Sunday, September 27, 2009

China’s Anti-Access Plans Worry U.S. Navy

Defense News


China’s Anti-Access Plans Worry U.S. Navy


TAIPEI — If another Taiwan Strait crisis comes to blows, China intends to keep the U.S. Navy out by eroding its anti-submarine, air defense, ballistic missile defense (BMD) and C4ISR capabilities, according to a Pentagon report.

This “offshore defense strategy,” as the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) calls it, foresees a blockade of Taiwan, attacks on the island, and disrupting the U.S. fleet’s ability to come to the rescue.

“The Chinese approach is defensive. The United States has characterized the approach as ‘anti-access,’ because if successfully executed, it could deny the U.S. the ability to operate its naval and air forces as it pleases along the littoral of East Asia,” said Michael McDevitt, a retired U.S. admiral and director of the Center for Strategic Studies.

According to the recently released report on China’s military modernization, PLAN has 74 principal combatants, 57 attack submarines, 55 medium and heavy amphibious ships, and 49 coastal missile patrol craft. Its aircraft car­rier program could begin building by 2010, and there have been unconfirmed reports Beijing and Moscow have been discussing the purchase of Su-33 carrier-borne fighters.

Chinese warplanes include Xian H­6 bombers that can currently carry Russian AS­17 (Kh-31A) Krypton anti-ship missiles, and are being upgraded to wield long-range anti­ship and land-attack cruise missiles.

China is developing and buying submarine­launched ballistic missiles, anti-ship cruise missiles and many other types of missiles. It is experimenting with anti-satellite missiles and lasers.

China’s nascent anti-ship ballistic missile is based on the Dong Feng 21C (CSS-5) medium-range ballistic missile, armed with a maneuverable warhead. The new missile is intended to allow China to attack U.S. aircraft carriers up to 1,500 kilometers away, but there are questions about whether China can make it a reliable weapon.

Dennis Blair, a former U.S. admiral and PACOM commander, argues that many countries “can fire a missile a great distance out into an area of ocean — the trick is hitting the right target.” Blair said that U.S. and Soviet weapon-makers had long ago developed long-range mis­siles, but could never develop the kinds of sensors to find targets and guide them in.

“The situation is no different today. Any long-range electronic, electro-optical or other detection system or guidance system can be wrong, confused, jammed, spoofed or disabled, and the missile itself can be shot down. The Chinese DF-21 system is an attractive science project for an immature maritime nation,” Blair said.

Eric McVadon, a retired U.S. admiral who directs Asia-Pacific Studies at the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, agrees that China is likely to develop a medium-range ballistic missile with a multiple warhead.

“But such a missile capable of avoiding intercept by maneuvering, and then maneuvering to home in on a ship plus incorporating decoys and other penetration aids, is a challenge that will demand ingenuity,” McVadon said. “The offensive missiles have the upper hand in the race to develop capable defensive missiles, but there are many ways to skin a cat, as my mother used to say.” However, McVadon said China could simply overwhelm any number of BMD systems, “always ensuring the ability to saturate our system but counting on that fact to make it all the more unlikely that these weapons would ever be used.” Taiwan sources complain that no BMD system could be successful against China’s 1,000 short-range ballistic missiles aimed at the small island. Over-kill, using a multilayered, multidirectional saturation strategy, is reminiscent of China’s Korean War “human wave” tactics.

Submarine Plans

China will soon commission two new Shang-class (Type 093) nuclear-powered attack submarines and one Jin-class (Type 094) ballistic missile nuclear-powered submarine, armed with a new submarine-launched ballistic missile, the JL-2, with deployment by 2010. With a range of 8,000 kilometers, the JL­2 SLBM will carry three or four multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles, and is considered an important step in China’s quest to establish a sea-based nuclear retaliatory capability.

In the past two years, the Navy commissioned four domestically built destroyers and three frigates.

“The Jin-class will make Chinese leaders a bit more confident of the survivability of a minimal deterrent, therefore emboldening them a bit more if the chips are down with respect to Taiwan. It is not that use is likely but rather that both Washington and Beijing per­ceive China as a more serious nuclear power,” McVadon said.

Submarines alone might be all China needs to slow or even stop a U.S. response to a Taiwan Strait crisis, McVadon said.

The United States would be unable to mount the kind of anti-sub effort “to cope with the likes of eight new Kilo-class quiet diesel-electric submarines armed with submerged-launch, supersonic, evasive anti-ship cruise missiles with a range of over a hundred miles.” He said other formidable threats are posed by China’s dozen or more Song-class and a few each of Yuan-class and the nuclear-powered Shang class.

But China has only a limited ability to communicate with submarines at sea and has “no experience in managing an SSBN fleet that performs strategic patrols,” the Pentagon report said.

McVadon agrees the PLAN submarine fleet lacks a reliable means to locate targets, but “we should already worry that location could occur by skill, luck or rudimentary means.” Chinese military literature has also debated the unthinkable: the use of a tactical nuclear weapon “if China feels it must violate its no­first-use policy to survive or protect vital interests,” McVadon said. “Nuclear and conventional electro-magnetic pulse are similarly envisioned as desperation weapons to blind a force posing an intolerable threat to China and make it vulnerable to otherwise inferior forces.” McDevitt said the United States still has the advantage since much of China’s approach remains on the drawing board, and not in the field.

“Nonetheless, it is not hard to discern the direction they are heading, and there is very little the U.S. can do to change that vector. As a result, the security situation in East Asia will be in a constant state of evolution as the U.S. and its allies work to stay ahead of the Chinese capabilities that over time become operational. In effect, there will be an ongoing ‘capabilities competition.’”

U.S. PACOM Disappointed With Beijing

Defense News


U.S. PACOM Disappointed With Beijing


TAIPEI — The number and quality of interac­tions between the U.S. and Chinese militaries fell short in 2007, the commander of U.S. Pa­cific forces told lawmakers.

“Progress was decidedly uneven” in a realm that is vital to maintain stability in the Taiwan Strait and reassure regional nations, Adm. Timothy Keating told a Senate Armed Ser­vices Committee hearing on March 11. “We saw positive outcomes from senior-level vis­its, but also experienced the perplexing can­cellation of some routine activities.” Successes include several high-level visits to China that afforded access to military “plat­forms and facilities not visited before,” said Keating, the head of U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM).

But he saw little change in China’s “will­ingness to conduct port visits, simple exer­cises at sea, midlevel officer exchanges, or pragmatic interaction like the Military Mar­itime Consultative Agreement [MMCA] talks,” which Keating said he views as essential to reducing deadly miscalculations.

When Keating met reporters in Beijing on Jan. 15, he called for greater transparency to build trust. “That reduces the potential for misunderstanding,” he said at the time. “Mis­understanding can lead to conflict or crisis, and that is very much not in our interest.” Citing China’s double-digit growth in de­fense spending, including on weapons that threaten Taiwan and U.S. forces, the “growing PLA military capability remains a concern, and our understanding of PLA intentions is limited,” Keating said.

He said Taiwan’s military has im­proved its self-de­fense capabilities considerably, but noted that PACOM has advised Tai­wan’s military to improve joint train­ing, critical infra­structure protec­tion and capability. A former U.S. de­fense official said it was easy to be frustrat­ed with the PLA leadership, but said that Chinese and U.S. officials judge improvement differently. Where Beijing sees a symbolic ad­vance, Washington may see the absence of substantive improvement.

“Americans judge a successful mil-mil pro­gram by the number of areas in which we can actually operate together on common mis­sions. Chinese judge it by the levels of meet­ings held, the weapon systems shown visitors, and the number of times they are able to get their message across on Taiwan,” he said.

“To judge progress, you have to step back from the immediate and look at longer-term trends. By this standard, we have come a very large distance from, say, 1995.” The former official said U.S. knowledge of and interaction with less-senior Chinese mil­itary leaders at the lower levels has improved. Despite Keating’s disappointment, he said, “I think overall the trend is still in the right direction.” Eric McVadon, a retired rear admiral who directs Asia-Pacific studies at the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, believes there have been “some favorable developments in the military relationship despite complaints and setbacks, with the hot line a recent example.” McVadon said the U.S.-PRC relationship profits from mutual interests in the Six-Party Talks, trade and combating terrorism.

Bernard “Bud” Cole, author of “The Great Wall at Sea,” believes Keating’s remarks were part of a “campaign to try to get Beijing to be more open about the purposes of its military modernization. I think the Chinese understand exactly what Keating, and other U.S. folks, are doing but are choosing not to respond.” China has a history of ignoring U.S. offers to improve military-to-military relations. The worst examples are China’s failure to respond to Washington’s call for dialogue after the 1999 accidental bombing of the Chinese Em­bassy in Belgrade, and the 2001 incident in which a U.S. Navy EP-3 electronic surveil­lance plane collided with a Chinese fighter jet over the South China Sea.

China’s Perspective

“The PLA leadership is wary or worse in its view of the U.S. military,” McVadon said.

China views the United States as the ag­gressor, bent on containing China’s growth, inhibiting unification with Taiwan, interfering with China’s internal affairs and killing its cit­izens. The PLA still suffers from sanctions im­posed after the 1989 Tiananmen massacre, has not forgotten Washington’s decision to send two U.S. Navy aircraft carrier battle groups to the Taiwan Strait in 1996, the acci­dental bombing in Belgrade in 1999, the col­lision of the EP-3 with the F-8 fighter in 2001, and U.S. military support for Taiwan and Japan.

“Many PLA leaders, like many U.S. military leaders, see the other side as a potential ene­my and do not accept the argument that en­gagement is a way to reduce the risks rather than a means to pry, spy and connive,” Mc­Vadon said.

Cole said, “They will never, in my opinion, come up to our standards in transparen­cy/willingness to exchange information.” Sources say part of the reason is the au­thoritarian rule of the Chinese Communist Party, a tradition of secrecy and a history of xenophobia.

However, not all is lost. “We do not agree on everything, but that does not mean we dis­agree on everything,” McVadon said.

“That translates into disagreeing on Taiwan, among other things. However, we are likely soon to see that situation ease further,” he said. “But whether or not the optimism is well-founded, we are obligated to be patient, imaginative and diligent in working on the military relationship. After all, the U.S.-PRC relationship is arguably the most important — not the best, but the most important — bilat­eral relationship in the world today.” Keating emphasized during the hearing that efforts “will continue to pursue military-to-mil­itary activity with the PLA, with the clear pur­pose to reduce chances of miscalculation, in­crease understanding and create opportuni­ties for cooperation. We seek, in the long term, a mature relationship with the PLA.”

Hurdles Await Taiwan Efforts To Move Forward on Submarines

Defense News


Hurdles Await Taiwan Efforts To Move Forward on Submarines


TAIPEI — Political and industrial complications, especially increasing resistance by China, are building obstacles in Taiwan’s path to finally procuring eight diesel submarines offered by U.S. President George W. Bush in 2001.

Taiwan has been taking steps to­ward the purchase for nine months. Last June, after years of wrangling, the legislature approved $61.5 mil­lion for the first year of the three ­year, $360 million Phase 1, the sub­marine design feasibility study. Construction, or Phase 2, is estimated to require about $10 billion.

In January, Taiwan submitted a formal letter of request (LOR) to the U.S. Navy’s International Pro­grams Office for a letter of offer and acceptance (LOA) for design­ing and building eight diesel sub­ marines. A U.S. Navy team visited Taiwan the first week of March to discuss details of the sub program with Taiwan officials.

“The exchange of a LOR and LOA represents a government-to-govern­ment contract and would cover Phase 1 of the submarine program — the end result being construc­tion-ready architectural drawings,” a former U.S. defense source said.

Since no United States firm has built a non-nuclear submarine in decades, the success of Phase 1 rests on Taiwan’s ability to get plans from another country, such as France, Germany or Spain.

“This is deemed as unlikely, as China has applied considerable po­litical pressure to prevent any Eu­ropean arms sales, including de­signs, to Taiwan. Following the sale of two submarines to Taiwan in the 1980s by the Netherlands, China nearly broke diplomatic relations with Amsterdam,” the source said.

The Taiwan Navy has four sub­marines: the two Dutch-built sub­marines from the 1980s and two Guppy-class submarines built dur­ing World War II.

The Guppies are the oldest oper­ational submarines in the world and have come to represent Taiwan’s procurement anguish. Though Tai­wan has obtained vessels from France and the Netherlands, today they only provide components and upgrades to maintain ships still un­der contract. Pressure from Beijing has cut Taiwan’s lifeline with every country except the United States.

“We are impossibly dependent on U.S. support. The U.S. is the only dinghy left in the sea to save us from drowning,” a Taiwan source said.

Congress should be notified around June, the U.S. source said. When the 50-day notification pro­cess is completed, the LOA will be sent to Taiwan for countersignature around August. However, there might be hesitation in the Pentagon about sending the congressional no­tification in June, with Bush sched­uled to attend the opening ceremo­ny of the Beijing Olympics on Aug. 8. “It is possible that U.S. National Security Council Staff and the U.S. State Department could call for de­laying the notification until the con­clusion of the Olympics on Aug. 24,” the source said.

After Taiwan deposits funding in the Foreign Military Sales account in September, the U.S. Navy will send out a request for proposals for design and construction. Industry will have about six months to submit proposals, after which the U.S. Navy will take three months to select the prime con­tractor, with an estimated an­nouncement in mid-2009.


The nightmare began almost im­mediately after Bush announced the release of submarines in April 2001. That was just a year after Tai­wan’s Beijing-friendly Chinese Na­tionalist Party (KMT) had lost its first presidential election to the in­dependence-minded Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). For six years, embittered KMT legislators blocked defense budgets to weak­en the new DPP administration, straining Taiwan-U.S. relations. Tai­wan’s presidential election is sched­uled for March 22, when the KMT is expected to retake the presidency. Though many are optimistic the submarine purchase will now go through, much has changed since Bush’s 2001 offer. Bureaucratic, po­litical, economic and technical chal­lenges make the sub program in­creasingly more difficult.

“The situation is more complicat­ed,” a Taiwan source said. “The in­teraction was originally between Taiwan and the U.S., but now Chi­na has entered the picture. The Chi­nese element has gone through very sensitive channels in the U.S. to make it clear that Beijing will not tolerate the sale of submarines to Taiwan.” Despite China’s growing influ­ence in Washington, the U.S. source said, “there’s strong reason to believe that the Bush adminis­tration is committed to the suc­cessful execution of this program. As in any major program, howev­er, obstacles exist that could pres­ent challenges.”


Beyond political problems, there is the difficulty of finding a builder capable and willing to build a sub­marine for Taiwan. U.S. policy gives Taiwan no option besides Foreign Military Sales (FMS) and no role for Taiwan industry in the manufacturing, the U.S. source said.

“In other words, if Taiwan de­cided someday that the FMS chan­nel isn’t working, it could not de­cide to go another route and work directly with U.S. industry in a co­operative program. The longer this policy remains on the books, the more ingrained it will become.” The original U.S. Navy position in 2001 intended the program to go through direct commercial sales channels.

“It’s in writing and in the files. In other words, U.S. Navy policy sup­ported it, but at an arm’s length. The goal was to keep final assem­bly out of U.S. shipyards. Hull sec­tions could be done in Mississippi, Connecticut or Rhode Island, and then shipped to Taiwan for as­sembly,” the U.S. source said.

The United States has not built a diesel submarine since the Bar­bel-class in 1959 and has been ac­cused of attempting to kill the Tai­wan sub program in order to pre­serve the so-called nuclear Navy, fearing the renewal of a diesel submarine build capability within U.S. industry.

However, the Taiwan source ar­gues that this offers the United States a “great chance to enter the international market for conven­tional submarines with its own de­sign fully paid for by Taiwan. Coun­tries not able to export submarines from Europe would be interested in a U.S. diesel submarine program.” Taiwan’s state-owned China Ship­building Corp. (CSBC) has made a bid, largely ignored by the Taiwan Navy and U.S. government, to build or co-build the submarines.

“These boats are not a problem to build. We have the capabilities and brainpower to accomplish this program. What we need is U.S. support for this project,” the Tai­wan source said.

In 2001, Taiwan revealed the Hidden Dragon Program, an effort to prove CSBC could manufacture a single pressure hull, and then in 2003 a cross-ministerial committee was formed to promote the local build of submarines, dubbed the Indigenous Defense Submarine (IDS). Though both programs are largely dead, “the IDS could be res­urrected if combined with a direct commercial sale. The design team is still there ready to go,” the source said.

CSBC created a basic design based on two submarines, the Ar­gentinean TR-1700 and the Norwe­gian Ula-class Type 210.

“If we started today, we could de­liver our first boat in 42 months provided we were given the money and the support. A home-built sub­marine would be 15 to 20 percent cheaper if it is done via a commer­cial sale and not FMS,” the source said.

CSBC has built hundreds of com­mercial cargo ships and oil tankers, along with military vessels, includ­ing eight Perry-class frigates built between 1990 and 2004. It current­ly is building 30 stealthy 170-ton Kuang Hua-6 guided-missile patrol boats.

“Given the success of other coun­tries with submarine construction with foreign designs, the inclusion of CSBC in the project is a must. CSBC’s premises are well-suited to arrange a compact submarine as­sembly area with a little invest­ment of $50 million,” the Taiwan source said.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Is DoD Annual Report on China 20/20?

Defense News


Is DoD Annual Report on China 20/20?


TAIPEI — The Pentagon’s annual re­port on China’s military power received the expected retort from Beijing: accusations that U.S. offi­cials were using “Cold War think­ing” and hyping the “China Threat.” The March 3 report arrived one day before Beijing released its own account of its 2008 defense budget: $58.8 billion for the People’s Libera­tion Army (PLA), up 17.6 percent from the official 2007 figure of $46 billion.

At a news conference, National People’s Congress spokesman Jiang Enzhu sought to depict the number as moderate.

“China’s military expenditure ac­counted for only 1.4 percent of GDP, the lowest compared with 4.6 per­cent in the United States, 3 percent in Britain, 2 percent in France, 2.63 percent in Russia and 2.5 percent in India,” Jiang said.

He also said the country’s defense budget rose an average of 15.8 per­cent annually from 2003 to 2007.

Pentagon officials put China’s ac­tual 2007 spending at $97 billion to $139 billion.

China-watcher Richard Bitzinger said that even if the budget were ac­tually $58.8 billion, that would still be more than any country in Asia.

In 2007, Japan spent $43.6 billion on defense; India, $28.5 billion; South Korea, $26.9 billion; Taiwan, $9.58 billion; and Singapore, $7.24 billion, according to the Interna­tional Institute for Strategic Studies’ “Military Balance” reference.

Yet China’s defense budget does not include large categories of ex­penditure, such as expenses for strategic forces, foreign acquisi­tions, military-related research and development and China’s paramili­tary forces, according to the Penta­gon’s report.

Add all that up, and “China is eas­ily the second-highest defense spender in the world,” said Bitzinger, a senior fellow at the In­stitute of Defence and Strategic Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of In­ternational Studies, Singapore.

Missing Pieces

Dennis Blasko, who was a U.S. Army attaché in Beijing from 1992 to 1996, called this year’s edition of the Pentagon’s report much better than last year’s and “the dismal 2006 report.”

But Blasko, the author of the book, “The Chinese Army Today,” said the report failed to address certain important subjects in depth, including force structure, training and doctrine. Though the report’s coverage of the increase in missiles, anti-ship missile develop­ments, cyberwarfare efforts and espionage are a significant part of the report, he said, it failed to explain how “these developments need to be understood in the larg­er context of the PLA in general and how the PLA is actually plan­ning and training to fight or, of equal importance, how it seeks to deter war and achieve its strategic objectives without fighting.”

The year 2020 appears frequently in the report, which says China has set that year as the deadline for many achievements, including the construction of 30 gigawatt nuclear power reactors, the development of a well-educated and technically ca­pable officer corps, an innovation­oriented society, and a manned lu­nar landing.

Blasko said the date, “set by the Chinese as an intermediate point in the PLA’s long-term modernization, actually conforms well” to the re­port’s estimates that China will not be able to project and sustain small military units far beyond its own shores before 2015, and will not be able to project and sustain large forces in distant combat operations until well into the following decade.

Tokyo’s Concerns

China’s military growth and prowess could endanger the Japan­ U.S. security alliance.

“Although the DoD report indi­cates various problems of China’s military growth, the Japanese gov­ernment’s actual acknowledgement regarding this problem is unfortu­nately very poor,” said Naoki Akiya­ma, director of the Tokyo-based Congressional National Security Re­search Group.

“We, who are actually in the posi­tion to tackle these problems, must be aware of the seriousness of this issue. China’s military growth is striking out rapidly, and may catch up with the U.S. in the next 10 years. The growth in the high-tech area is notable, and we assume that China is spending about three or four times in expenditure than offi­cially announced.” Akiyama said Japan has helped modernize China’s military through technology transfers and business ventures.

“Although we are trying to pre­vent our technology drain, it is a fact that modern technologies are being transferred to China every day,” he said. “It is a matter of practice for [Japanese] professionals of modern technology to go to and come back from China, without any intention of extending the military power of China.” A major shipbuilding company has established a joint venture in China, he said, and “Japan’s carbon fiber industry is also getting hit hard there, too,” with technology being lost to China.

Missile Muscle

The report noted China’s contin­ued progress in ballistic and cruise missiles, with more weapons aimed at Taiwan and the deployment of mobile DF-31s that allow the PLA for the first time to strike Washington and New York.

“By November 2007, the PLA had deployed between 990 and 1,070 CSS-6 [DF-15] and CSS-7 [DF-11] short range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) to garrisons opposite Tai­wan. It is increasing the size of this force at a rate of more than 100 mis­siles per year,” the report said.

”The fact that China continues to deploy missiles opposite Taiwan is politically significant for the obvious reasons, and curious from an oper­ ational point of view as well,” said Thomas Kane, the author of “Chi­nese Grand Strategy and Maritime Power.” He noted that missiles armed with conventional warheads have seldom proved particularly ef­fective in war.

“The fact that the PRC not only deploys them but is continuing to build up its stockpiles suggests that its commanders either have new ideas about how to use them, see them as substitutes for some capa­bility Beijing still lacks, plan to arm them with something other than conventional warheads, or some combination of the above,” he said. China also is developing a variant of the CSS-5 (DF-21) ballistic missile that can sink ships, part of its effort to prevent U.S. naval forces from coming to Taiwan’s aid.

Praise for Taiwan

In a rare departure from previous reports, Taiwan received praise for passing a long-stalled $19.4 billion budget in 2007.

“Taiwan recently reversed the trend of the past several years of de­clining defense expenditures; it is also modernizing select capabilities and improving its overall contin­gency training. But the balance of forces continues to shift in the mainland’s favor,” said the report.

The scope and pace of China’s military modernization raises doubts about its commitment to resolving its differences with Tai­wan, said Mark Stokes, who was the U.S. defense secretary’s country director for China under the Clinton and Bush administrations.

Brunei, Singapore Conduct Land Warfare Exercise

Defense News


Brunei, Singapore Conduct Land Warfare Exercise

By Wendell Minnick

TAIPEI - The Singapore Armed Forces and the Royal Brunei Land Forces (RBLF) participated in a joint urban warfare exercise in Brunei from March 2 to March 9, involving infantry and armor elements from the 3rd Singapore Infantry Battalion and the 3rd RBLF Battalion.

Begun in 1995, Exercise Maju Bersama ("Progress Together"), a battalion maneuver exercise, is one of several annual bilateral training exercises between the two countries going back 20 years. The others include the Airguard (air defense artillery exercise), Bold Castle (combat engineer exercise), Bold Sabre (armor exercise), Flaming Arrow (infantry exercise), Dragonball (live fire infantry exercise), and Pelican (naval exercise).

"Such bilateral exercises enhance mutual understanding, improve professionalism and strengthen the bonds between the two Armies," said a Singapore Ministry of National Defense press release.

Singapore's Chief of Army Maj. Gen. Neo Kian Hong and Commander Royal Brunei Land Force Col. Pengiran Dato Paduka Haji Rosli Bin Pengiran Haji Chuchu officiated at the closing ceremony. In an unusual twist, both militaries participated in golfing and bowling tournaments.

Singapore also has two training bases, including one for jungle warfare training, in Brunei.

Legendary Arms Dealer Busted in Bangkok



Legendary Arms Dealer Busted in Bangkok

By Wendell Minnick and Nabi Abdullaev

TAIPEI and MOSCOW - Russian Victor Bout, 41, was arrested March 6 in Bangkok and charged with conspiring to sell weapons, including surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems and armor piercing rocket launchers, to the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC), U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) officials announced.

The Russian bureau of Interpol confirmed March 6 that Bout had been on its list since February 2002, when Belgian police issued an international warrant, alleging that he was behind a scheme to launder the profits from sales of weapons in Africa.

A bureau official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that even if he had been arrested in Russia, Bout would not have been extradited to a third country.

However, Bout's Russian attorney, Viktor Burobin, told journalists in Moscow on March 7 that no formal charges had been brought against Bout so far in Thailand. He also said that Bout had no problems with the law in Russia and that Russian law enforcers had never received any official requests from the U.S. to investigate Bout.

"Yesterday, I spoke to the officials in the [Russian] Office of the Prosecutor General; they don't have any single document [on Bout] from the U.S. or any other country," Burobin said. "This means that the Russian citizen was arrested deceptively on a foreign territory, and this is unacceptable."

Burobin said he will work to have Bout extradited to Russia, and not to be tried in a third country.

"Even if he was trafficking arms in third countries, Russian citizens should be tried by a Russian court," he said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said March 6 that it had sent a request to Thai authorities demanding an explanation of Bout's arrest.

Bout was arrested at the Sofitel Silom Hotel on U.S. charges by Thai authorities in Bangkok. He faces a maximum 15-year prison sentence.

Sources in Bangkok said an individual claiming to be Bout had visited Bangkok on several occasions in 2007.

Richard Chichakli, who described himself as Bout's friend, said that the DEA request "was very strange because Bout has never been accused of having anything to do with drugs," and arms trafficking is the purview of another agency in the U.S.

Bout was the model for the 2005 movie "Lord of War," starring Nicholas Cage, based on the book "Merchant of Death" by Douglas Farah and Stephen Braun.

Bout built a logistics network that included a spider's web of front companies and airlines with a fleet of 50 aging Russian cargo aircraft. Dubbed the "embargo buster," he was accused of violating United Nations arms embargos to fly weapons to the Taliban in Afghanistan, Liberian dictator Charles Taylor, Zaire dictator Mobutu Sese Seko and Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. Bout changed passports and adopted aliases, reinventing himself and his companies and airlines regularly to make it difficult to locate him. In 2002, he moved from Brussels to Moscow after Belgian authorities issued a warrant for his arrest.

Little was done to stop Bout until after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S., when efforts to stop him were intensified, leading to a 2003 U.N. report detailing his activities. After reading the report, former British Foreign Office Minister Peter Hain said, "The U.N. has exposed Bout as the center of a spider's web of shady arms dealers, diamond brokers and other operatives, sustaining the wars."

In April 2005, the U.S. Treasury Department froze Bout's assets and issued a report that identified 30 companies connected with him.

"Today's action prohibits any transactions between U.S. persons and the designated entities and also freezes any assets of the designated persons that are within U.S. jurisdiction," the report stated.

"Shortly after the breakup of the Soviet Union, Bout, a former Soviet air force officer with a gift for languages, was able to acquire surplus or obsolete airplanes which he used to deliver arms and ammunition from old Soviet stockpiles," it said. "Notably, information available to the U.S. government shows that Bout profited $50 million from supplying the Taliban with military equipment when they ruled Afghanistan. Today, Bout has the capacity to transport tanks, helicopters and weapons by the tons to virtually any point in the world."

According to the DEA, between November 2007 and February 2008, Bout agreed to sell weapons to the FARC.

According to a DEA press release, Bout, "During a series of recorded telephone calls and e-mails ... agreed to sell the weapons to two confidential sources working with the DEA, who held themselves out as FARC representatives acquiring these weapons for the FARC for use in Colombia." The FARC is a designated foreign terrorist organization based in Colombia.

Bout said he had 100 SAMs available immediately and could also provide helicopters and armor-piercing rocket launchers, according to the DEA. Bout asked $5 million for the weapons.

Thai authorities have said an investigation to determine whether both men violated Thai laws would be conducted before extradition to the United States was granted.

Indonesia Wants F-16 Fighters



Indonesia Wants F-16 Fighters


TAIPEI - Indonesia is talking to the U.S. about procuring six F-16C/D Block 50/52 fighter aircraft, upgrading six F-16A/Bs to C/Ds and upgrading 20 C-130B/H Hercules transport planes.

The F-16s would replace 12 aging F-5E/F Tiger IIs.

The announcement was made shortly after U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates met with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in late February. During a visit to Jakarta, Gates offered Indonesia military support and training and promised to assist in upgrading its aging C-130s.

"Lockheed Martin is supporting government-to-government discussions between the United States and Indonesia regarding the overall support of the existing F-16 fighters in the Indonesian Air Force, as well as the development of options for the IAF's future fighter force," said Joe Stout, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics' communications director. "It would be premature for us to comment further as no decisions have been made."

Despite Gates' offer, there is opposition in Indonesian political circles, where some argue there are no assurances that Washington will not impose another arms embargo in the future.

U.S. relations with Indonesia soured in 1992 and worsened in 1999 after the Indonesian military was accused of atrocities in East Timor. The ensuing U.S. arms embargo made it impossible for Indonesia to maintain its American-built aircraft. The embargo was lifted in 2005, but Indonesia had already turned to Russia, buying two Sukhoi Su-27SK Flankers and two Su-30MK Flankers in 2003. In 2007, Jakarta announced plans to procure an additional three Su-27SKs and three Su-30MKs for $300 million, with delivery to begin between 2008 and 2012.

The result of procuring Russian and U.S. platforms has been a potpourri of military aircraft using incongruent systems. On top of the Sukhois, Indonesia has 10 F-16A/B Block 15 OCU fighters, 12 F-5s, 27 BAE Hawk 209s, 11 BAE Hawk 109s and 18 BAE Hawk 53s.

There have been unconfirmed reports that Russia is offering Indonesia generous government loans to procure up to 20 Su-30MKs, an undetermined number of Yak-130 trainer aircraft and 10 Mi-17 transport helicopters. The deal could include 12 Ilyushin Il-76 military transports, eight Beriev Be-103 amphibious aircraft, four Project 636 Kilo-class submarines and two Project 677 Amur-1650 (Lada-class) submarines.

Russia is more flexible on arms sales than the U.S. In the 2003 Su-27/Su-30 fighter deal, Russia accepted $108 million in palm oil - 40,000 tons - as part of the $197 million payment.

China has also been forging closer ties with Indonesia. In January, Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan visited Jakarta to meet Indonesian Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono.

Discussions involved bolstering military-to-military ties and acting on a framework agreement for strategic partnership signed in Beijing in 2005.

Cao offered to assist Indonesia's two state enterprises, weapons producer PT Pindad and shipbuilder PT PAL.

KMT Presidential Candidate Outlines Taiwan Security Strategy

Defense News

March 3, 2008

KMT Presidential Candidate Outlines Taiwan Security Strategy


TAIPEI — Taiwan should trade its “offensive defense” posture for a “Hard ROC defensive stance,” said Ma Ying-jeou, the Beijing-­friendly Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate for Taiwan’s presidency.
The front-runner in the March 22 election, Ma unveiled his national security strategy, dubbed “SMART,” in a Feb. 26 speech to the Association for the Promotion of National Security, a largely pro-KMT group whose membership consists of retired military offi­cers. The gathering included former Nation­al Security Bureau Director Ting Yu-chou and former Defense Ministers Wu Shi-wen and Tang Fei.

Local polls show Ma in the lead over pro­independence Democratic Progressive Par­ty (DPP) candidate Frank Hsieh. Ma’s elec­tion would end eight years of DPP control of the presidency.
In his speech, Ma said his administration would upgrade the island’s C4ISR and air­ and missile-defense systems, and would urge the United States to release the F-16s Taiwan wants to buy.
He said his administration would de­mand that China dismantle missiles aimed at Taiwan, hold military exchanges and set up a bilateral military confidence-building mechanism.
“We will also negotiate a cross-strait peace agreement,” he said.

Ma said his policy would draw on the an­cient teachings of a Chinese philosopher. “The governments on both sides of the Tai­wan Strait should learn from Meng Tzu, who taught that small states have to be smart, not impulsive, in dealing with big states, and that big states should be tolerant, not overbear­ing, in dealing with small states.” Ma said the acronym SMART is derived from “the four pillars of national security that need to be buttressed: national defense, diplomacy, politics and culture, and the economy.”

S is for soft power and globalization. Over the last eight years, Taiwan has been hemorrhaging technology and jobs to China and has seen foreign investment drop, which have weakened its ability to exercise soft power in the region.

M, for military deterrence. Ma criticized DPP strategy of deterrence through weapons such as the under-development Hsiung Feng 2E land-attack cruise missile.

“Offensive defense is not only infeasible, but also dangerous: infeasible because to practice it, Taiwan would need to develop weapons with massive destructive power; nothing less would provide effective deter­rence,” he said. “This approach to defense is dangerous because it would invite foreign intervention, or even a preemptive strike by Mainland China.” Instead, Ma wants a military that can blunt the first waves of a Chinese invasion: “If and when war becomes inevitable, we must cap­italize on ... mobility, knowledge of the local terrain and time to win the initial victory ... and turn the tide. We believe that Taiwan’s defensive stance should be to arm and armor ourselves only to the point that the Mainland cannot be sure of being able to launch a ‘first strike’ that would crush our defensive ca­pacity and resolution immediately. If the Mainland lacks confidence in this respect, its strategic calculations will become more complex and difficult, and the temptation to make a surprise attack will diminish.” Key to this are 66 F-16C/D Block 50/52 air­craft, the sale of which the White House has blocked. Taiwan flies aging F-5s and 150 F­16s bought in the 1990s.

A, for assuring the status quo. Ma’s “Three No’s” policy — no to reunification, in­dependence and military conflict — is aimed at soothing Beijing and Washington after the DPP’s increasingly independence-oriented talk. He said he would work to restore dia­logue and exchange with the mainland.
“We will adopt a pragmatic attitude in re­suming dialogue and consultation with Bei­jing on the basis of the 1992 Consensus, or ‘one China, different interpretations,’” Ma said. “In the 1990s, 24 cross-Strait talks were held, but dialogue was interrupted com­pletely in 2000.”

One senior Taiwan military official was in­credulous about Ma’s Three No’s.

“One must be totally blind to not notice that the status quo has been changed by Chi­nese threats,” he said. “If something has been changed, it is by definition not status quo. Can anyone be so naive to believe it is up to Taiwan to decide unification, independence or use of force? With the growing Chinese military and political power, do they have to follow Ma’s command ‘not to use force’ and ‘no unification’? Or it is up to the Taiwanese people to try to protect our own democrat­ic way of living? He is still trying to brag about the dialogues in [the] 1990s. At that time, China had only a few missiles, no advanced submarines and no capability to de­stroy satellites.” But groundwork has been laid for some of Ma’s aims. In 2005, Chinese President Hu Jin­tao agreed in communiqués with then-KMT Chairman Lien Chan and People’s First Par­ty Chairman James Soong to sign a peace ac­cord ending hostilities.

“The road to a possible peace accord would be a complex, difficult and prolonged process, and may not be achieved in the next president’s four-year term. However, getting the process started and laying a sound and solid foundation when Hu Jintao is in power would be crucial for Taiwan’s long-term se­curity,” said Alexander Huang, a senior as­sociate of the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies who lives in Taipei.

“Even if Ma’s administration wishes to pur­sue a peace treaty with Beijing as offered by Hu Jintao, he should not go to the negotia­tion table from a position of weakness or he will be dictated [to] by Beijing, and severely criticized domestically,” said Lin Chong-Pin, president of the Foundation on Internation­al and Cross-Strait Studies, and former Tai­wan deputy minister of defense.

R, for restoring mutual trust with the United States, which Ma called his “most im­portant task.” “We hope that the Americans will rebuild this relationship based on the Taiwan Rela­tions Act and Reagan’s Six Assurances,” Ma said. “We understand that, pragmatically speaking, the United States is our last de­fense, and we promise Taiwan will bear re­sponsibility for its own self-defense through reasonable procurement of defensive arma­ments and by never involving the U.S. in an unnecessary conflict.”

The final T in SMART stands for Taiwan, Ma said.

China, U.S. To Create Hot Line -- Once Again

Defense News


China, U.S. To Create Hot Line -- Once Again


TAIPEI — The U.S. Department of Defense and China’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) agreed Feb. 29 to establish a hot line for use in crises.

The defense telephone link (DTL) equipment will be installed within weeks, allowing the hot line to go live in March, said Maj. Stewart Up­ton, a spokesman for the office of the U.S. de­fense secretary.

“We welcome this important step forward in enhancing communication between our mili­taries. The DTL will be a useful tool to make contact quickly, clarify issues and avoid mis­calculations,” Upton said.

The agreement was signed in Shanghai by David Sedney, deputy assistant secretary of de­fense for East Asian Security Affairs, and Maj. Gen. Qian Lihua, director of the MND Foreign Affairs Office.

One former U.S. defense official said the agreement is largely symbolic, since an execu­tive-level hot line already exists between the White House and Zhongnanhai, the Beijing complex that serves as the Communist Party headquarters.

“The real catch is that there was already a hot line between China and the U.S. established in the late 1990s after the 1996 Taiwan Strait mis­sile crisis,” he said. “The DTL has been under negotiations since July 2003, but the Chinese military has resisted it because a hot line al­ready exists.” The U.S. established hot lines with Zhongnanhai in the late 1990s and Taiwan’s mil­itary in 2003.

“When U.S. aircraft carriers appeared in the Taiwan area during the crisis, both Taiwan and China were surprised no one in Washington told the Taiwanese or the Chinese we were coming,” the former official said.

However, when a damaged EP-3 Orion, an electronic eavesdropping aircraft, landed on China’s Hainan Island in 2001, officials at Zhong­nanhai refused to answer the phone, the source said. The idea for the DTL grew out of that ex­perience, but there is still no guarantee the Chi­nese military will use it during a crisis.