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North Korea test-fired a short-range missile off its western coast last week, an intelligence source said Wednesday.
"North Korea fired a KN-06 short-range missile off its west coast in the middle of last week," the source said on the condition of anonymity. "The launch is seen as a test to improve the KN-06 missile."
The launch would be the North's first test of short-range missiles in 19 months. In October 2009, North Korea test-fired five KN-02 surface-to-surface missiles off its east coast.
The United States says it’s still concerned that if it provides food aid to North Korea the aid may end up in the wrong hands.
State Department Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner told reporters on Tuesday that one of the U.S.’s concerns regarding food assistance to Pyongyang is that somehow the aid could be diverted or used for other means.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff says that it will conduct air defense drills on Wednesday.
Two rounds of the one and half-hour-long drills will begin at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. in the skies over South Korea, excluding Jeju Island.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has denied reports that he had agreed to a troop withdrawal from the disputed border with Thailand near the 11th-century Preah Vihear temple.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Tuesday bluntly rejected a Russian proposal to end a dispute on missile defence that threatens a rapprochement between Moscow and the Western alliance.
Russia has indicated it would be ready to drop its opposition to NATO installing missile defence facilities in ex-Communist eastern Europe if it provided legal guarantees the system would not be directed against Russia.
The minority royalists ("yellow shirts", who control the government, via coups and rigged elections) have calmed things down by convincing the majority populists ("red shirts", who are particularly popular in the countryside) that fair elections can be held. Both sides have agreed to behave and do the elections as peacefully and fairly as possible.
This is important because there is a lot to the populist accusations that the royalists have not been playing fair. To support this new attitude, the national police have identified 121 known "election hit men" who are used by political parties to intimidate or kill opposing candidates and supporters. Posters, showing dozens of the worst of these thugs, have been widely distributed, along with cash rewards offered for their capture. The police have also established a nationwide security plan for protecting candidates. All this is a popular move, as the election violence has long been seen as a shameful aspect of Thai politics. But the police protection plan also comes with a dark side. That's because the police are also ready to arrest any candidates that, to the police, insult the king or the monarchy. There is a lot of hostility to the monarchy among populists. The royalists are accused of using the general popularity of the king as an excuse to punish those who oppose the royalist coalition (which represents military leaders, affluent businessmen, academics and educated urbanites). It really is class warfare, although some politicians join one side or the other because of opportunity and ambition more than deeply held beliefs.
Originally posted by expo15
So, you obviously want Kim Jong-il out of command in North Korea; as I understand, the most likely successor is his son. Now, here's my question for you: what kind of political ideology do you expect his son to have? Will this crap perpetuate, or will he display more willingness to cooperate and seek peace with South Korea?
"It would be in the interest of Russia to engage in a positive cooperation with NATO and focus on real security challenges instead of some ghosts of the past that don't exist anymore," Rasmussen said.
"NATO is not hearing us for the moment," said Russian Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov. "NATO's position is not acceptable to Russia," he said, adding however that Russia still hoped to reach an agreement.
The American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Taipei on Wednesday cautioned Taiwan not to become excessively reliant on its powerful neighbour China as it sought to boost the economy.
"China accounted for half of Taiwan's economic growth last year. Over-dependence on any one market is risky, even without the cross-strait political complications," it said in its 2011 Taiwan White Paper.
North Korea reiterated Thursday that there is no room for dialogue with South Korea, the latest sign of a deadlock over the North's two deadly attacks on South Korea last year.
South Korea and China will discuss ways to bring North Korea back to dialogue, the South's nuclear envoy said Wednesday, after Pyongyang shunned Seoul and reportedly test-fired a missile.
Wi Sung-Lac was later Wednesday to start a two-day visit to China, the North's sole major ally, to discuss ways to resume six-party nuclear disarmament talks stalled since December 2008.
Pakistan’s army has sent home two-thirds of the U.S. military personnel who were training its forces in counterinsurgency skills along the porous border with Afghanistan.
Russian Consul General, Andrey Demidov has said that America had no right to conduct drone attacks on Pakistan, as no country could ever be licensed for such an open and callous outrage.
Taking on Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati, Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday joined the land war, pledging full support to farmers fighting against acquisition and promising not to desert them till their demands are met.
Sneaking into Bhatta Parsaul village, the epicentre of the agitation in western Uttar Pradesh, in the wee hours riding pillion on a motorcyle, he sat with the agitating farmers throughout the day in scorching heat to emphathise with their cause and women who lost their men.
"I feel ashamed to call myself Indian after seeing what has happened here. The (state) government here has unleashed atrocities on its own people," the Congress general secretary told the farmers.
India and Pakistan have added 20-30 nuclear warheads in their arsenal in the past one year, a global think tank said on Tuesday.
In its latest yearbook, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said the neighbours are continuing to develop new ballistic and cruise missile systems capable of delivering nuclear weapons.
In 2010, the Indian nuclear arsenal had 60-80 nukes but they have increased to 80-110 warheads. On the same pattern, the Pakistani side also increased its warheads from 70-90 to 90-110 warheads in the same period, SIPRI said in a release.
"India and Pakistan continue to develop new ballistic and cruise missile systems capable of delivering nuclear weapons. They are also expanding their capacities to produce fissile material for military purposes," it said.
Despite the military defeat of the Tamil Tiger rebels in Sri Lanka in 2009, the country's prime minister warned on Wednesday that the overseas network of the terrorist outfit was still intact.
“India is projected ahead of China as a long-term economic prospect, particularly in the area of manufacturing, by the Japanese Bank for International Cooperation,” Mr Shinichi Nishimiya, Deputy Minister (Economy) in the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said at a event.
China on Tuesday accused the Philippines of harming its maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea, in sharp retaliation to claims by Manila that Beijing is undermining regional peace.
The Philippines said over the weekend that China dispatched vessels to intimidate rivals in disputed areas of the South China Sea, violating “maritime jurisdiction” and undermining “the peace and stability of the region.”
But Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei hit back at the accusations Tuesday, saying the Chinese vessels were merely cruising and carrying out scientific studies in waters under Beijing’s jurisdiction.
China’s official news agency, Xinhua, reported Thursday that the PLA navy will hold an exercise in international waters in the Western Pacific in the second half of June. The brief report, which cited the Defense Ministry, did not confirm the location but said that foreign media have recently reported that the Chinese navy recently sailed near Okinawa, the Japanese island that is home to several U.S. military bases.
China is warning Asian countries with rival claims to the Spratly Islands to stop searching for oil in the disputed territory, saying that Beijing will assert its sovereignty in the South China Sea.
The envoy also says that China wouldn’t use force unless its ships came under attack.
China said Thursday it would conduct naval training drills in the western Pacific later this month, state media reported, amid lingering fears among Beijing's neighbours about its military ambitions.
The exercises will take place in international waters and are "not targeted at any specific country", the defence ministry said in a statement carried by the official Xinhua news agency.
China is involved in a number of simmering marine territorial disputes with its neighbours.
It has claimed mineral rights around the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, and argued that foreign navies cannot sail through the area without Beijing's permission.
A Chinese fishing ship accompanied by two Chinese fishery administration vessels on Thursday morning violated Vietnamese sovereignty and deliberately cut exploration cables belonging to a Vietnamese state-owned ship, just days after a similar incident.
North Korea threatened Thursday to disclose voice recordings of a secret meeting it had with South Korea last month, during which Seoul allegedly proposed holding a series of inter-Korean summits.
The Foreign Ministry says North Korea’s recent announcement that it will end dialogue with South Korea does not at all help to increase peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.
China has reaffirmed that dialogue and negotiation are the only solutions that can resolve the issues surrounding the Korean Peninsula.
The nominee for U.S. Defense Secretary says North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear enrichment programs and military pose a “growing and direct threat” to the United States.
Panetta added that if his nomination is confirmed, he intends to monitor the security situation on the Korean Peninsula closely and work for the continued transformation of U.S. alliances and partnerships in the region. He said he will also maintain the military capabilities necessary to protect U.S. interests, to defend U.S. allies and to deter North Korea from acts of aggression and intimidation.
North Korea and China held a ceremony to repair a key logistics road along their shared border, the latest sign of boosting economic cooperation between the two neighbors.
South Korea's point man on North Korea renewed his calls Friday for the parliamentary endorsement of a bill designed to help improve North Korea's dismal human rights condition.
The bill has been gathering dust in the parliamentary judiciary committee since last year amid concerns that the proposed bill could further sour inter-Korean relations
U.S. President Barack Obama's defense chief-designate said Thursday that he will work closely with Congress in pressing ahead with the realignment of troops stationed in South Korea, hinting at the possibility of rethinking the timing and scale of the shift amid growing state debt concerns.
Pakistan's army called on the people of the troubled North Waziristan tribal region on Thursday to turf out all foreign militants enjoying sanctuary there.
Pakistanis are beginning to talk openly about the fact that their military-intelligence complex was more of a problem than a solution. The generals are incredibly rich, living far beyond their official salaries. The lower ranking officers seem more intent on being like the generals, than in developing military skills. The troops are grateful to have a job, and their officers never let them forget it. Military leadership exists, but mainly to remind everyone that the military and ISI are a state within a state and must do whatever it takes to protect itself. Thus Pakistan is not a nation with an army, but an army with a nation. The people are now acknowledging this, and discussing how to solve this problem. The generals do not like this kind of talk, and are threatening and killing journalists who spread this sedition. But it is no longer something only whispered by a few. Even many of the troops are caught up in the indignation, and are angry at serving mainly to support the corruption and opulence of their generals. One reason the Islamic radicals survive (despite all the terrorist violence) is because the radicals are also very mad at the corruption (of the politicians, as well as the generals.) Islamic radical politicians get support for this, although many Islamic radical politicians have shown themselves to be just as corrupt once they get the opportunity.
The change in attitude in Pakistan is allowing many more military missteps to get publicized. For example, it's known that the Pakistani Taliban do not enjoy the support of most tribesmen in the tribal territories. But now the military is being criticized for letting down tribal allies of the government. It is the pro-government tribes that suffer most from the Taliban, but these tribes also know that the Taliban is the invention of the military, and that al Qaeda is tolerated, and protected, by the generals (especially those running the ISI). Thus the anti-Taliban tribes never get enough military support to crush the Taliban, because the military still sees the Islamic radicals as a useful weapon, and something they can control.
Most Pakistanis believe the generals are deluded on both counts. Despite all this, the army is in no imminent danger of undergoing meaningful reform (and large scale change in leadership.) The civilian politicians (both the clean and corrupt, including Islamic radicals) continue to fail in their efforts to control the generals. This is largely a matter of intimidation as, legally, the politicians can replace the senior generals with more reform minded men. But the generals threaten to overthrow any government that tries to go that far. The growing number of troublesome journalists are being killed, beaten or intimidated. So far, the journalists have proved more determined than the politicians. The generals are worried, however, and are sharing more of the loot with the troops (via raises and more benefits) while amping up PR efforts to make themselves look good. This often backfires, and encourages those trying to bring the generals down. Meanwhile, the United States and other nations suffering from Pakistani tolerance for Islamic militants, are growing dangerously impatient with the Pakistani generals and all the lies about shutting down Islamic terror groups (and never following through.)
India tested a short-range nuclear-capable missile along its eastern coast on Thursday, an official said, as part of the nation's efforts to build up its atomic deterrent.
Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou demanded an investigation Thursday into comments allegedly made by a former general suggesting the island's military owed as much loyalty to Beijing as Taipei.
A North Korean vessel suspected of carrying banned items recently sailed back home from international waters after fearing it would be searched if it docked at a foreign port, sources said Sunday.
It was not clear where the ship was headed or what it was carrying, but the vessel returned home at the end of last month after drifting in international waters near Southeast Asia, the government sources said.
The Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), a U.S. nuclear disarmament think tank, said that it detected new construction activity at North Korea’s Yongbyon nuclear site in addition to nuclear reactor-related buildings.
The institute said the construction work could be linked to uranium enrichment, uranium conversion, and processing fuel rods, making the case for North Korea to provide information on the new buildings.
China does not want an economic and political basket case on its border, nor will it tolerate a political collapse in the north, followed by reunification. China does not want another democracy on its borders. So the northern leadership has been told to follow Chinese advice, or risk losing everything. That implies China arresting North Korean officials who try to flee to China (before or during an uprising or civil war in North Korea). Many wealthy North Koreans have moved cash to China, and bought homes there. No other nation is this accommodating to North Koreans, and the threat of Chinese hostility has gotten the attention of the North Korean leadership.
China is also unhappy with the chaotic way North Korea is run. It’s not just the ruling Kim family (who are quite odd, but so are many politicians), but the whole paranoid, dysfunctional, unpredictable atmosphere in the north. China is most unset with the unpredictability, and is demanding more discipline and, to put it bluntly, obedience. Lacking that, there will be consequences. More Chinese troops have been moved to the North Korean border, and China is less discreet about its network of spies and agents in North Korea. The rumors of a ruthless "China faction" in the North Korean leadership have been given some official recognition by the Chinese. Thus the Chinese are attempting to use the "offer you can't refuse" gambit on the north. It may work, and bring about much needed reforms. Otherwise, the Chinese threaten to pull the plug on aid and political support, and perhaps order the China Faction to take action.
Information leaking out of the north indicates that many senior officials saw the late 2009 currency reform effort (which crippled an already weak economy) as the last straw. After the new currency was introduced and many entrepreneurs lost their savings (because only small amounts of old currency could be turned in for new bills), many senior officials lost all respect for Kim Jong Il (who personally backed the currency reform). Although the official in charge of the currency operation was executed, he was just following instructions.
South Korea is considering deploying large-sized attack helicopters on one of its western sea border islands in preparation against surprise infiltrations of North Korea's air-cushioned vessels, a defense source said Sunday.
"A helicopter hangar under construction on Baengnyeong Island is capable of accommodating large-sized attack helicopters. Some Apache-class attack helicopters to be imported next year will be deployed on the border island in the long term," said the source, asking anonymity.
The military is scheduled to introduce 36 Apache-class attack helicopters around October next year in response to the growing possibility of surprise attacks by the North's special commandos.
"North Korea has completed the construction of a new sprawling naval base on Goampo of Hwanghae Province. The North's new naval base appears to be far bigger than previously expected and capable of accommodating about 60 air-cushioned vessels," said the defense source.
Everywhere I’ve been Abhisit’s placards have been damaged, his face punched out or a message declaring “Tyrant!” scrawled over them. There have been some complaints that such vandalism is undemocratic but in a country that shot unarmed nurses and schoolboys just over a year ago such claims are both histrionic and misplaced. This is a tough election campaign in a country where anger over the events from the 2006 coup onwards is reaching boiling point. A few damaged placards is the least of Thailand’s worries.
Even in Bangkok, a city that according to the Democrat Party and their lackeys in the Thai press (particularly the Bangkok Post and The Nation) was burned by “terrorists”, Abhisit’s party are losing ground massively and may end up with a rump of MPs in the Thai capital. The Thaksin and Red Shirt-linked Pheau Thai Party, who have been repeatedly accused by the shrill, possessed voices of the far-right, coup-supporting minority of being “violent” and of “terrifying the local people”, are way ahead in the polls in Bangkok. It seems that many residents in the Thai capital are comfortable with a Shinawatra as PM (Thaksin’s sister, Yingluck is PTP’s lead candidate) and Red Shirt leaders (several of whom are at the top of PTP’s party list) in power. This might be because many of these residents witnessed with their own eyes the brutal murderous acts committed on their streets in April and May 2010 and no amount of false propaganda to the contrary is going to change their interpretation of what occurred.
Lurking in the background of all this is the Thai Army. In the last few days the leader of this Army, General Prayuth has made extraordinary statements regarding the use of troops. He has threatened, using the paper thin pretext of the fight against the drugs trade, to flood parts of Bangkok with his battalions. It should be noted that many of the areas he wishes to “flood” are noted for their PTP and Red Shirt support. The good general has also admonished PTP directly, issuing direct threats against PTP leaders (apparently he told army leaders to “fire at will” at senior PTP figures – a very threatening metaphor to use) and refusing to meet the party’s head, Yingluck Shinawatra. For those who live in more democratic and functioning nations the image of the leader of the largest armed force in the country behaving like this is quite shocking. Yet, it is also very revealing. The Thai Army never suffer any consequences for their actions and get the unrelenting support from their key international allies and partners the USA.
Political stability will continue to be elusive after the July 3 elections if national reconciliation is not pursued in earnest by the next government, says Chartthaipattana Party's chief adviser Sanan Kachornprasart.
Maj Gen Sanan is proposing a concerted effort to clear the air in Thailand's splintered society as a way of heading off possible post-election violence and opening the way for stability under the next government.
He said that if he were to become prime minister, which he admits is unlikely, he would embark on a plan to heal the divides in society.
"Reconciliation takes time to achieve. But if we don't do anything at all, a civil war may erupt after the election. And this time around the body count may be higher," Maj Gen Sanan said.
He said his bleak outlook on the political situation was based on some crucial factors.
Vietnam announced Friday that it would hold a live-fire naval drill next week in the South China Sea as an escalating maritime dispute fuels tensions with Beijing.
A Vietnamese naval officer told AFP that the six hours of live-fire exercises would be held on Monday around Hon Ong island, about 40 kilometres (25 miles) off Quang Nam province in central Vietnam.
In a sign of how seriously Hanoi views the situation, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung this week vowed to protect Vietnam's "incontestable" sovereignty of the Paracels and Spratlys.
Vietnam said it has since deployed eight boats to "escort" the ship involved in the May incident, without saying what kind of vessels. Analysts say the move raises the stakes in the dispute.
A newspaper published by China’s ruling Communist Party warned Vietnam on Saturday to show restraint or come out the loser in an escalating squabble over territorial claims in the South China Sea.
Noting that and other recent statements from Vietnam’s leadership, the Global Times in an editorial accused Hanoi of using the “lowest form of nationalism to create new enmity between the people of the two countries.”
“Hanoi seems to be looking to dissipate domestic pressure and buck up morale at home, while at the same time further drawing in the concern of international society over the South China Sea dispute,” the newspaper said.
It said Vietnam’s tough stance had destroyed goodwill among the Chinese public and threatens to pressure China’s leaders into responding with firmer actions.
“If Vietnam insists on making trouble, thinking that the more trouble it makes, the more benefits it gains, then we truly wish to remind those in Vietnam who determine policy to please read your history,” the editorial concluded.
Vietnam announced its navy will carry out two exercises on Monday in an area off the country’s central Quang Nam province and warned ships to stay out of the area. It was the first time Vietnam has issued such an alert about maritime drills.
A navy fleet of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) will conduct a training drill in west Pacific international waters in mid- to late June, according to a press release issued Thursday by the Chinese Defense Ministry.
One of the most formidable warships in the United States Navy has been deployed in the South China Sea and Sulu Sea for “freedom of navigation operations,” reports said.
Yahoo Online News said that USS Chung-Hoon, a guided-missile destroyer, has been sent on an independent deployment to the South China as well as to the Sulu Sea early this week to assert right of free passage in the region.
“The ship will be sailing through waters that the US considers international waters to assert right of free passage and to demonstrate the international community does not accept national claims to the contrary,” the report said.
The United States yesterday said it will not side with any party in the Spratlys conflict, which is to say that the Philippines’ most powerful ally will not be coming to its aid should its spat with China escalate into a shooting war.
South Korea's Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin warned Monday that the likelihood of a "surprise provocation" by North Korea against the South is on the rise, after Pyongyang's barrage of fiery rhetoric aimed at Seoul.
The US Navy intercepted a North Korean ship suspected of carrying missile technology to Myanmar and after dramatic stand-off forced it to turn back, The New York Times reported late Sunday.
It is utterly naive of the Philippines to even think that all that money coming from Beijing does not have strings attached. Manila has been getting as much as $2 billion a year in the past three years from Beijing in the form of loans and aid, making the monies coming from such multilateral aid agencies as the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, as this story points out, puny.
China seems to be pouring more money into the Philippines than into Brunei, Vietnam or Malaysia, the other claimants of the Spratlys. For good reason, I suspect. If you look at the map, the Philippines undoubtedly has the most convincing claim on the Spratlys. But it is also the most economically and militarily weak among the claimants. It makes sense, therefore, for the Chinese to try to co-opt Manila in the hope of using those strings attached to those loans as leverage. (Of course, aside from this policy of co-optation, they earn interest off of those loans. We’re being fried in our own fat is what it is.)
Apart from having been compromised by these Chinese loans, Manila does not have a navy to speak of, so each time the Chinese fires at Filipino fishermen who wander into the Spratlys, we would just scratch our head in embarrassment.
To add insult to all this, Manila has looked to the United States for help, invoking the so-called Mutual Defense Treaty between the Americans and the Filipinos. But it is a treaty that has never been tested to benefit the Philippines and, of course, Washington would be wary to engage Beijing even in a verbal tussle over the Spratlys simply because the cost of doing so would far outweigh whatever benefit. Because, let’s be honest, if the US chooses to side with the Philippines and risk offending China, what would the Americans get out of it?
Sri Lanka has told India it will not concede key land and police powers to provincial councils under a New Delhi-initiated political plan aimed at resolving the long-drawn Tamil issue, a media report said on Sunday, warning that it could bring the two sides on "a collision course."
Indian and Pakistani war plans are changing, in ominous ways, as India improves its mechanized forces faster than Pakistan can. In response, Pakistan has developed better short range ballistic missiles, armed with nuclear warheads. India also has short range missiles, but they also have a "Cold Start" capability for their non-nuclear forces. This was something the Russians developed during the Cold War. What it came down to was the ability to launch an attack on Western Germany, with a dozen or more mechanized divisions, with only a few hours warning. NATO improved its ability to quickly respond to such an attack, and that included having nuclear weapons ready to be used if the Russian Cold Start forces got too far into West Germany. This use of "tactical" (shorter range and less powerful) nuclear weapons turned out to be disaster in disguise. It was eventually realized that "going nuclear" would likely lead to escalation, and ultimately a large-scale use of nuclear weapons, and the destruction of the world as we knew it.
Pakistan is doing the same thing NATO did, developing more reliable short range nuclear missiles. This does not bode well for efforts to prevent nuclear war between India and Pakistan.
Pakistan-born Canadian Tahawwur Rana's terrorism trial revealed the impunity with which officers in Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and terrorists alike operate in Pakistan, according to ProPublica, an investigative news group.
The case also showed how a growing number of serving and former Pakistani military officers have put their lethal talents at the service of Lashkar-e-Taiba terror group behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks, Al Qaeda and other groups, it said analysing the implications of the trial that ended Thursday.
Fiji and Tonga warships have confronted each other in an escalating quarrel over two lonely reefs 1500km north of Auckland.
The two island nations are already at loggerheads over Tonga's decision to give refuge to fleeing Fiji dissenter Colonel Tevita Mara.
Now, a Fijian patrol boat has fled the Minerva Reefs – claimed by both nations – as two Tongan patrol boats challenged its presence.
Tonga's Deputy Prime Minister Samiu Vaiulu said the Fiji navy was discovered in a Minerva lagoon.
"Our navy went back to their navy and they ran away, because it is our territory," he told TVNZ last night. Nominally the Tongan mission was to reinstall a maritime beacon on Minerva, blown up by the Fijians.
Tonga's special adviser to the prime minister, Ahongalu Fusimalohi, warned Fiji that if it attacks the new lighthouse it would be seen as an "act of aggression".
Both sides have small fleets of patrol boats, provided through Australian aid, equipped with 20mm cannons.
Fusimalohi said Tonga was acting legally. "We had two naval boats to install the beacon which was bought down by the Fiji navy."
Russia's Foreign Ministry voiced concerns on Sunday over the entry of a U.S. guided missile cruiser into the Black Sea for naval exercises with Ukraine.
The Monterrey cruiser equipped with the AEGIS air defense system is taking part in the joint Ukrainian-U.S. naval exercises, Sea Breeze 2011.
"While leaving aside the unsettled issue of a possible European missile shield architecture, Russia would like to know, in compliance with the Russia-NATO Lisbon summit decisions, what 'aggravation' the U.S. command meant by moving the basic strike unit of the regional missile defense grouping being formed by NATO in the region, from the Mediterranean to the east," the ministry said in a statement.
The role of the U.S. warship's missiles in the Sea Breeze 2011 anti-piracy exercises is also unclear, the statement said.
Vietnam has launched a live-fire naval drill off its central coast amid a nasty spat with China following two maritime incidents over disputed territory in the South China Sea.
North Korea has been waging cyber attacks against South Korea's government and corporate computer networks with bolder and smarter methods, the chief of the South's military intelligence command warned Tuesday.
The number of North Korean defectors who entered South Korea this year numbered around eleven-hundred at the end of May.
This is up 14 percent from the same time last year.
A Unification Ministry official on Monday told reporters that the rise is considered unusual given the North has tightened border security.
North Korea may have developed a nuclear warhead small enough to be loaded onto a ballistic missile, the South Korean defence minister said yesterday, warning that risk of another “surprise provocation” by the Stalinist regime was now rising.
North Korea will hold elections next month for deputies to local people's assemblies, the country's official news agency said Tuesday.
North Korea has leased a pier on its port located near China and Russia to Switzerland, a source said Tuesday, citing an unidentified Chinese government official.
The South Korean navy has officially deployed its second Aegis destroyer, Yulgok Yi I, into service after the successful completion of nine months of sea trials.
The 8,500-ton KDX-III destroyer took part in a four-day military exercise near Ulleungdo Island, around 75 miles east of the Korean Peninsula in the Sea of Japan.
"Aegis destroyer Yulgok Yi I has the world's top class anti-ship, anti-aircraft and anti-submarine capabilities which will significantly boost the country's naval defense capabilities," a navy statement said.
South Korea's military has established a defense command to better shield five frontline islands near the Yellow Sea border from possible North Korean attacks, officials said Tuesday.
Vietnamese authorities have allowed a second anti-China protest over a territory dispute in the South China Sea.
On Sunday, nearly 200 hundred demonstrators assembled outside the Chinese Embassy in Hanoi.
The protesters chanted “Down with China!” and carried banners with Vietnamese slogans reading—“The Spratlys and Paracels belong to Vietnam,” referring to archipelagos in the South China Sea.
Poland and the United States have signed an agreement that will allow U.S. Air Force to station its troops and aircraft permanently in Poland.
According to the memorandum, starting in 2013, a U.S. Air Force Aviation Detachment will be the first ever to be permanently stationed in Poland. It will provide support for U.S. F-16 fighters and C-130 transport aircraft.
The Russian government has been striving, for the last two decades, to reform the armed forces.
Despite billions of dollars in new equipment, weapons and facilities, and shrinking the armed forces to a fifth of its 1991 size, many serious leadership problems remained.
Many troops had not been able to use their major weapons (like tanks) or heavy equipment for years, because of the cash shortages. But now that the troops are out there driving the tanks around and firing the guns it has become obvious that a generation of skills have been lost. Training is now often a matter of the unskilled leading the untrained.
While the path ahead is clear enough, the army continues to be hobbled by corruption, not enough Western style NCOs and too many officers stuck in the Soviet past.
The government believes that about a third of the military budget is lost to corruption. Like civilian bureaucrats, those in the military tend to demand bribes to do anything.
But what bothers the government most is the flaws in Russian high tech weapons. Jet engines and electronics end up having serious flaws revealed when they are sold to foreigners, who, unlike the Russian armed forces, are not shy about complaining loudly.
Russia on Sunday protested the arrival of a US Navy cruiser equipped with a ballistic missile defence system in the Black Sea to take part in naval exercises with neighbouring Ukraine, saying it was a threat to its national security.
"According to an official US version, they [warships] can be deployed to the Black Sea in case of necessity, for example, in case of a flare-up in the region," the statement said.
"We would like to understand what 'flare-up' the US commanders had in mind when they moved the primary striking unit of NATO's future anti-missile system from the Mediterranean to the east?" it said, noting the aim of the naval exercises was to practice anti-piracy raids.
The Russian foreign ministry said Monterey's arrival in the Black Sea demonstrated blatant disregard for Moscow's concerns.
"It is being done deliberately, as if to show to Russia that no-one is going to take its opinion into account," it said.
China recently donated 50,000 field uniforms (including hats and boots) to Cambodia. Last year, China donated 257 military trucks, and has also supplied weapons.
Cambodia really needs this Chinese military aid right now. That's because Cambodia is currently at war (sort of) with neighboring Thailand. This dispute is over a badly marked border. The basic problem is that the current 730 kilometer long border with Thailand was defined in 1907 by the placement of only 73 border markers. This has left the exact location of the border open to interpretation. Occasionally these interpretations clash, as is happening now. Neither side wants a full scale war, even though Thailand has a larger and better equipped military. In the last few years, Cambodia doubled its annual military budget to $500 million. But Thailand spends more than six times that, and has done so for decades. Thailand has 300,000 troops, Cambodia only 100,000.
China is back away from early interest in developing a naval base at the Pakistani port of Gwadar.
This is not the first time China has been asked to expand port facilities in Gwadar. A decade ago, China agreed to finance the construction of a deepwater port in Gwadar. China paid for 80 percent of the $250 million cost and supplied most of the key personnel. The new port facilities were to give China better access to Central Asian markets and reduce Pakistani dependence on the port of Karachi (which, being close to India, is easily blockaded in wartime). The first part of the new Gwadar port facilities were opened in 2005. Work continues on expanding Gwadar.
But China was not willing to build military facilities, even if they would share them with the Pakistanis. The civilian port facilities are adequate for fueling and supplying warships, and anything more would be seen as threatening by India, and perhaps Iran as well.
The Pakistani request for military facilities was part of a Pakistani effort to increase military cooperation with China, to replace current reliance on the United States. But China is not willing to supply as much free stuff.
China will relax a decades-old ban on travel to Taiwan by individuals under a pilot scheme starting June 28, the government said Sunday, responding to growing demand amid a thaw between the two sides.
The Vietnamese Prime Minister, Nguyen Tan Dung, has issued a decree about a potential military call-up -- amid rising tensions with Beijing, over disputed territory in the South China Sea.
The decree outlines who would be exempt from the draft, if war breaks-out.
Chinese state media are reporting that a massive deepwater oil platform, Marine Oil 981, will begin testing this week for the first time in preparation for its deployment to the South China Sea in July.
Country using 'West Philippine Sea' in reference to the body of water faced by western Philippines
A Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislator over the weekend renewed his call for the government to redeploy marines to Taiping Island (太平島) in the South China Sea, where the Coast Guard Administration is now stationed, because territorial claims over the area by neighboring countries have grown louder recently.
KMT Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方) said a stronger military presence there would strengthen the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ stance once negotiations begin to settle disputed claims.
Taiwan's navy said Tuesday it would not scrap scheduled patrol missions to disputed islands in the South China Sea, despite a flare-up of regional tensions in the contested waters.
The routine missions, which take place at least three times a year, will bring a naval fleet to Taiwan-controlled Taiping, the biggest island in the Spratlys, and the Pratas archipelago. China also claims the islands.
China criticized the U.S. on Tuesday over a senator's call for multilateral negotiations to resolve festering territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said only those countries with territorial claims in the vast resource-rich waters should get involved in such discussions.
"We hope countries not related to the disputes over the South China Sea will respect the efforts of directly related countries to resolve the issue through direct negotiations," Hong told a regularly scheduled news conference.
CNN: China blames Vietnam for rising tensions over disputed sea
Vietnam Demands China to Stop Harassing Norwegian Ships
Vietnam will hold joint naval drills with the United States next month, a move that could further stoke tensions with China over the South China Sea. Meanwhile, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung issued a decree about a potential military call-up, which outlines who would be exempt from the draft in case of war. Vietnam’s last war was with China in 1979.
Confirmation of the exercises came as Hanoi completed a live-fire exercise off its central coast last night, deemed routine by the Vietnamese but denounced by Chinese analysts as a provocation and a show of force.
Ji Qiufeng, a professor at Nanjing University's school of foreign relations, said Beijing needs to make it clear to Vietnam that “any challenge to China's sovereignty over the South China Sea cannot succeed”.
A U.S. Congressional Research Service report says China’s food assistance to North Korea has declined sharply since 2005.
According to the report issued earlier this month, China’s food aid to the North stood at more than 500-thousand tons in 2005, but it fell to 250-thousand tons in 2006 and dropped to a little over 300-thousand tons in 2007.
The report said that in 2008 and 2009, food assistance stood at around 100-thousand tons.
North Korea threatened on Tuesday to cut off all relations between the two Koreas if South Korea passes a bill designed to help improve North Korea's dismal human rights conditions.
The United States wants "transparency, extreme caution and vigilance" in any economic cooperation between North Korea and other nations, a senior Washington official said Tuesday, as the communist nation, under tough United Nations sanctions, intensifies business ties with China and steps up efforts to draw investors.
The United States is prepared to talk with North Korea, but a basic principle is to avoid the "mistakes" made in previous negotiations with the communist nation, an outgoing top State Department official said.
South Korea's Navy chief vowed Wednesday to respond to any future aggression by North Korea with tougher responses than in the past, calling for more efforts to build a stronger Navy to defend the tense sea border with the North.
Thailand's powerful army chief has gone on state television to urge people to vote for what he called good people in the forthcoming general election.
Recent polls have given the opposition, linked to the fugitive former leader, Thaksin Shinawatra, a slight lead.
Mr Thaksin was ousted in a military coup in 2006 and lives in self-imposed exile, but remains a hugely influential and divisive figure in Thai politics.
North Korean instability either from the death of its ailing leader or a failed attempt to hand over power to his son, known to be under 30, will likely be a crisis facing the next presidents of South Korea, the United States and China, a U.S. expert said Wednesday.
North Korea's military apparently boosted its role and political influence over the regime by sending a senior-ranking official to oversee a secret meeting with South Korea in May, government sources said on Wednesday.
"This is the first time that Pak Chul has headed a North Korean delegation," said the South Korean government source, adding that this confirms the administration's long-held belief that the North's military is in charge of dealing with issues relating to South Korea.
Xinhua said that the team consists of three Chinese and two North Korean ships. The team was created by the local governments of China’s Dandong City and North Korea’s North Pyeongan Province.
The patrol is likely in preparation for the two countries’ joint development of the island of Hwanggeumpyueong at the mouth of the Yalu River.
China arrested 14 North Koreans in one of its northeastern border areas last month, sources said Thursday, as Beijing and Pyongyang intensified their crackdown on North Korean defectors.
Nine North Koreans defected to the South by boat over the weekend, the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said Wednesday.
On the outskirts of the Pakistani capital lives a militant considered so powerful that Osama bin Laden consulted with him before issuing a fatwa to attack American interests.
Fazle-ur-Rahman Khalil heads Harakat-ul-Mujahedeen, a terrorist group closely aligned with al-Qaida and a signatory to bin Laden’s anti-U.S. fatwa in 1998. Khalil has also dispatched fighters to India, Afghanistan, Somalia, Chechnya and Bosnia, was a confidante of bin Laden and hung out with 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
Pakistani authorities are clearly aware of Khalil’s whereabouts. But they leave him alone, just as they tolerate other Kashmiri militant groups nurtured by the military and its intelligence agency to use against India.
Khalil is also useful to the authorities because of his unusually wide contacts among Pakistan’s many militant groups, said a senior government official who is familiar with the security agencies and who spoke on condition he not be identified fearing repercussions.
Khalil’s presence in an Islamabad suburb, confirmed to The Associated Press by Western officials in the region, underscores accusations that Pakistan is still playing a double game – fighting some militant groups while tolerating or supporting others – even after the solo U.S. raid that killed bin Laden on May 2.
Heavy fighting over the past week close to Burma’s northern border will concern Beijing, who told visiting Burmese President Thein Sein last month that stability along the volatile frontier must be made a priority of the new government. Hundreds of millions of dollars in overland trade passes through several official crossings along the border each year; millions more is smuggled by timber merchants, drug mules and human trafficking rackets. The value of maintaining the unimpeded flow of trade is crucial to both Burma and China’s developing southern Yunnan province.
As a consequence, government officials in Beijing likely had strong words for Thein Sein last month. He was still prime minister in August 2009, the last time a border conflagration of similar intensity to now occurred, forcing up to 37,000 refugees into China. Uncharacteristically for Beijing, it issued a sharp rebuke to its southern neighbour, which reacted by ratcheting up a campaign to force the myriad armed groups to assimilate into the Burmese army, thereby ending decades-old insurgencies, and threatening war if they do not. This is what originally sparked the 2009 fighting, and is the reason why Burma’s north and eastern borders are now facing the possibility of major upheaval.
At the time of the August 2009 flare up, little analysis was done of the geo-strategic reasons behind the Burmese regime’s border conquests. That is now becoming more apparent: the locations of two major centres of violence over the past two months – Momauk in Kachin state and Hsipaw in Shan state – are both areas where rebel territory lies uncomfortably close to major energy projects whose produce will feed Yunnan’s power-hungry population.
Deadly clashes between Myanmar troops and ethnic minority rebels near the Chinese border have spread with hundreds, possibly thousands, of people fleeing their homes, reports said Wednesday.
Heavy fighting around a large hydropower project being built in northern Kachin state to provide power to China has erupted sporadically for almost a week after soldiers tried to push back Kachin Independence Army (KIA) troops.
Two key US senators on Tuesday accused China of hampering a congressional probe into how counterfeit electronics end up in the US military supply chain by denying entry visas to investigators.
Haixun 31, one of China's largest patrol ships, left south China's Guangdong Province for a two-week visit to Singapore, the first time China's maritime safety authorities have sent a large patrol ship to visit a foreign country.
NATO leader Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Wednesday that the Western military alliance would not attack Russia, as he sought to soothe Moscow's concerns over NATO's missile defence system.
Rasmussen said Russian rhetoric was unnecessary and stuck in the past, as he insisted that the missile shield project in Europe would go ahead anyway regardless of whether the Kremlin decided to cooperate.
The Czech Republic is withdrawing from U.S. missile defense plans out of frustration at its diminished role, the Czech defense minister told The Associated Press Wednesday.
Kazakhstan on Tuesday prepared for a summit of a security group regarded as a rival of NATO that is to see rare encounters between the Chinese and Russian leaders with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) was set up in 2001 as a security counterweight to NATO that would allow Russia and China to rival US influence in Asia. But increasingly, it is looking to cooperate at an economic level.
The observer SCO nations have expressed desire to become full members of the group but Prikhodko said it was still too early for any decision on enlargement to be taken at the Astana summit.
"So far no such decisions have been taken," he said.
My favorite columnist, Ellen Tordesillas, puts the simmering dispute over the South China Sea between Manila and Beijing in an interesting context. In her blog, Tordesillas writes that China’s intrusions into what are claimed by Manila as Philippine territory are the result of questionable deals Beijing had entered into with former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Tordesillas minces no word when she said that China’s incursions are “another proof of the continuing curse of Gloria Arroyo on the Filipino people.”
Tordesillas reports that the conflict with China over the South China Sea has “its roots to the controversial Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking entered into by the Arroyo government with China in 2004 which allowed China and later on Vietnam to explore not only the Philippine-occupied islands in the disputed mineral-rich Spratlys but areas that are clearly Philippine territory.”
The JMSU, Tordesillas says, “was signed during Gloria Arroyo’s 2004 visit to China which paved the way for the signing of at least two graft-riddled deals : North Rail and national broadband network with ZTE agreements.”
The North Rail and the NBN-ZTE projects are the two most notorious Chinese-financed projects in the Philippines because of allegations of kickbacks and overpricing to benefit Arroyo and her cronies. These scandals made Arroyo so unpopular and loathed that it nearly cost her the presidency.
China is telling the Philippines to halt oil exploration in the Spratly Islands, without saying exactly what would happen otherwise. The Philippines has asked the United States to help establish Filipino claims in the Spratly islands. China claims to own any oil and gas in the South China Sea. This claim is not recognized by any international agreement. China is apparently trying to bully other claimants (especially the Philippines and Vietnam) into staying away from these potential assets. All China offers is to "share" these undersea bonanzas. But the implication is that China will get most of the profits, with the other claimants getting little.
Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin said if North Korea makes any more provocations to South Korea, the commanding officer at the Northwest Islands Defense Command should respond sternly without hesitance.
The minister said that the South Korean military has been strengthening its combat-readiness towards North Korea’s provocations. He said that South Korea would secure the upper hand in operations in the frontline islands in the Yellow Sea and thoroughly suppress North Korea’s endless attempts to nullify the maritime inter-Korean border, the Northern Limit Line.
Footage of alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka, with its echoes of Srebrenica, means the international community is more likely to act, a top lawyer tells Channel 4 News. But is prosecution possible?
Documenting the final weeks of the bloody civil war when an estimated 40,000 people died, the Channel 4 documentary Sri Lanka's Killing Fields reveals shocking new evidence of serious war crimes.
The film includes footage of government soldiers executing bound prisoners; the dead bodies of naked, abused women dumped in a truck; and the bombing of civilian hospitals.
Russia and China oppose outside interference in the unrest in the Arab world, the two presidents said on Thursday in a declaration, as the West seeks their support for increasing pressure on Syria.
"The sides believe that the search for settling the situation in the countries of the Middle East and North Africa should take place in the legal field and through political means," said the declaration signed by Presidents Dmitry Medvedev and Hu Jintao.
Originally posted by freetree64
New developments, perhaps....
S. Korea deploys precision-guided missiles targeting Pyongyang SEOUL, June 17 (Yonhap) -- South Korea has deployed precision-guided land missiles capable of hitting North Korea's capital of Pyongyang, a military source said Friday.
US Amb. Stephens at SFCC: US looking at decision of resumption of food aid to #DPRK after USAID visit there "with all due speed."
Amb. Stephens: "We think (DPRK) on dead-end path" but hope they will change."
Amb. Stephens: "We perceive a growing threat from N. Korea's BMD program, including to the U.S."
North Korea said Friday that it will dispose of South Korean assets seized or frozen at Mount Kumang under its new law regarding the scenic mount resort.
The North also said Hyundai Asan Corp., a key operator of the tour project for the scenic mountain just north of the heavily armed border, should come to the table by the end of the month for talks over the disposal of the assets, according to the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
The House of Representatives has voted to bar US food aid to North Korea, with lawmakers charging that the assistance would prop up the communist regime instead of feeding the hungry.
The bill, sponsored by the ruling Grand National Party (GNP), calls for assistance to improve the regime's human rights record and humanitarian aid to North Koreans, but the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) has disagreed on legislative procedure over the bill.
North Korea has demanded South Korea to repatriate nine North Koreans who had crossed the inter-Korean maritime border in the Yellow Sea last week.
South Korea indicated Friday that it will not return nine North Korean defectors to their communist homeland, a snub expected to further worsen inter-Korean relations.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Chinese President Hu Jintao have agreed on the need to swiftly resume the stalled six-way nuclear talks.
South Korea believes that the recent test of the North Korean KN-06 ballistic missile was, in fact, a test of a homemade surface-to-air missile. Based on what South Korean intelligence reports, the KN-06 appears to be a clone of the Russian S-300. Developing such a system would be a stretch for North Korea, but there is a way they could do it. North Korea and Iran have long been trading technology, and Iran has been buying weapons from North Korea since the 1980s, and Iran has been developing an anti-aircraft missile system with a missile about the same size as the KN-06.
But China has begun offering its HQ-9 anti-aircraft missile system to foreign customers, as the FD-2000. The Russians are not happy with this, given the stolen S-300 technology in the HQ-9. Russia has been pointed in warning China not to export weapons containing stolen Russian tech. But the Chinese have done it, apparently believing there's really nothing the Russians can do about it.
A decade ago, China began introducing the HQ-9 for use by its army and navy (on ships). Over a decade of development was believed to have benefitted from data stolen from similar American and Russian systems. The HQ-9 missile is similar to the U.S. "Patriot," while the radar apparently derived much technology from that used in the Russian S-300 system. The HQ-9 missile has a max range of about 100 kilometers, weighs 1.3 tons and has a passive (no broadcasting) seeker in the missile. The North Koreans appear to have been testing, as the KN-06, the unguided HQ-9 missile. Next you need the search radar and the complex guidance system for the KN-06.
Suspected Muslim militants have killed four Thai soldiers in the country’s south, plagued by a separatist insurgency.
Police said a bombing Thursday morning wounded a policeman and another man across from a school in neighboring Yala province.
It is now hardly disputed by anyone except Abhisit and various other establishment and military stooges that the Thai Army shot dozens of unarmed civilians last year in central Bangkok. What is also indisputable is that many of these deaths came through the use of snipers – video footage from CNN even captured them in action.
So who trains these Thai military snipers to be so efficient in the execution of their duties?
Enter none other than the US Marine Corps.
“Our goal as snipers is a first-round impact with every shot,” said Gunnery Sgt. Victor Lopez, scout sniper chief instructor with Weapons Platoon, Landing Force Company. “If they don’t get these fundamentals, they can’t effectively engage targets.”
The armed conflicts in Kachin State could cause greater insecurity along Sino-Burma border unless the President Thein Sein government takes accountability to find a peaceful settlement. According to some analysts, agreement among pro-democracy ethnic armed groups has strengthened since Thein Sein government troops showed aggression last week.
According to Kachin News Group (KNG), the Kachin Independence Army’s 8th Battalion, led by Major Lashi Naw Din under its Brigade 4, hit back to the Burmese Army offensive by capturing six Burmese soldiers including a captain in Northern Shan State this afternoon. The government soldiers were encircled and under arrest without a single shot being fired by the KIA soldiers.
On the other hand, the aggressive war launched by the Burmese government causes tragic consequences for the Kachin people along the Sino-Burma border. Over 10,000 Kachin refugees have fled to the China border since the beginning of civil war last three days between the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and Burmese government soldiers in Kachin State, the Kachin News Group said.
Besides, China is building two major dams as part of a hydroelectric power plant in the armed conflict zone. As China is the key protector of Burma in the UN Security Council’s meeting, Burmese government has decided to defend the China’s investment in the Kachin region.
India is going to acquire at least 16 C-17 Globemaster III heavy transport aircraft. The acquisition will boost India’s ability to project military force across South Asia and provide humanitarian assistance around the world. As part of the deal Boeing has set up a $500 million engine-testing wind tunnel
It was supposed to be a model for international justice and national reconciliation: a U.N.-backed tribunal to hold trials on one of the 20th century’s grimmest chapters – the Khmer Rouge’s murderous 1970s regime in Cambodia.
Eight years after its creation, however, the multinational panel is riven by suspicion, infighting and angry resignations over whether to try more Khmer Rouge defendants on war crimes charges, in addition to the jailer already convicted and four top officials scheduled for trial June 27.
Critics fear the panel is caving to pressure from Cambodia’s strongman prime minister – himself a former Khmer Rouge cadre – to quash any further indictments, or that the United Nations’ resolve to continue the trials may be waning.
Pulling out his camera, Zhu Bin grinned and pointed as he scrolled through the images. Two cars sat ablaze against a dark sky in one picture, and in the next, thick rows of police tried to keep order with riot shields.
There, on the street next to the Sun City Hotel and a karaoke bar, it looked like all hell was breaking loose on a sweltering Sunday night. Underneath the streetlights, a mob of hundreds wandered among the smoke and broken glass.
The details vary, but the outbreak points to serious challenges for the Chinese Communist Party on the eve of the 90th anniversary July 1 of the party's founding. At its root is the fact that after 30 years of rapid economic development the average Chinese has almost no legal or political means to pursue grievances against the government and those it protects.
That's led to simmering resentment in a nation where there are profound gaps in income and privilege amid a political system whose rigid ways often fuel the very instability the system is designed to avoid.
Public discussion about the causes of the violence in Zengcheng has followed a familiar line: low wages and bad working conditions for migrant laborers — who make up more than half of Zengcheng's 818,000 residents — possibly whipped up by criminal gangs.
But interviews here show that the chaos was stoked by anger that had been building for years at the bullying tactics of both the "chengguan," meter maid-like guards who're charged with enforcing municipal ordinances, and the "public security teams," ad hoc officers cobbled together by neighborhood or village committees.
The trigger for last weekend's rioting was the news that a pregnant migrant had been pushed to the ground — initial rumors said killed — during an altercation with security. It was a report with which migrants could easily identify.
Russia and China on Thursday postponed the signing of a major deal to supply Siberian natural gas to energy-hungry coastal China after they failed to agree on a price.
In 2010, Russia's state-controlled Gazprom and China National Petroleum Company agreed to start the supplies via a yet-to-be-built Altai pipeline in 2015, but the talks stalled over pricing. Moscow wanted to link the price to oil prices the way it does in Europe, but China considers any European-level price too high.
Safeguarding sovereignty over the South China Sea is a shared obligation for both the Chinese mainland and Taiwan, an official said in Beijing, a statement which may herald an inclination to cooperate with Taiwan on the issue.
"It is a shared obligation for people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits to safeguard sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and its adjacent waters," Yang Yi, a spokesperson with the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, told a press conference Tuesday.
Taiwan's army said Tuesday that it would send a fleet of ships to the South China Sea and would station tanks on Taiping, the biggest of the Nansha Islands, at the end of June, the Taipei-based United Evening News reported.
US lawmakers across party lines stepped up pressure Thursday on President Barack Obama to sell F-16 jet fighters to Taiwan, with some accusing the administration of showing deference to China.
"Taiwan needs the next generation of F-16 fighter jets now in order to protect its skies," she said at a committee hearing.
The US-Pakistan security relationship has dipped to its lowest point since the September 11, 2001 attacks, threatening counterterrorism programs, The Washington Post reported Thursday.
US and Pakistan officials told the Post that the ties could deteriorate even further amid growing pressure from within the Pakistani military to reduce ties with the United States in the wake of last month's US Special Operations Forces raid that killed Osama bin Laden in a Pakistani garrison town.
Pakistan's army chief, General Ashfaq Kayani, is "fighting to survive," an unnamed US official told the newspaper. "His corps commanders are very strongly anti-US right now, so he has to appease them."
The pressure on Kayani is unprecedented under Pakistan's strict military hierarchy.
Originally posted by Vitchilo
India boosts military projection, US ties with aircraft purchase
India is going to acquire at least 16 C-17 Globemaster III heavy transport aircraft. The acquisition will boost India’s ability to project military force across South Asia and provide humanitarian assistance around the world. As part of the deal Boeing has set up a $500 million engine-testing wind tunnel
It doesn't really help India military projection.. Those are transport aircrafts.
Having a fleet of 16 C-17s fully loaded and on stand-by could turn the tide of most modern skirmishes (maybe not practical for fighting rebels though).
China says its maritime forces staged three days and nights of exercises in the South China Sea, a disputed, resource-rich region where tensions are rising.
The official People’s Daily newspaper said Friday that the drills involved a total of 14 patrol boats, landing craft and submarine hunting boats, along with two military aircraft.
A U.S. cable disclosed by WikiLeaks states that Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan projected that the North Korean regime will persist for some time even after the death of Kim Jong-il.
Kim said at the meeting that it is uncertain whether the North Korean leadership would accept Kim Jong-un as a successor to Kim Jong-il, but the North could appoint a regent until Jong-un reaches a certain age.
The minister also said should the North Korean regime collapse, its territory would belong to South Korea, and that Seoul’s ultimate goal is a reunification of the two Koreas.
North Korea's growing dependence on China, reflected by the launch of new joint economic zones along their border, drives discord among parties seeking to curb North Korea's nuclear weapons drive, experts here said Friday.
"It does seem to me that the increase of their assistance to the North and the North's growing dependence on China, where perhaps now 75-80 percent of North Korea's trade is with China, creates the problem of divisions within those trying to inhibit North Korea's nuclear weapons development," he added.
Jack Pritchard, president of Korea Economic Institute, noted the timing of the special economic zones announcement.
He recalled the exchange of trips by Chinese President Hu Jintao and the North's leader in October 2005 and January 2006. At that time, Kim's request for massive economic assistance was reportedly turned down by Hu, and the North went ahead with a nuclear test in October 2006.
A very important question is whether China is worried that "something bad can happen in connection with this," he said.
markmackinnon Mark MacKinnon/马凯
"There is a risk of instability" if Red Shirt party - leading in the polls - wins July 3 vote, Thai PM Abhisit tells FT
US senators said Friday that they have taken a major step to halt a controversial military base plan on Japan's Okinawa island and called on the Pentagon to make a fresh assessment.
Brushing aside insistence by the two governments that plans should go ahead, the Senate Armed Services Committee agreed to bar any funds to move troops from Japan to Guam and ordered a new study on Okinawa's flashpoint Futenma base.
The bill requires the Defense Department to study an alternative, drafted by Democratic Senator Jim Webb of Virginia, to close and return Futenma's real estate and move its air assets to Okinawa's existing Kadena Air Base.
In South Korea, the Senate bill would end funding obligations for troops to bring their families. Starting in 2007, military commanders have allowed many of the 28,500 troops stationed in South Korea to be accompanied.
A recent study by the non-partisan Government Accountability Office said that the Defense Department did not sufficiently study the costs of the change, which could total $22 billion through 2050.
China is increasing its coastal surveillance services 66 percent (to 15,000 personnel) over the next decade. That is only part of the force that watches coastal waters (which include the Coast Guard and various other law enforcement agencies plus part of the navy.) All these forces are increasingly active in trying to keep any foreign military vessels out of the 371 kilometers economic zone (a violation of international law, which only recognizes 22 kilometers, the distance international law recognizes as "territorial waters.") China denies that it is trying to turn its economic zone into territorial waters, but is doing just that.
In Pakistan, the military establishment is outraged that historical truth is being imposed on them. This comes in the form of prominent Pakistanis admitting what the rest of the world has long known; that Pakistan, not India, started the four wars (since 1947) between the two countries. Pakistan lost all of those wars, but it had always been an article in faith in Pakistan (but not to the rest of the world) that India had plotted and schemed to start each of those conflicts. In other works, Pakistanis were taught that Pakistan was the victim of Indian aggression, not the other way around. This has often caused problems for Pakistanis going to college in the West, where the reality of these wars, and how they started, was acknowledged and openly discussed. Pakistanis who protested these realities while in the West, were buried by an avalanche of evidence that contradicted what was taught in Pakistan. But back in Pakistan, you believed the fantasy (Pakistan as victim) version, or else. But now, in the wake of the recent bin Laden raid and the attack on the Pakistani naval base, people are less afraid to speak the truth. There is still the very real threat of arrest, "disappearing" or murder. But these threats no longer guarantee silence. All this has sent a wave of fear through the upper ranks of the military and intelligence establishment (ISI). Many Pakistanis fear the generals may feel compelled to stage another coup. But this time, the popular support for such a change is not there. That could mean civil war if a coup was attempted.
The U.S. has accused Pakistani intelligence (ISI) of working with al Qaeda in two recent cases, where American intelligence provided Pakistan with the location of terrorist bomb making facilities in North Waziristan. In both cases, the terrorists had packed up and left by the time Pakistani police showed up. The bombs were used in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Pakistan denied that they leaked information to the terrorists.
For the second time this month, several hundred Taliban from Afghanistan crossed the border to attack Pakistani troops. In this case the target was several new checkpoints the army had set up on border roads, interrupting free use of these routes by the Taliban. This attack, and one on June 4th, were both in an area (Lower Dir, Bajaur) where Pakistani troops have been trying to clear out Taliban for over a year.
Pakistan... the most screwed up country in the middle-east.
Iran gives up on India, pursues gas pipeline with Pak
Tehran has given up on Indian participation in the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline project, which it is now pursuing bilaterally with Islamabad. India can join the project if it wants but Tehran’s engagement with Islamabad wouldn’t stop because India isn’t there.
Philippines Sends Warship After China Boat Heads to Disputed Sea
The Philippines announced it will send its biggest warship, a World War II vessel, to a disputed part of the South China Sea after China said it was deploying one of its new coastal patrol vessels in the waters.
The U.S., which has patrolled Asia-Pacific waters since World War II, has defense treaties with the Philippines and Thailand, and guarantees Taiwan’s security. U.S. aircraft carrier USS George Washington is “on a routine patrol of waters in the Western Pacific,” U.S. Navy spokesman Commander Jeff Davis said, without providing details of its planned route.
The Philippine Navy removed territorial markers placed by China on three reefs in the South China Sea near Palawan island in May, Armed Forces Naval Forces West commander Edgardo Tamayo said yesterday.