ALERT The Winds of War Blow in Korea and The Far East

danielboon

Has No Life - Lives on TB
US sends surveillance planes over Taiwan Strait after Chinese war games
  • Flyover was a message of support for Taipei and a warning to Beijing, according to analyst
  • Two special mission aircraft flew from Okinawa base towards the South China Sea
Minnie Chan

Minnie Chan

Published: 11:00pm, 12 Feb, 2020




Two US MC-130J surveillance planes flew from the Kadena Air Base in Okinawa over the Taiwan Strait. Photo: US Special Operations Command

Two US MC-130J surveillance planes flew from the Kadena Air Base in Okinawa over the Taiwan Strait. Photo: US Special Operations Command

The United States Air Force sent two surveillance planes over the Taiwan Strait on Wednesday, following two days of mainland Chinese war games near Taiwan.
The two MC-130J special mission aircraft flew from the Kadena Air Base in Okinawa over the strait on their way to the South China Sea, according to a tweet by aviation tracking site Aircraft Spots.
It came after the People’s Liberation Army conducted
naval and air force drills in the area
on Sunday and Monday. After the Chinese fighter jets and bombers flew around the self-ruled island on Sunday, Beijing said it was a “necessary action” under the “current security situation across the Taiwan Strait”.
Song Zhongping, a military expert in Hong Kong, said the flyover showed the US military was keeping a close eye on the PLA’s movements over the Taiwan Strait.
https://twitter.com/AircraftSpots/status/1227466692797894659


“The MC-130J is a strategic surveillance plane with cutting-edge monitoring technology that can closely watch the PLA’s activities in the area,” said Song, a military commentator for Phoenix Television.


“But it also sends a message to Taiwan’s [ruling] independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party that Washington is supporting them,” he said. “Of course, the US military would also want to warn Beijing not to put too much pressure on Taiwan.”

Earlier in the week, PLA warplanes including its KJ-500 early warning aircraft, H-6K bombers and J-11 fighter jets carrying missiles, as well as escort warships, briefly crossed the median line in the Taiwan Strait on their way to the western Pacific through the Bashi Channel for live-fire drills, according to both the PLA and Taiwan’s defence ministry.
 

danielboon

Has No Life - Lives on TB
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan – The Air Force flew two B-52 bombers and an MC-130J Commando II tanker along the Taiwan Strait on Wednesday morning after Chinese naval and air forces flew over the island twice this week, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense said.

The aircraft flew north to south along the airspace over the Taiwan Strait and were “closely monitored,” the defense ministry said in a statement Wednesday.

Air Force officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday.

The 110-mile-wide strait separates mainland China from Taiwan, which Beijing regards as its own.

The U.S. considers Taiwan’s status unsettled, but adheres to the “One China” policy, acknowledging that Beijing considers Taiwan part of China. However, the Taiwan Relations Act provides a framework for the U.S. to aid the self-governing island’s defense.

 

Housecarl

On TB every waking moment
Posted for fair use.....

Once again, North Korea is accused of enhancing its nuclear and missile programs despite UN sanctions
https://www.cnn.com/profiles/richard-roth-profile
By Richard Roth, CNN

Updated 4:18 AM ET, Tue February 11, 2020

New York (CNN)North Korea illegally exported millions of tons of commodities like coal last year to enhance its ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons programs, according to a confidential UN report.
Prepared by a UN-appointed independent panel of experts charged with monitoring sanctions enforcement and efficacy on the Pyongyang regime, the annual report -- which has not yet been publicly released -- reveals North Korea continued its weapons program last year in violation of long-standing UN Security Council sanctions.
Investigators also concluded that "despite its extensive indigenous capability it (North Korea) uses illicit external procurement for components and technology" to develop weapons.
‎One section of the document seen by CNN said North Korea's ballistic missile program was "characterized by its intensity, diversity and coherence." The report said North Korea conducted 13 missile tests -- and launched 25 missiles -- in 2019.
"As well as the sustained pace of launches and the variety of launch locations, 2019 saw the (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) enhance the industrial and operational dynamics of the program, with new weapon systems brought almost to operational effectiveness, increased diversity of missile types and launchers, augmentation of the Medium Range Ballistic Missile (MRBM) and Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) types tested through 2017," the report said.
Two UN diplomats have confirmed to CNN major conclusions of the report, which indicates sanctions are once again being ignored. The panel's annual report in 2019 leveled similar accusations against North Korea.
Exporting coal on barges
According to the report, North Korea used barges to export millions of tons of commodities like coal -- via ship-to-ship transfers to Chinese vessels -- to earn money for its weapons programs.
A Security Council resolution passed in 2017 punishing North Korea for its weapons development banned the country from exporting coal, iron and seafood to the rest of the world.
The report said, "according to a member state, the DPRK exported 3.7 million metric tons of coal between January and August 2019, with an estimated value of $370 million."
Some UN member states told the panel that barges had illegally sent the coal to three Chinese ports in Hangzhou Bay as well as other locations along the Yangtze river, according to the report.
The panelists said one UN member country claimed North Korea exported at least a million tons of sand from river dredging to Chinese ports -- collecting at least $22 million.
China has repeatedly denied it is helping North Korea evade sanctions.
A statement from the spokesperson of the Permanent Mission of China to the United Nations said the leaked report "caused media hypes and baseless accusations against China."
"China has always faithfully and seriously fulfilled its international obligations and sustained huge losses and tremendous pressure in the process. China will continue to work towards dialogue and detente, advance political settlement process, and play a positive and constructive role on working towards denuclearization of the peninsula," it said.
Petroleum and cyber attacks
The report alleged North Korea is also illegally importing petroleum -- another violation of UN resolutions.
"The annual cap for 2019, as set by the Security Council, of the aggregate amount of 500,000 barrels of refined petroleum products was exceeded many times over. The Russian Federation and China requested more conclusive evidence to make a judgment," the report said.
The UN team also found that North Korea conducted cyberattacks against financial institutions and global cryptocurrency exchanges.
According to the report described by two UN diplomats, "these attacks have resulted in monetary losses and have provided illicit revenue for the DPRK in violation of financial sanctions."‎
US relations
At the UN, China and Russia have hinted they would support some easing of sanctions on North Korea. But the US, UK and France -- the other permanent members of the Security Council -- remain firmly opposed.
On Monday, CNN reported that President Donald Trump had lost interest in resuming talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un before the US election in November.
Trump's last meeting with the North Korean dictator took place almost exactly a year ago, and both leaders walked away empty-handed. Since then diplomacy -- aimed at achieving the denuclearization of North Korea -- has floundered
CNN has approached North Korea officials for comment.
 

Housecarl

On TB every waking moment
Posted for fair use.....

North Korea 'enhanced' its nuclear weapons program throughout 2019, new report says
Michelle Nichols, Reuters
February 10, 2020 at 06:51 PM

(Reuters) - North Korea continued to enhance its nuclear and ballistic missile programs last year in breach of United Nations sanctions, according to a confidential U.N. report seen by Reuters on Monday.

The country also illicitly imported refined petroleum and exported some $370 million worth of coal with the help of Chinese barges, the report added.
The 67-page report to the U.N. Security Council North Korea sanctions committee, which is due to be made public next month, comes as the United States tries to revive stalled denuclearization talks with North Korea.
"In 2019, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) did not halt its illicit nuclear and ballistic missile programs, which it continued to enhance, in violation of Security Council resolutions," the independent U.N. sanctions monitors wrote.

"Despite its extensive indigenous capability it uses illicit external procurement for some components and technology."
North Korea has been subjected to U.N. sanctions since 2006. They have been strengthened by the 15-member Security Council over the years in a bid to cut off funding for Pyongyang's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
SHIP-TO-SHIP TRANSFERS
The sanctions monitors said that in a fresh bid to evade sanctions, North Korea had started to export millions of tonnes of commodities - banned since 2017 - using barges.
"According to a Member State, the DPRK exported 3.7 million metric tons of coal between January and August 2019, with an estimated value of $370 million," the report said.
"According to the Member State, most DPRK coal exports, an estimated 2.8 million metric tons, were conducted via ship-to-ship transfers from DPRK-flagged vessels to Chinese local barges."

The unidentified member state told the monitors that barges had delivered coal directly to three ports in China's Hangzhou Bay and also to facilities along the Yangtze river.
The U.N. monitors also said a member state reported that North Korea had exported at least one million tonnes of sand from river dredging, worth at least $22 million, to Chinese ports.
Pyongyang ally China has repeatedly said it is implementing U.N. sanctions.
In a statement, China's mission to the United Nations described any accusations against China as "baseless."
"On the implementation of the Security Council resolutions concerning the DPRK, China has always faithfully and seriously fulfilled its international obligations and sustained huge losses and tremendous pressure in the process," a spokesperson for China's U.N. mission said.
The sanctions monitors reported that North Korea continued to illicitly import refined petroleum through ship-to-ship transfers at sea and direct deliveries.
Since 2017, North Korea's annual imports of refined petroleum have been capped by the U.N. Security Council at 500,000 barrels. The monitors said the United States reported that between Jan. 1 and Oct. 31 last year, Pyongyang imported refined petroleum that exceeded the cap "many times over."


north korea kim jong un

KCNA

'UNINTENDED EFFECTS'
While U.N. sanctions are not meant to harm North Korean civilians, the U.N. report said: "There can be little doubt that U.N. sanctions have had unintended effects on the humanitarian situation and aid operations, although access to data and evidence is limited and there is no reliable methodology that disambiguates UN sanctions from other factors."
Russia and China have raised concerns that sanctions were harming North Korean civilians, and have expressed hope that easing some restrictions could help break the deadlock in nuclear talks between Washington and Pyongyang.
But the United States, France and Britain said now is not the time to consider lifting sanctions.

North Korea has said it is no longer bound by a commitment to halt nuclear and missile testing, blaming the United States for failing to meet an end-2019 deadline to show more flexibility in nuclear talks and in "brutal and inhumane" sanctions.
The U.N. report said North Korea conducted 13 missile tests last year, launching at least 25 missiles, including new types of short range and submarine-launched ballistic missiles.
"It continued to develop infrastructure and capacity for its missile program," the monitors said.
The sanctions monitors also concluded that North Korea continued to carry out cyber attacks against financial institutions and cryptocurrency exchanges globally.
"These attacks have resulted in monetary losses and have provided illicit revenue for the DPRK in violation of financial sanctions," the report said.
"These attacks are low-risk, high-reward, difficult to detect, and their increasing sophistication can frustrate attribution."
(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Mike Collett-White and Howard Goller)
 

jward

passin' thru
some kids :(
Nathan J Hunt

@ISNJH

·
1m

Reports indicating two projectiles fired from area near Wonsan and landed in the East Sea. With report of two projectiles now makes this looks like it could possible MLR or other missile system Question is if it was their Iskander type clone or larger size multi launch system.
_______________________


William Gallo
@GalloVOA

21m

NEW: North Korea has launched an unidentified projectile, South Korea's military says.
 

northern watch

Has No Life - Lives on TB
South China Sea disputes again putting spotlight on Beijing
In recent developments impacting tensions in the South China Sea, the Philippines decided not to suspend a defense pact with the U.S., avoiding a major blow to one of America’s oldest alliances in Asia
By The Associated Press
7 June 2020

BEIJING -- A look at recent developments in the South China Sea, where China is pitted against smaller neighbors in multiple territorial disputes over islands, coral reefs and lagoons. The waters are a major shipping route for global commerce and are rich in fish and possible oil and gas reserves.
——

US-PHILIPPINE PACT STANDS

The Philippines has decided not to suspend a defense pact with the U.S., avoiding a major blow to one of America’s oldest alliances in Asia
.
Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said Tuesday that the Philippines is delaying its decision to abrogate the Visiting Forces Agreement by at least six months.
The alliance is seen as having deterred aggressive Chinese actions in the disputed South China Sea, including possible construction of structures in Scarborough Shoal, a disputed fishing area off the northwestern Philippines that China effectively seized after a tense standoff in 2012.
———

CAMBODIA SAYS BASE OPEN TO ALL
Cambodia’s leader says China has not been given exclusive rights to use a naval base on the country’s southern coast, and that warships from all nations, including the United States, are welcome to dock there.
Prime Minister Hun Sen last week repeated denials that the Ream naval base on the Gulf of Thailand had been handed over to close ally and financial benefactor China for 30 years. Such a move would allow the Chinese navy to post military personnel, store weapons and berth warships.
Many analysts believe basing rights in Cambodia would extend Beijing’s strategic military profile considerably and tilt the regional balance of power in a manner that would pressure adjacent countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations whose security concerns traditionally have been aligned more closely with the United States.
———

US REJECTS CHINA MARITIME CLAIMS

The U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations has fired back at Chinese territorial claims in the South China Sea.
Ambassador Kelly Craft’s note weighs in on Malaysia’s behalf in its bid to reject China-imposed limits on its continental shelf allowing it rights to resources.
“The United States rejects these maritime claims as inconsistent with international law as reflected in the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention,” Craft’s note said.
China in December issued a rejection of Malaysia’s petition to extend its continental shelf. Beijing ignored a 2016 ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague that invalidated most of China’s claims to virtually the entire South China Sea.
The U.S. does not officially take a stand on sovereignty issues in the area, but maintains its military has the right to fly, sail and operate in all areas open to international navigation.
———

INDIA-AUSTRALIA TO STRENGTHEN TIES

India and Australia are strengthening defense ties and cooperation on Indo-Pacific maritime issues, at a time when both countries are facing increased tensions with China
.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart, Scott Morrison, on Thursday agreed to give each other access to their military bases.
India accuses China of starting the latest standoff along their undefined border in the Himalayas.
China and Australia are at loggerheads over trade, China’s territorial ambitions in the South China Sea, and most recently, Australia’s push for an international investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic and China’s response to it.

———

Associated Press writers across Asia contributed to this report.

 

jward

passin' thru
South China Sea disputes again putting spotlight on Beijing
In recent developments impacting tensions in the South China Sea, the Philippines decided not to suspend a defense pact with the U.S., avoiding a major blow to one of America’s oldest alliances in Asia
By The Associated Press
7 June 2020

BEIJING -- A look at recent developments in the South China Sea, where China is pitted against smaller neighbors in multiple territorial disputes over islands, coral reefs and lagoons. The waters are a major shipping route for global commerce and are rich in fish and possible oil and gas reserves.
——

US-PHILIPPINE PACT STANDS

The Philippines has decided not to suspend a defense pact with the U.S., avoiding a major blow to one of America’s oldest alliances in Asia
.
Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said Tuesday that the Philippines is delaying its decision to abrogate the Visiting Forces Agreement by at least six months.
The alliance is seen as having deterred aggressive Chinese actions in the disputed South China Sea, including possible construction of structures in Scarborough Shoal, a disputed fishing area off the northwestern Philippines that China effectively seized after a tense standoff in 2012.
———

CAMBODIA SAYS BASE OPEN TO ALL
Cambodia’s leader says China has not been given exclusive rights to use a naval base on the country’s southern coast, and that warships from all nations, including the United States, are welcome to dock there.
Prime Minister Hun Sen last week repeated denials that the Ream naval base on the Gulf of Thailand had been handed over to close ally and financial benefactor China for 30 years. Such a move would allow the Chinese navy to post military personnel, store weapons and berth warships.
Many analysts believe basing rights in Cambodia would extend Beijing’s strategic military profile considerably and tilt the regional balance of power in a manner that would pressure adjacent countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations whose security concerns traditionally have been aligned more closely with the United States.
———

US REJECTS CHINA MARITIME CLAIMS

The U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations has fired back at Chinese territorial claims in the South China Sea.
Ambassador Kelly Craft’s note weighs in on Malaysia’s behalf in its bid to reject China-imposed limits on its continental shelf allowing it rights to resources.
“The United States rejects these maritime claims as inconsistent with international law as reflected in the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention,” Craft’s note said.
China in December issued a rejection of Malaysia’s petition to extend its continental shelf. Beijing ignored a 2016 ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague that invalidated most of China’s claims to virtually the entire South China Sea.
The U.S. does not officially take a stand on sovereignty issues in the area, but maintains its military has the right to fly, sail and operate in all areas open to international navigation.
———

INDIA-AUSTRALIA TO STRENGTHEN TIES

India and Australia are strengthening defense ties and cooperation on Indo-Pacific maritime issues, at a time when both countries are facing increased tensions with China
.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart, Scott Morrison, on Thursday agreed to give each other access to their military bases.
India accuses China of starting the latest standoff along their undefined border in the Himalayas.
China and Australia are at loggerheads over trade, China’s territorial ambitions in the South China Sea, and most recently, Australia’s push for an international investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic and China’s response to it.

———

Associated Press writers across Asia contributed to this report.

This thread has a few related bits and bobs as well:
 

northern watch

Has No Life - Lives on TB
If China Invades Taiwan, This Is What The Fleet Could Look Like

H I Sutton
Contributor
Forbes
June 7, 2020,07:50am EDT

A Chinese landing on Taiwan would involve many different assets, mostly built up in the last twenty years. The Type-075 Assault Carriers have yet to enter service but will form the backbone of the amphibious warfare fleet in the 2020s.
H I Sutton


Scenarios involving China taking military action against Taiwan have been a hot topic for decades. The most dramatic one would be a full-blown invasion involving amphibious landings. Back in the 1990s it was derided as the ‘million man swim’ because it was not believed that China had the naval means to pull it off. Some may still make that joke, but it may no longer reflect reality.

Reuters recently reported that the Chief of China’s Joint Staff, General Li Zoucheng, stated that the country could attack Taiwan to stop it becoming independent. The island has been de facto an independent country since the Communists took control of the mainland in 1948, but Beijing views it as a wayward province. The threat of force has always been there, but this latest comment is seen as an escalation of rhetoric.

The Modernized Chinese Navy

The Chinese Navy, officially known as the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), is unrecognizable compared to twenty years ago. The most visible change is that it now has two aircraft carriers, and more are being built. These are escorted by modern air-defense destroyers generally modeled on the U.S. Navy’s AEGIS warships.

This ‘blue water’ navy makes indirect approaches, from the Pacific side of Taiwan, more viable. In the past China's ability to operate in the open ocean, away from land-based air cover, was doubted. Now the new warships, particularly the destroyers and frigates are well defended enough to encircle Taiwan. China’s fleet of submarines, the world’s largest, could also be used in this way. This could make it harder for the Taiwanese Navy to outflank the invasion fleet.

In an invasion the PLAN's aircraft carriers would likely operate over the horizon where they are safer from counter-attack. But unlike in past wars, their position would probably be known most of the time. Open source intelligence (OSINT) such as commercial satellites provide relatively frequent coverage. Aircraft carriers can be detected even on low resolution imagery.

The amphibious ships, required to deliver the troops to the shore, have also been transformed beyond all recognition. The backbone is currently the Type-071 Yuzhao class, which is similar in concept to the U.S. Navy's San Antonio Class. These are called Landing Platform Docks (LPDs) because they have a flooded well deck at the back. They use hovercraft and helicopters to land troops. This allows them to do it from much further offshore than traditional landing craft.

They are being joined in service by China’s first Type-075 assault carriers. These are similar to the America Class, with large flat-top aircraft decks like a regular aircraft carrier. But they also have a flooded dock for hovercraft. The Chinese ones will likely only have helicopters aboard. This might end up being the Z-20, which bears an uncanny resemblance to the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk.
The troops involved, at least in the initial assault, would most likely be from the Army’s amphibious assault brigades. China's Marine Corps may play a part but the main amphibious force is in the Army. These are equipped with amphibious tanks and troop carriers.

The amphibious assault brigades would establish a beachhead so that a vast fleet of landing ships could pump in fresh troops. Many of these landing ships are older and would have to come right up to the shore to unload their troops and vehicles. But regular main battle tanks would soon join the first troops. Hovercraft would also continue to play a part. There are even several gigantic Zubr Class hovercraft in service which can carry up to 500 troops at a time.


These stills from a promotional video show a Type-071 Landing platform Dock (LPD) launching a Type-726 Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC). As well as the hovercraft it can launch amphibious vehicles (top right). It could be protected by modern air defense destroyers such as the Type-052D (bottom left).
Chinese State Media / PLAN

Why An Invasion Might Fail

There are many factors beyond the fleet which would influence the outcome. B.A. Friedman, a military analyst who focuses on amphibious warfare and is the author of On Tactics: A Theory of Victory in Battle, believes that a Chinese landing would face stiff opposition. “Taking Taiwan would be the one of the most difficult amphibious operations in history, if not the most difficult. Taiwan has had decades to prepare. Every landing spot is planned and the defensive plans are dialed in.”

The Taiwanese Navy, properly known as the Republic Of China Navy (ROCN), is also quite modern. But it has suffered from political isolation and struggles to purchase weapons abroad. Plans for the U.S. to build submarines for it in the 2000s came to nothing so it is left with a small and ageing submarine force. Construction of two locally developed submarines is starting but it will never match the PLAN.

And more importantly, successful military operations are more than an equipment list. Friedman agrees that China has the right tools, and enough of them, to mount a viable operation. But he questions whether they have the know-how or willpower to buy the beaches with blood. “The PLA (People’s Liberation Army) has very little combat experience, and even less amphibious warfare experience,” he notes.

Another change in the last twenty years is the information environment. As we said the Open Sources, like social media posts and satellite images will provide extensive coverage. So the Chinese Army (PLA) would have to do it while the world watches. The entire operation would be broadcast.

China may care about the optics. A violent struggle with heavy losses may send the wrong messages. And the longer it goes on, the better Taiwan's chances of an international intervention become.

And this is before you factor in whether other countries would go to Taiwan’s aid. If the U.S. stepped in to the fight it would very likely swing the battle. The Chinese Navy is getting more potent by the minute but it is still some way behind America. The U.S. Navy has greater combat experience, and of extended operations. American submarines could hunt the Chinese aircraft carriers, particularly when they venture into the Pacific.

Having said that, China’s impressive array of new warships, and the expanding capabilities they bring, adds a lot to the credibility of the military scenario. There is little doubt that they are quickly amassing the tools of large-scale amphibious warfare. They are already overtaking many more established navies.

 

Doc1

Veteran Member
The Intel Crabþ @IntelCrab · 10h10 hours ago


#NorthKorea could soon develop a hydrogen bomb more powerful than the atomic bombs dropped on #Japan.
If that is in fact what the Norks are claiming, it's laughable. By the late '40s and early '50s the US and Soviets had already developed boosted fission bombs which were much more powerful than the nuclear weapons dropped on Japan. If the Norks can only develop "a hydrogen bomb more powerful than the atomic bombs dropped on Japan," they should hang their heads in shame!

In truth, North Korea (and other world powers) have less need for thermonuclear (hydrogen bombs) weapons than may be supposed. Boosted fission weapons have awesome power and can easily destroy major cities. Many strategists believe that somewhat smaller nuclear weapons are in many cases more effective than the huge hydrogen bombs of the late '50s and '60s. During the Cold War, the US and Soviets were fielding some hydrogen bombs in the 10 to 20 megaton range. Since that time bomb yields have been drastically decreased rather than increased. The thinking is that multiple smaller weapons are more effective than single large ones and in some cases, the detonation of a smaller weapon over a city would cause more chaos and disruption than a megaton range weapon that would vaporize everything.

Additionally, miniaturization of nuclear weapons has allowed weapons in the (roughly) 150 kiloton range to be quite tiny compared to their WWII counterparts. By comparison, the "Little Boy" weapon dropped on Hiroshima had an estimated yield of 15+ kilotons and the "Fat Man" dropped on Nagasaki had a yield of 20+ kilotons.

Best
Doc
 

jward

passin' thru
Global: MilitaryInfo
@Global_Mil_Info


NEW: North Korea did not answer the South's call via inter-Korean liaison communication. This is the first time North Korea has not answered South Koreas calls - Yonhap
North Korea: Call from South to North goes unanswered for first time


1591604068048.png


The North wants the South to stop defector groups sending propaganda balloons over the border
South Korea's daily call to a jointly-run liaison office in North Korea has gone unanswered for the first time.

The break came days after North Korea said it would pull out of the inter-Korean liaison office, located in the North Korean border city of Kaesong.

The agency was set up to reduce tensions between the two nations - part of an agreement signed by leaders Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un in 2018.

The agency was temporarily closed in January due to Covid-19 restrictions.

But the two sides had been in regular contact until Monday.

The two Koreas make two phone calls a day through the liaison office, at 09:00 and 17:00. The South's unification ministry said on Monday that for the first time in 21 months the call from the South had gone unanswered.

"We will attempt to call again this afternoon as planned," said Yoh Sang-key, a government spokesperson.

Kim Yo-jong, the North Korean leader's sister, threatened last week to close the office unless South Korea stopped defector groups from sending leaflets into the North, according to state media reports.

She said the leaflet campaign was a hostile act that violated the peace agreements made during the 2018 Panmunjom summit between the two leaders.





Media captionSouth Korean activists launch propaganda balloons over border (2014 video)
North Korean defectors occasionally send balloons carrying leaflets critical of the communist region into the North, sometimes with supplies to entice North Koreans to pick them up.

North Koreans can only get news from state-controlled media, and most do not have access to the internet.

video at source
posted for fair use

ETA:
(URGENT) N.K. answers liaison phone call from S. Korea: unification ministry

All Headlines 17:28 June 08, 2020
 
Last edited:

lonestar09

Senior Member



China Works On Undersea Cables Between Paracel Island Outposts
By Drake Long
2020-06-08


A Chinese ship appears to be laying undersea cables between Chinese outposts in the disputed Paracel Islands, vessel tracking software and satellite imagery shows. Experts say the cables will likely have military uses and could potentially strengthen China’s ability to detect submarines.

The cable ship began operations in the area nearly two weeks ago after departing from a shipyard in Shanghai. If the expert assessment of the intention is correct it could signal another step by China to militarize the South China Sea.

RFA and BenarNews spotted the activity when viewing high-resolution commercial satellite imagery of the Paracels, which are also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan. Three U.S.-based maritime experts who have viewed the imagery agreed that the ship was doing something related to undersea cables, although exactly what is unclear from the imagery. It could be laying new cable, or repairing or upgrading existing cable, although none of the experts were aware of an existing cable network in the spots the ship is operating in.

Vessel tracking software shows the Chinese ship Tian Yi Hai Gong sailed to the Paracels on May 28. The imagery appears to show it laying cables between at least three different Chinese-occupied features: Tree Island, North Island and China’s main base in the Paracels, Woody Island.

The ship sailed southwest on June 5, visiting Drummond Island, Yagong Island and Observation Bank. As of Monday morning, it was operating on the northeast side of Observation Bank. It’s not clear if the Tian Yi Hai Gong has been laying cables at those features too, but its pattern of movement is similar to at the other features. All of the features host small, remote outposts for China and its military.


The last known instance of China laying underwater cables in the area was reported by Reuters in 2016, connecting the city and military base at Woody Island to the island of Hainan, China’s southernmost province off the coast of the mainland.

While it isn’t clear from the imagery what the function of new undersea cables would be in the Paracels, two of the experts told RFA that fiber optic connections between such Chinese-occupied features are likely meant for military purposes.

James Kraska, a professor at the U.S. Naval War College, said they are probably for encrypted military communications between China’s various outposts, and will connect to the hardened undersea cable system already built along China’s east coast.

“The other thing that they could be doing is that they’ve got a SOSUS-type of network, an underwater sound surveillance system, to listen for adversary submarines,” he said. “So it could be passive listening for surface ships or submarines coming into the area.”

SOSUS refers to a passive system of sonars the U.S. Navy uses to track undersea activity. China has long planned a listening network inspired by this system for use in the East and South China Seas. The state media reported in 2017 that the government has invested in research and development in undersea observation centers.

Bryan Clark, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, a Washington-based think tank, also suspects that the cables could be for undersea surveillance.

“A sonar system would be important north of Woody Island because the PLAN’s South Sea Fleet submarine base is on Hainan Island at Yulin,” he said.

Yulin, according to Clark, is one of the most sophisticated bases for the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), replete with underground tunnels and maintenance pens for the PLAN’s growing number of nuclear submarines. It is located on the southern tip of Hainan Island.

“A seabed sonar between Woody Island and Hainan Island would help find U.S. submarines that might be coming to spy on the base or its submarines in peacetime, or that may attack PLAN submarines during wartime,” Clark said. He also said such an array would be useful for ensuring PLAN submarines aren’t being followed as they leave their home base.

U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, which is based in Hawaii, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.

There is no record of the Tian Yi Hai Gong’s operator in the International Maritime Organization’s database, save for information that it was built in early 2020 and flagged by China. There is similarly no record of it with the International Cable Protection Committee, a U.K.-based standards-setting and advocacy group for the submarine cable industry.

However, vessel tracking data shows it originally left from a shipyard in Shanghai on May 18. That same shipyard houses a different cable-layer, the Bold Maverick, which is owned and operated by S. B. Submarine Systems Co., Ltd. That company calls itself “China’s leading provider of subsea cable installation services and one of the key submarine cable installers in Asia” on its website.


Multiple companies in China work in the undersea cable industry, and frequently partner with People’s Liberation Army research centers and national defense universities. China Telecom laid fiber optic cables between Fiery Cross Reef, Subi Reef, and Mischief Reef in the Spratlys in 2017, state media reported. Chen Ying-yu, a senior official at China Telecom and a representative to the National People’s Congress, called on China’s government to better expand, protect and strengthen its submarine cable network at the 20th National People’s Congress held in late May.

The People’s Liberation Army operates its own cable ships as well, launching the first in 2015.

Kraska did not think it mattered who was responsible for installing the cables, as it would be ultimately done at the behest of the Chinese government.

He said the transformation of remote Chinese outposts into a surveillance network was yet another indication of China entrenching its military presence on disputed rocks and reefs in the South China Sea, and seeking to control everything above and below them.

“This is further solidifying their ability to control what’s going on in what they define as the ‘near seas’,” Kraska said.

China claims virtually all of the South China Sea, including waters, islands and reefs close to the coasts of Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam. China says it has “historic rights” for its sweeping claims, a stance unsupported by international law.
 

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waterdog

Contributing Member
If that is in fact what the Norks are claiming, it's laughable. By the late '40s and early '50s the US and Soviets had already developed boosted fission bombs which were much more powerful than the nuclear weapons dropped on Japan. If the Norks can only develop "a hydrogen bomb more powerful than the atomic bombs dropped on Japan," they should hang their heads in shame!

In truth, North Korea (and other world powers) have less need for thermonuclear (hydrogen bombs) weapons than may be supposed. Boosted fission weapons have awesome power and can easily destroy major cities. Many strategists believe that somewhat smaller nuclear weapons are in many cases more effective than the huge hydrogen bombs of the late '50s and '60s. During the Cold War, the US and Soviets were fielding some hydrogen bombs in the 10 to 20 megaton range. Since that time bomb yields have been drastically decreased rather than increased. The thinking is that multiple smaller weapons are more effective than single large ones and in some cases, the detonation of a smaller weapon over a city would cause more chaos and disruption than a megaton range weapon that would vaporize everything.

Additionally, miniaturization of nuclear weapons has allowed weapons in the (roughly) 150 kiloton range to be quite tiny compared to their WWII counterparts. By comparison, the "Little Boy" weapon dropped on Hiroshima had an estimated yield of 15+ kilotons and the "Fat Man" dropped on Nagasaki had a yield of 20+ kilotons.

Best
Doc
Doc do we still have neutron bombs and rail guns? I haven't heard mention of these in awhile.
 

northern watch

Has No Life - Lives on TB
U.S. fears China attack on Taiwan
By Bill Gertz - The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Senior American officials are increasingly worried that stepped-up Chinese threats against democratic Taiwan are signs that Beijing is planning a future military takeover of the island — a move that would trigger a major U.S.-Chinese conflict.

In recent weeks, Chinese officials and state media outlets have escalated their threatening rhetoric against the island state 100 miles off the coast where Nationalists fled at the end of China’s civil war in 1949.

An example appeared Wednesday in the online China Daily, one of the central propaganda outlets of the Chinese Communist Party. Noting reports in foreign media of increased concerns about the possible use of force by the People’s Liberation Army against Taiwan, the article bore the headline “Secessionists should refrain from provoking Beijing.”

It accused Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen of promoting formal independence from Beijing and stated that if Taipei continued on that course, “Beijing will have to intensify crackdowns on the Taiwan secessionists and use non-peaceful means to safeguard national sovereignty and security.”

Two days earlier, a military spokesman at the Chinese Defense Ministry criticized a Taiwan overflight by a U.S. Air Force C-40 transport, a militarized Boeing 737.

Senior Col. Ren Guoqiang said the June 9 flight “grossly violated China’s territorial sovereignty and seriously undermined peace and stability of cross-strait relations, which was extremely wrong and dangerous.”

The spokesman said the PLA has “sufficient capability to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity, protect the common interests of compatriots on both sides of the strait, maintain regional peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, and resolutely thwart any attempt to create so-called ‘one China, one Taiwan.’”

Separately, satellite photographs revealed that the PLA has constructed a full-scale replica of Taiwan’s presidential palace at a Chinese military base identified in state media as the Zhurihe Combined Tactics Training Base. The model is said to be used by PLA troops preparing to take control of Taipei in a future military conflict, The Drive news outlet reported.

A state-run video from 2015 also showed live-fire exercises by PLA troops, tanks and artillery storming the palace mock-up. Previous satellite images revealed similar replicas in China of Taiwanese military bases and airfields that also are used in assault training.

Increased Chinese pressure on Taiwan comes amid growing tensions in other locations, including Beijing’s announced plan to impose new security laws on Hong Kong, in violation of a 1997 Basic Law agreement guaranteeing the former British colony’s autonomy for 50 years.

Further east, tension also heightened after PLA and Indian troops clashed in a disputed border region, a confrontation that led to the deaths of some 20 Indian soldiers and an undisclosed number of Chinese troops.

A Trump administration official said, however, that the hottest of the hot spots appears to be Taiwan, and within the White House there is high-level concern that some type of military action against Taipei could take place in the future.

Under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, the U.S. is committed to preventing the forcible reunification of Taiwan with the mainland. To bolster ties with Taiwan, the Trump administration has stepped up arms sales and increased military contacts and activities near Taiwan.

The most recent sign of support was the passage through the Taiwan Strait on June 4 of the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Russell. The date was significant because it was the anniversary of the 1989 Chinese military-led massacre of unarmed protesters in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

In a further show of U.S. force, two Air Force B-52 bombers on Wednesday conducted long-range training flights from Alaska near Taiwan, passing through the Sea of Japan, East China Sea and South China Sea
.

 

northern watch

Has No Life - Lives on TB
Taiwan warns off intruding Chinese aircraft for fourth time in nine days
June 17, 2020 / 7:21 AM / a day ago

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwan jets on Wednesday again had to warn off Chinese air force aircraft that approached the island, Taiwan’s military said, the fourth such encounter in nine days as China steps up its activity near the Chinese-claimed island.

The Chinese J-10, a fighter plane, and Y-8, a propeller aircraft often used for surveillance missions, entered Taiwan’s air defence identification zone around midday (0400GMT) to the southwest of the island, Taiwan’s air force said.

Patrolling Taiwanese fighters gave a verbal warning to the Chinese aircraft to leave, whereupon they “immediately left” the air defence identification zone, the air force said in a brief statement.

“At present the situation is normal,” it added, without giving further details.

Since June 9, China’s air force has flown at least three other similar missions, and were each time chased off by Taiwanese jets, according to Taiwan’s military.

Taiwan has complained that China, which claims the democratic island as its own, has stepped up military activities in recent months, menacing Taiwan even as the world deals with the coronavirus pandemic.

China has not commented publicly on the recent Chinese air force activity near Taiwan. Beijing routinely says such exercises are nothing unusual and are designed to show the country’s determination to defend its sovereignty.

China has never renounced the use of force to bring Taiwan under its control. One of China’s most senior generals last month said China would attack if there was no other way of stopping Taiwan becoming independent.

China is deeply suspicious of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, whom it accuses of being a separatist intent on declaring formal independence. Tsai says Taiwan is already an independent country called the Republic of China, its official name.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

Taiwan warns off intruding Chinese aircraft for fourth time in nine days
 
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