US Develops Long-range Strike Bombers Solely for Bombing Beijing


Projected image of US new long-range strike bomber. Credit Northrop Grumman

Projected image of US new long-range strike bomber. Credit Northrop Grumman

US media National Interest was worried that there is a campaign to put an end of Pentagon’s purchase of new strike bomber to be used to bombard Beijing in its article “Endangered: The Campaign to Kill America’s New Strike Bomber” by James Hasik a senior fellow at the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security.

The article says, “the kind of war you want to fight determines the kind of airplane you want to buy.” There is no need for long-range stealth bomber if the enemy is Russia, North Korea or Iran, nor even China if the US only wants “a distant blockade and the steady destruction of the Chinese fleet with cruise missiles and torpedoes, new penetrating bombers may not be worth the investment.”

However “if the strategy does call for bombing Beijing in a John Warden way, then the attackers had better come with massive payloads of gravity bombs, on long-range aircraft that are nearly invisible.”

Why shall the US incur such huge costs to have bombers to bombard Beijing in the first place? China has never had the intention to attack the US. Now I see China’s wisdom in developing an air force with integrated space and air capabilities for both attack and defense. Only when China has aerospace bombers that can attack US homeland will the US think twice before attacking China. That will be China’s conventional deterrence for its active defense against US aggression.

Comments by Chan Kai Yee on National Interest’s article.

The following is the full text of National Interest’s article:

Endangered: The Campaign to Kill America’s New Strike Bomber

James Hasik February 22, 2016

Last week, the U.S. Government Accountability Office turned away another contract protest, ruling that the U.S. Air Force had acted reasonably in awarding development of its future Long-Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B) to Northrop Grumman. We yet await Boeing’s decision on whether to sue in the Court of Federal Claims, as teammate Lockheed briefly did after losing the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) program to Oshkosh. Regardless, the political-industrial campaign to kill the LRS-B has already begun. Yesterday, retired General Mark Loh warned at the Mitchell Institute that “there are people out there that are going to try to kill it; they are all over this town.” In Forbes two days prior, Loren Thompson had already begun his awaited assault, assailing Northrop as incapable of executing the program. So what might Boeing and Lockheed prefer at this point? Whatever new aircraft fly for the USAF, Boeing will be building tankers to refuel them. Lockheed, though, will have a strong incentive to convince the Defense Department to forgo the big bomber, and instead build as many stealth fighters and cruise missiles as money allows.

As with most things for the Pentagon, the first argument is indeed economic. The F-35A might be very expensive to buy and operate in comparison to even the latest F-16E, but the USAF could probably buy and operate about five of the JSFs for the ongoing cost of a single LRS-B. In two articles for War On The Rocks last year, T.X. Hammes of the Institute for National Strategic Studies compared the bombers to battleships, calling them too big to lose, and arguing that the LRS-B should be bypassed for “a mix of manned aircraft, cruise missiles, long-range rockets, and cheap drones.” Mix is an important point. For the United States—though not China—long-range rockets are treaty-limited by the Intermediate Nuclear Forces agreement with Russia (to which the counter-party may or may not be adhering). Nuclear or not, no ground-launched missile can have a maximum range between 500 and 5,000 kilometers. Except for coastal artillery applications in the Ryukyu Islands and points nearby, that mostly sends us next to sea- and air-launched cruise missiles.

If those weapons come from the Navy, a frigate to fire them could actually cost more than the bomber, and a submarine yet more. A ship can salvo more missiles than a bomber, but with current technology cannot reload at sea. Another alternative, then, is air-launched cruise missiles. Today, against a first-rate opponent like Russia or China, the B-52Hs and B-1Bs of the 8th Air Force would be effectively an aerial standoff missile force. But the idea that old aircraft would fare just fine with new missiles has been around since the cancellation of the XB-70 Valkyrie in 1961 aircraft can fly with impunity, attacking a wide range of targets below with free-fall weapons.

With these, the Navy’s not-so-stealthy F-18s will similarly become far more effective. Putting money into the payload before the platforms works well, but only up to a point. The problem is that hanging cruise missiles on fighters does so only about two missiles per sortie, for over a million dollars per shot. Against an enemy’s navy and air force, that’s reasonably economical; against his army, it’s not.

That gets to the second argument, which concerns geography and strategy. Just who’s that enemy, and what’s the plan for fighting him? The LRS-B will not be an airplane built for pre-empting North Korea or Iran’s nuclear weapons programs; the United States government has already made clear that it’s not starting wars over those. The LRS-B will not be an airplane built for bombing Russian tanks on their way into Poland and the Baltics; that’s a role for fighter and attack aircraft. No, the LRS-B will be an airplane for bombing China, whether by penetrating its Maginot Line of air defenses from the east, or flying over the Himalayas for an end-run from the southwest. If the strategy for that war calls instead for a distant blockade and the steady destruction of the Chinese fleet with cruise missiles and torpedoes, new penetrating bombers may not be worth the investment. But if the strategy does call for bombing Beijing in a John Warden way, then the attackers had better come with massive payloads of gravity bombs, on long-range aircraft that are nearly invisible. We could build a complicated model of weapon costs and kill probabilities and sortie rates—and there are plenty out there—but the broad issue is this: the kind of war you want to fight determines the kind of airplane you want to buy.

James Hasík is a senior fellow at the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security. This article first appeared in the Defense Industrialist.

http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/endangered-the-campaign-kill-americas-new-strike-bomber-15280?page=2


Jail for Chinese pastor and wife who opposed Beijing’s order to remove crosses from churches


The Wuxi Christian Church in Longwan, Wenzhou. Across Zhejiang province, which hugs Chinas rocky southeastern coast, authorities have toppled, or threatened to topple, crosses at more than 130 churches. Photo: AP

The Wuxi Christian Church in Longwan, Wenzhou. Across Zhejiang province, which hugs Chinas rocky southeastern coast, authorities have toppled, or threatened to topple, crosses at more than 130 churches. Photo: AP

SCMP says in its report “Jail for Chinese pastor and wife who opposed Beijing’s order to remove crosses from churches” based on Associated Press report from Beijing, “A Chinese husband and wife who led a Christian congregation that opposed a government campaign to remove crosses atop churches have been given long prison sentences for illegal activities, including corruption and disturbing social order, state media said.”

“For the past two years, Zhejiang’s Christians, particularly in the coastal city of Wenzhou, home to a large Christian population, have been locked in a bitter dispute with local authorities who have removed hundreds of crosses from churches in the province, saying they violate building codes, or demolished churches altogether.”

Source: SCMP “Jail for Chinese pastor and wife who opposed Beijing’s order to remove crosses from churches”

Full text of SCMP’s report can be viewed at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/1918399/jail-chinese-pastor-and-wife-who-opposed-beijings-order


China’s military is prepared ‘to defend sovereignty’ in South China Sea: military chief


Soldiers of China’s People’s Liberation Army navy patrol near a sign in the Spratly Islands. Photo: Reuters

Soldiers of China’s People’s Liberation Army navy patrol near a sign in the Spratly Islands. Photo: Reuters

In its report “China’s military is prepared ‘to defend sovereignty’ in South China Sea: military chief” today, SCMP says that amid rising tensions in the South China Sea Chinese commander of the area said that China was capable of fighting to defend its sovereignty there.

SCMP says, “In his first public remarks as commanding officer of the newly-established Southern Theatre Command of the People’s Liberation Army, General Wang Jiaocheng said the army would be highly vigilant towards any possible security threat in the disputed waters, People’s Daily reported yesterday.”

It quotes Wang as saying, “The military will be capable of dealing with any security threat. No country will be allowed to use any excuse or action to threaten China’s sovereignty and safety.”

Source: SCMP “China’s military is prepared ‘to defend sovereignty’ in South China Sea: military chief”

Full text of SCMP’s report can be viewed at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/1918436/chinas-military-prepared-defend-sovereignty-south-china

Note: China says it has sovereignty to most part of the South China Sea while the US regards the part as international waters and has carried out naval freedom-of-navigation operations in the waters that China regards as its territorial waters. China has protested and warned the US of the serious consequence of its freedom-of-navigation operations. Does General Wang means that he will fight to disallow others “to use any excuse or action to threaten China’s sovereignty and safety”?


China Building Homegrown 40000-ton Replenishment Warship


China's new homegrown 40000-ton replenishment ship under construction

China’s new homegrown 40000-ton replenishment ship under construction credit: fyjs.cn/moniu team

The above is a photo provided by Chinese web user of a Chinese homegrown 40,000-ton replenishment ship China is building to provide supplies for its aircraft carrier.

Source: mil.huanqiu.com “Photo of navy’s newest 40000-ton replenishment ship under construction” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)


China Internet watchdog bans former tycoon’s microblog


China’s cyberspace watchdog said on Sunday it had ordered the closure of a microblog account of a former property tycoon, known for his bold remarks on China’s economic policy, for “spreading illegal information”.

Microblog portals such as Weibo.com and t.qq.com, among China’s most popular, were ordered to ban the account of Ren Zhiqiang, a retired top executive from a state-controlled property developer who has more than 30 million online followers.

“The cyberspace is not outside the laws, nobody is allowed to spread illegal information using the Internet,” Jiang Jun, spokesman for the Office of the Central Leading Group for Cyberspace Affairs, was quoted as saying in a statement.

The statement, posted on the website of Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) (www.cac.gov.cn), did not say what specific comments had led to the ban of Ren’s account.

His account could not be found in a search on Sunday at Weibo.com, owned by Sina Corp, or t.qq.com, owned by Tencent Holdings.

Reuters was not able to reach Ren for comment.

According to a commentary posted on Feb. 22 on china.qianlong.com, a website run by the Beijing municipal government, Ren, a communist party member, was accused of making remarks against the state media and the party.

“Who gave Ren the courage to be anti-party?” was the title of the commentary, which also called him “cannon Ren who’s only a proxy for the capitals.”

The Chinese government routinely censors the Internet, blocking many sites it deems could challenge the rule of the Communist Party or threaten stability, including global sites such as Facebook and Google’s main search engine and Gmail service.

Authorities have launched numerous operations to combat illegal online behavior, from pornography to gambling.

Earlier this month, Chinese President Xi Jinping toured the country’s top three state new organizations – Xinhua News Agency, People’s Daily and China Central Television – and asked them to toe the party lines.

(Reporting by Chen Aizhu and Clark Li; Editing by Clelia Oziel)


China commissions homegrown missile frigate amid naval buildup


China commissioned a domestically produced missile frigate this week, the official People’s Liberation Army Daily reported on Thursday, as Beijing works to expand and modernize its navy.

The announcement came only two days after a senior U.S. military official said China was “clearly militarizing” the South China Sea. The United States is worried by China’s military buildup to assert dominance in the region.

The People’s Liberation Daily said the frigate, with a displacement of more than 4,000 tonnes, has powerful long-range surveillance and anti-aircraft capabilities.

Ships of that kind can be used alone or along with other naval forces to attack enemy surface ships, the report said.

The frigate, called the Xiangtan, is one of 22 vessels of its class in service, according to state media reports.

Beijing has invested billions developing its homegrown weapons industry to support its growing maritime ambitions in the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean.

China claims most of the South China Sea, through which more than $5 trillion in global trade passes every year. Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines and Taiwan have rival claims.

Beijing has also cast an eye towards foreign markets for its comparatively low-cost technology. Its total military budget in 2015 was 886.9 billion yuan ($141.45 billion), up 10 percent from a year earlier.

(Reporting By Megha Rajagopalan; Editing by Paul Tait)

Source: Reuters “China commissions homegrown missile frigate amid naval buildup”


ASEAN Scared by China’s Construction, Militarization of Artificial Islands


The artificial island at the southern end of Mischief Reef showing a newly-built seawall on its north side and a completed dock are shown in this Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative January 8, 2016 satellite image. Reuters/CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative/Digital Globe/Handout via Reuters/Files

The artificial island at the southern end of Mischief Reef showing a newly-built seawall on its north side and a completed dock are shown in this Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative January 8, 2016 satellite image. Reuters/CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative/Digital Globe/Handout via Reuters/Files

Reuters says in its report “ASEAN says seriously concerned about rising South China Sea tensions”, “Southeast Asian nations expressed serious concern on Saturday about growing international tension over disputed waters in the South China Sea.”

This blogger would rather describe the fear as some stupid people playing with a sleeping lion by cutting some hair from it. When the lion wakes up and roars, they are frightened out of their wits.

Why are they regarded as being out of their wits? They asked a remote tiger for help, but must be clear that the remote tiger, though strong, cannot help them. Now, there is tension between the lion and tiger that may lead to a fierce fight that will give rise to serious harm to them.

China, the lion, is awake. No one can put it to sound sleep again. That must be some ASEAN members’ real concerns that have nothing to do with the construction and militarization of the artificial islands in the South China Sea.

Reuters quotes Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh as saying to reporters after meeting his ASEAN colleagues, “We call for non-militarisation in the South China Sea,” “We have serious concerns about that when asked about China’s increasing military activity in the region.”

If Vietnamese leaders had been clever, they must have had the foresight that they would have been in trouble when China, the lion, had waked up. It was Vietnam who has been conducting land reclamation and militarizing on South China Sea islands and reefs for decades.

That is why Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi justifies China’s land reclamation and deployment of defense weapons in his speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in the United States on February 25 by saying:

On the South China Sea, it’s true that we have had some facilities, but I would like to inform you that for these facilities very long ago other countries did that. China was later by 20 years or even 30 years than those countries. China’s reclamation after meeting our own needs, and we have stopped the reclamation already. So I would like to inform you that other countries, today they are continuing the reclamation and have not stopped that. The CSIS has very strong intelligence capability, including satellite images. And I would advise you to look into that.

The third point, it’s true that China – that we have some defense facilities on islands and reefs. But what you should see is what the islands surrounding China and reefs surrounding China have more military facilities on them. There are various kinds of artilleries, guns, amphibious tanks, airstrips, runways, planes. There are missiles, war and gun helicopters. And for China’s stationed islands and reefs towards all these, and so many military facilities surrounding us, we certainly need considerable, or certain defense facilities. This is the right of self-defense bestowed by the international law.

If Vietnamese leaders have learnt their country’s history, they should know that in the past, Vietnam was sometimes a part of China and sometimes not. If China wants to take Vietnam back, it will be very hard for Vietnam to resist as in Chinese history China did succeed in annexing it several times.

Vietnam should think that it is lucky that China has no intention to recover it as a part of China now because China has learnt lessons from the failure of colonialism and the success of overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia when China was very weak to provide overseas Chinese any support but instead needed their support when it was invaded by Japan.

There are a few hundred millions of Chinese prospering in other countries’ territories. They prosper by helping those countries develop their economy. Why shall China shed its people’s blood to take land from or meddle with those countries.

China still has 70 million people to lift from poverty and finds that very difficult. Why shall China take over the large number of poor people in Vietnam to aggravate its burden in lifting people from poverty?

The following is the full text of Reuters’ report:

ASEAN says seriously concerned about rising South China Sea tensions

VIENTIANE | By Simon Webb Sat Feb 27, 2016 6:26am EST

Southeast Asian nations expressed serious concern on Saturday about growing international tension over disputed waters in the South China Sea.

China claims most of the sea but Southeast Asian countries Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei and Vietnam have rival claims. Friction has increased over China’s recent deployment of missiles and fighter jets to the disputed Paracel island chain.

“Ministers remained seriously concerned over recent and ongoing developments,” the 10-members Association of Southeast Asian Countries (ASEAN) said in a statement after a regular meeting of the group’s foreign ministers in Laos.

Land reclamation and escalating activity has increased tensions and could undermine peace, security and stability in the region, ASEAN said in the statement.

The United States has criticized China’s building of artificial islands and facilities in the sea and has sailed warships close to disputed territory to assert the right to freedom of navigation.

On Friday, the United States urged China’s President Xi Jinping to prevent the militarisation of the region.

Vietnam, which accused China of violating its sovereignty with the missile deployment, echoed the U.S. call on Saturday.

“We call for non-militarisation in the South China Sea,” Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh told reporters after meeting his ASEAN colleagues.

“We have serious concerns about that,” he said, when asked about China’s increasing military activity in the region.

The group agreed to seek a meeting between China and ASEAN’s foreign ministers to discuss the South China Sea and other issues, Cambodian Minister Hor Namhong said.

China’s maritime claims are ASEAN’s most contentious issue, as its members struggle to balance mutual support with their growing economic relations with Beijing. China is the biggest trade partner for many ASEAN nations.

Neighbours Vietnam and China compete for influence over landlocked Laos, which has no maritime claims but finds itself in the difficult position of dealing with neighbours at odds over the South China Sea. Laos is tasked with finding common ground on the issue as the ASEAN chair in 2016.

“The South China Sea issue is a headache that Laos would really rather not have to deal with,” said one Western diplomat in Vientiane.

Thongloun Sisoulith, Laos Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, played down the challenge.

“We are a close friend of Vietnam and China, we try to solve the problems in a friendly way,” he told Reuters on Saturday. “We are in the middle, but it’s not a problem.”

Barack Obama is set to become the first U.S. president to visit the country in September to attend an annual summit hosted by the ASEAN chair.

(Editing by Catherine Evans)

Transcription of Wang Yi’s speech can be downloaded at http://csis.org/event/statesmens-forum-wang-yi-minister-foreign-affairs-prc