Category: Kings of the East

Advocacy Group Warns of Chinese Nuclear EMP ‘Pearl Harbor’

By Brian Trusdell    |   Thursday, 18 June 2020 10:17 PM

An independent group advocating for the hardening of America’s electrical grid is warning China has developed three high-tech weapons and harbors a mindset to use them in a nuclear first-strike that would cripple the United States.

The EMP Task Force on Homeland and National Security, a coalition of industry, security and government officials, said the Chinese have placed a network of satellites in orbit, developed hypersonic missiles and designed high-altitude electromagnetic pulse (HEMP) weapons to attack the U.S. on the battlefield and at sea as well as devastate the civilian infrastructure.

EMPs were discovered during nuclear weapons tests, in which a high energy wave was emitted during the explosion destroying electric and electronic circuits.

“China’s military doctrine – including numerous examples presented here of using HEMP attack to win on the battlefield, defeat U.S. aircraft carriers, and achieve against the U.S. homeland a surprise ‘Pearl Harbor’ writ large – is replete with technical and operational planning consistent with a nuclear first-strike,” the report, “China: EMP Threat,” reads.

“If China arms its ICBMs and SLBMs with hypersonic warheads designed for Super-EMP attack, then Beijing could, virtually overnight, transform its relatively [allegedly] small nuclear deterrent into a giant killer, capable of flying below U.S. radars and outracing U.S. reaction-time to deliver a HEMP ‘Pearl Harbor.'”

The report, published June 10, was written by the task force’s executive director, Peter Pry, an expert on EMP warfare. He writes China has developed the weapons as part of its “Total Information Warfare” which includes hacking raids on computers.

It comes amid growing tension between the United States and China over the Asian power’s increasingly assertive territorial claims, its militarization of man-made islands in the South China Sea, actions to impose more control over Hong Kong and its response to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

China has publicly declared a promise to not strike first, but key Pentagon officials are dubious. Pry’s report cited testimony in February by Chief of U.S. Strategic Command, Adm. Charles Richard, who testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee he could “drive a truck through China’s no first-use policy.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10708

China: Floods, Locusts, Hailstorms, Earthquakes, Swine Disease “as Prophesied by Ezekiel”

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz July 5, 2020 , 12:13 pm

I will pour out my anger upon Sin, the stronghold of Egypt, and I will destroy the wealth of No. I will set fire to Egypt; Sin shall writhe in anguish and No shall be torn apart; and Noph [shall face] adversaries in broad daylight Ezekiel 30:15-16

NEAR-NOAH SCALE FLOODS ENDANGER THREE GORGES DAM 

33 days of consecutive rain in southwestern China have led to massive flooding and mudslides. While the Chinese government denies reports by experts that the huge Three Gorges Dam is in danger of collapse, they opened the floodgates, sending torrents of water to flood cities downstream from the world’s largest hydroelectric plant. 

Since June, more than 33 million people in 26 provinces have been affected by torrential rain, with many cities above and below the Three Gorges Dam submerged by floodwaters, calling into question the effectiveness and stability of the massive facility. More than 180 were killed and an additional 45 people are missing in the floods. 

After initially denying the floodgates had been opened, claiming that the dam was making full efforts to “generate electricity,” the Chinese government finally acknowledged that videos and images on social media were accurate in showing the floodgates releasing torrents of water for the first time this year.  

The government acknowledged that the facility was actually performing an emergency flood discharge to alleviate the threat of collapse.

Officials warned residents downstream that they may be in danger of floodwaters if they live below the fourth floor in their buildings as water levels could allegedly reach over 600 feet. 

German-Chinese hydrologist Wang Weiluo told Radio France Internationale on Monday the dam could collapse at any moment. Wang pointed out that the dam’s design, construction, and quality inspection were all carried out by the same group of people and that the project was finished too quickly using substandard concrete.

An estimated 400 million people live downstream of the Three Gorges Dam. More than 40,000 people have so far been evacuated.

EARTHQUAKE

On July 2, the  China Meteorological Administration (CMA) issued a heavy rain warning on July 2 across China for the 31st straight day. It is important to note that after a similar earthquake in the same region in 2013, a group of scientists from China University of Geoscience in Wuhan and Saint Louis University who happened to be conducting measurements in the area concluded that a 7-8 fold increase of seismic activity in the region was due to pressure caused by the huge reservoir at the Three Gorges Dam. 

A NEW PANDEMIC

What can be seen as either irony or divine retribution (depending on your inclination), one of the cities hard-hit by the flooding was Wuhan, home of the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the epicenter of the Coronavirus breakout that initiated the current global pandemic. 

But Chinese sources of pandemics are not limited to their microbiology labs. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is taking a number of actions to monitor and prepare against a group of H1N1 swine influenza viruses detected in China that have “the essential hallmarks of being highly adapted to infect humans” and which are therefore of potential pandemic concern.

The new G4 swine flu strain is genetically descended from the H1N1 strain that caused a pandemic in 2009, according to the study. According to the study, 10.4 percent of 338 pig slaughterhouse workers tested had already been infected. So far, there has been no evidence of human-to-human transmission. 

Even if the new virus does not develop into a pandemic, a swine flu epidemic poses a huge threat to China. China is the world’s largest pork consumer, accounting for more than half of global pork consumption. In China, pork is preferred over beef for economic and aesthetic reasons; the pig is easy to feed and is not used for labor.

DUCK WARS: CHINA WITHHOLDS ANTI-LOCUST DUCKS FROM INDIA

A plague of locusts that left much of Africa bereft of food returned this year 8,000 times larger, covering 13 countries and threatening several more. The swarm moved up into India which has been suffering one of the worst locust attacks in nearly 30 years. China offered aid in fighting the invasion of pests but only if India “asked for it” and  ‘created conditions’ in order to receive aid from China.  

The two countries are currently engaged in a bloody border dispute in the Himalayas.

The aid would come in the form of an army of locust-eating ducks. China’s credibility suffered when it failed to provide a promised army of 100,000 ducks to Pakistan in order to fight an infestation of locus earlier this year.

The swarm has reached Nepal and may invade neighboring China from there.

CHINA TARGETED BY WAVE  OF DIVINE RETRIBUTION?

In addition to the woes detailed above, China was hit by a storm of Coronavirus-shaped hailstones last month and a bizarre “plague of darkness” the month before. 

Just a few months ago, while the coronavirus was incubating in the wet market of Wuhan, Chinese doctors were struggling to prevent the bubonic plague from bursting forth as an epidemic. Only a handful of cases were diagnosed but the disease has a horrifying history and China is one of the few countries that is threatened by regular epidemics of the disease.  

Despite their efforts, two more cases of the plague cropped again last week in the area bordering Mongolia, leading to a renewed quarantine.

The sixth plague in Egypt, boils, may very well have been bubonic plague, whose characteristic symptom is boil-like skin lesions that form black ulcers.

It shall become a fine dust all over the land of Egypt, and cause an inflammation breaking out in boils on man and beast throughout the land of EgyptExodus 9:9

PLAGUES IN THE END-OF-DAYS

According to Jewish tradition, the ten-plagues will reappear before the Messiah. Rabbi Yosef Berger, the rabbi of King David’s Tomb on Mount Zion, explained this aspect of the Messianic process to Breaking Israel News, quoting the Prophet Micah.

I will show him wondrous deeds As in the days when You sallied forth from the land of EgyptMicah 7:15

In February, when the magnitude of the novel coronavirus was just becoming apparent, Rabbi Yosef Pinto, an internationally acclaimed Israeli mystic rabbi who currently lives in Morocco, made a statement about China being the target of divine retribution. The rabbi cited the Prophet Ezekiel as his source.

I will pour out my anger upon Sin, the stronghold of Egypt, and I will destroy the wealth of No. I will set fire to Egypt; Sin shall writhe in anguish and No shall be torn apart; and Noph [shall face] adversaries in broad daylight Ezekiel 30:15-16

In modern Hebrew, ‘Sin’ (סין) is the name for China. 

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10695

Major power orders Christians: Renounce God or we’ll cut off food and housing

By WND Staff
Published June 28, 2020 at 2:11pm

China’s communist government is warning elderly Christians that they will lose basic benefits if they don’t stop praticing their faith.

Bitter Winter, the online magazine about religious liberty and human rights in China, reports the Communist Party is threatening “to take away the last means of survival from elderly believers,” the government benefits of “housing, food, clothing, medical care, and funeral expenses.”

“A Catholic from Fuzhou city in the southeastern province of Jiangxi has been receiving monthly 250 RMB (about $ 35) from the government since 2018, the year her husband died,” Bitter Winter reported.

“At the end of 2019, local government officials threatened the woman, in her 60s, that the subsidy would be withdrawn unless she removes images of Jesus from her home. ‘Because the Communist Party feeds you,’ they told the woman, ‘you must only believe in it, not God.’ Two months later, the pension was canceled because she refused to remove the symbols,” the report said.

She told Bitter Winter, “It has become difficult to maintain belief in God because of religious persecution.”

Reggie Littlejohn, founder and president of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, said it’s “a heartbreak and an outrage that widows and other elderly are forced to renounce their faith in order to receive stipends. For many, they may need these funds to survive.”

“It [is] a pathetic act of cowardice to force desperate widows to choose between their survival and their God. This widow, who refused to renounce her faith potentially in the face of abject poverty, is heroic,” she said.

“This form of religious persecution is on the rise in the area of China where we have our Save a Widow Campaign. I was just informed that in our area, a government official has instructed our widows to stay home on Sundays and not to go to church. He also ridiculed Jesus, saying, ‘The Chinese government gives you 160 RMB (about $23). How much money does Jesus Christ give you?'”

She continued: “Fortunately for the widows in our area, they have a ready answer. Our fieldworkers bring love and compassion to widows, along with practical help: a $25 monthly stipend that makes a huge difference in their lives, providing food and warmth. Our fieldworkers encourage these widows in their faith, and many have found new hope that there is a God who loves them.”

Littlejohn for years has fought China’s one-child policy, which banned couples from having more than one child. It recently was changed to two children, but forced abortions still are part of the government’s enforcement policy.

Bitter Winter noted that just weeks ago, officials in Fuzhou “forced an 80-year-old Christian women to cover up a cross image in her home, again threatening her subsistence allowance.”

Authorities also have begun an intensive campaign of “return” inspections “to make sure that people don’t resume practicing their faith,” the report said.

In one case, government bureaucrats “threatened a Sola Fide believer in a nursing home, who has been paralyzed for eight years, to drive him out of the residence if he continued his belief.”

“The officials said that I am supposed to believe in the Communist Party since it feeds me, or else all my social benefits would be canceled,” he said. “I won’t give up my faith no matter how the government pursues me. If it cancels my benefits, I will meet God earlier.”

In Yingtan city, authorities “deprived a local Christian of her government aid for hosting religious meetings at home, even though the woman was immobile from an illness,” the report said. And they also harassed a Catholic, in her 70s, to replace religious symbols with images of President Xi Jingping.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10689

US Begins Surrounding China with Aircraft Carriers

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz June 23, 2020 , 2:00 pm

“Behold, the coastlands await me, With ships of Tarshish in the lead, To bring your sons from afar, And their silver and gold as well— For the name of Hashem your God, For the Holy One of Yisrael, who has glorified you.” Isaiah 60:9 (The Israel Bible™)

In a bold move, the US moved three aircraft carriers and their accompanying strike groups to the Western Pacific, positioning them to control the South China Sea.

On Sunday, the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) and USS Nimitz (CVN 68) strike groups commenced dual carrier flight operations in the Philippine Sea. While at sea, the strike groups will support air defense drills, sea surveillance, replenishments at sea, defensive air combat training, long-range strikes, coordinated maneuvers, and other exercises.

“This is a great opportunity for us to train together in a complex scenario,” said Rear Adm. Doug Verissimo, commander of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 9. “By working together in this environment, we’re improving our tactical skills and readiness in the face of an increasingly pressurized region and COVID-19.”

All three aircraft carriers were hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, which left the US with no aircraft carriers in the western Pacific region for more than two months.

Carrier Strike Group 11 consists of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68), guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59) and guided-missile destroyers of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 9, which includes USS Sterett (DDG 104), USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114) and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17.

Carrier Strike Group 9 consists of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) and guided-missile destroyers from Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 23, USS Russell (DDG 59), USS Rafaela Peralta (DDG 115), and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11.

Sunday’s drills were the first dual-carrier operations in the Western Pacific since November 2018 and only the sixth time since 2001 that two carriers operated together in the area. The last time three US carriers were in the region simultaneously was in 2017.

In addition, the Japan-based USS Ronald Reagan and its strike group were also conducting operations in the Philippine Sea, according to photos released by the Pacific Fleet. The area is near Luzon Strait between Taiwan and the Philippines which is the entryway into the South China Sea.

It was reported last month in Chinese media that China’s military is planning carrier operations this summer in the Philippine Sea. Though it is unclear how many carriers will participate in these operations, China is known to have two active aircraft carriers.

China does have the ability to counter the maritime threat posed by the US carrier dominance by using a wide range of weapons designed to sink aircraft carriers, like the medium-range anti-ship ballistic missile DF-21D and the intermediate-range anti-ship ballistic missile DF-26. These missiles can attack medium-sized to large surface vessels from above.

On Tuesday, China’s National Institute for South China Sea Studies published its 2020 research report on the US military presence in the Asia-Pacific region amid the US’ recent increased military activities near China. The report warned that the possibility of a conflict could substantially increase over the next year.

According to the report, the US has 375,000 enlisted members of its Indo-Pacific Command, including 60 percent of its Navy ships, 55 percent of its Army, and two-thirds of its Marine Corps. In addition, with 85,000 forward-deployed soldiers and a large amount of high-tech and new weaponry, the US military has maintained its absolute supremacy in the Asia-Pacific over the years, while also keeping to seek new deployments, budgets, and resources using China’s and Russia’s military development as excuses.

China’s Global Aggression could Trigger War of Gog and Magog Rabbi Explains

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz June 22, 2020 , 3:19 pm

“This is what he said: ‘The fourth beast [means]—there will be a fourth kingdom upon the earth which will be different from all the kingdoms; it will devour the whole earth, tread it down, and crush it.” Daniel 7:23 (The Israel Bible™)

While much of the media is focused on the riots in the US and Europe, China has been quietly advancing its world domination agenda. But just as the assassination of a minor duke sparked of Worl War I, the pre-Messiah War of Gog and Magog may have already begun, set in motion by a battle in the Himalayan Mountains fought with clubs and fists.

INDIA VERSUS CHINA IN THE HIMALAYAS

The  2,170-mile border between China and India is disputed at 20 different locations Tensions began to rise on the Himalayan border between China and India in the beginning of May when Chinese forces objected to Indian road construction in the Galwan River valley. Thousands of soldiers from the two countries have been facing off just a few hundred yards from each other in the Indian-controlled Ladakh region. 

This came to a head earlier this month when fighting broke out,.Agreements disallow usage of firearms so the conflict was restricted to hand-to-hand combat. Eventually, up to 600 men were engaged in combat using stones, batons, iron rods, and other makeshift weapons. Indian media reported that Chinese troops dammed up mountain streams, which they unblocked as the Indian troops approached. The rush of water knocked many off their feet, and then the Chinese soldiers swept down, brandishing sticks encrusted with nails. The fighting, which took place in near-total darkness, lasted for up to six hours. According to senior Indian military officers, Chinese troops used batons wrapped in barbed wire and clubs embedded with nails.

The fighting resulted in the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers. US intelligence believes that 35 Chinese soldiers died, including one senior officer, according to a report in US News.  10 Indian soldiers were taken captive and then released and an unspecified number of Chinese soldiers were also captured by the Indian side.

On 20 June, India removed restrictions on the usage of firearms for Indian soldiers along this section of the border.

Despite beginning their new independent incarnation in 1947 wth claims of brotherhood with China, the border dispute has been a large source of contention between the two countries. After a peace agreement was reached in 1950, war broke out in the area between China and India in 1962. After a period of calm, border clashes in 1967 culminated in the withdrawal of Chinese military forces. In 1993, the two countries signed an agreement on the “Maintenance of Peace and Tranquility” along what is known as the Line of Actual Control along their border. Tensions nearly escalated into a military conflict in 2017

In all, China claims some 90,000 square kilometers of territory in India’s northeast, including the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh with its traditionally Buddhist population.

India says China occupies 38,000 square kilometers of its territory in the Aksai Chin Plateau in the western Himalayas, including part of the Ladakh region.

China has been actively funding economic projects in Pakistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Nepal – India’s closest neighbors – which have rankled fears in Delhi that Beijing is trying to cut off its influence in the region.

It should be noted that both countries have nuclear arsenals with China possessing an estimated 104 missiles. Although India has not made any official statements about the size of its nuclear arsenal, recent estimates suggest that India has 140–150 nuclear weapons and has produced enough weapons-grade plutonium for up to 150–200 nuclear weapons.

CHINA VERSUS EVERYONE ELSE

Recent tensions have begun to percolate between the US and China over COVID-19 adding to the longstanding claims of Chinese theft of US intellectual property. Australia, which has played a leading role in calling for Chinese accountability for the coronavirus, has also allied with India in the recent tensions. Hong Kong is in revolt and Beijing’s imposition of a security law there has provoked international outrage.

Chinese authorities have also launched a trade war with Australia over its demands for an investigation into the origins of Covid-19, and are in a stand-off with Canada over the extradition of a senior executive from the technology giant Huawei.

RABBI SPIRO: A NEW ENEMY

Rabbi Ken Spiro, a historian and Senior Lecturer and Researcher for Aish HaTorah Yeshiva, sees China as the new enemy posing an entirely unprecedented danger. 

“I think the world has consistently underplayed the threat that China represents,” Rabbi Spiro told Breaking Israel News. “They have never been on the world’s military radar because they have never been directly expansionist regarding territory. They are much more nefarious.” 

“China has a powerful economy and even greater ambitions. Russia was never really an economic threat. Russia wanted to rule the world ideologically and militarily but China wants to control the world technologically and economically. And they are much better situated to do this than Russia ever was. They have a superpower economy and steal other countries’ technology.”

“War used to be a straightforward thing. In future wars, technology will play a major role. With the right technology, you can entirely disable another country without firing a shot.”

“If there is going to be a Third World War in the near future, it would be against China. But it wouldn’t be a straight-out shooting war. The US has such a large military that I can’t see China confronting them directly on that front. They don’t even fund proxy wars as Russia did.”

“They can worm their ways into other countries’ technology and infrastructure. Through China’s technology, everything can be watched.” 

Despite the threat posed by China, Rabbi Spiro emphasized an inner conflict as the key to fighting any future conflict.

“We are seeing a major shift in humanity, a major rift in the Western World between universalism versus particularism. Everything is being politicized along these lines. I In the World Wars and the Cold War, the West had a unified front. But now, this inner conflict is ripping the Western World apart and that is what will prevent the ability of the US to compete with China.”

Rabbi Spiro noted that the One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative was the major weapon in China’s plan for global domination.

ONE BELT ONE ROAD: CHINESE GLOBAL DOMINATION

The OBOR initiative is a global development strategy adopted by the Chinese government in 2013 involving infrastructure development and investments in nearly 70 countries and international organizations in Asia, Europe, and Africa. The project is all-encompassing and comprehensive, focused on creating transportation and telecommunication trade infrastructure with the goal of creating a China-based global economy. 

China has invested more than $210 billion into the OBOR to date but full implementation will require up to $900 billion of infrastructure investments per year over the next decade. But the Chinese government is resolved to making the OBOR a reality and have incorporated it into their constitution. Some observers see it as a push for Chinese dominance in global affairs with a China-centered trading network. The project has a targeted completion date of 2049, which coincides with the 100th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China. 

The official rhetoric is that the project is open to global participation and will benefit the economies of the participating countries. But the truth is that China’s dominance in the construction sector comes at the expense of local contractors in partner countries. Chinese companies have secured more than $340 billion in construction contracts along the Belt and Road. And the participating countries, many of them poor or underdeveloped, are expected to invest in the project.

The project coincides with China expanding its military. Analysts say almost all the ports and other transport infrastructure being built can be dual-use for commercial and military purposes.

Formerly named One Belt One Road, the name was changed in 2016 when the Chinese government considered the emphasis on the word “one” was prone to misinterpretation. However, “One Belt One Road” is still used in Chinese-language media. 

President Trump has been quietly working to oppose the OBOR with a program titled the Free and Open Indo-Pacific strategy (FOIP). The European Union supports the OBOR despite the objections of several member nations.

The One Belt Initiative also has connections with the leadership of the United Nations and in particular,  the UN’s World Health Organization, even though the initiative is specifically focused on Chinese economic interests and has no clear interest in global health. A photo posted on the Twitter feed of  Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, as the  Director-General of the WHO, inexplicably showed him meeting with Chinese officials from the OBOR initiative while seated in front of an idol of a Hindu God called Shiva the Destroyer. The WHO has been accused of serving China’s interests in the recent pandemic.

There are, in fact, no less than 25 UN organizations that are officially affiliated with the OBOR, including the World Bank, Meteorological Organization, International Maritime Organization, International Telecommunication Union, World Intellectual Property Organisation, Universal Postal Union, and the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

CHINA AS MAGOG

Europeans in Medieval China reported findings from their travels to the Mongol Empire. Some accounts and maps began to place the “Caspian Mountains”, and Gog and Magog, just outside the Great Wall of China. It is interesting to note that according to Mongolian tradition, their nation was descended from Magog. The Mongolian Empire once included sections of Russia, China, and North Korea.  The Chinese and all the minority groups living in China are of the Mongoloid race, which stems from Noah’s son Japheth. Etymologists have conjectured that the name Mongol is derived from the name Magog.

The Bible may also contain an anachronistic reference to China.

I will pour out my anger upon Sin, the stronghold of Egypt, and I will destroy the wealth of No. I will set fire to Egypt; Sin shall writhe in anguish and No shall be torn apart; and Noph [shall face] adversaries in broad daylight Ezekiel 30:15-16

In modern Hebrew, ‘Sin’ (סין) is the name for China.

RABBI WINSTON: END-OF-DAYS ALLIANCE OF EVIL

Rabbi Pinchas Winston, a prolific end-of-days author, believes that China could very well be the unifying Gog and Magog leader. 

“If China was the head of the Gog and Magog War, they would certainly have allies, out of fear if not out of an ideological agreement. I imagine that Iran and North Korea will be allied since they have a common ideological enemy which is ‘the West.’ This may include Russia.”

Rabbi Winston learns this from the explanation by the Medieval French commentator known by the acronym Rashi on the Biblical verse in Exodus.

Yisrael encamped there in front of the mountain, Exodus 19:2

Since the verb ‘encamped’ is in the singular, Rashi explains that Israel was “as one man with one heart.” This is similar to a verse describing the Egyptians.

 As Pharaoh drew near, the Israelites caught sight of the Egyptians advancing upon them. Exodus 14:10

Similarly, the verb in this verse is also singular but Rashi explains it as “one heart as one man.”

“When it comes to evil people, as long as there is a common enemy, they can act as one,” Rabbi Winston explained. “Even if they don’t have a common ideology. Even in international issues like war and politics. are backstabbers by nature but they can hold off long enough to attack a common enemy.”

“This explains why the left-wing can make hypocritical alliances with entities, like Islam and China, that work against liberal values. If the values are self-serving, they aren’t really values and they can go against them.”

“The real danger is from America is destroying itself,” Rabbi Winston said. “But he damage is already done. The only way humanity has ever rebooted itself is through World War. The final reboot will be Gog and Magog. That doesn’t mean a military war. It means also a military war. It is also an ideological battle and it involves aspects that have never been thought of as military weapons. Throughout history, man has only known war. Even if the problem is ideological or theological, it will always come down through physical conflict.” 

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10671

Rumors Of Wars: China, India, North Korea, South Korea, Israel And Turkey All Move Toward War

June 16, 2020 by Michael Snyder

As if we didn’t have enough already going on in 2020, now we are facing the possibility that several regional wars may erupt.  China and India had both been pouring troops into a disputed border region, and now there has been an incident where they were actually killing each other.  On the Korean peninsula, North Korea just blew up “a joint liaison office” that it had used for talks with the South Korean government.  And in the Middle East, Turkey is warning of grave consequences if Israel goes ahead with a plan to annex portions of Judea and Samaria.  If a major regional war erupts at even one of these flashpoints, it will be another devastating blow for a global economy that is already imploding, and there is a very strong probability that the U.S. and other major western powers could be drawn into the conflict.

Right now, most Americans are focused on our internal problems, and so they are paying very little attention to the growing crisis on the border between China and India.

Both nations had sent substantial contingents of troops to an area of the border that has long been disputed, and a meeting that was supposed to defuse tensions actually resulted in soldiers killing one another

Chinese state media described the incident Monday night in the Galwan River valley where both countries have deployed troops in recent weeks as “the most serious clash between Chinese and Indian soldiers so far,” confirming casualties but offering no further details about them. Indian government sources speaking on the condition of anonymity told The Times of India that 20 Indian army personnel had died in the fighting.

American intelligence believes 35 Chinese troops died, including one senior officer, a source familiar with that assessment tells U.S. News. The incident took place during a meeting in the mountainous region between the two sides – both of which had agreed to disarm – to determine how the two militaries would safely withdraw their presences from the region.

This is the very first time in decades that Chinese and Indian troops have killed each other, and apparently very little shooting was involved

The meeting grew tense and resulted in a physical confrontation between the troops. According to the assessment, all of the casualties were from the use of batons and knives and from falls from the steep topography, the source says.

That sounds like a scene from an overly gory Hollywood war movie, but reportedly this actually happened.

Hopefully the leaders of the two nations will be able to cool tensions for a while, but the Chinese have a very long history of very bitter border disputes with their neighbors, and without a doubt China will continue to make attempts to exercise sovereignty over this area.

Meanwhile, tensions on the Korean peninsula have risen to a level that we haven’t seen in many, many years.  On Tuesday, North Korea actually blew up a building that had been used for negotiations with South Korea

North Korea has blown up a joint liaison office used for talks between itself and South Korea, the latest sign that ties between the two longtime adversaries are rapidly deteriorating.

North Korean state media reported that the four-story building, which is located in the town of Kaesong just north of the demilitarized zone that divides the two Koreas, was “completely destroyed by a “terrific explosion” at 2:50 p.m. local time.

That is certainly one way to make a statement.

And this comes just days after Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, had issued a very ominous warning

In a cryptic statement late Saturday, Kim Yo Jong vowed her country would “soon take a next action” against South Korea — a move she suggested would be carried out by the country’s military.

“By exercising my power authorized by the Supreme Leader, our Party and the state, I gave an instruction to the arms of the department in charge of the affairs with enemy to decisively carry out the next action,” Kim said in the state-run Korean Central News Agency.

All of a sudden, North Korea’s approach to relations with South Korea has dramatically shifted, and that shift has coincided with Kim Yo Jong taking a much more prominent role in national affairs.

I believe that there is much more going on in North Korea than we are being told, and Kim Yo Jong appears to favor a much more militant approach than what we have become accustomed to in recent years.

Over in the Middle East, the Times of Israel is reporting that the IDF is gearing up for a “state of war” as Israel prepares to annex portions of Judea and Samaria…

Just over two weeks before a possible Israeli annexation of some as-yet unspecified portion of the West Bank, the Israel Defense Forces is preparing for a wide range of scenarios for potential regional fallout — up to and including a large-scale wave of terror attacks — while still not being told exactly what the government has in mind.

The military is gearing up for possible massive unrest, Channel 12 reported Sunday evening, including what it is calling a potential “state of war” characterized by a Second Intifada-style onslaught of suicide bombing attacks.

This week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once again made it clear that he does not intend to alter his plans, and that means that the process of annexation could start as soon as the beginning of July.

A few weeks ago, I wrote an entire article about how this could potentially spark a major war in the region, and Arab leaders continue to make it clear that there will be “consequences” if Israel goes through with this…

Israel’s plan to extend its sovereignty to the Jordan Valley, and parts of Judea and Samaria, will “destroy all hopes” for lasting peace in the Middle East, Turkey’s top diplomat said on Wednesday.

“If the occupying power [Israel] crosses the red line, we [Muslim countries] must show that this will have consequences,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said during a special meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Executive Committee, according to Turkey’s Anadolu Agency.

We shall see what happens.

I think that Netanyahu is convinced that Donald Trump is probably going to lose in November, and so that means that he probably believes that he only has a window of a few months in which he could annex portions of Judea and Samaria with U.S. support.

It appears that Netanyahu is absolutely determined to move forward, and it also appears that Israel’s Arab neighbors are prepared to respond very forcefully.

In just a few weeks, missiles could start flying back and forth, and the entire Middle East could erupt in flames.

This is such a critical time, and let us pray for peace.

But without a doubt we are living during a time of “wars and rumors of wars”, and it certainly isn’t going to take much to unleash a major conflict.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10662

Congress Urges Trump Admin to Rein in China’s Growing Nuclear Arsenal

Adam Kredo – JUNE 15, 2020 2:35 PM

A delegation of 40 Republican lawmakers is urging the Trump administration to constrain China’s nuclear weapons program and significantly overhaul America’s own arsenal of aging nuclear arms, according to a letter sent Monday to President Donald Trump.

China is on pace to triple its stockpile of nuclear arms, including missiles capable of reaching America, GOP House lawmakers warned in a letter sent Monday to the White House and reported by the Washington Free Beacon for the first time. Beijing’s proliferation efforts warrant increased U.S. readiness and lethality in the Indo-Pacific region, they said.

“The Chinese regime has put its aggressive nuclear ambitions on full display,” necessitating an immediate intervention by the Trump administration, the lawmakers wrote in a letter spearheaded by Rep. Liz Cheney (R., Wyo.).

GOP hawks in Congress want to bolster recent efforts by the Trump administration to include China in the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (known as New START), an arms control pact that restricts the number of nuclear missiles the United States and Russia can deploy. As China looks to expand its program past these caps—with a particular emphasis on countering U.S. capabilities—the Trump administration can no longer ignore the imminent threat this poses, according to the lawmakers.

In a move likely to rankle the arms control community, the GOP delegation is calling on the Trump administration to significantly expand the United States’ nuclear arms program to counter China. This would include the construction of advanced missile and missile-defense capabilities, as well as a complete overhaul of the U.S. nuclear triad—land-based nuclear missiles, nuclear-armed submarines, and nuclear-capable aircraft bombers.

“Powered by the state-mandated fusion of its defense and civilian sectors, China, after many years of proclaiming its minimum nuclear deterrent, has developed its own nuclear triad to directly rival America,” the lawmakers wrote.

In addition to modernizing its arsenal, China is “developing capabilities to evade U.S. missile defenses,” a threat that necessitates Beijing’s inclusion in the New START treaty.

China is already seeking to expand its nuclear arsenal to more than 1,000 warheads, triple its current stockpile. The Communist regime will at least double its weapons cache in the next decade, in what Defense Intelligence Agency director Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley recently described as “the most rapid expansion and diversification of its nuclear arsenal” in history.

The White House must also renew efforts to bring China to the negotiating table, including discussions that reach beyond the New START treaty, the lawmakers said.

It is unclear, however, how much leverage the United States has over China. As negotiations with Russia over the New START treaty languish, the Trump administration has threatened to let the agreement lapse next year if China is not included in the talks. Opponents of this approach argue that the United States has little power to bring China to the negotiating table and risks allowing the most significant arms control treaty in history to collapse.

Republican lawmakers are backing the Trump administration’s stance and hope to show the White House that these efforts will be supported by allies in Congress.

Trump’s “directive to bring China to the table has only grown in urgency since the spread of the coronavirus pandemic,” the lawmakers wrote. “We must compel the CCP to be transparent about both this devastating virus and its nuclear capabilities and ambitions.”

In addition to Cheney, the letter is backed by prominent Republican China hawks, including Reps. Jim Banks (Ind.), Mike Gallagher (Wis.), Doug Lamborn (Colo.), and Lee Zeldin (N.Y.), among many others.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10658

China is setting the stage for the next major war

By Robert Arvay

Before the ink was dry on the treaty that ended World War 1, planning began for the Second World War.  That is not far from the truth.  The 1920s and ’30s saw Japan, Germany, and Italy seeking to expand their military forces, including in the case of Japan and Germany, in violation of treaties.

Japan transitioned from a nascent democracy to a brutal military dictatorship, while Hitler began laying the groundwork for his rise to power.  Mussolini of Italy had plans to establish a sort of second Roman Empire and sent his army to Ethiopia to begin it.

The history of that era, the 1920s and ’30s, is a convoluted interplay of events that seemed almost orchestrated to lead to war.  Large wars do not begin spontaneously.  Long before the first shot is fired, years of preparation have taken place.

Today, the prelude to the next major war is underway.  While the events are different, the parallels are striking.

China’s dictator, Xi Jinping, has over-extended himself.  Squandering his nation’s wealth on weapons, and on ideological policies, his communist system has created an unsustainable economy.  The communist bureaucrats and the Chinese army must be fed and supplied.  Their need for lebensraum is increasing and will prove insatiable.

As the United States begins to counter the Chinese strategic moves, Xi finds himself pressured into what for him personally will be a no-win situation.  On the one side, he is faced with the United States, which now belatedly recognizes that China is an implacable enemy.  On the other side, inside China, the parasitic officialdom and the career military officers will not accept retreat.  They can’t.  Their lives depend on fending off the wrath of their exploited people.

History shows clearly what dictators do when faced with such desperate circumstances.  They deflect attention and then attack an external rival in hopes of unifying their populace and appealing to their patriotism for support.  It is what dictator Leopoldo Galtieri, of Argentina, did in 1982, when his power structure began to unravel.  He attacked the British-ruled Falkland Islands.  For a short time, his plan worked, as Argentinians applauded him, but losing that war cost Galtieri his power.

The Falkland Islands War was small and almost spontaneous.  Such has not been the case with China’s rise to power.  The decades-long buildup has been methodical, and the inevitable war will be massive.

Is war really inevitable?  History warns us that it well may be, unless wise and determined statesmanship can prevent it.

Surely, behind the scenes, President Trump is lining up allies, both domestic and foreign, to secure commitments in the struggle against China.  In front of the scenes, before cameras, and on the news pages, Trump is making it clear, both to the Chinese and to everyone else, that he is, as he says, “disappointed” in China’s duplicitous and aggressive behaviors.  We might add reckless and overconfident to those adjectives.

In the U.S., the move is to sever the American economy from dependence on Chinese suppliers and manufacturers.  In this regard, the foolishness of past presidents has been exposed by the Chinese virus, and that would be true even were the Chinese to be found completely innocent of having unleashed that deadly disease.  In fact, the Chinese are guilty at the least of having multiplied the adverse effects of the disease.  That, in itself, constitutes an act of war.

The nuclear bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945 killed 80,000 people in one moment.  The Chinese virus has killed 100,000 Americans.  If China had killed that many Americans with a nuclear bomb, what would we do?  In effect, China has nuked us.  How could we not respond?

While isolating China from the world economy is necessary, it also forces China’s hand, just as in 1941, the isolation of Japan from its war materiel forced Japan to either cease its aggressions or bomb Pearl Harbor.  Japan chose war.

China is also, no doubt, rallying support from such nations as Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, and to some extent Russia.  At the moment they choose, China’s leaders can be expected to strangle Hong Kong into submission and then to openly attack Taiwan, which China knows will be the tripwire for all-out war.  That war will devastate one or both major belligerents, the U.S. and China.

Hang on to your helmets.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10652

China moving military ships near Taiwanese coast may spark US confrontation

By Mark Moore

May 26, 2020 | 1:04pm

The Chinese Communist Party is readying two new aircraft carriers for deployment off the coast of Taiwan that could lead to a military confrontation with the US ships in the region, as the relationship between the two global powers has become strained by trade issues and the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report.

The ships Liaoning and Shandong, part of the People’s Liberation Army navy, are conducting military readiness drills in the Yellow Sea but are expected to move into the South China Sea to Pratas Island for invasion mock battles, CCP-controlled Global Times reported.

Noting Chinese President Xi Jinping’s assertions of territorial control over most of the waterway and lack of respect for the sovereignty of countries in the region, like Taiwan, the “risk of a military confrontation in the South China Sea involving the United States and China could rise significantly in the next eighteen months,” the Council on Foreign Relations said in a report issued last week.

The think tank said the US has a “strong interest” in stopping China from taking control over the South China Sea to keep the waterway open for navigation and secure international supply chains.

“The United States is also at risk of being drawn into a military conflict with China in this region as a result of U.S. defense treaty obligations to at least one of the claimants to the contested territory, the Philippines,” the council said.

President Trump, who has accused Beijing of misleading the world on the coronavirus pandemic, has been sparring with Xi over China’s trade policies, which he said are stacked against US corporations.

“We could cut off the whole relationship” with China, Trump told “Fox Business” earlier this month.

Those comments led to Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi accusing the US of pushing the two countries to the “brink of a new Cold War.”

“China has no intention to change, still less replace, the United States,” Wang said. “It’s time for the United States to give up its wishful thinking of changing China and stopping 1.4 billion people in their historic march toward modernization.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10613

India: Standing up to China in the Post-Coronavirus World

by Vijeta Uniyal
May 19, 2020 at 4:00 am

In true Orwellian fashion, top Chinese diplomats are still demanding that foreign governments rewrite the history of the coronavirus outbreak.

  • While India had shown restraint, Communist China has shown little. The Chinese air force has continued its incursions into Taiwanese air space. China has also tightened its grip on artificial islands it created in the South China Sea by setting up fictitious local governments on them. These weaponized islands… trample on the sovereignty of many of its maritime neighbors, including the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan.
  • The United States and rest of the Western world would do well to see the pandemic as a wake-up call and decouple their crucial and strategic sectors from dependence on China in any way. As US General Jack Keane has repeatedly warned the US, China a not a friend; “it is a predator economically, geopolitically and militarily.”
  • The world is looking to India and its Asian Pacific allies, in a strong alliance with the West, to take a stand and face China’s increasing military, geopolitical and economic intimidation.
  •  As coronavirus leaves behind a trail of human suffering and economic devastation, nations across the world have begun asking critical questions about the global pandemic. Countries are enquiring into Communist China’s handling of the pandemic, which first appeared late last year in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

As early as January 14, China had used the World Health Organization (WHO), a United Nations agency, to spread disinformation about the human-to-human transmissibility of Covid-19, a remark that led US National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien later to call the WHO a “tool of Chinese propaganda.”

While U.S. President Donald J. Trump faced mostly undeserved, politicized criticism for questioning China’s culpability in the spread of the worldwide pandemic and his calls for an international probe into it, more and more capitals across the Western world are making similar demands.

On March 20, The Washington Post attacked President Trump for even mentioning China in context of the pandemic. “Trump has no qualms about calling coronavirus the ‘Chinese Virus.’ That’s a dangerous attitude, experts say.”

As late as the end of March, CNN was still claiming that President Trump was targeting China for “political reasons… using entrenched stereotypes and fear of the other to cast off any blame that might fall on him from this crisis.”

On May 1, however, the New York Post reported that “[m]ore US allies and other countries are joining the Trump administration’s call for an investigation into China, the World Health Organization and the origins of the deadly coronavirus pandemic.”

In the Asia-Pacific region, Australia has taken lead in asking for an international investigation into Beijing’s culpability in the spread of the pandemic. “Now, it would seem entirely reasonable and sensible that the world would want to have an independent assessment of how this all occurred, so we can learn the lessons and prevent it from happening again,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on April 29. Australia’s demand was supported by New Zealand.

By way of response, China’s Ambassador to Australia, Cheng Jingye, threatened a boycott of Australian goods if Prime Minister Morrison’s government continued to insist on an independent investigation into the outbreak.

In Europe, Sweden took a similar stance, asking the European Union to start a probe into “the origin and spread” of the coronavirus. “When the global situation of Covid-19 is under control, it is both reasonable and important that an international, independent investigation be conducted to gain knowledge about the origin and spread of the coronavirus,” Sweden’s health minister Lena Hallengren told the nation’s parliament in a written statement on April 20.

Under threats of cutting Europe’s medical supplies, China forced the EU to water down a report exposing Beijing’s global disinformation campaign. “The European Union toned down part of a report about Chinese state-backed disinformation because it feared Beijing would retaliate by withholding medical supplies,” the Hong Kong-based newspaper South China Morning Post, citing diplomatic sources, disclosed on April 25.

China, which first covered up the outbreak of the contagion in city of Wuhan, is now running a global disinformation and intimidation campaign, trying to blame the United States or Italy for the coronavirus. So far, apparently too many countries are now aware of China’s intentions. As Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Germany’s largest publishing house, Axel Springer, argued recently in Die Welt:

“Economic relations with China might seem harmless to many Europeans today, but they could soon lead to political dependence and ultimately to the end of a free and liberal Europe… Should we make a pact with an authoritarian regime or should we work to strengthen a community of free, constitutionally governed market economies with liberal societies?… If current European and, above all, German policy on China continues, this will lead to a gradual decoupling from America and a step-by-step infiltration and subjugation by China. Economic dependence will only be the first step. Political influence will follow.”

At the moment, it is unclear if China’s charm offensive, if one could call it that, is working.

Most recently, on May 4, Sharri Markson reported on a leaked 15-page research document, obtained by Australia’s Saturday Telegraph, written by the “Five Eyes” — the intelligence services of the US, the UK, Canada Australia and New Zealand.

“It states that to the ‘endangerment of other countries’ the Chinese government covered-up news of the virus by silencing or “disappearing” doctors who spoke out, destroying evidence of it in laboratories and refusing to provide live samples to international scientists who were working on a vaccine.”

In true Orwellian fashion, top Chinese diplomats are still demanding that foreign governments rewrite the history of the coronavirus outbreak. Under President Xi Jinping’s instructions, Chinese diplomats are running a global campaign of intimidation to divert world’s attention from Beijing’s culpability in the spread of the coronavirus. Dubbed “Wolf Warrior” diplomacy, referring to a popular Chinese movie series of the same name, the strategy aims at silencing and intimidate Western governments, critical media outlets, and think tanks. The good news is that the world is finally getting a good look at the true face of China.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi telephoned his Indian counterpart, S. Jaishankar, on March 24, and suggested that India not use “China virus” to describe the Covid-19 contagion

“It’s not acceptable and detrimental to international cooperation to label the virus and stigmatise China,” Beijing’s envoy to New Delhi, Sun Weidong, said following the call.

Apparently unwilling to risk creating a problem, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has so far refrained from confronting China for its handling of the outbreak. To India’s credit, it did play a constructive role in combatting the global pandemic. India came to the aid of its allies by shipping large consignments of the drug hydroxychloroquine and other medical supplies to 55 countries, including the U.S., Britain, France and Israel.

While India had shown restraint, Communist China has shown little. The Chinese air force has continued its incursions into Taiwanese air space. China has also tightened its grip on artificial islands it created in the South China Sea by setting up fictitious local governments on them. These weaponized islands, fielding military facilities such as naval ports and military airfields, trample on the sovereignty of many of its maritime neighbors, including the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan.

The United States and rest of the Western world would do well to see the pandemic as a wake-up call and decouple their crucial and strategic sectors from dependence on China in any way. As US General Jack Keane has repeatedly warned the US, China a not a friend; “it is a predator economically, geopolitically and militarily.”

Beijing has used its status as world’s biggest manufacturer, intellectual property thief, and debt-trap lender to force governments across the world into silence over its culpability for the deadly and devastating pandemic.

In the coming post-coronavirus world order, India is well placed to challenge China’s stranglehold over global and regional supply chains. Prime Minister Modi’s “Make in India” initiative, originally envisaged to create jobs in manufacturing sector, could also position the country as an alternative destination for rerouting global supply chain needs, especially in critical sectors such pharmaceuticals, industrial manufacturing, telecommunications and information technology.

To take advantage of a post-coronavirus realignment, India would do well to upgrade its infrastructure and seriously cut its bureaucratic red tape.

Modi came to power in 2014 on promises of streamlining the bureaucracy to foster a free economy. Since he took office, India has eased the government’s red tape and opened up the country to foreign companies and investment. During his tenure, the country advanced 79 places on the global “Ease of Doing Business” survey released by the World Bank annually, from 142nd to 63rd place. The country still trails China, which, until its pandemic, ranked 31. India, however, plans to invest $1.39 trillion on a series of critical infrastructure projects, including roads, railways, digital connectivity and power sectors.

The world is eagerly looking to India and its Asia-Pacific allies, in a strong alliance with the West, to take a stand, face China’s increasing military, geopolitical and economic intimidation, and take up its historic mantle of leadership.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10591

US increases military pressure on China as tensions rise over pandemic

By Barbara Starr and Ryan Browne, CNN

Updated 3:23 AM ET, Fri May 15, 2020

(CNN)The US is upping military pressure on China amid increased tensions over the South China Sea and accusing Beijing of seeking to leverage the coronavirus pandemic to extend its sphere of influence in the region.

Over the last few weeks US Navy ships and Air Force B-1 bombers have undertaken missions aimed at sending a very public message that the US military intends to maintain a presence in the region and reassure allies.

It’s also a top priority for the Pentagon to get the virus-stricken aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt back out to sea in the region by as soon as the end of the month.

The moves come as the US is increasing the pressure diplomatically with President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo publicly attacking Beijing for failing to stem the virus’s spread and not being transparent during the early stages of the outbreak which originated in the country.

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The Pentagon accused China of exploiting the pandemic to gain military and economic advantages by expanding the areas in which it operates.

“The People’s Republic of China is attempting to use the regional focus on Covid to assertively advance its own interests,” US Navy Capt. Michael Kafka, a spokesperson for the US military’s Indo-Pacific Command told CNN in a statement on Wednesday.

Pentagon says pandemic hasn’t hurt its capabilities

And the Pentagon made clear the coronavirus outbreak has not hurt its ability to respond to Chinese actions.

“We have the capability and capacity to provide long range fires anywhere, anytime and can bring overwhelming firepower–even during the pandemic,” said Gen. Timothy Ray, commander of the Air Force Global Strike command which oversees the bomber force in the area.

On Wednesday the Navy Pacific Fleet took the unusual step of announcing that all of its submarines in the region were at sea conducting operations “in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific region amidst the pandemic caused by the coronavirus.”

While the US military recently ended its “continual bomber presence” on the Pacific island of Guam for the first time since 2004, the US Air Force has continued to dispatch bombers to the region.

In recent weeks the US flew B-1 bombers from bases in the US to the region on three separate occasions, including an operation over the South China Sea and a deployment of four B-1 bombers and 200 personnel from Dyess Air Force Base in Texas to Guam.

Late last month the US Navy also challenged Chinese claims to the waters surrounding the Spratly and Paracel islands in the South China Sea, contested islands that the US has long said China is using to house weapons and military facilities.

Those challenges drew a sharp rebuke from Beijing who urged the US to focus on its coronavirus response and to cease such military operations.

“China urges the United States to focus on its own business with pandemic prevention and control, make more contributions to the global fight against the Covid-19, and immediately stop military operations that are detrimental to regional security, peace and stability,” Senior Col. Li Huamin, spokesperson for the People’s Liberation Army Southern Theater Command, said in a statement.

Nobody is suggesting the US is headed towards conflict with China but Defense Secretary Mark Esper has continued to make blunting Beijing a priority.

“We are concerned by increasing, opportunistic activity by the People’s Republic of China to coerce its neighbors and press its unlawful maritime claims in the South China Sea, while the region and the world is focused on addressing the Covid-19 pandemic,” Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Dave Eastburn, told CNN.

China has long criticized what it calls provocations by the US and its military efforts in the South China Sea that commenced several years ago when China made disputed territorial claims.

South China Sea crucial strategically

The South China Sea is considered a crucial strategic location, being home to some of the busiest shipping routes in the world as well as potential natural resource deposits such as oil and gas. Parts of the sea are contested by multiple claimants, including China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Taiwan. China has constructed outposts on man-made islands in the disputed area, installing military facilities and missiles there as part of a bid to exert control over the strategic waterways according to US officials.

“We continue to execute a global Freedom of Navigation operations program in which US Navy ships safely and professionally challenge excessive maritime claims, including those in the South China Sea. We also conduct routine transits through the Taiwan Strait to further demonstrate that the United States will fly, sail, and operate anywhere that international law allows,” Kafka said.

On Wednesday a US Navy guided-missile destroyer, the USS McCampbell, transited the Taiwan Strait.

“The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the US commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Lt. Anthony Junco, a spokesperson for the US Navy’s Seventh Fleet told CNN.

The US routinely sails through the Taiwan Strait but the Chinese military views the strategic waterway separating China from Taiwan as a priority area and often shadows US vessels that sail through the area.

China routinely protests US Navy activities in the region, and often dispatches ships or aircraft to shadow the US vessels. Following the US freedom of navigation operation that challenged Chinese claims to the Paracel Islands late last month, Chinese officials said the US was engaging in “provocative acts,” that “could easily trigger an unexpected incident.”

The US also says China has attempted to intimidate other nations in the region.

In mid-April China deployed a survey vessel, the Haiyang Dizhi 8 alongside as many as 10 Coast Guard and maritime militia ships, as part of an apparent show of force in an area claimed by Malaysia and Beijing, according to two defense officials.

The move was an apparent attempt to intimidate a Malaysian state-owned oil company that had deployed a Panamanian flagged drilling vessel, the West Capella, to survey for oil in the area.

Utilizing a survey ship-led flotilla to harass South China Sea claimants “is a time tested” Chinese strategy, one official said, adding that China had used similar tactics against Vietnam.

The US responded earlier this month by twice sailing warships near the drill ship, a show of force intended to signal to Beijing that the US Navy can challenge any Chinese attempts to seize resources in the area.

“We are committed to a rules-based order in the South China Sea and we will continue to champion freedom of the seas and the rule of law,” Adm. John Aquilino, the commander of the US Pacific Fleet, said in a statement after one of the “presence operations” near the drilling vessel.

“The Chinese Communist Party must end its pattern of bullying Southeast Asians out of offshore oil, gas, and fisheries. Millions of people in the region depend on those resources for their livelihood,” he added.

China also appears to be using its military to send a message that it is capable of operating at longer distances for greater periods of to challenge its neighbors and the US. The US says China’s only operational aircraft carrier entered the South China Sea last week along with several other warships.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10585