Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A follow up on the "China, Taiwan Military Officials to Meet" report I posted yesterday

You can find another news release here.
http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?i=4014627&c=ASI&s=TOP


I must admit, the cross strait relation is developing much faster than most people expected.


China discovered huge oil reserve in Taiwan Strait
China Times
By Staff Writers
April 1, 2009

According to researchers on both side of Taiwan Strait, they had discovered Taiwan Strait used to be a desert, and after years of drilling and research, they found there's at least one trillion barrels of oil under Taiwan Strait, if not more. Confirm rumors that this new discovery had been granted P90/1P designation as proven reserve by US oil companies that are eager to jump into the black gold rush in the Taiwan Strait.

State own oil companies on both side of Taiwan Strait had been drilling test rigs for the last 40 years, but most discovery were small oil wells and natural gas, nothing like the newly found oil field with reserve of at least one trillion barrels.

Neither governments had been commenting on the new old field discovery, but they have not rule out a joint venture to manage the new oil field.

On the related news, OPEC suddenly offered both China and Taiwan a seat on the OPEC. The one trillion barrel reserve would equal to all OPEC member's oil reserve put together.

End.

=========

Biggest oil reserved discovered in Taiwan Strait, US military attempt to invade Taiwan to take away the new oil field for all Chinese people
Xinhua
by Staff reporters
April 1, 2009

Breaking news of largest oil reserve was discovered in the Taiwan Strait had triggered a secret war between Imperial United States military and PLA. According to various sources, a naval and air war had been fought for the last 2 weeks, when the news leaked out a huge oil field reserve of at least one trillion barrels had been discovered in Taiwan Strait.

US had sent 4 aircraft carrier groups and various fighters based in Guam and Okinawa to attempt to wipe out Taiwan's air defense, thus paving the way for US Marines to land on Taiwan. But the PLA military was ready to defense Taiwan when the initial attack was detected, and the PLA forces, mostly Navy and Air Force units, able to defeat the invading forces, by using several new secret weapons that after 2 weeks of battles, managed to sink 3 out of 4 aircraft carriers, USS Nimitz, USS Reagan, and USS Truman. The Taiwan government, thankful of the motherland came to its rescue, had decided to become a SAR, and the former president of Taiwan, Ma Ing Cho, had swore in as the new Taiwan SAR regional administrator.

US officials denied such battles or war had happen, but there's no more comments on that matter. PLA officials also said they hope the war will not effect the future relationship with United States, since it's just a handful of people in US government and military that are trying to undermine the strong relationships between China and US, by hurting the feeling of Chinese people.

In related announcements from Beijing, the visit to Hong Kong by USS Nimitz battlegroup will be still be held from April 10 to 17, then follow by USS Reagan and USS Truman in May. These visits will not be effected by the small disagreements between China and United States.

End.

Chinese UFO sighting increases, turned out to be J-13 fighter.
Xinhua
By Staff reporters
April 1, 2009

Amid increasing UFO reports in China, PLAAF officials came forward and revealed the UFO reports were all involving PLAAF's newest fighter, J-13.

With only one official picture revealed of J-13, you can tell why normal people would have thought it's a UFO.

"No matter which direction you look at J-13, it looks like a flying saucer," PLAAF Lt. Col. General Yu Lien said. A first in the world, J-13 was designed as both aerospace and space fighter, which mean it can takeoff from a airbase and able to reach Earth orbit without any rockets. And with other payload modifications, J-13 can reach the Moon within a day.

It took PLAAF 20 years to start the R&D and production of the J-13 fighter, which was built by Chengdu aerospace corp..

US and Western world respond to unveiling of J-13 was totally shock and speechless, no comments was able to obtain from any western nations.

In related news, PLAAF threaten not to buy more AL-31FN engines from Russia for J-10, and hint might switch to US suppliers.

End

An update on the PLAN's second task force



Again, they are sending their latest toys, while DDG 167 is an old hand, FFG 570 is a new Type054A class that was commissioned only two years ago.



Chinese navy to send new escort ships to Somali waters
www.chinaview.cn 2009-03-31 21:27:27 Print

ZHANJIANG, Guangdong Province, March 31 (Xinhua) -- A second group of Chinese navy escort ships will set sail for the Gulf of Aden Thursday to replace a flotilla sent earlier to guard against pirates.

The new task force will comprise the destroyer, Shenzhen, and frigate Huangshan, as well as the supply ship, Weishanhu, which served in the first escort mission.

With two helicopters and total crew exceeding 800, including navy special forces, it is mainly tasked with ensuring the safety of Chinese vessels passing through the gulf and waters off Somalia and those of international organizations like the World Food Program shipping humanitarian goods.

The flotilla will traverse 4,600 nautical miles, passing the Xisha and Nansha Islands, the Singapore Strait, the Strait of Malacca and the Indian Ocean before it arrives in the Gulf of Aden.

China initiated its three-ship escort task force on Dec. 26 last year after the United Nations Security Council called on countries to patrol gulf and waters off Somalia, one of the world's busiest marine routes, where surging piracy endangered intercontinental shipping.

The ships had escorted 104 vessels and rescued three foreign merchant ships from pirate attacks, Huang Jiaxiang, political commissar of the Navy's South China Sea Fleet, said in a March 11 interview.

About 20 percent of Chinese merchant ships passing through the waters off Somalia were attacked by pirates from January to November in 2008, before the task force was deployed.

A total of seven ships, either owned by China or carrying Chinese cargo and crew, were hijacked.

Tianyu No. 8, a Chinese fishing vessel with 16 Chinese (including one from Taiwan) and eight foreign sailors aboard, was captured by Somali pirates on Nov. 14 last year and released in early February.
Editor: Xiong Tong
I really don't think the Sino-ASEAN relations is a zero-sum game directed at the US as this article hinted. However, it is clear that many in ASEAN (Including the Vietnamese) do not see PRC in the same light as many of the more hawkish pundits in Washington.

Southeast Asia military delegates tour China base

By CHRISTOPHER BODEEN – 3 hours ago

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gCr5_1eeI02qsRAkkG1xmZjkHrkAD9790ML00

NANKOU, China (AP) — Top Southeast Asian military brass toured a tank base north of Beijing on Tuesday, highlighting China's growing engagement with a region that has long felt neglected by the United States.

Officers from the ten-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations viewed a demonstration of sophisticated computer training simulators at the home of the Sixth Armored Division, then posed for photos with members of China's People's Liberation Army in front of tanks, armored personnel carriers and self-propelled artillery.

The division, based in the town of Nankou at the foot of the Great Wall of China, is one of China's elite units, charged with conducting mobile operations and providing security for the Chinese capital.

Tuesday's visit followed two days of workshops focused on boosting cooperation in peacekeeping and humanitarian relief along with efforts to fight piracy and drug smuggling.

"We have seen a real strengthening of Chinese engagement with ASEAN. They're pretty keen on participating in all of our forums," Thai Army Brig. Gen. Chainan Jantakananuruk told The Associated Press.

The U.S., Jantakananuruk said, "needs to get more involved."

China's new engagement is a reassertion of its once considerable influence in Southeast Asia, and could challenge U.S. sway at a time when Washington is distracted by wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The region often felt slighted by the Bush administration, and President Barack Obama has sought to reverse this perception of neglect. In February, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton strongly indicated U.S. intentions to step up engagement with a visit to ASEAN's Indonesia headquarters.

"The U.S. must enhance cooperation with ASEAN," said Indonesian Brig. Gen. Subekti, whose country's military has been subject to U.S. sanctions over its rule in East Timor and past human rights abuses.

"Now that Indonesia has made progress in those areas ... whether relations will get better depends on the U.S. getting more involved," said Subekti, who like many Indonesians uses just one name.

Despite such statements, Washington's clout remains and China's recent ties with Southeast Asia have not been entirely smooth. China's enormous economic power has prompted concern, while territorial disputes in the South China Sea have moved no closer to resolution.

China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines have overlapping claims to all or parts of South China Sea island groups and the waters that surround them. Along with rich fishing grounds, the South China Sea is believed to have large oil and natural gas reserves. The disputed island groups also straddle busy sea lanes that are a crucial to China's economy.

Vietnamese Brig. Gen. Nyuyen Duc Thinh said Hanoi preferred to engage Beijing directly in its territorial dispute with China, but said multilateral forums were useful for improving trust and understanding.

Despite recent exchanges of diplomatic protests among the disputants, Thinh said the danger of a conflict remained low.

"It's under control, things are stable, all sides are showing control and restraint," he said.

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Monday, March 30, 2009

What is he saying? Aussie Sailors are bunch of slackers. Not sure I understand.

Chinese naval observer's impression of Australian warship

english.chinamil.com.cn 2009-03-30

  In the "Peace 09" multinational maritime joint military exercise organized by Pakistani Navy, Cui Yonggang, the deputy captain of the Chinese warship No. 170, stayed onboard the Australian frigate "Varamonga" from March 9 to March 12 as a Chinese naval observer. He was deeply impressed by the Australian Navy's practice of letting serviceman accumulate combat force in an easy atmosphere.

  The first impression that the "Varamonga" left on the mind of the visitors is that the ship is full of easy atmosphere everywhere. The sailors don't need to keep tense for a long time no matter on duty or in their spare time.

  Long-time work under high pressure is apt to make people collapse. How to alleviate the fatigue, nervousness and sensitivity? The solution of the Australian Navy is to put emphasis on work purpose and standard while giving sailors freedom of doing things other than work. In their spare time, the soldiers can listen to music and have sports activities for refreshment.

  During the exercise, once the "Varamonga" launched live firing practice at the floating targets, he found that only operators of the main cannon system stayed at their positions and the other sailors were either at their normal rest or doing their routine work. As no first-class deployment was made, the strength of the officers and men was well maintained.

  By Cui Yonggang


  (Mar.30, PLA Daily) Editor: Ouyang


China aviation giant spins off defence branch: report

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090327/bs_wl_afp/chinadefenceaviation_20090327021515

by Staff Writers

Beijing (AFP) March 27, 2009

China's largest aircraft maker has spun off a 7.3 billion dollar independent defence manufacturing branch that will seek to produce top military hardware for global markets, state media said Friday.
The Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) established the aviation defence branch office Thursday in Beijing to separate the plane manufacturer's civilian and defence operations, Xinhua news agency said.

The new branch will take over most of AVIC's defence business and oversee 10 assembly plants and research institutes which have combined assets of 50 billion yuan (7.3 billion dollars), the report said.

"We are trying to become a world leading defence products supplier by expanding our overseas market for export," the report quoted Wang Yawei, general manager of the defence branch, as saying.

Building combat aircraft, including China's homemade third generation fighter jet the J-10, will remain a core task for the branch, it said.

Xinhua did not give a formal name for the defence branch, which will also continue to manufacture AVIC's L-15 Falcon, a supersonic training aircraft, and the FC-1 Fierce Dragon, a light-weight multipurpose fighter, for export.

In November 2008, the Chinese government formed AVIC by merging the nation's two largest airplane manufacturers in an effort to establish an aviation giant.

AVIC owns 22 listed companies in China, Xinhua said.

A follow up on the J-10B story.

I finally have a chance to review some of the news related to J-10B this weekend and saw the following:

he said the agreement between Pakistan and China for the delivery of High Tech aircraft J-10 was intact and these aircraft after improving them further would be delivered to PAF in 2014-15. He said these aircraft are being modernized in accordance with the PAF’s requirements and delivered under the title of FC-20


At first, I did not pay much attention to it, consider all Chinese birds in PAF service had minor modifications. However, by looking at the timing of the news release and the push-backed delivery date, Pakistan might have decided to wait for the improved model instead of the current production one.

Here is the full article:


PAF to start serial production of JF-17 fighter aircraft soon
'Pakistan Times' Federal Bureau
http://www.pakistantimes.net/2009/03/08/top2.htm

ISLAMABAD: With singing of an agreement between Pakistan Air Force and Chinese firm CATIC the serial production of JF-17 (Thunder) aircraft would start soon. The agreement between PAF and CATIC on the basis of “seller’s credit” was reached at a ceremony held here Saturday, whereby 42 fighter jets would be jointly produced for the use of PAF.

The agreement was signed on behalf of PAF by Chairman Pakistan Aeronautical Complex Air Marshal Khalid Chaudary and President CATIC MA Zhiping which was witnessed by Chief of the Air Staff PAF Air Chief Marshal Tanvir Mahmood Ahmed and Ambassador of China to Pakistan Luo Zhaohui besides other senior officials from both the parties.

Under the agreement the lot of 42 aircraft would be co-manufactured by China and Pakistan and later these would be inducted in the PAF’s fleet.

Talking to media, Air Chief Marshal Tanvir Mehmood Ahmed congratulated the peoples and governments of Pakistan and China on conduction of successful tests and trails of the most modern aircraft of its class and signing of agreement for start of their serial production. He said “despite all odds we have been successful to reach the stage of starting serial production of the aircraft.”

“In the beginning we will produce 15 aircraft annually and their number will increase to 30 in a year this programme will be carried out in phases,” he said. He said first squadron of these highest quality fighter jets would be inducted in the PAF’s fleet by mid of this year as PAF has already been using 8 jointly produced aircraft for the last couple of years. This fleet would be raised in Peshawar, he added.

About the delivery of AWACS system to Pakistan, he said that agreement had already been reached with a Chinese firm which would start its delivery by 2010. On the delivery of first AWACS system Pakistan would pay 10% cost of the aircraft while the rest would be paid on easy installments basis, he said.
Answering a question, he said the agreement between Pakistan and China for the delivery of High Tech aircraft J-10 was intact and these aircraft after improving them further would be delivered to PAF in 2014-15. He said these aircraft are being modernized in accordance with the PAF’s requirements and delivered under the title of FC-20.






Here is a modified F-7FS served as a prototype for DSI testing.





Two B&W photos of J-10B prototype "01" flying.


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Ivchenko-Progress to start supplying engines for L-15 aircraft to China in March
5 March, 12:01 | Interfax-Ukraine

http://www.kyivpost.com/nation/36796
The state enterprise Ivchenko-Progress (Zaporizzhia), a Ukrainian design bureau of aircraft engines, will supply to China in March a pilot run of AI-222-25F engines for the L-15 training and light attack aircraft.

"It is a modern aircraft. It has a short takeoff, can bear a large ordinance load, can be a scout, and can easily manoeuvre like an acrobatics aircraft. It is hard to hit with a missile. It ha s a great future, and I think our engine will evolve," the chief designer of the state enterprise Ivchenko-Progress, Fedir Muravchenko, said at a press conference on Tuesday.

As required by the customer, the engine allows the plane to do loops, spins, and narrow curves.

According to the chief designer, the aircraft with the said properties is interesting not only to China, but to Russia and Italy also. There have also been some requests from the Ukrainian armed forces.

The new engine was developed jointly with Russian designers authorized to carry out work of this kind.

The state enterprise Ivchenko-Progress designed the AI-222 family of turbojet engines with a take-off thrust ranging from 2200 to 4500 kgf (augmented modifications) for modern training and combat aircrafts. At the moment, the bench tests are being carried of the AI-222-25F engine with an augmented take-off thrust 4200 kgf. It is planned to develop a turbojet engine on the basis of the gas producer with a take-off thrust 3500-4150 kgf for executive aircrafts, and a turboshaft engine with a power of 7000-8000 horse power for helicopters and regional aircraft.




PLAAF 28th Attack Division.

One of the JH-7A of the PLAAF 28th Attack Division is sporting a new ECM Pod (for some reason, it reminds me of the AN/ALQ family). Clearly, they are utilizing some of the JH-7A into EW roles to support rest of the flight.






USNS Impeccable incident? What incident?

USNS Impeccable incident? What incident?

"It's an opportunity to solidify what has been a very good start in the bilateral relationship," White House deputy national security adviser Denis McDonough told reporters in a conference call, referring to the Hu meeting.


Thank you McDonough for giving me the chuckle! Normally, I don't talk about politic in my blog, but that quote above was pure gold.



Obama to discuss N.Korea with China's Hu at G20
Sat Mar 28, 2009 1:12pm EDT

http://www.reuters.com/article/newsMaps/idUSTRE52R1LK20090328

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will discuss concerns about a possible North Korean missile launch with Chinese President Hu Jintao at the G20 summit next week, White House officials said on Saturday.

"It's an opportunity to solidify what has been a very good start in the bilateral relationship," White House deputy national security adviser Denis McDonough told reporters in a conference call, referring to the Hu meeting.

"We'll obviously want to take an opportunity to discuss our shared concerns about preparations in North Korea for a launch that we, as you know, would consider to be counter to U.N. Security Council resolution 1718."

The resolution, adopted in 2006, imposes arms and financial sanctions on North Korea after it conducted its first nuclear test three months after firing its longest-range Taepodong-2 ballistic missile. It also bans sale of luxury goods to the North.

Pyongyang has said it will launch a communications satellite between April 4-8. But regional powers believe the real purpose is to test a long-range missile, the Taepodong-2, which is already on its launch pad at a North Korean missile base.

White House officials said Hu and Obama also would discuss the economy during the London summit but declined to comment on whether the issue of a global reserve currency would come up.

"Their agenda is a broad agenda that will cover a number of issues -- economic, political, strategic. So I wouldn't want to prejudge what they will end up talking about," said Michael Froman, deputy national security adviser for international economic affairs.

"We obviously look forward to a positive, cooperative and constructive relationship as it relates kind of across the board on these issues," McDonough said.

He referred to Obama's comments at a news conference on Tuesday about the global currency. The president said that the U.S. dollar was "extraordinarily strong" and that there was no need for a single global currency.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason and Caren Bohan; Editing by Xavier Briand)


Finally a LH Brigade.

Today, both CCTV and PLA Daily carried a story on "a Xinjing MD" LH (Army Aviation) Brigade (Here) and (Here). Finally, PLA's attempt to boost LH's profile by enlarging its organizational structure from Regiment to Brigades has been confirmed. With the 3rd LH confirmed as the first, there are rumors out there pointing to the 10th LH as the next target for reorg.

3rd LH's known serial numbers tracked by Andrew K C.

1 Mil-8: 92801
2 Mil-171V: 93791, 93793
2 Mil-171: 93709, 93711
5 Mil-17V5: 93705, 93718, 93796, 93797, 93799
11 Mil-17V7: 93700, 93701, 93702, 93703, 93704, 93706, 93707, 93708, 93712, 93720, 93798
1 S70C2: 93217
1 Z-9G: 93908




Photo of 3rd LH's Commander Cheng Cuguo, who has became somewhat of a media darling lately (Here)




Friday, March 27, 2009

New J-10 variant sighted -- Janes.

Latest write up from Janes on the new J-10 variant. Odd, I call reading something similar last week.





Images of the new-variant J-10 combat aircraft, which have appeared on the Internet, clearly show a revised engine inlet and IRST system (Internet)


New J-10 variant sighted

By Ted Parsons

23 March 2009

http://www.janes.com/news/defence/jdw/jdw090323_1_n.shtml

Chinese web pages have featured photos of a new variant of the Chengdu Aircraft Corporation (CAC) J-10 multirole fighter that appear to confirm a spate of late December 2008 web reports on this same aircraft, with some accounts noting it has already been test flown.

This single-seat variant differs from the initial single-seat J-10 model in that it appears to feature a revised engine inlet, consistent in design with the diverter-less supersonic inlet (DSI) featured on the latest version of the Chengdu FC-1 lightweight multirole fighter. Reminiscent of the DSI modification first tested on a Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 30 in 1996, this modification saves weight and improves specific engine power and stealth. It also cleans up the J-10's previous complex inlet configuration, which was reportedly prone to vibration.

China's research on DSIs dates back to the late 1990s, with Chengdu's 611 institute for aerospace design having been assisted by government-funded research at the Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Everybody was pirates fighting

Is me, or major Asian powers such as China, Japan and South Korea are milking the Somalia pirates issue for an opportunity to show off the flag and regional juxtaposition.

First, all three powers are sending task forces out in military missions first time since WWII to fight those "damn" pirates. (Here)(Here) and (Here). Now, China and Korea are using this pirates fight as a mean to surface some of the under-the-table military cooperations in response to the pending North Korea missile test and other regional security issues. As I noted eariler, South Korea is the first nation China asked to conduct joint amphibious operations with and that is a clear indication that they shared many security concerns (Here)

With that, sing with me now.....


Everybody was pirates fighting
Those cats were fast as lightning
In fact it was a little bit frightning
But they fought with expert timing




http://english.chosun.com/w21data/html/news/200903/200903260021.html
Korean, Chinese Military to Join Hands in Fighting Pirates
Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Kim Tae-young and China's Gen. Chen Bingde, chief of the General Staff of the People's Liberation Army, on Wednesday agreed to cooperate on fighting pirates in Somalian waters. It was the first time the two militaries decided to cooperate in international peacekeeping activities.

Kim and Chen met at the Ministry of Defense in Seoul on Wednesday afternoon. They spoke about their experience in fighting pirates and agreed to help each other in case of emergencies, a joint Chiefs of Staff spokesman said.

(englishnews@chosun.com )





http://www.straitstimes.com/Breaking%2BNews/Asia/Story/STIStory_354471.html

March 25, 2009
China's military chief in SKorea

General Chen Bingde (far left), chief of staff of the People's Liberation Army, met Defence Minister Lee Sang-Hee ahead of talks with his counterpart Kim Tae-Young (left). --PHOTO: AFP
SEOUL - CHINA'S military chief arrived on Wednesday for talks with senior South Korean officials amid rising tensions over North Korea's planned rocket launch.

General Chen Bingde, chief of staff of the People's Liberation Army, met Defence Minister Lee Sang-Hee ahead of talks with his counterpart Kim Tae-Young, the Joint Chiefs of Staff office said.

Seoul's call for 'a positive role and efforts by the Chinese military to help address inter-Korean tensions' was on the agenda, it said in a statement.

North Korea says it will launch a communications satellite between April 4-8.

South Korea, the United States and Japan have denounced what they see as a disguised long-range missile test. They say a launch for any purpose would breach a UN Security Council resolution passed after the North's missile and nuclear tests in 2006.

'We plan to relay to the Chinese delegation our demand that North Korea heed international warnings and halt its preparations for the launch,' an unidentified Seoul defence official told Yonhap news agency.

'China is the closest country to North Korea. Its comments carry weight, and we hope it can more actively pressure Pyongyang.'

China, a traditional ally and major aid donor for North Korea as well as a permanent UN Security Council member, has not publicly urged it to halt the launch.

The North Tuesday warned that six-party nuclear disarmament talks would collapse if new UN sanctions are imposed to punish the launch. The forum groups the United States, Japan, Russia, the two Koreas and China.

South Korea's chief envoy to the talks Wi Sung-Lac returned Wednesday from a meeting in Beijing with his Chinese counterpart Wu Dawei on possible 'counter-measures' after any launch. Mr Wi, quoted by Yonhap, indicated there is no agreement yet on a response. -- AFP


Indeed, the response to DoD's Annual Report of Military Power of PRC has became ritualized as China already issued a standard rebuttal of "gross distortion of the facts" and urged an end to "Cold War thinking" as reported in today's BBC. However, I found the timing of the release interesting as most of the reports from previous years were delayed to make room for the political spin of the month; I still recall the firestorm that followed after the 2004 report's suggestion of a possible "WMD-lite" strike by the ROC air force against the Three Gorges Dam. (Link to the 2004 Report)

They released this year's report "on time" and says nothing about the USS Impeccable incident, very interesting.




China fury at US military report

http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/asia-pacific/7965084.stm

Beijing has reacted angrily to a Pentagon report on China's military power, which claimed it was altering the military balance in Asia.

A foreign ministry spokesman called it a "gross distortion of the facts", and urged an end to "Cold War thinking".

In its annual report to Congress, the Pentagon said China was developing "disruptive" technologies for nuclear, space and cyber warfare.

It could be used to enforce claims over disputed territories, the report said.

Beijing was again criticised for a lack of transparency in reporting military spending and security policy.

"This report issued by the US side continues to play up the fallacy of China's military threat," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told journalists.
REYNOLDS' CHINA
“ Is there enough room for two military powers off the coast of China? ”

He said Beijing had complained to Washington about it, and urged the US to "drop the Cold War thinking... to prevent further damage to the relationship between the two countries and two armies".

Tensions were heightened earlier this month after a confrontation between US and Chinese ships in China's exclusive economic zone south of Hainan, during which China accused the US of spying.

Projecting power?

The Pentagon reported that China was successfully managing to expand its arsenal of sophisticated weaponry, even though Beijing's ability to sustain military power at a distance remains limited.

Chinese "armed forces continue to develop and field disruptive military technologies", including "nuclear, space, and cyber warfare".
“ Much uncertainty surrounds China's future course, particularly regarding how its expanding military power might be used ”
Pentagon report

Some of these developments help China to participate in international peacekeeping, humanitarian and counter-piracy missions, the report acknowledged.

But they could also allow China to "project power to ensure access to resources or enforce claims to disputed territories," it said.

The Pentagon analysis said China was developing weapons that would disable its enemies' space technology such as satellites, boosting its electromagnetic warfare and cyber-warfare capabilities and continuing to modernise its nuclear arsenal.

It also noted a build-up of short-range missiles opposite Taiwan, despite a significant reduction in tension between the two in recent months.

And while the report also welcomed the rise of a peaceful, stable and prosperous China, it added: "Much uncertainty surrounds China's future course, particularly regarding how its expanding military power might be used."

The report estimated China's military spending in 2008 was roughly double that of a decade ago.

Beijing insists its increased military spending is purely for defensive purposes and is still small in comparison with that of the US.

China has repeatedly said that the Pentagon's annual report on its military power unfairly portrays China as a military threat when it is committed to a "peaceful rise" as its economic power grows.

China's armed forces are undoubtedly undergoing a dramatic transformation from a poorly-equipped peasant army to an increasingly sophisticated modern military, the BBC's defence and security correspondent Rob Watson says.

But its level of training and co-ordination as well as actual war fighting capability is still in doubt, he adds.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/asia-pacific/7965084.stm


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Thinking about the newly released report.....

Blasko wrote a good critique of the 2007 report in issue 47 of the Joint Force Quarterly and hopefully DoD listened to some of his advices and added improvements to this year's edition.

Click here to down load Blasko's "The 2007 Report on the Chinese Military: The Top 10 List of Missing Topics"

In the meanwhile, I am going to enjoy monitoring the coming media firestorm and the expected (and ritualized) PRC rebuttal.

Turkey, the only NATO nation with a large Chinese arsenal in its military has called to raise military cooperation, they also jointly market their rockets and some of those rockets were battle tested against PKK guerrillas in northern Iraq in late 2007. I am surprise to see all those exchanges did not rise too much of a concern in Washington and elsewhere. Maybe, just maybe, there is a benefit being a member of NATO, if Iran would get its hands on a B611, oh boy.

Turkey, China to raise military cooperation

http://www.todayszaman.com/tz-web/detaylar.do?load=detay&link=170574&bolum=100

Turkish Military Academies Commander Gen. Hasan Aksay who is in China, said Turkey and China should consider conducting joint military exercises: "Our talks should not remain limited to educational activities. We should think about joint military exercises."


In addition, China's Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Ge Zhenfeng said they expect to receive more military students from Turkey; since 1985, China has received 18 military delegations consisting of 200 people from Turkey. Turkey received 14 Chinese military delegations with more than 330 representatives in the same period, officials said.

Zhenfeng also said that he admires the Turkish military, "With its educational achievements and its combat capabilities, the Turkish military has made a deep impression on my mind," and added the Turkish military was exceptionally "disciplined." He also expressed his country's gratitude for Turkey's "one China" policy.

Aksay is expected to visit Shanghai today and leave China tomorrow.

25 March 2009, Wednesday
OSMAN EROL BEIJING


Photos of B611 and WS-2 long range Rockets in a Turkish military parade




Turkey, China jointly develop advanced rocket for Mideast market

WASHINGTON — China and Turkey have completed development of the B-611 rocket, a secret effort to supply artillery-based rockets to both countries as well as client states, particularly in the Middle East.
"We also have to consider a gray area, in which a couple of Chinese companies are now marketing artillery rockets that border on the edge of short-range ballistic missiles," said Richard Fischer, a leading U.S. expert on China's military. "The B-611 was developed in cooperation with Turkey, the WS-2."

The WS-2 is a Chinese rocket with a range of up to 180 kilometers. It is a variant of the Soviet-origin Frog-7. The B-611, with a range of 150 kilometers, was first displayed at China's International Aviation and Space Exhibition in 2004.

The B-611 does not violate any weapons-control regime. It has many of the properties of a guided missile and could be used by U.S. adversaries.

"The key advantage is that these are much cheaper to produce," Fischer told the American Enterprise Institute on July 11. "If you could put a terminally guided anti-ship warhead on the B-611, then you have the potential to sell [Venezuelan President] Hugo Chavez something that would give the American Navy something to think about."

Uzi Rubin, regarded as the father of Israel's missile defense program, said commercial off-the-shelf technology and components could be used to convert unguided rockets to accurate ballistic missiles. Rubin, who has written a report on the topic, cited the availability of onboard inertial and satellite navigation systems as well as software.

Turkish participation in the B-611 project has triggered concerns over non-proliferation in the Bush administration. But so far the administration has not expressed concern over the Chinese-Turkish project.

Monday, March 23, 2009

who said General Liang does not have a sense of humor

Off all the people in the world, General Liang has to tell the Japanese Defence Minister about the decision to build an AC carrier. Interesting timing too, consider JMSDF just launched a new class of "destroyer". Now, that is an interesting looking DDG.



Here is a picture of this beautiful looking JMSDF ship.



The Hyƫga class destroyers are a new type of helicopter destroyer (DDH) being built for the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force. It is planned to replace the Haruna class destroyers currently in use. The new ships will be the largest combatant ship operated by Japan since the end of the Imperial Japanese Navy. In design it resembles an aircraft carrier or amphibious assault ship.

The class' code-name (16DDH) derives from the Japanese calendar, specifically the 16th year of the Heisei reign (2004), when the provisional title was given.





China tells Japan it wants aircraft carrier

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090323/wl_asia_afp/chinajapandefencenavy

BEIJING (AFP) — China will not remain the world's only major nation without an aircraft carrier indefinitely, state press Monday cited the nation's defence minister as telling his Japanese counterpart.

Liang Guanglie made the remarks to visiting Japanese Defence Minister Yasukazu Hamada on Friday, the Oriental Morning Post said, in discussions that took place after a recent spike in tension in the South China Sea.

"Among the big nations only China does not have an aircraft carrier. China cannot be without an aircraft carrier forever," the paper quoted Liang as saying, citing Japanese official sources.

"China's navy is currently rather weak, we need to develop an aircraft carrier."

Liang's comment is the highest-level recent confirmation that China aims to acquire an aircraft carrier, a sophisticated piece of military hardware that can be used to project power far beyond a nation's shores.

It comes after several similar calls in recent months by senior members of the People's Liberation Army.

"Building aircraft carriers is a symbol of an important nation. It is very necessary," the China Daily quoted Admiral Hu Yanlin as saying earlier this month.

"China has the capability to build aircraft carriers and should do so."

In December, defence ministry spokesman Huang Xueping told reporters that China would "seriously" consider getting an aircraft carrier.

Defence Minister Liang was speaking after Chinese vessels confronted and nearly collided with a US naval surveillance ship in what Washington says are international waters off south China earlier this month.

The confrontation was described by US intelligence director Dennis Blair as the most serious military incident involving the two powers since a US spy plane collided with a Chinese fighter jet in April 2001.

China said the US naval ship Impeccable was carrying out illegal activities in its exclusive economic zone.

Beijing has also reacted angrily to a Philippine law passed earlier this month that laid claim to parts of the Spratlys Islands in the South China Sea which are claimed by China and other nations in the region.

China called the law "illegal and invalid," and dispatched a civilian patrol boat to the region.

Friday, March 20, 2009

If China and Japan can work toward on a "maritime liaison mechanism", there is no reason US and China can not do that same. The 2002 ASEAN agreement on South China Sea Declaration on the Conduct could serve as a model.



Chinese navy ships to visit Japan in 2009, says press communique

english.chinamil.com.cn 2009-03-21


  Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie (L) hosts a welcoming ceremony for his Japanese counterpart Yasukazu Hamada in Beijing, capital of China, on March 20, 2009. (Xinhua/Yao Dawei)

  BEIJING, March 20 (Xinhua) -- Chinese navy ships are expected to visit Japan in 2009, according to a press communique released by the defense departments of China and Japan on Friday.

  The release followed talks between Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie and visiting Japanese Defense Minister Hamada Yasukazu.

  It also said Liang would visit Japan in 2009 to return Yasukazu's visit to China.

  China and Japan would hold defense and security consultations in Tokyo within this year, said the communique.

  The two ministers agreed to exchange views on international peacekeeping operations, coping with natural disasters and cracking down on pirates, particularly with regard to information exchanges on operations in the Gulf of Aden off the Somali coast.

  The two countries agreed that the Japanese chiefs of staff of maritime, ground and air self-defense forces would visit China respectively in 2009 or at convenient occasions for both.

  The communique said China and Japan would continue to discuss building a maritime liaison mechanism, and the second expert group consultation in this regard would be held in the first half of the year.

  The two sides agreed to launch dialogues among all services and arms, and between military commands of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) and armies of Japanese self-defense forces.

  The two countries also encouraged exchanges of the field officers and junior military officers, as well as the cooperation between their military institutes.



  Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie (R) shakes hands with his Japanese counterpart Yasukazu Hamada during the welcoming ceremony Liang hosts for Hamada in Beijing, capital of China, on March 20, 2009. (Xinhua/Yao Dawei)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Tough Talks, Crafted Messages, and Real Actions.

Both Adm. Timothy Keating, commander of US forces in the Pacific and Robert Gates, U.S. Defense Secretary, released statements regarding the recent USNS Impeccable incident; on the surface, they seems to have a different thrust, but are they?


Tough Talks:

Adm Keating's tough statements to the Senate Armed Services Committee (Here) (Here) (Here)
"aggressive and troublesome" run-in with an unarmed American ship shows that Beijing is not yet ready to behave acceptably.
and
Beijing's suspension of military contact last year because of U.S. arms sales to Taiwan and last week's South China Sea confrontation are "vivid reminders" that it has yet to become a "responsible stakeholder."

and

"unlawful and dangerous."

The above statements seem to be inconsistent with his recent push for a greater cooperation with the Chinese military; in a 2007 visit to China, he famously (here) told Vice Admiral Wu Shengli, PLAN's commander, that United States would be willing to help China to build an aircraft carrier if that is what China decides to do" and ""if something comes up, I'd like to call you."


Crafted Messages:

At the same time, Defense Secretary Gates made some very reconciliatory statements in opposite of what Keating stated above at a Pentagon briefing (Here) (Here)


"I don't think that they're trying to push the 7th Fleet out of that area. And I hope, based on the diplomatic exchanges that have taken place since the aggressive acts against the Impeccable ... that there won't be a repetition of this,"

and


"And I would like to see us put this behind us, not have another incident like it, and continue that improvement in the relationship."
and

"I hope, based on the diplomatic exchanges that have taken place since the aggressive acts against the Impeccable, will mean that there won't be a repetition of this.

Real Actions:

Gates later called off the idea of sending US warships to escort "route operations" suggested by Keating last week (here) with this statement: "So it would make it unnecessary to send warships."



Few hours later, the Chinese seems to be happy with the Gates decision and quickly responded with a China Daily article headlined "Sino-US sea standoff appears to have ended". (here)

"It is time to call an end to it," said Li Jie, a senior naval researcher at the Chinese Navy's Military Academy.
and

Top commanders do not have plans to increase the military presence in the South China Sea following a confrontation earlier this month between a US spy ship and five Chinese vessels, naval sources told China Daily, also on condition of anonymity.

The US defense chief said on Wednesday that diplomatic exchanges since the confrontation would prevent a similar incident to that of March 8.

Interesting Timing:

Gates yesterday also announced the nomination of Admiral Robert Willard, head of the US Pacific Fleet, to replace Timothy Keating as the commander of US Pacific command. (here)


Stupid PR photos from PLA daily

Oh, PLA Marine, so tough....

PLA daily's special report (Here) on Marine garrison of South China Sea. Seriously, if they want to scare those sailors from USN off that region, those are NOT the photos you want to show them.








Wednesday, March 18, 2009

routine mission huh?

"Routine" is now my word of the week, that means I will use it at lease once a day until next Monday. Also, I neither confirm nor deny the rumor of me resigning from CDF so I can spend more time with my family.




Yuzheng 311


China stresses fishery vessel on "routine mission" in South China Sea

english.chinamil.com.cn 2009-03-18


  China's largest fishery administration vessel, China Yuzheng 311, arrives in the Xisha Islands March 17, 2009. The vessel will patrol the South China Sea.(Xinhua Photo)

  BEIJING, March 17 (Xinhua) -- China on Tuesday denied it was "flexing military might" by sending a fishery administration vessel to the South China Sea, saying the ship was on a "routine mission" in Chinese territorial waters.

  "China has indisputable sovereignty over the islands of the South China Sea and their adjacent waters," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a regular press briefing.

  His comments came after he was asked to respond to accusations of China "flexing military might" by sending vessel to the South China Sea.

  "The vessel was heading there for a routine fishery administration mission," said Qin.

  The vessel, China Yuzheng 311, would be mainly used to patrol waters of China's exclusive economic zones including the Nansha, Xisha and Zhongsha islands, said Wu Zhuang, director of Administration of Fishery and Fishing Harbor Supervision for South China Sea.

  "The Chinese government has all along attached great importance to the fishery administration of the South China Sea," said Qin.

  The vessel arrived in the Xisha Islands around Tuesday noon after a week-long voyage from its home port in Guangzhou.

  The vessel is operated by the Agriculture Ministry's South China Sea Fishery Administration Bureau and is the largest of its kind with a maximum displacement of 4,450 tonnes.

China's Military After Taiwan

It seems there have been a lot of debates on PLA's missions beyond Taiwan recently. The topic first gained public attention in the 2007 edition of the Annual Report on China's military published by DOD, then it was discussed in the 2008 US Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute’s Colloquium Brief (Here). Now, Joffe, one of the most respected PLA watchers out there adds his take in the current edition of FEER.

FEER was my regular diet back in the days, but its editorial standards have suffered greatly since it became an "online" only outlet. But with the return of Joffe (speaking of the good ole days), Jonathan Anderson, Andrew Chen, and Mark Valenica, I think I will give FEER another try.

March 2009
China's Military After Taiwan
by Ellis Joffe

Posted March 18, 2009

http://www.feer.com/international-relations/20098/march58/chinas-military-after-taiwan

The recently concluded session of the National People’s Congress brought news of another double-digit boost to China’s official defense budget. While the 14.9% increase is a little less than the 17.6% rise in 2008, it is still substantial, especially in view of the looming economic difficulties and improving relations with Taiwan. Although the official line is that the money will go mainly for raising the living standard of troops, Premier Wen Jiabao in his speech highlighted the need for the continued buildup of the armed forces, which will presumably absorb much of the increase.

This fits with the existing trend of more than a decade, as the Chinese armed forces have been undergoing an intensive buildup that has substantially increased their combat capabilities. Although these capabilities had plummeted drastically during the Maoist period, no concerted modernization drive--primarily to acquire new weapons--was launched until after the Taiwan crisis of 1995/96, because the Chinese had perceived no strategic military threat to their security.


This perception changed dramatically when the dispatch of two American carrier groups to the vicinity of Taiwan forced a humiliating Chinese retreat from missile firing exercises that had been designed to put pressure on Taiwan. This crisis convinced the Chinese that the U.S. would intervene if they attacked Taiwan and confronted them with a new and urgent strategic threat that became the impetus for a major force buildup and a focus for its direction.

This threat, stemming from China’s determination to block Taiwan’s moves toward separation, had been the catalyst for China’s efforts to build up its armed forces. Their focus was defensive: to acquire a capability needed to invade Taiwan and to deter the U.S. from intervening; failing that, to delay the advance of U.S. forces by protecting the maritime approaches to the Taiwan Straits and China.

However, relations between China and Taiwan have improved greatly following the election of Ma Ying-jeou as Taiwan president in March 2008. Although the unification issue remains unresolved, Mr. Ma has rejected his predecessor’s policy of pursuing de facto independence from China.

This dramatic change has removed the specter of war from the Taiwan Strait. It has also removed the primary rationale behind China's decade-long rapid military buildup and the vast investment of funds that it required. However, no letup in this effort should be expected.

The reason is that other factors beside Taiwan have become operative, and these will continue to drive the buildup. The first is the strategic defense of China, which has become an acute issue, paradoxically, as a direct result of the Taiwan tensions. After a decade of gradual post-Mao military modernization, the Chinese greatly accelerated war preparations in the mid-1990s, prompted by the dispatch of two U.S. carrier groups to the vicinity of Taiwan.

However, these preparations have been viewed as increasingly threatening by the U.S. which, in turn, has adopted a “hedging” strategy aimed at strengthening American military power in the Pacific. The Chinese, for their part, have looked upon this as a threat to their security, requiring continuous enhancement of their military posture. It also requires the Chinese to be constantly on alert against what they view as U.S. probing of their defenses, as demonstrated by the recent incident in which Chinese vessels harassed a U.S. Navy surveillance ship.

The second factor derives from the military’s mission of providing support for China’s nationalistically inspired great power aspirations: to obtain for China the international respect, recognition, and ranking that has been accorded to great powers. Although China’s global status received a tremendous boost from its economic surge, China still lacks the military capabilities that are also essential for great power status.

The Chinese are well aware that until now these capabilities have been beyond their reach. Although they possess a minimal but credible nuclear deterrent, they still do not have the conventional forces needed to project military power in wartime for extended periods at a distance from China's borders, and they have only begun to acquire the capabilities necessary for protecting the maritime approaches to China. For this reason, China’s leaders have not viewed their military power as relevant to China’s global aspirations.

This situation is changing. China’s new global standing combined with its Taiwan-driven military progress has convinced the Chinese that they can begin narrowing the gap between their economic standing as a great power and their military capabilities and to begin playing a military role on the international stage.

More important is the desire to assert China’s regional pre-eminence. Whereas China’s global aspirations are long term and require currently unattainable levels of military power, its regional objectives impinge directly on national security and require achievable military backing.

These objectives are to counteract the presence of a potentially unfriendly power in its neighborhood--most immediately, the United States, but also India, Japan and Russia over the long haul. Critical to these objectives is the development of military capabilities that will enable the Chinese to respond to what they might view as a threat to their growing continental and maritime regional interests--primarily sea lines of communication.

The final factor is the sheer force of momentum. The military buildup has set in motion a wide range of long-term programs backed by powerful interests--such as the military-industrial complex--which cannot be easily terminated. There is no reason to assume, moreover, that China’s leaders will want to terminate them, since they and the generals share nationalistically inspired global and regional aspirations. Most important, China’s leaders need the support of their generals and, barring a severe economic crisis, continuous military modernization is a price they will readily pay out of both conviction and self-interest.

These are basic long-term factors that are not likely to change and they will drive the modernization effort for decades. After Hu Jintao became chairman of the Central Military Committee in 2004, new objectives were introduced to underpin this effort and to make it more relevant to current needs. Touted as new “historical missions” and “diversified military tasks,” these objectives clearly reflect Hu’s desire to put his own imprint on the military and to bolster his position among the generals. After the rapprochement with Taiwan, they also provide an additional rationale for China’s continued military buildup.

While Taiwan remains the Chinese army’s main mission, the new “military objectives other than war” include anti-terrorist operations, maritime security, rescue missions, and peace-keeping duties. To carry out them out, it is necessary to divert resources and energies from “core military capabilities.” How much to divert has apparently become a contentious issue among China’s generals.

The most forceful proponents of such objectives are presumably the admirals. Since 2000, the navy has commissioned five nuclear-powered and 22 conventionally powered submarines, in addition to 10 destroyers and six frigates, and nearly 30 amphibious ships. In a Taiwan scenario, the role of the navy would be central: to transport assault troops to Taiwan, and, more importantly, to deny access to U.S. aircraft carriers and warships.

Now the Chinese admirals apparently want to move beyond defensive perimeters and to position the navy as the prime military supporter of China's aspiration to gain recognition as a great power. This was an angle highlighted by Chinese comments on the dispatch of Chinese warships off the Somalia coast to participate in international efforts to protect shipping from pirates.

More important have been renewed reports that the navy is embarking on a program to build aircraft carriers--an issue that has been unresolved for years. If the Chinese go ahead, it is clear that the mission of their aircraft carriers will not be to defend China against the U.S. or to protect sea lanes in wartime. The mission, at immense cost, will be to augment China’s dominant political and military presence in the region and to bolster its international prestige.

The preoccupation with new missions--demands have also been made to upgrade the People’s Armed Police for security purposes and military units for rescue missions--has aroused dissatisfaction in the military, probably among conservative ground force generals. Criticism has been directed at the damage to combat training caused by performance of other tasks; at the inability of the military to effectively carry out both traditional and non-traditional functions; and at inadequate attention to the military’s basic mission of coping with threats to the nation’s sovereignty and vital interests.

There have been no demands to abandon the new tasks, only to focus more on combat preparations. At several recent sessions of the top military policy-making body, the Central Military Commission, such a compromise has apparently been reached. However, if the navy is allowed to go ahead with grandiose development plans, the question is how long it will hold.

Mr. Joffe is a professor emeritus of Chinese affairs at Hebrew University of Jerusalem and has written widely on the Chinese military.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Another great study by the US Naval War College folks

Andrew Erickson and Lyle Goldstein's "Gunboats for China's New "Grand Canals"? Probing the Intersection of Beijing's Naval and Oil Security Policies" is out, go check it out. Click (Here) to download the PDF.

This excellence study offers a grand-view on China not just from the prism of oil/energy security, but more importantly, an examination on what possible directions China is going to use her found naval power and ways to build cooperation between the two nations and their navies.


It is a timely release, consider the recent geopolitical nature of the Feb 2009 Sino-Russian Siberia pipeline which developed into a full zero-sum energy game between China and Japan (Here is a good 2005 NYT write up). However, the other recent major oil deals seems to has less of a political overtone; as others have noted, China has been using China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC), Sinopec and other Chinese "companies" to inject funds to the struggling foreign oil companies instead of buying the ownership rights to those fields. The case of the 8 Billion joint venture with Venezuela’s PDVSA, China Development Banks’ 10 Billion loan to Brazil, and the March 15th 3 billion to develop Iran’s long delayed South Pars gas field can serve as good examples. This new involvement approach is welcomed by struggling oil companies according to Philip Andrews-Speed and help to reduced some of the local nationalistic backlash against the fear of a Chinese "take-over"

Also, China seems to stay way from the political sensitive Cuban and Mexico offshore oil fields so far which suggests they still enjoy protections offered by the USN and
the recent much cited example of the anti-piracy deployment to Gulf of Aden (Erickson also wrote an other good article on this very topic) suggests in the area of MOOTW, there is much room for cooperation. In that light, I shared Erickson and Goldstein's suggestions of look ways to "integrate China into a global security architecture". Heck, we need it after the recent dog-and-pony show in South China Sea.

The rumors about my death have been greatly exaggerated...

Remember last week, everyone was talking about the collapsed of the Sino-Russian Su-33 deal and it's implication on the Chinese aircraft carrier program, well, as it turns out, the soap opera continues.........

An update from Janes (Here)

Negotiations for the sale of Sukhoi Su-33 carrier-capable combat aircraft to the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) are still continuing with both sides interested in coming to a final agreement, Russian industry sources have told Jane's.

With that, I bring you the quote-of-the-day:
"It is almost like a series of waves, you could say. They come to us with a high level of interest, asking a lot of questions, then their interest seems to fade into the background and then sometime later - the next wave - they are back with more questions again
Which makes you wonder; are they negotiating on a state-of-the-art carrier fighter or an old used car like a 1999 Toyota Corolla?


For those who believe conspiracy theories... News about the negotiation broke down was released on March 10th, J-10B surfaced on the net few days later and the negotiation continues. Now, I really want to see if the new J-10B prototype comes with a arrestor hook.


Here is the report from last week.
http://en.rian.ru/russia/20090310/120493194.html
Russian-Chinese Su-33 fighter deal collapses - paper
13:58 | 10/ 03/ 2009


MOSCOW, March 10 (RIA Novosti) - Russia has refused to sell its Su-33 carrier-based fighters to China over fears that Beijing could produce cheaper export versions of the aircraft, a Russian daily said on Tuesday.

The Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper said that China and Russia had been in negotiations on the sale of 50 of the Su-33 Flanker-D fighters, to be used on future Chinese aircraft carriers, since 2006, but that the talks collapsed recently over China's request for an initial delivery of two aircraft for a "trial."

Russian Defense Ministry sources confirmed that the refusal was due to findings that China had produced its own copycat version of the Su-27SK fighter jet in violation of intellectual property agreements.

In 1995, China secured a $2.5-billion production license from Russia to build 200 Su-27SKs, dubbed J-11A, at the Shenyang Aircraft Corp.

The deal required the aircraft to be outfitted with Russian avionics, radars and engines. Russia cancelled the arrangement in 2006 after it discovered that China was developing an indigenous version, J-11B, with Chinese avionics and systems. The decision came after China had already produced 95 aircraft.

This time, Russia refused the Chinese offer even after Beijing had offered to buy 14 Su-33 aircraft, saying that at least 24 jets should be sold to recoup production costs.

However, the Moskovsky Komsomolets said that the Su-33 deal may be reviewed later because China desperately needs carrier-based aircraft to equip its first indigenous 48,000-ton aircraft carrier, due to be built by 2011. Beijing has also announced plans to build a nuclear-powered aircraft-carrier by 2020.

Chinese media recently quoted China fleet commander Adm. Xu Hongmeng as saying: "China will very soon have its own aircraft carrier."

The Su-33 is a carrier-based multi-role fighter, which can perform a variety of air superiority, fleet defense, air support and reconnaissance missions. The aircraft entered service with the Russian Navy in 1995 and are currently deployed on board the Nikolai Kuznetsov aircraft carrier.

Russian Su-33 naval fighters are significantly cheaper than any similar foreign models, such as the French Rafale-M, or the U.S F-35C or the F/A-22N Sea Raptor.

A follow up on the Sino-Vietnam relations and the other South China Sea Dispute

The following is from Today's VOA which touched a similar theme on the items I posted during the past week.

Interestingly enough, Philippine has recently started to receive a small military aid from China (Here) and handed over their national grid to a China-led consortium (Here)




http://www.voanews.com/english/2009-03-17-voa15.cfm


New Philippine Border Law Re-ignites Territorial Disputes in South China Sea
By Heda Bayron
Manila
17 March 2009


A new Philippine law reasserting Manila's claim to disputed islands in the South China Sea has rankled its neighbors, drawing criticisms from Vietnam, Taiwan and China. Earlier this week, China sent a patrol boat to the South China Sea, once again highlighting why the area has long been considered one of Asia's flashpoints.

Philippine President Gloria Arroyo signed the Baselines Law, last week, without fanfare. However, reaction from the country's neighbors have been swift and scathing. The law defines the extent of what the Philippines' considers its exclusive economic zone and reaffirmed claims to the disputed Spratly Islands, off its western seaboard.

Vietnam called it a "serious" violation of its sovereignty over the islands. China criticizes the claim as illegal and stresses that Beijing has what it calls "indisputable sovereignty" over the islands and its adjacent waters.

Sunday, China dispatched a patrol boat to the area. China's move came in the wake of a confrontation in the South China Sea between an American naval ship and Chinese vessels. Beijing claims the U.S. ship entered its exclusive economic zone; Washington says it was in international waters.

These incidents have again highlighted the problematic territorial delineation in the South China Sea and the potential outbreak of conflict in the area.

"When you actually do put it together with the clashes between the Chinese and the U.S. ships, it does highlight, I think, the whole spectrum of potential maritime instability in the area," said Sam Bateman, a maritime security analyst at the Rajaratnam School of International Studies, in Singapore. "There are a lot of country interests in the South China Sea and it's a very sensitive area."

The South China Sea stretches 1.7 million square kilometers, with more than 200 mostly uninhabitable islands, rocks and reefs. Aside from being a major shipping lane, it is also believed to be rich in oil and gas.


China claims a wide swathe of the South China Sea, extending far south from the mainland. Its exclusive economic zone overlaps with that of Vietnam and the Philippines. As China consumes more energy and as its naval capability grows, analysts say Beijing is likely to be more assertive in defending its exclusive economic zone.

Few nations along the South China Sea have the capability to match China's military.

Philippine National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales says the Philippines is protecting its national interests. He says China's decision to send a patrol boat to the area is not surprising, because it is also acting in accordance to its national interest.

Based on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, exclusive economic zones extend some 370 kilometers from a state's coast. Within the EEZ, coastal countries have the right to explore and exploit natural resources and have jurisdiction over establishment of artificial islands, marine scientific research and protection of the marine environment.

Other states are allowed to conduct activities in the EEZ with "due regard" to the rights and duties of the coastal state.

But countries interpret this differently, as in the recent incident between the U.S. and China, as Bateman explains.

"Another part of the Chinese argument would be that, another state conducting activities in an exclusive economic zone of a coastal state, in this case the United States conducting activities in China's EEZ, is supposed to not conduct activities in the coastal state's EEZ that might be perceived as being contrary or prejudicial to the security and national defense of the coastal state," said Bateman. "The United States argues that defense activities are acceptable under international law."

That incident underscored long-held fears of potential military clashes resulting from disagreements on exclusive economic zones. A brief naval battle between China and Vietnam broke out in 1988 about the Spratlys. Some 70 Vietnamese sailors died. Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan also claim the Spratlys.

Bateman says confidence-building measures and multilateral engagement are important in preventing any maritime conflict in the region.

"The South China Sea, at this stage, is generally being managed by their countries with respect to the fact that nobody wants to see open conflict break out," he said.

To prevent hostilities, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and China signed a declaration of conduct in the South China Sea in 2002.

Gonzales says the Philippines is committed to the agreement and that the dispute should be resolved through dialogue.

The leaders of ASEAN and their dialogue partners, including China, will hold their annual summit next month in Thailand. Smoothing out territorial issues is expected to be on the agenda.









Monday, March 16, 2009

J-10B


The long waited J-10B finally surfaced today and if the following photos are indeed real, we can check off what is being claimed against we can tell:



New features claimed:




*. Redesigned Diverterless Supersonic Inlet or DSI intake. Check





*. IRST/LR. Check
*. Wide-angle Holograhpic HUD, similar to the one installed on the J-11B. Check.
*. Enlarged vertical tail session for an enlarged EW suite. Check
*. A new RWR. Check.
*. Redesigned F-16 style nose to support either a PESA or AESA radar. PESA…. maybe, ASEA …..questionable.



*. More Hard points for A2G / SEAD missions. Too early to tell.
*. Wingtip AAM mounts. Unlikely
*. Mimi-AWAC twin-seater J-10S, Total BS
*. WS-10A engine with 2D thrust vectoring engine. Not in this prototype and WS-10A is still inferior to AL-31FN in every aspect.




Red Capitalists of the world UNITE!

With all those excitement surrendering the recent "routine operations in international waters" according to Washington or "like a spy" according to Beijing, the recent warming of Sino-Vietnam relations seems to be overlooked. Both governments (and Republic of China as well) issued protests against Philippine’s recent Baseline Bill (Here). In their view, the bill upsets the 2002 ASEAN agreement on South China Sea Declaration on the Conduct.


Recent major Sino-Vietnam related events I am aware of:

They agreed to "properly handle South China Sea dispute" In January 2008 (Here)

Joint "survey of fishery resources and joint naval patrols" In June 2008 (Here)

Formed "a strategic cooperation pact between state-run China National Offshore Oil Corp and PetroVietnam" in Oct 2008 (Here)

Resolved of the 840miles of border dispute in Dec 2008 (Here)

To today’s shocker of (Here) "to advance the Vietnam-China comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership" by Pham Quang Nghi. Not sure I know what is that statement means in real life and I do understand one has to be careful when reading government’s PR release. However, they seems to be friends, a major far cry from 30 years ago.

Ok, enough detours from the real news, this is the stuff that matters.

The debate regarding F-16 sales to ROC is heating up again; back in March 10th, Reuters reported (Here) that the U.S. government has declined ROC's request of a $4.9 billion deal for 66 F-16s (D and E models). Predictably, On March 16 (Here), ROC renews its now 12 years old campaign for those F-16s. At the same time, the idea of ROC should build a strong homeland defense capability with less emphasis on air and sea power suggested by William Murray of US Naval War College's is gaining traction (Here). Those 4.9 Billion can be better utilized else where.








http://www.iht.com/bin/printfriendly.php?id=20836630

International Herald Tribune
Taiwan: Time not right for reducing China tensions
http://www.iht.com/bin/printfriendly.php?id=20836630
The Associated Press
Monday, March 16, 2009

TAIPEI, Taiwan: Taiwan will not make concrete moves to reduce military tensions with China before the mainland renounces its threat to use force against the island and removes the missiles it has deployed against it, the defense minister said Monday.

The comments from Chen Chao-min appear to pour cold water on Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's call earlier this month to hold talks with Taiwan on military issues in the pursuit of ending hostility between the longtime rivals.

They come on the same day that senior officers reaffirmed their interest in acquiring advanced weapons systems from the United States and the Defense Ministry said in a far-reaching policy document that Taiwanese readiness "cannot be relaxed," despite improving relations between Taipei and Beijing.

Since taking office 10 months ago, Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou has moved aggressively to reverse his predecessor's pro-independence polices, sanctioning a rapid expansion in trade relations with the mainland, and raising the prospect of a formal peace treaty between the sides.

But speaking to lawmakers in Taipei, Chen alluded to repeated Chinese threats to attack Taiwan if it moves to make its de facto independence permanent and long-standing Taiwanese concerns over the estimated 1,300 missiles Beijing has deployed against the island.

"A mechanism for building mutual confidence in military affairs cannot be established if China does not first give up its threat to use force against Taiwan and remove missiles targeted at us," he said.

China and Taiwan split amid civil war in 1949 and China continues to claim the democratic island as part of its territory. Four years ago it passed a special law formalizing its threats to attack if Taipei declared independence or put off unification with the mainland indefinitely.

Speaking to the lawmakers, Chen also said Taiwan will continue to develop the Hsiung Feng IIE surface-to-surface cruise missile as a defensive weapon, following the legislature's approval of the project last year.

"Unless the legislature demands us to stop, the Ministry of Defense will not halt (the project)," he said.

Taiwan reportedly test-fired a Hsiung Feng IIE missile with a range of 380 miles (600 kilometers) in October 2004, but its military has never displayed or deployed it.

Chen's comments came on the day the defense ministry unveiled its first "Quadrennial Defense Review," detailing Taiwan's expected military posture over the coming four years.

While acknowledging that tensions across the 100-mile- (160-kilometer-) wide Taiwan Strait have receded since Ma took office, it noted Beijing was still threatening the island.

"Vigilance for military readiness, therefore, cannot be relaxed," it said.

Speaking at a press conference to mark the defense review's publication, senior Taiwanese officers reaffirmed Taiwan's commitment to continuing to acquire cutting-edge weapons systems from the United States, including F-16 C/D fighter jets and diesel submarines.

Taiwan first approached the U.S. on the F-16 issue during the administration of former President Chen Shui-bian, but was repeatedly rebuffed. China strongly objects to American arms sales to Taiwan, and would view a new F-16 delivery to the island as a threat to its own growing military prowess in the Taiwan Strait.

Earlier this month the U.S. agreed to make Orion PC-3 submarine-hunting aircraft available to Taiwan and is believed to be close to signing off on a sales contract for Black Hawk utility helicopters.

But any serious consideration on the F-16s is believed to be months away — at the very least.
Correction:

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Chinese Civilian Survey Ships

Just in case you want to know; here are some examples of the Chinese civilian survey ships for conducting "routine operations in international waters"


Hydrographic ship 852


WuanWang 1 to 6 (Look at all those dishes, clearly, they prefer Dish Network over Comcast, why not? they offer more HD channels!)





DongDaio 851 with three radar missile tracking radomes.



USNS Impeccable's better looking twin; Beidiao 991. According to rumor, it has an all "electric drive" to reduce noise level.




226, one of the five Dong Ce class AGI (Dong Ce means East Survey) 227, 420, 427 and 943







Dadie class (900 and 841)




871




Fishing boats that are organic to PLAN's South Sea Fleet HQ at Zhangjiang. Poor PLAN sailors, they have to catch their lunch, I think they should write a letter to CMC and complain against their lack of diet.

A well known China-watcher whom I have a great deal of respect sent me the following article by Valencia regarding the recent dog-and-pony show in the South China Sea, enjoy.

BBC "here" also has a good write up on background issues related to both "Law of the sea" and "Exclusive Economic Zone"





Policy Forum Online 09-020A: March 12th, 2009
Tempting the Dragon

By Mark J. Valencia

http://www.nautilus.org/fora/security/09020Valencia.html
Mark J. Valencia, Visiting Senior Fellow at the Maritime Institute of Malaysia (MIMA), writes, "the real issue of course is China's expanding blue water navy and its major submarine base on Hainan. Obviously it wants to protect its 'secrets' in the area including the activities and capabilities of its submarines and the morphology of the sea bottom. And just as intently, the US wants to know as much as it can about China's submarine capabilities and the area it may one day need to do battle in. Thus such incidents are likely to be repeated and become more dangerous and they do not pertain to China and the US alone."

This article was originally published in the Far Eastern Economic Review on March 11th, 2009.
http://www.feer.com/international-relations/20098/march58/tempting-the-dragon

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Nautilus Institute. Readers should note that Nautilus seeks a diversity of views and opinions on contentious topics in order to identify common ground.
II. Article by Mark J. Valencia

- "Tempting the Dragon"
By Mark J. Valencia

The 'harassment' of the US Navy military survey vessel Impeccable operating in China's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the South China Sea is but the tip of an iceberg of maritime legal differences between China and the US. Indeed this is not the first such incident and unless a compromise can be negotiated it certainly won't be the last.

According to the 1982 UN Convention Law of the Sea, marine scientific research in a foreign EEZ can only be undertaken with the consent of the coastal state. This is because such research and activities may have direct bearing on the exploration, exploitation, conservation or management of the coastal state's living and non-living resources. The research must also be for peaceful purposes only. China has ratified the Convention. The US has not although it maintains that most of it is binding customary law.

China maintains that what the US is doing comes under the marine scientific provisions of the Convention and that it did not give the required consent to the US. However, the US distinguishes between marine scientific research which requires consent and hydrographic and military surveys which are mentioned separately in the Convention. The US maintains that the latter do not require consent and that they are an exercise of the freedom of navigation and "other internationally lawful uses of the sea" protected by the Convention.

Critics of this position point out that collection of data even expressly for military purposes may also unintentionally or otherwise shed light on resources in the area. They also argue that a country that has not ratified the Convention does not have much credibility interpreting it to its advantage.

The mission of the Impeccable is to use both passive and active low frequency sonar arrays to enable detection and tracking of undersea threats. China argues that the collection of such data is a "preparation of the battle field" and thus a threat of use of force - a violation of the UN Charter and certainly not a peaceful use of the ocean as required by the Convention. The US argues that its data gathering is purely defensive and certainly not a threat of use of force.

Regarding the confrontation, China would say that its vessels were not harassing the Impeccable but simply trying to make it cease violating what China says is both international law and its law and leave the area. The US argues that according to the Convention, China must pay 'due regard' to its navigational and operational rights and that 'harassing' its vessel-particularly a naval vessel which has sovereign immunity-is a violation of the due regard principle.

The distinction between different categories of surveying and marine scientific research hinges on more than the intent and the purpose of collecting the data. The potential economic value and utility of the data to the coastal state should also be considered, and it is difficult to argue that hydrographic or military data collected today will not have some value in the future. A possible criterion for consent might recognize both the intent of the activity and the relevance to resources of the data collected.

Regardless, the real issue of course is China's expanding blue water navy and its major submarine base on Hainan. Obviously it wants to protect its 'secrets' in the area including the activities and capabilities of its submarines and the morphology of the sea bottom. And just as intently, the US wants to know as much as it can about China's submarine capabilities and the area it may one day need to do battle in. Thus such incidents are likely to be repeated and become more dangerous and they do not pertain to China and the US alone.

Indeed military and intelligence gathering activities in EEZs are likely to become more controversial and more dangerous. In Asia, this disturbing prospect reflects the increasing and changing demands for technical intelligence; robust weapons acquisition programs of the littoral states, especially increasing electronic warfare capabilities; and the widespread development of information warfare capabilities.

Further, the scale and scope of US maritime and airborne intelligence collection activities are likely to expand rapidly over the next decade, involving levels and sorts of activities quite unprecedented in peacetime. They will not only become more intensive; they will generally be more intrusive. They will generate tensions and more frequent crises; they will produce defensive reactions and escalatory dynamics; and they will lead to less stability in the most affected regions, especially in Asia.

Since the US is not a party to the Convention the issue can not be resolved by the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea. Thus these disputes will likely be addressed through a chaotic and disorderly process whereby countries assert and defend their positions through state practices, followed by protests from offended countries, and eventually by the give and take of diplomatic negotiations. Sooner or later a consensus will emerge through this process. But meanwhile many sailors, pilots, and fishers may die and relations between some nations may become strained as assertions of unilateral positions result in violent interstate incidents.

A less confrontational option would be to increase dialogue, CBMs, and cooperative efforts among the states involved and strive for collective compromise and consensus. This dialogue might have as its objective the development of agreed voluntary guidelines regarding military and intelligence gathering activities in foreign EEZs.
III. Nautilus invites your responses

The Northeast Asia Peace and Security Network invites your responses to this essay. Please send responses to: bscott@nautilus.org. Responses will be considered for redistribution to the network only if they include the author's name, affiliation, and explicit consent.