Japan conducts first submarine drill in disputed South China Sea

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Japan has carried out its first submarine drill in the South China Sea, a newspaper said Monday, a move that could provoke Beijing which claims most of the disputed waters.

Submarine Kuroshio on Thursday joined three Japanese warships in waters just southwest of the China-controlled Scarborough Shoal, the Asahi Shimbun said. Continue reading

Vatican’s deal with Beijing could end Taiwan’s ties with its last European ally

The Wanchin Basilica in Pingtung County, Taiwan was built in 1870. / Wikipedia

 

A deal between the Vatican and China, which would grant China the right to nominate future bishops, would likely end the diplomatic relationship between the Holy See and Taiwan that began in 1942.

Reports of the pending agreement come amid other reports of the suppression of religious expression throughout China.

A Human Rights Watch report estimates that over a million Muslim Uighurs are currently detained in re-education camps in the western province of Xinjiang. AP reported last week that reported that China’s government is seeking to drive citizens away from organized religion and toward the atheist Communist Party through scare tactics such as Bible-burning, shuttering churches, destroying crosses and forcing individuals to renounce their faith on paper. Continue reading

Hong Kong Overtakes New York as City With Most Super-Rich People

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More proof that the Hong Kong transfer was a colossal loss for Great Britain, and a massive gain for China

Hong Kong has overtaken New York City to become the city home to more super-rich people than any other metropolis on the planet, according to a study published on September 6 by the Wealth X research firm.

The study tallies the number of individuals worth $30 million or more, labeling them ultra-high net worth individuals. In recent years, the number of these individuals living in Hong Kong has risen to about 10,000. Continue reading

PLA Expanding Power Through Belt and Road Initiative

Randall Schriver / Getty Images

 

Schriver: U.S. to bolster Taiwan air defenses, submarines

China’s military is a key player in the Belt and Road economic initiative around the world that is being used to expand Beijing’s overall global power, a senior Pentagon Asian affairs official says.

Separately, the Pentagon is working with Taiwan’s government to bolster the island’s air defenses in the face of growing missile and aircraft threats from China, said Randall G. Schriver, assistant defense secretary for Asian and Pacific security affairs. Continue reading

Russia launches biggest ever war games

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Russia launched Tuesday what it called its largest ever military drills, with hundreds of thousands of troops taking part along with Chinese soldiers in a show of force NATO condemned as a rehearsal for “large-scale conflict.”

President Vladimir Putin is expected to attend the games after hosting an economic forum in Russia’s far eastern city Vladivostok where his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping is one of the prominent guests.

The week-long war games dubbed “Vostok-2018″(East-2018) “have kicked off” in far eastern Russia, the defence ministry said. Continue reading

Will China One Day Dominate the Seas? History Provides Some Clues

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China has recently launched its first domestically built aircraft carrier, doubling its embryonic capacity to project power on the world’s oceans. A third carrier is under construction, with more to follow in due course. China has militarized its artificial islands in the South China Sea, extending its security barrier away from the Asian coast. It has fielded anti-access area denial weapons, including so-called “carrier killer” ballistic missiles that can reach Guam, to keep foreign warships away from Chinese waters should war come to East Asia. The Chinese fleet now has more, albeit technologically inferior, combat warships and submarines than the U.S. Navy. Nevertheless, they exist—ready to extend China’s reach and protect Chinese interests in an increasingly globalized world. Continue reading

China’s Command Innovation

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Image: Visual Capitalist

 

Hardly a day passes without some sort of China news in the financial headlines. There’s a good reason, too. China is the global economy’s 600-pound gorilla, second in size only to the US. Yes, it was largely a copycat business economy up until the early 2000s, but Chinese entrepreneurs have really taken charge in the last 10 years. Fueled by the profits from huge consumer demand, they are expanding not only in China but globally. This story is largely ignored in the US and in much of Europe. We hear about a few projects here and there, but we don’t understand the extent.

China is on its way to becoming the largest economy in the world, which because of its population, it should be (possibly with the exception of India, if they ever get their act together). Short-term events and arguments sometimes obscure this longer-term reality. China’s transition from rural poverty to export powerhouse to consumer goliath may be the most consequential economic event in centuries. Possibly ever—I can’t think of a historical example to rival it. Historians might argue the British Empire or even the US from 1800–2000, but that took centuries. China has done it in a little over 30 years. Continue reading

China Just Tested Several Dozen Hypersonic Missiles The US Can’t Defend Against

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China has launched ahead of the United States with “several dozen successful hypersonic missile tests that Washington cannot ignore,” Missile Defense Agency commander Lieutenant General Samuel Greaves warned Tuesday.

“The Chinese have now done several dozen successful hypersonic (missile) tests… we just cannot (ignore),” Greaves briefed a group of government officials held by the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance.

Under Secretary of Defense for Management and Engineering Michael Griffin also acknowledged that China had alarmingly carried out dozens of successful hypersonic missile tests and warned that Russia was not far behind the Chinese in hypersonic missile development. Continue reading

Beijing’s great game to win over Pacific’s small island states

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Micronesia’s President Peter Christian, center, reviews an honor guard with Xi Jinping outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing in March 2017. Photo: AFP/ Greg Baker

 

Deploying classic tactics – leverage via investment, tourism, diplomacy and political funding – Beijing is winning the strategic competition with Washington across the west and northern Pacific

While the South China Sea is East Asia’s strategic center stage as China expands its military presence and control over that critical seascape, Beijing is quietly and successfully upping its presence in Pacific territories that have traditionally fallen under US influence.

But unlike in the South China Sea, it is not capturing influence with hard power. Instead, it is deploying a range of big-picture, long-game asymmetric tactics that will be familiar to anyone who has studied Beijing’s Belt and Road initiatives in other regions.

While the US fought its now-legendary, trans-Pacific “island hopping” campaign against Japan in many of these territories in World War II, China is today winning a new, non-kinetic war by default – for, beyond East Asian shores, the Pacific suffers from benign neglect in Washington. 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 Unveils New ‘Dark Sword’ Drone

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(Photo Credit: Chinese Social Media & Pakistan Defense Ministry)

 

This is a substantial leap forward for the People’s Liberation Army in aviation technology.

According to a report published over the weekend by the SouthFront website, the Chinese government has been experimenting on a number of designs to increase speed, maneuverability, and stealth. Dark Sword, however, is “qualitatively” different that previous People’s Liberation Army designs: Continue reading

Microwave weapons were behind US diplomats’ ailments, says leading scientist

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Less than a year later, in June 2018, the US reportedly evacuated at least two more diplomatic personnel from its consulate in the Chinese city of Guangzhou, after they experienced “unusual acute auditory or sensory phenomena” and “unusual sounds or piercing noises”. The evacuations took place two weeks after the US Department of State disclosed that a consulate worker in Guangzhou had been flown home for medical testing, in response to having experienced “subtle and vague, but abnormal, sensations of sound and pressure”. The evacuations from China prompted comparisons to the very similar phenomena that had been reported by US diplomatic personnel in Cuba the previous year. In 2017, media reports stated that Washington had concluded that the American diplomats were exposed to “an advanced device that was deployed either inside or outside their residences”. But the Cuban government denied that it had anything to do with the American diplomats’ symptoms, and some believe that the alleged “covert sonic device” may have been deployed by an intelligence service of a third country —possibly Russia— without the knowledge of Cuban authorities. However, the US government has remained largely silent about the cases. 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

General: ‘The Homeland is No Longer a Sanctuary’

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(Photo Credit: Sr. Airman Delano Scott/U.S. Air Force)

 

Air Force Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy said the threat of ‘near-peer’ adversaries like China and Russia is growing rapidly.

The four-star Air Force general in charge of the U.S. Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command is warning that the American homeland is no longer a sanctuary from the dangers of the rest of the world. Continue reading

Thousands Rally to Remove U.S. Military Base From Okinawa

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Protesters stage a sit-in to block construction vehicles working on the expansion of Camp Schwab, a U.S. military base, on May 31 in Nago, Okinawa, Japan. (Carl Court/Getty Images)

 

The latest deterioration of a fading trans-Pacific alliance

Some 70,000 protesters rallied in Okinawa, Japan, on August 11 against the planned relocation of a United States military base. Rather than see U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma moved from a heavily populated part of the island to the remote Henoko Bay, the protesters want it to be removed from the island entirely. Continue reading