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


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Donald Trump defends North Korea’s ‘not happy’ Kim Jong-un after missile launches: ‘he feels threatened’​

  • Trump said Kim was ‘not happy’ with ‘extremely expensive and provocative’ US-South Korea military drills that Seoul ‘pays us very little to do’
  • The former US president has claimed that during his term in the White House he formed a close relationship with the North Korean dictator

Business Insider

Published: 12:32pm, 23 Feb, 2023


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North Korea test fires four long-range cruise missiles​

Al Jazeera​

Pyongyang has begun conducting more weapons tests as the United States and South Korea step up military training.
North Korea has launched four strategic cruise missiles as part of a military drill that state media said was designed to demonstrate its ability to conduct a nuclear counterattack.

The launches came as the United States and South Korea held a simulated military exercise in Washington, DC, aimed at sharpening their response to North Korean nuclear threats.
The four Hwasal-2 missiles were launched from the area of Kim Chaek City in North Hamgyong Province, towards the sea off the east coast of the Korean Peninsula, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said in an English-language report.
They hit a preset target after travelling the “2,000km-long [1,243-mile] elliptical and eight-shaped flight orbits for 10,208 seconds to 10,224 seconds,” it added.

North Korea first tested a long-range cruise missile system in September 2021 and has since described the weapons as “strategic,” suggesting that they are being developed with the intent to arm them with nuclear warheads.
The latest launches successfully demonstrated the war readiness of North Korea’s nuclear combat forces, which are strengthening their “lethal nuclear counterattack capabilities against hostile forces in all directions,” the KCNA said.

Officials in South Korea and Japan have not confirmed the tests. The two countries often detect and publicly report North Korean launches.
North Korea has forged ahead with developing and mass producing new missiles, despite longstanding United Nations sanctions over its nuclear weapons programmes.
Last weekend, it launched an intercontinental ballistic missile and on Monday launched a pair of short-range missiles into the sea off its eastern coast.


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Faytuks News Δ

BREAKING: North Korea says that "If the US continues its hostile practices against the country, it will be considered a declaration of war" - Yonhap
"The way to prevent escalation of tension is to abandon the deployment of strategic assets to South Korea and suspend joint training", director of the US Department at North Korea's Foreign Ministry says



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South Korea and the US are in consultation over the possible deployment of a U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to Korea for drills next month, source says - Yonhap

William Gallo

In a statement, South Korea's military disputes North Korea's claim to have launched four cruise missiles:
"There is a difference between what South Korea-US reconnaissance surveillance assets identified and what North Korea announced."


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Reuters Asia

As China's birth rate slumps, political advisor urges egg freezing for single women As China's birth rate slumps, political advisor urges egg freezing for single women

Don't have the article at hand, but there are many programs getting play, in China, Asia as a whole, even, trying to combat the falling birth rates. One of them, either China or Japan, iirc is pushing "forgotten women" (gals who're in late 20s, single, professionals) to marry men w/o jobs, and will subsidize those men w/ education and training. I guess we need be cognizant that it really is a real factor in the global arsenal, and in some senses our open borders, no questions asked policies can be said to be aimed at combating a real problem. (Not that I agree with this border-less country policy, would much rather crack open another few dozen embryos and set 'bout creating/mentoring the next generation the old fashioned way.)

Italy joined in with some programs designed to address their problem with falling birth rates as well. Perhaps I should put this all on the WOW thread with one of those DOTS :(


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U.S., S. Korea agree on need to strengthen extended deterrence: Pentagon | Yonhap News Agency​


By Byun Duk-kun
WASHINGTON, Feb. 28 (Yonhap) -- The United States and South Korea agree on the need to further strengthen U.S. extended deterrence, a U.S. defense department spokesperson said Tuesday, also reaffirming U.S. commitment to deploying strategic assets to South Korea on a rotational basis.
The remarks from Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder come after the countries held a Deterrence Strategy Committee Table-Top Exercise (DSC TTX) aimed at enhancing their joint deterrence against North Korean nuclear threats.

U.S. Department of Defense Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder is seen answering a question during a daily press briefing at the Pentagon in Washington on Feb. 28, 2023 in this captured image. (Yonhap)
"We did conduct a successful discussion in regards to various approaches on the alliance deterrence posture and response posture in the face of the DPRK's evolving nuclear and missile capabilities," the department press secretary said of the table-top exercise held here in Washington last week, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

"Coming out of that tabletop exercise, both sides agreed on the need to continue to strengthen extended deterrence, including through robust consultative mechanisms in crisis communication, as well as information sharing and joint planning and execution," he added.
Ryder, however, said he had nothing to announce when asked about future plans.
Cho Tae-yong, South Korean ambassador to the U.S., said on Monday that the countries have agreed to hold follow-up exercises in the near future.
The Pentagon spokesperson also declined to comment when asked if the U.S. planned to deploy more strategic assets to South Korea in the wake of unprecedented North Korean missile tests.
Still, he highlighted security commitments made by U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin during his trip to Seoul late last month.

"You have heard our senior leadership to include Secretary Austin highlight the fact that we will be on a rotational basis, deploying strategic assets into the region and to South Korea in support of extended deterrence," he told the press briefing. "But I don't have any specifics to provide."
North Korea launched 69 ballistic missiles last year, marking a new record of ballistic missiles fired in any given year. Its previous annual record was at 25.


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China’s Farmland Is Shrinking Despite Xi Jinping’s Commands​

Zongyuan Zoe Liu​

Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan offered his “lesson number one about America” in his farewell address to the nation: “All great change in America begins at the dinner table.” The same is true in China. One of the first steps of the Maoist revolution was forced collective dining, but reform and opening up of the country revolutionized Chinese households’ dinner options with an array of diverse delicacies from Dutch cheese and Norwegian salmon to Mexican avocados and Rainier cherries.
Tang Renjian, China’s minister of agriculture and rural affairs, accounted that, every day, China’s 1.4 billion people consume a staggering 700,000 tons of grain, 98,000 tons of edible oil, 1.92 million tons of vegetables, and 230,000 tons of meat. The leaders of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) understand that “to the emperor, the people is heaven; to the people, food is heaven,” as the traditional saying goes, and they have prioritized food security as a prerequisite to maintaining power, especially after the calamitous famines of the Maoist era. For decades, coupons were necessary to buy any food—a system not fully ended until 1995, although largely dead in the cities by the mid-1980s. Despite China’s emergence as the world’s factory, the country’s No. 1 central document, the first policy statement issued by the top authorities each year, has centered on food security and the three issues of agriculture, the countryside, and farmers since 2004.

This year is no exception, as the Central Committee of the CCP and the State Council jointly released the highly anticipated No. 1 document for 2023 on Feb. 13. The document, which carries enormous weight, sets forth two critical priorities: safeguarding national food security and protecting farmland. While previous No.1 documents touched on these issues between 2004 and 2012, it was not until 2013, when Xi Jinping assumed leadership, that the annual No. 1 document established a consistent and resolute focus on food security and farmland preservation.
The 2013 No.1 document marked Xi’s first policy statement as China’s top leader and laid out his roadmap for enhancing China’s food security. At its core was ensuring China’s national food supply to strengthen food self-sufficiency. The document called for a robust supervision system to improve China’s food safety. It also unprecedentedly urged the need to “implement the most stringent farmland protection system and promote the development of high-standard farmland.”
Xi’s steadfast prioritization of food security is not misplaced, as China’s political system remains vulnerable to food insecurity. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, collective grievances aggravated by disruptions in the food supply and lockdown-induced food shortages sparked a wave of protests in more than a dozen cities, with demonstrators demanding, “We want food, not COVID tests.” Such public expressions of dissent have been rare in China since the mass Tiananmen protests in 1989. Given such alarming circumstances, Xi has underscored that China’s growing dependence on imported food presents a national security concern, even though China so far has been able to feed its 1.4 billion people.

Since taking office in 2013, Xi has stressed that “the rice bowls of the Chinese people must always be held firmly in our own hand and filled mainly with Chinese grain.” His approach to safeguarding national food security rests on achieving self-sufficiency by increasing domestic supply. At the Central Economic Work Conference in December 2022, Xi reiterated the importance of bolstering China’s capacity to ensure food security and self-sufficiency.
Xi is correct to recognize that preserving farmland is an indispensable factor in the quest to achieve food self-sufficiency. China has experienced alarming levels of farmland loss and deterioration in recent years. The most recent land use survey showed that China’s total arable land decreased from 334 million acres in 2013 to 316 million acres in 2019, a loss of more than 5 percent in just six years. Shockingly, more than one-third of China’s remaining arable land (660 million mu, a traditional unit of land measurement in China and equal to roughly 109 million acres, slightly larger than Montana) suffers from problems of degradation, acidification, and salinization.

The land has been eroding faster in recent years. The annual net decrease of arable land has risen from about 6 million mu (about 988,421 acres) from 1957 to 1996 to more than 11 million mu (about 1.8 million acres) from 2009 to 2019. This means that between 2009 and 2019, China lost farmland equal to about the size of South Carolina. China’s diminishing farmland is also losing productivity due to over-cultivation and excess use of fertilizers. China’s fertilizer usage in 2018 was 6.4 times that of 1978, but grain yield in 2018 was only 2.2 times that of 1978.

As in many other countries, such as the United States and India, a major cause for China’s farmland deterioration has been its land-intensive industrialization and urbanization over the past three decades. Farmland has been expropriated to meet the strong demand for land to support the expansion of manufacturing, infrastructure, and urban development. Competing interests for land use have resulted in arable land being expropriated for more lucrative development projects. In the contest for land use among food growers, cash-crop planters, and property developers, profit maximization often trumps the needs of food farmers, especially when imported foods are much cheaper than locally grown options.
Read More

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Chinese State Counselor Wang Yi in Moscow on Feb. 22. Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Chinese State Counselor Wang Yi in Moscow on Feb. 22.

Is China Stepping Up Its Support for Russia?​

Beijing has reinforced its anti-U.S. messaging this week, but lethal aid for Moscow still seems to be a red line.
Satellite monitoring data shows that grain planting accounts for about 70 percent of China’s existing arable land, while the remainder is used for growing cash crops, gardens, forestry, or left fallow. Several Chinese researchers, such as scholars from Anhui and a team from China Agricultural University and China’s Ministry of Natural Resources, have independently reached the same conclusion that by the time China achieves an urbanization rate of 70 percent by 2030, the country is likely to lose about 20 million mu (about 3.3 million acres) of high-quality arable land..

In March 2022, the State Administration for Market Regulation and the Standardization Administration of China jointly issued “General Rules for Well-Facilitated Farmland Construction,” which set quantifiable criteria for high-quality farmland for different Chinese regions. The Chinese government aims to develop 1.2 billion mu of high-quality farmland (about 198 million acres) by 2030, an area larger than Texas. The government plans to increase investment in high-standard farmland to an annual average of 3,000 yuan per mu nationwide, which requires a yearly investment of at least 75 billion yuan for 2023-2030. However, current investment significantly falls short at only 1,458 yuan per mu, less than half of the target, due to local government fiscal difficulties and declining central government subsidies.

Yet, however necessary it might be, Xi’s prioritization of food security and farmland protection does not and cannot come for free. Implementing restrictive farmland protection policies will inevitably reduce local governments’ fiscal capacity because revenue from land-use-right sales constitutes the majority of local government revenue—as it has done since fiscal reforms in the 1990s left regular tax income flowing toward the central government, not local authorities. In 2022, local governments’ land-related income fell for the first time in six years, primarily due to declined revenue from land-use-right sales.

According to China’s Ministry of Finance, local government revenue from land-use-right sales fell from a record high of 8.7 trillion yuan in 2021 to 6.68 trillion yuan in 2022, a reduction of 23.3 percent. Given that revenue from land-use-right sales remained as high as 51.29 percent of local government revenue, any further decrease in this revenue source will worsen their fiscal capability to finance public expenditures, including funding the development of high-quality farmland urged by Xi.

In addition, the massive nationwide spending on COVID controls in 2020-2022, which the BBC reported to be somewhere between 520 billion yuan and 1.56 trillion yuan, coupled with the decline in local government revenue, suggests that neither the central authorities nor local governments will have the fiscal capacity to increase expenditure on farmland protection without increasing their debt. Allocating money to finance farmland protection with debt proceeds is particularly challenging when the government has another more urgent priority: boosting economic recovery by encouraging Chinese households to expand their consumption.
Stripped of financial resources, local governments are more incentivized to boost land sales and increase revenue than to abandon selling farmland, especially when the immediate priority is to jump-start an economic rebound. To this end, in November 2022, the People’s Bank of China and China’s Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission jointly issued a set of 16 measures to revive the country’s distressed property market and help developers secure financing. This policy change suggests the party-state is once again betting on the property market’s recovery to restore growth.

Over the past two years, Chinese private property developers such as Evergrande and Vanke have pulled back from aggressive land purchasing due to stringent restrictions. While this reduced demand from private property developers should have helped alleviate the temptation to appropriate farmland for property development, much of the demand void has been filled by state-owned enterprises and government-backed developers or companies, such as local government financing vehicles (LGFVs). LGFVs allow local governments to raise off-balance-sheet debt through bond issuance to fund long-term infrastructure investment without increasing their on-the-book leverage ratio. A report by Haitong Securities, a Shanghai-based securities brokerage firm, showed that in 2022


On TB every waking moment


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China Adjusts Martial Law Rules in Preparation For War: Experts​

Alex Wu​

The Chinese communist regime’s rubber stamp People’s National Congress passed a resolution on Feb. 24 to adjust the application of some provisions of Criminal Procedure Law for the military during wartime. China experts believe the move shows that the regime is preparing for war and the imposition of martial law.

According to the regime’s official mouthpiece, Xinhua, the provisions include those relating to jurisdiction, defense, investigation, prosecution, trial, and enforcement. The adjustments took effect on Feb. 25, and the specifics are to be set out by China’s ruling Communist Party’s (CCP) Central Military Commission.
Li Zhengxiu, a military expert at Taiwan’s National Policy Research Foundation, told The Epoch Times on Feb. 27 that the move indicates the Chinese regime is likely preparing for military conflicts with other countries, such as an invasion of Taiwan. If war were to break out, there would be situations where wartime legal proceedings would have to apply.
The Epoch Times columnist Zhou Xiaohui wrote an article on Feb. 26 that shared a similar view. Zhou wrote that “Beijing is preparing to launch a war at a point in the near future, and mostly likely a war in the Taiwan Strait.”
He pointed out that military criminal proceedings punish crimes committed by military personnel, and that the new adjustments aimed at “crimes of a military nature” that might pose a threat to the CCP.
Epoch Times Photo Chinese military delegates leave the closing session of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, at The Great Hall of the People on October 22, 2022 in Beijing, China. (Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)
Zhou noted that the CCP top circle can’t rule out the occurrence of “defection and desertion” in the military during wartime. “After all, the dissent and disloyalty in the military against the CCP head have not been eliminated since the Party’s 20th National Congress last year,” he said. “The new adjustments are for the prevention of the ‘betrayal’ of military personnel in wartime and the leaking of the CCP’s confidential military intelligence—and to prepare in advance for the disposal of captured personnel in war.”

Yao Cheng, a former Chinese navy lieutenant colonel, told The Epoch Times on Feb. 27 that the CCP’s adjustments to “Criminal Procedure Law” for the military application during wartime not only aimed at Taiwan, but was simultaneously its preparation to impose martial law in China. “If it needs to, it will have a legal basis for declaring martial law, because there are many domestic conflicts, and the CCP needs its military to control the domestic situation and maintain its regime.”
Yao added that adjustment of the criminal law for the military during wartime would put a lot of pressure on the People’s Liberation Army. “Actually, the military and Xi Jinping are not of one mind.”

Series of Actions to Prepare for War​

The move is the latest in a series of actions taken by the CCP that are related to the military and its preparation for war.
Various provinces and cities in China have set up national defense mobilization offices one after another to “strengthen national defense mobilization and reserve force building,” since the CCP’s 20th National Congress proposed to “improve the national defense mobilization system” last October.
Most recently, Shanghai opened a National Defense Mobilization Office on Feb. 20.
Fujian Province on the southeast coast of China—which faces Taiwan across the Taiwan Strait—set up a provincial-level National Defense Mobilization Office on Dec. 15, 2022, which was among the first in the country. In just two months since the CCP’s 20th National Congress last year, 9 district cities and 83 counties in Fujian Province had set up national defense mobilization offices.


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Philippines says Chinese navy ship spotted near disputed island​

MANILA: The Philippines said on Saturday (Mar 4) it had spotted a Chinese navy ship and dozens of militia vessels around a contested Philippine-occupied island in the South China Sea, as territorial tensions mount in the area.
The Philippine Coast Guard said 42 vessels believed to be crewed by Chinese maritime militia personnel were seen in the vicinity of Thitu Island, while a Chinese navy vessel and coast guard ship were observed "slowly loitering" in the surrounding waters.

The Chinese embassy in Manila did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the assertion.
Thitu in the Spratly island chain is Manila's biggest and most strategically important outpost in the South China Sea, a body of water largely claimed by Beijing where several countries have conflicting territorial claims.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr said two weeks ago the Philippines "will not lose an inch" of territory as the Southeast Asian protested China's "aggressive activities" in the sea.
Locally known as Pag-asa, Thitu lies about 480km west of the western Philippine province of Palawan. Home to over 400 people, including military and law enforcement personnel, the island is used by Manila to maintain its territorial claim.
Experts say China's fishing fleet and coast guard are central to its strategic ambitions in the South China Sea, maintaining a constant presence that complicates fishing and offshore energy activities by other coastal states.

"Their continuing unauthorised presence is clearly inconsistent with the right of innocent passage and a blatant violation of the Philippines' territorial integrity," the coast guard said in a statement.
Marcos last month summoned the Chinese ambassador to complain about the intensity and frequency of China's actions in the South China Sea.

The Philippines has filed 77 complaints against China's activities in the sea, including a claim that a Chinese coast guard ship on Feb 6 directed a "military-grade laser" at one a Philippine coast guard ship on a supply mission.
China claims sovereignty over the Spratlys, while Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam all have competing claims for some or all of the islands.


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David Soiza
“Urgent | North Korea: We call on the United Nations to demand an end to the military exercises between Washington and Seoul.”


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“North Korea: Military exercises between the armies of America and South Korea escalate tensions to a very dangerous level.”



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WLVN Analysis

QUAD has now prepared a solid and comprehensive action plan aimed at exposing and countering China’s ‘sinister agenda’ at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
10:02 PM · Mar 4, 2023


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Global: Military-Info

Admiral John C. Aquilino, commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, reportedly stated in a meeting (in Feb) with a South Korean official that the U.S. will immediately shoot-down a North Korean ICBM if it is launched over Guam or into the Pacific Ocean. He emphasized that the U.S. would respond strongly.
Last edited

8:38 PM · Mar 6, 2023


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Chinese minister warns China, US on course for conflict​

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang warned Tuesday that Beijing and Washington are headed for “conflict and confrontation” if the U.S. doesn’t change course, striking a combative tone at a moment when relations between the rivals are at a historic low.

In his first news conference since taking office late last year, Qin’s harsh language appeared to defy predictions that China might abandon its aggressive “wolf warrior” diplomacy in favor of more moderate rhetoric as the two countries face off over trade and technology, Taiwan, human rights and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Washington’s China policy has “entirely deviated from the rational and sound track,” Qin told journalists on the sidelines of the annual meeting of China’s rubber-stamp legislature, when leaders lay out their economic and political priorities for the coming year.

“If the United States does not hit the brake, but continues to speed down the wrong path, no amount of guardrails can prevent derailing and there surely will be conflict and confrontation,” said Qin, whose new position is junior to the Communist Party’s senior foreign policy official, Wang Yi. “Such competition is a reckless gamble, with the stakes being the fundamental interests of the two peoples and even the future of humanity.”
Qin’s comments echoed remarks made by leader Xi Jinping in a speech Monday to legislators.
“Western countries led by the United States have implemented all-round containment, blockade and suppression of China, which has brought unprecedented grave challenges to our nation’s development,” Xi was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua News Agency.
In the face of that, China must “remain calm, maintain concentration, strive for progress while maintaining stability, take active actions, unite as one, and dare to fight,” he said.
U.S. officials have grown increasingly worried about China’s expansive political and economic goals and the possibility of war over Taiwan — and many officials in Washington have called for the U.S. to make a bigger effort to counter Chinese influence abroad.

In recent weeks, concerns about Chinese spying on the U.S. and Beijing’s influence campaigns there have drawn particular concern, and officials from the two countries have frequently traded accusations.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken canceled a planned visit to Beijing after Washington shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon that flew over American territory. The massive balloon and its payload, including electronics and optics, have been recovered from the ocean floor and are being analyzed by the FBI.
Then last week, China responded with indignation when U.S. officials raised the issue again of whether the COVID-19 pandemic began with a lab leak. The Foreign Ministry accused the U.S. of “politicizing the issue” in an attempt to discredit China.

And the two countries have traded angry words over Taiwan as China has stepped up its diplomatic isolation and military harassment of the self-governing island democracy that it claims as its own territory.
Qin — who briefly served as ambassador to Washington and gained a reputation for his cutting condemnations of China’s critics when he was Foreign Ministry spokesman — touched on all these topics on Tuesday.
He criticized Washington for shooting down the balloon, repeating claims that its appearance in U.S. skies was an accident.

“In this case the United States’ perception and views of China are seriously distorted. It regards China as its primary rival and the most consequential geopolitical challenge,” Qin said. “This is like the first button in a shirt being put wrong and the result is that the U.S.-China policy has entirely deviated from the rational and sound track.”


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U.S. approves possible $1.38 billion sale to Japan of E-2D Advanced Hawkeye Airborne Early Warning and Control Aircraft: Pentagon

northern watch

TB Fanatic
U.S., China Plunge Further Into a Spiral of Hostility; After tiptoeing toward a rapprochement, any fence-mending now has been postponed

Tuesday, March 7, 2023, 7:03 PM ET
By James T. Areddy and Charles Hutzler
Wall Street Journal

Harsh new verbal attacks on the U.S. by Beijing’s top leadership demonstrate just how unsteady relations have become between the world’s two major powers.

Just a few weeks ago, China and the U.S. were tiptoeing toward something akin to a diplomatic cease-fire. President Biden’s envoy was due in Beijing to craft a possible framework for high-level government-to-government dialogues and stabilize ties after years of bitterness.

Then, a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon was detected crossing North America, casting a new shadow over relations. The fence-mending trip was postponed and relations between the two powers have plunged further into a spiral of recrimination and tension.

This week, China’s leader, Xi Jinping, and his foreign minister accused Washington of suppressing China’s development and driving the two countries toward conflict.

“Everything the other side does is seen as negative and done with evil intention,” said Suisheng Zhao, a China foreign-policy specialist at the University of Denver. “That is the Cold War mentality.”

China’s leader, Mr. Xi, elevated the rhetorical tension with an accusation straight out of that bygone era, a breakdown both sides insist they don’t want. China, Mr. Xi charged, faces “all-around containment, encirclement and suppression” at the hands of Western nations in league with the U.S.

On Tuesday, his new foreign minister, Qin Gang, followed up with a warning that unless the U.S. changes course “there will surely be conflict and confrontation.”

A spokesman for the National Security Council, John Kirby, when asked about the rhetoric from Beijing, said the Biden administration policy is unchanged: It seeks competition with China, not conflict.

“There is nothing about our approach to this most consequential of bilateral relationships that should lead anybody to think that we want conflict,” he told reporters Tuesday. “We absolutely want to keep it at that level.”

The breadth of discord in U.S.-China ties, however, shows the difficulties in constraining tensions. The Biden administration has continued Trump-era trade tariffs, sharpened controls on exports of advanced semiconductors and rallied allies and other countries to counter China’s influence around the world.

Beijing has drawn closer to Moscow, including during its war on Ukraine, and stepped up military provocations against Taiwan, while last summer cutting off more of the few channels for U.S. dialogue that had existed, including military-to-military exchanges.

For years, Mr. Xi has sounded ever-darker in his assessments of international relations, though until this week he usually avoided criticizing the U.S. by name. In the past, he has also warned fellow officials to be ready for unpredictable events with dire consequences, known as black swans.

Now at the tail end of several months of domestic horse-trading in the Communist Party, Mr. Xi has solidified his standing as China’s paramount leader. He is expected to emerge with a third-term as president this week, months after winning the party’s nod to remain its chief—just as numerous indicators are turning negative for the country, from its political relations with Europe to its economic data.

The comments about encirclement demonstrate a Mr. Xi “unchained” by the political season and echo a long tradition by Communist Party officials of positioning China as a victim, said Michael Auslin, a historian at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. What is relevant is that China is militarily powerful today and Mr. Xi seems to be saying, according to Mr. Auslin, that “they have pushed us into it [but] weren’t not going to shrink from the challenge.”

In the balloon episode, the U.S. quickly rejected China’s claim it was a harmless weather-monitoring device and blew what it said was a spycraft with a Sidewinder missile. Behind the new round of finger-wagging and pointed remarks that followed are worries on both sides that the countries remain on a trajectory toward actual future armed conflict.

After the balloon incident, the U.S. postponed its best gambit for a detente: a visit to Beijing by Secretary of State Antony Blinken that both sides had pitched as a critical step toward reopening communication channels that had narrowed during the Trump administration and then all but collapsed during the Covid-19 pandemic and tensions over Taiwan.

Instead, Mr. Xi’s top foreign envoy, Wang Yi, toured Europe and badmouthed the U.S. at each stop. Washington responded by rejecting a 12-point Beijing position paper calling for talks to end fighting in Ukraine as a proposition only Moscow could like. Mr. Blinken also publicly warned Beijing not to fan the Ukraine conflict, saying the U.S. had intelligence China was considering providing Russia with lethal aid, such as drones and armaments.

Much of the rhetoric from both governments appears designed for their domestic audiences.

Mr. Xi delivered his suppression comments to a legislative advisory body packed with politically connected business leaders who are grappling with the worst economic outlook in 25 years, including a 5% expansion in gross domestic product.

For the U.S., the balloon incursion showed a brazenness that demanded a tough response, and it served as a lightning rod for congressional Republicans and security hawks from both parties who want Mr. Biden to take a more uncompromising stance toward Beijing.

Last week, hearings in the House took administration officials to task for a range of issues—from stiffening controls on transfers of semiconductors to Chinese companies and banning the Chinese social media app TikTok to punishing Beijing for its export of chemicals to Mexico where they are being used to make fentanyl. Next, congress is gearing up to put pressure on U.S. corporations with investments in China.

“This is an existential struggle over what life will look like in the 21st century—and the most fundamental freedoms are at stake,” said Wisconsin Republican Michael Gallagher in opening the first hearing of a new House committee focused on U.S. competition with the Communist Party.

The diplomatic setback makes it harder to improve U.S.-China exchanges, such as visas for more journalists or joint cancer research, while organizing a leadership summit that both countries hope for later this year becomes all the more complex. Meanwhile, nations in Asia and Europe pine for more stable U.S.-China relations that might reduce the political risk of trading with each of the world’s two largest economies—or trying to choose between them.

When Mr. Blinken postponed his planned trip over the Chinese balloon, the State Department said he told China’s top foreign policy official, Mr. Wang, that he aimed to reschedule as soon as conditions allow.

Asked Monday if conditions were now conducive, State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters that no plans have been announced for such travel. Mr. Price restated the objectives for Mr. Blinken’s trip in February: that both governments shared aspirations to prevent conflict and stabilize ties.

Those needs still pertain, Mr. Price said.

“We still have lines of communication with our [China] counterparts,” he said. “We wish we had more and, in some ways, deeper lines of communication.”

Mr. Blinken’s planned visit to Beijing was never going to accomplish much beyond a possible resumption of dialogues China canceled after then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan, said Mr. Zhao, who recently published the book “The Dragon Roars Back” on Chinese foreign policy. That is because neither side was going to give on vital issues, such as Washington relaxing controls on technology exports that Beijing wants or the assurances the U.S. is seeking from China not to threaten Taiwan.

Particularly as many senior positions are changing in Mr. Xi’s administration, face-to-face talks are needed by the U.S. to understand how various parts of the government will be run, said a former State Department official, Daniel Russel, who is now vice president for international security and diplomacy at New York-based think tank Asia Society Policy Institute. During a panel discussion this week, he said, “If they wait too long, events are likely to intercede.”

Write to James T. Areddy at and Charles Hutzler at

U.S., China Plunge Further Into a Spiral of Hostility - WSJ


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Steve Herman

White House press secretary declines to confirms reports President Biden will meet Monday in San Diego with the British and Australian prime ministers to unveil new details of the #AUKUS pact.


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N. Korea fires short-range ballistic missile toward Yellow Sea: S. Korean military | Yonhap News Agency

SEOUL, March 9 (Yonhap) -- North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile toward the Yellow Sea on Thursday, Seoul's military said, in the latest show of force ahead of a major South Korea-U.S. military exercise set to begin next week.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said it detected the launch from the North's western port city of Nampo at 6:20 p.m. It did not elaborate further.

"While strengthening its monitoring and vigilance, our military is maintaining a full readiness posture in close cooperation with the United States," the JCS said in a text message sent to reporters.

The latest launch came as the allies are preparing to kick off the Freedom Shield exercise set to take place from Monday through March 23. The exercise is to proceed concurrently with the large-scale field training exercise, called the Warrior Shield.

Last month, Pyongyang warned Seoul and Washington would face "unprecedentedly" strong counteractions should they press ahead with this year's plans for combined drills, which it has decried as preparations for a war of aggression.

This undated file photo released by the Korean Central News Agency shows a North Korean missile launch. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

This undated file photo released by the Korean Central News Agency shows a North Korean missile launch. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)


passin' thru

U.S. intensifying 'every leg of nuclear triad' to ensure deterrence: Gen. Cotton | Yonhap News Agency​


By Byun Duk-kun
WASHINGTON, March 9 (Yonhap) -- The United States is enhancing every component of its nuclear capabilities to deter any potential aggression from North Korea, Gen. Anthony Cotton, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, said Thursday.
The Air Force general noted the threat posed by North Korea continues to grow but so does U.S. deterrent capabilities.
"North Korea continues to be a rogue actor and poses a threat to the United States and our allies," Gen. Cotton said in a hearing before the Senate Committee on Armed Services.
"North Korea conducted an unprecedented number of missile launches in 2022 and its new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), referred to as KN-28, highlight that the security challenge continues to grow," he added.
Gen. Anthony Cotton, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, is seen delivering remarks during a Senate armed services committee hearing in Washington on March 9, 2023 in this captured image. (Yonhap)

Gen. Anthony Cotton, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, is seen delivering remarks during a Senate armed services committee hearing in Washington on March 9, 2023 in this captured image. (Yonhap)
North Korea fired 69 ballistic missiles last year, nearly three-times more than its previous annual record of 25. The country has also conducted nine ICBM tests in less than a year with its latest ICBM launch taking place last month.
Cotton emphasized the importance of effective extended deterrence, as well as strong alliances, to meet threats and challenges posed by North Korea.
"We are meeting today's challenges with integrated deterrence," he said. "Our unmatched network of allies is a key component of integrated deterrence and these relationships are underpinned by our extended deterrence commitments."
"These commitments are enabled by a safe, secure, effective and credible nuclear deterrent. The credibility of our extended deterrence commitments is not only part of the nation's iron-clad commitment to our allies, but it's also essential in limiting proliferation," added Cotton.
Extended deterrence refers to U.S. commitment to defend its allies, using all its military capabilities, including nuclear weapons when necessary.
Cotton said the U.S. is developing or recapitalizing "every leg of the nuclear triad" to further enhance its extended deterrence.
"The nation's nuclear forces underpin integrated deterrence and enables the U.S., our allies and our partners to confront aggressive and coercive behavior," Cotton told the hearing.
"To ensure our continued ability to serve as the bedrock of integrated deterrence, we are recapitalizing every leg of the nuclear triad, and the nuclear command control and communication systems," he added.


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Not entirely sure what he means, but it's Ankit, so I'll post it anyway.

Ankit Panda
Salvo launch. I’ll say it again: most North Korean missile launches in the 2020s are not “tests”.
The first time they did a salvo launch involving more than 3 missiles was in March 2017 with 5 SCUD-ERs. That also simulated preemptive strikes on an airfield (specifically, MCAS Iwakuni in Japan). That also preceded US-ROK joint exercises (2017 Ulchi-Freedom Guardian)
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Jesse Johnson
“Observers said the simultaneous launches could be training for what is known as a saturation strike, which is designed to overwhelm missile defenses.” North Korea's Kim says military carried out 'simulated drills for real war'
Not entirely sure what he means, but it's Ankit, so I'll post it anyway.

Ankit Panda
Salvo launch. I’ll say it again: most North Korean missile launches in the 2020s are not “tests”.

North Korea's Kim says military carried out 'simulated drills for real war'​

Jesse Johnson

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has overseen a military drill that fired off “a powerful volley” of missiles simulating a strike on enemy airports, state-run media said Friday, just days ahead of large-scale joint military exercises between South Korea and the U.S.
The exercises, held Thursday night, saw North Korea fire off at least one apparent short-range ballistic missile into the Yellow Sea from the port city of Nampo on its western coast at 6:20 p.m., Seoul said a day earlier, adding that it was also looking into the possibility of multiple simultaneous SRBMs launches from the same area.
Photos accompanying the report in the North’s official Korean Central News Agency showed that Kim, senior officials and his young daughter — who has been seen with her father at a number of major events — had observed the launches of at least six missiles that appeared to have been fired at the same time.


passin' thru

North Korea's Kim says military carried out 'simulated drills for real war'​

Jesse Johnson

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has overseen a military drill that fired off “a powerful volley” of missiles simulating a strike on enemy airports, state-run media said Friday, just days ahead of large-scale joint military exercises between South Korea and the U.S.
The exercises, held Thursday night, saw North Korea fire off at least one apparent short-range ballistic missile into the Yellow Sea from the port city of Nampo on its western coast at 6:20 p.m., Seoul said a day earlier, adding that it was also looking into the possibility of multiple simultaneous SRBMs launches from the same area.
Photos accompanying the report in the North’s official Korean Central News Agency showed that Kim, senior officials and his young daughter — who has been seen with her father at a number of major events — had observed the launches of at least six missiles that appeared to have been fired at the same time.


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North Korean leader Kim calls for intensified drills in case of 'real war'​

3 minute read
March 10, 2023
4:53 AM CST
Last Updated 3 hours ago

Fire assault drill in North Korea

[1/3] A general view of fire assault drill at an undisclosed location in North Korea March 10, 2023 in this photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). KCNA via REUTERS
SEOUL, March 10 (Reuters) - North Korea's Kim Jong Un ordered the military to intensify drills to deter and respond to a "real war" if necessary, state media said on Friday, after the leader oversaw a fire assault drill that it said proved the country's capabilities.
North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile off its west coast on Thursday, South Korea's military said, adding it was analysing possibilities the North may have launched multiple missiles simultaneously from the same area.
Photos released by the North's KCNA news agency showed at least six missiles being fired at the same time.

KCNA said a unit trained for "strike missions" fired a "powerful volley at the targeted waters" and demonstrated its capability to "counter an actual war."
"(Kim) stressed that the fire assault sub-units should be strictly prepared for the greatest perfection in carrying out the two strategic missions, that is, first to deter war and second to take the initiative in war, by steadily intensifying various simulated drills for real war ...," KCNA said.

Latest Updates​

Kim was accompanied by his young daughter who has appeared recently in a series of major events.
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said South Korea would step up combined military drills with the United States and enhance joint planning and execution of U.S. extended deterrence against the North's nuclear and missile threats.
"We will build an overwhelming response capability and retaliation posture," Yoon said at a commissioning ceremony for naval academy graduates in the southeastern city of Changwon, adding that the security situation surrounding the Korean peninsula was "more serious than ever."
Seoul has been seeking to strengthen extended deterrence, the ability of the U.S. military to deter attacks with its nuclear umbrella, amid growing calls within South Korea for the country to develop its own nuclear capability to counter North Korean threats.

The latest missile launches came as the United States and South Korea were set to kick off large-scale military exercises known as the Freedom Shield drills next week. North Korea has long bristled at the allies' drills as a rehearsal for invasion.
North Korean leader Kim's sister, Kim Yo Jong, said earlier this week any move to shoot down one of its test missiles would be considered a declaration of war and blamed the joint military exercises for growing tensions.

Yang Uk, a research fellow and defence expert at Seoul's Asan Institute for Policy Studies, said North Korea has been increasingly claiming that its smaller missiles are nuclear-capable, in apparent threats to South Korea.
"North Korea doesn't appear to have developed miniaturised nuclear warheads to be loaded on cruise or tactical ballistic missiles yet, but it's clear that's where they are headed to," Yang said.
The United States will hold an informal meeting of United Nations Security Council members next week on human rights abuses in North Korea, a move likely to anger Pyongyang and spur opposition from China and Russia.

Reporting by Soo-hyang Choi; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Lincoln Feast.