22 July 2017

AUS: Allied Forces Defeat Adversary In Major United States-Australia Military Exercise—Talisman Saber 2017

The United States (US) and Australian Defence Forces have proven their interoperability in a major land warfare scenario in the Shoalwater Bay Training Area last night with an intense final assault on the ‘enemy’.

More than 33,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines from Australia,  the US, New Zealand, Japan and Canada have spent the past three weeks involved in the realistic, scenario-based military exercise TALISMAN SABER 2017 (TS17). The exercise took place in Central Queensland, with elements also supporting the mission in Brisbane, Townsville and Hawaii.

Following several weeks of lead in training TS17 ramped up last week when a 33-strong fleet of multi-national warships and submarines, including HMAS Canberra—an expeditionary strike group led by the USS Bonhomme Richard, and a carrier strike group led by the USS Ronald Reagan, moved into position off the coast of Rockhampton.

The Australian Defence Force’s Deputy Chief of Joint Operations, Major General Greg Bilton, said the participating nations demonstrated the ability to expertly land thousands of troops ashore by sea and air to support a complex ground warfare mission.

USA: Combined amphibious force launches Marines ashore for Talisman Saber

From Expeditionary Strike Group 7 Public Affairs

Marines offload gear from a landing craft air cushion (LCAC) during a Talisman Saber combined amphibious assault, July 19.(U.S. Navy/MC2 Sarah Villegas) >>

SHOALWATER BAY, Australia - “ATTENTION LANDING FORCE, stand by for call away!” The 1MC, the ship’s announcing system, booms through the hangar bay and berthing areas aboard USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) to muster up Marines for departure to insertion points ashore.

Bonhomme Richard, landing craft from Naval Beach Unit (NBU 7), and ships of the combined amphibious force launched Australian soldiers and U.S. Marines of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) ashore to the Shoalwater Bay Training Area and Townshend Island in several waves of landings, followed by support and resupply runs from July 12-20.

The landing craft air cushions (LCAC) splashed up on the beach, kicking up sand and a cloud of dust as the hovercraft drifted into the landing zone. Landing craft utility (LCU) coasted into the shoreline shortly after MV-22 B Ospreys chopped in overhead near the ridges of mountains lining the beach. CH-53E Super Stallions pumped in past the tree lines to a landing zone, shoving up dirt and debris. One after another, aircraft and landing craft alike continued to surface on the beach and station on the landing zones to ensure the Marines had the supplies, mobility, and artillery to complete objectives ashore.

News Report: US Intel Concludes N. Korea Leader Not Crazy, Actions Driven by Regime Survival

North Korean Dictator Kim Jung-un
Although North Korean leader Kim Jung-un has demonstrated concerning behavior he makes rational decisions to ensure the survival of his regime, according to US National Intelligence Director Daniel Coats.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Although North Korean leader Kim Jung-un has demonstrated concerning behavior he makes rational decisions to ensure the survival of his regime, US National Intelligence Director Daniel Coats said at a security forum.

"He’s demonstrated behavior publicly that raises questions about who he is and how he thinks and how he acts and how his behavior is," Coats said on Friday. "Our assessment has resulted in the fact that, well, he’s a very unusual type of person, but he’s not crazy. There’s some rationale backing his actions which are survival."

Coats added that the North Korean leader weighs the survival of his regime and country in his decisions.

He added that the dictator is aware of the "deterrence" capabilities that exist as a result of having nuclear weapons.

Pyongyang said on July 4 that it had successfully launched its first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). US officials have also said the test marked North Korea's first successful firing of an ICBM.

This story first appeared on Sputnik & is reposted here with permission.

News Report: Indian Army Raises Concern Over Targeting of Civilians in Jammu and Kashmir

India's Director General of Military Operations Lt General A K Bhatt took up the issue of civilians being targeted by Pakistani forces along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, for the second time in the last four days.

New Delhi (Sputnik) — The Indian Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) Lt General A K Bhatt called on Pakistani DGMO Major General Sahir Shamshad Mirza and raised the matter.

Earlier on Tuesday, Pakistani forces had fired on several schools in the Nowshera sector of Rajouri district in Jammu and Kashmir in which more than 200 schoolchildren were trapped. India has also alleged that army vehicles which were carrying out the rescue mission came under heavy shelling from the Pakistani side.

“DGMO asked Pakistani DGMO to exercise strict control over his troops and instruct them to refrain from any nefarious activities,” the statement from the Defense Ministry said.

News Story: U.S. to ban Americans from travelling to DPRK

WASHINGTON, July 21 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. State Department said on Friday that American citizens will soon be banned from travelling to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

The ban on all U.S. citizens' use of a passport to travel to, through or in the DPRK resulted from "mounting concerns over the serious risk of arrest and long-term detention" of Americans there, said State Department spokesman Heather Nauert in a statement to Xinhua.

According to Nauert, the ban was expected to be formally declared next week and would take effect 30 days after the formal declaration.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Japan's Okinawa gov't to file fresh lawsuit to block U.S. base relocation amid fears for ecosystem

TOKYO, July 21 (Xinhua) -- The Okinawa prefectural government will file a fresh lawsuit against Japan's central government on the relocation of a controversial U.S. Marine base within the southern island prefecture, local media said Friday.

The lawsuit is expected to be filed as early as Monday and the Okinawa government will once again try to halt the central government's plans to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Ginowan to the less populated Henoko coastal region of Nago.

The lawsuit will argue that the government has not secured permission from Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga for construction work that will damage rocks on the sea bed, where reclamation work has been going on, sources close to the matter said Friday.

Onaga himself is a staunch opponent of the U.S. base being relocated within Okinawa.

The prefectural government also believes that fishing rights have been granted in the Henoko region, meaning the central government's construction work is infringing on these too.

The Okinawa government has requested the central government to renew its permit to work in the area, which expired in March, although the central government maintains that it does not need permission as legal matters concerning fishing rights have already been dealt with.

The legal action to be taken is also partly based on the premise that the construction work will irrecoverably damage the region's delicate ecosystem by crushing rocks as part of the land reclamation work.

Prefectural opponents to the construction work fear that sediment to be poured inside the seawalls being constructed for the replacement facility in Oura Bay, which according to the central government's plans will eventually see 157 hectares of land reclaimed from waters off the Henoko area and the building of a V-shaped runway, will be extremely detrimental to the environment.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Philippines' Duterte says to halt peace talks with rebels

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte
MANILA, July 21 (Xinhua) -- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Friday that the government will stop peace talks with communist rebels, saying the government is just wasting money in negotiating peace with the insurgents.

In a speech in Davao City on Friday, Duterte said, "I believe you, Mr. Sison, We stop talking. We're wasting our time... Let us renew the fighting for another 50 years. It's what you want..."

Duterte was referring to Jose Ma. Sison, the exiled founding chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

"Let us stop talking. I'm tired. It's a great expense to send people there for nothing. Let's start fighting, stop talking," said the president.

Duterte's statement came a day after he threatened on Thursday to launch an offensive against the communist rebels after the ongoing war to liberate Marawi City from Islamist militant is over.

In his remarks to the troops in Marawi on Thursday, Duterte said he is no longer interested in peace talks with the rebels who are continuing to attack government security forces despite the ongoing peace talks.

"There is a resurgence of attacks. They (the communist rebels) owe us a lot. I no longer want to talk to them. They have killed many of my police and soldiers," Duterte said.

"Once the war in Marawi is finished off, we will reorient and go after the NPA."

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: 7 killed in clash between police, suspected rebels in southern Philippines

New People's Army (NPA) rebels/terrorists
MANILA, July 21 (Xinhua) -- Six policemen, including a town police chief, and a civilian were killed and three other policemen injured in ambushes Friday staged by suspected New People's Army rebels in southern Philippines, the military said.

The first ambush, staged in barangay Magsaysay in Guihulngan town in the province of Negros Oriental, targetted town councilor Edison Delarita, said Capt. Ruel Llanes, spokesman of the Army's 303rd Brigade.

Delarita was on the way to his office when the armed group waylaid him and his driver, Michael Jambalus, who ended up dead.

Delarita survived the attack unscathed and was able to call for police help.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Chinese naval fleet arrives in Russia for joint drill

Chinese Navy Warships (File Photo)
KALININGRAD, Russia, July 21 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese naval fleet reached Russia's Baltic city of Kaliningrad Friday, ready for a joint drill with Russia scheduled in the Baltic Sea in late July.

The Chinese fleet consists of one destroyer, one frigate, one supply ship, ship-borne helicopters and marines. The Russian side includes one frigate, fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters and marines.

The two sides plan to conduct air-defense, maritime search and rescue, underway replenishment and other exercises.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Youth killed, another wounded in army firing on Indian-controlled Kashmir protesters

SRINAGAR, Indian-controlled Kashmir, July 21 (Xinhua) -- A civilian was killed and another wounded Friday after Indian army troops fired upon protesters in restive Indian-controlled Kashmir, police said.

The civilian identified as Tanveer Ahmad Pala was killed in village Beerwah of Budgam district, 27 km south of Srinagar city, the summer capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir.

"Two youth were hit by bullets fired by army in Beerwah today and of them one succumbed to his wounds at hospital," a police official posted in Budgam told Xinhua.

"We heard some people hurl stones and brickbats on army, following which they fired towards them."

The killing triggered protests and panic in the area.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Pentagon withholds military reimbursement to Pakistan

WASHINGTON, July 21 (Xinhua) -- The Pentagon said on Friday that the United States was withholding 50 million U.S. dollars in payment to Pakistan due to Islamabad's insufficient counterterrorism action.

"The funds could not be released to the government of Pakistan at this time because the Secretary (of Defense Jim Mattis) could not certify that Pakistan has taken sufficient action against the Haqqani Network per the requirement in the FY 2016 National Defense Authorization Act," said the Pentagon in a statement, referring to a branch of the Afghan Taliban.

The funds being withheld is part of a Pentagon program called Coalition Support Fund, which aims to reimburse U.S. allies and partners for their counterterrorism operations.

In the Fiscal Year 2016, 900 million dollars were marked for Pakistan, among which 550 million dollars had already been reimbursed.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Pakistan's major offensive launched to quash Daesh cross-border movement

ISLAMABAD, July 21 (Xinhua) -- Pakistani ground forces, backed by air power, are currently conducting a major operation in a rugged mountainous region to dismantle the hideouts of armed groups, especially Daesh or the so-called Islamic State, and to block their cross-border movement.

The operation in the Khyber tribal region is focused on Rajgal Valley, located at a height of nearly 4,200 meters above sea level, and the eight passes of which the militants now use to enter Pakistan for their activities.

They had previously been exploiting the absence on the ground of Pakistani forces in Rajgal, which borders Afghanistan's eastern Nangarhar province. The United States dropping of the so-called "Mother of All Bombs" in Nangarhar in April to eliminate a hideout of the Islamic State's fighters was a strong indication of the Daesh group's prevalence in the region.

Although the Pakistan military has cleared most areas held by the Taliban and other militant groups in seven tribal regions, the militants still use inaccessible routes in rugged mountains for cross-border movements to carry out attacks.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Afghan army defuses 58 improvised bombs - military

KABUL, July 21 (Xinhua) -- The Afghan army personnel found and defused 58 rounds of landmines and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) across the militancy-hit country within the last 24 hours, the Defense Ministry said Friday.

The ministry said in a statement that the engineering teams of Afghan National Army will spare no efforts to recover and thwart the IEDs and landmines as they remained a major threat to the military personnel and civilians.

The Taliban militant group and Islamic State (IS) affiliates use the simple but difficult-to-be-detected IEDs to target security forces but the lethal weapons also inflict casualties on civilians, according to military officials.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Afghan military kills 98 insurgents in one day - government

KABUL, July 21 (Xinhua) -- The Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) have killed 98 suspected insurgents across the country since early Thursday, said the country's Defense Ministry on Friday morning.

"In past 24 hours, the ANDSF conducted anti-terrorism operations to clear some of the areas from terrorists and enemies of peace and stability of Afghanistan, killing 98 armed insurgents and injuring 36 others," the ministry said in a statement.

Among those killed during the raids were several members of Taliban militant group and four Islamic State (IS) fighters, the statement added.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Pakistan rejects U.S. report on Afghan Taliban

ISLAMABAD, July 21 (Xinhua) -- Pakistan has rejected parts of a recent U.S. report, which said that "Pakistan did not take substantial action against the Afghan Taliban or Haqqani, or substantially limit their ability to threaten U.S. interests in Afghanistan."

The U.S. state department's "Country Report on Terrorism 2016" released on Wednesday also claimed that "Pakistan did not take sufficient action against other externally focused groups, such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) in 2016, which continued to operate, train, organize, and fundraise in Pakistan."

The Pakistan foreign ministry Thursday disputed findings of the report and said the country has taken strong measures to fight terrorism.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Dragon-elephant showdown not inevitable

PacificSentinel: The following story by a Chinese Paper is riddled with Chinese Propaganda, but it's a good piece of insight into the way the Chinese think.

by Xinhua writer Luo Jun

BEIJING, July 21 (Xinhua) -- Behind the ongoing border standoff caused by Indian troops' trespass into Chinese territory, is an ill-conceived notion of dragon-elephant rivalry that has grown into a major global topic.

Where does the confrontational idea come from?

The China-India comparison emerged as early as in the 2000s, and was elaborated by scholars and media from the United States and Britain.

The book "The Dragon and the Elephant: China, India and the New World Order", written by Sunday Times journalist David Smith, formally presented the idea to the world. The Financial Times even has a special page for "dragon-elephant rivalry."

It is fair to say that the concept of China and India being nemeses to each other was cooked by the West, a smart move, pitting the two biggest future competitors of the West against each other.

So who stands to win from a possible India-China war?

At least no one in Asia. Obviously the two would pay a heavy price first of all. Even Japan, the U.S. ally who relies heavily on the Chinese market, would suffer an economic blow, which could turn into a domestic crisis.

Most economies, including those in the West, will find themselves negatively affected by an India-China war in a globalized and intertwined world today.

The only beneficiaries, sadly, will be opportunists, short-sighted nationalist politicians who don't really have the people's interests in heart. And the dream of an Asian century would become a puff of wind.

Read the full story at Xinhua


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PacificSentinel: If you haven't already, you should give the below stories a read for India's side to the stand-off and China's reaction.

Related Links: 

News Story: (South Korea) THAAD radiation probe canceled - ministry

AN/TPY-2 radar for THAAD (File Photo)
SEOUL, July 21 (Yonhap) -- The South Korean government has dropped a plan to conduct an on-site survey this week on THAAD electromagnetic radiation joined by local residents, an official said Friday.

There have been public concerns here about electromagnetic radiation in areas near the U.S. military base in Seongju, some 300 km southeast of Seoul, where a THAAD missile defense battery is in partial operation to help counter North Korea's ballistic missile threats.

The THAAD system uses AN/TPY-2 radar, also known as X-band radar, that identifies targets by shooting a beam of electromagnetic waves at them.

Read the full story at YonhapNews

News Story: S. Korea urges N. Korea to accept dialogue offer

By Lee Chi-dong

SEOUL, July 21 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's defense ministry on Friday pressed North Korea to hold bilateral military talks on easing border tension, as Pyongyang remained unresponsive to Seoul's latest dialogue offer.

The meeting was proposed for the day at the truce village of Panmunjom inside the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in what would be their first military dialogue in almost three years.

But the North has kept mum on it, since the South delivered the overture Monday through media, with all formal inter-Korean hotlines severed.

"The North Korean side has not issued a position so far. Accordingly, it has become virtually difficult to open the talks today," the ministry said in a statement.

It stressed the urgency of reducing military tensions and restoring a military communication channel between the two Koreas for the peace and stability of the peninsula.

"The Ministry of National Defense once again calls on the North to respond positively to our offer as soon as possible," the statement read.

On Monday, the South also suggested humanitarian talks with the North on Aug. 1 to arrange the resumption of dayslong reunions of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War. The North also has not replied.

The South's overtures of talks with the North marked the first by the left-leaning Moon Jae-in administration, seeking to engage the nuclear-armed communist neighbor after a decade of animosities.

Read the full story at YonhapNews

News Story: U.S. President Discusses Afghanistan War With Pentagon Officials

U.S. President Donald Trump
U.S. President Donald Trump wrapped up his two-hour-long meeting with senior U.S. military commanders at the Pentagon on Thursday (July 20), where he was briefed on the fight against Daesh and the 16-year long engagement in Afghanistan.

Trump said they were "tremendous people" but would not disclose what military decisions had been taken during the two-hour meeting.

Trump - who met with Defense Secretary James Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford - said "we'll see," when asked prior to the meeting if he was planning on sending more troops to Afghanistan.

He then added, "We're doing very well against ISIS. ISIS is falling fast. Very fast."

When asked about an announcement on troop levels in Afghanistan, Trump said, "you'll be hearing," but did not elaborate. He also ignored a question about Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Read the full story at TOLOnews

News Story: Taliban’s Coordinated Attack Pushed Back In Ghor

A coordinated attack by the Taliban on Tiora and Pasaband districts in Ghor province, in Afghanistan’s west, was repelled by government forces after few hours of heavy clashes, local officials said in a statement on Friday.

The offensive was conducted by dozens of Taliban fighters on Thursday night and continued by early morning on Friday, Ghor police spokesman Mohammad Iqbal Nizami told TOLOnews.

At least 22 Taliban militants were killed and eight others were wounded in the clash, he said.

He added that four security force members were killed in the battle.

Read the full story at TOLOnews

News Story: ANSF Repels Taliban Offensive In Baghlan District As War Rages On

By Hamid Shirzai

As fierce battle between Afghan Security and Defense Forces (ANDSF) and Taliban militants enter its third day in Baghlan-e-Marzaki district in the northern Baghlan province, military sources on the frontline Thursday claimed that security forces have repelled new attacks by the Taliban offshoots on the strategically important town which has witnessed major battles over the past few months. 

“At least 600 militants attacked Baghlan-e-Markazi district but their attack was pushed back (by security forces),” said Zabihullah, a police force member in Baghlan.

“The puppets of Pakistanis are here to capture our district but we are here and we will not allow them,” said Sayed Karim, a local police force member.

Afghan security officials on the battlefield have pledged to clear all areas of Baghlan-e-Markazi district which had been overruled by the militants.

There are reports indicating that ongoing conflicts between Afghan forces and the Taliban have left hundreds of civilians homeless.

Read the full story at TOLOnews

News Story: Defense Ministry Welcomes U.S. Move Against Pakistan

By Sharif Amiri

The Afghan Ministry of Defense on Thursday welcomed the United States decision to list Pakistan among the nations and regions providing "safe havens" to terrorists.

The Defense Ministry spokesman Mohammad Radmanish said Afghanistan wants terrorists’ safe havens eliminated in Pakistan.

“Pakistan must be pressurized in order to fight against terrorism and oust them (terrorists) from that country,” Radmanish stated.

On Wednesday, the United States Department of State listed Pakistan among the nations and regions providing "safe havens" to terrorists, saying terror groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed continue to operate, train, organise and fundraise inside the country in 2016.

In its annual 'Country Report on Terrorism', as mandated by the Congress, the U.S. State Department said that Pakistani military and security forces undertook operations against groups that conducted attacks within Pakistan such as Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan.

"Pakistan did not take substantial action against the Afghan Taliban or Haqqani, or substantially limit their ability to threaten U.S. interests in Afghanistan, although Pakistan supported efforts to bring both groups into an Afghan-led peace process," the State Department said.

"Pakistan did not take sufficient action against other externally focused groups, such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) in 2016, which continued to operate, train, organize, and fundraise in Pakistan," the report said.

Read the full story at TOLOnews

News Story: Afghanistan Criticizes Pakistan Over Operation Khyber-4

The Afghan government has slammed Islamabad over the launch of Operation Khyber-4 by Pakistani forces along the Durand Line, saying that “Kabul is not aware about the military operation”.

The Afghan Ministry of Defense (MoD) said that it had “verbally” agreed that when Afghanistan or Pakistan launches military operation against insurgency, “we will agree with both sides and also the operation must be monitored by the U.S or China”.

However, reports say that Pakistan has launched this operation without informing Afghanistan.

Read the full story at TOLOnews

News Story: 109 bandits, 91 rebels killed by (Philippines) military

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)
By Jaime Laude

MANILA, Philippines - The military’s sustained drive against the Abu Sayyaf group and the New People’s Army (NPA) has left 109 bandits and 91 rebels dead.

On the other hand, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) lost 109 soldiers and had 599 men wounded in clashes in Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi and Zamboanga, AFP spokesman Edgard Arevalo said yesterday.

The military’s anti-terror campaign against the Abu Sayyaf in Mindanao also resulted in the arrest of 72 bandits and the surrender of 99 others, Arevalo said.

“From Jan. 1 to July 19, we have neutralized 290 Abu Sayyaf bandits,” he said.

He added the military also suffered 483 casualties, with 66 soldiers killed and 470 wounded in its anti-terror and anti-kidnapping campaigns against bandits in Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

The Abu Sayyaf has executed at least 15 of its captives in kidnap-for-ransom operations.

Read the full story at PhilStar

News Story: Albright - UN ruling on SCS to remain in the books

Madeleine Albright (Image: Wiki Commons)
By Pia Lee-Brago

MANILA, Philippines - The landmark ruling on the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) favoring the Philippines does not get removed from the books and would be useful in certain periods, former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright said on Wednesday.

“I think it was the previous government that asked for that landmark decision. It doesn’t get removed from the books. It’s there,” she stressed when asked about President Duterte’s decision to set aside the arbitral ruling in the meantime.

The UN-backed arbitral tribunal based in The Hague ruled on July 12, 2016 that China’s nine-dash line claim does not have legal basis and that Beijing violated its commitment under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) by building artificial islands in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone. 

China has opposed and refused to honor the tribunal ruling, calling it illegal and invalid.

“It doesn’t mean the decision is overtaken by events. It’s there. I believe it’ll be useful in certain period,” Albright said at the ANC Forum on Global Governance and World Economy at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza hotel.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the President’s priority of regional peace and stability has led to the healthy environment of dialogue, cooperation and development with China and other Asian neighbors.

Read the full story at PhilStar

News Story: Duterte cites largely intact Maute leadership to justify martial law extension

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte said the leadership of the Islamic State-linked Maute militants who laid siege in Marawi City remains largely intact despite nearly two months of military offensive and has funded diversionary bombing plots targeting key cities in the region.

Duterte said in a letter to Congress that despite troops regaining control of much of Marawi and the killings of hundreds of militants "the rebellion persists and a lot more remains to be done to completely quell the same."

Read the full story at PhilStar

News Story: Doubts over Inada's qualifications as defense chief linger after alleged cover-up surfaces

Tomomi Inada (Image: Wiki Commons)
The latest allegation against Defense Minister Tomomi Inada that she allowed officials to conceal daily activity logs of Ground Self-Defense Forces (GSDF) troops stationed in South Sudan has underscored her inability to govern her own ministry.

Inada has denied authorizing a plan not to disclose the fact that digital data of the GSDF reports were kept during a Feb. 15 emergency meeting with senior Defense Ministry officials. She told reporters on July 19, "It's true that we were having a series of meetings on Feb. 15 to prepare for questions at Diet sessions, but an emergency meeting (to respond to the digital data of the activity logs) never took place."

The meeting was reportedly joined by the GSDF Chief of Staff Toshiya Okabe, Defense Ministry Administrative Vice Minister Tetsuo Kuroe and Katashi Toyota, chief of the defense minister's secretariat, among other officials.

Inada has admitted to meeting with Okabe that day, but said she was told by the chief of staff that the activity log data was discarded as it was no longer needed, stressing that her understanding was that the data of the daily logs had been scrapped.

Read the full story at The Mainichi

21 July 2017

AUS: Defence Hosts Senior Chinese Military Delegation

This week Defence hosted General Wei Liang, Political Commissar, Southern Theatre Command from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on a recent goodwill visit to Australia.

The visit, which occurred on 15–19 July, included discussions with senior Defence officials, including the Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal (ACM) Mark Binskin, AC. The delegation also visited Victoria Barracks and HMAS Watson in Sydney.

The meetings between senior Defence officials and General Wei Liang provided an opportunity to exchange views on regional issues and Australia-China defence engagement.

“It is important for Australia and China to maintain a positive defence relationship,” Air Chief Marshal Binskin said.

“I had a meaningful discussion with General Wei and welcomed the opportunity to reinforce the relationship between Australia and China.”

The Goodwill delegation’s visit provides an opportunity to strengthen people-to-people links and foster transparency between the Australian Defence Force and China’s People’s Liberation Army.

USA: USS Milius to forward deploy to Japan in 2018

From U.S. Naval Forces Japan Public Affairs

In this file photo, USS Milius (DDG 69) returns home to San Diego in 2015 following a deployment. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Ryan J. Batchelder) >>

YOKOSUKA, Japan - The U.S. Navy announced today that the ballistic missile defense (BMD)-capable guided missile destroyer USS Milius (DDG 69) will become part of the Forward Deployed Naval Forces (FDNF) based at Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan in 2018.

The ship was initially planned to arrive this summer, but Naval Surface Forces, Pacific Fleet delayed the ship’s arrival to ensure completion of the ship’s maintenance and modernization, as well as to ensure that the ship completed testing and certification before joining the 7th Fleet.

Milius is undergoing a midlife modernization and will be fitted with the Aegis Baseline 9 combat system, which includes state of the art air defense, BMD, surface warfare and undersea warfare capabilities.

India: Indian Director General of Military Operations Raises Issue of Specific Targeting of Civilians by Pakistan

Indian Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) Lt Gen AK Bhatt spoke to his Pakistani counterpart at 1530h today. Consequent to unprovoked and coordinated ceasefire violations onto Indian civilians along the Line of Control, Pak DGMO was informed of action by Pakistani troops wherein they had deliberately targeted civilian villages and then fired at school children while they were being evacuated. This, he was told does not behove of any Army. The Indian Army as professional force takes due care to avoid targeting of civilians and Pak Army was expected to do the same. 

Pakistani DGMO was also informed about the spate of Ceasefire Violations which also included caliber escalation coupled with incidents of sniping and attempted infiltration bids. Pakistani DGMO was exhorted to exercise strict control on his troops and instruct them to refrain from any nefarious activities. 

Indian Army has been taking all necessary steps to ensure the safety of live and property of Indian citizens and avoided targeting Pakistani citizens. 

News Report: South Korea Unrelenting After North Snubs Rare Military Talks Offer – Reports

South Korea has urged the North to respond to its offer of first military talks in years after the deadline passed for holding a high-level bilateral meeting on Friday, media reported.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Seoul offered on Monday to stage the talks at a "truce village" in the demilitarized zone. But Pyongyang left the call made through media unanswered after previously cutting all hotlines, the Yonhap news agency said.

"The Ministry of National Defense once again calls on the North to respond positively to our offer as soon as possible," a ministerial statement read, as cited by the agency.

South Korean military again stressed the importance of deescalating tensions between the two countries after the North tested what it said was its first intercontinental ballistic missile. Earlier this month, South Korea's President Moon Jae-in said that a dialogue was urgently needed and called for a peace truce.

This story first appeared on Sputnik & is reposted here with permission.

News Report: Fighting Words - Pyongyang Blasts Seoul’s ‘Nonsense’ Invitation to Talks

Just three days after South Korea proposed holding inter-Korean military talks with its northern neighbor, Pyongyang’s most notable publication slammed the efforts as "nonsense."

According to the Rodong Sinmun, if Seoul wants to have any chance at keeping the peace, it needs to fully abandon its confrontational policies and say goodbye to its decades-long dependence on the United States. 

"Ditching confrontation and hostility is a precondition for opening the door for the two Koreas’ reconciliation and unity," stated the Hermit Kingdom’s top newspaper.

Talks were proposed after recently elected South Korean President Moon Jae-in announced in Berlin that he wanted to hit the reset button and bring about a calmer relationship between the divided Koreas.

News Report: ‘Unusual Activity’ Detected in North Korea May Indicate Submarine Missile Test

North Korean Bukkeukseong-1 (Polaris-1) SLBM
US defense officials say that North Korea’s next missile test could happen under water, as Pyongyang appears to be gearing up for submarine-based launches in the near future.

Over the last 48 hours, a 65 meter-long North Korean submarine has exhibited "unusual deployment activity," according to what two unnamed officials told CNN on Thursday. The vessel has sailed farther than it has before into international waters, travelling 62 miles to the Sea of Japan.

According to one of the officials, the submarine’s atypical behavior has caused South Korean and US forces to raise their alert levels slightly, as Washington keeps an eye on the vessel through reconnaissance.

This activity comes weeks after Pyongyang completed what Washington has deemed its first successful intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test launch on the Fourth of July, with North Korea leader Kim Jong-un calling the launch a "gift package" for the US on the anniversary of its Independence Day. 

News Report: China’s Trijunction Action a Threat to India, Says Foreign Minister

Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj told India’s Parliament that the Chinese action in the trijunction region of India, Bhutan and China was a threat to India when opposition lawmakers asked her about the ongoing standoff. She claimed that many countries are supporting India’s stance.

New Delhi (Sputnik) — Indian experts hoped the upcoming visit of India's National Security Adviser Ajit Doval to Beijing to attend a BRICS meeting could help bring about a negotiated resolution to the current standoff.

A former intelligence officer in India's Research and Analysis Wing, Doval is considered a key official in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government security architecture.

"We should wait for Ajit Doval's Beijing visit next week. Although he is going to attend a BRICS-related meeting, there can also be some headway in the Sikkim standoff. Doval is pragmatic and is one of the most trusted officials of the current establishment and his meeting with his Chinese counterpart could see significant progress," Retired Commodore C. Uday Bhaskar, a distinguished fellow of the Society for Policy Studies, told Sputnik.

News Report: Maoist Rebels on the Run in India Over the Last Three Years

India has recorded a 22 percent decline in violence in Maoist insurgency-affected states since the Narendra Modi government came to power. Experts said the government has adopted a carrot and stick approach which is yielding results but challenges remain in wiping out leftist insurgents.

New Delhi (Sputnik) — India's Deputy Home Minister Hansraj Ahir informed the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday that the left wing extremism-affected areas have seen a reduction in incidents of violence.

Between July 2014 and June 2017, the number of incidents of violence committed by Maoists, or Naxals in local parlance, have come down from 3,999 to 3,109, registering a 22.5 percent decline compare to the preceding three years.

Experts said the Modi government and its predecessor governments have adopted a dual approach towards the problem.