Russia Has Dramatically Boosted Spending On Its Nuclear Weapons

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When Russia’s conventional armed forces remained weak and outdated in the years following the Cold War, it attached a high priority to its nuclear weapons as the cornerstone of its defence. As Statista’s Niall McCarthy notes, the country has now embarked on an ambitious plan to modernize its entire military under the 2011-20 state armament program. Continue reading

China Says Interpol Chief Meng Hongwei Under Investigation

Interpol President Meng Hongwei walks toward the stage to address the Interpol World Congress in Singapore on July 4, 2017. /AP

 

China said on Sunday it was investigating Meng Hongwei for suspected wrongdoing after the head of the global law enforcement organization Interpol and Chinese vice minister for security was reported missing in France.

The statement by a Chinese anti-graft body was the first official word from China about Meng since his disappearance was reported in France on Friday. Meng had been reported missing by his wife after travelling last month from France, where Interpol is based, to China. Continue reading

U.S. Looks To Find Alternatives To Iranian Oil For Allies

 

The United States—which is pushing to have all Iranian oil customers stop importing crude from Tehran—is looking for alternative oil supplies for its allies whose imports will be disrupted by the U.S. sanctions on Iran, the Financial Times reported on Thursday, citing a senior U.S. administration  official. Continue reading

Kim Sets Denuclearization Timeline

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(Photo Credit: The White House)

 

The North Korean leader also expresses ‘unwavering faith’ in President Trump.

Proclaiming his ‘unwavering faith’ in President Donald Trump, North Korean dictator Chairman Kim Jong-un has set the date for a third meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, as well as a timeline for denuclearization. Continue reading

China ‘nearing mass production’ of J-20 stealth fighter after engine problems ironed out

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China’s new J-20 stealth fighter could soon go into mass production as earlier problems with its engine have now been resolved, sources say. Photo: EPA

 

Improved power train will give Chinese jet ability to fly undetected at supersonic speeds, on par with United States’ F-35

A new and improved engine designed to make China’s J-20 stealth fighter a world-class combat jet should be ready for mass production by the end of the year, military sources have said.

The WS-15 engine features cutting-edge single-crystal turbine blades and has been in development for several years, but Chinese technicians have struggled to get it into mass production. Continue reading

North Korea continues to dismantle missile launch site, but no signs of any moves to scrap nuclear weapons

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Satellite imagery from August 3 indicates additional dismantlement activities are ongoing at the Sohae launch facility. Photo: 38 North

 

Satellite images suggest work is continuing to demolish Sohae facilities, but analysts suggest it may want to keep other parts of its arsenal intact for now

North Korea appears to have taken another step towards dismantling its fixed missile launching facilities after the US stepped up the pressure to disarm, but so far it appears to have left other facilities and its nuclear warheads intact.

The hermit state appears to be continuing to take down its key intercontinental ballistic missile facilities (ICBM) at Sohae, located at about 200km (120 miles) northwest of the capital Pyongyang, according to the North Korea monitoring group 38 North on late Tuesday. Continue reading

North Korea sends positive signal by dismantling satellite launch site

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This satellite image courtesy of Airbus Defense and Space and 38 North dated July 22, 2018 shows the apparent dismantling of facilities at the Sohae satellite launch site in North Korea. Photo: AFP/ PlÈiades © Cnes 2018, Distribution Airbus DS / Handout

 

While credibility of denuclearization has still not been established, new moves signal possible North Korean acceptance of US position linking satellites and missile programs

North Korea is dismantling a satellite-launch and rocket-engine test site in a move that seems aimed at boosting confidence in Washington, where signs of frustration have reportedly appeared over the apparent lack of progress on denuclearization.

Authoritative, US-based website 38 North, which boasts a specialized focus on satellite data analysis of North Korea, announced the findings early on Tuesday, complete with photographs of the site, known as the Sohae Satellite Launching Station. Continue reading

Japan’s growing plutonium stockpile fuels fears

As said many times in the past, Japan can go nuclear within three months if it wishes. It’s already secretly working on them. The necessary materials are there and only assembly is required. All that’s needed is a catalyst.

Although it may be a farce, like the last 10-plus times it has committed to denuclearization, North Korea has slowed down the need. China at the moment is the flashpoint since it also controls North Korea, and is projecting its power throughout the Asia-Pacific and eventually into the Western Pacific.

 

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Illustration only.

 

Japan has amassed enough plutonium to make 6,000 atomic bombs as part of a programme to fuel its nuclear plants, but concern is growing that the stockpile is vulnerable to terrorists and natural disasters.

Japan has long been the world’s only non-nuclear-armed country with a programme to reprocess spent nuclear fuel from its power plants into plutonium. Continue reading

North Korea asked Israel for $1 billion to stop giving missile technology to Iran

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North Korea offered to stop selling missile technology to Iran and other enemies of Israel in exchange for $1 billion in cash from the Jewish state, according to former senior North Korean diplomat who has now defected. The account of the offer can be read in Password from the Third Floor, a book published earlier this year by Thae Yong Ho. Thae, a member of a prominent North Korean family, defected with his wife and children in 2016, while he was serving as a senior member of the diplomatic staff of the North Korean embassy in London. News of Thae’s defection emerged on August 16, 2016, when a South Korean newspaper reported that he had disappeared from London after having escaped with his family “to a third country”. Thae later emerged in Seoul, from where he publicly denounced the North Korean regime. Continue reading

Taiwan Doubles Down On U.S. LNG

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LNG Vessel. Source: OilPrice

 

Taiwan, which has seen increased military exercises off its coast by Chinese forces this year, has just inked a major energy deal with a U.S. energy firm.

On Monday, Taiwan’s CPC Corp., a major LNG importer, announced a preliminary deal to buy liquefied natural gas (LNG) from U.S. based LNG producer Cheniere Energy for a period of 25 years. CPC signed a Heads of Agreement to purchase 2 million tonnes of LNG annually from the major gas exporter, which is gearing up to start exports from its second export plant at Corpus Christi, Texas. Continue reading

War Games in the Pacific

WASHINGTON/BERLIN (Own report) – German soldiers will soon participate in maneuvers in the Pacific and will be on hand as observers on patrols in the South China Sea, according to announcements by the US Navy and the French Minister of Defense, Florence Parly. At a top-level conference in Singapore last weekend, Parly declared that Paris will dispatch warships to the South China Sea in the next few days and will also navigate through the territorial waters of Islands China claims as its territory. According to Parly, German military observers will embark on these ships. At the same time, German soldiers are preparing their participation in the US led RIMPAC 2018 maneuver, taking place mainly near Hawaii. RIMPAC is the world’s largest international maritime exercise. During RIMPAC 2016 German soldiers trained in “liberating” an island, which, according to the scenario, was held by the “Draco” militia. “Draco” is the Latin term for “dragon” – a symbol for China.

Continue reading

Lying in Wait

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PYONGYANG/BERLIN (Own report) – Taking advantage of North Korea’s strategic reorientation, Germany’s FDP-affiliated Friedrich Naumann Foundation is resuming its activities in that country. Recently, the North Korean leadership officially ended its policy of a balanced build up of its military and the economy, to prioritize the country’s economy, a move, experts note, President Kim Jong Un had been seeking to make for years. However, he initially prioritized the development of the nuclear deterrence capability, to safeguard against a possible US attack. He is now seeking to have UN sanctions lifted, to allow foreign companies into the country. Important steps have already been made. Possibly the Naumann Foundation – which had established contacts to Pyongyang already in 2002 and in 2004 organized a workshop on the country’s “economic modernization” – also played a role. Its activities should now intensify. German companies, according to reports, are “lying in wait”.

Continue reading

Russia’s Navy Establishes Permanent Presence in Mediterranean Sea

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Russian President Vladimir Putin said a naval standing force, including warships with Kalibr long-range land attack cruise missiles, will be permanently deployed in the Mediterranean Sea. The statement was made at a meeting with top military officials and defense industry leaders that took place in Sochi on May 16. One of the missions is delivering strikes against terrorist targets in Syria. 102 expeditions of ships and submarines are planned in 2018. The force will go through intensive training.

The Russian Black Sea Fleet has become a much different force in comparison to what it was just three years ago. Since 2015, the year the operation in Syria was launched, it has received 15 new ships, including two frigates and six conventional submarines armed with Kalibr cruise missiles. With S-400 and S-300V4 air defense systems, Krasukha-4 electronic warfare systems and shore-based anti-ship Bastion batteries deployed on the Syrian coast, the ships in Eastern Mediterranean operate in a relatively safe environment. Kalibr missiles have already been fired from frigates and submarines at terrorist targets in Syria. Continue reading

N. Korea will never fully give up nuclear weapons: top defector

North Korea will never completely give up its nuclear weapons, a top defector said ahead of leader Kim Jong Un’s landmark summit with US President Donald Trump next month.

The current whirlwind of diplomacy and negotiations will not end with “a sincere and complete disarmament” but with “a reduced North Korean nuclear threat”, said Thae Yong-ho, who fled his post as the North’s deputy ambassador to Britain in August 2016.

“In the end, North Korea will remain ‘a nuclear power packaged as a non-nuclear state’,” Thae told the South’s Newsis news agency. Continue reading

US cannot stop China’s innovation advancements

It would appear that the US is seriously worried about China’s technological advancements. Fearing the loss of the last comparative advantage over the Asian superpower has caused a genuine concern over national defense and competitiveness among America’s ruling elite.

The US using every possible means to curb Asia’s technological rise, including the banning of sales of essential chips to ZTE for seven years, invoking Section 301 of the Trade Act to investigate China’s “unfair trade practices” and barring investment in the information-technology sector. The Donald Trump administration’s target might be the Asian power’s “Made in China 2025”, a strategy meant to make China self-sufficient in an array of technologies.

The 301 investigation was meant to slow down China’s technological advancements by imposing stiff tariffs on a host of Chinese imports and barring the sales of US technology to Chinese firms. In addition, the anti-China faction of the US Congress and the Trump administration have barred Chinese investment in technology sectors. Continue reading