Defence

Don’t panic: three myths about the North Korean threat

Kerp 1a

The US has talked itself into Kim Jong-un’s trap of exaggerating how much power his rocketry gives him Joseph S. Nye Asia Times North Korea recently tested its Hwasong-15 ballistic missile, which reached an altitude of 2,780 miles (4,475 kilometers) during its 53-minute flight. Using a flatter trajectory could provide Kim Jong-un’s regime with the capability of hitting the east coast of the United States. Although it has not yet demonstrated a re-entry vehicle capable of surviving atmospheric friction, North ... Read More »

Japan plans long-range missiles amid N Korea threat: Minister

WarPlanes 2b LLLL

Japan plans to purchase offensive air-to-surface missiles to counter North Korea’s rising military threat, its defence minister said on Dec. 8, a move likely to stir debate over its decades-long pacifist policy. TOKYO – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet Itsunori Onodera said the ministry intends to request a special budget for the fiscal year starting April 2018 to purchase long-range cruise missiles deployed on fighter jets. According to local media, the ministry plans to buy JASSM and LRASM long-range, air-to-ground missiles with ... Read More »

Japan eyes air-to-surface missiles that would put North Korea in range

Kro 9i

TOKYO — Japan looks to deploy its first air-to-surface missiles in the coming years as a means of deterring North Korea from further weapons testing, bringing Pyongyang’s missile bases within Tokyo’s military reach. Nikkei Asian Review  The Ministry of Defense will request several billion yen (1 billion yen equals $8.8 million) in the nation’s fiscal 2018 budget for Joint Strike Missiles from Norway’s Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace. These would be deployed as early as fiscal 2019 on 42 cutting-edge F-35 ... Read More »

YPG, Russia meeting ‘evaluated steps to take’ after ISIL: Russian defense ministry

Papal 2b

Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Dec. 4 that a meeting held a day earlier by a Russian military delegation and officials of the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria’s Deir Ezzor province had “evaluated the steps to be taken” after the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is ousted from the region. Nerdun Hacıoğlu – MOSCOW Hurriyet It was the first statement released by Russia regarding the Dec. 3 meeting. The Defense Ministry said among the ... Read More »

Asia Code for Sea Peace Expected to Tilt Toward China

The Royal Australian Navy HMAS Adelaide crueses alongside landing crafts with Philippine Marines and Australian troops as they conduct a joint Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief (HADR) exercise off Subic Bay in northwestern Philippines Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017. The HMAS Adelaide, along with another Australian Navy ship, the HMAS Darwin, a guided missile frigate, are here for a goodwill visit aimed at strengthening relations between the two navies as well as maritime security and stability in the region. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

A code of conduct aimed at avoiding mishaps in the contested South China Sea is likely to sidestep concerns that are offensive to the chief claimant, Beijing, analysts forecast. Ralph Jennings VoA China and 10 Southeast Asian Nations agreed at summits in Manila this month to start negotiations on a code of conduct for the resource-rich sea, where sovereignty is contested by six governments. Beijing claims about 90 percent of the sea from its south coast to the island of ... Read More »

Trump tells Turkish president U.S. will stop arming Kurds in Syria

Provi 2b

The Trump administration is preparing to stop supplying weapons to ethnic Kurdish fighters in Syria, the White House acknowledged Friday, a move reflecting renewed focus on furthering a political settlement to the civil war there and countering Iranian influence now that the Islamic State caliphate is largely… By Carol Morello and Erin Cunningham The Washington Post Word of the policy change long sought by neighboring Turkey came Friday, not from Washington but from Ankara.Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters ... Read More »

Beijing outmanoeuvres US in the South China Sea – at least for now

Strag 1a

Mark J. Valencia says Manila’s acceptance of Beijing’s claims in the South China Sea shows that the erosion of US influence is real, though probably overstated by hand-wringing Asia policy pundits Mark J. Valencia South China Morning Post The struggle between China and other claimants for political domination of the South China Sea is over, for now. China has won this round. This is a political setback for the US, which supported the other claimants – Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines ... Read More »

EU countries sign key defense pact

Dun 1a

The EU took a step towards closer defense ties yesterday, with 23 states signing a landmark pact aiming to boost cooperation after Brexit and as Russia flexes its muscles to the east. BRUSSELS – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet The permanent structured cooperation on defense agreement (PESCO) seeks to improve EU coordination on defense and weapons systems development. It is part of efforts led by Germany and France to reboot the European Union after Britain’s shock decision to quit and follows the ... Read More »

Is US naval assertion in the South China Sea legal?

Bab 1a

US freedom of navigation operations in the Spratly Islands are pre-emptive challenges to China’s potential claims and thus are beyond normal international practice Mark J. Valencia Asia Times  On October 10, the US Navy carried out yet another freedom of navigation operation (FONOP) against China’s claims in the South China Sea. The USS Chafee, a US Navy Arleigh Burke Class guided missile destroyer, conducted what the Pentagon said were “normal maneuvering operations” in China’s claimed 12 nautical mile territorial sea ... Read More »

Are US naval assertions in the South China Sea necessary?

FILE PHOTO: Soldiers of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy patrol at Woody Island, in the Paracel Archipelago, which is known in China as the Xisha Islands, January 29, 2016.   REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo

US freedom of navigation operations in the Spratly Islands are pre-emptive challenges to China’s potential claims and thus are beyond normal international practice Mark J. Valencia Asia Times  On October 10, the US Navy carried out yet another freedom of navigation operation (FONOP) against China’s claims in the South China Sea. The USS Chafee, a US Navy Arleigh Burke Class guided missile destroyer, conducted what the Pentagon said were “normal maneuvering operations” in China’s claimed 12 nautical mile territorial sea ... Read More »

NATO set to boost Afghan mission

Raun 5e

NATO allies are set to agree tomorrow to increase by some 3,000 personnel the troop levels for the alliance’s Afghanistan training mission, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said. Hurriyet About half the additional troops will come from the United States and the other half from non-U.S. NATO allies and partners. “We have decided to increase the number of troops … to help the Afghans break the stalemate,” Stoltenberg told a news conference on Nov. 7. Stoltenberg stressed the soldiers would ... Read More »

Why the Indian Ocean Must Not Become Like the South China Sea

Freg 1a

The maritime domain has been marked as the latest theater of war, and so a code of conduct is needed. Rajni Gamage  The National Interest Rising Strategic Uncertainty in the Indian Ocean The pursuit of contesting regional orders by major powers has engendered a strategic environment of uncertainty and mistrust in the Indo-Pacific. As geopolitical developments at land and sea feed off one another, the maritime domain has been marked as the latest theater of war. These dynamics have been ... Read More »

The S-400: Erdogan’s Fail-safe

Ces 6f

Moscow and Ankara continue to signal that the $2.5-billion sale of four S-400 anti-aircraft batteries will proceed Boris Zilberman Foundation for Defense of Democracies  While questions remain about when delivery will occur and under what conditions, both sides have an overriding interest in seeing the deal through. President Vladimir Putin wants the deal not only for monetary reasons, but also to chip away at NATO unity and to validate such sales to other nations traditionally aligned with the West. For ... Read More »

Turkey’s plan to acquire Russia’s S-400 air-defense system may never happen, analysts say

S 400 2b Getty Images LLLL

While Russia continues to tout the planned sale of its S-400 strategic air-defense system to Turkey, some U.S. analysts are growing more skeptical about the deal. Jeff Daniels CNBC On Thursday, the CEO of Russia’s state-owned Rostec defense company said the deal with Turkey exceeded $2 billion, according to Tass, the Russian news agency. It followed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in September announcing the longtime member of NATO had made a down payment to Moscow for the S-400 and ... Read More »

U.S. Nuclear Weapons in Turkey Raise Alarm

Fraum 6f

Deteriorating relations between the United States and Turkey have prompted a growing debate about the wisdom of maintaining U.S. tactical nuclear weapons at the Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey and, more broadly, about whether to remove all such U.S. weapons from Europe. Kingston Reif  Arms Control Association Although Turkey is a NATO member and Incirlik is a key base of operations for the U.S. air campaign against the Islamic State group, developments over the past year and a half ... Read More »

Turkey can’t integrate Russian missiles: NATO

Auf 2b

A leading NATO official has said that Turkey will face “consequences” if it purchases a Russian air-defense system “The principal of sovereignty obviously exists in acquisition of defense equipment, but the same way that nations are sovereign in making their decision, they are also sovereign in facing the consequences of that decision,” said Gen. Petr Pavel, chairman of NATO’s Military Committee, on Oct. 25 during a Washington meeting with a group of reporters hosted by the Defense Writers Group. Hurriyet ... Read More »