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

China angered at change in name of Taiwan embassy in Japan

Japan drew angry protests from China after changing the name of its Taiwanese embassy, a move Beijing saw as Tokyo taking a step toward recognizing Taiwan as a separate country.

The name of Japan’s Taiwanese embassy in Taipei was officially changed in a ceremony on Jan. 3 from “The Interchange Association” to “Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association”. Continue reading

Japan scrambles to build ties with Trump from scratch

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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

Why Asia is giving up on the United States

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America is unwilling to play global cop — and Beijing is filling the vacuum

There is little expectation in Asia that whoever emerges victorious in next week’s United States presidential election will be willing, or able, to play the world’s policeman as in the past.

The conviction that Washington cannot be counted on to mediate or resolve Asian disputes has grown during the presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama, both of whom were fixated on the Middle East. The performances of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump during this farcical election campaign have reinforced the view that Washington is of diminishing importance to Asia. Continue reading

Russia can only survive as a global Eurasian bridge

Russian President Vladimir Putin has every reason to be proud of himself. He is a master of high geopolitical games. Moscow’s influence is more widespread than ever, possibly even greater than at the height of the Cold War, when Moscow was the capital of the Soviet Empire and vying with Washington for global dominance.

In the American presidential campaign, for the first time ever, a candidate openly quoted Putin as a model to follow, while in past decades, Russia, in its Soviet incarnation, was just the great enemy against which the United States should prepare to fight. Continue reading

Duterte gives foreign troops 2 years

Now we have somewhat of a timeline until America begins being physically kicked out of Asia.

 

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks at the Philippine Economic Forum in Tokyo on Oct. 26.

 

During the keynote speech at the Philippine Economic Forum held on the second day of Duterte’s three-day visit to Japan, he was emphatic that his country is no longer under the influence of other countries and underscored the importance of the dignity of the Philippine people.

“I want, maybe in the next two years, my country free of the presence of foreign military troops. I want them out, and if I have to revise or abrogate agreements, executive agreements, I will,” Duterte said. Since his inauguration in June, the president has repeatedly said he would no longer tolerate hosting U.S. troops in the Philippines, and he reiterated this statement in Tokyo. 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 flies military planes over strait near Japan

Beijing (AFP) – China has sent fighter planes for the first time over a strait near Japan, the two governments said Monday, after Tokyo announced it may patrol alongside the US in the disputed South China Sea.

More than 40 Chinese military aircraft on Sunday traversed the Miyako Strait between Japan’s Miyako and Okinawa Islands, to carry out training in the West Pacific, according to a statement on China’s defence ministry website.

The Sukhoi Su-30 fighters, bombers and refuelling aircraft did not violate Japanese airspace. Continue reading

Japan steps up activity in disputed South China Sea region

JAPAN has announced its intention to step up its activity in the disputed South China Sea region.

Japanese Defense Minister Tomoomi Inada said the country will conduct joint training patrols with the United States and bilateral and multilateral exercises with regional navies, Reuters reports.

Inada justified the decision by saying Japan shared similar concerns with the US about China’s rise to power and aggressive pursuit of territorial claims. 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