Wednesday, December 31, 2008

WoW a Formal Truce.... I will drink to that

China Will Use Peaceful Development to Reunite Taiwan (Update2)

By Eugene Tang and Janet Ong

Dec. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Chinese President Hu Jintao said his government will pursue “peaceful development” with Taiwan, in a policy shift that underscores how closer trade ties are changing China’s attempt to reunite with the self-administered island.

The world’s fourth-largest economy, expanding at double the pace of Taiwan’s, is willing to sign a “comprehensive treaty of economic cooperation that complements each other’s competitive advantages” and needs, Hu said today in a televised speech in Beijing. He pledged to protect Taiwan’s investments in China and urged Chinese companies to venture to the island.

China and Taiwan resumed direct flights, shipping and postal services across the Taiwan Strait on Dec. 15, after Ma Ying-jeou was elected as the island’s president in March with a pledge to improve ties with the mainland and abandon his predecessor’s pro- independence stance.

“China’s Taiwan policy is moving in step with the changing realities of modern-day politics and the broader economic environment,” said Liu Hong, director of the Taiwan Research Institute at the Beijing Union University. “This is a turning point in the history of relations across the strait.”

The Chinese Communist Party in 1978 dropped its pledge of “liberation by force” to repatriate Taiwan, replacing it with a policy of “peaceful reunification.” Since then, about 1 million Taiwanese have moved to China to live and work, investing an estimated $150 billion.

Taiwanese Visiting China

As many as 7 million Taiwan residents may have visited China, trips that 30 years ago were considered treasonous and punishable by life imprisonment.

Leaders of Taiwan’s ruling Kuomintang party and the Chinese Communist Party met in Shanghai on Dec. 20 to foster economic ties. China offered 130 billion yuan ($19 billion) of loans to Taiwan companies operating on the mainland and to buy $2 billion of flat-panel displays from the island’s companies.

“Relations across the Taiwan Strait have advanced in leaps and bounds in the past 30 years,” said Wang Yi, director of the Chinese government’s Taiwan Affairs Office, responsible for relations with the island.

The governments of China and Taiwan, administered separately since the end of a civil war in 1949, are technically still in a state of confrontation. The world’s largest regular army has more than 900 missiles along China’s southeastern coast, aimed at Taiwan, while the Taiwanese military is planning to buy $6.5 billion of U.S. weapons including Lockheed Martin Corp.’s Patriot anti-missile systems.

Formal Truce

Hu, chairman of China’s military commission with direct control over the country’s armed forces, today offered to sign a formal armistice with Taiwan. The two militaries can meet regularly to build mutual trust, and create a mechanism to manage risk and lessen tension across the Taiwan Strait, he said.

“Peaceful development is in the best interest of both China and Taiwan,” Hu said, while reiterating that the mainland will oppose any attempt by Taiwan to seek independence.

The Chinese leader’s address today was attended by members of China’s Politburo, the highest policy-making body of the Communist Party, as well as officers from the country’s army.

Hu today encouraged mainland companies to invest in Taiwan and invite Taiwanese companies to reciprocate.

World Health Assembly

China replaced Taiwan in the United Nations General Assembly in 1971, and has blocked the island’s attempts to join world bodies or participate in global events, claiming that any role would be a de facto recognition of Taiwan’s sovereignty.

Only 23 countries, mostly in the Pacific, Africa and South America, including Paraguay, have formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

China is willing to hold talks on Taiwan’s “non-government economic and cultural exchanges” with foreign nations, and is open to “reasonable arrangements” for Taiwan’s participation in international organizations in ways that don’t hurt the “One China” principle, Hu said today.

Taiwan is discussing with China the possibility of the island participating in the World Health Assembly, the Taipei- based Central News Agency said yesterday, citing an interview with Ma.

To contact the reporters on this story: Eugene Tang in Beijing on

China's Hu calls for military exchanges with Taiwan

8 hours ago

BEIJING (AFP) — Chinese President Hu Jintao called Wednesday for military exchanges with Taiwan, in another sign of rapidly improving ties between the former arch enemies.

"The two sides can pick the right time to engage in exchanges on military issues and explore setting up a military and security mechanism to build mutual trust," Hu said.

This would help "improve the situation in the Taiwan Strait and lessen military and security concerns" he said in a speech broadcast live on national television.

The address was to mark the 30th anniversary of a message from China to "compatriots in Taiwan" which called for reunification of the two sides by peaceful means.

China and Taiwan have been governed separately since the end of a civil war in 1949 but Beijing considers the island part of its territory and is determined to get it back, by force if necessary.

Their relationship has been one of the world's most dangerous potential flashpoints, with both sides lining up billions of dollars of military hardware against each other in readiness for a possible war.

China has targeted Taiwan with more than 1,000 short-range ballistic and cruise missiles, according to defence authorities on the island.

But relations have improved dramatically since Ma Ying-jeou, a politician from Taiwan's Beijing-friendly Kuomintang party, assumed the island's presidency in May.

As part of the recent rapprochement, the two sides this month began direct daily flights, postal and shipping services, in a move expected to boost trade ties.

Taiwan's defence ministry gave no immediate reaction to Hu's remarks but the Kuomintang issued a statement welcoming the remarks.

"We have never relaxed in our efforts to seek the expanded space that Taiwan needs for its international activities, establishing a cross-Strait military confidence-building mechanism, and reaching a peaceful agreement," said the statement.

"Today Secretary-General Hu Jintao has responded positively to the above. We are glad to see these commitments, and we further hope that concrete results will be reached in the foreseeable future."

In the speech Hu also urged Taiwan's pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, the island's main opposition force, to "clearly understand the situation and stop secessionist activities".

"If the party could abandon its 'Taiwan independence' stance, we would make a positive response," he said.

Hu also called for growing economic interaction with Taiwan, a major source of investment, especially along the export-dependent east coast of the mainland.

"We continue to welcome and support Taiwan companies' business in the mainland and encourage mainland enterprises to invest in Taiwan," Hu said.

"We expect to normalise economic relations across the Strait and establish an economic cooperation mechanism."

The DPP rejected Hu's overtures, saying Beijing's position had long been the stumbling block in relations.

In a statement, the party said: "We think the biggest problem dividing Taiwan and China is not what the DPP has been advocating, but is the Taiwanese people's feelings towards China -- Beijing's military threat, its attempts to block Taiwan in the international community and its continued efforts to reduce Taiwan's international status.

"If China sincerity wants to have a dialogue with the DPP, it should not have imposed pre-conditions, nor asked us to alter our stance."

Nice Background information from PLAdaily.

Chronicle of Chinese naval ships' overseas missions 2008-12-30

  As of today, the Chinese naval ship taskforces have accomplished with flying colors such missions as supporting the test-fire of remote carrier rockets, overseas visits, exercises in the non-traditional security field, multilateral maritime joint military exercises, which accumulatively involved nearly 80 ships/times and were taken to more than 30 countries.

  First ocean-going voyage. To ensure the success of the test-fire of the remote carrier rockets, the Chinese Navy sent out, in 1980, a large ship taskforce consisting of 18 escorting, survey and support ships to navigate across the equator to the South Pacific covering a distance of 8,000 nautical miles, which has demonstrated to the world that the Chinese Navy had acquired the capability of sending large taskforce for the ocean-going missions.

  First overseas visit. From November 16, 1985 to January 19, 1986, a ship taskforce consisting of "Hefei" guided missile destroyer and "Fengcang" ocean-going comprehensive supply ship paid a visit to the Karachi Port, Pakistan, Colombo Port, Sri Lanka and Chittagong Port, Bangladesh for the first time.

  First global navigation. In May 2002, the Chinese naval taskforce made the first around-the-world voyage. A taskforce consisting of "Qingdao" guided missile destroyer and "Taicang" comprehensive supply ship navigated a total distance of 33,000 sea miles in 132 days and nights to call on 10 countries and ports including Singapore, Egypt, Turkey, Peru and France spanning five continents, thus creating a record for being the longest visit, the farthest navigation distance, the widest coverage of sea areas and visiting the most countries.

  First involvement in exercise in nontraditional security field with foreign navies abroad. On November 8, 2005, a ship task force consisting of "Shenzhen" guided missile destroyer and "Weishanhu" comprehensive supply ship visited Pakistan, India and Thailand. During the visit, the Chinese naval taskforce successfully held exercises with the joint search and rescue as the main contents with the navies of the three countries. This was the first exercise jointly conducted by the Chinese navy and foreign navies abroad, which had spread China's peaceful foreign policy and the new security concept of "mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and coordination" to the world.

  First multilateral maritime joint military exercise. In February 2007, a ship taskforce consisting of "Lianyungang" frigate and "Sanming" frigate participated in the "Peace 2007" multi-country joint maritime exercise held in Pakistan. That was the first multilateral joint maritime military exercise participated by the Chinese warships. The ocean-going voyage was made with no accompanying supply ship for the warships.

  Participating in the trilateral joint maritime exercise initiated by China. On September 10, 2007, the "Harbin" guided missile destroyer and the "Hongzehu" comprehensive supply ship visited Australia and New Zealand. During the visit, China, Australia and New Zealand held a trilateral joint maritime exercise promoted by China on the Tasman Sea area in the South Pacific.

  First escort mission in the Gulf of Aden and the waters off Somali coast. On December 26, 2008, an escort taskforce consisting of "Wuhan" and "Haikou" guided missile destroyers, "Weishanhu" comprehensive supply ship, two ship-board helicopters and some members of special force left Sanya of Hainan for the Gulf of Aden and the waters off Somali coast to perform escort operations. The main task of the Chinese naval taskforce is to protect the safety of the Chinese ships and personnel navigating across the Gulf of Aden and the waters off Somali coast, the safety of ships carrying humanistic materials of such international organizations as the World Food Program, and, if the need arises, the taskforce will jointly conduct humanistic rescue operations with the escorting ships of other countries.

  By Wu Dengfeng and Bai Ruixue

  (Dec 30, PLA Daily) Editor: Chen Jie

Monday, December 29, 2008

It gives the term "High and Stupid" a new meaning, doesn't

PLAN SpOp team sporting a totally stupid new haircut on its way to Gulf of Aden

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Holidays

China drops hints about deploying an aircraft carrier

John Garnaut in Beijing
December 24, 2008

CHINESE military officials hinted yesterday they were inching closer to developing the country's first operational aircraft carrier, which would greatly enhance the capacity to project military power beyond the immediate region.

A spokesman for the Defence Ministry, Senior Colonel Huang Xueping, said China would "earnestly research and consider" developing an aircraft carrier to protect its vast sea territories. "Aircraft carriers are a symbol of a country's overall national strength as well as the competitiveness of the country's naval force."

The comments were made at a rare press conference to provide details on China's deployment of war ships to ward off pirates in the Gulf of Aden and around the coast of Somalia.

Tai Ming Cheung, an expert on the Chinese military at the Institute of Global Conflict and Co-operation at the University of California, said it was "becoming increasingly clear that a political decision has been made" to deploy an aircraft carrier.

"This is all part of a growing propaganda campaign, this inching forward process of preparing the world that an aircraft carrier can be expected in the next few years."

Mr Cheung said it would take years to upgrade a Ukrainian carrier now berthed at the port of Dalian, buy suitable Russian fighter planes, train pilots and otherwise assemble the hardware and logistical capacity to support an aircraft carrier.

It would take even longer if China were to build an aircraft from scratch, as some Chinese navy and industry leaders would prefer.

"As a great power, China needs [an] aircraft carrier sooner or later," said Shi Yinhong, Professor of International Relations at the People's University.

"Although the Government or army has never announced China will build [an] aircraft carrier, we are seeing a lot of indirect discussion from official and semi-official sources."

An aircraft carrier was necessary to defend the country's long coastline, prepare for future conflict and protect the energy supply, he said.

Some defence analysts say building an aircraft carrier is more a matter of national prestige than military necessity.

"An aircraft carrier is a neat symbol of power but not necessarily a sign of substance, because they are so easy to sink," said Professor Hugh White, of the Australian National University and the Lowy Institute.

"If I was an American I would be down on my knees and praying they would be dumb enough to build one."

China's Somalia deployment is shaping as a test of China's military capability and an opportunity to develop and project its forces without ruffling global or regional powers such as the US and India.

"It is a very neat piece of strategic diplomacy by the Chinese," Professor White said.

Two destroyers, a supply ship, two helicopters and special forces will depart on Boxing Day to join other international naval vessels in fending off pirates around the Somalian coast and in the Gulf of Aden.

And From WSJ:

* DECEMBER 23, 2008, 9:01 A.M. ET

China Mulls Acquiring Aircraft Carrier

BEIJING – Chinese officials said the country's decision to send warships to the Gulf of Aden to curb piracy – China's first such deployment in modern history – doesn't represent a shift in defense policy. But the military's top spokesman said the navy is seriously considering expanding its reach by acquiring an aircraft carrier.

While downplaying the strategic importance of China's move to send two destroyers and supply ship to Middle Eastern waters, however, the navy, which has been investing heavily in new ships and aircraft, said that it now has the capability to conduct complex operations far from its coastal waters.

"We are sending our naval force as part of international cooperation, according to a specific situation," Capt. Ma Luping, director of the navy bureau of China's general staff, told reporters at a rare defense ministry news conference Tuesday. "It is not true that China will always send the navy whenever there is the loss of Chinese personnel or Chinese property."

Speaking at the same press conference, defense ministry spokesman Col. Huang Xueping said China is "seriously considering" adding an aircraft carrier to its fleet. "The air craft carrier is a symbol of a country's overall national strength, as well as the competitiveness of the country's naval force," he said.

"China has vast oceans and it is the sovereign responsibility of China's armed forces to insure the country's maritime security and uphold the sovereignty of its costal waters as well as its maritime rights and interests," Col. Huang said, in one of the most direct public statements on the thinking behind China's naval policy.

China has stepped up spending on the country's navy and the rest of its armed forces in an effort to modernize and strengthen them. Much of the defense push has been driven by China's increasingly global commercial interests. China's economy depends on trade and imported oil and raw materials.

China says its ships in the Gulf of Aden will operate under United Nations rules of engagement, including a U.N. policy on when to engage pirates. The ships' mission also includes protecting deliveries of humanitarian aid to Somalia. China will cooperate with other navies and commercial ships operating in the area, Mr. Ma said.

Underscoring the novelty of such a mission for China, the navy says it is still negotiating over where its ships will be able to dock for re-supply.

China's navy doesn't patrol the Straits of Malacca – between peninsular Malaysia and the Indonesian island of Sumatra – through which a large portion of its oil passes and where piracy has been an issue in the past. Mr. Ma said piracy in Malacca is essentially under control while it has been quickly growing in the Gulf of Aden -- along a critical international shipping route -- with seven attacks on Chinese ships so far this year.

Since August, 15 countries have dispatched warships and planes to participate in antipiracy patrols in the Gulf and Indian Ocean waters of Somalia. But international forces have been stretched too thin to effectively curb the increasingly daring and sophisticated pirates.

Mr. Ma's comments on the possible acquisition of a carrier indicate renewed interest in an idea whose popularity has waxed and waned within Chinese defense circles for decades. In 1985, China bought a decommissioned carrier from Australia. After Chinese technicians studied the ship it was scrapped, but a replica of the flight deck was built for use in pilot training.

China has since acquired three former Soviet carriers. Two have been turned into floating military theme parks. The Pentagon says that the third -- which was unfinished when it was purchased -- has undergone work in China, but that it remains unclear what the Chinese navy intends to do with the vessel.

Carrier operations are extremely complex. Building the hull of the actual aircraft carrier itself is among the simplest steps. Learning to integrate air and surface operations, training air wings and developing the sophisticated radar and command-and-communications systems required for modern naval aviation could take many years. U.S. government and independent analysts say it could be 2015 or 2020 before China could be ready to deploy an operational carrier.
—Gordon Fairclough contributed to this article.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thanks Saeed Khan for the heads up

$278m AWACS deal struck with China
Thursday, December 18, 2008

By Rauf Klasra

ISLAMABAD: In an effort to help the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) boost its air defence capability, Islamabad has struck a $278 million deal with Beijing to purchase a modern Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS), legislators were informed here on Wednesday.

Pakistan is said to be the first country in the region to buy the Chinese AWACS system, which Beijing started developing in 2004 after the Americans stopped the Israeli government from selling the system worth $1billion to Beijing.

Under mounting pressure from Washington, Tel Aviv scrapped the contract to the disappointment of the Chinese, who badly needed the system for possible use against Taiwan. The details of the contract between Pakistan and China were placed before the National Assembly on Wednesday by Minister for Defence Production Abdul Qayyum Khan Jatoi.

The documents placed before the National Assembly reveal that under the multi-million dollar deal, China will provide the system to Pakistan in the next four years. The most important thing from Pakistan’s perspective is that China has agreed to supply the system on “deferred” payment. The contract has been awarded to MS CETC China.

The story of China starting the development of its own airborne warning and control system is interesting. Until 2004, Beijing had not even thought of making its own AWACS system. Just like Pakistan, China was heavily dependent on foreign countries in improving the performance of its air force.

Information gathered from various sources revealed China launched work on its own system after the US blocked its move to develop radar surveillance aircraft. Washington even vetoed the sale of such systems China wanted to deploy in the Taiwan Strait. Military specialists said the Chinese system used domestically-produced advanced radar mounted on a Russian-made Il-76 transport aircraft.

Chinese military technicians have been struggling to acquire AWACS-type equipment ever since the United States coerced Israel in 2000 into backing out of a $1 billion agreement on selling to China four of its Phalcon phased-array radar systems.

The systems would have used Il-76 aircraft as a platform, but the main US concern in blocking the sale was that China would gain a military advantage over Taiwan. Moreover, under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, the US government pledged to help Taiwan defend itself against a possible Chinese attack, meaning the US forces could become involved, should fighting erupt.

For the same reason, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) air force leaders were determined to acquire such planes. After the 2000 Israeli fiasco, the PLA made it a matter of pride to prove to the Americans they could not be denied AWACS.

Initially, China turned to Russia, its traditional source of military equipment. Beijing concluded a deal to buy four Beriev A-50 Mainstay radar planes, which are roughly the Russian equivalent of the US Air Force’s E-3 Sentry AWACS. The purchase was believed to be the first phase of an agreement for eight Russian aircraft.

At the same time, Chinese scientists were working on their own radar equipment. It is not known whether the Russian aircraft were ever delivered, which would have provided a look at the technology, or whether the technicians obtained help from Israeli or Russian counterparts.

Pakistan to buy Chinese AWACS to boost air defence - report

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan is to buy an airborne warning and control system (AWACS) from China to boost its air defences, a Pakistani newspaper reported on Thursday.

The News newspaper said a $278 million agreement had been struck for Pakistan to get the Chinese system within four years, on a deferred payment basis.

Pakistani defence procurement officials were not immediately available for comment.

The report comes as relations between nuclear-armed Pakistan and India have been severely strained by last month's militant attacks in Mumbai, which India has blamed on "elements" within Pakistan.

Pakistan would be the first country to buy the Chinese AWACS system which China only started producing in 2004, the News said.

Pakistan signed a memorandum of understanding with China in November 2006 for long-term collaboration in defence production including development of an airborne early warning surveillance system.

China and Pakistan have been allies for years and China is Pakistan's biggest supplier of defence equipment.

Last month, Pakistan was granted a $7.6 billion loan by the International Monetary Fund to avert a balance of payments crisis and prevent the government defaulting on its international debt obligations.

CRF interviews with Adm Keating, enjoy.

Expanding U.S. Military Partnerships in the Pacific

December 12, 2008

Interviewee: Admiral Timothy J. Keating, Commander, U.S. Pacific Command
Interviewer: Greg Bruno, Staff Writer,

Admiral Timothy J. Keating, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, says it would be a "giant leap of faith" to believe the United States and China could develop a close military partnership any time soon. Keating, who commands U.S. forces responsible for an area ranging from New Zealand to Mongolia, says there will need to be more transparency, better understanding of Chinese intentions, and greater cooperation before the two sides could move toward a partnership. But Keating says the U.S. military in the Pacific continues to forge close relations with allies based on policies of mutual interest. Keating says the incoming Obama administration should "emphasize partnership, presence, and a military readiness" with allies while "acknowledging the environmental crises that are looming, to include global warming, to include energy demand."

The new U.S. Pacific Command strategy you approved in November has been described as a subtle shift in vision, in which America's assertive role in the region is deemphasized in favor of greater cooperation and collaboration. Elaborate on why you think this change was necessary now.

It is, I think, from our position, as much as an acknowledgment of the way of the world as recognition of the main elements of the strategy and their importance. We are working as hard as we know how to emphasize partnership, not just [military-to-military], not even just interagency to interagency, but government to government, non-government organizations to NGOs, commercial partners to commercial partners. It's a fairly broad coalition, if you will, of not just the willing, but 'the coalition, the committed,' as the Tongans put it. So, there is an increase in awareness of, an emphasis on partnership, and an acknowledgment, not just from our bully pulpit, but enforced by all the conversations that I have in the twenty-eight-some countries we visited so far, of the desire for U.S. presence. So, that's where you get a partnership, a presence and a military readiness. [It's] not so much a new way of thinking about things as wrapping what has proven to be successful over decades out here with an eye on the way ahead.

So it's not about a concern that U.S. image in the region needs an overhaul?

There is not in this headquarters and I get no sense of that in my discussions with military, governmental, and commercial partners all throughout the Asia-Pacific region. I don't get that sense.

The new strategy seems to suggest that all players in the region should be treated as partners, not threats, but with regards to China, I wonder if there is a slight contradiction between your strategy and the Pentagon's approach.

We don't see it that way. I think it's a giant leap of faith to think that in the near- to mid-term, we as a nation and the policy makers in particular would regard China as a partner, particularly, on a mil-to-mil basis. That said we hope that in the mid- to long-term we can be closer to that consideration than we are today. And to get from where we are--not a partner--to where we would like to be--more like a partner--is going to require more transparency, a better understanding of intention on our part of the Chinese, and to get there we would need more active cooperation with the Chinese.

A Chinese military official recently suggested China would be interested in acquiring an aircraft carrier. Staying with this question of intent, first, how far along is China in that acquisition process? Would China acquiring weaponry of this type be a significant strategic concern for the U.S., or is it more of a symbolic threat?

"Counter-terrorism efforts [are ongoing] throughout Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Thailand, and other countries of South and South-East Asia, an area of significant effort on our behalf. But at the top of the list right now is India-Pakistan."

China already has an aircraft carrier. They bought a discarded, which may be the word, or excess military equipment, ski-jump carrier from Russia. It wouldn't take a whole lot for China's military to get their hands on that platform and perhaps do some research and development testing to figure out whether they could return it to aircraft carrier status. Now, all that said, it's a fairly rudimentary kind of carrier, it's a ski-jump, very small flight deck capability and it's old and the Russians gave it up for a reason I would assume. So to get to the larger issue of does China want to pursue the capabilities inherent in an aircraft carrier or a navy that has aircraft carrier capability? I believe they do. In discussions I had in our first visit to China over a year and a half ago, some senior Chinese official, he was a Navy guy at the two or three star level, said, "Hey you know, we're thinking of building carriers and how about we make you this deal," he said, I think in jest. He had a wry grin on his face but he nonetheless made the following statement: '"You keep your aircraft carriers east of Hawaii. We'll keep ours west. You share your information with us; we'll share our information with you. We'll save you the time and effort of coming all the way to the Western Pacific."

Did you take him up on it?

Well, my response was just as yours was. I chuckled, slightly, and said, no thanks. Then I went on to tell him: "it ain't as easy as it looks and it's taken us since before World War II to get our aircraft carrier technology and capability to where it is today." Russia and other countries have discovered, once again: "It ain't as easy as it looks." So we'll watch carefully if China chooses to pursue the development of aircraft carrier technology and capability. We will ask them to be transparent with us. We will ask them to share with us their intentions. But when we've done that in the past, the Chinese military and the government officials say in response to my questions, "Well you need to understand, we only want to protect those things that are ours." Fair enough, so do we, and so do all countries who have access to the maritime domain and the air domain.

A specific point of departure in our relationship with China is the Taiwan issue. How do you see the relationship between China and Taiwan today?

To be sure, the tensions have decreased. Both China and Taiwan have undertaken, in our view, fairly significant efforts to continue defusing the tension across the straits and some of these are in a way kind of almost pedestrian. They have had meetings to where they agree to share exotic animals for zoos. They have agreed on streamlining their postal system. They have agreed to increase cross-channel commercial flights. All of these are encouraging signs from our perspective. We tell both China and Taiwan, with equal enthusiasm, that we are very anxious to sustain stability across the straits. That we would like for them to work to achieve a solution that is mutually satisfactory. And we encourage as much dialogue as both countries can sustain.

Let's move to an area where tensions are quite high, India. The attack over Thanksgiving I'm sure is something you've been following very closely. Can you comment on whether you've offered any assistance to the India government?

Let me answer it this way: It's an ongoing operation so I can't give you specifics. I've had conversations with members of our national command authority. [U.S. Central Command chief Gen.] Dave Petraeus and I have had multiple conversations. Our Pacific command staff is in constant contact with the Central Command staff and across the spectrum of military headquarters staffs. We're keeping a very close eye on India-Pakistan. We're sharing those perspectives with each other's staff and with the national command authority and this is a situation that's still unfolding.

As the India case illustrates there are many hot spots from rogue terror groups to friction in the Koreas, concerns over cyber security, climate change and impacts to island nations, and a host of others. I wonder if you could weigh in on what you see as the principle points of concern. What keeps you up at night?

"I think it's a giant leap of faith to think that in the near- to mid-term we as a nation and the policy makers in particular would regard China as a partner, particularly on a [military-to-military] basis."

When that question comes from our friends in the media or our colleagues on the Hill I answer the same and I don't mean to be glib, but I sleep pretty soundly every night. But with that said, the obvious intention of the question is, what are the major areas of concern? Right now, it's India-Pakistan. You touched on them. [Chief U.S. negotiator] Chris Hill just [returned] from a not entirely fulfilling Six-Party talks session [over North Korea's nuclear program], and that's hardly the first time an adjective like that or a phrase like that is applied to six-party talks. I think his spokesperson is saying that there was no progress made but there is still room for progress. So that's North-South Korea. There's the question of Kim Jong-Il's health and the succession plan that we worked out, of course, diligently. Jemaah Islamiyah and Abu Sayyaf group activities in the Southern Philippines-we have six-hundred and some Special Forces there supporting armed forces in the Philippines operations. Counter-terrorism efforts [are ongoing] throughout Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Thailand, and other countries of South and South-East Asia, an area of significant effort on our behalf. But at the top of the list right now is India-Pakistan.

You mentioned Southern Philippines. With Abu Sayyaf, there are indications that their activity is increasing. Is there more that the U.S. military can do to assist the Philippine government?

I don't think so. We've got, as I said, a very large complement of highly trained special operations forces there. We've been there for over half a decade. We're sharing intelligence with them. We're providing tactics, techniques, and procedures with them. So I'm satisfied that our national level of support is appropriate for the task at hand in the Southern Philippines. Now that's not to be dismissive of the challenge facing the armed forces in the Philippines, but they are demonstrating to us increased capability and increased wherewithal as they fight [Abu Sayyaf] in particular and Jemaah Islamiyah, secondarily.

Your new approach that you recently put into play seems to echo what the Defense Secretary Gates has been advocating: pay more attention to state building and governance issues. Do you have any advice to the incoming administration on how to strengthen U.S. military capabilities in this area?

I don't know that I wouldn't say anything different to the new administration than we're saying to the current administration. You know, I've been in uniform for almost forty years now. We have enjoyed changes of administration, since I been at it, a bunch of times. So, we would hope to have a constant and convincing theme for President-elect Obama's team, some of whom we've already met and have enjoyed significant discussions with, and it would emphasize partnership, presence, and a military readiness. Acknowledging the increased global market that was representing the Asia-Pacific area, acknowledging the environmental crises that are looming, to include global warming, to include energy demand, all the while, we would underscore the importance of security and stability based on our strategy, which we think is an effective way of sustaining that peace and stability.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

PLA's Mech Infantry Sqd.

For those who are interested in PLA Infantry TOE, here is what a Mech Infantry Squad looks like as confirmed by CCTV.

9 men squad assigned to a single IFV with 6 Type 95 assault rifles, two command radios, one machine gun, one RPG.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

PLAN is heading out to Somalia.

Finally, after weeks of speculation and public debates, looks like the decision has been made.

Navy ships may head to Somalia
(China Daily)
China is all set to send a naval fleet on a mission to fight pirates in Somali waters, a military source told China Daily on Tuesday.

"There will be a significant peacekeeping operation (in Somalia)," the source said, but did not reveal the scale of the mission.

China will tell a United Nations Security Council meeting this morning (Beijing time) that "we wish to work with others to reach a positive outcome", a Foreign Ministry spokesman said yesterday, without confirming the status of the mission.

"The Chinese government supports the international community's decision to cooperate on the piracy problem according to international law and the UN Security Council's resolutions," Liu Jianchao told a news briefing on Tuesday, referring to Vice-Foreign Minister He Yafei's meeting in New York.

A local newspaper provided some details of the planned mission.

"The fleet will leave the South China Sea and head to the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters," the Global Times reported yesterday.

A Chinese journalist who is likely to accompany the naval fleet said the operation would last three months.

Piracy off Somalia has intensified in recent months, with more attacks against a wider range of targets. But the problem is the most severe in the Gulf of Aden, which links the Mediterranean Sea, the Suez Canal and the Red Sea to the Indian Ocean.

Two Chinese ships - a fishing vessel and a Hong Kong-flag ship together with about 40 crew - were seized by Somali pirates in mid-November.

In September, pirates seized a Ukrainian freighter loaded with 33 battle tanks, and on Nov 15 they seized a Saudi oil tanker then carrying $100 million worth of crude.

About 100 attacks have been reported off the Somali coast this year. Forty vessels have been hijacked, with 14 still remaining in the hands of pirates along with more than 250 crew members, according to maritime officials.

The international community has already responded to the piracy problem, with the UN clearing the way for sending troops to the troubled waters by passing three resolutions since July.

More than a dozen warships from Italy, Greece, Turkey, India, Denmark, Saudi Arabia, France, Russia, Britain, Malaysia and the United States have so far joined the hunt, leaving China the only country among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council not yet taking an active part.

A military strategist told China Daily that joining other countries to fight Somali pirates would be a "very good opportunity" for the Chinese navy to get into the thick of the action.

"Apart from fighting pirates, another key goal is to register the presence of the Chinese navy," Prof Li Jie, a naval researcher, told China Daily.

China has never dispatched any troops on combat missions overseas. But in 2002, two Chinese vessels - a destroyer and a supplier - spent four months on a global tour, the country's first.

Li also would not confirm the mission but added that "if the navy's special forces join in, that will be in order to counter the pirates' attempt to board other ships".

"In general, the mission is to deter pirates, because that is the basic objective," he added.

Prof Pang Zhongying at Renmin University of China said "joining other fleets in the Somali waters will contribute to international security".

Earlier, Chinese army personnel joining UN peacekeeping missions were engineering and medical staff, police, or peacekeepers.

But now, dispatching naval ships would not be a problem as the menace of Somali piracy has become a common threat to the whole international community, Pang said.

"China's image as a responsible sovereign nation will improve by participating in such missions," he said, but noted he didn't expect the number of troops in any such mission would be high.

"It would be on a limited scale initially," Pang said.

Special maritime police

In Vienna, a UN official said on Tuesday that special maritime police should patrol the Horn of Africa coastline to arrest the Somali pirates who have been preying on commercial shipping.

"Pirates cannot be keelhauled or forced to walk the plank, nor should they be dumped off the Somali coast. They need to be brought to justice," said Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the Vienna-based UN Office on Drugs and Crime.

Costa urged law enforcement officers to be deployed on warships as "ship riders" to seize pirates and try them under appropriate legal jurisdiction.

A similar approach has helped prosecute drug traffickers in the Caribbean, he said.

Somalia welcomes Chinese naval presence

Somalia welcomes the presence of the Chinese navy to fight pirates in its waters, the ambassador of the African nation in Beijing has said.

"We hope China joins the efforts of the international community in supporting the Somali government," Mohammed Awil said on Monday, responding to media reports that China could dispatch a fleet to the Gulf of Aden, where most of the piracy attacks have been concentrated.

Since July, the United Nations has adopted three resolutions urging the international community to respond to the piracy menace off the Somalia coast.

On Monday, a French naval detachment is reported to have begun escort duties in the troubled Indian Ocean waters off the Somali coast as part of an EU anti-piracy naval operation.

But Awil said the presence of foreign naval missions is not a long-term solution, and sought international help for Somalia to build its own naval capability.

"The international community should help our government build up the Somali navy, and then our own navy will take the responsibility of safeguarding Somali waters," Awil told China Daily.

He said his country has a naval presence in the northeast of the country, but it is hamstrung by old ships which are no match for the hit-and-run tactics of the pirates.

"So the solution is capacity building (for the Somali navy)," he said, urging help in logistics, equipment and training.

Apart from problems at sea, the Somali ambassador, who has been in Beijing since 2005, urged the global community to offer "serious help" to counter Somalia's domestic chaos.

A civil war which broke out in 1991 has left large swathes of the country under the control of anti-government forces. But the domestic situation may get even worse, as roughly 3,000 Ethiopian peacekeepers are due to withdraw by the end of the year, leaving a security vacuum.

Awil said it was the responsibility of the international community to send peacekeepers to fill the vacuum.

"The government has again and again requested the international community to send peacekeeping troops," Awil said, adding he didn't know why "they are not taking on the responsibility".

He said the world may regret it one day as extremism has already taken root in Somalia.

"Now it is piracy; we don't know what will come next," Awil said.

Agencies contributed to the story

Somali FM welcomes possible naval escort operations by China 2008-12-17 08:12:48

UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) -- Somalia's Foreign Minister Ali Ahmed Jama on Tuesday welcomed that China is seriously considering sending naval ships to Somali waters for escort operations to fight against piracy there.

Jama met Chinese Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei on the sidelines of a ministerial meeting of the UN Security Council on Somali piracy, during which a resolution was adapted to further step up the international fight against on the piracy.

The Chinese vice minister told Jama that China firmly supports the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia in its peace and reconstruction efforts, and that China will continue to do within its ability to provide assistance to it.

He emphasized that piracy off the coast of Somalia has become an international menace and that China is also one of its victims.

At present, one Chinese vessel and 17 Chinese nationals are still in the captivity of Somali pirates, He said. "This has aroused the utmost concern of the Chinese government and the general public."

China hopes that the TFG of Somalia will continue to cooperate with the Chinese side and do its best to retrieve the hijacked vessel and ensure the safety of Chinese crewmembers, He said.

China attaches great importance to the TFG's request for the international community's help to fight piracy, and supports the Security Council to adopt relevant resolutions upon request, He said.

China is seriously considering sending naval ships to the Gulf of Aden and waters off the Somali coast for escorting operations in the near future, He added.

Jama thanked China for its support for the Somali peace process and welcomed that China is seriously considering sending naval ships to the waters off the Somali coast for escorting operations.

Jama said that the TFG of Somalia will continue to cooperate with the Chinese side, and do its utmost to retrieve the Chinese vessel and rescue Chinese crewmembers taken hostage by pirates.
Editor: Bi Mingxin

China may send ships to tackle Somali piracy

Tue 16 Dec 2008, 23:35 GMT

BEIJING, Dec 17 (Reuters) - China may send naval ships to the seas off Somalia to help the fight against piracy there, state media on Wednesday quoted a Vice Foreign Minister as saying at the United Nations.

"China is seriously considering sending naval ships to the Gulf of Aden and waters off the Somali coast for escorting operations in the near future," the official Xinhua news agency quoted He Yafei as saying.

He, speaking at a Security Council ministerial meeting, said that China welcomed global cooperation in the fight against Somali piracy, and supported efforts by other countries to send ships to the region, Xinhua reported.

Earlier this month a prominent Chinese military strategist, Major-General Jin Yinan, urged the government to send ships, in comments reflecting debate about combating piracy in a country which has generally confined its navy to waters near home.

Jin told a Chinese radio interviewer that "nobody should be shocked" if his government one day decided to send navy ships to deal with the pirates, whose recent victims have included ships from mainland China and Hong Kong.

Jin is the head of a strategy institute at China's National Defence University.

A surge in attacks at sea this year in the busy Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean off Somalia has pushed up insurance costs, brought the Somali gangs tens of millions of dollars in ransom and prompted foreign warships to the area.

Among the captured vessels are a Saudi supertanker loaded with $100 million of crude oil, the Sirius Star, and a Ukrainian cargo ship carrying some 30 Soviet-era tanks.

The victims have also included a Hong Kong-flagged ship with 25 crew aboard and a Chinese fishing boat reported seized off Kenya.

NATO ships began anti-piracy operations off the Somali coast in late October, but they have failed to stop the hijackings.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)

You show me yours and I will show you mine.

The following are two recent examples of US “Military- Academic” reviews on the Chinese “Military-Academic” reviews on the US military naval and air power doctrines, enjoy.

Makes you wonder how long have those two been married, doesn't it?

First example from US Air Force's Air & Space Power Journal:

Published: 1 June 2008
Air & Space Power Journal - Summer 2008

The Future US Air Force by Min Zengfu [ 闵增富 ]. PLA Publishing House, no. 40 Di’anmen Xidajie Street, Xicheng District, Beijing, China, 2007, 318 pages, ¥22.00 ($3.00) (softcover).

How does the Chinese military view the US Air Force (USAF)? The Future US Air Force, recently published by a Chinese senior colonel, may provide the answer.

The author divides his book into nine chapters. The first two, “Roadmap Leading to the Future USAF” and “Military Transformation as Seen by the USAF,” serve as background descriptions. They tell how the objective of “Global Reach and Global Power,” put forth in 1990, evolved into “Global Vigilance, Reach, and Power” in the USAF document Air Force Vision 2020 (2000). The author agrees that Vision 2020 is much more detailed and executable because it now specifies six core capabilities necessary for fulfilling the general objective.

Against this background, the following five chapters focus on key aspects of building the future USAF: force organization and structure; doctrines and plans; key capabilities and technologies; weapons; and the future battlefield and force deployment. Readers will appreciate the author’s painstaking effort in creating this framework, which greatly facilitates an understanding of future USAF objectives.

Not only is the framework noteworthy but also the contents prove informative and insightful. Chapter 3 discusses why the USAF restructured its forces into nine major commands as well as 18 numbered air forces after the first Gulf War. The author contends that this new force configuration serves the USAF’s global mission much better and will remain unchanged for a relatively long period.

Chapter 4 discusses the development of USAF doctrines and operational plans, describing how Col John Warden’s five-ring system theory—as well as derivative theories, such as parallel operations and effects-based operations—influenced the planning and execution of Operation Allied Force in Kosovo and various operations in the ongoing war in Iraq. The author points out that through adapting itself, the current and future USAF will feature three force types: basic forces, special task forces, and mobility forces, all designed to execute future operations ranging from command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR), to global strike, global mobility, homeland security, global reactive strike, and nuclear operations.

Chapters 5 and 6 provide in-depth discussion on the key capabilities, critical technologies, and advanced air and space weaponry needed for developing the future USAF. Their content may be familiar to some US audiences but will surely attract many Chinese readers thirsty for such exciting information.

The USAF differs from most other air forces in that it flies not only in the air but also more and more in space. This trend has certainly not gone unnoticed. Chapter 7 asserts that the USAF now clearly regards air and space as one seamless battlefield and has begun building and deploying its forces to cover the airspace vertically, all the way into deep space, and horizontally, over every corner of the globe. One can easily find the book loudly echoing the famous speech by Gen John Jumper, former USAF chief of staff: “Let me be perfectly clear—in our Air Force, every Airman is expeditionary.”

Chapter 8 examines the risks involved in Air Force transformation and ways of measuring its success. Readers who do not have time to read the entire book may want to skip this chapter but should not miss the final one—“Revelations from USAF Transformation.” Here, the author does a wonderful job of comparing the USAF with its counterpart in the former Soviet Union and present-day Russia. Although his admiration of the USAF is obvious, he is somewhat critical of the force structure of the Russian Air Force. Specifically, the author believes that the integration of air, space, air defense, and strategic forces under the USAF is a much more farsighted and far-reaching solution in terms of efficiency, budget control, utilization of resources/assets, and joint operations than the Russian command structure. However, he stops short of mentioning the fact that, in China, the Second Artillery Force is also a separate service. Nevertheless, he does poignantly state that “the strategic missile force does not have its own battle space [and] therefore lacks the sufficient basis of becoming a separate service” (p. 315).

This book of more than 300 pages depicts a clear picture of how the USAF, guided by the road map of Air Force Vision 2020, is fast becoming a truly expeditionary force while gradually shifting from an air-centric focus to a space-centric one. Readers may not find much discussion in the book about a third equally important battlespace—cyberspace. But we should not blame the author since the USAF added cyberspace to its mission statement only recently; even today, its definition remains the subject of debate.

A top-class Chinese military researcher, Sr Col Min Zengfu has published several influential books and more than 100 articles/monographs. The sheer volume of publications speaks to the breadth and depth of his knowledge. The Future US Air Force is his latest addition but certainly not the last. The author notes in the foreword that “this book is intended for those who want to get a glimpse of the future US Air Force.” By many measures, it fulfills that purpose.

Guocheng Jiang
Maxwell AFB, Alabama


The conclusions and opinions expressed in this document are those of the author cultivated in the freedom of expression, academic environment of Air University. They do not reflect the official position of the U.S. Government, Department of Defense, the United States Air Force or the Air University.

Second Example from US Navy's Naval Review:
Assessing The New U.S. Maritime Strategy -- A Window into Chinese Thinking
by Dr Andrew S. Erickson

The new U.S. maritime strategy embodies a historic reassessment of the international system and how the nation can best pursue its interests in harmony with those of other states. In light of the strategy’s focus on building partnerships to better safeguard the global maritime commons, it is vital that American leaders clearly understand the frank and unvarnished views of allies, friends, and potential partners. The strategy’s unveiling at the Naval War College on 17 October 2007 with the leaders of nearly a hundred navies and coast guards present demonstrated initial global maritime inclusiveness. The new maritime strategy is generating responses from numerous states. As U.S. leaders work to implement global maritime partnerships in the years ahead, they must carefully study the reactions of the nations and maritime forces with which they hope to work.

Chinese responses warrant especially close consideration. China is a key global stakeholder with which the United States shares many common maritime interests. Beijing has not made any official public statements on the maritime strategy thus far. Yet Chinese opinions on this matter are clearly important, even if they suggest that in some areas the two nations must “agree to disagree.” Chinese reactions to the maritime strategy provide a window into a larger strategic dynamic— not just in East Asia, where China is already developing as a great power, but globally, where it has the potential to play a major role as well. How the United States can maintain its existing status and role while China continues to rise—as the world’s greatest developed and developing powers attempt to reach an understanding that might be termed “competitive coexistence”—will be perhaps the critical question in international relations for the twenty-fi rst century. To that end, this study analyzes three of the most significant unofficial Chinese assessments of the maritime strategy publicly available to date and offers annotated full-length translations (which follow, in the form of essays) so that a foreign audience can survey the documents themselves.

The first article is by Lu Rude, emeritus professor at the Dalian Naval Vessel Academy. Lu has been a consistent proponent of maritime and naval development and contributes frequently to debates on China’s naval priorities. Lu enlisted in the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) in 1951, beginning a military career that would last for half a century, of which over four decades would be devoted to education in maritime navigation. Lu’s full-page article on the new maritime strategy appeared in People’s Navy, the offi cial newspaper of the PLAN, which is published by the service’s Political Department and provides guidance for offi cers and enlisted personnel.13 Lu outlines the new U.S. maritime strategy’s context, content, and implications for international security, particularly in East Asia. He lauds the strategy’s emphasis on confl ict prevention and international cooperation but places the onus on the United States to demonstrate its strategic sincerity through concrete actions. He highlights the document’s emphasis on multinational cooperation against unconventional threats but also draws attention to the Navy’s stated mission of “deterring potential competitors.”

The second article is by Wang Baofu, researcher and deputy director of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) National Defense University’s Institute for Strategic Studies.14 Wang’s comments and ssessments on international relations and arms control appear frequently in China’s official media, as well as in popular media and academic publications.15 His present article appeared in Study Times, a journal of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Party School. An outspoken critic of the American intervention in Iraq, Wang sees the new maritime strategy as the outgrowth of a comprehensive reassessment of U.S. military policy, methods, and objectives in the aftermath of both 9/11 and the early phases of the Iraq war

The third article is by Su Hao, a well published professor in the Department of Diplomacy at the China Foreign Affairs University and director of its Center for Asia-Pacifi c Studies.17 He is also a board member in a range of Chinese organizations that focus on security, cooperation, and bilateral exchange. Su has emphasized that Chinese national interests and identity are primarily continental. He displays a deep understanding of the strategy’s wording, having also published a full-length Chinese translation. Su’s article appeared in Leaders, a popular magazine on current affairs and policy published in Hong Kong for domestic consumption there, as well as for a select mainland audience.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Since the Pakistani are in Town, might as well.

Beijing stages anti-terror drill after Mumbai attack 2008-12-14

  BEIJING, Dec. 13 (Xinhua) -- Beijing armed police conducted an anti-terror drill Saturday to strengthen its preparedness against militant attacks like the one in Mumbai.

  The scenario was that a group of terrorists rocked the city with a series of explosions and kidnapped hostages at a hotel.

  Members of the Beijing Special Armed Police Unit (BSAPU) used a helicopter and ropes to get 10 meters down to the ground within two seconds. They then shot targets of swaying eggs 15 meters away within 1.5 seconds to practice killing terrorists. After breaking through windows, police were able to rescue hostages.

  "The drill was aimed at preventing terrorist attacks, especially after the Mumbai attack which had definite targets and careful plan. We noticed that the terrorists attacked different sites of the city in different ways such as explosions, shooting, kidnapping and a gunfight with the police," said Xiao Yong, the head of the unit.

  "We have done thorough research on different kinds of attacks and made a complete and cohesive counter-terrorism plan."

  Members of the BSAPU are carefully selected and specially trained. They are each armed with a wide array of weapons and equipment worth more than 300,000 yuan (43,795 U.S. dollars).

  Founded in 2005, the unit arrests armed criminals, counters terrorism, conducts security checks and safeguards the land and air within Beijing.

Makes you wonder what topics are being discussed.

Sixth Sino-Pakistani Defense and Security Talks held in Beijing 2008-12-15 20:58:20
Special report: Pakistani Situation

BEIJING, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) -- China and Pakistan agreed to work together to deepen military ties during the Sixth Sino-Pakistani Defense and Security Talks held here on Monday.

The talks was co-chaired by Chen Bingde, Chief of General Staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) and Tariq Majid, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee of Pakistan.

Speaking highly of China-Pakistan military relations, Chen said the two sides have witnessed long-term close military exchanges and carried out comprehensive military cooperation, in accordance with the sound development of the bilateral relationship.

Attaching great importance to China-Pakistan relations, China will work together with Pakistan to further develop the bilateral military relations, Chen added.

Pakistan hopes to make achievements in cooperation on defense and security with China through the talks, said Majid.

Majid said Pakistan cherishes the traditional friendship and cooperation with China, and is ready to make concerted efforts with the PLA to strengthen military ties.

The two sides also exchanged views on the international security situation and issues concerning bilateral and military relations.

The First China-Pakistan Defense and Security Talks was held in March 2002.\12\13\story_13-12-2008_pg3_1
Editorial: Cleaning up the act with conviction

The government of Pakistan, together with the leaders of the armed forces, and the main opposition party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN), have done Pakistan a great service by heeding the voice of the international community in general, and China in particular, by taking action against the organisations banned on Wednesday by the Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council: Jama’at-ud Dawa and Jaish-e Muhammad.

Most Pakistanis will be shocked at the outreach of Jama’at-ud Dawa in the country after its “education” and charity institutions were raided on Thursday in compliance with the UN Security Council ban. In fact, action had begun before Thursday after Pakistan became aware of the extent to which Dawa-Lashkar was possibly involved in the Mumbai attacks.

In Punjab alone, 18 cities have the presence of an outfit that the UN Security Council thinks is involved in terrorism abroad. Outside Punjab, the network is also highly developed from Karachi to Peshawar and Azad Kashmir. In some cities, the Dawa “system” has chains of kindergarten schools which the government must now consider taking over and running as its own system to prevent the children from being deprived of education. Dawa had its own “universities” too, but public knowledge about them is scanty.

It is also not known widely in Pakistan that Jama’at-ud Dawa was the target of new restrictions at the Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council but was saved by a Chinese veto every time the matter was brought up by affected states. It was accused of being involved in terrorism in the UK, and there was a scandal in 2005 of large sums of money being funnelled as charity funds during the earthquake in Pakistan, which some suspected had been actually remitted to Dawa.

India had its plaint over the Red Fort attack in 2000, and Dawa was noted for the conspicuous act of leading the funeral prayer in absentia in Lahore for Al Qaeda’s sectarian terrorist Zarqawi after his death in Iraq. After that, Dawa warriors were noticed in Iraq too. Of course Dawa claimed that it was a new organisation and had nothing to do with Lashkar-e Tayba that was allegedly carrying out terrorist acts, and was based in Indian-administered Kashmir. The UK had to bring in new laws to prevent charity contributions of up to 3 million pounds annually to the Dawa-Lashkar recipients in Pakistan.

Dawa moved from Muridke — after it became “vulnerable” — to Lake Road, Lahore, where it significantly named its headquarters as Masjid Qadisiya, after the historic location where the Arabs had defeated the Iranian king in antiquity, a very sectarian reference in our times. But all this was ignored and allowed to pass under the radar of intelligence. People who got into trouble with Dawa were visited with “official” wrath, and soon everyone accepted the anomaly of Dawa as a part of life.

It is the Chinese “message” that has changed our mind. The Chinese did not veto the banning of Dawa on Wednesday, and they had reportedly told Islamabad as much beforehand, compelling our permanent representative at the UN to assert that Pakistan would accept the ban if it came. One subliminal message was also given to Chief Minister Punjab, Mr Shehbaz Sharif, during his recent visit to China, and the message was that Pakistan had to seek peace with India or face change of policy in Beijing. Once again, it is our friend China whose advice has been well taken; above all, thankfully, by the media, while discussing the Dawa ban on the night of December 11.

There are other things to take care of too. Jaish-e Muhammad chief Maulana Masood Azhar has been placed under house arrest in Bahawalpur. But reports from Bahawalpur for the past five years had consistently said that he was not there but was occasionally seen in Islamabad. That is also true of the chief of Harkatul Mujahideen, Fazlur Rehman Khaleel, who was taken out of his “safe house” and displayed to the media during the Lal Masjid crisis in 2007. But these are patently Al Qaeda hangers-on who can bring more heat on Pakistan in the future.

Pakistan will need to cooperate with the international community in the coming days. The trend among our jihadi outfits so far is not to surrender to bans but to make a beeline for the Kohat Road pockets of terrorism and join the Al Qaeda-Taliban combine to kill our soldiers. Our army discovered all the banned jihadis when it confronted the militants at Darra Adam Khel. If Jaish was let off the hook after it attacked General Musharraf in 2004, it should now be confronted for providing the bulk of suicide-bombers to the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

Last but not least, Pakistan should act not because an “unfair international system” compels it to act; it should act out of conviction. Some commentators are already suggesting the kind of double-faced strategy adopted by Musharraf. It has been exposed as self-damaging and should not be embraced again. *

Pakistan, China sign MoU for military cooperation

BEIJING (updated on: December 15, 2008, 19:29 PST): General Tariq Majid, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) along with a high powered delegation arrived in Beijing for the 6th Round of Pakistan-China Defence and Security Talks, a forum that is spearheading the strategic and defence relations between the two countries.

According to ISPR press release, both sides were opposed to all forms of terrorism, extremism and militancy and resolved to cooperate with each other to fight these three forces. China conveyed its complete support to Pakistan's efforts to fight terrorism and appreciated the sacrifices made by the Government and people of Pakistan in this regard. After the talks, an agreement for military cooperation was also signed between the two sides.

Beside the dialogue, CJCSC is scheduled to meet with high level civil and military leadership of Peoples Republic of China. He will also visit HuDong Shipyard in Shanghai to see the progress on construction of F – 22 P Frigates for Pakistan Navy and JF 17 Thunder Aircraft project in Cheng Fei Company in Chengdu.

The Defence and Security Talks were instituted during 2002 and have since been held regularly, alternatively, in Pakistan and China and have matured into an extremely useful bilateral forum.

Under the framework of this forum, the relations between the two Armed Forces have now reached a strategic dimension.

The dialogue now covers military to military cooperation, collaboration between the defence industries and global / strategic issues.

On arrival at Ba' yi Building (Peoples Liberation Army Headquarters), CJCSC was received by General Chen Bingde, Chief of General Staff, Peoples Liberation Army followed by a guard of honour.

The 6th Round of Defence and Security Talks was held in a very cordial and friendly atmosphere between the high level defence officials from both sides headed by General Bingde and General Tariq.

The dialogue covered a wide range of regional / international issues and a review of the ongoing military to military cooperation including measures to bolster the existing ties.

There was complete unanimity of views on all issues.

The two sides agreed to take forward their strategic partnership to new heights and agreed to augment the existing military to military cooperation.

While reviewing the growth of China-Pakistan relations over the past 57 years, two leaders expressed satisfaction that the friendship between China and Pakistan has withstood the test of time, notwithstanding changes in the international, regional and domestic environment and has matured into a comprehensive partnership.

Later in the evening, a banquet was hosted by General Bindge, CGS PLA in honour of the CJCSC, which was attended by senior Chinese officials.

Copyright Aaj TV, 2008

Sunday, December 14, 2008

An update on FFG251

Latest Photos of Pakistan Navy's Type F22P currently is being built in Shanghai. It just completed a brief sea trial and sporting a fresh paint job.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Here is the PLA daily article.

12月10日,南海舰队航空兵某直升机团与舰艇、特种部队在海上进行联合反恐演练,通过海上巡逻、海上救护、垂直输送兵力、货轮灭火、解救人质等不同环节的演练,有效提高了反恐应急处置能力。 中国军网发 王世均 摄 (责任编辑:孙礼)

I think PLAN just added a voice in the "Should China send navy to fight piracy" debate with this little demo.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Experts debate China's role in Somalia mission

Experts debate China's role in Somalia mission
By Zhang Haizhou (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-12-12 07:44

Chinese military strategists and international relations experts are debating whether China should dispatch its navy to the troubled waters off Somalia.

The debate was first kicked off by Major-General Jin Yinan of the National Defense University, when he told a radio station last week that "nobody should be shocked" if the Chinese government one day decides to send navy ships to deal with the pirates.

The general's views came after two Chinese ships - a fishing vessel and a Hong Kong-flag ship with 25 crew aboard - were seized by Somali pirates in mid Nov.

Jin gave no sign that such a naval mission was under immediate consideration, but he said China's growing influence has made it likely that the government might use its forces in security operations far from home.

Pirates on speedboat approach one of their mother boats docked near Eyl, Somalia in this framegrab made from a November 24, 2008 TV footage. The enclave of Eyl is the homeground of pirates who are wreaking havoc on the waters off the coast of Somalia. [Agencies]

"I believe the Chinese navy should send naval vessels to the Gulf of Aden to carry out anti-piracy duties," he said. "If one day, the Chinese navy sends ships to deal with pirates, nobody should be shocked."

"With China being a major world economy, it's very difficult to say that security problems across the world have nothing to do with us," Jin said.

While the military strategist is urging an active deployment, other scholars think the government should be cautious before a decision is made.

The Chinese military vessels should go there "only within the UN framework," said Pang Zhongying, a professor of international relations with Renmin University of China.

Since July, the UN has adopted three resolutions urging the international community to respond to the piracy problem off Somalia; the EU started an anti-piracy mission earlier this week in response to the UN resolution.

"Non-intervention is the principle of China's foreign policy, which has not changed," Pang said. However, China is trying to "play a more constructive and responsible role in international conflicts and other crises," he said.

"China is now trying to balance its old principle and the new reality," he added.

China has never dispatched any troops for combat missions overseas. The Chinese army personnel joining UN peacekeeping missions are engineering and medical staff, or police, apart from peacekeepers.

"Non-intervention is in the process of slow change," Pang said, adding China is trying to cooperate with international organizations such as the UN and the African Union (AU) in solving regional and international conflicts, Pang said.

Pang added that he also had some concerns over the Chinese navy's capability.

"I don't think the Chinese navy has the capacity to counter unconventional threats far in the ocean," he said, adding supplying and refueling in the Indian Ocean are key challenges.

However, some military strategists do not agree.

Professor Li Jie, a navy researcher, said the Chinese navy has proved that it is capable of such missions.

In 2002, two Chinese vessels spent four months on a global tour, the country's first.

"Also, the UN resolutions mean that such deployment is legitimate," Li said, noting that rampant piracy is a problem not only for other countries, but also for China.

"I think we should go there," he added, acknowledging that command and communication will be challenges for such multi-national missions.

"But the mission can also be good training for the Chinese navy," he said.

However, Professor Jin Canrong of Renmin University told China Daily: "I think we should not dispatch navy ships there unless we have to do so."

Sending naval vessels to the waters off Somalia may raise some concerns and provide ammunition to "China threat" demagogues, he said.

Instead, joining a prospective UN peacekeeping force is a better choice.

Russia, China to strengthen ties in military aircraft production

With China's own 5th generation in the world, China might not take this offer.

Russia, China to strengthen ties in military aircraft production
12:21 | 10/ 12/ 2008

Print version

BEIJING, December 10 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and China are set to boost cooperation in the sphere of combat aircraft production, the director general of Russia's Sukhoi aircraft manufacturer said on Wednesday.

"China is one of the main customers for our [Russian] aircraft and today the Chinese Air Force has in service over 200 of our Su-27 Flanker and Su-30 Flanker-C jet fighters," Mikhail Pogosyan said.

Pogosyan is on a visit to China with Russia's Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and is attending the 13th session of the Russian-Chinese mixed commission on military and technical cooperation.

Pogosyan said that the commission is set to discuss the further development of cooperation in the sphere of aircraft production and particularly the licensed production of Su-27 and Su-30 planes in China.

China has acquired 76 Su-27SK fighters from Russia since 1992, and bought a license for production of another 200 planes in 1995, in a deal worth $2.5 billion. However, the 1995 agreement did not include the transfer of avionics and AL-31F turbofan engine technology, and the Chinese manufacturers had to rely on the Russian supply of these systems.

Pogosyan also told Chinese journalists that Russia would soon sign a contract with India to jointly develop and produce a fifth-generation jet fighter.

"We plan to begin flight tests [of the fighter] as early as in 2009," he said.

The Russian-Indian advanced multirole fighter is being developed by Sukhoi, which is part of Russia's United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), along with India's Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), under a preliminary intergovernmental agreement signed in October 2007.

Russia and India will simultaneously develop two versions of the combat aircraft - a two-seat version to meet the requirements of India's air superiority policy, and a single-seat version for the Russian Air Force.

More detail released by the PLA Daily regarding the exercise

If it followings the pattern of the previous two exercises under the SOC framework, it will be a huge dog-and-pony show.

China, Russia to hold anti-terrorist exercise in 2009 2008-12-11

  BEIJING, Dec. 10 (Xinhua) -- China and Russia will hold a joint anti-terror military exercise next year, the Chinese defense chief said on Wednesday.

  "We should stage a successful China-Russia anti-terrorism joint military drill next year," Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie told reporters, after a meeting with his Russian counterpart Anatoly Serdyukov.

  This would be the third joint military exercise between the two militaries.

  During their first-ever joint training in August 2005, a total of 10,000 people attended a week-long exercise first in Vladivostok, in Russia's Far East, then later moved to east China's Shandong Peninsula.

  The "Peace Mission 2007" drill involved 6,500 people and 80 aircraft from China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

  "Our exercises in 2005 and 2007, under the SCO framework, were very successful," Serdyukov said, stressing bilateral military ties have been upgraded to a new level in recent years.

  The Russian defense chief, who was on his first visit to China, said the cooperation within the SCO framework helped deepen mutual trust in the military field.

  Hailing Serdyukov's visit as "a significant event" in military ties this year, Liang said China attached great importance to the visit.

  "Both of us are satisfied with the growth of our military ties. More over, we have reached extensive consensus on stepping up our military cooperation," Liang said, without specifying the consensus.

  The past few years saw steady progress of China-Russia military ties. Apart from joint exercises, the two held regular talks between their departments of General Staff. They also set up direct phone lines between their defense ministries last March.

  With the 60th anniversary of China-Russia ties next year, Liang said, "The two agreed to make the best of this opportunity and work together to take our ties to a new high."

  During their 90-minute talks, Liang also proposed the two countries keep their high-level military exchanges and carry out existing cooperative programs.

  Liang said it was also important to strengthen personnel training and exchanges in specialized fields and expand areas of cooperation.

  Chinese President Hu Jintao will meet with Serdyukov on Thursday.