Saturday, May 21, 2016

Drill simulates joint evacuation

Drill simulates joint evacuation

( Source: China Daily  )         2016-March-27 22:43

China and the United Kingdom conducted their first simulated joint evacuation exercise over the past two days in Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu province.
Participants in the Joint Evacuation-2016 tabletop drill were mainly from the British Armed Forces and the People's Liberation Army Navy. During the event at the PLA Naval Command College, they conducted a simulated joint operation to evacuate people out of a third nation that is in a civil war and has been hit by terrorism. They also shared policies, tactics and experience pertaining to evacuation operations.
The operation's scenarios involved the use of a joint naval fleet, multiple aircraft and a joint headquarters.
Rear Admiral Lu Ming, deputy commandant of the PLA college, said that China and the UK have rich experience accumulated over the years in evacuation missions, and the latest exercise will help deepen the practical cooperation in non-combatant military operations.
Senior Captain Li Anmin, dean of the Department of Strategy at the college, said the exercise enables officers from the two militaries to find solutions to possible problems in evacuation tasks, such as incompatibility of a joint command system or difficulties in coordination. "For instance, we have different rules of engagement that will divide us in actual operation when a possible threat appears. We must sit together to discuss and try to find the solutions," he said.
Evacuation operations often involve complicated political, diplomatic and legal issues. It has become increasingly difficult for a single nation to accomplish such a task. Bilateral or multilateral collaboration is a better choice, Li added.
Commodore Steven Dainton, assistant chief of staff of the Royal Navy, said the event improved the two sides' understanding of the similarities and differences of their approaches to evacuation tasks, allowing them to work more closely in the future.
In 2011, when a civil war erupted in Libya, China helped to evacuate 2,100 foreign nationals who came from 12 countries.
Last year, the PLA Navy allowed 279 foreign nationals from 15 countries to use two of its warships to leave war-torn Yemen.
Currently, more than 30,000 Chinese enterprises have overseas branches with millions of Chinese nationals working abroad.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

CDF OpEd: China's Evacuation from Libya

By Mr. Unknown.

China’s ongoing evacuation of its citizens from a chaotic Libya is starting to draw close scrutiny from pundits due to the PLAN’s use of a 054A class Frigate (Xuzhou, FFG-530) amongst other civilian means of evacuation. Unsurprisingly, we can leave it to some media outlets to exaggerate this action into nothing less than old school imperialist “gunboat diplomacy.”

A not-so-subtle proclamation of China’s “menacing” display of naval power came from the Council on Foreign Relation’s (CFR) Elliot Abrams, who wrote the following on the CFR blog, (here)

          “In recent days, the White House has been saying that the United States had to watch its words and actions  because American citizens were at risk in Libya.  So instead of acting, we are building a diplomatic coalition. China has taken a different tack: to use power.  Instead of biting their tongue, the Chinese appear to be making it clear to the Qadhafi regime that no danger to Chinese workers will be tolerated.

An even more provocative article titled “China Fills Libya Power Void” appeared on the website of Investor’s Business Daily, which compared China’s supposed “assertiveness” to “US inaction,”

          “Up until now, the conventional thinking from the Tom Friedman crowd claims that China is somehow engaged in a new model of commercial engagement abroad, quite unlike the old empires of the past that projected military power. That theory is out the window now with this naval action. China will defend its own, same as any other empire.

The IBD article (here) went on to argue that:

          “China's assertiveness in the Libyan crisis stands in contrast to that of the U.S. By the time we found a vessel to ferry a mere 600 nationals out of the country, the Chinese had already transported 12,000 of its people to Crete… China is setting a precedent with its newfound show of force.”

Instead of “praising” China’s “new-found assertiveness,” perhaps the authors should have asked why the PLAN was able to sail into Libya with impunity?  And why neither the rebels nor the Libyan government questioned whether China has ulterior motives other than ferrying its citizens away from the cross-fire?  The correct answer is NOT China’s determined “show of force” or “power projection,” but its record of restrained and infrequent use of force, coupled with its consistent policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of other states.  Having built up its “street-cred” in Africa as a non-intrusive business partner, China provoked no suspicions from either side of the Libyan upheaval on the rare occasion that it used military assets as part of the evacuation.

The authors of the aforementioned articles have drawn precisely the opposite conclusion that should have been reached.  China’s relatively smooth evacuation vis-a-vis US awkwardness represents NOT the need for aggressive intervention, but rather the power of restraint surmounting that of forceful coercion.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The 1990s: Joint exercises and the Somalia noncombatant evacuation operation.

Reading from Christopher D. Yung, Ross Rustici, Isaac Kardon, and Joshua Wiseman's recently published "China’s Out of Area Naval Operations: Case Studies, Trajectories, Obstacles, and Potential Solutions" by the Center for Strategic Research, Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defense University (here)

The 1990s: Joint exercises and the Somalia noncombatant evacuation operation.

In early 1991, escalating violence from a civil war in Somalia drove many embassies in Mogadishu to request extraction due to unsafe conditions. The Chinese embassy and consulate requested help in evacuating its personnel. The PLAN had no assets capable of assisting the embassy, so the Chinese government reached out to the state-owned China Ocean Shipping Company to aid in the evacuation.

The company diverted one of its cargo ships (the Yongmen), sailing from Europe through the Gulf of Aden, to orchestrate the rescue of Chinese personnel in both Mogadishu and Kismayo. As a result of the large number of people needing to be evacuated, a lack of navigation charts, and the high level of danger on the piers, the Chinese hired two tug boats to ferry people from the piers outside Mogadishu to the boat. The option of using the life rafts from the Yongmen was rejected due to the time it would require to ferry all the passengers as well as the danger associated with such small boats in rough seas. After loading all the people from Mogadishu, the Yongmen set sail for Mombasa, Kenya. After unloading the first batch of passengers in Mombasa, the Yongmen was dispatched to Kismayo, Somalia, for a second evacuation. The port at Kismayo was too small for the Yongmen to dock. As a result, the crew hired a large fishing vessel and another tug to transfer the evacuees to the Yongmen, which then sailed back to Mombasa to unload the rest of the civilians.

From this case history, we note that in the early 1990s, the PLAN was incapable of conducting an out of area noncombatant evacuation. Not only did it lack the necessary ships, but also the naval personnel had yet to be trained in operations of this kind due to the PLAN’s inexperience operating out of area. The long distances alone virtually eliminated China’s ability to respond to it adequately, requiring its merchant fleet to step in. We can also see from this specific case that while merchant vessels are useful substitutes for naval surface combatants, they also have their shortcomings. The Yongmen lacked personnel who could risk operating small boats in rough seas (as would be expected of a boatswain of any other navy) or serve as a security force to escort citizens from shore points to the ship. Furthermore, it is unclear what assets were available on board the Yongmen to transport personnel. In fact, given the nature of the Yongmen—a merchant vessel, not a warship equipped for multiple contingencies—it is safe to say that had Chinese citizens in Somalia been unable to get to points along the shore, and had they remained stranded inland, the Chinese government would have had no means to get them out.

Today as the PLAN now makes the Gulf of Aden as one of its "training grounds", the above incident illustrates how far the PLAN has come in a short period of 20 years. At the same time, reading from Yung, Rustici, Kardon and Wiseman's in-depth analysis, the PLAN still has a long way to go before it can take part in major combat operations far from home.

"China’s Out of Area Naval Operations: Case Studies, Trajectories, Obstacles, and Potential Solutions"
is a great work, download a copy, (here) it is well worth your time.

Someday, firing warning shots may no longer able to drive those pirates away, when that day comes, the PLAN may have to resolve to something more lethal -- such as harsh language.

Gorman: Apone! Look... we can't have any firing in there. I, uh... I want you to collect magazines from everybody.
Hudson: Is he fuckin' crazy?
Frost: What the hell are we supposed to use man? Harsh language?

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