29 September 2017

PacificSentinel: 30000th and last post

This is PacificSentinel’s 30000th and last post; Seven months ago I was promoted at work and have much less time on my hands, between work and this blog I’ve only had Sundays to do other things, and that’s just not enough time, so unfortunately, after a bit more than Six and a half years, the blog has to end.

This is a partial list of the Websites I’ve been using, just in case you want to continue reading them:

News Sites -

There are others, Defence Industry and Government websites, but there are far to many of those to list, the only other site of note is the Australian Think Tank ASPI whose "The Strategist" blog has been rather useful over the years.

Thanks for coming here all these years.

PacificSentinel, Over and Out!

USA: P-8 aircraft arrive in Hawaii for rotational deployment

From Navy Region Hawaii Public Affairs

In this file photo, a P-8A Poseidon from Patrol Squadron (VP) 4 flies over USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) during training in the Pacific, Aug. 29. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Alex Perlman) >>

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii - Two P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft assigned to the Skinny Dragons of Patrol Squadron (VP) 4 will operate from Marine Corps Base Hawaii and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in support of maritime security initiatives beginning Sept. 28.

This is a part of a rotational deployment of forces, and the first time a P-8 detachment will be deployed to Oahu. Previously, these maritime security missions were flown by P-3C Orion aircraft.

This is VP-4's first deployment flying the P-8A Poseidon. The P-8A, a militarized version of the Boeing 737, is the most advanced long-range maritime patrol aircraft in the world. It is a capable of broad-area, maritime and littoral anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare, and ISR operations. The aircraft brings the latest avionics and onboard systems to the maritime patrol and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) mission, making it the most advanced anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare aircraft in the world.

VP-4, which is based at Whidbey Island in Washington, has a long history in Hawaii, dating back to 1928 when it was first established in Hawaii. The squadron operated here during the Vietnam War and the Cold War. In recent years, VP-4 deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations including Italy, Greece and Spain, to name a few.

VP-4 departed Oahu for the last time as a Hawaii squadron in March 2016. While on deployment, VP-4 executed a permanent duty station change to Whidbey Island.

Maritime patrol squadrons now temporarily deploy to Hawaii on a rotational basis.

News Report: ‘Tame' Trump - 4.7 Million North Koreans Reportedly Ready to Volunteer for War

Turns out Kim Jong-un wasn't joking around when he said the DPRK would "tame [US President Donald Trump] with fire" last week.

According to Rodong Sinmun, a North Korean outlet, an estimated 4.7 million students and workers indicated they would volunteer to join or re-enlist in the Korean People's Army in the hopes of countering US forces.

Included in the estimates are some 1.22 million women, the outlet reported Thursday.

Kim's latest move backs up a statement he issued last week vowing to take the "highest-level" of actions in response to Trump's United Nations speech, Yonhap News reported.

News Report: China and Pakistan Demonstrate Alliance, Flex Muscles During Joint Exercise

For the first time ever, a Pakistani fighter pilot has flown a Chinese warplane during joint combat exercises between the two Asian nations. The exercises, which lasted through most of September, took place in Xinjiang, the westernmost province of China that borders Pakistan.

The Shaheen-VI exercises, the latest in a series of annual joint drills between the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) and the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) that started in 2011, happened this year between September 5 and 25. They included many firsts, according to Chinese military sources, such as live-fire target practice, night warfare, and close support operations.

But the biggest news from the exercise came when Air Vice Marshal Haseeb Paracha, head of PAF's Southern Air Command, climbed into a Chinese J-11B fighter and flew a sortie as part of the exercises. This was the first time in history that a PAF pilot flew a PLAAF plane, a symbolic gesture of the tight bonds between Beijing and Islamabad.

"The air vice marshal was accompanied by Xin Xin, a vice-chief of staff of the PLA Air Force. This marks the first time that a Pakistani top military official has flown in China's new fighter jet," reported the Chinese military in a statement. "The Chinese warplane performed acrobatic maneuvers during the flight, drawing praise from Haseeb."

News Report: Establishment Tightens Grip on Thailand as Former PM Is Jailed in Absentia

The former Prime Minister of Thailand, Yingluck Shinawatra, was jailed in absentia for five years by a court on Wednesday, September 27. Now, like her brother Thaksin, she has gone into exile, leaving a country which is deeply divided.

Yingluck Shinawatra, Former Prime Minister of Thailand (Image: Wiki Commons) >>

The former prime minister of Thailand, Yingluck Shinawatra, has been given a five-year jail sentence for her role in an allegedly corrupt scheme involving subsidies to rice farmers. Yingluck and her brother Thaksin were politicians who polarized Thailand, engendering adoration among their supporters and loathing among their opponents.

News Report: UN Chief Urges 'Swift Action' to Alleviate Suffering of Myanmar Muslims

Margaret Besheer

UNITED NATIONS — U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called Thursday for "swift action" to halt the deteriorating situation in Myanmar's northern Rakhine State, where a half million mostly Rohingya Muslims have fled to neighboring Bangladesh in the past month.

"The situation has spiraled into the world’s fastest developing refugee emergency; a humanitarian and human rights nightmare," Guterres told an open meeting of the U.N. Security Council.

The council has privately discussed the situation three times in the past month, but Thursday’s session was the first time since 2009 that it has publicly discussed Myanmar.

Guterres called for an end to the military’s operations; unhindered aid access; and the safe and voluntary return of refugees to their areas of origin.

"There seems to be a deeply disturbing pattern to the violence and ensuing large movements of an ethnic group from their homes," Guterres said.

Guterres and his human rights commissioner have both expressed concerns that what is happening in Rakhine State is ethnic cleansing.

The secretary-general said the core problem is the prolonged statelessness of the Rohingya and its associated discrimination. "The Muslims of Rakhine State should be granted nationality," Guterres said.

The Rohingya are one of many ethnic minorities in the Buddhist-majority nation. They are considered to be economic migrants from Bangladesh and have been denied citizenship, even though most can show that their families have been in the country for generations.

News Story: China’s J-20 stealth fighter jet is in service

By: Mike Yeo

MELBOURNE, Australia — China has officially commissioned the Chengdu J-20 stealth fighter into service, the country’s defense ministry has announced.

Wu Qian, a spokesperson for the country’s Ministry of National Defense, also said in a media conference on Thursday that flight tests are being conducted as scheduled. The type is currently in low rate production for China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force, or PLAAF, with at least six examples known to be undergoing operational testing since late 2016 with the service’s 176th Air Brigade at Dingxin Airbase in China’s Gansu Province.

The J-20 is classified by the PLAAF as a fourth-generation — broadly equivalent to fifth-generation in the West — medium- and long-range fighter jet with stealthy characteristics, although these are mainly confined to the frontal aspect of the design.

Read the full story at DefenseNews

News Story: Can North Korea shoot down a US military aircraft?

North Korean KN-06 Surface-to-Air Missile System
By: Mike Yeo

MELBOURNE, Australia — At a news conference in New York on Monday, North Korea’s foreign minister accused U.S. President Donald Trump of declaring war via Twitter, and the minister threatened to shoot down U.S. Air Force bombers conducting flights near the Korean Peninsula.

Ri Yong Ho told reporters that his country “reserves the right to shoot down United States strategic bombers even when they’re not yet inside the airspace border of our country.” His comments come in the wake of a war of words between both countries over North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear weapons program.

The conference came after a Sept. 23 flight over international waters “east of North Korea” by U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers, escorted by F-15C jets, that U.S. Pacific Command said was the “farthest north of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) any U.S. fighter or bomber aircraft have flown off North Korea’s coast in the 21st century.”

According to South Korean media citing sources from the country’s intelligence services, the route of the B-1Bs took them approximately 90 miles from the North Korean port city of Sinpo and the Punggye-ri nuclear test site at its closest point but beyond the range of known long-range, ground-based air defense systems. The bombers’ flight path was also well beyond the North’s self-declared, 50-mile military boundary zone, which is not recognized by the United States.

At these distances, it would be a significant challenge for the North to effectively target any U.S. overflights. Like much of its conventional forces, North Korea’s air defense network is large in quantity but of questionable quality due to obsolescence, as the country is barred from importing military capabilities due to a United Nations arms embargo.

Read the full story at DefenseNews

News Story: S. Korea closely consults with U.S. on rotational deployment of strategic military assets

SEOUL, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's defense ministry said on Thursday that the country was closely consulting with the United States on a rotational deployment of U.S. strategic military assets near the Korean Peninsula.

Lee Jin-woo, deputy spokesman of the defense ministry, told a regular press briefing that the two allies agreed to expand the rotational deployment of U.S. strategic assets in and near South Korea during a meeting last week in New York between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Donald Trump.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: S.Korean presidents stresses need for early transfer of wartime operational control from U.S.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in
SEOUL, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Thursday stressed a need for early transfer of wartime operational control of its forces from the United States to better tackle the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s nuclear and missile threats.

Moon said in a speech to celebrate the 69th anniversary of Armed Forces Day that the government aimed to regain the wartime command of South Korean forces early from Washington, and that the transfer will make the military's capability leap forward.

The president said the DPRK will be scared of the South Korean military when it has the wartime control of its own troops.

South Korea handed over its operational command to the U.S. forces after the three-year Korean War broke out in 1950. The country won back its peacetime operational control in 1994.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: South Korea shows off massive weapons to celebrate Armed Forces Day

M-SAM part of the KAMD system (File Photo)
SEOUL, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's military on Thursday showed off massive strategic weapons at an event to celebrate the 69th anniversary of Armed Forces Day amid rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Key strategic weapons, including homegrown ballistic missiles, were displayed at the celebration function that was broadcast live and held at the headquarters of the Navy's Second Fleet in Pyeongtaek, 70 km south of Seoul.

President Moon Jae-in and Defense Minister Song Young-moo inspected core military assets of the so-called "three-axis" defense platform, including the Kill Chain, the Korean Air and Missile Defense (KAMD) and the Korea Massive Punishment and Retaliation (KMPR).

The country's indigenous Hyunmoo ballistic missiles were on display. Among them, the Hyunmoo-2C missiles were made public for the first time at the ceremony.

Hyunmoo ballistic missile launcher vehicle (File Photo)
Hyunmoo ballistic missiles involve Hyunmoo-2A and Hyunmoo-2B which have a range of 300 km and 500 km each as well as Hyunmoo-2C that can fly as far as 800 km and hit the entire territory of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

Also on display was Hyunmoo-3 cruise missiles that can travel as far as 1,000 km and has a high striking precision, though it has less destructive power than Hyunmoo-2 ballistic missiles.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: China's J-20 fighter jet put into service - spokesman

BEIJING, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) -- China's latest J-20 stealth fighter has been officially commissioned into military service, according to Wu Qian, spokesperson for the Ministry of National Defense on Thursday.

The flight tests are being conducted as scheduled, Wu said at a press conference.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: ASEAN-Plus defense ministers to discuss terrorism, drug trafficking in Philippines

MANILA, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) -- The defense ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and eight dialogue partners will convene in the Philippines next month to discuss fighting terrorism, drug trafficking and maritime conflicts, the Philippine defense chief said on Thursday.

Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that ministers will also discuss ways to mitigate climate change and cushion its impact on the region.

"We are going to have some statements with ASEAN countries but we are also having dialogues with our eight other dialogue partners," Lorenzana told reporters.

He described the forthcoming high-level security meeting, dubbed the ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus), as "a huge conference" that is hoped to address issues that threaten peace and security of the region.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Philippines tells U.S. it does not allow extrajudicial killings in anti-drug war

MANILA, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) -- Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have met in Washington to discuss Manila's anti-drug war, a statement issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said here Thursday.

During the meeting at the State Department in Washington D.C. on Wednesday, the statement said the Philippines does not allow extrajudicial killings.

"Contrary to media reports, Cayetano also clarified to Tillerson that the Philippines does not have a state policy allowing extrajudicial killings, especially of illegal drug suspects," the statement read.

It said Cayetano informed Tillerson that Manila would welcome further cooperation with Washington, especially on initiatives that would address the illegal drugs problem in the country.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Philippine defense chief says pro-IS militants offer to surrender

MANILA, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) -- Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Thursday that an undermined number of the Maute extremists that laid siege to the southern Philippine city of Marawi have offered to surrender.

Lorenzana said a local official, Lanao del Sur Rep. Mauyag Papandayan, relayed to him the pro-Islamic State militants' plan to surrender and give up the fight.

The pro-IS extremists have been fighting the government since May 23, putting up a bitter fight to gain control of the city.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Indonesia launches guidance to tackle IS-linked group funding

JAKARTA, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- Indonesia launched on Wednesday a guidance to detect and cut down transfer of funds to finance terror activities of Islamic State (IS)-linked groups, contributing to regional and global fights against terrorism.

Head of Indonesia's government antiterrorism desk (BNPT) Suhardi Alius said the guidance, which is formed in a book, would lead Indonesian institutions and agencies tasked to combat terrorism in composing and implementing policies to trace and cut the fund transfers for terrorism activities.

The book showed the map of terror group funding network as well as the IS Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTF) figures in Indonesia.

"The book contains documents aimed at improving awareness of institutions and agencies over the illicit fund transfers and how to trace and cut them. It also indicates the risk of the fund transfers to regional and global security," Suhardi said in the book launching event held here.

He added that Indonesia sees increasing fund transfers activities for IS-linked groups in the country since 2014, indicating that threat of terror attacks carried out by the groups remained credible.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: China sends relief materials for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh

DHAKA, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) -- A second Chinese cargo plane carrying relief supplies for Rohingya refugees arrived in Bangladesh's southeastern Chittagong region on Thursday, after the first one arrived on Wednesday.

The relief materials included about 2,000 tents and 3,000 blankets.

An official from the Chinese Embassy in Bangladesh handed over the relief materials to the Bangladeshi side Thursday.

Read the full story at Xinhua


PacificSentinel: That's right China/Xinhua, just ignore the complete overreaction by Myanmar's army in the situation.

News Story: China calls for patience with situation in Myanmar's Rakhine

UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese envoy to the United Nations on Thursday called for patience with the situation in Myanmar's Rakhine State.

"The question of Rakhine State is rooted in a nexus of complex historical, ethnic and religious factors. Many of the differences and antagonisms have been building up over a long time. There is no quick fix," Wu Haitao, China's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, told the Security Council.

China condemns the recent violent attacks in Rakhine State and supports Myanmar's effort to keep its domestic situation stable, he said. "We sincerely hope that order will prevail again as soon as possible so that no more harm will come to the innocent civilians, and so that social stability, unity among ethnic groups and economic development in Myanmar will be sustained."

He asked the international community to view the difficulties and challenges confronting the Myanmar government "through objective optics," exercise patience, and provide support and help.

"A viable solution will be one that goes in tandem with the reconciliation process in Myanmar," said Wu.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: 14 dead, unknown number missing after Rohingya boat capsizes off Bangladesh

DHAKA, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) -- At least 14 bodies were recovered after a boat with dozens of Rohingyas fleeing Myanmar capsized in the Bay of Bengal close to Bangladesh's southeastern Cox's Bazar district bordering Myanmar, a senior police official said Thursday.

The accident also left an unknown number of people missing, the police official said.

Afrozul Hoque Tutul, additional police superintendent of Cox's Bazar district, told Xinhua at about 6:30 p.m. local time that "14 bodies have so far been recovered."

He could not tell immediately when the boat capsized but assumed that it may have capsized sometime Thursday evening.

Law enforcers rushed to recover the bodies which were floating in the Bay of Bengal near Inani sea beach area of Cox's Bazar district, some 292 km southeast of capital Dhaka, he said.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Six terrorists killed in Pakistan's Karachi

ISLAMABAD, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- Six suspected terrorists were killed in an encounter during a raid at the suspects' hideout, police in the Pakistani port city of Karachi said Thursday.

Senior Superintendent of Police Rao Anwar said police along with intelligence officials conducted the raid on a tip-off about the presence of the terrorists in Sachal area of Karachi, the capital of the country's southern Sindh province.

"All six of the terrorists were killed in retaliatory firing after they opened fire on the raiding team," Anwar said.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Afghan forces kill 74 insurgents within past 24 hours: gov't

KABUL, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) -- Up to 74 armed militants were killed and 25 others injured in the Afghan forces operations across the war-torn country over the past 24 hours, the Afghan defense ministry said in a statement released Thursday.

"Afghan security and defense forces launched military operations in restive provinces, killing 74 insurgents including 11 Islamic State (IS) fighters and injuring 25 others," the statement said.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Suicide attack kills 12 security personnel in southern Afghanistan

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) -- A dozen security personnel were killed after a car suicide bomb targeted the police department in Maroof district of the southern Kandahar province, 450 km south of Kabul, early Thursday, police spokesman Zia Durani said.

"Terrorists organized a suicide car bomb against police department in Maroof district in the wee hours of Thursday killing 12 security personnel and injuring four others including district police chief Nadir Khan," Durani told Xinhua.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Pakistan Can’t Be Held Responsibility For Peace - FM

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif said Islamabad cannot take responsibility for peace and security in Afghanistan, India’s Economic Times reported on Thursday.

Asif said effective border management with Kabul was imperative to stop the infiltration of terrorists. 

Speaking at the Asia Society seminar in New York, Asif also said the US cannot succeed in Afghanistan by waging war, reported the Economic Times. 

Read the full story at TOLOnews

News Story: (Phil) Army captures NPA camp near Batangas City

New People’s Army (NPA)
By Jaime Laude

MANILA, Philippines — Government troops captured a suspected training camp of communist New People’s Army (NPA) rebels near Batangas city following last Sunday’s fighting that left one insurgent dead and scores wounded.

Maj. Gen. Rhoderick Parayno, commander of the Army’s 2nd Infantry Brigade, said troops are pursuing the NPA rebels that occupied the camp.

Parayno said the security situation in Barangay Talumpok and the villages nearby where the camp is located has normalized since Tuesday.

At the height of the fighting that resulted in the evacuation of residents and the disruption of classes, the military deployed a helicopter to provide close air support to the troops.

Parayno said all the rockets fired by the helicopter hit their targets, contrary to claims that some of them hit residential houses.

“There’s no truth to that. It’s all propaganda by the left,” he said.

Read the full story at PhilStar

News Story: Vietnam, Australia hold foreign affairs, defence strategic dialogue

Sydney (VNA) – The fifth foreign affairs and defence strategic dialogue at the deputy ministerial level between Vietnam and Australia was organised in Canberra on September 27.

The event was chaired by Vietnamese Deputy Foreign Minister Dang Dinh Quy and Australia’s Deputy Secretary Defence People Rebecca Skinner and Deputy Secretary in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Gary Quinlan.

During the dialogue, the two sides agreed to continue boosting the Vietnam-Australia relations in the fields of politics, economics, trade, defence, security, agriculture, education and training, tourism and people-to-people diplomacy.

They exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual concern, while pledging to maintain close coordination at multilateral forums, including the United Nations, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and forums led by ASEAN such as the East Asia Summit and the ASEAN Regional Forum, in order to promote dialogue and cooperation, and maintain peace, stability and order in the region.

Read the full story at VietnamPlus

News Story: U.S. senator suggests having China as part of peacekeeping force in Korea

US Sen. Rand Paul (Image: Wiki Commons)
WASHINGTON, Sept. 27 (Yonhap) -- A U.S. senator proposed Wednesday that China be allowed to keep a peacekeeping force on the inter-Korean border as part of a solution to the North Korean nuclear standoff.

In an interview on MSNBC, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said the arrangement could satisfy both North Korea and China, which he claimed wants to be treated with more respect.

"Have them be part of a peacekeeping force in exchange for North Korea giving up their weapons," Paul said. "But I'm not talking about initially doing this. I'm talking about doing this in exchange for North Korea dismantling their program. They would be simultaneous sort of things."

China is North Korea's main ally and trading partner. It is responsible for 90 percent of the reclusive nation's external trade.

Read the full story at YonhapNews

News Story: Moon, party leaders condemn N.K. nuke, missile provocations

SEOUL, Sept. 27 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in and the leaders of major parties issued a joint statement Wednesday condemning North Korea's provocations and calling for a peaceful resolution of the nuclear standoff.

In a show of bipartisanship, they announced a five-point agreement after their meeting at Cheong Wa Dae, also reaffirming they would not let another armed conflict occur on the Korean Peninsula.

The talks, the third of their kind, came amid heightened tensions caused by Pyongyang's sixth and most powerful nuke test on Sept. 3 and a series of ballistic missile launches.

"(We) strongly condemn North Korea's nuclear and missile provocations that threaten peace and stability," reads the joint statement adopted after the dinner gathering that lasted two hours and 15 minutes.

"We urge the North to immediately halt provocations and come forward onto a path towards peace and denuclearization," it added. The statement was announced by their spokespersons.

The meeting was attended by Choo Mi-ae, Ahn Cheol-soo, Joo Ho-young and Lee Jung-mi, who represented the ruling Democratic Party, People's Party, Bareun Party and Justice Party, respectively. The leader of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party refused to attend, saying he does not want to serve as "background for a political show."

During the talks, the leaders also agreed to work together to faithfully implement U.N. Security Council sanctions against the North, strengthen the South Korea-U.S. alliance and bolster deterrence capabilities by enhancing the credibility of America's extended deterrence.

Extended deterrence refers to the stated U.S. commitment to defend its ally by mobilizing all military capabilities, nuclear and conventional, against the North's aggression and provocations.

Such a commitment was called into question amid Pyongyang's beefed-up push to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the U.S. mainland. Some argue Washington may dither on defending its Asian ally under attack as its military action could put its own territory at risk.

Read the full story at YonhapNews

News Story: S. Korea, U.S. open alliance talks

SEOUL, Sept. 27 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and the United States began working-level defense talks in Seoul on Wednesday on North Korea and pending alliance issues.

The two-day Korea-U.S. Integrated Defense Dialogue (KIDD) meeting, the 12th of its kind, got under way amid sharp military tensions on the peninsula over North Korea's provocations.

Agenda items include policy coordination against the North's nuclear and missile programs, Washington's commitment to extended deterrence and the transfer of wartime operational control of South Korean troops, according to the Ministry of National Defense.

Read the full story at YonhapNews

News Story: IAEA chief to visit S. Korea to discuss N. Korean nuke issue

SEOUL, Sept. 27 (Yonhap) -- The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will visit South Korea this week to discuss ways to resolve North Korea's prohibited nuclear weapons development, the foreign ministry here said Wednesday.

During his visit from Thursday to Saturday, Director General Yukiya Amano will meet with Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha to discuss the North Korean issue and cooperation between the IAEA and South Korea, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

"Director General Amano's South Korean visit, which comes after North Korea's sixth nuclear test and other provocations, will be an opportunity to discuss in depth how the two parties could collaborate to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue," the ministry said in a statement.

Read the full story at YonhapNews

28 September 2017

Industry: Navantia Congratulates (AUS) Navy on the Commissioning of HMAS Hobart

HMAS Hobart (File Photo)
The commissioning of HMAS Hobart (III) into service by the Royal Australian Navy on Saturday, 23 September 2017 marks the achievement of a major milestone for both Navantia Australia and the Australian shipbuilding industry and workforce. The ship was built under the AWD Alliance.

Navantia commenced operating in Australia in 2006 when the AWD Project was just beginning. Since that time and its selection in 2007 as ship designer, Navantia has worked closely with Australia and Australian industry to bring this ship into reality.

“Navantia Australia is very proud of our role as ship designer and shipbuilding management services provider for the AWD Alliance,” said Donato Martínez, Navantia Australia’s managing director. “Through our experience in the AWD program, Navantia Australia has developed strong partnerships with Australian industry and a deep understanding of the Royal Australian Navy and Australian Defence Force requirements.” 

News Report: Top US General Says China Will Displace Russia as ‘Greatest Threat’ By 2025

General Joseph Dunford (Image: Wiki Commons)
The highest ranking military officer in the United States armed forces told Congress that he expected China to become “the greatest threat to our nation” by the year 2025, and pushed for an expansion in military spending to “maintain a competitive advantage” over Beijing.

General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) on Tuesday to testify on a variety of subjects related to US national security and the military as part of the confirmation process for his second term.

Among comments on areas of interest the world over, such as Afghanistan and North Korea, Dunford told the SASC that he expected China to "probably" become the US' primary adversary by 2025.

Dunford, a decorated soldier who previously served as commandant of the Marine Corps and the leader of US forces in Afghanistan, said this in response to Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) asking him if he still believed the three biggest military threats to the US were Russia, China and North Korea in that order. "If I look out to 2025, and I look at the demographics and the economic situation, I think China probably poses the greatest threat to our nation by about 2025," he said.

News Report: China Tests New Terahertz Radiation Radar That Could Detect Stealth Jets

An F-35A Lightning Stealth Fighter
The China North Industries Group Corporation has tested a radar in recent weeks that generates terahertz radiation in order to better track the presence of stealth aircraft, the South China Morning Post reports.

The device has the potential to be a “game changer” for the People’s Liberation Army, scientists told the Hong-Kong based news outlet, since the radar might be able to spot the US’ F-22 Raptors and beleaguered F-35 Joint Strike Fighters.

Terahertz radiation can theoretically see through the “composite materials” that help hide stealthy jets, SCMP reports. The F-22 fleet’s new $40 million paint job might be for naught after all. 

News Report: India Braces Itself for Influx of Refugees, Seals Its Borders With Myanmar

India fears that Rohingyas fleeing Rakhine province in Myanmar may enter its territory through the countries' mutual border, which lacks a protective fence. In response, a team led by the head of the Department of Internal Security of the Ministry of Home Affairs was sent to the region by Home Minister Rajnath Singh last week.

New Delhi (Sputnik) — The Indian government is reviewing the impact of a bilateral agreement with Myanmar, which allows visa-free movement among citizens of the two countries within 16 km of the Indo-Myanmar border, in the wake of the Rohingya refugee crisis.

Sources have told Sputnik that security officials and senior officials from India’s Ministry of Home Affairs visited the border areas of four north-eastern states.

"India apprehends that Rohingya fleeing Rakhine may seek to infiltrate into our side through the unfenced border. That is why a team, led by special secretary (internal security), visited the border on the instruction of Union home minister Rajnath Singh last week," a senior Intelligence Bureau official told The Telegraph.

News Report: India Foils the Online Agenda of Islamist Cyber-Terrorists

Police in the Indian state of Maharashtra, where Mumbai is located, have thwarted a major Daesh attempt to influence Indian youth by de-radicalizing several young people and blocking hundreds of Islamist propaganda websites.

New Delhi (Sputnik)- A police anti-terror operation in India is making headway with its renewed strategy to take on terrorist extremist groups by blocking their attempts to take advantage of cyberspace.

The Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) of the Maharashtra police has de-radicalized 70 youths, while the cyber cell of ATS has blocked more than 450 websites related to Daesh (ISIS) in the past two years.

According to Home Ministry sources, the NIA and various state ATS units have been closely monitoring the social media sites and keeping a close tab on the activities of suspects.

News Report: India Deploys Nuclear-Capable Infantry Division Near Pakistan Amid High Tensions

India has deployed an infantry division to a potential flashpoint to guard against any provocation from its neighbor Pakistan and has again warned its ‘adversary’ against aiding terrorists to cross the Line of Control.

New Delhi (Sputnik) – In the midst of heightened tensions between India and Pakistan over the possibility of India launching a “limited war,” India has revived its decades-old combat division comprising tanks and armored vehicles near the historically significant Akhnoor sector in Jammu and Kashmir.

The division is mandated to counter any action of Pakistani troops in the Chamb-Jaurian sector – the area where the 1971 war between the two countries broke out.

The 10th Infantry Division of the Indian Army, which is now being converted into RAPID (Reorganized Army Plains Infantry Division), will hold around 100 T-72 tanks and the same number of Russian made mechanized armored vehicles.

The RAPID formation has infantry assets to reasonably conduct significant offensive operations and is easily adaptable to nuclear, biological & chemical warfare.

News Report: UNHCR - Risk of Terrorism 'Very, Very High' if Rohingya Crisis Persists

Lisa Schlein

GENEVA — The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, warned Wednesday of a high risk of terrorism in Myanmar and the region if the Rohingya crisis remains unresolved.

Grandi recently visited Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh, which is home to some 800,000 Rohingya refugees. Among those, 450,000 refugees recently fled violence and persecution in Myanmar, while more than 300,000 others arrived in neighboring Bangladesh before the current crisis.

Most of the refugees are women and children, and many are deeply traumatized. Grandi says he spoke to women who had been raped and children who had seen their families and friends killed.

"The combination of limited health facilities, poor sanitary and hygienic conditions, and overcrowded sites, you can well imagine, is a recipe for disaster in terms of possible epidemics," Grandi said, stressing how little the refugees had and how vulnerable they were to multiple risks.

News Report: Latest US Sanctions on North Korea Will Result in Full Trade Embargo

Eunjung Cho, Jenny Lee

WASHINGTON — The latest executive order signed by President Donald Trump would, in effect, amount to a full trade and financial embargo, squeezing all the revenue channels North Korea maintains to finance its weapons programs, a former senior counterterrorism official said.

On Sept. 21, less than two weeks after the U.N. Security Council approved new sanctions, Trump turned up the heat on the Kim Jong Un regime with an executive order that widens U.S. authority to sanction any bank and company that finance or facilitate trade with the communist country or any individual involved in the North Korean industries, ports and trade.

“To prevent sanctions evasion, the order also includes measures designed to disrupt critical North Korean shipping and trade networks,” said Trump, in reference to a 180-day ban on ships that have visited North Korea or have been involved in a ship-to-ship transfer with a vessel that has visited North Korea from entering the United States. “For much too long, North Korea has been allowed to abuse the international financial system to facilitate funding for its nuclear weapons and missile programs.”