China Caucus Blog

Posted by The Congressional China Caucus | September 03, 2015

Editor’s Note: Congressman Forbes released a statement today on China’s military parade marking the 70th anniversary of World War II’s conclusion.

Five Chinese Navy Ships Are Operating in Bering Sea off Alaska “Five Chinese navy ships are currently operating in the Bering Sea off the coast of Alaska, Pentagon officials said Wednesday, marking the first time the U.S. military has seen them in the area. The officials have been tracking the movements in recent days of three Chinese combat ships, a replenishment vessel and an amphibious landing ship after observing them moving toward the Aleutian Islands, which are split between U.S. and Russian control. “This would be a first in the vicinity of the Aleutian Islands,” one defense official said of the Chinese ships, which have been operating in international waters. “I don’t think we’d characterize anything they’re doing as threatening,” the official said. A spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington couldn’t immediately be reached to comment.”

China Announces Cuts of 300,000 Troops at Military Parade Showing Its Might “President Xi Jinping of China announced on Thursday that he would reduce the country’s military personnel by 300,000, using a parade marking 70 years since the end of World War II to present the People’s Liberation Army as a force for peace and regional stability.The Chinese military has more than two million members, and Mr. Xi has embarked on an accelerated modernization of the armed forces, which would shift spending from the traditional land forces to more advanced sea and air forces, which require fewer but better trained personnel. Speaking on a platform overlooking Tiananmen Square, he described the cut as a gesture of peace — at a time when China’s neighbors have grown increasingly worried about its territorial claims and military strength. “I announce that China will reduce military personnel numbers by 300,000,” he said, after declaring that the military was “loyally committed to its sacred duty of defending the security of the motherland and the peaceful life of the people, and loyally committed to the sacred duty of safeguarding world peace.” In announcing the cuts, the largest in nearly two decades, Mr. Xi signaled his determination to press forward with his agenda of military restructuring despite China’s economic slowdown. The government will be under pressure to find jobs for the demobilized soldiers, many with limited skills.”

China building two aircraft carriers: Taiwan defense ministry report “China is building two aircraft carriers that will be the same size as its sole carrier, a 60,000-tonne refurbished Soviet-era ship, according to a new Taiwanese Defence Ministry report on the capabilities of the People's Liberation Army (PLA). Little is known about China's aircraft carrier program, which is a state secret, although Chinese state media have hinted new vessels are being built. The Pentagon, in a report earlier this year, said Beijing could build multiple aircraft carriers over the next 15 years. One of the new vessels is being built in Shanghai and the other in the northeastern city of Dalian, said the Taiwanese report, which was obtained by Reuters. It gave no estimate for when construction would be finished. The Chinese Defence Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment. China is on a three-day national holiday to commemorate victory over Japan in World War Two. A Taiwanese Defence Ministry spokesman said details on the carrier program came from the ministry's intelligence unit. He declined to give further details on the report, which was sent to parliament this week. Taiwanese intelligence agencies closely monitor Chinese military developments because Beijing has never renounced the use of force to take back what it deems a renegade province. As carriers are commissioned for service into China's navy, a command unit would be set up with "the goal to unify power and accelerate combat capabilities", the report added.”

US-China Strategic Nuclear Relations: Time to Move to Track-1 Dialogue “The China Foundation for International and Strategic Studies and the Pacific Forum CSIS, with support from the Naval Postgraduate School’s Project on Advanced Systems and Concepts for Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction (NPS-PASCC) and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), held the 9th China-US Strategic Nuclear Dynamics Dialogue on Feb. 9-10, 2015. Some 80 Chinese and US experts, officials, military officers, and observers along with four Pacific Forum Young Leaders attended, all in their private capacity. The off-the-record discussions covered comparative assessments of the strategic landscape, nuclear dimensions of the “new type of major country relationship,” nonproliferation and nuclear security cooperation, ways to address regional nuclear challenges (North Korea and Iran), strategic stability and reassurance, and crisis management and security-building measures. A sub-group of US participants met with VADM Sun Jianguo, Deputy Chief of the PLA General Staff. Key findings from this meeting are outlined below. Chinese and US participants were eager to frame China-US relations in the best possible light. Chinese continued to emphasize that a framework for the “new type” concept should ensure positive relations in the bilateral relationship, and that nuclear dynamics played only a minor role in this. Discussions were candid, but not contentious; differences of opinion were spelled out but a cooperative spirit prevailed. Chinese participants continue to insist that conditions are not ripe for a more robust official dialogue on nuclear issues and strategic stability with the US. Instead, they favor deeper discussions at the Track-1.5/2 level and better use of existing official channels. They stressed that our Beijing meetings have been helpful in allowing participants to better understand US policies and intentions. These discussions also have been building consensus in China for enhancing the Track-1 step (and for building consensus in China about basic policy and strategic questions). Some Chinese participants stressed that they, too, would like to strengthen the Track-1 process.”

China's President Xi Solidifies Power with Overhaul of Military “President Xi Jinping will as soon as this month announce the most sweeping overhaul of the Chinese military in at least three decades, moving it closer to a U.S.-style joint command structure, people familiar with the matter said.The blueprint would unify the army, navy, air force and strategic missile corps under one command, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the proposal hasn’t been released. The plans call for thinning the ranks of officers and traditional ground forces, helping elevate the role of the navy and air force, to better project force in a modern conflict, they said. It would also consolidate the country’s seven military regions to as few as four, one of the people said. Xi is preparing to unveil the proposal in the wake of Thursday’s World War II anniversary parade in Beijing, which will showcase his authority over the People’s Liberation Army and China’s growing clout in the region. The plan to mold the military into a force that meets Xi’s goal of being “able to fight and win a modern war” has been delayed for months as anti-graft investigators swept up dozens of current and retired generals, referring the PLA’s former top general to prosecutors in July. Xi “mainly employed the anti-corruption campaign in the military to form his absolute command over the army, so that his military restructuring plan can press ahead after being initially stalled,” said Yue Gang, a retired colonel in the PLA’s General Staff Department. “Now, his authority in the army is solid enough for him to flesh out his vision to transform the military and set it on a path to emulate the U.S.” The Ministry of National Defense didn’t respond to a faxed request for comment.”

Passive-Aggressive Rivalry Deepens China-Japan Tensions “China’s unsuccessful invitation to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to attend the 70th anniversary celebrations of the country’s Second World War victory over Japan was an example of diplomacy at its most passive-aggressive. Beijing publicly announced the invitation in July. Subsequent negotiations for Abe to visit either before or after China’s commemorations failed. The inability to agree on the visit speaks volumes about a rivalry that both sides seem happy to keep alive for short-term political gain, while managing its intensity to prevent open conflict. The failure to agree on a summit meeting reflects deep and growing currents of mistrust, which are impeding prospects of any genuine reconciliation. Abe’s speech commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of Second World War included the requisite key words Beijing had been listening for, including 'aggression' and 'apology'. But the prime minister avoided a direct apology of his own. Japan’s past 'heartfelt apologies' remain, he said, but future generations should not have to keep apologising. The prime minister soon after gave a nod to his right-wing constituency by sending an offering to the Yasukuni Shrine, which memorialises Japan’s war dead, including 14 'Class A' war criminals. Unsurprisingly, China was not impressed. The foreign ministry accused Japan of 'being evasive' on its past 'militarism and aggression'. The state-run Xinhua news agency said Abe offered a 'diluted' apology. Not that a more forthright apology from Abe was likely to move the Chinese Communist Party to give up history as a tool to keep Japan down and prop up its own legitimacy. The military parade that anchors China’s commemoration events will serve as a chest-thumping reminder to the public of China’s ascent – under the Party’s leadership – from a country under Japanese occupation to today’s global power.”

China launches latest Yaogan-series satellite “China placed its latest satellite in orbit on 27 August, carried by a Long March 4C rocket launched from the Taiyuan satellite launch centre in northern China. Yaogan-27 was described by Chinese media as a remote sensing satellite to be used for land surveys, crop yield forecasts, and disaster relief, although this is a commonly used description and space analysts assess it to be a military surveillance satellite.The launch was China's fourth this year, with Beidou navigation satellites launched in March and July, and a China High-Resolution Earth Observation (CHEOS) satellite placed in orbit in June. Chinese media also published photographs on 27 August of debris from a rocket booster that fell through the roof of a villager's house, although the connection with the satellite launch was not explicitly reported.”

6 Reasons China Would Invade Taiwan “Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense submitted its 2015 report on mainland China’s military to the Taiwanese legislature yesterday. The report noted a variety of scenarios under which China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) might invade Taiwan, and outlined the possible attack strategy. The MND report noted that leaders in Beijing are concerned about the 2016 presidential elections in Taiwan. Tsai Ing-wen, the candidate for the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is currently leading in the polls, and Beijing has not-so-fond memories of the previous DPP president, Chen Shui-bian. The MND suggested that recent PLA drills seeming to simulate an attack on Taipei, Taiwan’s capital, were a direct result of Beijing’s worries. The report said that Beijing might decide to invade Taiwan under a number of circumstances: if Taiwan declares independence or takes steps toward de jure independence; if Taiwan obtains nuclear weapons; if foreign troops are deployed in Taiwan; if there is extreme civil unrest or other internal chaos in Taiwan; if foreign forces interfere in Taiwan’s affairs; or if Taiwan delays cross-strait negotiations on eventual reunification. In 2005, when Beijing was concerned about the possibility of a move toward Taiwanese independence under President Chen, it passed an “Anti-Secession Law,” which made it clear that Beijing will use “non-peaceful means” if it believes that Taiwan is moving toward independence. The law also allows for the use of force against Taiwan if “possibilities for a peaceful re-unification should be completely exhausted.” It’s that last point that has always worried Taiwan’s leaders – the possibility that Beijing could order an invasion simply because it believes talks on reunification are going nowhere. As for how China would attack Taiwan, the MND said the PLA would probably use a combination of military threats and a blockade against Taiwan to intimidate Taiwanese. Then Beijing would move to use missiles against Taiwan’s military and political centers. According to the MND, the PLA’s Second Artillery Crops currently has 1,500 missiles deployed against Taiwan. After missile attacks, the PLA would use both aircraft and amphibious vehicles to mount an actual invasion.”

Link to Chinese Military Parade (Parade Starts at 1:20:00min mark)

The Caucus Brief is a daily publication for Members of Congress and Hill Staffers on China news and information compiled by the office of Congressman Randy Forbes, Founder of the Congressional China Caucus.  Email with tips, comments, or to subscribe/unsubscribe.

Posted by The Congressional China Caucus | September 02, 2015

Report outlines possible PLA attacks “China continues to target Taiwan for attack and invasion in the event of conflict, and Beijing is likely to declare a South China Sea air defense identification zone (ADIZ) in the near future to bolster its claim on the islets and reefs in the region, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said. According to MND reports released yesterday, Beijing convened high-level meetings to re-evaluate its cross-strait policies following last year’s Sunflower movement and related protests by Taiwanese against the government’s move to force a cross-strait service trade agreement with China through the legislature. The report said China is concerned about the outcome of Taiwan’s presidential and legislative elections in January next year, and its People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has therefore conducted a series of military drills in recent months simulating an invasion of Taiwan, known as “Operation Decapitation,” in which airborne paratroopers and special forces practiced descending on the Presidential Office Building in Taipei City in a rapid assault. Outlining China’s plans for attack against Taiwan, the report said Beijing would first use a combination of military threats and actions to intimidate Taiwanese, then blockade major ports of the nation’s frontier islands, such as Kinmen, Matsu and other outlying maritime territories. After that, PLA missiles and other firepower would be deployed to attack Taiwan’s major military and political headquarters, along with telecommunications infrastructure, which would be followed by mounting airborne and amphibious landings for an invasion. The report said the possible scenarios for a Beijing attack could arise from situations such as Taiwan’s declaration of independence or heading unequivocally toward independence, acquisition of nuclear weapons, internal political turmoil, delaying of dialogue on cross-strait negotiations toward unification, foreign forces interfering in Taiwan’s internal affairs, or deployment of foreign troops in the country.”

Missed opportunities in the Pentagon’s new maritime strategy “The Department of Defense recently released its Asia-Pacific Maritime Security Strategy. Because of rapid security changes in the maritime realm, the document is a welcome declaration, providing much greater clarity on Washington’s strategy in the region. While concentrating on the military elements of US policies and actions in the region, the paper is set in the large context of overall US strategy, and includes frequent references to the complementary actions of the Department of State and the Coast Guard. While not detracting from the strength of the document, there are a number of key areas receiving little-to-no mention, resulting in missed opportunities. The Strategy lays out Washington’s three maritime objectives in the Asia-Pacific region. These include safeguarding the freedom of the seas; deterring conflict and coercion; and promoting adherence to international law and standards. To achieve these objectives, a detailed strategy follows that includes strengthening US military capacity and stationing more of it in the Asia-Pacific region, working together with US allies and partners to build their military capacities, levering military diplomacy, strengthening regional security institutions, and developing regional security architecture. The strategy is sound. The comprehensive listing of US actions in the region leaves no question as to Washington’s commitment. This is welcome given the concerns about whether the US rebalance strategy – first unveiled in 2011 – has been overshadowed by Washington’s focus on ISIS, Iran, and Russia. This document demonstrates that the military aspect of the rebalance is alive and well. Whether it be new capabilities or concepts that are specific to the maritime domain, an enhanced forward presence, or a vast array of operations, exercises and training with regional actors, the document explicitly demonstrates a continued US commitment to underwrite regional security and stability while maintaining operational flexibility in spite of the tyranny of distance that comes from not being a resident power. Yet, there are areas where the Strategy can use further development.”

China offers help to Iran to build big nuclear plant “China is ready to help Iran build a big nuclear power plant and Chinese officials have even said they are ready to take care of the funding, spokesman of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Behrouz Kamalvandi said. Commenting on a recent visit by Ali akbar Salehi, the Iranian nuclear chief to China, Kamalvandi said views were exchanged during the talks on various nuclear issues, including the Arak heavy-water facilities - of which kind there are many in China, Mehr news agency reported August 31. He said arrangements were made for China to help Iran with rebuilding the Arak reactor as well. According to Iran ’s recent nuclear deal with the group P5+1 (the US, UK, France, Russia, China, and Germany), which restricts Iran’s nuclear program, the Arak facility has to be redesigned and rebuilt according to requirements by the six powers. The world powers claim their requirements follow efforts to make sure Iran does not pursue a nuclear weapon program. Kamalvandi further said that Iran and China have also discussed building smaller-size reactors. “The joint production of small reactors was put on the agenda,” he noted. Iran plans to build at least 12 nuclear power plants in 15 years. The country has so far been using Russian help in building its first nuclear power plant, in Bushehr, and has more contracts with the northern superpower to build a couple more power plants. The AEOI has indicated that as Iran’s relations with the world improve following the nuclear deal, cooperation with Western countries may also be considered.”

Chinese Strategy and Military Modernization: A Comparative Analysis “China’s emergence as a global economic superpower and as a major regional military power in Asia and the Pacific, has had a major impact on its relations with the United States and its neighbors. China was the driving factor in the new strategy the United States announced in 2012 that called for the U.S. to “rebalance” its forces to Asia-Pacific region. At the same time, China’s actions on its borders, in the East China Sea, and in the South China Sea have shown that China is steadily expanding its geopolitical role in the Pacific, and having a steadily increasing impact on the strategy and military developments in other Asian powers. As a result, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the United States, and China’s neighbors face a critical need to improve their understanding of how each state in the region is developing its military power, and find ways to avoid the kind of military competition that could lead to rising tension or conflict.”

Russia’s Contribution to China’s Surface Warfare Capabilities “The provision of advanced Russian military technology has been critical for the development of China’s anti-access/area-denial (A2AD) capability. This study focuses on one aspect of the relationship, namely Russia’s contribution to the PLA Navy’s surface and anti-surface warfare capabilities. Following a discussion of the role of the fleet in China’s A2AD strategy, the author examines in depth the specific warships, anti-ship missile systems, and air defense systems that Russia has been providing. Next, he considers how Russian technology has translated into new military capability for China’s maritime forces. Finally, he offers a projection of the likely future direction of Russian assistance in this area. While China has made enormous progress in developing its indigenous defense production capability, this report makes the case that Russian defense assistance has been, is, and will likely continue to be important for the development of China’s surface warfare capabilities and its A2AD project more broadly.”

Washington Contemplates the Chinese Military “After enduring much criticism for its tepid reaction to China’s assertive behavior, there are signs that Washington is considering a stronger stance. For several decades, U.S. official publications had repeated what was, in essence, a mantra: the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is progressively improving its weapons and training, although it is decades behind the United States military. Implicit in the mantra was the assumption that the PLA likely always would be decades behind the US. This view also conveniently overlooked the reality that the Chinese military was unlikely to challenge the US globally, where the U.S. does possess a preponderance of power, rather than regionally, where it is stretched thinly. One indicator of the change in tone occurred in April, when the Office of Naval Intelligence released its first unclassified report on the Chinese navy since 2009.[1] ONI predicted that, by the end of the decade, the PLA Navy (PLAN) will have completed its transition from a coastal force to one capable of multiple missions around the world, adding that PLAN had launched more ships than any other country in 2013 and 2014 with comparable increases planned for 2015 and 2016. A major revelation of the ONI report was the first public acknowledgment that the ships of China’s newest destroyers, the Kunming, or Luyang III (052D) class, are outfitted with new generation indigenous supersonic, vertically launched YJ-18 anti-ship cruise missiles. With a reported cruise range of as much as 180 kilometers and a terminal sprint range of 40 km at Mach 2.5-.3.0 speeds as well as a sea-skimming flight capability and a command data link, the YJ-18 is extremely difficult to defend against. The submarine fleet, ONI reported, has also been augmented, and is expected to number at least 70 by 2020. More capable models are being phased in: eight conventionally-powered Yuan class boats are being added to the existing twelve. Like the older Song class, the Yuan are capable of launching YJ-18 missiles, but have the added advantage of air independent power systems which enable them to increase the time they can stay submerged and hence render them harder to detect. In terms of nuclear submarines, Shang-class boats are replacing older Han-class SSNs, and the expected deployment of Jin-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines will provide the PRC with its first credible at-sea second strike nuclear capability. The JL-2 ballistic missile that the Jin is equipped with has a range of approximately 4,598 miles. According to the U.S-China Economic and Security Review Commission, this gives the PRC the ability to conduct nuclear strikes against Alaska if launched from waters near China, against Alaska and Hawaii if launched from waters south of Japan; against Alaska, Hawaii and the western portion of the continental United States if launched from waters west of Hawaii; and against all 50 U.S. states if launched from waters east of Hawaii.[2] The Chinese air force is developing two stealthy fighters, the J-20 and J-31 which, however, are not expected to become operational for several years. If, as expected, existing issues can be resolved, the planes could present a serious challenge to fifth-generation U.S. fighters.”

Carter To China: US ‘Will Fly, Sail, Operate Wherever Law Allows’ “   Defense Secretary Ash Carter, in a speech billed as all about a new personnel approach for the Pentagon, laid out a clear line in the sand of the temporary islands the Chinese have been building. He reiterated his “deep concern” about  “China’s pace and scope of land reclamation in the South China Sea.” Then he let fly with this apparently unequivocal statement: “We want a peaceful solution to all disputes, but let me be clear: the United States will fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows, as we do all around the world” (emphasis added) But we understand from two well-informed sources that the US is effectively observing a 12-nautical mile limit around the piles of coral, rock, and sand the Chinese have erected to bolster their claim to the waters inside their Nine Dash Line. International law appears pretty clear that a country may not build a man-made structure outside of its territorial waters and then claim sovereignty over the area. But how do we convey to the Chinese that we do not recognize these islands without physically challenging them? As long as we observe a 12-mile limit, we may test Chinese patience, but the US military is unlikely to directly challenge the Chinese rights to build them, let alone their claim these structures are sovereign territory. (Of course, it’s worth remembering that China isn’t the only country building article islands. Vietnam and the Philippines have done the same as well in this region.) The then-new head of Pacific Command, Adm. Harry Harris, put the US case pretty clearly earlier this summer in a punchy speech at the Aspen Security Forum: “China is changing facts on the ground…essentially creating false sovereignty… by building man-made islands on top of coral reefs, rocks, and shoals.” (For a frighteningly complete discussion of China’s claims, see this State Department study done last year.) Sen. John McCain, an old Navy man with some familiarity with Asian issues, is closely watching the Chinese and American conduct regarding these structures. As we recently reported, Carter did not bend to Senate pressure to retract our invitation to China to participate in the next RIMPAC naval exercises, the largest such in the world. Carter did say he “may modify our defense engagement decisions” based on evolving circumstances.”

China to drastically overhaul its People’s Liberation Army in 'ambitious' plan to build modern fighting force on par with West “There are competing proposals on how to reform the PLA and it would take years to fully implement these recommendations. But the top leaders had reached a consensus on the general direction, sources said. In principle, the overall size of the PLA will be reduced with more emphasis on the navy and the air force. The traditional army-dominated structure will be changed to the Western model, in which the land, air and naval forces enjoy equal footing. Among several proposals floated to the leadership, a "liberal" one calls for a total overhaul of the PLA command structure. It is not clear which proposal Xi has chosen. He might take some parts from each. According to the proposal written by liberal military thinkers and obtained by the South China Morning Post - the overall size of the PLA and armed police would be cut from three million troops to two million. The seven military commands would be regrouped into four strategic zones. The ranks of the local commanders would be downgraded to cut their political influence. Military experts who read the proposal described it as "the most radical and aggressive reform" in modern China's history. "Among the top generals in the Central Military Commission, eight are from the army while just two are from the air force and the navy," a Shanghai-based retired senior colonel said. "This is the result of the traditional army-biased system. Almost all the opportunities for advancement are in the hands of the [seven] military commands." The liberal proposal also calls for strengthening the power of the Ministry of National Defence - which at present is more like a figurehead. The department of politics, which oversees ideology and promotions, and the departments of logistics and armaments would be merged into the ministry. The People's Armed Police would be renamed the National Guard and focus on anti-terrorism, disaster relief and domestic security. "It's a feasible proposal but it is very aggressive and will be challenging for the PLA to implement," a source close to the Guangzhou Military Command said.”

The Caucus Brief is a daily publication for Members of Congress and Hill Staffers on China news and information compiled by the office of Congressman Randy Forbes, Founder of the Congressional China Caucus.  Email with tips, comments, or to subscribe/unsubscribe.

Posted by The Congressional China Caucus | September 01, 2015

China Has Its Own Problems With History “On September 3, political leaders in Beijing will convene a massive military parade to commemorate the victory of allied forces over Japan in World War II. What will be on display for the world to see, in addition to 10,000 Chinese troops and their modern military equipment, is the Chinese propaganda apparatus in full gear. What will be missing is a fully accurate depiction of the circumstances surrounding the Chinese victory – and we should be offended to the point of objecting. In fact, China’s distortion of history should not go unnoticed. U.S. officials working on Asia have heard a lot about “history” this year from Chinese counterparts. It is understandable, given the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, that the Chinese would ask for some reflection on those events. And there is no doubt that most Chinese are sincere in wanting a full and accurate account of the actions of the Japanese Imperial Army during the war. But Chinese interlocutors would have us believe that only the Japanese struggle with facing their past. The truth is that they are not alone; the worst offenders in distorting, re-writing, or in many cases nullifying history for political purposes are the Chinese themselves. This bears more scrutiny because these practices remain largely in effect and are extremely consequential today. China’s own skeletons in the closet While the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) authorities are eager to discuss aspects of history around the period between 1931 and 1945, they are much less willing to candidly discuss the period between 1949 and the present. And for good reason: one of the tragic realities of the CCP era is that more Chinese people died unnecessary deaths from CCP authoritarian rule than at the hands of foreign occupiers during the war in the Pacific. The Great Leap Forward alone accomplishes this, but one can also add the Cultural Revolution and the Tiananmen Square Massacre for a mind boggling total of avoidable, unnecessary deaths due to CCP policies. This is not a happy contest, and not meant to minimize Japanese treatment of the Chinese people during the war. But we would be wise to keep proper perspective when engaged on “history issues.””

Rethinking the Obama-Xi Summit “China-bashing is always in vogue during American presidential campaigns and the 2016 race is no exception. In 1992, Bill Clinton famously excoriated President George H. W. Bush for “coddling the butchers of Beijing” (though Clinton also demonstrated later how a candidate’s tune can change dramatically once in office). In this year’s large Republican field, Donald Trump is leading the anti-China rhetoric, lambasting Beijing’s currency devaluation, trade practices, and the spin-off U.S. stock market losses caused by China’s own financial and economic problems. The role of basher-in-chief comes naturally to Trump, given his outspoken view that Chinese leaders out-smart, out-maneuver, and out-negotiate Washington at every turn. The Chinese are “clever” and “cunning” while U.S. leaders are “stupid” and “incompetent.” His argument, partially supported by the facts, seems to be that while Beijing touts its “win-win” approach to China-U.S. relations, it always ends up one way: China wins-America loses. Even when the so-called brilliant Chinese leaders stumble and China actually seems to lose, we still don’t win. Intertwined as our economies are by globalization, China simply drags the rest of the world down with it. China’s stock market crash was quickly followed by historic declines in European and U.S. markets. Not to be out-Trumped, other presidential candidates also lash out at China and the Obama administration’s handling of relations (though, in truth, there has been little deviation in China policy since the latter part of George W. Bush’s term). Governor Scott Walker has made a more sweeping attack on U.S.-China policy while also recommending a specific response. Echoing Trump’s criticism of China’s currency and trade manipulations, Walker has issued a broader indictment to include Beijing’s extravagant maritime and territorial claims in the South China Sea, its cyber attacks on the U.S., and its grievous human rights record. To demonstrate the seriousness which Washington attaches to “China’s increasing attempts to undermine U.S. interests,” Walker flatly declares that “President Obama needs to cancel the state visit” by Xi Jinping in September. Withdrawing a presidential invitation would certainly send a message of disapproval to the Chinese leader over a range of affronts directed at the United States. The motivation to respond in a dramatically tangible way to China’s hostile actions is well-founded, but may be too blunt a breach of diplomatic protocol and could prompt undeserved international sympathy for China along with criticism of Washington. A better approach might be to leave the Xi invitation open but to make clear that this will not be the usual summit characterized by what Walker labels as “pomp and circumstance” and anodyne joint statements that minimize and blur the differences between the governments. Instead, Obama should put Xi on notice that this meeting will be a new “new model of great power relations” different from what was announced at their California summit in 2013 – call it New Model of Relations 2.0. He should demand genuine progress on eliminating China’s aggressive challenges on a broad range of issues, with particular emphasis in four areas. Short of Xi’s specific commitments to alleviate U.S. concerns, Washington will take actions of its own.”

The GitHub attack and internet self-defense “In an earlier post I talked about how the Chinese government has used its “Great Firewall” censorship machinery on an expanded list of targets – from its own citizens to ordinary Americans who happen to visit internet sites in China.  By intercepting the ad and analytics scripts that Americans downloaded from Chinese sites, the Chinese government was able to infect the Americans’ machines with malware.  Then the government used that malware to create a “Great Cannon” that aimed a massive number of packets at the US company Github.  The goal was to force the company to stop making news sites like the New York Times and available to Chinese citizens.  The Great Cannon violated a host of US criminal laws, from computer fraud to extortion. The victims included hundreds of thousands of Americans.  And to judge from a persuasive Citizen Lab report, China’s responsibility was undeniable.  Yet the US government has so far done nothing about it. US inaction is thus setting a new norm for cyberspace.  In the future, it means that many more Americans can expect to be attacked in their homes and offices by foreign governments who don’t like their views. The US government should be ashamed of its acquiescence. Especially because the Great Cannon is surprisingly vulnerable. After all, it only works if foreigners continue to visit Chinese sites and continue to download scripts from Chinese ad networks.  They supply the ammunition that  the Great Cannon fires.  If no one from outside China visits Chinese search sites or loads Chinese ads, the Cannon can’t shoot. That shines a spotlight on the limited number of Chinese sites with broad appeal outside China.  Baidu one of them.  It’s the fourth most popular site in the world – the Google of China, and a popular search engine for many Chinese speakers outside China.  Like Google, it makes a great deal of its money from advertising.  It supplies ads (and the javascript that runs the ads) to a host of Chinese-language sites.  The first time China used its Great Cannon, in fact, it relied heavily on the popularity of Baidu. As Citizen Lab put it, China “intercepted traffic sent to Baidu infrastructure servers that host commonly used analytics, social, or advertising scripts” and “sent a malicious script back to the requesting user” about 2% of the time.”

Pentagon Preps CR List for Congress “The Pentagon has sent Congress a list of programs that would require congressional approval to fund under a continuing resolution (CR) – programs that would otherwise be blocked if lawmakers use the budget mechanism to fund the government once fiscal year 2015 ends, a scenario that appears increasingly  likely.The 12-page list of “appropriation anomalies” covers various items that would require special dispensation from Congress to be funded under a continuing resolution, including new start programs for weapons, vehicles, advanced sensors and construction. Other provisions would extend authority to fund intelligence programs and support foreign military partnerships. Also included is the authority to transfer funds from elsewhere in the DoD budget into these programs, as under a continuing resolution, the government would operate at same funding levels as the prior year. Major items on the list include the Army’s recently-awarded Joint Light Tactical Vehicle program, several key Air Force space programs, as well as certain Navy shipbuilding funds and technological upgrades.”

Japan seeks biggest-ever defense budget amid China concerns “Japan's Defense Ministry wants to buy an advanced Aegis radar-equipped destroyer and more F-35 fighters under its largest-ever budget to bolster the defense of southern islands amid a territorial dispute with China.The ministry endorsed a 5.1 trillion yen ($42 billion) budget request Monday for the year beginning next April, up 2.2 percent from this year. It would be the fourth annual increase under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who took office in December 2012 and ended 10 years of defense budget cuts. Monday was the deadline for all ministries to submit budget requests to the Finance Ministry. The total budget requests for fiscal 2016 exceeded 102 trillion yen ($840 billion), also a record high, according to public broadcaster NHK. The defense budget was the third largest after those from the health and welfare ministry and the transportation ministry, it said. Abe's government says Japan needs to bolster its military role amid China's growing territorial assertiveness and the rising risk of terrorist attacks. Parliament is expected to approve a set of contentious bills to expand Japan's military role by late September. The budget increase results largely from proposed purchases of new equipment, including 17 surveillance helicopters, six F-35 fighters and three advanced "Global Hawk" drones. The construction of a Soryu-class submarine is also planned to bolster island defense and surveillance. Soryu submarines are among the world's largest, and Japan hopes to sell some to Australia to replace the country's fleet of aging Collins-class submarines. The requests are based on new defense guidelines allowing Japan's military a larger role amid tensions over China's growing military might.”

Essay: Inside the Design of China’s Yuan-class Submarine “China’s evolving submarine force is a topic worthy of sober examination and debate. However, for the discussion to be useful in informing both national policy-makers and citizenry alike, the content must be based on accurate data and sound analysis. Unfortunately, both are often found wanting when it comes to English-language reporting on the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN). A recent USNI News essay, continues this trend. In the essay, Henry Holst, argues that the Type 039A/B Yuan-class submarine was “designed primarily as an anti-ship cruise missile (ASCM) platform capable of hiding submerged for long periods of time in difficult to access shallow littorals.” He bases his conclusions on the Yuan’s “small” size, air-independent power (AIP) system, and long-range ASCM capability, which make it ideal to operate in shallow, coastal waters. While I wholeheartedly agree that the Type 039A/B is a fine anti-surface platform, the main points of the essay’s argument is based on a misunderstanding of largely inaccurate data. This rebuttal will examine the key points of the essay’s argument and show that the Type 039 A/B Yuan-class is, in fact, an open-ocean submarine designed to meet the needs of the PLAN’s near-seas active defense aspect of their maritime strategy, and not primarily a boat to operate in Taiwan’s coastal waters. The assessment the Type 039A/B Yuan-class is a small submarine, designed to operate in the shallow littorals, is arguably the linchpin of the essay’s conclusion. A key point used in support of this position is a comparison of the Yuan-class with Japan’s Soryu-class, another AIP equipped submarine, where it is argued the Yuan is comparatively “far smaller.” In particular, Holst focuses in on the Soryu’s “draft” of 10.3 meters. This figure is highly suspect. When a submarine’s draft exceeds its beam, you might want to check your data. The 10.3-meter figure is not the draft of the Soryu class. Rather, it is the submarine’s “depth”— the vertical distance from its keel, to the top of the freeboard deck, measured at mid-length of the vessel. A submarine’s draft is included in its depth. A number of open sources list the Soryu’s draft as 8.5 meters, and a review of online photos of the fore and aft draft markings shows the draft as 8.3 meters, very close to the published value. The description of the Type 039A/B Yuan-class submarine’s dimensions is also inaccurate. However, that reflects more the inadequacies of traditional Western sources that do not address PLAN platform and systems very well. In his essay, Holst specifically states, “PLAN naval architects deliberately maintained the Song-class’s size even with the installation of an AIP system.” While the author recognizes that trade-offs in the Type 039A/B Yuan design would have to be made, there is no attempt to suggest what they might have been. The author merely expresses his faith that the PLAN naval architects would have found a way to carve out the necessary space. This unqualified assertion is naïve at best.”

The Caucus Brief is a daily publication for Members of Congress and Hill Staffers on China news and information compiled by the office of Congressman Randy Forbes, Founder of the Congressional China Caucus.  Email with tips, comments, or to subscribe/unsubscribe.

Posted by The Congressional China Caucus | August 31, 2015

U.S.-China Economic Relations: The Propeller Needs Oil “When Xi Jinping was China’s vice president visiting the United States in 2012,  he declared that U.S.-China economic relations provide the ballast and the propeller for the entire bilateral relationship. President Xi is coming to visit the United States again in September. The ballast needs adjustment, and the propeller needs oil. Given the realities of our globalized economy, we are rowing in the same river with China, if not in the same boat. And both countries exert a major influence on how quickly and effectively the global economic flotilla moves forward. As Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker noted earlier this year, our two markets together account for nearly 35 percent of global GDP, and combined U.S.-China trade in goods and services represents about one-fifth of all international trade. China is our third-largest export market, and its imports of U.S. services have doubled since 2010. Expanding these U.S. exports would help rebalance our economic relationship to the benefit of both our countries. That means it really matters to us how well China is doing in growing and reforming its economy. Of course, no one cares more about China’s healthy economic growth than China. President Xi has underlined his agreement with the view expressed by China’s great leader of reform and opening up, Deng Xiaoping, who said: “not developing the economy and not improving the people’s livelihoods can only be a dead-end road.” Xi has emphasized the need to reform the economy comprehensively, including having the market play the decisive role. He also has warned his compatriots that it will not be sufficient to mouth the words of economic reform. Real measures must be taken; “actions are the most persuasive.” While China has been roiling global markets with what it says are progressive policy changes on exchange rates and efforts at financial system reform, China’s real economy—including trade and investment—cries out for comprehensive action. China’s prospects for future economic growth require opening its market to competition. But this is no easy task, given the many vested interests in China’s bureaucracy and state sector that do not want this and the misplaced nationalist appeal of protecting domestic champions. It is also difficult to let the market work out issues, whether deciding economic winners and losers or allocating resources to new ventures, when leaders have relied for decades on government intervention to address industry development challenges.”

Here comes the China-Iran alliance “The main pillar of the economic and strategic partnership between Iran and the China lies in Iran’s abundance of energy resources, an important asset for Beijing’s energy security strategy. The People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) demand for energy has risen dramatically in the last two decades, transforming the country from a net oil importer to the world’s second largest oil consumer. In the past years, economic growth and industrial expansion has played a major role in ensuring political and social stability in the country and strengthening relations with a country rich in resources, like Iran. As already experienced in Central Asia, with the enhancement of relevant economic and energy partnerships with the Central Asia Republic, China envisions the creation of extended infrastructural networks based on the Silk Road initiative inaugurated by President Xi Jinping in 2013, in which Iran, given its strategic position, plays critical role. Across the region, Iran is expected to grow as an oil supplier. Evan as it was economically isolated from the rest of the world, Iran established ties with Chinese state-owned enterprises such as the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC). From 2003 till 2014, China was not only an important economic partner, but also the most important provider of investment and technology transfer, vital for the Iran’s modernization and economic development.”

U.S. developing sanctions against China over cyberthefts “The Obama administration is developing a package of unprecedented economic sanctions against Chinese companies and individuals who have benefited from their government’s cybertheft of valuable U.S. trade secrets. The U.S. government has not yet decided whether to issue these sanctions, but a final call is expected soon — perhaps even within the next two weeks, according to several administration officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. Issuing sanctions would represent a significant expansion in the administration’s public response to the rising wave of ­cyber-economic espionage initiated by Chinese hackers, who officials say have stolen everything from nuclear power plant designs to search engine source code to confidential negotiating positions of energy companies. Any action would also come at a particularly sensitive moment between the world’s two biggest economies. President Xi Jinping of China is due to arrive next month in Washington for his first state visit — complete with a 21-gun salute on the South Lawn of the White House and an elaborate State Dinner. There is already tension over a host of other issues, including maritime skirmishes in the South China Sea and China’s efforts to devalue its currency in the face of its recent stock market plunge. At the same time, the two countries have deep trade ties and the administration has sometimes been wary of seeming too tough on China. But the possibility of sanctions so close to Xi’s visit indicates how frustrated U.S. officials have become over the persistent cyber plundering. The sanctions would mark the first use of an order signed by President Obama in April establishing the authority to freeze financial and property assets of, and bar commercial transactions with, individuals and entities overseas who engage in destructive attacks or commercial espionage in cyberspace. The White House declined to comment on specific sanctions, but a senior administration official, speaking generally, said: “As the president said when signing the executive order enabling the use of economic sanctions against malicious cyber actors, the administration is pursuing a comprehensive strategy to confront such actors. That strategy includes diplomatic engagement, trade policy tools, law enforcement mechanisms, and imposing sanctions on individuals or entities that engage in certain significant, malicious cyber-enabled activities. The administration has taken and continues to introduce steps to protect our networks and our citizens in cyberspace, and we are assessing all of our options to respond to these threats in a manner and timeframe of our choosing.”

China and Russia are cross-indexing hacked data to target U.S. spies, officials say “Foreign spy services, especially in China and Russia, are aggressively aggregating and cross-indexing hacked U.S. computer databases — including security clearance applications, airline records and medical insurance forms — to identify U.S. intelligence officers and agents, U.S. officials said. At least one clandestine network of American engineers and scientists who provide technical assistance to U.S. undercover operatives and agents overseas has been compromised as a result, according to two U.S. officials. The Obama administration has scrambled to boost cyberdefenses for federal agencies and crucial infrastructure as foreign-based attacks have penetrated government websites and email systems, social media accounts and, most important, vast data troves containing Social Security numbers, financial information, medical records and other personal data on millions of Americans. Counterintelligence officials say their adversaries combine those immense data files and then employ sophisticated software to try to isolate disparate clues that can be used to identify and track — or worse, blackmail and recruit — U.S. intelligence operatives. Digital analysis can reveal "who is an intelligence officer, who travels where, when, who's got financial difficulties, who's got medical issues, [to] put together a common picture," William Evanina, the top counterintelligence official for the U.S. intelligence community, said in an interview. Asked whether adversaries had used this information against U.S. operatives, Evanina said, "Absolutely."

Taiwan conducts first live-fire drill with Apache helicopters “Taiwan's army conducted a live-fire drill earlier this week to test the combat capabilities of its recently acquired AH-64E Apache attack helicopters, marking the first time the US-made choppers fired missiles in Taiwan, the army confirmed Thursday. The drill, conducted at a military base in southern Taiwan, was part of the army's preparation for formally commissioning the most advanced attack helicopters in its fleet, the army said. Weapons fired from the participating Apache helicopters included the air-to-surface Hellfire missile and the Stinger missile, the army said. This was the first time the Apaches were used in a live-fire drill in Taiwan since the country began to take delivery of the helicopters in November 2013. Taiwan has purchased a total of 30 Apaches, with the last batch of six such helicopters arriving in Taiwan last October.”

Military parade to lift curtain on China's 'game-changing' missiles, fighter fleet “China's development of more, better and a wider variety of ballistic and cruise missiles is of particular concern for the U.S., Japan and, especially, Taiwan, at which IHS Jane's estimates approximately 1,100 Chinese short-range ballistic missiles are targeted. Indeed, the 2014 U.S. Department of Defense Quadrennial Defense Review asserted that "growing numbers of accurate conventional ballistic and cruise missile threats represent an additional cost-imposing challenge to U.S. and partner naval forces and land installations" across the Western Pacific. This missile threat complicates U.S. power projection efforts while also raising the possibility that current missile defense systems of regional allies and partners could be overwhelmed by clusters of Chinese cruise and ballistic missiles fired from land, air and sea. Given their strategic and operational importance, missiles are certain to play a prominent role in the parade. State news agency Xinhua, has already noted that "the scale and number of missiles (on display) will surpass any previous outing." Speculation about specific systems that may appear in the parade has concentrated on the DF-16, a newly developed short-range ballistic missile and the DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM), known as the 'carrier killer', among others. The operational status of the DF-21D is uncertain outside the PLA, but the ASBM capability, especially when targeted against aircraft carriers, is novel and potentially game-changing. The JL-2 submarine launched ballistic missile, thought to be nearing deployment, enhances the range of China's strategic at-sea deterrent and plausibly changes the calculus of U.S.-China nuclear deterrence. Whatever the final mix of missiles included in the parade, observers will be looking closely at the contour and dimensions of missiles to determine improvements in range, speed, mobility and survivability of the systems. Military aviation platforms will also be of interest to observers in Washington and across the Western Pacific. China's two most well-known fifth generation fighter development programs, the J-20 and J-31 (the latter of which will eventually be made available for export) are likely to feature. News outlets have speculated that a third fifth generation platform, the J-18, a carrier based vertical takeoff and landing fighter jet about which little is known, may make an appearance as well, emphasizing the diversity and sophistication of China's future stealthy attack fleet and its ambitions to develop a carrier strike wing over time.  In addition, the possible inclusion of new indigenously developed capabilities such as the Y-8GX6 maritime surveillance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft --based on the design of China's Y-9 transport aircraft-- will reflect the importance of efforts to rebalance the PLA Air Force (PLAAF) fleet structure away from an overwhelming reliance on combat aircraft to a more balanced and mature combination of combat, surveillance and support aircraft.”

The Caucus Brief is a daily publication for Members of Congress and Hill Staffers on China news and information compiled by the office of Congressman Randy Forbes, Founder of the Congressional China Caucus.  Email with tips, comments, or to subscribe/unsubscribe.

Posted by Randy | August 28, 2015

Chinese firm unveils new sensors for J-20, J-31 “A privately-owned Chinese sensor company has unveiled a suite of air-to-air and air-to-ground sensors in development for the latest Chinese and Russian fighters. Wang Yanyong, technical director for Beijing A-Star Science and Technology, confirms that two systems – the EOTS-89 electro-optical targeting system (EOTS) and the EORD-31 infrared search and track (IRST) – are in development for China’s J-20 and J-31 fighters. Marketing brochures on A-Star’s booth suggest that the J-20 could use the passive sensors to detect and aim missiles against the Northrop Grumman B-2 bomber and Lockheed Martin F-22 fighter, even while its radar is being being jammed by a Boeing EA-18G Growler. It lists detection ranges for the B-2 at 150km and for the F-22 at up to 110km. Both systems have completed ground testing in a laboratory, and are now ready to enter flight testing, he says. Chinese combat aircraft manufacturer AVIC is considering integrating the sensors on a testbed aircraft, then could decide to test them on the J-20 and J-31, he says. Operational status is at least a year away for both sensors and possibly longer, Yanyong adds. A-Star exhibited the systems at MAKS in hopes of attracting buyers from Russian and Commonwealth of Independent States countries, he says.”

Russia and China are developing drones that could make stealth aircraft obsolete “The US and its allies continue to invest heavily in the F-35 and other stealth-capable aircraft. But Russia and China are rapidly developing systems that would negate the benefits that stealth offers. According to Zarchary Keck writing in The National Interest, both Beijing and Moscow have begun development of unmanned aerial vehicles that have the goal of finding, detecting, and possibly even eliminating enemy stealth aircraft. China's stealth detection drone, called the Divine Eagle, is believed to be specially built to counter stealth aircraft while they are still far from the Chinese mainland. Popular Science notes that the drone's "long range anti-stealth capabilities can be used against both aircraft, like the B-2 bomber, and warships such as the DDG-1000 destroyer ... the Chinese air force could quickly intercept stealthy enemy aircraft, missiles and ships well before they come in range of the Mainland." The Divine Eagle features multiple different radar systems, including X/UHF low band radar systems, according to Popular Science. These systems could be used to track stealth aircraft like the F-35 at long distances, as most stealth technology is created to avoid high band radar systems, thereby eroding one of the key advantages of the fifth-generation plane. The Divine Eagle has apparently undergone multiple redesigns which sought to limit the plane's infrared signature — something that would help ensure the drone's own purported stealth capabilities. Russia has been working on its own stealth-detection drone. Flight Global writes that the Russian military subcontractor KRET debuted a stealth drone prototype at the MAKS air show in Moscow in August. The unnamed drone, Flight Global notes, will also come outfitted with UHF and X-band radar systems that could be used to detect stealth aircraft. Additionally, the drone is outfitted with an electronic warfare system that would both cloak the drone and make it difficult to target with air-to-air missiles.”

Japan launches second Izumo-class helicopter carrier “Japan's second and final Izumo-class helicopter carrier was launched at the Japan Marine United shipyard in Yokohama on 27 August. Named Kaga (the first Japanese naval ship to take the name since the Second World War aircraft carrier that took part in the Pearl Harbor attacks and was lost at the Battle of Midway), the ship is due to be commissioned in March 2017. Kaga is almost identical to JS Izumo , which was launched in August 2013 and commissioned in March 2015. The only differences from specifications released for Izumo is a draught of 7.1 m rather than 7.3 m, and a complement of 520 rather than 470, according to details provided by Japan Marine United. Both displace 19,500 tonnes (24,000 tonnes at full load) and, like Izumo , Kaga is likely to be armed with two Raytheon Sea RAM RIM-116 systems and two Mk 15 Vulcan Phalanx close in weapon systems.”

China to hold drills with Malaysia in Malacca Strait “China will hold joint military drills next month with Malaysia in the strategic Strait of Malacca, and will also hold training exercises with Australia and the United States in Australia, China's Defence Ministry said on Thursday. China's rapidly modernizing armed forces have been increasing their global reach and carrying out exercises in ever more distant locations, as the government seeks to protect its interests around the world. But China has jangled nerves, especially in its territorial disputes in the South and East China Seas with a growing assertiveness. Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said the Malacca Strait drill would involve 1,160 Chinese personnel, two Chinese warships, helicopters and transport aircraft. It would focus on disaster relief, search and rescue and hijack rescue, he said. Piracy is a problem in the strait, between Peninsular Malaysia and Indonesia's Sumatra island, through which most of China's crude oil imports pass from the Middle East and Africa. Malaysia's image in China was battered after the disappearance of a Malaysia Airlines flight with 239 people on board, most of them Chinese nationals, last year. Malaysia's response to that disaster came under fire in China from the public and state media. Separately, Yang said that China would take part in survival training and activities like canoeing and mountaineering in Australia with Australian and U.S. forces.”

China dumping Treasurys? Here's what you must know “Despite gloomy predictions and concerns over spiking bond yields, analysts have struck a fairly sanguine tone over China's acceleration in the selling of its dollar-denominated debt reserves. China is the world's largest holder of U.S. debt, but Societe Generale analysts estimate that the People's Bank of China (PBoC) has sold at least $106 billion of reserve assets since its currency devaluation this month. A Bloomberg report on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter, confirmed that China had cut its holdings of Treasurys to raise the U.S. dollars needed to support the yuan. Logically, this would be seen as bearish for U.S. bond prices - which have an inverse relationship with yields – but the rates strategy team at Rabobank believe the impact is less than clear cut. "The obvious conclusion here is that PBoC (People's Bank of China) selling is bearish. However, this could be wrong in precisely the same way investors tend to mistakenly believe QE (quantitative easing) purchases are bullish," the bank said in a note on Friday morning. China is the biggest holder of reserve assets in the world, holding a combination of bonds, currencies and commodities like gold. It held $1,271 billion in U.S. Treasurys at the end of June, according to data from the Treasury Department. Chinese officials have been busy trying to manage the downward pressure on the yuan since Beijing announced a currency devaluation on August 11. The typical method to do so would be to sell foreign exchange reserves in order to depress their price, thus pushing up the price of its own currency. Selling Treasurys would be one way of raising enough dollars to then sell and try to balance the currency. Rabobank argued that Beijing's selling of Treasurys probably reflected capital flight out of China, which would push the yuan down. This in turn would reflect concern over the Chinese economy which would "very probably result in falling inflation expectations globally." What would falling inflation expectations do? It would probably underpin demand for U.S. Treasurys, with fixed income traditionally performing well in an environment of low inflation.”

Defence Minister Kevin Andrews warns rise of China a ‘military risk “Australia’s defence white paper will warn of the consequences of continued uncertainty in the South China Sea and elsewhere in the Indo-Pacific region, as well as the threat that situation poses to Australia and why a very capable, hi-tech defence force is needed to deal with it. The Defence Minister, Kevin Andrews, told the American Chamber of Commerce in Canberra yesterday that the security blueprint would set out a strategy to deal with the economic rise of China, India, Indonesia and other nations that would bring ­increased military capability and greater risk of conflict. He said the increase in defence spending to be announced in the white paper would take the level above the government’s promised 2 per cent of GDP by 2023-24. “Over time, we expect world economic and military power to continue its shift to the Indo-­Pacific,” he said. “But growth in the region will be uneven and competition to exert more influence could generate instability. Competing claims for territory and natural resources in the South China Sea would continue to be a source of tension in the region. Combined with growth in military capability, this backdrop had the potential to destabilise the region and threaten Australia’s interests, he said. Mr Andrews said the defence white paper, covering the next two decades, would be the most robust in Australia’s history and the first to be fully externally costed. The Australian has been told separately that it will include plans to equip the Australian Defence Force with armed “drones” or “unmanned aerial vehicles” such as the US Reaper. “This white paper will deliver a future Australian Defence Force that is potent, agile and ready to respond whenever our interests are engaged across the world,” he said. The government would enhance co-operation with the US with increasing numbers of ­Marine rotations through Darwin and increased co-operation with the US Air Force.”

The Caucus Brief is a daily publication for Members of Congress and Hill Staffers on China news and information compiled by the office of Congressman Randy Forbes, Founder of the Congressional China Caucus.  Email with tips, comments, or to subscribe/unsubscribe.

Posted by The Congressional China Caucus | August 27, 2015

Russian Su-35 Fighter Jets Sale to China At Approval Stage “Russia’s contract for supplying China with Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets (NATO reporting name: Flanker-E) is at an approval stage, the first deputy director general of Russia’s arms exporter, Rosoboronexport, said on Monday. “We are holding talks with our Chinese partners on agreeing a draft contract for the supplies of fighter jets,” Ivan Goncharenko told TASS ahead of the MAKS-2015 air show held near Moscow. There is a growing interest for the Su-35 multirole fighters, including in Latin America and Southeast Asia, he said. There is a growing interest for the Su-35 multirole fighters, including in Latin America and Southeast Asia, he said. “Su-35, like the new MiG-29M/M2, allows Russia to hold leading positions steadily on the market of combat aircraft in the future,” Goncharenko said. Russia’s Rosoboronexport expects to sign the contact with China for the supplies of 24 Su-35 fighter jets by late 2015.”

Stealth bombers back in Guam “Radar-evading, bat-looking B-2 bomber aircraft have returned to Andersen Air Force Base at a time of renewed tension between the two Koreas. Three B-2s and about 225 airmen from the 13th Bomb Squadron at Whiteman Air Force Base, in Missouri, deployed to Guam on Aug. 7 for what the Air Force’s Pacific command called “familiarization training activities” in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. B-2 aircrew and the maintainers and support personnel on the ground will be involved in the training, according to the Air Force. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III also announced at a Pentagon briefing Aug. 24 that three B-2s are being scheduled for rotational deployment to Guam. “We are in the process right now of deploying three B-2s on a scheduled rotation to Andersen Air Force Base in Guam. That’s coming up in the near future,” Welsh said, according to a transcript of the briefing. He didn’t specify the timing of the rotational deployment because it’s considered classified information.The latest B-2 stealth bomber presence in Guam followed the recent land mine explosion in the demilitarized zone that divides North and South Korea. North Korea also recently repeated threats against the United States as U.S. and South Korean military forces were conducting joint training.”

China, Russia Land 400 Marines in First Joint Pacific Amphibious Exercise “Chinese and Russian forces conducted a first-ever joint amphibious exercise landing 400 marines on Russia’s Pacific Coast about 300 miles away from Japan’s home islands, according to a description of the exercise and photographs released from the Chinese Ministry of Defense on Wednesday.The exercise marks not only the first time People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) and Russian Navy have drilled together in an amphibious exercise but also the first time China has landed troops on foreign territory as part of the ongoing Joint Sea 2015 II, the ministry said. “For the first time, we shipped tanks and armored vehicles, and landed soldiers directly into an overseas drill area after a long-distance voyage,” said Liang Yang, assistant to the Chinese director of the drill in the Chinese statement on the amphibious component of the exercise “Such a drill will fully test the performance of our weapons in terms of adaptability to local weather and topographical conditions.” The PLAN landed about 200 marines attached to the from Type 071 amphibious warship Changbaishan parked a little more than half a mile off the Russian Pacific coast in pictures dated Aug. 25.”

China Reveals Guest List for Big Military Parade “China released the guest list for its World War II Victory Day parade, providing a snapshot of its growing clout in many parts of the world while showing the strains the event is placing on relations with the U.S. and its allies. The military parade through Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on Sept. 3 marks the first time China is commemorating the allied victory with such a high-profile event. Top leaders from 30 countries, including Russia, Venezuela and Sudan, will attend, and 17 countries will contribute troops to the spectacle, senior Chinese officials told a news conference Tuesday. Absent from the guest list are leaders or troops from the U.S. or other major Western powers that fought alongside China in World War II. It also doesn’t include Kim Jong Un, the leader of North Korea, China’s only military ally. The low Western turnout reflects concerns that China will use the parade to showcase its expanding military firepower and to discredit Shinzo Abe, the Japanese prime minister, whose spokesman has said he isn't attending.”

China-Sudan Financial, Military Relations At Risk Amid Beijing's Economic Woes “For decades, China has provided Sudan with billions of dollars in financial, diplomatic and military support in exchange for the African country’s vast oil reserves. But as war-torn Sudan sinks deeper into financial and civil crisis, Khartoum soon might not have Beijing to fall back on. Fears over a Chinese economic slowdown escalated this week after the Shanghai Composite index logged its sharpest single-day drop in eight years Monday. China’s market slump pounded commodity-linked currencies in Africa, including the Sudanese Pound, which is at an all-time low. For Sudan, that could mean less cash and arms from Beijing, which could exacerbate the country's food insecurity, fragile economy and civil unrest, experts said. “You have a Sudanese economy that is relentlessly being run into the ground. It can’t survive,” said Eric Reeves, a Sudan researcher and analyst at Smith College in Massachusetts. “The Sudanese economy is crumbling with or without Chinese support.” Sudanese government forces and allied militias have fought a raging rebellion in Sudan’s western Darfur region since 2003, after rebels took up arms and accused President Omar al-Bashir's regime for neglecting the region. In the oil-rich South Kordofan and Blue Nile regions, Bashir’s government is also battling an active insurgency by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, a pro-South Sudan militant group. At the same time, government forces have been accused of targeting civilians with killings, rape and abuse. More than 2.3 million people have been displaced throughout the country and 6.9 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, according to U.N. figures.”

U.S. says respects S. Korea's decision to attend Chinese military parade “The United States said Wednesday it respects South Korean President Park Geun-Hye's decision to attend a massive military parade China plans to hold to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. "Participation in these events is the sovereign decision of each country. We respect the Republic of Korea's decision," a State Department spokesperson said on background in response to a Yonhap News Agency's request for comment. The Chinese parade, set for Sept. 3, is seen as a show of force amid Beijing's increasingly assertive actions in territorial disputes with its neighbors. In an apparent expression of unhappiness, the U.S. has decided to have its ambassador to China, Max Baucus, attend the ceremony, rather than sending a high-level official from Washington.”

Philippines seeks U.S. help to protect troops in disputed sea “The Philippine defense chief said he asked the visiting U.S. Pacific commander on Wednesday to help protect the transport of fresh Filipino troops and supplies to Philippine-occupied reefs in the disputed South China Sea by deploying American patrol planes to discourage Chinese moves to block the resupply missions. The Philippines has protested past attempts by Chinese coast guard ships to block smaller boats transporting fresh military personnel, food and other supplies to a Filipino military ship outpost at the disputed Second Thomas Shoal, which is also being claimed and guarded by Chinese coast guard ships. The tense standoff at the shoal has lasted two years. Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said the commander, Adm. Harry Harris Jr., assured him of U.S. readiness to provide assistance, adding that the U.S. military has flown an aircraft at least once when a Philippine boat delivered supplies last year to Filipino marines marooned on a rusty naval ship that ran aground years ago at the disputed shoal. AP journalists witnessing a resupply mission last year saw a U.S. military plane hovering above a Filipino supply boat, which a Chinese coast guard ship tried but failed to block. Such U.S. military flights deter Chinese moves, Gazmin said, adding that Philippine resupply boats have been harassed less by Chinese coast guard ships after the deployment of the U.S. patrol plane. "If there are Americans flying around there, we won't be troubled," Gazmin told The Associated Press in an interview. "We need to be helped in our resupply missions. The best way they could assist is through their presence." ”

The Caucus Brief is a daily publication for Members of Congress and Hill Staffers on China news and information compiled by the office of Congressman Randy Forbes, Founder of the Congressional China Caucus.  Email with tips, comments, or to subscribe/unsubscribe.

Posted by The Congressional China Caucus | August 26, 2015

New CNO Richardson Invited To Visit China “Adm. Wu Shengli, commander in chief of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy, extended an invitation Tuesday to incoming chief of naval operations (CNO) Adm. John Richardson to visit China, according to outgoing US CNO Adm. Jon Greenert. Wu and Greenert, joined by Richardson, took part in a 90-minute video teleconference Tuesday morning, the second in a quarterly series of VTCs begun in April. Greenert told a luncheon audience outside Washington he introduced Wu to Richardson, and that Wu was complementary of the working relationship established between the US and China during Greenert’s time in office. Wu, Greenert said, is “very interested in RIMPAC 2016 and making it work,” referring to the Rim of the Pacific exercise, held every two years in Hawaii. China took part for the first time in the 2014 exercises. “He views the exercises as a positive step in dealing with challenges,” Greenert said, noting later that no commitments have been made. “He really wants to come to RIMPAC,” Greenert said. “He wants that to work out. But we all have bosses.” ”

U.S. Outlines Asia-Pacific Maritime Security Strategy “The United States has spelled out its maritime security strategy so that all nations understand the American position, David Shear, the assistant secretary of defense for Asian-Pacific security affairs, said during a Pentagon news conference today. The U.S. will continue to use diplomacy, multilateral institutions and continued engagement to protect free and open access to maritime Asia, while focusing on safeguarding the freedom of the seas, deterring conflict and coercion, and promoting adherence to international law and standards, Shear said. And he reemphasized previous statements by U.S. officials that the United States takes no position over competing claims for land claims in the South China Sea and the East China Sea. “We have a vested interest in ensuring that the claims are resolved peacefully and without conflict or coercion,” Shear said, adding, “however, there are several trends -- including rapid military modernization growing resource demands and territorial maritime disputes -- which have the potential to create instability in this vital region.” China’s expansion of disputed features and artificial island construction in the Spratly Islands is a concern, he said. “While land reclamation is not new, and China is not the only claimant to have conducted reclamation, China’s recent activities outweigh other efforts in size, pace and nature,” he said.”
Tailoring the Global Network for Real Burden Sharing at Sea “The U.S. Navy’s requirement to implement a longstanding rhetorical commitment to partnerships at sea was articulated in the 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance, confirmed in the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review, and was most recently reiterated in the new Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower: Forward, Engaged, Ready. As a means to offset the risks inherent in divesting some maritime presence requirements and being challenged to ensure operational access, however, the Navy’s current efforts fall short of the requirement. As an unclassified, service-specific look at an increasingly important defense policy area, Tailoring the Global Network for Real Burden-Sharing at Sea looks at what the Navy can do from the bottom up to provide for deeper, more structured partnerships as part of a federated approach to defense.”

UN: China arms firm sold $20M in weapons to South Sudan “A U.N. panel of experts said that a major Chinese state-owned arms supplier sold more than $20 million of weapons to South Sudan’s government last year, several months into the country’s deadly internal conflict. The experts’ first-ever report, made public Tuesday, says China North Industries Corp., or Norinco, sold South Sudan’s government 100 anti-tank guided missile launchers, 1,200 missiles, about 2,400 grenade launchers, nearly 10,000 automatic rifles and 24 million rounds of various types of ammunition. The report also says South Sudan’s military has somehow obtained four attack helicopters since the start of the conflict. It had none before then. South Sudan has been at war since December 2013, when a split within the security forces escalated into a violent rebellion led by Riek Machar.  Kiir’s ethnic Dinka people are pitted against Machar’s Nuer, and the ethnic nature of the violence has alarmed the international community.”

India-Australia submarine drills expected to rattle China “India and Australia will focus on anti-submarine warfare in their first ever joint naval exercises, signaling a growing strategic relationship to counter China's increased activity in the Indian Ocean. The war games starting September 11 off India's Visakhapatnam port in the Bay of Bengal will include exercises to protect a tanker from a hostile attack submarine. The area is near waters where China deployed a nuclear-powered submarine for the first time last year, as well as the Sri Lankan port where another unit surfaced twice. That caused a diplomatic uproar. There's the "potential for increased security tensions in the Indian Ocean," said Captain Sheldon Williams, defence adviser at the Australian High Commission in New Delhi. "We sit right in the confluence of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. We have a significant responsibility for its security. That's how we're looking at it now." The drills -- first discussed a decade ago -- come as global powers vie for greater influence. The Indian Ocean's sea lanes account for nearly half of the world's container trade, including 80 per cent of China's oil imports.”

U.S. Seeks to Expand China Navy Code to Coast Guard, Swift Says “The U.S. is seeking to expand the use of protocols agreed with China to avoid flare-ups during unexpected naval encounters to include Chinese coast guard vessels, the commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet said. The U.S. and China have agreed to a naval code of conduct that is “working quite well,” Admiral Scott Swift said on a conference call from Kuala Lumpur. “The U.S. is interested in expanding this mechanism to the Chinese coast guard, as well.” Including China’s so-called white-hulled fleet would be recognition of the role the coast guard plays in executing China’s foreign policy. It’s the world’s largest deep-water coast guard, according Ryan Martinson, a researcher at the China Maritime Studies Institute of the U.S. Naval War College. China has been using its coast guard to help enforce its claims to more than 80 percent of the South China Sea. China has reclaimed more than 2,900 acres of land to expand seven of its eight outposts in the waters as of June this year, according to a Pentagon report released this month. Southeast Asian foreign ministers this month warned that competing territorial claims in the South China Sea risk upsetting regional stability.”

New USPACFLT Commander addresses SEA “THE newly-appointed commander of the United States Pacific Fleet has called on South China Sea claimants to reconcile their differences amid deepened concerns over China’s controversial land reclamation in the Spratly Islands. Speaking to Asia Pacific journalists in a teleconference yesterday, Admiral Scott Swift urged countries embroiled in the territorial dispute to seek a positive approach in a bid to allay flaring tensions. “Approach the reconciling of these differences and claims within the region in a positive way, and not allow the use of coercion or force as a lever to resolve differences to the benefit of one party or the other,” he said, stressing the importance of holding dialogue. Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan have overlapping claims in the South China Sea, but China claims 90 per cent of the islands including major shipping lanes and rich natural resources. Tensions between the claimants were aggravated following reports of China building a runway in one of the disputed islands, while the Pentagon believes the communist nation has reclaimed more land in the Spratly Islands than previously known.”

Pentagon: Modernize military on Guam “The Pentagon's new maritime security strategy in the Asia-Pacific region includes modernizing the military's Guam-based assets as territorial disputes in the South China Sea remain unresolved. The Guam modernization, according to the military's recently released strategy, includes:
   ·forward-stationing a fourth attack submarine to Guam this year;
   ·deploying a Joint High Speed Vessel by 2018; and
   ·making investments in the resilience of the infrastructure supporting these capabilities.
The U.S. military expects to have 10 Joint High Speed Vessels, which cost about $185 million apiece. The high-speed ship bridges the gap between low-speed sea transport and high-speed air transport capabilities for the military. The Air Force also continues a program to modernize hangars and other support structures to augment those and other U.S. military capabilities, according to the strategy. Guam serves as the regional hub for the Air Force's Global Hawk fleet. The Navy will operate a new unmanned surveillance aircraft called MQ-4C Triton from Andersen Air Force Base by 2017, according to the report.”

The Caucus Brief is a daily publication for Members of Congress and Hill Staffers on China news and information compiled by the office of Congressman Randy Forbes, Founder of the Congressional China Caucus.  Email with tips, comments, or to subscribe/unsubscribe.

Posted by The Congressional China Caucus | August 25, 2015

Scott Walker Calls on Obama to Cancel Chinese State Visit. “SPARTANBURG, SC — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is calling on President Barack Obama to cancel the upcoming state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping next month in retaliation for recent cyberattacks and currency manipulation.In a statement to TIME, Walker said it was time for the Obama administration to hold China “accountable” amid accusations that the country was behind the hack of the U.S. office of personnel management in which more than 20 million records were breached.“There’s serious work to be done rather than pomp and circumstance,” Walker said, encouraging Obama to show “backbone.” The White House is facing bipartisan pressure to get tougher on China. The president last hosted Xi at the Sunnylands retreat in Palm Springs, CA in an informal meeting in June 2013. Obama met with Xi in China last year when they announced a major climate accord. Earlier Monday, Walker blamed much of the recent drop in the financial markets on China’s recent currency devaluation.”

China to Showcase Never-Before-Seen Weapons and Equipment in Military Parade.
“China’s military parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Japan’s surrender to end World War II is rapidly approaching, and new details are emerging every day. In addition to the question of who will be marching in the parade – 10 countries, including Russia, Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan, will send troops to participate – the big question is what military technology will China display to the world on September 3.” On August 21, a Chinese military officer provided some details on that front. According to Qu Rui, deputy chief of the Operations Department of the General Staff Headquarters (and deputy director of the Office of the Parade Leading Team), 84 percent of the arms that will be displayed in the parade will be in their first public showcase. Qu said that all branches of the military – the People’s Liberation Army, Navy, Air Force and Second Artillery Corps, plus the People’s Armed Police – will debut new equipment, all of which is indigenously produced. Qu said the parade would include 12,000 troops, 500 pieces of equipment, and almost 200 aircraft. According to another military official, Wang Shun, all of the armaments in the parade are currently in active service. The weapons and equipment to be displayed in the parade “represent the new development, achievement and image of the building of China’s armed forces,” Qu said. There were no details on which new technologies will be on display, but Xinhua noted that “China has typically unveiled its most advanced weapon systems during military parades, including the debut of Dongfeng 31, an intercontinental ballistic missile, at the 1999 military parade.”

Experts Say China’s J-10s Would Benefit Iran.
“The China-made J-10 multi-role fighter jet is a suitable choice for Iran if the Middle East power decides to upgrade its aging military aircraft fleet, Chinese aviation experts said. “Once the sanctions against Iran are completely lifted, the country will definitely renovate its civilian and military aircraft fleets. The J-10 is a good option for the Iranians because it can fulfill all operations they want to conduct,” said Wang Ya’nan, deputy editor-in-chief of Aerospace Knowledge magazine”. “In addition to air combat, our J-10 is also capable of performing air-to-surface strikes and anti-ship operations,” he added. “Moreover, the Iranians must have known that China, among other major weapon exporters, is the most reliable supplier when it comes to arms deals. China is also very flexible in payment issues.” Furthermore, with the development of China’s next-generation fighter jet progressing well, it is highly possible that the Chinese aviation industry will transfer technologies used on the J-10 to buyers, Wang said. Wang’s remarks came after two weeks of widespread speculation in foreign media that China and Iran are discussing a deal for 150 J-10 fighter jets.”

Chinese Navy: ‘So Long As It Is Blue, There We Will Be On Guard’ (New PLAN  Recruiting Video).  
“In an intriguing and potentially significant declaration, the Chinese military declares: “Regardless of what corner of the earth, so long as it is blue there we will be on guard.” The declaration comes in an impressive recruiting video for the Peoples Liberation Army Navy (PLAN). “It’s beautifully done; really tugs at the heartstrings,” says Dean Cheng, the Heritage Foundation’s respected Chinese military expert.  “It’s also a piece of public opinion warfare.” The video was produced by the PLA’s General Political Department, responsible for political loyalty, psychological warfare and all related human factors. But the real target of the recruiting ad — like any recruiting ad– is those whom the PLAN wants to recruit. And that is the really interesting inside story here. Cheng believes this is part of a long attempt by China to build a professional army, albeit one that still relies largely on conscripts. “What does that tell us? It tells us the Chinese are looking to support more technically oriented services,” he says, noting this has been a Chinese goal for the last 30 years. The key to this is recruiting likely candidates for a career as a noncommissioned officer to provide the Chinese with the solid rock upon which the British, Australians and Americans have built their armies and navies, the NCO. The ad is also targeted at officer candidates who possess needed skills but who may not be thinking about a military career. Cheng notes that the Chinese face a “fundamental problem” in building their professional conscript military. Their officers are all Communist Party members but their NCOs are not: “How does an NCO interact with an officer, when all officers are all members of the party and the NCOs aren’t.”

Twenty-two naval ships to take part in second phase of large-scale Russia-China exercise.
“VLADIVOSTOK, August 20. /TASS/. Twenty-two combat ships of Russia and China will take part in the second phase of a large-scale naval exercise Joint Sea 2015 off the Far Eastern city of Vladivostok, a deputy commander of the Russian Navy, Vice-Admiral Alexander Fedotenkov, said on Thursday. "This year the scope of the exercise is unprecedented," Fedotenov noted, saying that 20 aircraft, more than 500 amphibious soldiers and 40 pieces of armored vehicles would also take part. "After this exercise, we will get to a new level of operational coordination, compatibility of headquarters and exchange of experience," the deputy commander said. Seven Chinese naval ships led by Shenyang destroyer arrived on Thursday at Vladivostok, where the Chinese and Russian navies are gearing up for the second phase of a joint naval exercise that will run through August 27. The naval ships will simulate action in antisubmarine and anti-aircraft warfare. "This is the eighth visit of Chinese naval ships to Vladivostok in contemporary history of relations between Russia and China," Roman Martov, spokesman for the Eastern Military District, said. Martov said the first day in Vladivostok would be devoted to protocol visits to the city administration and the headquarters of the Pacific Feet. August 21 will see a ceremony launching the exercises, and on August 24 the ships will take to the sea. A parade of the naval ships in Peter the Great Gulf will be held after the exercise, on August 28.”

China Military Expansion And Stock Market Meltdown: Economy Won't Stifle Beijing's Record Defense Spending.
“China saw the biggest one-day fall in its stock market in eight years Monday. But it's unlikely the country's weakening economy will affect its record defense spending or its ambitions to expand into the South China Sea, military analysts predicted. “If the Chinese economy were to collapse, we would probably see a military slowdown, but let’s remember that the economy is still growing,” said Bonnie Glaser, an expert on Chinese foreign and security policy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank in Washington, D.C. “The amount of money they have been putting into the military has been so substantial. The rate at which they have been producing ships for use in the South China Sea, for example, really demonstrates the ramping up of its capabilities and should dispel any belief that they are about to cut back. While Monday’s stock market slide -- which initially knocked more than 1,000 points from the Dow Jones Industrial Average, before a rebound later in the day, and lopped 8.5 percent from the Shanghai Composite Index -- could be seen as indicative of an economy headed for collapse, China has not shown any signs of slowing its military modernization and expansionist plans. China's defense budget now stands at more than $200 billion, placing it behind the United States ($610 billion), but ahead of Russia ($80 billion). China recently finished the first stage of a project to build fake islands in the South China Sea. The fake islands are designed to give the country a military base to bolster its claims for a number of disputed island chains in the region, while also helping it monitor its military rivals in Asia. In July, China sent more than 100 Chinese ships to the South China Sea for military drills.”

Analysts: China's Missile Program the Greatest Long-Term Threat to U.S. Security.
“The advancement of China's ballistic missile modernization program may pose the greatest risk to the United States' long-term security, analysts said Aug. 19. "Deterrence of China is absolutely critical," said Mark Schneider, a senior analyst for the National Institute for Public Policy, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank. "It's not the largest current threat to the United States but it will in the foreseeable future become that." According to the Pentagon's annual report to congress, "Military and Security Developments Involving the People's Republic of China 2015," the current Chinese arsenal includes 1,200 short-range ballistic missiles and 50 to 60 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). A 2013 report from the National Air and Space Intelligence Center found the Pacific nation has the most "active and diverse ballistic missile development program in the world," expected to expand in both size and variety. Within the next 15 years the number of Chinese ICBM nuclear warheads capable of reaching the United States could grow to more than 100, it said. Currently the nation boasts four types of ICBMs and two types of submarine-launched ballistic missiles. The nation is also developing MIRV, or multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle, variants of its ballistic missiles, Schneider said. These variants have a payload containing several warheads, each capable of being aimed at separate designated targets.”

The Caucus Brief is a daily publication for Members of Congress and Hill Staffers on China news and information compiled by the office of Congressman Randy Forbes, Founder of the Congressional China Caucus.  Email with tips, comments, or to subscribe/unsubscribe.

Posted by The Congressional China Caucus | August 24, 2015

Less TV, No Smog and Other Edicts for China’s Military Parade. “It’s a familiar pattern to any Beijing resident who lived through the Summer 2008 Olympics and a summit of world leaders last year: Anxious for big-ticket events to go off without a hitch, China halts factories, orders cars off the roads and closes offices and schools. The Communist Party is rolling out a long list of such measures for a Sept. 3 military parade commemorating the World War II victory over Japan. It will go even further this time, banning TV content that may be too frivolous, shutting the airport and closing off much of the city’s downtown during the parade. “In such a large scale public event, the Chinese leaders want to display Chinese power politically, and then the organizers become highly nervous,” said Qin Qianhong, a law professor at Wuhan University, based in Hubei province. Here are some measures imposed for the parade: A nationwide public holiday was declared for Sept. 3 and 4 and markets ordered closed on those days; Pedestrian and traffic controls: Vehicles and people on foot were prohibited from the Tiananmen Square area on Aug. 22 and 23 for rehearsals. The same restrictions will be in effect on the day of the parade; Broadcasts of some entertainment programs, including talk shows, reality shows and TV series, will be suspended from Sept. 1-5.”

Japan Says PM Will Not Attend Military Parade in China.
“Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will not attend a military parade in China next week to commemorate the end of World War II, the government's top spokesman said Monday. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters the decision was made because of Abe's parliamentary schedule. The government may also have been concerned about the possible anti-Japanese tone of an event marking the country's surrender in 1945. "The decision was made taking into consideration parliamentary proceedings and other situations," Suga said. But he added that Abe told parliament recently that he hoped the theme of the event "would not be anti-Japanese." Japan invaded China before and during World War II, and Japan's treatment of China during that period still greatly impacts relations. China has said the parade is being held to mark the 70th anniversary of Japan's surrender and to demonstrate a commitment to peace. The event, which will include displays of fighter jets and missiles, will showcase the People's Liberation Army's rapidly growing capabilities at a time it is taking a more confrontational stance in territorial disputes with Japan and others. Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia, Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj of Mongolia, Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt and Milos Zeman of the Czech Republic have accepted invitations to attend, along with unidentified leaders from Central Asia, according to Chinese state media. South Korean President Park Geun-hye has said she will attend a ceremony marking the anniversary of victory over Japan, but aides say she has yet to decide whether to attend the military parade. Recent Japanese media reports said that Abe might skip the parade but still visit China next week to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping in a bid to warm up frosty bilateral relations. But Suga scotched such talk Monday. He said Japan would seek other opportunities for the two to meet, such as on the sidelines of international conferences.”

Fading Economy and Graft Crackdown Rattle China’s Leaders.
“The start to the day was hardly unusual for a senior Chinese leader in a country grappling with an economic slowdown. On the morning of July 24, Zhou Benshun attended a meeting to promote one of President Xi Jinping’s signature projects, a plan to boost growth by building a “supercity” that would integrate Beijing with the region around it. But by 6:10 p.m. that day, Mr. Zhou’s career was over, and he faced years in prison. The Communist Party’s anticorruption agency announced it was investigating him on “suspicion of serious violations of party discipline and the law,” signaling his ouster as the party chief of Hebei Province, one of the nation’s most populous. Mr. Zhou’s sudden downfall — he is the first sitting provincial party chief to be purged by Mr. Xi — underscores the uncertainty that permeates the Communist elite as they contend with two unnerving developments beyond their control: an economic slowdown that appears to be worse than officials had anticipated and that could mark the end of China’s era of fast growth, and a campaign against official corruption that has continued longer and reached higher than most had expected. Driving decisions on both issues is Mr. Xi, who took the party’s helm nearly three years ago and has pursued an ambitious agenda fraught with political risk. Now, weeks before a summit meeting in Washington with President Obama, those risks appear to be growing, and there are signs that Mr. Xi and his strong-willed leadership style face increasingly bold resistance inside the party that could limit his ability to pursue his goals. Mr. Xi has positioned himself as the chief architect of economic policy — usually the prime minister’s job — and has vowed to reshape the economy, exposing himself to blame if growth continues to sputter. At the same time, Mr. Xi is making enemies with an anticorruption drive that has taken down some of the most powerful men in the country and sidelined more than a hundred thousand lower-ranking officials. Senior party officials are said to be alarmed by the state of the economy, which grew at the slowest pace in a quarter century during the first half of the year, and now seems to be decelerating further. In a sign of its anxiety, the leadership this month implemented the biggest devaluation of the Chinese currency in more than two decades, sending global markets into plunges.”

Chinese Radar Strongly Resembles Israeli Product.
“A Chinese avionics marketing and manufacturing firm has put Israeli-US relations under a microscope after marketing an advanced fire control radar identical to Elta’s ELM-2052 active electronically scanned array (AESA). Elta is the same Israeli state-owned subsidiary at the heart of an incendiary chapter in US-Israel relations that continues to reverberate 15 years after Washington forced Israel to cancel a controversial Phalcon airborne early warning aircraft contract with Beijing. Beijing-based NAV Technology  claims in its 63-page product catalog to offer an unnamed AESA radar that is identical to the ELM-2052. The two-page description appears to be identical to current ELM-2052 product brochures distributed by Elta, including a photograph of the radar. Elta is a subsidiary of the state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). Israel’s Ministry of Defence said it had no knowledge of NAV and its claimed association with Elta. IAI has also denied any association between Elta and NAV “or any other Chinese firm.” Yang Yunchun, NAV Technology chairman and president, did not respond to repeated requests to comment. By phone, NAV Technology’s Mr. Xiong turned down requests for information about the company’s activities. The Chinese-language company website does not list an AESA radar as a product.  Public information indicates that Yang began his career in aeronautical engineering with bachelor and master degrees from Harbin Engineering University (1993/1997) and a doctorate at the University of California (2001). His primary academic focus was global positioning system (GPS) and inertial navigation system (INS) integration, and advanced GPS signal processing. After his doctorate, Yang worked for NavCom Technology and ContainerTrac.  NAV’s product catalog offers to “reverse engineer” an INS system for the Pakistan Air Force’s (PAF's) Dassault Mirage III. “Currently the Litton LN-33 INS has reliability problems at PAF and NAV Technology has proposed a comprehensive solution to reverse engineer the problem and provide detailed solution.” A source who worked with Yang in California said that Yang had been under investigation by the FBI for “creating shell companies” and “violating intellectual property” and “export controls.”  However, there are no public US federal judicial records indicating Yang was charged with any crime.”

The Caucus Brief is a daily publication for Members of Congress and Hill Staffers on China news and information compiled by the office of Congressman Randy Forbes, Founder of the Congressional China Caucus.  Email with tips, comments, or to subscribe/unsubscribe.

Posted by The Congressional China Caucus | August 21, 2015

Pentagon Says China Has Stepped Up Land Reclamation in South China Sea. “A new Pentagon report says China’s reclamation of landmass among a string of artificial islands in the South China Sea has grown dramatically in recent months, and that Beijing is aggressively patrolling the waters there to assert its territorial claims. The Pentagon report, issued late Thursday, said that, as of June, China has reclaimed 2,900 acres of landmass across a string of islands in the South China Sea known as the Spratlys, up nearly 50% from May, when the Pentagon said Beijing had claimed about 2,000 acres. Washington fears that the islands will be used for military purposes and could create instability in one of the world’s biggest commercial shipping routes as China lays claim to what several other countries see as international waters. And, as China’s assertiveness grows, the risk of conflict with the U.S. and its allies grows along with it, defense officials have said. The report comes about a month before a high-profile visit to Washington by Chinese President Xi Jinping, where the South China Sea issue, along with cybersecurity and monetary policy are likely to come up. Taken together, the issues portend a potentially difficult visit for Mr. Xi and for the Obama administration. The rate of growth of the islands from China’s development activity has accelerated considerably, according to the report, which is titled “The Asia-Pacific Maritime Security Strategy” and was required by Congress in a 2015 defense bill. The new Pentagon report reflects continuing U.S. skepticism of China’s claims earlier this month that it has halted its land reclamation activity. China said in early August that it had ceased reclamation operations, but U.S. officials questioned whether the actions had been stopped or would remain halted. A spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington said late Thursday that China stopped reclamation in June. The spokesman,Zhu Haiquan, said that the facilities being built on the islands include those for the public good. “China stands ready to open these facilities to other countries upon completion,” Mr. Zhu said. “We hope the U.S. side will view this in an objective and balanced way and respect regional countries’ efforts to maintain the peace and stability of the South China Sea.” While not directly contradicting the Chinese claim, a Pentagon spokesman challenged Beijing late Thursday to elaborate on its plans.”

Obama Fails to Challenge Beijing’s Island-Building Campaign.
“In the silliness that often characterizes diplomatic discourse, Chinese vice-foreign minister Liu Zhenmin told Reuters on August 4th that China’s transformation of South China Sea shoals and reefs into armed islands “should not be discussed” at the August ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Kuala Lumpur. Why not?  Because, said Liu, “this is a forum for promoting cooperation.”  Correctly, the U.S. State Department answered that Chinese provocations should indeed be discussed.  After all, how can international cooperation be furthered when China makes illegal sovereign claims over international waters that lie within the exclusive economic zones of its neighbors? However, the Obama administration is unwilling to back up diplomacy with action.  Senior U.S. naval commanders have sought permission to uphold freedom of navigation by sailing or flying close to these manmade islands that lie hundreds of miles from the Chinese mainland—far from the 12 nautical miles that make up China’s legally sovereign waters.  But even though China is flouting both custom and international agreement—China ratified and is currently violating the U.N. Law of the Seas Treaty—the president has refused this request. This failure to act stems from the belief of the Obama administration that China and the U.S. are not strategic rivals, but partners in maintaining international order.  Therefore, the logic goes, Chinese expansion does not constitute a threat.  This is wrongheaded.  Since its founding the U.S has been a maritime state, supporting freedom of navigation on the high seas.  America’s security and prosperity depends on free access to the world’s oceans. John McCain, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, called the administration’s refusal to protect U.S. rights in international waters “a dangerous mistake that grants de facto recognition of China’s man-made sovereign claims.” The immediate risk comes at the expense of shipping lanes that lie hundreds of miles from coasts around the world.  A feeble response to Chinese aggression sets a dubious precedent.  China has been expanding its naval influence through the Central Asian coast toward Africa.  Beijing financed Pakistan’s deep water port at Gwadar and is currently negotiating to use Djibouti as a naval base.  Djibouti is a tiny African state that sits astride the entrance to the Red Sea through which ships transiting the Suez Canal pass. China and Iran have been working to increase military ties, trade, and nuclear cooperation for years.  A Chinese-supported extension of African and Central Asian partner states’ sovereignty into the Indian Ocean would put Beijing in a position to control the world’s most strategic oceanic space, the approaches to the Persian Gulf and Red Sea.  Unimaginable?  Who would have thought at the beginning of Barack Obama’s presidency that Iran would now be pulling the strings in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen?  Iran could establish a naval base in Sudan, threatening Saudi Arabia and Israel, and increasing its control over Suez Canal commerce from Sudan’s Red Sea coast.”

More Than 10 Countries to Join China’s Military Parade
. “More than 10 countries including Russia will join China for a massive military parade through central Beijing next month commemorating the 70th anniversary of victory over Japan in World War II, Chinese officials said Friday. The parade is widely seen as a public display of the People's Liberation Army's fast-growing capabilities, and comes as China is becoming more active in asserting its territorial claims in the South China Sea and the East China Sea. Those moves have prompted its neighbors to boost their own capabilities and the U.S. military to renew its commitment to regional allies. The foreign troops joining in the parade are from countries in Asia, Europe, Africa the Americas and Oceana, parade deputy commander Qu Rui told a news conference in Beijing. He mentioned by name only Russia and Kazakhstan and said more information will be released later. "Their participation in the parade is a clear indication of their attitude of commemorating the victory of the world anti-fascist war jointly, and a symbol of the aspiration for and pursuit of enduring world peace," Qu said. Qu said 12,000 troops will take part in the Sept. 3 event, showcasing 500 pieces of equipment of about 40 different types along with almost 200 aircraft of more than 20 types, Qu said. China's last such military parade was in 2009 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic. Asked whether there was an anti-Japanese element to the parade, Qu said the war had brought great suffering to both the people of Japan and of Asia, but that the event aimed to look toward the future. "This is not directed at any third parties," Qu said. China says it has sent invitations to numerous heads of state but thus far only Russian President Vladimir Putin, Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi and Czech President Milos Zeman have accepted, along with unidentified leaders from Cental Asian states, according to state media.”

Men Jailed 19 Year for ‘Brazen’ Attack on Hong Kong Newspaper Editor.
“Two men who attacked a former chief editor of a widely respected Hong Kong newspaper with a meat cleaver were jailed on Friday for 19 years in a case that has raised concerns about press freedom in the Chinese-run city. Yip Kim-wah and Wong Chi-wah, both 39 years old, showed no emotion as the sentence was handed down for "grievous bodily harm with intent" in the stabbing of former Ming Pao chief editor Kevin Lau on Feb. 26 last year in broad daylight. Speaking to the court, Justice Esther Toh said the assault was carried out "in cold blood ... for financial gain", and that it was a "brazen attack on the rule of law in Hong Kong." Lau last week urged the police to continue investigating so that the "mastermind" behind the attack could be brought to justice, with the motives for the crime still unclear. The two men told police they had each been paid HK$100,000 ($12,900) to attack Lau but refused to say who paid them. The attack on Lau was cited as the most violent example of how press freedom in Hong Kong has deteriorated, according to a recent report by the Hong Kong Journalists Association. The stabbing came in the months before last year's mass pro-democracy protests, and was widely seen as a warning to Hong Kong's vibrant media that has remained a bastion of critical reporting on China.”

The Caucus Brief is a daily publication for Members of Congress and Hill Staffers on China news and information compiled by the office of Congressman Randy Forbes, Founder of the Congressional China Caucus.  Email with tips, comments, or to subscribe/unsubscribe.

Back to top