The United States is considering sailing warships close to China’s artificial islands in the South China Sea to signal it does not recognize Chinese territorial claims over the area, a U.S. defense official said on Thursday.
The Financial Times newspaper cited a senior U.S. official as saying U.S. ships would sail within 12-nautical-mile zones, that China claims as territory around islands it has built in the Spratly chain, within the next two weeks.
The Navy Times quoted U.S. officials as saying the action could take place “within days,” but awaited final approval from the Obama administration.
A U.S. defense official declined to confirm that any decision had been made, but referred to remarks in congressional testimony last month by U.S. Assistant Defense Secretary David Shear, that “all options are on the table.”
“We are looking at this,” the official said, on condition of anonymity.
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said last month, in reference to China’s South ChinaSea claims, that the United States would “fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows, as U.S. forces do all over the world.”
The White House declined to comment on potential classified naval operations.
In May, the Chinese navy issued eight warnings to the crew of a U.S. P8-A Poseidon surveillance aircraft when it conducted flights near China’s artificial islands, according to CNN, which was aboard the U.S. aircraft.
CHINA WATCHING CLOSELY
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular news briefing on Thursday that China was paying attention to the reports of impending U.S. naval action, and that it and the United States have maintained “extremely thorough communication” on the South China Sea issue.
“I believe the U.S. side is extremely clear about China’s relevant principled stance,” she said. “We hope the U.S. side can objectively and fairly view the current situation in the South China Sea, and with China, genuinely play a constructive role in safeguarding peace and stability in the South China Sea.”
U.S. President Barack Obama said he told Chinese President Xi Jinping he had “significant concerns” about the islands when Xi made his first state visit to Washington late in September.
Xi said at the time that China intended to militarize the islands, but Washington analysts and U.S. officials say China has already begun creating military facilities, and the only question is how much military hardware it will install.
Admiral Harry Harris, commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific, has said China’s development of the islands, including the building of runways suitable for military use, was of “great concern” and a threat to the region.
In congressional testimony on Sept. 17, Harris said the United States should challenge China’s claim to territory in the South China Sea by patrolling close to the artificial islands and was considering going within 12 miles of them.
China claims most of the South China Sea, where the Spratly islands are located and $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have overlapping claims.
Philippine military officials have said that China has repeatedly warned Philippine military aircraft away from the artificial islands in the Spratly archipelago.
Category: Kings of the East
The United States is considering sailing warships close to China’s artificial islands in the South China Sea to signal it does not recognize Chinese territorial claims over the area, a U.S. defense official said on Thursday.
Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=7518
The notion of the Islamic State / Caliphate announced by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi should be viewed as a preview for what the neo-Ottoman Turks want – a Caliphate that will dwarf al-Baghdadi’s version. When it comes to the Ottoman Caliphate these Turks wish to resurrect, there is absolutely an eye on northwestern China.
In particular, the Uyghurs who are concentrated in the northwest region of China known as Xinjiang to the Chinese and East Turkestan to the Uyghurs, are increasingly joining the Islamic State according to a Chinese news report:
Chinese citizens have joined Islamic State, the country’s state media said, as China sought to offer further evidence that its domestic security problems are a global concern.
Radicals from Xinjiang have joined the terror group to receive training in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere in Asia, China’s Communist-run Global Times newspaper said in a report Monday. Xinjiang is the sprawling region in China’s northwest that is home to the restive Uyghurs, a largely Muslim population whose freedoms China has heavily restricted in response to a string of deadly attacks it blames on Uyghur terrorists.
By announcing that its citizens have joined Islamic State, China echoed fears expressed by Western countries – that the violence in the Middle East poses a domestic threat because foreign-trained fighters could return to mount attacks in their home countries.
Until now, China has not offered any assistance to the U.S.-led campaign against IS and its sole reaction to the chaos in Syria and Iraq has been to withdraw its citizens. Chinese officials routinely say they do not interfere with the affairs of other nations. But China, as one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, may now face pressure to get more involved in global counterterrorism efforts.
The Uyghur history is steeped in connections to Turkey; they are considered a Turkic ethnic group and speak the Turkish language. The neo-Ottomans in the highest levels of Turkey’s current government, to include new President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and new Prime Minister Ahmed Davutoglu, have demonstrated staunch support for the Uyghurs. In fact, that support has been a source of strain between China and Turkey in recent years.
Earlier this year, the World Uyghur Congress applauded Turkey’s call for a transparent investigation into Uyghur deaths at the hands of the Chinese government. The last two paragraphs of this article give China’s version of events:
The violence erupted on July 28 – the last day of Ramadan, during which the Chinese government banned government employees and children from fasting.
According to Xinhua, the Chinese state news agency, since the beginning of the holy month the “mob” had had many gatherings in remote places, during which time they made plans for attacks and prepared tools for violent acts.
In light of reports today that Uyghurs are joining the Islamic State, China was most likely dealing with ISIS-minded terrorists. Yet, Turkey was siding with the Uyghurs. Here is how the article opened:
The World Uyghur Congress has praised Turkey’s call on China for a transparent investigation into recent reports of violence in Xinjiang’s Uyghur Autonomous Region.
China revealed that 37 civilians were killed in a disturbance and another 13 injured after a mob attacked a police station and government offices on July 28.
However, a lack of independent monitors in the region has raised suspicions that the death toll could have been much higher, according to Seyit Tumturk, the vice president of the World Uyghur Congress.
In 2012, as a Chinese circus was taking place in Turkey, a gaggle of malcontents ran through the stands waving Turkish and Uyghur flags:
Also in 2012, Erdogan and Davutoglu visited the Uyghurs in Xingxang / East Turkistan and were “greeted like rock stars”. A video that chronicled the visit features the image of a skyward looking Erdogan sailing over a field of white flowers:
The strain between China and Turkey over the Uyghurs is not new but there have been attempts to mitigate it based on economic concerns:
After relations deteriorated between Beijing and Ankara in 2009 over Turkish officials’ criticism of China’s crackdown on riots in Uighur Muslim-dominated Xinjiang province, relations have improved, in large part because of a shift in attitude on the Uighur issue by both governments.
Turkey, hoping to expand its influence in Central Asia, has avoided sharp rhetorical condemnation of Chinese government actions, and Beijing, hoping to attract Turkish investment and desiring a new approach less likely to spark ethnic unrest in the future, has made several policy shifts of its own…
…China’s relationship with Xinjiang’s predominantly Muslim Uighurs has long been fraught due to the strategic significance of Xinjiang on the Chinese border. After riots broke out in 2009 between Uighurs and ethnic Han Chinese in Urumqi and the Chinese government cracked down, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the situation as “violence” and “almost genocide,” while Turkish Trade and Industry Minister Nihat Ergun called for a boycott of Chinese goods. Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun rebuffed Erdogan’s remarks as “irresponsible,” and relations between Ankara and Beijing deteriorated.
As reports of Uyghurs joining the ranks of the Islamic State grow, acts of terrorism in the region can expect to grow as well. Should Turkey continue to defend the Uyghurs, the relationship between it and China can be expected to deteriorate.
Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=6696
By Bill Gertz, The Washington Times
Friday, July 4, 2014
“A large outdoor model of a next generationnuclear attack submarine [SSN] has appeared at the People’s Liberation Army Navy [PLAN] submarine academy in Qingdao, China,” Mr. Fisher stated in a report published by the International Assessment and Strategy Center, a think tank.
“The role of this model may simply be to inspire the academy’s students, but it may signify a larger personnel investmentby the PLAN to prepare for its next generation submarines, as it may also offer some indications about a new class of SSN,” he said, referring to the military acronym for attack submarines
Photos of the model were first published in April during a Chinese naval conference, and Mr. Fisher said the Chinese have long used such photos of mock-up weapons as political messages for both domestic and foreign audiences.
The mock-up could be the first peek at China’s Type-095 attack submarine — the second nuclear-powered attack submarine being built by the Chinese after its current Type-093.
In addition to the attack subs, the Chinese also are building two new ballistic missile submarines, the Type-094 and Type-096.
The Pentagon in its latest annual report on China’s military said currently two Type-093s are deployed and four improved Type-093s will be fielded in the next five years.
However, Mr. Fisher said Asia military sources have indicated that in addition to the six Type-093s, two new Type-095s could be deployed by 2020.
Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=6501
Many people find it hard to understand why China is acting the way it is in the East and South China Seas. What does Beijing hope to achieve by alienating its neighbors and undermining regional stability?
Let me suggest an answer: China is trying to build what President Xi Jinping calls “a new model of great power relations.” To understand how this might be the aim of Beijing’s actions, we have to recognize that under his “new model,” Xi wants China to wield much more power and influence in Asia than it has for the past few centuries. These things are inherently zero-sum, so for China to have more power and influence, America must have less. This is what Xi and his colleagues are trying to achieve.
Their reasoning is simple enough. They know that America’s position in Asia is built on its network of alliances and partnerships with many of China’s neighbors. They believe that weakening these relationships is the easiest way to weaken U.S. regional power. And they know that, beneath the flowery diplomatic phrases, the bedrock of these alliances and partnerships is the confidence America’s Asian friends have that America is able and willing to protect them from China’s power.
So the easiest way for Beijing to weaken Washington’s power in Asia is to undermine this confidence. And the easiest way to do that is for Beijing to press those friends and allies hard on issues in which America’s own interests are not immediately engaged — like a string of maritime disputes in which the U.S. has no direct stake.
By using direct armed pressure in these disputes, China makes its neighbors more eager for U.S. military support, and at the same time makes America less willing to give it, because of the clear risk of a direct U.S.-China clash. In other words, by confronting America’s friends with force, China confronts America with the choice between deserting its friends and fighting China. Beijing is betting that, faced with this choice, America will back off and leave its allies and friends unsupported. This will weaken America’s alliances and partnerships, undermine U.S. power in Asia, and enhance China’s power.
This view of China’s motives explains its recent conduct.
Ever since President Obama announced the “pivot,” China has tested U.S. willingness to support its allies over the Scarborough Shoals and Senkaku/Daioyu disputes. Until his Asian trip last month, Obama seemed inclined to step back from America’s commitments, but his bold words in Tokyo and Manila suggest he has recovered his resolve to stand firm.
Now we can expect China to test this newly-recovered resolve by applying more pressure in the same places or elsewhere. And that is what Beijing is doing today in the waters off Vietnam. It is calling Obama’s bluff. Expect more pressure against Manila and Tokyo soon.
Of course this carries risks for China. It does not want to fight America, so it must be confident in the judgment that America will back down and desert its friends rather than engage in conflict with China, even if backing down badly weakens the U.S. position in Asia. This confidence reflects two key judgments by China’s leaders.
First, they believe that China’s new anti-access/area denial capabilities can deny America a quick and easy victory in an maritime clash in the East Asian littoral waters. They have been reassured by America’s own Air-Sea Battle doctrine that the U.S. knows it cannot prevail in these waters without launching a major campaign of strikes against Chinese territory. Such strikes would obviously risk a major escalation which might not stop below the nuclear threshold. So China’s leaders think their U.S. counterparts understand that a war with China today is one that America could not be confident of either winning or limiting.
Second, Beijing believes the balance of resolve is on China’s side. Washington clearly wants to preserve its role in Asia, but Beijing is even more determined to win power at the U.S.’ expense. China’s conduct suggests that the leadership in Beijing believes Washington understands this imbalance of resolve. That makes the Chinese confident that U.S. leaders will not assume that China would back down first in a crisis.
The idea that China might believe these things comes as a surprise to many outside China, including, one suspects, many in Washington. U.S. policy towards China, including the pivot itself, is based on contrary assumptions. The consensus is that Beijing is not really serious about challenging U.S. leadership in Asia because it is simply not willing to risk a confrontation with America which Beijing’s leaders must know they would lose, and they do not care enough about expanding China’s role in Asia to take that risk.
If that’s true, then China’s conduct is clearly foolish. But before assuming that the Chinese leaders are fools, we would be wise to wonder whether they really do believe what Washington assumes they believe. I’m pretty sure they do not.
Asia today therefore carries the seeds of a truly catastrophic episode of mutual misperception. Both Washington and China are steadily upping the stakes in their rivalry as China’s provocations of US friends and allies become more flagrant and America’s commitments to support them become more categorical.
Both believe they can do this with impunity because both believe the other will back down to avoid a clash. There is a disconcertingly high chance that they are both wrong.
Someone needs to change the nature of the game to avert the risk of disaster.
Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=6427
The Turkish government recently cut off the flow of the Euphrates River, threatening primarily Syria but also Iraq with a major water crisis. Al-Akhbar found out that the water level in Lake Assad has dropped by about six meters, leaving millions of Syrians without drinking water.
Two weeks ago, the Turkish government once again intervened in the Syrian crisis. This time was different from anything it had attempted before and the repercussions of which may bring unprecedented catastrophes onto both Iraq and Syria.
Violating international norms, the Turkish government recently cut off the water supply of the Euphrates River completely. In fact, Ankara began to gradually reduce pumping Euphrates water about a month and half ago, then cut if off completely two weeks ago, according to information received by Al-Akhbar.
A source who spoke on the condition of anonymity revealed that water levels in the Lake Assad (a man-made water reservoir on the Euphrates) recently dropped by six meters from its normal levels (which means losing millions of cubic meters of water). The source warned that “a further drop of one additional meter would put the dam out of service.”
“We should cut off or reduce the water output of the dam, until the original problem regarding the blockage of the water supply is fixed,” the source explained.
The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) controlling the region the dam is located in did not suspend the water output. Employees of the General Institution of the Euphrates Dam are running the lake under the supervision of al-Qaeda linked ISIS, but they don’t have the authority to take serious decisions, such as reducing the water output. In addition, such a step is a mere attempt to ease the situation, and it will lose its efficacy if the water supply isn’t restored to the dam by Turkey.
The tragic repercussions of the new Turkish assault began to reveal themselves when water levels dropped in al-Khafsa in Aleppo’s eastern countryside (where a water pumping station from Lake Assad is located to pump water through water channels to Aleppo and its countryside).
The reservoirs are expected to run out of water completely by tonight or tomorrow morning at the latest.Meanwhile, water supplies in auxiliary reservoirs in al-Khafsa are close to being depleted and the reservoirs are expected to run out of water completely by tonight or tomorrow morning at the latest. This threatens to leave seven million Syrians without access to water. Also, Tishrin Dam stopped receiving any water which blocked its electricity generating turbines, decreasing the power supply in Aleppo and its countryside, further intensifying the already severe imbalance in the power supply.
In Raqqa, the northern side of Lake Assad is today completely out of service. Two million Syrians living in the region covering the villages of Little Swaydiya to the east until al-Jarniya to the west could lose their drinking water supply. “Losing water supplies in the dam means that the silt in the lake will dry off which would pressure its structure, subjecting it to fissures and eventually total collapse,” Al-Akhbar sources warned, adding “it is crucial to shut down the dam to stop its collapse.”
However, shutting down the dam (if ISIS agrees) will only lead to a human and ecological (zoological and agricultural) catastrophe in Syria and in Iraq.
According to information obtained by Al-Akhbar, Aleppo locals (who had already launched many initiatives to reach solutions for a number of local issues) began a race against time to recommend solutions for the problem, including putting the thermal plant at al-Safira back to work, which may convince ISIS to spare the Euphrates Dam turbines, and in turn preserve current water levels in the lake.
In case it succeeds, such a step would only rescue whatever water and structures are left, and would ward off further repercussions of the crisis that has already started. A halt to the water supply is now inevitable and can’t be resolved unless the Turkish government takes the decision to resume pumping Euphrates water.
In any case, it is worth mentioning that the water in the lake would take about a month, after resuming pumping, to return to its normal levels.
A historical conflict
The Euphrates River has historically been at the center of a conflict between Turkey on the one hand and both Syria and Iraq on the other. Ankara insists on considering the Euphrates a “trans-boundary river” and not an “international river,” hence it is “not subject to international laws.” Also, Turkey is one of the only three countries in the world (along with China and Burundi) that opposed the Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1997.
In 1987, a temporary agreement between Syria and Turkey was signed to share the water supplies of the Euphrates during the period when the basin of the Ataturk Dam was being filled. In virtue of the agreement, Turkey pledged to provide an annual level of over 500 cubic meters of water a second on the Turkish-Syrian borders, until reaching a final agreement about sharing the water supplies of the river between the three countries. In 1994, Syria registered the agreement at the United Nations to guarantee the minimum amount of Iraq and Syria’s right to the water from the Euphrates River.
Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=6411
ICBMS can reach Hawaii, Alaska, and western United States
BY: Bill Gertz May 5, 2014 5:00 am
North Korea has developed nuclear weapons capable of being launched on its ballistic missile forces, according to a new report by a defense analyst.
The Obama administration is seeking to hide the fact that North Korea possesses nuclear missile warheads, according to a report by Mark Schneider, a former Pentagon strategic analyst and director for forces policy at the office of the secretary of defense. Schneider’s statement came in a report published April 28 in the journal Comparative Strategy.
According to the 16-page report, “The North Korean Nuclear Threat to the United States,” the Defense Intelligence Agency stated in an unclassified assessment made public a year ago that “DIA assesses with moderate confidence the North [Korean government] currently has nuclear weapons capable of delivery by ballistic missiles.”
“This is disturbing news,” the report says. “The North Korean regime is one of the most fanatic, paranoid, and militaristic dictatorships on the planet. … While North Korea has long made occasional nuclear attack threats, the scope, magnitude, and frequency of these threats have vastly increased in 2013.”
North Korea has in the recent months issued provocative threats to carry out nuclear strikes on U.S. cities and against American allies.
According to the report, the Obama administration has sought to hide the alarming intelligence because it undermines efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons.
Administration spokesmen sought to “walk back” the unwelcome intelligence of nuclear missile warheads with officials asserting that the nuclear strike capability is limited or untested.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, a proponent of the leftist “global zero” anti-nuclear initiative, said the same day that the intelligence was made public that neither Iran nor North Korea is capable of attacking the United States with nuclear weapons.
James Clapper, director of national intelligence, also disagreed with the DIA assessment.
However, the report states that despite the denials, “there is every reason to believe that the DIA estimate is accurate.”
Disclosure of the DIA intelligence coincides with the unusual resignations this week of DIA Director Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who abruptly announced Wednesday he is stepping down as the Pentagon’s top intelligence official. Flynn’s deputy, David Shedd, also resigned as a result of disputes within the Pentagon and intelligence agencies.
U.S. officials said Flynn disagreed with senior intelligence officials, including Michael Vickers, the undersecretary of defense for intelligence. The specific reasons for the departure could not be learned.
DIA praised the two leaders in a statement for helping transform the agency.
The report on the North’s nuclear warheads stated that the assessment of a missile-delivered nuclear strike capability is not new.
Based on a declassified 2001 National Intelligence estimate, North Korea’s Taepodong-2 ICBM can deliver a payload of several hundred kilograms up to 6,200 miles, distance enough to hit Alaska, Hawaii, and parts of the western Untied States.
“If the North uses a third stage similar to the one used on the Taepodong-1 in 1998 in a ballistic missile configuration, then the Taepodong-2 could deliver a several-hundred-kg payload up to 15,000 km—sufficient to strike all of North America,” the report said.
North Korea also has acquired Chinese-made transporter-erector launchers that are now deployed with a new road-mobile KN-08 ICBM.
Building small nuclear warheads that can be launched on missiles is not difficult based on vast improvements in computer power and high-explosive technology over the past five decades and because of the publicly available information on nuclear arms technology.
Additionally, Chinese small nuclear warhead design data was uncovered around 2003 after Libya gave up its nuclear program. The warhead designs were sold by the Pakistani nuclear supplier network headed by A.Q. Khan and the data is believed to have been sold to Iran and North Korea, in addition to Libya.
“The argument that there is no current nuclear missile threat to the U.S. from North Korea is based upon the dubious assertion that North Korean nuclear weapons are too heavy to be delivered by the North Korea ICBM that successfully orbited a satellite,” the report said. “This position is frequently taken by opponents of U.S. missile defense and nuclear deterrence both in the U.S. and abroad.”
North Korean defectors also have stated that Pyongyang has developed nuclear warheads capable of being launched on missiles.
North Korean propaganda in recent months has referred to new strategic nuclear capabilities for its missile forces. Recently, North Korean Gen. Kang Pyoyong told state-run media that the military had developed “miniaturized and reduced-weight warheads.”
The report said it is difficult to assess the number of warheads that may be in the North Korean nuclear arsenal, but an estimate of 10 devices could be low.
North Korea is estimated to have produced 30 kilograms to 50 kilograms of plutonium, enough for six to 10 weapons and could have enough for an additional 10 warheads.
Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, commander of U.S. Forces Korea, told the House Armed Services Committee April 2 that North Korea “remains a significant threat to United States’ interests.”
“North Korea continues to develop nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles in violation of multiple United Nations Security Council Resolutions,” he said in prepared testimony.
“It is investing heavily in longer-range missiles with the potential to target the U.S. homeland,” Scaparrotti said. “North Korea shows little regard for the fact that the possession of, pursuit of, and threat to use nuclear weapons and their means of delivery are the primary barriers to its inclusion in the international community and productive economic integration.”
The North Korean nuclear missile threat is compounded by the current U.S. policy of reducing U.S. nuclear forces and reluctantly investing in needed modernization, the report said.
“The de-emphasis on nuclear deterrence in the Obama administration is blatant,” the report said, noting the lack of support for nuclear arms and infrastructure from both Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who rarely mention nuclear weapons or deterrence.
As a further sign of U.S. weakness, the administration canceled the test launch of a Minuteman III ICBM during a recent period of North Korean military provocations.
“The Obama administration’s current position on the North Korean nuclear threat may very well be linked with its plans to radically reduce U.S. military capabilities in both the nuclear and the conventional arena in the near future, starting with sequestration,” the report said.
“From its first days in office the Obama administration downgraded the importance of nuclear deterrence and cut missile defense.”
“The Obama administration’s ‘nuclear zero’ ideology does not impress North Korea,” the report concludes. “Indeed, it may have precipitated the unprecedented nuclear attack threats from North Korea.”
Whether North Korea would initiate a nuclear attack on the United States is not known. However, in recent years the Pyongyang regime has carried out two major military attacks against South Korea and demonstrated a pattern of escalating threats that could result in a future miscalculation that could lead to a nuclear war, the report said.
Schneider, the author of the report, has held senior positions in the Pentagon, including principal director for forces policy; principal director for strategic defense, space and verification policy; director for strategic arms control policy; and representative of the secretary of defense to the Nuclear Arms Control Implementation Commissions.
He also has worked for the State Department Policy Planning Staff. He is currently with the National Institute for Public Policy.
Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=6361
Washington (AFP) – China for the first time will likely have subs equipped with long-range nuclear missiles later this year, part of an increasingly potent submarine fleet, a top US officer said Tuesday,
The head of US Pacific Command, Admiral Samuel Locklear, said the latest class of Chinese subs would be armed with a new ballistic missile with an estimated range of 4,000 nautical miles (7,500 kilometers).
“This will give China its first credible sea-based nuclear deterrent, probably before the end of 2014,” Locklear told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Locklear was referring to the production of China’s JIN-class nuclear powered ballistic missile submarine and the new JL-2 missile on board the vessel.
“China’s advance in submarine capabilities is significant. They possess a large and increasingly capable submarine force,” the admiral said.
In October, Chinese state media for the first time showed images of the country’s nuclear-powered submarines, touting it as a “credible second-strike nuclear capability.”
Locklear said China’s submarine modernization effort was impressive.
“I think they’ll have in the next decade or so a fairly well modernized force of probably 60 to 70 submarines which is a lot of submarines for a regional power,” he said.
China now has five nuclear attack submarines, four nuclear ballistic missile submarines, and 53 diesel attack submarines, according to Jess Karotkin of the Office of Naval Intelligence.
China’s production of submarines has moved at a quick annual pace. Between 1995 and 2012, Beijing produced 2.9 submarines a year, according to the Congressional Research Service.
Locklear, repeating the Pentagon’s view of China’s military profile, said Beijing is investing in new weapons and naval power in part “to deny US access to the Western Pacific during a time of crisis or conflict and to provide the means by which China can bolster its broad maritime claims in the region.”
He added that Chinese military operations were “expanding in size, complexity, duration and geographic location.”
Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=6255
Tokyo begins arms build-up in response to East China Sea tension
Paul Joseph Watson
February 18, 2014
Asia Weekly, a Hong Kong-based news outlet, is reporting that Japan is secretly developing a nuclear weapons program in response to increasing hostilities with China over the East China Sea dispute.
According to the report, paraphrased by the Want China Times, “With the capability to build at least 2,000 nuclear warheads, Japan has recently demanded the United States return 300 kilograms of plutonium. A Japanese military analyst told Yazhou Zhoukan that Washington has paid close attention to the potential development of nuclear weapons in Japan.”
Asia Weekly, known as Yazhou Zhoukan, is a popular Chinese-language platform with a 20 year publishing history.
The article notes that Mitsubishi, Hitachi and Toshiba all possess expertise in the area of nuclear energy and along with 200 other small companies could all be called upon to kickstart a nuclear weapons program. Japan already has over 40 tonnes of plutonium in its possession.
Influential voices like Major General Yoshiaki Yano of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force are also calling on Tokyo to adjust its nuclear policy.
The story arrives hot on the heels of reports that China is extremely concerned about Japan’s initial resistance at handing back weapons-grade plutonium to the United States which was bought back in the 1960′s for research purposes but has the potential to be turned into 50 nuclear bombs.
Earlier this year, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that within the next six years Japan would revise its pacifist constitution, which limits its military activities to self-defense.
Tensions over China’s declaration of an air defense zone over the disputed Senkaku Islands have continued to simmer, with three Chinese ships sailing through the region on Monday in another show of aggression.
A deluge of aggressive rhetoric has emerged out of official Communist Party organs in recent months directed against the United States, including discussion about China’s ability to attack U.S. military bases in the Western Pacific, as well as a lengthy editorial which appeared in Chinese state media explaining how the Chinese military’s current reformation process was part of a move by President Xi Jinping to prepare the People’s Liberation Army for war.
Last month, Chinese state media reported that Beijing’s new hypersonic missile vehicle is primarily designed to target U.S. aircraft carriers. Last year, China reportedly sunk a mock U.S. aircraft carrier utilizing the DF-21D anti-ship missile, dubbed the “carrier killer,” during a wargame which took place in the Gobi Desert.
Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=6073
Paul Joseph Watson
January 13, 2014
Reports out of Chinese state media indicate that Beijing is set to invade an island in the South China Sea “illegally occupied” by US ally the Philippines, stoking concerns that the tension filled region could explode.
The article originally appeared at qianzhan.com under the headline, ‘Sudden major move of Chinese troops this year to recover Zhongye Island by force’, and was translated by the China Daily Mail.
Relying on US support, the Philippines is so arrogant as to announce in the New Year that it will increase its navy and air force deployment at Zhongye Island, a Chinese island that it has illegally occupied for years.
It will be an intolerable insult to China
According to experts, the Chinese navy has drawn a detailed combat plan to seize the island and the battle will be restricted within the South China Sea.
The report goes on to state that the “battle” will not include a Chinese invasion of Filipino territories, although the Philippines will undoubtedly view Beijing’s attack on Zhongye Island as precisely that since it has been occupied by Filipino troops for over 40 years.
“Of course, claims that “battle will be restricted” are nothing but taunting and should China launch an offensive here, we suspect the already dry and brittle tinder box in the South (and East) China Sea could rapidly escalate,” reports Zero Hedge.
The report arrives hot on the heels of Japan’s announcement that it will “nationalize” around 280 islands in the disputed region, the latest shot across the bow in a tit-for-tat build up that experts have warned heralds the beginning of a new cold war.
China’s latest act of aggression arrives after months of military posturing and bellicose rhetoric.
In October, China sent a surveillance ship to Hawaiian waters for the very first time in an unprecedented move which was described as a provocative retaliation to the U.S. naval presence in the East China Sea.
A lengthy editorial which appeared in Chinese state media last month explained how the Chinese military’s current reformation process was part of a move by President Xi Jinping to prepare the People’s Liberation Army for war in response to US aggression in the Asia Pacific, developments which have prompted “major changes” in China’s national security situation.
Strident rhetoric about Beijing’s ability to attack US military bases in the Western Pacific, as well as the release of a map showing the locations of major U.S. cities and how they would be impacted by a nuclear strike launched from the PLA’s strategic submarine force also turned heads.
Following discussion in state media about plans to to turn the moon into a Star Wars-style “death star” from which the PLA could launch missiles against any target on Earth, a display to promote China’s Jade Rabbit Moon rover also included a background photograph of a mushroom cloud over Europe
January 13, 2014
Japanese paratroopers recaptured an island from an enemy in a wargame as its Defense Minister vowed to defend a disputed East China Sea territory. China’s ships sailed near the contested islets as Beijing reportedly expanded its air defense zone.
The location of the disputed islands (circled in red) in the South China Sea. Credit: Jackopoid via Wiki
Tokyo’s military on Sunday held a military drill dubbed “Island Defense,” in which the country’s elite airborne troops simulated the retaking of a remote island from an enemy nation.
The plot for the annual drill, which took place at an exercise field east of Tokyo, stayed the same for the second year in a row as the dispute over the group of tiny islets in the East China Sea, claimed by China, Taiwan and Japan, showed no signs of resolution.
Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera, who was overseeing the drills, vowed to protect the territory around the islands, which Japan considers to be its own.
“We can never overlook China’s repeated entries into our territorial waters. In addition to diplomatic efforts, we will cooperate with the Coast Guard to securely defend our territory and waters around the Senkaku islands,” Onodera said.
The islands, which are known as Diaoyu in China and as Senkaku in Japan, have again found themselves in the middle of regional tension less than two weeks into the New Year. Three Chinese patrol ships briefly entered the disputed waters early Sunday, the first time since controversial fishing rules approved by China’s southern Hainan province took effect January 1.
The fishing rules require foreign fishing vessels to obtain approval before entering the disputed waters in the South China Sea, as the local government maintains they are under its jurisdiction.
Both the boats’ venture and the reminder of the unilaterally imposed fishing law sparked angry official reactions from Japan and its ally the United States.
“Setting something like this unilaterally, as if you are treating them as your own territorial waters, and imposing certain restrictions on fishing boats, is not something that is internationally tolerated,” Onodera said, claiming that China is “threatening the existing international order.”
Washington earlier branded the fishing rules “provocative and potentially dangerous,” prompting a rebuttal from the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Friday.
Patrol ships from China and Japan have often shadowed each other in the disputed area, since Tokyo moved to nationalize its control over three of the islands, with the state buying them from a Japanese family for 2 billion yen in September 2012.
Beijing considered the move to be a breach of its territorial sovereignty, as it holds that the islands were returned to China in 1945, half a century after their annexation by Japan in an earlier Sino-Japanese War.
After World War II, the US took control of the islets, until the US Senate voted to return them to Tokyo in 1972. The decision followed a discovery of potential oil and gas reserves in the vicinity of the islands by a UN commission in 1969. Both Chinese and Taiwanese governments also declared their ownership of the territories in 1972.
Tensions over what are believed to be resource-rich territories have soared in recent months, particularly after China announced the creation of an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) covering a large swathe of the East China Sea, including the disputed isles.
Both Japan and its ally the US strongly condemned the creation of the Chinese air defense zone, which was announced in November, ostensibly sending their ships, jets and bombers to pass through the territory. China also scrambled its fighter jets to shadow the military aircraft passing through the area and kept patrolling the nearby waters.
A report Sunday by Japan’s Asahi Shimbun newspaper, however, suggested that Beijing was serious on taking a hard-line stance over the disputed territories, expanding its defense zone even farther toward Japan.
In response to an inquiry from the Japanese newspaper, China’s Defense Ministry confirmed the eastern tip of the zone is just 130 kilometers from the Japanese island of Kyushu. This makes it as close to Japan as Tokyo’s own declared air defense zone is to China. The report suggests the newly decided Chinese identification zone has been revised since its introduction on November 23.
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Paul Joseph Watson
December 9, 2013
Former Chinese Ambassador to the United Nations Sha Zukang has warned that the dispute between Japan and China over the Senkaku Islands could lead to World War III.
CIting a Chinese-language piece written by Zukang for the the pro-regime Global Times, a report in the China Times says that Zukang warned of the futility of going to war over “those two tiny rocks,” a reference to the disputed islands which have become the center of a geopolitical tug of war between China and Japan, with the United States and South Korea also becoming embroiled.
“If China started a war with Japan, it would be much larger than both the Sino-Japanese War and World War II, said Sha. The United States and Japan should cooperate with China to maintain regional peace,” states the report.
Zukang’s rhetoric sounds somewhat alarmist but it is not that different in tone from sober analysts such as Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, who warned that the escalating crisis represents a “watershed moment for the world” and means “Asia is on the cusp of a full-blown arms race.”
Zukang was appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last year as the under-secretary-general for the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs. He also served as Chinese ambassador to the United Nations Office at Geneva.
Zukang is known as an outspoken figure who previously said the United States should “shut up” over its complaints about Beijing’s military build-up.
He sounded a more conciliatory note on the current crisis, calling for “politicians and people from both countries to sit down and talk.”
As we reported earlier, The Japanese media has also been busy dreaming up war scenarios in response to the crisis, with popular weekly news magazines envisioning a major conflict between the two superpowers, possibly as early as January.
Tensions have been running high after Beijing imposed an “air defense zone” over the disputed Senkaku Islands and hinted that it may shoot down any foreign aircraft entering the area. The U.S., Japan and South Korea quickly rendered this threat toothless by performing several overflights of the area without notifying Chinese authorities.
Yesterday, South Korea’s Defense Ministry announced that it would impose its own “air identification zone” in the region, an area which overlaps those of Japan and China, an expansion that will go into effect on December 15.
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