23 September 2017

India: Visit of Chief of the Air Staff to Australia

Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa, Chief of the Air Staff is on an official visit to Australia from 19-22 Sep 17. The visit is intended to further strengthen the existing defence cooperation between the Air Forces of the two countries. 

During his stay, he is scheduled to hold talks with top brass of the Royal Australian Air Force on security challenges being faced by the two forces in the current geopolitical scenario and explore ways to deepen defence cooperation. The main focus of the visit is on improving bilateral relations, promoting defence ties and exploring further area of defence cooperation between the two Air Forces. 

During the visit, the CAS would visit the Headquarters of Royal Australian Air Force and operational air bases. 

News Report: Fake Evacuation Orders Sent to US Forces Korea, Families

US Army Warning of Fake Alert (Click Image to Enlarge)
Two days after US President Donald Trump threatened to destroy North Korea, a flurry of false evacuation orders were sent to US service members and their families stationed on the Korean Peninsula.

The alert, delivered through text messages and Facebook, read: "Real World Noncombatant evacuation operation order issued. All DoD family members and non-emergency essential DoD civilians on the Korean Peninsula an evacuation order has been issued."

The hoax was shut down by officials within an hour after being reported on Thursday, and US Forces Korea quickly issued their own statement saying "USFK did not issue this message."

News Report: US Supercarrier Starts New Drills With Japanese Navy South of Korean Peninsula

USS Ronald Reagan; A Nimitz class Aircraft Carrier
The 100,000-ton USS Ronald Reagan convened with one Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) helicopter carrier and two destroyers off the Korean Peninsula to conduct military exercises, the Japanese military said Friday.

The drills began September 11 in maritime areas to the south and west of the Japanese archipelago, according to a Friday JMSDF statement, and are slated to conclude September 28.

North Korea has carried out a flurry of ballistic missile and nuclear weapons tests in recent weeks in spite of new UN Security Council sanctions. On September 15, Japanese residents were urged to find cover as a North Korean ballistic missile soared by overhead. On September 3, Pyongyang conducted its most powerful nuclear test ever. Shortly before the nuke test, on August 29, a Hwasong-12 ballistic missile was launched from a site near Pyongyang, observed directly by leader Kim Jong-un as he puffed a cigarette and studied a map.

News Report: US to Shoot Down North Korea's Missile if It Flies Over Guam - State Dept

The US State Department stated that Washington will shoot down a North Korea's missile if it flies over the territory of Guam.

"If a missile targeted Guam or flew over it, we would have shot it down," US Assistant Secretary of State Susan Thornton said at a briefing for foreign journalists.

Reporters asked Thornton why the US does not respond (to) North Korea's missile launches, which violate the airspace and allies — Japan and South Korea.

Thornton recalled that this issue was previously cleared by US Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

She noted that now it is possible to determine exactly where the rocket will fly and where it will land. According to her, in Japan there are special alert systems for the civilian population.

News Report: India to Construct 108 Missile-Proof Hangars Along China Border

A proposal awaiting government approval since 2015 was strongly backed by the prime minister’s office in the aftermath of the recent border tensions with China.

New Delhi (Sputnik) — The Indian government has cleared a proposal for constructing next-generation hardened shelters for aircraft of the Indian Air Force deployed at the eastern and northeastern airfields that border China. The hangars are designed by the state-owned Defense Research and Development Organization.

The Indian Defense Ministry will initially release $150 million of the total estimated cost of $750 million for the proposed shelters, which can withstand missiles and bombs of up to 2,000 pounds.

The proposed shelters would dot forward areas including Leh, Ladakh and the northeastern states and would also cover the newly built advanced landing grounds — Tuting, Mechuka, Along, Passighat, Vijaynagar, and Ziro — along with the India-China border.

News Report: Trump, Moon Agree to Enhanced Deployment of US Assets in South Korea

US President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in agreed to deploy US strategic assets in and around South Korea on a rotational basis to tackle the North Korean threat.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — US President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, during a meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday, agreed to deploy US strategic assets in South Korea as a way to counter the North Korean threat, the White House said in a press release.

"They also agreed to the enhanced deployment of US strategic assets in and around South Korea on a rotational basis," the release stated on Friday.

News Report: India's Defense Sector Prepares for 100% Foreign Direct Investment

FDI proposals for 100% have to be in areas where India lacks either the existing capabilities or is not even developing it.

NEW DELHI (Sputnik) — India is planning to further liberalize its defense sector by allowing 100 percent foreign direct investment (FDI) in projects. The move is mainly aimed at curtailing the striking slowdown in the defense sector which has failed to attract huge investments in recent years despite the introduction of sweeping reforms in defense investment rules.

Disclosing the government's agenda, defense ministry officials said that 100 percent FDI would be allowed in cases where foreign firms would be willing for the complete transfer of technology.

"The government of India would be open to considering 100 percent FDI in defense, should the company be willing to provide full technology transfer," Ashok Kumar Gupta, India's Secretary of Defense Production was quoted as saying during his interaction with representatives of US corporate sector.

News Report: Kremlin Calls for Restraint Amid US, North Korea Rage

Russia is sticking to a political and a diplomatic resolution to the North Korean issue, calling on all the parties involved to avoid further provocations and escalation amid North Korea mulling a hydrogen bomb test in the Pacific.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Russia insists there is no alternative to diplomacy as means of resolution to the situation on the Korean peninsula, another path may have catastrophic consequences, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday.

The statement was made after North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho had suggested that the nation's leader might be mulling a hydrogen bomb test in the Pacific after their row with the United States escalated this week. 

The North's top diplomat added he had no idea what Kim Jong Un's exact plans were, after he warned the United States of a "high-level" countermeasure, in response to the US president's recent threats. 

News Report: Hiroshima Phantom - Japan Jittery About N Korea's H-Bomb Fly-Over

In the event of North Korea deciding to test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean, Tokyo is not ruling out the possibility that it could be delivered by a ballistic missile flying over Japanese territory, Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera told a news conference on Friday.

"We cannot deny the possibility it may fly over our country," Onodera said.

He added that in view of its recent advances in missile technology development, Pyongyang might conduct an H-bomb test using a medium-range or intercontinental ballistic missile.

Mr. Onodera’s statement came just hours after North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho told reporters at the UN that Pyongyang was considering the possibility of testing a powerful hydrogen bomb over the Pacific as an answer to what he deemed “aggressive US policy.”

News Report: UN Agencies Ramp Up Aid for Rohingya Refugees

Lisa Schlein

GENEVA — The United Nations estimates some 429,000 Rohingya refugees have fled violence in Myanmar for Bangladesh since August 25. As the number edges toward half-a-million, U.N. agencies are increasing life-saving assistance to desperate people living in squalid settlements.

The number of daily arrivals has fallen to about 1,000 from a high of 20,000 a day. Nevertheless, that steep decline in refugee numbers has done little to ease overcrowding in the makeshift Rohingya sites near two official camps in southeastern Bangladesh.

Authorities have allocated an 800-hectare area to new arrivals. The U.N. refugee agency says it is speeding up the distribution of plastic sheeting so as many people as possible can have some protection from monsoon rain and wind.

UNHCR spokesman Andre Mahecic says health is a major concern given the inclement weather, overpopulated camps and lack of essential relief.

News Report: US Government Agency Calls For Changes in Afghan Troops Training

Ayaz Gul

ISLAMABAD — A U.S. government auditor blames flawed U.S. planning, training and oversight for the inability of Afghan forces to secure their country from threats and prevent the re-establishment of terrorist havens. The head of the independent agency warns that billions of dollars could be wasted unless changes are made to the way Afghan troops are trained.

The assessment from John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, or SIGAR, follows a U.S. decision to send more than 3,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, an increase of more than 25 percent in the number of American forces there.

America’s mission, he said, is “to try to win the hearts and minds” of the people in Afghanistan so they will fight for their country, but notes that effort first needs to be focused on Afghan forces.

"They are not going to fight if they know they are not going to get paid,” added the SIGAR chief, whose office released a report to highlight lessons learned from the past 16 years to improve future training efforts.

News Report: North Korea Threatens Nuclear Test in Pacific

Brian Padden

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA — North Korea indicated it may soon test a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific Ocean after the country’s leader Kim Jong Un warned he would match U.S. President Donald Trump’s threatening words and new sanctions with equally provocative action.

The North Korean leader responded Friday to Trump’s United Nations address this week, when the U.S. leader referred to Kim as a “Rocket Man” on a suicide mission, called the government in Pyongyang a “depraved regime,” and said if forced to defend itself or its allies, the Untied States will “totally destroy North Korea.”

In a statement directly attributed to the North Korean leader, Kim on Friday said Trump displayed “mentally deranged behavior” with his threat to destroy a sovereign nation. He called the U.S. president a “rogue and a gangster,” and promised to answer Trump’s insults with the “highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history.”

“Action is the best option in treating the dotard who, hard of hearing, is uttering only what he wants to say,” said Kim in statement that was released by the North Korean state news agency KCNA. The agency released a photo of the North Korean leader reading the statement.

News Report: Australia Positioning to Help US Check China’s Maritime Expansion

Royal Australian Navy Ships leave Sydney for Exercises
Ralph Jennings

TAIPEI, TAIWAN — Australia, concerned about its vast regional trade network, is joining Japan, India and the United States in countering Chinese expansion in Asia’s biggest maritime dispute.

Six Australian warships were moving toward the South China Sea this week, with no publicized destination, for military exercises. Australian media has called the mission their country’s largest in 30 years.

“There is certainly a view in some quarters in Australia that one of Australia’s contributions to diplomacy and international affairs in Asia is as a security player,” said Jeffrey Wilson, a fellow with the Asia Research Centre at Murdoch University in Perth. “We have a very small defense force, but very high tech, high capacity.”

Australia’s leaders want their electorate, as well as its Asian neighbors, to see Canberra as a defender of rule of law in the South China Sea, consistent with its role since the Cold War, analysts say.

The Australian Department of Defense says that by 2021 it will raise the military budget to 2 percent of GDP, one of the fastest-growing in the Asia Pacific. The budget is $27.4 billion for 2017-2018.

News Story: No Safe Place In Next War - The Army’s Expanded Battlefield

Bradley M2A3 IFVs are unloaded at Busan port RoK (File Photo)

What if the next war starts, not with a gunshot, but with a tweet? As tensions rise, US troops discover their families’ names, faces, and home addresses have been posted on social media as they prepare to deploy, along with exhortations to kill the fascists/imperialists/infidels (pick one). Trolls call them late at night with death threats, a mentally ill lone wolf runs over a soldier’s children, fake news claims the military is covering up more deaths, and official social media accounts are hacked to post falsehoods. The whole force is distracted and demoralized.

Meanwhile, defense contractors discover the networks they use to deliver supplies to the military have been penetrated. Vital spare parts go missing without ever leaving the warehouse because the serial number saying which crate they’re in has been scrambled in the database. As railways and seaports prepare to transport heavy equipment, they discover key railroad switches, loading cranes, and other equipment – civilian-owned but vital to the military operation – now malfunction unpredictably, forcing prolonged safety inspections.

US forces finally cut through this cyber thicket and begin to deploy abroad by air and sea – but now the shooting starts. A thousand miles from enemy territory, submarines sink transport ships with torpedoes, cruise missiles and covertly laid mines. A few hundred miles out, long-range anti-aircraft missiles blunt the US air offensive. While stealth fighters can penetrate the defenses, the lumbering fuel tankers that let them cover long distances cannot. Transport planes must unload the troops at airfields well outside the danger zone, while transport ships must unload at distant ports.

US forces face a long road march just to reach the ally they’re supposed to be defending. The whole way, they must fight through attacks by everything from surface-to-surface missiles to local malcontents stirred up by social media. By the time the Americans arrive, their ally’s territory is not only occupied but thoroughly defended by dug-in enemies.

Read the full story at Breaking Defense

News Story: China urges restraint after DPRK declares H-bomb test possibility

BEIJING, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- China on Friday urged all relevant parties to avoid any action that may increase tension on the Korean Peninsula after the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) said it might test a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific Ocean.

"The current situation on the peninsula is severe and complicated," Foreign Minister spokesperson Lu Kang said at a daily press briefing. "Only if all sides bear their due responsibilities, can the peninsula nuclear issue be truly resolved and peace and stability restored to the region."

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: S. Korea says to seek fundamental solution if DPRK stops provocation

SEOUL, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Friday that his country would be able to seek a fundamental solution for the denuclearized Korean Peninsula if the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) stops provocation.

Moon made the remarks on his flight to South Korea from New York after ending his four-day trip to attend the UN General Assembly, according to the presidential Blue House.

"There is currently no choice but for the international community to pressure North Korea (DPRK) with one voice," Moon told reporters aboard the Air Force One.

When the tensions were escalated so high like now, Moon said, it would be hard to seek an alternative solution to the peninsula issue.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Indonesia set to strengthen cyber security

JAKARTA, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- The government of Indonesia plans to strengthen cyber security across the country, Chief Security Minister Wiranto said on Friday.

With 132 million Internet users in the country, Wiranto said coordination must be conducted among the government's institutions and ministries in protecting cyber world.

In the near future, the government would establish an agency, known as BSSN, with mission of carrying out the coordination, he added.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Myanmar gov't to seek UN assistance in resettlement of displaced ethnic people

YANGON, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar's government will ask the United Nations Human Settlement Programme to help in resettlement of displaced ethnic people, State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi told a meeting with the Implementation Committee of recommendations on Rakhine state on Friday.

The state counselor also urged the Implementation Committee to speed up the search of 93 Hindu people from Tamanthar village who were attacked by Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army extremist terrorists.

She called for repatriation through diplomatic channel with Bangladesh of six Hindu women and three children who were said to be living in displaced persons' camps at the border area.

Read the full story at Xinhua


Story Quote: "She called for repatriation through diplomatic channel with Bangladesh of six Hindu women and three children who were said to be living in displaced persons' camps at the border area."

PacificSentinel: Note that they only want the Hindus back, no mention of the Rohingya refugees.

News Story: CM Port says to build Hambantota Port into global maritime center

COLOMBO, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- China Merchant Ports Holdings aims to building the Hambantota Port in southern Sri Lanka into a global maritime center, the company said at Colombo's Ceylon Chamber of Commerce on Friday.

China Merchant Port Holdings (CM Port) entered into partnership with the Sri Lanka Port Authority in July.

It is the largest Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) ever implemented in Sri Lanka.

"We are targeting to turn the Hambantota port into a major hub connecting the neighboring countries as well as the rest of the world. That is the national vision of Sri Lanka and it is also our mission as an operator," said Deputy General Manager of CM Port Hang Tian at Colombo's Ceylon Chamber of Commerce on Friday.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Top brass of Pakistan, India speak after cross-border shelling of civilians

ISLAMABAD, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- Pakistan and Indian military officials on Friday spoke after Indian cross-border shelling killed at least six civilians and injured 26 others on the Pakistani side, Pakistan's army said.

The army said earlier that Indian forces shelled Pakistani areas on Thursday along the border on the eastern Punjab province.

Special hotline contact was established between Pakistani and Indian director generals of military operations, and the issue of deliberately targeting Pakistani civilians was raised, an army statement said.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: 2 militants arrested for attack on paramilitary in Indian-controlled Kashmir

SRINAGAR, Indian-controlled Kashmir, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- Indian police said Friday it had arrested two militants responsible for carrying out attack on paramilitary troopers in restive Indian-controlled Kashmir.

The attack, according to police on Wednesday evening, killed a paramilitary trooper belonging to India's Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and wounded another in Banihal area of Ramban district, about 107 km south of Srinagar city, the summer capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir.

"Two militants namely Gazanfer and Arif involved in attack at Banihal have been arrested and hunt for third one is on," a police spokesman said. "The two snatched weapons have also been recovered."

Initially police suspected the incident was a case of fratricide.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Firing on Kashmir border claims civilian lives on both sides

NEW DELHI, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- With no let up in skirmishes on Line of Control (LoC) and international border (IB) dividing Kashmir, the civilians on both sides of the divide continue to bear the brunt.

On Thursday evening, the two sides exchanged fire in Arnia, Ramgarh and R S Pura sectors along the International Border in Jammu and Samba districts.

According to police, the firing wounded four civilians, besides damaging several houses.
"Four civilians were injured in the firing," a police spokesman said. "The firing also perished cattle besides damaging residential houses."

The spokesman said authorities have evacuated around 800 civilians to safer places.

Meanwhile, four civilians including two women were killed on Pakistani side in Charwah sector on Thursday.

Read the full story at Xinhua

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News Story: One militant killed, 3 injured as Taliban storm checkpoint in N. Afghan province

Afghan Police Officer (File Photo)
TALUQAN, Afghanistan, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- At least one insurgent was killed and three others injured after Taliban group stormed a police checkpoint in Darqad district of the northern Afghan Takhar province on Thursday night, police spokesman Abdul Khalil Asir said.

A group of Taliban fighters, according to the official, attacked a checkpoint in Darqat district last night and police retaliated forcing the militants to flee after leaving behind one dead body, and three more injured.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Trump Meets Ghani In New York, Discusses Anti-Terror Fight

By Syed Zabiullah Langari

At a meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, Ghani and Trump discussed a number of issues including the war on terrorism. 

US President Donald Trump met Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on the sidelines of the 72nd session of UN General Assembly in New York on Thursday.

The two leaders discussed a wide range of issues including the war on terrorism, Afghanistan’s security and the progress made by the Afghan and US forces in the campaign against terrorism.
The US leader offered a warm welcome to the Afghan delegation and reiterated that militaries from the two allies were working hard in the war on terror. 

“It is a pleasure to have president Ghani of Afghanistan with us, we are working very well together, we are working very hard, our military is as you know over there right now doing an incredible job; more of leadership than fighting; leading a lot of wonderful Afghan troops who are fighting very hard; we were just discussing that and great progress has been made; so it’s an honor to have your representatives with us,” said Trump. 

Read the full story at TOLOnews

News Story: Regional Ties More Important Than US Relations - Spanta

By Massoud Ansar

The former national security advisor said friendly relations with the region was more important than strategic cooperation with the US. Former national security advisor Rangeen Dadfar Spanta on Thursday said that friendly relations between Afghanistan and neighboring and regional countries was more important than that of strategic cooperation between Kabul and Washington.

Meanwhile, Spanta’s fellow party members dismissed the present government as having no credibility and claimed it has already started manipulating the next elections in the country. 
They said government’s foreign and domestic policies have failed. 

One party member, Jaffar Mahdawi, said that when looking back on Afghanistan’s past, ethnic divisions have never been quite so bad as they are today. 

He said the gap between ethnic groups in the country had widened under the National Unity Government (NUG). 

But former deputy minister of education Sediq Patan said the past needs to be put aside. 
“We should act wisely and say good bye to the past,” he said.  

Read the full story at TOLOnews

News Story: Australian Military Revises Small Drone Operating Procedures

DJI Phantom 3 UAV (File Photo)
by Bill Carey

Australia’s Department of Defence has established “revised operating procedures” for small unmanned aircraft, an action that follows a U.S. Army directive to its units in August to stop using drones manufactured by China’s DJI because of “cyber vulnerabilities.”

On August 9, “after Defence became aware of the U.S. Army’s actions, the use of all commercial off-the-shelf UAS[unmanned aerial systems] was suspended until a formal assessment into the cyber risk presented by these systems could be conducted,” said a spokesperson with the Australian department, in a statement provided to AIN. “Flight operations recommenced on 21 August 2017 following the completion of the risk assessment that led to the development of revised operating procedures for commercial off-the-shelf unmanned aerial systems.”

Australia’s military “operates a number commercial off-the-shelf UAS, including the DJI Phantom,” according to the statement, which did not describe the revised operating procedures. The Australian newspaper first reported the revised procedures.

Citing “increased awareness over cyber vulnerabilities associated with DJI products,” the U.S. Army in an August 2 memorandum ordered units to “cease all use, uninstall all DJI applications, remove all batteries/storage media from devices, and secure equipment for follow-on direction.” The memorandum, which was leaked to the news service sUAS News, cited as references a classified Army Research Laboratory report on DJI technology and a U.S. Navy memorandum regarding operational risks of using DJI products.

Read the full story at AINonline

News Story: Esperon - Maute fighters confined to area near Lake Lanao

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte
By Audrey Morallo

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte's most recent visit to Marawi City was an indication that the crisis may soon be over, his national security adviser said, as the main fighting area shrinks further to areas near Lake Lanao.

Duterte went to Marawi City on Thursday to visit troops who have been battling Islamist militants for 123 days now. The visit happened while massive protests were held in the capital over Duterte's alleged complicity in drug-related killings as well as for the commemoration of the 45th year since martial law was declared in the Philippines by ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

Martial law was lifted in 1981. In May, Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao in response to the Marawi siege.

The military has also received information that Isnilon Hapilon, the appointed Southeast Asian emir of the so-called Islamic State, is still in the battle area and has not yet escaped as previously reported, according to Esperon.

Hapilon's Abu Sayyaf faction has merged with the Maute Group to stage the most significant terror event to face Southeast Asia in recent years which has killed hundreds of militants, civilians and security personnel and displaced hundreds of thousands of residents of the lakeside town.

According to Esperon, the recent gains by security forces, including the retaking of a mosque at the heart of the city used as headquarters by the militants' leaders and the rescue of hostages, and the travel by land of Duterte to Marawi were signs of the looming end of the most serious security problem to face the administration of the former Davao City mayor.

He said that he himself has traveled to Marawi by land on two occasions, one in July and another in September, although he was hesitant to allow the president's recent land travel there.

Read the full story at PhilStar

News Story: Top diplomats of S. Korea, U.S. discuss Kim Jong-un's threat of highest-level action

SEOUL, Sept. 22 (Yonhap) -- The top diplomats of South Korea and the United States have briefly met in New York and discussed North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's threat to take the highest-level action in response to the U.S. president's recent speech, the foreign ministry here said Friday.

Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson "exchanged primary analysis and opinions of Kim's statement ... and agreed to carry out further close study of it," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a press release.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un vowed to consider "with seriousness exercising of a corresponding, highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history," in a statement released in English by his country's state-run news media.

The words were in response to U.S. President Donald Trump's threat to "totally destroy" the North Korean regime during his address at the United Nations General Assembly earlier in the week.

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho, who is currently visiting New York, later said the action might be the testing of a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific Ocean.

Read the full story at YonhapNews

News Story: Nuclear sub fuel, spy satellites likely on S. Korea's arms shopping list

By Lee Chi-dong

SEOUL, Sept. 22 (Yonhap) -- As U.S. President Donald Trump promised support for South Korea's pursuit of cutting-edge weapon systems, its so-called three-axis defense program is expected to receive a boost, government officials and experts said Friday.

In talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in held in New York on Thursday (local time), Trump agreed to reinforce the allies' combined defense posture against North Korea through South Korea's "acquisition and development of state-of-the-art defense assets."

They also agreed to expand the deployment of the U.S. military's high-profile "strategic" assets to Korea.

It remains unclear whether Trump is trying to help the ally in need or he's more interested in selling arms.

"I am allowing Japan and South Korea to buy a substantially increased amount of highly sophisticated military equipment from the United States," the former business tycoon tweeted on Sept. 5 following the North's claim of a hydrogen bomb test.

Regardless of Trump's intention, his approach provides South Korea with a good opportunity to upgrade its weaponry, defense officials here pointed out.

Read the full story at YonhapNews

News Story: Moon, Trump agree to boost military deterrence, put maximum pressure on N. Korea

NEW YORK, Sept. 21 (Yonhap) -- Presidents Moon Jae-in and Donald Trump agreed Thursday to expand the deployment of U.S. strategic assets to South Korea and surrounding areas.

During their summit on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York, they underscored the need to maintain overwhelming deterrence against North Korea, Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Park Soo-hyun said at a press briefing.

To this end, they agreed to strengthen their countries' joint defense capabilities, partly through Seoul's acquisition and development of "the most advanced military assets," Park said.

The two leaders strongly condemned North Korea's latest nuclear provocation as a serious and escalating threat.

"The two leaders shared a view on the need for the strongest pressure and sanctions against North Korea to deter North Korea's provocative activities and make it start taking steps toward denuclearization," he said.

Earlier reports suggested the leaders were set to announce an agreement for Seoul's acquisition or development of nuclear-powered submarines, a strategic asset that could counter North Korea's submarine-launched ballistic missiles. Seoul earlier dismissed the reports.

The Cheong Wa Dae spokesman refused to confirm whether Seoul's acquisition of the most advanced military assets would include nuclear-propelled submarines.

Their second bilateral summit was watched closely as it came two days after Trump warned of a possible military action against Pyongyang.

Read the full story at YonhapNews

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News Story: Cut ties with N. Korea, Japan foreign minister Kono urges world

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono
NEW YORK (Kyodo) -- Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono called Thursday for all countries that maintain diplomatic and economic ties with North Korea to sever them in a unified response to Pyongyang's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

"Now is the time for the international community as a whole to maximize the pressure on North Korea to take concrete actions toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," Kono said in a speech to students at Columbia University in New York after several days of meetings during the U.N. General Assembly's general debate week.

"Can you believe that over 160 countries have diplomatic ties with North Korea, the biggest threat to the world right now?" he asked during the speech, a few hours after discussing the North Korea issue in a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

He said too many countries also maintain economic ties with the North, including by accepting its migrant workers, a target of the latest U.N. Security Council sanctions resolution adopted in response to the Sept. 3 nuclear test.

"We must work together with countries in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Africa to get rid of the 'loopholes' in the sanctions," Kono said.

Read the full story at The Mainichi

News Story: Japanese city eyes change in name of disputed islands

NAHA, Japan (Kyodo) -- A city in the southern Japanese island prefecture of Okinawa said Thursday its mayor plans to propose changing the name of a group of islands over which it has administrative authority to officially include "Senkaku."

Ishigaki Mayor Yoshitaka Nakayama is pushing for the name change of the Japanese-controlled islets in the East China Sea. The islands are currently known as "Tonoshiro, Ishigaki city," and the plan is to explicitly refer to them as "Senkaku, Ishigaki city."

The uninhabited islets, known as Senkaku in Japan and called Diaoyu by Beijing, are at the center of a territorial dispute between Japan and China.

Nakayama will submit the proposal to the city assembly for discussion during its regular session in December, and the name change is likely to be approved.

The mayor on Tuesday revealed his plan to change the islands' formal name. "I want the (plan) to be presented to the assembly for sure so that the formal address will now contain the (Chinese characters) 'Senkaku,'" he said.

The islands, located between Okinawa and Taiwan, which also claims the islands it calls Tiaoyutai, are said to be close to oil fields beneath the sea floor.

Read the full story at The Mainichi

News Story: ASDF reveals air-to-air missiles damaged at Komatsu base

Air Self-Defense Force F-15DJ (Image: Wiki Commons)
KOMATSU, Ishikawa -- An unspecified number of air-to-air missiles were found damaged at the Air Self-Defense Force (ASDF) base here in March this year, with repairs expected to shoot up to 29.5 million yen, it was revealed on Sept. 21.

"We did not publicly report the incident because it was judged that the damage had not put the missiles in danger of exploding, and therefore it had no impact outside the base," a Komatsu Air Base spokesperson stated.

Read the full story at The Mainichi

22 September 2017

AUS: Australia-United States Alliance stronger than ever before

Minister for Defence
Marise Payne
Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, said the Australia-US Alliance continues to go from strength to strength, following a successful visit to the United States.

Minister Payne travelled to Honolulu and Washington DC from 18-22 September, where she met with senior members of the Trump Administration, including US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis.

At their 20 September meeting in Washington DC, Minister Payne and Secretary Mattis discussed global security threats and challenges, as well as priorities for the Alliance.

“Australia and the US will continue to work together on the security challenges in the Indo-Pacific, including countering the threat posed by Daesh in the Philippines," Minister Payne said.

USA: Mattis, Australian Counterpart Discuss Defense Relationship, Challenges

Australian and US military personal (File Photo)
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Sept. 21, 2017 — Defense Secretary Jim Mattis hosted Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne for a bilateral meeting at the Pentagon yesterday to discuss the defense relationship between their nations and the regional security challenges they continue to face, chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana W. White said.

In a statement summarizing the meeting, White said Mattis expressed his sincere and deep appreciation to Payne for Australia's assistance in the search, rescue and recovery efforts following the early August MV-22 Osprey incident that took the lives of three Marines off the Australian coast.

100 Years of 'Mateship'

"Secretary Mattis also highlighted the upcoming celebration of the first hundred years of 'Mateship' that underpins the ironclad Australia-U.S. alliance," White said, referring to the close bond formed between the United States and Australia when their troops fought side by side during World War I. "The relationship is built from tight bonds of trust, respect and friendship."

The two leaders also discussed concerns about destabilizing actions in the South China Sea and the threat posed by North Korea, White said. "They emphasized the importance of the international community coming together to hold Kim Jong-Un's regime accountable and pressuring North Korea to give up their illegal nuclear weapons program," she added.

Mattis and Payne also reaffirmed their continued commitment and support to address the growing threat from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and other extremist groups, particularly in Southeast Asia, she said.

News Report: US Strategic Command - We Assume North Korea Has Nuclear ICBM

North Korea's Hwasong-14 Ballistic Missile
North Korea’s nuclear program is on the verge of developing accurate nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that can strike the US mainland, according to the commander of US Strategic Command.

Air Force General John Hyten spoke at a Wednesday forum held by the Hudson Institute, a right-wing think tank whose stated goal is to promote "global security, prosperity and freedom." Hyten, whose background is in military engineering and space warfare, said that the United States must "look at [the ICBM] capability of North Korea as a matter of when, not if."

Pyongyang has struggled with the problem of a guidance system that survives orbital re-entry, one of the most challenging aspects of ICBMs. Nuclear warheads are very dense and heavy, and the heat of re-entry can warp the missile and render it totally inaccurate.

But Hyten cautioned that Pyongyang won't be delayed for long. "If you're going down that path, you'll eventually figure it out. You will. So we have to assume, and as commander of Strategic Command I have to assume, that they have the bomb and they will have the capability to deploy it on an ICBM," Hyten said. "And I have to figure out how to respond if asked by the president of the United States."