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

Hong Kong Overtakes New York as City With Most Super-Rich People

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More proof that the Hong Kong transfer was a colossal loss for Great Britain, and a massive gain for China

Hong Kong has overtaken New York City to become the city home to more super-rich people than any other metropolis on the planet, according to a study published on September 6 by the Wealth X research firm.

The study tallies the number of individuals worth $30 million or more, labeling them ultra-high net worth individuals. In recent years, the number of these individuals living in Hong Kong has risen to about 10,000. Continue reading

PLA Expanding Power Through Belt and Road Initiative

Randall Schriver / Getty Images

 

Schriver: U.S. to bolster Taiwan air defenses, submarines

China’s military is a key player in the Belt and Road economic initiative around the world that is being used to expand Beijing’s overall global power, a senior Pentagon Asian affairs official says.

Separately, the Pentagon is working with Taiwan’s government to bolster the island’s air defenses in the face of growing missile and aircraft threats from China, said Randall G. Schriver, assistant defense secretary for Asian and Pacific security affairs. Continue reading

Will China One Day Dominate the Seas? History Provides Some Clues

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China has recently launched its first domestically built aircraft carrier, doubling its embryonic capacity to project power on the world’s oceans. A third carrier is under construction, with more to follow in due course. China has militarized its artificial islands in the South China Sea, extending its security barrier away from the Asian coast. It has fielded anti-access area denial weapons, including so-called “carrier killer” ballistic missiles that can reach Guam, to keep foreign warships away from Chinese waters should war come to East Asia. The Chinese fleet now has more, albeit technologically inferior, combat warships and submarines than the U.S. Navy. Nevertheless, they exist—ready to extend China’s reach and protect Chinese interests in an increasingly globalized world. 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

BRICS in a multipolar world

This week, South Africa is hosting the 10th annual gathering of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa). When the first BRIC summit was held in 2009 (South Africa was added in 2010), the world was in the throes of a financial crisis of the developed world’s making, and the increasingly dynamic BRIC bloc represented the future. By coming together, these countries had the potential to provide a geopolitical counterweight to the West.

But Western commentators have long underestimated that potential, forcing BRICS to demand greater representation in global-governance institutions. In 2011 and 2012, BRICS challenged the process of selecting leaders at the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. But, lacking a united front behind them, a European (Christine Lagarde) and an American (Jim Yong Kim) continued to preside over those organizations. And though BRICS did get these institutions to reform their voting structures to give developing countries greater weight, the US and Europe still wield disproportionate power. Continue reading

China military develops robotic submarines to launch a new era of sea power

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Autonomous robotic submarines are expected to be deployed by China in the early 2020s. Graphic: Henry Wong

 

Unmanned AI subs, expected in the 2020s, could challenge the advantage Western naval powers have in strategic waters like the South China Sea

China is developing large, smart and relatively low-cost unmanned submarines that can roam the world’s oceans to perform a wide range of missions, from reconnaissance to mine placement to even suicide attacks against enemy vessels, according to scientists involved in these artificial intelligence (AI) projects.

The autonomous robotic submarines are expected to be deployed in the early 2020s. While not intended to entirely replace human-operated submarines, they will challenge the advantageous position established by Western naval powers after the second world war. The robotic subs are aimed particularly at the United States forces in strategic waters like the South China Sea and western Pacific Ocean, the researchers said. Continue reading

FBI Director Warns China is America’s Most Significant Intelligence Threat

FBI Director Christopher Wray

FBI Director Christopher Wray / Getty Images

 

Beijing engaged in ‘pervasive’ targeting of US secrets, Wray says

China is engaged in aggressive intelligence operations in the United States, ranging from the recruitment of academics to stealing agricultural secrets from farmers, FBI Director Christopher Wray says.

“I think China, from a counterintelligence perspective represents the broadest, most challenging, most significant threat we face as a country,” Wray said during a security conference in Colorado.

The FBI director said the Chinese utilize a “whole of state” spying effort. Continue reading

Geopolitical crisis : A moribund NATO

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As we have explained on other occasions, NATO is still there, of course, but only because there are no better options at hand. Everyone wants to be rid of it – the Europeans who want a common European defence[1] and Donald Trump who wants Europeans to participate more in their own defence. They are all contributing to a slow process in which NATO continues to get in the way whilst Europeans dither between several strategies:

  • To increase their share[2] and thus acquire an equal say with that of the US within NATO (with the long-term aim of separating off to form a European NATO[3]). Problem: For this strategy to have a chance of success, much greater cohesion is needed in the European camp – something that is still a long way off at the moment. Continue reading

The Road to War: China vs the US

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In 2016 Steve Bannon, President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist, declared that there was no doubt, in his mind, that the US would go to war with China in the South China Sea in the next five to 10 years.

A US-Chinese military conflict would be on top of a vow by Trump in his inaugural presidential address, to not only take on radical Islamic terrorism but to “eradicate it from the face of the Earth.” This would be done by building up America’s already supreme military. “Our military dominance must be unquestioned,” the billionaire businessman, who now controlled the most powerful political office in the world, declared in his first address to the nation.

A year and a half after that speech, the United States is not at war with China, but its economic saber-rattling is arguably the beginning of a confrontation between the world’s largest and second-largest economies. Trump’s tariff threats against not only China but Europe, Canada, Mexico and its other trade partners, are also symbolic of a shift in US foreign policy towards a more isolationist stance – one that may not strictly be due to Trump’s belligerent personality. This article will get into the antecedents of this economic and military showdown and point the way to some possible future scenarios, including a war in space. Continue reading

China Prepares To Dominate South Pacific With Week Of Electronic Warfare Drills

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While the Trump administration unveiling another round of tariffs on Chinese goods worth $200 billion – for which China’s Commerce Ministry is planning “countermeasures,” Beijing quietly began conducting military drills at five bases for electronic warfare, cybersecurity, reconnaissance and tactical strikes at five training bases, reports the South China Morning Post.

Over 50 combat units consisting of around 2,100 officers are taking part in the war games, which includes airborne troops, special forces and electronic warfare experts from the Northern, Southern, Eastern, Western and Central command theatres, according to official accounts over social media. Continue reading

Leaked Chinese Memo Warns Of “Thucydides Trap” With US, “War Is Unavoidable”

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A series of leaked internal documents reveal that China’s military reforms are aimed at allowing Beijing to “manage a crisis, contain a conflict, win a war” and overtake the United States in military strength, according to the Express.

The leaked documents were published by the Central Military Commission in February for the purpose of spreading President Xi Jinping’s “thought on strengthening the armed forces”.

If the reforms go ahead, they will lead to heightened tensions with China’s neighbouring countries, including Japan, in the East and South China Seas and the US. –Express 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

The Havana Whodunnit: What Nation Just Built An “Unprecedented” Spy Radar Base In Cuba?

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A time sequence of the construction of radome containing parabolic antenna at Bejucal sigint facility. (Source: Victor Robert Lee & Digital Globe)

 

According to a new surveillance report from The Diplomat, exclusive satellite imagery from March 2017 to May 2018 reveals a newly expanded “signals intelligence” military facility near Bejucal, Cuba.

The report focuses on a massive radome sitting on top of an elevated concrete mounting structure. From satellite imagery, the structure looks like a giant golf ball, but it is actually a protective dome housing a super sophisticated radar antenna inside. As mentioned by The Diplomat, this radome is the first of its kind among the various spy antennas at Bejucal, which have been used to intercept electronic communications, ballistic missile monitoring, and tracking of satellites from the United States. Continue reading

Taiwan Doubles Down On U.S. LNG

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LNG Vessel. Source: OilPrice

 

Taiwan, which has seen increased military exercises off its coast by Chinese forces this year, has just inked a major energy deal with a U.S. energy firm.

On Monday, Taiwan’s CPC Corp., a major LNG importer, announced a preliminary deal to buy liquefied natural gas (LNG) from U.S. based LNG producer Cheniere Energy for a period of 25 years. CPC signed a Heads of Agreement to purchase 2 million tonnes of LNG annually from the major gas exporter, which is gearing up to start exports from its second export plant at Corpus Christi, Texas. Continue reading