China to Consider Escorting Tankers…To Protect From Seizure by the US

Bolton had UK nab a tanker for exporting Iranian oil and China is the biggest importer of it

Will China join the U.S. led ‘coalition’ to escort ships through the Strait of Hormuz?

It sounds unlikely but this Reuters piece claims that China is thinking about it:

China might escort ships in Gulf under U.S. proposal: envoy:

China might escort Chinese commercial vessels in Gulf waters under a U.S. proposal for a maritime coalition to secure oil shipping lanes following attacks on tankers, its envoy to the United Arab Emirates said on Tuesday.“If there happens to be a very unsafe situation we will consider having our navy escort our commercial vessels,” Ambassador Ni Jian told Reuters in Abu Dhabi.

“We are studying the U.S. proposal on Gulf escort arrangements,” China’s embassy later said in a text message.

President Donald Trump said in a June 24 tweet that China, Japan and other countries “should be protecting their own ships” in the Gulf region, where the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet is based in Bahrain.

It was not clear if Washington had made an official request to Beijing, which has had to tread softly in the Middle East due to its close energy ties with both Iran and Saudi Arabia.

So far it is only Britain which will go with the U.S. plans. France, Germany and other ‘allies’ rejected U.S. request to join the mission.

Reuters seems to misunderstand what the Chinese ambassador really said.

The message is in two parts: “we will consider having our navy escort our commercial vessels” and “We are studying the U.S. proposal on Gulf escort arrangements.” The Chinese embassy made no connection between the two statements.

It is not in China’s interest to join the anti-Iran ‘coalition’ the U.S. wants to build. But it is in China’s interest to protect its commercial ships. But it is not Iran that might endanger them. It is also in China’s interest to study the plans the U.S. has. If only to counter them when necessary.

China continues to buy Iranian oil. The New York Times just made big, hostile weekend splash about it:

China and other countries are receiving oil shipments from a larger number of Iranian tankers than was previously known, defying sanctions imposed by the United States to choke off Tehran’s main source of income, an investigation by The New York Times has found.

The Trump administration is starting to intensify sanctions enforcement to try to end the exports to China, which continues to be the largest buyer of Iranian oil. On July 22, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced sanctions against Zhuhai Zhenrong, a Chinese state-owned enterprise, and its top executive, Li Youmin, for “violating U.S. restrictions on Iran’s oil sector.”

“While I’m glad the administration sanctioned an initial round of Chinese actors, it must step up strong enforcement to deter Chinese and other foreign actors from violating U.S. sanctions against Iran,” said Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida. “The Iranian regime has blatantly shipped millions of barrels of oil to China.”To really tighten the screws on China, the Trump administration would need to punish the People’s Bank of China or other Chinese banks that engage in transactions with the Central Bank of Iran, Mr. Nephew said. The United States could also penalize the energy giant Sinopec, which, like Zhuhai Zhenrong, also imports oil from Iran.

China is unlikely to stop buying preferentially priced oil from Iran at least as long as the current trade war with the U.S. continues to intensify. It is also unlikely to join the U.S. ‘coalition’. But it will protect its commercial interest – i.e. its ships that haul goods between Iran and China.

China fears that the U.S. ‘coalition’ will confront its ships for breaking unilateral U.S. sanctions. The British did just that with the Iranian tanker they pirated at Gibraltar. There is also a historic precedence that demonstrates the necessity to protect Chinese ship against such U.S. schemes:

It is remembered much better in China than it is in the United States, that in 1993 the PRC was the most conspicuous victim of principled US piracy in the matter of the shipping vessel Yinhe.

The US Navy confronted the Yinhe and forced it to interrupt its voyage and remain at sea for 20 days, until China agreed to proceed to a Saudi port for its 628 containers to be searched for chemical weapons precursors allegedly destined for Iran. Fortunately for China—and to the considerable embarrassment of the United States—the containers were found to contain nothing other than paint.

The United States declined to apologize because it had acted in “good faith”, which is apparently another name for “bad intelligence” (though some redfaced US officials privately accused the PRC of conducting a “sting” solely for the purpose of wrongfooting the United States). For its part, the PRC accused the United States of acting like a “self-styled world cop” and the Yinhe became something of a symbol for US double standards whenever the subject of “freedom of navigation” comes up.

For additional interesting details of the Yinhe story see here.

China will not allow a repeat of such action. It knows that the U.S. is increasingly hostile towards it and that it has to prepare for a larger conflict. It assumes that the current trade war is just the start of a much larger military-industrial game plan. As described by Peter Lee:

Decoupling the US economy from China, squeezing China related expectations out of the market, and shifting to a war with China footing insulates the US military from economic and political pressures to pursue a more moderate course in East Asia.I expect IndoPACOM to agitate for an aggressive program–via its allies in the Philippine military–to confront the PRC over its artificial islands, especially Mischief Reef, in the South China Sea.

These facilities are a major affront to IndoPACOM’s manhood and must be removed. And that means war, or something close to it.

Remember, as IndoPACOM jefe Admiral Davidson put it: “China controls the South China Sea in all scenarios short of war.”

He’s not making these statements to signal American surrender, folks. IndoPACOM is China hawk HQ.

Between the global economic slowdown and the regional military buildup, I guesstimate the cost of taking on the PRC at a trillion dollars over the next decade.

But like they say, War with China: one trillion dollars. Postponing the loss of US hegemony in the Pacific: priceless.

This U.S. – China confrontation will be with us for at least the next decade. In such a scenario it makes no sense for China to make nice by joining a U.S. ‘coalition’ that is hostile to its Iranian friends. What it can, and should be ready to do, is to protect its ships from U.S. piracy.

Source: Moon of Alabama

  1. Deng Tan says

    why the hell those westerners always have a thin hope that China may join the uS led western coalition? Just stop dreaming! never happens before since 1949, and it’s not going to happen anytime in the future!

  2. TTdr says

    China now has a great reason to sent its Liaoning CBG Navy into ME for experience, while protect its Interest including investment in Iran.

    At the same time, it can joint exercise with Iran on anti aircraft carrier missile drill…that will be a very effective warning to USN.

    Iran is now China No.1 oil supply surpassed Saudi, after China ramp up import to help Iran. In gratitude, Iran offered free tanker shipment delivery.

    Russia will provide direct military support. China economic. Another team work like Syria war.

  3. Bevin Chu says

    How very ironic! China is being forced to conduct genuine Freedom of Navigation operations to defend against US violations of Freedom of Navigation masquerading as such!

  4. Vish says

    “While I’m glad the administration sanctioned an initial round of Chinese actors, it must step up strong enforcement to deter Chinese and other foreign actors from violating U.S. sanctions against Iran,” said Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida.

    America is drunk with imperial delusion and hubris.

    These bastards have a sense of entitlement that rivals a coddled infant throwing a tantrum, when he doesn’t get his way.

    The Americans actually delude themselves into believing they have a God-given right to dictate whether and how other countries trade with each other–in this case, Iran and China.

    It’s nunya, America–as is nun ya business.

    America, the self-styled Land of the Free, is in reality a global dictatorship that arrogates to itself the “right” to punish any country that rebels against American dictates, which are rationalized behind American propaganda pretexts like (Iraqi or Iranian) “Weapons of Mass Destruction.”

    It is fucking long overdue that this American Empire be punished for its economic terrorism and wars of aggression throughout the planet, as well as its attempt to politically dictate to the rest of the world.

  5. Mary E says

    That’s right! China’s most important goal is – as it should be – to protect its own assets, including its oil tankers bringing oil that it has purchased to its ports! The US has made it its business to make sure that China doesn’t have any trade deals with any other country because the US wants to win a trade war that it started to get the Chinese to react….
    well, they are reacting, but not as Washington would prefer that they do! The US,, in its struggle to keep afloat, is actually losing all respect of other governments, who now will not join it in attacking China economically or with naval barricades…if the US wants something done, it will have to go it alone!!! The rest of the world has no interest in going after China!

  6. Rowdy-Yates says

    I thought China is moving transportation of oil from ships to the Belt and Roadway. If not it will soon happen giving China a level of safety no other nation has.

  7. John C Carleton says

    Bolton is an Israhell “citizen”.
    Israhell been trying to get the US to attack Iran for Israhell for over forty years.

    If there were no Britain, the Rats could not control it.
    If there were no Israhell, the Rats could not control it.
    If there were no USA the Rats could not control it.
    If there were no Rats, world peace might just break out!

    Freedom for humanity!
    Death for the Rats!
    World needs an ole time world wide community based rodent control effort.

  8. James Willy says

    It sure will be funny when the rats try to board a ship from China. Just can’t wait to see IF……………………… Xi Jinping will actually defend his ships. Some how I think Xi will chicken out and allow kazars to pirate his ships. He will probably just bend over again, just like his good buddy vlad. What a useless team. They refuse to stand their ground.

    1. Mary E says

      Let’s hope that is not the case…someone has to stand up to the US and who better than China and Russia, the only other countries in the world who are able to..

    2. Bevin Chu says

      Russia and China have been bolstering their respective military capabilities recently. As soon as they reach the point where they feel confident about their military edge, they will respond. I wouldn’t be too worried.

      “He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot, will be victorious.”
      — Sunzi

    3. TTdr says

      In those time, China had no blue water Navy to do anything. After Libya invasion that forced 20,000 Chinese workers evacuation, and lost of $B investment, China knew it needed power projection ability. So it started to build Aircraft Carriers, CBG, and many warships.

      But China has no experience in CBG, it tried to speed up by buying from Ukraine. Both US & Russia blockade the AC for years. West military embargo means China needs to produce every damn thing, resulted in building 10,000 different supply chains.

      Now, its about time to let its Liaoning strike group to gain some real experience.

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