Trade or Military War, China Will Be the Winner, US, Loser


There have been two occasions that China preferred war with the US, but the US would not fight.

When tension aggravated as Japan warned it would send its navy to drive away Chinese fishing fleet, coast guard ships and navy from the disputed waters, China preferred war.

It showcased its second-strike strategic nuclear submarines three days in a row on CCTV primetime news. The rare unprecedented display aimed at giving the US the message that China had enough second-strike capabilities so that when China had sunk a US aircraft carrier the US would not retaliate with nuclear weapons.

The US told Japan not to use its navy and US Vice President Joe Biden succeeded in persuading China not to fight the first shot. In addition, the US made clear publicly that it would not fight for a few rocks (referring to the disputed Diaoyu islands (known as Senkaku in Japan)) so that tension was eased.

At that time the US had no chance to win in East Asia as its aircraft carriers could not go near China for fear of being sunk by China’s hundreds of DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missiles and all its bases in East Asia were within the range of China’s intermediate ballistic missiles.

The US was wise not to fight though according to world history of Thucydides Trap, the best way for an established dominant power to put an end of the rivalry of a rising power is war. However, no one wants to fight a war with no hope to win.

Again when the US sent two aircraft carrier battle groups to force China to accept the Hague arbitration award that deprives China of all its rights and interests in the South China Sea, China responded with large-scale military drills and combat patrol of the disputed waters with its bombers and fighter jets to give the US the signal that China will fight, but how can less than 200 warplanes from two carriers defeat the 600 warplanes China can deploy on the three air bases on its artificial islands? The US again had no chance to win though it had the chance of a war to remove a rival if possible.

US military was strong enough. The problem was that China had the geographic advantages especially with its seven artificial islands.

China’s quick decisions and quick actions in building the islands showed that it was well prepared to prevent US military attack.

The US is even more hopeless in a trade war. China mainly exports low-tech labor-intensive products to the US. With its Belt and Road initiative, it will build infrastructures in countries with lots of cheap labor and move its low-tech labor-intensive industries there when there are the necessary infrastructures; therefore, it utterly will not lose US market in a trade war with the US as it can make and export the products in those countries. The US, however, mainly exports high-tech and agricultural products to China. It cannot move the production elsewhere. Even if it can, it will have lost job opportunities for its people. Moreover, China is a market with great growth potential. Demand for high-end goods will grow drastically when Chinese people grow rich. Will the US be willing to lose its market share in China to Europe, Japan, South Korea, etc. that are compete fiercely with the US in Chinese market?

Moreover, with the trade war, China can drive US fast food, soft drinks, cars, airliners away from the Chinese market to recover large sections of domestic market monopolized by US products.

China can but the US cannot afford a trade war between them!

Why then Chinese President Xi Jinping refrains from fighting a trade war with the US? Xi pursues his ambitious goals of modernization for China’s prosperity and Chinese people’s happiness. Obviously he does not want a trade war that will hinder the realization of his goals. He has no goal to replace the US as world leader. He is wise to know that when China has grown strong enough and remain wise enough, others will regard it as world leader. There is absolutely no need to fight or grab for world leadership. In fact it is utterly impossible to obtain world leadership by fighting or grabbing. What the US fights and grabs for is world hegemony which China does not want.

The reality now is China is concentrating all its resources to achieve its grand modernization goal while the US is wasting its resources to maintain its nominal world leadership but actual world hegemony. Obviously, the future belongs to China instead of the US.

From this perspective we see what SCMP says in its report “The Beijing show over, Trump and Xi push their own world trade orders at Apec” yesterday is but rubbish.

China advocates globalization at Apec as it facilitates realization of Xi’s ambitious goals. Trump upholds isolation that he calls “America first” for America’s interest. It has nothing to do with China wants regional leadership of globalization. Each country promotes what is good for its own interests. That is the reality.

The Xi-Trump détente provides Xi with world environment for achieving his goals. It will also help Trump put US economy back to the course of satisfactory growth. However, there are too many people in Thucydides Trap in the US who want to divert resources to maintain US military superiority that the US is simply unable to maintain or to fight a losing trade war with China. The mess in US politics will cause it to lose world leadership/hegemony. China has nothing to do with that.

As for the term Indo-Pacific mentioned first by Tillerson and now by Trump. It certainly will please the Americans deeply in Thucydides Trap and reduce their opposition to Trump, but it is in fact a military initiative with nothing to harm China economically. In fact all the four, US, India, Japan and Australia have lots of economic interests in their relations with China.

China wants to use the term Asia-Pacific instead of Indo-Pacific as it wants to establish an Asian Union through its Belt and Road initiative and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

India was close to Russia for a long time. That was why Russia was willing to rent it Russia’s most advanced nuclear submarine. Now India has switched to the US due to US Indo-Pacific initiative and even allowed Americans to visit the Russian nuclear submarine. Russia is very much upset by that. What US Indo-Pacific initiative has obtained are even closer Russia-China relations to facilitate the establishment of Asian Union.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s report, full text of which can be found at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2119390/beijing-show-over-trump-and-xi-push-their-own-world.

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China’s Belt and Road Stretches Smoothly to Saudi Arabia


BEIJING, CHINA – MARCH 16: Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) shake hands with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud during a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People on March 16, 2017 in Beijing, China. At the invitation of President Xi Jinping, King Salman Bin Abdul-Aaziz Al-Saud of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will pay a state visit to China from March 15 to 18, 2017. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Pool/Getty Images)

Foreign Policy carries Mishaal al Gergawi’s article “China Is Eyeballing a Major Strategic Investment in Saudi Arabia’s Oil” on October 26 on China’s efforts to stretch its Belt and Road to Saudi Arabia. The article believes that China is courting Saudi Arabia for its long-term goal of upending the way oil is traded.

Oil is now traded in US dollars but China wants it to be traded in yuan, the Chinese currency.

In the long run, China has the advantage of being world largest oil importer while the US will not only reduce its import of oil but will export its natural gas that may reduce Saudi’s energy market share in the world.

That is why the article says, “The equation is much more difficult for Saudi Arabia and the other oil-producing countries in the Gulf. On one hand, Saudi Arabia’s alliance with the United States, however shaky, is the bedrock of regional security. On the other hand, growth in energy consumption will continue to be centered east of the kingdom, not west.”

In addition, the US is never happy with to Saudi’s autocracy and Islamic culture but has tolerated them due its reliance on Saudi’s supply of oil. As the US no longer relies on that, the Democratic Obama Administration began to put political pressure on Saudi. Now the Republican Trump Administration is friendly to Saudi but who knows would not be replaced by a Democratic Administration in the next presidential election.

There is always a political risk in relying on the US.

The article says, “In return for conducting energy sales exclusively in dollars, the United States agreed to sell Saudi Arabia advanced military equipment.”

US supply of advanced weapons is important for Saudi but now Russia and China can also sell advanced weapons to Saudi as proved by Saudi’s substantial purchases of weapons from Russia and China.

Moreover, US failures in Iraq and Afghanistan and inability in sending troops to fight ISIS prove that Saudi cannot rely on US military assistance when it is attacked by a powerful enemy. Whether the US still regard the Middle East as its pivot or switch its pivot to Asia, the US simply has no means to keep compete with China and Russia in courting Saudi.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Foreign Policy’s article, full text of which can be viewed at http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/10/26/china-is-eyeballing-a-major-strategic-investment-in-saudi-arabias-oil/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=New%20Campaign&utm_term=%2AEditors%20Picks.


Tillerson’s Diplomatic Reform to Ally with India against China


For many years, the US, as one of the two hegimons and later the only hegimon in the world, has had only allies to protect but has seldom made efforts to obtain any ally to joint force in dealing with its potential enemy. Now US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson seems to make a diplomatic reform in earnest. According to Foreign Policy’s report “Tillerson Knocks China, Courts India Ahead of South Asia Trip” yesterday, the US now wants India to be a partner to jointly deal with their common potential enemy China.

The report says, “Tillerson offered a ‘love letter’ to New Delhi while taking direct aim at China’s ambitious plans to further deepen its influence throughout Asia.”

The US also wants to improve relations with China in order to get trade concessions from it to improve US economy; therefore, Tillerson has not shown his enmity against China especially China’s One Belt, One Road (Belt and Road) initiative openly since he took office as US Secretary of State. However, for the alliance there must be a common enemy and China happened to be a convenient target; therefore, he began to attack China’s Belt and Road initiative.

I shall say that Tillerson is indeed shrewd. I regard his efforts to win over India as a diplomatic reform as he wants to have India as a partner on equal footing, i.e. as one of the “two bookends” instead one in a partnership with the US as a bookend and the other, India, as an inner page with no importance.

Stephen Blank, a senior fellow for Russia at the American Foreign Policy Council, has pointed out, “every alliance has a horse and a rider.” That is certainly not true. It goes against common sense, but his words reflect US mentality about alliance that the US always regards itself as the rider and its ally as its horse. Now, Tillerson wants a partnership on equal footing instead one with the US as the rider and India as the horse. I shall praise him for his wisdom in conducting such a diplomatic reform.

Moreover, Tillerson perhaps sees China’s intention for the establishment of an Asian union with its Belt and Road initiative, but he really has no means to counter that. The report says that the United States in years past has tried and failed to advance its own development plan for a “New Silk Road” in Central Asia. However, it fails to point out that Central Asia is Russia’s sphere of influence. How can the US succeed in Central Asia when it has been containing Russia?

China’s Belt and Road succeeds in Central Asia as it has built trust with Russia and refrained to affect the politics there in order that the area remains Russia’s sphere of influence. Therefore, the Asian Union will be jointly headed by Russia and China instead of China alone. Like the EU, there will be no difference of rider and horse in the union. A union will be impossible if like the US any member wants to be the rider and treat others as horses. China and Russia have already had their Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) without choosing a leader. SCO may expand into the Asian Union.

Now, India has joined SCO as cooperation with SCO members is very important for Indian economy. In addition, China has also been making great efforts to improve relations with India while Russia is trying hard to form a Russia-China-India iron triangle to counter the US. It is interesting to see who in the end will really succeed in courting India.

Anyway such competitions of wisdom is much more interesting than military competitions.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Foreign Policy’s report, full text of which can be viewed at http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/10/18/tillerson-knocks-china-courts-india-ahead-of-south-asia-trip/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Editors%20Picks%2010/18&utm_term=%2AEditors%20Picks.


How Russia Is Trying to Make America’s F-22 and F-35 as Obsolete as Battleships


Charlie Gao

October 14, 2017

Ever since the development of stealth technology for aircraft, many different systems have been advertised as “stealth killing.” One of the more innovative solutions is the Russian Struna-1/Barrier-E bistatic radar system developed by NNIIRT, a division of the Almaz-Antey Joint Stock Company. Almaz-Antey is the premier air-defense and radar manufacturer in Russia; they make the Tor, Buk and S-400 anti-aircraft systems, as well as their respective search radars. The Struna-1 was originally developed in 1999. A further evolution of Struna-1, the Barrier-E system was later showcased for export at MAKS 2007. While it is not part of Almaz-Antey’s online catalog, it was shown alongside other radars at MAKS 2017. The system is rumored to be deployed around Moscow.

The Struna-1 is different than most radars in that it is a bistatic radar, meaning it relies on the receiver and transmitter of the radar to be in two different locations as opposed to conventional radar technology where the receiver and transmitter are located in the same location. Normal radar systems are limited by the inverse fourth power law. As the radar target goes further away from the transmission source, the strength of the radar signal decays as per the regular inverse square law. However, radar detection works by receiving reflections of the radar signal. With a conventional radar, this results in the received signal being four times weaker than that put out. Stealth works because at a distance, an aircraft can mitigate its radar returns to be small by scattering them and absorbing them using radiation-absorbent materials. This degrades the quality of the radar track so it is harder to distinguish precise information about an aircraft.

The Struna-1 solves this problem by positioning the transmitter in a different location than the receiver. The link between the transmitter and receiver has increased power relative to a conventional radar, as it falls off according to the inverse square law as opposed to the inverse fourth power law. This allows the radar to be more sensitive, as it is effectively acting as a radar tripwire. According to Russian sources, this setup increases the effective radar cross section (RCS) of a target by nearly threefold, and ignores any anti-radar coatings that can scatter the radio waves. This allows the detection of not only stealth aircraft, but other objects with low RCS such as hang gliders and cruise missiles. As many of ten receiver/transmitter tower pairs—each tower is called Priyomno-Peredayushchiy Post (PPP) in Russian publications—can be placed. Sources vary in potential configurations of the towers, but the maximum span between two single towers is 50km. This leads to a maximum theoretical perimeter of 500km.

These individual towers have relatively low power consumption, and they do not emit as much energy as traditional radars, making them less vulnerable to anti-radiation weapons. The towers are mobile, allowing for forward deployment in times of conflict. They rely on microwave data links to communicate with each other and a centralized monitoring station, which can be located at a significant distance from the system. The distributed nature also allows the system to keep operating if one node goes down, albeit with less precision. The low height of the transmitter and receiver towers (only 25m off the ground) make Struna-1 very good at detecting low altitude targets, a target set that conventional radars often have trouble with.

Limitations of the Struna-1 include a low detection altitude. The nature of the system results in the detection range being a rough biased parabola between the receiver and transmitter. This limits the detection altitude to around 7km at the tallest point, with the maximum detection range going down as one gets closer to the transmitter/receiver towers. The transverse size of the detection zone is likewise limited, being around 1.5km close to the towers to 12km at the optimal point between the towers. The small size of the detection zone limits the use of the Struna-1 system as a tripwire, it cannot replace traditional radars as an overall search mechanism. However with its high precision tracks of stealthy aircraft, it would serve as a good counterpart to other longer-band radar systems such as Sunflower, which provide less precise tracks of planes. The Struna-1 cannot act as a targeting radar due to its inability to provide constant radar illumination tracking a target, so it cannot be used to guide in semi-active surface-to-air missiles.

While the Struna-1 bistatic radar is not a be-all end-all detection solution for stealth aircraft, it could pose a significant threat to stealth NATO aircraft in a future conflict. Strike aircraft with stealth features are particularly vulnerable, the strike role tends to favor flight profiles that might cause aircraft to fly into the Struna-1’s detection range. In tandem with other modern “stealth-defeating” radar systems, the Struna-1 could provide critical information to an adversary on the position and movement of stealth aircraft.

Source: National Interest “How Russia Is Trying to Make America’s F-22 and F-35 as Obsolete as Battleships”

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.


Russia Wants to Share with China Large Airliner Engine Technology


C929 model

According to the cooperation agreement between Russia and China on the development and manufacture of large wide-body airliner C929 to compete with Boeing and Airbus, Russia is in charge of making the engines while China the fuselage and other parts. Russia is to build a special engine plant in Russia while China will provide the plant for the fuselage, other parts and assembly of the airliners in China.

Previously, there is speculation that Russia build the engine factory in Russia in order to keep the engine technology secret so that China cannot learn from Russia the aircraft engine technology it lacks and urgently needs. However, unexpectedly according to mil.huanqiu.com’s report “Russia invites China to jointly develop PD-35 airliner engine for C929 airliner”, Russia now invites Chinese engine experts to Russia to jointly develop the engine. It proves the great trust between Russia and China as allies.

Airliner engine is regarded as the “pearl on the crown of modern industry” due to its high technological requirements for not only huge power but also light weight, fuel conservation and long-term perfect safety. Russia and China’s willingness in sharing such high technology proves the strength of their alliance though there is no treaty of alliance between them.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on mil.huanqiu.com’s report, Chinese full text of which can be viewed at http://mil.huanqiu.com/observation/2017-09/11279749.html.


Hundreds Russian Experts Helping China Develop Fighter Jets


There has been rumor in Chinese Internet that Russian President Putin is unhappy that Russian experts are helping China develop sixth-generation fighter jets and asked them to return Russia times and again.

Sergey Sanakoev, Chairman of Russian-Chinese Center for trade and economic cooperation, says at Tsrus.cn website that if Russian President wants the Russian aviation experts back, the only thing he has to do is but making a phone call. Given the extent of Russia-China cooperation, it is impossible for such conflict to take place. According to him, Russian and Chinese aviation companies have been cooperating for quite a few years. There have been hundreds of Russian people working in Chinese enterprises with Russian government approval.

Russian military expert Alexey Lesukov also doubts the rumor. According to him Russia and China have begun cooperation long ago in developing fifth-generation fighter jets and the cooperation is formal and legitimate.

Source: Global Times “Putin unhappy that experts are helping China develop fighter jets? Russian media: Allegation entirely groundless” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)


The Secret Way China and Russia Would Crush America in a War


Dave Majumdar

August 23, 2017

China is on the verge of fielding an operational anti-satellite weapon. Meanwhile, both great powers are working on developing directed energy weapons to counter American satellites. “Ten years after China intercepted one of its own satellites in low-Earth orbit, its ground-launched ASAT missiles might be nearing operational service within the PLA [People’s Liberation Army],” Coats stated. “Both countries are advancing directed energy weapons technologies for the purpose of fielding ASAT systems that could blind or damage sensitive space-based optical sensors. Russia is developing an airborne laser weapon for use against US satellites.”

Russia and China are actively pursuing new weapons and capabilities to counter America’s dominance of space according a U.S. Intelligence Community assessment. Indeed, both nations are considering the development of weapons that could attack U.S. satellites and other space-based assets in orbit.

“We assess that Russia and China perceive a need to offset any U.S. military advantage derived from military, civil, or commercial space systems and are increasingly considering attacks against satellite systems as part of their future warfare doctrine,” reads congressional testimony from Daniel Coats, director of National Intelligence on May 11. “Both will continue to pursue a full range of anti- satellite (ASAT) weapons as a means to reduce U.S. military effectiveness.”

The two great powers—which seek to offset America’s advantages in that domain—are continuing the development of such capabilities despite public statements that would curtain an arms race in space. “Russia and China remain committed to developing capabilities to challenge perceived adversaries in space, especially the United States, while publicly and diplomatically promoting nonweaponization of space and ‘no first placement’ of weapons in space,” Coats stated. “Such commitment continues despite ongoing US and allied diplomatic efforts to dissuade expansion of threats to the peaceful use of space, including international engagements through the U.N.”

Most attacks against U.S. space assets are likely to be non-kinetic, focusing on electronic attacks and cyber-warfare. “Development will very likely focus on jamming capabilities against dedicated military satellite communications (SATCOM), Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imaging satellites, and enhanced capabilities against Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), such as the US Global Positioning System (GPS),” Coats’ testimony reads. “Blending of EW [electronic warfare] and cyber-attack capabilities will likely expand in pursuit of sophisticated means to deny and degrade information networks. Chinese researchers have discussed methods to enhance robust jamming capabilities with new systems to jam commonly used frequencies. Russia intends to modernize its EW forces and field a new generation of EW weapons by 2020.”

However, when electronic warfare and cyber-weapons fail to achieve their desired objectives, the Russian and Chinese are prepared to use kinetic force to physically destroy American space assets. “Some new Russian and Chinese ASAT weapons, including destructive systems, will probably complete development in the next several years,” Coats stated. “Russian military strategists likely view counterspace weapons as an integral part of broader aerospace defense rearmament and are very likely pursuing a diverse suite of capabilities to affect satellites in all orbital regimes.”

But it’s not just the Russian military; policymakers in Moscow are also promoting anti-satellite weapons in the view of the U.S. intelligence community. “Russian lawmakers have promoted military pursuit of ASAT missiles to strike low-Earth orbiting satellites, and Russia is testing such a weapon for eventual deployment,” Coats stated. “A Russian official also acknowledged development of an aircraft-launched missile capable of destroying satellites in low-Earth orbit.”

On the other side of the world, China is on the verge of fielding an operational anti-satellite weapon. Meanwhile, both great powers are working on developing directed energy weapons to counter American satellites. “Ten years after China intercepted one of its own satellites in low-Earth orbit, its ground-launched ASAT missiles might be nearing operational service within the PLA [People’s Liberation Army],” Coats stated. “Both countries are advancing directed energy weapons technologies for the purpose of fielding ASAT systems that could blind or damage sensitive space-based optical sensors. Russia is developing an airborne laser weapon for use against US satellites.”

Additionally, both nations are developing satellites that can either tamper with other space assets or if necessary collide with and destroy an enemy orbital vehicle. “Russia and China continue to conduct sophisticated on-orbit satellite activities, such as rendezvous and proximity operations, at least some of which are likely intended to test dual-use technologies with inherent counterspace functionality,” Coats stated. “For instance, space robotic technology research for satellite servicing and debris-removal might be used to damage satellites. Such missions will pose a particular challenge in the future, complicating the U.S. ability to characterize the space environment, decipher intent of space activity, and provide advance threat warning.”

Thus, as time goes on, the Pentagon will have to invest more to ensure America retains its superiority in space.

Dave Majumdar is the defense editor for The National Interest. You can follow him on Twitter: @davemajumdar.

Source: National Interest “The Secret Way China and Russia Would Crush America in a War”

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.