China’s Xi Says The Task Of Building A Strong Navy “Has Never Been More Urgent”

 

While most of the world remains fixated on Syria and Russia, China’s PLA Navy is in the midst of an unprecedented provocation in the South China Sea as a fleet of Chinese warships conducts its 3-day combat war drills in the waters south of Sanya, the southern tip of China’s Hainan Island.

With China’s presence in the waters off its southeastern coast growing increasingly threatening, President Xi Jinping declared on Thursday that the task of building a strong navy “has never been as urgent as present”. His remarks were part of a speech made during the country’s largest fleet review since 1949. Continue reading

NATO’s Northern Expansion (II)

 

BERLIN/BRUSSELS/STOCKHOLM(Own report) – Officially neutral Sweden can be considered a “de facto member” of NATO, a Swedish foreign policy expert confirmed in a new German foreign policy periodical. Last fall’s large maneuver in Sweden sent a clear “message” that the country’s neutrality has “de facto been suspended,” completely changing the entire military “map” of the Baltic region “to NATO’s advantage.” In fact, back already in the 1990s, Sweden had begun to build links to the western war alliance; crucial decisions had been taken already before the Ukraine conflict’s escalation and Crimea’s integration into the Russian Federation. The Bundeswehr is heavily involved in integrating the Swedish armed forces into NATO’s structures, focusing on naval cooperation. This cooperation is aiming at including the Swedish military into NATO’s naval operations. The cooperation of the naval forces is not limited to NATO’s framework, but may also be within that of the EU.

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New Rumblings In The Horn Of Africa Over Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam

Tensions are rising between Egypt and Ethiopia over the latter’s Grand Renaissance Dam. Continue reading

Berlin’s Beacon Policy

BERLIN(Own report) – Germany and the three remaining major West European EU member countries should formulate a joint foreign policy and implement it even without an EU-wide consensus, demands Norbert Röttgen, former Chair of the Committee of Foreign Affairs in the German Bundestag. Such an approach would be inevitable, because a foreign policy consensus in the EU is impossible “within the foreseeable future,” although rapid and resolute activity is needed to reach an “equal footing with the USA and Russia.” Experts are proposing, as an alternative, the introduction of foreign policy decisions being taken at majority votes. This would mean that EU countries – against the will of their respective governments – could, for example, be forced into serious conflicts with third countries. Reflecting major shifts in the global political fabric, these proposals have become elements of an intense debate within Berlin’s political establishment. The German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) is warning against the escalation of conflicts, for example, with China, and the military does not rule out the possibility of Berlin’s loss of power, through the potential disintegration of the EU.

China Prepares to Open Second Foreign Base

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy is in the process of building a second foreign military base at the strategic port city of Gwadar in Pakistan.

 

Just weeks after opening its first foreign military base on the Horn of Africa, China is preparing to open another in the strategically important port city of Gwadar, Pakistan. Continue reading

Turkey Opens Its Largest Overseas Military Base in Somalia

Turkish Chief of Staff General Hulusi Akar, second left, and Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khayre, second right, receive a salute from a Somali soldier at combined Turkey-Somali training center during his visit to Mogadishu, Somalia, Sept. 30, 2017. Farah Abdi Warsame/AP

 

The military base in Somalia is also a reminder that despite Turkey’s growing regional and national problems, Africa remains central to its global expansion strategy.

Turkey has opened its largest overseas military base in Somalia, cementing its relationship with the war-torn nation and strengthening its strategic place in the African continent.

The $50 million base was opened on Saturday (Sept. 30) and will train more than 10,000 soldiers. The move is part of an effort to institutionalize and restructure the police and military services, battle the terrorist group al-Shabaab, and help expand the government’s authority into more towns and regions. The new base also takes on an urgent significance as the 2020 withdrawal deadline for the 22,000 African Union multinational force gets closer.

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CIA analyst: Beijing poses a greater threat than Russia

China's new type of domestically-built destroyer, a 10,000-tonne warship, is seen during its launching ceremony at the Jiangnan Shipyard in Shanghai, China June 28, 2017. Photo: Reuters

China’s new type of domestically-built destroyer, a 10,000-tonne warship, is seen during its launching ceremony at the Jiangnan Shipyard in Shanghai, China June 28, 2017. Photo: Reuters

 

In an unusually candid talk, agency’s Michael Collins said China’s growing confidence and resolve – fueled by inaction against Chinese hegemony over the past several years – are a worry

A senior CIA analyst has offered a rare public glimpse into American intelligence analysis of China. Michael Collins, deputy assistant director and head of the agency’s East Asia mission center, believes more attention should be focused on China and that recent public angst about Russia is distracting America from the threat posed by China.

“There’s been a lot of talk about Russia as a competitor, a country that sees the liberal international order as something they don’t necessarily subscribe to, that is actively engaged in trying to undermine US influence in various areas around the world, and that has [the] capability to do it,” Collins said at a security forum in Aspen, Colorado. Continue reading

China sends troops to military base in Djibouti, widening reach across Indian Ocean

Soldiers of China’s People’s Liberation Army stand on a ship sailing off from a military port in Zhanjiang, Guangdong province, on Monday. Photo: Reuters

 

Beijing says facility needed for anti-piracy operations but rivals expected to be alarmed

China has taken a decisive step ­towards establishing a maritime force that can reach across the ­Indian Ocean with its first ­deployment of troops to its ­military facility in Djibouti on the Horn of Africa.

China has presented the ­facility as a support base to run anti-piracy operations in waters along Africa’s east coast as well as peacekeeping and ­humanitarian missions in the region.

But given it sits at the shipping choke point of the Gulf of Aden which opens to the Suez Canal and beyond, China’s ­regional neighbours including Japan, ­India and Vietnam were likely to view the deployment with alarm, mainland experts said.

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The Militarization of the Baltic Sea

BERLIN (Own report) – Since 1990, the German Navy is more than ever focusing its activities on the power struggle with Russia in the Baltic Sea. It is “conceivable” that “the eastern area of the Baltic Sea could become the venue for conflicts of interests and provocations,” the head of a department in the German Navy Command wrote in an article published in the current edition of MarineForum. This necessitates preparations for “the regular and permanent presence of operational forces” and a resolute military buildup, and Berlin’s announcement to procure five new corvettes is a signal in the right direction. At the same time, large scale maneuvers are regularly being held in the Baltic Sea. The most recent “BALTOPS 2017” exercise was focused around the scenario of naval combat against an enemy advancing “from the North.” Strategic B-52 bombers – among others – we e training so close to the Russian border that Moscow saw itself forced to chase them off with fighter jets. B-52s can be equipped with nuclear arms. Moscow has announced Russian-Chinese naval exercises to be held this month – for the first time in the Baltic Sea.

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China’s maritime Strategic Realignment

A simplified view of the PLAN maritime lines of communication between its major naval bases in southern China and its newly established oversees bases. The major island bases in the South China Sea are omitted from this map, but should be considered in gaining an accurate picture of Chinese maritime defense posture.

 

Introduction

China has begun construction of the first Type 075 Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) at the Shanghai based Hudong Zhonghua Shipbuilding Company. Construction most likely started in January or February of this year, with some satellite imagery and digital photos appearing online of at least one pre-fabricated hull cell. The Type 075 will be the largest amphibious warfare vessel in the Peoples’ Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), with similar displacement and dimensions as the U.S. Navy Wasp Class LHD. The PLA has also made it known through non-official channels that the force plans to expand the current PLA Marine Corps from 20,000 personnel to 100,000. As China completes preparations for its new military base in Djibouti, located in the strategic Horn of Africa, it has also continued its substantial investment in developing the port of Gwadar, Pakistan. Not only will Gwadar become a key logistics hub as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the “One Belt, One Road” trade initiative, but will also be a key naval base in providing security for China’s maritime trade in the region. Continue reading

Britain blocking EU military HQ: sources

Brexit-bound Britain is blocking the launch of an EU military headquarters because it opposes any suggestion that the unit would have an active operational role, EU diplomatic sources said Friday.

After months of tough negotiations, all 28 member states approved plans in March for a small grouping in Brussels to coordinate three of the bloc’s overseas training operations. Continue reading

China’s First Overseas Military Base Nearing Completion

Chinese military officers bid farewell to members of a Chinese medical contingent as it leaves for West Africa to help in the fight against Ebola from the airport in Beijing, China, Friday, Nov. 14, 2014. China’s first overseas military base should be ready this summer close by the operations hub of U.S. Africa Command in Djibouti. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

 

Marine Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, commander of AfriCom, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he expected the Chinese base on the Horn of Africa to be operational later this summer.

Without getting specific, Waldhauser said he recently met with Djibouti’s President Ismail Omar Guelleh “and expressed our concerns about some of the things that are important to us about what the Chinese should not do at that location.” Continue reading

China flexing its military muscle

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A Chinese WZ-10 military helicopter is seen before the China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai, Guangdong province, October 25, 2016. Photo: REUTERS

 

The Chinese military is developing ships, submarines, aircraft, intelligence systems and foreign bases in a bid to be a global military power: report

China’s military is developing ships, submarines, aircraft, intelligence systems and foreign bases in a bid to become a global military power, according to a forthcoming congressional China commission report.

The late draft of the annual report by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission contains a chapter on Beijing’s power projection development and warns that once fully developed, the weapons and forces could contribute to a regional conflict in places like the South China and East China seas. Continue reading

Chinese-built railway links landlocked Ethiopia, one of the world’s fastest growing economies, to the sea

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A test is carried out on the Chinese-built Ethiopia-Djibouti railway near Addis Ababa this week. Photo: Xinhua

 

Deal brings reliable transport to Addis Ababa and access to market of 95 million people to tiny but strategic port of Djibouti

With Chinese conductors at the helm, a fleet of shiny new trains on Wednesday began plying a new route from the Ethiopian capital to neighbouring Djibouti, in a major boost to both economies.

The 750km railway, built by two Chinese companies, will link Addis Ababa to Djibouti, a strategic port enclave on the Red Sea, in about 10 hours, a far cry from the current excruciating multi-day trip along a congested, potholed road.

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An Empire in the Making

Caption: (Getty Images)

 

Hand in hand with calls for a European army are calls for Europe to get more involved overseas. European Union and German officials want more European military intervention in the Middle East and North Africa. They also want Europe to build stronger alliances with allies in the area, with both Germany and the EU unveiling plans to directly fund foreign militaries for the first time.

“It is in the interests of our citizens to invest in the resilience of states and societies to the east, stretching into Central Asia, and south down to Central Africa,” wrote EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini in her paper “A Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy.”

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