China boosts military budget to uphold ‘sovereignty’

China will increase military spending by 10.7 per cent this year to 720.2 billion yuan (US$115.7 billion), the government announced on Tuesday, building on a nearly unbroken succession of double-digit rises in the defence budget across two decades.

“We should accelerate the modernisation of national defence and the armed forces so as to strengthen China’s defence and military capabilities,” Premier Wen Jiabao said in remarks prepared for delivery ahead of the start of China’s annual meeting of parliament. Continue reading

Seized Chinese Weapons Raise Concerns on Iran

An Iranian dhow seized off the Yemeni coast was carrying sophisticated Chinese antiaircraft missiles, a development that could signal an escalation of Iran’s support to its Middle Eastern proxies, alarming other countries in the region and renewing a diplomatic challenge to the United States.

Among the items aboard the dhow, according to a review of factory markings on weapons and their packing crates, were 10 Chinese heat-seeking anti-aircraft missiles, most of them manufactured in 2005.

The missiles were labeled QW-1M and bore stencils suggesting that they had been assembled at a factory represented by the state-owned China National Precision Machinery Import and Export Corporation, sanctioned by the United States for transfers of missile technology to Pakistan and Iran. Continue reading

Exclusive: Cyberattack leaves natural gas pipelines vulnerable to sabotage

For further information on SCADAs, please see the following Global Geopolitics entries that were ahead of the curve:

Red Dragon Rising: Communist China’s Military Threat to America” from 1999 is a highly recommended read. The United States is in more vulnerable than most people know, and longer than most people would have thought.

Cyberspies linked to China’s military targeted nearly two dozen US natural gas pipeline operators over a recent six-month period, stealing information that could be used to sabotage US gas pipelines, according to a restricted US government report and a source familiar with the government investigation.

From December 2011 through June 2012, cyberspies targeted 23 gas pipeline companies with e-mails crafted to deceive key personnel into clicking on malicious links or file attachments that let the attackers slip into company networks, says the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report.

The report does not mention China, but the digital signatures of the attacks have been identified by independent cybersecurity researchers as belonging to a particular espionage group recently linked to China’s military.

The confluence of these factors –  along with the sensitive operational and technical details that were stolen – make the cyberbreaches perhaps among the most serious so far, some experts say. The stolen information could give an adversary all the insider knowledge necessary to blow up not just a few compressor stations but perhaps many of them simultaneously, effectively holding the nation’s gas infrastructure hostage. Nearly 30 percent of the nation’s power grid now relies on natural gas generation.

“This theft of key information is about hearing the footsteps get closer and closer,” says William Rush, a retired scientist formerly with the Gas Technology Institute who chaired the effort to create a cybersecurity standard applicable to the gas pipeline industry.

“Anyone can blow up a gas pipeline with dynamite. But with this stolen information, if I wanted to blow up not one, but 1,000 compressor stations, I could,” he adds. “I could put the attack vectors in place, let them sit there for years, and set them all off at the same time. I don’t have to worry about getting people physically in place to do the job, I just pull the trigger with one mouse click.Continue reading

China Launches Stealth Frigate Amid Ocean Tensions

BEIJING (AP) — China has launched the first ship in a new class of stealth missile frigates, state media reported Tuesday, amid ongoing tensions with neighboring countries over Beijing’s maritime claims.

The People’s Liberation Army Navy is building a total of 20 Type 056 Jiangdao class frigates to replace older models and bolster its ability to conduct patrols and escort ships and submarines in waters it claims in the South China and East China seas. Continue reading

FBI probe of defense tech allegedly leaked from NASA stonewalled, sources say

A four-year FBI investigation into the transfer of classified weapons technology to China and other countries from NASA’s Ames Research Center is being stonewalled by government officials, sources tell FoxNews.com.

Documents obtained by FoxNews.com, which summarize these and other allegations and were given to congressional sources last week by a whistle-blower, described how a “secret grand jury” was to be convened in February 2011 to hear testimony from informants in the case, including a senior NASA engineer. But federal prosecutor Gary Fry was removed from the case, which was then transferred from one office in the Northern District of California to another where, according to the documents, “this case now appears to be stalled.”

“The information is staggering,” the whistle-blower told FoxNews.com. Continue reading

Chinese Army Unit Is Seen as Tied to Hacking Against U.S.

Headquarters building of PLA Unit 61398

On the outskirts of Shanghai, in a run-down neighborhood dominated by a 12-story white office tower, sits a People’s Liberation Army base for China’s growing corps of cyberwarriors.

The building off Datong Road, surrounded by restaurants, massage parlors and a wine importer, is the headquarters of P.L.A. Unit 61398. A growing body of digital forensic evidence — confirmed by American intelligence officials who say they have tapped into the activity of the army unit for years — leaves little doubt that an overwhelming percentage of the attacks on American corporations, organizations and government agencies originate in and around the white tower.

An unusually detailed 60-page study, to be released Tuesday by Mandiant, an American computer security firm, tracks for the first time individual members of the most sophisticated of the Chinese hacking groups — known to many of its victims in the United States as “Comment Crew” or “Shanghai Group” — to the doorstep of the military unit’s headquarters. The firm was not able to place the hackers inside the 12-story building, but makes a case there is no other plausible explanation for why so many attacks come out of one comparatively small area. Continue reading

China the world’s ‘most sophisticated’ hacker, says Google’s Eric Schmidt

As long as the United States remains unwilling to fight fire with fire on some fronts, especially cyber warfare, expect things to get much worse — such as one day shutting down banks and grinding the economy to a halt.

China’s state-sanctioned cybercrime is a global “menace” according to Eric Schmidt, Google’s executive chairman, as he predicts a revolution in the country in the coming decades in his latest book.

“The disparity between American and Chinese firms and their tactics will put both the government and the companies of the United States at a distinct disadvantage,” because “the United States will not take the same path of digital corporate espionage, as its laws are much stricter (and better enforced) and because illicit competition violate the American sense of fair play,” the book claims. Continue reading

China’s Space Activities Raising U.S. Satellite Security Concerns

The United States is concerned about China’s expanding ability to disrupt the most sensitive U.S. military and intelligence satellites, as Beijing pursues its expanded ambitions in space, according to multiple sources in the U.S. government and outside space experts.

A classified U.S. intelligence assessment completed late last year analyzed China’s increasing activities in space and mapped out the growing vulnerability of U.S. satellites that provide secure military communications, warn about enemy missile launches and provide precise targeting coordinates, said the sources, who were not authorized to speak publicly. Continue reading

Riding the Nuclear Rails

Does it seem wise for the United States to disarm while China and Russia both re-arm and modernize their nuclear forces?

China developing rail mobile strategic missiles

China is building strategic long-range missile trains as part of its major nuclear forces buildup, according to new information from China and U.S. strategic specialists.

Chinese state-run television recently broadcast a program monitored in Taiwan that disclosed new details of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) rail basing system for ICBMs, including the possibility of a rail-mobile launcher. The program was uncovered and translated by Georgetown University’s Asian Arms Control Project. Continue reading

China May Now Have World’s 2nd Largest Gold Reserves

Today acclaimed money manager Stephen Leeb stunned King World News when he said the Chinese may already have the world’s second largest gold reserves, eclipsing Germany to grab the number two spot.  Leeb knows China is incredibly secretive about its insatiable accumulation of gold, and believes they are not fully disclosing their entire gold position to the world at this point.  Here is what Leeb had to say:  “I’m focused on precious metals and this fascinating battle between the East and the West, Eric, especially China and the United States.  There is an economic ‘Battle Royale’ going on right now, and I think the Chinese definitely have the upper hand.”

“They have a stronger economy and a clear plan as to what they want to accomplish.  They have a much longer-term perspective, and this spells very, very tough times for the United States.  I wish it weren’t true, and I wish this country would wake up. Continue reading

China’s “Prepare for War” Orders Unsettling in Japan

It should be interesting to note that while Japan is militarily inferior in comparison to China, it can still go nuclear within months to put an end to Chinese imperialist aggression. Another plausible explanation for the recent threats coming out of Red China is that this is intentionally psychologically preparing the Japanese to come under the Chinese sphere of regional influence throughout Asia. Once they become frightened enough, the already-pacifist society might cave into China’s demand to either be with them or against them.  As the United States continues down it’s own road of cultural and economic suicide, who else does Japan have a choice to align themselves with? Perhaps this also explains the unexplained recent stockpiling of millions of tons of rice: a preparation for war.

With the transfer of power occurring in China, it’s only natural for new policies to be put into effect either for the improvement of society or for purely superficial demonstrations of power to both domestic and international rivals.

Currently a lot is being made on online message boards of reports coming from Chinese media outlining new orders for 2013 which apply to all branches of the People’s Liberation Army. Some Japanese media outlets have been interpreting these orders as “prepare for war… presumably against Japan.” Continue reading

War Preparation Indicator — Beijing hardens subways for nuclear, gas attacks

China recently upgraded its subway system in Beijing and revealed that its mass transit was hardened to withstand nuclear blasts or chemical gas attacks in a future war, state-run media reported last month.

The disclosure of the military aspects of the underground rail system followed completion and opening of a new subway line in the Chinese capital Dec. 30, along with the extension of several other lines. The subway upgrade is part of an effort to ease gridlocked traffic in the city of 20 million people.

According to Chinese civil defense officials quoted Dec. 5 in the Global Times, a newspaper published by the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee, the subway can “withstand a nuclear or poison gas attack.” Continue reading

Exclusive: U.S. nuclear lab removes Chinese tech over security fears

A leading U.S. nuclear weapons laboratory recently discovered its computer systems contained some Chinese-made network switches and replaced at least two components because of national security concerns, a document shows.

The discovery raises questions about procurement practices by U.S. departments responsible for national security. The U.S. government and Congress have raised concerns about Huawei and its alleged ties to the Chinese military and government. The company, the world’s second-largest telecommunications equipment maker, denies its products pose any security risk or that the Chinese military influences its business. Continue reading

Chinese Cyberattack Continues

DHS warns about new ‘watering hole’ cyber attack vulnerability as a high-tech firm also reportedly is hit

The Department of Homeland Security warned Internet Explorer users this week about a new software flaw used in remote cyber attacks as Microsoft issued an advisory on the embattled browser’s software hole.

The response followed reports in the Free Beacon revealing that hackers linked to China attacked the Council on Foreign Relations website and used it as a watering hole for a sophisticated cyberespionage attack. Continue reading

Hawks Ascend to Power in Asia

Japan and South Korea underwent leadership changes this week, which means all four of North Asia’s major powers now have different leaders in office since this time last year. As these nations undergo leadership transitions, they’re also jockeying for position in a shifting world order, which places China in a dominant role.

Japan’s new premier is the grandson of a World War II minister who helped run Japanese-occupied Manchuria, and who later tried to abolish the pacifist clause in Japan’s constitution. China is now ruled by the son of a Communist Chinese revolutionary hero—who was a close comrade of Chairman Mao. And both Koreas are now in the hands of descendants of Cold War dictators. Continue reading