming Chinese facility in Indonesia.