23 September 2017

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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