Global Views
   Middle East & Africa
 Embassy News
 Arts & Living
 Travel & Hotel
 Medical Tourism New
 Letters to Editor
 Photo Gallery
 News Media Link
 TV Schedule Link
 News English
 Hospitals & Clinics
 Flea Market
 Moving & Packaging
 Religious Service
 Korean Classes
 Korean Weather
 Real Estate
 Home Stay
 Room Mate
 English Teaching
 Job Offered/Wanted
 Hotel Lounge
 Foreign Exchanges
 Korean Stock
 Business Center
 PR & Ads
 Arts & Performances
 Restaurants & Bars
 Tour & Travel
 Shopping Guide
 Foreign Missions
 Community Groups
 Foreign Workers
 Useful Services
 ST Banner Exchange
How Covid-19 Affected US-China Military Signaling
American naval forces in the Indo-Pacific

Since the global outbreak of Covid-19, the US and Chinese governments have accused each other of using the pandemic as cover to increase military operations in the Indo-Pacific. The United States, for example, has pointed to China’s deployment of coastguard forces to challenge the oil and gas activities of other claimants in the South China Sea, and its increasing exercises and patrols near Taiwan. China has accused the United States of intentionally stoking tensions by increasing its deployments to and exercises in the South China Sea and other sensitive areas, including the Taiwan Strait.

AMTI has previously documented the increased patrol activity of the China Coast Guard at key reefs in the South China Sea. It is also clear that China has stepped up the frequency of military activities around Taiwan and that its regular patrols around the Senkakus have increased in length during 2020. But it is impossible to say from publicly available sources whether and how overall operational tempo by either China or the United States has changed during the pandemic. It is, however, possible to determine how the pandemic has affected public military signaling.

AMTI has analyzed public announcements and official reporting from both the United States and China on military activities in the Indo-Pacific between February 1 and November 30, 2020 and compared it to the same period in 2019. The reported events include exercises and trainings, port visits, naval operations, and, in some cases, competitions and exhibitions. These only include naval, air, or missile activities, not exercises that were wholly land-based. They also exclude US operations off Alaska or the West Coast.

The number of qualifying military activities reported by Chinese state media increased by about 50 percent — to 65 in 2020 from 44 in 2019. The level of reported activities in the spring and early summer dropped below that of 2019, but August saw a sharp spike in reported events occurring primarily off China’s southern and eastern coasts. This data only captures public messaging and therefore misses some activities, such as the China Coast Guard’s contestation of Malaysian hydrocarbon exploration, that went unreported in state media. In other instances, like the near-daily sorties of Chinese military aircraft near Taiwan in recent months, the data understates the quantity of operations which were only reported by state media episodically.

Like that of China, the level of public military signaling by the United States dropped during the spring and early summer compared to 2019, but that reversed in the latter half of the year. However, the decrease in reported US activity in the first half of the year was more significant than China’s, averaging just 6 activities per month compared to 13 during the same period a year earlier. The US increase in the second half of the year compared to 2019 was also less pronounced than China’s. Overall, the number of qualifying events publicly reported by the United States dropped about 15 percent, from 110 in 2019 to 93 in 2020.

Both the United States and China saw a decline in face-to-face engagements and onshore activities with partner militaries in 2020, due mostly to Covid-19-related restrictions. This was most apparent in the decline in port visits: China reported 6 in 2019 but none in 2020, while the number of reported U.S. port visits plummeted from 41 to just 6. Because port visits make up such a large proportion of reported military activities for the United States, their near disappearance in 2020 led to a significant change in the profile of its military signaling:

Military exercises increased modestly as a percentage of reported US military activity in the region. But the bigger change was an increase in other events, such as joint sails with partner-nation navies and “maritime security operations,” to fill the gap left by port visits. Maritime security operations included the deployment of US Navy ships near contested oil and gas activity in the South China Sea. So while the overall number of reported US military activities fell from 2019 to 2020, the replacement of port visits with more high-profile activities at sea probably contributed to the perception of increased US signaling amid the pandemic.

Related Articles
    The Case for US-Japan-ROK Cooperation on ...
    China's Commitment to Stop Overseas Financing ...
    China Headaches for Iran Nuclear Deal
    The Quad's Strategic Infrastructure Play
    China, Again and Again and Again
    Engaging China on Climate before COP26
    When Will the United States Have a Special ...
    Is Latin America Important to China's Foreign ...
    Chinese National Oil Companies Face the Energy ...
    Four Years On: An Update on Rohingya Crisis
    11th Annual South China Sea Conference: ...
    A Glimpse of Chinese Ballistic Missile ...
    US Defense Chief Austin Accomplishes Two ...
    China’s New National Carbon Trading Market: ...
    Progress Report on China’s Type 003 Carrier
    Geopolitical Implications of Scientific ...
    China’s Third Aircraft Carrier Takes Shape
    Strategic Competition and Foreign Perceptions ...
    Bonny Lin, Ex-RAND Scientist, to Join CSIS
    Beyond Polysilicon: The Ties between China’s ...
    Biden-Moon Summit: Rejuvenating and ...
    S. Korean President Moon Jae-In to Meet with ...
    China’s New Space Station Is a Stepping-Stone ...
    Future Scenarios for Leadership Succession in ...
    How China Affects Global Maritime Connectivity
    What Do Overseas Visits Reveal about China’s ...
    CSIS Commission on the Korean Peninsula: ...
    Reflections on the 10th Anniversary of the ...
    Understanding China’s 2021 Defense Budget
    China’s Opaque Shipyards Should Raise Red ...
    How Developed Is China’s Arms Industry?
    Myanmar’s Military Seizes Power
    A Complex Inheritance: Transitioning to a New ...
    Combatting Human Rights Abuses in Xinjiang
    Previewing the G-20 and APEC Summits
    Another US-Built Facility at Ream Bites the ...
    Vietnam Currency Investigation: Strategy and ...
    CSIS Press Briefing: U.S. Policy toward Taiwan
    Mapping the Future of U.S. China Policy
    Assessing the Direction of South Korea-Japan ...
    Chinese Investment in the Maldives: Appraising ...
    Dual Circulation and China’s New Hedged ...
    Shinzo Abe’s Decision to Step Down
    A Frozen Line in the Himalayas
    Addressing Forced Labor in the Xinjiang Uyghur ...
    Decoupling Kabuki: Japan’s Effort to Reset, ...
    Remote Control: Japan's Evolving Senkakus ...
    Sil-li Ballistic Missile Support Facility
    China Won’t Be Scared into Choosing ...
    What’s on the Horizon for Covid-19
    Next Steps for the Coronavirus Response
    COVID-19 Threatens Global Food Security
    Geopolitics and the Novel Coronavirus
    Hope for the Climate
    The Novel Coronavirus Outbreak
    What's Inside the US-China Phase One Deal?
    When Iran Attacks
    Ports and Partnerships: Delhi Invests in ...
    Seeking Clues in Case of the Yuemaobinyu 42212
    Signaling Sovereignty: Chinese Patrols at ...
    Red Flags: Why Was China’s Fourth Plenum ...
    Japan and Korea: Rising Above the Fray
    Only US Can Pull Japan, Korea Back from Brink
    China Risks Flare-Up over Malaysian, ...
    Fear Won’t Stop China’s Digital Silk Road
    Japan, N. Korea: Summit, Missiles, Abductions
    “Chinese, Russian Influence in the Middle ...
    Tracking China’s 3rd Aircraft Carrier
    CSIS Scholars Discuss Trump-Abe Summit
    Still Under Pressure: Manila Vs. the Militia
    Is North Korea Preparing for a Military Parade?
    Slow and Steady: Vietnam's Spratly Upgrades
    Sanctions against North Korea: An Unintended ...
    More Is Possible Now to Address North Korea’s ...
    North Korea Reportedly Renews Commitment to ...
    Settling Kurdish Self-Determination in ...
    The Trump Administration’s Trade Objectives ...
    How Is China Securing Its LNG Needs?
    Responding to the Xinjiang Surveillance State ...
    Rethinking U.S. Strategy in the Pacific Islands
    Will the Election Results Turn the Tide on ...
    China, US Choose Between 4 “Cs” Conflict, ...
    Shinzo Abe Rolls On
    Necessary Counterterrorism Conversations
    Trade and Wages
    North Korea Begins Dismantling Key Facilities ...
    Negotiating the Right Agreement: Looking ...
    The Korean Civil-Military Balance
    Will Trump-Kim Summit Be Cancelled?
    The Chinese Are Coming! The Chinese Are Coming!
    How Much Have the Chinese Actually Taken?
    The Other Side of N. Korean Threat: Looking ...
    The Other Side of the North Korean, Iranian, ...
    CSIS & Syracuse's Maxwell School Offer ...
    Dr. Sue Mi Terry Joins CSIS as Senior Fellow ...
    EU to Social Media: Regulate or Be Regulated
    Japan’s Lower House Election: Abe Prevails ...
    China and Technology: Tortoise and Hare Again
    "Countering Coercion in Maritime Asia"






The Seoul Times Shinheungro 25-gil 2-6 Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Korea 04337 (ZC)
Office: 82-10-6606-6188
Copyrights 2000 The Seoul Times Company  ST Banner Exchange