What should the U.S. do about China’s increased assertiveness in the South China Sea? As the Brookings Institution’s Michael O’Hanlon writes:
Beijing claims almost the whole sea—land formations, seabeds and open waters alike—and of late has been literally creating new facts on the ground, constructing 2,000 acres of artificial islands where only shoals or sand bars once existed. Beijing now says those efforts are nearly complete but acknowledges plans to place military assets on the islands, some of which may include substantial airfields.
Washington is deeply concerned and should continue pushing back against any Chinese enforcement of its “nine-dash line” claim to 85% of the region’s map. But the U.S. can’t stop China from building or modestly militarizing its new islands, nor should it try. Even if it rattles nerves from Tokyo to Manila, Hanoi and Washington, Beijing’s campaign is little more than an asymmetric way of establishing regional military presence—and one that even mimics American behavior over the years.
via China’s Unsinkable Aircraft Carriers – China Real Time Report – WSJ.
China on Tuesday announced plans for this year’s celebration of the 70th anniversary of the victory in World War II, including inviting militaries of other countries to participate in a parade on Sept. 3.
Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, will attend the event and deliver an important speech, an official said at a press conference on Tuesday.
At the event, Xi will award medals to veterans and generals who participated in the war and family dependents of the deceased.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War. It will be the first time for the country to hold a special parade to commemorate the victory.
Japan signed the formal surrender on Sept. 2, 1945, and China celebrated its victory the following day. September 3 was declared Victory Day.
via China unveils plans for V-Day parade|Politics|chinadaily.com.cn.
The Indian Air Force on Thursday landed a fighter jet on an expressway for the first time to showcase its ability to use national highways as runways in case of conflict.
The Mirage-2000 jet landed on a cordoned-off stretch of the Yamuna Expressway that leads to Agra, the home of the Taj Mahal.
Test landing of a Mirage 2000 fighter jet of the Indian Air force on the Yamuna Expressway near Delhi on Wednesday. India’s Ministry of Defence
The single-engine, single-seater combat plane is produced by Dassault Aviation SA of France. It can reach a top speed of 2,495 kilometers, or 1,550 miles an hour.
The jet took off from an undisclosed air base in central India. Facilities such as a makeshift air traffic control center, safety services, rescue vehicles, bird clearance parties were set up in coordination with local agencies for its landing.
The air force has “plans to activate more such stretches on highways in the future,” the Ministry of Defence said in a statement.
The Mirage-2000 strike aircraft is a critical part of India’s fighter jet fleet. Its flying qualities and maneuverability came into prominence during the bombing of Pakistani positions in the Himalayas during the Kargil war in 1999.
India’s air force fleet however comprises mainly Russian-origin aircraft such as the Sukhoi and MiG planes.
via Watch Indian Fighter Jet Land on Highway to Taj Mahal – India Real Time – WSJ.
China will welcome all national leaders to a military parade marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two, the foreign minister said on Sunday, the strongest sign yet that it could invite wartime enemy Japan.
Sino-Japan relations have long been poisoned by what China sees as Japan’s failure to atone for its occupation of parts of the country before and during the war, and it rarely misses an opportunity to remind its people and the world of this.
In the last two years, ties have also deteriorated sharply because of a dispute over a chain of uninhabited islets in the East China Sea, though Chinese and Japanese leaders met last year in Beijing to try to reset relations.
But the remarks by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi come as the two countries plan to hold their first security talks in four years in Tokyo on March 19, an indication of a possible improvement in strained ties.
“Our goal is to remember history, commemorate the martyrs, cherish peace and look to the future,” Wang said of the parade at a briefing on the sidelines of China’s annual meeting of parliament.
“We will extend the invitation to the leaders of all relevant countries and international organizations. No matter who it is, as long as they come in sincerity, we welcome them,” Wang said in response to a question about whether Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would be invited.
via China hints Japan to be invited to war memorial parade | Reuters.
Turkey‘s defense minister said on Thursday the country does not plan to integrate a new missile defense system with NATO infrastructure and officials said a $3.4 billion deal with China was still under consideration.
NATO member Turkey chose China Precision Machinery Import and Export Corp as a preferred bidder in 2013, prompting U.S. and Western concern about security and the compatibility of the weaponry with NATO systems.
Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz, in a written response to a parliamentary question, indicated Ankara planned to go ahead with the Chinese system, saying the evaluation of bids had been completed and no new offers received.
“The system in question will be integrated with the national system for Turkey’s defense and will be used without integrating with NATO,” Yilmaz said.
However, other government officials later made clear that did not mean a final decision had yet been reached.
“We are continuing discussions with all the bidders,” the undersecretariat for defense industries said in a statement.
via Turkey eyes deal with China on missile defense despite NATO concern | Reuters.
SO EXTENSIVE was the stash of jade, gold and cash found in the basement of General Xu Caihou’s mansion in Beijing that at least ten lorries were needed to haul it away, according to the Chinese press last October. Given General Xu’s recent retirement as the highest ranking uniformed officer in the armed forces, this was astonishing news. General Xu, the media said, had accepted “extremely large” bribes, for which he now faces trial. It will be the first of such an exalted military figure since the Communist Party came to power in 1949.
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA)—as the Chinese army, navy and air force are collectively known—has not fought a war for 35 years. But the world’s largest fighting force is now engaged in a fierce battle at home against corrosion within its ranks.
Xi Jinping, China’s president (pictured, pointing), has taken his sweeping anti-corruption campaign into the heart of the PLA, seemingly unafraid to show that a hallowed institution is also deeply flawed. In January the PLA took the unprecedented step of revealing that 15 generals and another senior officer were under investigation or awaiting trial. It said it would launch a stringent review of recruitment, promotions, procurements and all of its financial dealings in order to root out corruption.
One reason Mr Xi is keen to clean up the army is to ensure that it remains a bulwark of party rule. The PLA is the party’s armed wing—its soldiers swear allegiance to it rather than the people or the country. All officers are party members and each company is commanded jointly by an officer in charge of military affairs and another whose job it is to ensure troops toe the party line. Mr Xi has repeatedly stressed the party’s “absolute leadership” over the PLA. His definition of a “strong army” puts “obedience to the party’s commands” before “capability of winning wars”.
via Military corruption: Rank and vile | The Economist.
China and Thailand agreed on Friday to boost military ties over the next five years, from increasing intelligence sharing to fighting transnational crime, as the ruling junta seeks to counterbalance the country’s alliance with Washington.
The agreement came during a two-day visit by China’s Defence Minister Chang Wanquan to Bangkok, and as Thailand’s military government looks to cultivate Beijing’s support amid Western unease over a delayed return to democracy.
“China has agreed to help Thailand increase protection of its own country and advise on technology to increase Thailand’s national security,” Thai Defence Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan told reporters.
“China will not intervene in Thailand’s politics but will give political support and help maintain relationships at all levels. This is China’s policy.”
via Thailand boosts military ties with China amid U.S. spat | Reuters.
Thirty—two years after the project was sanctioned, the first indigenously—built Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) was handed over by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to the IAF on Saturday, a red letter day for the Indian defence and aerospace sector.
The handover signals the start of a process of induction of the fighters being built at home under a project which has already cost the exchequer nearly Rs. 8,000 crore.
The entire project by the DRDO and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited is estimated to cost over Rs. 30,000 crore.
The aircraft that has been handed over has got Initial Operational Clearance—II, which signifies that Tejas is airworthy in different conditions, sources said. The Final Operational Clearance (FOC) is expected by the year—end.
This version of the aircraft lacks the latest electronic warfare suite, which was integrated into one of the LCAs two weeks ago, mid—air refuelling and long—range missiles capabilities, among other things that the FOC—configuration aircraft will have.
The IOC—I was granted to the aircraft, being built by state—owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), in January 2011.
via IAF gets first light combat aircraft – The Hindu.
China unveiled a sophisticated new stealth fighter jet at an air show on Tuesday, a show of muscle during a visit by U.S. President Barack Obama for an Asia-Pacific summit.
China hopes the much-anticipated J-31 stealth aircraft, developed by the Aviation Industry Corp of China (Avic), the country’s top aircraft maker, will compete with U.S.-made hardware in export markets.
The twin-engine fighter jet was unveiled at the China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in the southern city of Zhuhai, an annual event at which China shows off its military technology, a Reuters witness said.
The J-31 conducted a demonstration but was not put on display afterwards although a mock-up version was on show.
via China unveils sophisticated stealth fighter aircraft | Reuters.