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

jward

passin' thru
PLA Rocket Force
In case, the US intervenes militarily, China’s response will be a devastating pre-emptive attack in the first few days. “Many Chinese observers suggest that missile strikes on [US] air bases would be part of the opening salvos of a war,” RAND said in 2019.
China will unleash a volley of missiles — the most varied stockpile of 2,000 land-based, cruise and anti-ship weapons in the world — on Guam and Diego Garcia.

After the conclusion of the CNAS war game, which simulated China attacking Guam and Japan in the first few days, Hinote said that Beijing would adopt a Pearl Harbour-like bombing strategy. “The attack is designed to give Chinese forces the time they need to invade and present the world with a fait accompli,” he told the Air Force Magazine.
China has the most massive and diverse arsenal of missiles that threatens American ships in the Western Pacific, former US Indo-Pacific Command chief Admiral (retired) Harry Harris said in March 2018. “We are at a disadvantage with regard to China today in the sense that China has ground-based ballistic missiles that threaten our basing in the Western Pacific and our ships,” he said in a testimony before the US Senate Armed Services Committee.

The CSIS estimates that the PLA had a minimum of 425 missile launchers capable of hitting the US bases. Not only Diego Garcia but the whole of the US is within the striking range of China’s longest-range intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) Dongfeng (DF)-41, which can hit targets as far as 15,000 km. The DF-41, which can carry 10 independently targeted nuclear warheads, could theoretically hit the US in 30 minutes, according to the CSIS.
If the US decides to reuse the Taiwanese Ching Chuan Kang Air Base — as it did during the Cold War — to neutralise a Chinese attack, it will be vulnerable to the DF-16 short-range ballistic missile. China can also easily target the US air bases in Japan with its DF-21 medium-range ballistic missile and land-based cruise missile CJ-10.

Guam killer missile
On 17 April 2020, the US ended its 2004 Continuous Bomber Presence (CBP) programme on Guam with the Strategic Command explaining that the B-52s, B1s and B2s could still be deployed in the Pacific when needed.
Before Beijing unveiled the DF-26 in 2015, Guam was considered a safe base from where the three bombers undertook the Bomber Assurance and Deterrence mission in six-month rotations to reassure American allies South Korea and Japan.
Not anymore. The real reason for ending the programme was the threat of the Chinese intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) DF-26, dubbed the ‘Guam Killer’ by American analysts. The Andersen Air Force Base, the Apra Naval Base and the 6,000 US military personnel on Guam are within striking distance of DF-26 (5,400 km range) from mainland China.
According to Timothy Heath, a senior international defence researcher with RAND, the Chinese military could have “easily plotted ways of destroying the bombers due to their well-known presence”.

Similarly, the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission said in its November 2016 report: “Foremost among China’s military assets capable of reaching Guam, the DF-26 IRBM represents the culmination of decades of advancement to China’s conventional ballistic missile forces.”
In its report titled, ‘Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2020’, the US department of defence said that the DF-26 is “capable of conducting precision strikes in the Western Pacific, the Indian Ocean, and the South China Sea from mainland China”.
Besides, the PLAAF’s H-6K bomber, which has a combat radius of 3,700 km, can target Guam with its Changjian-20 cruise missiles.
The distance factor will also favour China following the scrapping of the CBP programme. Hinote too pointed out the distance disadvantage after the CNAS war game. In a China-Taiwan war, the US will dispatch the bombers from their bases in North Dakota, South Dakota and Louisiana but they will take, at least, 14-15 hours to reach the conflict zone.

Carrier killer missile
The US has often used the superior firepower of its carriers against weak countries — for example, during operations Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan). But China is not Iraq.
In August 2020, a day after an American U-2 spy plane allegedly entered a no-fly zone in SCS, Beijing fired the DF-21’s ‘carrier killer’ version DF-21D and the DF-26 as warnings to USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan and Guam, respectively.
CSIS’s Missile Defence Project estimates DF-21D’s range at 1,450 km-1,550 km. China tested the missile against a ship target which was roughly the same size as a contemporary US aircraft carrier. The DF-26 too has a ‘carrier killer’ version called the DF-26B.
“We know that China has the most advanced ballistic missile force in the world,” James Fanell, a retired US Navy captain and former senior intelligence officer with the US Pacific Fleet, told Reuters in 2019. “They have the capacity to overwhelm the defensive systems we are pursuing.”
Warning the US about sending an aircraft carrier to Chinese waters, Phillips O’Brien, professor of strategic studies at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, recently told CNN, “The US better be careful thinking about in any kind of war environment sending carrier battle groups close to China.” Besides, only around half of the US carriers are combat-ready at any one time.

Massive missile gap
The massive gap between the Chinese and the American missile arsenals, especially the range factor, was the reason then-US president Donald Trump pulled out from the Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with Russia in 2019. The pact had banned nuclear and non-nuclear missiles with ranges of 500-5,500 km in 1987.
Former President Donald Trump speaks at the Road to Majority conference in Nashville, Tenn. AP
While the treaty bound the US, China accelerated the production of missiles with frightening ranges keeping in mind any future challenge posed by American aircraft carriers in the Indo-Pacific. In the last few decades, some Chinese anti-ship missiles outrange the jets on US carriers.
There is a considerable gap even between Chinese and US missiles that aren’t in the INF Treaty’s range restriction. Beijing has two supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles YJ-12 (400 km) and YJ-18 (540) km compared to the US Harpoon, which has a maximum range of only about 240 km.

“That is a very big gap. China’s anti-ship missile capability exceeds those of the United States in terms of range, speed and sensor performance,” Robert Haddick, visiting senior fellow at the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, Arlington, Virginia, and former US Marine Corps officer, told the Reuters in 2019.
Chinese aircraft carriers and attack submarines are strategically positioned to strike US bases in SCS. The Northern Theatre Command Navy has one aircraft carrier, four nuclear-powered attack submarines and 14 diesel-powered attack submarines. The Southern Theatre Command Navy has one aircraft carrier, four nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines and 14 diesel-powered attack submarines.

ICBMs can fool US missile defence
US missile experts and defence officials say the rate of success in shooting down ICBMs is very low due to their higher altitudes and countermeasures. The current US missile defence system has been tested only 19 times since 1999 with only a 50 per cent success rate.
James D Wells, a professor at the University of Michigan, doesn’t see an effective defence against ICBMs in the next 15 years. “ICBMs are a qualitatively different threat travelling significantly higher and having potential penetration and countermeasures.”
After North Korea tested the Hwasong-17, its first ICBM since 2017, in March, Frederick L Lamb, a professor at the University of Illinois, told CNN: “If North Korea were to fire ICBMs at the USA, we cannot be assured that our missile defence system can prevent the deaths of millions of Americans.” Even the Hwasong-14 (10,000 km range if fired on a maximum trajectory) can reach New York and the Hwasong-15 (13,000 km range) anywhere in the US.
Asked why it is so hard to shoot down an ICBM, Lamb said, “The warhead will undoubtedly be accompanied by decoys aimed to fool a missile defence system.”

The first study of its kind in 10 years commissioned by the American Physical Society, a non-profit membership organisation of professionals in physics and related disciplines, revealed that despite more than six decades of missile defence efforts, “no missile defence system has been shown to be effective against realistic ICBM threats”.
“It has been described as shooting a bullet with a bullet trying to hit a warhead,” Laura Grego, a Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said.

 

northern watch

Has No Life - Lives on TB
China says it successfully intercepted a missile in flight
China says it has successfully intercepted a missile in flight, in a test of an anti-ballistic missile system that could improve its defenses as it presses its territorial claims
By The Associated Press
June 20, 2022, 7:22 AM

BEIJING -- China says it has successfully intercepted a missile in flight, in a test of an anti-ballistic missile system that could improve its defenses as it presses its territorial claims.

A brief statement from the Defense Ministry late Sunday gave no details, but said the test was purely defensive in nature and was not aimed at any foreign nations.

Missiles are a major component of China's defense and are the backbone of its space program, which has launched astronauts and components to the nation's orbiting space station.

The missile interception test comes as China has been escalating threats against the self-governing island of Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its own territory to be annexed by military force if necessary. A conflict over Taiwan would likely bring in the U.S., which is the island's main source of weaponry and is legally bound to regard threats to it as a matter of “grave concern."

China is also engaged in territorial disputes with the Philippines, Vietnam and other governments over the South China Sea.

China is seen as backing Russia in its invasion of Ukraine, although it is not known to have provided material support. The conflict has brought new attention to Taiwan and whether it could withstand a Chinese assault.

Chinese military expert Song Zhongping said China has conducted such tests in the past, but is seeking to make a point by announcing the latest one.

“The reasons for China to make it public are because of military transparency and effective deterrence to some country," Song said.

China says it successfully intercepted a missile in flight - ABC News (go.com)
 

Housecarl

On TB every waking moment
China says it successfully intercepted a missile in flight
China says it has successfully intercepted a missile in flight, in a test of an anti-ballistic missile system that could improve its defenses as it presses its territorial claims
By The Associated Press
June 20, 2022, 7:22 AM

BEIJING -- China says it has successfully intercepted a missile in flight, in a test of an anti-ballistic missile system that could improve its defenses as it presses its territorial claims.

A brief statement from the Defense Ministry late Sunday gave no details, but said the test was purely defensive in nature and was not aimed at any foreign nations.

Missiles are a major component of China's defense and are the backbone of its space program, which has launched astronauts and components to the nation's orbiting space station.

The missile interception test comes as China has been escalating threats against the self-governing island of Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its own territory to be annexed by military force if necessary. A conflict over Taiwan would likely bring in the U.S., which is the island's main source of weaponry and is legally bound to regard threats to it as a matter of “grave concern."

China is also engaged in territorial disputes with the Philippines, Vietnam and other governments over the South China Sea.

China is seen as backing Russia in its invasion of Ukraine, although it is not known to have provided material support. The conflict has brought new attention to Taiwan and whether it could withstand a Chinese assault.

Chinese military expert Song Zhongping said China has conducted such tests in the past, but is seeking to make a point by announcing the latest one.

“The reasons for China to make it public are because of military transparency and effective deterrence to some country," Song said.

China says it successfully intercepted a missile in flight - ABC News (go.com)

When you consider the cost comparison and technological gaps between building and deploying ballistic missiles and cruise missiles all Beijing is doing in the end is pushing any potential opponents into making the PLA's IADS/BMD organization's job all that more "involved". That's particularly the case in their survival options and effectiveness when they are subjected to a coordinated campaign with a robust SEAD/DEAD component.
 

jward

passin' thru
2 Chinese ships enter Japan's territorial waters off Senkaku Islands
4 hours ago



Japan Coast Guard officials say two Chinese government ships have entered Japan's territorial waters near the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.

The officials said the ships entered waters off Uotsuri Island at around 4:10 a.m. on Tuesday, Japan time. They added that the ships apparently tried to approach a Japanese fishing boat operating in the area.

The officials say that as of 4:20 a.m., the Chinese vessels were sailing in Japanese waters, about 20 kilometers southwest of Uotsuri Island.

Japanese patrols ships have been cruising around the fishing boat to ensure its safety, while demanding that the Chinese vessels immediately leave Japan's territorial waters.

This is the 11th time this year that Chinese government ships have been spotted entering Japanese territorial waters off the islands. The most recent occasion was on June 18.

Japan controls the Senkaku Islands. The Japanese government maintains the islands are an inherent part of Japan's territory. China and Taiwan claim them.

Please see site for video
 

Housecarl

On TB every waking moment
Hummm......

Posted for fair use.....

SPACE
South Korea’s home-grown rocket deploys satellite
Seoul proves concept of both satellite placement technologies – and sovereign IRBM capabilities
By ANDREW SALMON
JUNE 21, 2022

NARO SPACE CENTER, SOUTH KOREA – As the seconds counted down, spectators gathered on a pebbled beach washed with turquoise seas on the southern tip of the Korean peninsula.

Nearby, in a park dotted with dummy rockets, TV viewing stands waited to capture the moment. Anxious officials hovered, ready to brief.

At precisely 4:00 pm, a thunderous rumble reverberated beyond a green headland. Slowly at first, then accelerating on a bright flare of fire, a 47-meter white rocket ascended into a perfect, near-cloudless sky.


The flare flickered high into the stratosphere as spectators let out cheers. Bare seconds later, all that could be seen in the skies over the Naro Space Center was a plume of smoke drifting high in the blue.

The country’s homegrown Nuri (“World”) rocket had lifted off.

“Today is a very monumental moment in our history of science and technology,” Minister of Science and ICT Lee Jong-ho told reporters at the site some minutes later as data was received. “We successfully launched Nuri … and reached our target orbit successfully, with a performance verification satellite.”

He added: “Now, the sky has opened for us!”

Indeed: South Korea has joined the global satellite launch race, with Nuri successfully placing a satellite in low-earth orbit, some 700kms up. Four micro satellites are expected to be released from the main satellite in the coming days.


The minister added that South Korea will, in August, launch a domestic Moon orbiter – albeit, using a US launch platform – and will also participate in NASA’s upcoming Artemis mission, that aims to (re)land on the Moon.

For this high-tech, G10 economy, long used to being the poor cousin to arch-competitor North Korea when it comes to rocket launches, it was a coming-of-age moment.

The successful launch marked Korea’s entry into the space race. But is also marked a step toward middle-power status, for it validated sovereign technologies that have potential use beyond satellite deployments.

Officials who briefed media at the launch site were keen to talk up the civilian use of the vehicle.

The aim of the Nuri program is, according to materials handed to reporters, “to acquire space transportation capabilities and nurture domestic system integration companies capable of providing broad-based services for launch vehicles.”


NASA programs spun off multiple technologies used in the civilian sphere, from Global Positioning Systems to LED lighting. Many space flight technologies, however, are dual-use, with applications in the military sphere.

South Korea’s current-generation ballistic missiles are short-range. The altitude Nuri’s engines propelled it to today is – speaking very roughly – the same altitude attained by an intermediate-range ballistic missile, or IRBM.

Civil-military connections exist across government agencies and commercial firms related to national missile and space programs.

The Korean Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) which was responsible for today’s launch is also engaged in South Korea’s military satellite program. And affiliates of domestic conglomerate Hanhwa, which made several of Nuri’s components, are also supplying to national missile and military satellite programs.

But even if the launch demonstrates that South Korea is IRBM-capable, should it wish to develop that class of weaponry, questions hang over why – or even whether – Seoul feels the need to acquire such an asset given that its key enemy, North Korea, can be covered by extant short-range missiles.

Nuri leaves the world behind
Nuri blasted off today from a green gantry set on the launch pad at the Naro Space Center. Bookmarked by verdant, low hills tumbling into the summer Pacific, Naro is perched on the southernmost point of the peninsula – a location remote enough to satisfy onshore safety requirements.

With the rocket’s launch trajectory aimed over the ocean, a 44km-95km no-fly zone and a 24km-78km maritime control zone were established to allow the first-stage engine to drop safely.

Nuri is Korea’s first fully indigenous space vehicle. It’s predecessor, the Naro, used a Russian design for its first, booster stage.

While South Korea has been allied with the United States since its establishment as a state in 1948, it was Russia that gave the country a flying start in space technologies. After Moscow was unable to pay back Seoul loans in the early 1990s, it made payment in kind with weapons including tanks and missiles, as well as technical assistance in early-stage rocket development.

The Nuri program, set to run through to 2027, has a price tag of 1.9 trillion won ($1.4 billion), according to briefing materials handed to reporters.

Even so, Ministry of Science and ICT Spokesman Koo Hyuk-chae was careful to explain that today’s success, while an impressive achievement, does not imminently propels South Korea into the global satellite-lift market.

“There are many technological bottlenecks to go through, and many international regulations and agreements,” he said. “Korean space technology is at the beginning stage.… It is difficult to say exactly when we can deliver space services.”

The Nuri rocket is propelled by triple-stage, liquid-fuel boosters. The first stage weighs 300 tons, combining four 74-ton engines; the second stage is a 75-ton engine; the third stage is a seven-ton engine.

The full package hefts a 1.5 ton satellite 600-800kms above the earth’s surface.

A prototype Nuri was launched in October 2021 with a dummy payload on its nose. Though it reached its 700km orbital ceiling, its third stage burned out early, meaning the payload failed to reach orbital speed.

The stakes were higher this time. Nuri was loaded with a specialist monitoring satellite, which itself continued four micro, data-collection satellites designed by local universities, as well as a dummy satellite to maximize payload weight.

The flight was originally set for June 16, but was delayed until today due to issues with sensors, launch pad facilities and high winds.

According to the Korea Aerospace Research Institute, the engine assembly and mission control systems are built by, respectively, Hanwha Aerospace and Hanwha Defense. Hanwha is a conglomerate with significant presence in defense – from drones to rockets to self-propelled artillery.

“I would not say they are identical, but they are very close,” Chun In-bum, a retired South Korean general told Asia Times of the interface between civilian and military rockets. “All the technologies that come out of a civilian rocket launch will influence military rockets and vice versa.”


Biden green-lights Korean missiles
Washington started applying ceilings on the range of missiles its junior ally could develop in 1979, in return for technology transfers. The original cap was for missiles with a range of 180km and warheads of 500kgs, though it was revised four times – to, in 2017, an 800km range and unlimited payloads.

The ceiling was finally scrapped in May 2021 when US President Joe Biden and then-South Korean President Moon Jae-in summited in Washington DC.

“The termination of the guidelines reflects how the Biden administration lays importance on the South Korea-US alliance, as well as the trust in our country based on our national capacity, status and as a model nation for international nonproliferation,” Seoul’s Ministry of National Defense spokesperson said at the time.

Koo acknowledged that the process that enabled Nuri’s launch today “was related to the 2021 discussions.”

Indeed, much has sprung from the May 2021 agreement. Those developments suggest that the agreement had been long in gestation – and that Seoul was ready to hit the ground running as soon as the ink was dry.

In September 2021, South Korea test-fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile. According to the Arms Control Association, the country is the first non-nuclear power to test such a home-grown capability. The underwater test was preceded by a test from a land-based facility, and then from an underwater barge.

Korea currently has one SLBM-capable submarine – a domestically produced vessel. It plans to possess three such vessels, each with six ballistic missiles aboard, according to AAA.

And in October 2021, the first Nuri had been tested.

When it comes to surface-to-surface missiles, South Korea possesses the Hyunmoo family of short-range ballistic missiles, as well as cruise missiles. (The nascent SLBMs are an outgrowth of Hyunmoo.) The latest Hyunmoo ballistic missile, its fourth iteration, has a reported payload of 2,500kg and a range of 800 km.

According to armscontrol.org, ballistic missiles with a range of less than 1,000 kms (620 miles) are considered short-range; medium-range are 3,000–5,500 kilometers (1,860-3,410 miles); and ICBMs travel more than 5,000 kms.

Ballistic missiles fly up in a parabola before descending. For an IRBM, an apogee of 600-800kms is required. This means that – at least technically – the Nuri, a civilian rocket system, potentially upgrades South Korea’s current domestic missile capabilities from SRBM to IRBM.

The engines of both Nuri and Hyunmoo are made by affiliates of Hanwha, following on from early work down by predecessor firm Samsung Techwin, which was acquired by Hanwha in 2014.

The scrapping of US requirements and achievement of “missile sovereignty” was a win for Moon. Moon was the protégé of late liberal President Roh Moo-hyun (in office: 2003-2008). Roh initiated “OPCON Transfer” – the shift of wartime operational control of South Korean forces from US to domestic command.

That process has always been murky in terms of both its conditions and its timeline. However, it is known that Seoul is required to have necessary assets in place before the handover can take place.

While South Korea has a powerful military in terms of its manpower and hardware, it customarily relied upon its senior ally for key ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) assets.

That makes military satellites a big hole for Seoul to fill.

Currently, according to online satellite tracking service NY20, South Korea has 25 satellites. The first was launched in 1992, the last in 2021. Among them, South Korea hefted its first military satellite – a French-built military communications satellite, Anasis-2 – into orbit using a SpaceX launch vehicle in 2020.

And in April of this year, Seoul reached an agreement with SpaceX to launch five military satellites by 2025. According to SpaceNews, the reconnaissance satellites, in low-earth orbit, will enable South Korea to snoop on North Korea every two hours.

The $970 million military satellite “425 Program” is a joint operation overseen by two government bodies: the Agency for Defense Development and KARI – the same body that oversees Nuri. Its developers are two local firms: Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) and Hanwha Systems.

Seoul’s “425 Program” was launched in 2018, according to local language media.

Seoul gazes beyond horizon for future defense
Seoul remains strongly committed to its alliance with the United States – a partnership that remained sacrosanct despite the stormy relationship between leftist Moon and unconventional US conservative President Donald Trump.

Current President Yoon Suk-yeol has made all the noises Washington DC likes to hear – including improving relations with Japan and championing values of democracy and human rights beyond Korean shores.

While South Korean reconnaissance satellites would usefully augment US (and Japanese) assets, it is not clear exactly what targets Seoul’s longer-range missiles, should it choose to develop them, might be aimed at.

The entire Korean peninsula, northernmost point to southernmost, extends 1,200kms, encompassing both Koreas. An IRBM’s range extends well beyond this backyard geography, hitting targets 3,000-5,000kms distant.

Even adding the 550km breadth of the Yellow Sea, a Korean-launched IRBM would be able to hit targets in most of China – a nation with strategic width of 5,250 km (3,250 miles) east to west and 5,500 kms (3,400 miles) north to south.

It would also be able to hit anywhere in Japan – which extends 2,361 miles (3,800 kilometers), north to South, and is 200 kms (124 miles) from the western coast of the Korean peninsula.

Given that missiles are delivery vehicles, one thing missing from Korea’s arsenal is nuclear warheads. North Korea has tested six atomic devices but South Korea is sheltered under the US nuclear umbrella.

Nuclear arms acquisition is not a significant public debate – at least, not for now. But other big ticket, ex-peninsula defense items are under consideration.

A South Korean light aircraft carrier is on the drawing board, though the case for such as expeditionary vessel has not yet been satisfactorily made, meaning its future is not assured.

A carrier, like an SLBM-capable submarine, is a survivable, “second-strike” weapon that can respond if land-based assets are taken out by enemy action. It is also a power-projection weapon that extends military reach.

But it is not just new equipment that is being developed; doctrine, too, may need to be upgraded.

Some advanced militaries are forward-postured, with assets deployed far beyond their own borders. The ongoing discussion and development of sovereign, over-the-horizon capabilities suggests Seoul defense planners are mulling several possibilities.

One: With national demographics plunging, the country needs high-tech weapons rather than manpower-intensive forces, and the research skills to develop them.

Two: Korean defense planners anticipate a tomorrow in which they join or support US allies in operations well beyond the peninsula.

Three: Looking forward, North Korea may not be the only threat Seoul will have to deter, and it wants capabilities that are independent of a mercurial, and potentially weakened, United States.

Four: Seoul desires fully sovereign weapons that contain no “black box” technologies held by foreign owners that could, feasibly, compromise their use in a crisis.

If these discussions are underway, they are underway behind closed doors. But there is little doubt South Korea seeks to raise its game globally.

“Koreans aspire to become a middle power but we are a country that has been peninsula-focused,” Chun said. “World circumstances are forcing us into a new realm and I think Korea has very little choice but to proceed into a bigger role in world affairs.”

Follow this writer on Twitter @ ASalmonSeoul
 

jward

passin' thru
N. Korea’s talks of new army duties suggest nuke deployment
By HYUNG-JIN KIMtoday




1 of 2
In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, attends a meeting of the Central Military Commission of the ruling Workers' Party in Pyongyang, North Korea Wednesday, June 22, 2022. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. Korean language watermark on image as provided by source reads: "KCNA" which is the abbreviation for Korean Central News Agency. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)


SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea discussed assigning additional duties to its frontline army units at a key military meeting, state media said Thursday, a suggestion the country may want to deploy battlefield nuclear weapons targeting South Korea along the rivals’ tense border.
The discussion comes as South Korea officials said North Korea has finished preparation for its first nuclear test in five years as part of its possible efforts to build a warhead to be mounted on short-range weapons capable of hitting targets in South Korea.

During an ongoing meeting of the Central Military Commission of the ruling Workers’ Party on Wednesday, leader Kim Jong Un and other top military officers discussed “the work of additionally confirming the operation duties of the frontline units of the Korean People’s Army and modifying the operation plans,” according to the official Korean Central News Agency.
Kim also ordered steps to be taken to “enhance the operational capabilities of the frontline units,” KCNA said. A KCNA photo showed what appeared to be a big map of the Korean Peninsula’s eastern coast including border sites standing near the conference table.
“I can assess the issue of forward-deploying tactical nuclear weapons were discussed at the meeting in an in-depth manner,” said Cheong Seong-Chang, a senior analyst at South Korea’s private Sejong Institute.
Kim Jun-rak, a spokesperson for South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters later Thursday that it’s closely monitoring related North Korean activities but didn’t elaborate.

In April, when North Korea test-fired a new type of tactical guided weapon,” it said the weapon has “great significance in drastically improving the firepower of the front-line long-range artillery units, enhancing the efficiency in the operation of (North Korea’s) tactical nukes and diversification of their firepower missions.”
Its use of the words “tactical nukes” suggested the weapon is likely a short-range weapons system armed with a nuclear warhead. Some experts said at the time that North Korea intended to deploy such weapons threatening key facilitates in South Korea, including U.S. military bases there.
Later in April, Kim said North Korea could preemptively use its nuclear weapons if threatened, saying his nukes would “never be confined to the single mission of war deterrent” in situations where the North faces external threats to its “fundamental interests.” The possibility of North Korea having an escalatory nuclear doctrine could pose greater concern for South Korea, Japan and the United States.

Kim convened the Central Military Commission meeting earlier this week to confirm “crucial and urgent tasks” to expand military capabilities and implement key defense policies, state media said.
Cheong, the analyst, said North Korea is expected to preform its seventh nuclear test after the meeting, saying that its third nuclear test in 2013 also came days after another Central Military Commission meeting.
Before this week’s meeting, Kim had convened a meeting of the Central Military Commission 16 times since he took power in late 2011 but this is the first lasting two days or longer, Cheong said.
Wednesday was the second-day session, and KCNA said discussions were continuing on the agenda, indicating the meeting would continue on Thursday.
Earlier this year, North Korea test-launched a spate of missiles with potential ranges placing both the U.S. mainland and its Asian allies like South Korea and Japan within striking distances. North Korea has intercontinental ballistic missiles potentially capable of reaching the United States, but experts say the country still needs to master reentry capability and other technologies to make them functioning weapons.

Some experts say the North’s weapons launches were meant to modernize its weapons systems and boost its leverage in future negotiations with the United States to win sanctions relief and other concessions.
South Korean and U.S. officials have warned North Korea to face consequences if it goes ahead with a nuclear test. But the divisions between permanent members of the U.N. Security Council make the prospects for fresh punitive international sanctions on North Korea unclear. Russia and China this year vetoed U.S.-sponsored resolutions that would have increased sanctions, insisting Washington should focus on reviving dialogue.

 

jward

passin' thru
Dr. Jeffrey Lewis

@ArmsControlWonkProfessor at @miis, staff at @jamesmartincns
and per Hu Xijin an "amateur ... shooting his mouth off at the media."

Non-Governmental & Nonprofit Organization Carmel, CA armscontrolwonk.com
Joined March 2009
1,810 Following
101.3K Followers


North Korea is probably moving toward deploying tactical nuclear weapons to frontline artillery units.

Kim Jong Un just presided over a meeting of the Central Military Commission that made a decision "adopting important military measures to enhance the operational capabilities of the frontline units."
kcna.kp/en/article/q/1… Image

The North Korean statement today doesn't specify what those measures are, but it echoes what North Korea said on April 16 when it test-launched a short-range ballistic missile for nuclear missions. The two statements together probably tell the whole story.


http://kcna.kp/en/article/q/ef857f3a6a119b3cd07e76774404678c.kcmsf

In April, North Korea tested a new missile "of great significance in drastically improving the firepower of the frontline long-range artillery units and enhancing the efficiency in the operation of tactical nukes of the DPRK ..." That's unusually direct for them BTW. Image

This follows Kim's 2021 statement that North Korea would "develop tactical nuclear weapons to be used as various means according to the purposes of operational duty and targets of strike in modern warfare..." The report mentioned the co...

The new solid-propellant short-range ballistic missile. has a range of 110 km and an apogee of 25 km. (North Korea may have tested it again on June 5.) It is explicitly designated as being nuclear-armed.


(2nd LD) N.K. leader inspects new tactical guided weapons test to improve nuke efficiency | Yonhap News Agency (ATTN: UPDATES throughout with more info; RECASTS headline)By Yi Wonju and Song Sang-ho ... (2nd LD) N.K. leader inspects new tactical guided weapons test to improve nuke efficiency | Yonhap News Agency

The North Koreans are treating this new missile as though it is a big deal. It was highlighted at both the photo exhibit for the 90th anniversary of the KPA (left) and the anniversary parade (right). Image Image

The April 16 test-firing was conducted in the presence of "commanders of the large combined units of the Korean People's Army," which is rather unusual for North Korea. Usually, Kim watches the tests with just relevant party officials and scientists. Image Image Image

The implication of inviting the unit commanders is that they are there to see the new nuclear-armed missile that Kim will be placing under their command. #ThanksKJU Image

I presume that giving frontline artillery units a nuclear mission is a big enough change for North Korea, which has previously concentrated nuclear-armed missiles under the KPA Strategic Rocket Force, that Kim decided to formalize it at CMC meeting.

One question relates to command-and-control. What procedures will North Korea adopt for the authority and ability of frontline military units to use nuclear weapons? Presumably those procedures are spelled out in the "important document" drawn up by the KPA General Staff.

BTW: Highly recommend these 2017 musings by @nktpnd and @NarangVipin on possible DPRK nuclear command-and-control from @WarOnTheRocks.


Command and Control in North Korea: What a Nuclear Launch Might Look Like - War on the Rocks A new nuclear state, in a major crisis with a conventionally superior nuclear-armed adversary, contemplates and prepares to move nuclear assets in the Command and Control in North Korea: What a Nuclear Launch Might Look Like - War on the Rocks

As I have written over-and-over again, North Korea plans the preemptive use of nuclear weapons against US forces in South Korea and Japan to "repel" a US invasion. Even wrote a whole novel premised on this plan -- and it ends badly.


https://www.amazon.com/Commission-Report-Nuclear-Attacks-Against/dp/1328573915

North Korean leaders have long thought about nuclear weapons in this way, but what is different now is that North Korea is developing the systems necessary to make this plan of action credible. I would expect North Korea to significantly increase the size of its nuclear arsenal.

This is why I wanted Trump to take the deal in Hanoi. Yes, the deal would have left in place a North Korean nuclear deterrent. But rolling back what Kim had in 2019 wasn't as important IMHO as heading off what he's now building in 2022. But, hey, no one listens to me.
 

Housecarl

On TB every waking moment
Dr. Jeffrey Lewis

@ArmsControlWonkProfessor at @miis, staff at @jamesmartincns
and per Hu Xijin an "amateur ... shooting his mouth off at the media."

Non-Governmental & Nonprofit Organization Carmel, CA armscontrolwonk.com
Joined March 2009
1,810 Following
101.3K Followers


North Korea is probably moving toward deploying tactical nuclear weapons to frontline artillery units.

Kim Jong Un just presided over a meeting of the Central Military Commission that made a decision "adopting important military measures to enhance the operational capabilities of the frontline units."
kcna.kp/en/article/q/1… Image

The North Korean statement today doesn't specify what those measures are, but it echoes what North Korea said on April 16 when it test-launched a short-range ballistic missile for nuclear missions. The two statements together probably tell the whole story.


http://kcna.kp/en/article/q/ef857f3a6a119b3cd07e76774404678c.kcmsf

In April, North Korea tested a new missile "of great significance in drastically improving the firepower of the frontline long-range artillery units and enhancing the efficiency in the operation of tactical nukes of the DPRK ..." That's unusually direct for them BTW. Image

This follows Kim's 2021 statement that North Korea would "develop tactical nuclear weapons to be used as various means according to the purposes of operational duty and targets of strike in modern warfare..." The report mentioned the co...

The new solid-propellant short-range ballistic missile. has a range of 110 km and an apogee of 25 km. (North Korea may have tested it again on June 5.) It is explicitly designated as being nuclear-armed.


(2nd LD) N.K. leader inspects new tactical guided weapons test to improve nuke efficiency | Yonhap News Agency (ATTN: UPDATES throughout with more info; RECASTS headline)By Yi Wonju and Song Sang-ho ... (2nd LD) N.K. leader inspects new tactical guided weapons test to improve nuke efficiency | Yonhap News Agency

The North Koreans are treating this new missile as though it is a big deal. It was highlighted at both the photo exhibit for the 90th anniversary of the KPA (left) and the anniversary parade (right). Image Image

The April 16 test-firing was conducted in the presence of "commanders of the large combined units of the Korean People's Army," which is rather unusual for North Korea. Usually, Kim watches the tests with just relevant party officials and scientists. Image Image Image

The implication of inviting the unit commanders is that they are there to see the new nuclear-armed missile that Kim will be placing under their command. #ThanksKJU Image

I presume that giving frontline artillery units a nuclear mission is a big enough change for North Korea, which has previously concentrated nuclear-armed missiles under the KPA Strategic Rocket Force, that Kim decided to formalize it at CMC meeting.

One question relates to command-and-control. What procedures will North Korea adopt for the authority and ability of frontline military units to use nuclear weapons? Presumably those procedures are spelled out in the "important document" drawn up by the KPA General Staff.

BTW: Highly recommend these 2017 musings by @nktpnd and @NarangVipin on possible DPRK nuclear command-and-control from @WarOnTheRocks.


Command and Control in North Korea: What a Nuclear Launch Might Look Like - War on the Rocks A new nuclear state, in a major crisis with a conventionally superior nuclear-armed adversary, contemplates and prepares to move nuclear assets in the Command and Control in North Korea: What a Nuclear Launch Might Look Like - War on the Rocks

As I have written over-and-over again, North Korea plans the preemptive use of nuclear weapons against US forces in South Korea and Japan to "repel" a US invasion. Even wrote a whole novel premised on this plan -- and it ends badly.


The 2020 Commission Report On The North Korean Nuclear Attacks Against The U.s.: A Speculative Novel: Lewis, Jeffrey: 9781328573919: Amazon.com: Books

North Korean leaders have long thought about nuclear weapons in this way, but what is different now is that North Korea is developing the systems necessary to make this plan of action credible. I would expect North Korea to significantly increase the size of its nuclear arsenal.

This is why I wanted Trump to take the deal in Hanoi. Yes, the deal would have left in place a North Korean nuclear deterrent. But rolling back what Kim had in 2019 wasn't as important IMHO as heading off what he's now building in 2022. But, hey, no one listens to me.

Merde.....
 

jward

passin' thru
US conducts Taiwan Strait flyover amid tensions with China
Barbara Starr-Profile-Image

By Barbara Starr and Brad Lendon, CNN

Updated 10:49 PM ET, Fri June 24, 2022
A P-8A Poseidon reconnaissance plane is shown in this file photo.


A P-8A Poseidon reconnaissance plane is shown in this file photo.
(CNN)A US Navy P-8A Poseidon reconnaissance plane flew over the Taiwan Strait on Friday in a demonstration of the United States' "commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific," just days after dozens of Chinese warplanes entered Taiwan's self-declared air defense identification zone, US Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement.
"A U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon transited the Taiwan Strait in international airspace on June 24. The United States will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows including within the Taiwan Strait," the statement read.
"By operating within the Taiwan Strait in accordance with international law, the United States upholds the navigational rights and freedoms of all nations. The aircraft's transit of the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the United States' commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific."
In response, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Eastern Theater Command mobilized air and ground forces to monitor and guard the entire operation of the US aircraft, according to a Chinese military account on social media platform Weibo.
"We express firm opposition to the US' deliberate act to disrupt the regional situation and undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait," said the Weibo post, adding that troops were on "high alert at all times to resolutely safeguard national sovereignty."
The US flyover came after China sent 29 planes into Taiwan's self-declared air defense identification zone (ADIZ) -- the third-highest daily number since the start of the year, and less than a month after China sent 30 warplanes on a similar mission.
China sends dozens of warplanes into skies near Taiwan

China sends dozens of warplanes into skies near Taiwan

The 29 planes were a mix of fighter jets, early warning and control aircraft, electronic warfare aircraft, anti-submarine aircraft, electronic intelligence aircraft, and aerial refueling aircraft, said the Chinese Defense Ministry on Tuesday.
The issue of Taiwan has been at the forefront of US-China relations in recent months.
Tensions between Washington, which is committed to supporting the island's self-defense, and Beijing over Taiwan were in the open earlier this month when their respective defense chiefs met at the Shangri-La Dialogue defense conference in Singapore.
Taiwan and mainland China have been governed separately since the defeated Nationalists retreated to the island at the end of the Chinese civil war more than 70 years ago.
But China's ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) views the self-ruled island as part of its territory -- despite having never controlled it.
Beijing has not ruled out military force to take Taiwan and has kept pressure on the democratic island over the past few years with frequent warplane flights into the island's ADIZ.
An ADIZ is unilaterally imposed and distinct from sovereign airspace, which is defined under international law as extending 12 nautical miles from a territory's shoreline.
The US Federal Aviation Administration defines it as "a designated area of airspace over land or water within which a country requires the immediate and positive identification, location and air traffic control of aircraft in the interest of the country's national security."
US and Chinese defense chiefs trade barbs over Taiwan at first face-to-face meeting

US and Chinese defense chiefs trade barbs over Taiwan at first face-to-face meeting

In a keynote speech in Singapore, Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe accused the United States of being a "bully" in the region and vowed the PLA would "fight to the very end" to stop Taiwanese independence.
After the Shangri-La conference, China's Foreign Ministry reasserted previous statements that the Taiwan Strait "is not international waters."
"The waters of the Taiwan Strait extend from the coasts on both sides of the Strait to the centerline of the Strait, and are China's internal waters, territorial sea, contiguous zone and exclusive economic zone in that order," Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said in a briefing on June 13, citing the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and China's domestic law.
Reiterating Beijing's stance on Wednesday, an editorial in China's state-run tabloid Global Times claimed that the entire Taiwan Strait -- the 110-mile-wide (180 kilometers) body of water between Taiwan and mainland China -- is not international waters, but rather completely under Beijing's jurisdiction.
The actions of US and foreign warships that regularly pass through the strait constitute provocations that violate Chinese sovereignty and are not innocent passage, a recognized international right, the Global Times said.
The US Navy sees things differently, regularly sending warships through the strait, including on May 10, when the guided missile cruiser USS Port Royal made a transit.
Similarly to airspace, international law stipulates that a country's territorial waters extend 12 nautical miles from its coastline.
CNN's Beijing Bureau, Wayne Chang, Jake Kwon and Larry Register contributed to this report.






 

jward

passin' thru
China ‘no-limits’ vow with Russia raises Pentagon urgency to prepare for Guam attack: US commander

  • ‘Extremely dangerous’ if Beijing and Moscow were to make good on recent doubling down of partnership, says US Indo-Pacific Commander John Aquilino
  • Admiral calls China’s advances in terms of naval ships, missile technology and nuclear capabilities ‘the largest military build-up’ since the second world war

Robert Delaney



Robert Delaney
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Published: 2:40am, 25 Jun, 2022

Updated: 2:40am, 25 Jun, 2022


US Indo-Pacific Commander John C Aquilino, left, arriving at Clark Air Base in the Philippines in March. Photo: AP

US Indo-Pacific Commander John C Aquilino, left, arriving at Clark Air Base in the Philippines in March. Photo: AP

The commander of US military forces in the Pacific said on Friday that Beijing’s declaration of a “no-limits” partnership with Russia has raised the Pentagon’s sense of urgency in efforts to prepare for a missile attack by Chinese military forces on Guam.
“The most concerning aspect of [Russia’s war in Ukraine] is that the People’s Republic of China has declared a no-limits policy in support of Russia and what that means to both the Indo-Pacific and the globe,” US Indo-Pacific Commander Admiral John C Aquilino said.
“If those two nations were to truly demonstrate and deliver a no-limits policy, I think what that means is we’re currently in an extremely dangerous time and place in the history of humanity, if that were to come true,” he said in a discussion hosted by Foundation for Defence of Democracies, a Washington-based think tank.
The Chinese government strengthened its partnership with Russia to one that has “no limits” and “no forbidden areas”, three weeks before Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his country’s all-out attack on Ukraine on February 24.

Beijing has also refused to condemn Russia’s actions and has amplified some of the Kremlin’s talking points about the conflict. This has added tension to a US-China relationship that was already under strain on multiple fronts, including efforts by the administrations of US President Joe Biden and his predecessor Donald Trump to bolster relations with Taiwan, which Beijing considers a renegade province.




Aquilino called China’s advances in terms of naval ships, missile technology and nuclear capabilities “the largest military build-up” since the second world war. He said this raises the risk that Beijing’s forces could attack Guam, an American territory in Micronesia.
“Guam has a 360-degree threat, so our ability to defend it and to be able to operate from there is absolutely critical,” he said. “I won’t have any timeline so I could see a continuous improvement and a continuous threat, and what that leads me to to do is to move with a sense of urgency.

Aquilino’s comments on the military front echoed remarks made last week by US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, who said in a discussion hosted by the Centre for a New American Security that the lack of a forceful response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “would send a message to other would-be aggressors, including China, that they could do the same thing”.

Beijing’s stance on Russia has become one of the key issues that the two sides have sparred over in recent high-level meetings.
China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi and Sullivan held a seven-hour meeting in Rome on March 14 focused primarily on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the issue was discussed by the two again when they held a 4½ hour meeting in Luxembourg last week.

video at source
posted for fair use
 

Housecarl

On TB every waking moment
China ‘no-limits’ vow with Russia raises Pentagon urgency to prepare for Guam attack: US commander


    • ‘Extremely dangerous’ if Beijing and Moscow were to make good on recent doubling down of partnership, says US Indo-Pacific Commander John Aquilino
    • Admiral calls China’s advances in terms of naval ships, missile technology and nuclear capabilities ‘the largest military build-up’ since the second world war

Robert Delaney



Robert Delaney

+ FOLLOW

Published: 2:40am, 25 Jun, 2022

Updated: 2:40am, 25 Jun, 2022


US Indo-Pacific Commander John C Aquilino, left, arriving at Clark Air Base in the Philippines in March. Photo: AP

US Indo-Pacific Commander John C Aquilino, left, arriving at Clark Air Base in the Philippines in March. Photo: AP

The commander of US military forces in the Pacific said on Friday that Beijing’s declaration of a “no-limits” partnership with Russia has raised the Pentagon’s sense of urgency in efforts to prepare for a missile attack by Chinese military forces on Guam.
“The most concerning aspect of [Russia’s war in Ukraine] is that the People’s Republic of China has declared a no-limits policy in support of Russia and what that means to both the Indo-Pacific and the globe,” US Indo-Pacific Commander Admiral John C Aquilino said.
“If those two nations were to truly demonstrate and deliver a no-limits policy, I think what that means is we’re currently in an extremely dangerous time and place in the history of humanity, if that were to come true,” he said in a discussion hosted by Foundation for Defence of Democracies, a Washington-based think tank.
The Chinese government strengthened its partnership with Russia to one that has “no limits” and “no forbidden areas”, three weeks before Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his country’s all-out attack on Ukraine on February 24.

Beijing has also refused to condemn Russia’s actions and has amplified some of the Kremlin’s talking points about the conflict. This has added tension to a US-China relationship that was already under strain on multiple fronts, including efforts by the administrations of US President Joe Biden and his predecessor Donald Trump to bolster relations with Taiwan, which Beijing considers a renegade province.




Aquilino called China’s advances in terms of naval ships, missile technology and nuclear capabilities “the largest military build-up” since the second world war. He said this raises the risk that Beijing’s forces could attack Guam, an American territory in Micronesia.
“Guam has a 360-degree threat, so our ability to defend it and to be able to operate from there is absolutely critical,” he said. “I won’t have any timeline so I could see a continuous improvement and a continuous threat, and what that leads me to to do is to move with a sense of urgency.

Aquilino’s comments on the military front echoed remarks made last week by US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, who said in a discussion hosted by the Centre for a New American Security that the lack of a forceful response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “would send a message to other would-be aggressors, including China, that they could do the same thing”.

Beijing’s stance on Russia has become one of the key issues that the two sides have sparred over in recent high-level meetings.
China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi and Sullivan held a seven-hour meeting in Rome on March 14 focused primarily on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the issue was discussed by the two again when they held a 4½ hour meeting in Luxembourg last week.

video at source
posted for fair use

Merde....
 

jward

passin' thru
North Korea accuses US of creating ‘Asia-Style NATO’ to overthrow Kim Jong Un
Anders Hagstrom

3 minutes



North Korea has accused the U.S. of creating an "Asia-style NATO" in an attempt to overthrow dictator Kim Jong Un late Sunday.
The North Korean government cited military cooperation between the U.S. and allies in Japan and South Korea. The regime's complaints echo China's condemnation of the newly revitalized Quad alliance, which includes the U.S., Japan, India and Australia.
"While blatantly holding joint military exercises with Japan and South Korea, the United States is making a full-fledged move to establish an Asia-style NATO," North Korea's foreign ministry wrote in a statement.
"This proves the hypocrisy of the U.S. rhetoric of 'diplomatic engagement' and ‘dialogue without preconditions,’ while at the same time revealing again that there is no change in the U.S. ambition to overthrow our system by force," the statement continued.

NORTH KOREA MAKING PREPARATIONS FOR POSSIBLE NUCLEAR TEST: OFFICIALS


US President Joe Biden meets with China's President Xi Jinping during a virtual summit from the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC, November 15, 2021. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
President Joe Biden's administration has ramped up military cooperation with Asian allies as China has grown increasingly aggressive toward Taiwan and North Korea nears a potential nuclear test.

AUSTRALIA SAYS CHINA INTERCEPTED MILITARY PLANE OVER SOUTH CHINA SEA, FORCING IT TO RETURN TO BASE
China condemned the Quad alliance as an attempt to form an "Asian NATO" earlier this year.
Unlike NATO, however, Quad members only agree to cooperate economically and do not sign a mutual defense pact.
Biden's administration was adamant that the organization was "not the new NATO" when first announcing the partnership last year.
"The Quad is not a military alliance; it’s not a new NATO, despite some of the propaganda that’s out there," White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said at the time. "What it is, is an opportunity for these four democracies to work as a group, and also with other countries, on fundamental issues of economics, technology, climate, and security."
https://www.foxnews.com/apps-products?pid=AppArticleLink
Nevertheless, the U.S. has strengthened its military cooperation with South Korea and Japan in recent months. The U.S. included an aircraft carrier, the USS Ronald Reagan, in its military drills with South Korea for the first time in four years earlier in June.
The 100,000-ton nuclear-powered vessel is one of the U.S. Navy's eleven aircraft carriers.
 

jward

passin' thru
Seoul urges China, Russia to prevent North Korean nuke test
ABC News

4-6 minutes


SEOUL, South Korea -- A top South Korean official said Monday that North Korea is increasingly targeting the South with its nuclear arms program, and urged China and Russia to persuade the North not to conduct a widely expected nuclear test.
Unification Minster Kwon Youngse’s comments came after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un re-emphasized his nuclear ambitions in a key military meeting last week and approved unspecified new operational duties for front-line army units.
Experts say North Korea could be planning to deploy battlefield nuclear weapons along its tense border with South Korea. During a prolonged stalemate in nuclear diplomacy, North Korea has spent much of the past three years expanding its arsenal of short-range solid-fuel missiles that are potentially capable of evading missile defenses and striking targets throughout South Korea, including U.S. bases there.

U.S. and South Korean officials say that North Korea has all but finished preparations for its first nuclear test since September 2017, when it claimed to have detonated a thermonuclear warhead designed for intercontinental ballistic missiles. North Korea may use its next nuclear test to claim that it has acquired the ability to build small nuclear warheads that can be placed on short-range missiles or other new weapons systems it has demonstrated in recent months, analysts say.

Kwon, who oversees South Korea's relations with North Korea, said at a news conference that the North is exploiting a favorable environment to push ahead with weapons development and overturn the regional status quo as the U.S.-led West remains distracted over Russia's invasion of Ukraine. He said North Korea’s nuclear ambitions pose a “very serious and fundamental threat” to South Korea and that Seoul is preparing stern countermeasures in response to a possible North Korean nuclear test. He didn’t elaborate.
“North Korea’s transition in weapons development from long-range ballistic missiles to short-range ballistic missiles, from strategic nuclear weapons to tactical nuclear weapons, is obviously targeted toward South Korea,” Kwon said.
“It seems clear that North Korea is simultaneously pursuing an ability to attack the United States and to attack South Korea," he said.

Kwon said North Korea could go ahead with a nuclear test at “any time.”
While the U.S. government has vowed to pursue additional sanctions against North Korea if it conducts another nuclear test, the possibility of meaningful new punitive measures remains unclear because Russia’s war in Ukraine has deepened divisions among permanent members of the U.N. Security Council. China and Russia have vetoed U.S.-sponsored proposals that would have increased sanctions on North Korea over some of its recent ballistic missile tests.
Kwon, who served as South Korea’s ambassador to China from 2013 to 2015, expressed hope that Beijing and Moscow will react differently to a North Korean nuclear test since both have maintained public support for a denuclearized Korean Peninsula.
“If North Korea goes ahead with a nuclear test at a time when the global security situation is as instable as it is now, the country will face enormous criticism from international society, and the response will be more than just words,” Kwon said.
North Korea has conducted more ballistic tests in the first half of 2022 than it has in any previous entire year, firing around 30 missiles, including its first tests of ICBMs in nearly five years. Kim has punctuated the tests with repeated comments that North Korea would use nuclear weapons proactively if threatened or provoked, which experts say is an escalation in its nuclear doctrine.

The U.S. government has reaffirmed its commitment to defending allies South Korea and Japan with its full range of military capabilities, including nuclear, but there are concerns in Seoul that North Korea's ICBMs could make Washington hesitant in the event of another war on the Korean Peninsula.
Experts say North Korea’s unusually heavy testing activity this year underscores Kim’s intent to advance his arsenal as well as pressure the United States into accepting North Korea as a nuclear power, thereby strengthening its position in negotiating economic and security concessions.
Talks have stalled since early 2019 because of disagreements over a relaxation of crippling U.S.-led sanctions against North Korea in exchange for North Korean disarmament steps.
 

jward

passin' thru

jward

passin' thru
hmm. I think thems fightin words :mus: Fly Me to the Moon :mus:

China may be considering a “takeover” of the Moon as part of its military space programme: NASA administrator

Brendan Taylor
July 3, 2022 2:45 pm

moon-gd1f76b83c_1280-990x557.jpg
Source: Pixabay




According to NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, China may be considering a “takeover” of the Moon as part of its military space programme.

Nelson claimed in an interview that the United States is now engaged in a new race to space, this time with China. He emphasised that Beijing may complete its own Moon station in 2035 and begin experiments a year later.
According to RT, Nelson claimed that we must be very concerned about China landing on the Moon and declaring that it now belongs to the People’s Republic of China and that everyone else should stay away.
Nelson, who claims that China’s space programme is a “military” space programme, explained that competition for the moon’s south pole is particularly fierce: potential water deposits there could be used in the future for rocket-fuel production.

When asked by Bild what military goals China might have in space, Nelson stated that Chinese astronauts are busy learning how to destroy other countries’ satellites.
Despite Beijing’s assurances that its ambitious space programme is solely for peaceful purposes, Nelson has long been a harsh critic of China’s space policy, according to RT.

In April, he accused Chinese officials of refusing to collaborate with the US on its operations and of withholding critical information. Earlier, he acknowledged that NASA follows a 2011 law that prohibits the agency from directly collaborating with the Chinese government or any China-affiliated organisations without explicit approval from Congress and federal law enforcement authorities. The Wolf Amendment ban, according to Chinese officials, is “unfortunate” and an impediment to direct cooperation with NASA.
 

jward

passin' thru
North Korea says U.S.-South Korea-Japan agreement materialises U.S. plan for 'Asian NATO'


SEOUL, July 3 (Reuters) - North Korea criticised the United States, South Korea and Japan's recent agreement on strengthening military cooperation to be a means to materialise a U.S. plan for a military alliance like NATO in the region.

North Korea's foreign ministry spokesperson said as much to a question put by KCNA, the state news agency reported on Sunday.

"The reality clearly shows that the real purpose of the U.S. spreading the rumour about 'threat from North Korea' is to provide an excuse for attaining military supremacy over the Asia-Pacific region," said the spokesperson.


"The prevailing situation more urgently calls for building up the country's defences to actively cope with the rapid aggravation of the security environment," the spokesperson added.

The leaders of the United States, South Korea and Japan met on the sidelines of a NATO summit last week and agreed to explore further means to reinforce "extended deterrence" against North Korea. read more

Rest beyond paywall
 

jward

passin' thru
Satellite pics reveal North Korea’s huge ‘176,000sq ft’ underground lair with room for 20,000 of Kim Jong-un’s cronies
Aliki Kraterou

5-6 minutes


SATELLITE images have revealed North Korea’s massive 176,000sq ft underground lair.
The Kanggye General Tractor Plant which is believed to have room for up to 20,000 people is considered the country's largest underground arms factory.
https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=2Mrx9S_0gTvxNKV00
Satellite images of the Kanggye General Tractor Plant in the Chagang province Credit: Google EarthKim Jong Un during a visit to the plant in 2019 Credit: AFP
https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=2jT0PD_0gTvxNKV00
Kim said at the time he "appreciated the plant for having produced highly efficient machinery and equipment" Credit: AFP
The site, known as Factory No.26, has multiple tunnels that provide access to the interior of a 1.2m-long hill.
Based on analysis by American researcher Jacob Bogle the huge factory is estimated to cover 176,000sq ft and while its exact size is not known, it is estimated it has multiple floors and numerous several-mile-long tunnels.
He told Metro.co.uk: "The average person looking at the factory probably wouldn’t suspect just how large or important it is.
"Outside, in front of the hill that houses the underground portion, there’s about 50 hectares of administrative buildings, warehouses and even a small stadium for employees to play football.
https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=0Z8A4W_0gTvxNKV00
https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=06rCbT_0gTvxNKV00

"The factory is somewhat nondescript. But then all you have to do is look at the hill and you can see small buildings extending straight into the rock and at least nine entrance tunnels.
"In fact, it’s a little difficult getting an exact count of just how many tunnels there are.’
The plant is responsible for manufacturing ammunition including self-propelled artillery.

The factory which is located in the Chagang province is also believed to be responsible for the manufacturing of components for short-range ballistic missiles which are later shipped to other facilities for assembly.
It is thought that during the 90s and early 2000s centrifuges used for uranium enrichment were also manufactured and stored at the factory.
Bogle, who is based in Tampa, Florida, has analysed satellite images of underground factories around North Korea.
While most of them have up to three access tunnels, Kanggye includes at least nine.
Staff are said to undergo body searches upon entering the site, with guards on the lookout for anything that could cause a fire such as lighters and matches.

During a visit to the site in 2019, Kim Jong Un was said to have “appreciated the plant for having produced highly efficient machinery and equipment conducive to the national economy and the strengthening of the defense capabilities,” Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported at the time.
Bogle continued: "So, to carry on with the Bond villainy analogy, you have this somewhat normal-looking factory, surrounded by the region’s mountains.
"But then you look more closely and there’s this hidden network of tunnels all producing weapons for one of the largest militaries in the world and that’s headed by a guy who murdered his own brother and uncle."
The site was established soon after the Korean War as the small-arms factory was split into three, and each part moved to different areas of the country.

The term "tractor" comes from Soviet nomenclature that typically denotes a military factory.
Back in 1991, a major explosion caused by the mishandling of explosive material, reportedly caused the death of at least 1,000 people.
The explosion destroyed an area nearly a kilometer, damaging every above-ground building and blew out windows for miles around.
According to locals, cited in a Daily NK report the official death toll could have reached as many as 6,000 people, including pregnant women.
Among the victims were also workers who were trapped underground as authorities reportedly blocked all exits to prevent an even bigger explosion.
Research showed it took 3-4 years for the site to be cleared and reconstructed, with no new residential buildings facing the factory, although the area does remain populated.

Mr Bogle said: "We know that North Korea is one of the worst offenders when it comes to unsafe working conditions and it has the highest incidence of work-related deaths in the world according to a study published in 2021 by the World Health Organization and International Labour Organization.
https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=1zWKPP_0gTvxNKV00
https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=1GDZt0_0gTvxNKV00

"At Kanggye, there are recreational facilities such as a stadium and swimming pool, there’s a medical clinic, and there are other amenities for the workers and their families.
"Work at the factory is likely to be difficult, and there would be no public discussion of injuries or safety failures, but there is no reason to believe that workers are any less safe than at other North Korean arms factories."
https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=1KyEIk_0gTvxNKV00
The North Korean leader meeting troops who took part in the military parade marking the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Korean People's Revolutionary Army Credit: Reuters
 

jward

passin' thru
North Korea slams US-South Korea, South Korea-Japan military cooperations
byThe Associated Press
July 4, 2022


A6-3-N-Korea-800x533.jpg

South Korea Defense Ministry via AP, File
FILE – In this photo provided by South Korea’s Defense Ministry, U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, second from left, and South Korea’s landing platform helicopter (LPH) ship Marado, left, sail during a joint military exercise at an undisclosed location, June 4, 2022.





By Hyung-Jin Kim | The Associated Press
SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea on Sunday slammed the United States, South Korea and Japan for pushing to boost their trilateral military cooperation targeting the North, warning that the move is prompting urgent calls for the country to reinforce its military capability.

North Korea has long cited what it calls hostility by the United States and its allies as a reason to pursue a nuclear program. Sunday’s statement comes as North Korea’s neighbors say the country is ready for its first nuclear test in five years as part of its provocative run of weapons tests this year.

“The prevailing situation more urgently calls for building up the country’s defense to actively cope with the rapid aggravation of the security environment of the Korean Peninsula and the rest of the world,” the North Korean Foreign Ministry said in a statement, without elaborating how it would boost its military capacity.
The statement took issue with a trilateral meeting among the US, South Korean and Japanese leaders on the sidelines of a NATO summit last week, during which they underscored the need to strengthen their cooperation to deal with North Korean nuclear threats.
“The chief executives of the US, Japan and South Korea put their heads together for confrontation with [North Korea] and discussed the dangerous joint military countermeasures against it including the launch of tripartite joint military exercises,” the statement said.

North Korea views US-led military exercises in the region, particularly ones with rival South Korea, as an invasion rehearsal, though Washington and Seoul have repeatedly said they have no intentions of attacking the North.
During the recent trilateral meeting, US President Joe Biden said he was “deeply concerned” about North Korea’s continued ballistic missile tests and apparent plans to conduct a nuclear test. South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said the importance of trilateral cooperation has grown in the face of North Korea’s advanced nuclear program, while Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said joint anti-missile drills would be important to deter North Korean threats.
Earlier in June, the defense chiefs of the US, South Korea and Japan agreed to resume their combined missile warning and tracking exercises as part of their efforts to deal with North Korea’s escalating weapons tests.

The North Korean statement accused the United States of exaggerating rumors about North Korean threats “to provide an excuse for attaining military supremacy over the Asia-Pacific region including the Korean Peninsula.”
US officials have said Washington has no hostile intent toward Pyongyang and urged it to return to disarmament talks without any preconditions. North Korea has rejected the US overture, saying it would focus on buttressing its nuclear deterrent unless the United States drops its hostile policies toward the North, an apparent reference to US-led economic sanctions and its regular military training with South Korea.

North Korea claimed the recent NATO summit proves an alleged US plan to contain Russia and China by achieving the “militarization of Europe” and forming a NATO-like alliance in Asia. It said “the reckless military moves of the US and its vassal forces” could lead to dangerous consequences like a nuclear war simultaneously taking place in both Europe and Asia-Pacific.
Pyongyang has often released similar warlike rhetoric and warned of the danger of nuclear war in times of heightened animosities with Washington and Seoul.
Image credits: South Korea Defense Ministry via AP, File
 

jward

passin' thru
Chuck Callesto
@ChuckCallesto



BREAKING REPORT: Heads of FBI and MI5 warn of threat posed by China, Security chiefs say they are facing 'GAME CHANGING CHALLENGE' FROM COMMUNIST PARTY which is 'covertly applying pressure across the globe'... TRUMP: China, China, China DEMS: Russia, Russia, Russia
 

Heliobas Disciple

TB Fanatic
(fair use applies)

North Korea's Hackers Targeting Multiple Health Organisations With Ransomware, Warns US
FBI and other investigation agencies have warned that the North Korean government-backed hackers could increase the cyberattack on health services.
Written By Ajeet Kumar
Last Updated: 7th July, 2022 13:13 IST

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other investigation agencies have warned that the North Korean government-backed hackers could increase the cyberattacks like last year and added the health service providers to upgrade their security to avert such a situation. According to the intelligence agencies, the Korean hackers targetted a number of health service providers, resulting in the disruption in their operations. In some cases, it said the operations were affected for quite a long time. In an updated advisory released on Wednesday, the FBI, Department of Treasury and US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), appealed to the hospitals to upgrade their system security in order to avert any possible attacks by North Korean hackers.

Explaining last year's incident, the intelligence agencies claimed that North Korea used ransomware to encrypt computer systems hosting electronic health records and diagnostics and imaging services which resulted in disruption in hospital operations. In a statement released on July 6, it said the FBI, CISA, and Treasury highly discourage paying ransoms as doing so does not guarantee files and records will be recovered and may pose sanctions risks.

"Specifically, the updated advisory encourages U.S. entities to adopt and improve cybersecurity practices and report ransomware attacks to, and fully cooperate with, law enforcement. The updated advisory states that when affected parties take these proactive steps, the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) would be more likely to resolve apparent sanctions violations involving ransomware attacks with a non-public enforcement response," it added.

It has also released points for the health services sector to prevent ransomware attacks:
  • Install updates for operating systems, software, and firmware as soon as they are released.
  • Timely patching is one of the most efficient and cost-effective steps an organization can take to minimize its exposure to cybersecurity threats
  • Regularly check for software updates and end-of-life notifications and prioritize patching known exploited vulnerabilities.
  • If you use Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP), or other potentially risky services, secure and monitor them closely.
  • Limit access to resources over internal networks, especially by restricting RDP and using virtual desktop infrastructure.
  • Monitor remote access/RDP logs, enforce account lockouts after a specified number of attempts to block brute force campaigns, log RDP login attempts, and disable unused remote access/RDP ports.
  • Review the security posture of third-party vendors and those interconnected with your organization. Ensure all connections between third-party vendors and outside software or hardware are monitored and reviewed for suspicious activity.
  • Require administrator credentials to install the software
  • Audit user accounts with administrative or elevated privileges and configures access controls with the least privilege in mind.
  • Install and regularly update antivirus and antimalware software on all hosts.
  • Only use secure networks and avoid using public Wi-Fi networks. Consider installing and using a VPN.
  • Consider adding an email banner to messages coming from outside your organization.
  • Disable hyperlinks in received emails.
 

jward

passin' thru
Tensions been picking up in this sector lately, too. . .

China provokes India again, Chinese aircraft flies close to LAC in Ladakh
A Chinese aircraft came very close to the Indian positions right on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh. India has taken up the matter with the Chinese army.
Manjeet Negi
Manjeet Negi New DelhiJuly 8, 2022UPDATED: July 8, 2022 14:35 IST


A Chinese aircraft flew close to Indian positions on the LAC in eastern Ladakh (File photo)


A Chinese aircraft came very close to Indian positions right on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh in the last week of June. The Indian Air Force (IAF) reacted quickly and activated its assets to tackle any possible misadventure, top sources in the government told India Today.


This was one of the first incidents of a possible air space violation in the last few months by the Chinese side in the eastern Ladakh sector, they said.
The Chinese aircraft was picked up by an IAF radar deployed in the border area, the sources said. The incident took place at a time when the Chinese Air Force is holding a major exercise in areas controlled by it near eastern Ladakh, and has used air defence weapons in a major way during the drills.
The matter was taken up by the Indian side, as per the established norms, with the Chinese and they were asked to prevent any such incident in future, the sources said. Since then, the Chinese have not done any such thing in the border areas with India.
The Indian side has taken strong measures in the eastern Ladakh sector to deter any possible misadventure by the Chinese, like what they did in 2020.


Live TV
--- ENDS ---
READ | Two years of Galwan: India-China border standoff is now a battle for agility
ALSO READ | US General calls Chinese infrastructure near India border in Ladakh 'alarming'
 

jward

passin' thru
North Korea suspected of conducting artillery fire drills: Seoul
North Korea appears to have conducted artillery firing drills, South Korea says, days after the US deployed fighter jets to Seoul for joint training.


Published On 10 Jul 202210 Jul 2022

North Korea appears to have conducted artillery firing drills, South Korea has said, days after the United States deployed sophisticated fighter jets to South Korea for joint training.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that it detected multiple trajectories presumed to be North Korean artillery on Sunday afternoon.

“Our military spotted flight trajectories that are suspected to be North Korea’s multiple rocket launchers from around 18:21 to 18:37pm today,” the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a text message sent to reporters.
“Our military has strengthened surveillance and vigilance, and maintained a thorough readiness posture while keeping close US-South Korea cooperation,” it said, without further details.
South Korea’s presidential office said the suspected launches occurred off North Korea’s west coast. It said National Security Adviser Kim Sung-han reviewed South Korean military readiness and that his office closely monitors possible additional launches by North Korea.

This year, North Korea has carried out an unusually large number of weapons tests, including nuclear-capable missiles that place both the mainland of the US and its allies – including South Korea and Japan – within striking distance.
Washington and Seoul officials have also warned that the isolated regime is preparing to carry out what would be its seventh nuclear test – a move that the US warned would provoke a “swift and forceful” response.
Last month, South Korean Defence Minister Lee Jong-sup said Seoul would “strengthen” its defence capabilities, as well as its security cooperation with Washington and Tokyo, to counter the nuclear threat from Pyongyang.

Bargaining chip
Some experts say North Korea is attempting to perfect its weapons technology and boost its bargaining chip in future negotiations with the US to win sanctions relief or security guarantees.
Last week, six US F-35 aircraft from Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska arrived in South Korea for their first temporary deployment in South Korea since late 2017 for joint training with South Korean fighter jets.


South Korea’s Defence Ministry said the deployment was aimed at demonstrating the allies’ combined defence posture and strong deterrence against potential external aggression while improving the interoperability of the two air forces.

A US military statement said the US aircraft planned to operate over South Korea and surrounding waters during the scheduled 10-day training mission.

North Korea typically views joint exercises between the US and South Korea as an invasion rehearsal and responds with its own weapons tests.

US and South Korean defence officials have repeatedly said they have no intentions of attacking North Korea.

North Korea has said it was forced to develop nuclear weapons to cope with US military threats.

Despite its run of missile tests earlier this year, North Korea has not conducted its expected first nuclear bomb test in five years, and Seoul officials said that’s likely because of an ongoing COVID-19 outbreak and opposition by China, its last major ally and aid benefactor.

video at source
posted for fair use

~~~~~~~~~~~~

South Korea detects shots apparently launched by North Korea
By Byungwook Kim
and Josh Smith

SEOUL, July 10 (Reuters) - South Korea's military said on Sunday it had detected the trajectories of what appeared to be shots fired by North Korea, possibly from multiple rocket launchers (MLRs).

South Korea's Joint Chief of Staff announced that the shots were detected after 6 p.m. and that the military had strengthened surveillance and alert levels, without mentioning any further response.

North Korea often test-fires MLRs during military drills, and in recent years has also developed larger versions of such rockets. Smaller rockets and missiles are seen as central to North Korea's plans for striking targets in South Korea in the event of a conflict.


This year North Korea has test-fired a range of missiles, including from its largest intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) to its small MLRs. All are banned under U.N. Security Council resolutions that have imposed sanctions on North Korea's missile development.

South Korea is pursuing a $2.6-billion artillery interception system, similar to Israel's "Iron Dome", designed to protect against North Korea's arsenal of long-range guns and rockets.


A large part of the area surrounding Seoul, the capital, is home to about half the population of 52 million, and is within range of North Korea’s long-range guns and multiple rocket launchers.

The United States stations around 28,500 troops in South Korea, where they train alongside South Korean troops to counter the North. The allies have conducted missile drills of their own in response to some of North Korea's previous launches.

 
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jward

passin' thru
Defence Department silent on latest Chinese military encounter with Australian warship
Exclusive by defence correspondent Andrew Greene
Posted 7h ago7 hours ago, updated 7h ago7 hours ago

Military sources say HMAS Parramatta has been closely tracked by the People's Liberation Army over recent weeks.(Supplied: Defence)
Help keep family & friends informed by sharing this article



Defence has cited "operational security reasons" for not discussing an Australian warship's recent encounters with the Chinese military while sailing through international waters claimed by Beijing.
Key points:
  • Military sources say an Australian warship has had several encounters with the Chinese military while travelling through international waters
  • A defence figure says China challenged the ship, saying it was entering Chinese territorial waters
  • Officials have refused to comment on the incident

Military sources claim HMAS Parramatta has been closely tracked by the People's Liberation Army over recent weeks, including being followed by a Chinese nuclear-powered submarine, a warship and multiple aircraft.
"Formal challenges have occurred, such as telling us that we're entering 'China's territorial waters'," a Defence figure familiar with the interactions said.
"The most intense activity occurred as HMAS Parramatta was in the East China Sea," the official told the ABC, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to publicly discuss operations.

Since departing Australia in late May, the ANZAC-class frigate has travelled to Vietnam and South Korea and then on to Japan via the South China and East China Seas as part of a "regional presence deployment" which has included several joint military exercises with other navies.
According to the Australian embassy in Vietnam, HMAS Parramatta arrived in the port city of Da Nang on June 5, before departing the country over a week later bound for the Busan Naval Base in South Korea.

That trip took the ship through the South China Sea and then the East China Sea past Taiwan, which include heavily militarised territory claimed by the Chinese.
During its passage, the ABC was told, HMAS Parramatta was closely tracked by Chinese military assets including a Type 052C "Luyang II" guided-missile destroyer and a Type 093-A "Shang II" nuclear-powered attack submarine.

A Chinese nuclear submarine takes part in a naval parade off the eastern port city of Qingdao, to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy.(Reuters: Jason Lee)
On June 28, the Australian warship then arrived in the Port of Sasebo, in the Nagasaki prefecture, after completing naval exercises with Japan's Self-Defence Force.

Last week the ABC approached the Defence Department with a series of detailed questions about the Chinese military's interactions with HMAS Parramatta, but it declined to answer them.
A graphic of the globe labelled with locations in VIetnam, South Korea and Japan.

HMAS Parramatta has been on a "regional presence deployment" since May.(ABC News: Emma Machan)
"HMAS Parramatta is currently undertaking a regional presence deployment, conducting a number of navy-to-navy activities with Australia's regional partners and participating in various maritime exercises," a departmental spokesperson said.
"Regional deployments form part of Australia's longstanding contribution to an open, inclusive and resilient Indo-Pacific.
"For operational security reasons, Defence does not publicly disclose specific details of operations," the spokesperson added.
Defence Minister Richard Marles, who is visiting the United States, also declined to comment when asked by the ABC about the recent encounters.
"I won't go into details around that, other than to say that what our military does, what our navy, does in the South China Sea is routine," Mr Marles told the ABC from Washington DC.

US-Australian alliance can't afford to 'stand still'
Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles says strengthening the Australia-US alliance is the only way to "deter future employment in Europe, the Indo-Pacific, or elsewhere".

"It's been doing it for decades, and it is focused on asserting the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea: freedom of navigation, freedom of overflight, the global rules-based order, which I've been describing as being so important for our national interest.
Asked whether the government may choose to later publicly disclose the incident as it has with previous encounters with the Chinese military, Mr Marles left open the possibility.

"That may happen in the future again, but what we are focused on first and foremost is doing the activity because that's in our national interest."
"And then obviously, in terms of the management of the information around that activity, we're focused on the safety of our servicemen and women."
Last week Japan's Maritime Self-Defence Force (JMSDF) announced it had "conducted a trilateral exercise with United States Ship Dewy and HMAS Parramatta in the East China Sea to East of Okinawa" between July 4 and 6.

"The Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force strengthens cooperation among JMSDF, US navy and Australian navy in order to realise a free and open Indo-Pacific," it said.
Earlier this year the Defence Department revealed a Chinese J-16 jet fighter had flown close to an RAAF P-8 maritime surveillance plane during a routine patrol in the South China Sea.
On Friday Foreign Minister Penny Wong met her Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, in Bali, the first such face-to-face meeting at such a high level in almost three years.
Posted 7h ago7 hours ago, updated 7h ago7 hours ago
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jward

passin' thru
I thought this was part of the exercise, but apparently it is an accidental, and distinct, incident :(
Prayers Up!

At approximately 8 a.m. HST this morning, the Rim of the Pacific watch floor received reports of a fire and potential injuries aboard a Combined Task Force ship. The combined RIMPAC force is providing support to the vessel. <1/2>
The RIMPAC CIB will provide more information as it becomes available. <2/2>
 

Housecarl

On TB every waking moment
PLA Rocket Force
In case, the US intervenes militarily, China’s response will be a devastating pre-emptive attack in the first few days. “Many Chinese observers suggest that missile strikes on [US] air bases would be part of the opening salvos of a war,” RAND said in 2019.
China will unleash a volley of missiles — the most varied stockpile of 2,000 land-based, cruise and anti-ship weapons in the world — on Guam and Diego Garcia.

After the conclusion of the CNAS war game, which simulated China attacking Guam and Japan in the first few days, Hinote said that Beijing would adopt a Pearl Harbour-like bombing strategy. “The attack is designed to give Chinese forces the time they need to invade and present the world with a fait accompli,” he told the Air Force Magazine.
China has the most massive and diverse arsenal of missiles that threatens American ships in the Western Pacific, former US Indo-Pacific Command chief Admiral (retired) Harry Harris said in March 2018. “We are at a disadvantage with regard to China today in the sense that China has ground-based ballistic missiles that threaten our basing in the Western Pacific and our ships,” he said in a testimony before the US Senate Armed Services Committee.

The CSIS estimates that the PLA had a minimum of 425 missile launchers capable of hitting the US bases. Not only Diego Garcia but the whole of the US is within the striking range of China’s longest-range intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) Dongfeng (DF)-41, which can hit targets as far as 15,000 km. The DF-41, which can carry 10 independently targeted nuclear warheads, could theoretically hit the US in 30 minutes, according to the CSIS.
If the US decides to reuse the Taiwanese Ching Chuan Kang Air Base — as it did during the Cold War — to neutralise a Chinese attack, it will be vulnerable to the DF-16 short-range ballistic missile. China can also easily target the US air bases in Japan with its DF-21 medium-range ballistic missile and land-based cruise missile CJ-10.

Guam killer missile
On 17 April 2020, the US ended its 2004 Continuous Bomber Presence (CBP) programme on Guam with the Strategic Command explaining that the B-52s, B1s and B2s could still be deployed in the Pacific when needed.
Before Beijing unveiled the DF-26 in 2015, Guam was considered a safe base from where the three bombers undertook the Bomber Assurance and Deterrence mission in six-month rotations to reassure American allies South Korea and Japan.
Not anymore. The real reason for ending the programme was the threat of the Chinese intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) DF-26, dubbed the ‘Guam Killer’ by American analysts. The Andersen Air Force Base, the Apra Naval Base and the 6,000 US military personnel on Guam are within striking distance of DF-26 (5,400 km range) from mainland China.
According to Timothy Heath, a senior international defence researcher with RAND, the Chinese military could have “easily plotted ways of destroying the bombers due to their well-known presence”.

Similarly, the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission said in its November 2016 report: “Foremost among China’s military assets capable of reaching Guam, the DF-26 IRBM represents the culmination of decades of advancement to China’s conventional ballistic missile forces.”
In its report titled, ‘Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2020’, the US department of defence said that the DF-26 is “capable of conducting precision strikes in the Western Pacific, the Indian Ocean, and the South China Sea from mainland China”.
Besides, the PLAAF’s H-6K bomber, which has a combat radius of 3,700 km, can target Guam with its Changjian-20 cruise missiles.
The distance factor will also favour China following the scrapping of the CBP programme. Hinote too pointed out the distance disadvantage after the CNAS war game. In a China-Taiwan war, the US will dispatch the bombers from their bases in North Dakota, South Dakota and Louisiana but they will take, at least, 14-15 hours to reach the conflict zone.

Carrier killer missile
The US has often used the superior firepower of its carriers against weak countries — for example, during operations Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan). But China is not Iraq.
In August 2020, a day after an American U-2 spy plane allegedly entered a no-fly zone in SCS, Beijing fired the DF-21’s ‘carrier killer’ version DF-21D and the DF-26 as warnings to USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan and Guam, respectively.
CSIS’s Missile Defence Project estimates DF-21D’s range at 1,450 km-1,550 km. China tested the missile against a ship target which was roughly the same size as a contemporary US aircraft carrier. The DF-26 too has a ‘carrier killer’ version called the DF-26B.
“We know that China has the most advanced ballistic missile force in the world,” James Fanell, a retired US Navy captain and former senior intelligence officer with the US Pacific Fleet, told Reuters in 2019. “They have the capacity to overwhelm the defensive systems we are pursuing.”
Warning the US about sending an aircraft carrier to Chinese waters, Phillips O’Brien, professor of strategic studies at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, recently told CNN, “The US better be careful thinking about in any kind of war environment sending carrier battle groups close to China.” Besides, only around half of the US carriers are combat-ready at any one time.

Massive missile gap
The massive gap between the Chinese and the American missile arsenals, especially the range factor, was the reason then-US president Donald Trump pulled out from the Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with Russia in 2019. The pact had banned nuclear and non-nuclear missiles with ranges of 500-5,500 km in 1987.
Former President Donald Trump speaks at the Road to Majority conference in Nashville, Tenn. AP
While the treaty bound the US, China accelerated the production of missiles with frightening ranges keeping in mind any future challenge posed by American aircraft carriers in the Indo-Pacific. In the last few decades, some Chinese anti-ship missiles outrange the jets on US carriers.
There is a considerable gap even between Chinese and US missiles that aren’t in the INF Treaty’s range restriction. Beijing has two supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles YJ-12 (400 km) and YJ-18 (540) km compared to the US Harpoon, which has a maximum range of only about 240 km.

“That is a very big gap. China’s anti-ship missile capability exceeds those of the United States in terms of range, speed and sensor performance,” Robert Haddick, visiting senior fellow at the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, Arlington, Virginia, and former US Marine Corps officer, told the Reuters in 2019.
Chinese aircraft carriers and attack submarines are strategically positioned to strike US bases in SCS. The Northern Theatre Command Navy has one aircraft carrier, four nuclear-powered attack submarines and 14 diesel-powered attack submarines. The Southern Theatre Command Navy has one aircraft carrier, four nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines and 14 diesel-powered attack submarines.

ICBMs can fool US missile defence
US missile experts and defence officials say the rate of success in shooting down ICBMs is very low due to their higher altitudes and countermeasures. The current US missile defence system has been tested only 19 times since 1999 with only a 50 per cent success rate.
James D Wells, a professor at the University of Michigan, doesn’t see an effective defence against ICBMs in the next 15 years. “ICBMs are a qualitatively different threat travelling significantly higher and having potential penetration and countermeasures.”
After North Korea tested the Hwasong-17, its first ICBM since 2017, in March, Frederick L Lamb, a professor at the University of Illinois, told CNN: “If North Korea were to fire ICBMs at the USA, we cannot be assured that our missile defence system can prevent the deaths of millions of Americans.” Even the Hwasong-14 (10,000 km range if fired on a maximum trajectory) can reach New York and the Hwasong-15 (13,000 km range) anywhere in the US.
Asked why it is so hard to shoot down an ICBM, Lamb said, “The warhead will undoubtedly be accompanied by decoys aimed to fool a missile defence system.”

The first study of its kind in 10 years commissioned by the American Physical Society, a non-profit membership organisation of professionals in physics and related disciplines, revealed that despite more than six decades of missile defence efforts, “no missile defence system has been shown to be effective against realistic ICBM threats”.
“It has been described as shooting a bullet with a bullet trying to hit a warhead,” Laura Grego, a Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said.


Between this and Russia's "behavior" re-MIRVing the Minuteman ICBMs looks like a good move.
 

jward

passin' thru
Chinese military "noticeably more aggressive," Gen. Mark Milley warns

Ivana Saric
Mark Milley on July 20. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
China's military has become significantly more aggressive and dangerous in the past five years, Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley told reporters Sunday, AP reported.

Driving the news: Milley is currently on a trip to the Indo-Pacific to shore up the U.S.' alliances with nations in the region and act as a counterbalance to China. While in Indonesia Sunday, Milley will head to Australia later this week to meet with Indo-Pacific chiefs of defense, per AP.
  • The Biden administration has made the Indo-Pacific a top geostrategic focus, warning that there remains a narrow window of time to prevent China from transforming the region into its own sphere of influence.
What they're saying: The Chinese military has been conducting an increasing number of "dangerous intercepts" against U.S. and other allies' military aircraft, including those of Canada, Australia, Japan, among others, Milley told reporters aboard his plane en route to Asia, the Financial Times reported.
  • Milley added that the number of unsafe interactions, as when Chinese military aircraft get too close to a US aircraft, has risen by similar proportions, per the Financial Times.
  • “The message is the Chinese military, in the air and at sea, have become significantly more and noticeably more aggressive in this particular region,” Milley said, AP reported.
The big picture: Earlier this month, Milley ordered a comprehensive review of U.S. military interactions with Chinese forces over the past five years with the intent of deciphering any change in pattern of Chinese military activity, CNN reported.
  • Former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned in April that China is exerting “enormous pressure” on Pacific island nations, per the Guardian.
  • More than once this year, China has sent groups of warplanes near Taiwan. The governments of China and Russia also sent jets over the seas near Japan during President Biden's visit to the region in May.

 

jward

passin' thru
China says South China Sea not a 'fighting arena' for major powers
July 24, 20229:54 PM CDT
Last Updated an hour ago



US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (not pictured) meets Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi during a meeting in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia July 9, 2022. Stefani Reynolds/Pool via REUTERS
Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com
BEIJING, July 25 (Reuters) - China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Monday that the South China Sea is not a "safari park" for countries outside the region or a "fighting arena" for major powers to compete in.
The South China Sea issue should be handled by countries in the region themselves, Wang said in opening remarks at a virtual seminar commemorating the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.
 

Zagdid

Veteran Member

Moscow Exchange to suspend trading in Japanese yen from August 8
25 July 2022 18:19 (UTC+04:00)

By Trend

Trading in the Japanese yen on the currency market of the Moscow Exchange will be suspended on August 8, the Exchange said on Monday, Trend reports with reference to TASS.

"Restrictions will cover spot and swap instruments for Japanese yen - Russian ruble (JPYRUB) and US dollar - Japanese yen (USDJPY) currency pair in exchange and over-the-counter regimes," the Exchange said. The Japanese yen will not be accepted anymore as the security for transactions on markets of the Moscow Exchange also since August 8.

"Suspension of operations is conditioned by potential risks and difficulties when making settlements in the Japanese yen," the Exchange added.

Performance of obligations under earlier made transactions and transactions to be made on or before August 5, 2022 will be as normal.

The Moscow Exchange will endeavor to resume trading in the yen later on, it added.
 
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