19 August 2017

USA: DoD Announces Start of Exercise Ulchi Freedom Guardian

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Aug. 18, 2017 — South Korea and U.S. Combined Forces Command will hold the annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise Aug. 21-31, defense officials announced today.

Ulchi Freedom Guardian is a computer-simulated defensive exercise designed to enhance readiness, protect the region and maintain stability on the Korean Peninsula, defense officials said. About 17,500 U.S. service members will participate, with about 3,000 coming from installations outside South Korea, the officials said.

Multinational Participation

U.S. forces will join military forces from major South Korean units representing all services, as well as South Korean government participants. In addition, United Nations Command forces from seven nations, including Australia, Canada, Columbia, Denmark, New Zealand, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, will participate in the exercise.

Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission observers will monitor the exercise to ensure it complies with the 1953 armistice agreement, defense officials said. Training exercises like Ulchi Freedom Guardian are carried out in the spirit of the Oct. 1, 1953, South Korean-U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty and in accordance with the armistice, the officials added.

"These exercises also highlight the longstanding military partnership, commitment and enduring friendship between the two nations, help to ensure peace and security on the peninsula, and reaffirm U.S. commitment to the alliance," the defense officials said.

News Report: China Concerned by US, Japan’s Remarks on Disputed Senkaku Islands

Beijing expressed concern over the recent joint remarks by Washington and Tokyo, which reaffirmed Japan’s control over the disputed Diaoyu (Senkaku) Islands in the East China Sea, Chinese Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Friday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On Thursday, a meeting between the US and Japanese officials took place in Washington. The sides said they opposed any actions of third parties, which could undermine Japan’s control over the islands and reaffirmed that the Article 5 of the US-Japan security treaty applies to the disputed archipelago.

"The so-called the US-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security is a product of the Cold War and should not be used as a support for Japan's illegal claims or to undermine China's territorial sovereignty and other relevant interests … The Chinese side strongly urges the US and Japan to adopt a responsible attitude on the relevant issue, stop make erroneous remarks and do more things that are conducive to regional peace and stability," the statement, attributed to the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman, read.

News Report: India Begins Major Overhauling of Country’s Coastal Security

With a coastline of more than 7500 kilometers, India aims to equip its coast guards with 175 ships & 110 aircraft in next five years.

New Delhi (Sputnik) – After a delay of more than a decade to fill the gaps in coastal security, India has finally expedited the process to add more ships, aircraft, and high-speed interceptor boats to Indian Coast Guard, the country’s smallest armed force.

On Thursday, private defense firm Larsen & Toubro (L&T) delivered two more high-speed interceptor Ships (C-433 and C-434) to Indian Coast Guard near Chennai, seven months ahead of contractual schedule. The boats are part of a $200 million deal under which the company has to deliver 54 interceptors.

“Made of aluminum alloy hull with waterjet propulsion, these ships have a speed of over 45 knots with excellent maneuverability and are ideally suited for the high interception,” L&T said in a statement.

News Report: India-China Flag Meeting Inconclusive; Beijing Won't Acknowledge Latest Scuffle

As the protracted standoff at Doklam shows no respite, fresh clash among soldiers at other areas strongly signal an escalation of conflict between the two south Asian powers.

New Delhi (Sputnik) – Senior army officials of India & China held a crucial flag meeting on Wednesday to discuss the way out of the ongoing stand-off at Doklam. The alleged attempt by China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to breach the de-factor border at Ladakh was also discussed during the meeting.

Indian defense ministry officials refused to divulge details of the meeting, but sources told Sputnik that the meeting at Chusul in Leh district of Jammu and Kashmir in India was inconclusive. There was a loose agreement for “strengthening of existing mechanisms to maintain peace and tranquility.”

News Story: Japan seeks new missile defense ‘assets,’ increased cyber cooperation

CGI of an Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System
By: Aaron Mehta

WASHINGTON — Japan is seeking new missile defense assets in light of the North Korean threat, while also looking at ways to expand a 2015 defense agreement with the United States.

Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera, speaking Thursday at the State Department following a meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, said that the threat from Pyongyang is driving Japan to look to accelerate certain defense decisions.

Among those changes is an increased focus on missile defense capabilities. In his opening comments, Onodera, speaking through a translator, said “we will continue to promote cooperation in ballistic missile defense, including acquisition of new assets,” a signal that the Japanese government would consider adding to its defensive capabilities.

While nothing official was announced during the 2+2, the Japan Times newspaperreported shortly before the event that officials expect to procure an Aegis Ashore missile defense system. The same report, citing government sources, said the Ministry of Defense is pushing to speed up planned procurement of another Aegis destroyed.

Japan currently has missile defense systems aboard its Aegis class ships, along with Patriot systems on the ground. If Japan sought the Aegis Ashore system, it would join Romania and, by 2018, Poland as partner nations using that design.

Read the full story at DefenseNews

News Story: India approves deals for Apache helicopters, maritime engines

AH-64 Apache Attack Helicopter
By: Vivek Raghuvanshi

NEW DELHI ― The Indian government this week cleared long-pending deals for six Boeing Apache attack helicopters and two Zorya marine engines from Ukraine.

The two projects were cleared by the Defence Acquisition Council, which is headed by Defence Minister Arun Jaitley. Formal contracts will be awarded in the next four to six months, a Ministry of Defence official said.

Under the deal, the Indian Army will acquire six Apache attack helicopters for about $650 million. They will be equipped with Hellfire and Stinger missiles.

The Army, which currently has no attack helicopters as part of its inventory, requires 39 Apache helicopters, but the Defence Acquisition Council only cleared six, the MoD official noted.

In 2012, Boeing was awarded a $1.3 billion order for 22 Apache AH-64D helicopters for the Indian Air Force. The deliveries will begin mid-2017 and will include 812 AGM-114L-3 Hellfire Longbow missiles, 542 AGM-114R-3 Hellfire II missiles, 245 Stinger Block I-92H missiles and 12 AN/APG-78 fire-control radars.

Read the full story at DefenseNews

News Story: DPRK slams South Korean president for north policy

PYONGYANG, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Friday slammed South Korean President Moon Jae-in for his policy towards the north and his close cooperation with the United States.

It is the first time for DPRK to make Moon personally responsible for his handling of the north-south relations since he came to power about 100 days ago.

The official daily Rodong Sinmun criticized the South Korean leader, who in a Tuesday speech asserted that Seoul's "big challenge at present" is an "issue of the north's nukes and missile."

Moon made the speech on the occasion of marking the 72nd anniversary of the liberation of Korea from Japanese rule.

The newspaper accused Moon of intending to "kick the buck for the escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula to the DPRK and carry out his treacherous 'north policy' with the backing of outsiders."

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Japan's Abe holds talks with top U.S. military officer

TOKYO, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held talks Friday with the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff on Japan-U.S. alliance and regional tensions.

Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford told Abe at the meeting that the bilateral alliance between the two countries remained solid.

"The nature of our bilateral relationship, particularly at the military level, is rock solid," Dunford was quoted as saying.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: China urges Japanese ambassador to India to be discreet on Doklam standoff

BEIJING, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Friday that the Japanese ambassador to India should not wag his tongue too freely on the standoff between China and India in the Dong Lang (Doklam) area.

Spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a routine press briefing that there is no territorial dispute in that area and that the nature of the incident is that Indian troops illegally crossed the already delimited Sikkim section of the China-India boundary into Chinese territory.

Read the full story at Xinhua


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Story Quote: "Hua said, stressing that it is India, not China, that is trying to create trouble and change the status quo."

PacificSentinel: China LYING again!

News Story: China calls on U.S., Japan to stop remarks on Diaoyu (Senkaku) Islands, South China Sea

BEIJING, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson called on the United States and Japan to stop making incorrect remarks on the Diaoyu (Senkaku in Japan) Islands and the South China Sea on Friday.

Media reported that the United States and Japan on Thursday reaffirmed that Article 5 of the U.S.-Japan security treaty applies to China's Diaoyu Islands and expressed grave concerns about the situation in the South China Sea.

In response, spokesperson Hua Chunying said China's position on the Diaoyu Islands and the South China Sea remains consistent and clear, and the Chinese government and its people have unswerving determination and will to safeguard its territorial sovereignty.

The U.S.-Japan security treaty is a product of the Cold War, which should not be used as an excuse for Japan's illegal claims and to harm China's territorial sovereignty and related rights, she said.

Read the full story at Xinhua