Chinese jets intercept U.S surveillance plane: U.S. officials


Two Chinese fighter jets intercepted a U.S. Navy surveillance plane over the South China Sea on Wednesday, with one coming within 200 yards (180 meters) of the American aircraft, U.S. officials told Reuters.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said initial reports showed that the U.S. P-3 Orion surveillance plane was 150 miles (240 km) southeast of Hong Kong in international airspace when the Chinese aircraft carried out the unsafe intercept. One Chinese aircraft flew in front of the American plane, restricting its ability to maneuver.

The Pentagon confirmed that two Chinese jets had carried out the intercept, saying it was “unsafe and unprofessional.”

“We continue to review the facts of this incident and will convey our concerns through appropriate channels with the Chinese government,” Pentagon spokesman Navy Commander Gary Ross said in a statement.

A U.S. Navy warship sailed within 12 nautical miles (22 km) of an artificial island built up by China in the South China Sea, U.S. officials said on Wednesday, the first such challenge to Beijing in the strategic waterway since U.S. President Donald Trump took office.

China is deeply suspicious of any U.S. military activity around its coastline, especially in the resource-rich South China Sea, parts of which are disputed by China and its smaller neighbors, including the Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia.

Incidents such as Wednesday’s interception are not uncommon.

Earlier this month, two Chinese SU-30 aircraft intercepted a U.S. aircraft designed to detect radiation while it was flying in international airspace over the East China Sea.

(Reporting by Idrees Ali; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

Source: Reuters “Chinese jets intercept U.S surveillance plane: U.S. officials”

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


Timid US FON Operation Not Affects China’s Control of South China Sea


A China coast guard ship patrolling South China Sea. Photo: Getty Images

I have just reblogged Reuters’ report that showing Western media’s satisfaction at US Navy’s resumption of freedom of navigation (FON) operation in the South China Sea.

Reuters quotes US officials who would not reveal their identities as describing the operation as challenging China. However, Foreign Policy says in its article “In the South China Sea, the U.S. is Struggling to Halt Beijing’s Advance” yesterday, “The Pentagon sought to downplay the significance of the operation, which it described as routine. Adm. John Richardson, the chief of naval operations, described the passage at an event in Washington Thursday as ‘not confrontational,’ and said that the so-called freedom of navigation operations by U.S. ships receive exaggerated scrutiny for the supposed diplomatic messages they convey.”

The US can do nothing to put an end to China’s absolute control of the South China Sea with its artificial islands, therefore Foreign Policy says in its article, “Despite a belated U.S. naval patrol, Beijing’s bid to extend its military power over the South China Sea is moving ahead unchecked.”

As pointed our in my previous posts, such FON operations only give China excuse to militarize its artificial islands in the South China Sea.

Foreign Policy describes the situation by quoting Rapp-Hooper, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, as saying, “They basically succeeded in their construction projects, and are now well on their way to having floating bases out in the Spratly Islands, and there’s been really very little pushback and they’ve had to pay very little cost for doing so….It is, unfortunately, now game over.”

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ report that I have just reblogged and Foreign Policy’s article, full text of which can be viewed at http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/05/25/in-the-south-china-sea-the-u-s-is-struggling-to-halt-beijings-advance/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Edpix%205-25&utm_term=%2AEditors%20Picks.


U.S. warship drill meant to defy China’s claim over artificial island –officials


The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Dewey prepares for a replenishment-at-sea in the South China Sea May 19, 2017. Picture taken May 19, 2017. Kryzentia Weiermann/Courtesy U.S. Navy/Handout via REUTERS

By Idrees Ali and David Brunnstrom | WASHINGTON Thu May 25, 2017 | 4:04pm EDT

A U.S. warship carried out a “maneuvering drill” when it sailed within 12 nautical miles of an artificial island built up by China in the South China Sea, to show Beijing it was not entitled to a territorial sea around it, U.S. officials said on Thursday.
The operation near Mischief Reef on Thursday, Pacific time, among a string of islets, reefs and shoals over which China has disputes with its neighbors, was the boldest U.S. challenge yet to Chinese island-building in the strategic waterway.

It drew an angry response from China, which President Donald Trump has tried to court in recent weeks to persuade it to take a tougher line on North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs. [nL1N1IQ2FH]

Analysts say previous U.S. “freedom-of-navigation operations” in the Spratly archipelago involved “innocent passage,” in which a warship effectively recognized a territorial sea by crossing it speedily, without stopping.

On Thursday, the destroyer USS Dewey conducted a “man overboard” exercise, specifically to show that its passage within 12 nautical miles was not innocent passage, U.S. officials said.

“USS Dewey engaged in normal operations by conducting a maneuvering drill inside 12 nautical miles of Mischief Reef,” one official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“The ship’s actions demonstrated that Mischief Reef is not entitled to its own territorial sea regardless of whether an artificial island has been built on top of it.”

It drew an angry response from China, which President Donald Trump has tried to court in recent weeks to persuade it to take a tougher line on North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs. [nL1N1IQ2FH]

Analysts say previous U.S. “freedom-of-navigation operations” in the Spratly archipelago involved “innocent passage,” in which a warship effectively recognized a territorial sea by crossing it speedily, without stopping.

On Thursday, the destroyer USS Dewey conducted a “man overboard” exercise, specifically to show that its passage within 12 nautical miles was not innocent passage, U.S. officials said.

“USS Dewey engaged in normal operations by conducting a maneuvering drill inside 12 nautical miles of Mischief Reef,” one official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“The ship’s actions demonstrated that Mischief Reef is not entitled to its own territorial sea regardless of whether an artificial island has been built on top of it.”

Commander Gary Ross, a Pentagon spokesman, said that freedom of navigation operations are not specific to one country and the Defense Department would release summaries of these operations in an annual report and not sooner.

“We are continuing regular FONOPS, as we have routinely done in the past and will continue to do in the future,” Ross said, using an acronym for freedom of navigation operations.

The Pentagon has not confirmed the most recent operation.

China claims nearly all of the South China Sea and Washington has criticized its construction of islands and build-up of military facilities there, concerned they could be used to restrict free movement and broaden Beijing’s strategic reach.

U.S. allies and partners in the region had grown anxious as the Trump administration held off on carrying out South China Sea operations during its first few months in office.

Greg Poling of Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank said that under international law, Mischief Reef was not entitled to a territorial sea as it was underwater at high tide before it was built up by China.

“This was a statement to the Chinese,” he said.

“The previous two freedom-of-navigation operations only challenged China’s demand for prior notification for innocent passage through the territorial sea; this one asserted that there is no territorial sea at all.”

The Trump administration vowed to conduct more robust South China Sea operations after President Barack Obama was criticized for potentially reinforcing China’s claims by sticking to innocent passage.

Even so, this was the first freedom-of-navigation operation since October and since Trump took office in January.

It comes ahead of a visit to Singapore next week by U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to discuss security with regional counterparts.

Beijing said two Chinese guided-missile warships had warned the U.S. vessel to leave the waters and that it had lodged “stern representations” with the United States.

China’s claims in the South China Sea, through which about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes each year, are contested by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

(Reporting by David Brunnstrom and Idrees Ali in Washington; Editing by James Dalgleish and Marguerita Choy)

Source: Reuters “U.S. warship drill meant to defy China’s claim over artificial island –officials”

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


Ukraine to Help China Make Advanced Aircraft Engines


Ukrainian AI-222-25F afterburning turbofan that has already been installed on China’s L-15 prototype. Mil.huanqiu.com photo

In its report “FIRST AIRCRAFT ENGINE ASSEMBLED IN CHINA USING MOTOR SICH TECHNOLOGY COULD BE SHOWN BY LATE 2017 – KUBIV” on May 23, open4business.com.ua says Ukraine and China will set up a joint venture between its PJSC Motor Sich (Zaporizhia) and China’s Beijing Skyrizon Aviation Industry Investment Co. Ltd. to use Ukrainian technology to produce aircraft engines.

China can make advanced fighter jets but cannot equip them with advanced Chinese or imported aircraft engines. It has an urgent need to import engine technology but no one is willing to provide until Ukraine is willing to provide now.

Ukraine on the other hand needs funds to improve its aircraft engine technology. The report says that China will provide US$250 million for PJSC Motor Sich’s modernization.

Mil.huanqiu.com says in its report “Ukrainian first prime minister visit a mystic place: Perhaps very good for Chinese aircraft engine industry” on May 23 that after attending the One Belt One Road summit, Ukrainian First Vice Prime Minister Stepan Kubiv visited a Chinese private aircraft engine producer in Chongqing, China and reached agreement with China for the establishment of an aircraft engine joint venture to provide China with Ukrainian aircraft engine technology.

Ukraine has helped China build aircraft carriers and world largest air-cushioned landing crafts, but refused to provide China with its aircraft engine technology in spite of China’s repeated requests. The establishment of the aircraft engine joint venture means the further strengthening of the strategic relations between Ukraine and China so that Ukraine is now willing to provide China with the best of its military technology.

China has allocated 100 billion yuan (USD160 billion) for development of advanced aircraft engines to meet its urgent need for advanced aircraft engines to equip its stealth fighters J-20 and J-31. The joint venture will greatly facilitate China’s achievement of that goal.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on open4business.com.ua and mil.huanqiu.com’s reports. Mil.huanqiu.com’s report is in Chinese and a summary translation of it is given in the post. Full text of it in Chinese can be viewed at http://mil.huanqiu.com/observation/2017-05/10717781.html while that of open4business.com.ua’s report is reblogged below:

FIRST AIRCRAFT ENGINE ASSEMBLED IN CHINA USING MOTOR SICH TECHNOLOGY COULD BE SHOWN BY LATE 2017 – KUBIV

23 May , 2017

KYIV. May 23 (Interfax-Ukraine) – The first aircraft engine assembled in China under Ukrainian technologies within the framework of strategic partnership between PJSC Motor Sich (Zaporizhia) and China’s Beijing Skyrizon Aviation Industry Investment Co. Ltd. could be demonstrated by late 2017, Ukraine’s First Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Economic Development and Trade Stepan Kubiv has said.

During a briefing held in Kyiv and dedicated to the results of a recent visit of the Ukrainian delegation to China to participate in a high-level dialogue within the framework of the “One Belt. One Road” forum, the deputy premier highlighted the agreements achieved on Ukrainian-Chinese cooperation in the aircraft engine industry, saying the creation of aircraft engines production in Chongqing under Ukrainian technologies is “one of the priorities of the government.”

“Skyrizon and Motor Sich will create a joint venture for production of aircraft engines using Ukrainian technologies in China’s Chongqing. We want in 2017 to show the first engine that will be assembled at this plant,” Kubiv said.

He also welcomed the plans of the Chinese side envisaged by the cooperation program to invest $250 million in the modernization of Motor Sich, noting that the implementation of the program of Ukrainian-Chinese strategic cooperation in the field of aircraft engine building will strengthen the positions and influence of the Ukrainian aviation industry in the world market.


30 More Satellites to Make China’s Beidou GPS Centimeter-grade Accurate


Mil.huanqiu.com says in its report today that China will launch 6-8 satellites this year and more than 20 from 2018 to 2020 to make its Beidou navigation system centimeter-grade accurate.

In order to attain that goal, in addition to its efforts in space, China has completed the first step to intensify Beidou’s ground system with 150 base stations in its framework network and 1,200 base stations in its network of enhanced density.

Supported by the ground network China’s 15 satellites stably operating in the system can provide meter-grate navigation services covering 11 million square kilometers including entire China and centimeter-grade accurate navigation services for an area of 2.6 million square kilometers in China. There are five new satellites being fine-tuned on their orbits.

The nearly 30 new satellites to be launched in the coming 4 years will enable the system to have global coverage and China will complete the second step of the intensification of Beidou ground network by 2018 to enable Beidou to provide centimeter-grade accurate navigation services all over the world by 2020.

Source: mil.huanqiu.com “China will launch nearly 30 Beidou satellites to greatly raise navigation accuracy” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese).


China tells U.S. trade representative stronger cooperation needed


US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer gestures while attending a joint press conference held on the sideline of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation ( APEC) ‘s 23rd Ministers responsible for Trade Meeting being held in Hanoi, Vietnam, May 21, 2017. REUTERS/Hoang Dinh Nam/Pool

China’s commerce minister Zhong Shan told new United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer the two sides should strengthen cooperation and manage disputes in trade, according to a statement on the website of China’s Ministry of Commerce on Monday.

The two met on Sunday on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.

Lighthizer said in the meeting with Zhong Shan that trade wars are not in the interest of either country, according to the statement from China’s commerce ministry.

Disagreements over global trade negotiations came to the fore at the APEC forum, which failed to agree on its usual joint statement after U.S. opposition to wording on fighting protectionism.

With the U.S. balking at multilateral trade agreements, Asian trade ministers met to discuss the China-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which would create a free trade area of more than 3.5 billion people, bringing together China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand as well as Southeast Asian nations.

RCEP talks include the largest geographic area, the most dynamic economies, and the largest population of any regional trade pact, Zhong said, according to a statement on the website of the ministry of commerce.

He said RCEP parties should accelerate RCEP talks and that all sides should show more flexibility to overcome differences.

(Reporting by Beijing Monitoring Desk and Elias Glenn; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

Source: Reuters “China tells U.S. trade representative stronger cooperation needed”

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, Russia set up wide-body jet firm in new challenge to Boeing, Airbus


People take pictures of a model of a jet at the launching ceremony of China-Russia Commercial Aircraft International Corporation Limited (CRAIC), a joint venture between Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) and Russia’s United Aircraft Corp (UAC), in Shanghai, China May 22, 2017. China Daily/via REUTERS

By Brenda Goh | SHANGHAI Mon May 22, 2017 | 6:50am EDT

China and Russia on Monday completed the formal registration of a joint venture to build a wide-body jet, kick-starting full-scale development of a program aimed at competing with market leaders Boeing Co (BA.N) and Airbus SE (AIR.PA).

State plane makers Commercial Aircraft Corp of China Ltd (COMAC) [CMAFC.UL] and Russia’s United Aircraft Corp (UAC) said at a ceremony in Shanghai the venture would aim to build a “competitive long range wide-body commercial aircraft”.

The announcement comes just weeks after COMAC successfully completed the maiden flight of its C919, China’s first home-grown narrow-body passenger jet.

COMAC President Jin Zhuanglong said the two firms had decided to hold the establishment ceremony after the C919’s flight.

“This program is aimed at fulfilling future market demand,” he told reporters. “Our two countries, our two firms … have created this joint venture to undertake responsibilities such as organization, research, management and implementation.”

The program will have a research center in Moscow and assembly line in Shanghai, he said, adding division of labor was still being discussed.

Guo Bozhi, general manager of COMAC’s wide-body department, said the venture would ask suppliers to bid for the contract to build the engine by year-end.

MAIDEN FLIGHT

COMAC and UAC first announced the program in 2014. In November, they said they had set up a joint venture in Shanghai and unveiled a mock-up of the basic version of the jet that would have a range of up to 12,000 kilometers (7,500 miles) and seat 280 passengers.

UAC President Yuri Slyusar said the firms looked to complete the maiden flight and first delivery during 2025-2028, and aimed to take 10 percent of a market dominated by the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350.

Previously, they targeted a maiden flight in 2022 and delivery in or after 2025.

UAC is also developing a version of Russian wide-body jet Ilyushin IL-96. Slyusar said the two programmes had different requirements, and that UAC would use experience with the IL-96 to aid development of the Chinese-Russian jet.

UAC and COMAC hold equal shares in their venture, whose jet they said would be 10-15 percent cheaper to run than planes from Boeing and Airbus.

Last July, Boeing forecast airlines worldwide would need 9,100 wide-body planes over 20 years through 2035, with a wave of replacement demand around 2021-2028.

Over the past decade, China has plowed billions of dollars into domestic jet development to raise its profile in global aviation and boost high-tech manufacturing.

(Reporting by Brenda Goh; Wrting by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Christopher Cushing)

Source: Reuters “China, Russia set up wide-body jet firm in new challenge to Boeing, Airbus”

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