The Government of the Philippines has flipped into the Chinese orbit, but it doesn’t mean that Communist China isn’t behaving badly toward them. An article in Radio Free Asia outlines a recent incident.

For those of you who don’t know, turning fire control radar on, to lock onto a ship or an aircraft is an act of war. It’s just like shooting the gun or missile. The Chinese do it for fun, and did it to the Philippines yesterday. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that the Philippine ship BRP Conrado Yap was on its way to the Rizal Reef Detachment in the South China Sea within the Philippines Exclusive Economic Zone when it reported that it had detected “a radar contact of a gray-colored vessel.” It was a People’s Liberation Army’s Navy ship and it immediately locked on a laser designator.

Lorenzana said the Chinese had used a target-acquisition laser meant to guide a missile toward an enemy target. “It’s like when they will use their missile they will first strike on the target that they have already marked,” Lorenzana said.

The incident was the latest accusation that Chinese forces had used lasers to harass other nations’ naval personnel.

In February this year, the U.S. Navy accused a Chinese naval destroyer of firing a laser beam at a U.S. surveillance aircraft flying west of Guam and over the Philippine Sea, which lies far to the north and east of the South China Sea.

A statement from U.S. Pacific Fleet said the laser, which was detected by sensors on the P-8A Poseidon aircraft on Feb. 17, was not visible to the naked eye. The U.S. Navy described the Chinese move as an act deemed unsafe and a violation of international codes and agreements.

Retired Philippine Supreme Court judge Antonio Carpio told foreign correspondents in Manila that the Philippines should join forces with neighbors Vietnam and Malaysia, and possibly other countries, in conducting joint patrols to deter further Chinese aggression in the South China Sea. Doing so, he said, would send “a message that China cannot pick us out one by one.”

On Tuesday, Beijing sent an aircraft battle group through the Miyako Strait, between Japan and Taiwan, according to a news release from the Japanese defense ministry. The release said China’s aircraft carrier Liaoning was spotted moving with two frigates, two destroyers and a high-speed support ship toward the East China Sea.

Meanwhile, the People’s Liberation Army-Navy Southern Theater released a statement on Tuesday accusing the USS Barry of violating China’s territory in the Paracel Islands.

China claims most of the South China Sea on historical grounds, including areas that reach the shores of its smaller neighbors. Apart from the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have overlapping claims over the region.


  1. That must create somewhat of a pucker factor in everyone aboard the ship or aircraft being illuminated. I’m sure that’s part of their intention – if the other side reacts before incoming fire then they’ll scream, “he hit me first” like kids in the back seat.

    I used to read a lot about air operations between the old USSR and our pilots over Alaska where the Soviets would see how much they could provoke us. I don’t recall things like the fire control radar but don’t honestly know if it existed then – I just assume it did.

    • The Russians and Americans clearly understood the rules of engagement. A radar lock meant that the enemy was clear to fire at you.

      My sense is that if the Chinese do that, people need to start shooting back. Of course the communist Chinese will lie. That’s what they do. Once we sink a few ships, maybe they’ll stop doing it.

  2. I agree with LL. Sink ’em, lots of ’em. See how they respond to a couple of hundred thousand tons of vessels on the bottom of the Pacific. Should be interesting. Maybe they will send their one and only air craft carrier out to see what’s going on – assuming they have put out the fire that was seen blazing on the decks recently.

    • The Communist Chinese PLAN said that they chased the USS Barry out of the South China Sea two days ago, so today the USS Barry (destroyer) accompanied by the USS Bunker Hill (Cruiser) re-entered the South China Sea and cruised through the Spratly Islands, which are claimed by both Communist China and Vietnam. Naturally there is no public mention of US submarines that may be traveling with them. The Chinese did not come out to play with their navy. I think that some admiral somewhere must be smart enough not to take a piece of that.

      • Fredd, word is that the Chinese are trying to get the aircraft carrier Shandong out to sea (fire damage notwithstanding) to confront the US fleet present in Malaysian waters that they claim. I think that it’s a face thing. I doubt that it could launch and recover anything but helicopters at this point. They’ll slap some paint on it and send it out in the hopes that it won’t have to do anything but be a paper tiger.

  3. I’d heard Duterte was cuddling up with the PRC. Perhaps he’s having second thoughts about that. Or he’s waiting until after November.

    • The Philippines canceled the Visiting Forces Agreement with the US, at the insistence of the Communist Chinese. So we won’t be going back. The Chinese are not allies, they buy you and expect you to stay bought, no matter how odious their conduct is. Duarte is learning this lesson first hand.

      The primary effect of the Agreement is that it allows the U.S. government to retain jurisdiction over U.S. military personnel accused of committing crimes in the Philippines, unless the crimes are “of particular importance to the Philippines”. This means that for crimes without this significance, the U.S. can refuse to detain or arrest accused personnel, or may instead prosecute them under U.S. jurisdiction. The Agreement also exempts U.S. military personnel from visa and passport regulations in the Philippines.

      When I was in the Navy, I visited some countries on orders only, but usually carried an official USGOV Passport “Brown Cover”. Later, outside of the Navy, I traveled on a USGOV diplomatic passport “Black Cover”, which when accredited by a specific country, can impart full or limited diplomatic immunity.

      • The Chinese may be disappointed with the Philippines. While the Filipino government is notoriously corrupt, the problem the Japanese complained about in the ’80s and early ’90s was that Filipinos didn’t stay bought. I’m sure the Chinese are aware of that, as well as Filipino dislike and distrust of the Chinese. The overseas Chinese have for hundreds of years been regarded as something similar to the Jews in Europe from the Middle Ages onward all across neighboring areas such as Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia — complete with pogroms and periodic expulsions, followed by reentry after a while following economic problems caused by attacking the most productive parts of their various economies. My own experiences in the Philippines, even if it was 3 decades ago, is that the Chinese are only second to the Japanese in popular prejudices. Americans are up there in that ranking within some groups, but not many.

        • A friend of mine was chief of staff to Vice President and then President Joe Estrada of the P. I. You’re right. The Filipinos never stayed bought. And when the Chinese in Makati became too uppity, they’d kidnap family members and demand huge ransoms. It was an interesting game.

  4. The commies…..Russian and Chinese have operated under the “what’s mine is mine, what’s yours is negotiable” creed. A corrolary to that is to push and push and push as far as possible to see how far they can go without repercussion. As long as they get away with unanswered provocations thy will engage and expand on this conduct. The ugly truth is the ONLY thing the respect and respond to is the credible threat of force used by a for capable of chasing them grave harm. America MUST maintain the means to pose a grave risk to them. Failure to do so is a defacto surrender.

    • Under Obama, the Potemkin Village was never tested. Under the second term of Trump, it will be. The Yellow Menace must completely understand that force will be used, and that it’s not a paper tiger situation. So, yes, I agree 100%.

    • This is old communist doctrine dating back to Vladimir Ilyich Uliyanov (aka Lenin) and it remains a primary central doctrine of communist expansion: “Advance as with a bayonet, if you encounter mush, proceed, if you encounter steel, withdraw” There’s not much new under the sun beyond HIV enhanced Sars-2. 😉 😉

  5. I’ve always thought we should keep some Soviet torpedoes in inventory, so our attack boats could sink enemy subs on the hush, for the purposes of message sending.

    Seems like there was at least a good long time there when Russia and ex-Russia would sell anything to anyone.

    • I don’t think that there is any problem buying Russian torpedoes. You can buy them from Mexican drug cartels. I’ll broker the deal for you personally if you want them.

  6. @Klebert, that’s a good idea, but I’ve no idea how we could keep it secret. It would leak since too many people would have to be aware of it. It would provide a level of plausible deniability even after it leaked, though, so I do like your thinking. May I subscribe to your newsletter?

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