China leads U.S. on potent super-fast missiles


David Lague April 25, 2019

ZHUHAI, China (Reuters) – China is leading the U.S. in a race to deploy hypersonic missiles that would defeat existing air defense systems, according to senior U.S. officials.

The combination of speed, maneuverability and altitude of these missiles makes them difficult to track and intercept. They travel at speeds of more than five times the speed of sound or about 6,200 kilometers (3,853 miles) per hour. Some will travel as fast as 25,000 kilometers per hour, according to U.S. and other Western weapons researchers. That’s about 25 times as fast as modern passenger jets.

Admiral Harry Harris, the former head of U.S. Pacific Command, told the House Armed Services Committee in February last year that hypersonic weapons were one of a range of advanced technologies where China was beginning to outpace the U.S. military, challenging its dominance in the Asia-Pacific region.

Last April, Michael Griffin, the U.S. Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that China has deployed, or is close to deploying, hypersonic systems armed with conventional warheads. These can travel thousands of kilometers from the Chinese coast and threaten American forward bases or carrier battle groups, he said.

“We do not have defenses against those systems,” Griffin said.

Russia may have already fielded a hypersonic weapon. At a parade in May last year, the Russian military displayed what it had earlier said was a hypersonic missile. Russian President Vladimir Putin has described the missile as invincible.

Russia’s defense ministry did not respond to questions from Reuters about its hypersonic weapons capabilities.

The Chinese military in 2014 said it had conducted a hypersonic test flight. By early 2016, it had conducted six successful tests, according to U.S. military officials.

In early November, China unveiled a new ballistic anti-ship missile, the CM-401, at the biennial airshow in the southern city of Zhuhai. Reports in the official state-controlled media said the new missile was a hypersonic weapon. An information panel alongside a model of the new missile said the CM-401 was a “high supersonic” ballistic missile which had a trajectory reaching near space. It had a range of up to 290 kilometers, the panel said.

China, Russia and the United States have focused research and development on two classes of these weapons: hypersonic glide vehicles and cruise missiles that fly at hypersonic speeds, according to U.S. and other Western weapons analysts and military officials. Both types could carry conventional or nuclear payloads.

A hypersonic glide vehicle is boosted aloft on a rocket to heights of between 40 km to 100 km above the earth before detaching to glide along the upper atmosphere towards its target. It is released at a height and speed that would allow it to glide unpowered to the target. Control surfaces on the glide vehicle mean it can steer an unpredictable course and maneuver sharply as it approaches impact.

These glide vehicles follow a much flatter and lower trajectory than the high, arching path of a ballistic missile, these researchers say. That makes them much harder to detect early with radar, giving missile defenses less time to respond.

Hypersonic cruise missiles, meanwhile, have internal engines. But unlike regular cruise missiles, they travel far faster and higher.

After years of stop-start development of hypersonics, the U.S. is now trying to accelerate testing and deployment to match China and Russia, according to senior Pentagon officials.

Last year, the U.S. Air Force awarded Lockheed Martin Corporation two contracts to develop hypersonic missiles. And, the U.S. navy said it conducted a successful test of a long-range hypersonic missile on October 30, 2017. Last month, the Pentagon awarded missile-maker Raytheon Company a $63.3 million contract for hypersonic weapons development, the company said in a statement.

“Frankly, we were the leaders in that 10 and 15 years ago, and we just let it drop,” Griffin told the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee in April last year. “We need to get started again.”

Reporting by David Lague. Edited by Peter Hirschberg

Source: Reuters “China leads U.S. on potent super-fast missiles”

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

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New missile gap leaves U.S. scrambling to counter China


David Lague, Benjamin Kang Lim April 25, 2019

ZHUHAI, China (Reuters) – Chinese President Xi Jinping has elevated his country’s missile forces to a level where they pose an unprecedented challenge to the aircraft carriers and bases that form the backbone of American military primacy in Asia, a Reuters special report reveals today.

Many of the missiles in Beijing’s arsenal now rival or outperform those of the United States, puncturing the protective umbrella that for decades America has afforded its regional allies South Korea, Japan and Taiwan.

Captain James Fanell, a former U.S. Navy intelligence chief, told Reuters that China now has “the most advanced ballistic missile force in the world” and has “the capacity to overwhelm the defensive systems we are pursuing.”

Critically, China has forged a monopoly in one class of conventional missiles that enable it to strike at U.S. aircraft carriers off its coast and at bases in Japan or even Guam in the Pacific Ocean. Under a Cold War-era treaty between the U.S. and Russia, neither country has been allowed to develop these weapons – land-based, intermediate-range ballistic and cruise missiles with a range between 500 and 5,500 kilometers (3,418 miles). But China, which isn’t a signatory to the treaty, has been deploying these rockets in massive numbers.

Today’s special report is part of “The China Challenge,” a Reuters series on how Xi Jinping is reshaping and rejuvenating China’s military, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), by filling its top ranks with loyal allies and enhancing its missile, naval and nuclear capabilities.

In the event of a confrontation in the seas off its coast, Chinese military brass say they now have the means with which to keep American carriers at bay. “We cannot defeat the United States at sea,” a retired PLA colonel told Reuters. “But we have missiles that specifically target aircraft carriers to stop them from approaching our territorial waters if there were conflict.”

That is a potentially dramatic development, signaling that China is able to deter U.S. intervention as it expands its control in the South China Sea, steps up naval and air sorties around Taiwan, and extends its operations into areas it disputes with Japan.

With the United States suddenly finding itself on the wrong side of the missile gap, American military planners face a new and daunting scenario. Because some of China’s anti-ship missiles now outrange the fighter jets aboard U.S. carriers, they could neutralize American flattops in a conflict. If these carriers are forced to operate outside the range of their aircraft, they would be far less potent.

The United States, which has long been preoccupied with wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan, is now rushing to claw back the advantage. President Trump announced on Feb. 1 that Washington would withdraw from its missile treaty with Russia in six months, clearing the way for the U.S. to begin building the ground-launched missiles banned for more than three decades.

China’s Ministry of National Defense, the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and the Pentagon did not respond to questions from Reuters.

(The full article can be read here: reut.rs/2Z8DetC)

Reporting by David Lague and Benjamin Kang Lim. Edited by Peter Hirschberg and Elizabeth Culliford.

Source: Reuters “New missile gap leaves U.S. scrambling to counter China”

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


Chile to China: Let us be your business hub in Latin America


April 26, 2019

(Reuters) – Chilean President Sebastian Pinera kicked off an investment forum in China on Thursday with an invitation for the Asian giant to use Chile as a jumping off point to do business in Latin America, even as Washington has warned Chile to proceed with caution.

Pinera told the forum that Chile’s objective was to attract more investment from Chinese companies in technology, electric vehicles, telecommunications, and e-commerce.

“We want to transform Chile into a business center for Chinese companies, so that you can, from Chile, reach out to all of Latin America,” Pinera told Chinese investors at an investment and innovation forum in Beijing, according to a Chilean government statement.

The Chilean president’s visit to China, the Andean nation’s top trading partner, comes just weeks after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Chile and slammed China’s “nefarious” actions and “predatory” lending practices, which critics say leave borrowers beholden to Beijing.

China rejected Pompeo’s criticisms, calling them “slanderous” and “irresponsible.”

Pinera has met with several Chinese electric vehicle makers during his week-long visit to Asia, including BYD and Yutong. Chile is one of the world’s largest producers of lithium, a key ingredient in electric vehicle batteries.

He also met executives from ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing, which is planning to take on U.S. rival Uber in some of Latin America’s fastest-growing markets, including Chile.

It was not immediately clear whether Pinera would meet with Chinese telecommunications company Huawei during the visit. Chile has been in talks with Huawei since at least 2017 regarding a possible trans-Pacific fiber optic cable, and other projects.

Pompeo earlier this month warned Chile that Chinese technology, including equipment made by Huawei, poses a security risk that could affect information sharing by the United States.

U.S. influence in Latin America has been increasingly challenged by China, whose booming economy over the past two decades has driven up demand for South America’s raw materials.

Chile, among Latin America’s most open economies and the world’s top copper exporter, has sought to remain neutral amid the growing tensions, promoting instead the need for open markets and trade.

Reporting by Dave Sherwood and Natalia Ramos in Santiago, writing by Dave Sherwood, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien

Source: Reuters “Chile to China: Let us be your business hub in Latin America”

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 Xi says Belt and Road must be green, sustainable


Brenda Goh, Cate Cadell April 25, 2019

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s Belt and Road initiative must be green and sustainable, President Xi Jinping said at the opening of a summit on his grand plan on Friday, adding that the massive infrastructure and trade plan should result in “high-quality” growth for everyone.

Xi’s plan to rebuild the old Silk Road to connect China with Asia, Europe and beyond has become mired in controversy as some partner nations have bemoaned the high cost of infrastructure projects.

China has not said exactly how much money will be needed in total, but some independent estimates suggest it will run into several trillion dollars.

Beijing has repeatedly said it is not seeking to trap anyone with debt and only has good intentions, and has been looking to use this week’s summit in Beijing to recalibrate the policy and address those concerns.

Xi said in a keynote speech that environmental protection must underpin the scheme “to protect the common home we live in”.

“We must adhere to the concept of openness, greenness, and cleanliness,” he said.

“Operate in the sun and fight corruption together with zero tolerance,” Xi added.

“Building high-quality, sustainable, risk-resistant, reasonably priced, and inclusive infrastructure will help countries to fully utilize their resource endowments.”

Unlike the first summit in 2017, where Xi said Chinese banks will lend 380 billion yuan ($56.43 billion) to support Belt and Road cooperation, he did not give a figure for new financing support. However, Xi will give another speech on Saturday.

Western governments have tended to view it as a means to spread Chinese influence abroad, saddling poor countries with unsustainable debt.

While most of the Belt and Road projects are continuing as planned, some have been caught up by changes in government in countries such as Malaysia and the Maldives.

Those that have been shelved for financial reasons include a power plant in Pakistan and an airport in Sierra Leone, and Beijing has in recent months had to rebuff critics by saying that not one country has been burdened with so-called “debt traps”.

Since 2017, the finance ministries of 28 countries have called on governments, financial institutions and companies from Belt and Road countries to work together to build a long-term, stable and sustainable financing system to manage risks, China’s finance ministry said in a report released on Thursday.

Debt sustainability has to be taken into account when mobilizing funds, the finance ministry said in the report, which outlined a framework for use in analyzing debt sustainability of low-income Belt and Road nations and managing debt risks.

Xi launched the Belt and Road initiative in 2013, and according to data from Refinitiv, the total value of projects in the scheme stands at $3.67 trillion, spanning countries in Asia, Europe, Africa, Oceania and South America.

CHINESE PROMISES

The Belt and Road initiative will also open up development opportunities for China just as China itself is further opening up its markets to the world, Xi said.

“In accordance with the need for further opening up, (we’ll) improve laws and regulations, regulate government behavior at all levels in administrative licensing, market supervision and other areas, and clean up and abolish unreasonable regulations, subsidies and practices that impede fair competition and distort the market,” he said.

Xi promised to significantly shorten the negative list for foreign investments, and allow foreign companies to take a majority stake or set up wholly-owned companies in more sectors.

Tariffs will be lower and non-tariff barriers will be eliminated, Xi added.

China also aims to import more services and goods, and is willing to import competitive agricultural products and services to achieve trade balance.

“China will strengthen macroeconomic policy coordination with major economies in the world and strive to create positive spillover effects to promote a strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth for the world economy,” said Xi.

VISITING LEADERS

Visiting leaders include Russia’s Vladimir Putin, as well as Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan, a close China ally and among the biggest recipients of Belt and Road investment, and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte of Italy, which recently became the first G7 country to sign on to the initiative.

Khan told the summit that in a world of uncertainty, the initiative offered “a model of collaboration, partnership, connectivity and shared prosperity”.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen directly addressed critics who have described Belt and Road as a debt trap by pointing to the successful example of a Chinese-funded highway between Phnom Penh and the port city of Sihanoukville.

“Cambodia has not only been able to plan this project for the benefit of the people but also achieve financial engineering that does not increase public debt to the state,” he said, in comments translated into English.

The United States, which has not joined the Belt and Road, is expected to send only lower-level officials, and nobody from Washington.

“We continue to have serious concerns that China’s infrastructure diplomacy activities ignore or weaken international standards and best practices related to development, labor protections, and environmental protection,” a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Beijing said.

Reporting by Brenda Goh and Cate Cadell; Additional reporting by Tony Munroe, Stella Qiu, Ryan Woo, Yilei Sun, and Tom Daly; Writing by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

Source: Reuters “China’s Xi says Belt and Road must be green, sustainable”

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


Philippines ready for more Belt and Road projects with China: Duterte


Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 25 2019 09:26 PM

MANILA—The Philippines is ready to pursue more projects with China under the Belt and Road Initiative, President Rodrigo Duterte told Chinese Premier Li Kequiang Thursday.

Duterte, who is in China for the second Belt and Road Forum, said he wants to “bolster” Manila’s engagements with Beijing during his bilateral meeting with Li.

“The Philippines’ continued participation in this forum is an acknowledgment of the vision of a global connectivity for shared prosperity,” the President said in his opening remarks during the meeting.

“For the signing of the MOU (memorandum of understanding) on cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative, the Philippines is ready to pursue more projects with China.”

China’s Belt and Road Initiative plans to connect Beijing to the rest of Asia, Africa, and Europe through a series of ports, railways, roads, and industrial parks.

If fully realized, the global infrastructure plan could set the stage for the world economic landscape in the years to come.

Earlier in the day, Duterte also held a bilateral meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping where he touted “high-quality” projects with China as he sought for Manila’s inclusion in the Belt and Road Forum.

Duterte, who veered away from the Philippines’ oldest ally the United States at the start of his presidency, is visiting China for the fourth time in his 3-year-old presidency.

His visit comes at the heels of rising tensions between Manila and Beijing over disputed areas in the South China Sea.

Duterte had set aside Manila’s victory from a United Nations-backed international court which invalidated China’s sweeping claims over the South China Sea in exchange for closer ties with Asia’s largest economy.

Source: ABS-CBN “Philippines ready for more Belt and Road projects with China: Duterte”

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


Why Is the US Losing to China in Arms Race 12


China has a centralized system. When there is a wise leader like President Xi Jinping, it is able to conduct a thorough reform of its outdated military system and organization structure that dated back to mid 1950s.

The West especially the US criticizes the Chinese system and calls it autocracy. However, they do not understand that it is centralism with democratic discovery, employment and trust of talents with a wise leader able and powerful to do so.

In addition, China has a culture of constant reform that has developed in its four decades of reform and opening-up.

China is now switching to innovation- and creation-led economic growth. It is especially so in Chinese military so that China is able to catch up and surpass the US so quickly. The US may invent the lies that China can catch up so fast because China has stolen US technology, but now China has been developing what the US does not have such as quantum telecommunication, aerospace aircraft, etc. It forces the US to improve and attach importance to innovation.

However, as pointed out in Defense One’s article “All This ‘Innovation’ Won’t Save the Pentagon” that US military’s organization structure is outdated. It hinders innovation.

According to the article US Defense Department is a hierarchy never intended to innovate. On the contrary, it imposes conformity that precisely prevents innovation. Therefore, “actual innovation in the national security sector is typically either smothered by bureaucratic antibodies or so detached from actual governance processes that it produces little aside from good press.”

For example, US acquisition of weapons “is roughly the opposite of how modern products are developed”. The article says, “It enumerates numerous, often overlapping or contradictory ‘requirements’ before production is even thought about. The process takes years, as shown by albatrosses like the Air Force’s F-35 and the Army’s Distributed Common Ground System.” Due to the long process of development, the weapons finally acquired “are artifacts from a bygone era before they’re ever even delivered”.

The US does not lack talents, but the military is unable and its organization structure and culture make the military unable to give play to US talents.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Defense One’s article, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2019/04/all-innovation-wont-save-pentagon/156487/?oref=defenseone_today_nl


JASDF F-35s made 7 emergency landings before crash. However Japan assures U.S. it will continue to buy the jet.


By Dario Leone -Apr 22 2019

JASDF F-35s made 7 emergency landings before crash. However Japan assures U.S. it will continue to buy the jet.

Two of the emergency landings involved faults in the F-35 that later crashed.

Takeshi Iwaya, Japan’s Minister of Defense, has assured acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan that Tokyo will continue to buy more F-35s despite the crash of a Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) Lightning II belonging to 302 Hikotai from Misawa Air Base on Apr. 9, 2019.

“At this point, we have no specific information that would lead to a change in procurement plans,” Iwaya was quoted as saying.

Japan has received 13 F-35As so far, of which four were built in the U.S. and the rest assembled in Japan from American components. The government plans to procure six more this fiscal year. Going forward, Tokyo will stick to importing finished jets, as it is more cost-effective.

But the recent crash could derail these plans, the Nikkei says.

The mishap aircraft, F-35A #79-8705 (construction number AX-05), is the first Japanese-assembled F-35A, and was rolled out in Nagoya on Jun. 5, 2017.

The stealth fighter crashed while on a training flight 135km away from Misawa Air Base. It was flying over the Pacific Ocean then.

Little is known about the crash as both the US and Japan scour the Pacific off the northeast coast of Japan to look for wreckage of the jet. The pilot, who is still missing, had called for the mission to end before his plane went down. Should the incident turn out to have been caused by a defect in the plane, Tokyo could face calls to stop buying them.

According to the Defense Ministry, five of Japan’s 13 F-35As have been involved in seven emergency landings between June 2017 and January 2019. Two of the incidents involved faults in the plane that later crashed. Four of the planes that experienced problems had been assembled by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, under a partnership with Lockheed Martin. The other jet was made in the US.

“Unplanned returns to base were made after the planes reported issues with systems relating to fuel, hydraulics and other parts,” Japanese daily Mainichi quoted Iwaya as saying. “Excluding one case of an error by the aircraft’s monitoring systems, the remaining six saw the fighters inspected and parts replaced before they were confirmed safe.”

While the jets were inspected each time to confirm they were safe to fly, the ministry is checking again to see if there might be any links to the accident.

The US has not disclosed details of the F-35’s state-of-the-art technology to other countries, and there are worries that China or Russia could get their hands on the wreckage and unlock some of its secrets, including the jet’s capability to shoot down ballistic missiles. This is among the reasons why Washington is sending a deep-sea search vessel to the site of the incident to help find the wreckage.

If the cause of the crash turns out to involve sensitive information about the plane, the U.S. could be reluctant to share it with even its close ally Japan.

Source: The Aviation Geek Club “JASDF F-35s made 7 emergency landings before crash. However Japan assures U.S. it will continue to buy the jet.”

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