Category: Kings of the East

Report: N. Korea Has Nuclear Warheads for Missiles

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.

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China to have nuclear missiles on subs soon: US admiral

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.”

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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.

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Kings of the East Update

China Set to Seize South China Sea Island by Force

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 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

Japan holds military drill as South China Sea islands dispute widens

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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China-Japan Conflict Could Lead to World War III, Warns Former UN Ambassador


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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Michael Carl

The U.S. is monitoring increased international tensions in the disputed Senkaku Islands in the South China Sea after twice in three days China sent jet fighters to the “Air Defense Identification Zone” it has declared around the chain.

The sorties came after both Japan and South Korea sent fighters into the area to challenge China’s exclusive claim to the uninhabited islands.

Chinese Air Force Col. Shen Jinke claims his nation’s flights are routine and a “defensive measure and in line with international common practices.”

The islands located about 250 miles east of the Chinese mainland have been a point of contention over the past year, because Japan and China, along with Taiwan and South Korea, all express claims to them.

Clarion Project Intelligence and National Security analyst Ryan Mauro says the declaration is China flexing its muscle.

“This is a way of China declaring military domination over the islands without officially taking them over. By saying it is an air defense zone, China is trying to dominate the airspace. It’s basically saying, ‘These are ours and if your aircraft trespass, we have the right to shoot them down,’” Mauro said.

C. J. Burke, CEO of intelligence and consulting firm Burke and Associates, notes China’s long history of animosity toward Japan.

“I think instead you’re seeing the outbreak of a war of ideals. China has had a major issue with Japan for the last 5,000 years or so, and World War II only exacerbated this,” Burke said.

Burke says he believes many Chinese wouldn’t object to a war with Japan.

“Large contingents of the Chinese population would relish a war with Japan (even if they haven’t thought out how that would actually turn out). So China makes inroads with these groups and simultaneously pressures Japan,” Burke said.

Burke said people in both countries hold long-standing resentments toward the other.

“China has a populace that would be happy to see Japan suffer. And Japan feels much the same way at a sociological level. So China pressuring this way costs the emperor and the Diet some infra-political coinage,” Burke said.

A former CIA station chief who asked not to be identified said a war between China and Japan would “cost the U. S. economically big time.”

However, he added that in reality, the war would evolve into a war between the U. S. and China.

“It would not be a war between Japan and China. The U.S. has a mutual defense treaty with Japan, as well as our treaties with South Korea, Taiwan, Australia and the Philippines. So, it would be a war between the U.S. and China,” the former station chief said.

A war would end trade between the U. S. and the Far East, he said, however, it also would erase the U.S.’s debt to China.

“Some parts of the Japanese political scale really would enjoy lashing out at China,” Burke said.

Analysts speculate on Taiwan’s interest in the dispute. Burke said Taiwan also claims the islands and any conflict would impact Taiwan’s economy. He added that Taiwan also sees the islands as a military asset.

“The ownership of the Senkaku Islands puts some pressure on Taiwan as they can be used for staging, intelligence gathering, etc. A quick look at the map affirms this,” Burke said.

Burke said the dispute may be reflected by Taiwan’s military hardware purchases.

“This is the major focus of this dance. Watch for submarine purchases on the part of Taiwan, U.S. 7th fleet deployments and weird holidays or ceremonies in China that reaffirm patriotism,” Burke said.

Analysts are mixed on whether they believe there will be a war in the region, but one result could be a Japanese military.

“The dispute may push their increasingly nationalist government to push further to amend their constitution to allow for an actual military,” said one analyst who asked not to be named.

Burke said he believes the U. S. will stick with Japan.

“The U.S. has already affirmed that the Japanese Defense Treaty applies in the case of the Senkaku Islands, so there wouldn’t be a war between the PRC and Japan,” Burke said. “It’d be something with the U.S. involved. At this time, China doesn’t have the means to wage even tactical war with the U.S. and Japan. So this isn’t in the cards.”

The mission sending Chinese jets to the area came three days after the U.S. flew two B-52s over the islands. The unarmed B-52s were flying from Guam to Okinawa to participate in the naval exercise with the Japanese navy.

The Japanese government also ordered its two major airlines, Japan Air Lines and All Nippon Airways, to ignore China’s order.

Both Japan and the United States say they will challenge China’s claim to 1 million square miles of the East China Sea, an issue analysts say is a test of Japanese Prime Minister Shintaro Abe’s government.

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US panel: China navy power growing in the Pacific


WASHINGTON (AP) — A congressional advisory panel sounded a warning Wednesday about China’s military buildup, predicting Beijing could possess the largest fleet of modern submarine and combatant ships in the western Pacific by 2020.

 The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission said China’s military modernization is altering the balance of power in the Asia-Pacific region and challenging decades of U.S. pre-eminence.

The commission advises Congress on the national security implications of the relationship between the two world powers.

The groups’ annual report also examined cyberintrusions from China, the trade and economic relationship with the U.S., and China’s global ties.

The primary recommendation is that Congress fund shipbuilding and increase the Navy’s operational presence region in support of the Defense Department’s goal to base 60 percent of its warships in the Asia-Pacific region by 2020, compared with about 50 percent currently.

That’s a priority of the Obama administration’s diplomatic and military rebalance to Asia after a decade of war in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The commission said it welcomes the policy, but added: “There is growing concern among U.S. allies and partners that the Department of Defense will be unable to follow through on its commitment to the rebalance due to declining defense budget and continuing security challenges elsewhere.”

The panel also recommended that the U.S. improve air and maritime capabilities of allies in the region.

Last year, the Chinese Foreign Ministry accused the commission of “indulging in Cold War mentality.” Beijing says it has no offensive intent, and says Washington of trying to contain it.

The U.S. far outstrips China in military spending, but in Asia faces a greater burden in fielding forces far from its own shores.

Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, voiced concern that at a time when the U.S. military faces budget cuts, China’s military spending is increasing and its leaders want to increase combat readiness.

“Its current pace of military modernization shows that Beijing is developing the ability to project power and influence further abroad,” McKeon, R-Calif., told a committee hearing Wednesday.

Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., said that while the U.S. should monitor military developments in China, an adversarial relationship between the two powers is not inevitable.

“There is no reason that we should have China as an enemy,” Smith said. “We should certainly look for ways to work together.”

The report’s assessment of China’s naval capabilities draws on information from think tanks and U.S. naval intelligence. It said China is known to be building seven classes of vessels, including nuclear and diesel submarines, destroyers and other warships. It expects the naval modernization to continue for the “forseeable future.”

China’s is also advancing its capabilities in space, which is viewed as critical because of the use of communication satellites for intelligence and modern warfare.

For the first time, there are public indications China may be developing the ability to target satellites at the high altitude used by the U.S. global positioning system and many military and intelligence satellites, according to the report.

But China described a May suborbital rocket launch it conducted as part of a high-altitude scientific experiment.

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Radio Silence

Pentagon, State Department silent on threatening reports outlining Chinese plans for nuclear attacks on U.S. cities

BY: Bill Gertz

The Obama administration declined to comment on Sunday on provocative state-run Chinese media reports outlining Beijing’s nuclear war plans, including land-based and submarine-launched missile strikes on U.S. cities that would kill up to 12 million people.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf and Pentagon spokeswoman Cynthia Smith would not respond when asked about the highly unusual Chinese reports published Oct. 28 in numerous major Communist Party-controlled television and newspaper outlets.

The Chinese reports included maps showing nuclear strikes on Los Angeles and the Pacific Northwest, along with the resulting radiation plumes stretching thousands of miles across the western United States.

Global Times, viewed as China’s most xenophobic anti-U.S. media outlet, stated in its report that “the 12 JL-2 [submarine-launched ballistic missile] nuclear warheads carried by one single Type 094 SSBN can kill and wound 5 million to 12 million Americans.” The newspaper is a subsidiary of the People’s Daily, the organ of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party.

Harf referred questions about the attack scenarios to the Pentagon, where Smith would not comment directly, despite the fact that a key mission of the Pentagon is to deter nuclear attacks like those outlined in the Chinese press.

Smith said annual Pentagon reports to Congress documented what she called China’s “long-term modernization of strategic nuclear forces featuring the introduction of road-mobile, solid propellant ICBMs and continued development on ballistic missile submarine, the Type 094 and an accompanying new submarine launched ballistic missile, JL-2.”

“We continue to monitor these development very closely,” she said.

The Chinese nuclear saber rattling is expected to complicate the administration’s push for a new round of strategic arms cuts with Russia. President Barack Obama in June repeated his call for ultimately eliminating all nuclear weapons and called for a one-third cut in the projected New START arms treaty warhead level of 1,550 warheads.

However, Russia has balked at further cuts and is developing a new medium-range nuclear missile partly as a result of China’s growing arsenal of nuclear missiles.

China is rapidly expanding its nuclear forces with new missiles, submarines, and warheads. At least one of the warheads is based on warhead designs stolen from U.S. nuclear weapons laboratories in the 1990s, U.S. officials have said.

The Chinese reports last week stated that the nuclear forces revelations were the first time Chinese media had discussed detailed plans to counter U.S. nuclear deterrence in the Pacific.

Previously, details of China’s nuclear forces were among the most closely guarded secrets in the Chinese military.

In addition to Global Times, the reports also appeared in other Party organs, including China Central TV, People’s Daily, PLA Daily, China Youth Daily, and Guangmin Daily newspapers.

The reports also coincided with China’s first official disclosure of new ballistic missile submarine capabilities, described by Global Times as “secrets of our first-generation underwater nuclear force.”

The reports were unique due to the level of threatening rhetoric and rare public discussion of plans for nuclear attacks, including plans to fire road-mobile DF-31A road-mobile long-range missiles over the North Pole to attack U.S. cities. The missile has a range of up to 7,500 miles.

“If we launch our DF-31A ICBMs over the North Pole, we can easily destroy a whole list of metropolises on the East Coast and the New England region of the U.S., including Annapolis, Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Portland, Baltimore, and Norfolk, whose population account accounts for about one eighth of America’s total residents,” Global Times stated.

For submarine-launched nuclear missiles, the Chinese plan to target key west coast cities.

“Because the Midwest states of the U.S. are sparsely populated, in order to increase the lethality, [our] nuclear attacks should mainly target the key cities on the West Coast of the United States, such as Seattle, Los Angles, San Francisco, and San Diego,” Global Times said.

One graphic showed eight warheads hitting Washington state and Oregon and the nuclear radiation spreading as far east as Chicago. Another map shows five nuclear warhead destruction radii in downtown Los Angeles.

The Chinese nuclear war stories were first disclosed by the Washington Times on Thursday.

Former State Department official and China hand John Tkacik said the threatening Chinese reports are “wholly orchestrated by the Central Propaganda Department for well-planned strategic purposes.”

“While there’s no doubt Beijing’s media coverage of China’s nuclear missile submarines is aimed at psyching out Washington, the real targets of this new nuclear propaganda are Japan, India, and the South China Sea states, all of which place heavy reliance on their relations with the United States in balancing China,” Tkacik said.

The failure to respond to the threats is undermining the confidence among U.S. allies and friends in Asia concerned with the American commitment to protecting Asia.

“These stories should be a fire bell in the night for Washington to step up America’s cooperation with allies in anti-submarine warfare.”

However, Beijing appears to be calculating that U.S. war weariness will lead to further slashed budgets for counter-nuclear programs, anti-submarine warfare, and missile defense, he said.

“Even with deliberately provocative articles like this series of reports on China’s nuclear missile submarines and targeting American cities, the general inclination inside the beltway is to treat China as a friend. I just don’t understand it,” Tkacik said.

Richard Fisher, a Chinese military affairs expert, also said the propaganda highlighting nuclear strikes on the United States appears part of Beijing’s calculated strategy to stoke nationalism and military worship in China.

The Global Times report, in particular, “is most provocative when it speculates about the possible damage that a JL-2 missile strike would cause against the West Coast of the United States.”

“Official and semi-official U.S. threat assessment publications usually are not so indelicate as to speculate on the potential for millions of Chinese or Russian deaths in a nuclear war,” Fisher said. “We usually leave that up to the imagination of their governments.”

One of the graphics published showed patrol areas southeast of Taiwan where new Type 094 ballistic missile submarines will conduct patrols.

Fisher said China’s large-scale Maneuver 5 war games last week included submarine, surface ship, and bomber exercises.

“Could the PLA Navy be starting to practice [missile submarine] operations to support the deployment of their nuclear missiles submarines [set to begin next year]?” Fisher said.

Fisher also said the nuclear war reports and estimates of killing Americans may be linked to Chinese pique at the United States over the late-night ABC comedy show “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” A recent unscripted segment on the show featured children answering questions and one boy suggested that the U.S. response to China should be to “kill all the Chinese.” ABC later apologized for the segment.

Also last week, China’s military released a feature-length film that accused the U.S. government of subverting China’s communist system and imposing American values.

The military film said the Pentagon was using military-to-military exchanges for those ends and to corrupt Chinese military officers who take part in the exchanges.

The film, titled “Silent Contest” also criticized western non-governmental groups, exiled Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama and Uighur human rights activist Rebyia Kadeer.

Groups singled out as subversive included the Carter Center, the Asia Foundation, the International Republican Institute and the Ford Foundation who are behind an “America’s cultural invasion” of China.

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Japan’s PM warns China on use of force as jets scrambled

Tokyo (AFP) – Japan’s leader warned China on Sunday against forcibly changing the regional balance of power, as reports said Tokyo had scrambled fighter jets in response to Chinese military aircraft flying near Okinawa.

Verbal skirmishing between Asia’s two biggest economies, who dispute ownership of an island chain, escalated as Beijing warned Tokyo that any hostile action in the skies against Chinese drones would be construed as an “act of war”.

“We will express our intention as a state not to tolerate a change in the status quo by force. We must conduct all sorts of activities such as surveillance and intelligence for that purpose,” Abe said in an address to the military.

“The security environment surrounding Japan is becoming increasingly severe. This is the reality,” he said. “You will have to completely rid yourselves of the conventional notion that just the existence of a defence force could act as a deterrent.”

Abe presided over an inspection of the military at which a US amphibious assault vehicle was displayed for the first time, an apparent sign of Japan’s intention to strengthen its ability to protect remote islands.

The defence ministry plans to create a special amphibious unit to protect the southern islands and retake them in case of an invasion.

“There are concerns that China is attempting to change the status quo by force, rather than by rule of law,” Abe earlier told the Wall Street Journal in an interview following a series of summits this month with regional leaders.

“But if China opts to take that path, then it won’t be able to emerge peacefully,” he said in the interview published Saturday.

“So it shouldn’t take that path, and many nations expect Japan to strongly express that view. And they hope that as a result, China will take responsible action in the international community,” Abe added.

On Sunday Jiji Press and Kyodo News reported that Japan had deployed jets for two days running in response to four Chinese military aircraft flying over international waters near the Okinawa island chain.

Two Y8 early-warning aircraft and two H6 bombers flew from the East China Sea to the Pacific Ocean and back again but did not violate Japan’s airspace, the reports said.

The Japanese defence ministry was not immediately available for confirmation.

Japan’s military is on increased alert as Tokyo and Beijing pursue a war of words over the disputed islands in the East China Sea that lie between Okinawa and Taiwan.

On Saturday China responded angrily after a report said Japan had drafted plans to shoot down foreign drones that encroach on its airspace if warnings to leave are ignored.

Tokyo drew up the proposals after a Chinese military drone entered Japan’s air defence identification zone near the disputed islands in the East China Sea last month, Kyodo said.

“We would advise relevant parties not to underestimate the Chinese military’s staunch resolve to safeguard China’s national territorial sovereignty,” China’s defence ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng said in comments posted on the ministry’s website.

“If Japan takes enforcement measures such as shooting down aircraft, as it says it will, that would constitute a serious provocation, an act of war of sorts, and we would have to take firm countermeasures, and all consequences would be the responsibility of the side that caused the provocation.”

Tokyo and Beijing both claim the small uninhabited islands in the East China Sea. Japan administers them and calls them the Senkakus. China refers to the islands as the Diaoyus.

One of Abe’s first decisions as prime minister was to increase the defence budget for the first time in 11 years.

Tokyo also plans to hold a major air and sea exercise next month to bolster its ability to protect its remote islands.

In the Wall Street Journal interview, Abe said Japan had become too inward-looking over the past 15 years, but as it regains economic strength “we’d like to contribute more to making the world a better place”.

The Journal said he made it clear that one way Japan would “contribute” would be countering China in Asia.

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China bypasses American ‘New Silk Road’ with two of its own


BEIJING — Armed with tens of billions of dollars in investment deals and romantic tales of ancient explorers, Chinese President Xi Jinping has spent much of the past month promoting his vision of two new “Silk Roads” to connect his country to the West and secure its energy supplies — one by land and another by sea.

In the process, he has eclipsed an American vision of a New Silk Road that was advanced with much fanfare by then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton two years ago and was supposed to revitalize Afghanistan as the link between Central and South Asia.

The contrast between the two visions — one with huge sums of money on the table, the other struggling to get off the ground — only underlines how China’s ever-
growing clout in Asia is challenging the influence of the United States.

In Central Asia in particular, China’s leader has taken advantage of Russia’s relative decline and the planned U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan to expand his country’s influence, experts said.

“China is making a pretty bold move,” said Chris Johnson of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “Xi Jinping sees a huge gaping hole in terms of trade and economic opportunities that the U.S. has so far failed to take advantage of.”

Dating back more than two millennia, a web of trade routes linking oasis towns brought Chinese silks and other products from across Asia to the West.

In his call for a new Silk Road, Xi was underlining the importance of China securing its energy supplies — overland to the gas and oil fields of Central Asia and beyond, and by sea through Asia’s contested waters and via the busy Strait of Malacca.

Last month, Xi traveled to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan and signed tens of billions of dollars’ worth of investment deals, taking a share in a major Kazakh oil field and expanding gas imports piped from Turkmenistan.

In Astana, Kazakhstan, where deals worth $30 billion were inked, he talked wistfully of almost hearing “the ring of camel bells echoing in the mountains” and seeing “the wisp of smoke rising from the desert.”

Xi spoke of the travels of Han dynasty envoy Zhang Qian to the region more than 2,100 years ago, but more substantively, he proposed the establishment of a “Silk Road economic belt” to boost trade and transport links and strengthen regional policy coordination from the Pacific to the Baltic Sea.

As well as the geostrategic energy play, Beijing sees economic benefits in moving goods from western China, which has lagged the booming east coast, through Central Asia.

China’s courting of the Central Asian republics has drawn comparisons to the Great Game, the 19th-century rivalry between Russia and Britain in the region.

Viewed as a race, China is ahead, eclipsing Russia as the largest trading partner of four of the five Central Asian republics.

Xi was the third consecutive Chinese president to visit the former Soviet Central Asia region, countries that no U.S. president has visited. There are tremendous business opportunities in the area for U.S. companies in telecommunications, oil and roads. But at the moment, China is “coming out on top in the region,” said Martha Brill Olcott of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

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