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


passin' thru
Thank you for sharing a bit of your father with us; I'm certain he'd be proud of the man you've become, and the efforts you make to be a "watcher on the wall" for your shared interest.
This thread is dedicated to my father who fought against the Japanese in the Aleutian Islands during WW2.

He believed that WW3 would start in Korea, but not end there.

The lead up to WW2 was 20 years from 1919 to 1939


passin' thru
imagine a case can be made that this is a war related issue, though more complex perhaps than some.
The Geopolitics of Critical Minerals Supply Chains

March 11, 2021

Download the Report

As clean energy technology becomes the latest frontier for geoeconomic rivalry, the security of supply chains for rare earths and critical minerals—essential materials for clean energy—has become a global strategic issue.

The fragility of global supply chains revealed by Covid-19 and rising competition from China have only heightened the importance of supply chain security for critical minerals.

This report compares strategies and actions taken by the United States, European Union, and Japan, illuminating key economic, security, and geopolitical factors behind these evolving approaches to enhance the security of critical minerals supply chains.

northern watch

Has No Life - Lives on TB
Clear and present danger: U.S. 'elites' fail to 'understand the danger China poses'

In this Dec. 4, 2013, file photo, Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, shakes hands with then U.S. Vice President Joe Biden as they pose for photos at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. (AP Photo/Lintao Zhang, Pool, File)
In this Dec. 4, 2013, file photo, Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, shakes hands with then U.S. Vice President Joe Biden as they pose for photos at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. (AP Photo/Lintao Zhang, Pool, File)

By Rowan Scarborough - The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 10, 2021

The Pentagon’s top strategist believes communist China poses an existential threat to the U.S. after abandoning its old strategic policy of “hide and bide” — that is, to mask a burgeoning national military while waiting for the right time to unleash an aggressive foreign policy.

James H. Baker, who directs the Defense Department’s Office of Net Assessment (ONA), sounded the alarm during a private talk in July 2017 before a Japanese-U.S. audience.

On China, Mr. Baker said “the U.S. is presently not well poised to capitalize on this trend, nor is it clear that U.S. elites across the political spectrum understand the danger that China poses as a competitor.”

“Comparative military advantage remains with the United States (and its allies), but is being systematically undermined by increased Chinese investment, focus, training and basing,” Mr. Baker wrote.

Still, he said, China depends on globalization for prosperity, which “will inhibit more radical tendencies.”

As chief strategist for Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Mr. Baker’s secretive office is presumedly producing options and assessments for the next U.S. moves. The two men worked together 10 years ago, when then-Army Lt. Gen. Austin ran the Joint Staff, which reports to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Mr. Baker, then an Air Force officer, was JCS strategic adviser.

Obama aides picked Mr. Baker to head the Office of Net Assessment in 2015. His 2017 talk was titled “Rise of Eurasian Revisionist Powers (Iran, Russia, China) and the Implications for the Japan-U.S. Alliance.”

Mr. Baker in his talk delivered his views on “revisionist” states — China, Russia and Iran — so labeled because they want to upend the global status quo.

“Russia and Iran also do not possess the means, and are unlikely to ever possess the means to permanently change the borders of their neighbors, or to dominate them economically.” he said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin was able to change one border with his invasion and seizure of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014. Iran respects little of its border with Iraq, moving units and equipment through the country to aid militias there and in Syria.

Mr. Baker’s talk also argued that China, Russia and Iran “lack the ability to substantially revise the present international order through violent or coercive means.”

Clear and present danger: U.S. 'elites' fail to 'understand the danger China poses' - Washington Times

northern watch

Has No Life - Lives on TB
War Games Showed US Would "Lose Fast" Against China If It Invaded Taiwan: US General

FRIDAY, MAR 12, 2021 - 18:20

Authored by Frank Fang via The Epoch Times,

A Chinese invasion of Taiwan would be devastating to the U.S. military as a result of Beijing’s aggressive military development in recent years, according to a U.S. Air Force general.

The outcome was based on a classified Pentagon war game simulation carried out over the years, Air Force Lt. Gen. S. Clinton Hinote said in a recent interview with Yahoo News. He said that U.S. forces were losing more quickly in recent simulations after taking into consideration the Chinese regime’s new military capabilities.
“After the 2018 war game, I distinctly remember one of our gurus of wargaming standing in front of the Air Force secretary and chief of staff, and telling them that we should never play this war game scenario [of a Chinese attack on Taiwan] again, because we know what is going to happen,” Hinote said.
“The definitive answer if the U.S. military doesn’t change course is that we’re going to lose fast. In that case, an American president would likely be presented with almost a fait accompli.”
"At that point the trend in our war games was not just that we were losing, but we were losing faster."
Around September 2020, the U.S. Air Force gamed out a conflict set more than a decade in the future, which started with a Chinese biological-weapon attack on U.S. ships and bases in the Indo-Pacific region, according to the outlet. Using military drills as a cover, Beijing then deploys an invasion force to attack Taiwan, while targeting U.S. bases and ships in the region with missile strikes, the outlet said.
Last fall, the U.S. Air Force simulated a conflict set more than a decade in the future that began with a Chinese biological-weapon attack that swept through U.S. bases and warships in the Indo-Pacific region. Then a major Chinese military exercise was used as cover for the deployment of a massive invasion force. The simulation culminated with Chinese missile strikes raining down on U.S. bases and warships in the region, and a lightning air and amphibious assault on the island of Taiwan.
This is the first time that the outcome of that simulation has been made public.

Since President Joe Biden took office on Jan. 20, the Chinese Communist Party has escalated its war-mongering toward Taiwan, a democratic self-ruled island that Beijing claims as a part of its territory. In late January, a Chinese military official threatened war against the island.

Beijing also has sent military planes into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on a nearly daily basis since the start of this year. Most recently on March 10, a Chinese anti-submarine warfare aircraft entered southwestern Taiwan’s ADIZ, according to Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense.

Earlier this week, Adm. Philip Davidson, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, warned during a Senate hearing that the Chinese regime could invade Taiwan in the “next six years.”

When asked by a senator about the United States’ ability to defend Taiwan, Davidson said, “I think our conventional deterrent is actually eroding in the region,” citing the Chinese military’s “vast advances” in size over the past decade, and also in capability.

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy is now larger than the U.S. Navy. By 2025, the PLA is projected to have three aircraft carriers in the Western Pacific to the United States’ one, 12 amphibious assault ships to the United States’ four, and 108 modern multi-warfare combatant ships to the United States’ 12, according to estimates by U.S. Indo-Pacific Command submitted to Congress.

Hinote told Yahoo News that certain adjustments are needed to tilt a possible war with China in favor of the United States. They include moving away from relying on large military bases, ports, and aircraft carriers while fighting the Chinese military, as well as deploying dispersed and mobile forces with large numbers of long-range, mobile strike systems, anti-ship cruise missile batteries, mobile rocket artillery systems, and unmanned mini-submarines, according to Hinote.
What’s more, the adjustments call for greater use of surveillance and reconnaissance sources to allow U.S. policymakers to make quicker decisions.
“If we can design a force that creates that level of uncertainty and causes Chinese leaders to question whether they can accomplish their goals militarily, I think that’s what deterrence looks like in the future,” Hinote said.
Air Force officials didn’t immediately respond to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.

War Games Showed US Would "Lose Fast" Against China If It Invaded Taiwan: US General | ZeroHedge


passin' thru
‘Conversation’ With India Possible Under Conditions, Pakistani Sources Tell Indian Newspaper

The latest report adds to growing expectations that the February 25 ceasefire announcement may indeed be substantive.

Abhijnan Rej

By Abhijnan Rej

March 13, 2021
‘Conversation’ With India Possible Under Conditions, Pakistani Sources Tell Indian Newspaper

Credit: Flickr/Global Panorama
A March 12 Indian Express article has provided interesting details about Pakistan’s expectations from the February 25 ceasefire and the country’s relationship with India going forward. Based on “authoritative sources in Pakistan who did not wish to be identified,” the newspaper has reported that Islamabad expects New Delhi to restore Jammu and Kashmir’s statehood as a starting point for a dialogue.

“This, they said, would then facilitate ‘a conversation’ that would include ‘Kashmiri voices front and center’ on the way forward and open up space potentially for discussions on other bilateral issues,” the newspaper wrote. The report’s sources also noted that the ceasefire was “purely for tactical reasons” – given that the continuing cross-Line of Control firing was failing to make any material difference to the extant situation – and that to link it to a bigger “gland plan” was an erroneous conclusion.

Somewhat contradicting this statement, the Express’ sources did note that the entire Pakistani national security establishment, including the civil and military leadership, backed the ceasefire especially given its potential to lead to “wider engagement” with India, in turn allowing Pakistan to focus on “economic stability,” which has become the latest buzzword in Pakistan’s foreign policy and security strategy.

To be sure, there is no immediate contradiction between Pakistan’s demand that Jammu and Kashmir’s statehood be reinstated, and the Modi government’s position on the matter. In the past, Indian Home Minister Amit Shah has gone on record stating that the centrally-controlled territory carved out of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir in August 2019 “will be accorded the status at an appropriate time.” Interestingly, the Pakistani sources quoted in the Indian Express story did not demand the reinstatement of Jammu and Kashmir’s special autonomous status through Article 370 of the Indian constitution, suggesting a desire to match their asks with likely gives from the Modi government.

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Two additional observations are in order about the Indian Express story. First, it forms the latest in a series of Indian media stories quoting government sources about the ceasefire, one of which was categorically contradicted by the Pakistan government soon after it was published. The Hindustan Times on February 25 had published a story that claimed that the ceasefire was the result of months-long back channel talks between Indian National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his Pakistani counterpart Moeed Yusuf — a claim that Yusuf refuted in a tweet thread within hours of the story’s publication. (The Hindustan Times claims that Yusuf had backtracked on his own earlier confirmation at a briefing for reporters that the ceasefire was the result of a sustained diplomatic engagement.)

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The unmistakable impression from the series of reports based on anonymous sources, both from India as well as Pakistan, is that both sides are quite keen to explain their position to each other’s public but in a way that can be disowned as and when needed. Curiously enough, in an interview to an Indian media outlet October last year – which generated a fair bit of commentary here in New Delhi – Yusuf had suggested that India was interested in talks with Pakistan. At that time, some had noted that Yusuf’s very public suggestion to this effect would have been enough to scuttle its chances given the Modi government’s public position on Pakistan.

The second observation is about an exceedingly odd aspect of the February 25 India-Pakistan joint statement following a call between senior army officers from both sides. To be sure, this was not the first time both sides issued a joint statement through which they recommitted themselves to the 2003 ceasefire – in distinction to identically-worded individual statements, which was the case in 2018. In 2013, a joint statement to that effect was also issued, even though the 2003 ceasefire agreement itself remains informal, with no written commitment accepted by both. (Interestingly, the Pakistan military did not post the February 25 statement on its website as a joint statement, unlike India.)

That said, the February 25 statement noted, “In the interest of achieving mutually beneficial and sustainable peace along the borders, the two DGs[-]MO [director generals of military operations] agreed to address each other’s core issues and concerns which have propensity to disturb peace and lead to violence.” As some analysts had already noted after the statement was issued, the commitment to “address each other’s core issues and concerns” is what gave it an interesting color, given that Pakistan’s core concern (settlement of the Kashmir dispute according to old United Nations Security Council resolutions and the right of Kashmiris to self-determination) would be fundamentally unacceptable to India, irrespective of the party in power in New Delhi. It is therefore unclear what that specific phrasing meant, assuming that it was cleared by both sides at a high, perhaps political, level.

So, to return to the March 12 Indian Express article: While officially both India and Pakistan may be playing down the importance of the February 25 ceasefire recommitment, there is little doubt that something fundamentally new may be afoot this time around.


Doomer Doug

Has No Life - Lives on TB
It is amazing that an official US Pentagon study actually admitted we would get our assess kicked military wise with our enemies. What "usually happens," is the saying, "If you can't succeed, then redefine success." applies. And this study doesn't factor in our elite transgender combat corps, or the fact that Trump really didn't have time to do much to improve military readiness in a measly 3 of 4 years, and as for General Genocide Austin, and Chief of Naval Ops Giday and his pc obsession, well they will slaughter us with their hyper sonic missiles in the first 15 minutes.

I read several "fictional" books about a US/china war Posner? and another one about how an oil field discovered in Africa led to an engagement and our defeat.

Yep, and that was BEFORE all of biden's folly.


passin' thru
Perhaps it is the usual prequel to requesting budget increases? Or, more likely, simply laying the groundwork to explain our tepid and ineffectual response when we step aside and let China have Taiwan (for starters).
Not gonna start on the biden folly- or who dropped the ball and let our armed forces become this SNL skit...I'm ill enough w/o those musings :shk:


passin' thru
Indo-Pacific News - Watching the CCP-China Threat

#China’s Himalayan Salami Tactics China is applying the same strategy on the roof of the world that has driven its expansion in the #SouthChinaSea: gradual territorial encroachments followed by militarized construction.
2) China’s newly built border villages in the Himalayas are the equivalent of its artificially created islands in the South China Sea, whose geopolitical map Xi’s regime has redrawn without firing a shot.
3) China intends to build 624 border villages in disputed Himalayan areas. In the name of “poverty alleviation,” the Communist Party of China is callously uprooting Tibetan nomads and forcing them to settle in artificial new border villages in isolated, high-altitude areas.

northern watch

Has No Life - Lives on TB
Military balance in Indo-Pacific region ‘becoming more unfavourable to US', says Adm Davidson

by Gabriel Dominguez
March 10 2021

US Navy Admiral Philip Davidson, the commander of the US Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM), has warned that the “greatest danger” facing the United States in the Indo-Pacific region is the “erosion of conventional deterrence capabilities vis-à-vis China”.

Testifying before the US Senate Armed Services Committee on 9 March, Adm Davidson warned that “without a valid and convincing conventional deterrent”, China “will be emboldened to take action in the region to supplant US interests”, adding that as the military balance in the Indo-Pacific becomes “more unfavourable” to the US, “we are accumulating additional risk that may embolden our adversaries and competitors to attempt unilaterally changing the status quo”.

”Our deterrence posture in the Indo-Pacific must demonstrate the capability, the capacity, and the will to convince Beijing unequivocally, the costs of achieving their objectives by the use of military force are simply too high,” he said.

In this context, he expressed concern that China’s rapid military modernisation along with its “increasingly assertive military posture to exert pressure and expand its influence across the region” appears to be geared towards “aggression”.

“I see them developing systems, capabilities, and a posture that would indicate that they are interested in aggression … I cannot for the life of me understand some of the capabilities that they’re putting in the field, unless it is an aggressive posture,” he said, adding that he fears Beijing might attempt to seize control of Taiwan before the end of this decade.

Chinese DF-17 ballistic missiles during a military parade held in Beijing on 1 October 2019. USINDOPACOM chief Adm Philip Davidson said on 9 March that the military balance in the Indo-Pacific region is “becoming more unfavourable to the United States”. (Via CGTN video footage)

Chinese DF-17 ballistic missiles during a military parade held in Beijing on 1 October 2019. USINDOPACOM chief Adm Philip Davidson said on 9 March that the military balance in the Indo-Pacific region is “becoming more unfavourable to the United States”. (Via CGTN video footage)

Military balance in Indo-Pacific region ‘becoming more unfavourable to US', says Adm Davidson (
Because it may APPEAR that the hack-attacks are originating from within China, but may NOT be, in actuality.

Most sovereign entities have the ability to conduct a hack-attack against a target of their choosing, while making the hack-attack appear to originate from somewhere else on the international internet - this is not new tech, rather has been true for quite a while.



passin' thru

Martial law imposed in parts of Myanmar city as deaths rise

1 of 19
Anti-coup protesters surround an injured man in Hlaing Thar Yartownship in Yangon, Myanmar Sunday, March 14, 2021. A number of people were shot dead during protests in Myanmar's largest city on Sunday, as security forces continued their violent crackdown against dissent following last month's military coup. (AP Photo)

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Myanmar’s ruling junta has declared martial law in parts of the country’s largest city as security forces killed more protesters in an increasingly lethal crackdown on resistance to last month’s military coup.
At least 38 people were killed Sunday and dozens were injured in one of the deadliest days of the crackdown, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, an independent group tracking the toll of the violence.
Most of those killed — 34 — were in Yangon, where two townships, Hlaing Thar Yar and neighboring Shwepyitha were being placed under martial law.

Video from Hlaing Thar Yar township showed people running away after gunfire was heard. Those fleeing carried one injured person and tried to revive two others, one who seemed to be dead or dying, the footage from independent Democratic Voice of Burma showed.

Hlaing Thar Yar was the location of 22 civilian deaths Sunday, according to the aid group, which said more than a dozen civilians were wounded and described a large number of junta forces engaged in the township.
Since the takeover six weeks ago, Myanmar has been under a nationwide state of emergency, with its civilian leaders ousted and detained and military leaders in charge of all government. But the announcement on state broadcaster MRTV late Sunday appeared to be the first use of the term martial law since the coup and suggested more direct military control of security, instead of local police.

Youtube video thumbnail

The announcement said the State Administrative Council acted to enhance security and restore law and order and said the Yangon regional commander has been entrusted with administrative, judicial and military powers in the area under his command.
Four other deaths were reported in Bago, Mandalay, and the northern city of Hpakant in Kachin state, according to the aid group and local media.

In Yangon, video posted on social media showed crowds of people, some wearing hard hats and gas masks, running down a street amid sounds of gunfire. The demonstrators quickly sprayed vapor from fire extinguishers as they retreated — a tactic widely used to smother tear gas and create a vapor screen that makes it harder for police to pursue or shoot demonstrators.
There were also reports of injuries from live rounds and rubber bullets in other parts of Yangon, including Insein district, where billows of black smoke could be seen after security forces reportedly set roadblocks on fire.
In a new tactic, anti-coup demonstrators used the cover of darkness to hold mass candlelight vigils Saturday and Sunday nights in a Yangon commercial area that was usually the scene of their daytime protests. After-dark rallies were also held in Mandalay and elsewhere.

The protest movement has been grounded in non-violent civil disobedience from the start, with marches and general strikes among its main features. But some protesters have advocated stronger, more agile methods of self-defense — such as holding small rallies that are quick to disband and reunite, and devising cover from fire extinguishers and billowing laundry.
On Saturday, the civilian leader of Myanmar’s government in hiding vowed to continue supporting a “revolution” to oust the military leaders who seized power in the Feb. 1 coup. Mahn Win Khaing Than, who was named the acting vice president by Myanmar’s ousted lawmakers and is a member of deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s political party, addressed the public for the first time since the coup.

“This is the darkest moment of the nation and the moment that the dawn is close,” he said in a video posted on the shadow government’s website and social media.
“In order to form a federal democracy, which all ethnic brothers who have been suffering various kinds of oppressions from the dictatorship for decades really desired, this revolution is the chance for us to put our efforts together,” he said.
He added: “We will never give up to an unjust military, but we will carve our future together with our united power. Our mission must be accomplished.”

At the end of the message, he flashed the three-finger salute that has become a symbol of resistance to the military rulers.
The aid group’s tally of Sunday’s victims appeared to raise beyond 100 the number of civilians killed by security forces since the coup. Confirmation is nearly impossible in the country due to the security situation and a crackdown on independent media, but various groups have carefully compiled tallies with similar figures.
The actual death toll is likely higher, as police apparently seized some bodies, and some victims have had serious gunshot wounds that medical staff at makeshift clinics would be hard-pressed to treat. Many hospitals are occupied by security forces, and as a result are boycotted by medical personnel and shunned by protesters.

Police have also aggressively patrolled residential neighborhoods at night, firing into the air and setting off stun grenades as an intimidation tactic. They have also taken people from their homes in targeted raids with minimal resistance. In at least two known cases, the detainees died in custody within hours of being hauled away.

Posted For Fair Use



passin' thru
..same ole same ole, I think..

Global: MilitaryInfo


North Korea has said that South Korea has sent them a serious challenge and they will have to deal with the consequences of starting such drill. They are aware of all drills and are ready to make them pay dearly at an appropriate time. The authorities have crossed a red line.
Walther PPK


Replying to

northern watch

Has No Life - Lives on TB
How To Avoid "The Unthinkable": US-China Summit In Alaska Will Take Up Explosive Taiwan Issue

MONDAY, MAR 15, 2021 - 11:30 PM

Days ahead of Thursday's high-stakes summit in Alaska between Biden's national security team and top Chinese officials which will include Secretary of State Antony Blinken and director of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission Yang Jiechi, each side already has conflicting visions in terms of expectations. Washington has recently rejected China's calling it a "strategic dialogue" while most China watchers say any kind of hoped-for diplomatic breakthrough is very unlikely.

And looming large over the meeting is the Taiwan issue, particularly after the top US commander over the Indo-Pacific region of operation Admiral Phil Davidson gave testimony on the growing China threat before a Senate panel last week wherein he said based on China's current military expansion he sees a Chinese move on Taiwan "in the next six years."

His assessment echoed recent statements of other top Pentagon brass over the past year or so of an invasion in "a few years time". In its preview of Thursday's summit, Politico underscores that "It’s a timeline they say has been accelerated by the Trump administration’s repeated provocation of Beijing, China’s rapid military build-up, and recent indications that Taiwan could unilaterally declare its independence from the mainland." As we saw over the past year in Hong Kong with the large-scale protests and independence movement, we know what that will mean in terms of a Chinese response.

Chinese military helicopters and fighter jets in training exercise, via AP

Further Politico emphasizes, "Such an invasion would be an explosive event that could throw the whole region into chaos and potentially culminate in a shooting war between China and the United States, which is treaty-bound to help Taiwan defend itself against Beijing."

The most idealistic reading of the Alaska summit could see the start of talks that might mark a cooling period between the two powers over Taiwan, particularly after on a weekly or even near-daily basis Chinese fighter jets and bombers have made provocative incursions into the island-republic's airspace. At the same time the US has sailed warships through the contested Taiwan Strait sometimes multiple times a month over much of the past half-year.

"War over Taiwan would be unthinkable," Eric Sayers of the American Enterprise Institute was quoted in the report as saying. "A major challenge Washington faces is that Taiwan has been viewed by many as a 2035 planning problem. … The [Chinese army’s] capabilities have now matured to such a degree that this is no longer a dilemma we can afford to push off."

So on the radar Thursday is how to avoid precisely this "unthinkable" scenario, though with each side unwilling to abandon their hardened rhetoric, including the 'defending democracy' rhetoric that guides Washington, which China has lately condemned as a violation of the 'One China' policy (or more particularly the steady US weapons sales to Taipei that goes along with it).

China will invade Taiwan under Biden because of Trump, got it.
— Max Abrahms (@MaxAbrahms) March 16, 2021
The other pressing and awkward elephant sure to be in the room is the fact that Biden has largely kept Trump's aggressive policies in place regarding relations with Beijing, including sanctions of top officials related to the Hong Kong crackdown. This is sure to be a non-starter in terms of any breakthrough with China. Politico continues:

The new Biden team knows the U.S. is in a competition with China, and Beijing’s coercion of Taiwan will be a major point of discussion. For now, they are keeping pressure on Beijing applied by Trump through tariffs and sanctions. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken are in Japan for the first stop on a joint visit to Asia, where countering China’s rise will be at the top of the agenda. The two will travel next to South Korea, before Austin heads to India and Blinken to Alaska, where he will be joined by national security adviser Jake Sullivan.
And the sanctions have gone the other way too...

But this is precisely what helps put the two sides on a collision course in Taiwan and the South China Sea. One senior Pentagon official was quoted anonymously by Politico further as pointing out, "If we interject ourselves, we are the reagent catalyst that will make this problem hotter."

"Militarily we know that if we do too much, push too hard, China will use that optic and they will do more against Taiwan," the official added.

Finally, Politico asks: "So what’s the answer?" And offers: "Top US and Japanese officials are expected to send a strong message to their Chinese counterparts over Beijing’s coercive measures in the region during the Alaska summit. The US can’t afford to do nothing, as China pressures Taiwan on both the military and economic fronts."

How To Avoid "The Unthinkable": US-China Summit In Alaska Will Take Up Explosive Taiwan Issue | ZeroHedge


passin' thru

northern watch

Has No Life - Lives on TB
America Is Headed to a Showdown Over Taiwan, and China Might Win
A new Council on Foreign Relations report is a strong warning about Biden’s looming first foreign-policy crisis.
By Max Hastings
March 13, 2021, 11:00 PM PST

The world has now endured upheaval by a pandemic for a full year, and the aftershocks will continue long after most people finally receive the vaccine to Covid-19. Thus, you may say, this is no time to frighten the horses by highlighting another peril. However, just as nothing says that if tragedy strikes a family once, it cannot do so again — ask the Kennedys — so fate can be mean on mercy, when it comes to epochal threats.

The Council for Foreign Relations has published a new report by two respected public servants, which urges the imminence of the risk of conflict between China and U.S. over Taiwan. That territory, 90 miles off China’s coast and inhabited by 24 million people, is not a nation, but for decades has been an unofficial American protectorate.

“During 2020,” write Robert D. Blackwill and Philip Zelikow, “we came to believe that a crisis was building over Taiwan and that it was becoming the most dangerous flashpoint in the world for a possible war that involved the U.S., China and probably other major powers … The horrendous global consequences … should preoccupy the Biden team, beginning with the president.”

The White House seems to agree. President Joe Biden held a virtual meeting with the leaders of Australia, India and Japan — the first summit of the so-called Quad since 2017. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin are about to visit Japan and South Korea; next week in Alaska, Blinken will have the administration’s first face-to-face talks with the Chinese. Meanwhile, on Wednesday, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer conducted one of the U.S. Navy’s routine exercises to reassert its right of passage through the Taiwan Strait.

The new analysis from Blackwill, who has held a bevy of high government positions including deputy national security adviser to President George W. Bush, and Zelikow, the executive director of the 9/11 Commission, comes none too late. “Taiwan,” they write, “is one of the most successful societies on Earth.” Yet few Americans likely understand why the U.S. would risk war with China to protect it.

No matter that it might be possible to prevent such a showdown from going nuclear, or even from becoming a general conflict: The economic fallout would be horrendous. A clash between China and the West would almost certainly provoke cyberattacks, even if nobody fires guns.

A major cyberattack on the U.S. financial system could cost 2.5 times daily gross domestic product, according to the New York Federal Reserve. A cyber-induced blackout affecting just 15 U.S. states might cost up to $1 trillion in damage, not to mention many deaths resulting from disruption to health care, traffic and industry, suggests a projection by Cambridge University and Lloyds.

Coincidentally, just before the council’s study was published, I received an email from an Australian strategy guru who asked: “How do you rate the chances of getting through this decade without a Taiwan crisis?” He himself thought: poor.

A few years ago, during a period in which I frequently visited China, I was struck by how often ordinary Chinese raised the Taiwan issue. Their concern reflected years of state propagandizing. Westerners should understand that when President Xi Jinping rattles sabers, as he does with increasing frequency, he commands genuine popular support. Taiwan evokes the sort of sentiment among his people that Cuba did among Americans 60 years ago — and look where that story nearly ended.

Xi said two years ago that China would do its utmost to achieve peaceful reunification. However he added, “We do not renounce the use of force and reserve the option of taking all necessary measures.” Blackwill and Zelikow take him at his word:

China is now in a prewar tempo of political and military preparations. We do not mean that we know that China is about to embark on a war. We simply observe that the Chinese government is taking actions that a country would do if it were moving into a prewar mode. Politically, it is preparing and conditioning its population for the possibility of an armed conflict.
Xi may not yet have decided whether to trigger drastic action towards Taiwan. But China’s aggressive behavior in the South China Sea, and in disputes with India and Japan, shows a high tolerance for risk.

There are legitimate fears that China will seek to exploit perceived Western weakness and disarray to foreclose the Taiwan dispute on its own terms. After four years of name-calling by President Donald Trump, the Biden administration needs a considered strategy toward Beijing, which America’s allies have long called for.

For more than four decades, the U.S. has sustained a policy of strategic ambiguity about Taiwan. Washington hasn’t provoked Beijing by challenging the One China principle accepted by President Richard Nixon half a century ago. Even Trump, speaking in August 2020, declined explicitly to commit U.S. forces to defend the island if it was attacked, saying only, “China knows what I’m going to do.”

In perhaps the most important passage of the Council on Foreign Relations report, the authors caution against an explicit U.S. pledge to commit its own forces in the event of a Chinese invasion. Instead, they urge assistance for the Taiwanese to strengthen their own defenses, which are run down. Taipei’s current capabilities do not offer a credible deterrent to a surprise assault from the mainland. Among other things, such assistance would include supplying a network of sensors and missiles capable of providing a tripwire, time-buying defense, similar to what the West prepared for Berlin in the Cold War.

Many in the Taipei leadership assume they can rely on a swift and overwhelming U.S. military response to Chinese aggression. Yet a former chief of staff of the island’s military, Admiral Lee Hsi-ming, has correctly challenged this strategy, saying: “All I can hear is that the United States will intervene. What reason is there to believe that the United States will sacrifice the lives of its own children to defend Taiwan? My best bet is my own strength, to stop people from bullying me.”

It is a recurring weakness of U.S. foreign policy to determine courses for other nations, often with little or no consultation with allies. Through two decades of decision-making in Indochina, for instance, no Vietnamese leader was invited to the key Washington meetings. The Council on Foreign Relations study argues that Taiwan’s independence can be protected only by a diplomatic and military strategy that has commitments from Australia, South Korea and, above all, Japan. The Australians need no awakening: They are suffering diplomatic abuse and Chinese harassment following their fierce criticism of Beijing’s recent behavior.

The Japanese are moving slowly away from their post-World War II rejection of rearmament. They recognize a need to be capable of confronting, or at least deterring, Chinese naval and military initiatives, not least against the disputed Senkaku Islands. Blackwill and Zelikow write, “We believe Japan would regard a violent Chinese takeover of Taiwan as a threat to the vital interests of Japan, even to its future independence and existence.”

It seems significant, and welcome, that Biden’s first important foreign visitor to the White House is reportedly to be Japan’s prime minister, Yoshihide Suga. It will be surprising if Taiwan is not prominent on the agenda for their meeting, which may take place next month.

Taiwan is excluded from many international organizations, denied observer status by the World Health Organization and membership of the criminal-information exchange Interpol, because such bodies are unwilling to cause friction with Beijing. The council report urges the U.S. to conclude a bilateral trade agreement with Taipei, and also integrate it into the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, which the U.S. abandoned under the Trump administration.

A reader of the Blackwill-Zelikow report who is not Taiwanese or American may well notice one big omission from its 65 alarming pages. Nowhere do the authors stress an issue that looms large in the eyes of the rest of the world: the possible validity of Chinese claims.

For two centuries, Taiwan was Chinese-ruled, until seized by Japan in 1895 as part of its wider Asian land grab. In 1945, when the Japanese were dispossessed, Washington did not hesitate to deliver Formosa, as it was then known, to China’s Nationalist leader, Chiang Kai-shek, America’s foremost Asian client.

In 1949, when Chiang suffered defeat at the hands of Mao Zedong in China’s civil war, the generalissimo retired to Formosa with his remaining supporters, and made it a personal fiefdom. He sustained the myth of his own legitimacy as president of all China, solely thanks to the might of the U.S. Navy, which made it impossible for Beijing’s forces to unseat him. Until his death in 1975, Chiang and his Kuomintang Party ruled Taiwan as a dictatorship, harshly regulated by martial law.

Yet in 1972, Nixon visited China, and seven years later the U.S. belatedly acknowledged the Chinese Communist Party as the legitimate government. Ever since, the U.S. has been formally committed to the “One China” policy, while continuing to assert the minority right of the Taiwanese to autonomy.

Taiwan’s martial law was abolished in 1987. For the past quarter of a century, it has been a vibrant democracy. It endorses religious diversity, and behaves as a responsible international actor. Its technological achievements are remarkable, especially in the field of chip manufacture, in which it is a decade ahead of China.

The question today is whether the human rights of the Taiwanese and the economic triumph of their society can be sustained against Xi’s impatience to assert control.

Almost three decades ago, China and Britain signed a “one nation, two systems” treaty, establishing terms for the 1997 handover of Hong Kong to Beijing. Optimists argued that it would suit the mainland to govern the former British colony with a light touch — that the treaty terms would be respected, if only to serve Chinese economic interests. This hope has been dashed. Beijing has crushed freedoms and Hong Kong’s treaty right to semi-autonomy.

The people of Taiwan have taken heed — indeed, they are appalled. They want friendly relations with the mainland, because of the close cultural bond, as well as their own self-preservation. Xi’s recent record, however, gives the clearest warning that if Taiwan becomes once more subject to Beijing, its inhabitants will be governed as cruelly as the rest of China’s 1.4 billion people.

Can the wishes and human rights of the Taiwanese people prevail over the power and iron will of the new China? Blackwill and Zelikow have no doubt that while Washington should avoid direct provocations, it should also seek to create a military and political reality that raises the price of an enforced mainland takeover too high to be acceptable even to Xi.

They cite the precedent of Czechoslovakia, which Britain and France permitted Hitler to seize by installments between October 1938 and March 1939, allegedly to assert the rights of the country’s ethnic German minority. The lesson Hitler took home from the infamous deal struck at Munich was that aggression paid; a few months later, he invaded Poland. Britain and France, realizing that his demands were insatiable, then belatedly declared war.

The authors argue that, just as 1938 Czechoslovakia’s fate was sealed by Britain’s lack of will to fight for it, so Taiwan’s future now depends upon American strength and consistency of purpose. I am unconvinced, as a historian, by this comparison. The relationship between China and Taiwan is not analogous with that between Germany and Czechoslovakia. The latter was an independent country, and its majority had little social and cultural affinity with its conquerors. The U.S. may find it hard to persuade the rest of the world to stay in town for a High Noon with Beijing, unspeakably ugly though a Beijing takeover of Taiwan would be.

Moreover, the circumstances created by the pandemic and America’s profound political divisions make it hard, perhaps impossible, for the Biden administration to focus with conviction on foreign policy. The hardest part of the council report’s recommendations to fulfil would be re-arming Taiwan without precipitating a violent Chinese response.

Diplomatic dialogue between Washington and Beijing has almost broken down, not least because China’s representatives have become so rude and aggressive, apparently uninterested in compromises. There is no hope of a grand bargain between the two sides, but they need to get talking again, if only to clarify positions.

The best chance of deflecting a Chinese assault is surely not military. Even if the White House summoned the will to commit U.S. forces against Chinese aggression, they might not prevail in Xi’s backyard. The goal should be deterrence, with a focus on economic incentives for improved Chinese relations with the U.S. A forcible occupation of Taiwan would incur a massive cost to all parties.

Unfortunately, recent history — the oppression of Uighur Muslims in Western China, for example —suggests that Xi is willing to bear economic pain, and to shrug off international abuse, in order to assert and extend Chinese power. The world will be fortunate to escape a Taiwan showdown. Whether or not we accept Blackwill and Zelikow’s prescriptions, they are right that the U.S. needs urgently to dust off its options to meet a looming threat.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.
To contact the author of this story:
Max Hastings at

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Tobin Harshaw at

Max Hastings: China Might Defeat America In War Over Taiwan - Bloomberg
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northern watch

Has No Life - Lives on TB
Taiwan bolsters South China Sea deployments, gets U.S. submarine parts approval

By Yimou Lee, Ben Blanchard
MARCH 16, 20218:44 PM

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwan’s newly-appointed defence minister said on Wednesday it has strengthened deployments in the disputed South China Sea and that the United States has approved the export of sensitive technology to equip Taiwan’s new submarine fleet.

China, which claims democratic Taiwan as its own territory, has increased its military activity near the island in recent months seeking to pressure Taipei to accept Beijing’s sovereignty. Taiwan has vowed to defend itself.

Speaking in parliament, Defence Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng, who took up his post last month, said Taiwan has increased personnel and armaments on Itu Aba, the main island Taiwan occupies in the South China Sea

Itu Aba, also known as Taiping island, is the largest naturally occurring island in the Spratleys and is garrisoned by Taiwan’s Coast Guard.

“They are capable of starting a war,” Chiu told the parliament when asked by a lawmaker on whether China could attack Taiwan. “My goal is for us to be ready at all times.”

Chiu said Taiwan was bolstering its position there due to China’s “expansionism” in the region, though it was not currently considering a return to a permanent army garrison.

China has built man-made islands in the South China Sea and air bases on some of them. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei all have competing claims in the strategic waterway.

Separately, Chiu said that the United States had approved export permits for all of the sensitive equipment needed by Taiwan’s indigenous submarine fleet, which it started building last year.

He added that Taiwan’s arms purchases from the United States - the island’s main source of weapons - had not been impacted by the new Biden administration taking office in Washington and were continuing.

Taiwan is modernising its armed forces, especially as it face almost daily challenges from China in the airspace and waters near the island, including frequent Chinese air force missions into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone.

Chiu said these missions were part of China’s war of attrition against Taiwan, whose forces are dwarfed by Beijing’s, and defence forces were already adjusting on how to deal with such incursions, though did not give details.

“If we match them one for one, it costs a lot,” he said.

Reporting by Yimou Lee and Ben Blanchard; Editing by Kim Coghill

Taiwan bolsters South China Sea deployments, gets U.S. submarine parts approval | Reuters
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northern watch

Has No Life - Lives on TB
Taiping Island, also known as Itu Aba, and also known by various other names, is the largest of the naturally occurring Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. The island is elliptical in shape being 1.4 kilometres (0.87 mi) in length and 0.4 kilometres (0.25 mi) in width, with an area of 46 hectares (110 acres). It is located on the northern edge of the Tizard Bank (Zheng He Reefs; 鄭和群礁). The runway of the Taiping Island Airport is easily the most prominent feature on the island, running its entire length.

northern watch

Has No Life - Lives on TB
China, U.S. Trade Barbs at First High-Level Talks Under Biden; Blinken reads a list of Washington's issues with Beijing, China delegation tells U.S. to examine its problems with racism

Thursday, March 18, 2021, 8:36 PM ET
By William Mauldin and Chun Han Wong
Wall Street Journal

ANCHORAGE, Alaska—The U.S. and China began their first high-level meeting under the Biden administration with an acrimonious exchange of words, setting an abrasive tone as the two powers try to stabilize tense relations.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken , in opening the talks Thursday, read a list of Washington's problems with China, citing cyberattacks, China's crackdown on Hong Kong and threats against Taiwan. These activities, he said, "threaten the rules-based order that maintains global stability."

Yang Jiechi, a member of the Communist Party's ruling body, shot back that the U.S. should examine its problems with racism and stop promoting its version of democracy around the world. "The United States does not represent international public opinion and neither does the western world," said Mr. Yang in a quarter-hour-long statement.

The two-day meeting was billed in advance by U.S. officials as a chance to air divisive issues as the two sides look to delimit their rivalry and mark out areas for cooperation. The topics cover an array of friction points—from technology to China's military muscle-flexing—that in the last year of the Trump administration sent relations between the two powers to their lowest point in decades. A senior U.S. official afterward accused Mr. Yang of grandstanding.

Ahead of the talks, the Biden administration underscored its intention to sustain a tough-minded approach to China. Mr. Blinken traveled to Japan and South Korea this week to display the strength of U.S. alliances and draw attention to what he called China's "coercion and aggression" in the region.

The administration this week also sanctioned senior Chinese legislators for setting laws undermining Hong Kong's limited autonomy from Beijing and served subpoenas on Chinese companies over national security concerns.

"A big part of the strategy is approaching our relationship with China from a place of strength," White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters in Washington on Thursday.

During the talks, Mr. Yang and Foreign Minister Wang Yi plan to urge Mr. Blinken and national security adviser Jake Sullivan to roll back many of the punitive policies the Trump administration put in place on Chinese entities and individuals, according to people with knowledge of the plans.

Given the tensions, both sides have lowballed expectations for the meeting, with both agreeing on the importance of talking face-to-face and looking to stem a further deterioration in ties. The U.S. and Chinese senior officials don't plan to release a joint statement following the talks, according to U.S. officials, and they won't dine together between Thursday's afternoon and nighttime meetings due to the coronavirus.

Anchorage, a refueling stop for Mr. Blinken on his way back from Seoul, was also chosen as a venue, because holding the meeting on U.S. soil gave the Biden administration more influence over the setup, administration officials said.

The last high-level in-person meeting took place more than eight months ago in Hawaii during the Trump administration, when conflict was spreading across the breadth of relations—on trade, technology, human rights, the Covid-19 pandemic and China's aggressive actions toward Taiwan and other neighbors.

Relations have remained tense since, though Beijing has hoped that the Biden administration would prove more predictable, if not more manageable, than its predecessor.

At the least, Beijing has cast the meeting as a chance to dial down the rancor after the Trump administration's efforts to curtail China's global influence and portray the Communist Party as a threat to the rest of the world.

"Even if we cannot work things out anytime soon, such exchange of views will help boost trust and dispel misgivings," Chinese Premier Li Keqiang , the Communist Party leadership's No. 2 official, said at a news conference last week.

Upfront, the U.S. said it would raise difficult issues. On the U.S. list, according to a senior administration official, are China's mass incarceration and surveillance of Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region and the Chinese military's stepped-up military activities around Taiwan, as well as Hong Kong—all issues Beijing has said are internal affairs that the U.S. shouldn't meddle in.

Expectations, however, look mismatched on hoped-for outcomes. Beijing has billed the talks as a "high-level strategic dialogue," a term applied to periodic discussions started under President George W. Bush , expanded under President Barack Obama and then scotched by President Donald Trump as a counterproductive talk shop in his view.

Messrs. Yang and Wang plan to propose a new framework for recurring, annual discussions between the governments on economic, security and other issues, according to the people with knowledge of the plans.

The Biden administration has pre-emptively said "no." A senior administration official said in Anchorage that the U.S. doesn't see the meetings as the beginning of a "capital-D dialogue," although areas of potential cooperation may emerge.

President Biden and his senior officials have said they will take a firm approach toward China, competing for global influence while cooperating on areas such as climate change or the pandemic if it makes sense. A reliance on allies, as displayed on Mr. Blinken's travels to Tokyo and Seoul along with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, is central to the strategy.

Both Mr. Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping are confronting domestic issues that give each a reason to limit confrontation, according to foreign policy specialists. Mr. Biden wants his administration to concentrate foremost on the pandemic and strengthening the economic recovery.

Meanwhile, the Republican opposition aims to elevate China as a critical policy issue to challenge Mr. Biden, and American public opinion about China has grown negative along with tensions between the governments.

Mr. Xi faces a pivotal phase in his nearly decadelong rule of the Communist Party. His leadership team is preparing to celebrate the party's centenary in July, host the Winter Olympics early next year and consolidate China's economic recovery ahead of a party congress later next year, when Mr. Xi is expected to seek a third term as leader.

While Mr. Xi and other officials have in recent months played up perceptions that "the East is rising and the West is declining," citing the Communist Party's perceived superiority in governance, they have also warned that the U.S. remains a potent long-term threat to Chinese interests and urged party members to be on guard.

"From China's perspective, they really hope that China-U.S. relations can be reset, but from Biden's perspective, there's almost no possibility of this," said Zhu Feng, a professor of international relations at Nanjing University.

Regardless of Beijing's wishes, Mr. Trump brought lasting changes in how Washington deals with China, said Mr. Zhu: "Treating China as a major threat and rival is a matter of bipartisan consensus in the U.S."

Write to William Mauldin at and Chun Han Wong at

China, U.S. Trade Barbs at First High-Level Talks Under Biden - WSJ


passin' thru
New York Post


US-China diplomacy talks off to contentious start: report

US-China diplomacy talks off to contentious start: report

By Jesse O’Neill

March 18, 2021 | 11:30pm | Updated

Enlarge Image
The opening session of US-China talks at the Captain Cook Hotel in Anchorage, Alaska.

The opening session of US-China talks at the Captain Cook Hotel in Anchorage, Alaska. AP

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The first high-level diplomacy talks between the Biden administration and Chinese government kicked off with an abrasive exchange, as the world powers seek to ease tense relations, according to the Wall Street Journal.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken tallied off Washington’s problems with China during the start of Thursday’s talks, reportedly citing cyberattacks, the Chinese crackdown in Hong Kong and threats against Taiwan.
Bejing’s actions “threaten the rules-based order that maintains global stability,” Blinken said, according to the Journal.
Yang Jiechi, a member of the Communist Party’s ruling body, reportedly fired back at the US, saying it has a problem with racism and should not impose its ideals on the rest of the world.
The US’s top diplomat reportedly conceded that the country “is not perfect,” but added the US deals with its problems in the open.
As reporters started to leave the Anchorage summit, Yang called for them to wait while he waved his finger and protested the remarks, which he called condescending, the Journal reported.
The two-day meeting was billed by Washington as a chance to find middle ground after relations during the Trump administration sunk to a their lowest point in decades.
Blinken traveled to Japan and South Korea this week along with defense officials to bring attention to the strength of the US’s Asian alliances in response to North Korea’s nuclear agenda and China’s“ coercion and aggression” in the region, the newspaper said.

“A big part of the strategy is approaching our relationship with China from a place of
strength,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters in Washington on Thursday, according to the report.



The Chinese delegation, led by Yang Jiechi, center, director of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission Office, and Wang Yi, left, China's Foreign Minister.
Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Chinese officials reportedly plan to ask diplomats to reverse punitive policies enacted by the Trump administration. Both sides have lowered expectations for the event amid the tension, and officials have declined to release a joint statement or dine together due to coronavirus concerns.

The Beijing diplomats are hoping the Biden administration will be easier to deal with and more predictable than the previous government, which antagonized China over trade, technology, human rights, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Even if we cannot work things out anytime soon, such exchange of views will help boost trust and dispel misgivings,” Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, the Communist Party leadership’s second highest official, said last week, according to the paper.

The Biden White House has already rejected a Chinese proposal for recurring, annual
discussions between the governments on economic, security and other issues, with a senior official telling the Wall Street Journal the meetings are not the beginning of a “capital-D dialogue.”