China claims major boost in defence electronics capability


Jon Grevatt – IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly

21 November 2017

China’s industrial base now manufactures more than 85% of the key electronic components integrated onto Chinese military platforms, a senior government official in Beijing has claimed.

Diao Shijing, director of information technology at the Chinese government’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), said in comments to the China Daily newspaper on 21 November that the new statistic means China is “closing the gap” with the United States.

According to the China Daily report, Diao said that over the past decade the technological gap between China and the United States has shortened from 15 years to 5 years. Over the same period, the ratio of indigenously produced electronic components in Chinese military platforms has increased from 30% to 85%, he said.

Source: IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly “China claims major boost in defence electronics capability”

Note: This is IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.

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US Indo-Pacific Quad Facilitates China’s Belt and Road


Obama’s pivot to Asia aimed at containing China but had the side effect of containing Russia. Before the pivot, the US had already been making hard efforts to reduce Russia’s influence in Eastern Europe and the Middle East; therefore, even though it was very clear that Obama was containing China especially creating trouble for China in the South China Sea, Russia felt threatened.

Seeing Russia’s predicament, China realized that due to the change in situation, it was possible for China to seek alliance with its long-term enemy Russia.

Now, China and Russia are de facto allies. Russia is now providing China with advanced weapons and cooperating with China in developing large airliners and heavy helicopters

Obama’s pivot has been a failure so that Trump has scrapped it, especially TPP the economic part of it.

Now, the US is wise in having quad to control both the Indian and Pacific Oceans. However, China sees the threat to its trade lifelines through the Oceans earlier and began earlier its Belt and Road initiative to establish alternative connections to Europe, the Middle East and further to Africa other than the connections through the Indian Ocean that may easily be cut by powerful US navy. For such connections, Russia, Central Asia and especially Pakistan are vital.

However, India as a key part of quad has long been Russia’s friend and major market of Russia’s export of weapons. According to mil.huanqiu.com’s report “Russia has been thoroughly kicked away? India’s new aircraft carrier will perhaps use F-18 carrier-based fighter jets”, as the US has promised India to help it develop aircraft carriers with better US technology, it is quite natural India will use US made carrier-based fighter jets.

However, Russia has developed and made 45 Mig-29K worth $2.2 billion specially for India’s new aircraft carrier. India’s participation in US quad will cause Russia to lose its major weapon market to the US. It will push Russia further closer to China and remove all possible obstacles to Belt and Road in Central Asia.

Central Asia countries were previously parts of the Soviet Union. Russia wants to establish an Eurasia Union to keep them as its satellite states or at least in Russia’s sphere of influence. China’s Belt and Road projects in Central Asia may very likely replace Russia’ influence with China’s. China needs to make great efforts to convince Russia that the projects are but economic with no political effect. However, it is impossible to separate economics from politics.

China and Russia has had an agreement to find a way accommodate Belt and Road with Eurasia Union without much progress. Fortunately, the US comes to their assistance. It resumes the quad of US, India, Japan and Australia with the obvious intention to contain China. US Secretary of State made that very clear in his speech at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies on October 18. In spite of that, Russia has been upset in losing India, its major weapon buyer.

Moreover, US arming India gravely scares Pakistan and thus further strengthened Pakistan’s iron brotherhood with China. As a result, the US has made it much easier for the two iron brothers to overcome their disagreements to China’s vital project of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on mil.huanqiu.com’s report “Russia has been thoroughly kicked away? India’s new aircraft carrier will perhaps use F-18 carrier-based fighter jets”, full text of which in Chinese can be viewed at http://mil.huanqiu.com/world/2017-11/11388949.html.


China’s Belt and Road Remains Successful despite Some Disagreements


SubChina says in its report “China and Pakistan negotiate Belt and Road disagreements” yesterday that according to Pakistan’s Power Secretary Younus Naseem Khokar, ongoing energy projects accounting for 72 percent of China’s $50 billion-plus investment package in the country have been making “very smooth” progress.

The scrapping of the previously-agreed hydroelectric power project is regarded as a great setback of China’s Belt and Road initiative, but SubChina says in its report, “The bottom line: Pakistan remains optimistic on China’s Belt and Road projects in the country, striking a contrast with how this investment is perceived in media outside of Pakistan.”

It mentions the agreement among relevant parties on the commencement of the first phase of a special economic zones (SEZ) in Pakistan for the petrochemical, steel, textile, leather processing, and machinery industries.

The report says that Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Interior and Planning, Development and Reforms, Ahsan Iqbal, is confident that the SEZs and other projects would ensure transfer of technology, knowledge and skills to Pakistan.

The energy projects and the SEZs are the major parts of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) linking China with the Middle East, especially Iran.

The US is restoring the quad of US, India, Japan and Australia to contain China in Indo-Pacific, but by winning over India, the US has pushed Russia and Pakistan closer to China as I will elaborate in my next post.

What about the quad of China, Russia, Iran and Pakistan that US quad is forcing those four to form?

The Indian Ocean seems vital to China’s trade with the Middle East, Europe and Africa so that the US forms the quad to be able to cut China’s trade lifelines through the ocean. However, with the CPEC, China has an important alternative land route through Pakistan without going through the Indian Ocean.

In addition, do not forget that as the Arctic Ocean is melting due to global warming, China will soon have a shortcut to Europe through the Arctic Ocean completely under Russian control.

Obviously, US new Indo-Pacific strategy cannot contain China. On the contrary, it helps China overcome Russia’s opposition to its projects in Central Asia and strengthen the iron brotherhood between Pakistan and China to ensure the success of CPEC.

If the US really wants to contain China, it has to win over Russia and Pakistan instead of India. Trump tried to have détente with Russia quite early, but he has been opposed by US Congress and media.

Pakistan was for quite a long time US ally, but the US has never respected it as perhaps the US regards itself as the rider and its allies as horses. Now, Pakistan and the Philippines have refused to be America’s horses. Will India become America’s horse?

I believe that Indian Prime Minister Modi, a very shrewd politician, will not pull chestnuts out of the fire for the US.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SubChina’s report, full text of which can be viewed at http://supchina.com/2017/11/21/china-pakistan-negotiate-belt-road-disagreements/


China’s Xi Jinping Not Got the Title of China’s Great Leader Yet


Hong Kong’s Singtao Daily says in its report “Qianxinan Autonomous Prefecture Got Emergent Notice to Withdraw Portrait of Great Leader” on November 19 that since the 19th Congress, Qianxinan Prefecture of Guizhou Province has been vigorously propagate “Great Leader General Secretary Xi Jinping”. Since the beginning of November, standard portraits of Xi marked with “Great Leader General Secretary Xi Jinping” have appeared at all venues of official meetings, government offices and school classrooms. However, in the evening of November 17, the prefecture issued an emergent notice demanding immediate removal of all Xi’s portraits marked with the wording of “great leader” and forbidding the use of such title in all official documents or propaganda.

It is similar to the incident when Xi’s predecessor Hu Jintao was elected general secretary the first time in 2002. He was called the “core of central leadership” by local authority but soon such title was removed.

On February 5, 2005, Hu was again referred to as such core at CCTV primetime news, but Chinese authorities and media refrained from using such title afterwards. I pointed out in my book “Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements” that Hu had not gained the position of “core” and that Jiang Zemin remained the core.

In the second enlarged version of the book, I pointed out Jiang had selected Xi to be successor of to him as the “core”.

Jiang, though was the core for more than two decades, has not got the position or title of “great leader”, the title only PRC founder Mao had got. However, that title no longer appears before Mao’s name now.

Chinese politicians care very much about what they will be described in Chinese history. Assumption of exaggerating titles may appear quite stupid in Chinese history.

Xi has been regarded as the core but he still has to apply the art of balancing, a vital part of the art for being an emperor, in setting up his Politburo Standing Committee.

Among the seven member of the committee, Wang Huning and Han Zheng are chosen from Jiang Zemin’s Shanghai faction; Li Keqiang and Wang Yang are of Hu Jintao’s CYL faction; and only Li Zhanshu is Xi’s man. Zhao Leji belongs to no faction, which makes him the best choice to be in charge of fighting corruption as he will be free from the influence of any faction, not even Xi’s faction that has not fully taken shape. Otherwise, the fight against corruption will utterly fail as it will be turned into the power struggle between various factions. The victorious factions will be even more corrupt after their victory.

I described in the second version of my book why Xi had to convince all the factions that his struggle against corruption is not power struggle as the struggle would have failed at its very beginning if it had been power struggle.

Xi’s first five-year reign has proved his great wisdom and courage, but he has not shown whether he is competent as a great leader.

In Chinese history, a great leader shall first of all have the ability to identify talents and appoint them to important official posts to give play to their talents.

We see quite a few new faces in Xi’s new Politburo but still have to wait for their actual performance in the coming five years to prove that Xi has made the right choices.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Singtao’s report, full text of which in Chinese can be found at https://hk.news.yahoo.com/%E9%BB%94%E8%A5%BF%E5%8D%97%E5%B7%9E%E6%8E%A5%E7%B7%8A%E6%80%A5%E9%80%9A%E7%9F%A5-%E6%92%A4-%E5%81%89%E5%A4%A7%E9%A0%98%E8%A2%96-%E8%82%96%E5%83%8F-221124254.html.


Glowing profile cracks door open on private life of China’s Xi


FILE PHOTO: China’s President Xi Jinping arrives at the Noi Bai international airport in Hanoi, Vietnam November 12, 2017. REUTERS/Minh Hoang/Pool

Reuters Staff November 17, 2017 / 1:23 PM / 3 days ago

BEIJING (Reuters) – A workaholic keen swimmer with an extensive knowledge of foreign literature — China’s state news agency Xinhua on Friday cracked open the door to President Xi Jinping’s private life in an unusual and glowing profile.

The private lives of senior Chinese leaders have traditionally been shrouded in secrecy, and tell-all books with juicy gossip strictly off limits.

But since Xi took power five years ago the government has on occasion released personal details, as it seems both to burnish his image as an approachable man of the people who will lead China to greatness, and control the narrative about who he is.

Xi emerged from a twice-a-decade Communist Party Congress last month with his power ever further cemented and key allies appointed to top new positions.

In a lengthy story published in Chinese and English in the early hours of Friday, Xinhua hailed Xi as the “unrivalled helmsman”, a term more frequently used to refer to the founder of modern China Mao Zedong rather than any other leaders.

“Wherever he works, he makes a remarkable impact,” Xinhua said.

While some of the anecdotes have previously been reported by state media – like his 2014 stroll around old Beijing alleyways during one of the city’s periodic smog crises – others were new.

Xi personally reviews every draft of major policy documents, sentence by sentence, Xinhua said.

“Sources close to him told Xinhua that all reports submitted to him, no matter how late in the evening, were returned with instructions the following morning.”

But he also “takes time out of his busy schedule to swim over 1,000 meters a time”, it added, without saying how often he manages to fit this in.

Xi can reel off the names of foreign, especially Russian, writers, and his “extensive knowledge of literature and the arts makes him a consummate communicator in the international arena”.

“Xi treats everyone with sincerity, warmth, attentiveness, and forthrightness,” it said.

However, underscoring China’s sensitivities about more difficult parts of its recent past, the Chinese version of the profile skipped a description of the suffering inflicted on Xi’s father Xi Zhongxun during the chaos of the Cultural Revolution, when Mao declared class war.

“In 1962, Xi Zhongxun’s 16 years of suffering from political persecution began. However, he never gave in to adversity and ultimately helped clear the names of others who were persecuted,” Xinhua said in its English profile.

“When his father was wronged, Xi Jinping went through some tough times,” it added, without elaborating.

Public discussion of the Cultural Revolution is generally taboo in China.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

Source: Reuters “Glowing profile cracks door open on private life of China’s Xi”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


China’s Belt and Road for China’s Benefit Not Geopolitics


If China’s Belt and Road initiative is for geopolitical influence as ignorant and naïve media believe, it will go nowhere.

First, it is impossible for the initiative to suceed in Central Asia that provides lifeline connection between China and Europe.

Central Asia was a part of Soviet Union so that Russia has great influence there and regards it as its sphere of influence.

If the Silk Road economic belt China is developing there aims at substituting China’s influence for Russia’s, Russia will entirely hinder China’s efforts. However, China has the wisdom and eloquence to convince Russia that its development there is entirely economic instead of geopolitical so that China has been carrying out large-scale infrastructure construction there without trouble from Russia.

Moreover, China has succeeded in making Russia agree to study the way to connect its Belt and Road initiative with the Eurasia Union Russia is anxious to establish.

Why? Not only China will be benefited from its land connection with Europe and the economic growth in the area of Silk Road economic belt there, the economic development in Russia’s sphere of influence will also benefit Russia economically. That is a win-win situation.

China pursues win-win cooperation. It means that China shall be benefited from its investment and efforts instead of provide free financing, technology, engineering, etc.

From that perspective, the scrapping of its hydropower deals in Pakistan and Nepal mentioned in SCMP’s report “Pakistan pulls plug on dam deal over China’s ‘too strict’ conditions in latest blow to Belt and Road plans” on November 16 are no setbacks at all in China’s Belt and Road initiative. Without the Diamer-Bhasha dam deal, Pakistan remains China’s iron brother and China will still build a lots of other power stations for China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Unless the projects are vital to China’s security such as the connection with the Middle East through the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, China has to ensure its winning economic position in a Belt and Road project.

SCMP points out that the failure of dam deal in Pakistan was due to China’s “too strict” conditions. Why too strict? Because China shall also be benefited by the project.

There are too many infrastructure projects in Road and Belt countries and regions. The failure of the deals is good for China as it will enable China to divert its resources to better win-win projects.

China simply does not have sufficient resources nor the ambition to participate in the construction of all the infrastructures in underdeveloped countries and regions.

Note, China wants to grow and expand to realize its Chinese dream, but it will never copy failed Western model of colonization, which has already proved that colonies in other countries are burdens instead of sources of benefits.

Only win-win cooperation may facilitate China’s growth and expansion in strength.

If China wants land, it shall turn its deserts in Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia and Qinghai into farmland and habitable areas.

That will be very ambitious projects requiring lots of investment. For example, China is drawing up a plan to divert water from Yarlung Tsangpo River, Tibet to Xinjiang.

The vast desert in Xinjiang was rich farmland more than 1000 years ago as proved by the relics of well-developed irrigation system in extinct Kingdom of Loulan. The farmland was forsaken after the Tarim River dried.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s report, full text of which can be found at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2120261/pakistan-pulls-plug-dam-deal-over-chinas-too-strict.


China’s nuclear spaceships will be ‘mining asteroids and flying astronauts to the moon’ as it aims to overtake US in space race


State media publishes Chinese scientists’ ambitious plans to revolutionise space travel and exploration in coming decades

China is on course to develop nuclear-powered space shuttles by 2040, and will have the ability to mine resources from asteroids and build solar power plants in space soon after, according to state media.

The ambitious claims, made by the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology – the country’s leading rocket developer and manufacturer – were published on the front page of People’s Daily on Friday.

According to the report, a new “nuclear fleet” of carrier rockets and reusable hybrid-power carriers will be ready for “regular, large scale” interplanetary flights, and carrying out commercial exploration and exploitation of natural resources by the mid-2040s.

China will catch up with the United States on conventional rocket technology by 2020, it said. In 2025, it is expected to launch a reusable suborbital carrier and start suborbital space tourism.

By 2030, it aims to put astronauts on the moon and have the capabilities to bring samples back from Mars.

In the 2040s, a nuclear-powered fleet will be ready to carry out mining operations on asteroids and planets, the report said.

“By 2045, China will have the best transport system in space,” Li Hong, director of the academy said in an article posted on the organisation’s website on Thursday.

Local scientists said the plan represented China’s most ambitious space programme yet.

“The nuclear vessels are built to colonise the solar system and beyond,” Wang Changhui, associate professor of aerospace propulsion at the School of Astronautics at Beihang University in Beijing, said.

Most spacecraft today use rocket engines that burn chemical fuel for propulsion and get their electricity from solar panels.

But such fuel was quickly depleted, and the Sun’s rays got weaker the further a spaceship went, Wang said.

A nuclear spaceship would have a reactor loaded with radioactive fuel for fission – the splitting of atoms that produces large amounts of energy.

That energy could be used to generate a driving force as well as electricity for the craft’s on-board equipment, he said.

China’s Mars base plan revealed … and covering 95,000 sq km, there’s certainly The technology itself is nothing new. During the cold war, dozens of satellites equipped with various types of nuclear reactors were launched by the former Soviet Union and the United States. Nearly all of them were spy satellites operating at very high altitudes and with huge power demands.

But the nuclear space race was eventually postponed, partly due to its threat to humanity. In 1978, Russian spy satellite Kosmos 954 crashed and sprayed radioactive waste over an area of 124,000 square kilometres in Canada.

More than 30 dead nuclear satellites are still drifting in space and could fall to earth at any time over the next few thousand years.

“Safety issues will be the top challenge for the Chinese nuclear fleet,” Wang said. “If they come down, it will cause a global nuclear disaster.”

According to China’s space authorities, the nuclear shuttles would be docked at a transport hub that would orbit the earth. Reusable spacecraft would be used to transport people and cargo to and from the shuttles.

But even if they were permanently in space, the nuclear-powered vessels were still at risk of being hit by meteorites or even colliding with one another, Wang said.

Regardless of those concerns, a mainland space expert said the targets given in the People’s Daily report would be almost impossible to achieve.

“China does not even have a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to sail the oceans,” the researcher, who requested not to be named, said.

“Building a nuclear space fleet will remain on paper in the foreseeable future. We have not even solved some basic problems with conventional rocket technology yet,” he said.

A Long March 5 heavy-lift rocket, designed for lunar missions and the construction of space stations, veered off course and crashed into the Pacific Ocean in July.

The cause of the accident is still under investigation.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: China plans nuclear space fleet by 2040

Source: SCMP “China’s nuclear spaceships will be ‘mining asteroids and flying astronauts to the moon’ as it aims to overtake US in space race”

Note: This is SCMP’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.