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Pakistan wants China to build a naval base at a deep-sea port in southwestern Baluchistan province, its defence minister said Sunday, while also inferring that Washington was a fair weather friend.
Militants attacked a naval aviation base in the Pakistani city of Karachi on Sunday, killing at least four people, security officials said.
Intelligence officials said between 15 and 20 attackers were inside the Mehran base, and had attacked three hangars housing aircraft.
New satellite images have shown the alarming speed at which Pakistan is constructing a weapons-grade nuclear reactor.
The aerial images, taken on April 20, show the rapid building progress of the fourth reactor to produce plutonium in Pakistan’s Khushab facility.
The site was barren in 2009 and the facility ‘costing billions’ was undetectable by satellite just 17 months ago, but has since grown at an alarming rate.
U.S. President Barack Obama would approve a new incursion into Pakistan if the United States found another leading militant there, he said in a BBC interview broadcast on Sunday.
Taiwan on Sunday said it was still pursuing its bid to buy eight submarines and dozens of F-16 fighters from the United States despite warming relations with former arch-rival China.
"The report is not true. The country's position to seek (eight) diesel-powered submarines and F-16C/Ds has never changed," Taiwan's defence ministry said in a statement.
"The deal is still in the US government's screening process. The ministry will keep pushing for the deal so as to meet Taiwan's self-defence demands."
The number of Chinese missiles targeted at Taiwan is likely to reach 1,800 next year, despite improving ties between the former arch-rivals, Taiwanese media said Friday.
The Liberty Times newspaper cited a military intelligence report as providing the forecast.
Taiwanese experts have estimated that China currently has more than 1,600 missiles aimed at the island, mostly deployed in Fujian and Jiangxi provinces in the mainland's southeast.
A top US diplomat on Sunday underlined Washington's commitment to relocating an unpopular military base within Japan's southern Okinawa island, brushing aside calls to freeze the plan.
Japan and the United States have decided against setting any deadline relocating the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station in Okinawa Prefecture after virtually abandoning a previous goal of transferring the facility's functions by 2014.
The sources said Friday that the two governments made the decision in the process of compiling a new policy guideline about the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan.
The new draft used the specific wording of "as rapidly as possible" in reference to the relocation but did not set a deadline or timeline for the move.
India views with "serious concern" growing defence ties between China and Pakistan and says it will have to bolster its own military capabilities to meet the challenge.
The newly-elected head of Tibet's government-in-exile has warned India that it is being encircled by "Chinese interests" as Beijing strengthens its South Asian presence.
China has been boosting its regional influence by developing relations with Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal, said Lobsang Sangay, elected by Tibetan exiles as their new premier after the Dalai Lama announced he would retire as the Tibetan movement's political leader.
"You can see the encirclement of India by China interests," the 43-year-old international law expert said in his first wide-ranging interview with Indian television since his election last month.
The Israeli military attache expelled from Moscow was trying to obtain details about Russia's arms trade with the Arab world, the country's powerful Federal Security Service (FSB) said Friday.
Russia's foreign ministry said that Soviet-born Colonel Vadim Leiderman was "caught red-handed" while trying to receive secret information on May 12.
Russia said Saturday it may be ready to drop its objections to the US-backed missile defence shield for Europe if it receives a formal security pledge from the United States.
China's Premier Wen Jiabao confirmed Sunday that North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il is visiting China to study its dramatic economic development, South Korean officials said.
Wen expressed hope that Kim would use the knowledge to revive his own country's faltering economy, they said.
PRC, ROK, Japan call for #DPRK to take concrete action to pave way for 6-way nuke talks resumption. Similar to previous unheeded calls.
While Kim Jong-il has been making the rounds in China, his son and heir apparent has yet again been missing from Kim’s entourage. When the heavily guarded train favored by Kim Jong-il left North Korea for China last week, many in the South Korean media believed that Kim Jong-un, the leader’s youngest son, was on it without his father. But according to a source well-informed on the matter, that was not the case.
Kim Jong-un was unable to make the solo trip to China, the source said to the JoongAng Ilbo, due to fierce opposition from the Chinese power elite.
High above the snowy peaks of the Himalayas, it was but a sparkling light.
The unidentified object was, however, bright enough to catch the attention of officers of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) force, who were on a recent patrol in the difficult high terrain along India's disputed mountainous border with China.
The bright speck, they knew, was out of place among the gently flickering stars that usually keep them company on cold night patrols.
The ITBP and military experts believe the sighting was only the latest confirmation of a military programme across the border that is revolutionising China's surveillance capabilities — the country's fast-expanding domestic Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), or “drone”, industry.
So East Timor turned China down. China continued to provide aid to East Timor, just in case. China is patient, and flexible.
The U.S. was concerned about a Chinese base in East Timor, because American nuclear subs often use the adjacent Wetar Strait to travel between the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The Chinese could also pick up a lot of useful information on American, Australian and Indonesian military activities in the area with their radar and electronic listening devices.
While China failed to establish a base in East Timor, it already has one Burma, and has open offers to other small states in the West Pacific and Indian Oceans for similar monitoring sites. China is listening, and wants to listen in more places.
Besides of the J-11 fighter fleets, Chinese Air Force has begun to deploy its home-made J-10 fighters on the air bases, which locate on the high-land area.
#ROK AF: US, S. Korea begin 5-day joint air defense exercise "Max Thunder." 60 warplanes involved.
A ranking Chinese politician reaffirmed his nation's intimate ties with North Korea during a recent visit to the communist ally, North Korea's state TV reported Monday, amid a multi-stop China tour by its leader, Kim Jong-il.
"China-North Korea relations have an invincible strength," said Chen Zongxing, vice-chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). "Our two nations are actively cooperating in many areas, including politics, the economy and culture, and our friendship is forged by blood."
State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner said the team will inspect the food situation in North Korea and also meet with North Korean officials in Pyongyang. Toner added that based on the survey results, Washington will review whether to provide food aid to the North and will also consult with related groups and the South Korean government.
Thousands demonstrated in Karachi on Sunday to demand an immediate end to US missile strikes in Pakistan's lawless tribal areas and urge the blocking of NATO supplies passing through the country.
US troops will be deployed in Pakistan if the nation’s nuclear installations come under threat from terrorists out to avenge the killing of Osama Bin Laden, the Sunday Express can reveal.
The plan, which would be activated without President Asif Ali Zardari’s consent, provoked an angry reaction from Pakistan officials last night.
Barack Obama would order troops to parachute in to protect key nuclear missile sites.
These include the air force’s central Sargodha HQ, home base for nuclear-capable F-16 combat aircraft and at least 80 ballistic missiles.
A US source told the Sunday Express: “The plan is green lit and the President has already shown he is wiling to deploy troops in Pakistan if he feels it is important for national security.”
Originally posted by YouAreDreaming
Developing Story: South Korean fighter jet deployed to west coast island after shelling; at least 200 shells hit island: report
(Reuters) - Several South Korean civilians and soldiers were wounded and many others were being evacuated to bunkers on an island hit by dozens of artillery shells fired by North Korea on Tuesday, a Seoul television reported.
Wow... just wow. I didn't realize it was around 200 shells... that is quite a lot.
edit on 23-11-2010 by YouAreDreaming because: Again with the edits, I know...
Iran and North Korea do not have ballistic missiles capable of reaching the US and other NATO countries, according to Russia’s General Staff.
South Korea and the U.S. launched a joint five-day massive comprehensive drill in the Yellow Sea on Monday to enhance their combat capabilities.
The drill, which is named “Max Thunder,” is set to be the largest air defense exercise between the two nations this year. It involves a total 59 warplanes from both sides, including up-to-date fighters and transporters.
President Lee Myung-bak said Wednesday that South Korea should gear up for reunification with the North like "it could come tomorrow" in a bid to minimize impact on the nation's economy and society by an unexpected political change.
The government will reinforce its manpower in charge of computer security and emergency planning to swiftly respond to potential North Korean cyber attacks and other forms of provocations, the home affairs ministry said Tuesday.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Il met Wednesday with Chinese President Hu Jintao for the third time in just over a year, underlining the importance of their ties as Beijing presses its communist ally to reform its ailing economy.
In Pakistan, popular and media anger is rising against the military. The reasons are many. For over half a century, the military has taken a disproportionate share (about 60 percent) of the government income. In addition to this large chunk of the government budget, the military was allowed to build its own economic empire and officers went unpunished as they plundered the military budget for their own personal gain. The military increased popular anger by, half the time, stepping in and overthrowing corrupt and inefficient elected leaders, and running things with equally corrupt and inefficient efforts. The intelligence agency, the ISI, long active in supporting Islamic terrorist groups, is controlled by the military. This has become more of an embarrassment as Islamic terrorists continue to launch attacks inside Pakistan. The ISI insists that there are good Islamic terrorists (mainly those who attack India) and bad ones (who attack Pakistani targets.) But the ISI has not been able to contain the "bad terrorists", nor prevent an increasing number of the "good" ones from going over to the dark side. The Pakistani military is also unpopular because it has lost all its wars with India, and this turned into disdain when American commandoes entered Pakistan to kill Osama bin Laden on May 2nd.
While the generals and admirals have apologized for recent failures, none have offered to resign. Thus the apologies are suspect, as, increasingly, is the military leadership.
It gets worse. Pakistani media are increasingly questioning, and even mocking, the capabilities of the military and demanding that the generals and admirals be brought to account for their ineffectiveness. This may turn out to be the most damaging outcome of the bin Laden raid and naval base attack.
A leaked US diplomatic cable says that senior Pakistani military officers are taught anti-American courses at a prestigious defence university in the heart of the capital.
The cable, published in Dawn newspaper on Wednesday and obtained by WikiLeaks, is likely to fan concerns about loyalties within the military after Osama bin Laden was found living in a garrison city, possibly for years.
China said Tuesday it was considering an invitation to inspect Iran's nuclear facilities and urged Tehran to step up cooperation with the UN nuclear watchdog.
France and Russia will agree the price for the sale of four powerful warships to Moscow within a month, the Russian ambassador to Paris told reporters Wednesday.
France has already agreed to sell Moscow four Mistral-class helicopter carriers, despite the concerns of some of its NATO allies, but the two powers have been wrangling over the price for months.
"The price and other details will be finalised within a month," ambassador Alexander Orlov said at a news conference ahead of the G8 summit of major world powers in the northern French resort of Deauville.
Philippine President Benigno Aquino on Tuesday said he warned the Chinese defence minister of a possible arms race in the region if tensions worsened over disputes in the South China Sea.
Aquino said he told visiting Chinese Defence Minister Liang Guanglie in their meeting on Monday that such an arms race could result if there were more encounters in the disputed and potentially oil-rich Spratly islands.
Japan has decided to put on hold $US3 billion in funding it had promised for the military expansion in Guam.
The US Navy says the suspension of funding means the bidding process for the contract, which involved establishing new headquarters for the naval base, has been suspended indefinitely.
Gary Locke, the nominee to be the next US ambassador to Beijing, said Thursday that China must do more to pressure North Korea as it welcomed the secretive regime's leader Kim Jong-Il.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-il told Chinese President Hu Jintao that he wants another round of the six-party nuclear disarmament talks to begin soon.
The United States has reiterated that North Korea must first improve its ties with South Korea and halt all provocations ahead of the resumption of the six-way nuclear talks.
NORTH KOREA’S Kim Jong-il and China’s communist leadership vowed that their alliance, “sealed in blood”, would span the generations, as the secretive leader completed his week-long visit to China.
“Kim Jong-il stated that the friendship between China and North Korea and their peoples is a truly precious thing,” China’s official Xinhua news agency reported
“We must relay this friendship on from one generation to the next. That is our great historic task.”
North Korean leader Kim Jong-il returned home Friday after concluding a weeklong trip to China reportedly designed to promote bilateral economic and diplomatic relations.
Kim called for a quick resumption of the long-stalled talks on ending Pyongyang's nuclear programs during his summit talks with Hu in Beijing on Wednesday, according to China's official Xinhua News Agency.
But Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) gave a toned-down account, saying that Kim and Hu recognized that a peaceful resolution of the nuclear standoff through dialogue, including the resumption of the nuclear talks, and the "elimination of obstructive elements" conform to the overall interests in the region.
The KCNA did not elaborate on what the "obstructive elements" mean.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-il apparently ran into a stone wall in talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao about key projects he wants China to invest in. The result is that ground-breaking ceremonies for the development of Hawanggumpyong Island and for roads connecting Hunchun in China with the Rajin-Sonbong special zone have been cancelled.
Kim was apparently so miffed that the econocrats accompanying him boycotted his later meeting with Hu.
The US House of Representatives has broadened the type of Chinese entities barred from receiving Pentagon contracts amid growing unease in Washington over China's expanding military might.
Under the amendment, passed by voice vote Wednesday, all entities owned by or affiliated with the Chinese government are prohibited from providing defense articles to the United States and the US secretary of defense must report to Congress 15 days before any planned waiver of the ban.
China is increasing the size of its Marine Surveillance service. This is one of five Chinese organizations responsible for law enforcement along the coast.
China Marine Surveillance service is the most recent of these agencies, having been established in 1998. It is actually the police force for the Chinese Oceanic Administration, which is responsible for surveying non-territorial waters that China has economic control over (the exclusive economic zones, or EEZ), and for enforcing environmental laws in its coastal waters. The new program will expand the Marine Surveillance force from 9,000 to 10,000 personnel and buy 36 new patrol boats. Marine Surveillance already has 300 boats and ten aircraft.
But this expansion is mostly about the EEZ, and patrolling it more frequently and aggressively. International law (the 1994 Law of the Sea treaty) recognizes the waters 22 kilometers from land as under the jurisdiction of the nation controlling the nearest land. That means ships cannot enter these "territorial waters" without permission. However, the waters 360 kilometers from land are considered the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), of the nation controlling the nearest land. The EEZ owner can control who fishes there, and extracts natural resources (mostly oil and gas) from the ocean floor.
China is particularly concerned about the nearby Spratlys, a group of some 100 islets, atolls, and reefs that total only about 5 square kilometers of land, but sprawl across some 410,000 square kilometers of the South China Sea. Set amid some of the world's most productive fishing grounds, the islands are believed to have enormous oil and gas reserves. Several nations have overlapping claims on the group. About 45 of the islands are currently occupied by small numbers of military personnel. China claims them all, but occupies only 8, Vietnam has occupied or marked 25, the Philippines 8, Malaysia 6, and Taiwan one.
China prefers to use non-military or paramilitary ships (like those of the Marine Surveillance service) to harass foreign ships it wants out of the EEZ or disputed warfare. This approach is less likely to spark an armed conflict, and makes it easier for the Chinese claim they were the victims.
China has claimed to have successfully test fired an indigenously built next-generation air-to-air missile, which is projected as a "secret weapon" to gain air superiority.
Taiwan's top intelligence chief said China had deployed a new missile unit near the island, a lawmaker revealed Thursday, sparking concerns about the fragility of ties with the mainland.
Taiwan plans to spend $860 million to buy MK 54 and MK 48 torpedoes to replace aging U.S. and German weapons, the China Times newspaper said.
Pakistan has authorised the use of "all means" to wipe out militants, following a string of humiliating Taliban attacks on security forces, but stopped short of unveiling specific new measures.
The US military said Wednesday it has begun pulling some American troops out of Pakistan after Islamabad requested a smaller presence, amid tensions over a US raid against Osama bin Laden.
The head of NATO said Tuesday he was confident Pakistan's nuclear weapons were safe, but admitted it was a matter of concern, the day after the worst assault on a Pakistani military base in two years.
Pakistan said Wednesday it was considering whether to relocate its Karachi naval air base after a Taliban attack killed 10 security personnel and destroyed two US-made surveillance aircraft.
Ex-Soviet NATO member Lithuania said Thursday it will seek assurances that a planned missile shield will protect all members of the alliance, on the eve of talks with US President Barack Obama.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Thursday after talks with US President Barack Obama that an ultimate solution to the long-running row over missile defence may not happen until after 2020.
Two Chinese jet fighters were reportedly monitored recently along the vicinities of the Philippine-occupied Kalayaan Group of Islands (KGI) and allegedly harassed two Philippine Air Force (PAF) aircraft that were conducting reconnaissance patrol on the disputed South China Sea.
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff Gen. Eduardo Oban Jr. said the military is now validating the report that two Chinese MIG-29 were seen flying over the disputed territories on South China Sea.
There were reports that the Chinese jet fighters last Thursday even buzzed over two Air Force OV-10 bombers conducting routine reconnaissance patrol at the Philippine-occupied Reed Bank near Palawan province.
North Korea says it will release a Korean-American detained in the communist country since November of last year.
The North’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said on Friday that North Korea has decided to release Jun Young-su on humanitarian grounds after Special Envoy for North Korean Human Rights Issues Ambassador Robert King expressed regret over the case and promised best efforts to prevent a recurrence on behalf of the U.S. government.
The Unification Ministry says the government will closely watch how North Korea and inter-Korean relations will change after North Korean leader Kim Jong-il’s China trip.
In early May, a NATO warship, searching for Somali pirates in the India Ocean, intercepted and inspected a small North Korean freighter and found fifteen tons of weapons, headed for Eritrea. Both North Korea and Eritrea have UN weapons sanctions on them, so the ship was seized and taken to a nearby port. This was not a unique situation.
Last year, North Korea was caught trying to break the UN weapons embargo on Congo. South Africa revealed that, in late 2009, it seized several containers of spare parts for T-55 tanks. The crew of the French ship transporting the containers were suspicious of the contents, and asked port authorities in South Africa to investigate. The containers had been put on the French ship in Malaysia (a growing center for arms trafficking), and were marked "bulldozer parts." The containers had earlier been shipped from North Korea to China, changed ships, and carried to Malaysia. North Korea is increasingly using elaborate deceptions like this because their own merchant ships are being watched.
China's military has set up an elite Internet security task force tasked with fending off cyberattacks, state media reported Friday, denying that the initiative is intended to create a "hacker army".
The People's Liberation Army has reportedly invested tens of millions of yuan (millions of dollars) in the project -- which is sure to ring alarm bells around the world among governments and businesses wary of Beijing's intentions.
Vietnam has accused China of escalating the long-running dispute over control of the South China Sea after three Chinese patrol boats confronted and damaged an oil exploration ship operated by PetroVietnam, the state-owned oil and gas company.
Vietnam’s foreign ministry on Friday called on China to immediately cease violations of its sovereignty and its exclusive economic zone and asked Beijing to pay compensation for the damage caused.
South Korea now plans to build six additional ton Type 214 subs over the next 12 years. South Korea already has nine 1,100 ton Type 209 subs, designed and built in Germany. The Type 214 boats use fuel cells, enabling them to stay underwater for up to two weeks. The Type 214 is a 1,700 ton, 65 meter (202 foot) long boat, with a crew of 27. It has four torpedo tubes and a top submerged speed of 35 kilometers an hour. Maximum diving depth is over 400 meters (1,220 feet).
AIP boats go for up to a billion dollars each. The second batch of South Korean 214s will have an improved AIP system, which is apparently more reliable, and provides a small increase in time underwater.
The Pakistani intelligence agency (ISI, or Inter Service Intelligence agency, (a combination of military intelligence and CIA activities) is the cause of most of the Islamic terrorist mayhem inside Pakistan. No one in Pakistan likes to talk about this out loud, but everyone discusses the details among themselves after each horrendous attack. The most recent major attacks have killed over a hundred policemen and civilians dead after suicide bombers attacked police facilities in the tribal territories. These murders were later claimed as revenge for the recent death of Osama bin Laden.
These attacks were carried out by one of the most active Islamic terror groups in the country, Tehrik i Taliban Pakistan (TTP). This, the "Pakistan Taliban" (or most of the Pakistani Taliban) is actually a coalition of 13 Islamic radical groups that joined together in late 2007, after the Pakistani government crackdown on Islamic radical groups that were attempting to establish Islamic rule in urban areas. The subsequent violence has since killed over 4,000 people.
Russia and the United States are unlikely to agree on the missile defense issue by the end of U.S. President Barack Obama's term, U.S. Ambassador to Russia, John Beyrle said on Friday.
"I think Russia and the United States will not manage to reach a consensus on this issue by the end of Obama's presidential term," Beyrle said in Russian during an interview with Ekho Moskvy radio station.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Friday expressed his dissatisfaction with how the negotiations with the United States on the missile defense shield are continuing, saying the sides are losing time.
"So far, I'm not pleased with how the U.S. and all NATO countries reacted to my proposals because we are losing time," the Russian leader said at a news conference on the results of the G8 summit in the French city of Deauville.
Russia and the United States have failed to agree a final draft on legally binding guarantees on missile defense, although they have made some progress on the issue, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Friday.
"Substantive progress has been made, but it was not formalized in documentary form," Ryabkov said, commenting on Thursday's meeting between Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama on the sidelines of the G8 summit in Deauville, France.
The All-Russia People's Front, backed by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, is gaining popularity with almost 150 organizations planning to join.
Putin called for the creation of the All-Russia People's Front at a conference of the ruling United Russia party in early May to broaden the party's electoral base with "non-party people," including trade unions, NGOs, business associations and youth groups. He followed that up days later by meeting with business, labor and civic leaders at his official Novo-Ogaryovo residence.
On Thursday, in an unprecedented move, a group of foreigners were given a tour of Don-2N, a major anti-ballistic missile (ABM) and space vehicle tracking radar system near Moscow, said Defense Ministry Space Command spokesman Alexei Zolotukhin.
The group comprised nearly 30 Valdai International Discussion Club experts from Russia, the United States, Britain, France, Belarus, Norway, Turkey, Germany, Poland and Japan.
“During their visit to the command post of a ballistic missile defense unit, the delegation watched a combat crew in operation and heard about the system’s target detection capability,” Zolotukhin said.
Russia and NATO should focus their efforts on creating a European missile shield and developing a common information exchange system, and work should start immediately, said Oksana Antonenko, Senior Fellow and Program Director for Russia and Eurasia at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).
“All NATO countries made the decision to set up a ballistic missile defense system capable of protecting the whole of Europe at their meeting in Lisbon,” said Antonenko. “Russia’s proposal for a sectoral approach offers the framework needed to consider signing agreements with NATO member states such as Poland and the Baltic States, under which Russia’s ballistic missile defense system would work in parallel with the NATO shield to protect them.”
She stressed that “this idea does not envisage any union between these different missile interceptor systems, but it may well be possible to create a joint information exchange system.”
Alexander Stukalin, a member of the Russian Defense Ministry’s Public Council, said “the fundamental positions of Russia and the Untied States are perpendicular.”
“Unfortunately, the United States firmly believes in the existence of new types of missile threat, and is set to neutralize them,” he said. “It is impossible to convince otherwise. Likewise, Russia is convinced that the ballistic missile shield is targeted at its strategic potential and will soon become a very real threat.”
“It is surprising that we have signed the New START Treaty, with its huge potential of trust and openness, but refuse to budge an inch on ballistic missile defense,” Stukalin said.
A Russian submarine will take part in the world's biggest submarine rescue exercise with its former Cold War foe NATO next week, the Western military alliance said Friday.
The Russian submarine, the first to participate in any NATO exercise, will drop to the bottom of the Mediterranean along with Portuguese, Spanish and Turkish submarines and will await listless for a rescue mission off the coast of Cartagena, Spain.
Around 2,000 military and non-military personnel as well as ships and aircraft from more than 20 nations will take part in the exercise, dubbed Bold Monarch 11, that will run from May 30 to June 10.
Leaders of the Group of Eight nations have denounced North Korea's provocations and urged the North to take concrete steps to resuming the six-party nuclear talks.
The leaders adopted a declaration to this effect at the G-8 Summit in Deauville, France that closed Friday.
North Korea's official news agency says a U.S. State Department delegation led by Robert King left North Korea on Saturday.
In North Korea, the U.S. team led by King held on-site inspections to survey the food demand and met with Pyongyang officials.
Based on the results, Washington will decide whether to resume food aid to the North.
Some U.S. experts who accompanied King to North Korea will remain there until early June to continue inspections.
Originally posted by Dimitri Dzengalshlevi
reply to post by Vitchilo
Indeed, the Don-2N facility looks pretty damn interesting (I've never seen it before). Was it made during Soviet or Russian days?
North Korea is known to be completing the construction of a naval base near the tense Yellow Sea border.
A high-level South Korean government official said that a ground facility to store air-cushioned vessels was spotted at the naval base, which is being built in Goampo, Hwanghae Province.
He added that the construction is in the stage of completion.
South Korean military and intelligence authorities say that the hangar-shaped facility is capable of storing some 60 air-cushioned vessels at a time.
Intelligence officials predict that air-cushioned vessels will be deployed at the base by next month.
North Korea and its political system appear to be underprepared to embrace reform and openness, South Korea's foreign minister said Sunday, amid speculation as to whether Pyongyang will follow in China's footsteps after leader Kim Jong-il's trip to the neighboring nation.
"If North Korea is going to reform and open up, its (political) system should also be ready for reform and openness, but I think it appears that they are not prepared yet," Seoul's Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan said on KBS Television. "Even if the leader wants reform and openness, it will be difficult unless the underlying system is ready to accept them."
New Delhi has long accused Pakistan’s powerful military of aiding militant attacks on Indian soil, including the 2008 Mumbai attacks, a charge Islamabad denies.
“This (aid) is being used against us, which is not a nice gesture on the part of (the) U.S. and we have raised this issue with them many times,” Defense Minister A.K. Antony was quoted as saying by the Indo-Asian News Service.
U.S. aid to Pakistan is viewed with concern in India and has been an irritant as Washington looks to upgrade strategic and economic ties with the emerging Asian power.
India’s charges against Islamabad received a boost after the star witness in a Chicago trial linked to the Mumbai attacks testified that Pakistan’s spy agency and elements in the military coordinated to plot the raid that killed at least 166 people.
Pakistan has received $20.7 billion worth of U.S. assistance over the past decade, about two-thirds of it military aid.
A South Korean official says that a group of European Union officials plan to visit North Korea early next month to assess the need for food aid.
The source said that despite King’s return from the North, the U.S. won't reach a decision immediately. The source added that the decision will take three to four more weeks in light of factors.
W7VOA Steve Herman
#ROK intel agency declines comment on claim #DPRK has achieved capability to place small nuke weapon on missile. #Korea
W7VOA Steve Herman
#DPRK small nuke weapon claim was made at #ROK parliament forum by man with business ties to N. Korea.
W7VOA Steve Herman
Fresh warnings today directed at #ROK from #DPRK military. KPA to cut N-S military communication along east coast & Mt Kumgang liaison ofc.
W7VOA Steve Herman
#DPRK Nat'l Defense Comm. threatens "physical action without any notice any time against any target" in wake of ROK "psychological warfare."
W7VOA Steve Herman
Threats aired today on #DPRK Central Broadcasting Station newscast from Pyongyang at 1700 KST.
North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News Agency reported Monday that the North’s National Defense Commission has condemned the South Korean government for demanding apologies for North Korea’s provocations last year.
The commission released a statement saying that it will cut off inter-Korean military communication lines and will close its liaison office in the Mount Geumgang resort area.
The statement also said that it will put an end to what it says is the South Korean government’s instigation of conflict by carrying out ruthless actions against the South.
The commission also threatened to retaliate physically on any targets at any time in response to the South's psychological warfare as it has warned before.
A South Korean businessman claimed Monday that North Korea has succeeded in mounting a nuclear warhead on a missile that can reach the United States.
Kim Young-il, the head of a small South Korean firm that has business ties with North Korea, said he heard the information from a person familiar with the North's missile development about a month ago.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il and his son and heir apparent celebrated the "successful" outcome of his trip to China last week, state media said Sunday, without elaborating on what was achieved.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Il recently spent a week visiting businesses and shops (particularly malls) in northern China. Kim does not like to travel, and only does so when absolutely necessary. This visit was apparently part of the Chinese campaign to convince Kim that economic reforms, similar to those begun in China three decades ago, are the cure for North Korea's economic (and political) problems. This visit is a good sign, as Kim is apparently collecting ammo to use against the old-school communists back home, who oppose any loosening of government control over the economy.
US President Barack Obama on Friday reassured east European allies that cooperation over missile defence with their Soviet-era master Moscow does not mean NATO will cede partial control to Russia.
"We believe that missile defence is something we should be cooperating in with the Russians because we share external threats," Obama told reporters after meeting with Poland's President Bronislaw Komorowski, as he wrapped up a European tour.
"But we think it is very important that NATO remains in charge of NATO defence capabilities. That's one of the central principles of NATO," he underlined.
Taiwan said Sunday it welcomed a push by nearly half the US Senate for the sale of dozens of F-16 fighters to the island in an arms deal Taipei said would help its dealings with China.
In a letter to President Barack Obama last week, 45 out of 100 US senators urged the administration to swiftly approve the sale of 66 F16-C/Ds to Taiwan as the fast-expanding Chinese forces tip the military balance in the region, the foreign ministry said.
"We're pleased to see the bipartisan move in the US Senate," foreign ministry spokesman James Chang told AFP.
South Korea's military will launch an investigation into soldiers who posted pro-Pyongyang messages at an online message board praising North Korea, an official said Monday.
The defence ministry is investigating seven or eight soldiers who wrote postings praising the communist North's leader Kim Jong-Il or commented on articles by others, a ministry spokesman said.
North Korean hackers have apparently sent spam e-mail messages to South Korean military officers, carrying viruses and malicious computer code, military officials here said Monday.
The navies of the world possess an estimated 250,000 naval mines. One country, China, holds 40 percent of these weapons, and is prepared to use them in a big way to protect its coasts in any future conflict. The U.S., and other major navies, are hustling to improve their mine clearing capabilities. But based on historical experience, and technical advances, the smart money is still on the mines.
This is because current naval mines are "smart mines", containing its own computer, and able to detect targets via acoustic (detecting the sound of the target ship), pressure (detecting the pressure on the water a ship over head makes), and magnetic (detecting the metal in a ship) sensors. Many details of these bottom (they are placed on the sea bed of shallow coastal waters) mines are classified, and some are believed to have an electrical field sensor, as well as some even more exotic sensors.
While often ignored, naval mines, in general, are a formidable weapon. But they just don't get any respect. The historical record indicates that admirals should rethink their attitudes.
A conventional submarine campaign was also waged against Japanese shipping. Comparisons to the mine campaign are interesting. A hundred submarines were involved in a campaign that ran for 45 months from December, 1941 to August, 1945. Some 4.8 million tons of enemy shipping was sunk. For every US submarine sailor lost using submarine launched torpedoes, 560 tons of enemy ships were sunk. During the mine campaign, 3,500 tons were sunk for each US fatality. On a cost basis, the difference was equally stark. Counting the cost of lost mine laying aircraft (B- 29's at $500,000 each) or torpedo armed submarine ($5 million each), we find that each ton of sunk shipping cost six dollars when using mines and fifty-five dollars when using submarines. These data was classified as secret until the 1970s. It indicates that mines might have been more effective than torpedoes even if the mines were delivered by submarine.
During the 1991 Gulf War, the Iraqis laid over a thousand mines off the Iraqi and Kuwaiti coast. The predominantly US naval forces did not have sufficient mine sweeping resources to deal with this situation. This resulted in an amphibious ship and cruiser being damaged by mines while trying to clear the area. This effectively prevented any US amphibious operations, although the Marines were not going to be used for a landing anyway. It took over a month of mine clearing after the fighting ceased to eliminate all the mines.
In any future war, naval mines will again surprise everyone with how effective they are.
Recently revealed images of a Chinese conventional submarine (SSK) that was first seen in September 2010 may shed further light on its possible missions.
The new People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) SSK appears to be one third larger than the 2,500-3,000-ton Yuan-class SSK currently in production, indicating it may be intended for longer-range open ocean interdiction missions past the ‘First Island Chain’: Beijing’s term for the East China Sea and waters surrounding Taiwan.
The larger size may also be necessary to incorporate air independent propulsion (AIP) technology as the PLAN is known to have been researching Stirling engine, fuel cell and exhaust-recycling AIP designs.
The sail may accommodate multiple tubes for the 75-170-km-range C-705 anti-ship cruise missile, but the 120-200-km-range, 30-plus-ft-long YJ-82/83 (C-802/803) anti-ship cruise missile may be too large to accommodate without having the launch tubes penetrate the pressure hull.
China Railway Group Limited (China Railway) announced Saturday that it has signed a side agreement with Myanmar to jointly build a rail transport construction project in Myanmar.
The side agreement was a supplement to a memorandum of understanding signed in April between the Myanmar Union Ministry of Rail Transportation and the China Railways Engineering Corporation, the parent company of China Railway.
Rodong Sinmun (#DPRK): North-South (Korea) relations have reached "an uncontrollable phase."
NKorea says SKorea "pleaded" for secret contact for summit and compromise over Yeonpyeon shelling, Cheonan sinking. A dissing act.
NKorea says SKorea even offered a "cash envelope," begging for concession. Detailed, nasty accusations by Kim Jong-il' top organ.
A group of U.S. legislators are seeking to exclude from the U.S. financial system foreign firms that have business relations with North Korean organizations, individuals or firms.
Under a bill cosponsored by 13 lawmakers, including Senator Jon Kyl, Washington would be allowed to suspend operations of foreign firms that engage in business dealings with North Korean financial organizations that are subject to U.S. sanctions.
The bill also seeks to sanction foreigners who purchase minerals extracted from the North.
Despite North Korea's apparent refusal, South Korea's foreign minister renewed his country's invitation on Wednesday to Pyongyang's reclusive leader Kim Jong-il to join dozens of state heads at a nuclear summit in Seoul next year.
Speaking in a seminar on the summit set to be held next March, Kim Sung-hwan expressed hope that the North could take advantage of the meeting set to draw about 50 leaders from around the world to break its isolation and achieve denuclearization.
The North has essentially dismissed the proposal that South Korean President Lee Myung-bak made last month in Berlin. The North's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, a semi-official organ on cross-border relations, has said the idea of South Korea holding a nuclear summit is "ridiculous," accusing Seoul of hosting U.S. forces holding a stash of nuclear arms.
North Korea has expanded its cyber warfare unit to staff 3,000 people and continues to train prodigies to become professional hackers, a defector said Wednesday, after South Korea recently accused the North of crippling the online services of one of its banks.
Intelligence officials in Seoul believe the North runs a 1,000-strong cyber warfare unit under the command of the country's top intelligence agency, the Reconnaissance General Bureau. Prosecutors here blamed the bureau last month for launching a cyber attack on the computer system of the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation, or Nonghyup, in April.
"North Korea last year raised the status of its cyber warfare unit under the Reconnaissance General Bureau and increased the number of troops in the unit from 500 to about 3,000," said Kim Heung-kwang, according to a transcript of his speech at a cyber terrorism seminar in Seoul.
The United States looked to Canada to help finance a controversial deal that provided heavy fuel oil to North Korea in exchange for it dismantling its nuclear program, according to leaked U.S. diplomatic cables.
The cables, released by the whistleblower website WikiLeaks, show that the White House pressed the Stephen Harper government for cash to pay for the one million tonnes of fuel promised to the North Korean regime as part of its denuclearization agreement.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said that from 1995 to 2002, Canada contributed $6.82 million to the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization for the purchase of heavy fuel oil.
The organization's last annual report in 2005 noted that Canada last contributed cash to North Korea, also known as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, in 2002. The energy project came to a close in 2006.
"Canada did not make a contribution to the purchase of heavy fuel oil for the DPRK after 2002," said Chris Day, a spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird.
South Korea’s Defense Ministry says it will tell military units to stop using photos of North Korean leaders as targets during firing drills.
On Monday, North Korea strongly protested against South Korean firing drills in the border area and threatened to attack. North Korea didn’t mention the photo targets.
South Koreans employed at the Mount Geumgang Resort in North Korea got to work Wednesday morning without any issues.
There was concern the South Korean’s would not be able to enter the resort after North Korea recently threat Mt. Geumgang Liaison Office Remains Open
South Koreans employed at the Mount Geumgang Resort in North Korea got to work Wednesday morning without any issues.
There was concern the South Koreans would not be able to enter the resort after North Korea recently threatened to shut down the inter-Korean liaison office of the Mount Geumgang district.
To help speed up a long-awaited arms deal, Taiwan has decided to accept a United States proposal that Taipei buy four diesel-electric submarines instead of eight, according to local media. The story is difficult to believe as submarines are the last weapons system Beijing wants the Taiwanese to get their hands on.
Almost immediately after People's Liberation Army (PLA) Chief of General Staff Chen Bingde ended his recent high-profile visit to the US, Taiwan's Kuomintang (KMT) government-leaning China Times carried a report according to which Washington proposed and Taipei accepted a watered down arms deal.
The transaction in question concerns the sale of eight conventional submarines to Taiwan, approved by then-US president George W Bush in 2001. As the US stopped building diesel-electric subs decades ago, and European countries still producing them fear reprisals from Beijing, the deal has been in limbo pretty much ever since it was approved.
But now, at least according to the China Times, citing anonymous sources from within the Taiwanese military and ones in the US, the solution has been found, with Taipei settling for half the number. Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense (MND) rejected the story while an insider Asia Times Online talked to senses a political feint, thought up by the Taiwanese government under pressure.
"The maximum Beijing would possibly tolerate is the sale of F-16C/D tactical fighter jets to Taipei, but submarines would be crossing the red line by far," said Wang Jyh-perng, a reserve captain of the Taiwan Navy and associate research fellow at the Association for Managing Defense and Strategies who was once involved in the Taiwanese navy's submarine procurement planning. "As national defense is the weakest aspect of President Ma Ying-jeou's performance, he possibly thought up the 'four subs concept' to test the waters, wanting to see how US, Taiwanese public, domestic opposition and even Beijing react.''
#ROK gov't agencies say they're preparing media response to #DPRK report of secret May 9 inter-Korean talks in Beijing.
Yonhap says if the N. Korean disclosure is confirmed it wold be an "embarrassment" to the S. Korean gov't.
The Chosun Sinbo, a Tokyo-based newspaper seen as the mouthpiece of the communist regime in Pyongyang, said Seoul lost its status as a partner of the North, calling the commission's comment an "ultimatum" to Seoul.
Yoon Duk-min, a senior analyst at the Institute for Foreign Affairs and Security, a state-run think tank in Seoul, said the North's comment illustrates it is resisting the demands by Seoul and Washington for improved inter-Korean relations.
The North's defense commission said Monday it won't "deal with" the South any longer and threatened to retaliate against Seoul for anti-Pyongyang "psychological warfare," accusing Seoul of seeking confrontation with Pyongyang.
South Korea's military said there was no unusual military movement in North Korea and vowed to retaliate against the North if provoked.
The South Korean government has ordered the military to improve the quality of its generals and admirals, and officers in general. The government also wanted to eliminate 60 of the 440 general and admiral level jobs, but was convinced to only cut 30 for now (and more later in the decade). The military has agreed not to automatically award commissions to those who complete the ROTC (Reserve Officers' Training Corps) course many college students take, in addition to their other studies. In the past, getting an officers commission was automatic, but now ROTC grads will be evaluated (by looking for those who have the same characteristics of earlier ROTC grads who performed poorly as officers) before getting the commission. South Korea has long been criticized (quietly) about the low quality of many of its officers, and the general lack of combat ability. South Koreans long refused to even participate in wargames, lest their commanders be embarrassed ("lose face") if they lost one of these training exercises. The Americans had found that those kinds of losses make an officer a better wartime commander. But the South Koreans thought it was more important to avoid hurting the feelings of their senior commanders.
A Japanese newspaper is reporting that North Korea appears to have requested large-scale food aid in accordance with U.S. demands.
The Asahi Shimbun reported that a “six-party-talks official” said that North Korea’s chief nuclear envoy Kim Kye-kwan agreed to all U.S. conditions in a late may meeting with U.S. Special Envoy for North Korean Human Rights Issues Robert King.
The daily said one demand would allow the monitoring of food distribution to prevent North Korea from diverting food to the military. The Asahi did not, however, reveal any other specifics on what North Korea agreed to.
North Korea and China are likely to break ground next week on a joint project to turn an island near their border into an industrial complex, people familiar with the project said Friday.
The international human rights organization Human Rights Watch says North Korea is one of the most abusive regimes in the world.
W7VOA Steve Herman
Amb. King also testified to House Comm. that US looking to expand broadcasts to #DPRK & exploring use of new media to reach N.Koreans.
W7VOA Steve Herman
Amb. King: Reports indicate N. Koreans listening to foreign broadcasts in increasing numbers, even at serious risks to personal safety.
U.S. Special Envoy for North Korean Human Rights Issues Robert King says in the event the United States decides to provide food aid to North Korea it would not send rice.
An opposition leader urged the government Friday to drop its hard-line policy on North Korea and seek unconditional dialogue with the communist nation after Pyongyang claimed that Seoul sought summit talks with it in a "begging" manner.
North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) has reported Thursday that North Korea has adopted a special law that gives North Korea exclusive sovereignty over Mount Geumgang.
Washington scrambled Thursday to assess whether security had been compromised after Google Inc revealed a major hacker attack targeting U.S. officials that the Internet giant pegged to China.
“These allegations are very serious,” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.
China said Thursday it was "unacceptable" to blame it for a cyberspying campaign which Google said had targeted the Gmail accounts of senior US officials, journalists and Chinese activists.
China has never sent an SSBN (ballistic missile carrying nuclear powered boat, also called "boomers") on a combat patrol.
China has already produced two generations of SSBNs. In the early 1980s, the Type 92 SSBN was launched, but had lots of problems, and never made a patrol.
In the last decade, the Type 94 showed up. This was believed, in the West, to be the Chinese SSBN that would go on patrol. Never happened. Turns out that the Type 94 also had technical problems.
Having already sent the first two new, 7,000 ton, 093 class SSNs to sea, China was apparently underwhelmed by their performance. Not much more is expected from the 94s. The 93s were too noisy, and had a long list of more minor defects as well. It's unclear how many 93s will be built, probably no more than 3-6. More resources are apparently being diverted to the next SSN class; the 95, and the next SSBN, the Type 96.
But there are other problems. The Chinese government is apparently uneasy with sending off an SSBN, armed with twelve or more SLBMs (Sea Launched Ballistic Missiles), each with one or more nuclear warheads.
China has always been much less trusting of the armed forces when it comes to nuclear weapons. China also appears to lack the PAL technology. All this doesn't get much mention in the West, but it is very real inside China. So when the Type 96 shows up, sometime late in this decade, it will be revealing to see if the Chinese have overcome their reluctance to trust a crew of Chinese sailors with all those nukes.
In the last decade, China has closed the gap (of a decade or more) in UAV development. China now has UAVs that are comparable, although not equal, to the American Predator and Global Hawk. China still lags, however, in user experience.
THE PHILIPPINES is preparing to file another complaint with the United Nations on new Chinese "intrusions" into Philippine territory, President Benigno S. C. Aquino III said yesterday, as he committed to raising the issue with Beijing in a state visit by the third quarter.
Leaving aside her modest size compared to American carriers, her incomplete air wing and escort force and the fact that she’ll sail without the company of allied flattops, Shi Lang could be even less of a threat than her striking appearance implies. Shi Lang’s greatest potential weakness could be under her skin, in her Ukrainian-supplied engines.
When the Chinese government took the unusual step last week of issuing a statement to deny claims made by Pakistani officials about the country's possible involvement in a naval base project, it reignited a long-running and heated debate among Chinese strategists.
A growing number of voices in the military have in recent years called for China to take on a more assertive role, particularly by establishing overseas bases. But analysts say the government has, for now, all but ruled out any such endeavours, wary of rising concerns among its neighbours — a factor, according to them, behind last week's denial.
W7VOA Steve Herman
Official count=152 in favor, 293 against parliamentary motion to oust Prime Min. Kan. #Japan
-- Despite North Korea's vow to sever contact with South Korea, Seoul said Thursday it remains open to cross-border dialogue while upbraiding Pyongyang for making their secret contact public.
South Korea's government on Thursday admitted it held secret discussions with North Korea last month. South Korea's president is facing criticism across the domestic political spectrum for the talks, which were revealed by Pyongyang.
Noland speculates that something is amiss in Pyongyang for it to be shutting down such contact at this time.
"I think it's likely that their internal politics are now going in a very hard-line militaristic direction," he said.
Some western intelligence analysts say this signals a new, dangerous phase in inter-Korean relations. The analysts say the recent statements from the North could mean it is willing to take some sort of military action in response to any perceived provocations by the South.
Noland, an economist who closely follows North Korea, agrees with that scenario.
"I think that the likelihood of provocation over the next year is significantly high," he said. "The North Koreans, they're in a difficult situation. Their economy is not doing well. I think it's most likely that they're asking for food aid now because they are going to do a provocation of some sort and they anticipate things tightening up."
South Korea's military is taking stronger precautionary measures than usual against North Korea's apparent cyber attack on Army officers, officials said Thursday, accusing the North of trying to steal information from the officers' computers.
Russia has snubbed India in the recent months by cancelling two important bilateral war games, usually held under a well-established arrangement, a senior official said on Monday. The move has raised eyebrows in the Indian defence establishment.
The Russians have called off the Indra series of navy and army war games in the recent weeks, baffling the Indian defence ministry, the official said.
Russian military experts forecast that Western nations will have 80,000 cruise missile by 2020, a deputy commander of the Russian General Staff said on Saturday.
"We expect Western countries to have at least 80,000 cruise missiles by 2020, including about 2,000 of them nuclear-powered," Gen. Igor Sheremet said in an interview with the Ekho Moskvy radio station.
He added these missiles are clearly not simply designed for drilling or intimidation purposes.
"They can deliver disarming or even 'decapitation' strikes," Sheremet said.
Russian and NATO fighter jets will hold their first ever joint exercise next week, teaming up in a bid to prevent attacks such as the September 11, 2001 strikes on the United States, the alliance said Wednesday.
The United States has 30 percent more deployed long-range ballistic missiles and nuclear warheads than former Cold War foe Russia, according to new data released Wednesday by the State Department.
The United States has 882 deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) and heavy bombers, compared with 521 for Russia, according to the State Department, which published the new START aggregate numbers.
The United States also has 1,800 deployed warheads and 1,124 launchers, as well as deployed and non-deployed heavy bombers, compared with Russia's 1,537 deployed warheads and 865 launchers and heavy bombers, according to the figures.
The Chinese government's webpage got hacked by the Vietnamese hackers.
Last month, a man rode up to China’s well-protected embassy in Hanoi, unfurled a bed-sheet-sized banner reading “China has no right to ban fishing or take Vietnam’s Paracel islands” and promptly set fire to his motorbike.
China claims almost the entire South China Sea, which also borders on the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia and Vietnam. These countries, sticking to the principle of “where there is land, there are sea rights”, have overlapping claims to waters off their coast. Hanoi ridicules the dotted line that China draws on maps to indicate its ownership of the entire sea as like a lolling “bull tongue”. There are also competing claims to the Paracel and Spratly islands.
In the short term, China’s assertiveness appear to have backfired. Smaller nations are huddling together under the auspices of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. They are also moving closer to the US, which has restated its commitment to having a strong presence in the Pacific and annoyed China by calling the South China Sea an area of strategic interest.
Some US lawmakers are urging President Barack Obama to welcome the Dalai Lama at the White House when he visits Washington in July.
Representatives from both parties made the appeal on Thursday during a hearing of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. The hearing was marked by criticism of China, which opposes any contact between the Dalai Lama and foreign leaders.
Twenty-two years after China's bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protests, at least five people remain in jail for joining in the tumult.
For China's ruling Communist Party, the 1989 demonstrations that clogged Tiananmen Square in Beijing and spread to other cities remains a taboo topic, all the more so this year when the government has launched a campaign to stamp out dissent after the uprisings in several Arab countries.
The anniversary of the suppression of the student-led movement falls on Saturday, and three men who joined in the protests, Jiang Yaqun, 75, Miao Deshun, 48, and Yang Pu, 47, remain in Beijing's Yanqing prison, where sick inmates are held.
Two others -- Chang Jingqiang, 43, and Li Yujun, 48, -- are being held in another Beijing jail.
In the last month, the new Chinese aircraft carrier, the Shi Lang (formerly Varyag) has had several major electronic systems, and its first weapons, installed. The most notable electronic item to show up are the four AESA radar panels. This is a state-of-the-art radar similar to the one used in the American Aegis system. There were a lot of other electronic items being carried into the Shi Lang, indicating that the ship will be equipped with extensive networked computers and communications systems.
The two main weapons were also installed. One was a new version of the older, Type 730 seven barrel, 30mm close-in anti-missile automatic cannon. Operating like the American Phalanx, the new version of the Type 730 seen on the Shi Lang had ten barrels. The other weapon was the FL-3000N anti-missile systems. These are similar to the American RAM anti-missile missile system, except that they come in a 24 missile launcher and are less accurate.
Are India and Pakistan likely to stumble into nuclear war? This appalling possibility has long been kept alive by conflicts between the two historical enemies, but it may have been pushed closer to fulfillment by a catastrophic failure of U.S. foreign policy in South Asia.
In recent weeks, a cover story in the Economist on the world’s "most dangerous border" described Pakistan’s rush to militarize its nuclear capacity, and former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger warned of a pre-World War I, Balkans-like scenario in South Asia that leads to a global conflict.
Other developments, which have largely escaped the radar of Western commentators, give deeper cause for foreboding. A day after U.S. Navy seals killed Osama Bin Laden, the Indian army and air chiefs declared that the Indian military was capable of mounting similar operations in Pakistan. Pakistan’s spy chief, Lieutenant General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, responded with the claim that the Pakistani military had already rehearsed retaliatory strikes on India.
This isn’t just playground posturing. Soon after conducting nuclear tests in 1998, India’s Hindu nationalist government threatened Pakistan with an "all-out war." The rhetoric on the other side of the border was no less intemperate. In 2001, the Hindu nationalist-led government responded to a terrorist attack by Pakistan-trained militants on India’s Parliament by mobilizing hundreds of thousands of troops on the border. Both nations eventually pulled back from the brink.
Writing as Israel pounded Gaza a few weeks after the Mumbai attacks, the former diplomat Shashi Tharoor spoke of India’s "Israel envy." Indians know that war with Pakistan would be catastrophically counterproductive. Yet, as he wrote, "when Indians watch Israel take the fight to the enemy, killing those who launched rockets against it" some of them "cannot resist wishing that they could do something similar in Pakistan."
One reason India hasn’t is that since 2004 it has had a prime minister, Manmohan Singh, who remains committed to improving relations with Pakistan. (That Singh is one of an aging generation of Sikhs born in undivided India may have something to do with this outlook.) Last month, he distanced himself from India’s Strangelovian military bosses and talking heads, and “a line of thinking” that he said was “mired in a mindset that is neither realistic nor productive.”
In its third apprehension of the week and tenth of the year, Indian Coast Guard has seized two more Sri Lankan fishing boats with 10 fishermen for allegedly fishing in Indian waters.
Pakistani jihadi was nosing around an unnamed Indian plant prior to the Mumbai attacks
The latest revelations in a US courtroom about the Pakistan-American David Headley suggest that the jihadi intelligence agent visited an Indian nuclear power plant ahead of the brazen November 2008 Mumbai terror attacks that took 164 lives and injured another 308, and sought ways to cause havoc from it.
North Korea vowed Friday to launch “retaliatory military actions” against South Korea, a threat that came days after Seoul said its military had used photos of Pyongyang’s ruling family for target practice.
The North’s fiery statement is part of a barrage of harsh rhetoric this week aimed at the conservative government of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, who took office in 2008 with a harder line than his liberal predecessors.
Pyongyang sees “no need to sit face to face with the Lee group of traitors” and believes the only way to settle differences with Seoul is “by force of arms,” the statement by an unidentified spokesman for the general staff of the North’s Korean People’s Army said.
“From now on,” the statement said, the North “will launch practical and overall retaliatory military actions to wipe out the group of traitors at a stroke.”
Friday’s statement made apparent reference to South Korean marines and some army units using pictures of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, his son and heir-apparent Kim Jong Un, and his father, the North’s revered founder Kim Il Sung, as firing targets since the North’s deadly shelling of a South Korean border island in November. The South said Tuesday it would tell units to use only standard targets.
North Korea said in its statement that South Korea had “staged such rowdyism as setting up a target and daring fire at it, a thrice-cursed criminal act of hurting the supreme dignity of” North Korea. It also mentioned alleged anti-North Korea propaganda in the South.
W7VOA Steve Herman
#DPRK army instructed to take "thousand-fold revenge" on #ROK military. #Korea
"We found no unusual movement in the North's military but we are carefully watching the North's threatening remarks," said a South Korean military official.
Another military official said the South Korean military has strengthened South Korea-U.S. joint intelligence surveillance and countermeasures against the North's possible provocations, saying, "We will not tolerate the North's reckless provocations."
South Korea renewed its denial Friday of North Korea's claims that it begged for summit talks with the North and tried to bribe North Korean officials.
Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik told lawmakers that Seoul sought to coax North Korea into offering an apology for its two deadly attacks on the South last year as an exit for the deadlock gripping the rival Koreas.
The South Korean Navy has deployed its second Aegis destroyer, the Yulgok Yi-i.
The 7,600-ton destroyer was put into service on Friday after nine months of test operations and drills to adapt to the nation’s waters. The destroyer was assigned to the Naval Operations Command's 7th flotilla.
South and North Korea have reportedly held two more secret meetings to discuss holding an inter-Korean summit other than the secret contact in May in Beijing on which the North recently disclosed.
Quoting a source on North Korea on Friday, minor opposition Liberty Forward Party lawmaker Park Sun-young told KBS that officials of the two Koreas held secret meetings in Southeast Asia in early December last year and March this year.
She added that the secret contact in Beijing last month reportedly failed to produce an agreement as Pyongyang said it would consider expressions that could be seen as an apology by the South on the sinking of the Cheonan naval vessel and shelling of Yeonpyeong Island, but Seoul demanded a more proper apology.
Park added that the money that the North claimed the South had offered during the secret contact was a total of ten-thousand U.S. dollars, which was provided by Seoul as transportation and accommodation expenses for five North Korean delegates.
Kyodo quoting aides to #Japan Prime Min. Kan saying he'll step down by August.
US Defence Secretary Robert Gates warned on Saturday that clashes may erupt in the South China Sea unless nations with conflicting territorial claims adopt a mechanism to settle disputes peacefully.
"There are increasing concerns. I think we should not lose any time in trying to strengthen these mechanisms that I've been talking about for dealing with competing claims in the South China Sea," he said.
"I fear that without rules of the road, without agreed approaches to deal with these problems, that there will be clashes. I think that serves nobody's interests," Gates told a security conference in Singapore.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Saturday vowed the US military would maintain a "robust" presence across Asia that includes new high-tech weaponry to protect allies and safeguard shipping lanes.
Seeking to reassure Asian countries mindful of China's growing power and Washington's fiscal troubles, Gates told a security conference in Singapore that Washington's commitment to the region would not be scaled back.
Instead, the US military would expand its presence, sharing facilities with Australia in the Indian Ocean and deploying new littoral combat ships (LCS) to Singapore where it has regular access to naval facilities, he said.
Although the Pentagon's budget would come under growing scrutiny and military spending in some areas would be cut back, Gates predicted that investments in the key "modernisation" programmes would be left untouched.
China is enlarging its naval ensign (a version of the national flag that is flown on navy ships.)
The new naval ensign will be larger and use brighter colors. The size change is explained as necessary because Chinese warships are, on average, much larger than they were when the current naval ensign was designed in the 1950s.
Chinese Defence Minister Liang Guanglie said here Saturday that China and Russia will continue to maintain close negotiation and coordination in international and regional affairs so as to promote bilateral relations to a new stage.
Ivanov said Russia and China are traditionally friendly countries and play an important role in regional peace and stability.
A dangerous arms race is fast spreading in Asia due to the proliferation of naval weaponry, according to a top Australian expert, who warned that the expansion of China's atomic arsenal could prompt others in the region to exercise their nuclear options.
"The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and long-range missile systems is now proceeding much more rapidly and extensively in Asia than in any other part of the world," Des Ball of the Australian National University's Strategic Defence Studies Centre told an international gathering here.
Hideaki Kaneda, a retired Japanese vice-admiral, now director of the Okazaki Institute in Japan, said China had begun "acquiring capability for missions beyond the Taiwan issue to perform operations in areas more distant from China's shores", The Australian newspaper reported.
Participating in the discussion, Zhang Junshe, vice-president of China's Naval Research Institute, said there was "no discernible naval arms race, but modernisation".
China now had 62 attack submarines compared with the US's 53, Ball was quoted as saying by the Australian daily.
Taiwan had acquired 14 new frigates and four guided missile destroyers, while South Korea had built the first of three Aegis-equipped destroyers, and was constructing nine German-designed submarines.
During the more predictable, bipolar Cold War situation, there were numerous arrangements, constraints and firebreaks, he said.
Now, however, "there are no arms control regimes whatsoever in Asia that might constrain or constrict acquisitions, which since 2000 have all been aimed at one or other particular neighbour", Ball said.
Myanmar is not wealthy enough to acquire nuclear weapons, a top government official told visiting US Senator John McCain, who called Friday for an end to any military ties with North Korea.
A growing number of Russian leaders recognize that the country is in big trouble. Corruption, most of it inherited from the communist period (1921-91), but some of it going back centuries, cripples the economy, military and just about everything. At the very top, there have more and more major efforts to root out the bad practices. But the resistance is formidable, and progress is slow. Most Russians realize that if the reform doesn't work, nothing else in the country will either.
Trade with China doubled to $60 billion last year. One aspect of this, the rapid growth of Chinese trade in the thinly populated Far East, stirs Russian fears that Chinese businesses will take over the economy out there. The Chinese have done this before, over the centuries, with other neighbors. Chinese today are well aware of that.
Vietnamese Defense Minister Phung Quang Thanh said on Friday that disputes with China over the South China Sea should be solved without any interference from a third party.
Mumbai-like attack to be retaliated: India
Indian Minister for Defence said that any Mumbai-like incident would strongly be retaliated.
Minister of State for Defense M M Pallam Raju expressed these notions while speaking at regional security conference held in Singapore.
He warned that any Mumbai-like incident, occurred again with the evidences of Pakistani security forces involvement, would be retaliated.
A U.S. expert says that North Korea could conduct its third nuclear test using highly enriched uranium bombs and that China or the U.S. will not be able to stop the North's nuclear development.
A team of European Union officials will enter North Korea Monday to assess the nation’s food situation.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates says North Korea is becoming a direct threat to the U.S. with its continued development of long-range missiles and nuclear weapons.
In a question and answer session, Gates said the United States has no interest in regime change in North Korea or in destabilizing the North.
China has done much more to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear program and stop its military brinkmanship than the world gives it credit for, Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie claimed Sunday.
Liang was apparently responding to international criticism that China sided with the North over its attacks on the Navy corvette Cheonan and shelling of Yeonpyeong Island last year. When North Korean leader Kim Jong-il visited Beijing last month, Chinese President Hu Jintao also urged North Korea to improve relations with South Korea by being more flexible and removing obstacles. But Kim stonewalled by answering, "We have consistently made efforts to improve inter-Korean relations."
South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin will visit China next month for talks with his counterpart on the security situation on the Korean Peninsula, joint naval search and rescue operations and other issues of mutual concern, his ministry said Monday.
Chinese National Defence Minister Liang Guanglie on Sunday dismissed out of court suggestions that Beijing was carving out “a permanent naval presence” in South Asia.
Answering questions at a plenary session of the 10th Asia Security Summit, organised here by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies , General Liang disclaimed moves to build naval bases at Gwadar in Pakistan and at a Sri Lankan port.
NEW DELHI: India finally plans to test its most ambitious strategic missile Agni-V, with near ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) capabilities, this December after some delay.
With high road mobility, fast-reaction ability and a strike range over 5,000 km, Agni-V would even bring China's northernmost regions within its nuclear strike envelope if it is ever required.
"The situation has very much changed: If before in relation to the missile defence we used to say 'no, no and no', now we're saying 'yes but on certain conditions'," Russian Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov told the newspaper.
"Legal guarantees of the US and NATO missile defense not being directed against Russia are one of the terms of cooperation Moscow is offering," Antonov told the newspaper. "Otherwise, cooperation loses its meaning."
Russia wants details like the maximum amount and types of interceptor missiles, their speed as well as locations for missiles and radars should be to spelled out in a cooperation treaty, the report said.
North Korea announced Monday it would set up an economic zone on two islands on the border with China, just days after leader Kim Jong-Il returned from a trip to study his neighbour's dramatic economic rise.
The president says North Korea should stop pursuing confrontation and conflict and, instead, pursue a path of peace and prosperity. In return, he promised South Korea would patiently continue to make sincere and consistent efforts for peace on the Korean peninsula.
North Korea’s Workers’ Party of Korea convened an expanded meeting of its Political Bureau Presidium on Monday.
The North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency said Tuesday that the North’s ruling party convened the meeting in order to discuss the results of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il’s recent trip to China. At the meeting, participants agreed to continuously boost China-North Korea relations.
North Korea has trained its special forces to be capable of infiltrating and striking more than 90 percent of targets in South Korea, a report said Tuesday, ringing alarm bells over the threat posed by the North's elite troops.
The report, released by retired one-star Army general Lee Won-seung, was based on a series of drills simulating an infiltration by North Korean special forces that hit targets in the South and assessments by former North Korean special troops who defected to the South.
The floor leader of South Korea's ruling party called on China on Tuesday to recognize North Korean refugees in the country as South Korean citizens and stop sending them back to their communist homeland.
Israel's High-Tech Industry Association has signed a memorandum of understanding with its Indian counterpart to boost cooperation in advanced technology, a move that will undoubtedly increase the Jewish state's burgeoning defense sales to India.
Taiwan has passed a legal amendment to grant lenient treatment or even pardons to double agents who turn themselves in, following one of island's worst espionage cases in decades, a lawmaker said Monday.
Wikileaks documents have recently revealed that the U.S. did not believe that Pakistan, even with more American F-16 fighters (and upgrades to older Pakistani fighters) would significantly change air superiority situation along the Indian border. India already has more high-tech fighters than Pakistan, and the additional aircraft from the U.S. would only prolong the air battle with India by a few days. That, it was hoped, would give the U.S. (and other major powers) enough time to arrange a peace deal and avoid a nuclear war between Pakistan and India. In effect, the American diplomats had concluded that the Pakistanis were delusional if they thought they were anywhere near military parity with neighboring India. But diplomats must lie for their country, so they agreed with Pakistani military claims, and offered more F-16s.
After September 11, 2001, the United States resumed shipping F-16 fighters to Pakistan. These shipments had been halted for over a decade because Pakistan refused to stop working on developing nuclear weapons. The shipments resumed because America needed Pakistani help in dealing with al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. Pakistan thought the additional F-16s, and upgrading of existing ones, would even up the odds in any future air war with India. But these Wikileaks documents (secret messages between American diplomats), insure that the Pakistanis (and everyone else) now know what the U.S. really thought of Pakistani military abilities. The Pakistanis also now know that this is what the Indians were told, and apparently the Indians agreed with the assessment, but still made a lot of noise about this American aid to Pakistan (to placate the Indian public).