Cold War News

Başlatan Alkyone, Şub 07, 2018, 07:40 ÖS

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Trump's Pentagon Plans to Challenge Chinese Claims in South China Sea

President Trump approved a Pentagon plan this year that will require regular challenges to China's excessive maritime claims in the South China Sea, Breitbart News has learned. Mesajı Paylaş
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China Sea crisis: Japan to bolster military base on island idyll that could become front line in event of war

If war is to break out, then Ishigaki would be the front line. This is the island where Japan feels the most under threat from China and the place it will be installing missiles and troops amid clashes at sea, accusations and recriminations.

While international attention is on whether Games diplomacy in South Korea, with the presence of Kim Jong-un's sister and henchmen present for the Winter Olympics, will lead to peace breaking out, tension between China and its neighbours have continued to grow.

Throughout last year, while Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un traded public insults, Beijing has been quietly bolstering its presence on the extraordinary chain of artificial isles it has been building in waters near and far taking advantage of what it calls "the strategic window of opportunity."

Three airfields have been put into its seven bases in the disputed Spratley chain. There, and elsewhere, aerial photographs from the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington reveal facilities awash with fortified shelters for warships, hangers for aircraft and radar, underground bunkers and missile emplacement positions.

The Chinese calls a series of archipelagos the "first island chain of defence" stretching in an arc from the South China Seas to Russia's Kurils. For Japan the most vulnerable point is the Senkaku, to which Beijing has laid claims with surrounding isles, in particular Ishikagi 90 nautical miles away seen as the obvious targets.

Hundreds of fishing boats from China, escorted by coastguard ships, or, at times, warships have been in the seas leading, at times, driving back Japanese fishermen leading to clashes with Japanese coast guards. There has been a recent spate of incursions into airspace by Chinese warplanes and the appearance for the first time, a few weeks ago, of a nuclear attack submarine in these waters.
The Japanese government are now finalising the deployment of missiles batteries, anti-aircraft and anti-ship, radar installations and around 600 troops to Ishigaki. 
Final details are likely to emerge next month. The Independent understands the surface to air missiles are likely include American made MIM-104 Patriots capable of taking down Chinese ballistic missiles with enemy vessels being targeted by SSM-1s which carry up to 500lbs of high-explosives and have range of over a hundred miles. There are future plans for a joint missile system involving Japan and Western Europe to be installed in a project involving the British, French and Italian MBDA and Mitsubishi Electrics.

The issue is of China's supposed attempt at ocean hegemony has led to international reaction.

The US Defence Secretary General James Mattis stressed during a visit to Tokyo that the Washington is fully committed to backing Japan over the Senkakus. On a broader basis, the US has been sending warships through the China Seas to underline the right to freedom of navigation. The British Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson, has announced that HMS Sutherland, an anti-submarine ship, will be sailing through the South China Seas. The navies of America, India, Japan and Australia, will be holding naval manoeuvres.

The tiny Senkakus were used in the past by a small Japanese community scratching a living out of bonito fishing and collecting albatross feathers. But they were then abandoned had been lying unpopulated for 78 years with basically scientific and geographical exploration groups the only visitors.

That these five islets and three barren rocks, with a total area of just seven kilometres, has become a potential flashpoint for a conflict between two modern industrialised states may be reminiscent of the Jorge Luis Borges's view that Britain and Argentina going to war over the Falklands was "like two bald men fighting over a comb".

In fact, there was little interest in the islands, apart from its fishing grounds, until an international survey in 1969 concluded large undersea deposits of oil and natural gas. The following year both China - which calls the islands Diaoyu - and Taiwan began their claims of ownership.

The steady growth of Chinese presence in the seas, say the Japanese, has damaged the country's fishing industry. Many of Beijing's coast guard vessels are rebranded warships and some of the crews of Chinese fishing boats, it is claimed, are not fishermen at all, but peoples' militia in disguise out to provoke. The confrontation means that Ishigaki fishermen like Yukihidi Higa can no longer catch the red snappers and groupers they used to off the Senkakus.

"Of course it has affected my earnings, I can no longer go there because of the Chinese and their big ships" he stated. " But they are not just taking the fish, most of the coral from the sea has been stripped over the years, this is not good for marine life."

The missile deployment comes at a time of great controversy in Japan as premier Shinzo Abe seeks to revise Japan's post-Second World War pacifist constitution mandated, he holds, by a strong election victory. Last month, his cabinet approved an increase of 1.3 per cent in the annual military budget raising it to a record $ 45.8 billion for the year.

The military deployment is also going to be a key factor in Ishigaki's municipal election next month. "This is certainly going to be part of my campaign. It is of course a very important topic and it needs to be discussed fully and the city will have to agree on providing the land " said Yoshitaka Nakayama, the mayor.

"I am in favour of the deployment  by our Self Defence Forces (SDF). We have seen the Chinese behave very aggressively, they are coming into our territorial waters, our fishermen have been prevented from fishing, our coastguards are having lots of problems, we have seen their planes fly into our airspace. Putting the missile systems here will act as a warning, it may stop Chinese aggression and a conflict in the future."

The military was a key issue in the election in Nago, the capital of the Okinawa prefecture, last week in the defeat of the incumbent Mayor Susumu Inamine, by Taketoyo Toguchi, a candidate backed by Mr Abe's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).

The Mayor had been an opponent of a US Marines base remaining in Okinawa. Mr Toguchi wanted them to stay and backed a plan by Washington and Tokyo to relocate it from a central urban area to one less populated.

For Yoshiyuki Toita, the secretary general of the Yaeyama Defence Association the result showed  "that attitudes are changing: people are beginning to see the dangers posed by China, which is following an expansionist policy. If the Japanese government and the SDF do nothing it will send the wrong message and the Chinese will feel even bolder."

The defence associations across Japan are private groups which claim to be independent of government. Mr Toita, however, is a member of Mayor Nakayama's campaign and will be spreading his message in support of the military deployment." This is about security. We have achieved good things here in Ishigaki and we must protect this community and Japan."

Many are apprehensive, however, that the achievements may be put at risk by militarisation. Subtropical Ishigaki, with its mountains and mangrove forests, beaches and birdlife, has, somewhat surprisingly for a place not widely known, topped TripAdvisor's "Destinations on the Rise" in the Travellers' Choice awards.

"We have definitely seen a steady rise in tourism and this growth has taken place despite this place being so remote. The new airport has been a great plus factor" said Hiro Uehara, the owner of a bar and restaurant.

"We are getting Japanese, Australians and people from the West now. But would the foreigners want to come if this place turns into a place with missiles and soldiers and so a target for the Chinese government if there is trouble? We are also getting lots of Chinese tourists, would they come in the future? What about the safety of our children?  No, there are too many military bases in Okinawa. We don't want another one."

Around a dozen coast guard ships are the current line of defence. Captain Kenichi Kikuchi, in command of the Taketomi, wanted to stress that they do their utmost to avoid confrontations. "We are careful , we are careful because we do not want to escalate matters and also have to mind  that the Chinese Navy ships as well their coastguard vessels tend to be large" he said. " But we also do our duty and deal with problems when they arise and make sure we are not outnumbered by the Chinese."

It is not all confrontation; there is also cooperation, he pointed out, describing how  the coast guard  helped rescued six Chinese fishermen two years ago after their boat had capsized following a collision with a Greek ship. What will happen when the missiles and troops are deployed?  "That is a decision for the Japanese government and the Self Defence Forces. They will decide what is right. But it could become very interesting." Mesajı Paylaş
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US strategic drone conducts reconnaissance flight over Donbas

On Friday, February 16, a RQ-4 Global Hawk strategic drone from the US Air Force conducted a reconnaissance flight along the line of demarcation in the Donbas, Interfax-Ukraine reported with reference to web sites tracking the air traffic of military aircraft.

 The US long-distance drone with tail number 10-2043, which took off from Sigonella airbase in Sicily, flew from north to south along the line of demarcation separating Ukraine from self-proclaimed LPR (Luhansk People's Republic) and the DPR (Donetsk People's Republic), without crossing it.

The flight was carried out at an altitude of about 16 thousand meters and with a speed of 600 km per hour. At about 8pm the drone left the airspace above the Donbas.
During the reconnaissance, the aircraft flew several times at a distance of approximately 40 to 60 km to the Belgorod, Voronezh and Rostov regions of Russia bordering the Luhansk region.

Recently the US Air Force has increased the number of such reconnaissance flights. Since the beginning of this year, at least twelve reconnaissance operations have been recorded near the line of demarcation in the Donbas.
Earlier, it was reported that on February 11, an American strategic drone conducted reconnaissance flight along the line of demarcation in the Donbas, near the coast of the Crimea and the Krasnodar Krai of the Russian Federation. Mesajı Paylaş
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Chinese plane enters S. Korea's air defense zone: JCS

China flew a military aircraft into South Korea's air defense identification zone (KADIZ) for over four hours Tuesday without giving prior notification, defense authorities here said.

The plane came close to South Korean territory, prompting the Air Force to scramble fighter jets to monitor its activity, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS). More than 10 planes, including F-15ks and KF-16s, were dispatched.

The Chinese jet entered the KADIZ at around 9:34 a.m. and approached some 30 nautical miles, or 55.5 kilometers, northwest of Ulleung Island in the East Sea before flying out of the zone at around 2:01 p.m. at the military's warning message, the JCS added.

It described the flight route as "unusual," given China's previous dispatch of warplanes just into the KADIZ south of the peninsula.

"Our military warned it to stop the act of raising tensions that can trigger an accidental conflict through the South Korea-China (military) hotline and (pilot's) radio communication," it said.

A JCS official told reporters that the jet is believed to be a reconnaissance plane, adding the government plans to lodge a strong protest with China over the act via various channels, including the military and the foreign ministry.

It was unprecedented for China's military aircraft to fly so close to South Korea's eastern airspace without Seoul's authorization, which Beijing claimed was part of a "routine exercise," he said.

On China's intention, he said it seems to be aimed at testing the South Korean military's response.

A Chinese military plane entered the KADIZ late last month following two similar cases in 2017.

An ADIZ is airspace over land or water declared by a state for the early identification and location of a foreign plane approaching its territory. It's not defined in any international law or treaty.

The KADIZ near Ieo Island, south of the peninsula, overlaps with the air defense zones designated by China and Japan, a source of potential territorial tensions among the regional powers. Mesajı Paylaş
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Baltic Region Agenda

Director of the Norwegian Intelligence Service discloses information about Russian offensive exercises against targets in northern Norway.

«Less than a year ago, on March 24th, Russian bombers were flying tactical flights towards the intelligence service's installations in Vardø. The bombers were conducting offensive profiles before they returned to bases on Kola. A total of nine aircraft participated in the operation,» said Lieutenant General Morten Haga Lunde in his annual speech at Oslo Military Society on Monday.

The Globus 2 in Vardø is an American-funded radar operated by the Norwegian military intelligence. Vardø is a town on a small island as near the strategically important coastline of the Kola Peninsula as you can get in Norway. This is the water where Russia's nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines are sailing out from their bases, and also a perfect spot for Norway to keep an eye on possible launching of missiles.

The radars are highly visible above the town centre, but what's going on inside the intelligence station on up the rock is highly secret.

On clear days, it is possible to see across the Varanger fjord to Russian territory from the town of Vardø, originally a fishermen's settlement. Logically, the radar has never been very popular among Russian military officials. Now, a new more modern radar is under construction at the site. Moscow fears it could be used as a component in a future American anti-ballistic missile defense program.

Lieutenant General Morten Haga Lunde is Director of the Norwegian Intelligence Service. Photo: Torbjørn Kjosvold / Norwegian Armed Forces

Targeted NATO vessels

Two months later, Russian bombers were again simulating an attack against targets even further west in Northern Norway, the intelligence director could tell.

«Also, on the 22nd of May last year were Russian aircraft again flying tactical flights towards a fleet of NATO vessels exercising in the Norwegian Ocean. They conducted offensive operations before they returned to different bases on the Kola Peninsula,» Morten Haga Lunde explained.

«A total of 12 aircraft participated in this operation, including MiG-31, Fencer [Su-24], Fullback [Su-34] and Backfire [Tu-22M].»

Haga Lunde did not specify which exercise the Russian aircrafts were targeting, but as previously reported by the Barents Observer were submarines and surface vessels from Norway, the United States and Germany participating in the exercise EASTLANT 17 in May. The exercise took place outside the island of Senja in northern Norway, not far from Tromsø. EASTLANT is NATO term for Eastern Atlantic Area.

Norwegian navy vessels at port in Oslo. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

Simulated attack on Bodø

Russia's simulated offensive operations against Northern Norway did not stop with that, the intelligence director told.

«Less than a week later, on May 27 was a similar mission directed towards our military installations in the Bodø area. This happened in connection with a larger allied air force exercise led by Norway in cooperation with Sweden and Finland. Nine [Russian] aircraft participated in the operation.»

The air force exercise in question was the two week long Arctic Challenge, the largest in Western Europe last year with more than 100 aircrafts from 12 nations. The Barents Observer reported at the time about F-16 fighter jets from Bodø main air base being scrambled to meet Russian military aircraft off the coast of Northern Norway.

Iskander in Pechenga valley

Talking about Russia's largest military exercise last autumn, the Zapad-2017, Haga Lunde said Iskander missile systems were moved to an area close to the Norwegian border.

«Another significant element in connection with Zapad it that the missile system Iskander was transferred to the high north, specifically to the Pechenga valley, less than 40 kilometers from Storskog, approx. 15 kilometers from Korpfjell, not far from the border to Norway.»

Iskander is a modern shore-range ballistic missile. It is deployed with conventional warheads, but is also nuclear-capable. When Russia deployed the Iskander missiles to Kaliningrad in 2016, it caused strong concern among the Baltic states and Poland.

«By moving this missile system with a range of around 500 kilometers, targets in larger parts of Northern Norway are in the range of this missiles,» the director of Norway's intelligence service said in his speech in Oslo Monday evening.

An audio-recording of Haga Lunde's speech is posted at the portal of Oslo Military Society [his speech is in Norwegian].

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Mar 18, 2018, 10:08 ÖÖ Last Edit: Mar 18, 2018, 10:11 ÖÖ by Alkyone

Arctic Edge 2018 is a biennial, large-scale, joint-training exercise that prepares and tests the U.S. military's ability to operate tactically in the extreme cold-weather conditions found in Arctic environments. ( Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class John Banfield/Navy).

Soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines -- and Coasties, too -- test arctic war-fighting skills in Alaska exercise

Marines and soldiers trucked and stomped through snow drifts, practicing basic patrolling and survival skills, while sailors, Coast Guardsmen and airmen planned air and maritime defense for the nation's northernmost state during an exercise this month.

Arctic Edge included 1,500 service members from 20 units, and it aimed to get service members from each branch working in the cold, demanding arctic environment across more than 1.5 million available acres, said Air Force Lt. Gen. Ken Wilsbach, head of U.S. Northern Command's Alaskan Command.

The exercise is conducted every other year. This year, training began on March 12, and the entire exercise is planned to conclude next week. The last time it was held, the focus was on responding to natural disasters, said Army Lt. Col. Joshua Gaspard, chief of joint training and readiness for Alaskan Command.

Arctic Edge 18 is a biennial, large-scale, joint-training exercise that prepares and tests the U.S. military's ability to operate tactically in the extreme cold-weather conditions found in Arctic environments with more than 1,500 participants from the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy in Alaska. (Cpl. Sean Evans/Marine Corps)

This year's focus was on homeland defense of the "Last Frontier State," Gaspard said.

Much of the work included live fires, and survival and maneuver training, the lieutenant colonel said. A Navy and Coast Guard team focused on mine warfare planning for maritime defense in the southern section near Juneau, Alaska. Much of the training has been held at the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex and the Long-Range Radar System sites in Alaska. Gaspard did not discuss adversaries nor scenarios, but in recent congressional testimony, senators quizzed the top NATO commander, U.S. Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti about Russian efforts in the arctic.

The Russian military is refitting bases in the Arctic Circle and continues work on advanced ice-breaking ships, leading strategists to argue that the region is becoming militarized. An unidentified Navy captain with Special Operations Command, who spoke along with Gaspard to media about the exercise, said that Colorado-based SOCOM units participated, working on special operations forces and conventional forces integration. They also tested communications and survival gear in the arctic climate, which hadn't yet been done with that gear, the captain said. He declined to disclose specifics about the equipment.
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Germany proposes Ulm as NATO logistics hub against Russia

Germany has put forward the city of Ulm as a potential candidate for a logistics base to counter potential Russian aggression on NATO's eastern flank. An alternative would be the US city of Norfolk, Virginia. Germany has put forward the southern city of Ulm as the site of a new logistics command to be built in response to Russian actions in eastern Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea.

If chosen, the city would be a base in any crisis operation to speed troops and equipment across Europe to NATO's eastern flank.
Ulm is already home to Germany's Multinational Joint Headquarters, which exercises command and control of operations for the United Nations, NATO and the European Union. The Defense Ministry also considered sites near the western cities of Bonn and Cologne.
Even without the base, Germany would be a hub in any military deployment on NATO's eastern fringes. Forces from the US and Canada would likely pass through Germany's North Sea ports such as Bremerhaven, while most ground troops from western European members would pass through German territory.

Plan to be ready for April

The US has also offered to host the proposed NATO command at Norfolk, Virginia.
Germany's Defense Ministry said a broad plan for the new Joint Support and Enabling Command (JSEC) would be ready by mid-April. A formal decision by NATO is expected at a meeting of defense ministers from June 7-8.
"As a framework nation for the JSEC, we can make a significant contribution to burden-sharing in the alliance," the Reuters news agency cited Peter Tauber, state secretary in the Defense Ministry, as telling German lawmakers on Tuesday.
A second command -- a North Atlantic planning and strategy hub -- is also planned to protect shipping lanes from enemy submarines. It is thought that each command would have about 1,500 employees. Proposed cities  for that include the US's Norfolk and Germany's Cologne. Mesajı Paylaş
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South China Sea: China Deploys Jamming Equipment

According to U.S. military officials, China has deployed communications and radar jamming equipment to Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratly group in the South China Sea. The deployment took place during the last 90 days, according to U.S. intelligence.

First reported by the Wall Street Journal( ), the deployment marks a significant capability improvement for the Chinese military in the South China Sea. Fiery Cross Reef is the site of one of China's seven artificial island facilities in the Spratlys.

The U.S. military commissioned commercial satellite imagery from DigitalGlobe to point out the deployment to reporters with the Journal. "China has deployed military jamming equipment to its Spratly Island outposts," one Pentagon official told the reporters.

One of the images, which the Journal has featured on its website, appears to show jamming equipment with an erected antenna mast.

It's unclear if the U.S. assessment is backed by other forms of intelligence or imagery alone; the resolution of the commercial imagery is insufficient to definitively substantiate the nature of the equipment, but the U.S. military added an inset showing the kind of equipment it expects has been deployed.

The deployment of electronic warfare assets to the Spratlys would be in line with recent trends in Chinese behavior in the South China Sea.

China has slowly and steadily militarized its seven artificial island facilities, adding everything from over-the-horizon radar sites to close-in weapon systems and hangars for future fighter deployments.

From 2014, when the artificial islands first became known, to around late 2016, China mostly developed dual-use infrastructure on these islands with some degree of plausible deniability about their potential military applications.

Since late 2016, however, Beijing has deployed assets that only have military applications; the new jamming equipment is in line with this trend.

Three of the artificial islands -- Fiery Cross Reef, Subi Reef, and Mischief Reef -- feature airstrips thought to be capable of accommodating any aircraft in the inventory of both the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) or the People's Liberation Army Navy's Air Force (PLANAF).

China regularly rotates J-11B fighters to Woody Island in the Paracel group, several hundred miles northwest of the Spratly group.

Electronic warfare assets could play an important role in a future conflict between China and other claimant states in the South China Sea and even the United States. Though the lone site on Fiery Cross Reef would be insufficient to confer a decisive advantage to China, a constellation of multiple such sites could multiply the benefits these facilities for Beijing.

China claims most of the South China Sea under its capacious nine-dash line claim. Five other countries -- Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei, and Taiwan -- also claim portions of the South China Sea. Mesajı Paylaş
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A Southern Pacific Base for the Chinese Navy in Vanuatu?

The Sydney Morning Herald reported on Monday that China has formally approached the government of Vanuatu about possibly establishing a permanent military base on its territory.

So far, no one from either the Chinese or Vanuatu governments has gone on record as confirming that talks are underway. (Vanuatu's ambassador to Australia said he wasn't aware of any such talks to the Herald.) But the idea of a Chinese naval installation in the southern Pacific is far from implausible. Beijing has set up its first overseas installation in Djibouti and uses the site to keep up anti-piracy operations for the People's Liberation Army-Navy (PLAN) in the Gulf of Aden and the western Indian Ocean. The base in Djibouti was a direct follow-on from China's 2015 national military strategy, which emphasized that the PLAN would move from its historic near-seas defense role to a that of a global expeditionary navy.

Vanuatu, in particular, has strategic salience for the PLAN, where strategists have, for more than two decades, considered China's options in moving past the so-called first island chain. China's North, East, and South Sea Fleets are boxed in by a chain of nations friendly or allied with the United States--from Japan down to Taiwan and the Philippines, China's access to the western Pacific Ocean could be limited in wartime.

Chinese strategists such as Admiral Liu Huaqing, a commander of the PLAN in the 1980s, was a proponent of China moving past the first island chain and emerging as a full-fledged blue-water naval power in the Pacific, off the back of a major carrier force. Today, China's carrier force is in development, with one carrier, the Liaoning, already operational and others under construction. Analysts expect that China will end up with a carrier force comprising six carriers--three of which may use nuclear propulsion.

A robust naval installation in Vanuatu would serve as an important logistics, replenishment, and maintenance node for a blue-water Chinese fleet. In this regard, it would not only align with longstanding PLAN objectives for the western Pacific, but directly support the PLAN's new expeditionary identity.

Before any of this can be done, however, Vanuatu, a sovereign state, must agree to host China. The Herald notes that "Beijing has been showering Vanuatu, which has a population of about 270,000, with hundreds of millions of dollars in development money and last week committed to building a new official residence for Prime Minister Charlot Salwai as well as other government buildings.

That lines up with China's checkbook diplomacy elsewhere, but it'll take more than that to lead to a naval installation. Vanuatu is unlike Djibouti, which already hosted a range of foreign militaries on its soil, fully leveraging its strategic position. Vanuatu maintains close ties with Australia, New Zealand, and Western European states.

Acquiescing to a Chinese naval installation on its territory, while well within its sovereign right, may carry costs elsewhere. These costs could be borne by China, which might be willing to significantly increase its support for Vanuatu's development should the government acquiesce to a base, but the decision won't be easy. Mesajı Paylaş
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