Korea, China, Japan and the U.S a conflict breweing.

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I'll admit I'am not an expert on the subject but from what I know China supports North Korea which has been building up its missile technology which has Japan on edge as well as the U.S. North Korea has always been a concern for South Korea and Japan not to mention other rising capitalist hot spots in the region. Of course the U.S is interested in keeping N Korea from becoming powerful and if a war broke out between N Korea and S Korea or Japan the U.S would step in then China would on the the side of N Korea but who knows what side Russia would side with; probably China.

In my opinion this scenario is more concerning in terms of large scale world war then whats happening in the middle east.

Thoughts?

Friendly Lich:
I'll admit I'am not an expert on the subject but from what I know China supports North Korea which has been building up its missile technology which has Japan on edge as well as the U.S. North Korea has always been a concern for South Korea and Japan not to mention other rising capitalist hot spots in the region. Of course the U.S is interested in keeping N Korea from becoming powerful and if a war broke out between N Korea and S Korea or Japan the U.S would step in then China would on the the side of N Korea but who knows what side Russia would side with; probably China.

In my opinion this scenario is more concerning in terms of large scale world war then whats happening in the middle east.

Thoughts?

.
Why now. Just tell me why do you think there would be a conflict now or very soon between the two Koreas?

The thing is that China only supports N.Korea to a limited extent. China does not want N.Korea to collapse but it is extremely doubtful they would be willing to go to war to prevent it. If a conflict breaks out-which is doubtful, the US and South Korea would crush N.Korea and China would do little to stop them. Ultimately with the current status quo of Chinas economic and military strength growing quickly, China has no reason to rock the boat so to speak by engaging in a war in which it stands to gain nothing and lose everything.

Gashad:
The thing is that China only supports N.Korea to a limited extent. China does not want N.Korea to collapse but it is extremely doubtful they would be willing to go to war to prevent it. If a conflict breaks out-which is doubtful, the US and South Korea would crush N.Korea and China would do little to stop them. Ultimately with the current status quo of Chinas economic and military strength growing quickly, China has no reason to rock the boat so to speak by engaging in a war in which it stands to gain nothing and lose everything.

This is a good point, apparently just now China landed its first fighter jet on an simulated aircraft carrier. Without an air force they would be defeated.

EDIT: They landed a jet for the first time on an aircraft carrier. They have had jets for awhile.

China has joined the rest of the world, they too have demanded that N.Korea comply with the UN Security Council.

Probably ever since they conducted their first nuclear weapons test China has taken a much harder stance on N.Korea. They voted for UN sanctions after the test. The last thing China wants is a war to erupt because that will result in millions of N.Korean refugees heading to the border. China seems to be growing tired of N.Korean antics, there just is not benefit in their relationship anymore now that China is an economic powerhouse.

Destabilizing the region could also lead to Japan re-militarizing. While fairly irrelevant in today, in a possible future where war does break out on a large scale, a militarized Japan and US would not end well for China. This has been speculated as a reason why China want to keep N.Korea stable. I don't really but it though. While China does have a large military, they seem more interested in developing their economic power. The globalized economy means that major trading nations are in a symbiotic relationship, if they go to war the economic collapse will destroy each country before bombs.

China views North Korea as an embarrassment and, while they will pay lip service to supporting them, it is soley because they are deeply invested in the lie that communism has helped the DPRK. The PRC will not go to war for them as, to be entirely frank, they don't want a war with the Western blocks and the ROK is more important to the US than the DPRK is to the PRC.

That is not to say that any conflict will be a small time affair, it will likely be the largest armed conflict since the second world war.

Friendly Lich:
This is a good point, apparently just now China landed its first fighter jet on an simulated aircraft carrier. Without an air force they would be defeated.

I don't know where you get your info, but it's wholly incorrect. The Chinese army isn't something the average country wants to mess with. While certainly not nr 1 in the world and likely winner of every potential armed conflict, nobody can (financially) afford to take them on.

Fortunately China has no motive to start or join an armed conflict, except perhaps to enforce their colonial policies in Africa against a third world country.

Blablahb:

Friendly Lich:
This is a good point, apparently just now China landed its first fighter jet on an simulated aircraft carrier. Without an air force they would be defeated.

I don't know where you get your info, but it's wholly incorrect. The Chinese army isn't something the average country wants to mess with. While certainly not nr 1 in the world and likely winner of every potential armed conflict, nobody can (financially) afford to take them on.

Fortunately China has no motive to start or join an armed conflict, except perhaps to enforce their colonial policies in Africa against a third world country.

I read this http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/25/world/asia/china-aircraft-carrier-landing/index.html and as I said in my first post I'am no expert.

China's been pretty pissed here recently towards North Korea. China doesn't really consider itself beholden to North Koreans but rather the North Koreans are beholden to them, meaning Korea will back up china but china won't back up Korea unless they have a good reason.

this probably won't happen, as has been mentioned, the chinese most likely wouldn't support the DPRK militarily (even if they did, it would be minimal at best) so if south K, japan and the USA go after north K, they (North K) will probably get trodden on.

Blablahb:

Friendly Lich:
This is a good point, apparently just now China landed its first fighter jet on an simulated aircraft carrier. Without an air force they would be defeated.

I don't know where you get your info, but it's wholly incorrect. The Chinese army isn't something the average country wants to mess with. While certainly not nr 1 in the world and likely winner of every potential armed conflict, nobody can (financially) afford to take them on.

Fortunately China has no motive to start or join an armed conflict, except perhaps to enforce their colonial policies in Africa against a third world country.

Only problem being that the Chinese Liberation Army has very little usable logistics capacities outside Chinese borders.

Should be more worried about the Chinese Liberation Navy.

Friendly Lich:

Blablahb:

Friendly Lich:
This is a good point, apparently just now China landed its first fighter jet on an simulated aircraft carrier. Without an air force they would be defeated.

I don't know where you get your info, but it's wholly incorrect. The Chinese army isn't something the average country wants to mess with. While certainly not nr 1 in the world and likely winner of every potential armed conflict, nobody can (financially) afford to take them on.

Fortunately China has no motive to start or join an armed conflict, except perhaps to enforce their colonial policies in Africa against a third world country.

I read this http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/25/world/asia/china-aircraft-carrier-landing/index.html and as I said in my first post I'am no expert.

China has an air force and they don't really need carriers to base aircraft to send into the Korean Peninsula. Even if they were going go into war, they would probably not send their carrier as it would be under threat from US submarines.

On Topic: North Korea's kept the region three steps from open conflict for a while. This isn't anything really new. In the event of war, three things are certain:

1) Seoul will be decimated. NK long range artillery are set up all along their side of the DMZ in hardened bunkers aimed at the SK capital and will easily get off a few thousand shells before they are taken out/over by invading military forces.

2) North Korea will loose. China nor the US are clearly not interested in entering an open military conflict with each other and any strike or invasion into NK will be with permission and passivity of either party (likely Chinese authorization of a US operation). Without Chinese support (arguably one of the few reasons they survived the Korean War), North Korea cannot win an open military conflict with a major first-world military force.

3) It will be very messy. The determining factor will be whether the operation into NK would be a disabling mission (see Gulf War I) or a full invasion and overthrow of the NK government (Gulf War II). If it is the latter, that puts the NK leadership in a dangerous corner and they may be willing to use WMD and/or anti-civilian tactics in response. This doesn't even cover the civilian casualties from the initial bombardment by NK forces. All in all, expect a very high death toll for a modern war in the event of war.

Thing is, even if N. Korea were to be reunified with the South, the overwhelming costs of taking on their (essentially) impoverished nation would be tremendous, with some studies saying that it would cost over two trillion dollars over thirty years. As such, I can tell you, no government or even average person in the South is really wanting that to happen. That and the fact that were war to actually break out, a good portion of Seoul would be decimated, as others have pointed out.

Additionally, we'd have to keep in mind how difficult it is for defectors to even integrate themselves into S. Korean society. Many now find it hard to trust people, can't hold down even basic jobs, are sometimes stunted mentally due to malnutrition during childhood, are more at risk for committing suicide and are generally afraid of advanced technology. Reintegrating people into such a vastly different society than they are used to would be an overwhelming task to be taken on. I'm not saying ideally it shouldn't be done, but just giving reasons why S. Korea doesn't really have any desire to get into it with the North. At this point, people feel that reason is better used than force.

Thing is, I don't even think the North would want to get into it for real. They consistently don't have enough food to feed their people, there are rolling blackouts in Pyongyang, their capital fucking city, because they can't provide enough power and their army is pretty much rubbish. Unless they had China's full support (which others have pointed out, they probably wouldn't have), they'd get fucked good and proper. Kim Jong-Un might be an ego-maniacal dictator, but I don't for a second think he is that suicidal.

N. Korea is probably one of the worst places on Earth to live these days but the situation is simply not resolvable at the moment. Not without a lot of bloodshed. Liberating N. Korea is a zero sum game and none of the players are interested in starting it up, as far as I can see.

China doesn't actually "like" or want to back up the N.Korea regime.

the wikileaks cables leaks revealed a lot of embarrassing top secret, top level diplomatic exchanges between China and the US on the subject of N.Korea.

what they actually want to happen is the peaceful reunification of Korea, for it to be prosperous and stable and even for the unified capital to be Seoul...and no they don't want this under "communist" government before anyone suggests it...what they really want a unified Korea for is stability and direct high level trade across what would be their shared land border.

all of this was revealed in the cable leaks and you can probably find reports of it if you go googling.

from a geopolitical and economic pov this serves China (and the rest of the world) far, far better than any war.

atm N.Korea is something like having a relative who is "off the rails" that they are expected to take care of and they can't walk away from (if i remember rightly they even called the regime "a petulant child" during one discussion with the US).

it's a historical legacy they would rather not have. a hand dealt by inconvenient history.

yes they give food aid etc and yes they are theoretically tied by various historical obligations but in truth they don't like the situation anymore than the rest of us do and they are certainly not enamoured with the regime.

and btw people who see unification as purely an outgoing cost...you have a serious blind spot there...economically what you miss is potential for growth and how attractive that is for investment.

basically as soon as "the wall" went down the place would be flooded with entrepreneurs and investors as Korea would basically have gained an in-house "emerging economy".

so atm in some people opinion its a backwards shithole...so was communist Poland (one of the best performing economies in Europe during the current economic mess only 30 years later), so was East Germany (unified Germany is the now economic powerhouse of Europe) so was (and i make my apologies in advance) the North American continent before colonisation...

money is not a finite thing, it's created by peoples labour.
more people is not actually a simplistic disadvantage...

if the North Koreans take to Capitalism even half as well as their Southern relatives then imo a unified Korea would do just fine over a sensibly realistic time-scale (a few decades if the conversion of former European communist states is anything to go by).

and as for people who say the South somehow doesn't want unification...a country that is thousands of years old was artificiality split by an arbitrary line. you may think because that line is a some decades old that doesn't matter to the people of S.Korea because they are well off but people (on both sides) do care when what they see as "their country" has been schismed in such a way.

even today people queue to try and enter and gain contact with relatives in the North, to try and see parts of "their" country behind "the wall" and the situation sits heavy in the national consciousness (and not just because of the threat of the N.Korean regime).

money is not the be all and end all of existence and decision making.

if it were we would still have an separate East Germany at the heart of Europe because West Germany would simply have said "no" to reunification but when the wall came down the chances of that happening we're ABSOLUTELY ZERO.

no, what i witnessed that day was a nation of people many of whom were weeping openly in the streets with unadulterated joy...

most Koreans very probably feel much the same as the Chinese. ie that there is only one Korea and what exists atm is hopefully a blip, a historical aberration in a far longer and greater history that they share as a single nation and people.

ultimately imo some things are more important than petty bean counting.

that may raise heckles from some Americans given your own culture ("its all about the Benjamins" etc, etc) but even the US has made major historical decisions in the pursuit of more abstract goals...indeed some might say that when you have its perhaps been the very best of your history...

Why on earth would China and Japan go to war when their two economies are heavily dependent on each other? The current hostilities are just a pissing contest and most likely won't turn into anything more serious.

chewbacca1010:
Thing is, even if N. Korea were to be reunified with the South, the overwhelming costs of taking on their (essentially) impoverished nation would be tremendous, with some studies saying that it would cost over two trillion dollars over thirty years. As such, I can tell you, no government or even average person in the South is really wanting that to happen. That and the fact that were war to actually break out, a good portion of Seoul would be decimated, as others have pointed out.

Additionally, we'd have to keep in mind how difficult it is for defectors to even integrate themselves into S. Korean society. Many now find it hard to trust people, can't hold down even basic jobs, are sometimes stunted mentally due to malnutrition during childhood, are more at risk for committing suicide and are generally afraid of advanced technology. Reintegrating people into such a vastly different society than they are used to would be an overwhelming task to be taken on. I'm not saying ideally it shouldn't be done, but just giving reasons why S. Korea doesn't really have any desire to get into it with the North. At this point, people feel that reason is better used than force.

Thing is, I don't even think the North would want to get into it for real. They consistently don't have enough food to feed their people, there are rolling blackouts in Pyongyang, their capital fucking city, because they can't provide enough power and their army is pretty much rubbish. Unless they had China's full support (which others have pointed out, they probably wouldn't have), they'd get fucked good and proper. Kim Jong-Un might be an ego-maniacal dictator, but I don't for a second think he is that suicidal.

N. Korea is probably one of the worst places on Earth to live these days but the situation is simply not resolvable at the moment. Not without a lot of bloodshed. Liberating N. Korea is a zero sum game and none of the players are interested in starting it up, as far as I can see.

.
You're wrong about the costs of unification. It cost 1.5 Trillion Euros to unify West and East Germany, but after two decades it had bounced back to becoming one of the leading economic powers in the world. Korea would gain a tremendous advantage if the north is annexed peacefully - HORDES or unskilled labor could flood the markets and in a few years the capital in the south could spread northwards and be invested in enhancing infrastructure, social programs to help the citizens of the north and exploit more of that land's resources. I'm sure that most of the North Koreans would love to see the forceful programs against them stopped, and in half a generation you could see them completely all turned away from the teachings of the rulers of N. Korea... well, except for the ruling class. They gonna get lynched, HARD.

MrPeanut:

Blablahb:

Friendly Lich:
This is a good point, apparently just now China landed its first fighter jet on an simulated aircraft carrier. Without an air force they would be defeated.

I don't know where you get your info, but it's wholly incorrect. The Chinese army isn't something the average country wants to mess with. While certainly not nr 1 in the world and likely winner of every potential armed conflict, nobody can (financially) afford to take them on.

Fortunately China has no motive to start or join an armed conflict, except perhaps to enforce their colonial policies in Africa against a third world country.

Only problem being that the Chinese Liberation Army has very little usable logistics capacities outside Chinese borders.

Should be more worried about the Chinese Liberation Navy.

The media call it an aircraft carrier. It's actually an "aviation cruiser". And they only have one. It can carry one full squadron of Su-33 multi-role tactical fighters. Actually, they're called J-8's but they're just copies of the Su-33. By using the "ski-jump" technique to get airborne you limit the payload the aircraft can haul into the air compared to the steam catapaults used on US Navy ships. Useful for fleet defence (an air-to-air loadout is lighter than a mud moving loadout), but limited for anything else. We learned that in the Falklands. We got the job done, but theatre commanders, pilots and everyone else concerned knew that they were able to mount a fraction of the operations we could have if we had still had the "cats and traps" carriers in the fleet.

The US Navy has a dozen full fledged "cats and traps" angled-deck carriers, each with several squadrons of F/A-18D Super Hornets, to be replaced in a few years by the F-35. The Super Bug can carry a pretty useful bombload over massive distances by comparison to any other carrier aircraft with the exception of the French Rafael (which has a whole bunch of problems of its own).

The Peoples Liberation Army Navy (that's what they call it, as all the Chinese armed forces fall under the umbrella of the PLA) has a decent sized fleet, but it's mostly made up of ship types copied from 60's and 70's era Soviet stuff. Their submarine fleet is known to be pretty crappy as well with the exception of a handful of exceptionally quiet diesel-electric boats, but those are not really designed as "blue water" (ie deep ocean) boats. Sure, they're the biggest kid on block in regional terms, but let's be honest - how long would the US sit out of a resource war in the pacific? (Hint: probably not as long as they sat out the last one).

The US Los Angeles class, while getting long in the tooth now, is more than up to dealing with the chinese submarine threat, and the newer Seawolf and Connecticut class boats are on a par with the Royal Navy's Astute class (acknowledged to be the best in the world). Modern US Navy warships and submarines would tear the PLAN apart just as quickly as the RoE's allowed them to.

As for the most likely conflict to arise involving China, I suspect it's most likely to erupt over territorial claims for potentially mineral-rich areas of the pacific. See the recent willy-waving going on between China and Japan over a couple of tiny little rocks in the middle of nowhere. Ocean floors that were too deep to extract oil from just a couple of decades ago are now feasible to drill. Admittedly, it's still tricky and probably best not to let BP anywhere near it, but nonetheless new oilfields are opening up all the time. China is a net importer of oil, and it costs them a fucking fortune because they use so much of the damn stuff.

A land war against the PLA would be painful for anyone else concerned simply because there are so fucking many of them. At sea and in the air though, the common wisdom holds that the US would hang their naval and air forces out to dry in a conventional conflict. It's why they've never made a move against Taiwan. No point being able to land 50 million troops if you can't get food, ammunition and all the various bits and pieces of kit needed to sustain a ground campaign to them.

[EDIT] To add:

Esotera:
Why on earth would China and Japan go to war when their two economies are heavily dependent on each other? The current hostilities are just a pissing contest and most likely won't turn into anything more serious.

Means nothing. Who do you think Germany's economy was most closely tied with prior to 1939? That would be France. And between then and June 1941? Russia. Hell, the first waves of troops heading east in the invasion of the USSR passed goods and grain trains heading in the opposite direction. Historically, wars tend to break out between powers that have co-dependant or intertwined economies.

Actually the PLN operates a modern submarine fleet and that's where their real striking power is.

It doesn't really matter how big or how many ships anyone has when Submarines are disrupting your sea commerce.

Modern missile submarines also have the ability to strike against land targets and harbors at a very long range.

MrPeanut:
Actually the PLN operates a modern submarine fleet and that's where their real striking power is.

It doesn't really matter how big or how many ships anyone has when Submarines are disrupting your sea commerce.

Modern missile submarines also have the ability to strike against land targets and harbors at a very long range.

They have 50 diesel electric boats (SSK's), 30 of which are of designs dating back to the 70's. They are, in comparison to western types, noisy and easily tracked and killed. The more modern Yuan and Kilo class submarines are much quieter (NATO ASW crews used to call the Kilo the "hole in the water") but are still getting on in years while western sonar techniques have advanced steadily. SSK's have very limited use in deep water operations and are extremely vulnerable to detection when they have to pop a snorkel above the surface to recharge the batteries.

They have 2 conventional ballistic missile boats (SSG's), an old Soviet Golf class and Type 043 which is essentially a copy of the Golf. Both known to be relatively easy to track and kill, especially once they've given their position away during missile launches.

They have 5 Han class nuclear attack submarines (SSN's) all dating back to the 60's. By modern standards their reactors are noisy and modern western boats would have no trouble finding and killing them.

Additionally, they have 4 Type 093 Shang class boats which went into service in 2002.

There are also the Type 094 Jin class (4 of 'em) and Type 092 Xia (1) nuclear ballistic missile (SSBN's) which don't really factor into conventional submarine warfare as their primary mission is to hide and wait for a launch order. The Xia was known to be noisy and crude.

Crucially, the entire Chinese submarine program is more or less based on Russian technology. After the end of the cold war we discovered just how far behind the west they actually were with sonar technology. Their "modern" submarine fleet is at best comprised of 50% obsolete types with many of the remaining types unsuited to anything other than coastal/shallow water ops.

Don't forget that the US Navy are pretty much the only game in town any more when it comes to ASW aircraft ops, and it happens they've gotten pretty good at it. Which they ought to be, as they train against their own boats which are among the best in the world.

As the US would almost certainly not sit back and take no action, it's likely that one by one the PLAN would find themselves losing contact with one boat after another.

Esotera:
Why on earth would China and Japan go to war when their two economies are heavily dependent on each other? The current hostilities are just a pissing contest and most likely won't turn into anything more serious.

Unfortunately, economic ties have never been an impediment to war. Germany's biggest trading partners before both world wars were the nations they ended up being in war with. Hell, Germany was getting more raw materials from the Soviet Union before the war than they ever got during the invasion. Humans can be stupid like that sometimes.

OT. The biggest concerns China has over Korean unification seems to be
1) The worry of large numbers of North Korean refugees crossing the border into China.
2) Who's going to foot the bill for rebuilding/modernizing the peninsula after the conflict.
3) Whether or not such a conflict, should the unification happen through armed conflict) spark a wider war.

The Chinese don't seem to be very concerned with the government of their neighbor, just whether or not he's a quiet and/or profitable one for them.

guys...i was RNR (and cadets before that), was head-hunted to be an Artificer in RN because of my engineering aptitude (but turned it down) and i love the big boys toys as much as anyone (well ships mostly because of BIG engineering...) and personally i could type up 3 or 4 pages on the history of the Varyag/Macau Floating Casino/Liaoning saga and the rest of Chinese aircraft carrier program because i've followed it for long time with great interest. hell, i was even tracking it's transit from the Black Sea via satellite at one point...

but i didn't.

and it seems to me some people in this topic are doing the same thing some people do in gun control topics and letting their interest in and their desire to display their knowledge of the toys that might come into play colour their posts on the actual topic at hand...

a "comparison of military forces" discussion somewhat takes the inferred starting position that "they would have a war of conquest if they could!" which tbth is position of near cold war level paranoia and nowhere near the geopolitical reality unless there's a PLA coup in the near future which is highly unlikely.

China knows what its challenges are for the next 10 years and beyond. they've just spent months in an internal kerfuffle trying to choose the right leader and set baseline policies to pursue in order to deal with them and "WAR!" was not anyones answer to anything.

China is one of the largest nations on the face of Earth. its entirely right and proper that it has a proportionally decent military and seeks to modify and modernise its existing military it as emerges as a developed nation and at the end of the day that's what they'll do and that is right and proper just as it is for any nation. as some have pointed out their stuff up until now has been few and far between and pretty shit. now they have some bucks to spend they want better toys. none of this actually means however that they are emerging as bloodthirsty warmongers. it is simply inevitable as the nation emerges and takes its somewhat rightful place in the world as the home of nearly a quarter of all of Humanity.

just a friendly nudge in the ribs.

A war on the peninsula at this point in time is almost incredibly unlikely, and at this point its almost certain China would not side with North Korea. The PRC has to much of a vested interest in trade with the US and other western Nations and a war with the US over Korea would throw one hell of monkey wrench in that. Now is it possible for North Korea to start a war on its own? Yes but unlikely as they are probably well aware that their chance of success in such a war would be approximately zero.

Shock and Awe:
A war on the peninsula at this point in time is almost incredibly unlikely, and at this point its almost certain China would not side with North Korea. The PRC has to much of a vested interest in trade with the US and other western Nations and a war with the US over Korea would throw one hell of monkey wrench in that. Now is it possible for North Korea to start a war on its own? Yes but unlikely as they are probably well aware that their chance of success in such a war would be approximately zero.

Currently, they are saying they support North Korea just to avoid off the run off of a war or the huge amounts of refugees that would be fleeing across the border. Pretending to support the unpopular, ungrateful (all food and energy donations to North Korea is called "war reperations" or "stolen from US military bases"), and unprofitable (any "trade deal" China has with the North is done at a sever loss, if not just gifts) would be far, far, FAR more costly than it would be to them if war brake out.

As you said, I doubt they would support the North Korea, even if the South invaded with the stated intention to "rape and pillage," but nobody at the board can afford to call China's bluff.

its a shitty situation. a leftover creation of the cold war that sits like a boil on the arse of the world.

its not the only one ofc.

i mean the US had no small hand in the creation of al-qaeda (to fight the Russians in Afghanistan) and look what became of that and there have been plenty others...

tbth imo we have all been quite lucky that the fall out from the cold war has been relatively manageable & containable.

part of me kinda hopes Pyongyang does do something stupid so we can all jump on them (Chinese included) and clear it up once and for all but if that happens your talking about the potential death of gawd knows how many brainwashed and forced to fight north Koreans...

then again it maybe the thing that gets China to play a more involved role in world affairs (y'know as opposed to just being the bogeyman to those who fear its rise :P)

we need to clone Kissinger or some other geopolitical "big picture" boffin or some shit...

on the trade issue China doesn't want to trade with a communist N.Korea or communist reunified Korea.
what they want is a stable unified capitalist Korea ala S.Korea with which they share a direct land border.
the reasons for that are pretty obvious and straight forward. its a bit like the choice between having Mexico and Canada as neighbours...i mean seriously you'd rather have what was in effect two Canadas right ?..

well off, stable, a full trading partner etc, etc

supposedly shared political ideologies has bugger all to do with it at this point in history...

Sleekit:

a "comparison of military forces" discussion somewhat takes the inferred starting position that "they would have a war of conquest if they could!" which tbth is position of near cold war level paranoia and nowhere near the geopolitical reality

Except is actually isn't. It's a simple statement of why they would get their backside handed to them if they did. And you can't ever say with 100% certainty what will and won't happen. How many of us in the late 80's could have predicted the fall of the wall and the dissolution of the USSR? It even caught the CIA by surprise for goodness' sake. And let's not forget that in 1919, the world convinced itself there could never be another Great War. How did that work out again...? The "geopolitical reality" is only valid in the "here and now". It can change literally at a moments notice. Anyone who hasn't been asleep since 1988 knows this.

Sleekit:
none of this actually means however that they are emerging as bloodthirsty warmongers.

I never suggested that they were. I was merely offering up a reason why they would be eaten for breakfast at sea if the balloon ever did go up. Mind you, quite why anyone needs a standing army of over 100 million troops if they aren't at least prepared to roll their sleeves up if they see a need to is an interesting question in itself...

Don't forget they've gone on record threatening the neighbours with force before - why do you think Taiwan has never been officially recognised as a sovereign state by the US or UN? Might have something to do with China saying they would invade if it happened. They would probably lose, but the political fallout (and worse) would be disastrous for everyone.

Don't forget, this is a nation that within living memory happily butchered their own citizens under the spotlights of the worlds media (Tiananmen Square ring any bells?) and frankly didn't give a fuck what the world thought. They still happily stick two fingers up to everyone else when it suits them, and should never be relied on not to do whatever they see fit regardless of whether the rest of us like it.

please don't take it personally srm79. i just get fed up with the China bogeyman narrative.

you obviously like and know much of the tools of war and i accept and appreciate that (so do i :) ) that but way to many ill informed people comment on far to hastily on the nature of China, it's people, society and government.

as for Taiwanese recognition this is mainly due to the "One China" policy which they both agreed too not a threat of invasion. "there is only one China" and you can only diplomatically recognise one of them as per their bi-lateral and consensual agreement. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One-China_policy

Tiananmen Square...there is far more grey around Tiananmen Square than anti Chinese retoric might have you believe...the influence and encouragement from the foreign media at the time on the protesters both taking their cue from the changes that were taking place in the USSR and encouraging political dissent that within a state that was no where near the cusp of similar change ...the impassioned speech by Zhao Ziyang directly to the students on the ground...the purges of those who were considered to have gone too far in their attempts to suppress the unrest...and of those who went to far to appease them.

Shortly before 5 A.M. on the morning of 19 May, Zhao Ziyangs (General Secretary of the Communist Party of China at the time) appeared in Tiananmen Square and wandered among the crowd of protesters. Using a bullhorn, he delivered a now-famous speech (during which he was crying btw) to the students gathered at the square. It was first broadcast through China Central Television nationwide. Here is a translated version:

Students, we came too late. We are sorry. You talk about us, criticize us, it is all necessary. The reason that I came here is not to ask for your forgiveness. What I want to say is that you are all getting weak, it has been seven days since you went on a hunger strike, you can't continue like this. As time goes on, your body will be damaged beyond repair, it could be very life-threatening. Now the most important thing is to end this strike. I know, your hunger strike is to hope that the Party and the government will give you a satisfying answer. I feel that our communication is open. Some of these problems can only be solved through certain procedures. For example, you have mentioned about the nature of the incident, the question of responsibility; I feel that those problems can be resolved eventually, we can reach a mutual agreement in the end. However, you should also know that the situation is very complicated, it is going to be a long process. You can't continue the hunger strike longer than seven days, and still insist on receiving a satisfying answer before ending the hunger strike.

You are still young, there are still many days yet to come, you must live healthy, and see the day when China accomplishes the four modernizations. You are not like us, we are already old, it doesn't matter to us anymore. It is not easy for this nation and your parents to support your college studies. Now you are all about 20, and about to sacrifice your lives so easily, students, couldn't you think rationally? Now the situation is very serious, you all know, the Party and the nation is very antsy, our society is very worried. Besides, Beijing is the capital, the situation is getting worse and worse everywhere, this cannot continue. Students, you all have good will, and are for the good of our nation, but if this situation continues, loses control, it will have serious consequences elsewhere.

In conclusion, I have only one wish. If you stop hunger strike, the government won't close the door for dialogue, never! The questions that you have raised, we can continue to discuss. Although it is a little slow, but we are reaching some agreement on some problems. Today I just want to see the students, and express our feelings. I hope students could think about this issues calmly. This thing can not be sorted out clearly under illogical situations. You all have that strength, you are young after all. We were also young before, we protested, laid our bodies on the rail tracks, we never thought about what will happen in the future at that time. Finally, I beg the students once again, think about the future calmly. There are many things that can be solved. I hope that you will all end the hunger strike soon, thank you.

do those sound like the words of an inhuman dictatorship to you ? have you ever seen or heard of this famous speech ? because i suspect not. best not to humanise "the enemy" eh ?

anyway what happened after this is that because Zhao Ziyang (and the others who were inclined towards reform) could not bring about an end to the protest they lost the internal debate and their power within the party, the hard liners took control, he was stripped of his position and martial law was declared.

oh and one more, rather notable, thing: there was no actual "Tiananmen Square massacre".

what you suggest happened in front of the worlds media didn't actually happen in way people talk about it at all and there is no footage which shows the events as people think they happened.

the Chinese version of the events that followed (that the army opened fire on protesters outside the centre of Beijing, as they fought their way towards the square from the west of the city) was actually confirmed in the US cable leaks released by wikileaks.

in short the demonstrations themselves (very much brought about by outside influences) sadly ended up actually bringing about about an enormous set back in the progress of reform and the removal of many of the reformers within the government including the general secretary himself.

a shitty chain of events for sure but not one many people understand, nor the simplistic act of an "evil" regime...and that's not even going touching on the Chinese understanding of "democracy"...those students weren't actually campaigning for the removal of the communist party or the sitting government y'know...their stated demands were "government accountability, freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and the restoration of workers' control over industry"...that last one actually being the reversal of market-oriented reforms...they weren't after Western style Liberal Democracy and a multi party system what they actually wanted was better, more accountable Socialism but still under the one party rule of the Chinese communist party.

the Chinese government (and people) believe government has a duty to serve the people and govern well or it will ultimately be removed from power. this is known as "The Mandate of Heaven" ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandate_of_Heaven ) and is a Confucian principal 1000s of years old that both lends legitimacy to anyone who attains power (handy) but at the same time postulates that they must rule benevolently and in the best interests of the people or they will be removed by a popular uprising such as the one that placed the current government in power in the first place.

in short they aren't doing "all this" in an effort to lord over the world.
they are doing "all this" in an effort to do what is best for China and it's people.
and ye they will stick two fingers up to anyone else.
because anyone else is not their f'ing responsibility.

to be perfectly frank sometimes i wish my own bloody government would pay more attention to the needs of its own country and people rather than leaping at the chance hop around the world to conducting ego led foreign adventurism on the world stage against people who can't possibly hurt them back...

The Gentleman:

1) Seoul will be decimated. NK long range artillery are set up all along their side of the DMZ in hardened bunkers aimed at the SK capital and will easily get off a few thousand shells before they are taken out/over by invading military forces.

This always seemed like an NK boogey man more than anything. Only their biggest guns have the range to reach Seoul. Being in bunkers doesn't do much since they're still going to have to be close enough to the surface to fire, meaning they're not going to have enough protection to protect from a basic delayed fuze volley or a precision munition from the Air Force developed exactly for destroying bunkers. Besides, you don't have to wipe out the bunker, just damage it enough to where the artillery can't be operated properly. If they do just target Seoul, they'll be quickly wiped out as our own artillery and air assets counter-fire them[1] with impunity, which makes the bunkers even more of a liability since they can't do basic evasive maneuvers. Add into this the generally dated quality of equipment, technology, and I suspect training, and numbers don't mean much. Stand up fights between two forces[2] has gone the way of the dodo, where precision and mobility act as far greater force multipliers than numbers.

[1] which is something we got really good at in Iraq with far more mobile enemies
[2] Or at least attempted symmetrical war on NKs part.

srm79:

MrPeanut:
Actually the PLN operates a modern submarine fleet and that's where their real striking power is.

It doesn't really matter how big or how many ships anyone has when Submarines are disrupting your sea commerce.

Modern missile submarines also have the ability to strike against land targets and harbors at a very long range.

They have 50 diesel electric boats (SSK's), 30 of which are of designs dating back to the 70's. They are, in comparison to western types, noisy and easily tracked and killed. The more modern Yuan and Kilo class submarines are much quieter (NATO ASW crews used to call the Kilo the "hole in the water") but are still getting on in years while western sonar techniques have advanced steadily. SSK's have very limited use in deep water operations and are extremely vulnerable to detection when they have to pop a snorkel above the surface to recharge the batteries.

They have 2 conventional ballistic missile boats (SSG's), an old Soviet Golf class and Type 043 which is essentially a copy of the Golf. Both known to be relatively easy to track and kill, especially once they've given their position away during missile launches.

They have 5 Han class nuclear attack submarines (SSN's) all dating back to the 60's. By modern standards their reactors are noisy and modern western boats would have no trouble finding and killing them.

Additionally, they have 4 Type 093 Shang class boats which went into service in 2002.

There are also the Type 094 Jin class (4 of 'em) and Type 092 Xia (1) nuclear ballistic missile (SSBN's) which don't really factor into conventional submarine warfare as their primary mission is to hide and wait for a launch order. The Xia was known to be noisy and crude.

Crucially, the entire Chinese submarine program is more or less based on Russian technology. After the end of the cold war we discovered just how far behind the west they actually were with sonar technology. Their "modern" submarine fleet is at best comprised of 50% obsolete types with many of the remaining types unsuited to anything other than coastal/shallow water ops.

Don't forget that the US Navy are pretty much the only game in town any more when it comes to ASW aircraft ops, and it happens they've gotten pretty good at it. Which they ought to be, as they train against their own boats which are among the best in the world.

As the US would almost certainly not sit back and take no action, it's likely that one by one the PLAN would find themselves losing contact with one boat after another.

One thing I realized just now is that the subs are unlikely to used for commerce raiding as much as for blockade running, since most Chinese oil comes from Africa and middle east, and the strait of Singapore isn't that hard to close to chinese ships.

never underestimate even decades old subs. 15 years ago when the us navy was having wargames with the australian navy a 1960's oberon class sub snuck through the antisubmarine net and sunk an american carrier. while unikely, in the advent of war the unexpected can happen

MrPeanut:

One thing I realized just now is that the subs are unlikely to used for commerce raiding as much as for blockade running, since most Chinese oil comes from Africa and middle east, and the strait of Singapore isn't that hard to close to chinese ships.

Even if the entire PLAN sub fleet was tasked to this it would be pointless - there is not much wasted space on a submarine. The entire fleet combined would barely be able to carry 1% of the load of a modern tanker.

Chinese doctrine is based largely on former Soviet doctrine. The most likely tasking for PLAN subs would be

A) Attempt to keep US SSN's beyond cruise missile range of mainland targets (for arguments sake, say 1000nm from Chinese shores), and

B) Neutralise US aircraft carriers.

With at least 3 carrier groups able to deploy to the region at short notice, and a dozen in total the US carrier force would be the single biggest threat to Chinese operations. The amount of firepower a single carrier battle group can bring to the party is staggering. Sinking those would be the priority. The most likely scenario would be the Chinese "surging" as many boats as possible out of port, the idea being to overwhelm the detection systems. They would take losses, but sheer weight of numbers would ensure at least some got out. Once they're in open ocean, it's a lot tougher to hunt and kill them.

wombat_of_war:
never underestimate even decades old subs. 15 years ago when the us navy was having wargames with the australian navy a 1960's oberon class sub snuck through the antisubmarine net and sunk an american carrier. while unikely, in the advent of war the unexpected can happen

Remember that in peacetime excercises, the Rules of Engagement are almost always very restrictive compared to wartime RoE's. In addition, the entire ASW air and surface fleet as well as a good chunk of the submarine fleet would be tasked to protecting the carriers. In a peacetime op you never play at 100% capacity against any other sovereign nation, friendly or otherwise.

That's not to say it couldn't happen, but a one-off under restrictive RoE's and without the full protection that would be afforded the fleet in wartime does not make a solid case.

Their doctrinal approach doesn't matter a thing when the crippling lack of oil threatens to ground the Chinese Air Force (IE they have to use all means possible to try get that oil).

And once that's gone, game over.

Wasn't there a recent report saying that basically all of our bases in Japan and S.K aren't hardened against Cruise Missile Attacks?

Couldn't Chinese 2nd Arty just Macross Missile Massacre Kadena AFB, Guam and Yokosuka?

Friendly Lich:
I'll admit I'am not an expert on the subject but from what I know China supports North Korea which has been building up its missile technology which has Japan on edge as well as the U.S. North Korea has always been a concern for South Korea and Japan not to mention other rising capitalist hot spots in the region. Of course the U.S is interested in keeping N Korea from becoming powerful and if a war broke out between N Korea and S Korea or Japan the U.S would step in then China would on the the side of N Korea but who knows what side Russia would side with; probably China.

In my opinion this scenario is more concerning in terms of large scale world war then whats happening in the middle east.

Thoughts?

The Chinese economy is very closely tied with consumption from the west, where as their only relationship with North Korea is giving them money. If Korea started acting Aggressive china would be the first to break ties. People talking about WW3 and 'red dawn' scenarios but forget that America accounts for 50% of the worlds military spending, not including their allies in NATO and elsewhere. I think that a war between superpowers is no-longer plausible, no one wants to start that war with what they have to deal with now.

I was an STG in the Navy for 5 years. You don't have to worry about Chinese submarines.

srm79:

They would take losses, but sheer weight of numbers would ensure at least some got out. Once they're in open ocean, it's a lot tougher to hunt and kill them.

The opposite is actually true. Open, deep water is amazing for long rage detections.

lordbyron227:
Wasn't there a recent report saying that basically all of our bases in Japan and S.K aren't hardened against Cruise Missile Attacks?

Couldn't Chinese 2nd Arty just Macross Missile Massacre Kadena AFB, Guam and Yokosuka?

Errr....why would they? The US has their own missiles and aren't keeping their whole navies in these places. Why start a fight with your biggest trading partner and their army?

Like people have said, China's relationship to North Korea amounts to "We don't want to deal with the influx of refugees, so we'll help keep them there." If North Korea insists on starting a fight then China is just going to back away and probably help fight the war to stop people from fleeing into China.

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