Japan Returns to Militarism

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On December 11 Japan’s Kyodo News Agency reported that “Japan plans to effectively upgrade its helicopter carriers to enable them to transport and launch fighter jets.” Concurrently the Indian Ministry of Defence noted that in the course of a large exercise being held in India by the US and Indian air forces, “two military pilots from Japan are also taking part in the exercise as observers.” There was also a Reuter’s account of Tokyo’s plans “to boost defence spending over the next five years to help pay for new stealth fighters and other advanced US military equipment.” 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

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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Japan steps up activity in disputed South China Sea region

JAPAN has announced its intention to step up its activity in the disputed South China Sea region.

Japanese Defense Minister Tomoomi Inada said the country will conduct joint training patrols with the United States and bilateral and multilateral exercises with regional navies, Reuters reports.

Inada justified the decision by saying Japan shared similar concerns with the US about China’s rise to power and aggressive pursuit of territorial claims. Continue reading

China to build 40,000-ton amphibious assault ship: Kanwa

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To compete against the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force’s Izumo-class helicopter destroyers, China is planning to build a new class of amphibious assault ship with a displacement of 40,000 tons, according to Kanwa Defense Review, a Canada-based Chinese-language military magazine. Continue reading

China may overtake Japan in naval power this year: report

Since Xi Jinping became China’s top leader, there has been a noticeable change in the country’s foreign policy, according to Duowei News, an outlet run by overseas Chinese.

Beijing has implemented a shift in the geopolitical focus of its global strategy, which has seen the relationship with the US and with the European Union displaced as first priority ties for the country. At the same time, China has strengthened its sea power, with many speculating that the power of the PLA Navy is set to overtake that of Japan in 2015.

At the end of November, as the US was scrambling to find a way to contain Russia, a low-profile but important meeting was being held in Beijing — the Central Conference on Work Relating to Foreign Affairs. At the meeting several leaders made key speeches that indicated a change in China’s external geopolitical strategy. Continue reading

PLA Navy set to build 10 aircraft carriers

To create its first blue-water navy, China plans to construct a total of 10 domestic aircraft carriers according to the Kanwa Defense Review, a Chinese-language military magazine operated by Andrei Chang also known as Pinkov, a military analyst from Canada. Continue reading

In war with Japan, PLA would strike Kobe first: report

If China and Japan were to go to war, Kobe, Japan’s sixth-largest city, would likely be the People’s Liberation Army’s first point of attack, according to the Tokyo-based Shukan Gendai, also known as Modern Weekly, on June 18. Continue reading

PLA sends multiple signals in first RIMPAC naval exercise

China is sending out multiple signals in its first ever participation in the US-led Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) naval exercises over the summer, reports Hong Kong newspaper Ta Kung Pao.

The US-led RIMPAC is the largest international maritime exercise in the world and has been held biennially since 1971. China has sent officials to observe the exercises since 1998, but this marks the first time the PLA is an official participant. Continue reading

PLA makes debut at RIMPAC 2014 with 4 warships

The People’s Liberation Army Navy will send four warships to Hawaii to participate for the first time in the Rim of the Pacific Exercise, also known as RIMPAC, held by the United States Navy every two years, according to the Hong Kong-based Ta Kung Pao on Jun. 5. Continue reading