PLA Navy set to build 10 aircraft carriers

To create its first blue-water navy, China plans to construct a total of 10 domestic aircraft carriers according to the Kanwa Defense Review, a Chinese-language military magazine operated by Andrei Chang also known as Pinkov, a military analyst from Canada. Continue reading

France rebels against austerity as Europe’s recovery collapses

France’s finance minister sends tremors through European capitals with a defiant warning that his country would no longer try to meet deficit targets

Eurozone strategy is in tatters after economic recovery ground to a halt across the region and France demanded a radical shift in policy, warning that austerity overkill is driving Europe into a depression.

Growth slumped to zero in the second quarter, with Germany contracting by 0.2pc and France once again stuck at zero. Italy is already in a triple-dip recession.

Yields on 10-year German Bunds fell below 1pc for the first time in history, beneath levels seen during the most extreme episodes of deflation in the 19th century. French yields also touch record lows. Much of the eurozone is replicating the pattern seen in Japan as it slid into a deflation trap in the late 1990s.

It is unclear whether tumbling yields are primarily a warning signal of stagnation ahead or a bet by investors that the European Central Bank will soon be forced to launch quantitative easing, buying government bonds across the board.

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Chinese military set up joint operations command center: sources

The Chinese military has set up a joint command center that would integrate the operations of its army, navy and air forces, military sources have told Kyodo News, in a move aimed at making military strategy and tactics more efficient.

The joint operations command center has been established under the People’s Liberation Army’s General Staff Headquarters, which is responsible for taking command of military strategies, as part of military reform efforts to boost the unified operations of Chinese capabilities on land, sea, air and in dealing with strategic missile operations, the sources said. Continue reading

Fukushima nuclear meltdown worse than initially reported – TEPCO

The meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant’s third reactor building was even worse than initially believed, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) has announced.

In fact, the power company’s new appraisal of the Fukushima No. 3 reactor building shows that all – or nearly all – of the fuel rods contained inside were melted, dropping onto the floor of the containment vessel. If true, the news means the power plant could be even tougher to decommission.

According to the Japan Times, TEPCO first estimated back in November of 2011 that roughly 63 percent of the reactor’s fuel rods had melted. Continue reading

Japan to create SDF space monitoring division by 2019

The government intends to create a space monitoring division within the Self-Defense Forces by around 2019 and the Defense Ministry has already informed the United States, a source close to the bilateral relationship said Saturday.

Initially, the force will be tasked with monitoring dangerous debris floating in Earth’s orbit and with protecting satellites from collisions with such space junk, the source said. Continue reading

US enhances nuclear strike capability at Guam: Sankei Shimbun

The United States is enhancing its nuclear strike capability at Guam for a potential confrontation against China in the Far East, the Tokyo-based Sankei Shimbun reported on July 30. Continue reading

China, Japan and Russia zero in on Latin America

Mexico City (AFP) – The leaders of China, Russia and Japan all descended on Latin America in recent weeks, jostling with the United States to increase their influence, invest and tap into resource-rich markets.

The latest arrival was Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who on Monday was in Trinidad and Tobago, the second stop on a five-country tour that began on Friday in Mexico.

Abe’s visit began just as Chinese President Xi Jinping wrapped up his tour, which included stops in Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela and Cuba. Xi signed more than 100 trade agreements on the trip.

Russian President Vladimir Putin was in the region for a week from July 11, stopping in Argentina, Brazil, Nicaragua and Cuba. Continue reading

PLA Navy conduct naval exercises to ‘take back’ lost sea territories

The People’s Liberation Army Navy is ready to launch two major exercises in the disputed South and East China Seas between July 26 and Aug. 1 to demonstrate its fighting prowess to Vietnam, the Philippines and Japan, according to the Hong Kong-based Ta Kung Pao. Continue reading

U.S. Navy admiral says he’s open to idea of giving Chinese Navy tour of carrier

A top U.S. Navy official said he is “receptive” to idea of letting his Chinese crewmen tour a U.S. aircraft carrier based in Japan, but experts warn such access could be a risky intelligence giveaway.

Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, chief of naval operations, told The Wall Street Journal that his Chinese counterpart mentioned the idea of a U.S. carrier crew touring its lone Liaoning carrier and a Chinese crew touring the USS George Washington.

“I’m receptive to that idea,” Greenert, who saw the Liaoning and other Chinese ships on a recent trip, told the paper.

Nan Li, an associate professor in the U.S. Naval War College’s China Maritime Studies Institute, however, said Beijing would likely benefit more from a tour than the U.S. Navy. Continue reading

How Japan Fell in Love With America’s Drones

For decades Japan has been the world’s playground for design innovation. But now it may become ground zero for the future of something far more hostile: military drones.

Japan is not so quietly building a huge drone fleet

The country will invest ¥3 billion (approx $372 million) in the coming decade to drastically expand its virtually non-existent military unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) program, according to a senior analyst at IHS Jane’s, the leading defense and security agency. Continue reading

As China Stalks Satellites, U.S. and Japan Prepare to Defend Them

 

 

In May 2013 the Chinese government conducted what it called a science space mission from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China. Half a world away, Brian Weeden, a former U.S. Air Force officer, wasn’t buying it. The liftoff took place at night and employed a powerful rocket as well as a truck-based launch vehicle—all quite unusual for a science project, he says.

In a subsequent report for the Secure World Foundation, the space policy think tank where he works, Weeden concluded that the Chinese launch was more likely a test of a mobile rocket booster for an antisatellite (ASAT) weapon that could reach targets in geostationary orbit about 22,236 miles above the equator. That’s the stomping grounds of expensive U.S. spacecraft that monitor battlefield movements, detect heat from the early stages of missile launches, and help orchestrate drone fleets. “This is the stuff the U.S. really cares about,” Weeden says.

The Pentagon never commented in detail on last year’s launch—and the Chinese have stuck to their story. U.S. and Japanese analysts say China has the most aggressive satellite attack program in the world. It has staged at least six ASAT missile tests over the past nine years, including the destruction of a defunct Chinese weather satellite in 2007. “It’s part of a Chinese bid for hegemony, which is not just about controlling the oceans but airspace and, as an extension of that, outer space,” says Minoru Terada, deputy secretary-general of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party. Continue reading

All aboard: China’s railway dream

At Asia’s biggest rail cargo base in Chengdu in south-west China, the cranes are hard at work, swinging containers from trucks onto a freight train. The containers are filled with computers, clothes, even cars.

Until last year, all of it would have first gone more than 1,000 miles east to Shanghai and then to Europe by sea. Continue reading

Japanese special forces ‘better than US’ to retake Diaoyutai

This is essentially tantamount to saying there is no more confidence in America’s ability to defend Japan, let alone be a reliable partner.

Japanese special forces would be more qualified than American to carry out amphibious combat operations against China’s People’s Liberation Army over the disputed Senkaku (Diaoyutai or Diaoyu) islands in the East China Sea, Vice Admiral Yoji Koda, a former fleet commander in chief of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force, has written in his article for the Tokyo-based Ships of the World magazine. Continue reading

The World’s Next Oil Shipping Corridor: The Arctic Ocean

It’s colder than the Persian Gulf, needs more icebreakers than the Suez Canal and passes less picturesque beaches than the Mediterranean, but the so-called Northern Sea route connecting Europe to Asia via the northern coast of Russia has its advantages. Continue reading

Japan upset as Chinese paper prints mushroom clouds on map

TOKYO/BEIJING (Reuters) – Japan on Tuesday vowed to make a stern protest to China after a regional Chinese newspaper printed a map of the country with mushroom clouds hovering over the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and accused the Japanese of wanting war again.

The neighbours have a long history of tense relations. Beijing bristles at Japan’s inability to properly atone for its invasion of China before and during World War Two, and its occupation of large parts of the country.

The newspaper, the weekly Chongqing Youth News from the southwestern city of Chongqing, printed the picture in its latest edition, Chinese media reported, though it appeared later to have been removed from the paper’s website version. Continue reading