Category: Kings of the East

Russia And China Are Apparently Both Under The Impression That War With The United States Is Coming…

October 28, 2018 by Michael Snyder

Could it be possible that the U.S. is heading for a major war?  If you ask most Americans that question, they will look at you like you are crazy.  For most people in this country, war with either Russia or China is not something to even be remotely concerned about.  But the Russians and the Chinese both see things very differently.  As you will see below, Russia and China both seem to be under the impression that war with the United States is coming, and they are both rapidly preparing for such a conflict.

Let’s start with Russia.  After repeatedly slapping them with sanctions, endlessly demonizing their leaders and blaming them for just about every problem that you can imagine, our relationship with Russia is about the worst that it has ever been.

And when the Trump administration announced that it was withdrawing from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, that pushed things to a new low.  In the aftermath of that announcement, Russian official Andrei Belousov boldly declared that “Russia is preparing for war”

He said: “Here recently at the meeting, the United States said that Russia is preparing for war.

Yes, Russia is preparing for war, I have confirmed it.

“We are preparing to defend our homeland, our territorial integrity, our principles, our values, our people – we are preparing for such a war.”

Here in the United States, there is very little talk of a potential war with Russia in the mainstream media, but in Russia things are very different.  Russian news outlets are constantly addressing escalating tensions with the United States, and the Russian government has been adding fuel to that fire.  For example, the Russian government recently released a video of a mock nuclear strike against their “enemies”

Russian submarines have recently carried out a mock nuclear attack against their “enemies.” The Russian government has released footage of the atomic strike and it is sparking fears that the third world war is quickly approaching.

The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) has published shocking videos that show a range of nuclear missile drills including a submarine carrying out a mock atomic strike. These videos are the latest in a series of escalating war-games ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to The Express UK.

I’ll give you just one guess as to who the primary enemy in that drill was.

And what Russian President Vladimir Putin recently told the press about a potential nuclear war was extremely chilling

If any nation decides to attack Russia with nuclear weapons, it may end life on Earth; but unlike the aggressors, the Russians are sure to go to heaven, President Vladimir Putin has said.

“Any aggressor should know that retribution will be inevitable and he will be destroyed. And since we will be the victims of his aggression, we will be going to heaven as martyrs. They will simply drop dead, won’t even have time to repent,” Putin said during a session of the Valdai Club in Sochi.

Under normal circumstances, Putin would never talk like that.

But these are not normal times.

Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping is ordering his military to focus on “preparations for fighting a war”

China’s President Xi Jinping ordered the military region responsible for monitoring the South China Sea and Taiwan to “assess the situation it is facing and boost its capabilities so it can handle any emergency” as tensions continue to mount over the future of the South China Sea and Taiwan, while diplomatic relations between Washington and Beijing hit rock bottom.

The Southern Theatre Command has had to bear a “heavy military responsibility” in recent years, state broadcaster CCTV quoted Xi as saying during an inspection tour made on Thursday as part of his visit to Guangdong province.

“It’s necessary to strengthen the mission … and concentrate preparations for fighting a war,” Xi said. “We need to take all complex situations into consideration and make emergency plans accordingly. “We have to step up combat readiness exercises, joint exercises and confrontational exercises to enhance servicemen’s capabilities and preparation for war” the president-for-life added.

So who are the Chinese concerned that they may be fighting against?

Needless to say, the United States is at the top of the list

The president instructed the military to ramp-up opposition to ‘freedom of navigation’ exercises being undertaken by the US, Australia, France, the UK, Japan and others through the waterway through which arterial shipping lanes have grown since the end of World War II.

Tensions over the South China Sea have been increasing for several years, and starting a trade war with China in 2018 has certainly not helped things.

At this point, even many U.S. analysts can see the writing on the wall.  For instance, just consider what Harvard Professor Graham Allison recently told Steve LeVine

He said, if history holds, the U.S. and China appeared headed toward war.

Over the weekend, I asked him for an update — specifically whether the danger of the two going to war seems to have risen.

“Yes,” he responded. The chance of war is still less than 50%, but “is real — and much more likely than is generally recognized.”

Of course we didn’t get to this point overnight.  Tensions with Russia and China have been simmering for quite a while, and both of those nations have been rapidly modernizing their military forces.  For much more on this, please see my recent article entitled “Russia And China Are Developing Impressive New Weapons Systems As They Prepare For War Against The United States”.

Sadly, the vast majority of the U.S. population is utterly clueless about these things.

But those that are serving in the military have a much better understanding, and one recent survey found that about half of them expect the U.S. to be “drawn into a new war within the next year”…

Nearly half of all current military troops believe the United States will be drawn into a major war soon, a jarring rise in anxiety among service members worried about global instability in general and Russia and China in particular, according to a new Military Times poll of active-duty troops.

About 46 percent of troops who responded to the anonymous survey of currently serving Military Times readers said they believe the U.S. will be drawn into a new war within the next year. That’s a jarring increase from only about 5 percent who said the same thing in a similar poll conducted in September 2017.

Those numbers are jarring.

Some major stuff must be going on behind the scenes in order to go from 5 percent to 46 percent in a single year.

We truly are living in apocalyptic times, and our world seems to be getting more unstable with each passing day.

We should hope for peace, but throughout human history peace has never lasted for long.  Major global powers continue to edge closer and closer to conflict, and that is a very dangerous game to be playing.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9439

Chinese official finds Trump ‘very confusing,’ says US warships at China’s doorstep building tension

By Gregg Re | Fox News

President Trump’s inner circle is “very confusing” for foreign diplomatic officials in Washington to navigate, China’s U.S. ambassador Cui Tiankai told “Fox News Sunday” in an exclusive wide-ranging interview.

Cui added that U.S. warships are “on the offensive” near China, days after a U.S. destroyer nearly collided with a Chinese military vessel in the South China Sea. The Pentagon said the Chinese ship came within 45 yards of the U.S. destroyer, in an intentionally “unsafe” maneuver.

Cui’s comments come as Chinese President Xi Jinping and Trump prepare for a possible meeting at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, next month, amid a rapidly escalating trade conflict between the two nations that some have called a new cold war.

Asked by host Chris Wallace whether Trump listens primarily to hardliners like trade director Peter Navarro — who has characterized China as the economic “parasite of the world” — or moderates like chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Cui responded simply, “You tell me.”

The envoy added that other ambassadors seemingly have the same issue. President Trump has repeatedly said he tries to avoid “telegraphing” his moves to foreign adversaries.

“Honestly, I’ve been talking to ambassadors of other countries in Washington, D.C., and this is also part of their problem,” Cui said. “They don’t know who is the final decision-maker. Of course, presumably, the president will take the final decision, but who is playing what role? Sometimes it could be very confusing.”

Trump, citing widespread intellectual property theft in China that cuts into the profits of U.S. companies doing business there, placed tariffs on approximately $200 billion of Chinese imports in September, following his imposition of significant tariffs on nearly $35 billion in Chinese goods in July. China quickly retaliated with $60 billion in tariffs of its own.

The White House has bipartisan support for hitting back at Chinese intellectual property theft. In an interview in June, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., ordinarily a fierce Trump critic, agreed with the administration’s China policy and said that the country “takes total advantage” of the U.S.

“Not only do they steal our intellectual property, they keep our good companies out, and say the only way you’re going to be able to sell your American products in China … is if you come to China, make them there, and give us the techniques and intellectual property,” Schumer said.

And the president has insisted his tariffs are already having a major impact.

“Their economy has gone down very substantially, and I have a lot more to do if I want to do it,” Trump told “Fox & Friends” last week. “They lived too well for too long and, frankly, I guess they think the Americans are stupid people. Americans are not stupid people. We were led badly when it came to trade.”

But in his interview with Fox News, Cui denied that China permits or engages in widespread intellectual property theft, and said even the suggestion was an affront to the country’s population.

“I think all of these accusations about how China has developed are groundless and not fair to the Chinese people,” he told Wallace. “You see, China has 1.4 billion people. It would be hard to imagine that one-fifth of the global population could develop and prosper not by relying mainly on their own efforts, but by stealing or forcing some transfer of technology from others — that’s impossible.”

“It’s important to notice who started this trade war. We never want to have a trade war.”

— China’s U.S. ambassador Cui Tiankai

He added: “It’s important to notice who started this trade war. We never want to have a trade war, but if somebody started a trade war against us, we have to respond and defend our own interests.”

Concerns have been raised that China, the largest foreign holder of U.S. Treasurys, might start dumping its holdings as a way to pressure the United States in the trade dispute. But Mnuchin said this possibility didn’t concern him because it would be contrary to Beijing’s economic interests to start dumping its Treasury holdings, and would be “very costly” to China.

Top U.S. officials have warned that the ongoing conflict with China extends beyond trade. In Senate testimony on Wednesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray said that “China, in many ways, represents the broadest, most complicated, most long-term counterintelligence threat we face.”

He added that “Russia is … fighting to stay relevant after the fall of the Soviet Union,” while “China is fighting tomorrow’s fight…and it affects every sector of our economy.”

Vice President Pence, meanwhile, has accused China of trying to interfere with U.S. elections, including by targeting tariffs toward industries that support Trump and even spreading propaganda in U.S. media outlets.

In response, Cui effectively called the U.S. the aggressor in several spheres of influence. Chinese state-run media companies have recently bought newspaper inserts in U.S. newspapers to influence local opinion in favor of China.

“You see, Chinese media, they are just learning from America media to use all these means, to buy commercial pages from newspapers, to make their views known or to cover what is happening here,” Cui said. “This is normal practice for all the media.” (China does not generally permit foreign-owned media companies to buy such political inserts in its own domestic papers.)

The envoy also said that Chinese warships, which harassed and nearly collided with a U.S. destroyer recently in the disputed South China Sea, had responded appropriately to an intervention on their “doorstep.” Beijing has built up military fortifications on two contested Chinese man-made islands there despite pledging not to do so.

“Where the incident took place, you were right to say it was in South China Sea. So it’s at China’s doorstep,” Cui told Wallace. “It’s not Chinese warships that are going to the coast of California, or to the Gulf of Mexico. It’s so close to the Chinese islands and it’s so close to the Chinese coast. So who is on the offensive? Who is on the defensive? This is very clear.”

Cui said, however, that China would continue to “faithfully” implement sanctions against its longtime ally, North Korea, in order to restore stability to the region. He  said a “coordinated, phased, and step-by-step approach” to North Korean denuclearization is the best approach, mirroring the position of that country’s leader, Kim Jong Un.

“How can you convince him to give up all the nuclear weapons without any hope that the U.S. would be following a more friendly policy towards him?” Cui asked.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was in Beijing last week, where top Chinese officials vowed to take “all necessary measures” to safeguard their country. They have since said that high-level communications continue between the two countries.

Still, there were signs tensions between China and the U.S. have eased somewhat in recent days. Global stock market indexes bounced back sharply Friday after their recent plunges, on word of the possible presidential meeting.

And reports have emerged that Mnuchin has advised against labeling China a currency manipulator — a status that could trigger penalties. The Chinese currency has been falling in value against the dollar in recent months, raising concerns that Beijing is devaluing its currency to make Chinese goods more competitive against U.S. products.

Mnuchin did not say this weekend what the forthcoming Treasury report, set to come out next week, will conclude about China’s currency practices. In the past, Treasury has placed China on a watch-list but found that Beijing did not meet the threshold to be labeled a currency manipulator.

The Treasury secretary met Thursday with Yi Gang, head of China’s central bank. “I expressed my concerns about the weakness of the currency.” Mnuchin said.

Cui told Wallace that China, despite its ongoing spat with the U.S. on a variety of fronts, remains optimistic about November’s planned meeting between Trump and Jinping. Kudlow, the chief White House economic adviser, said on “Fox News Sunday” that the one-on-one between the two leaders will “probably” happen.

“There’s a good mutual understanding and good working relationship between the two,” Cui said. “I hope and I’m sure this will continue.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9424

The US military is planning a serious showdown with China that would be a significant show of force on tense tides and involve American warships and aircraft

Ryan Pickrell

Oct. 3, 2018, 8:12 PM

US Navy guided-missile destroyers and guided-missile cruisers. U.S. Navy photo by Lt.j.g. Caleb Swigart

  • The US military is reportedly planning to send US warships, combat aircraft, and troops through the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait in November in a series of exercises designed to send a message to Beijing.
  • The proposal, which comes at a time of heightened tensions between the US and China, has yet to be approved.
  • In recent weeks, Washington and Beijing have quarreled over trade, sanctions, Taiwan, repeated bomber flights over disputed seas, and a confrontation between US and Chinese warships.

The US military is reportedly planning to put on a serious show of force in contested waters from the South China Sea to the Taiwan Strait as a warning to China and a reminder of the United States’ ability to rapidly confront and counter any potential adversaries.

The US Pacific Fleet has proposed a series of exercises for November that would see American warships and aircraft demonstrating US military might in disputed waterways in a message to Beijing, CNN reported Wednesday afternoon, citing several defense officials.

While one official reportedly characterized the plans as “just an idea,” others indicated that the proposal, which already has an operational name, is being circulated at various levels of the military.

Assuming the plan is approved, the operations would be carried out over the course of a week. The plan, derived from the National Defense Strategy and assertions that the US is once again in an age of great power competition with Russia and China, is still under consideration and will require input from the intelligence community on possible reactions from Beijing and other international actors.

News of this plan comes on the heels of serious incidents in the East and South China Seas.

Twice last week, the US sent B-52H Stratofortress heavy long-range bombers tearing through the South China Sea. Those flights were immediately followed by a joint military exercise in which a US B-52 bomber joined forces with Japanese fighter jets over the East China Sea and Sea of Japan.

China called the flights “provocative,” warning the US that it would take “necessary measures” to defend Chinese national interests. Several days later, the Chinese military conducted “live-fire shooting drills” in the South China Sea.

On Sunday, the US Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer conducted a freedom-of-navigation operation near the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. During the routine operation, a Chinese Luyang II-class guided-missile destroyer confronted the US warship.

The Chinese vessel, according to the Pacific Fleet, engaged in “increasingly aggressive” behavior. The Chinese ship nearly collided with the US destroyer during the exchange, which was described as “unsafe and unprofessional.”

These incidents came amid other deteriorations in the US-China bilateral relationship, specifically issues pertaining to sanctions, trade, and Taiwan.

In the past two weeks, the US and China have canceled several high-level military-to-military meetings intended to defuse tensions. While some observers have expressed concern, noting that the situation is escalating to dangerous levels, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said the US and China simply need to learn to sort out their differences.

“We’re just going to have to learn how to manage this relationship,” he said Tuesday, adding, “We’ll do that. We’ll sort this out.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9413

Chinese destroyer’s ‘unsafe’ interaction with USS Decatur in South China Sea seen in stunning photos

Fox News

This U.S. Navy photo, first obtained by gcaptain.com, shows the incident between the USS Decatur, left, and the Luoyang. (U.S. Navy)

A Chinese destroyer came a stone’s throw away from a U.S. Navy ship as the American vessel sailed near disputed islands in the South China Sea, stunning photos released Tuesday showed.

In the photos, first obtained by gcaptain.com, the People’s Republic of China destroyer Luoyang is seen within 45 yards of the USS Decatur before the U.S. ship is forced to veer away to avoid a collision near the Gaven Reefs on Sunday, U.S. Pacific Fleet spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Tim Gorman said.

The photos were deemed to be legitimate, but it wasn’t clear how they were obtained, a U.S. Navy official told Stars and Stripes.

The destroyer conducted an “an unsafe and unprofessional maneuver,” Gorman said. He added the Chinese ship conducted a series of increasingly aggressive maneuvers that were accompanied by warnings urging the Decatur to depart.

The USS Decatur, a guided-missile destroyer, was conducting a freedom of navigation operation in the South China Sea, a U.S. defense official told Fox News in a statement. The operation was conducted to “uphold the rights and freedoms of all states under international law. Decatur sailed within 12 nautical miles of Gaven and Johnson Reefs in the Spratly Islands,” the official said.

China claims the rights to most of the strategic waterway and has built man-made islands on reefs and equipped them with airstrips, radar domes and missile systems.

China opposed the U.S. warship’s entry into the waters around the reefs, the Chinese defense ministry said in a statement Tuesday. Chinese officials confirmed it sent the Luoyang to drive the USS Decatur away and urged the U.S. to stop its “provocative” actions.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9407

Turkic Muslims: China’s and the Muslim World’s Achilles Heel

By Dr. James M. Dorsey September 26, 2018

BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 959, September 26, 2018

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: A list of 26 predominantly Muslim countries considered sensitive by China reflects Chinese concerns that they could reinforce religious sentiment among the People’s Republic’s Turkic Muslim population with potentially far-reaching consequences if the Islamic world were to take it to task for its crackdown in Xinjiang, the most frontal assault on Islam in recent history.

A list of 26 predominantly Muslim countries considered sensitive by China, which was compiled by Human Rights Watch as part of a just published report on the crackdown in China’s strategic northwestern province, details the rollout of the world’s most intrusive, 21st-century surveillance state as well as an attempt to re-educate a population of 10 million. That population includes primarily Uighurs, an ethnically Turkic Muslim group, as well as Muslims of Central Asian origin.

The re-education is designed to reshape the population’s religious beliefs so that they adopt an interpretation of Islam that is in line with the Chinese Communist Party’s precepts rather than prescriptions of Islamic holy texts in a bid to counter Turkic Muslim nationalist, ethnic, or religious aspirations as well as political violence.

China worries that national and religious sentiment and/or militancy could challenge China’s grip on Xinjiang, home to 15% of its proven oil reserves, 22% of its gas reserves, and 115 of the 147 raw materials found in the People’s Republic as well as part of its nuclear arsenal.

Included on the list of countries are Afghanistan and Pakistan; former Soviet Central Asian nations, many of which border on Xinjiang; Southeast Asian nations like Malaysia and Indonesia; and key Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Turkey, which have historic, ethnic, and linguistic ties to China’s Turkic Muslims and have been sympathetic for decades to Uighur aspirations.

China’s crackdown, according to a plan developed by the Baluntai Town government in north-central Xinjiang, involves targeting, among others, Turkic Muslims who remain in contact with family and friends abroad, people who have stayed abroad “too long,” and those who have, independently and without state permission, organized Hajj pilgrimages to Saudi Arabia. China is particularly concerned about Uighur contact with Muslim countries.

Human Rights Watch quoted Inzhu, a 50-year-old mother, who lives in an unidentified country, as saying, “It was 2 a.m. and my daughters [in a foreign country] were chatting with their father [in Xinjiang] on the phone. You know, they’re daddy’s girls and they were telling him all their secrets … when suddenly my daughters ran in to tell me, ‘The authorities are taking away daddy!’”

For China, the Muslim world’s silence constitutes a double-edged sword. On the one hand, Beijing’s campaign in Xinjiang is effectively enabled by this silence, which is driven primarily by the desire of governments, many of which are deeply indebted to China, to preserve economic relations. It allows it to largely ignore criticism by Western nations and human rights groups as well as the Uighur Diaspora.

On the other hand, the silence potentially gives Muslim countries a degree of leverage. Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Muhammad seemingly exploited that leverage with China treading carefully in the face of an anti-Chinese election campaign that returned the 93-year old to office in May. Maharthir subsequently suspended US$22 billion of Chinese-backed Belt and Road-related infrastructure projects.

This leverage could also factor in the intention of financially troubled Pakistan to review or renegotiate agreements related to the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a crown jewel in the Belt and Road initiative and at US$50 billion plus, its single largest country investment.

The risk for China is that mushrooming publicity about its crackdown in Xinjiang, which includes pressure on Uighurs abroad to return to the Chinese province or risk incarceration – a push that has led countries like Egypt, Afghanistan, the United Arab Emirates, and Malaysia to extradite Uighurs to China – will make it increasingly difficult for Muslim countries to remain silent.

The risk is also that the crackdown could have a boomerang effect, fueling radicalization at home as well as abroad. A study quoted in The New York Times by Qiu Yuanyuan, a scholar at the Xinjiang Party School, where officials are trained, warned that “recklessly setting quantitative goals for transformation through education has been erroneously used … The targeting is imprecise, and the scope has been expanding.”

The risks are enhanced by black swans such as a recent court case in Kazakhstan that forced the government in Astana to walk a fine line between avoiding friction with China and shielding itself from accusations that it is not standing up for the rights and safety of Kazakh nationals.

Kazakhs were taken aback when 41-year-old Sayragul Sauytbay, a Chinese national of Kazakh descent, testified in an open Kazakh court that she had been employed in a Chinese re-education camp for Kazakhs only that had 2,500 inmates. She said she was aware of two more camps reserved for Kazakhs.

Ms. Sauytbay was standing trial for entering Kazakhstan illegally. She said she had escaped to Kazakhstan after being told by Chinese authorities that she would never be allowed to rejoin her family because of her knowledge of the camps. Ms. Sauytbay was given a six-month suspended sentence and allowed to stay in the country where her recently naturalized husband and children reside.

The inclusion of ethnic Kazakhs, a community in China of 1.25 million people, in the crackdown sparked angry denunciations in Kazakhstan’s parliament. “There should be talks taking place with the Chinese delegates. Every delegation that goes there should be bringing this topic up … The key issue is that of the human rights of ethnic Kazakhs in any country of the world being respected,” said Kunaysh Sultanov, a member of parliament and former deputy prime minister and ambassador to China.

Anti-Chinese sentiment in the Pakistani Chinese border province of Gilgit-Baltistan ran high earlier this year after some 50 Uyghur women married to Pakistani men were detained on visits to Xinjiang and China refused to renew the visas of Pakistani husbands resident in Xinjiang.

Beyond economic leverage, China has so far benefited from the fact that Muslim politicians and leaders see more political mileage in pushing causes like the Palestinians rather than those that have not been in the Islamic world’s public eye.

You gain popularity if you show you are anti-Zionism and if you are fighting for the Palestinians, as compared to the Rohingya or Uighurs,” said Ahmad Farouk Musa, director of the Islamic Renaissance Front, a Malaysian NGO.

It’s a bet Muslim countries and China could continue to win, but could prove costly if they eventually lose.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9395

China’s Pastors Take Their Stand: Jesus Is Lord

Eric Metaxas, Stan Guthrie

I want you to meet some brave Christian leaders pledging their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.

When thinking of the golden age of the Church, many of us hearken back to the book of Acts, when Peter and John stood up to the religious authorities, who told them to be silent about Jesus the risen Messiah. “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God,” they answered, “you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” Then they prayed for boldness, and the Church exploded across much of the ancient world.

But there’s a golden age for the church going on right now—with the same kind of courage, persecution, and Spirit-empowered growth. Where is it? In communist China.

World missions historians tell us that when all the foreign missionaries were kicked out of Mao’s China a few years after the Second World War, there were probably no more than 3 million believers in Jesus Christ in the whole, vast nation. But today, seven decades later, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life counts 67 million Christians of all kinds—35 million independent Protestants, 23 million Protestants in government-sanctioned churches, and 9 million Catholics. Other estimates go even higher.

Whatever the true number is, it’s almost as many as there are members of the Communist Party! Maybe that’s why the government is cracking down on Christians. According to Christianity Today and other news outlets, Under President Xi Jinping, China’s government has been tightening its grip on religious affairs.

In February, regulations aimed at religious groups have brought increased pressure on churches to be “Chinese” culturally and to submit to the authority of the Communist Party. Churches are being told to burn their crosses and replace them with Chinese flags and to display slogans praising the Communist Party. Some are being forced to join the government-sanctioned churches and permit video surveillance of their services.

Meanwhile, in Jiangxi province, authorities have forced at least 40 churches to display banners forbidding foreigners from preaching and anyone under 18 from attending. In August, they even published new rules stating, “Party members who have religious belief should have strengthened through education.”

In the spirit of Peter and John, a group of at least 250 Chinese pastors has publicly signed a joint statement opposing the new regulations. In the statement they declare that Jesus is Lord of all, offering eternal life to anyone who will repent and believe in Him.

But they also say, in a challenge to the Chinese communists, “God hates all attempts to suppress human souls and all acts of persecution against the Christian church, and he will condemn and judge them with righteous judgment.”

Then, like Peter and John, they pledge obedience not to the earthly authorities but to King Jesus, no matter what. “We declare that in matters of external conduct, churches are willing to accept lawful oversight by civil administration or other government departments as other social organizations do. But under no circumstances will we lead our churches to join a religious organization controlled by the government, to register with the religious administration department, or to accept any kind of affiliation.”

They close their incredible joint statement with the bracing yet sobering words, “For the sake of the gospel, we are prepared to bear all losses—even the loss of our freedom and our lives.”

Friends, is it any wonder that the church in China has grown, and continues to grow? What we’re seeing before our eyes is the golden age of the church in China. How can we not pray for these wonderful brothers and sisters? And more than that, how can we not emulate their costly faithfulness in our own little corner of God’s world?

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9391

VOSTOK 2018: Russia And China Hold Largest-Ever War Games That Has NATO Wondering What They’re Really Preparing For

The drills, which also include Mongolian soldiers, have been condemned by NATO as a rehearsal for “large-scale conflict”. The military exercises come at a time of escalating tensions between Moscow and the West over accusations of Russian interference in western affairs and conflicts in Ukraine and Syria.

 

by Geoffrey Grider September 11, 2018

Russia launched Tuesday what it called its largest ever military drills, with hundreds of thousands of troops taking part along with Chinese soldiers in a show of force NATO condemned as a rehearsal for “large-scale conflict.”

War games are part of the battle readiness plans that all industrialized nations need to have to maintain their peace and security. But the unprecedented and aggressive war games that kicked off this morning between Russia and China has NATO and the United States wondering exactly what the two nations are really preparing for. NATO is accusing Russia of preparing for ‘large scale conflict’ that would be of thier own making.

From a biblical perspective, this much mutual cooperation between two of the ‘heaviest hitter’ nations in the in scripture should absolutely be raising some red flags.

“Therefore, thou son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal:” Ezekiel 39:1 (KJV)

FROM YAHOO NEWS: President Vladimir Putin is expected to attend the games after hosting an economic forum in Russia’s far eastern city Vladivostok where his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping is one of the prominent guests.

The week-long war games dubbed “Vostok-2018″(East-2018) “have kicked off” in far eastern Russia, the defence ministry said. Taking part in the drills are around 300,000 soldiers, 36,000 military vehicles, 80 ships and 1,000 aircraft, helicopters and drones.

Some 3,500 Chinese troops will take part in the games.

The defence ministry released video footage of military vehicles, planes, helicopters and ships getting into position for the initial stage of the drills. Putin praised Russia’s increasingly close ties with China as he met with Xi at the economic forum in Vladivostok on Tuesday.

“We have trustworthy ties in political, security and defence spheres,” the Russian leader said. Xi for his part said the two countries’ “friendship is getting stronger all the time.”

The drills, which also include Mongolian soldiers, have been condemned by NATO as a rehearsal for “large-scale conflict”. The military exercises come at a time of escalating tensions between Moscow and the West over accusations of Russian interference in western affairs and conflicts in Ukraine and Syria.

The Russian army has compared the show of force to the USSR’s 1981 war games that saw between 100,000 and 150,000 Warsaw Pact soldiers take part in “Zapad-81” (West-81) — the largest military exercises of the Soviet era.

But Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said these exercises are even larger.

“Imagine 36,000 military vehicles moving at the same time: tanks, armoured personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles — and all of this, of course, in conditions as close to a combat situation as possible,” Shoigu said.

The exercises will be held across nine training ranges and three seas: the Sea of Japan, the Bering Sea and the Sea of Okhotsk.

The Russian army is rolling out all of its latest additions for the event: Iskander missiles that can carry nuclear warheads, T-80 and T-90 tanks and its recent Su-34 and Su-35 fighter planes. At sea, the Russian fleet is deploying several frigates equipped with Kalibr missiles that have been used in Syria.

Wednesday will see games featuring anti-aircraft technology, while the main event will be on Thursday, the defence ministry told journalists covering the event in eastern Siberia and the Far East.

NATO said that Vostok-2018 “demonstrates Russia’s focus on exercising large-scale conflict”.

“It fits into a pattern we have seen over some time — a more assertive Russia, significantly increasing its defence budget and its military presence,” the alliance’s spokesman Dylan White said late August.

Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed such concerns on Tuesday

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9377

Chinese officials burn bibles, close churches, force Christian to denounce faith amid ‘escalating’ crackdown

By Lukas Mikelionis | Fox News

In this Tuesday, March 27, 2018, photo, Catholic religious paintings and figures are displayed behind bars at an underground Catholic church in Jiexi county in south China’s Guangdong province. A group that monitors Christianity in China says the government is ratcheting up a crackdown on congregations in Beijing and several Chinese provinces, destroying crosses, burning Bibles and ordering followers to sign papers renouncing their faith.  (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

The Chinese government is destroying cross, burning bibles, closing churches and forcing Christian believers to sign papers renouncing their faith as the crackdown on religious congregations in Beijing and several provinces intensifies.

The suppression of religious freedoms comes as an official government campaign to “Sinicize” religion by demanding loyalty to the atheist Communist party and removing any potential challenge to the party’s power in the country.

“The international community should be alarmed and outraged for this blatant violation of freedom of religion and belief,” Bob Fu of China Aid, said.

“The situation for Chinese #Christians becomes more dire by the day. We are working tirelessly to put maximum pressure on China stop the persecution,” Jay Sekulow, President Trump attorney and Chief Counsel at the American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ), wrote in a tweet.

The persecution of Christians in China is nothing new. A report by the watchdog group Freedom House found that Christians and other religious groups in China have been persecuted since 2012, Fox News reported.

A third of all religious believers in China who belong to a faith group were also found to face “high” to “very high” levels of persecution, which ranges from bureaucratic harassment and economic exploitation to harsh prison terms and even violence, the report said.

But experts and activists say the Chinese government is now waging the most severe suppression of Christianity in the country since religious freedoms were granted by the Chinese constitution in 1982.

The escalating anti-Christian campaign coincides with President Xi Jinping recent consolidation of power that made him the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong, the notorious communist leader responsible for millions of deaths.

Activists reportedly filmed footage of what appeared to be piles of burning bibles and forms declaring that the signatories had rejected their faith. The authorities allegedly forced the believers to sign the forms or risk being expelled from school or loosing welfare benefits.

A Christian Pastor in the Henan city of Nanyang, whose name was identified out of fear of retaliation by the authorities, reportedly confirmed that crosses, bibles and furniture were burned during a raid on his church on Sept. 5. He added that local authorities were in discussions with the church about reforming it, but no agreement had been reached.

According to Chinese laws, religious believers are allowed to worship only in government-sanctioned congregations. But many millions of Christians belong to underground or house churches that ignore government regulations.

Officials reportedly disputed the allegations raised by Christians, saying authorities respect religious freedom.

The anti-religion campaign affected not only Christian denominations. Around 1 million Uighurs and other members of Muslim minority groups in the country’s northwest have been detained in indoctrination camps where they are forced to denounce Islam and profess loyalty to the Communist Party.

The Chinese government denied setting up the camps for indoctrination, but stressed the importance to tackle extremism.

China has an around 38 million Protestants, and some have predicted that the country will have the world’s largest Christian population in a few decades.

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Naval experts concerned over China’s increasing presence in Mediterranean

The workshop held at the University of Haifa studied and assessed the issues concerning the future and character of maritime warfare in the region as well as various strategic developments.

By Anna Ahronheim

August 23, 2018 15:28

Israeli navy patrol vessels take part in a drill simulating the targeting of an infiltrated enemy vessel and the evacuation of a patrol boat, in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Ashdod, southern Israel November 8, 2016.. (photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)

The increasing presence of China in the Mediterranean region as part of the Asian giant’s Belt and Road Initiative should be a cause of concern, experts told The Jerusalem Post this week.

“What concerns us is China’s Belt and Road Initiative and its growing role in Israel’s maritime domain, especially the operating of Haifa port,” Rear Admiral (Ret.) Prof. Shaul Chorev told the Post during a two-day workshop held by the University of Haifa-Hudson Institute Consortium on the Eastern Mediterranean (Hudson Institute and the Haifa Research Center for Maritime Policy and Strategy).

Under President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Action Plan released in 2015, China’s “new Silk Road” will connect Beijing with 68 countries across Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe via land routes (the “Belt”) and maritime routes (the “Road”) with the goal of improving trade relationships primarily through infrastructure investments.

According to a report by the Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS), a leading German think tank, the Chinese workers building the network of infrastructure developments as part of the multi-billion dollar initiative are secured by 3,200 Chinese – many of them veterans of China’s People’s Liberation Army – employed by 20 registered private security companies.

These security companies operate in places like Sudan, Pakistan and Iraq, where the risk of kidnapping or attacks against Chinese workers is high due to political unrest.

In Israel, China has invested in major infrastructure projects including the expansion of Haifa and Ashdod ports, the construction of the Mount Carmel tunnels in Haifa, and the building of the Tel Aviv light rail. Elsewhere in the Middle East, including Turkey, various Gulf emirates and Iran – which is China’s top trading partner – Beijing has similarly been active in building infrastructure projects.

According to Admiral (res.) Gary Roughead, who served as the 29th Chief of Naval Operations and Commander of the United States Fleet Forces Command, the ability to collect information by civilian systems from military systems should be of concern to both Israel and the United States.

“In a world in which so much depends on how information moves, the types of systems we are using and the ability to collect information and intelligence from those systems is of significant concern,” warned Roughhead, who today teaches at the University of Haifa-Hudson Institute Consortium on the Eastern Mediterranean, and is the Robert and Marion Oster Distinguished Military Fellow at the Hoover Institute, an American public policy think tank and research institution located at Stanford University in California.

“It’s not just someone listening in, but what is the technology being used in commercial systems which can bleed into military systems. How vulnerable are they to interference? It’s not something that just Israel and the Port of Haifa should be concerned about. What is being tested on an Israeli warship and how easily can those signals be picked up? What are the mechanisms in place to prevent that?”

The workshop, held at the University of Haifa, assessed the future of maritime warfare in the region as well as various strategic developments. The workshop also examined ways in which Israel and the United States can cooperate in the maritime domain.
According to Douglas Feith, director at the Center for National Security Strategies at the Hudson Institute, some civilian cyber-defense technology used for commercial purposes “are the top of the line that militaries should adapt and use for their own purposes.”

Ties and trade between Israel and China have increased dramatically in the past few years. According to data from Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, exports to China reached $2.8 billion in the first half of 2018, a 73% increase compared to the previous year.

While visiting Beijing in 2017, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said China accounts for one-third of the investment in Israel’s high-tech sector.

The Belt and Road initiative, Feith added, must be looked at from various perspectives.

“If you are going to look at phenomena like this initiative, you should look at it from all points of view,” he said. “Most militaries use civilian technology, and that’s one reason why the Chinese favor economic activities like expanding ports. These are not only commercial, but commercial with military implications.”

 

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China issues six warnings to US plane flying over disputed territory: ‘LEAVE IMMEDIATELY’

CHINA’s armed forces told a US Navy reconnaissance plane to “leave immediately” on six separates occasions today during a tense flight over the South China Sea. By Joshua Nevett / Published 10th August 2018

China warn US Navy for flying past South China Sea islands

The P-8A Poseidon jet was flying close to disputed territory over the South China Sea when the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) issued the series of alarming warnings.

Flying at an altitude of 16,500ft, the P-8A swooped within view of a number of artificial military islands constructed by the Chinese military in the hotly contested sea.

A CNN journalist was aboard the P-8A plane, dubbed the “submarine killer”, when it flew past four major artificial islands apparently stockpiled with military structures, buildings and aircraft.

As the Poseidon passed by the Subi Reef, Fiery Cross Reef, Johnson Reef and Mischief Reef, the PLA told the US Navy crew to withdraw from the area six times.

“US military aircraft, this is China … leave immediately and keep out to avoid any misunderstanding,” a representative of the PLA said.

On each occasion, the US Navy crew aboard the plane refused to obey their orders.

In response, the US Navy crew said: “I am a sovereign immune United States naval aircraft conducting lawful military activities beyond the national airspace of any coastal state.

“In exercising these rights as guaranteed by international law, I am operating with due regard for the rights and duties of all states.”

GETTY

ARTIFICIAL: A construction within the Fiery Cross Reef located in the South China Sea

“Leave immediately and keep out”

Chinese military

China and several neighbouring countries have been locked in a bitter and long-running dispute over who controls territories in the South China Sea, a region rich in natural resources.

Beijing has claims over most of the territories, but the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also claim they have a stake in the region.

Beijing claims the waters by right, despite a UN ruling in 2016 deciding the disputed region does not belong to China.

As a result, China has been claiming unoccupied land on reefs and shoals to build de-facto military outposts to intimidate rivals with competing claims.

“It was surprising to see airports in the middle of the ocean,” said Lt. Lauren Callen, who was leading the air combat crew aboard the Navy flight.

The Pentagon is weighing a more assertive programme of so-called freedom-of-navigation operations close to Chinese installations on disputed reefs to counter its expansion.

Chinese foreign ministry officials have claimed the US is “running amok” in the region.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said: “By playing up the so-called China’s militarisation in the South China Sea, certain people in the US are staging a farce of a thief crying ‘stop thief’.

“It is self-evident to a keener eye that who is militarising the South China Sea.”

GETTY

CHINA: Beijing has been boosting its navy in the South China Sea

The incident comes after China tested a hypersonic aircraft that can carry “unstoppable” nuclear warheads at staggering speeds of 4,563 mph.

A team of scientists conducted the first successful flight of the Starry Sky-2 hypersonic aircraft at a secret location in northwest China on Friday last week.

A statement issued by the China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics (CAAA), which oversaw the testing process, said the flight was a “huge success” in a statement on Monday.

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