Category: Kings of the East

Remarks from China’s leader should be believed

And Communist regime ‘will accept the confrontation this will trigger’ with U.S.

By WND News Services
Published July 10, 2021 at 3:08pm

By Seth Cropsey and Harry Halem
Real Clear World

Xi Jinping’s July 1 speech to commemorate the Chinese Communist Party’s centenary has received much fanfare. Accompanied by great pageantry, the speech was the CCP’s most significant public event in the past decade.  All authoritarian states attach significant importance to public gatherings.  These events give a visual demonstration of the faux solidarity between leadership and the people.

But events like this also reveal a great deal about an authoritarian regime’s self-perception. In a society like China’s, where a single party holds absolute political power, public pronouncements are a chance to signal to domestic and international audiences precisely how the regime defines itself, what it prioritizes, and which threats it thinks deserve a response.

This is particularly true in China, the world’s literary society par excellence. From the 3rd century Han dynasty to the Qing dynasty’s collapse in 1912, Chinese emperors relied upon a class of scholar-bureaucrats, termed mandarins by the Portuguese, to govern their territories. Selected through competitive intellectual examination, the members of this unique class were steeped in philosophical and historical literature. They attached overwhelming importance to speechcraft and the art of writing. The CCP carries forward this mandarin heritage, and as such, Xi’s directs several subtle signals toward the careful listener.

These signals convey a clear message: Xi Jinping’s Chinese Communist Party intends to direct the Chinese nation in a titanic struggle for global dominance. To this end, the Party and nation must prepare for conflict. And China’s first blow will fall on Taiwan.

Xi asserted that modern China is a continuation of five thousand years of Chinese history and is therefore the expression of a rich civilization and culture. But unmistakably, he views the CCP’s rule as the highest point of Chinese historical development. Hence his boast that “the socialist revolution” overturned “the exploitative and repressive feudal system that had persisted for thousands of years,” and Xi’s equivalence between China’s 5,000-year history and the Party’s 70 years of governance. Even more striking was the way Xi invoked China’s founding revolutionaries, foremost among them Mao Zedong. Naturally, Xi must profess loyalty to the CCP’s historical leaders and publicly advocate the maintenance of their ideologies. However, Xi indicates that the “socialist revolution” had one primary purpose – it “laid down the fundamental political conditions and the institutional foundations necessary for national rejuvenation”.

If the end or purpose of the socialist revolution is this “national rejuvenation”, then it follows that the individuals who execute this rejuvenation – that is, Xi Jinping’s CCP – have a unique role in this end. The CCP’s primary historical relevance is preparing the conditions for the present Party to achieve national rejuvenation, a theme reinforced by Xi’s refusal to speak of the Party’s history in more than generalities, outside of his broad historical overview. Moreover, the modern Party came into existence in 2012, when “socialism with Chinese characteristics entered a new era” with Xi’s accession to paramount leadership. Xi framed this in effect as almost a new founding of the Chinese nation.

Xi does not define national rejuvenation.  The closest he comes is in his opening remarks, when he invokes the Party’s second centenary goal, “building China into a great modern socialist country in all respects.”  One may, however, infer the objective of “national rejuvenation” from Xi’s discussion of China’s future, which he portrayed as lessons from its history. Three themes are apparent. First, the Party and the country are identical, an outgrowth of his previous remarks that Chinese history functionally began in 1921, with the CCP’s founding. Second, the Party must be unified. It must “keep in alignment with central Party leadership”, that is, with Xi’s vision. And third, the Party and nation must prepare for conflict. The Party must “accelerate the modernization of national defense” because of the “irrefutable truth that it must command the gun”.

Why does China need a “world-class” military? To protect, as Xi delineates, Chinese “sovereignty, security, and development interests.” This is not boilerplate. Xi mentions only one international organization in his entire speech, China’s neocolonial One Belt, One Road initiative. And after praising international cooperation, he pivots immediately to identifying the need for “the courage to fight” for China’s national dream, a dream that will require a greater struggle than ever before to achieve.

It is here that the Taiwan question comes to the fore. It is the last substantive remark in his speech, the denouement of his vision for Party and nation. Xi identifies only three specific territories in his speech —  Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan — and the last receives particular attention. Notably, COVID-19 is never mentioned. Behind the advocacy for peaceful reunification is Xi’s true message. “Taiwan independence” is deemed a threat to Chinese national sovereignty and “territorial integrity.” And, the People’s Liberation Army is meant to secure this sovereignty.

Xi is correct to state that the future does belong to China’s youth. But he makes a specific demand of the Chinese people – that its young become, like China, “proud, confident, and assured” to “live up to…the expectations of our times, our Party, and our people.”  For what trials does the Party expect the Chinese people to prepare? There is only one answer: the conflict necessary to achieve national rejuvenation, beginning over Taiwan, and securing for China global dominance.

Xi Jinping has made the use of force an integral element of Chinese foreign policy. That use of force is not limited to the “grey zone” “below threshold,” using the “salami-slicing” tactics that the U.S. foreign policy establishment insists are China’s modus operandi. The centenary speech objective is conquest: China will absorb Taiwan by military means if necessary and will accept the confrontation this will trigger between it and the United States. Xi said it. That he means it is beyond issue.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=11572

U.S. admiral warned of ‘breathtaking’ nuclear expansion from China, now satellites show it

By Isa Cox, The Western Journal
Published July 4, 2021 at 1:18pm

In April, U.S. Navy Adm. Charles Richard, the commander of U.S. Strategic Command, warned a congressional panel that China’s nuclear program was in the midst of a “breathtaking expansion,” including the development of intercontinental ballistic missiles, mobile missile launchers and nuclear-capable submarines.

Now, satellite imagery has confirmed that Richard was by no means exaggerating.

Researchers from the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, California, obtained the images which were initially captured by commercial satellites.

The images depict the construction of over 100 new silos for ICBMs in the desert outside the city of Yumen, which is in northwestern China, The Washington Post reported.

Should these 119 near-identical construction sites be completed, it would mark a significant expansion in the country’s relatively meager stock of nuclear weapons. The Post noted that the number of silos doesn’t necessarily indicate the number of weapons intended to be stored within them, as China has been known to use decoy silos in the past in a similar fashion to a strategy used by the U.S. during the Cold War to mislead Soviet intelligence forces.

“The reported silo construction project could provide China with yet another means of concealing its most powerful weapons. The construction sites spotted on satellite photos are arrayed in two huge swaths, covering parts of a desert basin stretching to the west and southwest of Yumen, a city of 170,000 people along China’s ancient Silk Road,” The Post explained.

“Each site is separated from its neighbors by about two miles, and many of the sites are concealed by a large, dome-like covering, following a practice observed at known construction sites for missile silos in other parts of China. At sites where the dome is not in place, construction crews can be seen excavating a characteristic circular-shaped pit in the desert floor. Another construction site appears to be a partially built control center.”

Jeffrey Lewis, who was part of the team that reviewed the satellite images, explained in a summary of his analysis on the findings as provided to The Post that, when added to similar construction projects, these silos would bring the total count to 145 across the Chinese mainland.

“We believe China is expanding its nuclear forces in part to maintain a deterrent that can survive a U.S. first strike in sufficient numbers to defeat U.S. missile defenses,” he explained.

This intelligence underscores the urgency with which China is bolstering its defenses in likely anticipation of any attempt at foreign intervention in its aggressive expansion of power both at home and abroad.

Lewis, who described the sheer scale of the construction projects as “incredible,” believes the silos are likely intended for a Chinese ICBM known as the DF-41, which is capable of carrying multiple warheads and can strike targets as far off as 9,300 miles.

Yes — that means they could, potentially, have the capacity to reach the U.S. mainland.

Although the U.S. Department of Defense declined to comment on the satellite images or discuss any of its own intelligence on China’s nuclear capabilities, a spokesperson pointed to previous warnings that any such concern is likely justified.

“Defense Department leaders have testified and publicly spoken about China’s growing nuclear capabilities, which we expect to double or more over the next decade,” spox John Supple said.

Lewis believes that China, which boasts a significantly smaller nuclear arsenal than those in the U.S. and Russia, has engaged a “limited deterrence” doctrine that simply prioritizes its ability to retaliate if attacked.

Yet while he believes that the satellite images could be indicative of a “shell game” on the part of China, i.e. that they’re simply designed to give the appearance that they’re more nuclear-capable than they really are, the sheer multitude of so many potential launch sites could serve as a warning to U.S. officials to modernize our own arsenal

While Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in February that the Biden administration plans to “pursue arms control to reduce the dangers from China’s modern and growing nuclear arsenal,” he offered no specifics on what this would look like, merely vowing to pursue “effective arms control that enhances stability, transparency and predictability while reducing the risks of costly, dangerous arms races.”

It appears that we’re in an arms race with China whether we like it or not, however, and that’s exactly where the nation wants us to be.

In 2019, China unveiled new nuclear warheads amid massive pomp and circumstance reminiscent of Soviet and Mao-era military parades as the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the People’s Republic of China was being celebrated. This came as a trade war with the United States loomed thanks to former President Donald Trump’s tough stance on the aspiring global superpower.

That was when the DF-41 made its public debut amid the tightly synchronized goose-stepping and Cold War-style theatrics of the celebratory parade.

Now that President Joe Biden is in office, Beijing has made clear it’s hardly afraid of Trump’s successor — a fact made embarrassingly plain in the first diplomatic talks between his administration and China when the nation’s diplomatic team publicly humiliated Blinken — on U.S. soil, no less.

The Biden administration has publicly condemned China’s human rights abuses among the Uyghur population in the Xinjiang province and its authoritarian crackdown in the previously liberal and autonomous Hong Kong, but has stopped short of taking any action against the antagonistic communist nation.

During his remarks on the centennial anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party this week, President Xi Jinping vowed “broken heads and bloodshed” to any foreign adversaries which provoke or enrage China, a message which is entirely consistent with the notorious “wolf warrior” diplomacy exercised by his regime.

China may be doing its best to fluff up its feathers and appear more powerful than it is on the world stage — but it’s determined to increase its power by any means necessary, and it is this fierce determination and fearless provocation of foreign powers that we have to be concerned about.

As long as Biden continues to take a weak and soft stance on China and President Xi, a man he once described as a “friend,” China will take every single advantage such leniency affords it.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=11566

As Americans Party, Our Enemies On The Other Side Of The Globe Are Preparing For Military Confrontation

July 1, 2021 by Michael Snyder

Here in the middle of 2021, Americans are generally feeling pretty good about things.  The COVID pandemic appears to be subsiding, our sports stadiums are full of fans again, the stock market has been soaring, and all over the country people are in the mood to party.  In fact, July 4th celebrations across the nation are likely to be quite boisterous this year.  But in China the mood is quite different, and the same thing is true in Russia.  In both cases, politicians are talking tough about the United States, and in both cases the military is being prepared for a potential future conflict.  Right now, our relations with China are the worst that they have been in decades, and our relations with Russia have never been this bad in our entire history.  But the vast majority of Americans are completely and utterly clueless about all of this, because most Americans couldn’t care less about what happens on the other side of the globe.

This week, China commemorated the 100th anniversary of the CCP, and Xi Jinping used that as an opportunity to warn that any nation that tries to bully China “will have their heads bashed bloody”

“Only socialism can save China, and only socialism with Chinese characteristics can develop China,” he said.

“We will never allow anyone to bully, oppress or subjugate China.

“Anyone who dares try to do that will have their heads bashed bloody against the Great Wall of Steel forged by over 1.4 billion Chinese people.”

So exactly who do you think that Xi Jinping was referring to when he made that statement?

Do you think that it was Denmark?

Perhaps Iceland?

No, of course he was referring to the United States.

During his speech, he also spoke very forcefully about reunification with Taiwan

Resolving the Taiwan question and realizing China’s complete reunification is a historic mission and an unshakable commitment of the Communist Party of China. It is also a shared aspiration of all the sons and daughters of the Chinese nation. We will uphold the one-China principle and the 1992 Consensus, and advance peaceful national reunification. All of us, compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, must come together and move forward in unison. We must take resolute action to utterly defeat any attempt toward “Taiwan independence,” and work together to create a bright future for national rejuvenation. No one should underestimate the resolve, the will, and the ability of the Chinese people to defend their national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Most Americans have absolutely no idea how serious this situation is.

In Taiwan, there is a big push to formally declare independence, and the Biden administration has been greatly angering the Chinese government by supporting the right of the Taiwanese people to determine their own future.

If Taiwan formally declares independence, China will invade.

And if China invades, the U.S. military will intervene.

If a military conflict between the U.S. and China suddenly erupted, it would probably not “go nuclear” initially.  But China has been feverishly preparing for a scenario in which nuclear weapons will be used…

China is potentially expanding its missile silos following satellite image analysis – indicating the country is also seeking to increase its nuclear weapon stockpile. At least 119 potential silos were identified in the desert in Gansu Province spread over 700-square-miles to increase their nuclear arsenal which is estimated to be made up of between 250 to 315 nuclear weapons. It comes as President Xi Jinping issued a warning to ‘bullying’ foreign nations telling them to stay out of China’s business during a speech earlier this week.

In addition to construction at that site, the Chinese are building new silos in other locations as well

“If the silos under construction at other sites across China are added to the count, the total comes to about 145 silos under construction,” Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies, part of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, said in a summary of his findings provided to The Washington Post. “We believe China is expanding its nuclear forces in part to maintain a deterrent that can survive a U.S. first strike in sufficient numbers to defeat U.S. missile defenses.”

Instead of focusing on making their military “more diverse”, the Chinese are actually working very hard to prepare for the next war, and the dramatic shift that we have been witnessing has stunned U.S. officials

The discovery follows recent warnings by Pentagon officials about rapid advances in China’s nuclear capability. Adm. Charles Richard, who commands U.S. nuclear forces, said at a congressional hearing in April that a “breathtaking expansion” was underway in China, including an expanding arsenal of ICBMs and new mobile missile launchers that can be easily hidden from satellites. In addition, the Chinese navy has introduced new nuclear-weapons-capable submarines to its growing fleet.

Meanwhile, the Russians continue to talk tough as well.

For example, Russian President Vladimir Putin just warned that there would be an “asymmetrical” response if certain boundaries were crossed by western powers…

“No matter what sanctions are imposed on Russia, no matter what the scaremongering, Russia is developing and in some respects our country has surpassed the European countries and even the US,” he said.

While Putin said the nation would not be taking steps that would be harmful to themselves, he said if boundaries were crossed, they would find “asymmetrical ways” to respond.

And we don’t have to use too much energy to imagine what such an “asymmetrical” response would look like, because the Russians just put on quite a show for us 35 miles off the coast of Hawaii

Russia’s defense ministry has announced it sunk an aircraft carrier just 35 miles off the coast of Hawaii in a huge war games exercise that has alarmed the US.

At least 20 Russian warships, submarines, and support vessels, flanked by 20 fighter jets, are taking part in the exercises – the biggest since the Cold War.

As the U.S. military focuses on “social change”, the Russians have been rapidly developing a whole host of incredibly advanced new weapons systems.  Here are just a few examples

3M22 Tsirkon, also known as Zircon, is a winged, hypersonic cruise missile. With an operational range of at least 1,000 km and a maximum speed of up to Mach 9, Tsirkon can pose a credible threat against North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) carrier strike groups (CSGs). Sarmat is a 200+ ton, liquid-fueled ICBM that supports a payload of up to 15 MIRV warheads; according to Putin, the weapon is virtually non-interceptable and boasts “practically unlimited range.” The S-500 “Prometheus” is the successor to Russia’s flagship S-400 “Triumf” missile defense system, offering across-the-board improvements in target acquisition, operational range, and tracking, as well as the functionality to engage hypersonic cruise missiles and targets flying at speeds of over 5 Mach.

During the Cold War, U.S. strategic forces had a clear edge over the Russians, but now the balance of power has shifted dramatically.

Most Americans don’t realize this, but in many areas the Russians completely outclass us now.

But at least nobody can grill hot dogs better than we do.

So enjoy this bubble of peace and prosperity while you still can, because our leaders are definitely not preparing for what is going to happen once this bubble of peace and prosperity finally ends.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=11557

World War 3 fears as all-out conflict with China and US would see ‘everything lost’

CHINA and the US must work to ease tensions or else “everything is to be lost”, warns Singapore’s Prime Minister.

By DYLAN DONNELLY

PUBLISHED: 01:17, Fri, May 21, 2021 | UPDATED: 09:43, Fri, May 21, 2021

Lee Hsien Loong, leader of Singapore, warned a military conflict between both Beijing and Washington could spell disaster for the world. Beijing and Washington have been at loggerheads over trade disputes, alleged human rights abuses, the coronavirus pandemic and aggressive behaviour in the South China Sea. Speaking at the inaugural Global Forum on Economic Recovery, Mr Lee urged the US and China to find ground to cooperate on as “everything is at stake” in a conflict. He added: “If the US-China relationship goes sour, you are going to have a state of tension – anxiety at the very least and conflict possibly – all over the world.

“Certainly, all over the Asia-Pacific, or as now America prefers to call it, the Indo-Pacific. And that is going to be bad, not just for other countries big and small, but for both America and China too. “Because both America and China are countries with enormous economic and technological power, with high tech capabilities, weaponry, nuclear capabilities; and modernised armed forces in the case of the PLA, and the most powerful armed forces in the world, in the case of the US Armed Forces, but not so powerful that when you [i.e. the US] go to war, that you do not take casualties, and expect to absorb a lot of damage. “So, if the two countries clash, everything is to be lost.”

Mr Lee then told the forum the US and China must find ground to cooperate on, if they are not willing to form a relationship and ease tensions. The Prime Minister said “climate change is one, where [US and China] are talking”, but stressed environmentalism is not enough.

He added: “The two countries have to work together, but it means that both countries have to reconcile their international stances with their domestic political opinions. “ And both have domestic political opinions, even the Chinese. And [both countries will have to] overcome the nationalist instinct to say ’we will look after our country’s interests, but we will do so by cooperating with other countries.’ “‘Whether or not we fully trust them, and whether or not they are our bosom friends, they have to be our partners on this planet.’”

US President Joe Biden previously expressed a desire to work with Chinese President Xi Jinping on issues such as climate change and global recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

But Mr Biden also recently called out both Beijing and Vladimir Putin’s Russia for “disruptive actions”, and vowed to take an “active role” in disputed regions like the South China Sea.

Speaking to the United States Coast Guard Academy’s 2021 graduating class, the President said: “When nations try to game the system or tip the rules in their favour, it throws everything off balance.

“That’s why we are so adamant that these areas of the world that are the arteries of trade and shipping remain peaceful, whether that’s the South China Sea, the Arabian Gulf, and, increasingly, the Arctic.

“It’s a vital interest to America’s foreign policy: secure, unimpeded flow of global commerce.

“It won’t happen without us taking an active role to set the norms of conduct to shape them around democratic values, not those of autocrats.”

President Xi also recently criticised the US “hegemony” on global affairs in a veiled attack on Mr Biden, saying countries like America “shouldn’t impose their rules on others”.

He said at the Boao Forum on Asia last month: “What we need in today’s world is justice, not hegemony.

“Bossing others around or meddling in others’ internal affairs will not get one any support.

“Big countries should behave in a manner befitting to their status and with a greater sense of responsibility.”

It comes as the US Navy angered China by sailing the USS Curtis Wilbur near the Paracel Islands without ‘permission’.

In a statement, the Chinese military’s Southern Theatre Command said the US action violated China’s sovereignty and undermined regional peace and stability.

The US Navy’s 7th Fleet rebuffed China’s claims, and said in response: “USS Curtis Wilbur was not ‘expelled’ from any nation’s territory.

“USS Curtis Wilbur conducted this Freedom of Navigation Operation (FONOP) in accordance with international law and then continued on to conduct normal operations in international waters.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=11512

The Fate Of Western Civilization Hinges On A Great Debate Now Raging In Washington DC, Virtually Unnoted By The Nightly News And Unnoticed By Most Americans

– China, Russia And North Korea On ‘Hair Trigger’ While America Is Not Prepared For What’s Coming

By Dr. Peter Vincent Pry
 for All News Pipeline

The fate of Western Civilization may hinge on the great debate now raging within Washington’s beltway, virtually unnoted on nightly news and unknown to most Americans, over whether to replace the nation’s 400 obsolete Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) with a new ICBM — or unilaterally eliminate all U.S. ICBMs. 

My report “Surprise Attack: ICBMs and the Real Nuclear Threat” (October 31, 2020) warned: “A Biden Administration or future Democrat Congress is likely to unilaterally abolish U.S. ICBMs … to the grave detriment of U.S. national security.” 

Nuclear Armageddon’s arithmetic is more real and easier to understand than the alleged existential threat from climate change. Subtract 400 credible ICBMs from the U.S. nuclear deterrent, and Russia, China, and even North Korea or Iran, could do a nuclear Pearl Harbor, by making a surprise attack on 3 U.S. strategic bomber bases and 2 ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) ports—just 5 targets altogether. 

Deterring this scenario since 1970 is the Minuteman III ICBM, now 50 years old, originally designed to last 10 years, nearing end of its last possible life extension program. Minuteman still stands guard, ready to launch in minutes responding to a surprise attack — unlike U.S. nuclear bombers or ballistic missile submarines. 

U.S. bombers are not maintained nuclear-armed or on strip-alert and so would be destroyed in a surprise attack. 

Surprise attack on just two ports would destroy two-thirds of 14 U.S. SSBNs normally berthed, while the three-four SSBNs normally on patrol at sea would require hours to respond to an Emergency Action Message (EAM) ordering them to launch missiles. 

Hours can become forever in a nuclear war that kills the National Command Authority, uses electromagnetic pulse (EMP) to fry communications links for transmitting EAMs, and unleashes decades of enemy planning and secret weapons designed to destroy the small number of U.S. SSBNs hiding at sea. 

The comfortable notion that U.S. missile submarines are “invulnerable” almost certainly underestimates the awesome power of nuclear weapons, and other adversary capabilities, to destroy and disrupt at least EAM communications links that make SSBNs a viable deterrent. Is it really possible for a nation to absorb a nuclear surprise attack, and then respond via SSBNs? 

The question is yet unanswered. But we may well soon find out if U.S. ICBMs are junked, while Russia, China and North Korea continue their one-sided nuclear arms race building new ICBMs. 

If surprise attack is the most likely nuclear threat, then the most important part of the U.S. nuclear deterrent, the only part that may matter in deterring or responding to surprise attack, are the ICBMs and their 400 ever-ready warheads. 

Anti-ICBM politicians and activists see the greatest virtue of ICBMs — their capability for over 95% to be on high-alert, every day, for years, serving as sentinels against surprise attack — as the very reason to abolish ICBMs, that they falsely allege are on a “hair trigger” for accidental nuclear war. 

Yet no ICBM has ever been fired accidentally. In addition to numerous redundant safeguards preventing accidental launch, U.S. ICBMs are “detargeted” — aimed at broad ocean areas — but can be quickly retargeted against adversaries when needed. 

The U.S. has even “de-MIRVed” its ICBMs so each carries only one warhead, not multiple warheads like those of Russia, China, and soon probably North Korea, that are optimized for striking first to disarm the U.S. nuclear deterrent by surprise attack. 

For example, Russia’s SS-18 and China’s DF-41 ICBMs carry 10 MIRVed warheads, so just 50 of these missiles could deliver 500 warheads in 30 minutes to attack all U.S. ICBM silos, bomber bases, submarine ports, and other military targets. Russia’s new Satan II ICBM can carry up to 40 warheads. 

Unlike U.S. ICBMs, the ICBMs of Russia, China, and North Korea are on a “hair trigger” and do pose a threat of accidental nuclear war because of profound differences between the U.S. and these totalitarian states in strategic posture and strategic culture. U.S. ICBMs are the most important factor deterring these malevolent actors from surprise attack. 

Ominously, technological trends in nuclear weapons development such as Super-EMP, hypersonics, super-accuracy, and ultra-low-yield promise adversaries quick, very low-casualty, environmentally-clean, surgical victory in a nuclear war. The “unthinkable” is becoming increasingly “thinkable” and someday soon may be irresistible.

If the Democrat-Republican strategic consensus that won the Cold War still existed, we would and should: 

• Harden the Triad and strategic command and control against Super-EMP weapons; 

• Resume nuclear testing to develop new generation specialized, clean, ultra-low-yield nuclear weapons; 

• Protect ICBM silos, bomber and submarine bases against hypersonic warheads with anti-missile defenses; 

• Deploy space-based missile defenses like Brilliant Pebbles to shift arms racing away from Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) to Strategic Assured National Existence (SANE). 

But none of this is happening. 

Instead, anti-nuclear radicals, who would have lost the Cold War, are moving the White House and congressional Democrats toward junking U.S. ICBMs. Beware a forever “life extension program” of Minuteman III, which will amount to “junking” U.S. ICBMs in their silos. 

Replacing Minuteman III with a new ICBM is commonsense — but “controversial” in Washington. 

The New Cold War is already on the verge of being lost. 

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=11462

New Reports Show China Was Preparing Coronaviruses for WW3

by Liberty Loft News

 May 8, 2021

in ChinaCurrent EventsWorld News

Charlotte, NC — In a new bombshell report, US State Department Investigators found that the Chinese Communist Party was preparing for World War 3 utilizing biological weapons, including coronaviruses, starting in 2015. The dossier from the People’s Liberation Army outlined how biological weapons would be the preferred method for fighting in a potential world war.

The document outlined the manipulation that the Chinese government was proposing of viruses, the potential release methods for such viruses, and the impact that such a virus would have on medical systems. The reports were originally covered by The Australian. Details such as days of week, times of day, and more were covered.

The document shares information that many have suggested in the US over the past year since the coronavirus pandemic began. Mainstream media and the radical left were critical of former President Donald Trump and conservatives who suggested that China is responsible and that the virus was potentially released from the Wuhan lab. So far, the report has received no coverage from mainstream US media.

Details continue to emerge, but reports are that scientists were manipulating viruses in ways never before seen. In addition to biological weapons, the dossier also mentions genetic weapons that were being researched. Research began as recently as 2015 in preparation for what China was referring to as World War 3.

China believed that biological and genetic warfare would be the key to victory in a potential upcoming WW3. In fact, they called them “the core weapon for victory” in the dossier.

The Australian interviewed one strategic policy expert who had significant concerns with China’s research into biological weapons. He said, “There is no clear distinction for research capability because whether it’s used offensively or defensively is not a decision these scientists would take.” He continued, “If you are building skills ostensibly to protect your military from a biological attack, you’re at the same time giving your military a capacity to use these weapons ­offensively. You can’t separate the two.”

Interestingly, the Wuhan Institute of Virology was also mentioned in the dossier for its high risk research. The lab is known for its research into coronaviruses, but it appears the lab could have ties to military research based on the latest report.

The Daily Mail reports that Cao Wuchun, a senior army officer and government advisor denied that the Wuhan lab was being used for military research previously. But Wuchun’s name is listed as a researcher on project reports for the lab, bringing into doubt his denial as well. China continues to deny that it has any responsibility for the COVID-19 pandemic.

China is known for its lack of regulation over its research facilities. Their safety practices have been brought into question since the COVID-19 pandemic began. This latest report continues to bring into question their activity and research in these labs.

The WHO, which is significantly backing China through the pandemic, has dismissed the idea that China would have manipulated the virus and that it could have potentially escaped from a lab. The newly discovered report tells a completely different story. While the WHO has said that all possible sources for COVID-19 are on the table, the source is becoming even more clear.

Evidence shows that China is responsible for the release of the COVID-19 virus and the subsequent destruction that has happened as a result. Perhaps China was not quite ready for the war they were looking to start, but it’s time that China be held accountable for their actions. Instead, Biden and his regime will give a free pass to the communist country.

This past week, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro strongly criticized China, accusing it of creating COVID-19. Other than conservatives, no one in the US wants to place the blame on China where it belongs. Former President Trump and his administration were quick to blame China, garnering backlash from mainstream media and Democrats.

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Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=11459

China aims to replace U.S. influence in Middle East

‘Already the largest trading partner for most countries’

By Bob Unruh
Published May 1, 2021 at 2:45pm

Just as President Biden lowers the level of priority the U.S. considers the Middle East, China is ramping up its efforts to reach trade deals and much, much more with nations there, according to a new warning from Judith Bergman, a distinguished senior fellow at the Gatestone Institute.

The communist regime now is working to expand vastly its economic and strategic partnerships with Middle East nations, allowing it “to gradually take over the region without creating tensions with the U.S. or the West,” she reported.

“In other words, the [Belt and Road Initiative business agreements] is a sophisticated Chinese plan to transfer hegemony from the West and the U.S. to China without war or conflict.”

The administration of Joe Biden already has possible conflicts regarding China, as Biden’s son, Hunter, has worked on several huge deals involving Chinese companies, and those virtually all have connections in one way or another to the Chinese regime, and its military.

In fact, one of the facts learned from that Hunter Biden-owned laptop that was abandoned at a computer repair shop apparently was that the “Big Guy,” identified by one business partner as Joe Biden, was in line for a percentage of the profits from one of Hunter Biden’s Chinese deals.

Bergman pointed out that one of Biden’s close advisers, a former senior national security officer, said, “If you are going to list the regions Biden sees as a priority, the Middle East is not in the top three.”

Bergman explained Wang Yi, China’s foreign minister, recently toured the Middle East and left “little doubt that China is actively seeking to expand its influence in the region, not only economically but also militarily, diplomatically and politically.”

It’s using the BRI, a global infrastructure and economic development strategy that appears to be aimed at connections between Asia and Europe, Africa and more.

Mordechai Chaziz, who wrote “China’s Middle East Diplomacy: The Belt and Road Strategic Partnership,” identified that program as “how China is seeking to collapse Western-American dominance in the region peacefully.”

It was Wang who confirmed to Al Arabiya during his visit to Saudi Arabia that China already has BRI agreements with 19 Middle East countries.

He explained, “As it fosters a new development paradigm, China is ready to share with Middle East countries its market opportunities, work with Arab countries to actively prepare for the China-Arab states summit, promote high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, and expand new areas of growth such as high and new technologies.”

He also visited, just recently, Turkey, Iran, the United Arab Emriates, Oman and Bahrain.

China already is the largest trading partner for many nations there, and reportedly is working on a deal with Tehran that would include “military assistance, training and intelligence-sharing.”

Jon B. Alterman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies noted in the Bergman report China’s focus on Egypt.

“In the last five years, as China has grown increasingly concerned with transit through the Suez Canal, China has invested billions of dollars in Egypt. Chinese firms are helping construct Egypt’s new administrative capital in the desert outside of Cairo, and they are developing a Red Sea port and industrial zone in Ain Sukhna. President Sisi has made at least six trips to Beijing since taking office in 2014, compared to just two trips to Washington.”

Wang, in Chinese media, said China and the Middle East nations agreed to oppose “interfering in other countries’ internal affairs and slandering other countries under the guise of human rights.”

But Bergman noted that Wang “overlooked the fact that China had originally offered the world similar assurances in 1984 regarding the retention of Hong Kong’s political and economic system for 50 years after the 1997 return of the territory to Mainland China’s sovereignty, only to renege on this commitment 27 years ahead of the scheduled end of the ‘one country, two systems’ arrangement in 2047.”

And, she said, “Wang also managed to overlook that China broke its 2015 commitment not to ‘militarize’ artificial islands that Beijing had been building in the Spratly Islands chain in the South China Sea and which it is now surrounding with ‘fishing boats’, threatening the nearby Philippines.”

Those “deepening ties,” Bergman said, “should concern the U.S.”

Bergman pointed out that China even has suggested playing a role in “mediating” between Israel and the Palestinians.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=11443

Russia Puts US On The Top Of “Most Unfriendly” Nations List

by Andrew Bieszad on April 27, 2021 in FeaturedGeneral

Every so many months, there are studies and lists of different kinds published talking about what nations are the “best” to live in, based on what often seems to be a random assortment of criteria. These are popular in the western world, and to a lesser extent (based on what I have seen) in Russia or the eastern world. There is an inherently political nature to this as well, since what is considered to be “best” or “good” for one nation or nations is not necessarily what is objectively the best or good in the moral or ontological sense.

In a less common move, Newsweek reports that Russia has put out a list of “most unfriendly” nations toward Russia, and the US is at the top of the list.

The U.S. has been placed on a list of countries Russia considers to be “unfriendly” despite optimism of a summit between Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin taking place this summer.

Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova announced over the weekend that the U.S. would be on the list following a presidential decree on April 23.

In a graphic on Russia’s Channel 1 headlined “List of countries unfriendly to Russia,” the U.S. was at the top.

Also named were: Ukraine, Lithuania, Poland, Latvia, Czech Republic, Estonia, United Kingdom and Georgia. Another screen grab from Channel 1, circulating on social media, also showed Australia in the group.

Russian foreign policy analyst, Maxim Suchkov tweeted the list was only of “candidate states” currently being discussed, which he said had “ended up leaked.”

The list matched the countries named earlier by the Izvestia newspaper, which cited anonymous sources and also included Canada.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters the list had not been finalized, and that he was “unaware, if there is something regarding the deadlines,” according to Tass. Newsweek has contacted the Russian foreign ministry for comment.

The list appears to be mostly symbolic and the consequences of being included on it are limited to Russian citizens being banned from working in diplomatic missions on Russian soil, Izvestia reported.

State Duma Committee member Oleg Shein told the paper that the notable absentees—Germany and France, were left off despite their frequent criticism of Russia. This was because Moscow considered they were sufficiently independent of Washington, DC and as such, “they are a negotiating party for us,” Shein said.

The list of “unfriendly countries” reads like a who’s who of nations Russia has engaged in diplomatic spats with recently. (source)

Cleary this is a political move, and one of Russia signaling her displeasure with the US. There is no surprise here in this. Russia and the US are going to have their differences because they are, as it has been for a while now, struggling for global dominance. What was more ironic, it seemed, was how there were additional nations listed as being “unfriendly”, and seven of those ten were former Soviet territories or satellite-influenced nations behind the iron curtain, and the other two were fellow members of the Anglosphere. Likewise, there was the curious absence of Germany and France from the list, in spite of their constant and open criticism of Russia.

As Newsweek correctly notes, the article is more a list of nations that Russia has had recent geopolitical disagreements with. That seven of those ten were formerly under Soviet influence of some kind speaks volumes about Russia’s frustrations with her inability, despite open attempts, to revive the USSR in its previous form. Regardless of what one things of Russia or the US, it is a clear fact that nations under Soviet influence underwent grave suffering and poverty, while those under US and NATO influence generally prospered economically. All of the form Soviet nations, and especially Czechia, Estonia, and Poland, have greatly benefitted from the fall of the Iron Curtain and have emerged in different ways as serious economic competitors. They don’t want to be pulled back into the Russia sphere of influence lest they not just lost, but are actively stripped of their gains and forced to suffer again.

It is not that former Soviet and Soviet satellite nations just ‘hate Russia’, but they hate what happened to them. It is also not to say that they love the US either, but that past experiences suggest future trends, and if Russia wants to revive herself to something of her previous state, it also means there are implications for her neighbors.

The absence of Germany and France is an even bigger clue to what is happening. While former Soviet bloc nations have prospered after the fall of the Iron Curtain, Germany is once again the ‘powerhouse’ of Europe, and she is moving, as she historically does, into what seems to be another nationalistic phase. This is not just a simple threat to Russia, but a grave one, for Russia is weaker now that she has been in over a century, mostly due to the enervating effects of Soviet policies, and twice in the span of a century Germany has almost conquered Russia. Unless Russia can do what she has historically done, which is to ‘pull’ Germany to her favor by encouraging her to invade and divide up Eastern Europe and the Balkans with her, Russia faces the serious possibility of an invasion by Germany or potentially, Germany in the context of a united European army. This is something that Russia could not fight against, as the US and UK would side against her, and if Germany does that, France, being historically inclined to support the tendencies of Germanic nationalism, will most likely follow along with her.

This is the analysis I have noted here at Shoebat.com. Germany is the future of Europe, for good or for evil, and he who can win her influence gets not only that of France and at least something of Turkey too, but also plays a deciding role in a future conflict. If the US has the influence, Russia cannot win a major war. If Russia has the influence, the US will not be defeated, but she will lose her power influence in Europe and will be forced to sit out of a major European conflict.

What we can see in this list from Russia is not just a simple ranting about geopolitics or anger at other nations, but through it an articulation of the Russian position, and more importantly, her fears on what may become of her future. The US, for all of her problems, barring a major natural disaster that physically realigns the nation itself, is going to survive as a contiguous unit. Russia is by contrast facing an existential crisis that due to a long and serious building up of problems with no answers given to them may result in Russia being rendered as an impoverished nation west of the Urals, left as a regional power but not a global power with the force she once wielded. She is in danger of losing control over Siberia, which is her main power base, as well as influence in Central Asia.

For all of this lists that may talk about a ‘best’ place to live, there really is none, as the whole world is becoming progressively more engulfed in chaos. However, as the prospect of a major global war becomes more realistic than ever before, and it would necessarily involve Russia, to see what position Russia will try to take, and the effects this may have on the future.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=11437

China and Russia: The Guns of April

by Gordon G. Chang
April 20, 2021 at 5:00 am

  • Russian troops are massing on the Ukraine border, Chinese vessels are swarming Whitsun Reef of the Philippines in the South China Sea, and China’s air force is flying almost daily through Taiwan’s air-defense identification zone. Chinese troops for almost a year have been dug in deep in Indian-controlled Ladakh in the Himalayas. Two large aggressors are threatening to break apart neighbors and absorb them.
  • American attempts to de-escalate flashpoints are seen in Russian and Chinese circles as failures of resolve.
  • The Global Times, an unofficial Communist Party tabloid used by Beijing to signal new policies, on April 12 posted a video of Hu Xijin, its editor-in-chief, warning that Beijing would overfly Taiwan—in other words, fly into Taiwan’s sovereign airspace—to “declare sovereignty.”
  • Chinese leaders speak provocatively because, among other reasons, they do not believe the United States or others will come to Taiwan’s rescue…. In effect, China’s leaders are saying they do not believe President Joe Biden would defend Taiwan.
  • In a propaganda blast on April 8, China’s regime said Taiwan “won’t stand a chance” if it decides to invade the island. This Chinese self-perception of overwhelming strength is extraordinarily dangerous….
  • [W]e have already passed the point where just declarations and warnings will suffice. The Biden administration has yet to impose costs on China for aggressive actions jeopardizing America’s security and that of allies like Japan. Chinese leaders, while hearing the mild warnings from the Biden administration, must be asking one question: “Or what?”
  • Vladimir Putin in 2019 said that Russia reserved the right to protect ethnic Russians outside Russia. This month, Dmitry Kozak, deputy head of Russia’s presidential administration, said his country might intervene to “defend” its citizens. If it did, he suggested, Ukraine would not survive because it would not be “a shot in the leg, but in the face.”
  • The American response has not been adequate. Russians perceive Biden as feeble. “In Putin’s game of brinkmanship, Biden blinked first,” said journalist Konstantin Eggert to the BBC, referring to the American president proposing a meeting to his Russian counterpart. Biden’s “nerves,” he said, “had failed him.”
  • That assessment may be correct. In the face of threats directed at Washington by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, the U.S. Navy did not, as many had expected, send two destroyers through the Bosporus into the international waters of the Black Sea. Politico reported that “two U.S. officials familiar with the plans” said the cancellation was due to American concerns about inflaming the Russia-Ukraine situation….
  • the ultimate decision to stay away made it look as if the U.S. had backed down.
  • The Dragon and the Bear appear to be coordinating moves, as they have for some time. At the very least, each is acting with an eye to what the other is doing. Once one of these aggressors makes a move, the other large state, taking advantage of the situation, will almost certainly follow. Biden also has to be concerned about Moscow or Beijing acting through proxies Iran and North Korea.
  • All the elements for history’s next great conflict are now in place.
  • Russian troops are massing on the Ukraine border, Chinese vessels are swarming Whitsun Reef of the Philippines in the South China Sea, and China’s air force is flying almost daily through Taiwan’s air-defense identification zone. Chinese troops for almost a year have been dug in deep in Indian-controlled Ladakh in the Himalayas. Two large aggressors are threatening to break apart neighbors and absorb them.

The Biden administration has issued warnings to both Moscow and Beijing, but neither looks impressed. American attempts to de-escalate flashpoints are seen in Russian and Chinese circles as failures of resolve.

At least at this moment, those adversaries are right to scoff at the new U.S. leader.

The Chinese are especially bold. They describe their flights near Taiwan as “combat drills.” At the same time, they are sending large ships close to Taiwan’s waters. The Liaoning, their first aircraft carrier, recently steamed along the east side of the island in an especially provocative gesture.

The Global Times, an unofficial Communist Party tabloid used by Beijing to signal new policies, on April 12 posted a video of Hu Xijin, its editor-in-chief, warning that Beijing would overfly Taiwan — in other words, fly into Taiwan’s sovereign airspace — to “declare sovereignty.”

Threats like that start wars. Chinese leaders speak provocatively because, among other reasons, they do not believe the United States or others will come to Taiwan’s rescue.

For decades, Washington has maintained a policy of “strategic ambiguity,” not telling either Beijing or Taipei what the U.S. would do in the face of imminent conflict. This approach worked in generally peaceful times with a more cooperative Chinese leadership, but, with far more aggressive rulers in Beijing, that policy is failing.

Beijing is no longer impressed by American power. China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, in the infamous Anchorage meeting in the middle of last month, launched into a tirade in which he told Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan that the U.S. could no longer talk to China “from a position of strength.”

Beijing is openly mocking Washington. Ominously, Global Times on April 14 ran an editorial with this headline: “When Real Determination Is Lacking, the U.S. Should Maintain ‘Strategic Ambiguity.'”

In effect, China’s leaders are saying they do not believe President Joe Biden would defend Taiwan. The editorial, in support of this view, makes it clear that Beijing thinks the military balance of power is in its favor, even if the U.S. were willing to fight on the island republic’s side. In a propaganda blast on April 8, China’s regime said Taiwan “won’t stand a chance” if it decides to invade the island. This Chinese self-perception of overwhelming strength is extraordinarily dangerous, of course.

It is, therefore, time to reestablish deterrence. As Joseph Bosco, a Pentagon China desk officer in the George W. Bush administration, told Gatestone this month, “Given the dramatically changed circumstances, different words are needed now.”

Unfortunately, Beijing is not hearing them. True, the U.S. and Japan issued a joint leaders’ statement mentioning Taiwan — the first time that has happened since 1969 — during the visit of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to the White House on April 16, but the words were milquetoast. At this moment, the failure to adopt appropriately robust language only adds to the perception of American weakness and underlines concerns expressed by Bosco, now a prominent China analyst, and others.

What to do? Biden should publicly declare the United States is ditching strategic ambiguity and adopting “strategic clarity,” in other words, Biden should issue a clear declaration that America will defend Taiwan. Beijing has dared the president to say that; he must respond.

Moreover, we have already passed the point where just declarations and warnings will suffice. The Biden administration has yet to impose costs on China for aggressive actions jeopardizing America’s security and that of allies like Japan. Chinese leaders, while hearing the mild warnings from the Biden administration, must be asking one question: “Or what?”

As China threatens Taiwan, Russia threatens Ukraine. Moscow in recent weeks has reportedly massed an estimated 85,000 troops near its border with that former Soviet republic, now an independent state. The concentration of Russian forces there is the highest since 2014, when Moscow annexed Crimea.

That year, Russia-backed soldiers took control of much of the Donetsk and Luhansk portions of Ukraine’s Russian-speaking Donbas, and Moscow began issuing passports to a half million people in the Donetsk and Luhansk “People’s Republics.”

Vladimir Putin in 2019 said that Russia reserved the right to protect ethnic Russians outside Russia. This month, Dmitry Kozak, deputy head of Russia’s presidential administration, said his country might intervene to “defend” its citizens. If it did, he suggested, Ukraine would not survive because it would not be “a shot in the leg, but in the face.”

The American response has not been adequate. Russians perceive Biden as feeble. “In Putin’s game of brinkmanship, Biden blinked first,” said journalist Konstantin Eggert to the BBC, referring to the American president proposing a meeting to his Russian counterpart. Biden’s “nerves,” he said, “had failed him.”

That assessment may be correct. In the face of threats directed at Washington by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, the U.S. Navy did not, as many had expected, send two destroyers through the Bosporus into the international waters of the Black Sea. Politico reported that “two U.S. officials familiar with the plans” said the cancellation was due to American concerns about inflaming the Russia-Ukraine situation.

Gregory Copley, president of the International Strategic Studies Association, told Gatestone that Turkey announced Washington’s intention to sail into the Black Sea before a decision had in fact been made. Especially in light of Ankara’s announcement, the ultimate decision to stay away made it look as if the U.S. had backed down. Significantly, Ukraine was disappointed by the decision.

Copley, also editor-in-chief of Defense & Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy, points out China and Russia usually test new American presidents, as do other states. What is different this time is the seriousness of their provocations.

The Dragon and the Bear appear to be coordinating moves, as they have for some time. At the very least, each is acting with an eye to what the other is doing. Once one of these aggressors makes a move, the other large state, taking advantage of the situation, will almost certainly follow. Biden also has to be concerned about Moscow or Beijing acting through proxies Iran and North Korea.

China’s communist regime has a history of engaging in belligerent acts — most notably the 1962 invasion of India during the Cuban missile crisis — while others are distracted by faraway events. Consequently, war could break out on both ends of the Eurasian landmass at the same time.

All the elements for history’s next great conflict are now in place.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=11415

US and China deploy aircraft carriers in South China Sea as tensions simmer

By Brad Lendon, CNN

Updated 7:36 PM ET, Mon April 12, 2021

Hong Kong (CNN)Military activity in the South China Sea spiked over the weekend as a Chinese aircraft carrier entered the region and a US Navy expeditionary strike group wrapped up exercises.

Meanwhile, the US and Philippines were preparing for joint drills as the US secretary of defense proposed ways to deepen military cooperation between Washington and Manila after China massed vessels in disputed waters.

China’s state-run Global Times on Sunday said the country’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, steamed into the South China Sea on Saturday after completing a week of naval exercises around Taiwan. There was no official announcement of the Liaoning’s position, but the Chinese tabloid cited satellite images first reported by US media outlet The War Zone.

The Liaoning’s reported arrival in the South China Sea came after a US Navy expeditionary strike group, fronted by the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt and amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island, conducted exercises in the South China Sea a day earlier. The two flat-top warships were joined by a cruiser, destroyers and smaller amphibious ships.

The ships also carried hundreds of Marine ground forces from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit as well as their supporting helicopters and F-35 fighter jets.

“This expeditionary strike force fully demonstrates that we maintain a combat-credible force, capable of responding to any contingency, deter aggression, and provide regional security and stability in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific,” US Navy Capt. Stewart Bateshansky, commodore, Amphibious Squadron 3, said in a statement.

Global Times quoted a Chinese military expert, Wei Dongxu, as saying the US Navy exercises were a provocation.

Exercises by the Chinese carrier “can establish wider maritime defensive positions, safeguard China’s coastal regions, and keep US military activities in check,” the report said, citing Wei.

But a US analyst described the Liaoning’s presence in the South China Sea as normal for the spring when weather conditions are conducive to training. “The Liaoning goes down there this time of year (to practice) air defense and live-fire training,” said Carl Schuster, a former director of operations at the US Pacific Command’s Joint Intelligence Center.

US-Philippines joint exercises

On Monday, more than 1,700 US and Philippines troops were beginning two weeks of military exercises, Reuters reported, citing Philippine military chief Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana.

The drills will focus on testing the readiness of US and Philippine troops to respond to events such as extremist attacks and natural disasters, the report said.

They come after US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Sunday proposed to his counterpart in Manila, Delfin Lorenzana, ways to deepen ties between the US and Philippine militaries, a Pentagon statement said.

The proposals included ways of “enhancing situational awareness of threats in the South China Sea” and come after “the recent massing of People’s Republic of China maritime militia vessels at Whitsun Reef,” in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone in the Spratly Islands, the statement said.

Washington and Manila are tied by a mutual defense treaty, which officials said could come into play in the event of any Chinese military action against Philippine government vessels around Whitsun Reef.

Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Saturday tweeted he will work to have any attack on Philippine civilian craft trigger mutual defense aid, CNN Philippines reported.

Locsin’s comments came after a Filipino news crew said last week their chartered boat was chased down by Chinese missile boats as it approached a disputed shoal in the Spratly chain, according to the CNN Philippines report.

China claims almost all of the 1.3 million square mile South China Sea as its sovereign territory, running up against claims from the Philippines and other nations. In recent years, Beijing has turned disputed features in the region into man-made islands, complete with military fortifications.

Beijing accuses Washington and other foreign navies of stoking tensions in the region by sending in warships like the current expeditionary group led by the carrier Roosevelt.

Taiwan tensions

Tensions extend to the northeastern edges of the South China Sea, where the island of Taiwan sits. Beijing claims the democratic, self-governed island of almost 24 million people as its territory, even though the two sides have been governed separately for more than seven decades.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has vowed that Beijing will never allow Taiwan to become formally independent and has refused to rule out the use of force, if necessary, to unify the island with the mainland.

Before moving into the South China Sea at the weekend, the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning had been putting on a show of military muscle around Taiwan for a week, according to Chinese state media. At one point the People’s Liberation Army flanked Taiwan, with the Liaoning and its escorts operating in the Pacific Ocean to the east and PLA warplanes making forays into Taiwan’s self-declared air defense identification zone to the west.

Analysts said the exercises were a warning to Taipei and Washington that Beijing would not brook any moves for Taiwanese independence and was prepared to act militarily to prevent that from happening.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday said Washington was standing by a commitment to defend Taiwan.

“What is a real concern to us is increasingly aggressive actions by the government in Beijing directed at Taiwan,” Blinken said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“We have a serious commitment to Taiwan being able to defend itself. We have a serious commitment to peace and security in the Western Pacific. And in that context, it would be a serious mistake for anyone to try to change that status quo by force,” Blinken said.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=11396