Sunday, June 27, 2010

Chinese Missile Drawdown Hinges on Taiwan Vote

Defense News


Chinese Missile Drawdown Hinges on Taiwan Vote


TAIPEI — There will be no missile reduction or redeployment until after Taiwan’s presidential election in 2012, said members of a Chinese academic and government delegation attending the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore earlier this month.

Relations between China and Taiwan have been warming since the Beijing-friendly Nationalist Party (KMT) won legislative and presidential elections in 2008, sweeping the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) out of power. Taiwan is preparing to sign a historic agreement, the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement, which many say will usher in a new era of cooperative ties.

However, there are fears in Beijing that the DPP will win the 2012 presidential election and reverse agreements made across the Taiwan Strait.

Despite comments by U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who said that during her meetings with Chinese leaders earlier this month, “China had offered to redeploy” some forces facing Taiwan, there is little evidence the offer is genuine, said Arthur Ding, a cross-Strait specialist in Taiwan who also attended the Shangri-La.

Feinstein, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, made the remarks during a congressional hearing with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates on June 16.

“China will see who wins the 2012 presidential election,” Ding said. If the DPP wins, China will maintain the same level of deterrence or higher to discourage the DPP from moving Taiwan toward “independence.” However, if the KMT wins the 2012 election, a withdrawal of missiles is a possibility, he said.

At the June 16 hearing, Gates defended U.S. arms sales to Taipei, citing China’s “extraordinary” deployment of “all manner of cruise and ballistic missiles opposite Taiwan on the Chinese side of the strait.” But the secretary said the U.S. arms sales were in keeping with the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), and suggested the improvement in relations between Beijing and Taipei had not diminished the need for them.

“We certainly applaud the growing links between Taiwan and the People’s Republic,” he said.

Larry Wortzel, a member of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, said that even if China agrees to withdraw or redeploy the missiles, it makes little difference.

“Everyone knows these are mobile missiles, everyone knows they can be loaded on trains,” he said. “And everyone knows that regardless of where they are moved, they can be moved back.” The best analogy is the Cuban missile crisis, he said, when the Soviets removed their missiles from Cuba but redeployed them elsewhere in Europe.

The other problem with dealing with China, Wortzel said, is that there is no agreement to guarantee removal, redeployment and destruction of missiles, such as the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty or Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with the former Soviet Union.

Bonnie Glaser, a China specialist at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, said Feinstein’s remarks were a “retabling of Beijing’s 2002 Crawford proposal to pull back some missiles if the U.S. stops selling arms to Taiwan.

“If so, it was a nonstarter then and is still a nonstarter today. Nothing is preventing Beijing from reducing its military buildup against Taiwan except Chinese intransigence,” she said. “It is their military posture that is out of step with the easing on cross-Strait tensions, not U.S. arms sales to Taiwan.”

The “Crawford proposal” emerged during a 2002 visit by then-Chinese President Jiang Zemin to the home of then-U.S. President George W. Bush in Crawford, Texas. Jiang reportedly offered to withdraw some missiles in exchange for an end to U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, said Mark Stokes, the Pentagon’s former China-Taiwan desk officer in 2002. The offer was rejected.

At the time, according to Pentagon estimates, there were 450 mobile short-range ballistic missiles aimed at Taiwan. Today, the number is 1,300 and rising.

Arms sales to Taiwan are protected under the Taiwan Relations Act, passed in 1979 after the normalization of U.S.-China relations and the closure of the U.S.-Taiwan Defense Command.

Beijing was infuriated by the recent release of two U.S. arms packages to Taiwan totaling $12.9 billion. The package included Apache and Black Hawk helicopters and Patriot PAC-3 missile defense systems. Since 2006, Taiwan has been pushing for the release of 66 F-16C/D fighter aircraft, but the United States has so far rejected the request despite a recent U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency report identifying growing weaknesses in its air defense capabilities.

China responded to both arms deals by shutting down military exchanges with the United States.

Members of the Chinese delegation attending Shangri-La indicated there are three conditions for improved military relations with United States: End arms sales to Taiwan, end intelligence patrols in China’s exclusive economic zone and end anti-China clauses in the 2000 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

The 2000 NDAA restricts military-to-military exchanges with China and mandates that the Pentagon deliver an annual report to the U.S. Congress on Chinese military modernization.

Feinstein called U.S. arms sales to Taiwan “a substantial irritant” to better relations and said the recent improvement of ties across the Taiwan Strait might be an “opportunity” to “consider or reconsider the future arms sales to Taiwan.” Others have been bolder with calls for a full review of the TRA.

Retired U.S. Adm. William Owens, former 6th Fleet commander, said the time was right to review the TRA in light of changes in both cross-Strait ties and the rise of China’s military. Owens heads the Sanya Initiative, an effort to improve military relations between China and the United States through meetings of retired military officers.

Boeing’s Asia-Pacific Forecast

Defense News


Boeing’s Asia-Pacific Forecast

Company Predicts Growth in Region, Despite Pentagon Cuts


SINGAPORE — Despite downturns in U.S. and international defense spending, Boeing sees growth in Asia, said Dennis Muilenburg, president and chief executive officer of Boeing Defense, Space and Security.

“Last year, BDS was about a $34 billion business and about 16 percent of that was outside of the United States in international business. And we are projecting that as our business continues to grow that international segment will grow faster, and we expect it to be 25 percent of our business five years from now,” he said.

Muilenburg made the comments during a press conference prior to the opening June 4 of the Shangri-La Dialogue, which is sponsored by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), known more formally as the 9th Asia Security Summit.

Even as U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates announces major cut­backs in programs and spending, Muilenburg expects Boeing’s core business to remain stable.

Boeing has seen some “moderations and flattening” as the U.S. defense budget declines in areas like missile defense, “although we saw most of that impact occur during last year,” he said.

“So we’ve experienced that already. If you look going forward, the support we see for our core product lines continues to be strong and that expands across tactical aircraft.” The company is moving into unmanned systems, cybersecurity and green technologies to help offset this trend in defense budget declines, but core business continues to be lucrative.

New products continue to roll out. In March, Boeing unveiled the F-15 Silent Eagle with reduced radar signature.

Boeing participated in the Green Hornet test in April when a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet fueled with a 50/50 blend of conventional and camelina biofuel hit supersonic speeds for the first time.

The Hornets appear to have a bright future in both the U.S. and international market. The U.S. Navy is “pushing a multiyear contract for F/A-18 Super Hornets” and rotor­craft sales and support are very strong for the V-22 Osprey, CH-47 Chinook and AH-64 Apache, he said.

Richard Bitzinger, a former U.S. intelligence analyst, said the declining U.S. budget and the “rising Asian market are really two different things.”

“Actually, because the U.S. defense market is starting to tighten, a lot of U.S. defense firms — along with their European and Russian counterparts — are looking to the Asia-Pacific as a substitute,” said Bitzinger, who works for the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore.

Asia is very important to most leading arms-manufacturing countries and even critical to some, he said, pointing out that most Russian arms exports go to this region. One reason why Asia has so much promise as a market for U.S. arms suppliers is that the region is one of the few in the world where defense spending has gone up over the past decade and promises to continue to rise, Bitzinger said.

“This is partly due to continually expanding economies, which have permitted rising defense budgets, and in part because there are still so many unresolved territorial disputes in the region — on the Korean Peninsula, in the South China Sea, across the Taiwan Strait,” he said.

Recent Boeing sales and deliveries include the sale of 30 Apache attack helicopters to Taiwan; Australia accepted delivery of the first two Project Wedgetail 737 Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft, and Japan took delivery of a modified C-130H aerial refueling tanker. The market in India is encouraging. Boeing is active in the fighter competition in India with the Super Hornet and just received a letter of request for 10 C-17s from India.

“We continue to invest in industrial partnerships in India,” Muilenburg said. “India is expected to be a $30 billion market in the next 10 years.”

“The U.S. is fortunate in having many near-captive markets in Asia: Japan, South Korea, Taiwan; countries that almost exclusively buy from the U.S.,” Bitzinger said.

There is also broad interest in Boeing’s Eagle and Super Hornet jets, Muilenburg said. Japan and South Korea are looking closely at both fighters for the next fighter competitions. Singapore has also been a major Boeing customer with procurements of the F-15SG Eagle fighter, AH-64 Apache attack helicopter and CH-47 Chinook cargo and utility helicopter.

“In general, most countries in the region buy their fighter aircraft only from the United States, with Russia as a distant second,” Bitzinger said. “Many products once built for the U.S. military — such as the F-15 and F-16 fighter — are now only built for export, and Asia is extremely important.”

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Better U.S.-China Mil Relations Hinge on Taiwan Arms

Defense News


Better U.S.-China Mil Relations Hinge on Taiwan Arms


SINGAPORE — U.S. attempts to restart military­-to-military exchanges with China, canceled in January after Washington released a $6.5 billion arms package to Taiwan, appear doomed for the time being. 

Chinese delegates to the Shangri-La Dialogue here earlier this month said Beijing fears President Barack Obama’s administration will also approve Taiwan’s request for 66 F-16C/D fighters, and that no military relations were possible until the issue is concluded.

Yet the Chinese delegation, made up of academics as well as government and military officials, did not appear to be completely unified about Beijing’s tough stance. Some supported lifting the ban on military exchanges, despite politics.

The leaders of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) are behaving like “adolescents,” one member said. This is not a “mature way to conduct business with the U.S.”

Others supported a tougher line. During a question-and-answer period with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, PLA Maj. Gen. Zhu Chenghu said Washington was treating Beijing as an enemy and hurting China’s “core interests” by selling arms to Taiwan. Gates denied that.

“There are certainly different points of view in China on how China should respond to U.S. arms sales to Taiwan and other steps by the United States that challenge China’s core interests,” said Bonnie Glaser, a China specialist at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, who attended both the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (SED) and the Shangri-La.

“Those who are confident about China’s power position relative to the United States and are deeply suspicious of U.S. intentions toward China are willing to stand up to the United States and demand concessions.” But others said the PLA itself was not bucking its civilian masters.

“There is no evidence that the Chinese military takes forward-leaning positions ahead of, much less counter to, the PRC civilian leadership,” said Dean Cheng, a China specialist at the Heritage Foundation. “I believe that Gates is being ill-served if he is being advised that there is some kind of factionalism, or that the PLA is operating ‘off the reservation.’”

Another China-watcher, Larry Wortzel of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, noted the PLA makes few foreign-policy decisions of its own, but rather, acts within the broader foreign policy guidance of the Central Military Commission and the Politburo Standing Committee.

“Generally, the approach seeks to take advantage of American eagerness to ‘engage’ and the naïveté of senior U.S. officers and civilians that drinking tea and looking at bases changes approaches fundamental to national interest. For the Chinese, it does not,” Wortzel said.

To be certain, senior U.S. officials want to move on from basic functions to substantive discussions about, say, freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.

But to the Chinese, even launching discussions about such matters would constitute “yielding or compromising on strongly held general principles, so they don’t engage,” Wortzel said.

In their drive to kill Taiwan’s request for new F-16s, China is ignoring direct dialogue with senior U.S. defense officials, preferring instead to influence Washington through retired U.S. generals, Wortzel said.

“The Chinese side understands that the United States participants are now senior retired officers with deep ties to major corporations and boards that do business with China,” Wortzel said.

“I believe the Chinese side suspended those talks [military-to-military exchanges] in hopes that the former generals/admirals will weigh in against the F-16C/D sales” to Taiwan, Wortzel said.

The latest cessation of military-to­military contacts indicates the Central Military Commission and the Politburo “are no longer willing to compromise on or essentially ignore arms sales to Taiwan,” Wortzel said.

“Since the United States is considering F-16C/D, the Chinese side will probably keep the eager senior DoD leaders at bay, hoping to influence U.S. policy.”

One forum for retired Chinese and U.S. officers to discuss military issues recently recommended China and the United States place military-to-military dialogue at the same level as the SED, ensuring that “military dialogue does not cease to exist” during times of disagreement, said retired U.S. Navy Adm. William Owens, who heads the Sanya Initiative, which brings together retired U.S. and Chinese service chiefs.

Owens said the United States has “no charter” for long-term strategic engagement with China. Part of the problem is many in the U.S. are “held back by the ways of the past” Cold War, including the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) that guarantees the United States will continue providing defensive arms to the self-governing island. He said U.S. officials should review the TRA to see whether it remains practical for today’s geopolitical environment.

Another part of the problem is the United States is “tactical and short-term” while China is “much longer term in strategies and di­rections,” he said.

This has prevented both sides from engaging each other in meaningful dialogue on military issues.

Owens said Sanya is sponsored by the Hong Kong-based China-United States Exchange Foundation and is financially backed by corporations and private individuals in China, Singapore and the United States. Sanya’s efforts to better understanding between China and the United States military community is a private endeavor, not governmental, he said.

Dashed Hopes 

U.S. officials were optimistic about the prospects for renewing ties a few weeks ago, when Chinese officials welcomed a U.S. delegation headed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the SED on May 24-25. But those hopes were dashed just a few days later, when Beijing rebuffed a request by Gates to pay a visit to China.

That set a chilly tone for the 9th Asia Security Summit — 

the formal name for the Shangri-La talks — where Gates called for better military exchanges in a June 5 speech.

Things didn’t get better when Zhu challenged the secretary. Zhu, the director general of the Strategic Studies Department of the PLA’s National Defense University, has come to personify China’s hardcore stance on Taiwan and the United States.

He is famous for a 2005 statement that Beijing might use nuclear weapons if the United States attacked China with conventional arms during a war over the self-governing island. Zhu was reportedly reprimanded by higher-ups, who claimed the general was speaking from a “personal perspective” — yet his appearance at the Shangri-La Dialogue indicates that his words still carry weight in Beijing.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Beijing’s U.S. Snub Chills Shangri-La Conference

Defense News


Beijing’s U.S. Snub Chills Shangri-La Conference


SINGAPORE — The mood was somber during the June 4 opening banquet of the Shangri-La Dialogue, where U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and the head of the Chinese delegation, Gen. Ma Xiaotian, deputy chief of general staff of the People’s Liberation Army, sat at different tables.

“Last year, they were practically holding hands,” said an official with the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), the London-based organizer of the dialogue, known more formally as the 9th Asia Security Summit.

“This year, they are holding no bilateral meetings with one another.” Among other disputes, Gates had planned to fly to Beijing to meet with Chinese military officials after the June 4-6 summit, but China turned down the visit at the last moment without officially citing a reason.

Denying Gates’ visit is another indication that China is using military-to-military relations as a political chess piece, said a U.S. defense analyst who was in Beijing the previous week with a U.S. delegation led by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“China has not gotten over the Taiwan arms sale in January and wants a commitment at a minimum from the U.S. to reduce — not necessarily stop — U.S. arms sales,” said the analyst.

“Also, the Chinese want the U.S. to end surveillance operations in the South China Sea. They do not want a written or even an oral commitment, just a drawdown,” the defense analyst said.

Gates told reporters June 3 he was “disappointed only in the sense that I think that a more open dialogue with the Chinese about our military modernization programs, about our strategic view of the world, is a constructive and helpful thing in a relationship between two great nations.”

Gates said Cold War-era dialogue with the Soviet Union helped “to prevent miscalculations and misunderstandings” and create “opportunities for cooperation.” In the U.S. delegation, there was a sense of aggravation about China’s attitude toward military-to­military contacts.

A U.S. military official said the “U.S.-China dialogue is critical, as our militaries continually interact with each other in the Pacific.” Further, “China has to realize mil-to-mil is beneficial to them and not something that is done in fits and starts.” The IISS official said Gates was holding bilateral meetings with other defense ministers, but not with Ma because it would not be “a peer-to-peer meeting.”

Though Ma is not a peer to Gates, the Chinese delegation at this year’s Shangri-La Dialogue was the biggest so far, said IISS officials, indicating a willingness to interact more with the international community.

Besides Ma, there were seven government delegates and eight non-government delegate academic members this year, including Rear Adm. Guan Youfei, deputy chief of the Foreign Affairs Office in the Ministry of National Defense.

The summit has become the dominant military and security conference in Asia and the Pacific Rim, with ministers and secretaries of defense from Australia, Cambodia, Chile, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the U.S. in attendance this year.

Taiwan is still awaiting a decision by the United States to release 66 F-16C/D Block 50/52 fighter jets, and China is clearly attempting to forestall that release, said Taiwan and U.S. sources at the Shangri-La Dialogue.

In Taipei on June 3, Taiwan Legislative President Wang Jin-pyng said the United States is considering the release of the F-16s. Taiwan has a requirement to replace aging F-5 fighters and is preparing to mothball French-built Mirage 2000-5 fighters due to maintenance costs.

In 2008, the Bush administration released $6.5 billion worth of arms to Taiwan. In January, the Obama administration released $6.4 billion worth of additional arms. The two packages included UH-60 Black Hawk utility and AH-64D Apache attack helicopters, Patriot PAC-3 anti-missile defense systems, and Osprey-class mine hunting ships.

In 2001, a U.S. EP-3E Aries surveillance aircraft collided with a Chinese fighter jet and was forced to land on Hainan Island, a Chinese territory. In 2009, Chinese patrol and commercial vessels harassed two U.S. Navy survey ships, the Victorious and the Impeccable, in the South China Sea.

At Shangri-La Dialogue, Gates Challenges China To Improve Military Relations

Defense News


At Shangri-La Dialogue, Gates Challenges China To Improve Military Relations


SINGAPORE - U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has cautioned that China's continued refusal to restart military-to-military exchanges was counterproductive.

China cancelled exchanges after the U.S. released a $6 billion arms package to Taiwan in January.

We need "sustained and reliable military-to-military contacts at all levels that reduce miscommunication, misunderstanding and miscalculation," he said. "There is a real cost to any absence of military-to-military relations."

Gates made the comments June 5 in a speech at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) 9th Asia Security Summit, the Shangri-La Dialogue.

In November, U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao made a "commitment to advance sustained and reliable military-to-military relations."

In October, during a visit to Washington by Chinese Gen. Xu Caihou, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission, Gates and Xu agreed to "seven points of consensus" on expanding and improving military cooperation and exchanges.

These included high-level mutual visits and exchanges of military officials, cooperation on humanitarian missions, broader communication on land forces and maritime security, and exchanges of junior officers. There was also an agreement to conduct a joint air-sea search and rescue exercise.

Regrettably, there has been no progress in recent months, Gates said. "Chinese officials have broken off interactions between our militaries, citing U.S. arms sales to Taiwan as the rationale," he said, adding that it made "little sense" to repeatedly interrupt dialogue and exchanges to the "vagaries of political weather."

Gates said arms sales to Taiwan "are nothing new" and the U.S. had "demonstrated in a very public way that we do not support independence for Taiwan."

"We strongly encourage the cross-Strait improvement in relations and perhaps a time will come when this issue will go away because of those improved relations, but we will maintain our obligations" under the Taiwan Relations Act, he said.

China and Taiwan are preparing for the signing of a major economic agreement, the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement, allowing for greater trade and investment ties.

China has also done nothing to stop the military buildup "largely focused on Taiwan," Gates said, and that arms sales to Taiwan were in response to that threat.

Holding military-to-military relations "hostage" will not change U.S. policy toward Taiwan, he said.


"Too often times, American policy makers tend to take for granted Chinese acquiescence on U.S. arms sales to Taiwan," said one Chinese academic source, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "And that is something that has become increasingly counterproductive, if not dangerous, as the shifting balance of power, perceived or real, between China and the U.S. has unsettled the equilibrium of the game."

Defense analysts indicate China has roughly 1,300 short-range ballistic missiles aimed at Taiwan and is engaged in a major military build-up that includes new submarines, surface ships, fighter aircraft and long-range missiles.

Maj. Gen. Zhu Chenghu, director general, strategic studies department, National Defense University, directly challenged Gates, saying that arms sales to Taiwan "hurt China's core interests" and that the U.S. treated China an "enemy."

"I would like to state for the record that the U.S. does not consider China an enemy," Gates said in response.

"The irony is the odds of a conflict over Taiwan are declining due to improvements in cross-Strait ties between Beijing and Taipei," said Jonathan Pollack, a China specialist at the US Naval War College. "And as the Taiwan scenario goes away, the Chinese military is looking beyond Taiwan for new goals and missions."


Zhuang Jianzhong, vice director of the Center for National Strategy Studies at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, said Gates' speech indicated a strong desire for positive military relations between the two, but there are "two opposing voices in China, the hawks and the doves, debating the issue of military exchanges."

"It's not a generational debate, but a mix," he said. "Though I think that as time passes more reasonable voices will prevail sooner or later and military exchanges will be begin again."

There is clearly a division within the Chinese delegation visiting the Shangri-La Dialogue. A Chinese government official said military-to-military exchanges would "soon be back on track."

Pollack said China is "not set up for crisis management" and there has been no "real war" since the 1979 Chinese invasion of Vietnam.

"Many in the Chinese government see the risks, but the People's Liberation Army is a very conservative institution." On crisis management, Pollack said, "there is an absence of coordination in the system."

However, China's military has been building up more experience dealing with other militaries recently during anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden. "With each deployment they become more confident," he said. But the "potential for trouble goes up as the lack of communication between each other drops," Pollack said.


Retired U.S. Adm. William Owens is a major advocate of improved military relations between China and the U.S.

"The military-to-military dialogue is not very good right now. A huge amount of goodness would come from continued dialogue," he said.

Owens, who served as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Clinton administration, created the Sanya Initiative to foster better understanding between the Chinese and U.S. defense community.

The initiative brings together retired Chinese and U.S. military officials for informal discussions on how to improve understanding.

Owens wants to "get past the talking points and build mutual friendships that last." It is the "personal interface that matters."

Owens said that the Hong Kong-based China-United States Exchange Foundation, a non-profit, non-government organization, backs the Sanya Initiative. The first meeting was on Hainan Island in 2008 and the second in Hawaii in 2009. A third is planned in China later this year, he said.

Critics of Owens have questioned his motives, but Chinese and U.S. delegates at the Shangri-La Dialogue said continued dialogue at any level might be needed to stop an incident from spinning out of control.

A U.S. government official at the Shangri-La Dialogue said China had not "answered the hot line" during previous crises.

The U.S. Defense Department and China's Ministry of National Defense installed a defense telephone link in 2008. During the late 1990s an executive-level hot line was installed between the White House and Zhongnanhai, the Beijing complex that serves as the Communist Party headquarters, in response to the 1996 Taiwan Strait missile crisis.

In 2009, Chinese ships in the South China Sea harassed two U.S. Navy survey ships, Impeccable and Victorious. In 2001, a U.S. intelligence aircraft, an EP-3 Aries, collided with a Chinese fighter and was forced to land at Hainan Island.

In both cases the Chinese did not answer the "hot line," said the U.S. government source. One Chinese delegate at the Shangri-La Dialogue said Beijing did not answer the phone because officials "were angry" and China "expressed its anger by not answering."

Chinese delegates at Shangri-La repeatedly stated the U.S. must discontinue surveillance missions in the South China Sea.

Gates said the South China Sea is an area of "growing concern."

"Our policy is clear: it is essential that stability, freedom of navigation, and free and unhindered economic development be maintained," he said. "We do not take sides on any competing sovereignty claims, but we oppose the use of force and action that hinder freedom of navigation."


■ April 1, 2001: A Chinese J-8 fighter collides with a U.S. EP-3E Aries intelligence aircraft near Hainan Island. The 24-member crew was detained until April 11.

■ October 2006: A Chinese submarine surfaced near the USS Kitty Hawk carrier group during exercises near Okinawa.

■ March 4, 2009: Chinese fishing boats and maritime patrol vessels harassed the U.S. Navy survey ship Victorious. A second incident occurred in May with same vessel.

■ March 8, 2009: Chinese fishing boats and maritime patrol vessels near Hainan Island harassed the U.S. Navy survey ship Impeccable.

■ June 11, 2009: A Chinese submarine collided with a sonar array being towed by the USS John McCain near the Subic Bay, Philippines.

Chinese Delegates At Shangri-La Express Frustration With N. Korea

Defense News


Chinese Delegates At Shangri-La Express Frustration With N. Korea


SINGAPORE - Members of a Chinese delegation attending the 9th Asia Security Summit earlier this month indicated Beijing officials are flustered by North Korean hijinks.

Also known as the Shangri-La Dialogue the summit, held annually in Singapore, is run by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).

North Korean issues shared the spotlight at Shangri-La with difficulties over China's refusal to continue military exchanges with the U.S.

A Chinese government official at Shangri-La said he "was puzzled by his government's support for North Korea" in light of the sinking of a South Korean naval vessel, the Cheonan, by a North Korean torpedo on March 26.

"There is no open debate on the North Korean issue in China," he said. Unlike academic, media and government debates on Taiwan and relations with the U.S., there is no debate on North Korean issues due to fears of being harassed by North Korean embassy officials.

If a Chinese academic or media outlet writes something suggesting a change on Beijing's policy on Pyongyang the North Korean embassy sends someone to "your office to complain," he said.

"The North Koreans are very effective at silencing debate in China on North Korean issues." It is a form of intimidation and a successful way of controlling debate that could lead to positive changes, he said.

Other members of China's delegation to the Shangri-La expressed equal frustration over Pyongyang. China really had no time to prepare an adequate response to the crisis because North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il arrived in Beijing shortly after the sinking.

This has lead to suspicions in Beijing that North Korea planned the attack knowing Kim would be going to China to meet with officials, a Chinese delegate said.

The Beijing trip had been planned months before the incident and there was conjecture amongst some Chinese delegation members that Kim deliberately orchestrated the attack to project an image of a loyal and supportive Beijing.

There was literally no time to formulate a response to the crisis before Kim's visit, said a delegate. "Beijing lacks confidence in crisis management," he said.

The sinking occurred on March 26. South Korea launched a massive salvage operation and assembled an international investigative team consisting of civilian and military experts from Australia, Canada, United Kingdom and United States.

The investigation ran from March 31 through May 20 when South Korea announced that a North Korean torpedo sank the ship.

Kim met with Chinese government officials in Beijing from May 5 and 6.

Prior to Seoul's announcement there was speculation an accident aboard the ship was responsible and Beijing held back criticism of North Korea hoping the investigation would prove Pyongyang's innocence, said a Chinese delegate.

The investigation determined that torpedo fragments found at the scene were that of a North Korean CHT-02D torpedo, according to an IISS report issued May 20 in response to the announcement of findings in Seoul.

The IISS report, "Investigation Report on the Sinking of the ROK Ship Cheonan," said the "evidence matched in size and shape with the CHT-02D specifications on the drawing presented in introductory materials provided to foreign countries by North Korea for export purposes."

The torpedo parts include the "5x5 bladed contra-rotating propellers, propulsion motor and a steering section, perfectly match[ing] the schematics of the CHT-02D torpedo," the IISS report said.

Every country in Asia, including Myanmar, has sent representatives to the Shangri-La Dialogue except North Korea, an IISS official said. "They have been invited, but have never accepted," said John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive, IISS.

The IISS Shangri-La Dialogue has become the premier Asia defense and security forum in Asia, with numerous defense ministers and secretaries in attendance.

This year speeches were given by U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, China's Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Ma Xiaotian, Japan's Minister of Defense Toshimi Kitazawa, South Korea's President Lee Myung-bak and South Korea's Minister of Defense Kim Tae Young.

Ma made no mention of North Korea in his June 5 speech entitled "New Dimensions of Security."


■ 1968: A platoon of North Korean soldiers is stopped short of reaching the Blue House, the South Korean presidential residence, and after an intense fire fight only one North Korean soldier survives.

■ 1968: North Korea captures the U.S. Navy reconnaissance ship Pueblo.

■ 1972: A North Korean bomb detonates prematurely at South Korea's National Cemetery before the scheduled arrival of the South Korean president.

■ 1976: North Koreans wielding ax handles kill a U.S. soldier in Panmunjom.

■ 1983: A North Korean bomb kills several members of the South Korean presidential Cabinet in Rangoon.

■ 1987: A North Korean bomb detonates on KAL flight 858 killing 115 people.

■ 1996: A North Korean minisubmarine is captured along the east coast of South Korea.

China Slow To Intervene

Defense News


China Slow To Intervene


TAIPEI — China appears unmoved by the pleas of senior U.S. government officials to help rein in North Korea. The reasons are geographic, historic and strategic.

“This is still China’s closest neighbor and ally,” said Larry Wortzel, vice chairman, U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

Beijing could be hobbled by the classified annex of the friendship treaty that outlines China’s security guarantees to North Korea.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently visited Beijing to coordinate punitive actions against Pyongyang, which is accused of sinking a South Korean corvette March 26. But she arrived weeks after North Korean leader Kim Jong-il met May 5-6 with Chinese Communist Party leaders.

Kim’s visit put Chinese leaders in an awkward position, and they reflexively sided with North Korea on the sinking, a Chinese defense analyst said.

Moreover, conspiracy theories are circulating in Beijing that “discount the validity of the South Korean claim” as part of a U.S. effort to create and benefit from a crisis atmosphere, the analyst said.

And Chinese leaders are “genuinely not convinced by the evidence,” said Bonnie Glaser, a China specialist for the Washington­based Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Glaser, just back from a visit with Chinese officials, said Beijing wants a wider international investigation — “not just by Western nations” — of the evidence at the scene of the sinking.

Australian, British, Swedish and U.S. experts oversaw a South Korean probe, which concluded that that a North Korean torpedo sank the corvette.

As for geography, North Korea serves as a buffer to a U.S.-backed South Korean democracy and regional military power. China has little interest in allowing the U.S. military to extend its reach to the Yalu River, and the idea of a thriving democratic Korean peninsula on its doorstep unnerves Beijing.

Maintaining the status quo might be Beijing’s only answer to the crisis.

“Pushing the DPRK [North Ko­rea] too far risks producing short­term and long-term outcomes that would likely unsettle the region,” said Toshi Yoshihara, a China specialist at the U.S. Naval War College.

Chinese See Intel, Surveillance Role for Airships

Defense News


Chinese See Intel, Surveillance Role for Airships


TAIPEI — Chinese academic, com­mercial and military institutions are aggressively studying the use of lighter-than-air (LTA) platforms for a variety of missions, including intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, special operations, transportation over rugged terrain and as communications relays.

A recent unclassified report issued by the U.S. National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC), “Current and Potential Applications of Chinese Aerostats (Airships),” addresses these issues.

Issued March 23 by NASIC’s Open Source Intelligence Analysis and Production Flight, the paper is the first known unclassified report on China’s military LTA research.

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is looking at the development of airships and aerostats for a variety of military missions, said Richard Fisher, vice president of the Washington-based International Assessment and Strategy Center. The PLA already uses aerostats for ground force exercises.

“The implication is that the PLA has radar that could perform ground mapping as well as air-search missions,” he said.

Though efforts have so far involved small platforms, the PLA is funding development of larger aerostats and airships able to operate at strategic altitudes of 10,000 meters or higher, which would allow surveillance of Taiwan from China, he said.

“For the PLA, having a networked formation of large airships over the East China Sea or South China Sea could offer the potential of an inner­space satellite system that could operate for a week at a time, conducting a range of surveillance, navigation assistance and communication relay missions, especially useful should an adversary attack China’s outer-space satellites,” he said.

The NASIC report concurs. China is considering the use of “super-altitude airships” for early warning detection to supplement existing early warning networks. Normally an altitude of 15 kilometers and higher is considered “super altitude,” the report said.

“More Chinese scientists and researchers have become engaged in airship research, especially in the area of military applications,” the NASIC report said.

“Because of its vertical takeoff and landing, and fixed-point air stationary capabilities, load capacity, low noise and low energy consumption, it is cost-effective and is very valuable for reconnaissance and surveillance, emergency communications,” the report said.

Defense News found more than 30 Chinese academic, corporate and military institutions and facilities on the Internet conducting research on LTAs, including the Aircraft Flight Test Technology Institute, Air Force Engineering University, Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Beijing Institute of Space Mechanics and Electricity, Beijing University, Donghua University, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, National University of Defense Technology, Unit 94362 and Unit 94201 of the PLA in Shandong, and Wuhan Huazhong University of Science and Technology.

Chinese companies producing airships and aerostats are openly promoting them as surveillance and special operations platforms on company brochures and on their websites.

The Suzhou Fangzhou Aeromodeling Co. produces an “investigative security surveillance airship” for use by the police or the military. The Hua Jiao Airship Co. makes the HJ-3000 airship that it advertises as a surveillance, minesweeper and special operations platform.

“Equipped with special facilities, it can carry special military forces to fight against terrorists, riots, forest fires and hostage rescue,” the company Web site said.

The Beijing Buaa Lonsan Aircraft Co. produces the LS-S900 airship for use as a surveillance platform. It can be equipped with a camera, infrared thermal imaging unit, radar and a signal relay.

The Aerospace Life-Support Industries Co, produces the FKY-1, which can handle small missions of up to four personnel and carry a variety of sensor payloads.

Not to be confused with the FKY-1, the Chinese Academy of Surveying and China Special Vehicle Research Institute developed the FKC-1 helium unmanned airship with a “practical ceiling” of 1,000-plus meters and capable of surveillance missions by the military or police, in particular for “counter-separatist” campaigns, Fisher said.

“A poster at the 2008 Zhuhai Air Show illustrated this airship conducting battlefield surveillance as part of a network of unmanned aircraft and unmanned helicopters,” he said. The company has released Internet imagery of the FKC-2, roughly 30 percent larger, but without any performance data listed.

The NASIC report notes there are increased calls in China calls for greater research and development of LTAs in the future.

“The Chinese will have an important opportunity for their airships to be on par with international standards in 2010 or 2020.”