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Tue, 25th April 2017

Anirudh Sethi Report

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Archives of “east china sea” Tag

North Korea says ready to strike US aircraft carrier

North Korea said on Sunday it was ready to sink a U.S. aircraft carrier to demonstrate its military might, as two Japanese navy ships joined a U.S. carrier group for exercises in the western Pacific.

US President Donald Trump ordered the USS Carl Vinson carrier strike group to sail to waters off the Korean peninsula in response to rising tension over the North’s nuclear and missile tests, and its threats to attack the United States and its Asian allies.

The United States has not specified where the carrier strike group is as it approaches the area. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said on Saturday it would arrive “within days” but gave no other details.

North Korea remained defiant.

“Our revolutionary forces are combat-ready to sink a US nuclear powered aircraft carrier with a single strike,” the Rodong Sinmun, the newspaper of the North’s ruling Workers’ Party, said in a commentary.

The paper likened the aircraft carrier to a “gross animal” and said a strike on it would be “an actual example to show our military’s force”.

The commentary was carried on page three of the newspaper, after a two-page feature about leader Kim Jong Un inspecting a pig farm.

North Korea will mark the 85th anniversary of the foundation of its Korean People’s Army on Tuesday.

It has in the past marked important anniversaries with tests of its weapons.

North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests, two of them last year, and is working to develop nuclear-tipped missiles that can reach the United States.

It has also carried out a series of ballistic missile tests in defiance of United Nations sanctions.

North Korea’s growing nuclear and missile threat is perhaps the most serious security challenge confronting Trump.

He has vowed to prevent the North from being able to hit the United States with a nuclear missile and has said all options are on the table, including a military strike.

US agreed to clear military strike against North Korea with Japan

Multiple Japanese reports

Kyodo and Nikkei have similar reports saying that US officials have discussed the option of attacking North Korea with Japanese leaders. The US officials reportedly agreed to discussions (or notifications) for Japan before anything takes place.

North Korea has nuclear weapons that can reach Japan.

The sources who spoke with Kyodo said the action would be a second (or third) option in China refuses to pressure North Korea into curbing its missile and nuclear programs.

 

Comments from China meetings coming out from Ross/Tillerson/Mnuchin

No joint statement released from the White House

Comments from Tillerson”
  • Trump/Xi had frank,, candid open talks
  • Trump raised serious concerns about the impact of China’s industrial, cyber, agricultural policies on US jobs
  • Agreed to Increase cooperation to convince North Korea to curb nuclear program
  • Trump/Xi Shared view that North Korea nuclear advancement has reached serious stage
  • noted importance of adherence to international norms in south China in East China Sea’s
  • agreed to new format for US China talks
  • Xi invited Trump for a state visit at a future date
  • Understood the US rresponse  to Syria chemical attacks because of the deaths of children
Mnuchin comments:
  • Held first comprehensive economic dialogue with Chinese counterparts on Friday
  • The Treasury Department will address currency issue in regular report
Commerce Secretary Ross
  • Most significant result of US China talks was hundred day plan
  • given range of issues between US and China the pace may be ambitious, but there is growing rapport between the two countries
  • Objective of  100 day plan is to increase US exports to China and reduce trade deficit
  • China expressed an interest in reducing net trade balance  because of the impact it is having on money supply and inflation

White House Is Exploring Use Of Military Force Against North Korea

An internal White House strategy review on North Korean options includes the possibility of both military force and regime change to counter the country’s nuclear-weapons threat, the WSJ reports, a prospect that has some U.S. allies in the region on edge. The review comes amid recent events have strained regional stability including last month’s launch by North Korea of a ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan, and the assassination of the estranged half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Malaysia.

The WSJ adds that U.S. officials have underscored the possible military dimensions of their emerging strategy in recent discussions with allies, suggesting that the planning is at an advanced stage.

President Trump has taken steps to reassure allies that he won’t abandon agreements that have underpinned decades of U.S. policy on Asia, his pledge that Pyongyang would be stopped from ever testing an intercontinental ballistic missile—coupled with the two-week-old strategy review—has some leaders bracing for a shift in American policy. During Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s two-day summit in February with Mr. Trump, U.S. officials on several occasions stated that all options were under consideration to deal with North Korea, according to a person familiar with the discussions.

It was clear to the Japanese side that those options encompassed a U.S. military strike on North Korea, possibly if Pyongyang appeared ready to test an ICBM. The Japanese side found that scenario “worrisome,” he said.

The proposal emerged roughly two weeks ago, when Deputy National Security Adviser K.T. McFarland convened a meeting with national-security officials across the government and asked them for proposals on North Korea, including ideas that one official described as well outside the mainstream.

 The request was for all options, ranging from U.S. recognition of North Korea as a nuclear state to military action against Pyongyang. Ms. McFarland’s directive was for the administration to undergo a comprehensive rethink of America’s North Korea policy.

 The national-security officials reported back to Ms. McFarland with their ideas and suggestions on Tuesday. Those options now will undergo a process under which they will be refined and shaped before they’re given to the president for consideration.

 In addition to concerns about US intervention, there is speculation that China may itself pre-empt a move by Washingont: the heightened prospect of U.S. military action in North Korea could encourage China, which fears the fallout of a military confrontation with its neighbor, to take steps Washington has long sought to choke off Pyongyang’s economic lifeline.

In Latest “Military Escalation” China Prepares Deployment Of SAM Batteries On South China Sea Islands

In China’s latest test of the US response to its escalating claims of islands in the South China Sea, Reuters reports that Beijing has “nearly finished building almost two dozen structures on artificial islands in the South China Sea that appear designed to house long-range surface-to-air missiles.” Predictably, such a development will likely raise questions about whether and how the United States will respond, given its vows to take a tough line on China in the South China Sea. The structures appear to be 20 meters (66 feet) long and 10 meters (33 feet) high.

Official cited by Reuters said the new structures were likely to house surface-to-air missiles that would expand China’s air defense umbrella over the islands. They did not give a time line on when they believed China would deploy missiles on the islands. “It certainly raises the tension,” Poling said. “The Chinese have gotten good at these steady increases in their capabilities.”

China’s Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea

China Shows Off Aircraft Carrier Drills, To Sail Into Contested South China Sea

China’s military said on Saturday that its first aircraft carrier group conducted a series of previously unannounced fighter launch, recovery and air combat exercises in the Yellow Sea ahead of a scheduled voyage farther afield. China Radio Intl, citing military sources, said that a naval formation consisting of China’s first, and so far only, aircraft carrier Liaoning, several destroyers and frigates was on training and testing missions last week. The activities also involved several J-15 carrier-borne fighter jets and helicopters.

A J-15 carrier-borne fighter jet is landing on aircraft carrier Liaoning during a
training mission in the Yellow Sea on December 23, 2016. [Photo: Navy.81.cn]

China “Shocked” By Navarro Appointment, As Trump Team Proposes 10% Import Tariff

As the FT first reported yesetrday, in a dramatic development for Sino-US relations, Trump picked Peter Navarro, a Harvard-trained economist and one-time daytrader, to head the National Trade Council, an organization within the White House to oversee industrial policy and promote manufacturing. Navarro, a hardcore China hawk, is the author of books such as “Death by China” and “Crouching Tiger: What China’s Militarism Means for the World” has for years warned that the US is engaged in an economic war with China and should adopt a more aggressive stance, a message that the president-elect sold to voters across the US during his campaign.

 

In the aftermath of Navarro’s appointment, many were curious to see what China’s reaction would be, and according to the FT, Beijin’s response has been nothing short of “shocked.” To wit:

 The appointment of Peter Navarro, a campaign adviser, to a formal White House post shocked Chinese officials and scholars who had hoped that Mr Trump would tone down his anti-Beijing rhetoric after assuming office.

“Chinese officials had hoped that, as a businessman, Trump would be open to negotiating deals,” said Zhu Ning, a finance professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing. “But they have been surprised by his decision to appoint such a hawk to a key post.”

China will give back seized drone, criticises U.S. “hyping up” the issue

China’s Defence Ministry said on Saturday it had been in talks with the United States about returning an underwater drone taken by a Chinese naval vessel in the South China Sea, but the U.S. was not helping by “hyping up” the issue.

The drone was taken on Thursday, the first seizure of its kind in recent memory, about 50 nautical miles northwest of Subic Bay off the Philippines, just as the USNS Bowditch was about to retrieve the unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV), U.S. officials said.

The Defence Ministry said a Chinese naval vessel discovered a piece of “unidentified equipment” and checked it to prevent any navigational safety issues, before discovering it was a U.S. drone.

“China decided to return it to the U.S. side in an appropriate manner, and China and the U.S. have all along been in communication about it,” the ministry said on its website.

“During this process, the U.S. side’s unilateral and open hyping up is inappropriate, and is not beneficial to the smooth resolution of this issue. We express regret at this,” it added.

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump weighed in to the row on Saturday, tweeting: “China steals United States Navy research drone in international waters – rips it out of water and takes it to China in unprecedented act.”

Without directly saying whether the drone was operating in waters China considers its own, the ministry said U.S. ships and aircraft have for a long period been carrying out surveillance and surveys in “the presence” of Chinese waters.

“China is resolutely opposed to this, and demands the U.S. stops this kind of activity,” it said.

China will remain on alert for these sorts of activities and take necessary steps to deal with them, the ministry said without elaborating.

Earlier, the Global Times, published by the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily, cited an unidentified Chinese source as saying they believed the issue would be resolved smoothly.

The United States says the drone was operating lawfully.

China Newspapers Blast “Diplomatic Rookie” Trump For “Inability To Keep His Mouth Shut”

It seems that Trump’s phone call with Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen as well a recent pair of tweets from the president-elect blasting China for devaluing their currency, taxing U.S. imports and military provocations in the South China Sea have served their purpose of ruffling some feathers in Beijing.

While the “official reaction” out of Beijing to Trump’s “provocations and falsehoods” has been muted, newspapers across China, often viewed as a mouthpiece of the Communist Party, have spent the day lashing out at the “diplomatic rookie.”.  Per Yahoo News, the People’s Daily accused Trump of “provoking friction and messing up China-US relations,” a move they say will not help “make America great again.”

 Donald Trump is a “diplomatic rookie” who must learn not to cross Beijing on issues like trade and Taiwan, Chinese state media said Tuesday, warning America could pay dearly for his naivety.

Trump’s protocol-shattering call with Taiwan’s president and a subsequent Twitter tirade against Beijing’s policies could risk upending the delicate balance between the world’s two largest economies, major media outlets said.

“Provoking friction and messing up China-US relations won’t help ‘make America great again'”, said a front-page opinion piece in the overseas edition of Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily.

Trump

Brahma Chellaney — Trump could ‘pivot’ to Asia like Obama never did

U.S. President Barack Obama’s strategic “pivot” toward Asia, unveiled in 2012, attracted much international attention but did little to tame China’s muscular approach to territorial, maritime and trade disputes. Indeed, with the United States focused on the Islamic world, Obama’s much-touted Asian pivot seemed to lose its way somewhere in the arc between Iraq and Libya. Will President-elect Donald Trump’s approach to Asia be different?

In his first meeting with a foreign leader since his surprise Nov. 8 election triumph, Trump delivered a reassuring message to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who, in turn, described him as a “trustworthy leader.” In a smart diplomatic move, Abe made a special stop in New York on Nov. 17, en route to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Peru, to meet face-to-face with Trump, who shares his conservative, nationalistic outlook.

 Today, Asia faces the specter of power disequilibrium. Concern that Trump could undo Obama’s pivot to Asia by exhibiting an isolationist streak ignores the fact that the pivot has remained more rhetorical than real. Even as Obama prepares to leave office, the pivot — rebranded as “rebalancing” — has not acquired any concrete strategic content.
 If anything, the coining of a catchy term, “pivot,” has helped obscure the key challenge confronting the U.S.: To remain the principal security anchor in Asia in the face of a relentless push by a revisionist China to expand its frontiers and sphere of influence.

Trump indeed could face an early test of will from a China determined to pursue its “salami slicing” approach to gaining regional dominance. In contrast to Russia’s preference for full-fledged invasion, China has perfected the art of creeping, covert warfare through which it seeks to take one “slice” of territory at a time, by force.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meets with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, right, at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York, on Nov. 17. © Reuters

With Obama having increasingly ceded ground to China in Asia during his tenure, Beijing feels emboldened, as evident in its incremental expansionism in the South China Sea and its dual Silk Road projects under the “One Belt, One Road” initiative. The Maritime Silk Road is just a new name for Beijing’s “string of pearls” strategy, aimed at increasing its influence in the Indian Ocean. Meanwhile, without incurring any international costs, China aggressively continues to push its borders far out into international waters in a way that no other power has done.

Indeed, boosting naval prowess and projecting power far from its shores are at the center of China’s ambition to fashion a strongly Sino-centric Asia. Boasting one of the world’s fastest-growing undersea fleets, China announced earlier in November that its first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, is ready for combat. Such revanchist moves will inevitably test the new U.S. administration’s limits.