China claims major boost in defence electronics capability


Jon Grevatt – IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly

21 November 2017

China’s industrial base now manufactures more than 85% of the key electronic components integrated onto Chinese military platforms, a senior government official in Beijing has claimed.

Diao Shijing, director of information technology at the Chinese government’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), said in comments to the China Daily newspaper on 21 November that the new statistic means China is “closing the gap” with the United States.

According to the China Daily report, Diao said that over the past decade the technological gap between China and the United States has shortened from 15 years to 5 years. Over the same period, the ratio of indigenously produced electronic components in Chinese military platforms has increased from 30% to 85%, he said.

Source: IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly “China claims major boost in defence electronics capability”

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

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US Indo-Pacific Quad Facilitates China’s Belt and Road


Obama’s pivot to Asia aimed at containing China but had the side effect of containing Russia. Before the pivot, the US had already been making hard efforts to reduce Russia’s influence in Eastern Europe and the Middle East; therefore, even though it was very clear that Obama was containing China especially creating trouble for China in the South China Sea, Russia felt threatened.

Seeing Russia’s predicament, China realized that due to the change in situation, it was possible for China to seek alliance with its long-term enemy Russia.

Now, China and Russia are de facto allies. Russia is now providing China with advanced weapons and cooperating with China in developing large airliners and heavy helicopters

Obama’s pivot has been a failure so that Trump has scrapped it, especially TPP the economic part of it.

Now, the US is wise in having quad to control both the Indian and Pacific Oceans. However, China sees the threat to its trade lifelines through the Oceans earlier and began earlier its Belt and Road initiative to establish alternative connections to Europe, the Middle East and further to Africa other than the connections through the Indian Ocean that may easily be cut by powerful US navy. For such connections, Russia, Central Asia and especially Pakistan are vital.

However, India as a key part of quad has long been Russia’s friend and major market of Russia’s export of weapons. According to mil.huanqiu.com’s report “Russia has been thoroughly kicked away? India’s new aircraft carrier will perhaps use F-18 carrier-based fighter jets”, as the US has promised India to help it develop aircraft carriers with better US technology, it is quite natural India will use US made carrier-based fighter jets.

However, Russia has developed and made 45 Mig-29K worth $2.2 billion specially for India’s new aircraft carrier. India’s participation in US quad will cause Russia to lose its major weapon market to the US. It will push Russia further closer to China and remove all possible obstacles to Belt and Road in Central Asia.

Central Asia countries were previously parts of the Soviet Union. Russia wants to establish an Eurasia Union to keep them as its satellite states or at least in Russia’s sphere of influence. China’s Belt and Road projects in Central Asia may very likely replace Russia’ influence with China’s. China needs to make great efforts to convince Russia that the projects are but economic with no political effect. However, it is impossible to separate economics from politics.

China and Russia has had an agreement to find a way accommodate Belt and Road with Eurasia Union without much progress. Fortunately, the US comes to their assistance. It resumes the quad of US, India, Japan and Australia with the obvious intention to contain China. US Secretary of State made that very clear in his speech at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies on October 18. In spite of that, Russia has been upset in losing India, its major weapon buyer.

Moreover, US arming India gravely scares Pakistan and thus further strengthened Pakistan’s iron brotherhood with China. As a result, the US has made it much easier for the two iron brothers to overcome their disagreements to China’s vital project of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on mil.huanqiu.com’s report “Russia has been thoroughly kicked away? India’s new aircraft carrier will perhaps use F-18 carrier-based fighter jets”, full text of which in Chinese can be viewed at http://mil.huanqiu.com/world/2017-11/11388949.html.


China’s Belt and Road Remains Successful despite Some Disagreements


SubChina says in its report “China and Pakistan negotiate Belt and Road disagreements” yesterday that according to Pakistan’s Power Secretary Younus Naseem Khokar, ongoing energy projects accounting for 72 percent of China’s $50 billion-plus investment package in the country have been making “very smooth” progress.

The scrapping of the previously-agreed hydroelectric power project is regarded as a great setback of China’s Belt and Road initiative, but SubChina says in its report, “The bottom line: Pakistan remains optimistic on China’s Belt and Road projects in the country, striking a contrast with how this investment is perceived in media outside of Pakistan.”

It mentions the agreement among relevant parties on the commencement of the first phase of a special economic zones (SEZ) in Pakistan for the petrochemical, steel, textile, leather processing, and machinery industries.

The report says that Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Interior and Planning, Development and Reforms, Ahsan Iqbal, is confident that the SEZs and other projects would ensure transfer of technology, knowledge and skills to Pakistan.

The energy projects and the SEZs are the major parts of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) linking China with the Middle East, especially Iran.

The US is restoring the quad of US, India, Japan and Australia to contain China in Indo-Pacific, but by winning over India, the US has pushed Russia and Pakistan closer to China as I will elaborate in my next post.

What about the quad of China, Russia, Iran and Pakistan that US quad is forcing those four to form?

The Indian Ocean seems vital to China’s trade with the Middle East, Europe and Africa so that the US forms the quad to be able to cut China’s trade lifelines through the ocean. However, with the CPEC, China has an important alternative land route through Pakistan without going through the Indian Ocean.

In addition, do not forget that as the Arctic Ocean is melting due to global warming, China will soon have a shortcut to Europe through the Arctic Ocean completely under Russian control.

Obviously, US new Indo-Pacific strategy cannot contain China. On the contrary, it helps China overcome Russia’s opposition to its projects in Central Asia and strengthen the iron brotherhood between Pakistan and China to ensure the success of CPEC.

If the US really wants to contain China, it has to win over Russia and Pakistan instead of India. Trump tried to have détente with Russia quite early, but he has been opposed by US Congress and media.

Pakistan was for quite a long time US ally, but the US has never respected it as perhaps the US regards itself as the rider and its allies as horses. Now, Pakistan and the Philippines have refused to be America’s horses. Will India become America’s horse?

I believe that Indian Prime Minister Modi, a very shrewd politician, will not pull chestnuts out of the fire for the US.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SubChina’s report, full text of which can be viewed at http://supchina.com/2017/11/21/china-pakistan-negotiate-belt-road-disagreements/


Report: China’s Advanced Weaponry Threatens U.S. Military


Beijing pursuing ‘leap ahead’ high tech arms strategy

By Bill Gertz

November 17, 2017 5:00 am

China is developing an array of advanced, high technology weapons designed to defeat the United States in a future conflict, according to a congressional commission report.

“China is pursuing a range of advanced weapons with disruptive military potential,” says the annual report of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

The report outlines six types of advanced arms programs that Beijing has made a priority development in seeking “dominance” in the high-tech weapons area. They include maneuverable missile warheads, hypersonic weapons, laser and beam weapons, electromagnetic railguns, counterspace weapons, and artificial intelligence-directed robots.

China revealed two anti-ship ballistic missiles with maneuverable reentry vehicles in 2010 and 2015 and also has set up the sensors and satellites needed for striking moving targets at sea—weapons designed for use against U.S. aircraft carriers and other warships.

Beijing’s hypersonic missiles are in the developmental stage but are “progressing rapidly,” with seven hypersonic glide vehicle tests since 2014 and one reported scramjet engine flight test in 2015.

Directed energy weapons include work on a high-power microwave anti-missile systems this year and high-energy chemical lasers that can blind or damage satellites.

China also is developing electromagnetic rail guns capable of firing projectiles that use kinetic instead of explosive means to destroy targets.

China’s space weapons include direct-ascent antisatellite missiles, ground-based directed energy weapons, and rendezvous and proximity operations for destroying or grabbing satellites.

Artificial-intelligence weapons include robotic, self-thinking cruise missiles, autonomous vehicles, and swarms of drones.

Technology advances supporting the weapons include semiconductors, supercomputing, industrial robotics, and quantum information science.

The threats to the United States from the arms include potential attacks against ships at sea, hypersonic missiles to penetrate missile defenses, targeting U.S. forces with railguns, and space arms that could block U.S. military operations in a future conflict.

China also could use unmanned artificial intelligence weapons in large numbers to saturate U.S. air defenses using swarm technologies.

“Given Beijing’s commitment to its current trajectory, and the lack of fundamental barriers to advanced weapons development beyond time and funding, the United States cannot assume it will have an enduring advantage in developing next frontier military technology,” the report concluded. “In addition, current technological trends render the preservation of any advantage even more difficult.”

Once characterized by decades-long development, China is moving rapidly in the area of specialized weapons in ways designed not for military parity with the United States but military supremacy.

Advanced weapons work today appears aimed at “moving from a phase of ‘catching-up’ to pursuing ‘leap-ahead’ technologies,” the report said.

The advanced arms could produce potential intelligence surprises that pose a threat to the United States and its forward-deployed forces and regional allies.

“China’s achievement of a surprise breakthrough in one of these technologies is possible, due to the secrecy surrounding these programs and the uncertain nature of advanced weapons development in general,” the report said, noting, “such a breakthrough could have significant strategic implications for the United States, particularly in its potential to further existing access challenges and hold forward deployed U.S. forces at risk.”

Three commissioners, in an “additional views” note in the report, warned China’s advanced weapons pose a threat to the Asia Pacific region.

“There are a number of areas where the PLA could make breakthroughs that would be decisive in a conflict with the United States and its regional allies,” said James M. Talent, Michael R. Wessel, and Katherine C. Tobin.

“In short, China is not just an asymmetric threat to the United States, or even a near-peer competitor. It has become, in its region, the dominant military power. That fact, more than any other, explains why China’s aggressions over the last five years have been successful.”

The successes include encroachment in the South China Sea, imposition of an air defense zone in the East China Sea, aggression against Philippines, coercion of Vietnam, increasing pressure on Taiwan, harassment of Japan and other provocations, they stated.

Rick Fisher, a China military expert, said the commission should be commended for examining China’s large investment in advanced military technologies.

“As in most areas of military capability, the United States is in a race with China to develop the technologies and systems that will dominate the future global military balance,” he said.

Overall, the report paints a dire picture of Chinese security and economic developments that portend difficult ties with the United States in the coming years.

For example, the commission faulted “Beijing’s discriminatory treatment of U.S. companies and ongoing failure to uphold its World Trade Organization (WTO) obligations” as damaging U.S.-China relations.

The current U.S. trade deficit with China was $347 billion in 2016 and $238 billion in the first eight months of 2017.

“U.S. companies are feeling increasingly pressured by Chinese policies that demand technology transfers as a price of admission and favor domestic competitors,” the report said.

Internally, high and rising debt levels pose an increasing threat to China’s financial stability. Beijing’s current total debt reached $27.5 trillion by the end of 2016.

China also has sharply increased investment in the United States in a bid to obtain new technologies, including information and communications technology, agriculture, and biotechnology.

The technology transfers pose risks to U.S. economic and national security interests.

On the South China Sea, the report said China has tightened its effective control of the strategic waterway by militarizing artificial islands, and pressuring states in the region to accept its illegal sovereignty claims.

China’s military buildup also is continuing, with new and advanced arms and capabilities, including warships, aircraft and cyber and space weapons.

“The PLA Rocket Force continues to improve both its conventional and nuclear forces to enhance long-range strike and deterrence capabilities and is modernizing its forces to increase the reliability and effectiveness of both conventional and nuclear missile system,” the report said.

The missile modernization is “eroding the United States’ ability to operate freely in the Western Pacific.”

China also is rapidly expanding its state-controlled media influence operations overseas that involves pressuring foreign publications.

For example, China’s influence over Hollywood and the U.S. entertainment industry has increased and Chinese authorities pressured Cambridge University Press into censoring several academic publications.

“The investment activities of large, Chinese Communist Party-linked corporations in the U.S. media industry risk undermining the independence of film studios by forcing them to consider self-censorship in order to gain access to the Chinese market,” the report said.

The report noted that in April, the Chinese government also launched a major international media campaign to discredit a Chinese whistleblower living in the United States.

Among the commissions recommendations are new laws updating the Treasury Department-led Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States to deal with potentially threatening Chinese investment.

For example, the commission recommended blocking Chinese-state owned or state-controlled companies to buy U.S. companies.

To counter Chinese influence operations, the panel recommended requiring Chinese state-run media outlets and entities to register as foreign agents “given that Chinese intelligence gathering and information warfare efforts are known to involve staff of Chinese state-run media organizations,” the report said.

More U.S. military spending is needed to counter the Chinese buildup of weapons, both traditional and advanced.

“As China expands its role on the world stage, it seeks to diminish the role and influence of the United States in Asia and beyond,” the report says. “It is incumbent on U.S. policymakers to advance a coordinated and comprehensive economic, geostrategic, and military strategy that ensures these goals and ambitions do not disrupt U.S. interests at home or abroad.”

Reaction from China was swift. The annual commission report was denounced by Chinese state media on Thursday as “another anti-China report.”

“From China’s perspective, the commission is one of the most hostile U.S. organizations,” the Communist Party-affiliated Global Times states.

Source: Washington Free Beacon “Report: China’s Advanced Weaponry Threatens U.S. Military”

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


No one wants to criticize China on the South China Sea anymore


Lucas NiewenhuisNovember 16, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump used his Twitter megaphone to declare on November 15 that “our great country is respected again in Asia,” and later gave a speech in which he further boasted that America’s “standing in the world has never been stronger than it is right now.” But in at least one major hot-button Asian issue, America’s standing appears to be notably declining, and China’s notably rising: the South China Sea.

  • The New York Times notes (paywall) that though Trump made references to the conflict, saying that “no one owns the ocean” and that “freedom of navigation and overflight are critical,” he “did not single out China for criticism, continuing a pattern of soft-pedaling on a dispute that could annoy United States allies.”
  • The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which in previous years has “noted concerns ‘expressed by some’ leaders” about China’s actions in the South China Sea, this year made no mention of concerns in a statement, the Nikkei Asian Review reports (paywall). This is a “clear diplomatic victory” for China, Nikkei says.
  • Japan, also, seems to be newly reluctant to criticize China’s claims in the South China Sea. The South China Morning Post reported on November 15 that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe “has repeatedly raised the South China Sea issue during his last five years in office – much to Beijing’s irritation – so his silence this week was a marked contrast to the past.”
  • SCMP attributed Abe’s silence to his efforts to further diplomacy on North Korea, but the New York Times says (paywall) that experts suggest that “Mr. Abe appears keenly aware of Mr. Trump’s erratic swings in opinions and loyalties,” and is “naturally wondering if the United States may make some kind of deal with China that could put Japan at a disadvantage.” Trump’s “failing to press China on its military buildup in the South China Sea” has reinforced the perception that China is “taking advantage of an American retreat,” analysts say.

Source: SubChina “No one wants to criticize China on the South China Sea anymore”

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


China’s Big Lead over US in Supercomputers


Sunway Taihulight, the fastest supercomputer in the world. Photo: Xinhua

According to SCMP’s report “Supercomputer superpower China takes biggest lead over US in 25 years” on yesterday, in recently released TOP500 list “China had 202 of the world’s 500 fastest supercomputers compared with the US total of 143”.

SCMP says, “China’s Sunway TaihuLight and Tianhe-2 are the two fastest supercomputers in the rankings, with Switzerland taking third place, Japan fourth and the US fifth.”

Source: SCMP “Supercomputer superpower China takes biggest lead over US in 25 years” (summary by Chan Kai Yee, full text can be found at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/2119906/supercomputer-superpower-china-takes-biggest-lead-over.


UCLA players depart China after Trump asked for Xi’s help


November 14, 2017 / 1:21 PM / Updated 4 hours ago

Steve Holland, John Ruwitch

MANILA/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Three UCLA basketball players detained in China on suspicion of shoplifting were headed back to the United States on Tuesday after U.S. President Donald Trump said he had sought the help of Chinese President Xi Jinping in the case.

Staff for Delta Air Lines Inc confirmed that the players had boarded a Delta flight from Shanghai to Los Angeles.

“What they did was unfortunate,” Trump told reporters earlier in Manila. He said the trio, who have been held since last week, could have faced long prison sentences, and described Xi’s response as “terrific.”

“They’re working on it right now,” Trump said.

Trump had raised the issue with Xi during a dinner held during the U.S. leader’s Nov. 8 to 10 state visit to Beijing. Trump was in the Philippines capital for a summit of Asian leaders.

Asked about the trio and Trump’s discussing the issue with Xi, China Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a daily news briefing in Beijing he was unable to provide any further information.

The three basketball players from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) were detained by police on Nov. 7 in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou over allegations of shoplifting. They were not on the team’s return flight to the United States on Saturday.

A senior White House official said the players had been given relatively light treatment due to Trump’s intervention.

“It’s in large part because the president brought it up,” the official told Reuters.

The UCLA team had been in China for a game against Georgia Tech in Shanghai on Saturday, which UCLA won 63-60. The teams had traveled to Hangzhou earlier in the week to visit the headquarters of the game’s sponsor, Chinese tech giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

The three students – freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill – were taken in for questioning by police about alleged shoplifting from a Louis Vuitton store.

They were released from police custody early on Wednesday and had been confined to a luxury hotel pending legal proceedings.

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott, who had not spoken with the three players, said what had occurred was a “very regrettable situation.” Pac-12 is a college athletic conference in which UCLA participates.

“I‘m just glad it’s resolved and that they’re on the way home safely,” he told Reuters by telephone from an Anti-Defamation League Sports Leadership Council event in San Francisco.

Since the matter didn’t occurred on the court, it was up to UCLA whether the players would be punished, Scott said.

Reporting by Steve Holland in Manila and John Ruwitch in Shanghai, additional reporting by Philip Wen in BEIJING; Writing by James Pomfret and Susan Heavey; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Bernadette Baum

Source: Reuters “UCLA players depart China after Trump asked for Xi’s help”

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