Archive for the ‘Pacific’ Category

General Hints China’s Navy May Add Carrier

November 17, 2008

A high-ranking Chinese military official has hinted that China’s fast-growing navy is seeking to acquire an aircraft carrier, a move that would surely stoke tensions with the United States military and its allies in Asia.

In an interview published in The Financial Times of London on Monday, the official, Maj. Gen. Quan Lihua, did not say whether China was in fact building a carrier. But the general, a senior official of the Chinese Ministry of National Defense, said having one was the dream of any great military power. He suggested that the United States had nothing to fear should China acquire one for strictly defensive purposes.

By Andrew Jacobs
The New York Times     

“The question is not whether you have an aircraft carrier, but what you do with your aircraft carrier,” he said in the interview. “Even if one day we have an aircraft carrier, unlike another country we will not use it to pursue global deployment or global reach.”

In recent years, Pentagon officials have been warily following Beijing’s ambitious naval buildup. Since 2000, China has constructed at least 60 warships, and its fleet of 860 vessels includes about 60 submarines.


USS Ronald Reagan

Tensions between China and the United States were heightened last month after the Pentagon announced the sale of $6 billion in advanced weapons to Taiwan. China reacted angrily to the news, warning that the move could worsen relations between the countries. The deal includes Apache attack helicopters and a sophisticated array of missiles, radars and antiaircraft defense systems.

In the interview, the general insisted that China would not deploy a carrier with aggressive intent. “Navies of great powers with more than 10 aircraft carrier battle groups with strategic military objectives have a different purpose from countries with only one or two carriers used for offshore defense,” he said.

Although he did not mention any country by name, his comments were clearly aimed at the United States, which has 11 aircraft carriers, including the USS George Washington, which was recently deployed to Japan. Of the handful of other nations that have aircraft carriers, including Britain, France, Italy and Russia, none have more than two.


Above: USS George Washington

Related:
Could China’s Envey of U.S. Aircraft Carriers Now Be a Construction Project?

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/18/
world/asia/18china.html?_r=1&hp

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Ballistic Missile Defense: U.S. Navy Again Demonstrates Proven Success!

November 2, 2008

HONOLULU (AP) – U.S. Navy officials say one of two short-range ballistic missiles shot from a military facility in Hawaii in a defense system test was hit by an interceptor missile fired from a Navy ship.

Vice Adm. Samuel J. Locklear says Saturday’s trial marked the first time that the Navy _ rather than the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency _ oversaw the firing of a so-called Standard Missile-3 interceptor against a ballistic missile target.

In this image provided by the US Navy a Standard Missile - 3 ... 
Above: An SM-3 launches from a U.S. Navy Ballistic Missile Defense ship.

The San Diego-based U.S. Third Fleet had command and control of the mission, in which two target missiles were fired from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai island.

An SM-3 fired from the USS Paul Hamilton directly hit the first target missile. Another ship, the USS Hopper, failed to intercept the second target missile that was fired.

USS Paul Hamilton.jpg
Above: USS Paul Hamilton arrives in Pearl Harbor.  Note the lei at the bow….

America’s Naval Supremacy Slipping

March 18, 2008

During a recent trip to China with Adm. Timothy Keating, American reporters asked General Chen Bingde, chief of staff of the People’s Liberation Army, “Should the United States have anything to fear from China’s military buildup?”

The general responded: “That’s impossible. Isn’t it? There’s such a big gap between our military and the American military. If you say you are afraid, it means you don’t have enough courage.”
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Courage or not, China’s rapid and massive military buildup (particularly in terms of its expanding submarine force and progressive aircraft-carrier R&D program) has analysts concerned. And the U.S. Navy — the first line of defense against any Chinese expansionism in the Pacific — continues to struggle with the combined effects of Clinton-era downsizing, a post –9/11 upsurge in America’s sealift and global defense requirements, and exponentially rising costs of recapitalization and modernization of the Navy’s surface and submarine fleet, aircraft, and related weapons systems. 
A warplane takes off from the USS John C. Stennis aircraft carrier ... 
F/A-18 takes off from the U.S. Navy
Aircraft Carrier USS John C. Stennis.
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Currently, America maintains a 280-ship Navy (including 112 ships currently underway) responsible for a wide range of seagoing operations, as well as air and land missions, conventional and unconventional. 
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The fleet is small — a dwarf fleet compared to the nearly 600-ship Navy under President Ronald Reagan — but its responsibilities aren’t.
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Among them are defense of the U.S. homeland and American territories and interests abroad.
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Keeping the sea lanes open and safe from terrorism, piracy, and weapons smuggling. Maintaining air superiority above the Navy’s areas of operation. Maintaining sea-basing and amphibious landing and landing-support capabilities (this includes the Marine Corps, which technically and traditionally falls under the Department of the Navy). Maintaining light, fast forces capable of operating in rivers and along the coastal shallows (littorals). Maintaining a strategic nuclear capability (through its ballistic missile submarine force). Maintaining superior information and intelligence collection and counterintelligence capabilities. And maintaining its ability to engage in direct action — like the recent cruise-missile strike against Al Qaeda targets in Somalia — and providing support for special operations worldwide. 

USS Greeneville off the coast of Honolulu, Hawaii.
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The Navy’s enemies and potential enemies include everyone from global terrorists like Al Qaeda to previous Cold War adversaries China and Russia.
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And not only is the Navy fleet small, it is rapidly aging, and gradually losing the depth and flexibility needed to accomplish all of its current missions and strategic requirements.
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The Navy currently maintains 11 aircraft carriers. The USS Enterprise is slated to retire in 2012, but the under-construction USS Gerald R. Ford could be delivered by 2015.The fleet is also comprised of an array of cruisers, destroyers, frigates, attack and ballistic missile submarines, amphibious assault and sealift-capable ships, support vessels of all kinds, and a variety of special warfare craft.
USS Wasp LHD-1.jpg
USS Wasp
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Sounds formidable, and in 2008 it is. But the Navy is not even close to where it needs to be if it hopes to match, deter, or outfight the emerging sea powers that will continue to grow over the next 10, 20, or 30 years.
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“Even though we obviously have a strong eye toward what’s going on in Iraq and Afghanistan for our ground forces, we still must have a balanced force that can deal with a range of threats,” says Peter Brookes, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Affairs. “China is going to be a major conventional threat in the coming years. So we need the capability of projecting naval power across the Pacific to maintain peace and stability in that region.”
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According to Brookes, the Navy needs to focus on — among other things — regaining much of its anti-submarine warfare capability (undersea, surface, and airborne) that has been neglected since the end of the Cold War.
USS Kitty Hawk CV-63.jpg
USS Kitty Hawk.  This aircraft carrier calls Japan “homeport.”  She was ordered to the vicinity of Taiwan on or about 18 March 2008 to provide security for the Taiwanese elections.  Photo from the U.S. Navy.
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Hoping to remedy its overall shortfall, the Navy has proposed a 313-ship fleet – an increase of 33 surface ships and submarines — able to be deployed according to Navy officials by 2019.
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Among the Navy’s new additions would be the Littoral Combat Ship — a small, swift-moving surface vessel capable of operating in both blue water and the coastal shallows — a nuclear-powered guided-missile destroyer, a next-generation guided-missile cruiser, a new class of attack submarine, a new carrier with an electromagnetic aircraft launching system (replacing the steam-driven catapult system), and ultimately a new fleet of jets like the F-35 Lightning II (the carrier variant of the Joint Strike Fighter).
USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000).jpg
USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000)
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All of the newly developed ships and airplanes would have multi-roles, and would be able to go head-to-head with a wide range of conventional and unconventional threats. Problem is, developing new ships and weapons systems take time, are often technically problematic in the developmental stages, and increasingly hyper-expensive. Additionally, new ships and systems are being designed, developed, and built at the same time the Navy is having to spend money on manpower and costly, aging ships, aircraft, and weapons systems just to stay afloat and fighting.

single modified tactical Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) launches from the U.S. Navy AEGIS cruiser USS Lake Erie
This photo provided by the U.S. Navy shows an SM-3 missile being launched from the USS Lake Erie warship on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2008. The Pentagon says the missile successfully intercepted a wayward U.S. spy satellite orbiting the earth at 17,000 miles per hour, about 133 nautical miles over the Pacific ocean. (AP Photo/US Navy)
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Of the proposed  $515 billion U.S. Defense budget for Fiscal Year 2009, the Navy is asking for $149.3 billion — 29 percent of the budget — which includes the Marine Corps’ piece of the pie (As its current recap/mod needs are similar to the Army’s, we will address Corps issues in our forthcoming piece on ground forces.), and that requested figure will almost certainly, and necessarily, increase over subsequent years.
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Nevertheless, experts contend we are kidding ourselves if we believe the Navy will crack the 300 mark under the current plan.

This picture released by the US Navy shows Fire Controlman 2nd ...
Our sailors make our Navy the most capable in the world. This picture released by the US Navy shows Fire Controlman 2nd Class John Whitby operating the radar system control during a ballistic missile defense drill on February 16 aboard the USS Lake Erie. The US warship is moving into position to try to shoot down a defunct US spy satellite as early as Wednesday before it tumbles into the Earth’s atmosphere, Pentagon officials said.
(AFP/US Navy-HO/Michael Hight)
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“This is the dirty secret inside the Beltway,” says Mackenzie Eaglen, a senior policy analyst with the Heritage Foundation. “If you crunch the actual shipbuilding numbers — year-to-year for the next 10 to 20 years — a 313-ship Navy is a pipe dream.”
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According to Eaglen, the budget requests for shipbuilding submitted to Congress between FY 03 and FY 07, averaged just over $9.5 billion per year. “What’s needed is at least $15 billion per year,” she says. “What’s worse is that I see Defense spending dropping.”
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Cynthia Brown, president of the American Shipbuilding Association, believes money slated for new ship construction needs to be at least $22 billion per year.
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“Of the proposed $149.3 billion, only $12 billion is slated for new ship construction in FY 09,” says Brown. “Since 2001, the Defense Department has increased its spending by 80.8 percent, excluding war supplementals, but shipbuilding has only increased 12.2 percent.”
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Costs of recapitalizing and modernizing our Navy will continue to rise, as will the conventional and unconventional threats our sailors must be trained and equipped to fight. And considering the make-up of Congress — and who may be moving into the White House in 2009 — the nation’s primary power-projection force may find it near impossible to avoid becoming, as Eaglen says, “a mere shadow of its former self.”

Vietnam Sovereignty: Danger Signals

December 24, 2007

Original Vietnamese version by Tran Binh Nam;
English version by Le Khac Ly

On November 20, 2007, the government of China endorsed a resolution to establish an administrative city at county level named “Tam Sa”, which consists of three archipelagoes of Hoang Sa, Trung Sa (Macclesfield Bank, a submerged reefs of 6,250 square kilometers located on the east and about 250 km from the center of Hoang Sa), and Truong Sa, directly dependent on the province of Hai Nam. This province was established in 1988 after it was separated from the province of Quang Dong. Due to the sensibility of the subject, the resolution has not been publicly released.

Hoang Sa (Paracels) and Truong Sa (Spratleys) are located offshore of Vietnam. The archipelagoes of Hoang Sa are situated between latitudes 16 and 17 north, directly administered by the city of Da Nang and the center of the archipelagoes is 350 kilometers away from Da Nang. The archipelagoes of Truong Sa are much bigger, spread from latitudes 7 to 11 north, directly dependent on the province of Khanh Hoa, and if observed from the city of Nha Trang facing South East, its center is 600 kilometers away from the Vietnamese shore.

During French domination (from the mid 19th century to 1945), then successively during the administration of the Tran Trong Kim cabinet, the government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, the government designated by Chief of State Bao Dai, these two archipelagoes were under the jurisdiction of the governments of Vietnam and were undivided parts of Vietnam.
During their domination, the French set a meteorological station on the biggest island of the archipelagoes of Hoang Sa. After the Geneva Accords in 1954 to divide the country into two parts, the two archipelagoes of Hoang Sa and Truong Sa, which are located below latitude 17; therefore belonged to the Republic of (South) Vietnam. Warships of this government frequently went to carry out re-supply missions to a military garrison unit at Hoang Sa, and always conducted patrols to keep an eye on the cluster of islands around Truong Sa.

Back in history, from the17th century, every year, the Nguyen Lords always sent ships to Hoang Sa and Truong Sa, and created a naval unit called North Sea Naval Unit whose mission was to protect those islands. A chronicle by the Chinese Buddhist Monk Thich Dai San written in 1696 confirms those facts. In his historical document written in 1776, the Vietnamese scholar Le Quy Don described in details the archipelagoes of Hoang Sa.

The sovereignty of Vietnam over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa has been mentioned in all historical documents written after the unification of the country by The Emperor of Gia Long (1802) such as Du Dia Chi, Dai Nam Thuc Luc, Dai Nam Nhat Thong Chi. .

There were no western documents depicting Chinese sovereignty over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa. Even in Chinese documents, written before 1909, none of them mentioned that the two archipelagoes Hoang Sa and Truong Sa belong to China.

In 1958, the Chinese began a plan to invade Vietnamese land after Mao had solidly established a communist regime in his century-long-intimidated- by-western-influences country. On September 4, 1958, China published a declaration saying that its territorial sea now is 12 nautical miles from shore to ocean instead of 3 miles as previously established, with a map attached, intentionally showing a boundary of its sea territory embracing Hoang Sa and Truong Sa as they belong to China.

Ten days later, on September 14, 1958, the Prime Minister of the government of North Vietnam, Pham Van Dong, signed a diplomatic note recognizing the Chinese declaration of its new territorial sea changing from 3 to 12 nautical miles, tacitly accepting that Hoang Sa and Truong Sa belong to China. Thanks to this diplomatic negligence (or intentionally, this still is a subject to be debated), China has developed plans to encroach little by little on Vietnamese land and sea territories.During this period of time, China could not yet do anything with the two archipelagoes Hoang Sa and Truong Sa since they were belonged to South Vietnam according to the Geneva Accords of 1954, and South Vietnam was an ally of the United States. It is noteworthy that at the time, the US Seventh Fleet was a dominant power in the Pacific.

The great opportunity arrived in the 1970s when the Vietnam War moved to the ending phase. Hanoi was about to take over South Vietnam through the Paris Agreements, which meant the Hanoi regime would eventually control Hoang Sa and Truong Sa. The United States did not want the Soviet Union, through the Hanoi government, to use Hoang Sa and Truong Sa as observation stations watching all activities in South Pacific, which could cause trouble for the waterway from Indian Ocean crossing through the Malacca straits, up to the North-West Pacific, a vital route for the US fleets. It is also an oil supply route from the Middle-East to Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea, the U.S. allies. The US had settled it, through a meeting in Beijing between Henry Kissinger, the US Secretary of State and Chu An Lai, the Chinese Prime Minister, by agreeing to let China occupy the archipelagoes of Hoang Sa, blocking the path toward South Pacific of the USSR fleets. At this moment, the relationship between Hanoi and Moscow was smooth, while its relationship with China was at the low ebb. Meanwhile, the US had just established diplomatic relations with Beijing and both saw the USSR as a threat to the region. (See document “Bien Dong Day Song [East Sea Blazes Up] no.118, http://webmail.central.cox.net/do/redirect?url=http%253A%252F%252Fwww.tranbinhnam.com%252F, Commentary pages).

In the end of January 1974, as a result of that unwritten mutual agreement, the Chinese Navy took over Hoang Sa, after a fierce naval battle with the South Vietnam Navy. The US Seventh Fleet had been asked for help but neither intervened nor rescued Vietnamese sailors drifting at sea. [The US government made a good gesture by soliciting the Chinese to release the prisoners captured at Hoang Sa within a month. Mr. Gerald Kosh, an American working for DAO (Defense Attaché Office) at the US Embassy in Saigon – also captured at Hoang Sa – was released with five wounded Vietnamese sailors earlier on Jan. 31, 1974. Other 43 sailors and soldiers were released on February 15, 1974.]

For its part, Hanoi never raised its voice to protest China’s invasion. Hanoi would believe that it was better to let Hoang Sa to fall into the hands of a communist country than leaving it in the hands of South Vietnam.

After the collapse of Soviet bloc in 1991, the reconciliation between Hanoi and China had given the latter the momentum to begin gnawing land in the northern border of Vietnam, and sea territory in the gulf of Tonkin, and particularly little by little to swallow the archipelagoes of Truong Sa. In addition to its strategic location in the region, archipelagoes of Truong Sa today also are a shelf of ocean bed promisingly rich in oil and gas.

Hanoi has shown its feeble spirit when facing the obvious invasion of China. The unique weapon that Hanoi is using up to this day is some perfunctory words of protest from its Department of Foreign Affairs.

This time, facing the resolution of the China government to officially integrate Vietnamese territory into theirs, Hanoi again protests weakly. During a press conference on December 5, 2007, Mr. Le Dung, the spokesman of the Department of Foreign Affairs, said: “Vietnam has obtained complete historical evidence and legal basis to affirm the sovereignty of Vietnam towards the two archipelagoes of Hoang Sa and Truong Sa. This act has violated the territorial sovereignty of Vietnam, not agreeable with general perception of the leaders of two countries, not beneficial for the process of negotiation to seek for a fundamental and lasting measure for the sea problems of two parties”.

To the act of China appropriating Vietnamese territory brazenly and officially on papers, the Vietnamese at home and abroad are extremely angry. They are waiting for Hanoi government to take strong action to protect the national frontier, like the invasion-fighting tradition of our ancestors.

It is regrettable that until today, the Hanoi government has not do anything except utter few words to confirm the sovereignty of Vietnam over the archipelagoes of Hoang Sa and Truong Sa. When students of the Technology College which is part of National University System of Hanoi prepared a demonstration in front of the Chinese Embassy, university officials obeying (communist) party authority issued a circular requesting students and cadres of the school to be calm and not demonstrate, because that would “not be beneficial for the process of negotiation to find fundamental and long-lasting measure for sea problems of two parties.”

Hanoi government, however, could not prevent students from taking to the streets on December 9, 2007 in both cities of Hanoi and Saigon to protest the Chinese invasion. But, in order to avoid offending China, when asked about the demonstrations, Le Dung said: “This is a spontaneous act of the people, not authorized by the authorities. When it occurred, the police were timely present to explain and to request fellow citizens to stop doing that”. Le Dung continued to explain Vietnam’s point of view which is “to have all conflicts solved peacefully through negotiations on legal base and international reality.” Hanoi obviously did not do what needed to be done to protect the country.

If the balance of naval forces between China and Vietnam does not allow Vietnam to send warships to hoist national flags on the archipelagoes of Truong Sa to confirm its sovereignty, at least as a minimum, Hanoi should convene the Chinese ambassador to the Department of Foreign Affairs to receive a protesting diplomatic note. Hanoi may convene the people Congress to pass a resolution confirming the sovereign rights of Vietnam over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa.

Next, Hanoi should take the issue to the UN Security Council with a dossier of complete historical documents to prove the sovereignty of Vietnam over the two disputed archipelagoes, then prepare a strong resolution to accuse Chinese invasion for the Security Council to debate.

In reality, the veto power of China will prevent the passage of the resolution, but Vietnam may get 9 of 15 votes of the Security Council reflecting the international opinion in favor of Vietnam. Those documents and the resolution submitted by Vietnam to the UN Security Council will be used as a foundation for present government to mobilize people power to protect Truong Sa, and for next generations to conduct the fight to reclaim the archipelagoes of Truong Sa, and to nullify the Chinese integration of Truong Sa. In addition, Hanoi should file a case to the international court suing China for the invasion and nullify the resolution of the Chinese National Affairs Institution.

The above are what a country with sovereignty should do in the defense of the motherland. What makes the leaders in Hanoi stuck, and cannot do what they should do? The only reason that may explain Hanoi behavior is that the Vietnamese communist party who is presently in power in Vietnam is controlled by the Chinese government by a fifth column in the highest leadership.If that is true, Vietnam is facing the greatest danger in its four thousand years history.

Missile Defense Going Global

December 21, 2007

By James T. Hackett
The Washington Times

December 21, 2007

The Dec. 17 interception of a ballistic missile by a Japanese Aegis destroyer off the Hawaiian Island of Kauai is a milestone in the U.S.-Japan missile defense collaboration. The Bush administration’s goal of global missile defenses is becoming reality, but to effectively protect the Eastern United States defenses in Europe are needed.

For years, representatives of Japan and a number of other countries attended missile defense conferences. They regularly announced plans to study the need for missile defenses. Each year they said the same, but there was little sense of urgency and no sign of progress, except in Israel and the United States.

The United States developed the Patriot PAC-2 to stop short-range missiles just in time to defend U.S. troops and Israel in the first Gulf war. Then Israel, surrounded by enemies, developed and deployed its Arrow missile interceptor in record time.

Land-based Patriots were sent to defend U.S. forces and allies around the world, but the ABM treaty prevented the U.S. from developing either a national missile defense or ship-based defenses. The problem became critical in 1998 when North Korea launched a Taepodong missile over northern Japan. It was a blatant threat to Japan and its three stages meant it also had the potential to reach the United States. Tokyo began deploying defenses.

Japan placed 27 Patriot PAC-2 batteries around the country, put in orbit its own spy satellites, bought Aegis radar systems for six new destroyers, joined the U.S. in developing a longer-range ship-based missile interceptor, and allowed the U.S. to put an X-band radar in northern Japan. Last March, Japan began deploying more capable Patriot PAC-3s at 16 locations to protect major cities, military installations and other potential targets.

Japan also is modifying its four operational Aegis destroyers to carry SM-3 missile interceptors. The destroyer Kongo, which made the successful intercept on Monday, is the first non-U.S. ship to shoot down a ballistic missile. The U.S. Navy already has shot down 11 in 13 attempts with ship-based interceptors.

By the end of 2008 the United States will have 18 Aegis warships equipped for ballistic missile defense. Japan eventually will have six, and Australia, South Korea, Taiwan and others also likely will put missile defenses on their ships. Ship-based defenses can be coordinated with land-based defenses, including the various models of Patriots in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, and the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense when it is ready in a few years.

Ship-based SM-3s can intercept missiles outside the atmosphere. Any that get through can be stopped inside the atmosphere by the land-based interceptors. Such defenses can both protect against North Korean missiles and reduce intimidation by China, which has nearly 1,000 missiles opposite Taiwan.

For decades the Soviet missile defenses around Moscow were the only defenses against long-range missiles anywhere. The Russians are now modernizing those defenses against the kind of missiles being developed by Iran. Even though Russia claims Iran is no threat, in August Col. Gen. Alexander Zelin, commander of the Russian air force, announced activation of the first S-400 interceptors as part of Moscow’s missile defense.

Russian reports claim the S-400 can reach out 250 miles and stop missiles with ranges greater than 2,000 miles. This covers both Iran’s Shahab-3 and the new solid-fuel Ashura, the development of which Tehran announced three weeks ago, claiming a range of 1,250 miles.

With the constraints of the ABM treaty removed by President Bush, the United States is putting missile defenses in Alaska and California, at U.S. bases abroad, and on ships at sea. Other countries also are developing and buying missile defenses. India, surrounded by nuclear missile-armed Russia, China and Pakistan, plans to deploy its own two-tier missile defense in a few years. On Dec. 6, India conducted a successful intercept within the atmosphere, while a year ago it killed a ballistic missile outside the atmosphere.

Proliferating missile defenses diminish the value of the nuclear-armed ballistic missile. In the Middle East, Israel is expanding its missile defenses, while Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Turkey have bought or are seeking to buy such defenses. In Europe, Britain and Denmark are hosting early warning radars.

The Polish and Czech governments are resisting Russian pressure and are expected to sign basing agreements early next year. Meanwhile, the threat continues to grow as Iran develops new longer-range missiles. Ship-based defenses in the Persian Gulf and Mediterranean can help, but to effectively protect the U.S. East Coast and Europe, bases in Europe are needed.

Sea-based defenses now are advancing quickly. It is time to move forward with land-based defenses in Europe.

James T. Hackett is a contributing writer to The Washington Times based in Carlsbad, Calif.

Peace and Freedom wishes to thank Mr. Hackett who provided this and many other great articles to our readers.

Japan: “Significant” Missile Defense Success

December 18, 2007

HONOLULU (AP) – Japan is now the first U.S. ally to shoot down a mid-range ballistic missile in a test from a ship at sea. Japan’s top government spokesman says this is very significant for Japanese national security. He says the government plans to continue bolstering its missile defense systems by installing necessary equipment and conducting tests. Tokyo has invested heavily in missile defense since North Korea test-fired a long-range missile over northern Japan nearly 10 years ago. It has installed missile tracking technology on several navy ships and has plans to equip three additional vessels with interceptors. The U.S. Missile Defense Agency calls the test “a major milestone” in U.S.-Japanese relations.
In this photo provided by Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, ... 
In this photo provided by Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, a Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) is launched from the Japanese Aegis Destroyer JS Kongo in the warter off Kauai, Hawaii, Monday, Dec. 17, 2007. The Japanese military became the first U.S. ally to shoot down a mid-range ballistic missile in space, about 100 miles above the Pacific Ocean, fired from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, run by the U.S. Navy, with the interceptor fired from the ship at sea in a test Monday.
(AP Photo/Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, HO)

Japan shoots down test missile in space – defense minister

December 18, 2007

TOKYO (Thomson Financial) – Japan said Tuesday it had shot down a ballistic missile in space high above the Pacific Ocean as part of joint efforts with the United States to erect a shield against a possible attack from North Korea.Japan tested the US-developed Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) interceptor from a warship in waters off Hawaii, becoming the first US ally to intercept a target using the system.

Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba described the successful test as “extremely significant.” “We will continue to strive to increase the system’s credibility,” he told reporters, insisting the missile shield was worth the high cost.

“We can’t talk about how much money should be spent when human lives are at stake.” Japan plans to spend a total of 127 billion yen over the four years to March 2008 on missile defense using the US-developed Aegis combat system, according to the defense ministry.

The naval destroyer Kongou launched the SM-3 which, at 7.12 am Japan time (2212 GMT Monday), intercepted the missile fired from onshore earlier, the navy said in a statement.

Officials said the interception was made around 100 miles (160 kilometers) above the Pacific. Japan plans to install the missile shield on four Aegis-equipped destroyers by March 2011, including the Kongou.

If the SM-3 system fails to intercept its target in space, the second stage of the shield uses ground-based Patriot Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3) missile interceptors to try to shoot it down.

Japan introduced its first PAC-3 missile launcher at the Iruma air force base north of Tokyo in March, one year ahead of schedule, amid tense relations with North Korea which tested a nuclear device for the first time in October last year.

Japanese authorities aim to increase the number of locations equipped with the PAC-3 system to 14 by March 2011.

China Watch

October 16, 2007

John E. Carey
The Washington Times
October 21, 2007

“With China’s rapid rise and relentless military build-up, the ‘China threat’ is no longer confined to confrontation across the Taiwan Strait. In fact, it has already seriously impacted world peace,” said Taiwan’s President Chen Shui-bian on Oct. 10, 2007.

He urged the international community to “strongly demand that China immediately withdraw missiles deployed along its southeastern coast targeted at Taiwan, stop military exercises simulating attacks on Taiwan.”

Mr. Chen was kicking off Taiwan’s annual National Day parade. The parade featured, for the first time in 16 years, military troops and equipment. Yet Taiwan took out of the parade line up, at the last minute, its secret cruise missile, the HF-2E, that analysts say could reach Shanghai.

Said one China-watcher we spoke to on the phone from Shanghai: “We have to assume Taiwan just wanted to keep this missile from being photographed. Certainly President Chen’s remarks would provoke China but there was not too much new or surprising here. Chen has been outspoken before.”

President Chen accused Beijing of ignoring peace overtures and using “ever more belligerent rhetoric and military intimidation.”

At the Asia-Pacific regional summit on Sept. 7 in Sydney, Australia, President Hu Jintao of China reportedly told President Bush the next two years will be a time of “high danger” for Taiwan. “This year and next year are a period of high danger for the Taiwan situation,” Mr. Hu told Mr. Bush in bilateral talks, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said.
Former President Jiang Zemin standing side-by-side with his successor, Hu Jintao, at the 16th Party Congress.

Former President Jiang Zemin standing
side-by-side with his successor, Hu Jintao,
at the 16th Party Congress.
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“We must give stronger warnings to the Taiwan authorities,” Liu Jianchao quoted the Chinese president as saying. “We cannot allow anyone to use any means to split Taiwan from the motherland.”

But Taiwan’s Mr. Chen has been unrelenting. In his National Day address, he said: “Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China are two sovereign, independent nations, and neither exercises jurisdiction over the other. This is a historical fact. This is the status quo across the Taiwan Strait.”

China doesn’t see it that way. China views Taiwan as a renegade breakaway province that needs to be returned to Beijing’s control. China has been beefing up ballistic missile and other forces facing Taiwan and has been promoting more senior military officers with experience in planning operations against Taiwan.

Within the last six weeks, China replaced its chief of general staff for the People’s Liberation Army. A commander once tasked with making war preparations against Taiwan, Chen Bingde, was named to run the day-to-day operations of the PLA.

China also recently again blocked Taiwan’s recognition by the United Nations — a sore point in Taiwan since 1949. “Only the people of Taiwan have the right to decide their nation’s future,” President Chen said.

Early last July a Defense White Paper from Japan expressed concern about China. “There are fears about the lack of transparency concerning China’s military strength,” the paper said. “In January this year, China used ballistic missile technology to destroy one of its own satellites. There was insufficient explanation from China, sparking concern in Japan and other countries about safety in space as well as the security aspects.”

That same week, Australia’s Prime Minister John Howard said, “The pace and scope of [China’s] military modernization, particularly the development of new and disruptive capabilities such as the anti-satellite missile, could create misunderstandings and instability in the region.”

What are the implications for the United States? The 1979 Taiwan Relations Act stipulates the United States will “consider any effort to determine the future of Taiwan by other than peaceful means, including by boycotts or embargoes, a threat to the peace and security of the Western Pacific area are of grave concern to the United States” but does not mandate intervention.

With the United States increasingly interlocked with China in trade and both nations seeking a successful Beijing Olympics next summer, it is increasingly important that the U.S. keep crystal-clear its foreign policy intentions with China and Taiwan.

John E. Carey is former president of International Defense Consultants Inc and a frequent contributor to The Washington Times.
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China Claiming “Major Advances” in U.S. Relationship

On China: “Trust But Verify”
http://washingtontimes.com/article/20070826/COMMENTARY/
108260018/1012/COMMENTARY03

Cold War Redux?
http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070822/COMMENTARY/108220021

China: Less than the Entire Truth
http://www.washingtontimes.com/article/20070808/
COMMENTARY/108080004/1012/COMMENTARY03

China’s Hu Jintao: State Of China Address Opens Party Congress

China’s tightens Internet controls

China rulers ’silencing dissent’

China’s military build-up could threaten regional security: US commander

August 21, 2007

PHNOM PENH (AFP) – The region’s top US military commander Tuesday expressed concern over China’s rapid military build-up, just days after an unprecedented display of Beijing’s firepower during war games with Russia.

China professes to be advocating a peaceful rise,” said Admiral Timothy J. Keating, head of the US Pacific Command, during his first official trip to Cambodia, where he met with senior defence officials.  “Some of the systems they’re developing and some of the capabilities that they’re demonstrating would indicate to us that perhaps their intentions aren’t exactly beneficial to security … throughout the Pacific.  So we’re watching carefully,” he said.

Read it all at:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070821/pl_afp/uschinamilitary_070821151245