Are Chinese-American maritime relations running aground? The recent sinking of the South Korean corvette the Cheonan, most likely by China's unruly client state North Korea, has led to the U.S.S. George Washington participating in naval exercises off the Korean coast. Heightening tensions, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, appearing at an ASEAN forum in Hanoi, challenged China's long-standing claims to the Paracel and Spratly Islands -- small reefs and assorted flecks of coral that happen to sit atop rich hydrocarbon stores in the South China Seas.

This week, the Sinica gang takes a lively look at Beijing and Washington's maneuverings in China's troubled coastal waters. Appearing with Kaiser are regulars Jeremy Goldkorn, Gady Epstein, and Bill Bishop. Joining us as well is special guest Stephanie Kleine-Ahlbrandt, the North East Asia project director for the International Crisis Group. This is a podcast you do not want to miss.

On a closing note, Bill Bishop's family has just opened a bakery in Beijing and is being gracious enough to let us give away some great freebies to Sinica listeners. If you're also in Beijing, listen in for instructions on how to stake your claim to some free chocolate deliciousness. And remember, to subscribe to the Sinica show through RSS, just open up iTunes, click on the "Advanced" menu and select the option "Subscribe to Podcast". When prompted, copy the URL into the box. You can also download this mp3 directly from our site by grabbing it as a standalone mp3 file. Enjoy!
 said on
August 21, 2010
This is an article from a friend of mine:

Yoichi Shimatsu, the former editor of

Japan Times, drawing on a “technical assessment by

the Chinese military, according to a Beijing-based military

affairs consultant to the People’s Liberation

Army,” reported that China believes the conclusion of

the five-nation investigation to be false. In an article

titled, “Did an American Mine Sink South Korean

Ship?,” Shimatsu notes that a joint U.S.-South Korean

naval exercise called “Foal Eagle” took place during

the days preceeding the March 26 sinking of the

Cheonan. Both the exercise and the sinking took place

in the vicinity of Byeongnyeong Island, where a U.S.-

South Korean anti-submarine warfare base is

located (Figure 1). The exercise consisted of

anti-submarine manuevers by five missile

ships and a mine-laying ship, the U.S. NS

Salvor, with a crew of 12 Navy divers. In

2006, the Salvor had trained Thai Marine

divers in mine-laying in the Gulf of Thailand.

The Salvor is not part of the 7th Fleet, the

Chinese source asserted, but under the U.S.

Military Sealift Command tied to Naval Intelligence.

The area in question is guarded by the

most sophisticated sonar and acoustic detection

equipment available, Shimatsu wrote,

and yet no submarine or torpedo was detected

in the area on the day of the sinking of the


Shimatsu does not say that the Chinese

accuse the U.S. of an intentional attack, but

points to the possibility of an “inadvertent release”

of a “rising mine” planted on the seabed

and released to hit a ship dead center, splitting

the target in half, as happened to the


He also notes that investigators found “chemical

residues similar to German-produced advanced explosives,”

as used by NATO forces.

I find it disgusting the the US has given up on the FDR legacy because FDR wanted to put an end to the stupid Geopolitical games the the West is now playing. People who believe NK sunk this ship are either stupid or lying. The fact is, is that this incident is just being use to escalate tension in the Pacific, I think it is stupid and the US needs to change its foreign policies.
 said on
August 21, 2010
If you'd like to contact me I can be emailed at
 said on
August 22, 2010
Stephanie made a mistake by saying "PLA navy already sent their carrier group past first island chain" around 15m 30s, PLA navy doesn't have a carrier now, although one is being built. Follow its progress here,
 said on
September 8, 2010
New podcast? What's going on guys have you already discussed all there is about China? Fair enough.
 said on
September 8, 2010

While it's true that Sinica has already discussed pretty much all there is to say about China, it'll be back when there's more to say... which is possibly as early as this Friday.



 said on
October 4, 2010
The premise that the DPRK sunk the Cheonen is still very debatable and not just by conspiracy nuts. Here are two Nature articles citing some doubt by researchers and physicists.
 said on
October 5, 2010
Thanks for the links pinhead. The science is over my head, but it's interesting to read pieces like that, especially since now that the news has disappeared off the front page and there is not much press for this sort of thing.
Mark Lesson Studied