China, Russia begin naval drills near North Korea

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un watches the launch of a Hwasong-12 missile in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on September 16, 2017. KCNA via REUTERS A

 

China and Russia began naval drills near North Korea on Monday amid continuing tensions over the isolated state’s nuclear ambitions and ahead of a United Nations General Assembly meeting this week, where North Korea is likely to loom large.

BEIJING: China and Russia began naval drills near North Korea on Monday amid continuing tensions over the isolated state’s nuclear ambitions and ahead of a United Nations General Assembly meeting this week, where North Korea is likely to loom large.

North Korea launched a missile over Japan last Friday, its second in the past three weeks, and conducted its sixth and by far most powerful nuclear test on Sept. 3, in defiance of international pressure. 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

Giving Japan a military

Air Self-Defense Force F-15 fighters fly over the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier Carl Vinson during a Japan-U.S. joint training drill exercise in the Sea of Japan on June 1. | AP

 

After 70 years, Japan may finally be on the cusp of acquiring its own military. Legally, that is. Last month, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe indicated his desire to change the Constitution by 2020 to include a clause to give legal standing to the Self-Defense Forces. The revision, while historically controversial domestically, is long overdue. Continue reading

Sources: 3rd US Naval Strike Force Deployed to Deter North Korea

FILE – Ships assigned to the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group participate in a strait transit exercise in the Pacific Ocean in this April 3, 2017 photo.

 

The USS Nimitz, one of the world’s largest warships, will join two other supercarriers, the USS Carl Vinson and the USS Ronald Reagan, in the western Pacific, the sources told VOA’s Steve Herman.

The U.S. military has rarely simultaneously deployed three aircraft carriers to the same region. Continue reading

Pacific Command chief exhorts Russia and China to bring Kim Jong Un ‘to his senses’

U.S. Pacific Command chief Adm. Harry Harris answers questions during a speech at the Sasakawa Peace Foundation in Tokyo on Wednesday. | AP

 

The head of the U.S. military’s Pacific Command on Wednesday urged Russia and China to step up efforts in reining in North Korea and persuade the reclusive state to halt its nuclear weapons program and related provocations.

“The dangerous behavior by North Korea is not just a threat to the Korean Peninsula,” Adm. Harry Harris said at an event in Tokyo, referring to Pyongyang’s latest test launch of a new ballistic missile on Sunday. Continue reading

Xi wants Japan in AIIB as Beijing and Tokyo mend fences

Toshihiro Nikai, secretary-general of Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party, left, and Chinese President Xi Jinping at a meeting in Beijing on May 16. © Kyodo

 

Abe government may reconsider membership in China-led investment bank

TOKYO — Japan could reopen talks on whether to join the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, a senior lawmaker signaled Tuesday after meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping to discuss improving bilateral ties.

Toshihiro Nikai, secretary-general of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, did not discuss the matter with Xi directly during the pair’s 17-minute talk in Beijing on Tuesday, which was concerned mainly with the possibility of Chinese leaders including Xi visiting Japan and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visiting China. But Nikai told a news conference afterward that he would discuss the matter thoroughly with Abe when he returns home. 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

Abe declares 2020 as goal for new Constitution

Due in part to America’s decline over the last eight years under the Obama administration, like a lot of the major powers in the world, Japan is beginning to realize it cannot 100% depend on the U.S. as a reliable partner. Policy changes with almost every new president make it difficult to find stability. It has now decided to scrap its current constitution and do away with the pacifism that keeps it from efficiently defending itself.

This is also the beginning of an Asian hegemonic bloc. Japan will eventually gravitate and align towards China, as the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia are currently doing.

 

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe addresses the annual rally on revising the Constitution organized by conservative lawmakers in Tokyo on Monday. | AP

 

In an unprecedented declaration, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Wednesday he hopes to see a revised Constitution take effect in 2020, when the nation will host the Tokyo Olympics.

Continue reading

Experts: Japan “wants to just drop tanks” of Fukushima nuclear waste into ocean — Americans worried over plumes hitting West Coast — “Reactors are now leaking really high levels of radiation into sea… The world does need to help” — Official says Japan lying about catastrophe (VIDEO)

 

TRT World transcript excerpts (government-funded public broadcaster of Turkey), Apr 14, 2017:

2:30 in – Dana Lewis, senior correspondent (emphasis added): As far away as the American Pacific coast there have been radiation levels found in fish, and radiation plumes have been tracked from Japan that have been detected on the shores of Oregon and in tuna caught nearbyJapan’s former prime minister has accused current Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of lying about the situation being under control… Continue reading

Japan scrambles to build ties with Trump from scratch

https://i1.wp.com/asia.nikkei.com/var/site_cache/storage/images/node_43/node_51/2016/201611/1109n/1109n-abe/5346993-4-eng-GB/1109N-Abe_article_main_image.jpg

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaking to reporters Wednesday.

 

TOKYO — In the wake of the stunning U.S. election results, the Japanese government is moving to establish diplomatic relations with incoming President Donald Trump, a complete political outsider with virtually no connections to the Tokyo government establishment.

The process will “start from zero,” according to a senior official at Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe seeks to get the ball rolling when Katsuyuki Kawai, his special adviser, visits the U.S. for five days beginning Monday. Continue reading

Philippines’ Duterte Tells U.S. to ‘Forget’ About Defense Deal ‘if I Stay Longer’ Before Japan Visit

Everything Duterte says is double-talk. However, one thing is clear: He is 100% anti-American. You can tell a tree by the fruit it produces and his actions are speaking louder than his two personalities. The United States has lost a major ally in Asia and one can’t help but wonder how long it will be before Japan jumps ship. This is a huge tectonic shift in Asia and will have global repercussions as it strengthens China and Russia.

As it’s been said here many times, with an America suiciding itself into the history books and becoming increasingly unreliable, many allies would rather join a China-lead bloc and umbrella protectorate than go to war against it and lose. The Philippines won’t be the first, or last, to bail out.

 

MANILA/TOKYO (Reuters)–Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte lashed out anew at the United States on Tuesday and said it could forget a bilateral defense deal if he stayed in power long enough, in the latest jarring statement from Manila about the future of the alliance.

The fresh broadside from Duterte came as he was about to board a plane for an official visit to fellow U.S. ally Japan, a big investor in the Philippines that is becoming nervous about its apparent pivot towards rival power China. Continue reading

Japan wary of Philippine pivot to China

TOKYO — The Philippines’ newly found affection for China has sparked concern in Japan that it would embolden the Asian giant to expand more aggressively in the South China Sea.

Japan has worked with the U.S. and others to pressure China to accept an international arbitration ruling in July that rejected Beijing’s claims in the South China Sea. The ruling involved a case brought by the Philippines, but Manila has downplayed the decision in its favor.

Continue reading

China, Cuba agree to deepen ties during PM Li’s Havana visit

HAVANA (Reuters) – Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang met with Cuban President Raul Castro on Saturday during a two-day trip to Havana, and the two leaders oversaw the signing of around 30 agreements on economic cooperation in various sectors, Cuban state media reported.

Li is the first Chinese premier to visit Cuba since the two countries established diplomatic relations 56 years ago, although President Xi Jinping visited in 2014. Continue reading

Russia and China Taunt NATO with Show of Friendship in the South China Sea

https://i2.wp.com/moneymorning.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2016/07/south-china-sea-graphic.jpg

 

Russia and China are preparing for joint sea naval drills this weekend (Sept. 9-11).

The military exercises between the two countries are somewhat routine – there have been five since 2012.

However, this time will be the first joint exercises between these particular allies conducted in the fiercely disputed South China Sea. Continue reading

Japan to grant patrol boats to Malaysia to counter China

VIENTIANE — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will promise to give Malaysia patrol boats during Wednesday’s leaders summit between Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Laos.

The Southeast Asian nation is locked in a territorial dispute with China over waters in the South China Sea. Tokyo and the Malaysian government are negotiating a pact in which Japan will transfer military hardware and provide technical support. Continue reading