New advanced satellites could enable China to direct its ballistic missiles in striking U.S. naval vessels sailing in the region in the event of an outbreak of hostilities, Reuters reported on Monday (see GSN, Jan. 10).
A soon-to-be-released analysis in the British Journal of Strategic Studies concludes that the fast pace of work on cutting-edge spy orbiters would give China the ability to monitor up-to-the-minute U.S. military movements and to steer its ballistic missiles in strikes on U.S. warships.
“The most immediate and strategically disquieting application (of reconnaissance satellites) is a targeting and tracking capability in support of the antiship ballistic missile, which could hit U.S. carrier groups,” according to the report.
“But China’s growing capability in space is not designed to support any single weapon; instead it is being developed as a dynamic system, applicable to other long-range platforms,” the analysis continues. “With space as the backbone, China will be Read more…
A look at the key figures that tell the tale of China’s increasing military power:
Malcolm Moore, Shanghai
* +12.6 per cent – the rise in China’s official military budget to around £56.2 billion, still a fraction of the £351 billion that the US has allocated for its core defence budget. (The UK spends £37 billion)
* £96 billion – What the US believes that China is actually spending on defence, rather than the stated figures.
* -22pc – the fall in the number of standing troops in the People’s Liberation Army as China pushes through its modernization programme. The army will shrink from 2.3 million soldiers to 1.8 million, still the largest standing Read more…
China’s rapidly expanding satellite programme could alter power dynamics in Asia and reduce the US military’s scope for operations in the region, according to new research.
Chinese reconnaissance satellites can now monitor targets for up to six hours a day, the World Security Institute, a Washington think-tank, has concluded in a new report. The People’s Liberation Army, which could only manage three hours of daily coverage just 18 months ago, is now nearly on a par with the US military in its ability to monitor fixed targets, according to the findings.
“Starting from almost no live surveillance capability 10 years ago, today the PLA has likely equalled the US’s ability to observe targets from space for some real-time operations,” two of the institute’s China researchers, Eric Hagt and Matthew Durnin, write in the Journal of Strategic Studies.
The move to upgrade the F-16A/B combat aircraft rather than sell Taiwan the more advanced F-16C/Ds it wants will generate less pressure from Beijing, which strongly opposes any arms sales to Taiwan, analysts say.
“This will be a compromise deal,” said Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方), who chairs the legislature’s Foreign and National Defense Committee.
Taiwan has repeatedly pressed the US to sell it F-16C/Ds, as China embarks on a rapid drive to build up its offensive military capability.
However, it is feared that such a sale would “anger” Beijing, which reacted furiously in January last year when US President Barack Obama announced a US$6.4 billion arms package for Taiwan.
That package included Patriot missiles, Black Hawk helicopters and equipment for Read more…
MANILA, Philippines – China warned Asian neighbors Thursday to stop searching for oil near the Spratly Islands and vowed to assert its sovereignty over the potentially petroleum-rich territory in the South China Sea that several nations claim.
China and the Philippines have swapped diplomatic protests over the islands, with Filipino officials accusing Chinese forces of intruding into Manila-claimed areas six times since February and of firing shots at least once. Beijing denied the allegation Thursday and said it would use violence only when attacked.
Vietnam, meanwhile, has accused China of flaring tensions in Read more…
“You say our actions do not match our words. I certainly do not agree,” Gen Liang replied to critics at the Shangri-La Dialogue, a high-profile Asia defence forum in Singapore.
Speaking days after Vietnam and the Philippines accused China of aggressive behaviour in the South China Sea, Gen Liang denied that China was threatening security in the strategically important and energy-rich disputed waters, saying “freedom of navigation has never been impeded”.
He was the first Chinese defence minister to participate in the forum, which was attended by Robert Gates, US defence secretary, and other Asian defence ministers. It was Gen Liang’s first big international speech.
Here is another article of interest published in April.
Taiwan’s intelligence head on Thursday asserted China had fielded an additional ballistic missile unit not far from the self-governing island, Agence France-Presse reported (see GSN, April 6).
“The unit, carrying the code number 96166 and based in Guangdong province [in southern China], is indeed a new unit, probably a new ballistic missile brigade,” National Security Bureau chief Tsai Teh-sheng said, without offering further specifics.
“Over the past few years, the People’s Liberation Army has kept increasing its deployment of ballistic missile units in both quantity and quality opposite Taiwan,” Tsai said in remarks passed along by lawmaker Lin Yu-fang.
Taiwanese analysts project that Beijing at present has in excess of 1,600 missiles targeting the island that it claims as Chinese territory. The majority of those weapons are thought to be fielded in Jiangxi and Fuijan provinces in the southeastern part of the country. Experts predict that as many as 1,800 missiles could be aimed at Taiwan in 2012, AFP reported.
China’s robust rail system has allowed it to rapidly transport missiles to coastal regions when required. Some missiles can even be fired from railway trains, according to Lin, who is also a military affairs professor.
China’s top military official last week seemingly denied that any missiles were aimed at Taiwan. Beijing, though, has said it could take military action should Taipei seek full autonomy (see GSN, May 19; Agence France-Presse/Yahoo!News, May 26).
The earthquake that launched a series of disasters in Japan in March triggered micro-quakes and tremors around the world, scientists find.
The catastrophic magnitude 9.0 earthquake that struck off the coast of the Tohoku region of Japan March 11 set off tremors mostly in places of past seismic activity, including southwest Japan, Taiwan, the Aleutians and mainland Alaska, Vancouver Island in Canada, Washington state, Oregon, central California and the central United States. It was unlikely that any of these events exceeded magnitude 3.
Researchers noted, however, that temblors also were detected in Cuba. “Seismologists had never seen tremor in Cuba, so this is an exciting new observation,” Justin Rubinstein, a seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey at Menlo Park, Calif., told OurAmazingPlanet.
Part of the excitement of the find is the insight it could add into the inner workings of earthquakes.
“Studying long-range triggering may help us to better understand the underlying physics of how earthquakes start,” explained seismologist Zhigang Peng at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.
Quakes where normally quiet
Most of these micro-earthquakes and tremors occurred in places that already had high background levels of seismic activity, including California’s Geysers Geothermal Field and the San Andreas Fault. Some of the quakes occurred in low-activity areas, such as central Nebraska, central Arkansas and near Beijing.
“Seismologists generally think of the central U.S. as relatively Read more…
Since the end of the Cold War, the improved political and economic relationship between Beijing and Moscow has affected a range of international security issues. China and Russia have expanded their bilateral economic and security cooperation. In addition, they have pursued distinct, yet parallel, policies regarding many global and regional issues.
Yet, Chinese and Russian approaches to a range of significant subjects are still largely uncoordinated and at times in conflict. Economic exchanges between China and Russia remain minimal compared to those found between most friendly countries, let alone allies.
Although stronger Chinese-Russian ties could present greater challenges to other countries (e.g., the establishment of a Moscow-Beijing condominium over Central Asia), several factors make it unlikely that the two countries will form such a bloc.
The relationship between the Chinese and Russian governments is perhaps the best it has ever been. The leaders of both countries engage in numerous high-level exchanges, make many mutually supportive statements, and manifest other displays of Russian-Chinese cooperation in what both governments refer to as their developing strategic partnership.
The current benign situation is due less to common values and shared interests than to the fact that Chinese and Russian security concerns are Read more…
Pacific’s chief calls shadowy move ‘troubling’
**file photo **Chinese paramilitary police patrol in Urumqi, western China’s Xinjiang province. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
NavyAdm. Robert F. Willard said during a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee that China’s intentions behind its decades-long buildup remain hidden and are undermining stability in the Asia-Pacific region.
The four-star admiral said the arms buildup is understandable because of China’s economic rise, but “the scope and pace of its modernization without clarity on China’s ultimate goals remains troubling.”
“For example, China continues to accelerate its offensive air and missile developments without corresponding public clarification about how these forces will be utilized,” he said.
Chinese officials, in meetings with their U.S. counterparts, have refused to explain the pace or goal of the arms buildup, defense Read more…