U.S. Looks To Find Alternatives To Iranian Oil For Allies

 

The United States—which is pushing to have all Iranian oil customers stop importing crude from Tehran—is looking for alternative oil supplies for its allies whose imports will be disrupted by the U.S. sanctions on Iran, the Financial Times reported on Thursday, citing a senior U.S. administration  official. Continue reading

Kim Sets Denuclearization Timeline

https://image.zype.com/593087b25d3c19148e001735/5b9162e539c30a1344000053/custom_thumbnail/1080.jpg

(Photo Credit: The White House)

 

The North Korean leader also expresses ‘unwavering faith’ in President Trump.

Proclaiming his ‘unwavering faith’ in President Donald Trump, North Korean dictator Chairman Kim Jong-un has set the date for a third meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, as well as a timeline for denuclearization. Continue reading

China ‘nearing mass production’ of J-20 stealth fighter after engine problems ironed out

https://cdn4.i-scmp.com/sites/default/files/styles/980x551/public/images/methode/2018/09/05/06df11a8-aff3-11e8-b224-884456d4cde1_1280x720_092034.JPG

China’s new J-20 stealth fighter could soon go into mass production as earlier problems with its engine have now been resolved, sources say. Photo: EPA

 

Improved power train will give Chinese jet ability to fly undetected at supersonic speeds, on par with United States’ F-35

A new and improved engine designed to make China’s J-20 stealth fighter a world-class combat jet should be ready for mass production by the end of the year, military sources have said.

The WS-15 engine features cutting-edge single-crystal turbine blades and has been in development for several years, but Chinese technicians have struggled to get it into mass production. Continue reading

North Korea continues to dismantle missile launch site, but no signs of any moves to scrap nuclear weapons

https://cdn1.i-scmp.com/sites/default/files/styles/980x551/public/images/methode/2018/08/08/9c06e0e0-9acb-11e8-9a20-262028f49e8a_1280x720_150846.jpg

Satellite imagery from August 3 indicates additional dismantlement activities are ongoing at the Sohae launch facility. Photo: 38 North

 

Satellite images suggest work is continuing to demolish Sohae facilities, but analysts suggest it may want to keep other parts of its arsenal intact for now

North Korea appears to have taken another step towards dismantling its fixed missile launching facilities after the US stepped up the pressure to disarm, but so far it appears to have left other facilities and its nuclear warheads intact.

The hermit state appears to be continuing to take down its key intercontinental ballistic missile facilities (ICBM) at Sohae, located at about 200km (120 miles) northwest of the capital Pyongyang, according to the North Korea monitoring group 38 North on late Tuesday. Continue reading

North Korea sends positive signal by dismantling satellite launch site

https://i0.wp.com/static.atimes.com/uploads/2018/07/sohae-stie-North-Korea.jpg

This satellite image courtesy of Airbus Defense and Space and 38 North dated July 22, 2018 shows the apparent dismantling of facilities at the Sohae satellite launch site in North Korea. Photo: AFP/ PlÈiades © Cnes 2018, Distribution Airbus DS / Handout

 

While credibility of denuclearization has still not been established, new moves signal possible North Korean acceptance of US position linking satellites and missile programs

North Korea is dismantling a satellite-launch and rocket-engine test site in a move that seems aimed at boosting confidence in Washington, where signs of frustration have reportedly appeared over the apparent lack of progress on denuclearization.

Authoritative, US-based website 38 North, which boasts a specialized focus on satellite data analysis of North Korea, announced the findings early on Tuesday, complete with photographs of the site, known as the Sohae Satellite Launching Station. Continue reading

American Power Under Siege

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping / Getty

 

Review: ‘Rise of the Revisionists’: Russia, China, and Iran’ edited by Gary J. Schmitt

In 1991, after the Soviet Union collapsed, the United States gained unchallenged supremacy in the world. Indeed, just three years later, the U.S. alone accounted for about 25 percent of global GDP and 40 percent of world military spending, while Washington’s treaty allies in Europe and the Asia Pacific boasted roughly another 47 and 35 percent, respectively. Potential adversaries, meanwhile, were weak and overmatched: Russia was reeling from the Soviet implosion; China did not have the economic or military weight to compete; Iran was still recovering from its calamitous war with Iraq. In this environment, the U.S. could act with impunity. Democracy was expanding across the globe; the long shadow of communist authoritarianism had disappeared. It was the end of history as we knew it. Or so many thought.

That post-Cold War era has now passed. What comes next is still taking shape, but one thing is clear: America’s relative dominance is declining. U.S. shares of global GDP and defense spending are, while formidable, not what they once were; the same goes for Washington’s core treaty allies. More importantly, the U.S. and its Western allies have been reluctant to use their still-considerable power assertively. At the same time, hostile authoritarian states have pursued in earnest their long-held ambitions to dominate their own regions. These revisionist powers—Russia in Europe, China in East Asia, and Iran in the Middle East—never accepted the world order that followed the Cold War, defined by an open global economic system, international institutions, liberal political norms, and American supremacy. So Moscow, Beijing, and Tehran bided their time, gaining strength and waiting for the right time to try to overturn the order. That time has arrived, and the implications for American interests and global peace and stability are profound—and quite dangerous. Continue reading

Japan’s growing plutonium stockpile fuels fears

As said many times in the past, Japan can go nuclear within three months if it wishes. It’s already secretly working on them. The necessary materials are there and only assembly is required. All that’s needed is a catalyst.

Although it may be a farce, like the last 10-plus times it has committed to denuclearization, North Korea has slowed down the need. China at the moment is the flashpoint since it also controls North Korea, and is projecting its power throughout the Asia-Pacific and eventually into the Western Pacific.

 

https://i1.wp.com/www.spxdaily.com/images-hg/plutonium-238-hg.jpg

Illustration only.

 

Japan has amassed enough plutonium to make 6,000 atomic bombs as part of a programme to fuel its nuclear plants, but concern is growing that the stockpile is vulnerable to terrorists and natural disasters.

Japan has long been the world’s only non-nuclear-armed country with a programme to reprocess spent nuclear fuel from its power plants into plutonium. Continue reading

Russia, China Could Soon Outmatch U.S. in Combat Aviation

https://i1.wp.com/fb12.akamaized.net/up/2018/07/unnamed-1.jpg

R-37M / Photo by Reuben F. Johnson

 

New Russian air-to-air missile has advantage in speed and reach

KIEV, UkraineRussia’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) announced that a new weapon is very near completion of its test validation trials and will soon be placed into service.

If reports of its operational performance are accurate, it will threaten the survivability of every U.S. combat aircraft currently in service—particularly the newest U.S. fighter, the Lockheed Martin F-35. Continue reading

North Korea asked Israel for $1 billion to stop giving missile technology to Iran

https://intelligencenews.files.wordpress.com/2016/08/first-post-v3.jpg?w=250&h=369

 

North Korea offered to stop selling missile technology to Iran and other enemies of Israel in exchange for $1 billion in cash from the Jewish state, according to former senior North Korean diplomat who has now defected. The account of the offer can be read in Password from the Third Floor, a book published earlier this year by Thae Yong Ho. Thae, a member of a prominent North Korean family, defected with his wife and children in 2016, while he was serving as a senior member of the diplomatic staff of the North Korean embassy in London. News of Thae’s defection emerged on August 16, 2016, when a South Korean newspaper reported that he had disappeared from London after having escaped with his family “to a third country”. Thae later emerged in Seoul, from where he publicly denounced the North Korean regime. Continue reading

Taiwan Doubles Down On U.S. LNG

LNG vessel

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

More Countries Start Exploring Alternatives to the US World Order

https://www.strategic-culture.org/images/news/2018/06/28/or-40990.jpg

 

There are two countries that more than others show how the Western world order is undergoing a profound change. Japan and Turkey occupy two distinct and diverse geographical areas, yet they share many of the same strategic choices about their future. Their geopolitical trajectory is increasingly drifting away from Washington and moving closer to China, Russia, India and Iran.

Both Japan and Turkey are two important states in the US’s strategy for controlling the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. Both countries have economies that are competitive in comparison to their neighbors, and both often conveniently find themselves allied to countries within Washington’s orbit. Japan has a good relationship with South Korea, and Turkey (until a few years ago) had a privileged relationship with Saudi Arabia and Israel. Keeping in mind that the US aims to prolong and consolidate its regional dominance, Washington has always tried to have excellent relations with these two countries as a way of ensuring its constant presence in regional affairs. Continue reading

War Games in the Pacific

WASHINGTON/BERLIN (Own report) – German soldiers will soon participate in maneuvers in the Pacific and will be on hand as observers on patrols in the South China Sea, according to announcements by the US Navy and the French Minister of Defense, Florence Parly. At a top-level conference in Singapore last weekend, Parly declared that Paris will dispatch warships to the South China Sea in the next few days and will also navigate through the territorial waters of Islands China claims as its territory. According to Parly, German military observers will embark on these ships. At the same time, German soldiers are preparing their participation in the US led RIMPAC 2018 maneuver, taking place mainly near Hawaii. RIMPAC is the world’s largest international maritime exercise. During RIMPAC 2016 German soldiers trained in “liberating” an island, which, according to the scenario, was held by the “Draco” militia. “Draco” is the Latin term for “dragon” – a symbol for China.

Continue reading

Lying in Wait

https://www.german-foreign-policy.com/fileadmin/introduction/images/maps/8_zentralasien/42_kvdr.gif

 

PYONGYANG/BERLIN (Own report) – Taking advantage of North Korea’s strategic reorientation, Germany’s FDP-affiliated Friedrich Naumann Foundation is resuming its activities in that country. Recently, the North Korean leadership officially ended its policy of a balanced build up of its military and the economy, to prioritize the country’s economy, a move, experts note, President Kim Jong Un had been seeking to make for years. However, he initially prioritized the development of the nuclear deterrence capability, to safeguard against a possible US attack. He is now seeking to have UN sanctions lifted, to allow foreign companies into the country. Important steps have already been made. Possibly the Naumann Foundation – which had established contacts to Pyongyang already in 2002 and in 2004 organized a workshop on the country’s “economic modernization” – also played a role. Its activities should now intensify. German companies, according to reports, are “lying in wait”.

Continue reading

Russia’s Navy Establishes Permanent Presence in Mediterranean Sea

https://www.strategic-culture.org/images/news/2018/05/20/or-40785.jpg

 

Russian President Vladimir Putin said a naval standing force, including warships with Kalibr long-range land attack cruise missiles, will be permanently deployed in the Mediterranean Sea. The statement was made at a meeting with top military officials and defense industry leaders that took place in Sochi on May 16. One of the missions is delivering strikes against terrorist targets in Syria. 102 expeditions of ships and submarines are planned in 2018. The force will go through intensive training.

The Russian Black Sea Fleet has become a much different force in comparison to what it was just three years ago. Since 2015, the year the operation in Syria was launched, it has received 15 new ships, including two frigates and six conventional submarines armed with Kalibr cruise missiles. With S-400 and S-300V4 air defense systems, Krasukha-4 electronic warfare systems and shore-based anti-ship Bastion batteries deployed on the Syrian coast, the ships in Eastern Mediterranean operate in a relatively safe environment. Kalibr missiles have already been fired from frigates and submarines at terrorist targets in Syria. Continue reading

N. Korea will never fully give up nuclear weapons: top defector

North Korea will never completely give up its nuclear weapons, a top defector said ahead of leader Kim Jong Un’s landmark summit with US President Donald Trump next month.

The current whirlwind of diplomacy and negotiations will not end with “a sincere and complete disarmament” but with “a reduced North Korean nuclear threat”, said Thae Yong-ho, who fled his post as the North’s deputy ambassador to Britain in August 2016.

“In the end, North Korea will remain ‘a nuclear power packaged as a non-nuclear state’,” Thae told the South’s Newsis news agency. Continue reading