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

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NK NEWS
@nknewsorg

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DPRK state media claims that the country faces severe drought this year, but that might not be the entire story around its agricultural issues. "North Korea may be struggling because of bad water management and irrigation systems," said
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China accuses Australia of having ‘ulterior motive’ when it voices concern about draft Solomons pact

  • Statement from the Chinese embassy in Honiara says Beijing welcomes the Pacific nation ‘to take a ride on China’s economic development express’
  • Any claim a naval base would be built in the Solomons was ‘a fake news story’, according to Chinese foreign ministry spokesman

Laura Zhou



Laura Zhou
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Published: 9:00pm, 11 May, 2022



Australian incumbent Prime Minister Scott Morrison said this week his country was “very aware of what the Chinese government’s ambitions are in the Pacific”. Photo: Reuters

Australian incumbent Prime Minister Scott Morrison said this week his country was “very aware of what the Chinese government’s ambitions are in the Pacific”. Photo: Reuters

Beijing has accused Australia of having an “ulterior motive” after Prime Minister Scott Morrison expressed concerns over a leaked draft agreement between China and the Solomon Islands aimed at further strengthening ties.
“China welcomes Solomon Islands to take a ride on China’s economic development express and strengthen cooperation in economy, trade and other fields,” the spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in Honiara said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Some people are indifferent to the real challenges and development needs of the Pacific Island countries such as Solomon Islands, but are keen to dictate the normal exchanges and cooperation between China and the Islands, obviously with ulterior motives,” the official said.
“I believe the people of the Pacific Island countries can see that clearly.”









China confirms signing of Solomon Islands security pact, as US warns of regional instability
On Monday, The Australian newspaper reported it had obtained a draft copy of a four-page “memorandum of understanding on deepening blue-economy cooperation” between China and Solomon Islands.




Dated 2022, the document, which is not yet signed, stated the two sides would “encourage business to conduct investment cooperation in blue economy” in multiple areas, including distant sea fishing, seawater desalination, wharves, submarine optical cable construction, shipbuilding and ship repair, ocean transport as well as wind power and exploration and the development of offshore oil, gas and mineral resources.
It also said the two countries would promote more pragmatic and efficient policies and support business “to jointly establish marine economic cooperation parks and deep-sea fishing bases”, while businesses would be encouraged to accelerate green and low-carbon transformation and increase investment in green technologies.
Australia’s neighbours at risk of being ‘controlled’, spy chief warns

10 May 2022


Asked if Australia was aware of the negotiations between China and the Solomon Islands, Morrison said on Monday that his country was “very aware of what the Chinese government’s ambitions are in the Pacific, whether it be in relation to facilities such as that or naval bases or other presence of their military in the Pacific”.

“I mean they’re doing this all around the world. I don’t think there’s any great secret about that,” Morrison said at a press conference in Nowra in the South Coast region of New South Wales.
“I can tell you we are very aware of what is happening within our region and we’re very aware of the pressures there are that the Chinese government is seeking to put on countries right across our region.”
Relations between China and Australia, already strained by disputes over trade, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Xinjiang, were further complicated after Beijing announced last month it had signed a security deal with the Solomons as part of its commitment to helping the South Pacific island country “strengthen its capacity building to maintain its own security”, raising concerns that would allow China to deploy a naval base in the region.









Australian troops and police deployed to Solomon Islands amid general unrest and Chinatown blaze
Beijing has repeatedly said the security pact does not target any third party. Zhao Lijian, spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry, said on Wednesday that any claim a naval base would be built “was nothing but a fake news story made up by a few people with ulterior motives”.

Earlier, Morrison warned that establishing a Chinese military base in the Solomons, which is less than 2,000km (1,240 miles) from Australia, would be crossing a “red line”.

In a recent video-link meeting, a “responsible official” from the department of North American and Oceanian affairs within the Chinese foreign ministry told a counterpart with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s South Pacific affairs that “South Pacific islands are not the ‘backyard’ of any country”, according to a readout by the Chinese foreign ministry on Monday.
Japan and UK agree on defence pact amid China’s rise in Indo-Pacific

6 May 2022


The security pact was “not in conflict” with existing regional security cooperation arrangements, the Chinese diplomat said.

“China is a direct stakeholder in the security of the South Pacific region. China has no selfish interests in the South Pacific, does not seek ‘spheres of influence’ or engage in bullying and coercion, and will unswervingly advance practical cooperation with South Pacific island countries in various fields.”
Please see source for videos
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Kim Orders Lockdown After North Korea Reports First Covid Case
  • Kim’s regime has long denied that it has had a Covid case
  • Country has refused vaccines offered by international agency
By
Jeong-Ho Lee and
Sangmi Cha
May 11, 2022, 7:02 PM CDTUpdated onMay 11, 2022, 8:53 PM CDT
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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered all cities to be put under lockdown after the state for the first time Thursday said it has Covid-19 in its borders.
“A serious situation has been created due to the introduction of a stealth omicron mutant virus into our precincts,” its official Korean Central News Agency said. At a party meeting attended by Kim, authorities elevated the country’s national quarantine measures to “maximum emergency,” it added.

Kim ordered “all cities and counties across the country to thoroughly lockdown their areas,” so as to “completely block the transmission of malicious virus,” according to KCNA.

Until Thursday, Kim’s regime had denied it had any Covid cases, a claim doubted by experts in the U.S., Japan and other countries. It has also refused vaccines from the outside world, with reports saying planned shipments have been put on hold because North Korea was unwilling to follow rules by Covax, a body backed by the World Health Organization.
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In August 2020, North Korea said it was pushing ahead with the development of a vaccine against the virus, but has given scant mention of vaccines since then. Any Covid-19 outbreak in North Korea, if widespread, could potentially be devastating given the country has an antiquated health care system and likely no vaccines. A recent United Nations report said North Korea and Eritrea are the only two countries in the world that have not administered vaccines.

“They have no other choice but to impose lockdowns like China at this point, as they have no treatment drugs and no one has been vaccinated,” Lee Sang-keun, director of strategic research at the Institute for National Security Strategy, which is affiliated with South Korea’s spy agency.
TOPSHOT-NKOREA-HEALTH-VIRUS

Employees spray disinfectant as part of preventative measures against Covid-19 at the Yokjon Department Store in Pyongyang in 2021.
Photographer: Kim Won Jin/AFP/Getty Images
What We Know About Omicron and Its Subvariant BA.2: QuickTake
The outbreak may also help answer a pressing question about the severity of the highly infectious omicron variant that’s currently circling the world, although North Korea may not allow outside health officials after shunning foreigners during the pandemic.

Scientists are split about whether the strain is less dangerous than the original pathogen that emerged in Wuhan in late 2019, or whether vaccinations and immunity from previous infections has neutered its impact.
North Korea’s drastic Covid containment measures have worsened the regime’s economic woes, particularly the border closure more than two years ago with China, its biggest trade partner. Along with international sanctions, the measures have walloped sanctions-hit North Korea’s economy.

“It is extremely unusual for North Korea to have a meeting in the morning, followed by an immediate disclosure of the result via its state media,” said Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul.
“It could be an indirect message that Pyongyang is willing to cooperate with the international community when it comes to the coronavirus,” Yang said, adding they could include humanitarian assistance from South Korea and the US that could “ultimately foster” resumption of talks between Pyongyang and Washington.
South Korea’s presidential office said it was open to providing humanitarian assistance to North Korea, without elaborating.
Virus Inroads
During its party meeting, North Korea reported that it found the omicron variant from samples collected from an unnamed group in Pyongyang on Sunday, according to KCNA.

Lee, with the national security institute, said there are a number of routes the virus could have made inroads into North Korea, including via the North Korea-China rail freight line, though that was recently halted after China locked down its border city of Dandong.
“There is the Nampo sea port route. And, while they say so, smuggling isn’t 100% controlled,” Lee said, adding that there are also rivers along the border that are shallow enough for people to walk across.

The outbreak could derail Pyongyang’s efforts to conduct a nuclear weapons test, Yang, with the University of North Korean Studies, said.
“We can’t completely rule out the possibility North Korea postponing the planned nuclear test, because of the virus situation,” Yang said. “However, if there’s a wide spread of fear among people, officials in Pyongyang may take a tougher stance and proceed with more provocations to turn people’s attention away from the virus issue.”
— With assistance by Shinhye Kang
(Updates throughout with analyst and KCNA comments)

Up Next

Lockdown orders issued in Pyongyang due to ‘national problem’: Source | NK News
View more articles by Chad O'Carroll

2-3 minutes


North Korean residents in the capital seen scrambling to get home after the unexpected order
Residents in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang were abruptly ordered indoors on Tuesday afternoon, multiple informed sources told NK News. One source described the cause as being due to a “nationwide lockdown” while another referred to an unspecified “national problem.”
The order sparked a rush to get home, said the source, with long lines of people waiting at bus stops in the capital city Tuesday afternoon, while other residents could be seen hurrying home on foot.
North Korean authorities apparently instructed citizens not to go outside their buildings and did not specify when the order would be reversed, one source said. NK News understands the orders were likely issued nationwide, although people could still be seen farming alongside the inter-Korean border near Paju on Tuesday around 5 p.m. KST.
People tending fields in a village near the inter-Korean border, May 10, 2022 | Image: NK News
People tending fields in a village near the inter-Korean border, May 10, 2022 | Image: NK News
A North Korean pulls a cart down a dirt road in a village near the inter-Korean border, May 10, 2022 | Image: NK News
A North Korean pulls a cart down a dirt road in a village near the inter-Korean border, May 10, 2022 | Image: NK News
The apparent lockdown orders come weeks after North Korea and China suspended overland trade following a surge in COVID-19 cases in Liaoning and Jilin Province that border North Korea.
However, a foreign diplomat who worked in Pyongyang told NK News that short-term instructions to stay inside are not unusual, even before the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020.

Authorities also ordered residents indoors on short notice last week, but sources in Pyongyang told NK News that lockdown was linked to severe levels of airborne particulate matter, commonly referred to as “yellow dust.”
NK News has previously reported on multiple occasions when citizens in the capital were told to stay indoors due to fears about COVID-19 arriving in the country in dust storms from overseas.
Ethan Jewell contributed to this report. Edited by Arius Derr
 

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Managing Instability in North Korea


NK-Instability-1-300x194.jpg
North Korea’s reporting of its first confirmed case of COVID-19, along with reports that hundreds of thousands have feverish symptoms, raises serious concerns about how the country will cope with the pandemic. With its fragile public health system, a general lack of medicines, equipment (like respirators), and vaccines, Kim Jong Un has a serious challenge on his hands—one that could turn devastating if not well managed.


In 2017, 38 North published a series of reports that examined key issues and concerns that would stem from instability in North Korea. Given the times, we are reissuing the following reports from that series.



North Korea, Weapons of Mass Destruction and Instability: Strategic Issues for Managing Crisis and Reducing Risks,” by Rebecca K. C. Hersman. All too often discussions of instability, insurgency and regime collapse are used interchangeably to describe the catalyst of a potential weapons of mass destruction (WMD) crisis in North Korea. In fact, these are related, but discreet phenomena with critical distinctions that need to be made when considering related WMD risks. This paper considers a range of scenarios of how crisis may occur—whether through a sudden crisis event or a slow developing over time—to determine where challenges and opportunities for international response differ and where they remain constant.


Assessing the Risk of Regime Change in North Korea,” by Paul B. Stares. This paper explores important questions about the prospects for regime change and its putative benefits. How might it occur, and what seems to be the most likely scenario? What are the potential consequences and results? Can we assume that the preferred outcomes will be realized?


Insurgency in the DPRK? Post-regime Insurgency in Comparative Perspective” by Austin Long. Instability in the DPRK could have many sources, ranging from internal political strife to a global pandemic. Regardless of origin, instability could lead to the collapse of the regime, which could in turn open the door to potential civil war inside the DPRK as well as resistance to an intervention seeking to reunify the Korean peninsula. This paper uses a comparative approach to assess the likelihood of a serious insurgency and/or civil violence in the DPRK following a hypothetical collapse of the state.


Find other papers in The North Korea Instability Project series.

Managing Instability in North Korea - 38 North: Informed Analysis of North Korea
 

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Kim Jong-un calls in the army to respond to North Korea’s Covid-19 crisis
Leader criticises healthcare officials and orders army to distribute medicine as more than one million are infected by ‘fever’
People wearing protective face masks walk amid concerns over the new coronavirus disease in Pyongyang, North Korea

People wearing protective face masks walk amid concerns over the new coronavirus disease in Pyongyang, North Korea Photograph: KYODO Kyodo/Reuters

Agence France-Presse
Sun 15 May 2022 23.10 EDT


Kim Jong-un has criticised North Korea’s pandemic response and ordered the army to help distribute medicine, state media said Monday, as the country said 50 people had died since first reporting an outbreak of Covid-19.
More than one million people have been sickened by what Pyongyang is referring to as “fever”, state media said, despite Kim ordering nationwide lockdowns in a bid to slow the spread of disease through the unvaccinated population.

After two years denying North Korea had any cases of Covid-19, last week officials confirmed that there had been a Covid outbreak in the country.

Kim Jong Un<br>In this image made from video broadcasted by North Korea's KRT, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un wears a face mask on state television during a meeting acknowledging the country's first case of COVID-19 Thursday, May 12, 2022, in Pyongyang, North Korea. North Korea imposed a nationwide lockdown Thursday to control its first acknowledged COVID-19 outbreak after holding for more than two years to a widely doubted claim of a perfect record keeping out the virus that has spread to nearly every place in the world. (KRT via AP)
North Korea ‘in great turmoil’ over Covid death toll, says Kim Jong-un

Read more

In a sign of how serious the situation may be, Kim “strongly criticised” healthcare officials over their response to epidemic prevention – specifically a failure to keep pharmacies open 24/7 to distribute medicine.

He ordered the army to get to work “on immediately stabilising the supply of medicines in Pyongyang”, the capital, where Omicron was detected last week in North Korea’s first official reported cases of Covid-19.

Kim has put himself front and centre of North Korea’s disease response, overseeing near-daily emergency politburo meetings on the outbreak, which he has said is causing “great upheaval” in the country.

The failure to distribute medicine properly was “because officials of the Cabinet and public health sector in charge of the supply have not rolled up their sleeves, not properly recognizing the present crisis,” said Kim, according to state media KCNA.

Kim, who visited pharmacies to inspect first-hand, “strongly criticised the Cabinet and public health sector for their irresponsible work attitude,” said KCNA.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un visits a pharmacy in Pyongyang

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un visits a pharmacy in Pyongyang Photograph: 朝鮮通信社/AP
North Korea has one of the world’s worst healthcare systems, with poorly equipped hospitals, few intensive care units, and no Covid treatment drugs or mass testing ability, experts say.

“While visiting a pharmacy, Kim Jong-un saw with his eyes the shortage of medicines in North Korea,” Cheong Seong-jang, researcher at the Sejong Institute told AFP. “He may have guessed but the situation may have been more serious than he had expected.”

KCNA said that as of 15 May, a total of 50 people had died, with 1,213,550 cases of “fever” and over half a million currently receiving medical treatment.

North Korea had maintained a rigid coronavirus blockade since the pandemic began, but with massive Omicron outbreaks in neighbouring countries, experts said it was inevitable Covid would sneak in.

Kim’s public criticism is a sign that the situation on the ground is grim, said Yang Moo-jin, professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul. “He is pointing out the overall inadequacy of the quarantine system,” he said.

Kim has previously said the country will “actively learn” from China’s pandemic management strategy, according to KCNA.

China – the world’s only major economy still maintaining a zero-Covid policy – is battling multiple Omicron outbreaks with lockdowns in some major cities, including financial hub Shanghai, sparking increasing public frustration.

North Korea has previously turned down offers of Covid vaccines from China and the World Health Organization’s Covax scheme, but both Beijing and Seoul have issued fresh offers of aid since the outbreak was announced.

North Korea is likely to need international assistance to get through the massive Omicron surge, Yang said.

“If China’s assistance is not enough to overcome the outbreak, North Korea will ask the South, the United States or international organisations in the end,” he said.

US President Joe Biden is set to visit Seoul later this week, with discussions of Pyongyang’s weapons programs and Covid-19 outbreak likely to top the agenda.

 

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Covid: What will the pandemic look like in North Korea?
By Thom Poole & Robert Greenall
BBC News


Pyongyang residents wear mask
Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
The scene in the capital Pyongyang - much of the country is inaccessible to foreign visitors

For almost two-and-a-half years, North Korea has stuck to its claim it has seen no cases of Covid-19. Not any more.
This week, the country confirmed its first infections. The highly reclusive nation had responded to the pandemic by closing its borders, although few believed it had really managed to escape the virus.
Now, the authorities are not only acknowledging the virus' presence but declaring an all-out battle to control it, with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un calling it the "greatest turmoil" to fall on the nation since its founding. A national lockdown is in place.
Hardly anywhere in the world is untouched by Covid. Cases have been recorded at the base camp of Everest and in Antarctica. Individual nations' responses to the pandemic have varied in severity, but have broadly meant vaccine programmes, testing, social distancing and limits on travel.
How the pandemic in North Korea will unfold is likely to remain murky, given the nation's secrecy.
There are fears Covid could be disastrous there. "I'm really concerned about how many people are going to die," said one of the experts who spoke to the BBC.

Frail healthcare system
The overwhelming challenge faced by North Korea is that the country lacks the most effective weapons against Covid.
The population is unvaccinated, and, assuming that cases were at the very least low until now, largely unexposed to the virus. With no immunity, there are fears of large numbers of deaths and of serious illness.
Testing is also very limited. The World Health Organization says North Korea has carried out about 64,000 tests since the start of the pandemic. In South Korea, which made test and trace a central part of its Covid strategy, the figure stands at about 172 million.
Hard data has been an important tool for many governments, and even that in North Korea's case is ambiguous. On Saturday state media reported half a million cases of unexplained fever, likely a reflection of difficulties identifying Covid cases, and a hint at the scale of the outbreak North Korea is facing.
Kim Jong-un wearing a face mask at a government meeting
Image source, KCTV / AFP
Image caption,
Kim Jong-un has not been seen wearing a face mask on television since the pandemic began
And, even in wealthy countries, Covid sparked concerns that healthcare systems could be overwhelmed. North Korea is especially at risk.
"The healthcare system has been and is quite dire," said Jieun Baek, the founder of Lumen, an NGO which monitors North Korea.

"It's a very decrepit system. Aside from two million people living in Pyongyang, the majority of the country has access to very poor quality healthcare."
Defectors speak of beer bottles being used to hold IV fluid, or of needles reused until they rust.
As for things like masks, or sanitiser, "we can only imagine how limited those are" said Ms Baek.

Lockdowns, but will they work?
In the absence of a mass vaccination campaign, North Korea is set to turn to the sole major defence against Covid: lockdowns. "Brute force clampdowns on people's movement will become even stricter," Ms Baek predicted.
Mr Kim has said North Korea should "actively learn" from how China responded to the pandemic.
While most countries are now living with the virus, China has stuck to its zero-Covid policy of trying to eradicate the disease. Major cities, including financial hub Shanghai, remain under stay-at-home orders.

This has come at a price, with Shanghai residents complaining about their conditions, lack of food and poor medical care. Public criticism of government policies is rare in China.
Should North Korea impose similar restrictions, experts warn the situation with supplies could be much worse than, say, Shanghai's.
Even then, the measure might not be enough to halt the spread of the highly contagious Omicron strain.
"Look how difficult it is in Shanghai, for them to stop Omicron - and that's throwing absolutely everything they can think of at the epidemic, at the outbreak," said Professor Ben Cowling, an epidemiologist from the University of Hong Kong.
Farm workers in North Korean rice fields
Image source, AFP
Image caption,
There are concerns Covid could worsen an already dire food situation
"In North Korea I think it's going to be very tough to stop this. I'd be very, very worried at this point."
North Korea also has longstanding problems with food production. It suffered a brutal famine during the 1990s and today, the World Food Programme estimates that 11m of the country's 25m are undernourished.
Its farming methods are outdated, making successful harvests difficult. If agricultural workers are unable to tend the fields, greater trouble lies ahead.

Help is available, if North Korea will accept it
Both China and the WHO have previously offered help to North Korea, in the form of vaccines, but the authorities have refused them.
Mr Kim's mention of China could signal a change of heart.
"I suspect that they desperately want China's help, and China will offer as much as it possibly can," says Owen Miller, a lecturer in Korean studies at London's SOAS university. China's priority, he says, is keeping North Korea stable.
But, he adds, North Korea might not want other outside help, which would mean a return to the 1990s when large numbers of aid agencies were present. It would be "very destabilising for the rulers to deal with this monitoring on their own territory", he said.

For the moment, there is no sign that even if North Korea is in the middle of a health crisis, it will change it approach to global relations.
The US and South Korea have warned that the North could soon conduct another nuclear test - something North Korea watchers say could be a means of distracting the population. Mr Kim could also use his response to Covid as a way of rallying North Koreans and justifying further hardships.
All this would mean further suffering and isolation.
"They really only have one option. They've got to find a way to bring in vaccines and to rapidly vaccinate the population," said Peter Hotez, a vaccine expert at the US National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine.
"The world is willing to ready to help North Korea, but they have to be willing to invite that help."
More on this story
 

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Breaking911
@Breaking911

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DEVELOPING: South Korean government says they’ve been sending messages to North Korea offering aid amid COVID outbreak, but Pyongyang is unresponsive - Yonhap

S. Korean gov't attempts to send message to North over aid; Pyongyang unresponsive: ministry

All News 15:17 May 16, 2022





By Yi Wonju and Chae Yun-hwan
SEOUL, May 16 (Yonhap) -- The South Korean government has attempted to send a formal message to North Korea through their liaison office for cooperation against the COVID-19 outbreak, with Pyongyang unresponsive, a related ministry said Monday.
The unification ministry said it had sought to deliver the message, signed by its chief Kwon Young-se, to the North's head of the United Front Department, Kim Yong-chol, at 11 a.m. the same day. But the North has not yet clarified its intention on whether to "accept" the notification, it added.
The South hopes to hold working-level consultations with the North on its humanitarian aid plans.
"In regards to the omicron variant outbreak, we plan to send a formal message to North Korea proposing inter-Korean working-level talks to discuss the assistance of vaccines, medical supplies, masks and test kits, as well as expressing our willingness to share our experiences against the virus and cooperation in technical expertise," the ministry added.
The ministry then urged the North to respond to Seoul's calls for cooperation against the virus crisis.
Earlier in the day, the ministry's spokesperson Cho Joong-hoon noted that the North's state media had reported a total of 50 deaths from the ongoing epidemic and more than 1.2 million people with fever symptoms.
The two sides had a routine phone call "normally" through the direct communication channel Monday morning, he added.

Cho Joong-hoon, unification ministry spokesperson, speaks during a press briefing at the ministry's office in central Seoul on May 16, 2022. (Yonhap)


yunhwanchae@yna.co.kr
(END)






 

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Why China Is Paranoid About the Quad
Beijing has long lived with U.S. alliances in Asia, but a realigned India would change the game.

C. Raja Mohan

By C. Raja Mohan, a columnist at Foreign Policy and a senior fellow at the Asia Society Policy Institute.
U.S. President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken participate in a virtual summit with the leaders of Quadrilateral Security Dialogue countries at the White House in Washington on March 12.
U.S. President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken participate in a virtual summit with the leaders of Quadrilateral Security Dialogue countries at the White House in Washington on March 12. Alex Wong/Getty Images


May 17, 2022, 4:28 AM


India may be nowhere near turning its partnership with the United States into any sort of formal or informal military alliance, but their growing strategic engagement dominates China’s discourse on India. Next week’s Tokyo summit of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or Quad—a loose grouping of Australia, India, Japan, and the United States—is therefore bound to be of special concern in Beijing.

On the face of it, China’s persistent campaign against India’s ties with the United States, its characterization of the Quad as an “Asian NATO,” and its blistering attacks against the Indo-Pacific geopolitical construct embraced by New Delhi and its partners in the Quad seem unnecessarily alarmist. Its top diplomats have castigated the Quad members for “ganging up in the Asia-Pacific region, creating trilateral and quadrilateral small cliques, and [being] bent on provoking confrontation.” China focusing its outrage on the Quad looks odd considering Beijing has long lived with real U.S. alliances and hard security commitments on its periphery, including U.S. troops stationed in South Korea, Japan, and elsewhere.

Two factors, however, help explain China’s aggressive campaign against the Quad and, especially, nascent U.S.-Indian ties.


Rest beyond pay wall
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I do not read a demonstration of a continued commitment to resume testing as anything imminently alarming at all
 

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EndGameWW3
@EndGameWW3



Update: Washington prepares contingency plans in case North Korea conducts a nuclear test during Biden's Asian visit.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Idrees Ali
@idreesali114

52m

SEOUL — A member of U.S. President Joe Biden’s advance security team has been arrested in Seoul, accused of drunkenly assaulting a South Korean citizen a day before Biden arrived on a visit, police said on Friday. Via
@joshjonsmith
 

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hmm.

Kyle Bass
@Jkylebass
Chief Investment Officer Hayman Capital Management Happy to Block ccp Twitter bots, Fan of Democracy and Rule of Law, Member CFR
https://twitter.com/Jkylebass

China is preparing for war. First, Xi orders Chinese banks to risk asses and insulate against potential U.S sanctions. Now Xi is directing Chinese nationals overseas to divest of any assets. China has been hoarding grains for over a year…Xi’s
playbook is obvious to anyone willing to connect the dots. In January 2020, China updated their “Foreign Investment Law” which gives Beijing the power and ability to NATIONALIZE FOREIGN ASSETS/INVESTMENTS under “special circumstances” which include war. In mid 2021, China’s new Counter Foreign Sanctions law enables Beijing to seize corporate assets and detain expat employees if the underlying corporation simply is complying with foreign sanctions. The groundwork is being laid for complete seizure of foreign assets and investment in China. If you are an institutional fiduciary or any other fiduciary, you better be re-thinking your risk assessment of investing in public or private Chinese companies Investors lost everything in Russia and have tried to sweep it under the rug. They won’t be able to hide the hundreds of billions that will be lost in Chinese investments.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
China Insists Party Elites Shed Overseas Assets, Eyeing Western Sanctions on Russia
An internal Communist Party directive bars senior officials from owning property abroad or stakes in overseas entities, whether directly or through spouses and children

By Chun Han Wong
May 19, 2022 6:39 am ET

HONG KONG—China’s Communist Party will block promotions for senior cadres whose spouses or children hold significant assets abroad, people familiar with the matter said, as Beijing seeks to insulate its top officials from the types of sanctions now being directed at Russia.

rest beyond paywall
posted for fair use
 

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FluTrackers.com
@FluTrackers

16m

Media -"North Korea said > 2.4 million have fallen ill & 66 people have died since an unidentified fever began quickly spreading n late April-only been able to identify a handful of those cases as #COVID19 due to a lack of testing supplies." https://flutrackers.com/forum/forum/asia-ad/asia-covid-19-sept-13-2020-may-31-2021/948431-north-korea-claims-hundreds-of-thousands-of-covid-19-cases-and-unknown-total-number-of-deaths-since-late-april-may-11?p=949447#post949447
h/t Pathfinder
 

northern watch

TB Fanatic
China Launches Military Exercises In South China Sea As Biden Arrives In Asia
BY TYLER DURDEN
ZERO HEDGE
SATURDAY, MAY 21, 2022 - 11:30 PM

Authored by Andrew Thornebrooke via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

China launched military drills in the contested South China Sea as U.S. President Joe Biden arrived in South Korea to meet with President Yoon Suk-yeol and promote his forthcoming economic plan for the region.


U.S. President Joe Biden boards Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on May 19, 2022, as he travels to South Korea and Japan. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)


Biden is currently touring East Asia to develop better relations with the nation’s partners in the Indo-Pacific and drum up support for his Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, which he is expected to announce in Japan on May 23.

The visits with top leaders in South Korea and Japan also underscore the United States’ efforts to work with allies and partners in the region on countering the rising aggressions from Beijing, which administration officials have described as the leading threat to the United States.

China’s Maritime Safety Administration subsequently announced that it would be conducting exercises in the South China Sea through Monday. It said non-Chinese aircraft and vessels would be prohibited from entering the area but gave no further details.

China claims that it has historic rights throughout virtually all of the South China Sea and has conducted a massive campaign to build artificial islands throughout the region to superficially expand its borders. It has also used the islands to stage military equipment.

The U.S. State Department, drawing upon a 2016 ruling by an international court, maintains that there is “no coherent legal basis” to China’s claims in international law. The United States also maintains that it has the right to operate freely in the sea, which constitutes international waters.

Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Taiwan all also lay claim to parts of the South China Sea.

As such, the region has become something of a flashpoint for conflict.

White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan spoke to reporters aboard Air Force One on the way to South Korea, and reiterated that the United States would continue to uphold international access to the region and seek stability in the nearby Taiwan Strait.

“Our view, as we’ve expressed many times, is that we are concerned about peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and the ratcheting up of tensions,” Sullivan said. “And we believe that China is contributing to the ratcheting up of those tensions through provocative military activities around Taiwan and around the Strait.”

“But we’ve been equally clear that our policy towards Taiwan has not changed … we remain committed to supporting peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and to ensuring that there are no unilateral changes to the status quo.”

Sullivan also said that Biden would likely hold another virtual summit with Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping. The two leaders had last met virtually in March, when Biden warned Xi of unspecified consequences if the Chinese regime were to provide material support to Russia in its war efforts.

I wouldn’t be surprised if, in the coming weeks, President Biden and President Xi speak again,” Sullivan said.

The national security advisor added that the president would be working to build local relationships with leaders in South Korea and Japan to better develop resources for trade infrastructure, and that there would be significant developments in trade and the possibility of rulesetting for the digital economy.

“We think this event on Monday is going to be a big deal and is going to be a significant milestone in U.S. engagement in the Indo-Pacific,” Sullivan said. “And at the end of the President’s first term, I think we will look back and say this was a moment where the U.S. engagement in the Indo-Pacific got kicked into a different gear.”

China Launches Military Exercises In South China Sea As Biden Arrives In Asia | ZeroHedge
 

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Biden says he would be willing to use force to defend Taiwan
Social Sharing
U.S. president's comments appear to be a departure from existing U.S. policy of so-called strategic ambiguity
Thomson Reuters · Posted: May 23, 2022 3:08 AM ET | Last Updated: 1 hour ago

biden-asia.jpg

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo Monday. (Evan Vucci/The Associated Press)
U.S. President Joe Biden said on Monday he would be willing to use force to defend Taiwan, rallying support on his first trip to Asia since taking office for U.S. opposition to China's growing assertiveness across the region.
Biden's comments appeared to be a departure from existing U.S. policy of so-called strategic ambiguity on its position on the self-governed island that China considers its territory and says is the most sensitive and important issue in its ties with the United States.
When asked by a reporter in Tokyo if the United States would defend Taiwan if it were attacked by China, the president answered: "Yes."
"That's the commitment we made.... We agree with a one-China policy. We've signed on to it and all the intended agreements made from there. But the idea that, that it can be taken by force, just taken by force, is just not, is just not appropriate."

Comments overshadow economic plans
He added that it was his expectation that such an event would not happen or be attempted.
While Washington is required by law to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself, it has long followed a policy of "strategic ambiguity" on whether it would intervene militarily to protect Taiwan in the event of a Chinese attack.
Biden made a similar comment about defending Taiwan in October. At that time, a White House spokesperson said Biden was not announcing any change in U.S. policy.

taiwan-president.jpg

Taiwanese airmen listen as President Tsai Ing-wen delivers a speech during her visit to an airbase in Hsinchu City, northern Taiwan, in April. (Chiang Ying-ying/The Associated Press)
The comments about Taiwan are likely to overshadow the centerpiece of Biden's visit, the launch of an Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, a broad plan providing an economic pillar for U.S. engagement with Asia.
His visit also includes meetings with the leaders of Japan, India and Australia, in the "Quad" group of countries.
Worries about China's growing might and the possibility that it could invade Taiwan have emboldened Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and his ruling Liberal Democratic Party on defence, eroding some of the traditional wariness among many Japanese about taking a more robust defence posture.

'A force for good'
Kishida said that he told Biden that Japan would consider various options to boost its defence capabilities, including the ability to retaliate, signalling a potential shift in Japan's defence policy.
"A strong Japan, and a strong U.S.-Japan alliance, is a force for good in the region," Biden said in a news conference following their discussions.
Kishida said that he had gained support from Biden on Japan's becoming a permanent member of the UN Security Council amid growing calls for reform of the council. China and Russia are permanent members.
"President Biden expressed the necessity of reforming and strengthening the United Nations, including the Security Council, which bears a major responsibility for the peace and security of the international community," Kishida said.
"President Biden expressed his support for Japan to become a permanent member of the reformed Security Council."
Worries are growing in Asia about an increasingly assertive China, particularly in light of its close ties to Russia, and tension has risen over self-ruled Taiwan, which China considers a renegade province.
CBC's Journalistic Standards and Practices|About CBC News
 

jward

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Insider Paper
@TheInsiderPaper

21m

JUST IN Biden will begin an economic bloc with a dozen Asia-Pacific nations meant to counter China and reassert US influence in the region: Bloc: US, Japan, India, S. Korea, Australia, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, New Zealand & Brunei
 

Housecarl

On TB every waking moment
Hummm.....

Posted for fair use.....

China-India Border Crisis Has Quietly Resulted In Victory For Beijing
Since the China-India border crisis last erupted, Beijing has secured its territorial claim by installing massive military infrastructure.
BY
DETRESFA_,SIM TACK
MAY 23, 2022 2:04 PM
THE WAR ZONE
DETRESFA_View Detresfa_'S Articles

SIM TACK View Sim Tack's Articles

Two years have passed since the height of the most recent flare-up in the border crisis between China and India that started in May 2020. The event saw lethal melee combat over Aksai Chin, which the Chinese claim as a part of Xinjiang and India claims as a part of Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir. Both India and China reported casualties as a result of a June 2020 altercation in this region's Galwan Valley. The crisis itself ended through a number of limited withdrawals of frontline positions on both sides. But now, two years later, the overall strategic picture is one of remarkable Chinese military buildup and encroachment.

Being one of the largest disputed areas between India and China, Aksai Chin sits adjacent to the Kashmir region, another turbulent border for India due to its overlapping claim on the region with Pakistan. Sitting at 38,000 square kilometers, Aksai Chin is a cold, arid, and largely uninhabited desert just a little bigger than Maryland. The area has been long disputed between the two with China extending its first military grab over the region after the Sino-Indo war of 1962. Four decades passed with both countries regularly entering into minor scuffles in the region, but 2020 witnessed a complete change in tempo, pushing two nuclear-armed neighbors into a rapid escalation. Some reports have suggested that China’s aggression came as a result of a new road – the Darbuk–Shyok–Daulat Beg Oldi Road, or DSDBO – that India was building in the region. Another possible catalyst linked to the conflict was a move by India to change the status of Jammu & Kashmir, redrawing maps and borders which included the disputed area — a move China has regularly voiced opposition to.

As the crisis dropped from the headlines following the initial de-escalation, no further progress was made in negotiations. Chinese and Indian troops remain just kilometers apart while steadily increasing their military capacity. Through the crisis, China managed to effectively take control of Aksai Chin — in a practical military sense, this is a departure from its previous disputed status — and has heavily militarized the entire region around it.
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During the border crisis in 2020, China established improvised positions at key locations along the edges of its own territorial claim in the region. Chinese forces established tent camps in the Galwan Valley, occupied critical patrol points, sent forces to camp atop mountain ranges along high altitude lakes and set up new bases in open plains. Negotiations during the crisis itself led China to abandon a small minority of these improvised frontline positions, but over the next two years, the vast majority of them developed into permanent all-weather military encampments.

The strength that China has rapidly developed along these borders will severely constrain India’s ability to ever recover access to the Aksai Chin region. Despite the public appearance of the crisis being settled in a Chinese withdrawal, this withdrawal has remained negligible compared to the scale of the territory that China has militarized. As such, China has achieved a form of territorial expansion by bringing Aksai Chin from a disputed status to a de facto militarily occupied status.

India has, of course, not been entirely passive throughout the course of the crisis and the two years that have followed. Initially, its stern response to Chinese expansions into the Galwan Valley quite literally pushed back the Chinese efforts to establish new positions, but its risk-averse approach did eventually allow the Chinese military to dig in at Aksai Chin.

The main Indian response has come outside of Aksai Chin itself, within the undisputed bordering territories of India, and has focused on building up a capacity for aerial combat and reconnaissance along with the redistribution of forces along its northern border. While China built up its military capacity within Aksai Chin, India has been upgrading and adding to its air bases outside of, but near Aksai Chin. New armaments have also made it into the Indian inventory, such as the French-made Rafale multi-role fighter aircraft, as well as the possible acquisition of U.S.-made MQ-9B Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles that would enhance India’s ability to monitor Chinese activities in Aksai Chin, and if needed to strike against them if a conflict were to break out.
Abhijit Iyer-Mitra, a Senior Fellow (Nuclear Security Program) at the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, a New Delhi-based think tank focusing on South Asian affairs, notes that there has been a massive drive to improve infrastructure and better interconnectivity within disputed Aksai Chin, by China.
“This sort of development would have been a land warfare planner’s nightmare, but it offers India a unique advantage now, in the form of a target-rich environment for the Indian Air Force, the same air force that has, in the course of the last few years, replaced the army as the primary response to serious cross border threats,” according to Iyer-Mitra. “Unfortunately, the progress on the Chinese side, in his opinion, solidifies the fluid line of actual control into an actual border, one that will be more prone to friction. But on the bright side, this semi-formally ends the 'salami-slicing' the Chinese resorted to till around 2013.”

Salami-slicing refers to a well-known Chinese strategy for territorial expansion, where, with the use of small provocations and challenges separated over time, China tries to achieve a much larger snowballing goal.

Choosing a path of stability and de-escalation has also allowed India to nurture close relationships with strategic partners in the developed world to help balance against or contain Chinese power on a global level. The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, known commonly as “the Quad,” that brings India together with the United States, Australia, and Japan (as well as possibly South Korea and Vietnam’s role as part of the so-called “Quad Plus”) is one of the main ways in which India tries to build such a diplomatic alliance. Coordinating with countries that all share concerns over Chinese power projection may allow India to be part of a higher-level strategic effort to counterbalance against China. Still, that doesn’t mean these burgeoning alliances will directly impact the situation in Akai Chin.

The most critical manner in which China has in fact managed to establish its undisputed control over the Aksai Chin region is evidenced by the evolution of China’s frontline positions. While initially composed of small outposts and then joined by temporary tent camps during the 2020 face-off, these positions have now evolved into permanent bases with cold weather shelters.
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At the Depsang Plains for example, at the northern end of the disputed Aksai Chin region, China used to maintain an observational presence. Today, this area boasts a large military position composed of infantry shelters and ammunition storage facilities, as well as tanks and artillery systems. The Chinese presence at the Depsang Plains evolved from a limited mission to a permanent deployment of a large combat-capable force that would present serious challenges for India to dislodge from its positions.
At Galwan Valley and Hot Springs, Chinese troops were in fact forced to withdraw following skirmishes with Indian troops and ensuing negotiations in 2020. Even at these locations of the so-called “mutual withdrawals” just a single kilometer removed from their initial positions, Chinese forces have established large permanent bases supported by solar panels to provide them with energy and modern roads to resupply them.
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China does maintain some rather rudimentary temporary positions in the Spanggur Lake area (just south of Pangong Lake), but even these positions are directly supported by permanent military positions that China developed at Pangong Lake and the even larger military support positions deeper into China at Rutog.
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China’s ability to claim undisputed control over Aksai Chin is not based solely on its ability to establish permanent military positions on the border of the disputed territory. Perhaps even more important is the vast network of large logistical nodes and support bases that China established within the disputed region, and the tremendous effort it has gone through to connect these and its frontline positions by building new roads. Where China in the past maintained a logistics network that could support the presence of several hundred Chinese troops on the frontlines of its territorial claims in Aksai Chin, this upgraded infrastructure and support network now allows it to reinforce many thousands of troops simultaneously.

This effort may seem easier than it really is, but in order to effectively connect all these positions and support bases to China’s existing military lines of communication, it has had to effectively tame the geography of Aksai Chin.

This means, for example, taming the riverbed in the many valleys between mountain ranges, to guarantee year-round mobility even when the rivers are in spate. By constructing this brand new road network, interspaced with large arterial support bases behind the frontline, China effectively turned what used to be a long five-hour journey into just a one or two-hour trip.
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China has also not limited its logistical expansion into Aksai Chin to ground transport and has expanded its logistics into the third dimension by constructing a number of large heliports inside and nearby Aksai Chin. Prior to the 2020 crisis, small Chinese observation posts would sometimes have a small helipad nearby, but the new disposition includes the permanent deployment of entire helicopter squadrons at key logistical nodes to facilitate the rapid movement of troops or supplies when needed. The redevelopment and expansion of airpower on China’s western border is not only limited to Aksai Chin, the pattern has been observed across the Tibetan Plateau indicative of a larger vertical lift network that is rapidly taking shape. You can read all about this reality and our analysis of it in past features linked here and here.

The expansion of China’s forward deployments and logistical support even expands beyond the Aksai Chin region itself. Since the beginning of the 2020 crisis, China has erected veritable military cities from the empty desert. These immense bases directly support China’s ability to maintain troop presence within Aksai Chin, and offer it the ability to rapidly surge its military presence in the area during future crises.
At Pangong Lake, for example, new roads – and a bridge across the lake just outside of India’s territorial claim – reach all the way around the lake to the town of Rutog where large military facilities now dominate the landscape.
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These facilities provide for a permanent deployment of Chinese forces, as well as frequent rotations of training exercises that allow Chinese military units to even better prepare for potential conflict in this region and especially at extreme altitudes that are a staple of it. The same is true for other regions, where in the North, the logistical connections draw all the way to China’s Hotan Air Base, and in the south, Chinese forward positions at Demchok are supported by connections to military facilities in Gar County and the Ngari Gunsa air bases.

View: https://twitter.com/detresfa_/status/1482200873556135936?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1482200873556135936%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.thedrive.com%2Fthe-war-zone


Vikram J. Singh, Senior Advisor for Asia at the US Institute For Peace, says enhancing India’s situational awareness and deterrent posture will be critical to maintaining stability.

“In Aksai Chin, China has largely replicated its success of gaining de facto control of disputed territory in the waters of the South China Sea,” Singh says. “Getting the best intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities possible and investing in its military to deter further Chinese provocations is vital.”

“Beijing’s success with coercion and militarisation of disputed territory below the threshold of conflict can easily lead to miscalculation about what will provoke a forceful response from a neighbor and risk escalation.”

As India turns to self-reliance, Singh says, it should leverage its "willing partners, the United States, as well as Europe and Israel, can provide technology India needs right now to stay on top of the challenge from China and contribute to self-sufficiency.”

The intensity of China’s military buildup in and around Aksai Chin, which has continued effortlessly after the limited withdrawals in 2020, effectively puts it in a position where its ability to project military power into the disputed region is relatively uncontestable. Negotiations have not led to any breakthroughs for India to improve its position or access within the disputed territory.

In essence, time has been on China’s side and India now faces a (quite literal) uphill battle to restore even a semblance of control over its territorial claims in this area while it simultaneously faces similar challenges at other locations of its shared border farther East.

Detresfa_ is an open-source and image intelligence analyst and contributor for The War Zone. Sim Tack is the co-founder and military analyst at Force Analysis and also a contributor for The War Zone.
Contact the editor: Tyler@thedrive.com
 

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NEW: Biden misspeaks on Taiwan, says US Military Would Intervene -- White House officials later said that Biden simply meant the US would provide military equipment to Taiwan, not send troops to defend the island if China attacks, Bloomberg reported


9:35 AM · May 23, 2022·Twitter Web App


Biden says he would be willing to use force to defend Taiwan
Social Sharing
U.S. president's comments appear to be a departure from existing U.S. policy of so-called strategic ambiguity
Thomson Reuters · Posted: May 23, 2022 3:08 AM ET | Last Updated: 1 hour ago

biden-asia.jpg

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo Monday. (Evan Vucci/The Associated Press)
U.S. President Joe Biden said on Monday he would be willing to use force to defend Taiwan, rallying support on his first trip to Asia since taking office for U.S. opposition to China's growing assertiveness across the region.
Biden's comments appeared to be a departure from existing U.S. policy of so-called strategic ambiguity on its position on the self-governed island that China considers its territory and says is the most sensitive and important issue in its ties with the United States.
When asked by a reporter in Tokyo if the United States would defend Taiwan if it were attacked by China, the president answered: "Yes."
"That's the commitment we made.... We agree with a one-China policy. We've signed on to it and all the intended agreements made from there. But the idea that, that it can be taken by force, just taken by force, is just not, is just not appropriate."

Comments overshadow economic plans
He added that it was his expectation that such an event would not happen or be attempted.
While Washington is required by law to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself, it has long followed a policy of "strategic ambiguity" on whether it would intervene militarily to protect Taiwan in the event of a Chinese attack.
Biden made a similar comment about defending Taiwan in October. At that time, a White House spokesperson said Biden was not announcing any change in U.S. policy.

taiwan-president.jpg

Taiwanese airmen listen as President Tsai Ing-wen delivers a speech during her visit to an airbase in Hsinchu City, northern Taiwan, in April. (Chiang Ying-ying/The Associated Press)
The comments about Taiwan are likely to overshadow the centerpiece of Biden's visit, the launch of an Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, a broad plan providing an economic pillar for U.S. engagement with Asia.
His visit also includes meetings with the leaders of Japan, India and Australia, in the "Quad" group of countries.
Worries about China's growing might and the possibility that it could invade Taiwan have emboldened Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and his ruling Liberal Democratic Party on defence, eroding some of the traditional wariness among many Japanese about taking a more robust defence posture.

'A force for good'
Kishida said that he told Biden that Japan would consider various options to boost its defence capabilities, including the ability to retaliate, signalling a potential shift in Japan's defence policy.
"A strong Japan, and a strong U.S.-Japan alliance, is a force for good in the region," Biden said in a news conference following their discussions.
Kishida said that he had gained support from Biden on Japan's becoming a permanent member of the UN Security Council amid growing calls for reform of the council. China and Russia are permanent members.
"President Biden expressed the necessity of reforming and strengthening the United Nations, including the Security Council, which bears a major responsibility for the peace and security of the international community," Kishida said.
"President Biden expressed his support for Japan to become a permanent member of the reformed Security Council."
Worries are growing in Asia about an increasingly assertive China, particularly in light of its close ties to Russia, and tension has risen over self-ruled Taiwan, which China considers a renegade province.
CBC's Journalistic Standards and Practices|About CBC News
 

Jaybird

Membership Revoked
If we want to support our Allie’s in the Pacific, Taiwan is the key. I think our present administration will leave them hanging. FJB!
 

jward

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hmm. RU too?







Faytuks News Δ
@Faytuks

4h

BREAKING: Multiple Russian and Chinese warplanes entered South Korea's air defense identification zone (KADIZ) without notice, prompting the South Korean Air Force to scramble fighters to the scene - Yonhap
 

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Multiple Russian, Chinese warplanes enter KADIZ without notice: JCS

All News 19:35 May 24, 2022





SEOUL, May 24 (Yonhap) -- Multiple Russian and Chinese warplanes entered South Korea's air defense identification zone (KADIZ) without notice on Tuesday, prompting the Air Force to scramble fighters to the scene, Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.

The JCS said that two Chinese and four Russian warplanes entered the KADIZ, but did not violate South Korea's territorial air.
"Prior to their entry into the KADIZ, our military deployed Air Force fighters to conduct tactical steps in preparation against potential accidental situations," the JCS said in a text message sent to reporters.
At 7:56 a.m., two Chinese H-6 bombers entered the KADIZ from an area 126 kilometers northwest of Ieodo, a submerged rock south of the southern island of Jeju, according to the JCS. They moved toward the East Sea and exited the zone at around 9:33 a.m.

Later, the two Chinese warplanes joined four Russian warplanes, including two TU-95 bombers, and entered the KADIZ together at 9:58 a.m. They then left the zone at 10:15 a.m.
At around 3:40 p.m., four Chinese and two Russian military aircraft were spotted flying in an area some 267 km southeast of Ieodo -- outside the KADIZ -- the JCS said.
The air defense zone is not territorial airspace, but is delineated to call on foreign planes to identify themselves so as to prevent accidental clashes.


sshluck@yna.co.kr
(END)
 

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EndGameWW3
@EndGameWW3

1h

Update: South Korean military: North Korea launches a ballistic missile towards the east coast.



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35m

UPDATE South Korean officials say North Korea has launched a 2nd (another) ballistic missile toward the sea.

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18m

BREAKING North Korea has fired a third ballistic missile toward the East Sea


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
South Korean military says North Korea has fired ballistic missile into sea: Yonhap

AFP
May 24, 2022 5:15 pm

north korea submarine-launched missile
Source: Flickr




North Korea test launched a ballistic missile towards the sea off its east coast on Wednesday, just days after a visit to South Korea by US President Joe Biden.
The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff announced the launch, the Yonhap news agency said, adding that the type of missile was “unspecified.”

The launch marks the latest in a blitz of sanctions-busting weapons tests by Pyongyang this year, and comes after fears that leader Kim Jong Un would carry out a nuclear test while Biden was in the region.
While in South Korea, Biden joined newly elected President Yoon Suk-yeol for a series of meetings, including discussing expanded military exercises to counter Kim’s sabre rattling.

On his last day in Seoul, Biden told reporters he had a only a short message for Kim: “Hello. Period.”
And he added that the United States was “prepared for anything North Korea does.”
Kim has recently doubled down on his programme of military modernisation.

Included among Pyongyang’s multitude of tests this year was the firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile at full range.
Despite struggling with a recent Covid-19 outbreak, new satellite imagery has indicated the North has resumed construction at a long-dormant nuclear reactor.
 

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The Quad Goes to Sea

Zack Cooper and Gregory Poling

May 24, 2022




Japan-navy-ex


The biggest announcement from President Joe Biden’s trip to Asia may be the one that got the least attention. The Quad, a grouping consisting of Australia, India, Japan, and the United States, has just announced a maritime domain awareness partnership that will provide a new stream of data from commercial satellites to countries across the Indo-Pacific. This is a substantial addition to the Quad’s agenda and one of its most promising initiatives to date. Critically, it satisfies the desire of most regional partners for the Quad to provide public goods and address the needs of smaller states in and the Indian Ocean, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. If properly executed, this effort could be a flagship project for demonstrating the Quad’s value to regional countries.

Today, regional states monitor maritime activity mainly through legacy technologies from the last century: coastal radars, aerial and surface patrols, and broadcasts from automatic identification system (AIS) transponders whose primary purpose is vessel tracking for collision avoidance, not detecting illicit behavior. Some states also require licensed fishing ships to be equipped with vessel monitoring system (VMS) transponders. Both systems relay identifying data, position, course, and speed by sending signals from transceivers on ships to nearby vessels and receiving stations, both on shore and in space.

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But AIS is only legally mandated on vessels over 300 tons operating in international waters. And VMS adoption is uneven. Most ships, including fishing boats, across the world’s oceans are under no obligation to operate either system. And even those that do can easily turn off or spoof the systems if they want to engage in illicit activity. That leaves regional law enforcement and navies reliant on coastal radar, which drops off rapidly farther from shore, or planes and ships, which are expensive and highly inefficient ways to monitor the vast waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Maritime domain awareness in the region therefore remains patchy and enforcement resembles a game of whack-a-mole in which badly outnumbered and overworked patrol vessels attempt to catch illicit operators.

Thankfully, space-based systems are beginning to present 21st-century solutions to these problems. In addition to space-based AIS and VMS receivers, many commercial satellites carry electro-optical as well as synthetic aperture radar sensors to image the planet’s surface. The price of satellite data is plummeting as companies move from relying primarily on large and expensive satellites in geosynchronous orbit to constellations of small and cheap satellites in low-earth orbit. Despite the rapidly diminishing costs of space-based remote sensing, collection at the scale necessary for persistent monitoring of vast exclusive economic zones is still too expensive for most developing states in the Indo-Pacific.
As in so many fields, the problem of maritime domain awareness is now as much about data processing capacity as data collection. There is too much remote sensing data available through both government and commercial providers for manual analysis. Automation and machine learning are necessary to rapidly flag suspicious behavior from diverse data sources, task more detailed remote sensing collection to identify illicit actors and get that information to relevant agencies for tracking and potential interdiction. This is particularly challenging for countries that lack the systems necessary to efficiently process and distribute the resulting data.

The greatest hurdle to effective use of remote sensing data for maritime domain awareness remains scale. The Indian and Pacific Oceans are vast — too large to effectively patrol by air or sea, too expensive to image consistently by satellite. The problem for imaging satellites is the inverse relationship between resolution and aperture. Sensors, whether in the electro-optical or radar bands, that provide enough detail about a vessel to be useful in identification also collect over a relatively small area at a time. In other words, cameras must be focused on a small area to get the highest resolution images. That makes persistent monitoring of empty oceans by imaging satellites prohibitively expensive.

The best solution is what the industry refers to as “tipping and cueing” — using a sensor that can cover a large geographic area with lower fidelity for an initial collection, and then following up with a higher-resolution sensor to check on any suspicious activity. Satellites that track radio frequency data are a promising option for that first pass, and for some purposes collect sufficient data all by themselves. That is because almost every ship on the ocean sends out radio signals. Even illicit actors that may turn off or spoof AIS are still likely to be using very high frequency radios, X-band radars, and other systems. And with the right sensors, a satellite can collect and geolocate those signals over a relatively wide area.
One leading commercial operator on that front is U.S.-based HawkEye360, whose data the Quad members plan to purchase and share with partners across the region. This will be used to determine illicit actors’ patterns of behavior, task other satellites, and allow for more effective patrol and interdiction operations. The Quad will also help process and rapidly distribute this data through existing channels. These includes the U.S. Navy’s SeaVision platform, which is used by nearly every partner in the region, as well as India’s Indian Ocean Region Information Fusion Centre, Singapore’s Information Fusion Centre, the Australia-sponsored Pacific Fusion Centre in Vanuatu, and the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency’s Regional Fisheries Surveillance Center in the Solomon Islands. This effort addresses a real need across Southeast Asia, the Indian Ocean region, and the Pacific Islands.

For several years, countries in Southeast Asia in particular have been asking the Quad to deliver public goods for them. The Quad vaccine initiative was welcomed but has been too slowly implemented. The same is true of the Quad’s commitment to regional infrastructure. And efforts to focus on supply chain security have bypassed much of the rest of the region. Questions have therefore been raised about the Quad’s ability to deliver value for neighbors in the Indo-Pacific.
Dhruva Jaishankar and Tanvi Madan have recently noted that “the Quad must develop a more robust security agenda if it seeks to sustain itself — and the region — in the coming years.” Indeed, the Quad is best positioned to deliver on security, which is the area in which the United States, Japan, Australia, and India have most in common. But focusing on security also tends to make much of the region nervous, especially when it means pushing back against China. But the Indo-Pacific Partnership for Maritime Domain Awareness smartly addresses several regional concerns. Illegal fishing takes away a vital source of food and income from people across the Indo-Pacific. Smuggling threatens law enforcement efforts across the region. And illicit activities by China’s maritime militia in the South China Sea undermine regional security.

This maritime domain awareness initiative therefore combines public goods provision with the Quad’s natural strengths: security cooperation and capacity building. The United States, Japan, Australia, and India are four of the Indo-Pacific’s leading maritime powers. It is only natural that they would help the region develop greater maritime domain awareness capabilities. That this will highlight China’s illicit activities in the waters of many regional states is certainly a benefit from a strategic standpoint, but it is also an economic boon for the Indo-Pacific’s smallest players the most.
 

jward

passin' thru
CSIS Korea Chair
@CSISKoreaChair


North Korean provocations during U.S. national holidays/weekend:
- Columbus Day
- 3 - Independence Day
- 3 - Labor Day
- 4 - Memorial Day
- 7 - MLK Day
- 1 - Thanksgiving
- 3 Including 1st nuclear test on Columbus Day & 2nd nuclear test on Memorial Day.

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