26 April 2017

USA: US Navy conducts simultaneous bilateral exercises with JMSDF, ROK Navy

From U.S. 7th Fleet Public Affairs

USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) conducts a bilateral training exercise with JS Chokai (DDG 176), April 25. (U.S. Navy/MC2 William McCann) >>

YOKOSUKA, Japan - U.S. Navy ships are conducting simultaneous bilateral maritime exercises with the Republic of Korea Navy and with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, April 25-26.

The destroyers USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108) and ROKS Wang Geon (DDH 978) are conducting combined maritime exercises in waters west of the Korean Peninsula while the destroyers USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) and JS Chokai (DDG 176) execute combined maritime exercises in waters west of Japan.

News Report: Beijing Launches First China-Made Aircraft Carrier Amid North Korean Crisis

China's 1st Carrier Battle Group under-way (File Photo)
The first Chinese made aircraft carrier has been launched in the light of escalation of tensions on the Korean peninsula due to Pyongyang's nuclear tests.

BEIJING (Sputnik) — China has launched an aircraft carrier, known as Type 001A, local media reported Wednesday. The carrier, measuring 315 meters in length and 75 meters in width, displaces 70,000 tons of water. The ship was constructed at the Dalian Shipyard, a port in northern China’s Liaoning province that happens to share a border the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea).

News Report: Indonesia Steps Against 'Any Power Projection' in South China Sea

China's moving lines in he South China Sea
The Indonesian maritime minister said Tuesday Jakarta opposes "any power projection" in the South China Sea, saying Indonesia doesn't recognize China's so-called "Nine-Dash Line," a demarcation line Beijing uses for their territorial claims in the region.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – Indonesia opposes power projection by any major nation in the South China Sea but also wants to maintain good relations with Beijing, Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan said in remarks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

“We don’t want to see any power projection over there,” Pandjaitan, a retired senior general and former chief of staff to President Joko Widodo said on Tuesday. “We like to see stability in that area.”

Pandjaitan noted that more than $5 trillion worth of world trade passed through the South China Sea every year and that Jakarta refused to recognize China’s claim to sovereignty over 90 percent of the area of the sea.

“We don't recognize [Beijing’s] nine dotted line,” he told the forum.

The Nine-Dash Line — at various times also referred to as the “10-dash line” and the “11-dash line” — refers to the demarcation line used initially by the government of the People’s Republic of China for their claims of the major part of the South China Sea.

Pandjaitan said Indonesia continued to negotiate with Beijing to solve problems of illegal fishing, but sought to maintain a friendly tone with China throughout the negotiations.

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

News Report: US Holds War Games With Japan, South Korea Amid DPRK Tensions

Image: Flickr User - U.S. Pacific Fleet
The United States is conducting simultaneous military exercises with Japan and South Korea in the wake of the recent massive artillery drills in North Korea.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The navies of Japan and South Korea are simultaneously conducting drills with their US counterparts, the US Navy announced in a press release.

"Both exercises demonstrate a shared commitment to security and stability in northeast Asia as well as the US Navy's inherent flexibility to combine with allied naval forces in response to a broad range of situations," the release stated on Tuesday.

The US destroyer Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108) and South Korean destroyer Wang Geon are operating in waters west of the Korean peninsula, while the US destroyer Fitzgerald and Japanese destroyer Chokai are operating in the Sea of Japan, the release explained.

On Monday, the US and South Korean military forces executed a joint air-to-air combat exercise at Kunsan Air Base in South Korea, according to he US Pacific Command.

News Report: Threat From the North - Seoul Seeks More Anti-Missile Radars

As threats from Pyongyang intensify, South Korea announced on Tuesday its intent to buy within the year two new advanced early warning radars to track incoming ballistic missiles from the North.

According to the Defense Acquisition Program Agency (DAPA), South Korean Defense Minister Han Min-koo presided over the arms procurement projects meeting, where the plan was approved.

The new radar systems would be able to better detect missiles from Pyongyang, as they feature a range of more than 800 kilometers. Currently Seoul’s military operates two Green Pine land-based radar systems that were made in Israel.

Defense officials reworked a mid-term plan to make room for two new systems, as the original only allotted for one.

This comes as the missile-armed US submarine USS Michigan joins a carrier strike group led by the USS Carl Vinson, in annual joint military drills between the US and South Korea.

News Report: Officials Advise Citizens What to Do if North Korea Nukes Japan

Japan has warned its citizens that, in the case of a North Korean nuclear attack, they may have as few as four minutes to rush to safety.

Tokyo admitted that their warning system would likely detect a missile launch no more than 10 minutes in advance, and possibly not even as quickly as that. "A missile may not be detected as soon as it leaves the launch pad … and that could take several minutes. Depending on the case, the warnings and alarms might only sound four or five minutes before a missile arrives," said Hirofumi Yoshimura, mayor of Osaka, Japan's second-largest metropolitan area.

The grim reminder came out of a meeting of the nation's top disaster and crisis officials in Tokyo, where the federal government urged the prefectures to raise the awareness and preparedness of their constituents.

Japan's J-Alert system is meant to warn local governments of an imminent missile attack via satellite, telephone and cyberspace mediums. From there, local governments will warn the citizenry via emergency broadcasts on TV and radio, cell phone alerts and outdoor loudspeaker announcements.

News Report: 'Point of No Return' - 'Game of Chicken' Between Pyongyang, Washington Must End

Nobody wins if nuclear weapons are deployed on the Korean Peninsula.

“We have to do all we can right now to mobilize the peace movement,” Will Griffin, an organizer of the US-based Stop THAAD in Korea and US Militarism in Asia and Pacific, told Sputnik’s Loud & Clear. “This is unprecedented.”

Fresh off the heels of a two-week, public-funded recess, all 100 senators have been requested at the White House for a briefing on the unfolding events on the Korean Peninsula. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary James Mattis, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford were all slated to join the briefing, a White House spokesman said Tuesday. 

“All the threats of war against North Korea, going back to George Bush’s ‘evil empire’ … It continued through Obama’s escalating war games, and Trump’s escalating war games,” Griffin explained. 

News Report: India Inducts Sukhois Into IAF Squadron at Station Near Pakistan Border

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has deployed Sukhoi-30MKIs at the Halwara base station, close to the India-Pakistan border. The Sukhois have been inducted into the IAF’s 221 Squadron, Valiants, which used to fly MiG-23 aircraft till 2009.

New Delhi (Sputnik) – The induction of the Sukhois, a state-of-the-art all-weather multi-role fighter aircraft, along the border is seen as an enhancement. “The induction of the squadron will boost the offensive capabilities of the Indian Air Force in this sector,” an IAF statement read.

The Valiants were formed as an offensive fighter squadron on February 14, 1963, at Barrackpore. The squadron has changed many bases during its 54-year-long journey and has taken part in the 1971 war and the Kargil operations.

News Report: Lavrov - 'Geopolitical Games Around Afghanistan' Disregard Its People

Geopolitical games around Afghanistan do not take into account the interests of the local population, the Russian foreign minister said adding that Russophobic tendencies are being observed.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — There are geopolitical games around Afghanistan, but there is no concern in them for the Afghan people, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday at a meeting with ex-Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

"Unfortunately, geopolitical games are unfolding around Afghanistan, which have nothing to do with concern for the destiny of the Afghan people," Lavrov said.

He added that there are attempts to use Russophobic tendencies in those games.

Afghanistan is in a state of political and social turmoil, with government forces fighting the continuing Taliban insurgency. The instability has persisted in the country since the 2001 US-led invasion to defeat the Taliban and al-Qaeda in the wake of the 9/11 attacks in the United States.

The lack of control and instability turned the country into home to the largest opium poppy production and distribution network in the world.

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

News Report: US Military Faces 'Unending Combat' in Afghanistan With Little Chance of Success

The report by the private intelligence firm Soufan Group showed that the US now faces the difficult reality of an unending combat commitment in Afghanistan to bolster local authorities that has not won the support of its own people, and has not been able to take and hold territory from the Taliban for more than a decade.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — A successful Taliban attack that killed as many as 160 Afghan soldiers at a military base earlier this week illustrates a quagmire for US forces that is likely to grow worse despite planned increases in US troops in Afghanistan, according to a report by the private intelligence firm Soufan Group on Tuesday.

"The US now faces the difficult reality of an unending combat commitment in Afghanistan to bolster a partner that has not won the support of its own people, and has not been able to take and hold territory from the Taliban for more than a decade," the report stated.

The report highlighted overly-optimistic US status reports, which continually claim "the next year would be ‘the key year’ in turning around a failing effort."