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32nd Annual Black Ships Festival

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32nd Annual Black Ships Festival 32nd Annual Black Ships Festival
Rear Adm. P. Gardner Howe III, president, U.S. Naval War College, gives remarks during the 32nd Annual Black Ships Festival in Newport, R.I. Presented by the...
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150708-N-PX557-041 NEWPORT, R.I. (July 8, 2015) Re-enactors portraying French sailors from the 18th century march down the pier following the arrival of French navy...
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Musician 3rd Class Keyondra Ruth and Sailors assigned to Navy Band Northeast, perform at Fort Adams State Park in Newport, R.I., July 8, during an arrival ceremony...
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Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Quentin Richardson prepares lunch at the Naval War College (NWC) in Newport, R.I. Richardson was one of four NWC chefs that attended the...
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Rear Adm. P. Gardner Howe III, president, U.S. Naval War College (NWC), speaks to attendees during the 2015 Center on Irregular Warfare and Armed Groups Symposium at...
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NWC expert warns US House of South China Sea challenges


Courtesy Story

By Daniel L. Kuester

NEWPORT, R.I. – A faculty member from U.S. Naval War College (NWC) in Newport, Rhode Island, spelled out China’s history, current activities and possible future role in the South China Sea to a congressional committee and what he sees as the options in the region for the U.S.

Andrew S. Erickson, associate professor at NWC in the China Maritime Studies Institute testified before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific during its hearing on America’s security role in the South China Sea.

During his testimony, Erickson pointed out that China has long had ambitions in the area, although it has not made its intentions clear regarding how much of the region it considers to be under its control.

“Despite all its rhetoric, actions, developmental efforts and apparent preparations ... China has declined to disclose the precise basis for, nature of, or even exact geographical coordinates of, its South China Sea claims,” said Erickson.

Erickson’s statements were his views as a faculty member at NWC. He was not acting as an official spokesperson for the Navy.

He proceeded to note that China has a history of seizing lands in the region without facing significant opposition from the rest of the world.

“China’s military and paramilitary forces have a half-century-plus history of capturing islands and other features, many in South China Sea,” Erickson told the subcommittee. “It appears that China has long harbored ambitions to seize significant numbers of South China Sea islands and indeed took several occupied by Vietnam in 1974 and 1988 even though [China was] severely limited in sea and air power at that time. Such operations have not received sufficient analytical attention.”

Erickson went on to say that currently China is building islands in the South China Sea in areas currently under dispute such as the Spratly and Paracel Islands. And these new islands are being built, in part, to serve military and paramilitary functions.

“Beijing itself has stated officially that there will be military uses for the new islands it has raised from the sea,” said Erickson. “On 9 March 2015, China foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying stated that the Spratly garrison ‘maintenance and construction work’ was intended in part for ‘better safeguarding territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests.’”

Also, Erickson says that China is using its international legal experts to attempt to shift maritime rules in its favor.

“I can attest to from personal experience the extent to which China has cultivated a new generation of sharp, persistent maritime legal specialists who are active in the international arena,” he said. “I believe that their concerted efforts can make a difference over time, a difference that would undermine the governance of the global maritime commons to our collective detriment.”

Erickson proposed multiple actions that the United States could take to mitigate emerging problems in the region.

Those measures should include ratifying the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, maintaining a sufficiently capable and comprehensive force structure in the region, and maintaining a credible missile presence to counter China’s growing arsenal and thereby deter any use, or threat, of force to resolve island and maritime claims disputes.

Erickson’s testimony is available at https://foreignaffairs.house.gov/hearing/subcommittee-
hearing-america-s-security-role-south-china-sea.

NWC is a one-year residential program that graduates approximately 600 students and roughly 1,000 distance learning students a year. It executes four missions: educate and develop leaders, help define the future of the Navy, support combat readiness, and strengthen maritime partnerships. Students earn Joint Professional Military Education (JPME) credit and either a diploma or a master’s degree in National Security and Strategic Studies. Established in 1884, U.S. Naval War College is the oldest institution of its kind in the world. More than 50,000 students have graduated since its first class of nine students in 1885 and about 300 of today’s active duty admirals, generals and senior executive service leaders are alumni.

Recent News Stories

NWC expert warns US House of South China Sea challenges
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Admiral Jonathan Greenert, Chief of Naval Operations, welcome remarks from the Naval War College, Newport, RI