The Drive says in its article “Is This China’s DF-21D Air Launched Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile Toting Bomber?” on August 15, “Pictures have surfaced from China’s internet supposedly showing a new derivative of the People’s Liberation Air Force’s Xian H-6 bomber. This incarnation of the H-6, dubbed the H-6N, is designed to carry one weapon in particular—the DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile….Now the H-6N, the latest variant of the most modern H-6 version, the H-6K bomber, will supposedly take on one of the most exotic roles of all—hauling anti-ship ballistic missiles to launching points far from Chinese shores. ”
The writer of the article worries that with aerial refueling, H-6N carrying DF-21D will keep US aircraft carrier battle groups further away from China.
Source: The Drive “Is This China’s DF-21D Air Launched Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile Toting Bomber?” (summary by Chan Kai Yee of the article, full text of which can be viewed at http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/13511/is-this-chinas-df-21d-air-launched-anti-ship-ballistic-missile-toting-bomber
Nature magazine carries an article “Ablation-resistant carbide Zr0.8Ti0.2C0.74B0.26 for oxidizing environments up to 3,000 °C” by Chinese scientists disclosing that they “design and fabricate a carbide (Zr0.8Ti0.2C0.74B0.26) coating by reactive melt infiltration and pack cementation onto a C/C composite. It displays superior ablation resistance at temperatures from 2,000–3,000 °C, compared to existing ultra-high temperature ceramics (for example, a rate of material loss over 12 times better than conventional zirconium carbide at 2,500 °C)”.
Such “(u)ltra-high temperature ceramics are desirable for applications in the hypersonic vehicle, rockets, re-entry spacecraft and defence sectors,” the article says.
Source: Nature “Ablation-resistant carbide Zr0.8Ti0.2C0.74B0.26 for oxidizing environments up to 3,000 °C” (summary by Chan Kai Yee of the professional technical article, full text of which can be viewed at http://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms15836.
In its report “China to rev up bullet train revolution with world’s fastest service on Shanghai-Beijing line” yesterday, SCMP says that seven pairs of bullet trains linking Beijing and Shanghai will start operating from September 21 at the high speed of 350km/h. The travel between Beijing and Shanghai will thus be shortened from 5 and a half to four hours and 55 minutes.
“By last year there was about 22,000km of high-speed line, or about two-thirds of the world’s total. The central government now plans to boost that to 30,000km by 2020,” SCMP says in the report.
Summary of SCMP’s report by Chan Kai Yee, full text of which can be found at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/economy/article/2107553/china-rev-bullet-train-revolution-worlds-fastest-service-shanghai.
America’s angst about Chinese aggression in the South China Sea is overblown – and China knows it.
By Robert A. Manning, James Przystup August 17, 2017
Judging from the foreign-policy commentary produced and consumed in the United States, you’d think the South China Sea lay just off America’s East Coast. Every Chinese move in disputed maritime territories is analyzed as though it’s an existential threat to America’s lifelines.
There’s no doubt that China’s growing assertiveness in waters far from its own coasts has sparked great angst in the region. The “nine-dash line” that Beijing pushes as the basis of its claims includes virtually the whole of the South China Sea, including areas claimed by its neighbors, like Vietnam and the Philippines.But the reality is that U.S. core interests are not really at stake, and China knows it. The ferocity of the debate among Washington wonks reflects far less the actual importance of the rocks and islets than the uncertainty of a United States struggling to rethink its post-World War II preeminence now contested by a re-emergent China. It would be better to simply have that conversation in the open.
Yes, the importance of the sea lanes in the South China Sea through which $3.4 trillion in goods passes each year cannot be overstated. But those sea lanes have never been under serious threat (in peacetime), as the United States and China share an economic interest in the uninterrupted flow of commerce.
Historically, U.S. national security interests in the South China Sea have been limited and consistent since the first clipper ship, the Empress of China, sailed to Canton (now Guangzhou) in 1784. The United States has always sought freedom of navigation — which today includes airspace — and commercial access in Asia.
Freedom of navigation does reflect a vital interest that the United States can and should defend, unilaterally, if necessary. To that end, U.S. Navy exercises in the South China Sea should be stepped up — and coordinated with allies and strategic partners — to underscore continuing U.S. presence and commitment. The Trump administration’s assertive naval operation last week (on Aug. 10) near the Chinese-controlled islet Mischief Reef was a good example of such U.S. resolve and continuing presence. But China’s howls of protest notwithstanding, ultimately, such tactics can have only a marginal effect on China’s own actions.
China is willing and able to go much further than the United States
China is willing and able to go much further than the United States, as it has already demonstrated by transforming facts on the ground.
People in the region watching Beijing stake claims to disputed South China Sea rocks and shoals have no illusions that China is being deterred by the United States. They have come to understand the reality of an asymmetry of respective Chinese and U.S. geopolitical interests. Beijing’s interest in the South China Sea is political and strategic in nature. Island building is aimed at asserting sovereignty to reverse the “century of humiliation,” which has become a key to legitimacy for the Chinese Communist Party. Strategically, China is pushing out its defense perimeter and enhancing China’s maritime sway in the region.
But for the United States, the South China Sea is just one part of the larger, complex U.S.-China relationship. Former President Barack Obama’s policy priorities for China were the Paris climate change accords and the Iran nuclear deal; Donald Trump’s policy priorities for China are North Korea and trade. Look no further than Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s appearance at last week’s meeting of the ASEAN Regional Forum: Though the meeting was held one year after an international tribunal at The Hague rejected all of China’s territorial claims, the issue that dominated the discussions was North Korea. The lingering disputes in the South China Sea were a second-order matter, and in the chairman’s statement only “some member states” expressed “concerns” regarding the South China Sea.
China knows that the Trump administration lacks a comprehensive strategy toward the Asia-Pacific region. Whatever its shortcomings in terms of implementation, the Obama administration’s “pivot to Asia” did conceptually integrate the diplomatic, military, and economic elements of a comprehensive regional strategy. In contrast, the present administration’s rejection of the hard-fought Trans-Pacific Partnership was a strategic shock and a blow to U.S. credibility. That has left Chinese projects like the Belt and Road Initiative and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank unchallenged. Like the global financial crisis of 2008, perceived U.S. weakness has emboldened China.
But even in the face of the Obama administration’s cautions against unilateral change and support for a rules-based international order, Beijing disregarded U.S. diplomacy, trashed the Hague tribunal’s ruling against its sovereignty claims in the South China Sea, and effectively changed the status quo.
The Chinese bet, correctly, that, as long as shipping lanes are not threatened, the United States will not risk war with a nuclear weapons state over rocks and reefs to which it has no claims, just to defend the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which it won’t ever ratify. Washington’s absence from the governance councils at UNCLOS makes it easier for Beijing to push its largely bogus interpretations of the treaty.
Beijing is several steps ahead of Washington in moving to consolidate the new facts on the ground it has created in the South China Sea. It has been quietly negotiating with ASEAN a code of conduct for the South China Sea. It has announced multibillion-dollar aid and investment projects in the Philippines and has now agreed to explore joint energy production with Manila, effectively neutralizing a U.S. ally. Similarly, Beijing has announced more than $30 billion in loans and investments in Malaysia, as well as stepping up military ties to Kuala Lumpur and Thailand. If ASEAN and China reach a weak, nonbinding code of conduct that affirms the new realities, the United States will have little choice but to support it.
China seems to have learned from the Thucydidean observation that great powers “do what they can.” During the 2010 ASEAN meeting, then-Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi told assembled leaders, “China is a big country, and other countries are small countries — and that’s just a fact.” Rules can be broken or ignored by great powers if their interests dictate, and Beijing displays a similar a la carte approach to the rules-based order as other major powers do.
China’s irredentism is very troubling. But whether we like it or not, China is going to have a much larger role in the region. The United States needs to come to terms with the great strategic question of our time: What Chinese role in the Asia-Pacific can it live with? Similarly, Beijing needs to forget its hope that the United States will fade away and answer the key question: What sort of U.S. posture in the region can China live with?
Over time, both the United States and China need to learn to distinguish between what their respective interests dictate they must have and what they merely prefer. That is the key to finding a balance of interests and a modus vivendi for U.S.-China relations in the 21st century.
Source: Foreign Policy “Stop the South China Sea Charade”
Note: This is Foreign Policy’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.
Popular Science describes China’s major progress in aircraft carrier technology in its article “China’s making major progress with its aircraft carrier tech: Say hello to China’s first catapult-equipped carrier.” The article is mainly based on what have been seen at China’s test site of steam and electromagnetic catapults, display of models in China’s Military Museum and information from Chinese military fans’ posts.
The article provides a fan-made computer-generated image of China’s second homegrown aircraft carrier and speculates that the carrier will have a displacement of 70,000 tons and powered with China-designed and made 170-230-megawatt CGT-60F heavy duty, F-class gas turbine to provide adequate power for huge steam catapults.
Such description, though speculation, may be true as without catapult, the carrier has no protection from its own fixed-wing AEW&C aircrafts at high sea. China must have a blue-sea aircraft carrier if it wants to have a blue sea navy.
The article describes China’s new J-15B, J-15T and even J-31 carrier-based aircrafts, which are based on the test flights already seen. When the carrier is operating at high sea far away from Chinese coast, it has no protection from China’s stealth J-20s. It certainly must have its own stealth fighter jets to counter others’.
J-31 may be as good as F-35, but J-20 is absolutely superior so that the model of China’s third homegrown carrier carries J-20s heavy stealth fighter jets. If so, the carrier must be a nuclear one with a displacement of 90,000 tons. Such a carrier may be commissioned by 2030
This blogger has no doubt that China is capable of obtaining such technologies, but believes that aircraft carrier is too expensive to build and maintain. To dominate the sea, China had better use its resources in building aerospace bombers and super quiet and fast attack nuclear submarines. China has the technology of super submarines and may have already begun building some. It will test flight manned aerospace aircrafts by 2030. Shall China build such expensive aircraft carrier?
Perhaps, as Chinese economy keeps on growing at 7% p.a., China will grow rich enough to afford all such advanced weapons.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Popular Science’s article, full text of which can be found at http://www.popsci.com/china-aircraft-carrier-technology#page-3
At IHS Jane’s 360’s recent report on modification of China’s world largest Type 032 conventional submarine for test launch of China’s new SLBM speculated to be JL-3, China’s official TV media CCTV interviewed Chinese military expert Du Wenlong.
Du said that China’s new generation of nuclear submarines shall be extremely quiet and stealthy with extremely great capabilities to remain long underwater and extremely good command, communication and integrated networking combat capabilities.
As for foreign media’s speculation that China’s new-generation JL-3 SLBM will be as good as or even better than US Trident II D5 in range, MRIV and accuracy, Du said that if China’s JL-3 SLBM and Type 096 strategic nuclear submarines are really commissioned, they will play their magic role to ensure peace and stability in the oceans. It is what we expect, he said.
Source: mil.huanqiu.com “Expert on China’s new generation of nuclear submarines: Stealth Functions Shall Be Extremely Good” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)
The website of the American Joint Chiefs of Staff reports that its chairman, U.S. Marine Corps General Joe Dunford, met chief of China’s joint staff General Fang Fenghui 房峰辉 in China, and signed a “joint strategic dialogue mechanism… intended for crisis mitigation.” The first meeting “to set up the framework” is scheduled for November.
“To be honest, we have many difficult issues where we will not necessarily have the same perspectives,” Dunford said, but also that he was confident of making progress during his three day visit hosted by the People’s Liberation Army. The Joint Chiefs of Staff website points out the importance of close communications between the two sides “as the region and world are facing the dangers of a nuclear-armed North Korea.”
Reuters has a report on the agreement on August 15 titled “Top U.S. general says committed to working through difficulties with China”, which can be viewed at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-missiles-usa-china-idUSKCN1AV0VA.
Source: SupChina “Top Chinese and U.S. military leaders sign agreement”
Note: This is SupChina’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.