Sunday, June 26, 2011

Western Jetmakers Vie For Asian Contracts

Defense News


Western Jetmakers Vie For Asian Contracts


TAIPEI — As Western defense budgets crash, East Asian democracies could spend $23 bil­lion within the decade on new fighter air­craft and upgrades, providing lucrative markets for European and U.S. aerospace and defense companies.

Japan released a request for proposals (RfP) in April for 40 fighters for its F-X program. The Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Lock­heed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) and Eurofighter Typhoon are fighting over the $4 billion deal. Bids are due in August with a contract award by the end of the year. The F-X will replace the Mitsubishi F-4EJ Kai Phantoms due for retirement in 2015.

South Korea is expected to issue an RfP in January for its F-X Phase 3 program. While 60 aircraft likely will be involved, it may come in two tranches, with the first being 40. The Boe­ing F-15, Typhoon and F-35 are already posi­tioning themselves for the $9 billion deal. The FX Phase 3 will replace aging F-4 Phantom and F-5 Tiger fighters. The RfP is expected for release in January.

Taiwan is an exception. Due to Chinese pressure, the U.S. ignored a 2006 request for 66 F-16C/D Block 50/52 fighters for $5.5 bil­lion. Taiwan also awaits a reply to a $4.5 bil­lion request for an upgrade package for older F-16A/B Block 20 fighters in 2009.

With Western defense budgets under review and increasing pressure to pursue new mar­ket opportunities, European and U.S. combat aircraft manufacturers are “vigorously” en­gaging the East Asian fighter market, said Doug Barrie, senior fellow for military aero­space, U.K.-based International Institute for Strategic Studies.

“While Japan and South Korea have tradi­tionally been U.S. combat aircraft cus­tomers, the present round of acquisition pro­grams offers Europe an opportunity to break into the market,” Barrie said.

European companies face an “uphill bat­tle” to wrestle control of the fighter market from the U.S., which has “locked in mar­kets” for fighter sales to the region for decades, said Richard Bitzinger, a defense industry analyst at the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Singapore.

“The big question will be if the Europeans can break into this market,” Bitzinger said. If not, there is future potential for European aerospace companies to participate in in­digenous fifth-generation fighter programs in Japan and South Korea, but in terms of new fighter sales, “these countries are still owned by the U.S.A.,” Bitzinger said.

Barrie said the Typhoon had its best shot at winning in South Korea, despite the fact Boeing won both F-X Phase 1 and 2 with 60 F-15K Slam Eagle fighters. Boeing might propose the stealthy F-15 Silent Eagle in an attempt to edge the Typhoon out of the com­petition, he said.

In Japan and South Korea, there is a major effort by the competitors to provide local production opportunities.

The fighter choice in both countries will send a political signal as to the extent to which, if any, South Korea or Japan wants to begin to build a substantial defense-industrial relationship with their respective relationships with Washington, Barrie said.

s F-X program experienced delays over an intense Japanese lobbying effort begun in 2007 to force Washington to release exports of the F-22 Raptor, but the U.S. Congress blocked the effort.

After the F-22 rejection, Tokyo set its sights on the F-35, only to see the JSF effort dogged by delays and cost overruns, which postponed the F-X RfP last year.

Tokyo highlighted its interest in stealth by pursuing an indigenous fifth-generation fighter program. Now, Japan is
using their own fifth-generation fighter [TFX] as a bargaining chip in the competition, but it is still in the research-and-development stage and hideously expensive, Barrie said.

Japan is desperate to secure local manufacturing options for the F-X, but it is prohibitively expensive for only 40 aircraft. Manufacturing costs could be driven down by the procurement of more fighters to replace F-15Js, increasing the number of F-X fighters to more than 100 and lowering manufacturing costs.

Unless the F-X fighters are produced in Japan, the local fighter manufacturing industry faces dire straits. Japan
s only remaining fighter production line, the Mitsubishi F-2, will end in September.

There are also budget concerns after Japan
s devastating triple disaster earth-

quake, tsunami and a nuclear power plant crisis
and many wonder how the estimated $300 billion price tag for the catastrophe will affect the F-X budget.

Cost issues could push Japan to select the Super Hornet or the Typhoon.

Eurofighter officials have been promoting the Typhoon as a flexible, inexpensive alternative to the F/A-18 and F-35. A European industry source in Tokyo said technical restrictions hamper F-35 exports, while Eurofighter has
no black box policy, which means wider options for Japanese industry participation.

Yet the Japan-U.S. military alliance and pressure to procure a U.S. fighter may keep Tokyo from picking a European fighter.

s request for new F-16C/Ds is seen as a follow-on request for an earlier procurement of F-16A/Bs in the 1990s. Despite Beijing protests, the U.S. Congress recently called for the White House to release new fighters and upgrade packages, including a request for a follow-on F-16 trainer program for Taiwans 21st Tactical Fighter Squadron based at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz.

In dollar amounts alone, as the U.S. economy declines, increased pressure on the White House to release the F-16s might be too great to withstand.

In the case of Taiwan, irrespective of posturing on the part of Beijing, the delivery of F-16 Block 52s should proceed, Barrie said.

Taiwan bought $16.5 billion worth of U.S.-built arms and equipment from 2007 to 2010. Sales included 12 P-3C Orion Maritime Patrol Aircraft, 30 AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopters and 60 UH-60M Black Hawk utility helicopters. Taiwan has requirements for signal intelligence aircraft, attack jet trainers, basic aircraft trainers and UAVs.

Singapore’s Global Player; ST Engineering Expands Worldwide Via Partnering

Defense News


Biz Watch

Singapore’s Global Player

ST Engineering Expands Worldwide Via Partnering


SINGAPORE – A country with a population of only 4 mil­lion would normally be an afterthought in a world of billion-dollar defense deals, but no one ignores Singa­pore’s defense industrial powerhouse.

ST Engineering has grown from a small ammunition manufacturer to a major player in both commercial and defense products and services. The company is di­vided into four sectors: ST Aerospace, ST Electronics, ST Marine and ST Land Sys­tems, also called ST Kinetics. The key to its success has been partnerships and col­laboration with regional and international companies, said Patrick Choy, ST Engi­neering’s executive vice president for international marketing.

“We started going really global in 2000 in the defense market,” Choy said. “We look for growth in the Mid­dle East, India and Brazil for future markets as U.S. and European markets decline.” The company tries to avoid competition in mar­kets against larger defense companies and instead looks to partnering options. A strategy of partnership and collaboration over the past 10 years has worked like a charm. The company, which got its start as a serv­ice provider to the Singa­pore Armed Forces (SAF), moved on to sell armed per­sonnel vehicles to the U.K. military, and now has plans to manufacture earth obser­vation satellites.

“As the SAF grew, so did ST Engineering,” Choy said. The company developed niche products, including a 40mm grenade that has re­mained a steady income earner over the years.

Partnerships also con­tributed. Dennis Muilenburg, president and CEO of Boe­ing Defense, Space & Secu­rity, confirmed ST Engineer­ing’s success at that aspect of its business.

“We have long and established partner­ships with them across a number of product lines,” Muilenburg said.

Boeing has several initia­tives with the company and “is not only training solutions, but technologies that go into platforms as well as innova­tive information solutions.” In 2010, Boeing signed an agreement to work with ST Engineering to supply the ground-based training sys­tem for the Singapore air force’s new jet trainers. Last year, Singapore bought 12 Alenia Aermacchi M346 Ad­vanced Jet Trainer for $400 million.

Another key to success, though often short-lived, is ST Engineering’s acquisition of intellectual property (IP) rights.

“If you can own the IP, then you have a cheap manu­facturing option,” Choy said. “IPs are only good for five to 10 years, and so by the time the competition catches up, we have moved on” with new products and services.

New Markets

“We started off very Sin­gapore-centric, but now we have a regional and interna­tional market,” Choy said.

Since 2001, ST Engineer­ing has been building up its U.S. business arm with the creation of VT Systems, a subsidiary in Virginia to sell aerospace, electronics, land and marine systems to the U.S. market.

“The U.S. is one-third of our total revenue,” Choy said.

In 2002, VT Systems bought VT Halter Marine, a Mississippi-based shipbuild­ing company. Among the Tier II naval shipyards in the U.S., “I’d rate them middle of the pack,” behind Marinette Marine Corp.and Austal, but ahead of smaller yards like Swiftships Ship­builders, said Bob Nugent, vice president of advisory services at Seattle-based AMI International.

So far VT Halter Marine is “a mixed bag” for ST Engi­neering, Nugent said. “They are doing well by all ac­counts executing the $2 bil­lion plus Egypt Ambassador class missile craft program,” but have had problems with some U.S. government pro­grams in which “they’ve lost a recompete for a hydro­graphic survey ship...and were fined for safety issues following a fatal accident at the yard a couple of years back.” The company is also pushing into new market sec­tors. Space is one; last month, the company announced plans to set up a joint venture with Singapore-based DSO National Laboratories and Nanyang Technology Univer­sity to create ST Electronics Satellites Systems Pte. Ltd. to design, develop and produce earth observation satellites.

The company has also ex­panded into the unmanned systems market. At the Inter­national Maritime Defense Exhibition here last month, the company showed its Venus-9 and Venus-16 un­manned surface vehicles. ST Electronics worked with U.K.-based H-Scientific Ltd. to jointly develop a collision avoidance system for the Venus.

The company also has a new Autonomous Underwa­ter Vehicle-3 with forward and side-scanning sonar and dual-frequency synthetic aperture sonar module.

“We just came out with it,” an ST Engineering source said.

All three platforms can carry a variety of mission payloads, she said.

ST Kinetics made inroads into the European market in 2008 when it signed a $250 million contract with the British military to supply 100 Warthog tracked infantry fighting vehicles. This was the first time ST Engineering had sold an armored vehicle to an NATO member. The Warthog is a variant of ST Kinetics’ Bronco All Terrain Tracked Carrier and was se­lected in response to an ur­gent operational require­ment for British forces in Afghanistan.

“We delivered. The vehicle went to Afghanistan. When we signed the contract we felt the trust the British gave us in providing a vehicle to protect their troops was very serious,” Choy said. “We’ve learned a lot from it and are going forward on new developments.” ST Engineering will be bidding for a Swedish mili­tary tender for a Bronco-like vehicle to replace the Bv 206 all-terrain vehicles.

ST Kinetics also builds the eight-wheeled armored Ter­rex Infantry Carrier Vehicle, which it co-developed with Ireland-based Timoney Tech­nology. The SAF began de­ploying the vehicle for train­ing in 2010 and on May 31 the SAF’s first motorized infantry unit became operational with the Terrex.

Japan Adds Spy Bases To Watch China

Defense News


Japan Adds Spy Bases To Watch China


TAIPEI — Japan is building signals intelli­gence (SIGINT) stations along the Ryukyu Island chain to monitor Chinese naval and maritime activities.

“China’s military expansion is conspicuous, and the military balance is changing in the East China Sea,” said Sumihiko Kawamura, a retired rear admiral who is deputy director of the Okazaki Institute, Tokyo. “China has been ramping up moves to expand its maritime in­terests, thereby intensifying friction with Japan.” The interlocking facilities will provide the country’s military with both communications intelligence (COMINT) and electronic intelli­gence (ELINT) capabilities.

China has intensified posturing over its ter­ritorial claims in the area, said Peter Woolley, a Japan defense specialist. Actions include overflights by Chinese surveillance aircraft and maritime intrusions by the Chinese Navy and “rogue fishing vessels,” he said.

“There is bound to be friction over China’s reach,” Woolley said. “It’s just a question of when” China finally goes too far.

Tokyo was rattled earlier this month when 11 Chinese naval vessels passed between the islands of Okinawa and Miyako-jima. Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa said there was “se­rious concern” over the incident.

“Our country’s policy is to keep monitoring Chinese naval vessels ... and gathering infor­mation,” Kitazawa told reporters June 10.

Kawamura, the retired admiral, said Japan­ese fighter jets were scrambled 96 times last year, two and a half times more than in 2009. “On March 2, Japanese air force intercep­tors were scrambled after two Chinese Y-8 surveillance aircraft were spotted flying over the East China Sea toward the Nansei Islands [Ryukyu Islands] and approaching a point about 50 kilometers from Japanese airspace,” he said.

Tokyo began paying attention to the prob­lem in 2000, when it ordered the military to begin expanding its SIGINT facilities on re­mote isolated islands on its southern flank. Of paramount concern was the possibility that China might attempt to occupy the Japanese­controlled Senkaku Islands, which the Chi­nese call the Diaoyutai Islands. Taiwan also claims the islands.

Masashi Nishihara, the president of the Re­search Institute for Peace and Security, Tokyo, said Japan’s six-month-old National Defense Program Guidelines underlined the need for new SIGINT bases, stressing the im­portance of the defense of remote islands.

Japan’s new Mid-Term Defense Program, which covers 2011 to 2015, also includes the construction of new SIGINT and ELINT sta­tions at existing air force radar stations on Se­buri-yama Mountain on Kyushu Island, Fukue-jima Island and Miyako-jima Island, Kawamura said.

“These sites are favorably situated to check the military activities of China and North Ko­rea in the East China Sea,” he said.

A Western SIGINT specialist identified the location of several of the new facilities, in­cluding an ocean surveillance site on Yona­guni Island, at the southern tip of the Ryukyu chain. This site is to be completed next year. The Yonaguni facility will be networked with other SIGINT and ELINT bases running north along the Ryukyus toward mainland Japan. Yonaguni sits 100 kilometers from Tai­wan’s northeast coast, between the East Chi­na Sea and the Pacific Ocean, and 150 kilo­meters south of the Senkaku Islands.

This facility will work with a J/FLR-4 facili­ty on Miyako-jima Island, 200 kilometers east of the Senkaku Islands. The Miyako-jima fa­cility is “critically important as a forward SIG­INT/ELINT station to check” Chinese naval deployment in the Pacific Ocean, Kawamura said. The J/FLR-4, activated in 2009, is a panoramic very-high-frequency (VHF), ultra­high-frequency and super-high-frequency in­tercept system, the SIGINT specialist said.

To the north of Okinawa is a SIGINT and COMINT station on Kikaijima Island. In oper­ation since 2006, it consists of a large indige­nously designed, circularly disposed antenna array for VHF and high-frequency direction finding, the Western SIGINT analyst said.

Japan also has been concerned about naval movements near the waters separating south­ern mainland Japan and South Korea. In 2007, a J/FLR-4 station became operational on Se­buri-yama Mountain.

Another J/FLR-4 base is under construction on Fukue-jima and is expected to become op­erational next year, the analyst said.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

China Becomes Aggressive in South China Sea

Defense News


China Becomes Aggressive in South China Sea


SINGAPORE — Tensions from overlapping claims in the South China Sea have been rising in the past several months as China increases naval patrols in the region and ignores the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) of its neighbors. This despite the signing of the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) by China and the 10­member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which encourages a peaceful resolution to disputes but is not legally binding.

Since January, Chinese vessels have harassed Filipino and Vietnamese fishing and oil exploration vessels with greater regularity, including allegations China has placed equipment near Reed Bank. On May 26, Chinese vessels harassed a Vietnamese oil survey vessel within Vietnam’s EEZ.

Official Chinese statements on both incidents stressed “Chinese jurisdiction” and “Chinese management” of the South China Sea.

Meanwhile, Vietnam has announced it will hold live-fire drills this week in the South China Sea.

“It’s part of a pattern of assertive behavior” by China and “another indication that the South China Sea dispute continues to trend in a negative direction,” said Ian Storey, an ASEAN specialist at Singapore’s Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.

The number of incidents in the past few months involving the Philippines and Vietnam has increased as Beijing becomes more confident over claims to fishing and oil resources in the area, he said.

"China has long held the view that its neighbors are “stealing resources that rightly belong to it,” Storey said.

In response, China is strengthening its naval and maritime law enforcement agencies with new vessels and increased patrols in the region. China is expected to begin sea trials of its first aircraft carrier soon and will most likely deploy the vessel to the South China Sea.

“China’s claims to ‘indisputable sovereignty’ over the South China Sea [have] no basis in International law, especially the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea,” said Carl Thayer, a regional maritime specialist at the Australian Defence Force Academy. The most disturbing Chinese claim is a “nine-dash mark U-shaped map” that covers 80 percent of the South China Sea, he said.

Chinese Defense Minister Gen. Liang Guanglie tried to calm fears over rising tensions during the 10th Shangri-La Dialogue, held here June 3-5 and sponsored by the International Institute of Strategic Studies, London.

Liang said China was committed to maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea and would adhere to the 2002 DOC.

However, the DOC has no legal basis and is largely adhered to in the spirit of cooperation, Thayer said.

During Shangri-La, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak said he was optimistic ASEAN and China would “soon be able to agree on a more binding code of conduct” to replace the DOC.

During the summit, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said there was interest in ensuring these conflicts and competing claims are resolved peacefully but also said there were increased concerns in the region over China’s behavior in the South China Sea.

“I feel that without rules of the road and without agreed approaches to dealing with these problems, there will be clashes, and I do not believe that this serves anybody’s interests,” Gates said. “The key is to find some kind of multilateral mechanism to resolve these issues.”


Some 2011 South China Sea incidents:

Feb. 25: A Chinese frigate fired warning shots at three Filipino fishing boats near the Jackson atoll near Palawan Island, Philippines.

March 2: Two Chinese maritime patrol vessels threatened to ram a Philippine government energy research vessel, the M/V Venture, conducting a seismic survey in the Reed Bank area near Palawan Island.

May: China announces a unilateral fishing ban for the northern part of the South China Sea from May to August.

May: Vietnam alleges Chinese naval vessels fired on four Vietnamese fishing vessels near East London Reef and Cross Island.

May: Chinese vessels laid steel posts and a buoy in the Amy Douglas Bank, southwest of Reed Bank within the Philippines Exclusive Economic Zones.

May 11: Two unidentified fighter jets, alleged to be Chinese, were sighted near Palawan Island.

May 23: Philippine President Benigno Aquino III warned Chinese Defense Minister Gen. Liang Guanglie during his visit to Manila of a possible arms race if tensions worsened over South China Sea disputes.

May 26: Three Chinese state-operated Ocean Marine Surveillance vessels harassed the Binh Minh 02, a vessel owned by the oil company PetroVietnam, cutting a towed survey cable. The incident occurred within Vietnam’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

June 9: A Chinese fishing boat rammed a PetroVietnam vessel conducting an oil survey within Vietnam’s EEZ. It is the second Chinese attack on a Vietnamese PetroVietnam vessel in the past two weeks.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

PLA 20 Years Behind U.S. Military: Chinese DM

Defense News


PLA 20 Years Behind U.S. Military: Chinese DM


SINGAPORE - There is a 20-year gap between China and the U.S. military in equipment, weapons and systems, Chinese Defense Minister Gen. Liang Guanglie told the 10th Shangri-La Dialogue on June 5 in Singapore.

"I would call the gap big," he said. Liang acknowledged that China's military modernization has improved, but the "main battle equipment of our services ... is mainly second-generation weapons." China does not have a large arsenal of third-generation weapons, systems or platforms. "For example, the army is still being motorized, not mechanized," he said.

Liang conceded that China's military modernization has drawn the attention and concern of the international community and there have been questions over China's capability, but China does not "seek hegemony" and has a right to defend its "core interests," which include protecting its sovereignty.

After years of ignoring the Shangri-La Dialogue, China sent an unprecedented senior-level delegation. The annual conference is sponsored by the London-based International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS), officially known as the IISS Asia Security Summit, and includes the attendance of defense ministers from across the globe, including U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Liang said military-to-military relations with the U.S. were improving. The U.S. just concluded meetings in May with senior Chinese defense officials in Washington for the Security and Economic Dialogue, and the Pentagon hosted a separate visit by Gen. Chen Bingde, chief of the General Staff, People's Liberation Army (PLA).

Gates visited China in January for high-level talks designed to get military-to-military exchanges back online after they were severed to protest U.S. arms sales to Taiwan in 2010.

There was some discussion at the summit over an incident May 26 in the South China Sea involving three Chinese vessels harassing a Vietnamese oil survey ship. Though both China and Vietnam downplayed tensions at the Shangri-La, there were obvious signs of Chinese anxiety.

A Chinese PLA officer showed up at a press conference held by Lt. Gen. Nguyen Chi Vinh, Vietnam's deputy minister of defense, and took notes. When a journalist asked if she was "spying on the Vietnamese" she refused to answer.

One of the prominent features of this dialogue was China's "big footprint," said Singapore-based Tim Huxley, executive director, IISS-Asia. Not only was this the first Shangri-La to include a Chinese defense minister, it was also the first time there were five Chinese speakers in three of the five closed-door special sessions, he said.

Other high-level Chinese delegates included Rear Adm. Guan Youfei, deputy chief, Foreign Affairs Office, Ministry of National Defense; Senior Col. Ou Yangwei, director, Center for Defense Mobilization Studies, National Defense University; Major Gen. Song Dan, deputy director general, General Office, Central Military Commission; Lt. Gen. Wei Fenghe, deputy chief of general staff, PLA; and Xiao Jianguo, director, Department of Ocean Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Vietnam Confirms Kilo Sub Buy at Shangri-La

Defense News


Vietnam Confirms Kilo Sub Buy at Shangri-La


SINGAPORE - Vietnam will procure six Russian-built Kilo-class attack submarines "to defend" the country. Vietnam's Defense Minister, Gen. Phung Quang Thanh, made the comment June 5 at the 10th Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore 5. Analysts put the price tag for the deal at just over $3 billion.

The announcement comes in the wake of official protests lodged by Hanoi over a May 26 incident when three Chinese vessels operated by the State Oceanic Administration harassed the Binh Minh 02, a Vietnamese oil exploration seismic survey vessel belonging to the Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam). One of the Chinese vessels cut the ship's survey cable. The incident occurred within Vietnam's Exclusive Economic Zone.

The incident causes "considerable concern on the maintenance of peace and stability in the East Sea [South China Sea]," he said. Further, Vietnam has "exercised patience in managing the incident with peaceful means in accordance with the international laws and the principle of determinedly protecting our national sovereignty."

The incident caused outrage in Vietnam, resulting in public protests at the Chinese embassy and hacker attacks on Chinese government websites.

Thanh met with Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie at a bilateral meeting during the Shangri-La to discuss issues, including the incident. The Dialogue is organized by the London-based International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) and held annually each June in Singapore.

Lt. Gen. Nguyen Chi Vinh, Deputy Minister of Defense, also confirmed the Kilo submarine deal and added that Vietnam was also buying "Su-30 fighters and surface-to-air missiles." However, the procurements were not tied to the May 26 incident and were "part of our weapons appreciation program for enhancing our capabilities." He said Vietnam has a "legitimate need to upgrade our military capability."

Vinh emphasized that the recent incident with China was a "civilian clash" and not a military issue. Vietnamese law enforcement and maritime agencies are responsible for these types of problems, he said. "What happened, happened" and it must he handled within the guidelines of international law by peaceful means. However, Vinh stressed that Vietnam would use "all means to protect our national sovereignty."

China's military has been expanding its capabilities and influence in the South China Sea with a new submarine base on Hainan Island, and preparations are underway to begin sea trials of its first aircraft carrier.

China and Vietnam have been bumping into one another in the South China Sea since the 1970s. In 1974 China took the Paracel Islands by military force from then-South Vietnam, and Hanoi has continued to claim sovereignty over the islands. Periodic arrests of Vietnamese fishermen in the area have also caused frustration in Hanoi.

In 1988 China and Vietnam fought over the Johnson South Reef in the South China Sea. China sank two Vietnamese naval vessels and opened fired on Vietnamese troops occupying the reef. A video documentary widely aired in Vietnam, dubbed the "Spratly Islands Massacre," available on YouTube, allegedly shows a Chinese frigate gunning down around 30 Vietnamese soldiers on the reef.

The latest incident has raised concerns China is becoming aggressive in the South China Sea and risks sparking a conflict. However, a member of the Chinese delegation attending the Shangri-La Dialogue said the Chinese vessels involved in the May 26 incident might be acting unilaterally without the consent or encouragement of Beijing.

The State Oceanic Administration and other non-military maritime patrol and law enforcement organizations have in the past acted carelessly, he said. These organizations are often fighting over budgets and attempting to justify their existence, thus they sometimes "act muscularly."

IISS Launches North Korea Nuke Study

Defense News


IISS Launches North Korea Nuke Study


SINGAPORE - North Korea's third nuclear test will likely be a highly enriched uranium (HEU) bomb, and neither China nor the United States can stop or reverse Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program.

These are the conclusions of a new study by Jonathan Pollack, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, at a book launch at the Shangri-La Dialogue on June 3 in Singapore.

"No Exit: North Korea, Nuclear Weapons and International Security" looks at how North Korea has staked its future on the development of nuclear weapons and why the hermit nation will never surrender them.

Organized by the London-based International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS), the book launch is part of the 10th Asia Security Summit, dubbed The Shangri-La Dialogue, being held June 3-5 in Singapore. The book is part of IISS Adelphi book series that looks at international defense and security issues.

North Korea conducted two underground plutonium bomb tests in 2006 and 2009, and has been developing advanced long-range ballistic missile capabilities that could someday threaten the continental U.S.

Pollack looks at why North Korea disregards United Nations censure and openly circumvents sanctions by selling weapons and technology to other pariah nations to fund its nuclear program.

North Korea is more of a traditional Korean dynasty and not a communist state, Pollack said. The Kim family has successfully ignored efforts by China and the U.S. to influence it to abandon its nuclear program and adopt capitalist reforms. Instead, the Kim family has created an "impregnable fortress" that protects the family dynasty.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and China's push towards improved relations with South Korea during the 1980s and 1990s, North Korea became concerned that its traditional protectors would abandon it. The only course of action was to create a mechanism that guaranteed its survivability. Nuclear weapons have clearly served that purpose well, he said.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton once referred to North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons as a "small child seeking attention." Pollack does not believe this is the correct analogy. "This is a system of old men who have made the pursuit of these capabilities their life time work." He pointed out that North Korea made a conscious decision to begin a nuclear program in the 1970s, as ties between Beijing and Washington began improving.

Despite the fact that North Korea occasionally "drops hints" the nuclear program is a "bargaining chip" that can be exchanged for rice and oil, the reality is that Pyongyang has no intention of surrendering the capability.

The best course of action, Pollack said, is to continue sanctions and other pressure that slows further development, especially efforts by the North to miniaturize a nuclear warhead for fitting on a ballistic missile.