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

Pentagon report highlights Chinese submarine buildup

China’s first domestically built aircraft carrier is seen during its launch ceremony in Dalian. Photo: Reuters/Stringer

 

The large-scale buildup of China’s naval forces is the most visible part of a major rearmament campaign that has been under way for more than a decade. But Chinese development of modern and increasingly quiet submarines poses one of the more serious strategic challenges for the United States and other nations concerned about Beijing’s growing hegemony in Asia.

The increasing size of the People’s Liberation Army Navy fleet of surface vessels captures most international attention, based on the sheer numbers and advanced weapons on an array of new warships. Continue reading

Arms for the World

BERLIN (Own report) – German arms exports are leveling out at a new record high, as indicated by the Arms Export Report for 2016 and the first four months of 2017, published last Wednesday in Berlin. According to the report, the German government has approved €6.85 billion worth of military equipment sales in 2016 – one billion less than in 2015 but significantly more than the fluctuations around five billion in the overall value of arms exports since 2003. The main recipients of German deliveries include countries of the Arab Peninsula, particularly Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, with the aim of forming a military counterforce to Iran. For over two years, they have been waging war against Yemen – also using German weapons. Berlin has also approved the sale of patrol boats to Saudi Arabia, which can be used to escalate the famine blockade around Yemen. Algeria and Egypt are receiving German warships. A closer cooperation with the navies of these two countries would enable Berlin and Brussels to complete their control over the EU’s southern flank. German arms recipients include several countries around the Pacific basin, prone to become Western partners in the event of a conflict with the People’s Republic of China.

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Iran, China Conduct Joint Naval Drills

Last summer, when the Syrian conflict was near its peak under the Obama administration, China unexpectedly warned it was ready to enter the proxy war when in a stunning announcement, Xinhua reported that Beijing was prepared to side with Syria and Russia, against the US-led alliance, and that Xi and Assad had agreed that the Chinese military will have closer ties with Syria and provide humanitarian aid to the civil war torn nation.

A high-ranking People’s Liberation Army officer also said that the training of Syrian personnel by Chinese instructors has also been discussed: the Director of the Office for International Military Cooperation of China’s Central Military Commission, Guan Youfei, arrived in Damascus on Tuesday for talks with Syrian Defense Minister Fahad Jassim al-Freij, Xinhua added. Guan said China had consistently played a positive role in pushing for a political resolution in Syria. “China and Syria’s militaries have a traditionally friendly relationship, and China’s military is willing to keep strengthening exchanges and cooperation with Syria’s military,” Xinhua quoted Guan. Continue reading

Pentagon says China has Big Military Expansion Plans, Including Base in Pakistan

A Pentagon report released on Tuesday singled out Pakistan as a possible location for a future Chinese military base, as it forecast that Beijing would likely build more bases overseas after establishing a facility in the African nation of Djibouti.

The prediction came in a 97-page annual report to Congress that saw advances throughout the Chinese military in 2016, funded by robust defense spending that the Pentagon estimated exceeded $180 billion. Continue reading

As U.S. balks at rebuilding infrastructure, China advances ‘Silk Road Economic Belt’ strategy to dominate Eurasia, Africa

 

On May 14-15, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) hosted the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. The Beijing meeting attracted 29 heads of state (including Russian President Vladimir Putin) and representatives of 130 other countries (including the U.S.), plus the leaders of 70 international organizations, including UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

Chinese President Xi Jinping gave the keynote address heralding the “One Belt, One Road” initiative (BRI) as a top priority. And well it should be, given that its goal is nothing less than to establish Chinese preeminence (even hegemony) over Eurasia and Africa. Continue reading

Trump’s stealth North Korea move sidelines China, could be game-changer

President Donald Trump and China’s Xi JInping in Florida.

 

Just how the shape of the new global strategic architecture will settle out as the framework for the 21st Century is still open to challenge, but the key dynamic — the initial door to that new world — is now being opened by a deliberately-orchestrated U.S.-North Korea confrontation.

What is emerging beyond this door is an overarching strategic alternative to the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) démarche of “One Belt, One Road” dominance of the Eurasian and Indo-Pacific geopolitical space, and an alternative, or balance, to the PRC’s reach into Africa and the Americas.

The confrontation between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean (DPRK) leader Kim Jong-Un is very much just between those two leaders, with the People’s Republic of China somewhat marginalized. Beijing is now fighting to find a path into this equation. Continue reading

Exclusive: Japan plans to send largest warship to South China Sea, sources say

FILE PHOTO: A helicopter lands on the Izumo, Japan Maritime Self Defense Force’s (JMSDF) helicopter carrier, at JMSDF Yokosuka base in Yokosuka, south of Tokyo, Japan, December 6, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

 

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan plans to dispatch its largest warship on a three-month tour through the South China Sea beginning in May, three sources said, in its biggest show of naval force in the region since World War Two.

China claims almost all the disputed waters and its growing military presence has fueled concern in Japan and the West, with the United States holding regular air and naval patrols to ensure freedom of navigation. Continue reading

Nuclear missiles tested in IRAN despite tough talking from Trump administration

Iranian defence minister Hossein Dehghan said nuclear missile tests were successful [Getty]

 

NUCLEAR MISSILE tests have been successfully carried out in Iran, according to the country’s defence minister.

The Iranian Navy test-fired its Nasr sea-launched cruise missile, Hossein Dehghan said.

Firing at set targets the Navy carried out its war games in the Perisan Gulf – in an area covering 2 million sq km. Continue reading

Iran Renews Destructive Cyber Attacks on Saudi Arabia

AP

Tehran strategy seeks takeover of oil-rich U.S. ally

After a four-year hiatus, Iran recently resumed destructive cyber attacks against Saudi Arabia in what U.S. officials say is part of a long-term strategy by Tehran to take over the oil-rich kingdom and regional U.S. ally.

Late last month, the Saudi government warned in a notice to telecommunications companies that an Iranian-origin malicious software called Shamoon had resurfaced in cyber attacks against some 15 Saudi organizations, including government networks. Continue reading

Large Russian Anti-Sub Ship Severomorsk to Participate in Oman 2017 Exercises

© Sputnik/ Mikhail Fomichev

 

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The Russian Navy’s large anti-submarine ship Severmorsk has completed a business visit to Oman’s port of Salalah and continued its mission in the Indian ocean, with further participation in the Aman 2017 international naval exercises, which will be held in the North of the Arabian Sea, the press service of the Russian Northern fleet said Tuesday. Continue reading

ASIA NUCLEAR TENSIONS: Pakistan launch nuke capable missile after successful India test

nuclear Pakistan India war missile

Named Ababeel, the weapon has a maximum range of 2,200km [Getty]

 

PAKISTAN is asserting its nuclear prowess as it conducted an atomic test in a thinly veiled threat to its nuclear-armed neighbour India.

The country’s military proudly announced it had successfully test-fired a surface-to-surface ballistic missile for the first time.

Named Ababeel, the weapon has a maximum range of 2,200km (1,367 miles) and is capable of carrying “multiple warheads”, a statement confirmed.  Continue reading

China flexing its military muscle

https://i0.wp.com/static.atimes.com/uploads/2016/11/2016-10-26T070737Z_107902218_S1AEUJDOCFAA_RTRMADP_3_CHINA-AVIATION-630x378-1478404960.jpg

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

Sea Change In The Middle East

America’s view of the Middle East today is shaped by our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the rise and reach of ISIS, a grinding conflict in Syria, the region as a source of wider ranging terrorism and staggering outflows of refugees that are changing the political calculus in Europe. The images that characterize and shape American involvement there are of arid landscapes and rubble from wanton destruction, our soldiers and marines in desert camouflage and videos of surgical airstrikes.  However, the image of the beginning of our involvement in the Middle East is a rarely viewed February 1945 photo of President Franklin Roosevelt meeting with Saudi King Abdul Aziz aboard the USS Quincy in the Suez Canal.  As our strategic role in the Middle East began with a meeting on the water so, too, are consequential changes there taking place at sea – the domain in which the U.S. has enjoyed unfettered access and dominance for over seventy years.   Assuming continued uncontested American maritime dominance in that vital region is a grave strategic misstep – key Asian powers have turned to the sea, they understand fully what is at stake, and they have come to play.

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Springboard into the Pacific Region

BERLIN/CANBERRA (Own report) – To reinforce its position in the Pacific region, Berlin is initiating a regular dialogue with Australia at foreign and defense ministerial levels. Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier are participating in the first “German-Australian 2+2 Dialogue” held today in Berlin. The meeting, which will be repeated at regular intervals, is one of the measures initiated in early 2013 to enhance cooperation between Berlin and Canberra, in light of the shift of global policy priority from the Atlantic to the Pacific. In view of its growing economic and political importance, Washington considers China to be its main rival of the future. Therefore US President George W. Bush (2002) and US Foreign Minister Hillary Clinton (2011) explicitly declared this to be “America’s Pacific Century,” and Washington has begun redeploying its military forces closer to the People’s Republic of China. Explicitly claiming to “help shape the global order,” Berlin also feels obliged to reinforce its position in that region.

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