China Deploys Over-the-horizon Radars to Counter THAAD


The website of Chosun Ilbo says in its report “China is deploying radar for surveillance of Korean Penisula and Japan” on March 14 that China deployed an over-the-horizon radar (OTHR) in Inner Mongolia with a range of 3,000 km, much stronger than that of THAAD.

Now, China has begun work on the deployment of a new radar with the range of 5,500 km at Shuangya Hill, Heilongjiang Province. It is said that the over-the-horizon radar can detect F-35B stealth fighter jet.

Source: mil.huanqiu.com “Is China deploying new over-the-horizon radar for surveillance of Japan and Korea? F-35B no longer invisible perhaps” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)


Exclusive: Japan plans to send largest warship to South China Sea, sources say


FILE PHOTO: A helicopter lands on the Izumo, Japan Maritime Self Defense Force’s (JMSDF) helicopter carrier, at JMSDF Yokosuka base in Yokosuka, south of Tokyo, Japan, December 6, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

By Tim Kelly and Nobuhiro Kubo | TOKYO Mon Mar 13, 2017 | 1:18pm EDT

Japan plans to dispatch its largest warship on a three-month tour through the South China Sea beginning in May, three sources said, in its biggest show of naval force in the region since World War Two.

China claims almost all the disputed waters and its growing military presence has fueled concern in Japan and the West, with the United States holding regular air and naval patrols to ensure freedom of navigation.

The Izumo helicopter carrier, commissioned only two years ago, will make stops in Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka before joining the Malabar joint naval exercise with Indian and U.S. naval vessels in the Indian Ocean in July.

It will return to Japan in August, the sources said.

“The aim is to test the capability of the Izumo by sending it out on an extended mission,” said one of the sources who have knowledge of the plan. “It will train with the U.S. Navy in the South China Sea,” he added, asking not to be identified because he is not authorized to talk to the media.

A spokesman for Japan’s Maritime Self Defense Force declined to comment.

Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Brunei also claim parts of the sea which has rich fishing grounds, oil and gas deposits and through which around $5 trillion of global sea-borne trade passes each year.

Japan does not have any claim to the waters, but has a separate maritime dispute with China in the East China Sea.

Japan wants to invite Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who has pushed ties with China in recent months as he has criticized the old alliance with the United States, to visit the Izumo when it visits Subic Bay, about 100 km (62 miles) west of Manila, another of the sources said.

Asked during a news conference about his view on the warship visit, Duterte said, without elaborating, “I have invited all of them.”

He added: “It is international passage, the South China Sea is not our territory, but it is part of our entitlement.”

On whether he would visit the warship at Subic Bay, Duterte said: “If I have time.”

Japan’s flag-flying operation comes as the United States under President Donald Trump appears to be taking a tougher line with China. Washington has criticized China’s construction of man-made islands and a build-up of military facilities that it worries could be used to restrict free movement.

Beijing in January said it had “irrefutable” sovereignty over the disputed islands after the White House vowed to defend “international territories”.

The 249 meter-long (816.93 ft) Izumo is as large as Japan’s World War Two-era carriers and can operate up to nine helicopters. It resembles the amphibious assault carriers used by U.S. Marines, but lacks their well deck for launching landing craft and other vessels.

Japan in recent years, particularly under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, has been stretching the limits of its post-war, pacifist constitution. It has designated the Izumo as a destroyer because the constitution forbids the acquisition of offensive weapons. The vessel, nonetheless, allows Japan to project military power well beyond its territory.

Based in Yokosuka, near to Tokyo, which is also home to the U.S. Seventh Fleet’s carrier, the Ronald Reagan, the Izumo’s primary mission is anti-submarine warfare.

(Additional reporting by Martin Petty in Manila; Editing by Nick Macfie)

Source: Reuters “Exclusive: Japan plans to send largest warship to South China Sea, sources say”

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


China’s East Pacific Move to Counter US South China Sea Move


This photo from the People’s Daily Facebook page shows an H-6K bomber from China’s air force flying toward the Western Pacific over the Miyako Strait in Okinawa Prefecture on Thursday (March 2, 2017). | PEOPLE’S DAILY

Japan Times says in its report “ASDF scrambles jets as China sends more fighters, bombers through Miyako Strait as part of large drill” that on March 2 China sent 13 warplanes, the largest number ever, across Miyako Strait to conduct a military drill with Chinese navy in Western Pacific.

It quotes China’s official Xinhua News Agency as saying, the “exercise is part of annual plans for the navy, is not aimed at a specific country or target, and accords with relevant international laws and norms.”

However, the drill was conducted when US aircraft carrier entered the South China Sea perhaps with the aim to block China’s access to its artificial islands.

The drill told the US that China not only can deal with US navy in the South China Sea, but is able to send air force and navy to deal with Japan and Taiwan in Western Pacific. If the US attacks China in the South China Sea, it has to be prepared with a large-scale war involving Japan and Taiwan as China has enough fire power to deal with US navy in the South China Sea and can, in addition, send its air force and navy to deal with Japan and Taiwan. The war will give China the opportunity to resolve its disputes with Japan over the Diaoyu Islands and take back Taiwan by force.

China has lots of land-based ballistic and cruise missiles and warplanes for the war. Its geographical advantages are so overwhelming that US simply has no chance to win a war near it.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Japan Times’ report, full text of which can be viewed at http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/03/03/national/china-sends-planes-miyako-strait-large-scale-drill/#.WL35SOS7r6o


Exclusive: Japan to speed up frigate build to reinforce East China Sea – sources


By Nobuhiro Kubo | TOKYO Fri Feb 17, 2017 | 6:25am EST

Japan plans to accelerate a warship building program to make two frigates a year to patrol the fringes of the East China Sea, where it disputes island ownership with China, three people with knowledge of the plan said.

Japan previously was building one 5,000-ton class destroyer a year, but will now make two 3,000-ton class ships a year, beginning from the April 2018 fiscal year, the people said, declining to be identified as they are not authorized to talk to the media.
It aims to produce a fleet of eight of the new class of smaller, cheaper vessels, which may also have mine-sweeping and anti-submarine capability.

Naval shipyard operators including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Japan Marine United Corp (JMU) and Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding are expected to bid for the work, the people said.

Japan and China dispute ownership of a group of islands in the East China Sea, about 220 km (140 miles) northeast of Taiwan. In Japan, they are known as the Senkakus, while China calls them the Diaoyu islands.

Senior Japanese military officials have said they are concerned that China may seek to increase its influence in the East China Sea around Japan’s southern Okinawa island chain. Japan provides military aid to Southeast Asian countries including the Philippines and Vietnam that oppose China’s territorial claims in the neighboring South China Sea.

BUILD-SHARING

In a departure from normal procurement practice, Japan’s Ministry of Defense said in a report published on Wednesday it will require the winner of the – eight frigate – contract to offer major portions of the build to other bidders.

The change is meant to ensure naval shipyards remain open.

In the past two years, JMU has won contracts to build the larger Aegis-equipped destroyers, raising some concern among defense ministry officials that rivals could shutter their shipyards, one of the sources said.

“We need to ensure our ability to build naval vessels at home,” the person said.

The new ships will cost 40-50 billion yen ($353-$443 million) each, another of the sources said.

(Reporting by Nobuhiro Kubo; Writing by Tim Kelly; Editing by Ian Geoghegan)

Source: Reuters “Exclusive: Japan to speed up frigate build to reinforce East China Sea – sources”

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


Trump’s Trick to Please Japan’s Abe without Giving Him Anything


President Trump and Prime Minster Shinzo Abe of Japan at the White House on Friday. A poll taken in Japan after the meeting found wide satisfaction with the talks. Credit: Doug Mills/The New York Times

President Trump and Prime Minster Shinzo Abe of Japan at the White House on Friday. A poll taken in Japan after the meeting found wide satisfaction with the talks.
Credit: Doug Mills/The New York Times

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met Trump twice trying hard to persuade Trump to keep Obama’s policies to contain China by his pivot to Asia including deployment of 60% of US military in Asia and the establishment of TPP. Trump, however, gave Chinese President Xi Jinping a phone call hours before meeting Abe and has thus greatly improved US-China ties.

Abe was very much disappointed and was worrying that his visit would be regarded as a failure at home. Trump did not want to upset Abe so that he showed grand hospitality to Abe without giving him anything. On the contrary, he wants to get concessions from Japan in US trade with Japan to get what he can from TPP without giving Japan the concessions Obama made to Japan in order to make TPP acceptable to Japan. However, as Japan is US most important ally in Asia, Trump was trying hard to please Japan but had no real chance to do that satisfactorily.

Luckily, North Korea came out to help them. It unexpectedly conducted a missile test when Trump was treating Abe with a dinner.

Trump takes the opportunity to show how strongly he supports Japan in opposing North Korea by dealing with the emergency in the open. Abe was greatly satisfied, but in fact he has got nothing as Trump only showed what the US has always promised.

In Japan however, people are quite satisfied with the results of Abe’s visit. New York Times says in its report “Relief in Japan After Shinzo Abe’s Visit With Trump”, “Before the visit last week, some in the Japanese news media had gibed Mr. Abe for his apparent eagerness to foster a friendship with Mr. Trump, and some joked that the American president would take advantage of the Japanese leader during their bout of golf diplomacy at the president’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. But in a Kyodo News poll taken after the meeting, 70 percent of the Japanese public said they were satisfied with the talks between the two leaders, and Mr. Abe’s approval ratings rose slightly from a month earlier to close to 62 percent.

In the US, those who did not understand Trump’s trick or did understand but wanted to use Trump’s move to attack him made hue and cry about Trump breaking national security norms in tackling the crisis. CNN is one of the lots of media that attacked Trump for that. It did so in its report “At Mar-a-Lago, Trump tackles crisis diplomacy at close range”.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on CNN and New York Times’ reports, full text of which can respectively be viewed at http://edition.cnn.com/2017/02/12/politics/trump-shinzo-abe-mar-a-lago-north-korea/ and https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/13/world/asia/trump-japan-shinzo-abe.html?_r=2


Will Japan be benefited by Better US-China Ties?


Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie Abe arrive ahead of his meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump, at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S., February 9, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie Abe arrive ahead of his meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump, at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S., February 9, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

When US President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met the press after their meeting on February 10, Trump gave warm but abstract description of US-Japan friendship and alliance without any actual details.

People’s memory is still fresh about US President Donald Trump’s nominee for and later appointed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s hardline remarks on blocking China’s access to the artificial islands China has built in the South China Sea. They believe that as China will defend such access, a war between China and the US is unavoidable.

That is because media is fond of sensational news but fail to give emphasis in their reports later that in responses to US lawmakers’ following-up questions, Tillerson softened his language. He said that in the event of an unspecified “contingency” the United States and its allies “must be capable of limiting China’s access to and use of” those islands to pose a threat. (See Reuters’ report “New top U.S. diplomat plays central role in Trump’s China shift” on February 10.)

There is utterly no need to worry that Trump will fight a war with China.

People were surprised by Trump’s friendly long phone call hours before he met Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Reuters’ report “China gets an early win off Trump, but many battles remain” on February 11 gives the impression that Trump has lost face in giving Xi the concession on continuing US “one-China” policy. It forgets that Taiwan is but Trump’s bargaining chip to get concessions from China. As a shrewd businessman, Trump certainly will not give Xi anything if he can get nothing from Xi. That is why when he was asked by Takita of Japan’s Sankei Shimbun about his dissatisfaction with China in the news conference, he said that he had a very good, very very warm conversation with Xi.

He said, “As far as the currency devaluations, I’ve been complaining about that for a long time. And I believe that we will all eventually — and probably very much sooner than a lot of people understand or think — we will be all at a level playing field, because that’s the only way it’s fair.” Obviously, Trump has obtained in principle what he wants from Xi. He and Xi are to leave to their subordinates to decide the actual detailed trade measures for win-win cooperation between the US and China.

Abe, however, tried hard in the news conference to pit the US against China. He said in his initial speech, “Never should a state-owned company, backed by state capital, should not make any economic intervention. Free ride on intellectual property should not be condoned,” hinting that the US shall work with Japan to contain China.

He first ignored New York Times’ Daniel Halper’s question about TPP to avoid revealing his difference with Trump on TPP, but has to give a reply when Fox’s Blake Berman picked off again Danial’s question.

He said, “Now, for the free and fair common set of rules to be created for the free trade regime in the region, and that was the purpose of TPP, and that importance have not changed. I, myself, believe that.” He tried again to convince Trump that Trump shall continue Obama’s policy to use TPP to contain China.

Trump’s response is really interesting. He said that he thought his good relations with Xi “will also be very much of a benefit to Japan”.

How can win-win cooperation between China and the US benefit Japan? It will provide US goods with better access to Chinese markets so that Japan will lose market share to the US. China, on the other hand, will have better access to US technology to have sharper competition edges than Japan.

Trump and Xi will both be winner while Abe will be the only loser. That will be the benefit Abe will get.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Trump and Abe’s news conference.


Japan’s Abe in Front with US Trump at Back against North Korea


Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (R) and U.S. President Donald Trump are seen in the Presidential Limousine as they depart from Trump International Golf club in West Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., February 11, 2017, in this photo taken by Kyodo. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (R) and U.S. President Donald Trump are seen in the Presidential Limousine as they depart from Trump International Golf club in West Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., February 11, 2017, in this photo taken by Kyodo. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS

In its report titled “A hastily called news conference caps a surreal day for Trump in South Florida”, Washington Post says that US President Trump held a 2-minute news conference to denounce North Korea’s missile test, but it was Japan’s Abe who played the leading role.

Abe was the first to speak. According to Washington Post, he says:

•“North Korea’s most recent missile launch is absolutely intolerable.”
•“North Korea must fully comply with the relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions.”
•“During the summit meeting that I had with President Trump, he assured me that the United States will always [be with] Japan 100 percent, and to demonstrate his determination as well as commitment, he is here with me at this joint press conference.”

Trump, however, only said, “I just want everybody to understand and fully know that the United States of America stands behind Japan, its great ally, 100 percent.”

North Korea conducted the test to threaten the US, but Trump shifted the threat to Japan, i.e. he meant that Japan should play the leading role in dealing with North Korea.

That shows the major change he has brought to US foreign policy: US allies instead the US shall play the leading role in defending themselves. The US will only stand behind them. Japan and other US allies shall be fighting in front while the US shall be supporting them at their back like what President Roosevelt did before Pearl Harbor—selling weapons to Britain and the Soviet Union to support them in fighting Hitler?

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Washington Post’s report, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/02/12/a-hastily-called-news-conference-caps-a-surreal-day-for-trump-in-south-florida/?utm_term=.b55d7175c926&wpisrc=nl_most-draw16&wpmm=1.

I find the news conference funny and hope that my comment entertains readers.