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

China’s Command Innovation

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Image: Visual Capitalist

 

Hardly a day passes without some sort of China news in the financial headlines. There’s a good reason, too. China is the global economy’s 600-pound gorilla, second in size only to the US. Yes, it was largely a copycat business economy up until the early 2000s, but Chinese entrepreneurs have really taken charge in the last 10 years. Fueled by the profits from huge consumer demand, they are expanding not only in China but globally. This story is largely ignored in the US and in much of Europe. We hear about a few projects here and there, but we don’t understand the extent.

China is on its way to becoming the largest economy in the world, which because of its population, it should be (possibly with the exception of India, if they ever get their act together). Short-term events and arguments sometimes obscure this longer-term reality. China’s transition from rural poverty to export powerhouse to consumer goliath may be the most consequential economic event in centuries. Possibly ever—I can’t think of a historical example to rival it. Historians might argue the British Empire or even the US from 1800–2000, but that took centuries. China has done it in a little over 30 years. Continue reading

Japan Deploys Aegis Ashore, Becoming a Link in the US Global Missile Defense

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On July 30, Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera announced a plan to deploy the Aegis Ashore missile-defense system by 2023. The military training grounds in the Akita and Yamaguchi prefectures are prospective sites.  This decision is a “big-ticket purchase” that could also help Tokyo smooth trade friction with Washington, amidst the Trump administration’s threats to hit Japan’s auto imports with new tariffs.  Reuters cited Japanese media reports that have put the cost of the two sites, which will include the Aegis air-defense system, missile launchers, and interceptors, at around $6 billion. Japan has chosen the Lockheed Martin Corp’s SSR radar, with a far greater range than the Aegis radars currently operated by the US Navy. Officially, the move is being justified by pointing to the threat from North Korea. Continue reading

With Japan against China

 

TOKYO/BRUSSELS/BERLIN(Own report) – With the conclusion of their free trade agreement, the EU and Japan are about to establish the world’s largest free trade zone. As was reported, the agreement between the two highly export oriented economic blocks, generating nearly 30 percent of the global economic output, could already take effect in early 2019. According to the EU Commission and German economic institutes the Japan-EU Free Trade Agreement (JEFTA) could lead to significant economic growth and the creation of hundreds of thousands of new jobs. On the one hand, the agreement is aimed at making up for eventual slumps on the US market and, on the other, is part of the containment strategy against China, the emerging powerhouse. Despite their differences, Berlin and Washington continue to cooperate in their opposition to Beijing. Parallel to the JEFTA agreement, the EU, Japan and the USA have declared that they will jointly take on China more aggressively over trade issues.

Continue reading

Navy Does Not Rule Out Intentional Act in Latest Warship Collision

Lowe and behold, look who is the first to cast a stone in calling the U.S. Navy a hazard in the region. The aim is clearly to portray the military as incompetent in order to increase the likelihood of other nations pushing back, thus elevating regional resistance to an American presence with the end game being pushing America out of the Asia-Pacific.

 

USS McCain

 

China calls Navy ‘hazard’ in Asian waters

The Navy has not ruled out an intentional action behind the latest deadly collision between a Navy destroyer and a merchant ship, the chief of naval operations told reporters Monday.

“That’s is certainly something we are giving full consideration to but we have no indication that that’s the case—yet,” Adm. John Richardson, the CNO, said at the Pentagon.

“But we’re looking at every possibility, so we’re not leaving anything to chance,” he said. 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

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

Russian mystery plane at SFO

 

Departing SFO last week, I peered out my window at a rare site: a gigantic Russian Antonov An-124 cargo jet parked across the runways from airport terminals. I thought it was a one-time event, but I began hearing more about it from TravelSkills readers who have seen one or two of the behemoths over the last two weeks at SFO.

I reached out to airport officials at SFO to inquire about the planes, but only received vague replies: “Yes, we’ve had these Antonov An-124 cargo aircraft making semi-regular appearances over the past week, at times having two here simultaneously. None are here now, but the next one comes in tonight.”

When I asked why they are here, what they are transporting and where they are going, the airport said, “They’re coming from various locations, all for the same Bay Area company. I don’t have details on who…” Continue reading

US THAADs to South Korea. China launches carrier

Please see the source for the video.

 

The US early Wednesday, April 26, began moving the THAAD missile defense system to central South Korea opposite the border with the North – months ahead of schedule. A South Korean military official said two road-mobile launchers had arrived at the Osan Air Base. One THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) unit includes six launchers.

Later Wednesday, all 100 US senators are scheduled to gather at the White House for a briefing by US security and military chiefs on the North Korean crisis, as the buildup to meet North Korean belligerence continues apace.

Continue reading

Reports of North Korea artillery drill as US submarine docks in South Korea

The Ohio-class guided-missile submarine USS Michigan arrives for a regularly scheduled port visit while conducting routine patrols throughout the Western Pacific in Busan, South Korea, April 24, 2017. Jermaine Ralliford/Courtesy U.S. Navy/Handout via REUTERS

 

North Korea conducted a big live-fire exercise on Tuesday to mark the foundation of its military as a U.S. submarine docked in South Korea in a show of force amid growing concern over the North’s nuclear and missile programmes.

SEOUL:North Korea conducted a big live-fire exercise on Tuesday to mark the foundation of its military as a U.S. submarine docked in South Korea in a show of force amid growing concern over the North’s nuclear and missile programmes.

The port call by the USS Michigan came as a U.S. aircraft carrier strike group steamed towards Korean waters and as top envoys for North Korea policy from South Korea, Japan and the United States met in Tokyo. Continue reading

Japan scrambles jet fighters at record pace as Chinese military activity rises

FILE PHOTO: A Japanese Air Self Defense Force F-15 fighter scrambles at the Air Self Defense Force Naha base in Naha, Okinawa prefecture, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo April 13, 2015. Kyodo/via REUTERS

 

Japan worries that China’s probing of its air defences is part of a push to extend its military influence in the East China Sea and western Pacific, where Japan controls an island chain stretching 1,400 km (870 miles) south towards Taiwan.

“Recently we have seen Chinese military aircraft operating further south and that is bringing them closer to the main Okinawa island and other parts of the island chain,” Japan’s top military commander, Admiral Katsutoshi Kawano, told a briefing in Tokyo. Continue reading

Japan launches first military communications satellite

Japan’s first dedicated military communications satellite was launched on 24 January from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Tanegashima Space Center in the country’s southwest, according to the Ministry of Defense (MoD) in Tokyo. Continue reading