Report: North Koreans Got Desperate After Trump Walked Away

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(Photo Credit: Shealah Craighead/The White House)

 

Their offer to shutter Yongbyon didn’t come until after the president ended his talks with Kim Jong-un.

We now have a much different view of what happened behind closed doors during the Hanoi summit between President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-un that ultimately led to its abrupt ending. Continue reading

Mad at Bolton? Satellite imagery shows N. Korea rapidly rebuilding missile site

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U.S. national security adviser John Bolton

 

Satellite imagery acquired on March 2 shows that North Korea is rebuilding the long-range rocket site at Sohae (Tongchang-ri) which in the past was used to launch satellites with ICBM technology that is banned under UN Security Council resolutions.

“Activity is evident at the vertical engine test stand and the launch pad’s rail-mounted rocket transfer structure,” according to the Beyond Parallel website. “This facility had been dormant since August 2018, indicating the current activity is deliberate and purposeful.” Continue reading

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

A war footing emerges in the South China Sea

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Navy personnel of Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy take part in a military display in the South China Sea April 12, 2018. Picture taken April 12, 2018. Photo: Reuters/Stringer

 

China’s recent deployment of nuclear-capable bombers, missiles and jamming devices has drastically shifted the contested area’s strategic calculus

China’s deployment of H-6k bombers to disputed land features in the South China Sea has provoked an uproar across the region and beyond while raising considerably the potential for armed conflict.

China’s bombers are capable of conducting nuclear strikes and have an operational range of more than 1,000 nautical miles. This places practically all other claimant states in the contested maritime area within their crosshairs. Continue reading

Vietnam seeks to pacify China as landmark U.S. carrier visit signals warming ties

FILE PHOTO: U.S. aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson is seen in the Pacific Ocean on May 27, 2017. Torrey W. Lee/Courtesy U.S. Navy/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo

 

HONG KONG/HANOI (Reuters) – The visit of a U.S. aircraft carrier to Vietnam for the first time since the end of the Vietnam War is a powerful symbol of the growing strategic ties between the former foes.

But the arrival on Monday of the USS Carl Vinson also illustrates Hanoi’s complex and evolving relationship with Beijing over the disputed South China Sea.

For months now, Vietnamese envoys have been working to ease the concerns of their giant Chinese neighbor over the visit and the prospect of broader security co-operation between Hanoi and Washington, according to diplomats and others familiar with discussions. Continue reading

Is Vietnam tilting toward China?

First the Philippines, then Malaysia, now Vietnam… As predicted, Asia will tilt away from the United States and come under the umbrella protectorate of China, and form a new Asian bloc.

Who wants to go to war with China when you have an unstable United States under Barack Obama who may or may not have your back? Who wants to go to war with China with a bi-polar United States that changes its position with every new President? Who wants to go to war with China when the United States is further decimating its own already-troubled military?

These are the perspectives these Asian nations have. If you can’t beat them (China), join them.

 

When he traveled to China for a state visit in October 2016, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte was grandly received by Beijing.

Nguyen Phu Trong, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV), was treated much in the same manner during his official trip to China last week.

Yet, while Mr Trong’s visit was aimed at developing stronger ties with China, it does not mean that the communist leadership in Hanoi is pursuing a Duterte-like pivot to Beijing. Continue reading

Duterte declares upcoming Philippines-U.S. war games ‘the last one’

HANOI (Reuters) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte plunged one of the United States’ most important Asian alliances deeper into uncertainty on Wednesday by declaring upcoming U.S.-Philippine military exercises “the last”, and ruling out any joint navy patrols.

The firebrand Duterte pledged to honor a longstanding security treaty with the United States but said China opposed joint marine drills in the Philippines starting next week and there would be no more war games with Washington after that.

“I am serving notice now to the Americans, this will be the last military exercise,” Duterte said during a visit to Vietnam. “Jointly, Philippines-U.S.: the last one.” Continue reading

Vietnam’s mass fish kill isn’t simply an environmental disaster

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Dead fish in Vietnam’s central coastal region

 

In the mass fish die-off on the country’s central coastal region, the Vietnamese government is faced with not only Vietnam’s worst ever environmental disaster but also widespread social unrest.

Millions of dead fish have washed up across some 200 km of the coast of Vietnam’s four central provinces since early last month.

According to a figure given by an official on May 5, the disaster had killed at least 100 tons of fish. This was based on the reports from the four affected provinces, namely Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien Hue, and excluded dead fish that remained in the water. Continue reading

US preparing to face down China in the South China Sea – while locals expect ‘bonanza of riches’ from return of American sailors

American flags fly fore and aft on the US missile cruiser Shiloh as it docks at a pier across a narrow waterway from decrepit, decaying buildings of an abandoned US naval base at Subic Bay. The dock was once a bulwark of American power in the South China Sea after US forces seized the base from the Spanish in 1899.

At the end of a long walkway from the pier to shore, eager shopkeepers again sell souvenirs and taxi drivers lie in wait for sailors primed for a night of carousing in the bars of Olongapo, the base town in the Philippines. Now, nearly a quarter of a century after the US Navy had to give up its Subic Bay base and the Clark Air Base across the Zambales mountains to the east, Americans are once again ready to defend the Philippines, and the region.

Continue reading

Vietnam Buys Deadly New Missiles Capable of Hitting China

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Hanoi is the first Southeast Asian nation arming its submarines with land attack cruise missiles.

Vietnam is in the process of acquiring 50 anti-ship and land attack 3M-14E Klub supersonic cruise missiles for its burgeoning fleet of SSK Kilo-class diesel-electric submarines, Der Spiegel Online reports.

According to the article, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) recently updated data on its website, based on information obtained from the United Nations’ register of conventional arms, indicating that Russia has already delivered 28 missiles over the last two years to Hanoi, although the precise number remains unknown. Continue reading

Is China Preparing for Currency War?

China has entered the global monetary-easing fray, along with more than a dozen other economies, after its central bank surprised investors by cutting reserve requirements 50 basis points to spur lending and combat deflation. But Beijing may be raring for an even bigger and more perilous fight — in the currency markets.

At the same time, something else is afoot in Beijing could have even greater global impact. The central bank is cooking up measures to widen the band in which its currency trades. People’s Bank of China officials say it’s about limiting volatility as capital zooms in and out of the economy. Let’s call it what it really is: the first step toward yuan depreciation and currency war. Continue reading