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[*] posted on 16-12-2017 at 11:06 PM


The new Australian Ambassador to China will be Mr Chow from the Hangover...

Yeah, we’ll stop sailing in the South China Sea...


https://youtu.be/jGMFwT3iSMk




In a low speed post-merge manoeuvring fight, with a high off-boresight 4th generation missile and Helmet Mounted Display, the Super Hornet will be a very difficult opponent for any current Russian fighter, even the Su-27/30
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[*] posted on 20-12-2017 at 11:33 AM


Opinion: India faces fallout on Chinese border

20th December 2017 - 01:12 GMT | by The Geobukseon in Indo-Pacific

EDITED.....all the pretty pics are removed to allow copy and paste of this article........go to the original to see missing pics.....

https://www.shephardmedia.com/news/defence-notes/opinion-ind...

For 73 days from June-August, Indian and Chinese troops faced off across the Himalayas in the worst border confrontation in years. At Doklam, an unremarkable patch of territory disputed by Bhutan and China, troops eyeballed each other after China attempted to extend a mountain track.

While that standoff ceased via a disengagement agreement implemented on 28 August, the latest satellite imagery indicates that India bit off quite a handful by making its stand on the border. In fact, imagery shows an estimated 1,600-1,800 soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) now camped out nearby.

While Delhi declared it had achieved its ‘strategic objective’ of preventing China from extending a military road in Doklam, that objective can now be reinterpreted as being merely tactical. Instead, the strategic result is that the PLA has formed a year-round presence near Doklam instead of a seasonal one.

A recent report, written by Col Vinayak Bhat (retd) and published by ThePrint, revealed that the PLA has constructed two helipads, improved roads and established scores of prefabricated huts to create a permanent presence in the vicinity.

‘A Chinese build-up of troops and military infrastructure near the contentious Doklam plateau has gained pace in November, with fresh satellite images showing new mortar positions, hardening of gun positions and evidence that more than 5,000 troops could be deployed within 5-10km of the conflict point,’ Bhat reported.

Satellite imagery revealed increased PLA deployments compared to August, particularly at several locations southwest of Yadong town.

‘This presence of almost nine battalions is in addition to the troops that China has deployed just 50km behind in the Chumbi Valley,' the report continued.

Bhat added, ‘Satellite images confirm that work is progressing at a feverish pace even in the winter. The images show at least nine three-storey buildings that are occupied and almost 300 large vehicles, suggesting that almost one division of troops are located in areas ahead of Yadong town.’

Additionally, a communications centre has been improved to include a receiving station, four antenna dishes and two tall antennas. Defensive positions, many defiladed from Indian outposts, are connected by trenches.

The Doklam plateau is of vital importance to India. Any Chinese progress there pushes its troops closer to the vulnerable Siliguri Corridor, the so-called ‘Chicken’s Neck’, that connects eastern India with the rest of the country.

The two sides are keeping a wary eye on each other, illustrated by the crash of an Indian UAV, believed to be a Heron 1, on Chinese territory in the Sikkim area earlier this month.

Yet the Doklam dispute is simply part of a larger Sino-Indian contest. Neither country can tolerate any compromise on territorial claims and, with President Xi Jinping in an even stronger position after October’s 19th Party Congress, time will tell whether he has an appetite to assert even greater military power.

China’s three-warfare strategy encompasses media, legal and psychological pathways to ‘win without fighting’, just as it has successfully done by marginalising Taiwan. Beijing used the same modus operandi against India during the Doklam dispute, even taking the unusual step of publishing a 15-page position paper where it accused Delhi of ‘invading Chinese territory’.

Crafting an image of itself as a peace-loving and stabilising force in Asia and around the globe, China is guilty of a persistent pattern whereby it maintains virginal blamelessness in whatever dispute it might be embroiled. As in the South China Sea, its leaders believe that if you say something often and convincingly enough, then people will believe it.

A quick survey by The Geobukseon of Chinese social media posts at the time of the Doklam tensions showed about 60% approved the use of diplomacy to solve the argument.

Alarmingly, however, 20% of Chinese netizens urged war to end the standoff.

Examples of this sentiment included one patriot: ‘Why don’t we expel those Indians by force?...It’s time to show off our military power!’

While China uses nationalist sentiment to its advantage, it could also become a double-edged sword if it races out of control.

There is thus a risk that individual Chinese border units will act out under the broad encouragement of the communist party, similar to the shoving and stone-slinging clash of Chinese and Indian troops that occurred at the Four Finger area in Ladakh on 15 August.

Rory Medcalf, writing for the Australian think tank the Lowy Institute, concluded, ‘At Doklam, China was caught off-balance by India’s military response of deterrence by denial. No amount of full-throated bluster, condescension or war talk from Chinese party-state mouthpieces could make India’s forces budge…Yet within weeks, we saw a negotiated resolution. This makes it more likely that others will discount Chinese threats in future.’

Medcalf suggested that such firmness, ‘combined with the patient and low-key nature of India’s diplomatic negotiations… may provide a new template for handling Chinese coercion’.

Yes, China’s assertiveness was challenged by Delhi’s refusal to bow to pressure, and doubtlessly Xi must have been angered by this.

However, it is essential to realise that the PLA was at a tactical disadvantage at Doklam and could not take any quick or decisive action. Furthermore, amidst all-time-high suspicions of Chinese motives, any fighting would have destroyed China’s carefully crafted narrative of a peaceful rise.

China never viewed it as a defeat. In the wake of the Doklam pullback, Chinese defence spokesman Ren Guoqiang promised, ‘The Chinese military will continue to carry out its missions and responsibilities, beef up patrol and station troops in the Dong Lang area and resolutely safeguard national sovereignty and security… The Chinese armed forces will firmly carry out its sacred mission of safeguarding territorial sovereignty and protect every inch of the land in the Dong Lang area.’

Compared to Medcalf, other commentators were more restrained in rushing to label this a victory for India. For example, M. Taylor Fravel, an associate professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), argued that India did not win, since the status quo was merely restored.

In an article published by War on the Rocks, Fravel insisted India had actually lost at the strategic level.

‘Ironically, perhaps, India’s actions underscored to China the importance of enhancing its military position in the Doklam bowl. Before the standoff in June, China’s permanent presence in the area had been quite limited… Now that India has chosen to confront China at Doklam, however, China may well seek to rectify this tactical imbalance of forces.’

Fravel argued, ‘When India challenged China’s construction crews in June, it only had to move its forces a hundred metres from the existing border. In the future, India may be faced with the uncomfortable choice of deciding whether to risk much more to deny China a greater presence farther inside Doklam or to accept it. This will be a tough decision for any leader to make. Even if India won this round, it may not win the next one.’

The MIT professor further argued that this incident ‘does not offer a ‘model’ that other states can apply elsewhere for countering China’s assertiveness’.

‘Given that China will continue to press its territorial claims against India and Bhutan, as well as in the East and South China Seas, policymakers should be wary of learning the wrong lessons from the disengagement at Doklam,' he warned.

China is gradually building up forces in Tibet, which will contribute towards rectifying an imbalance currently skewed in India’s favour. Beijing may also test Indian resolve elsewhere in places like Ladakh or Uttarakhand.

Furthermore, Gen Bipin Rawat, India’s Chief of Army Staff, warned in September that China would continue to nibble away at Indian territory through its ‘salami slicing’ strategy. Beijing’s methodology, which has proved so successful in the South China Sea, will not change.

As the PLA strengthens capabilities near Doklam, this could well evolve into a tug of war of national resolve and a test of how the two countries manage their fraught relationship. Their intractable border dispute rests upon legacies of history that cannot be solved in the medium term. The Doklam incident, rather than boosting mutual trust, damaged it.

There are positives, though. For instance, the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement of 2013 sets out norms for behaviour, plus the 20th round of border talks – involving India’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and China’s State Councillor Yang Jiechi – takes place this week.

Nonetheless, Delhi must remain vigilant, as China can raise tensions elsewhere along the disputed Line of Actual Control that demarcates the frontier, especially in areas where it has a numerical or tactical advantage. Such probes are a real threat, as are punitive ‘cross-domain’ reactions such as naval operations in the Indian Ocean or cyberattacks.

India did well to stymy Chinese military adventurism at Doklam. However, amidst a sense of foreboding as the PLA dramatically boosts its presence there, Delhi needs to maintain its resolve.
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[*] posted on 20-12-2017 at 12:52 PM


Following Trump's report, China urges US to accept its rise

By: Joe McDonald, The Associated Press   8 hours ago

BEIJING — The Chinese government on Tuesday criticized U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to label Beijing a strategic rival and called on Washington to “abandon a Cold War mentality” and accept China’s rise.

Trump’s decision reflects a “victory of hardliners” in his administration, the official Xinhua News Agency said. It warned U.S.-Chinese economic relations were likely to face “even more pressure and challenges.”

“We urge the United States to stop deliberately distorting China’s strategic intentions and abandon a Cold War mentality,” said a foreign ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying. “Otherwise it will injure others and damage itself.”

Trump’s report Monday hit a series of sore spots for Beijing. It affirmed ties with Taiwan, the self-ruled island the mainland government claims as its territory, and pledged to “re-energize our alliances” with Southeast Asian governments, some of which have conflicts with China over claims to portions of the South China Sea.

The United States and China share one of the world’s biggest trading relationships and cooperate in areas from clean energy to public health. But Beijing sees Washington as an obstacle to its ambitions to be East Asia’s dominant power, and strains over Taiwan, trade, technology policy and the South China Sea are growing.

“It is selfish to put your national interest above other countries’ interest and the mutual interest of the international community,” said the Chinese Embassy in Washington in a statement.

“The Chinese side is willing to have peaceful coexistence with all countries,” said the embassy statement. “The United States should also adapt and accept China’s development.”

U.S. officials are uneasy about Beijing’s rising military spending — already the second-highest behind Washington. They see President Xi Jinping’s “Belt and Road Initiative,” a project to build railways and other infrastructure across countries from Asia to Europe and Africa, as part of efforts to erode American influence and nurture a China-centered political structure.

Especially sensitive is Taiwan, the democratic island Beijing has declared a “core interest” over which it will go to war, if necessary.

Trump’s report promises to “maintain our strong ties with Taiwan” and provide for its “legitimate defense needs.”

China has taken a tougher stance toward Taiwan since last year’s election of President Tsai Ing-wen, who has refused to endorse Beijing’s contention that Taiwan is part of the Chinese nation. Chinese commentators speculate on the possible need for military steps to put pressure on Tsai.

After Trump signed a law this month that opened the way for U.S. Navy ships to visit Taiwan, a Chinese diplomat quoted by state media said the mainland would attack the day that happened.

Trump’s report doesn’t change Washington’s official stance but might aggravate tensions if Taiwanese who want formal independence see it as sign of U.S. support and “want to take advantage of it,” said Xiong Zhiyong, a U.S. relations expert at China Foreign Affairs University.

“The Chinese government is also anxious,” said Xiong. He said the Chinese diplomat’s remark is a “warning out of real worry that something may happen unexpectedly.”

Hua, the foreign ministry spokeswoman, urged Washington to stick to diplomatic commitments on how to handle Taiwan.

On Monday, Chinese warplanes flew around Taiwan in what the military said was a test of their “ocean combat ability.” Taiwan’s defense ministry said Japan launched fighter planes to track the Chinese aircraft, but the Japanese government would not confirm that.

Trump’s report promises to “re-energize our alliances” with governments including the Philippines and Vietnam, which have conflicting territorial claims with Beijing in the South China Sea.

It also pledges to expand military cooperation with India, a country Beijing sees as a rival.

The report emphasized economic security and repeated complaints that China steals technology and uses “economic inducements” to persuade other governments to serve its strategic interests.

It proposes restricting visas to prevent intellectual property theft by foreigners, particularly Chinese, who travel to the United States to study science, engineering, math and technology.

Foreign business groups in China report that companies are increasingly frustrated with market barriers and other restrictions they say violate Beijing’s free-trade promises.

The report is another abrupt turn in Trump’s stance toward Beijing, which has veered between blistering criticism on trade and currency and optimism about cooperation on North Korea and other problems.

“China seeks to displace the United States in the Indo-Pacific region, expand the reaches of its state-driven economic model, and reorder the region in its favor,” the report says.

In April, Trump announced that he was setting aside complaints about trade and currency in hopes of winning Chinese cooperation on North Korea. U.S. officials resumed criticizing Beijing in July.

Trump switched back to friendly overtures during a visit to Beijing in November. He said the two sides could solve most of the world’s problems if they cooperated.

The Global Times, a newspaper published by the ruling Communist Party, said the report “reflects Washington’s reluctance to accept the reality of China’s rise.”

“It is impossible for the United States to restrain China,” said the newspaper, known for its nationalistic tone. “As China continues to grow and its influence continues to spill over, this is the root cause of Washington’s anxiety.”

Associated Press researcher Yu Bing contributed to this report.
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[*] posted on 22-12-2017 at 05:43 PM


Study: China to Boost Military Muscle at Sea to Deter Foreign Powers

(Source: Voice of America News; issued Dec 20, 2017)
By Ralph Jennings


Philippine military's images of China's reclamation in the Spratlys, Mabini (Johnson) Reef, March, 2015. (Philippines Armed Forces photo)

TAIPEI --- China is widely forecast to bolster its military power next year in the South China Sea to resist Japan, India and the United States, as well as the Asian states that dispute Beijing's maritime claims.

Scholars believe China will eventually enhance radar surveillance and let fighter jets use tiny islets for stopovers. Beijing might declare an air defense identification zone or other means of maritime control, too, they suggest.

It probably hopes the United States, along with militarily powerful allies such as Japan and India, will stay out after they jumped into the dispute this year, according to Oh Ei Sun, international studies instructor at Singapore Nanyang University.

"I don't think they're primarily offensive in nature, but of course with those installations in place, they will have more bargaining chips, they're in a stronger position to say the U. S. should not perform [freedom of navigation operations] and such in the South China Sea," Oh said.

New hardware

China this year added installations in the Paracel and Spratly Islands, said the Asia Maritime Transparency Institute of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

In 2017, China built underground storage areas, administrative structures and "large radar and sensor arrays," said the Washington-based research group. The construction covered about 290,000 square meters "of new real estate."

Beijing built most actively at Fiery Cross reef in the Spratlys, it said, including work to finish tunnels that are likely for ammunition storage. High-frequency radar gear also appeared on the reef, it adds.

China is the most militarized of six governments that claim all or part of the 3.5 million-square-kilometer sea, which is valued for fisheries and fossil fuels. It has been building up islets since 2010.

China has enough installations to land fighter jets, refuel, rearm and let crews rest, said Collin Koh, maritime security research fellow at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

State-run China Central Television said earlier in the month the military had deployed jet fighters to Woody Island in the Paracel chain.

China may draw a line of control around its holdings in the Spratly Islands, contested by four Southeast Asian countries plus Taiwan, and consider an air defense identification zone, the initiative's director Gregory Poling said.

China declared an air defense identification zone off its east coast, in a sea disputed by Japan, in 2013.

Outside influence

Analysts say China's buildup is aimed at claimants Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam as well as powerful nations that do not claim ownership over the sea.

But the United States particularly irks China as a powerful arms supplier and military trainer for the Philippines. Washington sends naval vessels into the South China Sea periodically to back its position the waters are open to freedom of navigation.

"When the Chinese are suddenly trying to stop resupply of the Philippine forces at Pag-Asa or on the Sierra Madre [ship] at Second Thomas Shoal, then [Philippine President Rodrigo] Duterte is going to face an enormous amount of pressure to react strongly," Poling said, referring to two Manila-held features in the Spratly chain.

"The only way the Philippines can possibly react, really, is to strengthen the defense relation with the U. S.," he said.

India, a Western ally, upgraded its partnership with Vietnam last year year as part of its Act East policy, which analysts say is designed to check Chinese expansion.

Japan, an ally of the United States, passed a helicopter carrier through the sea in mid-2017, adding to repeated comments from Tokyo the waterway should be ruled by international law.

China bases its claim to about 90 percent of the sea on historical fishing records. It has eased the dispute through offers of aid and investment around Southeast Asia. Next year, it's due to sign a code of conduct with regional countries to head off accidents at sea.

Deterrent effect

After appeals by other claimant countries a U. N. arbitration tribunal said China lacked a legal basis to much of its claim.

But China's buildup has continued. It's "like the Cold War," when opponents stocked nuclear weapons to head off attacks, Oh said.

Some other countries see China's current level of control as a "fact," Koh said.

But in November, heads of state from Australia, India, Japan and the United States met in Manila to call for "free, open, prosperous and inclusive" Asian seas, according to an Indian external affairs ministry statement.

China, which resents the role of outside powers in the South China Sea, sees provocation from outside players as cause to keep strengthening its claims, Koh said.

"Now they are trying to demonstrate to the U. S. or allies like Japan and Australia that China is in to stay, and more importantly it's not just purely staying power," he added, "It's the ability to sustain and project force in that area. "

-ends-
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[*] posted on 27-12-2017 at 03:24 PM


'Not even the Gods can save Taiwan' unless air defenses upgraded, says expert

A report in Asia Weekly outlines the imminent crisis of Taiwan's air defense

By Duncan DeAeth,Taiwan News, Staff Writer

2017/12/26 15:46


Taiwan Air Force Fighter Jets (Image from Air Force Command FB page)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The upcoming issue of Asia Weekly will include an article analyzing the latest data on Taiwan’s air defense systems, and the prognosis is not good.

The report entitled "Taiwan’s Imminent Air Defense Crisis” by Lu Lishi (呂禮詩), a retired Taiwanese navy captain and a military expert, argues that if the Taiwanese Air Force and the country's defense capabilities are not immediately reassessed and upgraded, then “Not even the Gods or Buddha will be able to save” the island country.

If that sounds dire, that’s because it is. The article references the increasing frequency of air drills by the Chinese PLA, and their increasing range. In mid-December, fighter jets flew through the strait between Japan and Korea for the first time.

The article notes that Japanese defense officials reported that in 2013, Japanese SDF aircraft were scrambled 413 times, while in 2016 they were scrambled 851 times in response to the increasing threat from China.

The expanding range of Chinese air force drills around Taiwan is no less alarming. Since January 2017, PLA aircraft have been spotted ranging the waters off Taiwan’s east coast a total of 16 times, compared to four times in 2016.

The report explains that the constant drills of PLA aircraft circling Taiwan are intended to determine, and to eventually penetrate the range of Taiwan’s air defenses.

The PLA is fast discovering exactly how much range it has to maneuver, and thus outmaneuver the current air defenses of Taiwan.

While many international observers often consider Taiwan as an “island filled with missiles,”the article makes it very clear that despite the quality of current defense capabilities, the numbers are simply not in Taiwan’s favor.

Asia Weekly notes, while Taiwan’s stock of patriot two and patriot three missiles would theoretically be able to defend against a barrage or fleet of up to 161 combat targets, there is reportedly only enough stock to withstand a few such large barrages or fleets.


DF-5B intercontinental ballistic missiles during parade in Beijing, Sept. 3, 2015 (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Even more concerning, is that according to the report, all of Taiwan’s missile defense assets combined would only be able to neutralize about 8 percent of the 2000 plus missiles which the PLA would have at its disposal, if China chose to go all in on a campaign of ballistic bombardment.

Ultimately, the article challenges the national military and the executive branch to seriously address the deficit in Taiwan’s air defense systems.

The author charges that Taiwan has assumed for far too long that “piggy-backing” on the United States’ defense capabilities would remain sufficient for Taiwan’s security.

The article makes a very strong case that Taiwan’s armed forces are not prepared for the threats arrayed against them.

The report urges Taiwan to quickly implement upgrades to naval air defense systems, as well as the possible acquisition of its own THAAD platforms or another “high altitude” defense system.
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[*] posted on 27-12-2017 at 09:22 PM


Impertinent bastards.

China warns Japan over plans to buy F-35B stealth fighters

The Australian1:00PM December 27, 2017

China has warned Japan over a controversial plan to buy US F-35B stealth fighter jets for use on its helicopter carriers.

The purchase of the F-35Bs is regarded in Japan as a way of countering China’s growing assertiveness in the region. Beijing wants to expand its territorial claims in the East China and South China Sea because the islands are rich in natural resources and are important strategic posts for navigational and military purposes.

The stealth fighters are reportedly expected to be used to bolster Japan’s ability to defend its islands in the East China Sea; the Senkaku Islands, which are claimed by both Japan and China are at the centre of a long running dispute between the countries.

The fighters can operate from helicopter carriers after modifications are made that will allow the carriers to operate as small aircraft carriers.

However the plan is a major, and controversial policy shift for Japan, which has always maintained that possessing “attack aircraft carriers” would breach its pacifist constitution. Since World War II, the country has held an “exclusively defence-oriented policy”, its constitution vowing to “forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation.”

Last night Beijing warned that the move would be frowned on “for historical reasons.” Tokyo used its carrier fleet to attack Pearl Harbour in 1941, sinking most of the US Navy’s battleship fleet and drawing America into World War Two.

China’s Foreign Ministry urged Japan to “adhere to the path of peaceful development and act prudently in security matters”.

China hopes Japan sticks to the Article 9 of its pacifist constitution and follows the path of peaceful development, says a FM spokesperson Tuesday in response to media reports that Japan is considering refitting a helicopter carrier for stealth fighters

“We urge Japan to do more that may help enhance mutual trust and promote regional peace and stability,” spokesperson Hua Chunying said.

While warning Japan against its move, China has deployed a powerful new dredger in the South China Sea to increase the size of the islands it has claimed. China has already built military air strips, munitions warehouses, radar facilities and missile platforms. It has also installed libraries, sports stadiums, cinemas and housing.

According to the Global Times, the state-run English-language daily, China has started building on more than 290,000 square metres of newly reclaimed land this year.

Beijing has also launched two aircraft carriers to patrol the region, with one, Liaoning, embarking on several war games exercises.




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the lips acquire stains,
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[*] posted on 28-12-2017 at 01:09 PM


Threats and military exercises fuel tension between China and Taiwan

By: Jon Simkins   6 hours ago


Taiwan soldiers load home-made Tien Chien surface-to-air missiles onto a launcher during an annual simulation of an attack by China as the government sought to reassure the public in the face of deteriorating relations with Beijing.

Tensions are on the rise between China and Taiwan, the self-ruled, democratic island that China claims as part of its own territory.

A senior Chinese official issued a statement this week in a state-run newspaper saying Taiwan would undoubtedly come under Chinese control due to the economic, political, social, cultural and military superiority of the “motherland,” Reuters reported.

“The contrast in power across the Taiwan Strait will become wider and wider, and we will have a full, overwhelming strategic advantage over Taiwan,” wrote Liu Junchuan, the liaison head of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office.

For decades China has threatened to use military force to bring Taiwan, a U.S. ally, under direct control of the Chinese government in Beijing.

More recently, frequent Chinese military drills around Taiwan have cut off access to the island’s dwindling list of allies, according to Reuters.

China’s exercises come amid a growing suspicion by Beijing that Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen will pursue formal independence, according to a Reuters report Tuesday.

China claims that the military exercises were routine, but Taiwan’s defense ministry issued a report that Chinese bombers and advanced fighter jets have conducted 16 drills directly over or adjacent to Taiwan, Reuters reports.

“The Chinese military’s strength continues to grow rapidly,” the report said.

“There have been massive developments in military reforms, combined operations, weapons development and production, the building of overseas military bases and military exercises, and the military threat towards us grows daily.”

Escalating aggression from Beijing recently prompted Taiwan’s mainland affairs minister, Chang Hsiao-Yueh, to issue a warning of her own, declaring China would suffer significantly if it invaded the island, according to a National Interest report Monday.

“If they invade Taiwan militarily they will pay a very very high price. And so far I believe that’s the last resort if all the other means [of unification] are failed then finally they will do that,” she said during a briefing in Taipei.

Tensions between China and Taiwan spiked earlier this month amid discussions of U.S. ships making port visits to Taiwan, a topic explored in the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, according to a Reuters report.

“The day that a U.S. Navy vessel arrives in Kaohsiung [Taiwan’s main deep-water port] is the day that our People’s Liberation Army unifies Taiwan with military force,” said Chinese official Li Kexin.
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[*] posted on 1-1-2018 at 09:38 PM


January 1 2018 - 5:53PM

Chinese paper warns Australia on 'interference' in South China Sea

Lindsay Murdoch

Same old shit, just another day.............:no:

Bangkok: A Chinese Communist Party-owned newspaper has published an article warning that Australia's "interference" in the flashpoint waters of the South China Sea may prompt China to "adopt strong countermeasures which will seriously impact Australian economic development".

Zhang Ye, a researcher at the Chinese Naval Research Institute in Beijing, wrote in the hawkish Global Times that Australia's "kissing up to the United States" will "poison its relations with China and shake up [the] foundation for its strategic balance between China and the US".


This image provided by CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative/DigitalGlobe shows a satellite image of Fiery Cross Reef in Spratly island chain in the South China Sea, annotated by the source to show areas where China has conducted construction work above ground during 2017. Photo: AP

"Australia has changed its policy considerably. Its bigoted actions have jeopardised not only China's national interests but also Australian long-term interests, bringing Canberra's structural contradictions and strategic dilemma to a worse level," Zhang wrote.

The comments come two weeks after China's top naval commander formally rebuked Australia's Chief of Navy, Tim Barrett, over Australia's policy on the waterways, where China and five other countries have overlapping territorial claims.

The rebuke was partly in response to Australian navy ships crossing into the South China Sea during multinational military exercises in September.

In early December, Beijing's Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned Australia's ambassador to China, Jan Adams, for an official rebuke over revelations that China had meddled in Australia's political system, prompting the Turnbull government to introduce new laws to counter foreign interference.

And in November China lashed Australia over its Foreign Policy White Paper, saying remarks on the South China Sea were "irresponsible".

In a new year article, Zhang accused Australia of a "double standard" by supporting a 2006 finding brought by the Philippines under the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea that China has "no historical rights" to the South China Sea.

"However when Australia dealt with its own conflict with the Timor-Leste [East Timor] over a sea border, it took a contrary stance and claimed all the results of the arbitration were meaningless and unacceptable," he said.

Zhang, whose institute is an arm of the People's Liberation Army, criticised Australian support for freedom of navigation operations by US ships close to Chinese occupied islands in the disputed waters, saying "once Sino-US relations are strained, Australia will have to choose between the two countries and fall into a deeper strategic plight".

He said Australia's provocations on the South China Sea "have increased Canberra's strategic burden, widened the gap between its limited powers and its goal to become a middle power".

"Australia has held this goal for a long time and wants to have its position in international affairs. However due its small population and limited strength, Canberra hasn't stood out in global geopolitics," Zhang said.

Zhang said Australia should recognise "China's peaceful rise" and not let the South China Sea issue damage bilateral relations or become a "tool for foreign forces to undermine regional stability".

Carlyle Thayer, an expert on the South China Sea at the University of NSW's Australian Defence Force Academy, said the article was an intensification of China's anti-Australian rhetoric and was written for Australia's domestic audience, especially those who adhere to the view of accommodating China's rise rather than opposing it.

Professor Thayer said Zhang's view that China should economically sanction Australia for its stance on the South China Sea was "particularly disturbing".

He said the tone of the article follows a consistent line by the Global Times to criticise, belittle and intimidate Australia, partly because of Canberra's criticism of Chinese meddling in Australian domestic politics.

Professor Thayer said the Global Times "plays the role of a Rottweiler guard dog to threaten any country that advances a view contrary to China's current propaganda line".

Recent satellite images show that China has been busy building military infrastructure in the South China Sea during 2017 while the US and its key allies have been distracted by the North Korean nuclear crisis.

The work continued despite Beijing signalling its willingness to pursue protracted negotiations on a "code of conduct" with other claimants.

Australia's first Foreign Policy White Paper in 14 years remarked how China has caused "tension" in the South China Sea.

"Australia is particularly concerned by the unprecedented pace and scale of China's activities," it said.

But Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang hit back after the paper's release, saying "Australia is not party to the South China Sea issue".

China claims almost the entire sea while there are overlapping claims by the Philippines, Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam.

Australia's public position is not to take sides in the dispute while calling for a peaceful solution and using diplomatic channels and forums to pressure China to end its military build-up.

The South China Sea is one of the world's most important shipping lanes with more than half of Australia's coal, iron ore and LNG exports pass through the waters.
China is Australia's largest trading partner.
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[*] posted on 5-1-2018 at 08:35 PM


China initiates satellite project to enable ‘uninterrupted observations of South China Sea’

Andrew Tate - Jane's Defence Weekly

04 January 2018

China announced on 14 December the official start of a satellite constellation project in southern Hainan Province designed to enable “full uninterrupted observations of the South China Sea”, according to a report published on the China Military Online website.

Referred to as the Hainan Satellite Constellation, the project, which was initiated by the Sanya Research Centre – part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth (RADI) – will see the development and launch of 10 remote sensing satellites, the first of which is expected to be placed in orbit in 2019, with the remainder set to be launched within the next four to five years.

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[*] posted on 10-1-2018 at 09:17 PM


Opinion: 2018 is China’s Year of the Dog

10th January 2018 - 01:01 GMT | by The Geobukseon in Indo-Pacific

The coming Year of the Dog could be the year of the ‘running dog’ for the US in the Asia-Pacific. Never before have we seen the rise of such an assertive and powerful China driven by outlandish historical claims and outrageous publicity acts of indignation.

As the New Year passes into the old, and as China flexes its military muscle, the US appears unprepared for what could be a nasty 2018, beginning with China’s neighbour and technically its strategic partner, North Korea. Then add to this China’s island build-up and military deployment that is interweaving the South China Sea into one monstrous spider web roughly the size of India.

And let us not forget China’s push into the East China Sea that is now testing 70 years of an uninterrupted American and Japan military alliance.

In 2017 the US gave up on the phrase ‘Asia-Pacific’ and it now calls the region the ‘Indo-Pacific’. President Donald Trump’s recent use of the phrase during his visit to Asia, and its reuse by some quarters in Washington think tanks, reflects the type of resignation that have all the signs of a terminally ill patient suffering from the traditional symptoms of the five stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

Quote:

'In 2017 the US gave up on the phrase ‘Asia-Pacific’ and it now calls the region the ‘Indo-Pacific’. ' — The Geobukseon


Just as once ‘Britannia ruled the waves’, the US Navy (USN) finds itself with fewer ships and more missions than it can handle. The USN is supporting exhausting and dangerous missions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and now Yemen. Though many are covert operations, the Middle East has become a mere replacement for the US obsession with Asia during the Cold War.

The US has slowly closed its Asian military ‘franchise’ since the fall of Vietnam in 1975, with the closure of bases in Thailand (1976), Taiwan (1979), the Philippines (1992) and a sharp reduction of force levels in South Korea, as well as injurious restructuring in Japan during this same time period.

USN recapitalisation has taken its toll with new Littoral Combat Ships (LCS), which have experienced engine failures, mission modules that do not fit together and rust problems. The navy’s answer to the problem was simply to continue procurement and move on with the next surface combatant (FFG-X), or experimental guided missile frigate, which will supposedly do the original job of the LCS. Billions of dollars of waste appear not to be an issue.

And who can forget the outrageous cost overruns and technical problems with the USN’s carrier-based F-35C and US Marine Corps’ short take-off/vertical landing F-35B stealth fighters that skyrocketed from $35 million to $200 million apiece. They were ironically dubbed ‘the Lightning’ long before they became associated more with static electricity.

At the same time, in 2017, China began construction of or launched a plethora of new navy ships. The sheer quantity must appear as hallucinatory to Americans – Type 056 corvettes, Type 054A frigates, Type 052D destroyers, the first Type 055 destroyer, the first Type 901 fast combat support ship, additional Type 081 mine countermeasure vessels, more Type 815A electronic surveillance ships, the fifth Type 071 amphibious transport dock, more Type 041 attack submarines, three new Type 636A hydrographic survey ships, the first Type 075 helicopter landing dock and the first of a series of indigenous aircraft carriers.

Western analysts are quick to point out that Chinese naval designs and experience are not up to ‘American standards’, but such talk seems vintage now that the Chinese military is squarely challenging Japanese naval ships and aircraft in their own backyard, and as Chinese military aircraft conduct circumnavigation operations around Taiwan in a slow strangling noose that looks progressively like barbed wire.

Where are the Americans in the East China Sea and South China Sea? The US State Department would rather not upset Beijing by insinuating that China, like imperial Japan in the 1930s, is quite possibly on the move militarily in the region.

The appointment of Randall Schriver as the new US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Affairs has given a rise in hope that the US military can breathe life into a dying US defence policy in the region. However, Schriver is just one man against an army of China apologists in the US State Department and even within the US military.

Schriver is well known for his support for Taiwan, but even with his sizeable experience as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs from 2003-05, and tutelage under the legendary bareknuckle bureaucratic fighter Richard Armitage, who served as the US Deputy Secretary of State from 2001-05, it will be a formidable challenge for him.

Hopefully, Schriver can get into his office and on the phone before something stupid happens over North Korea. American policy pundits are talking about ‘surgical strikes’ against underground nuclear weapon facilities as if it were as easy as cutting a tumour out of a psychopathic cancer patient without restraints or anaesthesia.

Pyongyang is hardly a rollover and is certainly capable of counter-strikes on Japan and South Korea. Recent unconfirmed media reports that North Korea had sold three nuclear warheads to Iran reveal the level of fear Pyongyang has induced in the international community.

China even appears annoyed by US suggestions that it provided missile transporter-erector-launchers to North Korea, a method of moving nuclear-armed missiles around like American recreational vehicles used by elderly retirees.

Beijing claimed they were ‘timber trucks’ used for logging, and that they were illegally converted to city killers by North Korea. However, such an assertion sounds more like the childlike excuse that the dog ate their homework.

Whether China’s Year of the Dog results in war or just continued friction, there is no question that Beijing’s rise as a confrontational power, determined to undermine US military strength in the region, will continue undaunted in 2018.
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[*] posted on 11-1-2018 at 01:08 PM


Chinese authorities to exert greater control over military-related information

Andrew Tate - Jane's Defence Weekly

10 January 2018

They are getting antsy at all the pics appearing on the web of their latest gear, planes & ships in particular............

Chinese authorities are embarking on several new initiatives seemingly intended to exert greater control over military-related information published by local media. The state-owned Xinhua news agency reported on 6 January that China’s Central Military Commission (CMC) recently issued a new regulation on managing such information published online.

The new directive, which regulates aspects such as “the qualification of [a] military online media organisation, the procedure of examination and approval, the requirement for confidentiality, the subject of responsibility and others,” will take effect from 1 February, reported Xinhua, stressing that “any military online media organisations that violate laws and regulations of the army and the country will be called to account”.

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[*] posted on 13-1-2018 at 01:17 PM


Submarine, Chinese frigate spotted near disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands

Gabriel Dominguez - Jane's Defence Weekly

12 January 2018

A Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) Jiangkai II-class frigate and an unidentified foreign submarine were spotted sailing near the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea on 10–11 January, according to the Japanese Ministry of Defense (MoD).

The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF), which deployed Abukuma-class frigate JS Oyodo ; Takanami-class destroyer JS Onami ; and P-3C maritime patrol aircraft to the area, spotted the submerged submarine travelling on 10 January in the 24 n mile (44 km) contiguous zone east-northeast of Miyako Island – located in Japan’s Okinawa Prefecture – and leaving the area the following morning.

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[*] posted on 15-1-2018 at 07:19 PM


Big Read: Trump sharpens knives for US-China trade war

15 Jan, 2018 6:19pm

Daily Telegraph UK

By: Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

A potentially disastrous trade conflict between the US and China is coming to the boil this week as a series of inflammatory documents are delivered to the White House and President Donald Trump prepares to impose sanctions.

Twin inquiries by the US Commerce Department could open the way for punitive measures against Chinese steel and aluminium shipments on national security grounds, while a highly-sensitive probe into intellectual property theft and cyber-espionage will deliver its findings on Thursday (US time).

Trump met his ultra-hawkish trade strategist, Robert Lighthizer, in Florida over the weekend to finalise plans, with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) also in jeopardy.

Global assets markets have largely discounted the threat of a serious clash between the world's two economic superpowers, instead celebrating the cyclical recovery of world shipping and deeming Trump's bark worse than his bite.

They may have misread the political runes in Washington, underestimating lag-times as the complex machinery of the US government slowly shifts direction like a turning supertanker.

Lighthizer spelt out the new strategy in stark terms recently, accusing Beijing of predatory behaviour and abusive subsidies to capture global market share.

"The sheer scale of their coordinated efforts to create national champions, to force technology transfer, and to distort markets in China and throughout the world is a threat to the world trading system that is unprecedented," he said.

"Years of talking about these problems has not worked. So, expect change, and expect action," he said, warning that the White House would use "every instrument" available for a counter-attack.

The danger is that this could backfire horribly since the Chinese leadership are in no mood to heed lectures and believe they have ample means to retaliate.

Carefully-planted stories in Beijing last week hinted that China might cut off purchases of US Treasuries if trade tensions escalate, even though the claims were officially denied.

Sanctions against Boeing and soybeans are thought to be next on the menu.

"The genie is out of the bottle and, if it were ever in doubt, China has reminded the US that it has tools to hit back," said Allan von Mehren from Danske Bank.

Officials in Beijing are seething after the US blocked Ant Financial's purchase of MoneyGram, and pressured AT&T into abandoning a deal to sell Huawei's Mate 10 smartphone in the US over espionage concerns.

"The warning signs that some sort of tough trade action by the Trump Administration are unmistakable. There's a group of people supporting Trump that are real hawks," said David Russel, the US assistant secretary of state for East Asia until last March.

Russel told a forum at the South China Morning Post that a key test is whether the Trump Administration goes beyond redress mechanisms under the World Trade Organisation, opting instead to use sweeping presidential powers to act unilaterally.

The White House has dusted off Section 301 of the 1974 Trade Act giving Trump licence to take "all appropriate action". This is the nuclear option in trade policy.

What is striking is that Washington has been pressing ahead with an aluminium case even though there has been no formal complaint from the US industries most affected, suggesting that the White House is spoiling for a fight.

The National Security Strategy report issued just before Christmas took the fateful step of naming China - along with Russia - as a rival that seeks to "challenge American power, influence and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity".

The genie is out of the bottle and, if it were ever in doubt, China has reminded the US that it has tools to hit back.

Beijing deemed it a slap in the face.

"We urge the US side to stop deliberately distorting China's strategic intentions and abandon such outdated concepts as the Cold War mentality and the zero-sum game - otherwise it will only end up harming itself as well as others," said the foreign ministry.

The trade tensions come at a delicate juncture just as the two great economies start to diverge. A blast of fiscal stimulus at the top of the cycle is pushing the US towards an overheating boom, while China is clearly slowing as fiscal spending cools and credit curbs bite deeper.

This combination is toxic for trade equilibrium. China's trade surplus with the US rose 10 per cent to a record US$276 billion ($380b) last year even before this development. It is almost certain to jump further this year as US consumers suck in imports.

China launched a massive fiscal and credit expansion in 2016 and 2017 designed to prime pump the economy before the coronation of Xi Jinping at the Communist Party Conference last autumn. What is unclear is whether it will slow gently this year, or whether a deeper downturn is coming.

Imports of crude oil, copper, and iron ore fell by 12 per cent, 7 per cent, and 11 per cent in December, beyond what can be explained by season effects. The war on pollution is leading to closures of heavy industrial plants.

China's M2 money supply growth fell to a modern-era low of 8.2 per cent in December. New credit halved to US$90b as the authorities cracked down on shadow banking and forced lenders to deleverage, squeezing the private sector.

Capital Economics says its proxy gauge of economic output - unlike the "smoothed" official figures - has dropped to a growth rate of around 5 per cent.

Yang Zhao from Nomura says the latest policy meeting of the People's Bank showed "increasing worry over rapid debt expansion and high macro leverage. Financial stability remains a top priority. We expect a continued roll-out of tightening measures in the quarters ahead", he said.

If China does slow markedly in the 2018, the global effects will catch much of the investment universe off guard. Most funds are betting on accelerating world growth led by another year of Chinese fiscal expansion, accompanied by a rising commodity cycle.

They may instead hear echoes of 2015 when China tripped badly on its local government reform and tightened too hard just as the US Federal Reserves was turning hawkish. That episode set off US$100b a month of capital flight from China.

The People's Bank was forced to sell US Treasuries.

What seems certain is that a full-blown trade war between the US and China would - if allowed to happen - bring Trump's triumphant rally on Wall Street to a screeching halt.
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[*] posted on 18-1-2018 at 06:30 PM


Chinese Attack Submarine Lurking Near Disputed Waters Angers Japan

(Source: Deutsche Welle German Radio; issued Jan 16, 2018)

Japan's government has reacted angrily after one of the most advanced nuclear-powered attack submarines in the Chinese navy was spotted in waters near disputed islands in the East China Sea. Julian Ryall reports.

There are renewed tensions in the East China Sea after a Chinese attack submarine was detected last Thursday operating in the so-called contiguous zone around the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands, which China claims as its territory and calls the Diaoyu Islands.

The contiguous zone is a 12-nautical-mile band of ocean that is beyond a nation's territorial waters, which extend 12 nautical miles from a coastline. The Chinese vessel was also operating well within the 200-nautical-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) around the uninhabited archipelago.

On Monday, Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said in a press conference in Tokyo that, "Operating a submerged submarine close to another country's territory goes against the norms of international rules."

"We are seriously concerned over acts that unilaterally raise tensions," he said. "We will keep our guard up and respond swiftly if a similar incident happens."

Chinese Ambassador Cheng Yonghua was summoned to the Foreign Ministry in Tokyo last Friday and received an official complaint.

Later in the day, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry dismissed the Japanese complaint, repeating Beijing's claim that the islands are an inherent part of China's territory.

The 110-meter "Shang-class" submarine has a longer dive range than other vessels in the Chinese navy and is armed with torpedoes and anti-ship missiles with a maximum range of 40 kilometers (25 miles). The submarine was detected by destroyers of Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Forces and confirmed its identity after surfacing and running a Chinese flag up its mast.

The intrusion by the Chinese submarine is not the first, with Japanese forces detecting similar operations within its contiguous zone in 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2016. It is likely that other approaches by submerged vessels were not detected.

Analysts have suggested that China's navy is attempting to map subsurface features in order to determine the safest routes for its submarines to follow when they want to sortie into the Pacific Ocean without being detected.

Diplomatically disconcerting

This latest incident is being viewed with indignation by Tokyo because it comes at a time whenthe two governments are making efforts to build bridges after a decade of barely disguised hostility and with the specter of North Korea's weapons program hanging over the region.

One of the disputed Senkaku islands in the East China Sea claimed by Japan and China

"This is clearly not the first such intrusion by the Chinese navy, but I see it as Beijing making a statement that it will not simply accept the status quo in the region, that it has ambitions for a blue water navy and that it will not allow Japan to stand in its way," Jeff Kingston, director of Asian Studies at the Japan campus of Temple University, told DW.

"There has been a lot of talk in recent months about a 'thaw' in the two governments' relations, but it seems to me that territorial and historical issues are fundamental reasons to doubt that can proceed," he said.

"Both sides are keen to ramp up trade relations and celebrated the 45th anniversary of normalized diplomatic relations late last year, but I feel there is too much baggage to the relationship," he added.

"China has hegemonic ambitions in this region, it realizes that time is on its side and that it will one day in the not too distant future be the predominant power here," Kingston said, adding that Tokyo is right to protest but will most likely be ignored by Beijing.

Yoichi Shimada, a professor of international relations at Fukui Prefectural University, believes Tokyo's anger is "fully justified."

"At a time when there is so much tension on the Korean Peninsula and the international community needs to be focusing on dealing with that situation in order to isolate the regime of Kim Jong Un, we see that not only is China not doing enough on North Korea but is also making these very provocative moves against Japanese territory," he told DW.

Land seizures 'second nature'

Looking at how Beijing has in the past aggressively sought to extend its borders and territory, Shimada points to land grabs on the Indian border and the occupation and militarization of disputed atolls in the South China Sea. The tactic of claiming other nations' land is "second nature," he said.

"And in response, Japan has no choice but to strengthen its own military capabilities in order to defend our territory," he said.

The timing of the announcement may have been a coincidence, but the Japanese Coast Guard announced on January 14 that it is considering constructing as many as four new bases across Japan large enough to accommodate a new class of patrol ships.

Two of the new bases are likely to be in Okinawa Prefecture - which includes the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands - while a third will be in nearby southern Kyushu. The fourth new facility is likely to be on the north coast of Japan, facing North Korea across the Sea of Japan.

Work on the new facilities is due to start in 2019 and will enable modern new patrol vessels to conduct longer sea patrols closer to the disputed islands, officials said.

-ends-
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[*] posted on 18-1-2018 at 07:04 PM


The Specter of a Chinese Mole in America

By Amy Zegart
Co-director of the Center for International Security and Cooperation

January 17, 2018

The case of a suspected turncoat couldn’t come at a worse time for the intelligence community.

The arrest of former CIA case officer Jerry Chun Shing Lee sheds light on a shadowy counterintelligence drama that has been playing out for nearly eight years. Starting around 2010, the Central Intelligence Agency saw some of its most valuable spies inside China go down. And I don’t mean “going down” in a perp-walk-to-the-courthouse sort of way. This is China: They were executed. One was reportedly shot right outside the government building where he worked, just to make sure his coworkers got the message. The lucky ones were imprisoned.

According to The New York Times, 18 to 20 CIA sources were blown, making it one of the most damaging counterintelligence losses in agency history.

The story of Lee’s arrest is still developing, but much is already clear. First of all, Jerry Chun Shing Lee wasn’t some back-room paper-pushing bureaucrat at Langley. He was a “case officer” whose job was helping to recruit foreign spies to spill secrets to the United States. He was supposed to create moles, not become one.

It also appears the Chinese government probably gained access to highly classified information about U.S. assets through electronic means, a mole, or both. According to press reports, intelligence officials have been sharply divided about how exactly all of this valuable intelligence got into Beijing’s hands.

News of Lee’s arrest suggests that a mole was involved but certainly does not rule out other possibilities or people.

The FBI has not yet run this case to ground. According to the affidavit by FBI Special Agent Kellie R. O’Brien released Tuesday, FBI agents searched through Lee’s belongings while he stayed at hotels in Hawaii and Virginia back in August 2012.

Those searches found two little books filled with big secrets that included the true names of Chinese assets, operational notes from clandestine meetings, as well as covert CIA facility locations. Now, more than five years later, Lee has been arrested only for unlawful retention of national defense information, not for handing that information over to a foreign government. If there’s another shoe, it hasn’t dropped yet.

It’s also clear that the damage done is big. In addition to blown assets, which take years to develop, and compromised information, which likely revealed American intelligence tradecraft, the organizational aftershocks for the CIA will be significant. Counterintelligence failures are the ultimate betrayal, when one of the agency’s own—someone inside the circle of trust who swore an oath and promised to serve—turns against country and cause. Lee’s coworkers and others are undoubtedly asking themselves what they could or should have known. Investigations are undoubtedly exploring what early warning indicators might have been missed and what more could have been done. The heat will be on to learn the right lessons for the future and to tighten security protocols. All of these steps are important and necessary. But it’s a delicate thing, dealing with betrayal. Counterintelligence taken too far can create a debilitating, distrustful culture where suspicions run wild, careers can be destroyed, and truth can get lost.

How do we know? Because we have seen this before. For 20 long years, CIA counterintelligence efforts were led by a boozy paranoid named James Angleton who was seared by the discovery that one of his dearest friends in British intelligence, Kim Philby, was actually a Soviet mole. Philby was eventually sacked and fled to Moscow. Angleton was convinced the Russians had more Philbys in the United States, and he spent his life on a relentless quest to find them—trusting no one, suspecting everyone, and ruining the lives of many. At the end of his career he was widely viewed as cagey, uncontrollable, isolated, and drunk. Decades later, the CIA’s own historian charitably described Angleton as someone whose “negatives outweighed his positives.”

The final pages of Lee’s spy story haven’t been written yet. But history suggests some useful lessons about how they should not end.
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[*] posted on 20-1-2018 at 03:42 PM


What Japan Intends to Do by Setting Up Space, Cyberspace and Electronic Warfare Command

(Source: China Military Online; issued Jan 18, 2018)

Japan has recently made frequent moves in the military field. It officially approved the installation of two land-based Aegis Ashore missile defense systems from the US, later transformed the "Izumo" helicopter destroyer into an aircraft carrier, and also reached out to space and other fields.

The Japanese government has decided to set up a command center at the Defense Ministry to deal with threats in space and cyberspace as well as electronic warfare and the plan will be included in the National Defense Program Guidelines that the government will update in late 2018, according to Japanese media reports.

At present, the senior command organs under Japan's Self-Defense Forces mainly include the three major command organizations of the land corps, the self-defense fleet and the aviation corps.

The reports revealed that the new command center is on the same level as the land corps. Therefore, it is entirely reasonable to regard the "space, cyberspace and electronic warfare" force as a new force that aligned with the Japanese land, maritime and aviation Self-Defense Forces.

In fact, Japan has a certain level of capability in space, cyberspace and electronic warfare.

For example, Japan has gradually developed a complete force system in space surveillance, reconnaissance and communications. It also plans to launch the "Optical 6" reconnaissance satellite in February this year. Japan established a cyber defense team in as early as 2014.

All types of surface ships of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Forces are equipped with electronic jamming systems such as radar jamming systems and chaff / infrared decoy launching systems.

The only difference is that the powers in these three areas are separate and there is not one united leading organization.

Therefore, Japan wants to unify the military powers in these three areas by establishing the "space, cyberspace and electronic warfare" command and integrate the force with its regular military power to form comprehensive military advantage.

Besides, Japan also wants to enhance the level of the Japan-US alliance.

During his talks with US President Donald Trump in November 2017, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that he will enhance cooperation in the field of space and Japan will also participate in the US space Schriever drill.

Under such circumstances, if Japan can integrate the forces in the fields of space, cyberspace and electronic warfare, it will be able to deeply fit in all kinds of relevant US drills and deepen the cooperation between Japan and the US.

It should be pointed out that the intention to set up the "space, cyberspace and electronic warfare" command is yet another step towards Japan's "normalization of the military," as well as an attempt to break the "purely defensive defense"and the "Peace Constitution."

Abe held the first press conference for the New Year on Jan. 4 and proposed the issue of an amendment to the constitution once more.

Under the background of Japan's right-wing denial and beautification of the history of aggression, any move by Japan in the military field can easily lead to turmoil in the region and therefore the international community should keep a close eye for Japan.

-ends-
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[*] posted on 22-1-2018 at 08:37 PM


January 22, 2018 / 9:09 AM / Updated 8 hours ago

China's top paper says U.S. forcing China to accelerate South China Sea deployments

Reuters Staff

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s top newspaper, decrying Washington as a trouble-maker, said on Monday U.S. moves in the South China Sea like last week’s freedom of navigation operation will only cause China to strengthen its deployments in the disputed waterway.

China’s foreign ministry said the USS Hopper, a destroyer, came within 12 nautical miles of Huangyan island, which is better known as the Scarborough Shoal and is subject to a rival claim by the Philippines, a historic ally of the United States.

It was the latest U.S. naval operation challenging extensive Chinese claims in the South China Sea and came even as President Donald Trump’s administration seeks Chinese cooperation in dealing with North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs.

The ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily said in a commentary that, with the situation generally improving in the South China Sea, it was clear that the United States was the one militarizing the region.

“Against this backdrop of peace and cooperation, a U.S. ship wantonly provoking trouble is singleminded to the point of recklessness,” the paper said.

“If the relevant party once more makes trouble out of nothing and causes tensions, then it will only cause China to reach this conclusion: in order to earnestly protect peace in the South China Sea, China must strengthen and speed up the building of its abilities there,” it said.

The commentary was published under the pen name “Zhong Sheng”, meaning “Voice of China”, which is often used to give the paper’s view on foreign policy issues.

The widely read Global Times tabloid, published by the People’s Daily, said in an editorial on Monday China’s control of the South China Sea is only growing and it is well placed to react to U.S. “provocations”.

“As China’s military size and quality improve, so does its control of the South China Sea,” it said. “China is able to send more naval vessels as a response and can take steps like militarizing islands.”

The Scarborough Shoal is located within the Philippines’ 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone but an international tribunal in 2016 ruled that it is a traditional fishing ground that no one country has sole rights to exploit.

The U.S. military says it carries out “freedom of navigation” operations throughout the world, including in areas claimed by allies, and that they are separate from political considerations.

The Pentagon has not commented directly on the latest patrol but said such operations are routine.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Paul Tait
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[*] posted on 23-1-2018 at 02:06 PM


China Accuses US Warship of Violating its Sovereignty

(Source: British Forces News; issued Jan 20, 2018)

The Chinese government has accused the United States of trespassing in its territorial waters after a US guided missile destroyer sailed near a disputed area in the South China Sea.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China would take "necessary measures" to protect its sovereignty after the USS Hopper sailed within 12 nautical miles of Scarborough Shoal on Wednesday evening without China's permission.

Scarborough is a tiny, uninhabited reef that China seized from the Philippines in 2012.

Known in Chinese as Huangyan Island, it lies about 200 kilometres (120 miles) west of the main Philippine island of Luzon, and about 600 kilometres (370 miles) southeast of China.

Defence Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said a Chinese missile frigate moved to identify and verify the US vessel and warned it to leave the area.

In a statement on the ministry's website, Mr Wu said: "We hope that the US respects China's sovereignty, respects the efforts by regional countries and do not make trouble out of nothing".

The South China Sea has crucial shipping lanes, rich fishing grounds and potential oil, gas and other mineral deposits.

China claims virtually the entire South China Sea and has carried out extensive land reclamation work on many of the islands and reefs, equipping some with airstrips and military installations.

The United States does not claim territory in the South China Sea, but has declared it has a national interest in ensuring that the territorial disputes there are resolved peacefully in accordance with international law.

The Navy regularly sails through the area to assert freedom of navigation.

(ends)

China Should Enhance Presence in Indian Ocean to Counter India’s Missile Tests

(Source: Global Times; issued Jan 19, 2018)

India's latest test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), allegedly nuclear capable, poses a direct threat to China's security as well as a big challenge to the global efforts of nuclear-nonproliferation, a Chinese missile expert warned Thursday.

"We have successfully launched nuclear capable ballistic missile Agni-V today," the Times of India quoted Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman as saying. There was no further comment on whether the missile had met all the parameters for the test, the report said.

After the test, the missile would be finalized and produced in large scale, and will become a fighting force in the coming years, Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Though the report said the Agni-V can "reach the northernmost parts of China with its strike range of over 5,000-kilometers," Chinese experts expressed skepticism.

"Though the missile could theoretically hit Beijing, India's missile technique is far below the standard," Hu Zhiyong, a research fellow at the Institute of International Relations of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Nevertheless, China should be on the alert and further upgrade its anti-missile techniques, Hu added.

Aside from the missile, India is developing various kinds of weapons to compete with China, and its development of nuclear weapons shows that India is engaging in a nuclear arms race with China, Song said.

"It is also a big challenge to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty as India owns such a big nuclear arsenal," he said.

The missile test is being dubbed as another step toward its eventual inclusion into the Strategic Forces Command (SFC). A few more tests remain to be conducted before the 50-ton missile is produced in adequate numbers, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Thursday.

The tri-service SFC was established in 2003 to manage India's nuclear arsenal, Xinhua reported.

Aside from the shorter-range missiles "Prithvi" and "Dhanush," the SFC has already included the "Agni-I," "Agni-II" and "Agni-III" missiles in its arsenal, Xinhua reported.

Thursday's test comes a day after India's joint sea drills with Japan in the Indian Ocean. India hopes to enhance cooperation with Japan as a way of restraining China, Japan's public broadcaster NHK reported, citing unnamed experts.

"India is trying to build a military system with Australia, Japan and the US in order to keep a closer watch on China, which poses a direct threat to China," Song said.

China should keep increasing its economic as well as defense capability, Song added.

Song also said that since the Indian Ocean is a "must enter" region for the Belt and Road initiative as well as the national strategy of building China into a maritime power, China should also enhance its military and economic presence in the Indian Ocean.

-ends-
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[*] posted on 26-1-2018 at 09:39 PM


Has China Replaced Russia As U.S.’s No. 1 Rival?

Jan 26, 2018

James Drew | Aviation Week & Space Technology

The Pentagon’s rollout of the 2018 National Defense Strategy in January might have been overshadowed by a three-day government shutdown, but it was not lost on Russia and China, nor U.S. allies and the defense establishment at home.

Analysts unpacking the unclassified version of the policy message, an 11-page document released on Jan. 19, call it a “blunt” strategy that has far-reaching implications for the U.S. military, from resourcing to force size, force composition, modernization priorities and security alliances.

According to Defense Secretary James Mattis: “Great Power competition, not terrorism, is now the primary focus of U.S. national security. Today, America’s military reclaims an era of strategic purpose.”

“Great-Power Competition”
- U.S. military pivoting from terrorism to peer competition
- Russia probably welcomes Pentagon’s recognition, but not China
- Defense Department ‘crying out’ to leave Middle East quagmire

During his rollout speech, Mattis named “revisionist powers” Russia and China as the leading threats to U.S. national security, followed by the “rogue regimes” of North Korea and Iran. He also warned that despite mostly defeating the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, other extremist organizations such as Lebanese Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda “continue to sow hatred, destroying peace and murdering innocents across the globe,” and will be pursued.

The Marine Corps general has called for a “dominant joint force fit for our time,” one that can “compete, deter and win” in a complex security environment. Like President Donald Trump’s top-level National Security Strategy released on Dec. 18, the Pentagon’s document identifies three regions where the U.S. will reassert itself: the Indo-Pacific, Europe and Middle East.

Pentagon’s Bleak Outlook:
Central challenge: reemergence of long-term, strategic competition
China leveraging military modernization, influence operations and predatory economics to reorder the Indo-Pacific region to their advantage
Russia seeks veto authority over governmental, economic and diplomatic decisions of periphery nations to shatter NATO
Russia using emerging technologies to discredit and subvert democratic processes in Georgia, Crimea, and eastern Ukraine
China and Russia are now undermining the resilient-but-weakening post-World War II international order from within
It is now undeniable that the U.S. homeland is no longer a sanctuary
Today, every domain is contested: air, land, sea, space, and cyberspace

Source: 2018 U.S. National Defense Strategy

Mark Cancian, senior advisor at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies’ International Security Program, tells Aviation Week the Defense Department is shifting gears toward a long-term competition with China and Russia, in that order. “It’s very clear that China is first, then Russia,” he says.

Cancian explains this “conscious reordering” is recognition by the Pentagon that China, a rising economic power home to almost 1.4 billion people, has the “technology, dynamism and population” to be a long-term competitor with the West.

By comparison, Russia is in “terrible shape demographically,” with relatively weak population growth and a stagnant economy. “It doesn’t have the capability for a long-term competition the way China does,” Cancian says.


China’s Defense Ministry scolded the U.S. for its “Cold War mentality” in response to the National Defense Strategy rollout: “The synopsis was full of unreal assertions of ‘zero-sum’ games and confrontations.” Credit: Chinese Ministry of Defense

Michael Kofman, director of the Russia Studies Program at the Center for Naval Analyses in Arlington, Virginia, takes the opposite view, noting that for Russia, this document is long-sought-after recognition of its renewed status as a global power.

He says there are some members of the Washington defense establishment who think Russia is a diminishing power without the economy or population to compete with the U.S. long-term.

“[But] this document is a breath of fresh air to people who recognize that Russia is going to be around after 2020,” Kofman says. “They think Russia’s going to run out of people and run out of money. That’s quite silly.”

Although both countries were quick to condemn the new U.S. military strategy, Kofman believes it is long overdue recognition of the military might of both nations, which have invested heavily in arms modernization during the past decade. He says Russia has been “desperate for recognition” from the West, whereas China wants to keep flying under the radar without fuss.

“China portrays itself as the postmodern rise of a friendly economic power. They say they are just looking to develop co-prosperity with everybody and they have no military ambitions, even though they have a gigantic military procurement and modernization program,” he notes.


During the past decade, Russia invested heavily in updated versions of weapons from the Soviet era and 1990s over next-generation designs to accelerate its arms modernization program. Many have seen action in the Syrian civil war (Sukhoi Su-34 pictured). Credit: Russian Ministry of Defense

“Russia’s message is: ‘Stay away, or we’ll bite you.’ It confers on them more credibility than they already had, but for China, it’s a huge annoyance.”

Kofman says one gaping hole in the defense strategy is how to keep Russia and China from unifying against the U.S. He says great powers do not typically gel without a common enemy, but now America has declared itself the main rival of both.

Cancian and Kofman both see a lot of continuity between the strategies under former Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and this one by Mattis, with essentially the same threats, just new priorities. The U.S. is no longer “pivoting” to the Pacific as before, which mostly favored the Navy. By adding Europe and the Middle East, all four services can justifiably argue for more manpower and equipment.

“Since the end of the Cold War, the U.S. has been focusing on regional conflicts against regional powers like Iran, Iraq [and Afghanistan]” Cancian explains. “Now we’re focusing on great powers that can challenge us in all domains of warfighting. That’s different.”

“Inside this strategy is a person crying out, saying ‘I really don’t want to fight in the Middle East and Central Asia anymore, I want to go back to deterring peer powers,’” Kofman adds. “This also will help everybody advance their procurement agendas because we will need lots of Army capabilities to deter Russia and lots of Navy capabilities to deter China. It supports nuclear weapon modernization, too.”

Andrew Hoehn, senior vice president for research at the Rand Corp., notes that in 2012, President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta were hoping to end wars and reduce military spending. Today, Trump and Mattis are intensifying competition, with a specific focus on Russia and China.

For the first time since the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. will not be primarily focused on combating terrorism, Hoehn points out.
He says the boldness of the document reflects Mattis’ “maneuver mindset,” particularly the statement about U.S. forces needing to be “strategically predictable but operationally unpredictable.”

“We want to be able to operate at a time and place of our choosing, and not present vulnerabilities,” Hoehn says. “We’ll see how that converts to action.”

Despite the strategy’s strong rhetoric, the analysts want to see how the document translates into plans and programs in the Pentagon’s upcoming fiscal 2019 budget.

Hoehn expects the Pentagon will focus on improving capability rather than expanding the force. “It’ll be capability over capacity,” he says.

He notes that despite widespread congressional support for increasing military spending, lawmakers still have not passed a full-year spending bill for fiscal 2018, let alone begun deliberations on the next budget cycle.
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[*] posted on 29-1-2018 at 02:01 PM


The build-up between India and China is getting VERY serious......................:mad:

Jan 25, 2018 | 09:00 GMT

Preparing for a Rematch at the Top of the World

(Stratfor)

China and India faced off last year in a tense military standoff on the Doklam Plateau on the disputed Line of Actual Control (LAC) high in the Himalayas. Although the impasse was temporarily resolved in late August through a negotiated drawdown, it has been clear all along that the LAC will remain a contentious border because both countries will continue to seek an advantage in this difficult terrain.

Recent reporting, particularly in the Indian press, has highlighted how India and China are bolstering their infrastructure and forces along the LAC, including through the stationing of additional ground units near the plateau. Satellite imagery acquired by Stratfor working with its partners at AllSource Analysis helps illuminate the scope of these developments by looking at the air and air defense aspects of this strengthening of forces. Specifically, the analysis looks at four critical air bases, two Chinese and two Indian, that are within range of the Doklam Plateau. The imagery confirms that both China and India are pursuing a wide-ranging strategic buildup that has only accelerated in the wake of the Aug. 27 agreement...............EDITED, see link for the rest of the article............

LINK: https://worldview.stratfor.com/article/preparing-rematch-top...
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[*] posted on 29-1-2018 at 07:15 PM


I suspect that India has it's eye very firmly on the Chinese.

The Indians, particularly the IAF, don't think much of their Pakistani opposite numbers, hence the best IAF aircraft get to go North, not West.




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[*] posted on 30-1-2018 at 02:31 PM


China to donate tanks, APCs to Cambodia, says report

Gabriel Dominguez, London - Jane's Defence Weekly

29 January 2018

China is to donate tanks and armoured personnel carriers (APCs) to the Royal Cambodian Army (RCA) to strengthen relations between the countries, the Khmer Times newspaper reported on 29 January, citing Cambodian Defence Minister General Tea Banh.

The minister said the platforms are scheduled to arrive in Cambodia in March, when the two countries are set to hold their second joint ‘Golden Dragon’ military exercise.

The paper cited a local TV news report stating that China will provide about 100 tanks and APCs to the RCA's Brigade 70, but pointed out that Gen Banh declined to confirm the figure.

No details were provided about the type of tanks and APCs to be donated.

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[*] posted on 30-1-2018 at 08:43 PM


China’s creeping military presence near Europe sets off policy alarms

Brooks Tigner, Brussels - Jane's Defence Weekly

29 January 2018

China’s ongoing reform and expansion of its military, combined with efforts to create overseas footholds via commercial ports and military bases, is raising alarm bells among some EU policymakers and experts as Beijing skirts ever closer to Europe’s periphery.

“China is bringing its military in line with the scale and dynamism of its economy and its President Xi Jinping is pushing ahead to project China’s power abroad,” Christophe Manet, deputy head of the China and East Asia desk at the European External Action Service, the EU’s foreign policy wing, told members of the European Parliament on 24 January.

According to Manet, China still lacks the power to underpin a strong hegemonic policy, but is preparing the ground in that direction.

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[*] posted on 31-1-2018 at 08:58 PM


Opinion: Should we be alarmed when China beats its war drums?

31st January 2018 - 01:01 GMT | by The Geobukseon in Indo-Pacific

Why are constant references to ‘preparations for war’ emanating from China? And should neighbours and the wider world be alarmed?

Galvanising admonitions for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to get combat ready are coming not just from parochial Chinese publications like the Global Times, but from the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) hierarchy.

The PLA, the military wing of the CPC, is constantly being vaunted by state-controlled media. It remains the world’s largest despite 300,000 posts being slashed.

Under President Xi Jinping, China has moved far beyond Deng’s Xiaoping’s dictum of ‘hide our capabilities and bide our time’.

This strongman, saviour of the CPC, inspected an army division on 3 January at the start of the PLA’s annual training calendar.

CCTV beamed a feed of Xi’s visit to 4,000 military facilities across China. Footage depicted overawed privates ‘reiterating their loyalty to the CPC’ and vowing to be the ‘president’s good soldiers’ as they chanted in Xi’s presence.

Xi urged the soldiers to ‘fear neither hardship nor death’, a slogan co-opted by Chairman Mao in 1969.

Clearly such a message of national sacrifice is being lapped up by China’s rank and file. CCTV aired a report last February of troops on Fiery Cross Reef in the South China Sea. One soldier guarding the military installation proclaimed: ‘As the corner feature of China’s maritime sovereignty, we have a great responsibility to protect this territory. We must protect the gateway to the south with our lives.’

Or take the massive parade in Inner Mongolia on 30 July commemorating the PLA’s 90th anniversary. The parade boasted 12,000 personnel, 129 aircraft and 571 vehicles.

Xi, reviewing the parade, declared: ‘The world under heaven is not at peace, and peace needs safeguarding…Today we’re closer than any other period in history to the goal of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and we need more than any period in history to build a strong people’s military.’

He solemnly stated: ‘I firmly believe that our heroic army has the confidence and capability to defeat all enemies who dare to offend [China].’

‘I firmly believe that our heroic army has the confidence and capability to defeat all enemies who dare to offend [China].’
— President Xi Jinping

Frightening? The message is that any country who offends China may expect quick retribution. Yet China continually fashions itself as a bastion of peace-loving citizens. Which paradoxical message are we supposed to believe?

At the time of the parade, the PLA Daily wrote that 'realising the goal of a strong military, building world-class armed forces and defending China’s territorial sovereignty and national security is the unchanging commitment of the Chinese PLA'.

The editorial continued: 'Chinese people love peace. We will never pursue aggressive expansion, but we are confident of defeating all external aggression. We don’t want an inch that is not ours, and we won’t give up an inch that belongs to us.

'Whether it was half a century ago or present day or in the future, the PLA has always been and will always be the brave and battle-wise iron wall that follows the command of the party, with its crack troops fully prepared when summoned, and capable of fighting and able to win when engaged in war.’

India experienced China’s ‘non-pursuit of aggressive expansion’ when it made a stand against Chinese encroachment into Bhutanese territory at Doklam.

Chinese defence spokesman Ren Guoqiang promised at that time that 'not in a single moment have we relented in our targeted preparation for military struggle'.

He continued: 'We took on-site emergency response measures, strengthened border control, pushed forward operational deployment and enhanced targeted training so as to firmly safeguard territorial integrity, national sovereignty and our legitimate rights and interests.’

Of course, the problem is the definition of ‘legitimate rights’, because China has chosen to thumb its nose at international jurisprudence, a prime example being the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s 2016 ruling against Beijing for its excessive South China Sea claims.

Xi also promised not to militarise its South China Sea islets as he looked Barack Obama in the eye in the White House Rose Garden in April 2015. This was deliberate deception for China had every intention – from the beginning – to turn these reclaimed reefs into military bases.

Even China’s Foreign Ministry inadvertently admitted that Xi was deceiving the world, for, on 9 January, spokesman Lu Kang directly referred to China’s ‘construction of defence equipment on Fiery Reef’. He went on to say that this work was ‘not directed at any particular country’ but the cynical would say it was directed at ‘every country’.

Lyle Morris, a RAND Corporation senior policy analyst, tweeted: ‘This quote from MOFA spokesman, admitting that China has violated its promise not to militarise its features in the SCS, lays bare the fraud of Chinese intentions in the region. China will do what it wants in the SCS until there is unified response. Remember this quote.’

Yet too many have swallowed Beijing’s obfuscation and clichéd reassurances. Referring to Fiery Cross Reef, Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said: ‘But if it is true that we can prove that they have been putting soldiers in there and even any weapons that would heighten their defences there, that will be a violation of what they said.’

The fact is, Mr Lorenzana, that the PLA has already militarised these islands.

President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration has swallowed Xi’s narrative hook, line and sinker. So quickly forgetting the acerbic hatred with which China bullied the Philippines in the lead-up to the 2016 ruling, Duterte continues to sell out Philippine sovereignty. After allowing Chinese help to conduct joint oceanographic research at Benham Rise in waters east of the Philippines, Duterte’s latest craze is to invite the PLA Navy (PLAN) to help patrol the Sulu and Celebes seas to combat piracy and insurgency.

China would naturally be delighted by such an invitation as its military seeks egress routes from the South China Sea to the Pacific Ocean. Such an anti-piracy mission would offer a sufficient dose of public credibility. Unfortunately, Duterte is opening up sluice gates nobody will be able to control.

The aforementioned Indian border and South China Sea are just two areas of increasing military friction with China. Others include Taiwan, the Korean peninsula and East China Sea.

Taiwan has vast experience of China’s disingenuousness and vicious threats. President Tsai Ing-wen warned last week that she did not exclude the possibility of China invading her nation.

This admission came amidst increasing Chinese military drills directed against Taiwan, including air and sea patrols circumnavigating the island.

In January the PLA Daily blasted China’s armed forces for their lack of war preparedness, accusing the PLA of being paralysed by the current peace. ‘War is not far from us. Regional situations around China are complex and unstable and dangers are hiding under the peace. China cannot afford a military failure, so we must be fully aware of potential crises and be prepared for battle at all times,’ the article fumed.

‘War is not far from us. Regional situations around China are complex and unstable, and dangers are hiding under the peace. China cannot afford a military failure, so we must be fully aware of potential crises and be prepared for battle at all times.’
— PLA Daily

Xi has radically restructured the PLA in the past couple of years to make it leaner and meaner. Of course, the call to increase combat readiness could be a reassuring signal that the PLA is not ready for war. Certainly, it is an organisation riddled with corruption, with more than 13,000 officers punished over the past five years alone.

Furthermore, the PLA’s last battle occurred nearly 40 years ago against Vietnam. Its combat pedigree thus remains open to debate, although China is blooding personnel through anti-piracy missions in the Gulf of Aden and peacekeeping missions in Africa.

The growing assertiveness of the PLA reflects China’s preening confidence under Xi’s authoritarian tutelage as it grasps an ‘historic opportunity for realising the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation’.

As Xi’s blue-ribbon One Belt, One Road initiative expands in girth, the PLA needs a military with greater expeditionary capability, which explains the strengthening of the PLAN Marine Corps and PLA Air Force Airborne Corps, as well as its first overseas base in Djibouti.

One should be careful about drawing extreme comparisons, but The Geobukseon sees certain parallels with Europe in the 1930s.

At that time a nation had a chip on its shoulder because of ‘historical grievances’, ‘past humiliation’ and the supposed efforts of others to ‘contain’.

We all know the story of the leader of an authoritarian state who arose in the 1930s amidst a wave of nationalism to ‘rejuvenate’ his country. He promised ‘hegemonic’ foreign leaders that his intentions were peaceful while simultaneously seizing ‘indisputably sovereign territory’. As his military rearmed and invested in technology, politicians of neighbouring countries foolishly tried to appease.

Honestly, are there parallels today with China, or is the West overreacting to the rising tone of China’s martial rhetoric?

Wu Qian, spokesman of the Chinese defence ministry scoffed: ‘Some people just cannot accept the development of China and its armed forces. They speculate about the so-called "China military threat". They should adjust this "sick mentality’’'.

Yes, any country is allowed to invest in its military, but China’s deliberate approach of confrontation, coercion and flouting of international law raises serious questions about its expansionist intentions.

So, should we be alarmed when China beats its war drums?
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[*] posted on 1-2-2018 at 07:33 PM


Quote: Originally posted by bug2  
China’s creeping military presence near Europe sets off policy alarms

Brooks Tigner, Brussels - Jane's Defence Weekly

29 January 2018

China’s ongoing reform and expansion of its military, combined with efforts to create overseas footholds via commercial ports and military bases, is raising alarm bells among some EU policymakers and experts as Beijing skirts ever closer to Europe’s periphery.


Where the hell is China's military based that's anywhere near Europe's periphery?

The Horn of Africa doesn't count either




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