Taiwan on Tuesday ordered a halt to planned live-fire military drills to avoid inflaming regional tensions after the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il, officials said.
For over a decade, Taiwan has been trying to buy new submarines to replace its existing, and rapidly aging boats. The latest solution is to build the boats in Taiwan. The rumors coming out of European shipyards is that Taiwan is quietly arranging to have European submarine building experts accept contracts to discreetly work in a Taiwanese shipyard for a while. Meanwhile, some European builders have agreed to train Taiwanese welders in the specialized type of welding used on submarines. Other negotiations are under way to purchase a wide array of specialized components needed for diesel-electric submarines. Some shopping has been done in the United States, but the Americans have only built nuclear subs for the past half century, and the best technology for diesel-electric sub construction is now found in Western Europe.
India's president on Tuesday stressed the need to improve maritime security, as the energy-hungry nation grows and ramps up offshore oil and gas exploration activity.
Little by little China is forming military links in Africa and in the Indian Ocean in order, experts say, to protect Beijing's economic interests in the region.
In the past three weeks Beijing has committed to supporting Ugandan forces operating in Somalia and to helping the Seychelles fight piracy.
"It is very clear that the Chinese leaders recognize that military force will play a bigger role to safeguard China's overseas interests," Jonathan Holslag, of the Brussels Institute of Chinese Contemporary Studies told AFP.
"There is a willingness, and even a consensus, in China, that this process will take place."
A military officer here said the temperature in Pyongyang the morning Kim died was -12 degrees Celsius. Cold weather is bad for patients with a weak heart, so Kim's doctors would have discouraged him from going outdoors.
Moreover, Kim is famous for his nocturnal lifestyle and normally gets up around noon. Therefore it seems unlikely he was on a train that freezing morning.
National Intelligence Service Director Won Sei-hoon told the National Assembly on Tuesday there were no signs that Kim's special armored train ever moved out of the station over the weekend.
South Korean intelligence believes that only very few top officials around Kim knew of his death. But on his so-called on-the-spot guidance tours Kim was always accompanied by hundreds of people including medical staff and bodyguards. Four of the train's 20 carriages are a mobile hospital. One source on North Korea said "If Kim died on the train, all medical staff must have been mobilized, and it would have created quite a stir stopping the train. There must be hundreds of people who witnessed it. Would it have been possible to keep this secret for over 50 hours?"
◆ Why the Need for Fabrications?
One senior South Korean official said, "Death on the train is possibly the best story that the North Korean regime can use to promote Kim as a hardworking leader who worked for the people until the moment he died.
The source said Beijing was informed on Saturday, the day Kim died, of an "event of great significance," and on Sunday the North confirmed his death.
Asked by the National Assembly's Defense Committee if Washington and Tokyo were also really in the dark, Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin said, "As far as I know, they were."
North Korea is unlikely to step up provocations as it undergoes a power transition following its leader's death, at least in the coming months, because they would be very costly in terms of relations with China and South Korea, a prominent Korea expert said Tuesday.
South Korean activists and defectors launched giant balloons containing tens of thousands of propaganda leaflets into North Korea on Wednesday, as Pyongyang mourned the death of longtime leader Kim Jong Il.
The leaflets sent by a small group of activists gathered at the border are sure to infuriate the North, which views such actions as propaganda warfare. The leaflets contained messages opposing another hereditary power transfer in North Korea, as well as portraits of Kim Jong Il and heir Kim Jong Un. It wasn’t immediately known if they mentioned Kim Jong Il’s death.
Activists vowed to send more leaflets later Wednesday.
North Korea wants US to remove purported nuclear weapons from South Korean territory - Reuters
North Korea warns Monday's missile test was a warning but will not conduct nuclear test unless provoked - Reuters
North Korean military pledges allegiance to new leader Kim Jong Un - Reuters
North Korea's new young leader to share power with uncle, military after death of father (Reuters)
Originally posted by Vitchilo
North Korea's new young leader to share power with uncle, military after death of father (Reuters)
Originally posted by Upyerheart
Originally posted by Vitchilo
North Korea's new young leader to share power with uncle, military after death of father (Reuters)
Who's the uncle Vitchilo?
President Lee Myung-bak said Thursday South Korea is trying to show North Korea it has no hostility toward the communist nation, stressing that early stabilization of Pyongyang after the death of former leader Kim Jong-il is in Seoul's national interests.
With a young and foreign-educated leader taking over the helm of North Korea following the death of his father Kim Jong-il, experts cautiously predict that he might take steps toward economic reform and opening, reaching out to the outside for economic cooperation.
North Korea has expressed its wish to continue a project with South Korea to unearth an ancient royal palace site in the North, Seoul's top official in charge of relations with Pyongyang said Wednesday.
Kim Jong-un had been groomed for the North Korean leadership for less than a year and three months when his father suddenly died on Saturday. Kim junior made his first official appearance at an extraordinary party congress on Sept. 28 last year. It has been only three years since he was tapped as the heir in January 2009.
Kim Jong-il by contrast had 20 years to consolidate his position when his father finally died in 1994, gradually assuming greater responsibility.
Kim Jong-un therefore needed to concentrate on getting a grip fast on a few selected areas and spent most of his time trying to gain control of the military and the security forces.
Three rival factions are jockeying for position behind the new North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, the Daily Telegraph said Tuesday. Kim Jong-un's "inexperience has opened the way for more practised operators to increase their influence," the British daily said.
According to the paper, the three factions are led by Jang Song-taek (65), Kim's uncle and vice chairman of the National Defense Commission; Kim Jong-nam (40), his half-brother; and Kim Sol-song (36), his half-sister.
"For someone who was meant to be all-powerful, this was hardly the kind of succession that Kim Jong-il would have wanted," the daily quoted Kerry Brown, head of the Asia programme at think tank Chatham House as saying.
At the moment, Jang is in the most advantageous position. "There was a 'consensus' that Jang could emerge as a regent figure, exercising significant power at least during the new leader's early period in office," Brown added.
A person believed to be the younger sister of the successor to the North Korean leadership appeared on state TV on Wednesday. The woman, clad in black traditional costume, was spotted weeping behind Kim Jong-un as he greeted mourners at Kumsusan Memorial Hall in Pyongyang where dead leader Kim Jong-il lies in state.
An intelligence source said, "She looks slimmer than in the photos we have of her, perhaps because she's been crying a lot, but our analysis confirms she is Kim Yeo-jong (24)."
Senior Indian officials recently visited Russia to remind the Russians, in no uncertain terms, that the INS Vikramaditya (the former Russian Gorshkov), which is being refurbished and upgraded in a Russian shipyard, must be ready on time (March 2012) for sea trials. The Indians had cause for concern. That's because last April the first 152 Indian naval personnel arrived in Russia to begin training on the Vikramaditya. The Indians were there to learn about all the ship's systems so they can instruct the other 1,250 members of the crew. But at the same time the Indian sailors could see exactly what progress the Russians were making on getting the Vikramaditya ready for service. Apparently some of these reports were not encouraging.
This project is already four years behind schedule and $1.5 billion over the original budget.
A South Korean shipbuilder said Wednesday it had signed the country's largest-ever weapons export deal, worth $1.1 billion, to sell three submarines to Indonesia.
The Philippines wants to acquire F-16 fighter jets from the United States as part of stepped up efforts to defend the archipelago, Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said Wednesday.
Finland has launched a probe after 69 surface-to-air Patriot missiles were found in a ship bound for the Chinese port city of Shanghai, police said.
Military chiefs are dusting off their plans for the defence of the Falklands after South American countries banned ships from the islands docking in their ports.
Sources fear Prince William's six-month deployment to the South Atlantic as an air-sea rescue pilot next year could provoke more sabre-rattling.
Yesterday Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner claimed Britain was ready to use its military to steal natural resources 'anywhere, anyhow'.
Read more: www.dailymail.co.uk...
Russia is ready for constructive dialogue on missile defense with its Western partners but hopes for give and take, President Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday.
The seven member nations of a Russia-led military alliance this week agreed to rules limiting the presence of foreign military bases within their borders.
The CSTO, comprised of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, issued a strong statement laying out the new rule.
Currently, the only foreign base in the CSTO countries is a U.S. air base at Manas in Kyrgyzstan, established in 2001 to help U.S. efforts in fighting Taliban extremists in neighboring Afghanistan.
Russia successfully test launched two Bulava intercontinental ballistic missiles on Friday, Defense Ministry spokesman Col. Igor Konashenkov said.
This was the troubled Bulava's 18th test launch. Only 11 launches have been officially declared successful.
The failure of foreign intelligence to detect Kim Jong-Il's death shows just how little is known about nuclear-armed North Korea, but moves by the outside world to gain influence are also fraught with risk.
Jack Pritchard, a former US negotiator with North Korea, said that the most urgent priority should be contingency planning as he believed there was a high chance that North Korea's system will collapse.
North Korea has accused South Korea of an "intolerable" response to Kim Jong-Il's death, a blast that came as diplomats at the United Nations held a mass boycott of a tribute to the late leader.
Its Uriminzokkiri website said any mourning delegations from the South would be accepted, and lashed out at the Seoul government's "inhuman" decision to allow only two such visits.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda heads to Beijing on Sunday as the first foreign leader to meet the Chinese leadership after the death of North Korean strongman Kim Jong-Il.
North Korea has been trumpeting that it will become a "powerful and prosperous nation" by next year, the centenary of regime founder Kim Il-sung. But leader Kim Jong-il's death 14 days before the New Year leaves experts guessing whether the regime will stick to the pipe dream.
The North Korean regime is keeping close tabs on Chinese people leaving North Korea after Kim Jong-il's death to clamp down on the black market during the mourning period. Chinese traders who arrived in Dand ong, China on a train from Pyongyang on Thursday afternoon said when the train arrived in Sinuiju, North Korean customs officers got onboard, searched all belongings and confiscated some.
There are fears that cross-border business projects may be delayed or stopped. A Chinese businessman from Hunchun who runs a company in Rajin, North Korea said, "I decided to invest in North Korea because of cheap North Korean labor -- you pay a North Korean worker in Rajin 500 yuan (W90,000) a month -- and there was huge interest from Chinese tourists. But now I am worried that Kim's death may have a negative impact."
North Korea accused the South Friday of an intolerable response to the death of supreme leader Kim Jong-il by expressing sympathy for the North Korean people, but deciding not to send a government delegation to Kim's funeral next week.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-il collapsed on Dec. 15, two days before North Korea says he died, according to intelligence the South Korean government has received from Japan. The collapse was grave enough for top North Korean officials to convene an emergency meeting, though whether he died then or later is not known.
The United States has yet to recognize North Korea's young leader following the death of Kim Jong-il, South Korea's foreign minister said Friday, as the world is trying to read the tea leaves on whether Kim's abrupt demise could spark an internal power struggle.
North Korea's state media referred to late leader Kim Jong-il's youngest son, Jong-un, as "supreme commander in heart" on Saturday, a sign of the successor's imminent rise to control the communist country's military.
A group of civic activists in South Korea flew winter socks by balloon into North Korea Saturday in a new campaign to assist poverty-stricken people there suffering from cold weather.
South Korea's nuclear envoy was to leave Thursday for China to discuss efforts to denuclearise North Korea after the death of its leader Kim Jong-Il, the foreign ministry said.
American and Pakistani forces both made a series of mistakes that led to "tragic" US air strikes which killed 24 Pakistan soldiers last month, reflecting deep mutual mistrust between the two nations, said a US-led probe released Thursday.
The results of the joint US-NATO investigation portrayed a disastrous spate of errors and botched communication in the November 25-26 incident, in which both sides failed to tell the other precise information about their operational plans or the location of troops, officers said.
The probe found "inadequate coordination by US and Pakistani military officers" and acknowledged the Americans had relayed "incorrect mapping information" to a Pakistani liaison officer that gave the wrong location for Pakistani troops at border outposts, the Pentagon said in a statement.
Pakistan on Friday rejected a US probe into American air strikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, providing little sign of a swift resolution to the worst crisis in the countries' fragile alliance.
"Pakistan's army does not agree with the findings of the US/NATO inquiry as being reported in the media. The inquiry report is short on facts," the military said in a short statement.
Pakistan's army chief General Ashfaq Kayani has ruled out a military takeover in the country, describing rumours about a coup amid a political scandal as "misleading," the military said on Friday.
Japan's coastguard said Tuesday it had arrested a Chinese boat captain in a possible fresh test for sometimes fraught maritime relations, just days after a South Korean officer was stabbed to death at sea.
New North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Monday spent less than 10 minutes with a South Korean delegation led by Lee Hee-ho, the widow of former president Kim Dae-jung, and Hyundai Group chairwoman Hyun Jeong-eun. But experts have been busy speculating what kind of message their meeting sends.
The two women went to North Korea to offer their condolences on the death of former leader Kim Jong-il.
It was Kim Jong-un's first meeting with prominent South Koreans. Lee met his father when she was South Korea's first lady during the first inter-Korean summit in 2000. Hyun met Kim Jong-il three times to discuss Hyundai's business interests in North Korea, including package tours to Mt. Kumgang. Both women are symbols of inter-Korean cooperation.
Dead North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's former chef Kenji Fujimoto says Kim's son and heir Jong-un will embrace Chinese-style reforms for the Stalinist country. Fujimoto, who was Kim's chef for 13 years from 1988, was speaking to the Chosun Ilbo on Saturday before appearing on a TV Chosun talk show.
The whereabouts of late North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il's eldest son, once seen as the natural successor in the communist dynasty, has become a subject of intense speculation since his father's death.
North Korea on Monday added an important title to the fast-growing credentials of its untested new ruler, referring to the youngest son of late leader Kim Jong-Il as head of a key ruling party body.
In a move that experts said shows the successor is on track to take full control of the secretive nation, the ruling party newspaper hailed Jong-Un as head of its Central Committee.
North Korea's state television station showed the uncle and key patron of anointed successor Kim Jong-un in a military uniform on Sunday, signaling his crucial role in the communist state's strong military following the death of leader Kim Jong-il.
North Korea said Sunday that it will decide the future course of the inter-Korean relations depending on Seoul's attitude toward condolences over its late leader Kim Jong-il.
New North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is taking control of the renegade country's nuclear weapons, Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin told the National Assembly's Defense Committee last Tuesday. "It also seems that Kim Jong-un has the final say on nuclear weapons considering that the power is being handed over to him now," he added.
Kim Jong-un is vice chairman of the Workers Party's Central Military Commission, which now commands the military.
A South Korean intelligence officer said the North Korean military attaches the greatest importance to the nuclear arms, and Kim Jong-un is now in charge of them. The regime is believed to have about 50 kg of plutonium extracted and up to 10 nuclear bombs, and there was some anxiety abroad who would control them in the power vacuum after former leader Kim Jong-il died.
But some experts say the 29-year-old Kim Jong-un has no military background and cannot really be in charge of the nuclear arms. He is nominally only a vice chairman of the commission, appointed alongside Ri Yong-ho, the chief of General Staff.
One South Korean government official speculated that Ri probably controls the regime's weapons of mass destruction, including any nuclear bombs.
Others believe the commission is collectively in control because it includes all the top military brass. They believe that the first thing the regime did after Kim Jong-il's death was to ensure control of the nuclear weapons.
The head of US Central Command urged greater trust and communications with the Pakistani military on Monday amid a diplomatic crisis after US air strikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers last month.
Cricket hero turned politician Imran Khan ramped up the anti-corruption message at a rally of over 100,000 people in Pakistan on Sunday, boosting his image as a rising political force.
In Pakistan the generals are particularly keen to see president Zardari resign, or otherwise leave office. Zardari has been very vocal about the need for the generals to take orders from elected leaders. The generals consider this heresy and not in the best interest of Pakistan. The Pakistani military considers itself under attack and in danger of losing some of its independence and privileges. The Pakistani military is actually under attack, both by the American and by many Pakistanis who are fed up with the arrogance and incompetence of the generals. The Pakistani military takes a huge chunk of the national income, lives very well (especially the senior officers) and treats the elected government with disdain. In turn, the civilian government now openly admits that it has no control over the military. This is a reality that, for decades, the generals and politicians pretended did not exist. That has changed, and the generals don't like it. The generals are even less amused by the growing disdain they are being shown by the Pakistani media and public.
Russia has replaced the head of its GRU military intelligence organisation, who presided over major reforms of the secretive body, a defence ministry spokesman said on Monday.
The GRU (Main Intelligence Directorate) traces its history back to 1918 in the early months of the Bolshevik revolution, and unlike other Russian secret services did not change its name after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
It reputedly runs vastly more agents abroad than the KGB's successor, the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), and is also active in space through a network of military intelligence satellites.
Two attempts to predict the Jan. 14 presidential election yesterday showed very different results, with Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) leading President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) by 7.4 percentage points in one survey and trailing him by 0.4 percentage points in the other.
The South Korean military will introduce new high-tech reconnaissance aircraft capable of intercepting communications and detecting missile launches in North Korea.
South Korea's plan to purchase Global Hawk unmanned reconnaissance planes has been put off by one year as the U.S. government has not agreed to the sale yet, a government source said Monday.
With the planned purchase of the Global Hawks hitting a snag, South Korea plans to invite two more models of U.S.-made spy drones -- the Global Observer made by AeroVironment and Boeing's Phantom Eye -- to bid for the project, the source said.
A year ago, the Indian military announced that it would solicit a new assault rifle design, buy 44,000 of them and then have more of the winning design built under license in India. But the process has moved very slowly and many Indians, inside and outside the military, suspect that the much hated corruption in the procurement system is at work here.
The government has promised to achieve peace with all the tribal rebels within three years. That's unlikely, but at least there more talk of negotiations than yet another military offensive. One of the side benefits of a peace deal would be to halt the growth of the drug trade. Government efforts to reduce opium and heroin (chemically refined opium) production had some initial success, with opium production down twenty percent (to 330 tons) in 2010. But opium and heroin production seem to have recovered in the past year. Meanwhile, production of methamphetamine is soaring.
North Korea's powerful National Defense Commission issued a hard-line statement on Friday, threatening not to deal with South Korea's Lee Myung-bak government and ruling out any policy changes.
N. Korea issues statement ruling out any policy change
Russia has appointed one of its deputy foreign ministers to head its delegation to the stalled six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program, a diplomatic source in Seoul said Thursday.
In their first meeting since the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, the top South Korean and U.S. nuclear envoys agreed Wednesday to resume talks with the communist nation if the "right conditions" are created, according to a South Korean official.
China on Wednesday dismissed media reports saying that Chinese troops had entered North Korea, Xinhua said.
Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said reports claiming that Chinese force had entered North Korea as requested by the country to help maintain its stability were “totally groundless.”
Truck drivers and traders in China's border city of Dand ong said Thursday trade with North Korea had slowed to a trickle following the death of leader Kim Jong-Il earlier this month.
North Korean officials pledged allegiance to their new leader Kim Jong-un on Thursday as they formally announced the opening of his era in a solemn memorial service for Kim's late father Kim Jong-il.
Kim Jong Il's death might be considered a good career move. He had made a desperate promise that, by 2012, North Korea would undergo a massive increase in living standards. Amazing things were supposed to happen by Kim Jong Il's birthday on February 16th. This was in response to the growing popularity of consumerism in North Korea and knowledge of the higher South Korean and Chinese living standards.
However, Kim Jong Il's building plans had turned out horribly wrong. Not only would the plan not produce 100,000 new apartments but many were built using substandard materials and unsafe practices.
The apartment debacle was expected to provide Kim Jong Il with a public-relations disaster in 2012, but with his timely death, that crises is avoided. The heir, Kim Jong Un, can disavow the 2012 promises and choose another direction.
North Korea is expected to mobilise hundreds of thousands of mourners for Wednesday's funeral of late leader Kim Jong-Il, as the world watches for clues to future powerbrokers in the nuclear-armed nation.
Activists helping refugees to flee North Korea fear that the death of leader Kim Jong-Il will lead to a crackdown on people trying to escape repression and hunger in the communist state.
The North is believed to have stepped up patrols along its border with China, as well as security checks in public places, in an attempt to prevent defections in the wake of Kim's death on December 17.
During Kim Jong-il's funeral on Wednesday, seven officials apart from new leader Kim Jong-un walked alongside the hearse carrying the body, in a sign that they will form the inner core of the new regime. The seven "publicly declared their loyalty and allegiance to Kim Jong-il and his heir Jong-un. They will be the core figures of the new era," a South Korean official said.
Primus inter pares was Kim Jong-un's uncle Jang Song-taek, who stood right behind him.
The other six also enjoyed a series of promotions since Kim Jong-un was made heir to the throne in January 2009. Vice Marshal Ri Yong-ho is Kim Jong-un's military tutor and chief of the Army's General Staff. Then there was Kim Jong-gak, the first deputy director of the Army's General Political Bureau, which monitors every movement of North Korean Army officers. Chung Sung-jang, a senior researcher at the Sejong Institute said, "Kim Jong-gak played the most important role in Kim Jong-un getting a grip on the military."
U Dong-chuk, the first deputy director of the State Security Department and a member of the National Defense Commission, is also regarded as one of the closest aides to Kim Jong-un.
Kim Yong-chun, a vice chairman of the National Defense Commisson which ran the country in Kim Jong-il's day, found himself standing behind Ri Yong-ho. He became one of the closest aides to Kim Jong-il after he thwarted a coup attempt in the 6th Corps in 1995, but has not been promoted recently.
Kim Ki-nam, director of the party's Propaganda Department, and Choe Tae-bok, chairman of the Supreme People's Assembly, who are two very senior figures of the Workers Party, are also part of the Gang of Seven.
Choe, who has worked in education and science, is likely to have been entrusted with technological development.
Corruption watchdog Transparency International for the first time has included Pakistan's military in an annual survey, listing it as a notch more corrupt than the country's education department.
Pakistan has proposed moving heavy artillery away from the Line of Control, the de facto border with India in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, the foreign ministry said Tuesday.
The American military has briefed Pakistan's army chief on its investigation into US air strikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers on the Afghan border last month, US officials said Tuesday.
But a Pakistani security official told AFP "no such briefing took place and the report was not handed over in person to the army chief".
"The report was delivered to the concerned department (of army headquarters) but not to the chief," the official said.
Kyrgyzstan's new leader said Thursday it was "very dangerous" for his Central Asian nation to host a US military base at Bishkek airport and that it must become a fully civilian airport by 2014.
Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev said he told visiting US Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake that the annual users fee of $150 million which Washington paid was not worth the risks involved.
The United States is preparing for talks that could lead to cuts in tactical nuclear weapons and warheads in storage in a future arms agreement with Russia, a senior arms control official said in an interview with RIA Novosti.
The flight tests of the Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile have been completed and it will now be adopted for service with the Russian Navy, President Dmitry Medvedev said on Tuesday.
“We have made a very important step - we have completed the cycle of flight tests… of the Bulava missile,” he said. “Now it will be put into service.”
Russia on Tuesday successfully test fired its long range ballistic missile RS-18 from its Baiknonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan with a new warhead aimed at overcoming Western air defence systems, news agencies said.
The Abkhaz parliament has ratified an agreement with Russia on creation of a joint military base in the breakaway Georgian republic, a RIA Novosti correspondent reported on Tuesday.
Russia has signed agreements with Abkhazia and another breakaway Georgian republic, South Ossetia, to set up military bases there for an initial term of 49 years, with possible extensions for an additional 15 years.
Senior officials from foreign ministries of China and South Korea held the fourth high-level strategic dialogue in Seoul on Tuesday, vowing to deepen cooperation and boost bilateral ties.
President Hu Jintao met visiting Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda in Beijing on Monday and the two sides agreed to advance mutually beneficial relations of strategic significance.
Facing an emboldened and heavily armed China in a territorial stand-off, Vietnam is looking to swell its naval reputation with enhanced firepower and renewed pride in its maritime past.
Hanoi has accelerated spending on sea power in recent years to counter the increasing dominance of the Chinese navy, experts say, and reassure a Vietnamese population wary of its larger neighbour and former coloniser.
Australia's military is looking to recruit foreign troops, particularly those laid-off in Britain where the government has announced cutbacks on defence spending, a report said Tuesday.
Taiwan on Wednesday retired two patrol boats, the navy's first vessels armed with ship-to-ship missiles, that were hailed as "critical" to safeguarding the island, officials said.
If voting day were tomorrow, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) would lead her main rival, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), by 2.1 percentage points, a poll by the Taiwan Brain Trust showed yesterday.
Even while I’m here at the CNN Election Center in Atlanta getting ready for the Iowa caucuses, I’m hearing disturbing murmurings from my national security sources in Washington about North Korea.
They clearly don’t know what the new leadership in Pyongyang is going to do, but they are bracing for a possible provocation on the Korean peninsula.
The U.S. fear is that the new leader, Kim Jong Un, is going to orchestrate some risky act against South Korea to create tension. The goal would be to help consolidate his position by rallying the North Korean people around him.
S. Korea says open to nuclear talks with N. Korea but warns against provocation (AP)
President Lee Myung-bak said Monday that South Korea has left a "window of opportunity" open to improve relations with North Korea as the North's new leader Kim Jong-un took over the communist state following the death of his father.
The Chinese Academy of Sciences projected in 2008 that China will be able to match the U.S. in terms of military power after 2050 at the earliest, while it will take a further 20 or 30 years to finally catch up -- making it difficult for China to overtake the U.S. in this area within this century.
But some experts say Beijing is being excessively humble in making such projections, as the country has made strides in recent years in boosting its naval, air, space and missile capabilities.
Liu said at that time, "We will establish control of the primary island chain by 2010 and the second one by 2020, while resisting U.S. domination of the Pacific and Indian oceans by 2040."
South Korea's military is working hard to deal with China's growing presence. In preparation for the deployment of China's first aircraft carrier, for example, it is developing a supersonic anti-vessel cruise missile. It is also considering producing small submarines that are difficult to detect in shallow waters like the West Sea.
The traditional joint New Years editorial of North Korea's official papers was mostly devoted to stressing dead leader Kim Jong-il's legacy and his "songun" or military-first doctrine, as if to reassure everyone that nothing will change now that his 20-something son Kim Jong-un has taken over.
New North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Sunday made his first order of business since his father's funeral a visit to the armored division that gave birth to the regime's "songun" or military-first doctrine, the official KCNA news agency reported.
Kim Jong-un's visit to a historically important armored division on New Year's Day can be interpreted as a warning to South Korea, pundits believe. When his father Kim Jong-il last visited the tank division on Jan. 5, 2010, North Korean state TV showed drills simulating an invasion of the South.
A South Korean intelligence official said, "Two months after Kim Jong-il's visit to the 105th Seoul Ryu Kyong-Su Guards Division in 2010, North Korea sank the Navy corvette Cheonan. We should watch carefully what the result of Kim Jong-un's visit on Sunday will be."
NK New Year editorial calls for strengthened defense capabilities
North Korea's new leader, Kim Jong-un, has risen to the supreme commander of the communist nation's massive armed forces, state media reported Saturday, a strong indication that the young son of late leader Kim Jong-il is solidifying power.
Japan has been developing a virus that could track down the source of a cyber attack and neutralise its programme, the daily Yomiuri Shimbun reported Sunday.
The Russian Air Force will receive over 60 modernized MiG-31 Foxhound interceptor aircraft by 2020, the Defense Ministry said.
Pakistan and India on Sunday exchanged lists of their nuclear sites under an accord which prohibits both sides from attacking these locations, the foreign ministry in Islamabad said.
While Taiwan and China continue to prepare for war they also increase their economic cooperation. Starting in 2012, Taiwanese can set up individual businesses in China (as opposed to investing in larger operations with Chinese partners). At the same time, three million Chinese tourists visited Taiwan in the last three years as part of groups. Starting six months ago, individual Chinese tourists were allowed to visit. China hopes to conquer Taiwan by force or economic integration, whichever works best.
Fears surrounding the commercial debut of the China’s Beidou satellite navigation system last week have centered on the development by the Chinese military in recent years of a bomb kit that can transform “dumb” bombs into “smart” ones.
Chief among them is the Lei Shi-6 (LS-6) “Thunder Stone” precision-guided glide bomb first unveiled by the Luoyang Optoelectro Technology Development Center in late 2006. The guidance “fit,” which is attached to conventional bombs and has deployable wings, can support a number of bomb weights, from 50kg to 500kg, Jane’s Defence Weekly reported last year.
After eight years of negotiations, and constant money shortages, Indonesia has finally signed up to buy three South Korean Chang Bogo class submarines. These are an improved version of the German Type 209, but built in South Korea under license. The Chang Bogos are 1,200 ton boats that are 55.9 meters (174 feet) long, have a top speed while submerged of 39 kilometers an hour, and a top surface speed of 20 kilometers an hour. Range is 20,900 kilometers at a surface speed of 7.4 kilometers an hour. Endurance is 50 days and the highly automated boat has a crew of only 31. Armament is 14 torpedoes fired from eight 533mm (21 inch) tubes.
A legislator accused the prosecutor-general of dragging his feet in opening up an investigation into alleged government spying on candidates
The Ministry of Justice’ Investigation Bureau (MJIB) has ordered that all documents related to monitoring President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) opponents in the presidential election must be destroyed after the illegal practice was disclosed by the media, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said yesterday, citing an anonymous source inside the bureau.
Documents provided by the source seem to confirm the existence of a project, codenamed “An-Ping-Shun Project,” to monitor DPP presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and People First Party (PFP) candidate James Soong (宋楚瑜), DPP lawyer Hsu Kuo-yong (徐國勇) said at a DPP legislative caucus press conference.
The poll showed that the DPP has made great strides in northern and central Taiwan, but voter turnout may be the deciding factor on Jan. 14
The United States has called on China to use its influence with North Korea to urge "restraint" by the North's new leadership, a senior U.S. diplomat said Thursday, as the international community keeps a wary eye on the sensitive transition of dynastic power in Pyongyang.
South Korea said Thursday it will push for working-level contacts with North Korea as part of efforts to maintain peace and stability on the peninsula following the sudden demise of leader Kim Jong-il.
US diplomat Kurt Campbell on Wednesday urged "all parties" to refrain from "any provocations" after North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il's death, as he left China, where he met foreign ministry officials.
South Korea will soon sign a joint operational plan with the United States to counter potential North Korean provocations and will hold regular joint exercises accordingly, the defense ministry said Wednesday.
South Korea and the United States will soon sign a new plan on countering any North Korean attacks, Seoul said Wednesday, amid international wariness over the abrupt leadership transition in Pyongyang.
The United States is unlikely to continue talks with North Korea if it worsens relations with South Korea, a senior Washington official said Tuesday.
China remains committed to the status quo on the Korean Peninsula and has no interest in regime change in North Korea no matter how exasperated it may be with Pyongyang's military brinkmanship and refusal to reform, experts say.
The mantra of Chinese Foreign Ministry and other spokespeople is "peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula," which is trotted out whenever the North launches a fresh provocation to the international community or South Korea, be it nuclear tests or localized military attacks.
The United States said Tuesday that the new North Korean leadership's stated refusal to engage with South Korea bodes ill for reviving six-party nuclear disarmament talks.
North Korea's military is stronger than ever despite a struggling economy on the brink of collapse, a private think tank said Wednesday, calling for more effective countermeasures to the growing threat.
North Korea portrays Kim Jong-un as a confident, chummy new leader in footage aired on state TV Tuesday evening.
Timothy Geithner will travel to China a Japan next week to discuss tougher sanctions against Iran, the US Treasury Department said Wednesday, hours after China said it opposed unilateral US measures.
China's first aircraft carrier is likely to be commissioned officially early this year, according to press reports. Phoenix Satellite TV in Hong Kong on Wednesday quoted Jingbao Yuekan magazine as reporting the 67,000-ton retrofitted Soviet carrier "qualified to be officially commissioned as it solved technical problems concerning takeoff and landing of aircraft on the ship through three test voyages."
For the last decade, China has been reorganizing many of its ground combat divisions along Western lines. That is, the combat regiments and many smaller support units have been recombined as three or more combat brigades, each with more support units and the ability to operate independently. Now the Chinese Air Force is going the same way. They have a successful model to copy from in the U.S. Air Force.
For the last five months there has been a large scale effort to obtain information about American jet powered and space based (X-37) UAVs via Internet hacking. The methods, and source of the attack, have been traced back to China. The attacks were done via Internet based attacks against specific civilian, military, and government individuals.
* Pays record premium as international tension mounts
* Unipec buys cargoes in Rosneft February tender
* Pays a near-record premium for Vietnamese crude (Adds Vietnamese crude purchase)
The official Xinhua news agency said the number of entertainment shows airing during prime time every week had plunged to 38 from 126, in line with an order the state broadcasting watchdog issued in October.
The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) ordered broadcasters to stop showing "excessive entertainment", and to air at least two hours of news each evening from January 1.
Chinese lawmakers have ratified an agreement between Beijing and Moscow to strengthen anti-terrorism cooperation between the two nations.
India has cleared a $1.2 billion deal to buy 500 air-to-air missiles from European firm MBDA as it undergoes a major programme to modernise its military, defence ministry officials said Thursday.
India continued test firings of its Agni family of ballistic missiles in the past year. Four of the six Agni series missile types are in service and two are in development.
The Agni III is a 48 ton missile that was first tested in 2006. It has a maximum range of 5,000 kilometers and a payload of one ton.
The Agni IV is a 49 ton missile that was first tested in 2011. It has a maximum range of 3,500 kilometers and a payload of one ton.
The Agni V is a solid fuel missile that is still under development. It is to have a maximum range of 5,000 kilometers and a payload of one ton.
The Agni VI is a submarine launched, solid fuel missile with a maximum range of 6,000 kilometers and a payload of one ton.
While the initial target for Agni missiles was Pakistan, in the last decade China has become the primary destination.
The 20th anniversary of the official end of the Soviet Union was noted on December 31st, 2011, and there followed an unexpectedly vigorous public debate over what it all meant. Most everyone agreed that one of the main reasons was the failure of the centrally planned communist economy. But what tore apart the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) was the fact that the dozens of ethnic groups that had been part of the Russian empire did not want to be ruled by Russians.
On January 1st, the Pakistani Taliban agreed to halt all terror attacks inside Pakistan. In return, the Pakistani military will not interfere with Taliban movements, as long as these movements are part of supporting Taliban attacks against NATO forces in Afghanistan. The Pakistani Taliban will deploy their forces into Afghanistan under the leadership of Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar. This deal is supposed to include the autonomous Haqqani Network, which often links up with the Taliban, but considers itself a separate operation.
The Pakistani Taliban also promised to force smaller terror groups to cease attacks inside Pakistan. This is supposed to include kidnapping, theft and sundry crimes committed in the name of God. Some Islamic terror activity is actually gangsters committing crimes under the guise of Islamic radicalism. Some of this stuff will continue, but the Pakistanis expect the suicide bombings, assassinations and attacks on troops and police to cease.
Tonnes of supplies bound for NATO forces in Afghanistan are piling up at the Pakistani port of Karachi following the blockade imposed after a deadly air strike in November, officials said Monday.
Thousands of trucks and military vehicles are stuck at the port, as relations between Washington and Islamabad flounder following the border incident that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.
In addition to making peace with Cambodia, the government has hustled of late to improve diplomatic and economic relations with the newly elected government of Burma.
The government is also developing military links with India, which is part of the movement by China's neighbors to create an alliance that can limit any possible Chinese aggression. The growth of Chinese military power and claims on neighboring territory has made all this coalition building popular.
‘Next Magazine’ claimed that the KMT had asked government agencies to mobilize civil servants to attend a rally to support Ma Ying-jeou
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday provided what it called evidence that proves illegal monitoring was undertaken by the intelligence apparatus, saying spying on DPP officials began as early as March last year during the party’s presidential primary.
For the second time in three days, the party disclosed documents it said were leaked by anonymous sources at the Ministry of Justice’s Investigation Bureau to back the party’s claim that DPP presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) is being monitored by the bureau.
The Cabinet will resign ahead of the start of the eighth legislature on Feb. 1 and then again before the president-elect inauguration on May 20
CPRF via KCNA: #DPRK a "full-fledged nuclear weapons state & its nuclear deterrent...can never be bartered for anything."
CPRF=Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland. #DPRK
CPRF statement also refers to "traitor" #ROK Pres. Lee's group "as good as the living dead." #Korea
#ROK Foreign Minister tells reporters S. Korea will continue to offer "humanitarian assistance" to #DPRK.
#ROK Foreign Min. Kim says he's not sure how much influence Kim Jong Un actually has in running the #DPRK. #Korea
The Voice of America reported on Wednesday that the World Food Program said North Korean authorities distributed 375 grams of food to every citizen in December.
A leading Japanese daily says North Korea allegedly tried to export to Syria liquid and powered substances related to chemical weapons back in 2009.
North Korea's new leader Kim Jong Un will turn 29 on Sunday amid speculation over how the country will celebrate his birthday that comes three weeks after the death of his predecessor and father Kim Jong Il.
Besides, some speculate authorities may "adjust" his age to 30 because this year marks the 70th anniversary of the birth of Kim Jong Il and 100th anniversary of the birth of his father and the country's founder Kim Il Sung.
The average North Korean has no idea what treasures a free society provides. They are unable to comprehend the joys of freedom of choice to do what one wishes to do, free of governmental interference. Having never experienced freedom, they lack man's natural instinct to lay down their life to fight for it.
An empty stomach can do much to cause one not so inclined to fight for a better life to overcome the fear of death to do so. Whether the North Korean people are capable of reaching that point remains to be seen.
- North Korea on Thursday dismissed South Korean President Lee Myung-bak's recent New Year speech as nothing but "sophism," saying that it will strengthen its nuclear power status if its "enemy" continues its provocative action.
South Korea on Friday dismissed as groundless a rumor that a light-water reactor has exploded in North Korea's nuclear complex, sending leaked radiation to Pyongyang and as far as South Korea.
- A senior Chinese diplomat has urged South Korea never to use weapons against his country's illegal fishermen, drawing criticism from South Korean Embassy officials in Beijing Friday for his insensitivity to the recent killing of a South Korean Coast Guard officer by a Chinese fisherman.
The South Korean ambassador to China said Friday that Seoul will continue to raise the issue of Beijing's unwillingness to condemn North Korea when it provokes the South.
China and Pakistan on Thursday pledged to strengthen their military ties and step up defense cooperation to a “new level” during a meeting between Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and top Chinese military officials in Beijing.
“China and Pakistan pledged to strengthen military ties and bring existing cooperation to a new level”, Xinhua news agency reported after General Kayani’s meeting with Chinese Defense Minister Gen Liang Guanglie.
Musharraf had earlier been declared a proclaimed offender by the Anti-Terrorism Court in Rawalpindi for his failure to cooperate with investigators in the case.
The senior prosecutor said that three important pieces of evidence had also been retrieved after the forensic report of Benazir’s BlackBerry had been completed. He said that the evidence had also been added to the charge sheet.
A secret report prepared by the government's joint intelligence committee has confirmed India's worst fears - China is planning a military base in Pakistan.
The United States said on Tuesday that a gas pipeline project Pakistan was negotiating with Iran could violate US restrictions on major financial deals with Tehran and Washington was already discussing this issue with Islamabad.
At a briefing at the State Department, spokesperson Victoria Nuland also said that a bill President Barack Obama signed into law on Saturday would not lead to an automatic suspension of US aid to Pakistan.
India's air force has completed more trials of an EADS Airbus 330 and an Ilyushin 78 air-to-air refueling aircraft as part of its latest attempt to purchase six planes, likely for around $2 billion.
India officially rejoined the nuclear submarine operators' club when the Russian manufacturers handed over to an Indian crew the Nerpa, in Russia's far east.
Indian version of Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) is ready. Under Phase-1 deployment, the National Capital Region (NCR) will come under the safe shield of programme Air Defence (AD). Sources in the Ministry of Defence (MoD) confirm to Express that the entire gamut of operations will be linked to the Integrated Defence Staff (IDS) in Delhi.
In Phase-II deployment, cities like Mumabi, Bangalore and Kolkotta could find a place, though the specifics haven't been yet finalised. "Missile launchers, radars, interceptors and network systems have all being readied for for NCR. India will now be among the league of nations with BMD capabilities,” sources said.
The action was taken in response to the provocative action by China of denying visa to IAF Group Captain M Panging, who hails from Arunachal and was to be part of the delegation, sources said.
The Union government is planning to build 11 tunnels in the strategically important road stretches close to the Pakistan and China borders . Two more tunnels will be built in Uttarakhand to improve connectivity in the hilly state. These all-weather tunnels, which will be built by the Border Road Organization (BRO), would cover about 89km. These tunnels are expected to help rapid mobilization of troops and equipments besides providing better connectivity to local residents, officials said.
South Korea, the United States and Japan have agreed to hold a meeting of their senior diplomats dealing with the North Korea issue, an official confirmed Friday.
The military will begin looking into preparing countermeasures to increasing naval powers in South Korea's neighbors and potential territorial claims that may ensue, officials said Saturday.
A new, more austere U.S. defense strategy unveiled Thursday gives up on fighting major wars overseas and reduces active-duty troops from 570,000 to 470,000. The aim is to cut more than US$450 billion in defense spending over the next decade.
The Defense Ministry has told the government that the new U.S. defense strategy would not have a negative impact on South Korea. But a South Korea-U.S. military strategy envisions the deployment of 690,000 U.S. soldiers on the Korean Peninsula if a war breaks out, and such large-scale deployments would be impossible under the new strategy.
Experts warn that the shift in U.S. strategy will mean a bigger burden for South Korea. Seoul is already set to regain full operational control of its military from Washington in December 2015 and would have to lead wartime ground operations while the U.S. provides naval and air support.
Russia is planning to rebuild its Oscar II class nuclear submarines to carry a wide variety of missiles. Currently, each Oscar II carries 24 large anti-ship missiles. But by rebuilding the missile launchers (which are outside the pressure hull) to carry more, but smaller missiles, each Oscar II can carry up to 72 missiles. This makes it easier to overcome the anti-missiles of enemy surface ships. What is lost in range and warhead size will be made up with better target detection and countermeasures technology.
All three presidential candidates turned on the charm yesterday at night markets, rallies and in motorcades as they sought to shore up support
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) proposal to form a coalition government if elected has sparked debate as the DPP yesterday said such a move would be Tsai’s solution to help end the nation’s political divide.
However, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who is seeking re-election, and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) ridiculed Tsai’s initiative, saying it was only talk.
Former NSC official Parris Chang says the AIT’s decision to brief the current NSC chief on US policy shows they finally take him seriously
The Washington-based US-Taiwan Business Council has issued a five-point list of priorities for this year, including a pledge to continue fighting for the sale of 66 F-16C/Ds and pushing for the US to assist Taiwan in buying diesel-electric submarines.
I'm watching #DPRK TV's birthday tribute to Kim Jong Un showing him giving on site guidance to ground, air & naval military units.
KCTV: Kim Jong Un is so busy, he does as much in a day as a normal person does in a year. #DPRK
Yonhap: Sources say #DPRK has appealed to the US to increase its potential food aid, indicating deepening food shortages.
Kyodo: Absence of events for Kim Jong Un's birthday apparently reflects leadership's wish to establish his image as modest leader. #DPRK
North Korea's new leader vowed in 2009 to wage war if the country's enemies shot down its long-range rocket, footage aired on state television showed Sunday in the first official word of his role in military operations before his father's death.
An examination of U.N. and Chinese trade data reveals that exports to North Korea of products including cars, tobacco, laptops, cellphones and domestic electrical appliances all increased significantly over the past five years. Most items crossed the border from China. The data reveal glaring loopholes in the sanctions regime, demonstrating how China has stepped in as North Korea's main supplier of goods considered luxuries as other countries have clamped down on such exports.
But the figures also hint at the emergence of a new entrepreneurial class in North Korea rich enough to buy imported goods. Some analysts say this group could represent the strongest impetus for economic reform, and potentially undermine the totalitarian grip of the Kim family dynasty.
Officials from the Kachin Independence Organization’s armed wing have confirmed that on January 4 their fighters shot down a Burmese army transport helicopter in northern Kachin State, Kachin News Group said on Friday.
Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou has overseen the most dramatic improvement in relations with China in the island's history, but economic anxieties could dash his re-election hopes in next Saturday's vote.
"It's really too close to call, although Ma seems to have a slight edge, since the economy is not doing too badly," said Cheng.
Japan's defence minister faces the sack, reports said Saturday, after a series of gaffes including describing the rape of a 12-year-old girl by three US servicemen as a "sexual orgy incident".
A Pakistani citizen who pleaded guilty last year to attempting to export nuclear-related material to his homeland was sentenced by a US court Friday to 37 months in prison, the Department of Justice said.
Fresh screed in Rod ong Sinmun against #ROK gov't, calling LMB & Co. "heinous confrontation maniacs & thrice-cursed traitors." #Korea
#DPRK media accuse #ROK Pres. Lee of "bringing dark clouds of mistrust & confrontation & nuclear war to hang over the Korean Peninsula."
Top North Korean officials attended a music performance celebrating their new leader Kim Jong-un becoming the country's supreme commander, the North's state news agency said Monday.
- South Korea's top policymaker on North Korea cautioned Monday against exaggerating China's role in inter-Korean affairs, saying the two Koreas are the "principal players" in their dealings with each other.
The government and the NPA are arguing over how powerful the leftist rebels are, and how they stay in business. The NPA claims to have 16,000 armed members and control large rural areas. The police counter that the NPA survives with about 5,000 gunmen who extort over $5 million a year from businesses and individuals and control no territory at all.
MILF and the government resume peace talks this month, and are still at odds over MILF demands for autonomy in the Moslem south.
The Philippines complained to China about a Chinese warship entering the Filipino exclusive economic zone (anything within 380 kilometers of land) and violating a 2002 agreement by nations bordering the South China Sea.
The DPP presidential candidate said that her vision of a grand coalition included dialogue and cooperation between all parties in the legislature
A new radar of the fourth Voronezh class will be put into operation near the Siberian city of Irkutsk by the end of this year as part of Russia’s early warning system, a missile defense spokesman said on Sunday.
The current overhaul of Russia’s missile defenses is also due to the new strategic challenges presented by the U.S.-led missile shield plans in Europe.
The Voronezh class radars are a serious breakthrough compared to the previous generation radars of the Dnepr and Daryal class. The radar in Pionersky has a range of 6,000 km and can simultaneously track about 500 objects.
New US strategy promises to boost the US’ strength in Asia to counter China’s growing ability to check US power in the region
A top Chinese diplomat said Tuesday war over the Iranian nuclear issue would bring disaster to the world economy and urged all nations involved to exercise restraint and prevent hostilities.
The five former republics of the Soviet Union (Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan) have become an economic and political battleground between China and Russia. The more dynamic Chinese economy floods the five nations with cheap and popular goods. But the five nations fear Chinese economic and political domination and turn to Russia for diplomatic support in keeping the Chinese at bay.
Attempting to consolidate support in pan-blue strongholds in the final days of the presidential election campaign, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday drew a passionate response in New Taipei City (新北市) and Hsinchu County, as residents lined up on the streets to cheer his motorcade.
His appearance at traditional markets also caused a stir.
However, his momentum has been slowed by the lukewarm response he received in central and southern parts of the country.
During his motorcade campaign in Chiayi, Yunlin and Changhua counties on Saturday, cheering from residents who came out on the streets was sporadic at best.
A source familiar with China’s policy toward Taiwan said Beijing has learned from previous elections and is ready for a win by either the KMT or DPP
China has forgone blustery warnings and war games in the run-up to Taiwan’s presidential election this weekend, and will likely take a measured response even if the independence-leaning opposition unseats President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).
“We are prepared for either scenario. There won’t be a big difference whoever wins,” a source familiar with China’s policy toward Taiwan said, requesting anonymity to avoid political repercussions.
“If Tsai Ing-wen wins, the mainland will ‘listen to her words and watch her deeds’ in the beginning,” a second source with ties to the top Chinese leadership said, also asking not to be identified.
The former president said Taiwan needs a president who is competent, strong, responsible, approachable and harbors compassion for the people
More than 200,000 Taiwanese businessmen and their relatives currently based in China are expected to return to the island to vote in the presidential elections, a business group estimated Tuesday.
"This time the election is very tight and more businessmen than previously intend to come back to vote to protect their investment rights," Lin said.
The Kyodo news agency said talks were held in China centering on the abduction of Japanese by the North in the 1970s and the 1980s
China began preparing for a power transition in North Korea several years before Kim Jong-Il's death and will do its utmost to consolidate his inexperienced son's hold on power, analysts say.
North Korea's new leader Kim Jong-un will likely order a third nuclear test or another missile launch this year to consolidate his military credentials, South Korea's state think tank warned Wednesday.
China has rejected North Korea's law on developing two islands near their shared border over the lack of business-friendly elements, a source familiar with the issue said Wednesday.
North Korea is likely to pursue continuity rather than change in its policies under the new leadership of Kim Jong-un, Seoul's top envoy to Moscow said Tuesday, expressing hopes that the communist country will soon reengage in denuclearization talks.
North Korean troops have pledged their allegiance to their new leader Kim Jong-un in the latest public display of military support to his dynastic power succession.
Prosecutors indicted the captain of a Chinese fishing boat with physical detention Tuesday on charges of killing a South Korean law enforcement officer last month during a raid on the vessel for illegally fishing in Korea's exclusive economic zone.
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao agreed Tuesday to forge closer economic ties and reaffirmed their commitment to maintaining peace on the Korean Peninsula following the death of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Jung Seung-jo and his U.S. counterpart Martin Dempsey will sign a joint operational plan to counter potential provocations by North Korea. Jung will visit the U.S. for the signing at the end of the month.
"The South Korean military will take the initiative in carrying out the plan and the U.S. Forces Korea will provide support."
#ROK Unification Ministry budgets $465 million for #DPRK humanitarian aid for 2012.
The South Korea-China FTA could have a major geopolitical impact on Northeast Asia as well. Until now, the security landscape in Northeast Asia has been a Cold-War-style standoff between the South Korea-U.S.-Japan alliance on one side and China and North Korea on the other. But if the Seoul-Beijing FTA is signed and economic cooperation increases rapidly, this traditional framework would crumble.
The Russian Air Force has completed flight tests of the modernized Sukhoi Su-25UBM ground attack-trainer aircraft, Defense Ministry spokesman Col. Vladimir Drik said on Tuesday.
A Russian naval task force, led by the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier, has left the Syrian port of Tartus after a three-day visit, Russia’s Northern Fleet said in a statement on Tuesday.
This rare RIA Novosti video footage shows Soviet and Russian ballistic missile launches.
Some recent Russian satellite failures may have been the result of sabotage by foreign forces, Russia's space chief said Tuesday, in comments apparently aimed at the United States.
Indonesia has signed a $470 million contract with Russia to buy six Sukhoi Su-30MK2 jet fighters for the Indonesian Air Force, The Jakarta Post daily has reported.
The United States is sponsoring the construction of facilities in Georgia on the threshold of a military conflict in Iran, a member of Georgian opposition movement Public Assembly, Elizbar Javelidze has stated.
In addition, airports are being briskly built in Georgia and there are talks of constructing a port for underwater vessels in Kulevi on the eastern Black Sea coast in Georgia.
The United States has launched its first drone attack in Pakistan after more than a month-long lull, killing at least four suspected militants, CNN has confirmed.
The drone fired two missiles on Tuesday at a suspected militant compound near the provincial capital of Miranshah in the North Waziristan region, located in the country's volatile tribal belt that borders Afghanistan.
Leaks from Washington sources published in the mainstream American media also appear to suggest that an agreement is imminent. United States officials have told the New York Times that according to the terms of a new deal, ‘the US will be forced to restrict drone strikes; limit the number of its spies and soldiers on the ground; and spend more to transport supplies through Pakistan to allied troops in Afghanistan.’
Jerusalem Describing India as the “greatest democracy on earth”, Israel has said it wants New Delhi to become a permanent member of the expanded United Nations Security Council.
Welcoming External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, the first Indian foreign minister to arrive in Israel in over a decade, President Shimon Peres said Tel Aviv was following New Delhi with “great care and interest”.
With the air-version of BrahMos missile likely to be inducted in IAF within a year,works have already been started to develop BrahMos 2, the fastest Hypersonic missile in the world, which would take final shape in five years, a top scientist said.
While the BrahMos missile has the speed of Mach 3 (speed of sound) moving at one km per second, the Hypersonic missile would achieve a speed of Mach 6 to Mach 7, double than that of the present missile, A Sivathanu Pillai, CEO and Managing Director, BrahMos Aerospace, told PTI.
The project director of the DRDO Advanced Systems Laboratory at Kanchangagh, Dr Tessy Thomas, said that India was ready to test launch the nuclear-capable Agni 5 missile within the next two-three months
A dedicated team of 1,000 scientists are working round-the-clock to fully operationalise this missile which will bring targets as far away as northern China within reach.
A scaled down Indian military delegation arrived here today for a four-day defence exchange visit after the original programme of sending a much larger team was hit by a row on denial of visa to an IAF officer from Arunachal Pradesh.
Sri Lanka will officially turn down India’s proposal to share their territorial waters by fishermen so as to avoid clashes in the fishing industry, Fisheries Minister Rajitha Senaratne said yesterday.
The Committee for International Relations and Human Rights of Nepal’s parliament recently endorsed a policy paper (‘Nepal’s Foreign Policy in Changed Context’) which besides offering suggestions on foreign policy also seeks an end to soldiers fighting wars under foreign flags.
“Gurkha recruitment gave the youth a small opportunity for employment, but serving foreign military powers has not always allowed the country to hold its head high…Since, ultimately, Gurkha recruitment will have to end, it is necessary to create alternatives,” the paper recommended.
KCNA: #DPRK to erect a Kim Jong Il statue & "towers to his immortality" across N. Korea.
#DPRK declares late Kim Jong Il as "eternal leader of the party." (His father Kim Il Sung is "eternal president.")
#DPRK declares Feb. 16 "Day of the Shining Star." Kim Jong Il's body to go on display at "sacred temple" Kumsusan Memorial Palace.
The U.S. says it will not link nutritional assistance to North Korea with politics.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a news briefing that nutritional assistance "is not something to be traded."
The North Korean authorities are to sentence anyone who has not participated in mourning sessions for leader Kim Jong-il to terms in labor camps, South Korea’s Daily NK website reported on Wednesday.
The eldest brother of North Korea's new leader Kim Jong-un has expressed doubts about his half-sibling's hold on power, anticipating the ruling elite to extend their influence over the communist country, a Japanese newspaper said Thursday.
North Korea was placed at the bottom of a landmark ranking Wednesday on the security of nuclear materials.
North Korea said Wednesday that the United States had offered food aid and a suspension of sanctions if it halted its uranium enrichment programme.
Kyodo: #Japan Prime Min. Noda expresses concerne that U.S. sanctions vs Iran may affect Japan & world economy.
Japanese media report the U.S. has demanded that Japan reduce oil imports from Iran.
The Yomiuri Shimbun said at the request of the U.S., the Japanese government is discussing in detail with its domestic petroleum industry curtailing crude oil imports from Iran.
Japan’s daily crude oil imports from Iran stands at 350-thousand barrels, nine-point-eight percent of its total oil imports.
On January 14, the architect of the "special state-to-state doctrine," which once brought the Taiwan Straits to the brink of war, will run for the leadership of Taiwan.
Tsai Ing-wen of the anti-unification Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is competing with incumbent Ma Ying-jeou of the Kuomintang (KMT) and the People's First Party's (PFP) James Soong, who like Ma is pro-eventual unification.
Ma is likely to be the winner, but if the DPP were nonetheless to manage a return to power, a long hangover would follow.
A fifth member of the US Congress has written to US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton expressing fears that Washington has failed to “stay neutral” in the run-up to Taiwan’s elections.
US Representative Bill Johnson said that while he was aware of the US Department of State’s assurances that it was not taking sides, “I still have reservations.”
A member of the US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Congressional Taiwan Caucus, Johnson is the latest of a growing bipartisan group to express concern.
“Taiwan’s recent inclusion as a candidate for the US Visa Waiver Program, the large number of pre-election visits to Taiwan by high-level administration officials and most recently the statement released by the Taiwanese National Security Council on its meeting with the American Institute in Taiwan give me pause,” he said in the letter.
“Whether intended or not, the timing of these gestures give the impression that the US continues to support the current government of Taiwan and its non-confrontational policy towards China,” he said.
A DPP win would be viewed as a setback for Hu Jintao and could lead others in China to push for a tougher policy, Phil Saunders said
Beijing could try to punish Taiwan if Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) wins the election on Saturday, a US academic told a conference in Washington.
Chinese policy toward Taiwan is personally associated with Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) and a Tsai victory would be seen as a setback for him, Phil Saunders, director of the Center for the Study of Chinese Military Affairs at the Institute for National Strategic Studies, told the Heritage Foundation conference.
This situation could lead others in Beijing to push for tougher policies, he said.
President Ma: "you don't wnt to provoke China like the previous administration did for eight years. That will not being any good to Taiwan."
President Ma says he has "urged China to stay away from the election" in Taiwan and not to try and influence the result.
Ma says Taiwan wants to join US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Taiwan President Ma says needs re-election bc only "experienced leader" can handle coming financial probs. Same for cross-Strait relations.
A top U.S. diplomat says Burma should amend its laws against human trafficking to meet international standards.
Even as China continues to harass India on security and diplomat issues, the Indian intelligence agencies have come up with far more disturbing reports which have huge implications for India’s national security.
These classified reports reveal that Maoist leaders have been secretly visiting China’s Yunan province for arms training and China has set up a weapon manufacturing facility in Myanmar’s Kachin province. The Kachin factory produces near-exact replicas of AK 47 rifles which are supplied to the Maoists. The Indian government has long been aware that the Maoists are equipped with sophisticated weaponry, and now the source is known.
Even more dangerous is the growing proximity of the Maoists with Pakistan based Islamic terror group Lashkar-i-Taiba and terrorist leader Dawood Ibrahim. The Indian Maoists have also cooperated with Islamic terrorist run drug operations. Several Indian states report that Maoists are pressuring local farmers to grow poppy (for opium and heroin) on their farms.
Russia should only consider buying weapons and military equipment abroad under exceptional circumstances, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said on Wednesday.
Pakistan's military warned Wednesday of "grievous consequences" for the country after the prime minister accused the army chief of violating the constitution, adding to a sense of crisis that some believe could end in the ouster of government.
The government dismissed the defense secretary, a retired general seen as an army representative within the civilian setup, another ominous sign of near-open conflict in a nation that has seen repeated military coups in its six-decade history.
Bangladesh has arrested an Islamist leader on charges of masterminding war crimes during the 1971 liberation struggle against Pakistan, lawyers say.
They accuse Mr Azam of crimes against humanity - including murder, rape, arson and looting - in 1971.
About 240 airmen from the 55th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron and their fighters will be stationed from Sunday at a U.S. air base in Gunsan, 274 kilometers south of Seoul, for about three months to maintain stability in the region, according to the U.S. 7th Air Force.
A probe into a major scandal threatening Pakistan's president on Tuesday appeared at risk of collapsing as investigators ruled out travelling abroad to hear the testimony of the star witness.
After a two month halt UAV missile attacks in Pakistan resumed on January 10th, when four Islamic terrorists were killed by a missile launched from an American UAV over North Waziristan. Three of the four men killed were described as Arabs. One was later identified as Aslam Awan, senior al Qaeda leader who was in charge of external operations (planning attacks against the West). The next day, two cars, driving towards the Afghan border, were hit in the same area. Six men, all described as "foreigners" were killed. As a result, tribesmen in general and Islamic terrorists in particular in North Waziristan were quite angry. Many fired at the UAVs. But this was futile, as the UAVs generally stayed out of small arms range. As many as six UAVs were seen over North Waziristan at the same time in the last week.
Last month, the Pakistan Army attempted to negotiate a truce with the Pakistani Taliban and found several of the larger factions willing to go along. But there were too many Taliban factions with too many different goals for such a plan to succeed. That was made pretty clear on January 5th when fifteen Pakistani soldiers were captured, and then killed, by one Taliban faction. It was later announced that this was done as revenge for the killing of a Taliban leader by Pakistani troops on January 1st. There are many other Taliban factions on bad terms with Pakistani troops.
The prime minister stood before the Supreme Court and explained that "while he accepted the majesty of the law and the majesty of the supreme court," he couldn't arrest the president of the country on charges of bribery as he enjoys "immunity under the constitution."
Pakistani Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani had answered the Supreme Court's summons only to avoid being held in contempt himself.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Friday said that while former ruler Pervez Musharraf gave into US demands on a single telephone call, the decision to resume Nato supplies would be made by the parliament, DawnNews reported.
Pentagon figures provided to the AP show it is now costing about $104 million per month to send the supplies through a longer northern route. That is $87 million more per month than when the cargo moved through Pakistan.
Pakistan is entering a slow-motion civil war, with its armed forces on one side, and its elected politicians and most Pakistanis on the other. The trigger for the current crises is the accusation that the civilian politicians had tried to get U.S. backing for an attempt to purge the Pakistani officer corps of anti-democratic individuals, and reorganize the military so that it is firmly under civilian control. This would cause thousands of senior officers to lower power and money. Many more active and retired officers would lose economic benefits. The military pays lip service to civilian control of the armed forces, but threatens another coup anytime the government tries to interfere with military matters. The big fear here is that there will be another coup (the last one was in 1999, and lasted until 2008) and that the politicians will call their supporters into the streets to block the military efforts to take over the government (replacing elected officials with officers). Such a confrontation could be bloody, especially if many soldiers refused orders to fire on civilians.
Pakistan's wildcard politician Imran Khan says he is happy to go into opposition if his "tsunami" of popular support fails to bring him a landslide victory at elections now widely expected within months.
The former US pointman on North Korea voiced doubt Monday that the communist regime would give significant power to young new leader Kim Jong-Un, lowering chances for a resumption of diplomacy.
North Korea held its first cabinet meeting since its long-time leader Kim Jong-il's death, the state media said Sunday.
North Korea's new leader Kim Jong-un made yet another visit to a military unit, his fifth this month, according to a state media report Sunday, as the young successor tries to consolidate his power after the death of his father Kim Jong-il.
North Korea test-fired three short-range ballistic missiles into the East Sea earlier this week, apparently as part of efforts to improve its missile technology, a Japanese newspaper said Friday.
A pro-North Korean newspaper in Japan on Saturday called upon the United States to create an atmosphere for high-level talks with North Korea by showing explicit commitment to building confidence.
North Korea warned Saturday it will make South Korea "pay the dearest price" for hurting the dignity of its supreme leadership.
What was in Kim Jong-nam's mind when he asked a Japanese journalist Yoji Komi of Tokyo Shimbun in October 2010 to "get my thoughts in good order and publish them at a suitable time?" It was immediately after his half-brother Jong-un was named as successor of his now deceased father Kim Jong-il.
South Korea, the United States and Japan agreed Tuesday to keep the door for talks with North Korea open, an official said after their trilateral meeting intended to discuss the next steps in dealing with the communist nation under a new leadership.
Former North Korean Leader Kim Jong-il's eldest son Jong-nam has said the isolated regime will eventually fail with or without reforms.
Sudden unification between South and North Korea could cause a flood of refugees across the land border that could rock the local labor market, a business organization said Tuesday.
The United States on Thursday urged China to press North Korea's new leader to exercise restraint, saying that South Korea would face "enormous pressure" to respond to any provocations.
North Korea urged South Korea and the United States Wednesday to call off their planned joint military maneuvers this year, denouncing them as rehearsals for invading the communist country.
Two years ago, the South Korean Coast Guard was issued new portable radios. These walkie-talkie type radios used technology similar to cell phones in that they used repeater equipment (like cell phone towers) that enabled users of the radios to talk to anyone on the network (meaning all along the coast). By themselves, the new radios have a range of only about three kilometers. The old ones, which did not use repeaters, had a max range of 4-5 kilometers.
Once put into use the new radios were revealed to have a serious problem. All the repeaters were on shore, and once a sailor was working beyond three kilometers from shore they had no access to the repeaters. The manufacturer insisted the system, as installed, would work more than 50 kilometers from shore. Moreover, many more coast guard operations were farther at sea, trying to deal with the growing number of Chinese and North Korean fishing boats illegally operating within the South Korea exclusive economic zone. This extends nearly 400 kilometers from shore.
South Korea has ordered twenty locally made FA-50 fighter-bombers for $30 million each. The aircraft will be equipped with South Korean, American, and Israeli electronics. The single engine, single seat aircraft is intended to eventually replace South Korea's aging fleet of 150 F-5 fighters. But first, the initial twenty FA-50s will have to show what they can do in active service. The first FA-50 will be delivered next year, and the last of them the year after that.
Trade between South and North Korea reached US$1.71 billion last year, down 10 percent from 2010, government data showed Saturday.
Korea plans to establish a naval fleet to defend the country`s easternmost and southernmost waters. The move is aimed at preventing territorial disputes with Japan and China while responding to the naval buildup of the two neighbors.
The Russian Air Force is testing and will soon deploy an advanced tactical air-to-air missile that will greatly enhance its operational effectiveness, the service's commander Col Gen Alexander Zelin said on Tuesday.
The first Mistral class amphibious assault ship for Russia will be laid down at the start of February in a French shipyard, a military industry official told RIA Novosti on Tuesday.
A senior US diplomat visiting Russia will press Moscow on a reported deal to sell Syria fighter jets, something Washington described as "quite concerning," the State Department said.
The Russian Air Force will receive over 30 Vityaz and 100 Pantsir-S air defense systems by 2020, spokesman Col. Vladimir Drik said on Monday.
“We are planning to acquire by 2020 more than 100 short-range Pantsir-S and over 30 mid-range Vityaz systems to rearm air defense units,” Drik said.
More than 30 MiG-31 Foxhound supersonic interceptor aircraft are on round-the-clock high-alert duty every day protecting the Russian airspace from airborne threats, Air Force spokesman Col. Vladimir Drik said.
The Russian Navy recently released some details of their new SSBN (ballistic missile nuclear subs, or "boomers"). The new Borei class boats make extensive use of modern electronics. It’s all digital and flat screens inside. Lots of microprocessors and modern sonar, which the navy insisted would make these boats more aware of their underwater surroundings than previous designs.
Russian Helicopters has received 5 billion rubles ($160 mln) from the federal budget for the development of three types of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).
A Pacific Fleet task force led by the Admiral Panteleyev destroyer docked at the Indonesian port of Surabaya on Thursday, the fleet’s spokesman said.
The United States and its NATO allies already have about one thousand missiles capable of intercepting Russia’s intercontinental ballistic missiles, the Russian deputy premier in charge of defense said.
Russia’s newest nuclear-powered submarine, the Yury Dolgoruky, will be put into operation in the second quarter of the year, the United Shipbuilding Corporation said on Friday.
A year ago, the president of Russia ordered an extensive financial audit of senior generals and admirals. The auditors found corruption and irregularities in every branch of the military. Not so much outright theft, but more using ones rank and connections to start businesses on the side. Some of these enterprises made the officers quite wealthy. It was found that they went to great lengths to hide this additional outcome by parking it overseas and putting it in the name of wives, children, or other kin. The auditors also found that when these senior officers were caught, the most severe punishment they received was to be retired from the armed forces. They kept their modest pensions, and all the money they were making on the side. Some officers, who stole money or equipment, were caught and received harsher punishment. There were also other officers who seemed to have more unreported income than their secret businesses indicated. The extra cash was probably from bribes.
Russia is facing a serious shortage of new recruits during the spring military draft, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta said on Wednesday citing a report by the State Duma Defense Committee.
The military needs to recruit about 300,000 men during each draft to keep the number of personnel at the required level of 1 million.
Only 135,000 recruits were drafted in fall last year.
Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces are holding a series of exercises to practice putting road-mobile missile systems on high alert, SMF spokesman Col. Vadim Koval said.
The exercises involve Topol (SS-25 Sikle), Topol-M (SS-27 Sickle B) and Yars (RS-24) mobile systems stationed in central Russia and Siberia.
When the Cold War ended in 1991, the Russian army began to rapidly shrink. It was believed that the eight airborne divisions would shrink along with rest of the army. But that was not the case. Airborne commanders made a convincing case that their elite troops would remain professional and increasingly be among the few combat troops that could really be depended on. Thus the airborne force did not shrink as much as other ground troops.
About 70 new rocket and missile systems will be tested at Russia’s Kapustin Yar test range in 2012, an increase of 150 percent from last year, a Defense Ministry spokesman said on Friday.
A failed plot to oust the Bangladesh government, by what the army described as "religiously fanatic" officers, has raised questions over the level of Islamist penetration in the military, analysts say.
While the Chinese government has said nothing, there's been lots of unofficial buzz from China indicating that several JL (Julang) 2 SLBM (Sea Launched Ballistic Missile), were recently test fired. One media report showed what appeared to be missile components that a Chinese fisherman had brought up in his nets. Taiwanese defense officials confirmed that some launches had taken place in December. The JL-2 needs some tests, especially successful ones.
China had lots of problems with the JL-2, which was supposed to have entered service four years ago, but kept failing test launches. If the recent JL-2 tests actually took place, and were successful, that would have been the kind of good news worth releasing. In China, bad news is no news at all.
China will face "bigger challenges" in the new Year of the Dragon its Prime Minister Wen Jiabao warned Saturday, as he pledged economic reforms to improve wealth distribution, state media reported.
China's Vice President Xi Jinping, who is widely expected to be his country's next leader, will meet President Barack Obama during a Valentine's Day visit to the White House next month, officials said.
It was a prestigious contest involving some of the top technological minds in China, with prizes totaling 2.65 million yuan (about 32 million yen or $400,000) up for grabs.
But the occupations of some of the judges revealed perhaps the main purpose of the contest: helping the Chinese military develop weaponry to protect its expanding maritime interests.
China, fearful that North Korea could be plunged into turmoil following the death of Kim Jong Il, is casting a watchful eye over its longtime yet unpredictable ally in case its own national security is threatened.
“How to stabilize the situation in the coming six months will be the make-or-break issue,” a Chinese military source said.
Officially, both the PLA and the government have denied the possibility that China would send its troops to North Korea to put its nuclear facilities under control or regain order in times of crisis.
However, a military source said: “Our forces have enhanced mobility. We will be able to enter Pyongyang in a little more than two hours if necessary.”
The Chinese people are increasingly frustrated with the Chinese Communist Party and the political situation in China is "very, very delicate," U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke said on Wednesday.
"I do believe that there is a power of the people, and there is a growing frustration among the people over the operations of government, corruption, lack of transparency, and issues that affect the Chinese people on a daily basis that they feel are being neglected," Locke told NPR's Steve Inskeep during a Wednesday interview, part of a media blitz Locke is conducting during his visit to Washington.
The Chinese armed forces have gone through a largely unnoticed transformation in the last decade. In the 1990s, a lot of the troops were farmer's sons who needed work and didn't have many non-agricultural skills. It was, as the Chinese like to say, a "peasants army." There were many shortcomings, the main one being that none of the officers or NCOs had any combat experience and the troops had to be taught a lot of new skills.
Today, most of the troops are better educated, more experienced, and largely from urban areas. Most of these troops are single children, the result of the "one child" policy. Officially introduced in 1978, this draconian solution to population growth did not really get going until the 1980s. In the last decade, nearly all the new recruits came from single child families. Often called "little princes" they were lavished with all the attention usually spread among many more kids. Often described as spoiled, these kids did get more adult attention, better education and more of everything. They enter the military with lots of skills (computer, driving, learning new stuff in a hurry).
The army has found that this new generation is much more capable and quick to learn.
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy conducted exercises in the South China Sea with a 10-warship flotilla, including China's first amphibious hover landing craft, China Military Online reported Jan. 12.
Israel has announced the sale of a $1.6 billion anti-missile system. All that was said about the customer was that it was not India and was Asian.
That said, the most likely "Asian customer" is Taiwan, Japan or South Korea.
Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou's re-election is a relief for China and the US, but observers say he could face a tough second term, forced to balance demands from Beijing with fears he is selling out.
"This is the best-case scenario for cross-strait relations," Chu Shulong, an international relations expert at Beijing's Tsinghua University, said of the victory for Ma and his Kuomintang party.
"Ma's victory will ensure that the stability and peaceful development between the two sides in the past four years can continue," he said.
"There's no mandate for moving faster than Ma has done thus far. The gradual approach while affirming Taiwan's autonomy is popular," said Clayton Dube, a Taiwan expert at the University of Southern California.
The big question is if China is satisfied with the current measured pace or if it would like more boldness in Taipei, moving from economic issues to more sensitive political ones, such a peace treaty to formally end the civil war.
The government ordered the army to halt military operations throughout the tribal territories (northern and eastern Burma). A month ago the government had issued a similar order, but the fighting continued. This raised questions about how much control the recently elected government had over the army.
The United States moved to restore full diplomatic relations with Myanmar on Friday, rewarding the sweeping political and economic changes that the country’s new civilian government has made, including a cease-fire with ethnic rebels and, only hours before, the release of hundreds of political prisoners.
Australia's Department of Defense has bought a portable landing mat for use with unmanned aerial vehicles from manufacturer Faun Trackway USA.
The cost is around $1.1 million.
Indonesia has signed a contract to buy six more Su-30 jet fighters from Russia for $78 million each. Indonesia already has ten Su-27s and Su-30s, but wants at least 16 of these modern aircraft so they will have a full squadron. Although expensive, the Russian fighters are modern, and look great. They are also relatively cheap to maintain. This was all part of a plan to switch from American fighters (ten F-16s and 16 F-5s) to Russian Su-27s and 30s. But used F-16s are so much cheaper than Su-27s, and the public pressure forced the Indonesian politicians to hang on to the F-16s, and upgrade existing F-16s, an expensive proposition that appeals to corrupt Indonesian officials.
The generals believe the Russian fighters are a better match for the F-18Es and MiG-29s that neighboring Malaysia is acquiring, and the F-35s that Australia is buying. But the F-16s have a proven combat record that the Su-27s and Su-30s lack.
On December 30, India floated out its first locally built aircraft carrier, the INS Vikrant. Construction began three years ago, but was delayed a bit because Russia was late in supplying the high-grade steel needed for the hull. The Vikrant was not supposed to leave dry dock yet but the dock was needed for another project. Construction will go on, with pipes, conduits, and other fittings installed. Later this year, Vikrant will return to another dry dock to have its engines and other major equipment installed. This 40,000 ton vessel won't be ready for sea trials until 2015.
Indian and Chinese officials on Monday began fresh talks on sensitive border issues after discussions last year were cancelled over a speech in India by Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.
Israel Aerospace Industries has signed a four-year, $1.1 billion deal with India for aircraft, missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles and intelligence systems, a major boost for the Jewish state's high-tech defense sector in an increasingly export-driven global market.
India will continue doing business with Iran and does not see a reason to seek a waiver from the United States that would protect buyers of Iranian oil from a new round of sanctions, an unnamed senior Indian Cabinet minister said Jan. 12, Reuters reported.