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


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US, Japan to hold 'Keen Sword' exercise amid fears of China attack on Taiwan
US, Japan will hold military exercises as expert warns China may attack Taiwan during November's US elections

By Keoni Everington, Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2020/09/26 12:13

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The U.S. military announced that it will stage exercise "Keen Sword" with Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) in Japan amid fears China could exploit distractions caused by the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 3.

On Sept. 17, Seth Cropsey, a former naval officer, and a senior fellow at the Washington-based think-tank the Hudson Institute wrote an op-ed in The Hill titled, “There may never be a better moment for China to strike than the week of Nov. 3.” However, on Thursday (Sept. 24), the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command announced it will be holding joint military exercises involving at least 46,000 troops with the JSDF and Royal Canadian Navy, including amphibious landings on several Japanese islands beginning Oct. 26.

In his op-ed, Cropsey wrote that since the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) spread worldwide in April, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) has sent warplanes to encroach on Taiwan's air defense identification zone (ADIZ), dispatched its aircraft carrier battle group through the Miyako Strait, and conducted large-scale exercises near the Taiwan Strait. Cropsey warns these are "not just a complex form of political-signaling," but rather are preparations for an attack on Taiwan, with the goal being to "subjugate it before the U.S. and its allies can respond."

Currently, hostility between the two main political parties over the U.S. presidential election is intensifying, as President Donald Trump is refusing to commit to a peaceful transition. Cropsey argues that if the U.S. becomes embroiled in a fight over the transfer of power caused by a contested election, the country will be much less willing to engage in a "high-end great-power conflict."

Therefore, from China's point of view, 'there may never be a better moment" for it to strike than the week of Nov. 3, asserts Cropsey. However, the announcement by the U.S. military that it will be holding joint exercises from Oct. 26 to Nov. 5 with both Japan and Canada, complicates the calculus for Beijing.

According to a report by Minaminihon Broadcasting (MBC), JSDF will deploy approximately 37,000 troops, 20 warships, and 170 aircraft during the biennial war drills. The U.S. side will dispatch approximately 9,000 personnel from the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, Army, and Air Force, while a Royal Canadian Navy Halifax-class frigate will take part in sea exercises.

During the exercises, U.S. forces will train with their Japanese counterparts from military bases across mainland Japan, Okinawa Prefecture, and "their surrounding territorial waters." Goals listed for the operation include training for realistic scenarios, "enhancing readiness, interoperability, and building credible deterrence."


Taiwan says missiles sufficient to survive Chinese saturation attack
Taiwan says missiles sufficient to survive Chinese saturation attack

2020/09/22 12:25

China holds military drills during US official’s Taiwan visit
China holds military drills during US official’s Taiwan visit

2020/09/18 13:37

Chinese warplanes violated Taiwan's ADIZ 40 times in 2 days
Chinese warplanes violated Taiwan's ADIZ 40 times in 2 days

2020/09/11 10:34

Chinese military encroachment threatens peace: Taiwan's defense ministry
Chinese military encroachment threatens peace: Taiwan's defense ministry

2020/09/10 21:49

US will not send delegation to Taiwan's upcoming war games due to pandemic
US will not send delegation to Taiwan's upcoming war games due to pandemic

2020/09/07 17:20


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My goodness, I get whiplash watchin' these two go at it. Like any relationship, just say what you mean and mean what you say, please :: pops the willow bark concoction n rubs temples ::

Global: MilitaryInfo

North Korea has said that South Korea should not encroach on its territorial waters or another unsavory thing will happen.
From NK state media (KCNA):


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Future War in the Pacific? Think Guadalcanal, Marine Corps Planners Say

Posted on September 24, 2020 by John M. Doyle, Seapower Correspondent

ARLINGTON, Va. — The challenge a peer competitor like China poses in a future conflict across the Indo-Pacific region bears striking similarities to the war between the United States and Japan in the same battlespace more than 75 years ago, say two top Marine Corps planners.

Japan in 1941 was a near-peer adversary of the United States, with advanced technology, expansionist policies and a bullying attitude toward neighboring countries, says Major Gen. Gregg Olson, director of the Marine Corps Staff. While the foes and times have changed “the concepts and realities of war in the vast distances that occur in the Pacific remain the same,” he added.

Like the Marines who landed on Guadalcanal in August 1942, today’s Marines will face the same sweeping distances, vulnerable supply lines, contested air, sea – and now cyber – space limitations, across a battlespace of scattered, remote islands of steaming jungle or barren volcanic rock. That’s the framework for the next conflict,” Olson told the virtual Modern Day Marine Exposition Sept. 23.

Victory on Guadalcanal and the rest of the Pacific came “at the cost of capital ships and thousands of lives,” Olson noted. Another speaker at the conference, Major Gen. Paul Rock, director of Marine Corps Strategies and Plans, said high casualties could be likely again. “Attrition is going to be a factor in a future fight,” Rock said.

While that may prove true, the Marines are not resigned to taking the same heavy casualties they suffered in the Pacific island-hopping campaign of World War II, Gen. David Berger, the commandant of the Marine Corps, insisted a day later.

Others in and out of uniform have expressed concerns about casualty rates in an Asia-Pacific conflict given, China’s anti-access/aerial denial weapons platforms. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Brown told Military Times recently that war with a peer adversary could see “combat attrition rates and risks — that are more akin to the World War II era than the uncontested environment to which we have become accustomed.” Even Berger’s Force Design changes to meet the expected challenges of 2030, concedes there is no avoiding attrition. “In contingency operations against peer adversaries, we will lose aircraft, ships, ground tactical vehicles, and personnel,” it states, adding that force resilience – to absorb loss and continue to operate decisively – is critical.

“No, we’re not resigned to high casualties, but we should not think that in a Great Power competition it’s going to be clean,” Berger said in livestreamed interview with Defense One on Sept. 24. Without mentioning China or Russia, Berger said neither side was “looking for a strength-on-strength fight, at all. We’re not looking for a fight, period.” Instead, Great Power adversaries will be using technology and other assets to target each other’s weaknesses to exploit them. Although there will be casualties “if it comes to a scrap,” he added.

The force in the Pacific will be distributed, Berger said, not to avoid creating an easy target for a knock-out blow – a tactical concern — but operationally, to be able to observe adversaries from every direction in every domain. That Berger said, also makes it very difficult for an adversary to focus their strengths.


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Don’t Let China Conclude Its Opportunity Is ‘Now or Never’

Proceedings recently asked several frequent contributors how the next conflict might start. This essay is the latest in the series.

By James Holmes

September 2020


Vol. 146/9/1,411

What “spark” or “trigger” will set the next war in motion? This question implies some peacetime crisis will escalate suddenly into armed strife that no one wants. There is no gainsaying that possibility—witness the brinksmanship during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, which brought the United States and Soviet Union to the verge of global nuclear war despite misgivings among decisionmakers in Washington and Moscow. Something similar could befall the world in the coming months or years.

But national leaders also make conscious decisions to strike sparks or pull triggers. In fact, to switch metaphors, military history is replete with strategic leaders who saw a window of opportunity and resolved to act before it slammed shut. East Asia has seen its share of opportunism. Imperial Japan was the region’s rising power during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Japanese leaders pieced together a battle fleet with British help using imported boilers and other major components. That fleet took to the Yellow Sea and stunned naval experts by crushing the Qing Dynasty’s Beiyang (Northern) Fleet off the Korean west coast in 1895. Only in the past few decades has China’s navy made a comeback.

The Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) next cast eyes on tsarist Russia, which banded with fellow European powers to deprive Tokyo of the bulk of its gains from the Sino-Japanese War. IJN commanders glimpsed a fleeting opportunity. They studied the Russian Navy’s Far Eastern fleet in 1903. Careful scrutiny revealed that the IJN Combined Fleet overshadowed the Russian armada but would not for long. Russia’s European shipyards were building battleships. New-construction warships would soon make their way to the Pacific, combining their firepower with ships already on station. Japanese superiority would vanish—perhaps forever. So, the Imperial Japanese Navy acted. In February 1904 a torpedo-armed detachment of IJN destroyers lashed out at the Russian First Pacific Squadron at Port Arthur.

Japan went on to record a convincing if incomplete victory in the Russo-Japanese War, prevailing over its bulkier but overextended enemy. Preemptive logic animated Tokyo again in 1941. For decades, IJN strategy envisioned unleashing submarine and air attacks to debilitate the U.S. Pacific Fleet during its westward voyage to aid the Philippines following the outbreak of war. Then the IJN battle fleet would fall on its enfeebled archfoe somewhere in the Western Pacific. Early in 1941, however, the military leadership yielded to Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto’s entreaty to preemptively raid the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor.

Yamamoto hoped to forestall U.S. intervention in the Western Pacific. The U.S. Congress had authorized a massive shipbuilding program in 1940, but it would take time for shipwrights to fit out the new fleet, and still more time for crews to steam it to the Pacific and ready themselves for battle. Here again Tokyo availed itself of a moment of opportunity. IJN carrier aviators took most of the prewar U.S. Pacific Fleet off the table—earning Japanese forces a respite to conquer most of maritime East and Southeast Asia. And so, they did.

Now-or-never thinking, then, captivates makers of strategy. If the next antagonist is China, my guess is that senior Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leaders will likewise make a calculated decision to strike. Beijing would probably aim its aggression at Taiwan, but the blow could fall most anywhere around the Chinese periphery. The East China Sea, South China Sea, or Himalayas could become battlegrounds should Beijing opt for military action. CCP history supports such a forecast. Decisionmakers in Beijing have displayed a penchant for opportunism time and again. They single out an isolated and outmatched opponent. They wait until powerful outsiders who might intercede are distracted or occupied elsewhere. Then they pounce.

In 1974, for instance, Chinese naval and militia forces pummeled the South Vietnamese Navy in the course of wresting away some of the Paracel Islands. Saigon was teetering on the brink of defeat against North Vietnam, making its navy easy prey. Washington—consumed with Watergate and having mostly withdrawn from Indochina—had no desire to return. Opportunism prevailed, setting a pattern that governs Chinese maritime operations to this day in the South China Sea and elsewhere. During the 1990s, for instance, Beijing purloined Mischief Reef from the Philippines while Washington was preoccupied with Balkan wars. Engineers built infrastructure atop the reef, and today it constitutes part of China’s network of fortified outposts in the Spratly Islands.

This is classic window-of-opportunity thinking: isolate the adversary diplomatically and militarily, act swiftly and decisively, and stop. Strategic grandmaster Carl von Clausewitz endorsed it under certain circumstances. He went so far as to advise the weak to make war against the strong if they calculate that their chances are better today than they ever will be. Suppose, wrote Clausewitz, that “a minor state is in conflict with a much more powerful one and expects its position to grow weaker every year. If war is unavoidable, should it not make the most of its opportunities before its position gets still worse?” Yes, he says. It is in “the smaller party’s interest . . . to settle the quarrel before conditions deteriorate” further.

Much, then, depends on how Xi Jinping & Co. chart the military trendlines in maritime Asia. Two dangerous scenarios stand out. One, hubris—outrageous arrogance—appears baked into Communist China’s way of diplomacy and warfare. These are people indoctrinated to believe ‘History’ (with a capital H) is on their side. Ultimate triumph is inevitable. CCP magnates might believe their moment has come. They might see the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) as ascendant, the U.S. Navy and military in disarray, and U.S. alliances under strain. Such an estimate might convince the CCP’s Politburo Standing Committee they can act with impunity. And they might try it.

Or two, Beijing might embrace the Japanese and Clausewitzian brand of opportunism. If strategic overseers reckon the trendlines are turning against China and its PLA, they might conclude now is as good as the strategic conditions will get. For instance, they might see economics turning against them after China’s impressive thirty-year rise. They have cause. Demographics is a self-made catastrophe for Beijing after decades of forbidding families to have more than one child. In the coming years there will be fewer and fewer workers generating tax revenue to support more and more retirees. Military spending could lose out. The United States, Japan, and other trading partners are “decoupling” their supply chains from China, at least in part. China’s war potential might soon nose over into decline—taking with it the PLA’s ability to mass overwhelming firepower in the Taiwan Strait or elsewhere in China’s environs.

Chinese strategists, furthermore, might resist being seduced by hubris vis-à-vis the U.S. military and allied forces. For every bad-news story out of the U.S. Navy—fire on board the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6), COVID-19 madness on board the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), the 2017 ship collisions, and so on—there is a good-news story. New ships, planes, and weapons are joining the inventory. The Navy and Marine Corps are exploring new ways to integrate their firepower. New leaders have vowed to correct the cultural woes that helped permit the embarrassments of recent years. If CCP leaders conclude that the U.S. Navy is on the rebound, they might see themselves as on a deadline: strike now or relinquish cherished interests for all time.

That is why the second alternative future is doubly replete with hazards. An increasingly brawny and confident China can act at its leisure; a China that feels beleaguered might act in haste for fear of seeing its window of opportunity closed—and painted shut forever.

Therefore, we must keep close tabs on how Beijing gauges the military balance—and stay on guard.


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North Korea tells UN it now has ‘effective war deterrent’
North Korea is struggling under international sanctions imposed for its nuclear and ballistic missiles programmes.
Kim Song told the UN General Assembly, North Korea now has an 'effective war deterrent' [Loey Felipe/United Nations via AFP]

Kim Song told the UN General Assembly, North Korea now has an 'effective war deterrent' [Loey Felipe/United Nations via AFP]

30 Sep 2020

North Korea has a “reliable and effective war deterrent for self-defence” and was now focusing on developing its sanctions-hit economy, Kim Song, North Korea’s United Nations ambassador said on Tuesday.
In an address to the UN General Assembly, Kim said North Korea was still threatened by military hardware like stealth fighters being used on the Korean Peninsula and “nuclear strike means of all kinds are directly aimed at the DPRK”.
“Genuine peace can only be safeguarded when one possesses the absolute strength to prevent war itself,” Kim said. “As we have obtained the reliable and effective war deterrent for self-defence by tightening our belts, peace and security of the Korean Peninsula and the region are now firmly defended.”

Already weighed down by tough international sanctions for its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, Pyongyang is also facing significant economic damage from strict border closures and other measures aimed at preventing a coronavirus outbreak. It is also struggling to cope with damage from recent storms and flooding.
Kim said the pandemic situation in the “under safe and stable control” as a result of measures taken by the government to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. North Korea has said it has no confirmed cases, though some have cast doubt on that claim.

“Based on its reliable guarantee for safeguarding the security of the state and people, the DPRK is now directing all its efforts to economic construction,” said Kim, using his country’s formal name – Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
“It is a matter of fact that we badly need an external environment favourable for economic construction,” he said. “But, we cannot sell off our dignity just in a hope for brilliant transformation – the dignity which we have defended as valuable as our own life. This is our steadfast position.”

Flouting sanctions
A UN report on Monday said North Korea was flouting nuclear sanctions by exceeding a 500,000 barrel restriction on petroleum imports and continuing to send workers overseas.
Independent sanctions monitors reported to the Security Council in August that North Korea was continuing with its nuclear weapons programme and several countries believed it had “probably developed miniaturised nuclear devices to fit into the warheads of its ballistic missiles”.
Jenny Town, a Stimson Center fellow and deputy director of 38 North, said that the envoy’s speech contained “no overt threats or hints of shows of force or demonstrations of power in the near future. It was very focused on rebuilding and recovering the internal situation.”
She added that while North Korea wants sanctions relief, “they aren’t going to simply give up their weapons on promises of a brighter future” and there would need to be tangible moves to prove that relations with the United States had changed before Pyongyang could justify taking measures that would jeopardise its security.

Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump met in Singapore in 2018 and Hanoi the following year, but failed to make any headway on key issues [File: KCNA via EPA]North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump have met three times since 2018, but have made no progress on US calls for Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons and North Korea’s demands for an end to sanctions.

North Korea’s governing party is planning a congress in January to decide a new five-year plan, state media reported last month, after a party meeting noted serious delays in improving the national economy and living standards.
Source : AFP, Reuters

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Marines activate Camp Blaz on Guam, the Corps’ first new base since 1952

By SETH ROBSON | STARS AND STRIPES Published: September 30, 2020

The Marine Corps has activated a new base on Guam for 5,000 members of III Marine Expeditionary Force set to move there over the next five years from Okinawa, Japan.

Camp Blaz, near Andersen Air Force Base, is the first new Marine installation since Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany was commissioned in Georgia on March 1, 1952, according to a Marine Corps statement announcing the activation this week.

“As the Marine Corps presence on Guam grows, I am confident that we … will honor the history of the island of Guam, we will have the courage to defend it, and we will remain committed to preserving its cultural and environmental resources,” the camp’s first commander, Col. Bradley Magrath, said in the statement.

The activation comes at a time of rising tensions in the Pacific as China presses claims to sea territory and builds military forces that threaten U.S. forces stationed in the region.

Camp Blaz is named in honor of the late Marine Brig. Gen. Vicente “Ben” Tomas Garrido Blaz, a Guam native.

“Blaz’ legacy reflects the strong relationship that the Marine Corps and the people of Guam have shared since the establishment of the Marine Barracks [on Guam] in 1899,” the Marines said in their statement.

The new base is still under construction in an area known as Finegayan on land that, until recently, was covered in a thick jungle full of snakes and littered with World War II-era bombs and bullets.

The Japanese government is funding $3 billion worth of projects for the Marines’ relocation, with the U.S. government spending another $5.7 billion, Navy Cmdr. Brian Foster, who is helping oversee construction for the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, told Stars and Stripes during a tour of the new base in February.

Only 1,300 Marines will be permanently stationed on Guam, with another 3,700 coming to the island as a rotational force in the same way a Marine Air Ground Task Force deploys to Australia’s Northern Territory to train each summer, he said.

The heart of Camp Blaz, where six-story barracks will be built for unaccompanied Marines, is next door to Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station Guam, just west of Andersen. Families of Marines working on Blaz will live on Andersen, where another 300 housing units will be built, Foster said.

The facility will include several new ranges, including a “multipurpose” machine gun range along Guam’s northwestern coast. An abandoned housing area, known as Andersen South, is being turned into an urban training compound for the Marines, he said.

Facilities for the Marines’ aviation element are being built at Andersen’s North Ramp, Foster said.

The formal establishment of Camp Blaz secures a Marine Corps posture in the region that is geographically distributed and operationally resilient, the Marines said in their statement.

“Camp Blaz will play an essential role in strengthening the Department of Defense’s ability to deter and defend and is also a testament to the strength of the U.S.-Japan alliance,” the Marines said.

The Marines will hold an activation ceremony for the base in spring 2021, the statement said.
Twitter: @SethRobson1


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China / Military
Taiwan scrambles fighter jets after PLA spy plane enters air defence zone
  • Taipei issues warnings as Chinese military surveillance aircraft is spotted close to Pratas Islands in southwest sector of its ADIZ
  • Latest reconnaissance mission comes on National Day holiday, but PLA ‘doesn’t take days off’, military observer says
William Zheng

William Zheng
Published: 2:32pm, 2 Oct, 2020
Updated: 9:37pm, 2 Oct, 2020

Why you can trust SCMP

Chinese warplanes have been frequently spotted close to Taiwan in recent weeks. Photo: Military News Agency

Chinese warplanes have been frequently spotted close to Taiwan in recent weeks. Photo: Military News Agency
said it scrambled fighter jets on Thursday evening to ward off a Chinese warplane that had entered its air defence identification zone (ADIZ) near a group of islets administered by Taipei

The PLA Air Force Y-8 surveillance aircraft entered the southwest sector of the zone close to the Pratas Islands – known as the Dongsha Islands in mainland China – the defence ministry said.
The fighters were scrambled and warnings were broadcast telling the PLA warplane to leave the area, it said in a brief statement.

The Pratas, which comprise one island, two coral reefs and two banks, are located about 445km (275 miles) from Taiwan’s southern port city of Kaohsiung and just over 300km from the Chinese mainland.

The area has been designated a national park and has no human residents except for a coastguard garrison. In August,
Taiwan dispatched a marine company to reinforce the garrison
amid reports the People’s Liberation Army was planning a simulated attack on the islets.

Despite Thursday being China’s
National Day
, which this year overlapped with the Mid-Autumn Festival, the timing of the latest incursion by the PLA came as no surprise to Hong Kong-based military commentator Song Zhongping.

“The PLA doesn’t take days off … it is making preparations for potential conflicts, because the world is not peaceful now,” he said.

The southwestern area of Taiwan’s ADIZ was an important transit area for American and Taiwanese submarines and had been under constant surveillance from the PLA, he said.

“These submarines pose the most threat to the PLA’s future military operations there.”

Taiwanese military expert Huang Jingping said in an interview with local media on Tuesday that the PLA’s frequent patrols in the ADIZ were designed to ensure the mainland’s military was familiar with Taipei’s manoeuvres so that it could blockade the island in the
event of a war

Taiwan’s defence ministry has complained of repeated incursions by PLA surveillance aircraft and fighter jets into its air space in recent weeks. During a visit to the island by US undersecretary of state Keith Krach in mid-September to attend the funeral of late president Lee Teng-hui, the ministry reported 37 incidents in just two days.


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What an ‘October surprise’ from North Korea might actually look like
New Atlanticist by Markus Garlauskas and Bruce Perry
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) visits the Wolnae Islet Defence Detachment in the western sector of the front line, which is near Baengnyeong Island of South Korea March 11, 2013 in this picture released by the North's official KCNA news agency in Pyongyang March 12, 2013. REUTERS/KCNA

Key Points
  • Expect North Korea to display new strategic weaponry for the 75th anniversary of its ruling party on October 10
  • Attention is focused on the development of submarine-launched ballistic missiles, but mobile land-based ballistic missiles are already a credible, advancing threat
  • The US and South Korea should re-invigorate efforts to counter and prevent the testing of more sophisticated North Korean ballistic missiles
On January 1, North Korea’s ruling-party newspaper published the results of a meeting with ominous implications. Chairman Kim Jong Un had declared that the world would soon witness a new strategic weapon from North Korea and added that he no longer “felt bound” by his pledge to halt inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM) launches and nuclear testing. Eight months have passed since this promise, but that does not mean a new strategic weapon is not coming—or that we should take his warnings lightly. And speculation that the “new strategic weapon” is a ballistic-missile submarine or submarine-launched ballistic missile itself distracts from the need to focus on a far more credible and urgent threat: North Korea’s rollout and test launches of more advanced road-mobile ballistic missiles.

In his 2017 New Year’s address, Kim asserted that North Korea was in the final stages of preparations for ICBM test launching, but it took until the July 4 holiday that year for North Korea to follow through and conduct its first Hwasong-14 ICBM launch. It was not until late November that North Korea launched an even larger ICBM, the Hwasong-15, with the accompanying claim that ICBM testing had been completed successfully. There are many potential reasons for the long period between North Korea’s announcement and launches in 2017, including its need to first complete preliminary test launches of the Hwasong-12, an intermediate-range missile that the Nuclear Threat Initiative assessed to be a “stepping stone” to an ICBM.

This year, by comparison, there are a myriad of potential reasons for the delay in carrying out Kim’s announcement besides just technical ones, including disruptions caused by COVID-19, summer typhoons, and political considerations: the upcoming US presidential election, a series of meetings of North Korea’s ruling Korean Workers’ Party, and the Party anniversary in October. Even if he is confident that his “new strategic weapon” will work, Kim may be waiting for just the right political moment to display it and then to launch it. If he offers up an “October surprise” this year, it probably won’t be the North Korean version of the fictional Soviet ballistic-missile submarine “Red October.” Instead, it may well come in the form of new missiles displayed on the streets of Pyongyang during the Party’s 75th anniversary parade

There is reason for skepticism about the speculation, primarily in the South Korean press, about the “new strategic weapon” being a ballistic-missile submarine (a submarine fitted with vertical launch tubes for ballistic missiles). Though journalists and experts have repeatedly pointed to indications of work on a ballistic-missile submarine and submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), this has garnered disproportionate attention among Korea watchers and does not constitute sufficient evidence that Kim was referring in his January statement to something submarine-related.
A submarine, of course, makes for a better story—with flashier graphics and better headlines—than yet another North Korean road-mobile missile. And the publicly available analysis on North Korean strategic capabilities favors submarines and SLBMs because that is what there has been to see lately. Activity at North Korea’s Sinpo submarine yard is visible in open-source imagery in a way that many activities in the “hard target” of North Korea are not, so it is reported on more vividly and frequently. A September 4 article from the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ “Beyond Parallel” site, for example, identified activities at Sinpo potentially associated with preparations for an SLBM test, quickly triggering a sharp and very public debate over the significance of these developments.

What appears to be a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) flies in an undisclosed location in this undated picture released by North Korea’s Central News Agency (KCNA) on October 2, 2019. KCNA via REUTERS

North Korea has previously called a ballistic-missile submarine a “strategic weapon,” but this term has much more often been used to refer to large, nuclear-capable ballistic missiles. If Kim was referring to a ballistic-missile submarine or a missile launched from one, calling it a “new strategic weapon” probably just amounts to North Korean hyperbole. North Korea already tested a new model of submarine-launched ballistic missile last October, and gave us glimpses of what a number of analysts believe is a submarine being converted to fire ballistic missiles. So even if this is the strategic weapon Kim was referring to, it is not really that “new.” The SLBM program has been slowly making progress for years. As the US Department of Defense reported, North Korea first fired a ballistic missile from a submerged submarine as far back as August 2016.

Adding an outdated ballistic-missile submarine with limited capabilities to North Korea’s force would also not change the strategic equation significantly, particularly not relative to its cost. As Vann Van Diepen, a former US National Intelligence Officer for Weapons of Mass Destruction, and others have explained, the submarine in question would probably add only a few additional launch tubes to North Korea’s ballistic missile force, meaning little for either the survivability or offensive power of North Korea’s arsenal. Given that North Korea’s imports of electronics, machinery, and metals have been so severely restricted by UN sanctions, how could the most efficient use of that precious material be to funnel so much into one large submarine?

Road-mobile missiles are North Korea’s strategic deterrent force

In contrast to its nascent, largely unproven, and resource-intensive ballistic-missile submarine capability, North Korea’s mobile land-based ballistic missiles pose a much more advanced, mature, and resource-efficient threat. North Korea has been producing and test-launching land-based mobile ballistic missiles since the 1980s. Just since Kim took power at the end of 2011, North Korea has test-launched over a hundred ballistic missiles, all but a handful of them road-mobile, rather than submarine-launched types.
Though some speculate that North Korean submarine-launched missiles would grant North Korea a “second strike” capability that could survive a first strike by any adversary and thereby guarantee North Korean nuclear retaliation, this thinking appears to be based on inappropriately applying the historical analogy of the Cold War nuclear superpowers. The United States and Soviet Union could rest their deterrent credibility upon a “second strike” from a robust force of nuclear-powered ballistic-missile submarines that could conduct lengthy submerged cruises, evade detection, and deliver nuclear warheads to their adversary’s homeland even if their own homeland were destroyed. Given North Korea’s resource limitations and the challenges involved in developing such a capability, it is likely a long way from the ability to produce even a single nuclear-powered submarine—much less the infrastructure and expertise necessary to engineer, build, train, and operationally deploy a submarine force capable of continuously holding the continental United States at risk.

The credibility of North Korea’s “second strike” could rest instead on numerous land-based missiles fired from mobile launchers. This setup is much more practical than building up a large, advanced ballistic-submarine fleet, and takes advantage of North Korea’s terrain. Mobile targets like missile launchers, already notoriously hard to track even in a desert, would be harder to find in North Korea’s mountainous terrain and numerous underground facilities.

Furthermore, submarines, which rely on stealth and independent operations, would pose a much more challenging command-and-control-problem for North Korea than land-based launchers that can more easily remain in continuous communication. As various analysts, including Ankit Panda, the author of Kim Jong Un and the Bomb, have noted, with the technology that is likely available to North Korea, there isn’t a foolproof way to both eliminate the risk of unauthorized launch from a submarine and ensure a second-strike capability.

With all this in mind, Kim is almost certain to continue to rely on and reinforce his increasingly capable and diverse land-based, nuclear-capable mobile missile force as the core of his strategic deterrent. That being the case, it is worth exploring what new types of land-based missiles he might field.

More warheads, more problems
The most important type of truly “new strategic weapon” for North Korea would likely be a large road-mobile ballistic missile with the ability to deliver multiple re-entry vehicles (RVs). (Re-entry vehicles are carried at the top of a ballistic missile, detaching after the missile ascends to carry and protect a warhead as it travels to its target from space through atmospheric re-entry.) This scenario has received far less attention than a ballistic-missile submarine, even though a member of the Intelligence Committee of South Korea’s legislature has commented on the possibility and experts have long noted multiple RVs as a logical future step for North Korea’s weapons development.

A ballistic missile with multiple RVs would pose at least three major problems for the US-South Korea alliance that a ballistic-missile submarine would not.
  • North Korea could quickly expand the number of warheads it could deliver even if it is only able to produce a few missiles at a time, a key consideration if sanctions have been effective in limiting North Korea’s access to the materials necessary to build missiles.
  • Multiple RVs could boost the credibility of North Korea’s deterrent by overcoming skepticism about the accuracy and reliability of North Korea’s RVs, since they would give each missile multiple chances for a successful hit.
  • Perhaps most importantly, North Korea’s fielding of an ICBM with multiple warheads would make it much more complicated, and possibly impractical, for the US military to intercept a North Korean missile attack on the continental United States. During the Cold War, the advent of multiple warhead ICBMs caused many experts to conclude that interceptor missiles could not be a practical or cost-effective defense for the continental United States. This is what eventually led to the Reagan administration’s focus on new counter-missile technologies like space-based lasers under the Strategic Defense Initiative, colloquially known as “Star Wars.”

General John Hyten, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently commented that he has “one hundred percent confidence” in the ability of US ground-based missile-defense interceptors launched from Alaska and California to stop a North Korean attack on the US homeland. This level of confidence poses a strategic problem for North Korea that a plausible new ballistic-missile submarine could not address, and counters North Korea’s 2017 claims that its test-launches had proven its ability to strike all of the United States. The value of North Korea’s ICBMs for deterrence and leverage is contingent on threatening the continental United States, so their value is virtually nullified by clear US confidence in its missile defense of the homeland.

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un is seen inspecting the newly developed intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-15, which was first test-launched on November 28, 2017, in an undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang November 30, 2017. REUTERS/KCNA

If North Korea fields ICBMs with multiple warheads, however, this could be an effective countermeasure to undermine confidence in US missile defenses and overcome skepticism about North Korea’s RVs. It is hard to see how Americans could be confident that a finite number of US missile-defense interceptors would be sufficient to stop an attack by a volley of North Korean ICBMs with multiple warheads each. Even if the United States were to attempt to build more interceptors to keep up, the costs could be prohibitive.


passin' thru

What surprises do the North Koreans have in mind for October?
As the US presidential election approaches, speculation has been rife about the potential for an unpleasant “October surprise” from North Korea, and with good reason. It would not be a surprise, necessarily, if North Korea test-launched a more advanced strategic solid-fuel missile or even a large new missile with multiple warheads. That said, ahead of the election Kim seems to be hedging his bets when it comes to his relationship with the US president, and Kim’s sister went as far as to publicly state that North Korea would refrain from any “threatening” actions toward the United States through the election period.

It is far more likely that North Korea will take advantage of the large military parade that would be traditional for the 75th anniversary of the Korean Workers’ Party, on October 10, to display road-mobile missile systems without going so far as to be unnecessarily provocative to a US president with whom Kim has cultivated a special, “personal relationship” according to North Korean state media. The 2015 parade for the Party’s 70th anniversary featured a variety of ballistic missiles, so we would expect to see a similar variety of types, along with more advanced new types, including one or more kinds of “new strategic weapon” ready for testing as soon as the political moment is right for Kim. Though some observers are concerned about a potential solid-fuel ICBM being unveiled on October 10, such a system is more likely to be a mockup than ready to test. There should be more worry about reports from NK News, 38 North, and other outlets that North Korea appears to be preparing infrastructure to parade larger, heavier systems, and to display many more launchers than in previous years—indicating not just a qualitative increase in the threat, but also a quantitative one.
People cheer as personnel who contributed to the successful launch of the Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) arrive in Pyongyang on December 8, in this photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang December 9, 2017. KCNA/via REUTERS

That said, if North Korea were to launch a ballistic-missile submarine or SLBM in the coming months, timing this on or near the October anniversary would also make sense, so these possibilities are not mutually exclusive. Given North Korea’s track record and Kim’s statement, it would be more of a surprise if the North Koreans did not display any new strategic weapons systems in October.

Focusing on what matters
Ultimately, an emerging North Korean SLBM capability should not draw too much focus as the South Korea-United States alliance is already moving in a direction that will counter this threat much faster than the threat will grow. Anti-submarine warfare is an area where the United States and South Korea already have a competitive advantage, a huge technological head start, and continuing strong investments. A new North Korean ballistic-missile submarine can be addressed without major new efforts on the part of the alliance. In contrast, countering North Korea’s growing arsenal of land-based mobile ballistic missiles, particularly if new missiles carrying multiple warheads are added to the mix, will require focused new political, technological, financial, and intellectual investments by the South Korea-United States alliance.

First, from a military perspective, the alliance should re-invigorate efforts to both develop and publicly highlight its capabilities, tactics, techniques, procedures, and plans to comprehensively counter the primarily land-based North Korean missile threat using the “4D” (detect, defend, disrupt, destroy) approach first unveiled in 2013 and repeatedly referenced at high levels through 2017. South Korea, for its part, has continued to highlight its own counter-missile efforts, renaming them last year as the “three axis system” including “overwhelming response,” “strategic target strike,” and “Korea-style missile defense.” Meanwhile, bilateral alliance efforts on countering North Korean missiles appear to have moved to the back burner. Readouts from the last two Security Consultative Meetings—annual formal sessions led by the US Secretary of Defense and his South Korean counterpart—mention neither an alliance “counter-missile” effort nor “4D” itself, despite those terms appearing in annual communiques from 2013 to 2017.

Simply because a phrase does not appear in a meeting readout does not mean that nothing is being done, but these high-level meetings help to both set and reflect alliance priorities internally and externally, meaning that the absence of counter-missile efforts from the communique is not a good sign. Countering North Korea’s advancing ballistic-missile capabilities, both narratively and concretely, should be a major priority for the alliance that is reflected in the next bilateral defense meeting.

Secondly, from a political perspective, the alliance must be prepared with a strong response to any additional North Korean displays or testing of strategic weapons, including road-mobile missiles. More importantly, even the display or announcement of a new missile with multiple-warhead capability must draw a strong response from the United States and the international community, ideally to deter the flight testing that would allow for the refinement and fielding of such a capability. Failing that, every reasonable effort must be made to give North Korea an incentive not to conduct further ballistic-missile flight testing, and to prepare to impose additional costs if North Korea presses forward regardless. If North Korea can field such systems with impunity, it will probably make Pyongyang even more confident—and therefore harder to counter and contain.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not imply endorsement by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence or any other US Government agency.

Markus Garlauskas served as the National Intelligence Officer for North Korea, leading the US intelligence community’s strategic analysis of North Korea from 2014 to 2020. Before his term as a member of the Senior National Intelligence Service concluded in June 2020, he served for nearly twenty years in the US government, including almost twelve years in Seoul on the staff of US Forces Korea. He is a nonresident senior fellow with the Scowcroft Center’s Asia Security Initiative at the Atlantic Council, and tweets at @Mister_G_2.

Bruce Perry served as the Senior Intelligence Officer for Northeast Asia Division, US Indo-Pacific Command, 2005-2019, before his retirement from US government civilian service. During his tenure, he was temporarily assigned as Deputy Chief, Multi-national Intelligence Support Element, the team which helped to conclude that a North Korean submarine was responsible for the 2010 sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan. He began his government civilian service after his retirement from the US Army after a total of twenty-five years of military service in the US Army and Navy—including service as an intelligence officer in US Forces Korea, and in combat as a tank platoon leader in Desert Storm.

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You are at :Home»News»Unusual Submarine Likely To Increase Threat From North Korea

Cutaway of North Korean Navy Romeo Mod Class submarine
The Romeo-Mod submarine will carry three ballistic missiles in the sail, which is an unusual configuration today. Because it is a modification of the Romeo Class submarine, we can determine a lot about its internal layout

Unusual Submarine Likely To Increase Threat From North Korea
H I Sutton 02 Oct 2020

The World’s only operational conventionally powered ballistic missile submarine (SSB) may soon emerge in North Korea. The Romeo-Mod submarine, also known as Sinpo-C, was first revealed on North Korean TV on July 23 2019. It will likely be armed with three Pukguksong-3 missiles which are the hermit kingdom’s best performing. So it will, on paper, pose a serious threat to U.S. and allied targets in the region. But how real is the threat?

The KN-26 Pukguksong-3 missile is taken seriously. In a successful test exactly a year ago on October 2 2019 it flew 450 km (280 miles). This may not sound very far in missile terms, but it reached 910 km (565 miles) in altitude. This in turn can be translated into a maximum range of at least 1,900 km (1,200 miles). Actual ranges may be even further.

The missile’s name translates as Polaris-3, which may be a deliberate reference to the famous American missile. Like Polaris for the U.S. Navy, Pukguksong-3 may represent a coming of age of the North Korean Navy.

The submarine however, is actually not that new. Based on analysis of open sources it is a straightforward modification of the existing Romeo Class. This means that we can determine quite a lot about its internal layout and capabilities.

The North Korean Navy has a large fleet of around 20 Romeo Class submarines. It is a Russian design but some where built in China, and some locally. The modification sees three missile silos dropped in through an enlarged sail. The current ballistic missile submarine, the single Gorae Class (aka Sinpo-B), can only carry one missile.

While any submarine can be hard to find and pose a serious threat, the Soviet-era Romeo design is now over 60 years old. And the modernization process may have degraded its aging capabilities further. The placement of the missile tubes means that the battery capacity, which drives the submarine when it is submerged, may be almost halved. This will significantly reduce its submerged range.

Ankit Panda, the Stanton senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, suggests that the submarine will likely not venture far anyway. “Allied Anti-submarine warfare (ASW) means they probably can’t treat the SSB as highly survivable if they go far out into the Sea of Japan.” Panda believes that “the concept of operations ultimately will be littoral: if the SSB deploys. It will likely stay in their claimed territorial sea”

The missile, and submarine, will be tested at Sinpo on the East Coast of North Korea. Includes material © CNES 2020, Distribution Airbus DS all rights reserved / PLEIADES satellite imagery | Acquired through ShadowBreak Intl

Meanwhile the Pukguksong-3 missile has only been tested once. Analysts are now watching a North Korean naval base closely for tell-take signs that a second test is imminent. Some observers expect as test as early as this month. They are watching a small base at Sinpo where new types of submarines, and missiles, are tested. The Romeo-Mod submarine appears to be under construction there too.
So stepping back, the missile is credible yet the launch platform is inherently limited. So the whole North Korean may be as much about prestige as operational capabilities. But if so, it must come at a massive cost to the isolated country.

There are also concerns about the unpredictable role it could play in any future crisis. It is something of an unknown quality, for both sides. As Panda puts it, “there are serious questions about how well North Korea could exercise effective command and control over its sea-based force in a crisis”. But once it is at sea, the submarine cannot be ignored by adversaries. And perhaps that is the point.


passin' thru
In Wake of Recent India-China Conflict, U.S. Sees Opportunity
India’s border dispute with China has accelerated its relations with the United States. Others worry that warming ties ignore India’s persecution of Muslims.

Indian soldiers arriving last month in the Ladakh region, near the border with China. In June, Indian and Chinese troops brawled along a land border, killing 20 Indian soldiers.

Indian soldiers arriving last month in the Ladakh region, near the border with China. In June, Indian and Chinese troops brawled along a land border, killing 20 Indian soldiers.Credit...Danish Siddiqui/Reuters
Pranshu Verma
By Pranshu Verma
  • Oct. 3, 2020

WASHINGTON — Weeks after India and China engaged in their deadliest border clash in decades, the sight of an American nuclear-powered aircraft carrier entering the Bay of Bengal drew attention across the region.
The carrier, Nimitz, and its strike group deployed to the area in mid-July to conduct an exercise with the Indian Navy in pursuit of a “free and open Indo-Pacific,” according to a statement by the U.S. Navy’s Seventh Fleet, whose headquarters are in Japan. But as tensions soar between India and China, two nuclear-armed neighbors, the joint operation took on a greater significance.

“It was symbolic,” said Tanvi Madan, the director of the India Project at the Brookings Institution. “It’s also signaling to China and others that the U.S. is standing by India.”
As the rivalry between India and China intensifies, the United States and India have taken their shared anger toward Beijing and forged stronger diplomatic and military ties that could alter the balance of power in the region. Officials note that while that friendship has been on an upswing over the past two decades, the border dispute with China has accelerated relations between the countries.
“Both the U.S. and India have recognized the importance of the other,” said Nisha D. Biswal, President Barack Obama’s assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs. “It’s not a surprise that the Indians are looking for like-minded strategic and security partners, given concerns around a destabilizing environment in the Indo-Pacific.”
But social justice advocates worry that the Trump administration is turning a blind eye to India’s rights abuses against Muslims under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, prioritizing military and geopolitical alliances over all else.

“They are warming relations under the same authoritarian banner,” said Wasim Dar, who campaigns for rights of people in the disputed territory of Kashmir. “They’re prioritizing military, or hegemony, over any kind of human rights or political freedom.”
The United States and India have increasingly soured on China in recent years.
A looming presidential election in the United States — and President Trump’s eagerness to paint China as a rival — has caused Washington to sharply shift its policies toward Beijing. The Trump administration has taken a series of economic, political and diplomatic actions against China, citing its crackdown on democratic protests in Hong Kong, human rights abuses against the largely Muslim Uighur minority, unfair trade practices and aggressive expansion into the South China Sea.

At the same time, India and China have engaged in increasing aggression in recent months.
In June, Indian and Chinese troops brawled along a land border in the Himalayas, killing 20 Indian soldiers. In August, a soldier in the secretive force of Tibetan refugees working for the Indian Army was killed by a land mine. In September, both countries blamed each other for firing gun shots in the same region, the first time military fire had been recorded in the area for decades.
“Nobody’s backing down, they’re going to go through the winter like this,” said Vikram J. Singh, senior adviser to the Asia program at the United States Institute of Peace. “Now you’ve got a situation where there’s a whole bunch more flash points at a tactical level.”
Washington’s relationship with India has a rocky history. During the Cold War, the United States grew closer with Pakistan, India’s border rival, and Russia with India. U.S. relations with India started to warm in 2000, after President Bill Clinton became the first American president to visit the country since 1978. Since then, every American leader has made the trip to India and extolled the virtues of teaming with the world’s largest democracy.
Still, the United States and India have not signed a formal alliance. India, which for years has maintained a stance of nonalignment, has been reluctant to engage.
But the Himalayan crisis is helping change that.

India’s increasing focus on China — a turnaround from the days when Pakistan claimed most of its attention — is a welcome sign for American diplomats, who believe the shared anger can draw India into a strategic partnership that will help neutralize China’s growing influence in the region.
Of most interest, experts say, is whether the border dispute will move India closer into a regional partnership with the United States, Japan and Australia — known as the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or “Quad.”
The forum — proposed in 2007 by the Japanese prime minister at the time, Shinzo Abe — was billed as the Asian “arc of democracy.” China has seen it as a threat to its dominance in the region, saying the Quad is a U.S. attempt to create an Asian version of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization directly aimed at counterbalancing its interests.

In the past, India was hesitant to fully engage in the partnership, spurned by Australia’s exit in 2008, and fearful of upsetting China and ruining its trade ties with the country. Australia has since rejoined.
But former State Department officials and diplomacy experts note China’s aggressive actions have started to backfire, pointing to recent moves that show India is more willing to participate in a coalition that is seen by most as anti-China.
Mr. Modi signaled in his call with Japan’s new prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, that the two countries must work together for a “free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region,” echoing language used by the Quad and United States.

President Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India in New Delhi in February.Credit...Doug Mills/The New York Times
India’s minister of external affairs, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, has also become increasingly vocal about the partnership, experts say, and will meet in Tokyo on Tuesday with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the foreign ministers of Japan and Australia for the Quad’s second official meeting.
“The goal before was, don’t provoke China too much,” said Richard Fontaine, who served as Senator John McCain’s foreign policy adviser and is now chief executive of the Center for a New American Security. “But now, with China acting the way it is,” he said, “there’s no longer the sense of as much restraint on what India might do with the United States.”
Should India become more willing to turn the forum into a strategic alliance, it could prove beneficial for the region, State Department officials have said. “Anything of the fortitude of NATO or the European Union,” does not exist there, said Stephen E. Biegun, deputy secretary of state. He added that while India was a “centerpiece” of the United States’ strategy in the Indo-Pacific region, it cannot be taken for granted that India wants to cement a formal partnership.

But some scholars say the tide has turned, and the relationship can go only one way. “The direction of U.S.-India relations is clear now — toward closer cooperation,” said Brahma Chellaney, a professor of strategic studies at the Center for Policy Research, a New Delhi think tank. “That will be the main fallout of China’s aggression in the Himalayan region.”
Mr. Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, have pledged to ease tensions along their contested border. However, a joint statement they issued in September fails to address key differences behind the border dispute, including the exact demarcation of the contested territory.
India and the United States are also looking to increase military cooperation. Over the years, India has accelerated its weapons purchases from the United States. It is slated to buy upward of $20 billion in American arms by the end of 2020, a sharp increase from nearly zero in 2008, according to the State Department.

More recently, India has sought to fast-track a purchase 30 MQ-9B SkyGuardian drones from General Atomics, in a deal that is likely to exceed $3 billion, according to industry officials. The drones could be deployed to India’s disputed border region with China and significantly expand its surveillance over the area. The news was reported earlier by India Today.
In September, the United States also signed a defense agreement with the Maldives, a tiny nation of islands close to India’s border, that provides the United States an opportunity to counter China’s ability to expand its presence in the region. India has been historically skeptical of foreign military presence so close to its borders, but blessed the deal.
Diplomats are watching to see if India invites Australia to participate in a naval exercise it holds with Japan and the United States. It would be another sign that India is taking the concept of the Quad seriously, experts said. As of Wednesday, India was still considering whether Australia should be included, according to a senior State Department official.

But despite the warming ties, Mr. Trump and Mr. Modi, both conservatives, have not addressed human rights concerns.
Mr. Modi, a Hindu nationalist, has been criticized heavily for actions that have disenfranchised Muslims in India. Last August, Mr. Modi revoked a special status for Kashmir that had granted it greater autonomy than other Indian states. After protests erupted over the measure, he clamped down with lockdowns and a suspension of phone and internet services.
Late last year, Mr. Modi also introduced a law that laid out a path to citizenship for people from six religious minorities who arrived to India before 2015. Muslims were excluded. The action prompted mass protests across India and resulted in a brutal police crackdown.
Human rights experts say it is troubling that the United States talks so strongly about human rights abuses in China, but is willing to engage in deeper diplomatic and strategic ties with India where similar situations are occurring.
“It’s basically hypocrisy,” Mr. Dar said.

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Then there's this for what it is worth.......One openly nuclear power and two members of the "Screwdriver Club".....

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Communist Party of China
India should join hands with Taiwan and Japan to fight against Communist Party of China: Global pro-democracy activists
The campaign was launched during a webinar titled "Global Campaign for Democratic China: Uniting Against Chinese Communist Party's Repressive Regime.

Written By:

Manish Shukla

Edited By:

Arun Kumar Chaubey


Oct 02, 2020, 23:19 PM IST

New Delhi: India has a major role to play in the fight against the Communist Party of China (CCP). As a responsible and democratic country, India should unite with Asian countries like Taiwan and Japan to fight against the CCP. It has already been too late and the world is paying the price. In a first of its kind, human rights defenders, scholars, and persecuted communities of China came together to launch the ‘Global Campaign for Democratic China’ on China Day.

The campaign was launched during a webinar titled "Global Campaign for Democratic China: Uniting Against Chinese Communist Party's Repressive Regime.

“The CCP virus has taken life, love, and even enjoyment from the world. It has made people angry, aggressive, and distrusting of others. However, we already know that the human lifestyle won't be able to go back to normal. This was just another outbreak of the CCP virus. The real virus was the birth of the CCP a century ago. The virus of CCP became more dangerous after becoming rich over the last 27 years.” Said Sheng Xue, Vice President of Canadian Coalition Against Communism.

Sheng Xue said “due to my family background, I have closely observed the tyranny and persecution by the CCP in China. When I rose against the oppression, I became the enemy of this state. Those people who dissented are already in jails. I was crazy. I had to run away from China to Canada to save myself. There is a lust for money in the CCP. Many people thought that they could make a lot of money under the Chinese regime, but ended up losing their lives. Xi Jinping is a very arrogant, cruel, and stupid leader. He has offended people more and more. So due to this.

Special Appointee for Human Right at The Tibet Bureau Thinlay Chukki said, “Today China is celebrating the 71st establishment of its foundation. The establishment of a country generally brings about joy to people. However, China’s establishment has led to the persecution of 1.2 million Tibetan and the destruction of 6,000 monasteries. They are working towards the total sinicization of Tibetans.

Director of the Department of Chinese Affairs at World Uighur Congress Ilshat Hassan Kokbore highlighted that around one million to three million Uighurs have been kept under the concentration camps.

“It is a holocaust in itself. After the holocaust by the Nazis, the UN promised that it shall never happen again. However, this is happening again. They also started a war in the free world. Korean War and the Vietnamese War are great examples. They also started expansions within the border as well as outside. India has never been China's neighbour. Since China occupied Tibet and Xinjiang, it became a neighbour of India. China has also launched some proxy wars in Southeast Asia including Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. This is an evil empire. Its evilness and bloodiness are not only limited to the Chinese border - it has stretched its war to the world."

Sharing his views on the difference between the terminologies used to denote Mongolian land captured by China, Director of Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Centre, Enghebatu Togochog, said that Inner Mongolia is the alternate word for denoting Southern Mongolia, used by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

He said, "It has a vast territory, covering more than 2 million sq kms. The Mongolian population is 6 million in Southern Mongolia. Till date, at least 100 thousand Mongolians have been killed or tortured. When China began persecuting Mongolians after annexing Southern Mongolia, around half a million Mongolians were killed. The total population of Mongolians inhabiting the area was one and a half million. China has wiped out millions of nomadic populations in the border areas.”

Gaddi Nishan of Ajmer Sharif Haji Syed Salman Chishty argued that China has indeed indulged in a series of human rights breaches and a series of acts and defiance on international borders and disrespect to the international community. The subversive and oppressive policies towards its own citizens who are looking for a balanced life to live is something to be concerned about. The Uighurs and their plight are known around the world. We don't need to re-emphasise the plight that they are going through. China has always disregarded and disrespected the concerns and implications of aggressions. Whereas, India is a land of peace. This peace is not only for the Indians - but for the world. Which is why we have been known as ‘Vishwagurus - teachers of the world, for centuries. Whereas China has not been able to stand up to world peace.

Former Union Minister and MLA from Arunachal Pradesh Ninong Ering; began by applauding the initiative of ‘Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China’ (IPAC), and said that such an association highlights that the world has now realised that coming together of all the democracies is indeed needed to tackle China.

National Co-Convenor of Swadeshi Jagran Manch Ashwani Mahajan argued that There is a lot of aggression going against China. Though we are 2.5% of Chinese imports, we should also not forget that we are 11.5% of the surplus of Chinese trade. The US accounts for around 83.5% of the trade surplus. Out of 430 billion, 95% of trade surplus comes from both the countries. Once these two countries join hands, the Chinese could be repelled back.

Coordinator of Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China Luke de Pulford expressed his concerns on the growing influence of China in the United Nations and said, “the CCP has strategically rolled out an effort to undertake initiatives of the UN leading to the dependency of the UN agencies on the CCP and coming under it. Currently, at least 15 UN organisations and bodies are being headed by the Chinese nationals. These are huge and important institutions. This is obstructing these agencies to speak up against China.”

The webinar was hosted by a New Delhi based think tank Law and Society Alliance.


passin' thru
New Ghatak Stealth UCAV Model Breaks Cover
Shiv Aroor Oct 04 2020 2 27 pm

A never-before seen model of India’s GHATAK stealth flying wing combat drone has broken cover in a recently uploaded video by the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IIT-Kanpur), the principal academic institution conducting fundamental research on the program.

In February 2018, Livefist had detailed IIT-K’s involvement in the Ghatak program, which you can read in full here — it remains the most detailed report so far on a program first uncovered on this site a decade ago.
The new scale model makes its appearance sitting in the background in a video of an IIT-K lecture on UAV aerodynamics shared last week. The date of the lecture itself is not clear, but the model is the first of the Ghatak with its undercarriage and landing gear. It is also unclear if this is a mock-up or a flying model of the SWiFT (short for stealth wing flying testbed). The model matches the evolution of the Ghatak as Livefist has tracked so far across images and art.

The Ghatak is now a fully funded and sanctioned national defence project, and will likely see large-scale private sector participation going forward, given its many linkages with India’s AMCA fifth generation stealth fighter program. You can read Livefist’s newsbreak here on how the AMCA is to be executed as India’s first public-private joint venture.
Livefist recently had a video out with all of the images so far of the Ghatak, including 2019 and early 2020 images of a model, which were the last time they were seen. You can watch that full video here. which provides a full update on the program and where it’s headed:

Next to the Ghatak model in the video is another smaller model that could be part of aerodynamics research, though significantly less finished than the bigger wheeled model.

Livefist will update this report with details if and when they come in. Our reportage on the Ghatak continues.

Videos at source
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passin' thru
China, Taiwan tensions could result in all-out war with the US
4 Oct, 2020 7:14am
8 minutes to read

The tensions between China and Taiwan explained. Video / TRT World
By: Jamie Seidel

There's unfinished business between China and Taiwan.
It tossed out its emperor. Japan invaded. Then a brutal civil war tore the nation in half. That war never ended. Now it threatens to get hot again, fast.

The prospect featured prominently in the Pentagon's annual report: Years of increasing tension across the Taiwan Strait appear to be coming to a head.

Taiwan's shores are the target of upscaled, intimidatingly regular military exercises by Beijing. Pressure on international forums to ignore Taipei has escalated dramatically. And the fate of Hong Kong has shattered hopes of a peaceful compromise.

Read More

"The Chinese civil war has never ended – it has just shifted means, modes and tempo, and the 'war' has continued to the present day," retired CIA analyst John Culver writes for the Lowy Institute. "[That] unfinished Chinese civil war will re-emerge as not only a military contest. And it's likely that, from the moment the shooting starts, it will cease being the unfinished Chinese civil war and will become the China-US war."

Just how real is the threat?
In this photo released by the Taiwan Ministry of National Defence, a Chinese People's Liberation Army H-6 bomber is seen flying near the Taiwan air defence identification zone. Photo / AP
In this photo released by the Taiwan Ministry of National Defence, a Chinese People's Liberation Army H-6 bomber is seen flying near the Taiwan air defence identification zone. Photo / AP
"We may soon find out," Brookings Institution foreign policy analyst Robert Kagan says.

"There has never been any mystery about what Chinese President Xi Jinping wants because it is what Beijing has wanted for decades: to make the Chinese nation whole again, to subdue opposition in Xinjiang and Tibet, to control the South China Sea and certain strategically located islands in the East China Sea, to regain Hong Kong … and to 'reunite' Taiwan with the mainland under the Chinese Communist Party's rule.

Uncivil relations
The world has changed.

The optimism generated by the collapse of the Soviet Union has long since evaporated.

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China has overcome its fear of being economically isolated from the rest of the world.
The United States is tired of its self-proclaimed role a being a bulwark of democracy and freedom.
Now, 75 years of international order is being torn apart. And Taiwan is on the fault line.
"The Chinese have hoped to accomplish their objectives largely by using their growing economic clout," Kagan says. "Until recently, they were fairly successful."

The world was keen to piggyback China's economic growth.
China's long-simmering
China's long-simmering "civil war" could drag in the US. Photo / Getty Images

It hoped Beijing would "see the light" and steadily conform with the standards, rules and expectations of the international community.
But a cascade of crises has put an end to that dream.
"Many of the understandings, military factors and ambiguous positions that enabled decades of peace, prosperity and democracy on Taiwan are now eroding," Culver writes.

"[This is] due to China's burgeoning economic and military power, Taiwan's consolidating democracy led by the pro-autonomy DPP (Democratic Progressive Party), and burgeoning US determination to play the 'Taiwan card' in its strategic rivalry with China."
And Beijing's relationship with the established world order has broken down.
"The liberal capitalist world has become steadily less enthralled by the money to be made in China and more concerned about Chinese economic competition," Kagan notes.

"That has raised important questions for Xi and his colleagues. If the peaceful, economic route to their goals is closing, is it time to shift to more forceful means? Is it time to start making use of the military capacity they have spent more than two decades and hundreds of billions of dollars building?
"Taiwan is likely to be the place where these questions are answered."

Great powers
Hong Kong has "fallen". The East and South China Seas are on the brink of becoming Beijing's private lakes. India, Nepal and Borneo are contemplating borders redrawn in China's favour.
"What is happening today is exactly what was predicted and exactly what Chinese leaders intended," Kagan argues. "Our outrage, while appropriate, is also embarrassing."

Beijing is exercising its new-found boldness.
And it has the military, technology and economy to back it up.
A CIA analyst believes conflict between China and Taiwan could eventually become a war with the US. Photo / Getty Images
A CIA analyst believes conflict between China and Taiwan could eventually become a war with the US. Photo / Getty Images

"That Xi has now decided to end the Hong Kong charade once and for all has ominous implications for Taiwan," Kagan writes. "China can launch devastating missile strikes against Taiwan in the first 24 hours of a conflict, leaving Taipei a choice between surrendering and holding out to see whether the Americans will arrive in time to prevent total annihilation."
But Culver isn't convinced war is Beijing's only option.

"Tellingly, China's 2005 law laying a foundation for the use of force is an 'anti-secession' law, not a 'reunification law'," he argues.
He sees it as a carefully crafted distinction that aims to preserve the status quo: An independent Taiwan that is isolated from the world community. And it allows Xi to continue his campaign to recast the US as the "world's bully" instead of the "world's police officer".

"Rather than being the 'security guarantor of the Western Pacific', China will seek to make the US the 'insecurity guarantor' disrupting the region's (and the world's) trade, prosperity and peace, and to create doubt and gaps between the US and its allies and partners," Culver writes.

That's not to say continued crises aren't likely.
"[Beijing] can seek the right time and conditions to demonstrate to the people of Taiwan – and Japan, Australia and the US – that the US military cannot prevent or undo China's actions, and either will not put its major military assets into harm's way, or having done so, will suffer surprising and politically devastating losses."

The dogs of war
Whatever form it takes, if a war were to break out, it would be immensely costly, both in human and economic terms.
"The region that has driven global economic growth for the past several decades would become a war zone, breaking global supply chains, transportation links and financial systems," Culver warns.
"Taiwan would be the first battlefield of intensive combat operations between the world's two most powerful military forces in a war that would quickly cease to be primarily about Taiwan's autonomy, prosperity or the lives and livelihoods of its 24 million people."

The implications of war are deep and profound.
Bell AH-1W SuperCobra helicopters manufactured by Textron Inc perform a flyover during the Republic of China Armed Forces' annual Han Kuang military exercise in Taichung, Taiwan. Photo / Getty Images
Bell AH-1W SuperCobra helicopters manufactured by Textron Inc perform a flyover during the Republic of China Armed Forces' annual Han Kuang military exercise in Taichung, Taiwan. Photo / Getty Images

"For the CCP, such a conflict would be about its legitimacy and survival, and the return of China as the dominant power in East Asia. Not contesting probably would not be an option for the CCP," Culver notes.
"For Washington, it would present a Hobbesian choice: Intervene in open-ended, financially ruinous conflict with another nuclear power for the first time and risk unprecedented combat losses, or be seen as standing aside in the face of an assault on a vibrant democracy and its 24 million citizens."
Kagan, however, believes the temptation for Xi to stamp his will on the world is enormous.

"A China in possession of Taiwan would be poised to dominate East Asia and the western Pacific as never before, scrambling the entire global strategic equation," he says.
"This would be a historic accomplishment for Xi, but there are also huge risks. Trying to take Taiwan and failing would be catastrophic, both to Xi personally and possibly to the regime itself."

Time will tell
Decades of diplomatic dithering is culminating in crisis.
After World War II, Washington was keen to stem the rising tide of communism. It took the fight to Korea and Vietnam. It battled to a standstill in Korea. It lost Vietnam.
It was equally keen to contain Communist China. But the alternative wasn't that great, either.
"The US decision not to support unpopular, deeply corrupt KMT leader Chiang Kai-shek – a Second World War ally – in his fight on the mainland hastened the CCP's victory there," Culver writes.
This decision set the scene for a political quagmire.

The US still argues it has no official position on the unity of China. It just wants the two sides to sort out their differences peacefully. And it's prepared to defend Taiwan's right to do so.
Thus was born the idea of "One Nation, Two Systems".
It got that way because Washington sent the Seventh Fleet into the Taiwan Strait during the Korean War. This blocked Communist China from invading the last nationalist enclave.

Ever since, China and Taiwan have been nervously watching each other over an informal "Medial Line" of control down the centre of the Taiwan Strait.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen speaks during a visit to the Penghu Magong military air base in outlying Penghu Island, Taiwan. Photo / AP
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen speaks during a visit to the Penghu Magong military air base in outlying Penghu Island, Taiwan. Photo / AP
"For the past 40 years, in part because of the US commitment neither to support Taiwan independence nor to abandon its former ally, China shifted priorities for its war with Taiwan to building cross-strait relations," Culver says.

Taiwan's nationalist dictatorship crumbled in 1987. Chiang's son had a different outlook to his father. He wanted a healthy, modern economy for his nation. And that, he realised, would only flourish with the lifting of martial law and the eradication of corruption.
So he started the island nation down the path of democracy.

Communism didn't start out all that well for China. Hunger. Political purges. Oppression. Isolation. All constrained the nation until it adopted a policy of "opening up" to the world in the 1990s. Now, self-appointed Communist Party "Core Leader" and Chairman-for-life Xi Jinping, riding high on this economic success, is seeking to impose his version of "Chinese characteristics" on both his empire and the world.
And he's made Taiwan a personal challenge.

"For China, its adversaries' centre of gravity isn't their purely military capacity to blunt an invasion. Instead, it's the will of the Taiwan people and military to fight, and the will and capacity of the US to intervene," Culver says.

See article for video
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passin' thru
Ahead of Jaishankar trip, India is game to formalise Quad dialogue that ruffles China
India will also take a call on Australia’s participation in this year’s Malabar naval exercise in Bay of Bengal later this month.
Updated: Oct 04, 2020 10:34 IST

By Shishir Gupta, Hindustan Times New Delhi

India is not averse to institionalising the Quad dialogue that seeks to establish promote and secure IndoPacific principles particularly against the backdrop of Chinas aggressive moves

India is not averse to institutionalising the interaction between four major democracies committed to securing Indo-Pacific principles and the shared vision on maritime security, cyber, critical technologies, infrastructure, counter-terrorism and regional cooperation, people familiar with the development said ahead of external affairs minister S Jaishankar’s Tokyo visit on Monday for the crucial Quad security dialogue.

“India has no objections to formalising the Quad dialogue with the US, Japan and Australia as the interaction has already been taking place since 2017 with a meeting of foreign ministers taking place on the sidelines of the UNGA in 2019. If the other three members want to institutionalise the dialogue, India is ready to participate,” said a senior official familiar with the government’s thinking on the matter.
While China has tried to drive a wedge between the four countries by calling it an exclusive group and even reaching out to Japan for bilateral economic revival, the vision of Quad was best summed up by US Assistant Secretary of East Asian and Pacific Affairs David Stilwell last Friday. “QUAD seeks to establish, promote and secure Indo-Pacific principles, especially as People’s Republic of China tactics, aggression, and coercion increase in the region,” he said.
Also Read: China on their radar, India, Japan, US, Australia to hold Quad meet on Oct 6

Much as China may attempt to put diplomatic pressure on the group, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, on the eve of his visit to Tokyo, tweeted that Chinese Communist Party’s reckless economic policies and its ruthless suppression of environmental activists have resulted in China’s environmental disasters. The world cannot afford the CCP model of economic development. In a series of tweets on October 3, Pompeo said that China irresponsibly exploits natural resources around the globe, threatening the world’s economy.

Japan’s new Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga also made his preference clear as spoke to Chinese paramount leader Xi Jinping after talking to US, Australia and Indian leadership in his first calls.
All the Quad countries have serious issues with China; India and Japan have territorial differences while Australia and the US are at the receiving end of Beijing’s trade wars.
It is understood that under the Quad critical technology rubric, the four ministers will discuss cooperation in 5G and 5G plus technologies as well as increase interoperability during military exercises in the Indo-Pacific.

India will also take a call on Australia’s participation in this year’s Malabar naval exercise in Bay of Bengal later this month, an official said.
The four foreign ministers will discuss the security environment in the region with India briefing the Quad partners about the stand-off with People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Ladakh region. China has deployed nearly 50,000 troops in occupied Aksai China, Tibet and Xinjiang to put pressure on India to accede to its maximalist 1959 LAC line.
The Modi government has noted the Chinese statement on Ladakh and Kashmir since Article 370 was abrogated on August 5, 2019. It finds Beijing’s suggestion that New Delhi should stay away from the US and by implication, remain a regional power most patronising, arrogant and coming from a rising power that does not understand the civilizational ethos of India.

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passin' thru
Cambodia opens the way for Chinese naval presence

Cambodia demolishes US-built facility at Ream Naval Base in line with a reported 30-year exclusive lease deal with China

by Nate Fischler October 5, 2020

A Cambodian naval officer salutes at the Ream Naval Base in a file photo. Image: Twiiter

The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) and Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) released a report on October 2 detailing the apparent demolition of a US-funded and constructed naval facility at Cambodia’s Ream Naval Base. The base, which opens on to the Gulf of Thailand, is the Cambodian Royal Navy’s largest.
The demolition, exposed in satellite imagery in the ATMI report, comes after Cambodia refused Washington’s offer to repair the US-funded facilities after previously requesting and receiving assistance, most recently in April 2019. Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government later informed the US that it no longer required the funding.
It also comes amid reports that China has secured a 30-year lease of the base, which if true would potentially give China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy a new southern flank in the South China Sea disputes and improve its ability to respond to potential contingencies in the Strait of Malacca, through which an estimated 80% of China’s fuel imports travel. The Cambodian government has denied the reports.
The building in question, the Tactical Headquarters of the National Committee for Maritime Security (NCMS), officially inaugurated in 2012, appears to have been demolished last month. Another US-built facility on the base, the Rigid-Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB) Ramp and Boat Maintenance Facility, inaugurated in 2017, is notably still standing.
The Wall Street Journal reported last July on a reputed early draft of what it termed a “secret deal” between China and Cambodia which would grant the PLA Navy exclusive rights to dock at the Ream Naval Base. The same report said Chinese personnel would be permitted to bear arms and carry Cambodian passports in a 62-acre exclusive Chinese section of the base’s area.

The secret agreement also was purported to contain provisions to relocate the exact US-funded building and facility in question, thus giving new credence to the idea that the early draft was authentic despite Cambodian government denials. The NCMS reportedly inaugurated a new headquarters in May, according to Facebook posts.
Chinese and Cambodian spokespeople have consistently denied the existence of a secret agreement. Hun Sen, citing Cambodian constitution provisions that prohibit the hosting of foreign militaries, called the WSJ and other reports “fake news” and “the worst-ever made-up news against Cambodia” last summer and again this past July.
The Cambodian premier likewise rebuked a letter sent by US Vice President Mike Pence on the issue, forcefully vowing in nationalistic terms that Cambodia will never play host to a foreign military.
Yet the satellite imagery published by ATMI-CSIS would seem to indicate that last July’s report was at least partially accurate on the alleged “secret agreement.”

Hun Sen has plenty of motivation to do China’s bidding. His government is under US and European Union fire for democratic backtracking after dissolving the political opposition on unproven grounds it was conspiring with the US to overthrow the government and holding virtually uncontested elections that have made Cambodia into a de facto one-party state, similar to China’s authoritarian system.

Given his growing economic and political dependence on China to maintain his decades-old strongman rule, Hun Sen’s capacity for independent action on issues Beijing likely sees as crucial to its national security is now very much in doubt, analysts and observers say.
At the very least, the development will raise further concerns among US officials concerning the ambiguity of China’s supposed exclusive access to the strategically crucial naval base, a strategic point between the Indian Ocean, Malacca Strait and the South China Sea.
Initial suspicions and warnings were raised by Joseph Felter, US deputy assistant secretary of defense for South and Southeast Asia.
Last year, Felter penned a letter to Cambodian Minister of Defense Tea Banh, asserting that Cambodia’s reversal of its earlier decision to allow the US to repair and upgrade the facility was an indication of Cambodia’s intention to host Chinese military assets and personnel. The letter, as with Pence’s, was rebuked shortly after.
In response to the news, Admiral Vann Bunlieng, a high-ranking Royal Cambodia Navy official, told the Nikkei Asian Review on October 3 that the Chinese government is merely supporting the expansion of a ship repair facility and providing associated dredging around the base.

However, plans to upgrade the base with China’s help were previously published back in July 2016 by state-owned enterprise the China Metallurgical Group Corporation (MCC Group). The webpage has since been taken down, but the MCC Group had said that it had “signed a cooperation framework agreement” with the Cambodian military to provide expansion work on a “navy military base.”
The waters around the base are currently only fit for smaller craft and significant dredging would be needed in order for larger Chinese warships to navigate the waters.

Cambodian naval personnel on boats berthed at a jetty at the Ream naval base in Preah Sihanouk province on July 26, 2019 during a government organised media tour. Photo: AFP/Tang Chhin Sothy
In his media comments, Admiral Benlieng refused to answer questions about the MCC Group report or about which Chinese companies were involved in the process and working with the Cambodian Ministry of Defense.
Analysts say one such possible partner is the Prince Group, a mammoth Chinese conglomerate that is highly active in the Cambodian domestic economy in various crucial sectors such as real estate and banking.
The Prince Group is developing a resort complex near Ream Bay, and the development involves land reclamation work covering approximately 40 hectares in the immediate land vicinity around the base.

The Prince Group is emblematic of a larger phenomenon whereby large tracts of land around the naval base have been leased out on a long-term basis to Chinese companies in recent years for the officially stated purposes of resort development, though without proper monitoring actual land use cannot be independently confirmed.
The Cambodian Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction announced a $16 billion mega-tourist development around Ream Bay in February as well as an intention to develop Sihanoukville – a tourist beach town – along the lines of Shenzhen, known as the Silicon Valley of China.
The wider plan seeks to link Ream Bay, Otres Beach, Ochheuteal Beach and Dara Sakor Airport into a “significant economic and tourism zone” developed primarily by China. Such economic and tourist activity, Cambodian officials have consistently attested, will not have military or national security applications.
The US Treasury Department sees it differently. Last month, it imposed economic sanctions against China’s Union Development Group, which is now building a $3.8 billion luxury gambling and lifestyle project on the Cambodian province of Koh Kong, on the grounds its Dara Sakor development project could be used to host Chinese military assets.
China’s Embassy in Phnom Penh lambasted the move as a “blatant hegemonic act” that was “based on unwarranted charges.” It said the sanctions would not only “harm the lawful rights and interests of [UDG]” but also “trample on the sovereignty of Cambodia.”
US officials say they have noticed a pattern elsewhere where China invests heavily in a nation’s critical infrastructure, then acquires a valuable piece of waterfront real estate through a Chinese company and claims that such activity is only commercial. It finally uses the site in question to further China’s strategic geopolitical aims, seen for instance in Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
If China is allowed to establish a significant military presence at Ream Base, it would radically transform the crucial maritime region’s balance of power, further threaten freedom of navigation in the South China Sea and potentially split the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), a primary international organization working to forestall armed conflict between the two superpowers.

Beijing is clearly looking to enhance its capacity to enforce its controversial and contested maritime claims and gain a new edge over the Malacca Strait and Taiwan Strait, two areas with the potential for conflict with the US.
With a naval presence in Cambodia overlooking the Gulf of Thailand, China would have the power to threaten and potentially flip US allies in Southeast Asia, namely Thailand and Malaysia. It would also make it more difficult for regional navies to contend with now-normalized Chinese naval encroachments in their own territorial waters.

China’s plans for Cambodia’s Ream Naval Base are still shrouded in ambiguity, but earlier suspicions about Beijing’s intentions and Phnom Penh’s willingness to oblige those strategic requests have become a shade clearer through satellite imagery of a demolished US facility.
Asia Times Financial is now live. Linking accurate news, insightful analysis and local knowledge with the ATF China Bond 50 Index, the world's first benchmark cross sector Chinese Bond Indices. Read ATF now.


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Indo-Pacific News


#Pakistan Selling Bhundar (Bundal) and Dingi Islands in Sindh to #China as per a recent Presidential ordinance Another step furthering #Chinese influence in Pakistan
As per a recent Presidential ordinance & Pakistan Islands Development Authority (PIDA), Pakistan has constituted a body aimed at developing barren islands in the territorial waters of Sindh by China. It's stated that this Ordinance can not be challenged in Pakistani Courts.

northern watch

Has No Life - Lives on TB
Taiwan says military under pressure from China as missions mount
By Yimou Lee, Ben Blanchard
October 5, 202011:41 PM Updated an hour ago

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwan’s military has launched aircraft to intercept Chinese planes more than twice as much as all of last year, the island’s defence ministry said, describing Taiwan as facing severe security challenges from its huge neighbour.

China, which claims democratic Taiwan as its own territory, has stepped up its military activities near the island, responding to what Beijing calls “collusion” between Taipei and Washington.

In the past few weeks, Chinese fighter jets have crossed the mid-line of the Taiwan Strait, which normally serves as an official buffer between the island and the mainland, and have flown into Taiwan’s southwestern air defence identification zone.

In a report to parliament, a copy of which was reviewed by Reuters, Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said so far this year the air force had scrambled 4,132 times, up 129% compared to all of last year, according to Reuters calculations

China “is trying to use unilateral military actions to change the security status quo in the Taiwan Strait, and at the same time is testing our response, increasing pressure on our air defences and shrinking our space for activity,” it said.

The rapid development of China’s military has been accompanied by “targeted” military actions against Taiwan, the ministry added.

China has been particularly angered by growing U.S. support for Taiwan, including senior U.S. officials visiting the island, adding to broader Sino-U.S. tensions.

While Taiwan is unable to compete numerically with China’s armed forces, President Tsai Ing-wen has been overseeing a military modernisation programme, aiming to make the island’s armed forces more nimble and Taiwan more difficult to attack.

Addressing a Taiwan-U.S. defence conference late Monday, Vice Defence Minister Chang Guan-chung said China has been ramping up what he called “realistic training against Taiwan”.

“We are developing systems that are small, numerous, smart, stealthy, fast, mobile, low-cost, survivable, effective, easy to develop, maintain and preserve, and difficult to detect and counter,” he said.

Chang called for enhanced cooperation with the United States that goes beyond weapons sales, saying that would further invigorate Taiwan’s defence reform and military modernisation.

“We will also emphasise joint effort in training, operational concepts, capability assessment, intelligence sharing, and armament cooperation. These are equally important as the acquisition of hardware,” he said.

Reporting by Yimou Lee and Ben Blanchard. Editing by Gerry Doyle