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Friday, September 27th 2019, 7:05pm

Diplomatic Note from the Chinese Empire (Prime Minister Kai Chek) to the French Union (President Clemenceau) - Sunday, February 27, 1949 late evening

It was late in the evening when the chinese Prime Minister reread the prepared diplomatic note and handed it over to the courier, who immediately took it to the French Embassy, where he arrived just before 10pm and handed the message to the French ambassador.

"Dear Mr. President,

we share your concerns about the actions of some chinese ships in the area of the Zhongsha Dao. We also apologize for the incidents surrounding the patrol ship Ha Giang of the Indochinese Naval Patrol. It seemed like a misunderstanding, because we were concerned only about the safety of the ship and its crew. Apparently, however, the commanding officer has misinterpreted his orders, which is why we hereby apologize for it.

As for the construction work on the Zhongsha Dao, I would like to say that this is a purely civilian weather station, which should only be built with the help of the Chinese Navy. After completion of the construction of the station an exclusively civilian crew would be stationed there.

We agree that the Zhongsha Dao area has no territorial baseline above sea level. We also see it as proven that these waters are therefore completely international and therefore not part of any state. China finances the planned construction of this weather station out of its own pocket and thus supports Indochina in its endeavor to make the waters safer. The construction of the station has no aggressive background but is solely for the study of the weather and increasing the safety of navigation in this area.

The Chinese Empire, like the French Union, wants to maintain the general peace in south east asia and the whole world. But unfortunately, the French Union insists on demands that the Chinese Empire can accept only to a limited extent.

  1. The Chinese Empire will immediately stop all construction on the Zhongsha Dao until an international convention amends the current terminology. China, however, insists that also no other nation in the Zhongsha Dao area is allowed to carry out construction work.

  2. As I said in the beginning of my letter, the Chinese Empire wants to apologize for the recent incidents on the Zhongsha Dao. This concerns both the behavior towards the Ha Giang and the behavior towards the French ships. Unfortunately, the responsible officer died in fulfillment of his duty on the flagship, otherwise he would of course be drawn to the responsibility of his misconduct.

  3. The Buoys are all still in position, which is why the Chinese Empire considers this claim as null and void.

  4. Of course, the Chinese Navy will issue a warning in the future if it does a dedicated exercise. The Chinese Navy is ready to increase the deadline to 72 hours, so that each ship is given enough time to leave the exercise area.

I will arrange a corresponding radio message which will be sent to the Chinese vessels, which will leave the Zhongsha Dao area as soon as possible.

I regret that it has come so far, and hope that peace between our two countries will continue.

Sincerely, in representation of His Highness the Chinese Emperor,

Chiang Kai-Chek
Prime Minister of the Chinese Empire"


Tuesday, October 1st 2019, 12:08pm

Zhongsha Dao - Monday, 28. Februar 1949

Captain Sun took the news of the headquarters and looked thoughtfully to the place where yesterday Admiral Yin took his own life. A sailor had cleaned the place thoroughly, but Captain Sun was still shuddering at the thought of the last few hours. As he let the admiral's body bring to the hospital, he found a crumpled message from Colonel General Chin in the uniform bag asking Yin to attack the French. What madness - that would have been the end of China, Sun was sure. China could never win a war against France and its allies. Fortunately, it did not come to that, thought Captain Sun.

"Are the French ships still within radio range?" Captain Sun asked his watch officer.

"Eye sir." came immediately the answer

"Good. Open radio message to the French fleet: 'According to the message of our Prime Minister, all construction work will cease immediately and all Chinese ships, with the exception of our frigate Youzhun, will immediately leave the waters around the Zhongsha Dao. The frigate has unfortunately run on a reef and needs the assistance of our tug.' Let confirm the reception of the radio message." Captain Sun said. "Afterwards - message to the tug, he should run to the position of the frigate and give her all necessary assistance. To the Task Force: All construction works are to be stopped immediately and after assumption of all construction workers course China is to set immediately."

And a short time later first the crane ship, and then the other naval units left the area around Zhongsha Dao with course north. The Houxin took a bit of time to stash everything and left the waters around Zhongsha Dao as last ship of the Task Force, accompanied from the flaggship.

An hour later, the building material left behind was swept away by the tide of the South China Sea. Apart from some piles driven into the reef, the construction site on the Zhongsha Dao had ceased to exist.


Zhongsha Dao, HICMS Youzhun - Monday, 28. Februar 1949

Captain Han and his crew had managed to control the flooding, but the frigate was noticeably deeper in the water. The tug was already on the way and with the help of its pumps it should be possible to remove the water from the ship. Han let a diver into the water to have the ship examined for further damage, as he had the fear that in the collision with the reef it also affected the screw and he needed more than just the pumps of the tug.


Tuesday, October 1st 2019, 1:33pm

Naval Operating Base Cavite, Operations Center, Monday, 28 February 1949

The tension brought about by the situation in the South China Sea bore heavily upon every officer and rating assigned to the Operations Center, and it had been that way since the first appearance of the Chinese task force in the vicinity of Macclesfield Bank. It had been kept under constant observation by flying boats and long-range patrol aircraft flying from Palawan and Mindoro despite the weather, and two submarines were under orders to observe and strike should the Chinese fire upon any of the French vessels ‘discouraging’ their construction efforts.

Thus it was a relief when the listening posts in the Kalayaan Islands intercepted and relayed a plain-language radio signal from the Chinese flagship,

According to the message of our Prime Minister, all construction work will cease immediately and all Chinese ships, with the exception of our frigate Youzhun, will immediately leave the waters around the Zhongsha Dao. The frigate has unfortunately run on a reef and needs the assistance of our tug.”

As the morning wore on it was clear that in fact the Chinese task force was departing, at which realization every man in the Operations Center breathed a sigh of relief. A succession of orders were sent out in short order. Patrol aircraft were ordered to shadow the Chinese force on its homeward course but at a respectful distance; the submarines Relampago and Toronado would continue to track the task force back to its home ports. Commander, Western Fleet, was ordered to resume normal patrol stations, while Naval Composite Air Group Five was ordered to stand down from alert. Other commands were notified that the crisis appeared to have passed without serious incident. Lastly a messenger was sent to the Malacañan Palace to bring word to the Minister of Defense.


Thursday, October 17th 2019, 10:20am

Zhongsha Dao - Monday, 28. Februar 1949 - late evening

The Tug AFT-2 drove alongside the frigate's square stern and a rope was fixed under Captain Han's supervision. Initial investigations showed that the damage to the hull of the ship was mended so far that the combined pumping power of the two ships was sufficient to bring the incoming water back outboard. However, the divers had found that the collision with the reef had also damaged the frigate's screws, so they could not run on their own, but had to rely on the pulling force of the tug. Finally, after all preparations were completed, the tug began dragging the damaged frigate north with slow 4 knots.


Wednesday, October 23rd 2019, 4:27pm

Shanghai - Tuesday, 1. March 1949 - late evening
Though hardly the most reputable nightclub in Shanghai - the converted river steamer had been decorated inside to look like a smaller, cheaper version of the Folies-Bergere, with dim lighting and gaudy furniture - it was definitely one of the most popular. Not only because of the well-stocked bar and the excellent resident band, but because some of the girls performing the erotic floor show were usually agreeable to a little bedroom activity if the price was right. It was a practice Kao Kan, the eldest son of Lao Che, encouraged, considering that it helped business no end. He was sitting at a desk in his office, counting through several thick wads of dirty Chinese banknotes, sweat on his face as there always was when he counted money. He was a small man in his early thirties, stickily built, and wearing a sweat-stained linen jacket, a Browning automatic tucked away neatly in a leather shoulder holster underneath. There was a knock on the door and Kan scowled, but didn't bother to look up as he carried on counting the notes.

'I'm busy. What the fuck is it ?'

The door opened and one of his bodyguards appeared. He looked thoroughly dangerous, well over six feet, broad and muscular, tiny scars criss-crossing his face like a spider's web.

'Wu Han is here to see you, Kan. And Professor Li Ji's arrived. He's waiting downstairs.'

Kao Kan scooped the money into a drawer and locked it.

'Keep the Professor waiting and send Han in first. Then find Costas down in the cellars and tell him I need his arse up here.'

'Right you are, boss.'

A little later the door opened and a shifty-looking man appeared. Wu Han was no more than twenty-five, boyishly thin-faced, but when he removed his forage cap there was barely a wisp of hair on his smooth young head. Kao Kan came round from behind the desk, flashed a smile, all charm now, and shook his hand.

'Good to see you again, Wu. And what do you have for me this time ? Something interesting, I hope ?'

'For sure, two forty-gallon drums of petrol, a dozen bottles of best claret, and four sides of beef.'

'And who did you have to murder to get those ?'

Wu laughed. 'A man's got to live. Are you interested ?'

'How much ?'

'Forty Yuan.'

'You're a bigger thief than I am. Thirty, and not a fen more.' Kao Kan grinned. 'But just to show there's no hard feelings, I'll throw in a bottle of Scotch.'

'Done. You want me to drop the stuff off at the usual place ?'

'I'd appreciate it.' Kan slapped a hand on the Wu Han's shoulder and led him to the door. 'And do it after midnight, as always. Good to do business with you again.'

The door opened as Kao Kan sat perched on the edge of his desk, and a swarthy-looking man with a black moustache appeared. Costas Demiris was the son of a Greek merchant, his dark eyes were constantly on the move, missing nothing. 'What's the problem, Kan ?'

Kao Kan lit a cheroot from a pack on his desk. 'Professor Li Ji is here.'