Trade War Cannot Reduce US Trade Deficit but Helps China Grow Stronger


An article on The Hill yesterday titled “Trump already has won the trade war with China” says Trump has already been able to get 90% of what he wants in his trade war with China. However, he would not stop and keeps on tariff rises to hurt US and world economy.

The article lists what trump has or would have got from China if he simply accepted Chinese commitments in the trade negotiations, such as reduction of US trade deficit by Chinese purchase of lots of US energy and agricultural products, protection of intellectual property, prevention of forced transfer of technology, end of government subsidies to industries, ensure of fair treatment for US entities, etc.

What is Trump’s strategic goal?

The article says, “In the U.S., President Trump appears to be holding out for a starkly decisive outcome — equivalent to China’s unconditional surrender — to maximize his political standing for winning re-election in 2020.”

Trump’s problem is his failure to see China’s strategic goal. China would not surrender as it wants Trump to keep on US pressure to facilitate China’s further reform and opening up for transformation from export- and investment-geared growth to innovation-, creation- and consumption-led growth.

Such transformation certainly will slow down China’s economy. US trade war only quickens the transformation while worsen the slowdown. However, such slowdown is but short-term. In the long run the transformation will enable China to achieve better growth later.

To keep exports to the US, China has to move its labor intensive export-oriented enterprises to its neighbors where labor costs are lower.

China has been helping Sri Lanka train workers for employment in Sri Lanka’s vast special economic zone near Hambantota to enable China to move such enterprises to the zone. The port China is building there will facilitate the exports.

Similar zones are being established in Bangladesh and Myanmar since China signed memorandums of understanding with them on the establishment of China-Bangladesh Economic Corridor and China-Myanmar Economic Corridor last year.

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is being built and there are also such zones for China to move such enterprises there.

The construction of infrastructures of power stations, roads, railways and ports in those countries under China’s Belt and Road initiative will facilitate such movements.

US tariff hikes will only quicken such movements to avoid the hikes. China will only have the problem of substantial unemployment due to the movements, but the unemployed will blame US tariff hikes instead Xi Jinping’s economic transformation.

On the other hand, Chinese enterprises in those countries will make greater profits due to reduction of labor costs and have greater competitive edge in US market in exporting their products to the United States. As US enterprises cannot compete with them due to much higher labor costs, the US has to keep on importing the products. Its trade deficit will increase instead of decrease. However, China is not to blame as the deficit of trade with China has been switched to that of trade with China’s neighbors.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on The Hill’s article, full text of which can be viewed at https://thehill.com/opinion/finance/458846-trump-already-has-won-the-trade-war-with-china


New Chinese Surveillance Ships to Detect Submarines


The type 927 (number 782) closely resembles U.S. ocean surveillance ships (Picture source: Chinese internet)

Navyreconginition.com says in its report “Three types of 927 surveillance ships entered China navy in 2018 and 2019” yesterday that according to photos circulated on Chinese internet over the past week, a new Chinese ocean surveillance ship has been completed and commissioned in southern China.

It says other two such surveillance ships are being built in Chinese shipyard. They are allo of SWATH designs extemely quiet especially when outfitted with electric motors. They are“especially useful for hydrographic surveying and research utilizing sonar and other sensitive acoustic equipment, and for locating submarines.”

They resemble U.S. Navy Ocean Surveillance Ships and may be equipped with advanced sonar arrays to detect and track submarines at great ranges. “Some can augment their passive listening arrays with low-frequency active arrays that send sound waves into the water to bounce off submerged submarine hulls to reveal their location,” says the report.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on navyrecognition.com’s report, full text of which can be viewed at https://navyrecognition.com/index.php/focus-analysis/naval-technology/7426-three-types-of-927-surveillance-ship-entered-china-navy-in-2018-and-2019.html.


China’s Very Own B-2 Stealth Bomber? Meet the H-20 Stealth Bomber


Scared yet?

by Sebastien Roblin August 25, 2019

According to a study by Rick Joe at The Diplomat, Chinese publications began speculating about the H-20 in the early 2010s. Postulated characteristics include four non-afterburning WS-10A Taihang turbofans sunk into the top of the wing surface with S-shaped saw-toothed inlets for stealth. It’s worth noting that the WS-10 has been plagued by major problems, but that hasn’t stopped China from manufacturing fighters using WS-10s, with predictably troubled results.

In October 2018, Chinese media announced that the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) would publicly unveil its new H-20 stealth bomber during a parade celebrating the air arm’s seventieth anniversary in 2019.

(This first appeared several months ago.)

Prior news of the H-20’s development had been teased using techniques pioneered by viral marketing campaigns for Hollywood movies. For example, the Xi’an Aviation Industrial Corporation released a promotional video in May 2018 pointedly imitating Northrop Grumman’s own Superbowl ad for the B-21 stealth bomber, portraying a shrouded flying wing bomber in its final seconds. Later, the silhouette of a possible new bomber appeared at a PLAAF gala. This comes only two years after PLAAF Gen. Ma Xiaotian formally revealed the Hong-20’s existence.

If the H-20 does have the range and passable stealth characteristics attributed to it, it could alter the strategic calculus between the United States and China by exposing U.S. bases and fleets across the Pacific to surprise air attacks.

Only three countries have both the imperative and the resources to develop huge strategic bombers that can strike targets across the globe: the United States, Russia and China. Strategic bombers make sense for China because Beijing perceives dominance of the western half of the Pacific Ocean as essential for its security due to its history of maritime invasion, and the challenge posed by the United States in particular. The two superpowers are separated by five to six thousand miles of ocean—and the United States has spent the last century developing a network of island territories such as Guam, foreign military bases in East Asia and super-carriers with which it can project air and sea power across that span.

Xi’an Aviation, the H-20’s manufacturer, also builds China’s H-6 strategic jet bombers, a knockoff the 1950s-era Soviet Tu-16 Badger which has recently been upgraded with modern avionics, aerial refueling capability and cruise missiles in the later H-6K and H-6J models. Beijing could easily have produced a successor in a similar vein, basically a giant four-engine airliner-sized cargo plane loaded with fuel and long-range missiles that’s never intended to get close enough for adversaries to shoot back.

Alternately, analyst Andreas Rupprecht reported that China considered developing a late-Cold War style supersonic bomber akin to the U.S. B-1 or Russian Tu-160 called the JH-XX. This would have lugged huge bombloads at high speed and low altitude, while exhibiting partial stealth characteristics for a marginal improvement in survivability. However, such an approach was already considered excessively vulnerable to modern fighters and air defense by the late twentieth century. A Chinese magazine cover sported a concept image of the JH-XX in 2013, but the project appears to have been set aside for now.

Instead, in the PLAAF elected to pursue a more ambitious approach: a slower but far stealthier flying wing like the U.S. B-2 and forthcoming B-21 Raider. A particular advantage of large flying wings is they are less susceptible to detection by low-bandwidth radar, such as those on the Navy’s E-2 Hawkeye radar planes, which are effective at detecting the approach of smaller stealth fighters.

While China’s development of stealth aircraft technology in the J-20 and J-31 stealth fighter was an obvious prerequisite for the H-20 project, so apparently was Xi’an’s development of the hulking Y-20 ‘Chubby Girl’ cargo plane, which established the company’s capability to build large, long-range aircraft using modern computer-aided design and manufacturing techniques—precision technology essential for mass producing the exterior surfaces of stealth aircraft.

According to a study by Rick Joe at The Diplomat, Chinese publications began speculating about the H-20 in the early 2010s. Postulated characteristics include four non-afterburning WS-10A Taihang turbofans sunk into the top of the wing surface with S-shaped saw-toothed inlets for stealth. It’s worth noting that the WS-10 has been plagued by major problems, but that hasn’t stopped China from manufacturing fighters using WS-10s, with predictably troubled results.

The new strategic bomber is expected to have a maximum un-refueled combat radius exceeding 5,000 miles and payload between the H-6’s ten tons and the B-2’s twenty-three tons. This is because the H-20 is reportedly designed to strike targets beyond the “second island ring” (which includes U.S. bases in Japan, Guam, the Philippines, etc.) from bases on mainland China. The third island chain extends to Hawaii and coastal Australia.

In a U.S.-China conflict, the best method for neutralizing U.S. air power would be to destroy it on the ground (or carrier deck), especially in the opening hours of a war. While ballistic missiles and H-6 bombers can already contribute to this with long-range missiles, these are susceptible to detection and interception given adequate forewarning. A stealth bomber could approach much closer to carrier task forces and air bases before releasing its weapons, giving defenses too little time to react. An initial strike might in fact focus on air defense radars, “opening the breach” for a follow up wave of less stealthy attacks.

The H-20 will also likely be capable of carrying nuclear weapons, finally giving China a full triad of nuclear-capable submarines, ballistic missiles and bombers. Though the H-6 was China’s original nuclear bomber, these are no longer configured for nuclear strike, though that could change if air-launched nuclear-tipped cruise or ballistic missile are devised. Beijing is nervous that the United States’ limited ballistic missile defense capabilities might eventually become adequate for countering China’s small ICBM and SLBM arsenal. The addition of a stealth bomber would contribute to China’s nuclear deterrence by adding a new, difficult-to-stop vector of nuclear attack that the U.S. defenses aren’t designed to protect against.

Some Chinese publications also argue that the H-20 will do double-duty as a networked reconnaissance and command & control platform similar to U.S. F-35 stealth fighters. This would make sense, as China has developed a diverse arsenal of long-range air-, ground- and sea-launched missiles, but doesn’t necessarily have a robust reconnaissance network to form a kill-chain cueing these missiles to distant targets. Theoretically, an H-20 could rove ahead, spying the position of opposing sea-based assets using a low-probability-of-intercept AESA radar, and fuse that information to a firing platform hundreds or even thousands of miles away. The H-20 could also be used for electronic warfare or to deploy specialized directed energy.

The crescendo of publicity surrounding the H-20 indicates the PLAAF believes the plane will soon be ready enough to show to the public—and international audiences. Once revealed, analysts will pour over the aircraft’s geometry to estimate just how the stealthy it really is, looking for radar-reflective Achilles’ heels such as exposed engine inlets and indiscrete tail stabilizers. However, external analysis cannot provide a full assessment, because the quality of the radar-absorbent materials applied to surfaces, and the finesse of the manufacturing (avoiding seams, protruding screws, etc.) has a major impact on radar cross-section.

It is worth bearing in mind, however, that an H-20 seeking to slip through the gauntlet of long-range search radars scattered across the Pacific to launch CJ-10K cruise missiles with a range of over nine hundred miles would not require the same degree of stealth as an F-35 intended to penetrate more densely defended airspace and launch small diameter bombs with a range of 70 miles.

Analysts forecast the H-20’s first flight in the early 2020s, with production possibly beginning around 2025. If the H-20 is judged to be of credible design, the Pentagon in turn will have to factor the strategic implications of China’s stealth capabilities, and will likely seek to field implement counter-stealth technologies which formerly have been mostly vaunted by Russia and China. The publicity which the often-secretive Chinese government is according the H-20 also indicates Beijing’s hope the bomber will serve as a strategic deterrent to foreign adversaries—even before its first flight.

Sébastien Roblin holds a master’s degree in Conflict Resolution from Georgetown University and served as a university instructor for the Peace Corps in China. He has also worked in education, editing and refugee resettlement in France and the United States. He currently writes on security and military history for War Is Boring.

Source: National Interest “China’s Very Own B-2 Stealth Bomber? Meet the H-20 Stealth Bomber”

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


We Are Not Fooled By The Hong Kong Protests


By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers, Popular Resistance

August 24, 2019 | Educate!

Agnes Chow and Nathan Law accept the 2018 Lantos Human Rights Prize on behalf of Joshua Wong in Washington, DC. Facebook.

Update: Protests continued in Hong Kong this weekend. The protesters returned to the use of violence and the police responded. The South China Morning Post reported: “In a now familiar pattern, the protesters threw bricks, petrol bombs, corrosive liquid and other projectiles at the police, who responded with tear gas, pepper balls and sponge grenades. Twenty-eight people were arrested, including an organiser of an approved protest march. At least 10 people were hospitalised, including two men in serious condition.”

Some people in the United States are confused about the protests going on in Hong Kong. Whenever the corporate media and politicians, especially people like Marco Rubio, applaud a social movement, it is a red flag that the protests are not a progressive people’s movement, but serve other purposes. Is this really a democracy movement? Are workers protesting the deep inequality and exploitation there? If not, what are these protests really about?

Fortunately, a more complete narrative of what is happening in Hong Kong and how it relates to the geopolitical conflict between the United States and China is developing among independent and movement media. The following is a description of what has been learned recently.

Hong Kong Protests: Not a Democracy Movement, but an Anti-China Tool

What is happening in Hong Kong is not actually a people’s uprising for democracy, but a tool for anti-China rhetoric and “Great Power Conflict.” Many Hong Kong protesters are pro-capitalist and racist in nature, referring to mainland Chinese as locusts, and are calling for the United States to intervene. Many of the same tactics employed by Venezuelan, Nicaraguan, and Ukrainian regime change operations are re-appearing in Hong Kong. For example, demonstrators have used violence as a tactic to entice police to respond with violence in order to put out a false narrative of state repression against them.

Fight Back News describes the problem: “There’s a tendency among progressives in the United States to support big crowds of people protesting in other countries. No doubt, the corporate media assists in this process by labeling certain movements ‘pro-democracy’ or ‘freedom fighters.’”

Just because there are people in the street does not make protests progressive, worker-based or for the people’s interests. Fight Back News reports how Hong Kong has been used by China as a way to attract foreign investment, but also as a way to make the Renminbi (RMB) a more powerful currency as well as to advance China’s Belt & Road initiative. These are major threats to US dominance.

Controversial American political activist Joey Gibson, founder of the group Patriot Prayer, holds up an American flag while attending an anti-extradition rally in Hong Kong on July 7, 2019. Facebook Live screengrab

Dan Cohen of the Grayzone mentions the ties between the protest movement and right-wing racist groups in the US. This is an issue requiring further reporting as it is strange that pro-Trump, racist groups are supporting the protests and the protesters are using US racist symbols.

Cohen’s major focus is the capitalist ties of the Hong Kong protesters. He describes the Rubert Murdoch of Hong Kong, Jimmy Lai, the self-described “head of opposition media,” who has been spending a lot of money, millions, to build the movement and giving a lot of media time to the anti-China rhetoric. And, he shows the connections between these capitalists and the Trump administration, i.e. he has had meetings with Bolton, Pence, and Pompeo as well as with neocons in the Senate, Marco Rubio, and Tom Cotton.

The goal of the Hong Kong protests is only unclear because they are trying to hide their true purpose. The real goal is preventing the full integration of Hong Kong into China in 2047 when the transition agreement between China and the United Kingdom is finished. The United States, the United Kingdom, and billionaires in Hong Kong want it to be integrated into the western capitalist economy and fear China’s state-planned economy. If they succeed, Hong Kong will become a base of economic, military and political operations for the US at the Chinese border, a critical position for the West’s ‘Great Power Conflict’ with Russia and China.

The US is investing in an anti-China movement to make integration of Hong Kong into China difficult. China is already hedging its bets by building Shenzhen across the bay, a state-planned, market-based economy, which will become an alternative to Hong Kong and shrink Hong Kong’s importance. The people of Hong Kong will be the losers if this occurs.

The Hong Kong Protest Is Not A Working-Class Revolt

Even though there are good reasons for workers in Hong Kong to revolt, these protests are not focused on the issues of economic insecurity, i.e. high levels of poverty, the exorbitant cost of housing, low wages, and long hours. As Sara Flounders writes, “For the last 10 years wages have been stagnant in Hong Kong while rents have increased 300 percent; it is the most expensive city in the world.”

But, as Fight Back News explains, “The Hong Kong protests are absolutely not driven by or in the interests of the working class, whether in Hong Kong or mainland China.” In fact, the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions is not backing the demonstrations and called on its members to reject the call for a strike on August 5 put out by the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, which is backed by the US National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

If the protesters were focused on workers rights, they would be demanding an end to, or at least reform of, the neoliberal capitalism of Hong Kong that is dominated by big financial interests and corruption. In fact, half of the seats in the legislature are set aside for business interests who vote to protect their profits and not basic needs such as housing, but there is no criticism of this by the protesters.

In Popular Resistance, we wrote: “Hong Kong has the world’s highest rents, a widening wealth gap and a poverty rate of 20 percent.” These are crisis-level problems for the vast majority of people in Hong Kong, but they were not the focus of the protests.

Fight Back News writes: “In actuality, the protests in Hong Kong serve the interests of finance capital, both in the city itself and around the world,” and makes the important point that “Hong Kong’s working class has nothing to gain from worse relations with mainland China, much less from ‘independence.’ They suffered greatly under British colonial rule – no minimum wage laws; no labor protections; barbaric legal punishments like flogging and more.”

The Role of the United States is Evident to Anyone Who Looks

The NED has spent millions of dollars to build this anti-China movement over the years in a place with a population of 7.3 million people, over a million fewer people than New York City. The first to report on NED involvement in the current protest was Alexander Rubinstein of Mintpress News, who wrote: “the coalition cited by Hong Kong media, including the South China Morning Post and the Hong Kong Free Press, as organizers of the anti-extradition law demonstrations is called the Civil Human Rights Front. That organization’s website lists the NED-funded HKHRM [Human Rights Monitor], Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, the Hong Kong Journalists Association, the Civic Party, the Labour Party, and the Democratic Party as members of the coalition.” HKHRM alone received more than $1.9 million in funds from the NED between 1995 and 2013.

The Viable Opposition blogger, in How Washington is Meddling In the Affairs of Hong Kong, describes NED’s history as a regime change agent for the United States and the recent NED funding in Hong Kong, pointing to a total of $1,357,974 on grants to organizations described as promoting freedom, democracy and human rights in Hong Kong over the period from 2015 to 2018.

This is not short-term funding but a long-term commitment by the United States. NED has been doing mass funding in Hong Kong since 1996. In 2012, NED invested $460,000 through its National Democratic Institute, to build the anti-China movement (aka pro-democracy movement), particularly among university students. Two years later, the mass protests of Occupy Central occurred.

Sara Flounders points out US funding goes beyond NED, writing: “Funding from the NED, the Ford, Rockefeller, Soros and numerous other corporate foundations, Christian churches of every denomination, and generous British funding, is behind this hostile, subversive network orchestrating the Hong Kong protests.” The US-funding of NGO’s confuses political activists, media and commentators because they fund a myriad of NGO’s in Hong Kong. As a result, there are human rights, democracy, youth and other Hong Kong spokespersons whose NED funding is not disclosed when they talk in the media.

Martin Lee, Benny Tai and Joshua Wong speak at Freedom House, 2015.

Hong Kong protesters are not always secret about their ties to the US. In 2014, Mintpress News exposed US involvement in Occupy Central. They pointed out that Martin Lee, a Hong Kong protest figure, was in bed with NED. They gave him an award and had his bio on their website. He came to Washington, DC in 2014 along with Anson Chan, another protest figure, and met with Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Lee took part in a NED talk hosted specifically for him. In 2015, Lee and others were applauded for their leadership by Freedom House, which, as the now-deceased Robert Parry described in 2017, works hand in hand with the NED.

In this Popular Resistance story, we point out that during the current protests, participants were meeting with Julie Eadeh, of the US Consulate at a hotel. And, when Nathan Law and Agnes Chow visited the US they met with the China-hawk Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Rep. Eliot Engel. They also met with Vice President Pence, Secretary of State Pompeo, National Security Adviser John Bolton, and Senator Marco Rubio.

Protesters carry US and UK flags, and sing the Stars and Stripes Forever and the US national anthem, displaying their connection to western nations. In one of the most iconic moments, demonstrating how these protests are really a microcosm of the conflict between the US and China, a protester used a US flag to beat a Chinese reporter, Fu Guohao of Global Times, who was tied up and assaulted at the Hong Kong airport.

Some believe the protests are too big for the US to control and point to the amount of money being spent by the NED. If the populations of Hong Kong and the US are compared, $1 million in funding for the movement in Hong Kong is equivalent to $60 million in the US. Additional funds are also being provided by billionaires. That level of resources is gigantic for popular movements that typically run on shoestring budgets.

The only way not to see US involvement in the Hong Kong protests is to close your eyes, ears, and mind and pretend it does not exist.

Challenging the Dominant Western Narrative

Although Western backing and political ambitions are the reality, it is a challenge to get this narrative out more widely. Too many in the US are confused by the messaging coming from the Hong Kong billionaires, NED-funded NGO’s, bi-partisan politicians in DC and the military-intelligence establishment, all made larger by the corporate mass media.

Corporate powers are banning social media accounts and YouTube Channels from China to suppress social media activism that tells a different narrative. For example, an article in the China Daily documents US involvement in detail with photographs of meetings between US officials and Hong Kong opposition, as well as the role of NED and Voice of America.

Independent media outlets, such as the ones cited above, are exposing who is behind the protests and their pro-capitalist, imperialist agenda. They are starting to change the dominant western narrative. This is critical because it is easy for activists to be drawn into supporting movements that are counter to our goals for social and economic justice as well as peace.

Hong Kongers have also been manipulated pawns in the US Great Power Conflict with China. They are advocating against their own interests by seeking what will essentially be re-colonization by the West. If the US is successful, it will not be good for the people of Hong Kong, Asia or the world.

Source: popularresistance.org “We Are Not Fooled By The Hong Kong Protests”

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


China’s J-20 ‘Heavy’ Stealth Fighter: Can It Kill F-22 and F-35 Fighters?


Let us take a look.

by Sebastien Roblin

Image: Chinese Internet

J-20 pilots also are equipped with helmet-mounted sights that allow them to target high-off-boresight PL-10E heat-seeking missiles within a 90-degree angle of the plane’s nose simply by looking at the target. The short-range missiles are stored in small side-bays but can be cunningly rotated outside prior to launch, as depicted here.

In January 2011, the maiden flight of a large, dagger-like grey jet announced that China had developed its first stealth aircraft—the Chengdu J-20 “Mighty Dragon.” Six years later, after several substantial revisions, J-20s entered operational service with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force.

(This first appeared late last year.)

As radar-guided missiles from fighters and ground-based launchers threaten aircraft from dozens, or even hundreds of miles away, stealth capabilities are increasingly perceived as necessary for keeping fighter pilots alive on the modern battlefield.

But just how good is the J-20? And what is its intended role? After all, America’s first stealth fighter, the F-117 Nighthawk, was not even really a fighter and lacked any air-to-air capability whatsoever.

The PLA has, true to custom, kept its cards close to the chest, and has not shared performance specifications to the public. Thus, there are broad estimates of the J-20’s top speed (around Mach 2), and considerable-seeming range (1,200 to 2,000 miles), but those remain just that—estimates. For years, analysts even over-estimated the aircraft’s length by two meters. It’s broad but relatively shallow weapons bay can accommodate four to six long-range missiles or bombs, though not munitions with especially heavy warheads.

International observers generally concluded the large twin-engine jet possessed high speed and long operational range, but that the Mighty Dragon lacked the maneuverability necessary to prevail in close engagements with enemy fighters. Relatively modest aerobatic displays in the Zhuhai 2016 and 2018 airshows (you can see some of the latter here) reinforced the narrative in certain quarters that the J-20 isn’t optimized for gut-wrenching air combat maneuvers.

Given the above premises, observers mostly speculate the J-20 would either serve as long-range supersonic strike plane, or a hit-and-run interceptor used to slip past fighter screens and take out vulnerable supporting tanker and AWACS planes.

However, Rick Joe of The Diplomat argues these theories of the J-20’s supposedly specialized role might be a case of group-think, ignoring both design features and statements by Chinese sources suggesting the J-20 was intended as a multi-role fighter with “competitive” dogfighting capability.

For example, a brochure distributed at Zhuhai 2018 explicitly stated the J-20 was capable of “seizing & maintain air superiority, medium & long range interception, escort and deep strike.” In other words, a multi-role fighter.

A commonly insinuated premise is that the Chinese aerospace industry was not capable of producing a fifth generation air superiority fighter, and would have to “settle” for a less technically challenging interceptor or striker instead,” Joe argues.

He points out that the lengthy J-20 is still shorter than the Russian Su-35 Flanker-E, one of the most maneuverable jet fighters ever designed. He further cites a 2001 study by Song Wecong, mentor of the J-20 designer Yang Wei, which you can read translated here. Wecong wrote that stealth aircraft “must have the capability to supercruise and perform unconventional maneuvers such as post-stall maneuvers.”

Song concluded the ideal stealth fighter would incorporate canards (a second, small set of wings close to the nose of the plane), leading-edge root extensions (or “strakes,” a thin surface extending where the wing emerges from the fuselages), and S-shaped belly intakes, in order to balance stealth, speed and maneuverability. These are all design characteristics evident in the J-20.

While details on the J-20’s radar remains elusive (presumably a low-probability of intercept AESA radar), it also mounts arrays of electro-optical and infrared sensors with 360-degree coverage, reportedly designed to fuse sensor data to form a common “picture” and even share it with friendly forces via a datalink—technology seemingly modeled on the advanced sensors found on the American F-35. Such sensors could be particularly useful for detecting radar-eluding stealth aircraft.

J-20 pilots also are equipped with helmet-mounted sights that allow them to target high-off-boresight PL-10E heat-seeking missiles within a 90-degree angle of the plane’s nose simply by looking at the target. The short-range missiles are stored in small side-bays but can be cunningly rotated outside prior to launch, as depicted here.

These by no means unprecedented capabilities nonetheless suggest that the J-20 may be designed to hold its own in a close-range encounter, not just sling long-range hypersonic PL-15 missiles from its fuselage bay from dozens of miles away. Particularly when engaging agile fighters, short-range missiles (which might still threaten targets over a dozen miles away) have a much higher probability of a kill—by some estimates, up to 80 percent.

Chinese designers have also expressed interest in incorporating vector-thrust engines in the J-20. These have moving exhaust nozzles to assist in pulling off tight maneuvers. The PLAAF recently acquired Su-35 fighters from Russia with vector-thrust engines, and also reportedly tested domestic vector-thrust turbofans on a J-10B two-seat fighter.

Despite the awesome maneuvers enabled by vector-thrust engines, they are far from being automatically included in modern fighters. This is because they significantly add to weight, cost, and difficulty in minimizing radar cross section (RCS). Moreover, when vector-thrust engines are over-used in combat, they can bleed off energy rapidly, leaving the aircraft sluggish and vulnerable to enemy fighters (as occurred in one exercise in Nevada pitting U.S. F-15s against Indian Air Force Flankers). For this reason, few Western fighters incorporate vector-thrust technology, the F-22 being a notable exception. China’s interest in thrust-vectoring again suggests it sees relevance in agility.

The J-20’s short-range capabilities naturally lead to the question—what exactly happens when two stealth fighters clash? If their stealth qualities are robust, both aircraft may only be able to detect each other within 50 miles or less—at which point air combat maneuvers could prove important. As U.S. stealth aircraft are one of the chief military threats to China, it seems reasonable to assume the J-20 would be designed to have a fighting chance against them.

While the J-20 would likely remain outclassed by the F-22, it could potentially prove a dangerous adversary to the F-35, which is not as optimized for within-visual-range engagements. However, both the F-22 and F-35 are believed to have a significantly lower all-around RCS than the J-20, though the Chinese fighter still appears to be significantly stealthier than the Russian Su-57.

A 2011 analysis by Australian aviation expert Carlo Kopp concluded that J-20 probably had strong stealth from a frontal aspect, but a larger radar cross section (RCS) when scanned from the side or rear—a limitation also found in the Russian Su-57 stealth fighter.

But as the extent and type of the radar-absorbent materials used affect RCS, visual analysis alone cannot determine how stealthy an aircraft is. This has not dissuaded the U.S. Marine Corps from a building a full-scale mock-up of a J-20 in Georgia for study and training purposes. The Indian Air Force has boasted its Su-30 Flankers have tracked J-20s on radar, but as stealth fighters often employ emitters called “Luneburg Lens” to enlarge their RCS on routine flights, and thus conceal their true capabilities, it’s difficult to infer much from this either.

Another issue confusing analysis of the J-20 is that it doesn’t yet have the high-thrust WS-15 turbofans the PLAAF envisioned for them, and are making do with Russian AL-31F engines instead. Even China’s fourth-generation jets have been frustrated by deficient jet engines. The WS-15 generates 23 percent more thrust than the AL-31FN, and would enable the J-20 to super-cruise, or sustain supersonic speeds without resorting to fuel-gulping afterburners. Thus, certain more aggressive projections of J-20 performance, such as a top speed of Mach 2.5, may be premised on engines that have yet to be fully developed.

As long as the PLAAF has only a few dozen J-20s in service, it may make sense to reserve them for hit-and-run tactics and special deep strikes. But as the article in the Diplomat points out, there’s ample evidence the J-20 may be intended to grow into a capable all-rounder that can hold its own in a dogfight.

Sébastien Roblin holds a master’s degree in conflict resolution from Georgetown University and served as a university instructor for the Peace Corps in China. He has also worked in education, editing, and refugee resettlement in France and the United States. He currently writes on security and military history for War Is Boring.

Source: National Interest “China’s J-20 ‘Heavy’ Stealth Fighter: Can It Kill F-22 and F-35 Fighters?”

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


BRI for China’s National Security


Pandapawdragonclaw.blog’s article “Empty trains on the modern Silk Road: when Belt and Road interests don’t align” says that it was rare for Chinsee media to probe into China’s projects; therefore, it regards Depth Paper’s probe into China-Europe Railway Express as exceptional.

It’s not exceptional but very normal but not known by media outside China as due to lack of people with knowledge of the Chinese language, foreign media can only monitor a small percentage of Chinese media. Moreover, the results of such probe often are not published but sent directly to related government agency for improvement. I had a post titled “Self-improvement, That’s the Secret of China’s Success” on July 21, 2019. How can China improve itself? It attached importance to such probes and people’s comments on government activities to enable it to be aware of its problems and make improvements; therefore such probes and comments are indispensable.

The article also reflects that. It says, when problems of excessive local subsidies for the projects has been found, “The Ministry of Finance is reportedly determined to pierce the bubble by enforcing a schedule for phased subsidy reduction. Subsidies by local government are to be no more than 40% of a route’s total cost in 2019. The ceiling will be further lowered to 30% in 2020 and zero by 2022. The Ministry is hoping that by then the trains running up and down routes would be completely market driven and China Railway Express will stand on its own two feet.”

As the China-Europe Railway Express provides alternative trade routes in case China’s trade lifelines are cut by US Navy, it has to be kept running smoothly for national security. Therefore, China has to keep it running even if the freight is not cost effective. There are certainly other strategic routes in BRI such as the Arctic shipping route along Russian coast that may shorten shipping route to Europe by 5,000 kilometers and that is safe with Russian military protection. Still the Express shall be maintained and cost be reduced as an alternative. China is rich enough to cover the costs for national security even if cost reduction cannot make the routes break even.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on pandapawdragonclaw.blog’s article, full text of which can be viewed at https://pandapawdragonclaw.blog/2019/08/23/empty-trains-on-the-modern-silk-road-when-belt-and-road-interests-dont-align/.


Indonesian Muslim group upholds Xinjiang condition


By Xie Wenting and Bai Yunyi

Source:Global Times

Published: 2019/8/23 18:20:45

Muslims from Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region embark on their journey from Urumqi to Saudi Arabia for the annual hajj on July 23. Photo: Courtesy of the Xinjiang pilgrimage group

China’s Xinjiang issue is a separatist one, rather than religious, Said Aqil Siradj, chairman of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the largest Muslim organization in Indonesia, told the Global Times in an exclusive interview.

“China’s religion policy is more democratic than other Muslim countries, even our country, Indonesia,” Siradj told the Global Times. “You can see this from Article 36 in China’s Constitution and the white paper of China’s policies and practices on protecting freedom of religious belief.”

Hoping to inform more Indonesian people about Islam in China as well as the real situation in Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, which has been twisted by some Western countries, NU released a book titled Indonesian Muslims’ China Studies last month, which details what the organization members have seen and experienced in China.

This is the first book in the world that systematically introduces the development and real situation of Islam in China, Siradj said. He hopes the book will change “the negative perceptions of a small group of Indonesian Muslims.”

NU, which enjoys more than 90 years of history, has about 40 million members. Former Indonesian president Abdurrahman Wahid once was chairman of NU.

According to Siradj, 23 members from NU wrote this book together which includes their personal experiences and research. He noted that the idea of penning this book came naturally as they wanted to share the truth they have seen.

The organization’s members have frequently paid visits to China over the past few years, particularly to places that boast a rich Islamic culture and heritage. They also met with Chinese Islamic scholars to share their experiences during the trips. “We found they are treated by the [Chinese] government very well,” he said.

He noted that, after visiting China, he found the Western narrative that “Islam is suppressed in China” could not hold water. “Our finding is Islam is growing in China. They live in peace with other Chinese people and they receive support from the government, such as building mosques, schools and offices.”

He added that it’s easy for Muslims in China to practice their religion.

During their stay in China, they once joined the Friday prayers in an old mosque with a capacity of 20,000 people. As too many people participated in the prayers that day, some even went outside to pray, according to Siradj.

Western media have said that the government of Indonesia, the country that hosts the largest Muslim population in the world, remains silent on the issue of China’s Xinjiang policies. Siradj believes the opinions of the NU can represent the majority of Indonesian Muslims. Siradj has said in previous media reports that Xinjiang is very good and safe, and there is no need for the Indonesian government to interfere.

Source: Global Times “Indonesian Muslim group upholds Xinjiang condition”

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