South China Sea
West of Taiwan is the South China Sea. East of Taiwan is the East China Sea. The difference between these two bodies of water is the depth. South China Sea is mean depth of 3,976 feet (1,212 meters), while East China Sea is shallow. The PRC has 20 nuclear subs stored in tunnels at Hainan Island. They are an ex-Soviet model, the Han class submarine. These subs are quite large and noisy. The PRC also has another submarine base in Dairen behind Shantung Peninsula. Because the East China Sea is shallow, the US/Japan navy's PC-3 can monitor the Han sub leaving Dairen and can track their every movement. As mentioned earlier they are noisy and sonar can detect their course. At the moment, Chinese subs are contained within the South China Sea by the US/Japan submarine attack group. The US group consist of giant nuclear subs, namely the Los Angeles and Virginia. All are equipped with a trident nuclear missile head. Chinese subs can only go as far as the Philippines. Beyond that to the east, Saipan, Tinian and Guam are all lined up. Guam is a major US submarine base in the Pacific.Trident nuclear missileWhy so much submarine talk?
ICBMs are kept in silos. Once it is launched the US can detect it from any spy satellite above the sites, which are located in the Uighur state - eastern end of PRC. Kawamura Sumihiko, former sea chief, said that ICBM are no longer useful today. I agree. Bombers are equally useless. I agree. Therefore, nuclear subs with nuclear missiles are the most effective weapon today. The PRC shows signs of trying to equalize the nuclear submarine power with that of the US.
PRC’s frustration is that the US/Japan submarine technology and navigation skills are so superior and advanced to their own. Let's not forget they are also inside of the South China Sea and its boundaries. Japan has 20 subs. All of them are small, 2900 ton, 65 sailors, and their Swedish made sterling engines are silent. The Toshiba screws similar to wine corks screw are not detectable. Chinese Han subs cannot detect the whereabouts of these stealth Japanese subs.
Back to the Chinese situation. They know they must be able to exit and enter the South China Sea. Without this ability they are caged within their own waters. Even if it takes 100 years, the PRC is painfully aware that they need the Senkaku Islands. This is where they will build a fortress. If the PRC seizes the Senkakus.... Japan’s sea power diminishes as well as that of the US. The power balance of the Pacific will change. Taiwan and the Philippine islands will become vulnerable. The waters between the Philippines and Guam is critical for the passage of the US Seventh Fleet.
My wife and I visited Kadena Airbase on Okinawa in 2010. To my left is Colonel Hutchinson from Virginia. We had an honest and informative discussion about the potential conflict surrounding the Senkakus.
Well, today’s conclusion is that the PRC is not chasing resources such as fish or high grade Methane-gas. The PRC wants more than that, they have their sights on half of Pacific Ocean and nothing less.
~to be continued~