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

Meet Turkey’s New Sovereign Wealth Fund Chairman, Who Has “Now Taken Public Companies Prisoners”

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What does a man who already controls pretty much everything in his country  from politics to the judiciary to defense  give to himself? How about direct takeover of his country’s sovereign wealth fund?

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has appointed himself chairman of Turkey’s sovereign wealth fund after recent promises to exert greater influence over the economy. He’s nixed the old guard management and hand-picked their replacements, in a move his political rival, presidential candidate who lost the June election, Muharrem Ince, has aptly described as taking “public companies prisoners”.

And not to be one to break medieval sultanate tradition, he’s further named his son-in-law and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak as deputy chairman. Continue reading

Shooting War With China More Likely Than You Think

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The mainstream media narrative about the U.S.-China trade war implies that Trump is on a highly damaging ego trip and China holds all the cards.

The exact opposite is true. Continue reading

China begins testing electronic warfare assets in South China Sea: report

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View of Spratly Islands. Photo: US Navy handout via Reuters

 

Word of US intelligence report comes after assessment that equipment was installed on the contested Spratly islands earlier this year

As the US and China plunge into a trade war, Beijing is apparently preparing for a different type of warfare that some fear may be on the horizon. Continue reading

World War 3: Britain sends THIRD warship to Asia-Pacific as tensions rise with North Korea

HMS Sutherland is being deployed to the Pacific (Beutner/ullstein bild via Getty)

 

THE UK has deployed a third navy warship to the Asia-Pacific as diplomatic tensions with North Korea continue to rise. HMS Albion will join HMS Sutherland and will help enforce UN sanctions against North Korea, as well as take part in joint training and exercises with regional allies.

The Ministry of Defence previously announced that HMS Argyll would also be deployed, arriving in the region later in the year to take part in an exercise with Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore. Continue reading

China Has Bought Brunei’s Silence in South China Sea Dispute

 

China’s takeover of the strategic South China Sea region is ‘steering the world toward war.’

In discussions about the South China Sea dispute, we often hear about China claiming nearly the entire resource-rich, strategic region. And we also often hear about rival claimants—nations such as Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines—who dispute China’s claims. International law says these smaller nations rightfully own the portions of the sea along their coasts, so they often cry foul of Beijing’s claims to their territory. Continue reading

China has Militarized South China Sea

 

Countries Who Have Lost Islands To China Say There Needs To Be Checks Put In Place To Avoid An Unintended Regional War.

According to the South China Morning Post, the member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are clamoring for a more formal “code of conduct” in the South China Sea following a spate of aerial “incidents” that had the potential of triggering an unintended regional war. Continue reading

China’s Achilles Heel

Image credit: Poster Collection, US 3481, Hoover Institution Archives.

 

The best political commentary out of East Asia last week is the one published on December 15 by South Korea’s second largest newspaper, Dong-A Ilbo. The paper’s editors asked a question on the mind of the entire Korean nation after their president had been outrageously snubbed by the Chinese leadership during his four-day state visit to the communist country, and Korean reporters accompanying their president’s visit were savagely beaten by thuggish Chinese security guards: “China should reflect on this question: why is it that for such a big country, there is hardly any neighbor that can be described as China’s friend?” Continue reading

White House: North Korea a State Terror Sponsor

President Donald Trump has designated North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism, which will trigger a new round of sanctions against the Hermit Kingdom and its dictator, Kim Jong-un.

 

The president told a group of reporters:

“North Korea has supported acts of international terrorism, including assassinations on foreign soilAs we take this action today we think of Otto Warmbier and the many others affected by North Korean oppression.”

Continue reading

Theory: China’s Secretly Prepping for War in the South China Sea

Chinese leader Mao Zedong, 1963.

 

Should a U.S.-China war break out in the South China Sea, Beijing will rely on an old Mao-era military tactic in its efforts to vanquish the United States.

The likelihood of such a conflict increases by the day…

That’s because the United States continues to exert its military presence in the trade- and resource-rich South China Sea, despite China’s insistence that nearly the entirety of the valuable maritime region belongs to it. China’s claims, as a matter of fact, clash with those of six other nearby nations, such as Vietnam and Taiwan. Continue reading

US Threatens To Cut Off China From SWIFT If It Violates North Korea Sanctions

While this sounds like a step that needed to be taken, and it is, it’s too little too late. China (and Russia) have created an alternative to SWIFT. Thus, cutting China off only means it will switch to its own and abandon the U.S. Dollar system — with Russia likely to join. In effect, it will end up hurting the United States more than the intended target(s).

Over the last decade China and Russia have feverishly worked around America’s global influence. Russia and China no longer need GPS, as they have their own indigenous satellite navigation systems — Europe, too. You’ll only do their militaries a favor if you cut that off. Control over the internet has been ceded by America, so there’s also no method or means of punishment there. The IMF has been undermined by the AIIB, so it’s also hard to do anything there as well.

America’s choices are limited and not as effective as they used to be. The joke may be on the U.S. should push come to shove. The alternatives set up only mean America will likely isolate itself should it choose punitive measures.

 

In an unexpectedly strong diplomatic escalation, one day after China agreed to vote alongside the US (and Russia) during Monday’s United National Security Council vote in passing the watered down North Korea sanctions, the US warned that if China were to violate or fail to comply with the newly imposed sanctions against Kim’s regime, it could cut off Beijing’s access to both the US financial system as well as the “international dollar system.”

Speaking at CNBC’s Delivering Alpha conference on Tuesday, Steven Mnuchin said that China had agreed to “historic” North Korean sanctions during Monday’s United Nations vote. “We worked very closely with the U.N.  I’m very pleased with the resolution that was just passed.  This is some of the strongest items.  We now have more tools in our toolbox, and we will continue to use them and put additional sanctions on North Korea until they stop this behavior.”

Continue reading

Kim Jong-Un: Absolute power — and an H-bomb to wield it

 

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un ranks among the world’s youngest heads of state, but has some of its most powerful weapons at his disposal.

Sunday’s test of what appeared to be a powerful, full-fledged thermonuclear bomb, marked yet another watershed in Kim’s relentless drive as leader to turn the North into a credible — and feared — nuclear-armed state.

In the process, he has simply shrugged off international warnings and economic sanctions, as well as bellicose threats from US President Donald Trump of possible military strikes if he persists. Continue reading

Report: China Increasing Drone Operations in Disputed Seas

In the future, power projection via drones will not be limited to Asia or the Asia-Pacific, but the Western Pacific on America’s doorstep — if not pushing through.

You will advance against my people Israel like a cloud that covers the land. In days to come, Gog, I will bring you against my land, so that the nations may know me when I am proved holy through you before their eyes.Ezekiel 38:16

 

An unmanned drone aircraft is tested during a campaign for disaster prevention and reduction in Beijing / Getty Images

 

DOD predicts China will produce tens of thousands of drones by 2023

A new report reveals how the Chinese military uses unmanned drones as a means of power projection and surveillance in the hotly contested South and East China Seas.

The report, released Monday by the Project 2049 Institute, offers “a field guide to Chinese UAVs/UCAVs operating in the disputed East and South China Seas.” Continue reading

Japan’s Shifting Power Alliances

 

I’ve just wrapped up a long trip to Japan. And I’ve taken away one lesson from all of my conversations, speeches and research: The rise of nationalism in the U.S. will cause massive shifts in global trade alliances.

One of the main beneficiaries will be Japan. Now, Japan might not be on your radar, day-to-day, but it’s about to play a very important role in the world of Donald Trump.

Here’s what I mean… Continue reading

Japan wants a massive trade deal without the US — but these countries stand in its way

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe next to a map of the original Trans-Pacific Partnership participating countries. [TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA / AFP / Getty Images]

 

  • Negotiators from the 11 remaining TPP countries are holding talks this week on how to ink a deal without Washington, but internal divisions are a key obstacle
  • Vietnam and Malaysia, in particular, are looking to re-open discussions on certain provisions, complicating Japan’s desire to cement an agreement

As the 11 remaining Trans-Pacific Partnership countries continue talks without Washington this week, certain member states now need convincing to stay on board with the massive trade deal. Continue reading