30 July 2016

USA: Pacific Partnership mission in Vietnam wraps up

By Sgt. Brittney Vella, Pacific Partnership Public Affairs

JS Shimokita (LST 4002) steams alongside USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) while en route to Da Nang, Vietnam, for the just-completed third mission stop of Pacific Partnership 2016. (U.S. Marine Corps/Sgt. Brittney Vella) >>

DA NANG, Vietnam - Pacific Partnership 2016 departed from Da Nang, Vietnam on July 28 after completing two weeks of disaster response training, medical and engineering subject matter expert exchanges, cooperative health engagements and community relations events.

This year marks the seventh time the mission has visited Vietnam in the past 11 years and the first time that three ships, including USNS Mercy (T-AH 19), the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force's JS Shimokita (LST 4002), and Vietnam People’s Navy ship Khanh Hoa (K-123) participated in the Da Nang mission. For the first time, Khanh Hoa hosted Vietnamese and U.S. Navy doctors in dental and surgical cooperative health engagements alongside other Pacific Partnership medical personnel.

USA: U.S., Japan complete mine countermeasures exercise

From Amphibious Force 7th Fleet Public Affairs

An MH-60S helicopter assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 25 lands aboard JS Bungo (MST 464) during MCMEX 2JA. (U.S. Navy/MC3 Alfred A. Coffield) >>

OMINATO, Japan - U.S. Navy and Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) mine countermeasures units completed Mine Countermeasures Exercise (MCMEX) 2JA 2016, July 28.

MCMEX is an annual bilateral exercise held between the U.S. and Japan to strengthen interoperability and increase proficiencies in mine countermeasures operations.

"We achieved a lot in terms of interoperability this 2JA," said Capt. Jim Miller, commodore, Mine Countermeasures Squadron (MCMRON) 7. "From putting Japanese explosive ordnance personnel on our helicopters as part of helicopter casting to passing Q-route data, we were truly able to work hand in hand to detect and neutralize potential mines."

Industry: Boxer 8X8 CRV downselected for Australia’s LAND 400 Phase 2 program

Boxer configured for Australian Land 400 Phase 2
(Image: Wiki Commons)
Rheinmetall is pleased to have been selected by the Commonwealth of Australia for the Risk Mitigation Activities (RMA) of the LAND 400 Phase 2 program.

Rheinmetall Defence has offered the Commonwealth the latest version of the BOXER 8X8 vehicle that is fitted with the in-service LANCE turret and a growth path that includes a 35 mm main gun and the Northrop Grumman command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) architecture.

Ben Hudson, Head of Rheinmetall’s Vehicle Systems Division, said: "We are delighted to have been selected in Australia for the next phase of this important program. BOXER is combat proven and offers the highest levels of survivability and mobility, that when combined with the in-service Lance turret, will deliver the capabilities that allow Army to fight, survive and win on the battlefields of today and tomorrow".

Rheinmetall Defence will establish an Australian Industry Capability program for Land 400 that strengthens existing industrial capability in Australia and creates high technology enduring jobs for hundreds of Australians by localising design and manufacturing expertise in electro-optics, weapon systems, fire control and sensor systems, turret manufacturing, variant design and manufacture, integration, armour systems, simulation, training and fleet sustainment.

Rheinmetall Defence Australia Managing Director, Andrew Fletcher, said: “We look forward to demonstrating BOXER’s capabilities to the Commonwealth through the RMA process and working closely with Australian industry and our partners, Supacat, Northrop Grumman and Tectonica to establish a world class combat vehicle design, manufacturing and sustainment capability for the Australian Defence Force and the region.”

News Report: Cambodia to 'Pay Price' for Siding With China

Luke Hunt

PHNOM PENH—Cambodian diplomacy may have succeeded in watering down an ASEAN communique aimed at tackling Chinese maritime ambitions, but some analysts call it a hollow victory, which has split the 10-nation trading bloc.

Cambodia's refusal to back a multilateral approach aimed at resolving disputes in the South China Sea, they said, have also cost the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) its political bite and that it's now time for a rethink.

“When you actually look at ASEAN as a single unit, it can have the potential to be a regional if not a global power player,” said Taiwanese academic and independent analyst Billy Chia-Lung Tai.

“However, this dispute has created, in my view, a lot of resentment that perhaps hasn't surfaced yet but it will come into play at some point.”

That resentment follows this week's annual ASEAN meeting in Laos, where Cambodia ignored its neighbors and used its support for China to water down a traditional statement in regards to the South China Sea dispute.

The communique failed to mention China's July 12 defeat in The Hague where an international tribunal ruled “there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the sea falling within the nine-dash line."

China refused to recognize the jurisdiction of the court—a move backed by Cambodia—or the legal action initiated by the Philippines.

News Report: China Diplomatic Victory Could Be Short Lived

Joyce Huang

With assertive rhetoric, China appears to have scored a diplomatic victory in the past week, defying the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s (PCA) ruling against its sweeping claims in the South China Sea, which some argue may run the risk of making the tribunal award irreverent.

But others believe China will still have to face the ruling’s long-term impact, which will strengthen cases where its claims in the disputed waters will continue to be contested.

And Beijing's upcoming bilateral talks with other claimants including the Philippines and Vietnam will be made on the basis of international law, said Tim Huxley, executive director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Asia.

“In other words, they [the Philippines and Vietnam] are saying, ‘Okay, we can talk. But we are not going to speak on your terms. We’re going to speak on our terms and our terms are on the basis of international law,” Huxley said.

Thus, it would be misleading to expect immediate development as the ruling’s long-term implications may take years, if not decades, to materialize, the Singapore-based researcher added.

News Story: British MP in China propaganda video 'deeply concerned'

British MP Catherine West (Image: Wiki Commons)
A British MP has complained about appearing in a video promoting Beijing's claims in the disputed South China Sea, saying she was "deeply concerned" that her words had been misrepresented.

Catherine West, a foreign affairs spokeswoman from the main opposition Labour Party specialising in the Asia-Pacific region, is briefly quoted in the video.

The video shows white-sand beaches and crystal-blue waters, but conveniently omits images of the artificial islands Beijing has built in the strategically vital waters also claimed by the Philippines and Vietnam, among others.

It includes clips of talking heads who support China's claims to most of the waters and seem to downplay the international tribunal that rejected the legal basis for China's assertions.

West is featured as one of the speakers, saying: "I think talks are crucial and that's why we have to be careful. We need to resolve something very locally and have a grown-up approach to dialogue."

Her comments appear to support China's position that the dispute should be settled through direct talks between claimants, not through the international legal system. But West said her words were used out of context.

The three-minute video is running about six hours a day on a big screen in New York's Times Square -- one of the world's busiest tourist destinations.

Read the full story at SpaceDaily

News Story: China, Russia to hold joint exercises in S China Sea - Beijing

By Ludovic EHRET

China and Russia will hold joint naval exercises in the South China Sea in September, Beijing's defence ministry said Thursday, after an international tribunal invalidated the Asian giant's extensive claims in the area.

The drills will be carried out in the "relevant sea and air of the South China Sea", defence ministry spokesman Yang Yujun told reporters at a monthly briefing.

With international diplomatic tensions mounting and Washington regularly sending warships into the strategically vital area to assert the right to freedom of navigation, the move could see vessels from several of the world's most powerful militaries in the same region at the same time.

The drills aimed to "consolidate and develop" China and Russia's comprehensive strategic partnership, and "enhance the capabilities of the two navies to jointly deal with maritime security threats" Yang said.

The announcement comes after a tribunal at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled that there was "no legal basis" to Beijing's claims in the South China Sea, embodied in a "nine-dash line" dating from Chinese maps of the 1940s and extending almost to the coasts of other countries, which have competing claims.

Read the full story at SpaceDaily

News Story: VSE reactivating mothballed frigates

USS Taylor (FFG-50) leaving Mayport in January 2014
(Image: Wiki Commons)
by Richard Tomkins

Two mothballed U.S. Navy frigates are to receive reactivation work from VSE Corporation for their transfer to Taiwan through the Foreign Military Sales program.

The frigates covered under the Naval Ship Transfer and Repair contract are the ex-USS Taylor and ex-USS Gary, Oliver Hazard Perry-class vessels.

"Since 1995 VSE has transferred more than 48 ships to foreign governments, including the transfer of 12 ex-U.S. Navy ships to Taiwan," said Maurice "Mo" Gauthier, VSE chief executive officer, president and chief operating officer. "Our N*STAR Team is comprised of the maritime industry's best firms at providing affordable sustainment of allied fleet assets and modernizing those assets to provide mission relevance across a broad spectrum of operational needs."

Read the full story at SpaceWar

News Story: India Cancels Deal for Six Airbus Tankers

A Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) KC-30A MRTT Tanker Aircraft
refuels a RAAF C-17 Globemaster Cargo Aircraft
Vivek Raghuvanshi

NEW DELHI — India has withdrawn the tender for a much-awaited contract for the purchase of six multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) aircraft with Airbus Defence and Space, worth more than $1 billion, on grounds of the planes’ high operational cost.

This is the second MRTT aircraft global tender to be cancelled by the ministry of defense since 2006.

"We have [recently] cancelled the MRTT deal with Airbus because platforms are too expensive and not economically viable to operate", said an MoD official who declined to be identified.

"We have examined this deal very carefully and the [budgetary] approval has been rejected thrice by the Indian finance ministry," the MoD official said.

"This is indeed a setback to us, as we want the MRTT aircraft desperately, and a fresh [global] procurement will take at least five more years", said a senior air force official said who requested anonymity.

Read the full story at DefenseNews

News Story: US To Return Land to Japan Used for Jungle Training

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The US military will return 4,000 hectares (15.4 square miles) of land in Okinawa back to the Japanese government, reducing the amount of land administered by the US military by 17 percent, according to a news release issued by the Public Affairs Office at Yokota Air Base, Japan, on Friday.

The area is a section of the Northern Training Area on Okinawa used for jungle warfare. The conditional land return is part of the 1996 Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO) report. This will be the largest parcel of land returned to the Japanese government since Okinawa’s reversion in 1972, said the news release.

The partial return of the Northern Training Area is one portion of other initiatives and agreements with Japan to consolidate US military facilities on Okinawa, with the eventual goal of returning most facilities south of Kadena Air Base. Kadena is home of the 18th Wing and includes two squadrons of F-15C/D fighter aircraft.

Read the full story at DefenseNews

News Story: China Outfitting MA60 Military Variant With P&W Canada Engines

A Civilian Xian MA-60 (Image: Wiki Commons)
Wendell Minnick

TAIPEI, Taiwan — China’s commercial airliner MA60 is now being advertised as a military troop and cargo transport, according to a new product booklet furnished by the China National Aero-Technology Import and Export Corp. (CATIC).

The manufacture, Xi'an Aircraft Industry Company, has been producing the aircraft since 1999. The commercial airliner is powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) PW127J turboprop engines and other US and Canadian avionics and equipment.

The problem with building a military variant of the MA60 equipped with Canadian/US engines and avionics is that they have been banned for export to China for military use since the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.

Read the full story at DefenseNews

News Story: Rheinmetall and Tectonica establish partnership for the supply of land 400 Boxer LSWS

Boxer configured for Australian Land 400 Phase 2
(Image: Wiki Commons)
Rheinmetall has announced on July 28 a partnership with Melbourne-based defence systems integrator Tectonica Australia Pty Ltd for the development and manufacture of a sophisticated Local Situational Awareness System for the BOXER Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle in response to the Commonwealth of Australia’s LAND 400 Phase 2 Request For Tender.

Rheinmetall Defence Australia Managing Director Andrew Fletcher said Rheinmetall would provide funding and support to Tectonica to develop and manufacture a next generation LSAS that enhances the situational awareness of the BOXER CRV.

The battle proven BOXER 8×8 provides a unique mix of survivability, mobility and lethality that allows the vehicle to operate effectively across the full spectrum of combat operations. If selected for LAND 400 the BOXER CRV will provide the Australian Army with a combat proven, low risk capability that can be rapidly transitioned into service and easily supported through life.

“Rheinmetall is delighted to partner with Tectonica, a proven leader in the Australian Defence industry that employs highly skilled engineers and manufacturing workers, invests significantly in research and development and exports its products globally,” Mr Fletcher said.

Read the full story at Army Recognition

News Story: Lockheed Martin Delivers Final MH-60R Seahawk Helicopter for Royal Australian Navy

Lockheed Martin has delivered the 24th, and final, MH-60R SEAHAWK® helicopter to the U.S. Navy in support of the Navy’s Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program with the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). The milestone delivery took place during a July 27 ceremony at Lockheed Martin’s Owego, New York facility.

The event marked the official transfer of ownership of the final MH-60R SEAHAWK destined for the RAN from Lockheed Martin to the U.S. Navy. The ceremony was attended by officials from the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), the RAN and the Australian Embassy, as well as representatives from the Defense Contracting Management Agency, Sikorsky and Lockheed Martin.

“In late 2010, the Australian Government had not yet made a decision to acquire the Romeo, and yet here we are in mid-2016 accepting the 24th, and final, aircraft,” said Royal Australian Navy Commodore Scott Lockey, Director General Navy Aviation Systems. “The Royal Australian Navy has formed the first three embarked flights, conducted the first Hellfire Missile shoot and conducted a highly successful ‘DIPEX’ against a Collins Class submarine. None of this would have been possible without the professional work conducted by everyone at Lockheed Martin involved in the Romeo program. The work done here at Owego has been of the highest quality and directly contributed to the most successful helicopter acquisition program undertaken by the Australian Defence Force.”

Read the full story at Navy Recognition

News Story: Japan's chance to become terrorism target exists: police

TOKYO, July 29 (Xinhua) -- Japan gave warning on Friday that the chance of Japan becoming a target of terrorist attacks cannot be ruled out, vowing to strengthen international cooperation in the fight against terrorism.

The National Police Agency (NPA) released on Friday the Special Feature in the White Paper on Police 2016 with the topic of "measures against international terrorism," the second time for NPA's white paper to involve international terrorism since 2002.

The NPA pledged in the white paper to step up measures against terrorism before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics amid rising threats of terrorist attacks against Japanese nationals.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Xi urges renewed efforts in boosting military-civilian solidarity

BEIJING, July 29 (Xinhua) -- President Xi Jinping has called for renewed efforts to boost solidarity between the military, government and the public, when meeting with award-receiving role models on Friday.

Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), met with representatives from model organizations and individuals who are here to receive awards for promoting military-civilian solidarity.

Premier Li Keqiang also met with the representatives.

Calling for relentless efforts to maintain military-civilian solidarity, Xi called on the military and civilian sectors to be like-minded and work in synergy, which would help the country realize the great rejuvenation of the nation.

Xi said the tradition of boosting military-civilian solidarity was a characteristic of the CPC, the military and the people of China.

The seamless solidarity between the military, government and public is an important guarantee for China to weather storms and march from triumph to triumph, Xi said.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Authorities reimpose curfew, restrictions in parts of Indian-controlled Kashmir

SRINAGAR, Indian-controlled Kashmir, July 29 (Xinhua) -- Authorities on Friday reimposed curfew and restrictions in several parts of restive Indian-controlled Kashmir to foil separatist protest march, officials said.

The region's separatists had called for a protest march to Jamia Masjid (grand mosque) in Srinagar city, the summer capital of indian-controlled Kashmir.

"Curfew was reimposed in Srinagar, Pulwama, Shopian and Kulgam towns, besides restrictions in southern districts," an official said. "Curfew-like restrictions will remain in force in Baramulla, Bandipora and Kupwara districts.

Hundreds of Indian paramilitary and police personnel were seen deployed on the roads in Srinagar city to enforce restrictions. The men in uniform had placed barricades of steel and coils of concertina wire to impede free movement of people and vehicles.

Residents said they were asked to stay inside and avoid venturing out.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Philippine president issues ultimatum to leftist rebels for declaration of ceasefire

MANILA, July 29 (Xinhua) -- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte issued Friday an ultimatum to the leftist rebel group to reciprocate the government's own ceasefire.

During a visit to the government troops in Davao del Norte, Duterte said he would give the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front until 5:00 p.m. local time on Saturday.

"So, I'm asking you, are you ready to declare ceasefire or not, I will wait for your declaration until 5:00 p.m. tomorrow," he said.

The president said if the leftist rebel group failed to reciprocate the truce by Saturday afternoon, he would lift the government's unilateral ceasefire.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Chinese soldiers to join anti-piracy efforts in the Gulf of Guinea

LOME, July 28 (Xinhua) -- Chinese soldiers will assist Western African countries in securing navigational safety in the Gulf of Guinea at a time when the region is facing an increasing threat from pirates, a visiting Chinese major general said here Thursday.

China will join the international anti-piracy effort in the Gulf of Guinea by helping littoral states in the region build necessary infrastructure, said Qian Lihua, former head of the foreign affairs office of China's Ministry of National Defence.

Speaking at a meeting on African peace and stability, the Chinese major general also put forward a few proposals on fighting piracy in the region.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Cambodia reiterates China-Philippines dispute over South China Sea not related with ASEAN

PHNOM PENH, July 29 (Xinhua) -- Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn said Friday that the dispute between China and the Philippines over the South China Sea is not related with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

"As a non-claimant state in the dispute, Cambodia takes no side," he said in a press conference. "The dispute is only between China and the Philippines, not between China and ASEAN."

The minister said that it is "unfair" that some certain countries accused Cambodia of taking sides in the dispute.

"Cambodia just has good intention to avoid escalating tensions in the South China Sea," he said, adding that the Cambodia's foreign policy is "neutral."

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Manila's expenses for South China Sea arbitration should be made public

BEIJING, July 29 (Xinhua) -- The great expenses for the South China Sea arbitration unilaterally initiated by the former Philippine government should be made public, as some Filipinos are already questioning the source of the money.

In 2013, the Benigno Aquino III administration unilaterally filed a case on the South China Sea dispute between the Philippines and China. An ad hoc arbitral tribunal set up at Manila's request issued a highly controversial and biased award on July 12, denying China's long-standing historic rights in the South China Sea.

Questions about how much money has been spent on the arbitration, paid by whom and to whom, have not only sparked hot debates in the Philippines, but also drawn attention worldwide.

It had cost Manila 30 million U.S. dollars to merely pay off legal fees and expenses of lawyers who prepared the case against China, Rigoberto Tiglao, former spokesperson and head of presidential office for former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, wrote in an article published in mid-July by the Manila Times.

This prompted a question, raised openly three days later by former senator Francisco S. Tatad, about the real cost of the arbitration. He suspected that the former Philippine government hid the truth from its nationals.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: New Cold War looms large in North East Asia as Seoul accepts THAAD

by Liu Chang

BEIJING, July 29 (Xinhua) -- A new Cold War is looming large in Northeast Asia as Washington insists on installing an anti-missile shield in South Korea, a provocative move that could further split the region, trigger a fresh arms race and crush hopes of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

Immediately after the Second World War, the U.S.-led Western bloc sought to dictate post-war world order and contain the Soviet Union to ensure global supremacy as well as the proliferation of capitalism and its set of values worldwide. And that was how the Cold War set in.

Over the following four decades of confrontation, most of the world's nations were forced to take sides and paid a heavy price for struggles between two super powers, a price no lighter than all-out hot wars.

Nearly three decades following the fall of the Soviet Union, the United States, the most powerful nation on Earth, risks goading North East Asia back into conflict, chaos and estrangement.

The Obama administration claims the anti-missile shield could help defend South Korea against potential security threat from its neighbor the Democratic People' s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

However, given the fact that the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile shield is designed to intercept incoming inter-continental ballistic missiles at relatively higher altitudes, the DPRK needs only short-range rockets and conventional arms to launch devastating attacks on its southern neighbor, thereby rendering the shield as an ineffective deterrent.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Citizens, politicians, media in S. Korea raise voices against THAAD deployment

SEOUL, July 29 (Xinhua) -- South Korean citizens, politicians and news organizations are raising a dissenting voice over the decision between Seoul and Washington to deploy Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) in their homeland.

Villagers living in the site where one THAAD battery is scheduled to be installed by the end of next year continue their protest against the U.S. missile defense system, while civic group activists and student groups who advocate peace and stability rally against the U.S. weapons program.

Opposition lawmakers call for the retraction of the THAAD deployment decision, and in several TV programs, panelists are divided over pros and cons of the installation, which reflects the nationwide split between people over the untested, environmentally hazardous U.S. anti-missile system.

Park Wan-joo, first vice floor leader of the main opposition Minjoo Party, told a party meeting on Thursday that the THAAD deployment raised risks of easing isolation of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), asking to form a special parliamentary committee to discuss countermeasures against possible negative effects.

Following the DPRK's fourth nuclear test in January and its launch in February of a long-range rocket, which was condemned as a disguised test of ballistic missile technology, the international community adopted tougher-than-ever UN Security Council resolutions.

The agreed-upon THAAD installation raised concerns here about difficulties that South Korea could face in winning cooperation from China and Russia to achieve the goal of denuclearizing the Korean peninsula. China and Russia have expressed strong oppositions to the deployment as it breaks regional strategic balance and damages security interests of the neighbors.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Indian security agents arrest 12 for allegedly selling radioactive material

NEW DELHI, July 29 (Xinhua) -- Indian security agents have arrested 12 persons for allegedly selling radioactive material in the western state of Rajasthan, said local media Friday.

The suspects were picked up Thursday by the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) who said they were trying to cheat people with millions of rupees on the pretext of selling them "radioactive material" in Rajasthan's Dausa district, said Press Trust of India.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: 6 Abu Sayyaf members killed, 11 soldiers injured in S Philippine skirmishes

MANILA, July 29 (Xinhua) -- Six members of the Abu Sayyaf Group were killed while 11 government's soldiers were injured in separate skirmishes in southern Philippine provinces of Basilan and Sulu on Friday morning, local authorities said.

Two Abu Sayyaf members were killed in a firefight with soldiers from the Joint Task Force Basilan at Hill 490, barangay Poblacion in Tipo-tipo town in Basilan, said Filemon Tan, spokesman of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)' Western Mindanao Command.

Tan said the troops were on a security operation when they caught up with undetermined number of Abu Sayyaf Group members at around 6:30 a.m. local time.

The firefight left nine soldiers injured, who were later airlifted to Camp Navarro General Station in Zamboanga City.

In Sulu, four Abu Sayyaf members died in another clash with forces from the Joint Task Force Sulu in barangay Langpas in Indanan town around 8:50 a.m. local time.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Singaporean detained for promoting IS, radicalizing others - MHA

SINGAPORE, July 29 (Xinhua) -- A 44-year-old Singaporean, who actively spread radical ideology online and helped radicalize at least two other citizens, has been detained under the Internal Security Act, said the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Friday.

Zulfikar Mohamad Shariff was arrested and detained in Singapore in July for terrorism-related activities, according to MHA's statement.

The ministry said Zulfikar made numerous Facebook posts that promoted and glorified terror group Islamic State and its violent actions such as beheadings, "while exploiting religion to legitimize the terrorist activities of IS."

Zulfikar's postings contributed to the radicalization of at least two other Singaporeans. One of them was Muhammad Shamin bin Mohamed Sidik, who was detained under the ISA for terrorism-related activities. The other was Mohamed Saiddhin bin Abdullah, who was inspired by Zulfikar's radical postings.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: U.S. deploys THAAD in S. Korea with hidden agenda

AN-TPY-2 radar (Image: Wiki Commons)
BEIJING, July 29 (Xinhua) -- The United States will deploy its THAAD anti-missile system in South Korea, claiming that the shield can deter threats from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. But don't be fooled. The superpower isn't acting in the interest of South Korea but has intent on serving its own agenda.

About two weeks ago, South Korea's defense ministry announced an agreement with the United States to place a battery of the THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) system in its southern region, despite repeated opposition from local residents and neighboring countries.

THAAD is developed by the U.S. defense company Lockheed Martin. It is a U.S. Army anti-ballistic missile system designed to shoot down short and medium range ballistic missiles in their terminal phase. It is composed of six mobile launchers, 48 interceptors and a radar and fire control system valued at about 1.3 billion U.S. dollars.

Under the South Korean-U.S. deal, the THAAD battery will be operated by the U.S. Forces Korea and the radar operation will not be made transparent.

China and Russia have expressed strong opposition to the THAAD deployment as its X-band radar can spot Chinese and Russian territories far beyond the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

The AN/TPY-2 early missile warning radar can detect a 600-800 km range with a terminal mode, which South Korea plans to adopt, but it can be converted at any time, and within a day, into a forward-based mode that ranges as far as 2,000 km because the two versions have the same hardware.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Malaysian warders influenced by IS ideology sent to deradicalization programs

Image: Flickr User - AK Rockefeller
KUALA LUMPUR, July 29 (Xinhua) -- Seven warders of a Malaysian prison have been sent to special programs to be deradicalized after they were looking watching some terror suspects linked to the Islamic State and were influenced by their ideology, reported the Star on Friday.

The paper quoted Malaysian deputy Prime Minister Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as saying that that's why "all detained militants were now being segregated from regular prisoners."

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Korea, US meet on fighter jet project

A model of one of several possible designs for the KFX
By Jun Ji-hye

Korea and the United States held their first high-level talks in Washington, Tuesday, on the transfer of jet technologies for Seoul's project to develop its own fighter jets.

The Ministry of National Defense said the two sides discussed the vital intersection of foreign and national security policies on defense technology cooperation, including issues related to the transfer of technologies for the KF-X project.

It was the first high-level meeting of the Defense Technology Strategy & Cooperation Group (DTSCG), which followed the group's working-level talks held in March. The DTSCG was established last year based on an agreement between defense chiefs of the two nations.

During Tuesday's meeting, the Korea delegation, led by Vice Defense Minister Hwang In-mo and Deputy Foreign Minister for Economic Affairs Lee Tae-ho, stressed the need for the transfer of key technologies from the United States for the success of the KF-X project, according to a ministry official.

In response, the U.S. delegation, led by David Shear, assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs, and Rose Gottemoeller, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, said the two sides will continue to discuss the issue, the official said.

The official added that details about which technologies will be transferred were not determined during the meeting.

Read the full story at Korea Times

29 July 2016

Think Tank: Beware an unhappy dragon

Image: Flickr User - Travis Wiens
Allan Behm

Many commentators and readers of The Economist keenly await their weekly dose of KAL. The 16 July 2016 cartoon didn’t disappoint. A claimant hoists the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s South China Sea ruling aloft while the Chinese dragon dumps a load of rocks and topsoil on him, transforming him into a reclaimed facility and replacing the ruling with a more ominous sign ‘Welcome to the New China’. It sums up, with KAL’s usual mordancy, China’s response to the Arbitral Tribunal’s South China Sea determination: China will make its own rules when it comes to defining and protecting its strategic interests.

The Tribunal’s arbitration award in favour of The Philippines is both legally and geo-strategically significant, as Don Rothwell pointed out in his elegantly argued post. And The Economist’s daily blog commented, ‘it is also the biggest setback so far to China’s challenge to America’s influence in East Asia’. The early indications are that China will tough it out, impugning the independence and integrity of the five judges of the Permanent Court of Arbitration and reaffirming the entirety of its South China Sea claim.

USA: 22nd CARAT Singapore exercise comes to close

From Destroyer Squadron 7 Public Affairs

U.S. and Republic of Singapore Navy ships steam in formation at the conclusion of the at-sea phase of exercise CARAT. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Will Gaskill) >>

SINGAPORE - The 22nd annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise between the U.S. Navy and Republic of Singapore Armed Forces concluded with a ceremony at Changi Naval Base July 28.

CARAT Singapore 2016 focused on addressing shared maritime security concerns, building relationships and enhancing interoperability among participating forces for the two nations. The nearly two-week-long exercise consisted of shore-based and at-sea training engagements in multiple warfare areas and marked the first time a ship anti-submarine warfare readiness effectiveness measuring (SHAREM) event had been incorporated into CARAT. SHAREM measures how well surface ships and aircraft can detect and track submarines, and provides the two navies the opportunity to share tactics and develop procedures for future joint operations.

USA: Afghanistan Counterterrorism Authority Has Significant Results, Nicholson Says

By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, July 28, 2016 — Since President Barack Obama gave counterterrorism authority to U.S. forces in Afghanistan in January to strike the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant there, the U.S. and Afghan forces partnered mission has significantly cut enemy-held territory and has reduced the number of enemy fighters by nearly half, the commander of the Resolute Support mission and U.S. Forces Afghanistan told reporters today.

In a news conference via Skype with Pentagon reporters – his first since taking command in March -- Army Gen. John W. Nicholson said from the Afghan capital of Kabul that ISIL-Khorasan, the terrorist organization’s regional affiliate in Afghanistan has seen a territory reduction from 10 districts in southern Nangarhar to parts of three or four since the start of the authority.

News Report: Boeing Steers Clear of Compliance With $4.1 Bln Indian Air Force Deal

An Indian C-17 Globemaster Cargo Aircraft
India alleges that Boeing has categorically failed to provide the training and infrastructural services that it had agreed to deliver as part of a deal for the purchase of ten C-17 heavy-lifting transport aircraft.

US manufacturing giant Boeing has failed to fully comply with the terms of a defense deal to provide Very Heavy Lift Transport Aircraft, worth billions of dollars. The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), India's top auditing body, published a report slamming Boeing for not providing contractually-specified flight and maintenance training facilities, despite three whole years passing since the 2013 deadline. As a result, the Indian air force is unable to fly or maintain the aircraft, undermining the very purpose of the deal. 

The CAG report says, "As per the offset contract signed in June 2011, the simulator services were to be made available within two years i.e. by July 2013; however Boeing has yet to setup simulator services in India, which is affecting operation of the aircraft."

News Report: India Accuses China of Sending Troops, Helicopter Across Border

As tensions rise between India and China, the former has accused the latter of encroaching on its territory.

Uttarakhand, in northern India, lies along the border with China and Nepal. New Delhi claims that, on July 19, Beijing violated the Indian border, both on land and in the air.

According to Asia Times, Indian officials said that Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops stationed themselves in a demilitarized zone known as Barahoti, and a Zhiba-series attack helicopter entered Indian airspace for up to five minutes.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat described the incident as "something to worry about."

Barahoti has been a disputed stretch of land since 1958, but neither China nor India has previously placed armed personnel in the region.

News Report: Chinese Incursion in Indian State of Uttarakhand

Chinese troops entered the state of Uttarakhand last week, the government confirmed on Wednesday.

The area where the incursion took place is a demilitarized international stretch of 80 sq km in Barahoti, part of the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. The grazing area is claimed both by India and China and shepherds from both the sides are allowed to enter the area.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat said he had flagged the matter with the central government after the incursion was reported.

The incursion was noticed when Indian officials went to measure the revenue line in that area. According to Defense Ministry sources, a team of officials went up to the Line of Actual Control between India and China near Barahoti when some Chinese soldiers suddenly appeared and signaled the Indian team to go back and said that it was their land.

News Story: ARF statement on cooperation among maritime law enforcement agencies

Foreign Ministers of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) adopted a number of ministerial statements, including ones on enhancing cooperation among maritime law enforcement agencies proposed by Vietnam, at the 23rd meeting in Vientiane, Laos on July 26.

Following is the full text of the statement on enhancing cooperation among maritime law enforcement agencies.

“We, the Foreign Ministers of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Participants, gather today on the occasion of the 23rd ARF Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on 26 July 2016 in Vientiane, Laos.

ACKNOWLEDGING that peace, security and stability at sea including the safety and security of sea lines of communication are vital to prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region and the world;

REAFFIRMING our commitment to develop concrete and effective regional responses to maritime security challenges and other maritime challenges as stated in the Hanoi Plan of Action to Implement the ARF Vision Statement and the ARF Work Plan on Maritime Security (2015-2017);

CONCERNED about growing maritime challenges that may affect peace and stability in the region;

Read the full story at VietnamNet