According to a vice chairman of Russia’s State Duma, Russia has already delivered to China first batch of S-400 air defense missile systems.
S-400 is Russia’s best air defense system, which due to confidentiality is allowed to be sold only to countries very close to Russia. India and Turkey are queuing for purchase of the system.
This blogger’s comment: Russia has contract obligation to begin delivery of S-400 by 2018. The earlier delivery perhaps aims at helping China deal with US F-35s that are being deployed in East Asia. S-400 has a range of 150 km to hit stealth aircraft.
Source: Interfax “Russia high official: First batch of S400 air defense missile system has been delivered to China” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)
Expanded coordination poses significant threat to U.S., allies in Asia Pacific
BY: Natalie Johnson March 21, 2017 4:59 am
Russia and China are displaying the highest level of military cooperation in three decades, posing an escalated threat to the United States and its allies, according to a government report released Monday.
U.S. air superiority in the Asia Pacific is particularly vulnerable due to sustained Russian arms sales to Beijing and a new focus between the two militaries on missile defense, the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission detailed in its new report.
Russian deliveries of Su-35 strike fighter jets to China, which began in December 2015, along with deliveries of its S-400 surface-to-air missile defense system, which are set to begin in 2018, will expand Beijing’s reach in the Taiwan Strait and threaten air assets of U.S. allies in the South China and East China Seas.
Ethan Meick, a policy analyst in security and foreign affairs at USCC who authored the report, predicted missile defense cooperation between Moscow and Beijing would continue for years to come. The two militaries held their first joint missile defense exercise in May 2016 and have announced a second exercise to be conducted in 2017.
Both Beijing and Moscow are opposed to U.S. plans to install the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, missile defense system in South Korea to combat North Korean aggression. Meick anticipated the second Russia-China anti-missile exercise would coincide with the U.S. deployment of THAAD, which began earlier this month.
Since Chinese President Xi Jinping took office in 2012, the People’s Liberation Army and Russian Armed Forces have staged increasingly complex military exercises. The drills have expanded drastically in geographic scope, suggesting increasingly aligned security interests.
Russian and Chinese military officials have repeatedly denied that the exercises are aimed at any one country, but the timing and location of the drills has led the West to believe otherwise, the report noted.
Following the July ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague that rejected China’s territorial claims to the South China Sea, the Kremlin and Beijing conducted their annual naval exercise in the South China Sea. Western officials believed the drills were a “show of unity” between the two countries, coinciding with President Vladimir Putin’s announcement just weeks earlier that he did not recognize the tribunal’s decision, according to the report.
The joint exercises have also led to more frequent meetings between senior-level Chinese and Russian military officers. These contacts have allowed defense officials to conduct arms deals, prepare for joint exercises, and outline regional and global security concerns.
Despite mutual distrust between Moscow and Beijing stemming from geopolitical and economic tensions, the report predicted the two countries would “further deepen” defense relations in the coming years to resist U.S. influence in the region.
Source: Washington Free Beacon “Military Cooperation Between Russia, China Hits Three-Decade High”
Note: This is Washington Free Beacon’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views
March 18, 2017
Aircraft carriers have been the primary capital ship of naval combat since the 1940s, and remain the currency of modern naval power. But for nearly as long as carriers have existed, navies have developed plans to defeat them. The details of these plans have changed over time, but the principles remain the same. And some have argued that the balance of military technology is shifting irrevocably away from the carrier, driven primarily by Chinese and Russian innovation.
So let’s say you want to kill an aircraft carrier. How would you go about it?
On September 17, 1939, the German submarine U-29 torpedoed and sank HMS Courageous. Courageous was the first aircraft carrier lost to submarine attack, but would not be the last. Over the course of World War II, the United States, the UK and Japan lost numerous carriers to submarines, culminating in the destruction of the gigantic HIJMS Shinano in 1944.
Submarine-fired torpedoes remain a critical threat to modern carriers. Russian and Chinese submarines regularly practice attacks on U.S. carrier groups, as do those of allied navies. Modern torpedoes cause damage by exploding beneath a ship, an impact that can break the ship’s back with dramatic effects. Fortunately, no such torpedo has ever hit a ship the size of a U.S. supercarrier, although the U.S. Navy did conduct a variety of tests on the hulked USS America in 2005. Those tests, which may have involved underwater charges (of the sort that damaged USS Cole) did not result in America’s sinking; she was scuttled in the wake of the process. The short answer is that no one knows how many modern torpedoes a U.S. carrier could take before sinking, but we can estimate with little doubt that even a single torpedo would cause extensive damage, and severely impede operations.
In 1943, the Germans used a precision-guided bomb to destroy the Italian battleship Roma. Such bombs soon gave way to self-propelled cruise missiles, which could launch from aircraft, ships, submarines, or surface installations. During the Cold War, the Soviets developed a dizzying array of platforms for launching cruise missiles at carrier strike groups, ranging from small patrol boats to massive formations of strategic bombers.
Today, China, Russia and several other countries field a wide variety of cruise missiles capable of striking U.S. carrier battle groups. These missiles vary widely in range, speed and means of approach, but the most advanced can fly at high (often supersonic) speeds while offering a very low radar profile. As with torpedoes, the available evidence on the effectiveness of cruise missiles against a modern supercarrier is virtually nil. Much smaller ships have survived such hits, as have civilian tankers similar in size to CVN-78. Nevertheless, even a nonfatal cruise missile hit would probably result in severe damage to the flight deck, impeding or completely stopping flight operations.
The most important development in carrier-killing technology over the last decade has been the antiship ballistic missile (ASBM). The Chinese Df-21 has the potential to strike American carriers from heretofore unrealizable ranges, and threatens to penetrate existing defense systems. The missile can maneuver in its terminal phase, targeting a moving carrier on a high-velocity final approach. The kinetic energy alone of the weapon could inflict devastating damage on a flight deck, putting a carrier out of action if not sinking it entirely.
The development of the Df-21 has forced the U.S. Navy to significantly step up its ballistic-missile defense efforts. However, the ability of a U.S. task force to manage a large barrage of ASBMs is in great question; more than anything else, the development of the ASBM has forced the U.S. Navy to reconsider the role of the carrier in high-intensity warfare.
The new Ford class (CVN-78) carriers cost somewhere around $13 billion, a price that does not include the air wing. With a contingent of F-35Cs, F/A-18E/Fs and various support aircraft, the price of an individual carrier is simply staggering, and the numbers go higher when accounting for the escort group that a carrier requires. Although the per-unit cost will go down as more ships are acquired, the Fords take so long to build that each new ship will need to incorporate a host of new technologies, just as with the Nimitz class.
The tolerance for large defense expenditure in the United States has varied considerably over the past three decades. The Trump administration has combined a fondness for increased spending with a grand strategy of retrenchment, an odd pairing. If retrenchment takes hold, then generating enthusiasm for defense spending may become increasingly difficult. And at some point, the military utility of an aircraft carrier may become literally irrelevant, relative to the cost of building, maintaining and effectively deploying the ship and its air wing.
Excess of Caution
Maybe China and Russia don’t need to kill a carrier to drive the species to extinction. All of the factors above—the weapon systems that can kill carriers, and the costs associated with the ships themselves—come together to create caution about how to use the ships. In the event of a conflict, U.S. Navy admirals and the U.S. president may grow so concerned about the vulnerability of carriers that they don’t use them assertively and effectively. The extraordinary value of the carriers may become their greatest weakness; too valuable to lose, the carriers could remain effectively on the sidelines in case of high-intensity, peer-competitor conflict.
And if aircraft carriers can’t contribute in the most critical conflicts that face the United States, it will become impossible to justify to the resources necessary to their construction and protection. That, more than anything else, will lead to obsolescence, and the end of the aircraft carrier as the currency of national power.
Do these factors mean that the aircraft carrier has become obsolete as a platform? No. China and Russia have worked relentlessly on ways to kill aircraft carriers because they perceive those ships as critical security threats. Moreover, China and Russia have developed the array of systems they now deploy because aircraft carriers have good answers to many of these weapons. Finally, China has embarked on its own carrier program; the PLAN will soon operate the second-largest carrier force in the world.
Nevertheless, aircraft carriers face real dangers from advanced military technology. The greatest threat, though, probably comes from the procurement process; unless the United States can restrain cost growth in the carrier and its air wing, the ships will struggle to retain their place in the overall architecture of U.S. defense policy.
Robert Farley, a frequent contributor to TNI, is author of The Battleship Book. He serves as a Senior Lecturer at the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce at the University of Kentucky. His work includes military doctrine, national security, and maritime affairs. He blogs at Lawyers, Guns and Money and Information Dissemination and The Diplomat.
Source: National Interest “5 Ways Russia and China Could Sink America’s Aircraft Carriers”
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.
China and Russia have agreed to intensify their coordinated opposition to the deployment of a U.S. missile-defense system in South Korea, the Chinese foreign ministry said on Wednesday.
South Korea decided last year to deploy the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in response to the threat from North Korean missiles.
But China and Russia worry that the system’s powerful radar can penetrate their territory and undermine their security, disrupting a balance of power in the region while doing nothing to lower tension on the Korean peninsula.
South Korean officials have said THAAD is a purely defensive measure against North Korean threats and does not target any other country.
“Both sides said they will continue to strengthen their coordinated opposition to THAAD”, the two countries’ deputy foreign ministers agreed on Tuesday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s said in a statement on its website.
China and Russia agreed in January to take unspecified “countermeasures” in response to THAAD.
South Korea’s defense ministry struck a deal this week with an affiliate of the Lotte Group conglomerate to acquire land southeast of the capital, Seoul, for the deployment of the missile system.
The deal sparked protests from China’s state media, which called for a boycott of South Korean cars and telephones and for people to shun its entertainment exports.
South Korean officials have said they expect the missile system to be deployed and operational this year.
North Korea’s drive to develop nuclear weapons and missiles has angered China, the North’s sole major diplomatic and economic supporter.
China has pushed for the resumption of six-party talks involving it, North Korea, South Korea, Japan, Russia and the United Sates, on North Korea’s nuclear ambitions as a way to resolve differences.
China has also called for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
(Reporting by Christian Shepherd; Editing by Robert Birsel)
Source: Reuters “China, Russia to step up opposition to South Korean anti-missile system”
Note: This is Reuters report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
In its report “Pentagon studies ways to counter hypersonic missile threat from China, Russia”, Washington Times says that the US lags behind China and Russia in developing hypersonic missiles as they, especially China, have been busy testing hypersonic glide vehicles and maneuvering ballistic missile warheads.
No existing US missile defense systems can intercept hypersonic maneuvering ballistic missiles. As a result, even US homeland may be attacked by such weapons.
The report says, “Congress has been pushing the Pentagon to deal with the threat. The most recent defense authorization bill signed into law in December requires the Pentagon to create a dedicated office for emerging hypersonic missile threats.”
China has now caught up with the US in weapon development and surpassed the US in certain key areas such as hypersonic weapons that are regarded as major weapons in the future.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Washington Times’ report, full text of which can be viewed at http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/feb/22/china-russia-hypersonic-missile-threat-under-revie/
A Reverse “Nixon Strategy” Won’t Work for Trump
By Jacob Stokes
Several commentators, among them Doug Bandow of the Cato Institute and Edward Luttwak of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, have suggested that U.S. President Donald Trump should take any efforts to warm relations with Russia one step further and try to enlist Moscow’s help in balancing a rising China. Trump views China and Islamist extremism as the two principal challenges to U.S. security, and he sees Russia as a potential partner in combating both. The thinking goes, then, that Trump should run a version of the diplomatic play that former U.S. President Richard Nixon and National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger followed in the early 1970s when they thawed relations with Beijing to counter the Soviet Union. This time, however, Trump would partner with Russia to balance China.
The proposal entices with visions of ambitious strategic gambits across Eurasia, in Trumpian vernacular the “big league” of geopolitics. Nixon going to China was one of the most consequential diplomatic deals in U.S. history. What better way for the dealmaker in chief—especially one who regularly consults with Kissinger—to burnish his credentials than carrying out a version of it for himself? In theory, the move would adhere to traditional maxims of geopolitics: namely, the imperative to maintain the balance of power on the Eurasian continent. U.S. strategists have relied on this principle to varying degrees since at least World War II. Further, a strategy that engages with Russia to counter China might lend a degree of coherence to the Trump administration’s otherwise disjointed foreign policy.
The problem for Trump is that Sino-Russian ties have been improving more or less steadily since the waning years of the Cold War. The thaw between the two communist powers began in the early 1980s and was followed by normalized relations in May 1989. Beijing and Moscow established a “strategic partnership” in 1996 and signed a Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation in 2001. Chinese and Russian leaders now refer to the relationship as a “comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination,” a convoluted term for a not-quite alliance. Last September, Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi proclaimed that “the depth and scope of coordination between both countries are unprecedented.” Robust cooperation has accelerated since Xi Jinping became China’s top leader in 2012; he reportedly has a warm personal relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The two countries cooperate closely across a number of fields. On energy, Russia became the top oil supplier to China in 2016. Crucially for China, it transports supplies overland rather than through contested sea lanes. The nations have partnered on military exercises, including in the Mediterranean and South China Sea, as well as on some joint technology development projects. They have revived their languishing arms trade relationship. In 2015, Beijing agreed to purchase both Su-35 fighter jets and the S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile system from Moscow. The two countries have also embarked on a number of symbolic people-to-people projects, such as beginning the long-delayed construction of a bridge across the Amur River. And in June 2016, Presidents Xi and Putin agreed to work jointly to increase their control over cyberspace and communications technologies.
A shared political vision for world order provides the foundation for Chinese-Russian cooperation. It is defined primarily by the desire to see an end to U.S. primacy, to be replaced by multipolarity. Once this vision is realized, each nation would command an effective sphere of influence in Asia and eastern Europe, respectively. For now, though, China and Russia have tenser relations with the United States than at any point since the end of the Cold War. This is primarily because of maritime territorial disputes in the East and South China Seas—including over the Diaoyu/Senkaku, the Paracel, and the Spratly island chains—and the war in Ukraine, making the Sino-Russian partnership more important than ever. A recent op-ed in the Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily called that relationship “the ballast stone in maintaining world peace and stability.”
A shared political vision for world order provides the foundation for Chinese-Russian cooperation.
In the 1970s, it was deep discord in the Sino-Soviet relationship that helped convince China to align with the United States. This discord culminated in border clashes in 1969. By 1972, relations between the two communist powers had deteriorated from frosty to outright frozen. When Kissinger came calling, Beijing already saw Moscow as a bigger threat than Washington. For Russia today, the opposite is true. Moscow sees Washington as the primary adversary despite hopes that Trump will repair the relationship.
Moscow sees Washington as the primary adversary despite hopes that Trump will repair the relationship.
To be sure, there is some potential for a rupture between China and Russia. Moscow worries about a lopsided economic relationship based on trading Russian resources for Chinese finished goods. China’s growing influence in Central Asia and the sparsely populated areas of eastern Russia, Moscow’s arms sales to India and Vietnam, and China’s theft of Russian weapons designs all threaten to derail the partnership. But the United States’ ability to fuel those disputes in order to foster divisions remains limited at best. Moreover, Xi and Putin have found a modus vivendi that downplays and contains those frictions while focusing on the cooperative aspects of their relationship. When Chinese leaders talk about a “new type of great power relations” with the United States, they envision something much like the Sino-Russian relationship as a model.
In exchange for turning against China, Moscow might seek the lifting of sanctions imposed following the annexation of Crimea, an end to U.S. support for a free and independent Ukraine, and acquiescence to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. It may also demand a removal of missile defenses from Europe, the cessation of NATO expansion, or, even better from a Russian perspective, the abolition of NATO altogether. Granting Putin’s wishes on these issues would undermine the seven-decade U.S. investment in a Europe whole, free, and at peace—an investment that propelled the United States’ ascension to postwar primacy in the first place. What is more, accepting Russia’s acquisition of territory by force would undermine U.S. arguments about the prohibition of such actions under international law when Beijing asserts its expansive claims in the East and South China Seas using force.
Even if Trump convinced Putin to end Moscow’s partnership with Beijing, Russia would still have little capability to thwart China’s bad behavior in places that matter. Russia’s Pacific Fleet, although relatively sizable in number, suffers from severe shortfalls in maintenance, and many of its assets are aging. Planned additions to the fleet—including extra missile defense systems and submarines—will bolster deterrence capabilities but have limited applicability to the types of sea patrol tasks necessary to counter China’s maritime assertiveness. In theory, Moscow could help arm Asian nations to contribute to the balancing effort, but direct U.S. and other allied assistance could easily substitute for that, building relationships more advantageous to U.S. interests in the process.
Putin would also need to patch up diplomatic relations in Asia if he planned to balance against Beijing. Doing so would require a substantial diplomatic investment and, likely, Russian concessions. Putin’s ballyhooed rapprochement with Tokyo seems to have run aground despite clear eagerness on the part of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for a deal to address the dispute over the Northern Territories islands, which Russia calls the Southern Kurils, as well as a peace treaty officially concluding World War II. And Russia’s continued support of North Korea and staunch opposition to the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile defense system has made for rocky relations with Seoul. The Russian position on the South China Sea—studied aloofness while agreeing to joint naval exercises with China—means that strategic relations in Southeast Asia would also require substantial diplomatic spadework (Putin’s warm relations with President Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines notwithstanding).
A better U.S. strategy for competing effectively in the no-holds-barred contest of great power politics—including in “triangular diplomacy” with Moscow and Beijing—would focus on two lines of effort. First, the Trump administration should work with both Russia and China where possible. Those efforts should seek to forge a trilateral understanding on contentious issues affecting strategic stability, such as nuclear and missile defense issues, twenty-first-century definitions of sovereignty, and rules for armed intervention. Trilateral discussions should also build practical cooperation on areas of mutual interest, such as climate and energy, counterterrorism, and nonproliferation. Addressing frictions head-on and building habits of cooperation could mitigate strategic distrust among the three great powers by lessening the worry that two will cut deals at the expense of the other.
Second, Washington must continue to do the hard work of maintaining and building support among current U.S. allies and partners in both Europe and Asia, along with other increasingly powerful middle-tier states such as Brazil, India, and Vietnam. Such ties give the United States leverage over China and Russia, neither of which has similar worldwide networks of friendly states. The United States must assess the costs and benefits of finding and keeping friends overseas in a manner that looks beyond the narrow transactionalism Trump espoused on the campaign trail. Put simply, when considered in the context of a global competition for power and influence, a vast network of allies and partners starts to look more like an asset than a liability.
Trump seeks “good deals” with Russia. Cozying up to Putin in hopes of receiving Moscow’s help in balancing Beijing would not be one.
Source: Foreign Affairs “Russia and China’s Enduring Alliance”
Note: This is Foreign Affair’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.
In my post “Russia-China Alliance May Not Break when There Is No US Threat” on October 2, 2016, I said though the Russia-China alliance is an alliance of necessity to resist US containment of both Russia and China, even if US threat has been removed the alliance will not break as friends in need may become friends in deed.
However, we have not studied another possibility: Can US new president Trump leverage Russia against China?
In fact, before Obama began his pivot to Asia to contain China, the US has been quite successful in containing Russia with China’s assistance. China supported the UN decisions initiated by the West to contain Russia in the Middle East. It even suffered serious losses in supporting the US in conducting regime change in Libya. However, when the US began to contain China, China has to unite with Russia in resisting US containment. It greatly pleased Russia by joining Russia’s veto of UN resolution initiated by the US aimed at bringing regime change in pro-Russia Syria.
Since then, China has made great efforts to build mutual trust with Russia. As a result, the two countries have developed very close ties, difficult for Trump to break.
Perhaps, Trump knows the importance of leveraging Russia against rising China. In his election campaign, Trump often praised Russian President Putin while attacking China. It gave people the impression that Trump will improve US relations with Russia when he has won the election and become US president. That idea is quite unpopular among lots of American people. For example Trump’s Defense Secretary James Mattis regards Russia as the biggest threat.
However, some people believe that Trump is not so stupid as to regard Russia as a friend instead of an enemy. Perhaps Trump regards China as the biggest threat and wants to use Russia in countering China.
That will be the reverse of Henry Kissinger’s move in improving US relations with China to counter the Soviet Union.
It is perhaps a wise move to contain China, but is it possible for Trump to do so, given US domestic disgust of Putin? Can Trump overcome fierce opposition from US politicians and media, especially the opposition from his own Republican Party?
Given the traditional enmity between the two giant neighbors, it would have been possible for the US to leverage Russia against China if Obama had not committed the mistake of containing them both simultaneously and thus turned them into allies instead of enemies.
The Russia-China alliance is indeed a “marriage of convenience”, but we shall not forget that a marriage of convenience, though not sound as a marriage based on mutual affection, may have some firm basis for the marriage, which usually are mutual interests.
When the two countries become closer, they find that they economies supplement each other very favorably. Russia is a major exporter of energy and other natural resources that China has a thirst for while China is Russia’s major source of cheap consumer goods. The United States cannot replace China as Russia’s resources importer and consumer goods provider. On the contrary, the US is Russia’s competitor in world energy market as it is becoming a major energy exporter too due to progress of technology in energy exploitation.
In addition, the US is Russia’s major competitor in world weapon market. China may become Russia’s major competitor too as it is vigorously developing advanced weapons. However, China and Russia may cooperate in developing advanced weapons due to the mutual trust they have built for a long time. For example, they now have joint ventures in developing wide-body airliners (the technology of which may be used in large military transport aircraft) and heavy helicopters to combine their technology expertise to compete with the West.
The US and Russia however have developed their deep hostility for decades since the beginning of the Cold War. They are simply unable to overcome the hostility within a short period of time. Therefore, it is impossible for the US and Russia to conduct such cooperation in weapon development. Russia and China may together become America’s fearful competitor in world market.
There is, moreover, the mutually beneficial cooperation due to their close geographical locations that the US cannot replace China. China is now using Russia’s railway for its trade with Europe and Middle East. As the Arctic is melting, China may have a shipping route through the Arctic that is much shorter than that through the Indian Ocean. Russia will provide port facilities for supplies and maintenance to facilitate the shipping and air protection to prevent China’s that trade lifeline from being cut by US navy while China may provide funds and labor for the construction of such facilities.
China is certainly willing to pay for the use of the railway and port facilities to benefit Russia. In addition, the route will also be very useful for Russia’s export of oil and LPG extracted in Siberia. Japan and South Korea will be major importer of Russian oil and LPG.
Article by Chan Kai Yee