WASHINGTON — A $1.6 billion defensive ring around Guam. Millions in new military funding for partner nations. A billion dollars for increased stockpiles of long-range weapons.
These are just some of the investments on a $20 billion wish list quietly submitted to Congress in recent weeks by U.S. Indo-Pacific Command head Adm. Phil Davidson and obtained by Defense News. The wish list was specifically requested by members of Congress who are eyeing it as the basis for a new Pacific-focused pot of money to deter Chinese military action in the region.
In the fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, Congress inserted language in Section 1253 requiring INDOPACOM to deliver by mid-March of this year a report detailing what the combatant command needs to fulfill the National Defense Strategy and maintain an edge over China.
The report included questions of force structure, security cooperation in the region and required infrastructure investments. Notably, that report was to come directly from Davidson and not through the Department of Defense — specifically to get a more unvarnished view of what the commander would like to have.
The report serves as the rollout of a new strategy, which Davidson appears to have branded as “Regain the Advantage.”
“Regain the Advantage is designed to persuade potential adversaries that any preemptive military action will be extremely costly and likely fail by projecting credible combat power at the time of crisis, and provides the President and Secretary of Defense with several flexible deterrent options to include full OPLAN [operation plan] execution, if it becomes necessary,” Davidson wrote.
But regaining that advantage won’t come cheap: The report comes with a request for $1.6 billion in additional funding suggestions for FY21 above what the Pentagon put in its February budget request, followed by a request for $18.46 billion from FY22-FY26 — a total that exceeds $20 billion in additional funds for the region, spread over a six-year period.
“This investment plan represents less than 1% of the DoD’s total obligation authority over the FYDP and provides the necessary resources to implement a strategy of deterrence by 2026,” Davidson stated in the unclassified executive summary.
A new Pacific fund
The report could provide a basis for the idea of a Pacific version of the European Deterrence Initiative, a special DoD fund for projects focused on deterring Russia from aggression in Europe. A Pacific Deterrence Initiative, or PDI, would be focused on dealing with China in the INDOPACOM region.
It’s an idea that has been circulating for several years but has steadily increased in popularity among congressional defense hawks. (Of note, Davidson directly compares the “Regain the Advantage” plan with the costs of the European Deterrence Initiative, or EDI, for which the Pentagon requested $4.5 billion in FY21.)
In a recent op-ed, Randall Schriver, who served as the Pentagon’s top Pacific policy official from 2018-2019, and Eric Sayers, who most recently served as special assistant to the commander of INDOPACOM, made a case for the PDI. They said it’s not just a budget exercise, but is “a broader strategic opportunity to message the U.S. commitment to the region.”
“An alignment of the Pentagon and Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill around this effort would be a real opportunity to begin to do in Asia what has already occurred in Europe in the last seven years,” they wrote. “The message the European Deterrence Initiative has sent NATO and Russia should be the same signal we want to send our Asian allies and partners as well as those in Beijing who have grown confident of their military capabilities.”
Speaking to Defense News, Sayers pushed hard on the idea that the 2153 report should provide the basis for what a PDI, starting in FY22, should look like. “Not every item in this package should be considered the answer, but it’s going to start a conversation that is long overdue,” Sayers said.
Right now, the plan to at least create a PDI appears to have important backing.
In a March 24 letter to Davidson, Rep. Adam Smith, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, stated that he intends “to identify funding for an Indo-Pacific Reassurance Initiative in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021.” (The EDI was initially branded the European Reassurance Initiative under the Obama administration.)
In addition, HASC ranking member Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Tx., is “very interested in the idea” of an EDI-like fund for the Indo-Pacific region, according to a Congressional source.
Sen. Josh Hawley, R-MO., a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has also been a vocal backer of the PDI idea, tweeting earlier this month that “The time for a Pacific Deterrence Initiative has come.”
“The 1253 report tells us exactly what we must do to maintain conventional deterrence against China. The Department has dragged its feet on these investments for too long,” Hawley told Defense News in a statement. “It is time to establish a Pacific Deterrence Initiative so we can ensure our forces have what they need to deter Chinese aggression and maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
“Congress is fired up on this, on both sides of the aisle. They have heard INDOPACOM is a priority for years now, but the Pentagon continues to fall short on providing any real answers,” Sayers said. “Section 1253 was an expression of bipartisan frustration with the Pentagon and an effort to bypass the system to ask INDOPACOM directly what they think they need.”
EDI money is a portion of a special Pentagon account known as overseas contingency operations, which is used in the event of war. However, money from the OCO account is allocated to the services to use individually. In the case of EDI, much of the money has been tagged to the Army; with a PDI, it is possible those dollars would be more focused on Navy and Air Force needs.
Arming Guam, building relationships
The funding identified by Davidson is broken into five broad categories:
Joint force lethality;
Force design and posture;
Strengthen allies and partners;
Exercises, experimentation and innovation; and
Logistics and security enablers.
“Ultimately, the steps we take must convince our adversaries they simply cannot achieve their objectives with force,” Davidson wrote.
“This requires fielding an integrated Joint Force with precision-strike networks, particularly land-based anti-ship and anti-air capabilities along the First Island Chain; integrated air missile defense in the Second Island Chain; and an enhanced force posture that provides for dispersal, the ability to preserve regional stability, and if needed sustain combat operations,” he added.
Joint force lethality ($5.85 billion): Included in this section is what Davidson calls “my number one unfunded priority” — a 360-degree persistent and integrated air defense capability in Guam, with a $1.67 billion cost over six years.
“America’s day begins in Guam and is not only a location we must fight from, but we must also fight for — given future threats,” Davidson wrote.
Guam aside, the section includes integration of long-range precision fires such as the Navy’s Maritime Strike Tomahawk and the Air Force’s JASSM-ER weapon ($1 billion over six years); a high-frequency radar system based in Palau to detect air and surface targets ($185 million); a homeland defense radar in Hawaii to detect ballistic, cruise and hypersonic threats ($1 billion); and a space-based persistent radar system for tracking global threats ($1.9 billion).
The latter appears to be aligned with efforts already underway inside the Pentagon, such as the large constellation of systems pursued by the Space Development Agency.
The combatant command “requires highly survivable, precision-strike networks along the First Island Chain, featuring increased quantities of allied ground-based weapons,” Davidson wrote. “These networks are operationally decentralized and geographically dispersed along the archipelagos of the Western Pacific to deter and defend, by reversing any anti-access and aerial-denial (A2/AD) capabilities intended to limit U.S. freedom of action or access to vital waterways and airspace.”
Force design and posture ($5.85 billion): This section focuses on the infrastructure investments needed to spread the U.S. military around the region, breaking the longstanding network of large, centralized bases now seen as easy targets for China’s long-distance capabilities.
“It is not strategically prudent, nor operationally viable to physically concentrate on large, close-in bases that are highly vulnerable to a potential adversary’s strike capability,” Davidson wrote. “Forward-based, rotational joint forces are the most credible way to demonstrate U.S. commitment and resolve to potential adversaries, while simultaneously assuring allies and partners.”
In the unclassified summary, details are scarce, but funding primarily focuses on dispersal and pre-positioning facilities.
Strengthen allies and partners ($384 million): Spend any time at an event about INDOPACOM and it won’t take long for someone to point out that America’s longstanding advantage in the Pacific relies on a bedrock of alliances and partnerships in the region.
“Relationships represent important components of U.S. national power beyond our nation’s economic and military strength,” Davidson wrote. “Throughout the region, discussions with foreign national leaders always lead back to the role U.S. values play in shaping global behavior. This is evident based on the network of alliances and partnerships built across the Indo-Pacific over the last 75 years.”
There are two focus areas in this section: setting up a Mission Partner Environment, which uses “cloud-based technologies, integrated systems, and secure access controls to provide assured command, control, and communications (C3),” and the creation of three fusion centers to work with allies on specific tasks, including a counterterrorism cell already in the works with Singapore and others.
Service members from Japan, South Korea, Indonesia and Malaysia participate in the opening ceremony of the military exercise Cobra Gold in Phitsanulok, Thailand, on Feb. 25, 2020. (MC1 Julio Rivera/U.S. Navy)
Exercises, experimentation and innovation ($2.87 billion): Essentially a pot of money to carry out major exercises across INDOPACOM and beyond, this category includes the use of test ranges in Alaska, Hawaii and California, among others.
“U.S. forces must be capable of fighting in highly contested environments against technologically advanced opponents, while also minimizing detection across domains,” Davidson wrote. “The Joint Force lacks the capacity to integrate service recommended weapons and capabilities into a warfighting concept that deters the adversary and puts us in a position to win. This challenge can only be met by conducting a series of high-end, multi-domain exercises with a continuous campaign of joint experimentation.”
Logistics and security enablers ($5.11 billion): This broad category captures everything else the command might need. Included here are logistic needs for “dispersal locations, airfield battle-damage, repair capabilities, and infrastructure for C4I, munitions generation, mobility processing, and fuel storage.”
It also includes a call to fully fund security cooperation requests under the Maritime Security Initiative, an effort launched in 2015. Fully funding those requests, Davidson claimed in his report, would “result in a 32 percent increase in theater security cooperation, forming the backbone of the ability to engage, posture, and develop partner nations.”
The document also asks that Joint Interagency Task Force West not be shut down, as it was scheduled to be in FY23. Davidson wrote that it provides access to countries without strong naval militaries.
Finally, the document requests a “restart of various counter-propaganda tools designed to target malign influence” to counter information operations in the region targeting the U.S. and its partners.
Joe Gould in Washington contributed to this report.
Source: Defense News “Inside US Indo-Pacific Command’s $20 billion wish list to deter China — and why Congress may approve it”
Note: This is Defense News’ article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.
SINGAPORE/BEIJING (Reuters) – Diplomats returning from overseas postings don’t usually receive special attention at China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a vast government bureaucracy with thousands of staff.
But when Zhao Lijian, a diplomat known for his pugnacious social media presence, finished a posting in Pakistan in August, he received an enthusiastic welcome in Beijing. A group of young admirers at the ministry gathered at his office to cheer his return, according to two people familiar with the matter.
That admiration was fueled in part by a Twitter spat he had engaged in a month earlier with Susan Rice, the national security adviser to former U.S. President Barack Obama. Each accused the other of being “ignorant” and a “disgrace”.
Now a foreign ministry spokesman, Zhao has come to represent a new generation of diplomatic hawks in China, challenging the restraint that long characterized the country’s engagement with the world, according to a dozen current and former ministry officials and government researchers who spoke with Reuters.
Their emergence has caused a rift with the old foreign policy establishment, amid worries that increasingly assertive rhetoric could put the country on a dangerous collision course with powers like the United States, they said.
The shift followed instructions that President Xi Jinping issued diplomats in a memo last year, calling on them to show more “fighting spirit”, said two people with direct knowledge of the matter.
“This is the first time since 1949 that the ‘new hawks’ have the power to reshape China’s diplomatic policy,” said Qin Xiaoying, who was a director of the ruling Communist Party’s international propaganda department and is now a researcher with the China Foundation for International and Strategic Studies in Beijing.
Driving the shift is the widespread feeling among many Chinese that the United States wants to contain China’s rise. Aggressive pushback by diplomats on issues that provoke nationalistic sentiment, like the protests in Hong Kong or the coronavirus outbreak, has proven popular domestically.
Most people who spoke with Reuters for this article declined to be named given the sensitivity of the matter.
In response to a request for comment by Reuters, the ministry said Chinese diplomats from all age groups are determined to “resolutely safeguard” national sovereignty and security.
“We will not attack unless we are attacked,” the ministry said, citing a slogan from founding leader Mao Zedong. “But if we are attacked, we will certainly counterattack.”
Zhao, 47, did not respond to requests for comment.
A spokeswoman for Rice, the former U.S. national security adviser, said she would not be available for comment. The U.S. State Department did not respond to a request for comment from Reuters.
Xi gave his instructions about adopting a tougher stance in the face of international challenges, like deteriorating relations with the United States, in a handwritten message to diplomats last year, two people with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi gave the same message to officials attending the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the ministry’s founding, Reuters reported in December.
Over the past year, more than 60 Chinese diplomats and diplomatic missions set up Twitter or Facebook accounts, by Reuters’ count, even though both platforms are banned in China, often using them to attack Beijing’s critics around the world.
Zhao this month promoted a conspiracy theory on his personal Twitter account that the U.S. military brought the coronavirus to the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the outbreak began late last year.
U.S. President Donald Trump escalated the spat, infuriating Beijing by repeatedly citing the “Chinese virus”.
The new Chinese assertiveness is a response in part to Washington’s more confrontational stance towards China under Trump, according to Chinese diplomats.
“Why can the Americans criticize us constantly, and we can’t scold the U.S.? Nobody likes to be educated all the time,” said a diplomat who helped one embassy set up its Twitter account.
Among China’s new Twitter warriors is Zhao’s boss, Hua Chunying, who became the ministry’s top spokeswoman last year and began tweeting last month. A rising star, Hua spent several weeks last year at the Central Party School, which trains officials destined for promotion.
The Twitter aggression is aimed not only at Washington.
In Brazil, Chinese Ambassador Yang Wanming shared a tweet, later deleted, calling the family of President Jair Bolsonaro “poison” after his son blamed the “Chinese dictatorship” for the coronavirus pandemic.
China’s embassy in Peru blasted Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa for “irresponsible” comments after the 83-year-old said the virus had “originated in China”.
And the Chinese Embassy in Singapore went after a former Singaporean diplomat, Bilahari Kausikan, after he linked the virus outbreak and China’s political system. The article was “smearing China’s political system and the leadership system,” it said.
“These diplomats are not engaging the world with diplomatic language, but they are trying to please the domestic audience,” said Qin. “This is not diplomacy. This is very dangerous.”
Many young diplomats have pushed the Chinese government to take a harder line when dealing with the United States, according to diplomats. This month, the foreign ministry made an unprecedented move by expelling about a dozen American journalists at U.S. newspapers.
WORDS OF CAUTION
Some more traditional diplomats have sought to distance themselves from the new tactics, wary of putting China on a collision course with the United States.
Cui Tiankai, a ministry spokesman in the 1990s and now ambassador to Washington, said in a recent interview with Axios on HBO that it would be “crazy” to spread theories about a possible U.S. origin for the virus.
“There is definitely a generational divide,” said Douglas H. Paal, who served on the National Security Council under U.S. Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. Cui “was and is in the tradition of ‘just the facts’.”
Some retired diplomats and researchers at state think tanks, wary of provoking anti-China sentiment globally, have been writing cautionary internal reports, the researchers said.
Some cite the pragmatism of Communist China’s first foreign minister, Zhou Enlai, who sought to make as many friends as possible for the country and avoid making enemies.
Zhou’s spirit of diplomacy was largely adopted by the later reform leader Deng Xiaoping, whose policy of “biding our time and nurturing our strength” enabled China to keep a low profile internationally while focusing on economic growth.
“The young diplomats are taking control of strategy and want it to be more pugnacious to win domestic public opinion,” said a veteran government researcher who wrote one of the reports.
The younger generation only know a rising China, and think this is a law of nature, said Kausikan, the retired permanent secretary of Singapore’s Foreign Ministry.
“It sometimes seems as if this new generation feels obliged to have a public quarrel to prove their patriotism.”
Reporting by Keith Zhai and Yew Lun Tian; Editing by Tony Munroe and Philip McClellan
Source: Reuters “In China, a young diplomat rises as aggressive foreign policy takes root”
Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
It seems that Huawei is changing its strategy toward the US Ban and the relation with Google, previously there was talk about how nice the in-house AppGallery is and confirming that they will rely on Huawei mobile services even if the ban is lifted. Well, now the Chinese manufacturer now plans to continue working with Google again.
Huawei wants to get Google services back on its phones, says CEO
In an interview with Wired, the head of the private customer division, Richard Yu, spoke about Huawei’s future plans. According to Yu, they hope that they can start working with Google again – despite their own AppGallery, they are open to it. This is also in the interest of Google and other US companies and developers, which have made a lot of money thanks to Huawei. They would like Huawei devices to use the Play Store again.
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With regard to the AppGallery, the Huawei manager admits that there are developments but there still has gaps. It would take a year or two to enhance what it offer. They also had to struggle with restrictions in the smart home sector, which is why they are currently adhering to their own open standard (HiLink) and have not joined the smart home alliance of Apple, Amazon, Google and Zigbee. In addition, they think their own standard is superior.
Relatively interesting: Yu was asked how long smartphone cameras would be at the forefront of the innovation. The Huawei manager estimates that this could continue for a year or two. This advancement of camera development in the mobile segment swallows up enormous amounts and also drives up material costs. Yu believes that longer runtimes, larger screens and eye protection are becoming increasingly important.
Read Also: Hacker steals the GPU code of Xbox Series X and asks $100 million for it
When asked about foldables and a possible drop in prices, Yu says he estimates that foldable prices will reach the same level as the flagship phones in a year and a half. Huawei is currently not making a profit even with the high selling prices of the Mate Xs.
Source: gizchina.com “Huawei wants to get Google services back on its phones, says CEO”
Note: This is gizchina.com’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As U.S. spy agencies seek to assemble a precise picture of the world’s coronavirus outbreaks, they are finding serious gaps in their ability to assess the situation in China, Russia and North Korea, according to five U.S. government sources familiar with the intelligence reporting.
Colorized scanning electron micrograph of an apoptotic cell (blue) infected with SARS-COV-2 virus particles (red), also known as novel coronavirus, isolated from a patient sample. Image captured at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Maryland. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH/Handout via REUTERS
The agencies also have limited insight into the full impact of the pandemic in Iran, although information on infections and deaths among the ruling class and public is becoming more available on official and social media, two sources said.
The four countries are known by U.S. spy agencies as “hard targets” because of the heavy state controls on information and the difficulty, even in normal times, of collecting intelligence from within their closed leadership circles.
An accurate assessment of those countries’ outbreaks would aid U.S. and international efforts to limit the human and economic tolls from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, experts say.
The agencies are not just looking for accurate numbers, but also for any signs of the political ramifications of how the crisis is being handled.
“We want to have as close an accurate, real-time understanding of where the global hotspots are and where they are evolving,” said Jeremy Konyndyk, an expert at the Center for Global Development thinktank, who led the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance from 2013 to 2017, including the U.S. response to the Ebola outbreak. “The world is not going to get rid of this thing until we get rid of it everywhere.”
U.S. intelligence agencies first began reporting on the coronavirus in January and provided early warnings to lawmakers on the outbreak in China, where it originated in the city of Wuhan late last year, said the sources, who asked not to be named in order to speak freely about intelligence matters.
The pandemic has grown to nearly 740,000 cases in some 200 countries and territories, Reuters figures show, with the United States now reporting the most cases at more than 152,000.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which oversees the 17 U.S. intelligence agencies, declined to comment.
NOT ONE CASE
North Korea claims to have not had a single case even though it borders China, but has asked international aid agencies for supplies like masks and testing kits.
One U.S. source said, “we don’t know” anything about the scale of the problem in the hermetic country.
“It’s a nuclear-armed country where things that could destabilize the government would be of great interest to the United States,” said Konyndyk, who also led the U.S. response to the humanitarian crisis in Syria.
Russian authorities are considering a nationwide lockdown after recording the biggest one-day rise in coronavirus cases for the sixth day in a row, for a total of 1,836 cases and nine deaths.
Knowing the full extent of Russia’s coronavirus spread could be critical as it shares borders with 14 other countries and is a hub of trade and travel.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo alluded last week to the dearth of accurate information on Russia and Iran, and accused China of a disinformation campaign, which Beijing denies.
China, which has reported more than 81,000 cases and more than 3,300 deaths, says no new cases are originating at home. It remains wary of travelers returning from abroad.
The U.S. view of the Chinese claim of no new domestic cases is that “some of it may be true,” according to one source. U.S. agencies remain skeptical that the Chinese have the virus under control, the source said.
Konyndyk said while Beijing concealed the severity of the initial outbreak, it does not appear to be doctoring numbers now, however.
China “seems to be the most successful country in terms of taking very large-scale growth and rapidly extinguishing it,” he said. “If their case numbers are real, it’s really important to understand their approach and adapt it.”
Editing by Mary Milliken and Sonya Hepinstall
Source: Reuters “U.S. spies find coronavirus spread in China, North Korea, Russia hard to chart”
Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
Key point: Still, it’s hard to argue with Drozdenko’s observations that war and technology are not the same.
Surprise! America’s F-35 stealth fighter is too complicated and expensive, claims a Russian military expert interviewed by Russian media.
Hard to believe, isn’t it? Yet while the Sputnik News interview might be dismissed as tendentious at best and propaganda at worst, it perfectly illustrates how Russia and the West view weapons technology.
“The F-35 is a very complex system and, as such, it has lots of holes, bugs and other things, and it is very difficult to debug it,” Dmitry Drozdenko told Sputnik News. “Like other problems, all this is because it is an excessively high-tech aircraft.”
Sound familiar? Russia would have made the same argument in 1943, when hordes of uncomplicated T-34 tanks faced formidable but heavily engineered and expensive German Tiger and Panther tanks. Or the American M-16 versus the AK-47, or the F-4 Phantom versus the MiG-21.
Americans are horrified when their soldiers don’t receive the most cutting-edge equipment. Russia is willing to sacrifice sophistication for simplicity.
Drozdenko also declared to Sputnik News that “unlike us, the Americans rely too much on stealth. However, radar technology is developing fast and invisibility is no longer a sure-fire guarantor of air supremacy.”
“Dogfights haven’t gone anywhere,” he added. “They will fire from a distance the first day, but a couple of days later, we’ll be flying like we always did before.”
Note the words “flying like we always did before.” As far back as the 1950s, the U.S. thought the future of air combat would be aircraft engaging each other with missiles at long range (which proved a fallacy in the skies over North Vietnam). The whole concept of the stealth F-35 and F-22 is that they can blast a MiG out of the sky without the MiG knowing it’s there. But to Russia, the good ol’ days of close-range aerial knife fights aren’t over.
Drozdenko does make a point about the F-35 that would have many Americans nodding in agreement. “The Americans tolerate this plane because it’s a very big and expensive business with contracts running into trillions of dollars. While they keep making the F-35s, the Americans are modernizing their fourth-generation-plus F-18s and F-15s trying to bring them up to par with Russia’s Su-35,” he noted.
What’s important here isn’t the mudslinging about who has better weapons, or the merits and demerits of the F-35. As Drozdenko points out, technological advances like stealth are transitory.
It’s the rival conceptions of military technology, and by extension how to wage war. These are concepts rooted in history and circumstances. America’s wars over the last century have all been fought overseas, where the U.S. could tap its industrial and technological resources to field expeditionary forces plentifully supplied with advanced equipment. For Russia, the last century was marked by two immense invasions by the Germans, as well as huge land battles against the Japanese, the Poles and even other Russians during the Russian Civil War. Conflicts fought on underdeveloped, rugged or frozen battlefields are harsh on equipment.
Of course, these images are partly stereotypes. Russia is indeed capable of making advanced weapons such as hypersonic missiles. And while simplicity is a virtue, it has its drawbacks, such as Russian jet engines that wear out too quickly. American weapons may be costlier and fancier than they need to be, but they can be quite effective if used by nations that know to operate and maintain them, as the Israelis have demonstrated time and again.
Still, it’s hard to argue with Drozdenko’s observations that war and technology are not the same. “Imagine a BMW and a Russian Niva on a bumpy road somewhere deep in Russia,” Drozdenko says. “Which of the two will wear out? Technology is technology, but war is war.”
Michael Peck is a contributing writer for the National Interest. He can be found on Twitter and Facebook. This first appeared in August 2018.
Source: National Interest “Russia Is Betting That America’s F-35 Is Too Complex To Be Useful”
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.
Huawei drove into its post-Google era Thursday with a flagship smartphone that uses none of the Android maker’s apps now that the Chinese group has been blacklisted by US authorities.
The new P40 might not be the first Google-free phone launched by Huawei, it is the first top-line phone meant to seduce early adopters and show off its technological prowess.
The United States has expressed concern that Huawei mobile phone network equipment could contain security loopholes that allow China to spy on global communications traffic, and while the company has denied the accusation, it has been effectively barred from working with US companies.
For smartphones, that means Huawei has had to forgo Google’s Android operating system and the plethora of apps available to run on it.
Huawei, which was the world’s second largest smartphone-maker last year behind Samsung with a 17 percent market share, now faces the challenge of creating an alternative that is sufficiently attractive to lure both app developers and consumers.
According to the presentation broadcast on YouTube, the P40 smartphones sold in France, Germany, and Italy will use a European search engine called Qwant instead of Google.
Huawei is progressively eliminating Google software from its phones after having shipped its first Google-free model last year, but it has not given a date when it expects to complete the switch.
The P40 will be available from April 7 at a price ranging from 799 to 1,399 euros (US$880-1,540), depending on the specifications.
Source: The Jakarta Post “Huawei flagship phone goes Google-free”
Note: This is The Jakarta Post’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
China has deployed a fleet of underwater drones in the Indian Ocean. According to Chinese government sources, the drones were launched in mid-December 2019 and recovered in February after making more than 3,400 observations. These Sea Wing gliders are a type of Uncrewed Underwater Vehicle (UUV) which can operate for months on end.
The gliders are similar to ones deployed by the U.S. Navy. When China seized a U.S. Navy ocean glider in 2016 the stated reason was to ensure “safe navigation of passing ships.” Taken at face value, it may be surprising that China is now deploying these types of UUV en masse in the Indian Ocean. China has also deployed the Sea Wing from an ice breaker in the Arctic.
Reports from December 2019 suggested that 14 would be employed in the Indian Ocean mission. But newer reports suggest that only 12 were used. Possibly there were technical issues with the other two. They were launched by the specialist survey ship Xiangyanghong 06 which has since returned to Rizhou in China. The mission was the winter survey for the Joint Ocean and Ecology Research Project run by the Ministry of Natural Resources.
The Sea Wing (Haiyi) bear a striking resemblance to the Littoral Battlespace Sensing-Glider (LBS-G) used by the U.S. Navy. On December 15, 2016, China obtained a U.S. Navy LBS-G in international waters in the South China Sea. The glider was in the process of being recovered by USNS Bowditch when a small boat from a Chinese vessel which had been shadowing the Navy vessel plucked it from the water. After a diplomatic spat the glider was returned to a U.S. Navy warship.
The Sea Wing isn’t a case of reverse engineering however. It was reported in Chinese sources in September 2016, months before the U.S. Navy incident. But the American type is a clear influence and they are generally equivalent.
These gliders are unpowered. Instead they employ variable-buoyancy propulsion which makes them sink and then rise to the surface again. This is done by inflating and deflating a balloon-like device filled with pressurized oil. At the same time they have large wings so they can glide forward as they go. This allows them to run for extremely long periods of time, travelling vast distances. They are not fast or agile however, so a generally employed for long range missions where they can be left alone until they need to be picked up.
The Chinese gliders were reportedly gathering oceanography data. Sensors measured seawater temperature, salinity, turbidity, chlorophyll and oxygen levels. This information was transmitted back to the mother ship via the aerial in the tail. Although the aerial points directly backwards, it swings up above the surface as the glider noses down for another dive.
This is the sort of information which sounds innocuous but is commonly gathered for naval intelligence purposes. In particular it is relevant to submarine warfare. For example salinity levels can affect the distance that a submarine can be heard from. And it may be possible to detect submarines if they disturb chlorophyll.
For its part, China continues to report finding foreign UUVs off its coast. If Chinese fishing vessel catches a glider they are to hand it over to the government. Presumably the same fate did not befall any of the Chinese gliders.
Source: Forbes “China Deployed 12 Underwater Drones In Indian Ocean”
Note: This is Forbes’ article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.