BRICS countries to set up their own IMF

Very soon, the IMF will cease to be the world’s only organization capable of rendering international financial assistance. The BRICS countries are setting up alternative institutions, including a currency reserve pool and a development bank.

The BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) have made significant progress in setting up structures that would serve as an alternative to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, which are dominated by the U.S. and the EU. A currency reserve pool, as a replacement for the IMF, and a BRICS development bank, as a replacement for the World Bank, will begin operating as soon as in 2015, Russian Ambassador at Large Vadim Lukov has said.

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Is an Asian NATO Possible?

In the new concluding chapter to his classic The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, John Mearsheimer argues: “There is already substantial evidence that countries like India, Japan, and Russia, as well as smaller powers like Singapore, South Korea, and Vietnam, are worried about China’s ascendancy and are looking for ways to contain it. In the end, they will join an American-led balancing coalition to check China’s rise, much the way Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and eventually China, joined forces with the United States during the Cold War to contain the Soviet Union.”

This is at odds with most analyses which postulate that Asia is not ripe for a NATO style containment block against China. For instance, in summing up the conventional wisdom on the subject, the Council on Foreign Relations’ Stewart Patrick opined last summer that: “Despite its strategic ‘rebalancing’ toward Asia, the United States is unlikely to sponsor a collective defense organization for the Asia-Pacific, for at least three reasons: insufficient solidarity among diverse regional partners, fear of alienating China, and the perceived advantages of bilateral and ad-hoc security arrangements.”

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Japan’s indigenous stealth fighter to fly this year amid arms race worries

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Development of ATD-X jet part of Tokyo’s effort to upgrade its defence capabilities; analysts warn it could spark claims of arms race in Asia

A prototype of Japan’s first domestically produced stealth fighter will get airborne before the end of the year, a significant development in Tokyo’s efforts to improve its defence capabilities.

Known as the Advanced Technology Demonstrator-X (ATD-X) fighter, the aircraft is being developed by the defence ministry’s research institute and a number of private companies, primarily Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Continue reading

World View: Pakistan Asked to Send 30,000 Troops to Saudi Arabia

Is Saudi Arabia possibly getting ready to shield themselves from attack after potentially dropping the US Dollar in oil trading?

There are not too many other explanations as to why the Saudi regime would do this, other than to head off a threat to the leadership. Iran, while not allies with the Saudis, have very little motive for invading. The only real power in the world with the ability or possible need to overthrow the government for regime change would be the United States.

Before the second Iraq war took place, Saddam Hussein threatened to drop the petrodollar. Dropping the Dollar from oil trade would collapse the economy. Not just from one nation alone, but more would likely follow if one could get away with it.

Pakistan asked to send 30,000 troops to Saudi Arabia

Reports out of Pakistan indicate that Saudi Arabia has asked Pakistan to dispatch 30,000 troops to the Kingdom as part of a bilateral defense agreement that’s currently being formulated in a flurry of visits and meetings between defense and military officials from the two countries. Pakistan’s prime minister Nawaz Sharif said:

“In view of current challenges, there is a need to further strengthen defense cooperation between the two countries and a new era of strategic relationship needs to start.” Continue reading

U.S. warns Beijing over currency weakness

The Obama administration on Tuesday told Beijing it was watching the value of China’s currency closely, expressing concern over its recent drop and saying it remains “significantly undervalued.” Continue reading

2,000 PLA troops could invade Diaoyutai in 5 hours: WSJ

China has the ability to deploy 2,000 troops to the disputed Diaoyutai islands (Diaoyu to China, Senkaku to Japan) in just five hours using its four Zubr-class air-cushioned landing craft purchased from Russia, according to an Apr. 2 report in the Wall Street Journal.

Although Lieutenant General John Wissler, the commanding general of the US Marine Corps in Okinawa, says that the United States is capable of wiping out invading Chinese forces without mobilizing ground forces, Western military expert have begun to question whether Washington and Tokyo are capable of defending Okinawa from a potential PLA invasion. Continue reading

China’s President Xi urges greater military use of space

BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese President Xi Jinping urged the air force to adopt an integrated air and space defence capability, in what state media on Tuesday called a response to the increasing military use of space by the United States and others.

While Beijing insists its space program is for peaceful purposes, a Pentagon report last year highlighted China’s increasing space capabilities and said Beijing was pursuing a variety of activities aimed at preventing its adversaries from using space-based assets during a crisis.

Fears of a space arms race with the United States and other powers mounted after China blew up one of its own weather satellites with a ground-based missile in January 2007.

A detailed analysis of satellite imagery published in March provided additional evidence that a Chinese rocket launch in May 2013, billed as a research mission, was actually a test of a new anti-satellite weapon. Continue reading

Chinese Military Can ‘Fight Any Battle and Win’

As the article states, intra-Asian diplomacy is what’s going to hold the key. The more time that’s wasted by the United States in taking a clear stand, the more likely Japan will try to come to terms with China on its own. Coming to terms could also eventually lead into an Asian economic and security bloc with China as the umbrella protectorate.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel’s whirlwind tour of China in early April saw a tense exchange with his Chinese counterpart Chang Wanquan over the United States’ pivot to Asia.  China would “make no compromise, no concession, no treaty,” Chang said, adding, “the Chinese military can assemble as soon as summoned, fight any battle and win.”

Hagel, for his part, said that the United States was “fully committed” to is treaty obligations with the Philippines and with Japan — which administers the Senkakus, the disputed islands which China claims and calls the Diaoyu. In the days leading up to U.S. President Barack Obama’s late April trip to the region, where is visiting Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, and Malaysia — and pointedly not China — there is a worrying amount of strain among China, Japan, and the United States. Are temperatures running so high that China might actually seize the Senkakus by force? Or are these worries overblown? Continue reading

Beijing set to seal Russian natural gas deal amid Ukraine crisis

Beijing’s refusal to stand against Moscow over the crisis in Ukraine could result in a lucrative natural gas deal with Russia next month, reports the Hong Kong-based Ta Kung Pao.

Following more than a decade of false starts, sources say Chinese president Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin will make a final decision next month on the multibillion dollar deal that will see Russia supply pipeline gas to China for 30 years. The deal is expected to come into effect by the end of the year. Continue reading

US could retake Diaoyutai if China invades, says US general

The United States could overcome a potential Chinese invasion of the disputed Diaoyutai (Diaoyu to China, Senkaku to Japan) islands without even mobilizing ground forces, reports the Stars and Stripes operated by the US military, citing Lt Gen John Wissler, the commanding general of III Marine Expeditionary Force based in Okinawa, Japan, on Apr. 11. Continue reading

Russian oil firm says Asian buyers willing to use euros

(Reuters) – Russian state-controlled oil producer Gazprom Neft said it had received positive responses from Asian clients about the possibility of using euros as a settlement currency instead of the dollar.

Company head Alexander Dyukov said this week Gazprom Neft had broached the idea of dropping the dollar, traditionally the currency of choice for the global energy sector, in response to a possible new round of Western sanctions over Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Continue reading

US unsettled by China’s ‘three warfares’ strategy: Pentagon report

The US and its military partners are reaching for new tools to counter an unconventional ”three warfares” strategy that China is using to advance aggressive territorial claims, according to a Pentagon report.

It says the People’s Liberation Army is using what it calls ”legal warfare”, ”media warfare” and ”psychological warfare” to augment its arsenal of military hardware to weaken the resolve of the US and its regional partners to defend islands and oceans in the East and South China seas. Continue reading