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Despite chest-pounding Russian protests, the US is moving ahead with plans to install a missile defense shield to protect NATO European territory, and has committed four of its 60 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers to sit off the coast of Spain.
Geoff Ziezulewicz of Stars and Stripes reports that the ships will deploy to the 6th fleet in Rota, and bring with them a full Lockheed Martin Aegis combat system with a long list of heavy ordnance and a “detect to kill” radar array.
The radar system, and the ability to send missiles to destroy incoming ballistic missiles, is what the Russians are so upset about.
In Russia’s neighboring country and ally, Belarus, this network of US-funded NGOs have attempted to start a “Belarusian Spring” to overthrow leader Alexander Lukashenko, who has adamently opposed NATO’s creep toward its, and Russia’s borders. And now Russia itself has just rooted out a plot by these very same NGOs creeping in and around the nation’s political institutions, in an attempt to subvert and replace them.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has played down his party's losses at Sunday's parliamentary election as inevitable for a party in power.
Thousands of police and interior troops are on alert in Moscow, after one of the biggest opposition rallies in the city centre for years.
Observers from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) say Sunday's election was slanted in favour of Mr Putin's party, United Russia.
Russia has begun construction of its second "Improved Kilo" class diesel-electric submarine. These are mostly for the export market, although the Russian Navy is buying a few more of this improved model as well. The Kilos weigh 2,300 tons (surface displacement), have six torpedo tubes and a crew of 57. They are quiet, and can travel about 700 kilometers under water at a quiet speed of about five kilometers an hour. Kilos carry 18 torpedoes or SS-N-27 anti-ship missiles (with a range of 300 kilometers and launched underwater from the torpedo tubes.) The combination of quietness and cruise missiles makes Kilo very dangerous to American carriers.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called for an investigation into Sunday’s parliamentary elections in Russia amid reports of widespread vote fraud and election violations, in comments a senior Russian official described as "strange."
The delivery of the first Graney class nuclear-powered multipurpose attack submarine to the Russian Navy has been postponed until the end of 2012 due to additional tests of its weapons systems, the Sevmash shipyard said.
The overhaul of mothballed Admiral Nakhimov nuclear-powered cruiser will start after 2012 with the focus on refitting the ship with advanced weaponry and electronics, the Sevmash shipyard said.
Russia will start building modernized Borey-A class strategic nuclear-powered submarines in 2012, the Sevmash shipyard said.
Fourth-generation Borey class submarines are expected to constitute the core of Russia's modern strategic submarine fleet. Russia is planning to build eight Borey and Borey-A class subs by 2020.
The Russian Air Force is receiving about a hundred new or refurbished aircraft and helicopters next year. That's a big improvement over a decade ago, when the air force got no aircraft, and only enough fuel to allow most pilots a few hours a month (on average) in the air.
Over the last decade, the air force got more and more new, or rebuilt, aircraft each year, along with more fuel. Now Russian Air Force pilots get all the fuel for training that they need. But the air force is still full of Cold War vintage aircraft that have never been upgraded.
President Dmitry Medvedev has said that Russia may be forced to take new steps in response to further deployment of American missile defense system in Europe.
“Our response to European missile defense will be gradual. The first stage has already been completed – that was the launching of the radar system in Kaliningrad,” Medvedev said at a meeting with his and Prime Minister Putin's supporters on Thursday.
The president warned that more steps will follow if necessary.
"But I really would not like any of the Russian leaders to make the decision to deploy strike forces at our borders at the end of this decade," Medvedev added.
The Russian Air Force is planning to acquire about 60 new and modernized air defense systems in 2012, Air Force spokesman Col. Vladimir Drik said on Thursday.
“The new acquisitions include S-400 long-range air defense missile systems, Nebo-U radars and Pantsir-S1 short range missile/gun systems,” Drik said.
Russia’s newly created Aerospace Defense Forces officially went on duty on Thursday to become the country’s first line of defense against strategic military threats.
French shipbuilder DCNS has received advance payment from Moscow under a $1.2-billion contract and will start the construction of the first warship for the Russian Navy, the DCNS press service said on Wednesday.
The two countries signed a contract in June on two French-built Mistral class amphibious assault ships including the transfer of sensitive technology.
NATO allies will strive to convince Moscow this week that their European missile shield is not aimed at Russia after the Kremlin threatened to deploy weapons systems near EU borders.
They will then meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday to tell him the missile shield will go ahead but that NATO still wants to negotiate a cooperation deal with Moscow, alliance diplomats said.
- South Korea said Monday it will donate US$5.65 million (about 6.5 billion won) for humanitarian projects in North Korea through the U.N. body responsible for the rights of children.
Washington opposes the revision of guidelines that restrict South Korea's missile range to less than 300 km. Officials from the two countries discussed the issue at the Defense Ministry on Thursday but failed to narrow their differences. They agreed to meet again early next year.
South Korea is replacing two elderly 250 ton Italian mini-submarines (from the 1980s) with the locally designed KSS 500A.
Meant for coastal operations, the 500A would be useful against North Korea or even China or Japan.
Each 500A can carry two heavy and four light torpedoes. There is also space for some mines and vertical launched missiles. The boat also has accommodations for 14 commandos and the capacity for them to use scuba gear to leave the sub while submerged.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-il regularly blasts the breakdown in military discipline among troops, a report based on internal data collected over the last decade said Monday.
The risk of conflict remains serious on the Korean Peninsula, especially near their western sea border, as the South Korean government maintains a tough policy line towards the North ahead of a year of general and presidential elections, an international security think tank said Thursday.
The North Korean government is increasing fearful of an invasion from the south. This is something that is not even mentioned publicly. But the northern leadership is aware of how their armed forces have deteriorated in the last two decades. The decline has accelerated in the last few years as the troops have lost their faith in North Korea. Part of this was hunger, for in the past the troops always had food. But most troops are conscripts, and they are coming from families who have known only increasing deprivation. The troops also noted that their senior officers live very well. The northern leadership is also aware that the South Korean armed forces have loyal, well-armed and trained troops. North Korean military experts point out that the southerners are strong enough, especially if their American allies help out, to invade the north. Of course, the south has no interest in doing this. The only talk of moving into North Korea is to restore order after a government collapse up there, or a civil war.
It is widely known that North Korea has the ability to counterfeit virtually undetectable US dollar and Japanese yen "superbills." What is less well known is that the hermit kingdom has begun producing very high-quality counterfeit 100 yuan renminbi bills, and is using this capability to threaten China against cooperating with United Nations Security Council sanctions against the Kim Jong-il regime.
New intelligence indicates that North Korea is moving ahead with building its first road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile, an easily hidden weapon capable of hitting the United States, according to Obama administration officials.
The intelligence was revealed in a classified Capitol Hill briefing last month. Its existence was made public in a letter to Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta from five House Republicans.
Marine authorities in the northeastern Chinese province of Liaoning near the North Korea-China border are using an unmanned aerial vehicle to watch illegal activities in waters off North Korea.
Since not many countries use UAVs for coastal patrols, there is speculation that China wants to monitor North Korean defectors who escape by sea.
Arms control experts are dismissing a report by US university students that suggests China's nuclear arsenal may be much larger than previously estimated, saying the research is shoddy and unreliable.
A new air-to-air missile (PL-10) has been seen on Chinese J-11B fighters. The PL-10 looks very similar to the South African A-Darter. This is an 89 kg (196 pound), three meter (9.3 foot) long heat seeking missile that is highly maneuverable and resistant to countermeasures. The A-Darter is not yet in service, but is designed to be similar to the U.S. AIM-9X.
In the backdrop of China's increasing assertiveness, Washington will for the first time host a trilateral official-level dialogue with Japanese, Indian and US diplomats on December 19 to build convergence over regional maritime security and non-proliferation in East Asia and Pacific region.
In response to increased western hostility towards Iran, Chinese Major General Zhang Zhaozhong remarked that “China will not hesitate to protect Iran even with a third world war,” comments that have provoked much debate in China.
Laos and China pledged on Monday to deepen military exchanges and cooperation, strengthen unity and friendship between the two countries'militaries and work together to maintain regional peace and stability.
The Seychelles invited Beijing to set up a military base on the archipelago to beef up the fight against piracy there, Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Paul Adam said.
The declaration came Dec. 2 as Gen. Liang Guanglie is making the first-ever visit by a Chinese defense minister to the Indian Ocean island state.
China’s top security chief has warned provincial officials to be prepared for unrest if financial conditions continue to deteriorate in China.
Chinese President Hu Jintao has urged the country's navy to prepare for military combat and advance naval modernisation as part of efforts to safeguard world peace.
The navy should "accelerate its transformation and modernisation in a sturdy way, and make extended preparations for military combat in order to make greater contributions to safeguard national security and world peace", Hu said in a speech on Tuesday that comes amid US and regional concerns over China's naval ambitions.
The envoys will be instructed on new foreign policy which has been reviewed in the light of last month’s attack, Itar-Tass reports. Ambassadors in the US, the EU countries, Russia, India, Afghanistan and other states were called back, the ministry said, adding that they will be familiarized with the new foreign policy doctrine.
Pakistan is pulling its troops out of at least two of the three centers meant to coordinate military activity across the Afghan border in apparent retaliation for NATO airstrikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, U.S. military officials said.
Islamabad has so far refused to take part in a US probe into air strikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, exacerbating fears Saturday of a prolonged US-Pakistani crisis as a result of the attack.
Deadly NATO strikes have sapped Pakistan's appetite for helping the United States carve out a settlement in Afghanistan, experts say, with army chiefs under pressure from their furious junior ranks.
"Officers were very angry," said one person who attended. "They are also under pressure from the soldiers, mid-level officers and the families of the victims who tell them: 'Why do you stand with people who kill our soldiers?'"
The White House on Thursday dismissed the notion of offering an apology to Pakistan over the NATO air strikes that killed 24 soldiers, insisting an inquiry was still ongoing as to how the men died.
On 27 November Interior Minister Rehman Malik, addressing journalists at the Ministry of the Interior’s National Crisis Management Cell, after strongly condemning the NATO attack on Pakistani forces, stated that the resupply routes for NATO via Pakistan have been stopped “permanently,” adding that the decisions of the Defense Cabinet Committee (DCC) on the NATO forces attack inside Pakistan would be implemented in letter and spirit, stressing that “The decisions of the DCC are final and would be implemented.”
Pakistan has decided to install air defence system at Pakistan border to stop future aggression.
Indian President Pratibha Patil will review Sudarshan Shakti in the Rajasthan desert on December 5. The exercise, which has been mounted by the Southern Army, is touted as one of the biggest military exercises mounted by the Indian Army in the last two decades.
Speaking to media persons in Pune on Wednesday, Lt-Gen AK Singh, southern army commander, said the exercise, a once-in-3-years event, has deployed as many as 50,000 soldiers, 500 armed vehicles and fighter jets and combat helicopters of the Indian Air Force.
The Pentagon insisted Wednesday that a NATO air strike that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers near the Afghan border was in no way a deliberate US attack on Pakistan.
The Chinese military has staged a massive wargame exercise near Pakistan in response to a build-up of U.S. troops in the region as a top Chinese government official warned that any threat to Pakistan would be taken as a direct threat to China.
According to the report, the United States is massing troops on Pakistan’s border in an act of aggression that China sees as a direct threat to its close alliance with the country. In response, China recently sent large numbers of Second Artillery PLA troops armed with sophisticated DF-21C and short-range DF-11A tactical missiles to China’s northwestern plateau near Pakistan for a huge military exercise designed to reflect China’s “attitude towards the US threat to Pakistan.”
“Militarily, China will be conducting massive and heavy equipment desert warfare in Pakistan on the 16th,” states the translated report.
With the Russian threat to cut land routes for supplies to NATO troops in Afghanistan, the Afghan battleground may turn into a cold death trap for NATO, defence analysts believe. They say that Pakistan should utilise the opportunity for a peaceful and prosperous Pakistan by pulling it out of the American war.
Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou on Saturday stressed that he will not discuss unification with China as he sought to ease concerns on his Beijing-friendly policies in the run-up to his reelection bid.
USAID chief Rajiv Shah on Thursday became the highest-ranking US official to visit Taiwan since 2006, delighting the island's government but possibly rankling China.
Signs that Taiwan was preparing for possible war with China were once everywhere: huge posters calling for liberating the Chinese mainland and lengthy school yard drills training students to fight the communist enemy. That culture has changed so much since a detente process began in the 1990s that many young Taiwanese are now unwilling to take up arms to protect the island’s self-rule.
President Ma Ying-jeou of the Kuomintang (KMT) has an 8 percent lead over his main competitor Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen, an academic survey showed Friday, 44 days before the presidential election.
Ukraine’s refusal to join NATO or any other military bloc provides a security belt around the country, President Viktor Yanukovich said at a meeting marking Ukrainian Armed Forces’ Day to be celebrated on Tuesday, December 6. “The non-bloc policy has helped create a belt of security and stability around Ukraine,” he is quoted as saying by Itar-Tass news agency.
Economist Tyler Cowen tweeted, "the current economic deterioration of India is the single most important under-reported story these days…".
We've been tracking India's inflation and stock market woes for some time, so we went digging.
The Bombay Stock Exchange has been one of the world's worst performing stock markets this year. The BSE 30-share index is off 18.06% year-to-date, worse than the stock markets of other BRIC economies.
Foreign investors have been pulling out of the country all year as India continues to struggle with inflation, and investors continue to pick safe havens.
Given the growth of the domestic steel sector, India is likely to overtake the US to become the third-largest steel producer in the world in the next couple of years, the Executive Director of the Association for Iron and Steel Technology (AIST) Ronald E Ashburn said today.
India may face its worst financial crisis in decades if it fails to stem a slide in the rupee, leaving the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) with a difficult choice over how to make best use of its limited reserves to maintain the confidence of foreign investors.
Given the incendiary moniker ''the China killer'' by the more sensationalist press, India's newest nuclear-capable missile will be its most powerful yet - and an unmistakable signal to its neighbours.
Agni V - named after the Hindu god of fire - is due to be tested within three months. It will be capable of carrying a nuclear warhead 5000 kilometres, meaning it can reach not only Beijing and Shanghai but all of northern China.
France will provide sensitive enrichment and reprocessing (ENR) technologies to India despite recent guidelines of the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) stipulating that only those nations which are signatories to the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) can obtain this technology.
India will send a high-level army delegation to China before the end of next month soon after the Annual Defence Dialogue (ADD) between the two countries on December 9 with an aim to improve the bilateral ties.
"Both sides will undertake a further round of delegation exchanges before December-end," the Defence Ministry said in a release here.
The military delegation could be led either by a Lieutenant General or a Major General.
India on Thursday voiced surprise at Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd's remarks suggesting trilateral security agreement between US, India and Australia, and made it clear it was not keen on it.
The US Bell Boeing collaboration on the V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor is to brief India on the aircraft sometime early next year. In a meeting held at the Dubai Air Show last month, Minister of State for Defense, Mallipudi Mangapati Pallam Raju, accompanied by the deputy chief of the Indian Navy, Vice Admiral Satish Soni, asked for a briefing on the aircraft.
Bob Carrese, Executive Director of V-22 Business Development of the Bell Boeing Tiltrotor Team spoke to StratPost at the show, saying, “We did have an Indian delegation that came by, the minister – we briefed him on this. We’ve been invited to give another brief to the staff – the naval staff.” Carrese says Admiral Soni was the ‘gentleman who actually requested the brief on the airborne early warning platform on the V-22′. “V-22 as an AEW (Airborne Early Warning) platform,” he said.
“Indian Navy will protect any Indian asset worldwide including ONGC Videsh assets in South china Sea,” said Vice Admiral (VADM) DK Joshi, who is the Flag Officer commanding, Western Naval Command.
Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya, Commander of the Sri Lanka Army currently in Delhi, India at the invitation of his Indian counterpart to attend several military ceremonies commenced the first leg of his itinerary on Monday at the Red Fort, South Block of the Indian Army Headquarters in Delhi after paying floral tributes to the 'Amar Jawan Jyoti' ( war memorial).
Australia's ruling Labor Party on Sunday endorsed plans to open up uranium sales to India, clearing the way for talks on a bilateral nuclear agreement and resolving an issue that has caused diplomatic tensions between the two nations.
With India's defence forces possessing nuclear strike capabilities from land and air, the triad will be completed by the end of this financial year when the navy acquires a nuclear submarine from Russia.
INS Chakra, the first-generation Russian Nerpa Akula II class nuclear submarine, armed with 300-km range Klub missiles, is to be berthed in the Bay of Bengal. The leased 8,100-tonne vessel is currently in the final user acceptance trial stage in northern Russia.
Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma on Friday said that Chinese submarines with long-range missiles are a matter of concern for India. He said that the Indian Navy is looking at upgrading its fleet soon.
Indian Navy would soon add the air element to its ranks with the first carrier-borne naval fighter aircraft "LCA Tejas (Navy)" all set to take its maiden flight this month, a top defence official said today.
Equipped with state-of-the art technologies and punch, the aircraft is designed to operate from the future Indigenous aircraft carriers the Navy plans to acquire, they said.
The United States tilt towards Pakistan and its overtures to China in the early 70s apparently led India [ Images ] to go ahead with the decision to conduct its first nuclear test in Pokharan in 1974, which caught the entire western intelligence by surprise.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on Myanmar Thursday to cut "illicit ties" with North Korea and said the regime had given assurances that it was not cooperating with Pyongyang. "I was frank that better relations with the United States will only be possible if the entire government respects the international consensus against the spread of nuclear weapons," Clinton told reporters.
China called Thursday for international sanctions against key ally Myanmar to be lifted, as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a historic visit to the isolated nation.
The United States sees no sign of a major nuclear weapons programme in Myanmar and hopes that the new regime will boost cooperation with the UN atomic watchdog, a US official said.
Japan is upgrading air defenses increasingly tested by China and Russia, and officials are wrestling with a fundamental question: Can the country still afford to pay for the most advanced technology and nurture its domestic industry?
In a move expected as soon as this month, Japan's Defense Ministry will pick a replacement for its aging squadrons of Vietnam-era F-4 fighters from among three finalists, two American and one European. The order for a new fighter is expected to total 40 to 60 planes valued at an estimated $4 billion. It is Japan's biggest fighter contract yet and one of the world's largest military contracts this year.
The decision comes as China is overshadowing Japan on many fronts, including overtaking it last year as the world's second-largest economy. Beijing has also ratcheted up its military spending, which is rising 12.7% this year to 601.1 billion yuan ($94.3 billion). Meanwhile, Japan's defense budget—at 4.6 trillion yen ($59 billion) this year—has declined for nearly a decade, and the country now faces mounting bills for its post-earthquake and nuclear-crisis cleanup.
The Philippines called on Muslim rebels to pull together with Manila to formally end a long-running insurgency in the south by early 2012 as the two sides opened a new round of peace talks on Monday.
India and Australia held fruitful discussion on Defence Cooperation today with the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony stressing that New Delhi looks forward to developing its exchanges with Australia both at the bilateral and multilateral fora such as the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM Plus) etc.
The only nuclear reactor in Da Lat on Thursday was completely converted from highly enriched uranium to low-enriched uranium fuel as part of Vietnam’s commitment to use atomic energy for peaceful purposes, VnExpress reported.
Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates says he is in discussions with China to jointly develop a new kind of nuclear reactor.
During a talk at China's ministry of science & technology on Wednesday, the billionaire said: "The idea is to be very low cost, very safe and generate very little waste."
China's navy has hundreds of vessels at its disposal, among them nuclear submarines and an aircraft carrier, but it still does not come close to the huge naval firepower wielded by the United States.
China's leader-in-waiting urged the United States to "curb its tendency of politicising economic issues", state media said Wednesday, after a recent step-up in US criticism of Beijing's trade practices.
South Korea wants the ban lifted, arguing that it desperately needs to reprocess its accumulating spent fuel from nuclear reactors to reduce its stored waste. It also wants to use reprocessing and enrichment to secure fuel supplies for its expanding nuclear power industry. The country aspires to meet 60 percent of its electricity needs with nuclear power by 2030 and become a global exporter of nuclear reactors.
South Korea is planning to add air-launched cruise missiles capable of destroying high value targets in North Korea to its arsenal, reports and officials said Wednesday.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday that NATO had refused to provide a written guarantee that its planned missile shield for Europe poses no threat to Moscow.
"Our friends in NATO categorically refuse to put on paper in legal form what they say verbally, namely that this missile defence project in Europe is not creating risks for Russia, is not directed against Russia," Lavrov said.
Russia warned NATO on Wednesday it was being pushed into a new arms race by a missile shield whose deployment in Europe threatened to cast a shadow over crunch talks between the two former foes.
The warning from Russia's top general came on the third successive day of tense diplomatic exchanges between Moscow and the West over a contested poll that Vladimir Putin's party won despite allegations of fraud.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev arrived in Prague for a two-day visit Wednesday amid mounting tensions between Moscow and NATO over the alliance's planned missile defence shield.
In Prague, Medvedev is also likely to back a bid from a Russian company for a 20-billion-euro ($28-billion) contract to build two nuclear reactors at the Temelin plant situated about 120 kilometres (75 miles) south of Prague.
Russia's top general on Wednesday warned it was being pushed into a new arms race with the West due to the deployment of a US-backed missile defence shield for Europe.
Chief of Staff General Nikolai Makarov told foreign military attaches that the armed forces were already pushing ahead with President Dmitry Medvedev's plans to step up security and deploy missiles along Russia's western border.
Mikhail Gorbachev, the former Soviet Union leader, has called for Russia's elections be rerun due to fraud.
Pro-Kremlin activists outnumber pro-democracy demonstrators in Moscow after disputed election result
The Kremlin mobilised thousands of police, interior troops and pro-government youth groups on Tuesday night to crack down on protests against the rule of Vladimir Putin after elections that saw his party returned to power with a greatly reduced majority.
The Romanian parliament on Tuesday ratified an accord to host US missile interceptors on its soil, a day before a meeting of the 28 NATO members in Brussels.
Russia is joining Germany, China, Israel and many other major military powers by building an instrumented combat training range for its ground forces. Russia has hired the German firm (Rheinmetall) that built the German training range three years ago, to basically build a very similar one in Russia.
This is all based on a breakthrough training system developed by the U.S. Army in 1982. This is the National Training Center (NTC), a 147,000 hectare (359,000 acre) facility in the Mohave desert at Ft Irwin, California. There, the United States Army revolutionized the training of ground combat troops in the 1980s with the development of MILES (laser tag) equipment for infantry and armored vehicles, and the use of MILES in a large, "wired" (to record all activities) combat training area.
NATO's chief urged Moscow on Wednesday to refrain from wasting money on countering an "artificial enemy" as alliance foreign ministers met to calm Russian fears over a European missile shield.
A Russian naval task force from the Northern Fleet has left its base in Severomorsk on a training mission in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, a fleet’s spokesman Capt. 1st Rank Vadim Serga said.
US Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman is to visit Taiwan next week, making him one of the highest ranking US government officials to visit the island in recent years.
The youngest son and heir apparent of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il could assume a powerful military post next year as the communist regime inches toward a third-generation hereditary succession, a South Korean report said Wednesday.
The leader of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday urged other members of Congress to back her efforts to toughen sanctions on North Korea, saying its long-range missile program poses severe threats.
U.S. special envoys dealing with North Korea and Myanmar policy will arrive in South Korea Wednesday for separate visits to discuss the next steps in dealing with the traditionally repressive regimes, officials here said.
Georgia was named a NATO aspirant country for the first time on Thursday, the country’s deputy premier said.
Georgia, which has been proactively seeking NATO membership since a coup in 2003, was included on the list during a two-day meeting of NATO foreign ministers that opened on Wednesday in Brussels
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who attended a NATO-Russian council meeting in Brussels earlier on Thursday, has warned that Russia’s 2008 war with Georgia could be repeated if the South Caucasus state joined NATO.
Russia’s foreign minister has warned of a repetition of its 2008 war with Georgia if the South Caucasus state joins NATO.
NATO, Russia unable to resolve dispute on European missile shield system (DPA)
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hit back on Thursday at a Russian threat to deploy weapons in response to a NATO missile shield as the two sides failed to defuse a rift over the US-backed system.
“We will continue to press forward on missile defence,” Clinton told a press conference in Brussels after talks between NATO foreign ministers and their Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.
Moves by Washington to strengthen military ties in the Pacific are not aimed at containing China, a senior US defence official said Thursday, after holding talks with her Chinese counterpart.
Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich said Wednesday that Pakistan's nuclear arsenal was at risk of being seized by "extremists" who had probably infiltrated Islamabad's military.
Militants destroyed at least 34 trucks in a rocket attack Thursday on a NATO trucking terminal in southwest Pakistan supplying troops in neighbouring Afghanistan, police said.
Reports: Pakistan army believes NATO attack planned (Reuters)
The top US envoy on North Korea Thursday urged the communist state to take concrete steps to revive long-stalled nuclear disarmament talks, saying he had no interest in "talks for talks' sake".
Pyohgyang has threatened Seoul with “unpredictable consequences” if it decides to illuminate a giant artificial Christmas tree near the border between North and South Korea. North Korea has said it will retaliate immediately the Xmas lights are turned on, AFP reports.
Prospects are dim for South Korea and the United States to hold a new round of bilateral meetings with North Korea, though diplomatic efforts are under way to organize fresh talks, a senior government official said Sunday.
North Korea lashed out at South Korea and the United States Sunday for their plan to stage submarine drills twice a year beginning in 2012.
North Korea slammed South Korean President Lee Myung-bak Thursday for having encouraged a defector over his recent novel critical of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.
India lost another MiG-21 fighter, the fifth to have crashed this year. That's over 71 percent of Indian warplanes lost this year. Over the last half century, India has bought 976 MiG-21s, and over half are gone, mostly because of accidents.
The Indian Navy now wants to double their order for American P-8I maritime reconnaissance aircraft to 24. Earlier this year, the navy was allowed to buy another four P-8Is, largely in response to growing Chinese naval activity in the Indian Ocean.
In the light of some incidents involving warships from Pakistan and China, India is considering a protocol on the lines of the Cold War era arrangement between the US and the erstwhile USSR warships to avoid any skirmishes at sea.
Russia said Friday it may boycott a May summit with NATO if the two sides failed to bridge their differences over a US-backed missile defence system for Europe.
Although China is Burma's largest trading partner ($4.4 billion a year) and largest foreign investor; the recent elections have made it politically correct for India and the United States to get more involved. What irritates China the most is the Burmese order for Chinese firms to halt construction of nearly $4 billion worth of hydroelectric dams in northern Burma. In the last half century, China has become the most active dam builder on the planet, and now has over half the large dams on the planet. These dams have become a major source of electricity for China. The northern Burma dams are unpopular in the West because they disrupt the lives of so many Burmese and send all the electricity to China (while Burma has major power shortages). There's a quiet shoving contest between China and the West, and the Burmese government, over the fate of the dam project. The Burmese apparently seek to get more aid from India, China and the West because of all this strife, and play the major powers off against each other.
Every now and again, one reads an editorial that stops the reader in his tracks.
On 8 December, with the headline "War Inevitable To Tackle Indian Water Aggression," Pakistan’s Urdu-language Nawa-e Waqt, issued such a screed.
Nawa-e Waqt bluntly commented on India’s Kashmiri water polices and Islamabad’s failure up to now to stop New Delhi’s efforts to construct hydroelectric dams in Kashmir, “India should be forcibly prevented from constructing these dams. If it fails to constrain itself, we should not hesitate in launching nuclear war because there is no solution except this.”
The Pakistani Taliban have announced they are in peace talks with the country's government – news that holds out the prospect of a four-year insurgency winding down but could further fray the US-Pakistan relationship.
As US-Pak relations hit an all time low amidst Islamabad strengthening its air defence system, there is increasing risk of a direct military confrontation between the United States and Pakistan in the year 2012, while that of India-Pak decreases, an influential American think tank has said.
Much to the irritation of India, the island nation of Seychelles has asked China to establish a military base in the Seychelles if China will help keep Somali pirates away. The presence of these pirates has hurt the local economy, and any help is appreciated. Seychelles has sent about a hundred of its troops to China for training. A year ago, a Chinese hospital ship visited and treated over a hundred people. Chinese warships going to, or from, Somalia have stopped for visits. But a base would be another matter, and something India wants to avoid. Seychelles is 1,500 kilometers off the African coast and 3,000 kilometers southwest of India.
China, in the meantime, has resisted other invitations to establish naval bases in the Indian Ocean, and requests from senior Chinese admirals for such bases. But as the Seychelles offer indicates, the clamor, and opportunity, for Chinese foreign naval bases simply continues. The most compelling call for such bases is coming from Chinese businesses, increasingly worried about the safety of Indian Ocean shipping lanes.
IRAN MP SAYS MILITARY TO PRACTISE CLOSING STRAIT OF HORMUZ TO SHIPPING; IRANIAN MILITARY DECLINES TO COMMENT - RTRS
Pyohgyang has threatened Seoul with “unpredictable consequences” if it decides to illuminate a giant artificial Christmas tree near the border between North and South Korea. North Korea has said it will retaliate immediately the Xmas lights are turned on, AFP reports.
The United States will consider meeting North Korean officials if they make good on nuclear disarmament pledges, but they first "must change their behaviour", a top US envoy said Monday.
U.S. lawmakers will step up efforts this week to put more pressure on North Korea through legislation calling for the repatriation of Korean War prisoners and toughening sanctions for its alleged proliferation activities, congressional officials said Sunday.
The Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul next year could put "considerable pressure" on North Korea to halt its uranium enrichment program (UEP) if other nations declare an end to their use of highly enriched uranium, South Korea's foreign minister said Monday.
South Korea will light up three giant Christmas trees along the North Korean border despite vociferous protests from Pyongyang.
The steel Christmas trees, which will be well visible from North Korea, will be lit up from Dec. 23 to Jan. 6.
A Chinese fishing boat skipper stabbed a South Korean coastguard officer to death and wounded another officer on Monday as they tried to arrest him for illegal fishing, officials said.
China on Monday said its naval fleet would only seek supplies or recuperate in the Seychelles during anti-piracy operations, denying reports that Beijing might break with its long-standing policy by setting up a military base overseas with a presence in the Indian Ocean archipelago.
Pakistan's blockade of the US supply line into Afghanistan, ordered in retaliation for a border strike, is likely to stay in place for weeks, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has told the BBC.
Gilani said in an interview with the BBC aired Sunday that the ban, already in its third week in the longest closure of the 10-year war, would not be lifted until new "rules of engagement" were agreed with Washington.
The United States on Sunday vacated a Pakistani airbase following a deadline given by Islamabad in the wake of anger over NATO air strikes last month that killed 24 soldiers, officials said.
Australia is spending $81 million each to upgrade the anti-ship missile defenses of its eight ANZAC class frigates. The upgrades consist of new radars and fire control systems, which enable incoming anti-ship missiles to be detected and tracked earlier and more accurately. This enables the ship's Sparrow missiles to more effectively destroy the attackers.
Japan should consider building a military base on islands disputed with China to counter Beijing's rising assertiveness, a leader of Japan's opposition said Monday on a visit to the United States.
Nobuteru Ishihara, sometimes seen as a future prime minister if his Liberal Democratic Party returns to power, said that Japan should also look more broadly at stepping up defense spending in the face of a rising China.
Japan launched a new spy satellite into orbit on Monday amid concerns over North Korea's missile programme and to monitor natural disasters in the region, officials said.
In the north, the upper class is feeling the pinch of economic collapse. The most obvious example of this is how wives are going to work, and not just any work. Wives of officers and Workers Party officials are now engaging in smuggling and black market trade. Families of officers and party officials are forbidden from doing this, but cutbacks in government supplied food and other goodies has led a growing number of higher class wives to go into business.
But the biggest shock to the security services has been the discovery that many of these women have been operating like this for years, some as far back as the 1990s.
This bad morale up north has hurt efforts to promote the young heir, Kim Jong Un, as a worthy ruler to replacing his dying father, Kim Jong Il. The government propaganda experts are working very hard to turn Kim Jong Un into a heroic figure. But it isn’t working. Kim Jong Un is a pudgy, pampered young man in a country full of skinny, malnourished guys his age. The number of jokes about Kim Jong Un are increasing, as is graffiti mocking the "respected general" (instead of "youth captain", to reflect a recent promotion.) Because of this succession problem, there is fear of chaos when the current ruler (who is quite ill), Kim Jong Il, dies. In the north, there is an atmosphere of impending doom. Most North Koreans expect a collapse of their government. It’s no longer a question of if, but when.
The United States confirmed Wednesday that one of its senior diplomats will hold talks with top North Korean officials in Beijing this week to discuss the possible resumption of US food aid.
"Were we to decide to go forward with this, we would need to have much more strict and clear monitoring systems in place" to ensure the assistance reaches those most in need, Nuland said.
North Korea pressed South Korea Wednesday not to light up giant Christmas tree-shaped towers near their tense border, warning of unspecified grave consequences.
North Korea has allowed a Chinese company to do business at its scenic mountain resort, a source said Tuesday, in an apparent attempt to revitalize the resort at the center of a dispute with South Korea.
South Korea on Thursday unveiled a home-made interceptor missile designed to counter North Korean ballistic missiles and fighter jets.
The new Iron Hawk-II surface-to-air missile, with a range of up to 40 kilometres (24 miles), was displayed at a ceremony in the Agency for Defence Development headquarters in the central city of Daejeon, the agency said.
The Agency for Defense Development is developing a bomb capable of destroying North Korean coastal bunkers or caves housing long-range artillery pieces. Future Hope Alliance lawmaker Song Young-sun of the National Assembly Defense Committee said the ADD launched a W6.2 billion project last year to develop a so-called bunker buster bomb that is capable of penetrating 1.5-m concrete walls and plans to complete it by 2013 (US$1=W1,163).
The government asked China seven times since November last year to stop Chinese trawlermen fishing illegally in Korea's Exclusive Economic Zone, but Beijing brushed off the complaints.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Monday made no apology for the killing of a Korean coast guard officer by the skipper of a Chinese trawler who was caught fishing illegally in Korean waters. The ministry and the state-run Chinese media indirectly admitted the trawler was fishing illegally but refrained from comment on the crime.
- South Korea's Coast Guard said Tuesday they would seek an arrest warrant for the captain of a Chinese fishing boat on suspicion of killing a local Coast Guard officer during a raid operation on the vessel caught for illegal fishing.
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak called for "strong" measures to protect the country's coast guard sailors during the crackdown on illegal fishing by Chinese boats.
This could mean more equipment and personnel are allocated to the coast guard service so there is no repeat of the fatal attack on two sailors during a raid on a Chinese boat suspected of fishing illegally in South Korean waters.
After receiving the second of two Russian Gepard (Panther) class frigates earlier this year, Vietnam has ordered two more. The second two will be optimized for anti-submarine warfare, with more submarine detection equipment.
These ships are 102m (316 feet) long, have a crew of 98 and endurance of 15 days. Top speed is 50 kilometers an hour. These frigates are meant for coastal patrol. They carry eight 8 SS-N-25 anti-ship missiles, one, SA-N-4, twin rail anti-aircraft missile launcher (with 20 missiles). There is a 76mm cannon and two, six barrel, 30mm anti-missile autocannon, four 533mm torpedo tubes (for anti-submarine operations) and a 12 barrel anti-submarine rocket launcher. The ship also carries up to 20 naval mines. Electronics include navigation and air defense radars, as well as sonar.
Pakistan stood firm Thursday in charging that US-led forces deliberately carried out air strikes that killed 24 soldiers and led Islamabad to shut critical NATO supply routes to Afghanistan.
Pakistan's embassy in Washington invited reporters to a briefing at which officials showed images and maps that they said supported Islamabad's case, despite US insistence that the November 26 incident was a regrettable mistake.
An embassy official said that NATO forces could not have mistaken the two border posts on the Afghan border for bases of Islamic extremists such as the Taliban as they stood on high ground and had structures.
The Pakistani military wants some respect. Actually it wants a lot of respect and wants Pakistanis to stop saying mean things about the generals and their pampered officers.
There followed reports of an attempt by the civilian government to enlist American aid in a crackdown on the Pakistani military leadership. It's unclear who was behind this, but the generals were not amused. The generals were even more annoyed with more vocal criticism from American leaders (political and military) about the continued Pakistani military and intelligence support for Islamic terrorist groups.
At the same time, more dire actions were threatened if the U.S. cut its military aid to Pakistan. American legislators are cutting the aid anyway. The Pakistani generals are threatening another coup if Pakistani politicians and voters don't deliver more support for the military. Many Pakistanis lined up behind the generals like they used to. Yet there is growing popular opposition to the generals, who have become a privileged caste.
A U.S. Congressional panel has frozen $700 million in aid to Pakistan until it gives assurances it is helping fight the spread of homemade bombs in the region, a move one Pakistani senator called unwise and likely to strain ties further.
The Thai navy has signed a deal with Atlas Elektronik in Germany for the company's SeaFox mine neutralization submersible drone systems.
A satellite image of China's first aircraft carrier has been captured while the vessel was undergoing sea trials in the Yellow Sea, a US company said on its website Thursday.
The 300-meter (990-foot) ship, a refitted former Soviet carrier, was photographed on December 8, said Colorado-based DigitalGlobe Inc., and an analyst from the company spotted it when reviewing images five days later.
China has officially withdrawn its MiG-21 clone (the J-7) from first line service. This comes as no surprise. In the last four years, China has more than doubled the number of modern combat aircraft (J-10, J-11, Su-27, Su-30 and J-8F) from 500 to over 1,200. Four years ago, China relied mainly on some 2,000 locally built copies of Russian MiG-19s (J-6) and MiG-21 (J-7). There are still several hundred bombers, mostly Russian knockoffs. Normally, the actual number of Chinese aircraft is a state secret. However, thanks to the ability of Chinese to move freely throughout the country, and access to the Internet, it's possible to locate and count all the air force units in the country. That shows a current force that is rapidly changing from one that is mostly MiG-21s and MiG-19s, to one composed of much more capable aircraft. China is buying and building a lot of the Russian Su-27s and Su-30s (the latter an upgrade of the former.) But new, home grown designs, like the J-20 are also showing up.
The Myanmar government reportedly has stopped military operations against rebel fighters in the northern Kachin state near the Chinese border.
While the fighting may stop through another cease-fire, there remains the issue of thousands of displaced people, the International Crisis Group has said. That, as well as ethnic discrimination, rural poverty and giving the local population a greater share of rewards from exploitation of the regions' natural resources have to be addressed.
The problem of tens of thousands of displaced people has to be addressed if more fighting and all-out civil war is to be avoided, said Lynn Yoshikawa of Refugees International, a group in the United States.
"Tensions between the government and Kachin Independence Organization have reached boiling point," said Yoshikawa in a report by the Irrawaddy, a south Asian news group in Thailand.
Sri Lanka on Tuesday said it was "true friends" with China due to military assistance provided during the island's bloody civil war, underlining growing links with Beijing.
Japan has chosen the US-made F-35 stealth jet as its next-generation mainstay fighter in a multi-billion dollar deal, reports said Tuesday.
Six years after deciding to adopt the Yak-130 as its new advanced jet trainer, Russia has finally placed a substantial order for 55 of the aircraft.
The new Yak-130s will be delivered over the next four years. This is just in time because the existing Cold War era L-29 and L-39 trainers are rapidly falling apart. This big order also means that Russia is serious about increasing pilot quality.
Production of the Yak-130 began four years ago. So far, the Russian Air Force has bought 67. Algeria has ordered 16. The Russian Air Force says it will eventually buy another 200 of them to equip four regiments of light attack aircraft. That pledge is still unconfirmed.
The Yak-130 is capable of performing many of the tricky maneuvers of Russia's top fighters (like the Su-27, MiG-29, and many modern Western fighters). It can also perform as a light bomber.
A new missile system has been deployed in Russia’s Northern Caucasus republic of Chechnya, a senior military official said on Wednesday.
The "Barnaul-T" is a unified, automated command-control system for tactical air- defence units
The Missile Defense Agency has awarded Raytheon a $241 million contract modification for continued engineering design and development work on the Standard Missile-3 Block IIA.
The SM-3 Block IIA's larger rocket motors and advanced kinetic warhead will allow for a greater defended area, protecting both the U.S. and its allies from ballistic missiles.
Russia’s participation in the 2012 Russia-NATO Council summit in Chicago has not been decided yet as it depends on the U.S. position concerning the missile defense shield, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Thursday.
If we agree on the missile defense scheme that suits us, the chances of holding the summit will increase. If we do not agree it really does not matter what month it is: January, March or April,” deputy minister said.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Il is dead, North Korean state TV said Monday.
Kim, 69, died Saturday, state TV said.
The son of Kim Il Song, the founder of the communist nation, Kim Jong Il had been in power since 1994 when his father died of a heart attack at age 82.
The enigmatic leader was a frequent thorn in the side of neighboring South Korea, as well as the United States. There have been reports in recent years about his health, as well as that power will be transitioned to his son, Kim Jong Un.
The U.S. defense authorization bill contains a section, which calls for “normalization” of military cooperation with Georgia, including the sale of defensive arms.
The portion of the legislation dealing with Georgia calls on the U.S. President to submit to the congressional committees for defense and foreign affairs within three months after the bill is enacted a “plan for normalization” with a purpose to support Georgia “in providing for the defense of its government, people, and sovereign territory, consistent with the continuing commitment of the Government of the Republic of Georgia to its nonuse-of-force pledge.”
It calls for the sale of the U.S. “defense articles and services” and also for encouraging “NATO member and candidate countries to restore and enhance their sales of defensive articles and services to the Republic of Georgia as part of a broader NATO effort to deepen its defense relationship and cooperation” with Georgia.
South Korean officials are under public and media fire Monday for their apparent failure to collect credible intelligence on the sudden death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.
South Korean intelligence apparently had no information about Kim's death two days ago until North Korea announced it.
South Korea's finance ministry and financial watchdog shifted into emergency mode Monday in a bid to minimize fallout on local markets from North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's death, officials said.
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak ordered Cabinet ministers Monday to ensure that the North Korean leader's death will not pose a threat to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, his spokesman said.
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev agreed Monday to cooperate closely for peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula after the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, the presidential spokesman said.
- South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) on Monday placed all military units on emergency alert following the news of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's death.
A massive heart attack accompanied by arrhythmia likely killed North Korean leader Kim Jong-il on Saturday, the same disorder which claimed the life of his father and predecessor, experts here said Monday.
The North Korean military and people have pledged to follow the leadership of the late leader's heir apparent Kim Jong-un to carry on the legacy of the communist state, its state media said Monday, amid growing uncertainty over the power transition.
North Korea has agreed to suspend its enriched-uranium nuclear weapons programme, a key United States demand for the resumption of disarmament talks, news reports said Saturday.
Yonhap news agency and the Chosun Ilbo daily quoted an unidentified diplomatic source saying the Washington had also agreed to provide the North with up to 240,000 tonnes of food aid.
News of Kim's death comes at a tricky time for the Obama administration as it weighs whether to re-engage with Pyongyang on the nuclear issue and whether to provide food aid for millions of North Koreans hard hit by shortages.
Raytheon has received a $685.7 million Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract for additional new fire units of the combat-proven Patriot Air and Missile Defense System for Taiwan.
+ Raytheon recently delivered the first Configuration-3 radar system to Taiwan, completing the upgrade 10 months ahead of the original program plan the customer requested.
Taiwan received two upgraded early warning aircraft from the United States Sunday, the island's airforce said, as part of an arms deal that upset China-US relations.
Growing public discontent over corruption and mismanagement in the government has led to growing unrest and more violent protests. Public demonstrations against corruption or government policies have increased in the last two decades from under 8,000 a year to over 180,000 a year.
The most frequent causes of these demonstrations are land theft, police misconduct (like murdering someone in jail), or various forms of official corruption.
China has always depended on strong local governments at the province level and below to take care of things. But this is where the corruption is worst. More and more provincial officials are being prosecuted for corruption but there are so many of them and they tend to help each other out. In effect, China is at war with itself over the corruption and bad government and everyone is losing.
Australia has agreed to pay $8 million for maintenance and support on the 37 LITENING AT targeting pods it bought six years ago.
The pods, packed with electronics and sensors, are very popular with fighter pilots, mainly because they contain FLIR (video quality night vision infrared radar) and TV cameras that enable pilots flying at 6,200 meters (20,000 feet) to clearly make out what is going on down on the ground. The pods also contain laser designators for laser guided bombs and laser range finders that enable pilots to get coordinates for JDAM (GPS guided) bombs. Safely outside the range of most anti-aircraft fire (five kilometers up and up to fifty kilometers away) pilots can literally see the progress of ground fighting and have even been acting as aerial observers for ground forces. These capabilities also enable pilots to more easily find targets themselves and hit them with laser guided or JDAM bombs.
Australia's Defense Department removed three major projects from its official list of contracts falling behind schedule or having cost overruns.
The announcement was made by the Minister for Defense Stephen Smith and Minister for Defense Materiel Jason Clare.
The projects now said to be on track include the Land 121 Phase 3B, a contract for Overlander replacement field vehicles, trailers and modules, and the Air 5418 Phase 1, a Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile.
Also back on track is the Joint 129 Phase 2 project for tactical unmanned aerial vehicles.
The Islamic terrorism in the south continues. Last month there were 67 terror attacks, leaving 41 dead (66 percent of them civilians and 19 percent civil servants). In the last seven years, there have been 11,000 terrorist attacks, leaving nearly 5,000 people dead. Last month, 45 percent of the attacks were drive by (often on motorcycle) shootings and 37 percent bombings.
Government counter-terror efforts have been successful, but slow to completely eradicate the religious and ethnic violence. A combination of force (thousands of additional police and troops), economic aid (to reduce unemployment) and political negotiation (to gain the cooperation of more moderate Islamic leaders) has cut support for the Islamic terrorists (who are allied with gangsters, mainly smugglers).
The border dispute with Cambodia remains unsettled, but both countries have agreed to continue negotiations. The 800 kilometer Thai-Cambodian border has never been precisely defined over the thousand years it has existed. The current negotiations are an attempt to finally settle the matter, and get all the troops withdrawn from the most disputed bits of frontier territory.
The U.S. Navy has approached Thailand about stationing some American warships in Thailand. This is part of a new American strategy to deal with expanding Chinese naval power.
The United States, facing a rising China but a tighter budget, expects to station several combat ships in Singapore and may step up deployments to the Philippines and Thailand, a naval officer said.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has said that the United States intends to dominate other countries, adding that the world is sick and tired of taking orders from Washington.
Russia will develop a new liquid-propellant intercontinental ballistic missile to overcome the U.S.’s prospective missile defense system, Strategic Missile Forces chief Lt. Gen. Sergei Karakayev said on Friday.
Russia’s solid-propellant ICBMs may be unable to penetrate missile defenses, the general said.
He also said the Strategic Missile Forces will test launch 11 ICBMs next year.
U.S. inspection teams have conducted 12 inspections of Strategic Missile Forces facilities in Russia, SMF chief Lt. Gen. Sergei Karakayev said on Friday.
“Under the START III Treaty, Russia is entitled to 18 inspections on U.S. territory a year and use all national technical control systems at its disposal. The U.S. has the same rights,” he said.
Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces will receive advanced automated command-and-control systems, SMF chief Lt. Gen. Sergei Karakayev said on Friday.
New, “fourth-generation systems” will start to be deployed next year at command posts and fixed-site and road-mobile missile complexes, he said.
The Russian Federal Agency for Special Construction will build two military posts in the disputed Kuril Islands, the agency's chief said on Friday.
The US Senate on Saturday confirmed President Barack Obama's nominee to be ambassador to Moscow, Michael McFaul, after a delay tied to US missile defense plans.
Lawmakers approved McFaul, who had served as the chief Russia hand on Obama's National Security Council, in a unanimous voice vote.
The confirmation came after Republican Senator Mark Kirk lifted his "hold" on the nomination over concerns that Russo-US cooperation on the missile shield could see Moscow obtain classified information that it might turn around and share with Iran.
Kirk lifted his objections after the White House wrote him a letter assuring him that it will "not provide Russia with sensitive information about our missile defense systems that would in any way compromise our national security."
India has added UAVs and specially equipped helicopters to its urban counter-terrorism forces.
N.Korea test fired short-range missile this morning off east coast - YTN TV
The defense ministry is willing to accept local religious bodies' request to withdraw the plan to light Christmas tree towers near the border, an official said Monday, as the South Korean government attempted to take a low-key approach following the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.
South Korean said Monday it will bar its people from traveling to North Korea, with the exception of a joint inter-Korean industrial complex in the North's border city of Kaesong.
Opposition lawmakers and liberal activists urged their government Monday to send a condolence delegation to North Korea to mourn the death of leader Kim Jong-il, a move that is likely to draw opposition from conservatives.
South Korea and the United States agreed Monday to closely cooperate in dealing with volatile security situation on the Korean Peninsula following the sudden death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, government officials said.
Originally posted by Darce
Are you hearing anything about hostilities along the DMZ right now V?
The unexpected death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il only three years into a process of grooming his youngest son as his successor has raised uncertainty on the Korean Peninsula, with some observers warning of the regime’s collapse.
Whether Kim Jong-un, who is in his late 20s, can establish his authority is the biggest question mark, analysts said.
Chang Dal-joong, a Seoul National University professor, said at a special forum arranged by the JoongAng Ilbo yesterday that the top priority for Kim Jong-un is getting the North Korean military under control.
Moon Chung-in, another North Korea expert at the forum, said Kim Jong-un appears to have a certain level of protection from Kim Jong-il loyalists, including highly placed relatives, and would face few challenges to his power in the short term.
Another question was whether the North would make use of uncertainty following Kim Jong-il’s death to stage another attack like the shelling of the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong in November 2010.
Military analysts are split. Jong-un could try to boost his reputation as a military man by staging an attack, said some. But others said an attack would hurt him diplomatically on the world stage and reduce his maneuvering room, so an attack would come at too high a cost.
Kim Yong-hyun, a Dongguk University professor, said China will try to keep the North from attacking the South to keep the peninsula stable.
Kim’s death could also nip recent progress in restarting of the six-party talks on denuclearization.
As the news about North Korean leader Kim Jong-il’s death was released, all factories in the Kaesong industrial Complex stopped operations yesterday. South Korean businesses operating in Kaesong voluntarily halted operations and let their North Korean employees go home in order to give them time to mourn.
The death of Kim Jong-Il throws into disarray a US policy of waiting patiently for change in nuclear-armed North Korea, with officials nervously seeking clues on the regime's future direction.
After years of on-off efforts to end North Korea's nuclear program, the United States recently made a tactical shift to maintain low-level dialogue as a way to discourage future provocations even if no big issues are resolved.
But experts said that Kim Jong-Il's death fundamentally changes US calculations. Instead of a recalcitrant strongman, the United States now must deal with an untested young leader who remains a mystery on the global stage.
Tokyo offered rare condolences on the "passing" of the much-reviled Kim, adding that it hoped there would be no "adverse impact on the peace and stability of the Korean peninsula".
The Pentagon is closely following events after the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il but Pyongyang's military has taken no provocative steps so far, a US military officer said Monday.
"We're monitoring the situation. We're in contact with our counterparts in the South Korean military," the officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP.
"We've seen nothing unusual in their military, nothing that would cause us concern at this point," the US officer said.
China expressed shock at the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il on Monday, as analysts said Beijing would do all it could to shore up its close ally, fearing instability on its border.
The foreign ministry in Beijing said it hoped North Koreans would "remain united" after their leader's death, and pledged to help maintain "peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and the region".
The death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il has raised fears of turbulence in the nuclear-armed nation but observers said a dynastic succession is underway and that strife is unlikely for the time being.
Analysts said Monday's announcements on North Korean state media, which revealed Kim had died two days previously at age 69, made it clear his youngest son and heir apparent Kim Jong-Un is firmly in power -- at least for now.
The North Korean regime on Monday issued a list of 232 people who make up the funeral committee for dead leader Kim Jong-il. Experts believe the order more or less matches their rank in the pecking order.
Kim's son and designated heir Jong-un is at the top of the list.
Kim Keun-sik, a North Korean expert at Kyungnam University, said, "The list is in the order of members of the standing committee of the Politburo, then members and candidate members. It shows that the party will be stronger power than the military,"
North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency said on Monday that it has designated a 13-day mourning period from Monday to next Thursday following the death of its leader Kim Jong-il, but it will not allow any foreign representatives to come to Pyongyang to pay their respects at the funeral.
The mourning period is three days longer than regime founder Kim Il-sung's in 1994, but then as now the North is refusing to accept condolences from foreign representatives.
The NIS said it seems certain that power in North Korea will be handed down to a third generation to Kim Jong-un. But that is expected to result in a weak power structure given Kim Jong-il's current ill health and unstable political and economic factors in the regime. Chances are that Jang and his followers could try to seize power from Kim Jong-un and his faction, it speculated.
China's state-run media were quick to report the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il but Beijing took a long time giving an official response. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu issued a statement at around 4 p.m. Monday, almost four hours after the death was announced and only in the form of answers to questions from reporters during a regular press briefing.
Observers say it is rare for China's Foreign Ministry, rather than the external liaison office of the Communist Party, to issue a comment on a matter of importance involving North Korea, where inter-party relations are the foundation of bilateral ties. There was also no mention of Kim Jong-un, the son and heir apparent.
When former North Korean leader Kim Il-sung died in 1994, Kim Jong-il was officially anointed as his successor. But Kim Jong-un has not, which might be what caused Chinese officials to hesitate in endorsing him, other experts say. Kim Jong-un is a general in the North's military but has no rank in the National Defense Commission, which is the country's highest organ. China may have been concerned that it could be seen as acknowledging the North's dynastic power succession, which has caused an international outcry.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her Japanese counterpart, Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba, on Monday urged a peaceful transition in North Korea following the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. The development has delayed a U.S. decision on whether to provide new food aid to North Korea.
The Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO), Russia's foremost national policy think tank, forecast in a special report that North Korea will be absorbed by South Korea between 2021 to 2030, entering a de facto stage of reunification. The IMEMO report, which projects global trends until 2030, was published in September.
The report says that the transfer of power from North Korean leader Kim Jong-il to his third son Jong-un will lead to a power struggle between "bureaucrats" with foreign business connections and "military and security officials" with no outside links.
In the process, around one million supporters of the former North Korean regime could flee either to Russia or to China, it adds.
The other point is that, although most experts believe that the North Korean economy will be absorbed into the South Korean economy through a process led by the South, others warn that South Korea and China may compete for control over North Korea, where Seoul could end up as the loser.
The collapse of the North Korean regime could be a trigger for a military conflict between the U.S. and China, says the California-based RAND Corporation.
North Korea's official KCNA news agency on Monday said leader Kim Jong-il died of a sudden heart attack and the cause of death was confirmed in an autopsy, although it remains unclear whether the procedure was actually performed.
When former leader Kim Il-sung died in July 1994 the North also performed an autopsy, and the Soviet Union also did the same amid the power struggles after the deaths of Lenin and Stalin.
Kim's health had been closely monitored by a medical team that travelled with him on his armored train, and this could have led to rumors of an assassination possibly from poisoning or other methods unless an autopsy revealed that he died of natural causes.
Experts say Kim Jong-il's son and heir Jong-un, who still lacks a solid power base, needed legitimate facts detailing the cause of his father's death to prevent an internal rebellion.
In 1994, Kim Jong-il had medical experts mummify the body of his father Kim Il-sung for an estimated US$1 million. And in the late 1990s, when more than a million North Koreans starved to death, Kim apparently spent another $900 million on a mausoleum and preservation of his father's body.
Experts say Kim Jong-il needed the mummy as a kind of idol to maintain his grip on power.
North Korea's dismal economy has shrunk for the second year running. To hide this, the regime has not released any official economic data, but the U.S. estimates the North's grain yield by comparing satellite images.
A botched currency reform in November 2009 made matters significantly worse, and Pak Nam-gi, then director of the Workers Party's Planning and Finance Department, was reportedly executed to take the fall.
South Korea expressed sympathy to the people of North Korea over the death of leader Kim Jong-il, but decided not to send an official condolence delegation to the communist nation, an official said Tuesday.
South Korea's intelligence authorities were totally unaware of the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il before Pyongyang made an official announcement two days after the death of its leader.
The death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il could make it tough for local banks and firms to sell foreign currency-denominated bonds due to heightening geopolitical risks, a report showed Tuesday.
While the Pentagon is always planning for contingencies, it was particularly prescient in its choice of war games the week before North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il's death.
As one of its three possible doomsday scenarios, the U.S. Army selected “The collapse of North Korea” at its Unified Quest exercises.
In the scenario, North Korea's collapse comes about because of regime change in the isolated nation.
Some North Korean troops conducting an annual winter exercise returned to their bases hours after the announcement of the death of their leader Kim Jong-il, a South Korean official said Tuesday.