1. Sixty Minutes: War with China
2. China stepping up preparedness for military combat
3. Canada left out of security deal with US, Australia, UK.
4. China is expanding its conventional and nuclear weapons arsenal
5. Time is running out for the West to stop China’s global takeover
1) The television show Sixty Minutes has a new report:
“War with China: Are we closer than we think?”
CHINA’S leader Xi Jinping says the country is stepping up preparedness for military combat, in what will be seen as a chilling warning to the globe.
Children appear to take part in mortar practice
By Rebecca Perrin, Wed, May 27, 2020, Express
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The statement yesterday was released by Reuters and comes after China has suffered a number of attacks over the secretive states handling of the coronavirus crisis and the situation in Hong Kong. Xi Jinping made the comments when attending a plenary meeting of the delegation of the People’s Liberation Army and People’s Armed Police Force on the sidelines of the annual session of parliament.
It comes after China Daily reported Xi Jinping urged his troops to fully understand, uphold and implement his party’s theories on building a strong military as well as its defence strategies and policies. China last week announced it was increasing its military spending by six percent, taking the annual budget to £146bn.
Premier Li Keqiang pledged the armed forces, the world’s largest, should not be worse of as China’s economy is battered by the invisible killer disease.
State media reported Xi Jinping stressed China would strengthen its armed forces while still controlling coronavirus.
China warning: Xi says the nation is preparing for military combat (Image: EXPRESS)
China news: Xi Jinping says the country is stepping up preparedness for military combat (Image: GETTY)
The coronavirus has worsened already-poor ties between Beijing and Washington.
The Ministry of State Security has warned in an internal report that China faced hostility because of the coronavirus outbreak that could tip relations with the US into armed confrontation.
Collin Koh, a research fellow at Singapore’s Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, said Beijing senses an urgent need to bolster its defences.
Mr Koh said: “A rollback on military modernisation, especially in numerical terms expressed in the defence budget, could send a wrong signal to the domestic and external audiences,” Koh said.
China news: Xi Jinping has sent a warning to the world (Image: GETTY )
China routinely says spending for defensive purposes is a comparatively low percentage of its GDP and that critics want to keep the country down.
It gives only a raw figure for military expenditure, with no breakdown. Many diplomats and foreign experts believe the country under-reports the real number.
Japan Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on Friday: “China continues to announce big defence spending increases and we urge it to be transparent about that spending, its military strength and national defence policy.”
China is bolstering its military defence (Image: GETTY )
China has come under fire over its handling of the coronavirus (Image: GETTY )
China’s reported defence budget in 2020 is about a quarter of the US defence budget last year, which stood at $686 billion.
The Pentagon used language similar to what it has said for years, saying China omitted “several major categories of expenditure including research and development (R&D), domestic security, and foreign military procurement.”
John Supple, a Pentagon spokesman, said: “China’s behaviour is concerning, especially in the absence of greater transparency in both military spending and the intent behind its actions.”
US vs China military power (Image: EXPRESS)
China has long argued that it needs to close the gap with the US.
Beijing, for example, has two aircraft carriers, compared with 12 for America.
The country is on the brink of a trade war with Australia after it refused to back down on demands for an inquiry into how coronavirus emerged in China and how the Government controlled its spread.
Meanwhile, China sparked protests in Hong Kong over the weekend when it announced on Thursday that it would directly enact laws to tackle secession, subversion, terrorism and foreign interference in the city.
The legislation, which the sources said remains subject to change, would also see both central and city government security agencies set up in Hong Kong.
Canada left out of security deal between U.S., Australia and U.K. Trudeau unconcerned
Trudeau says the deal is primarily about Australia’s efforts to acquire a fleet of nuclear submarines, an ambition Canada doesn’t share
WASHINGTON — The federal government insists a new intelligence deal between three key allies won’t diminish Canada’s ability to defend its own interests in the Indo-Pacific region.
The White House is billing the so-called AUKUS agreement with Australia and the United Kingdom as a game-changing security partnership.17 best online deals in the Canadian retail space right now.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the agreement will have no impact on the Five Eyes partnership, which comprises the three AUKUS players, plus Canada and New Zealand.
Trudeau says the deal is primarily about Australia’s efforts to develop and acquire a fleet of nuclear submarines, an ambition Canada doesn’t share, the Canadian Press reports.
A spokesman says both Defence Minister Harjiit Sajjan and Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau discussed the agreement Wednesday with their Australian and U.K. counterparts.
Brett Bruen, a consultant and former U.S. diplomat, says Canada may want to keep its distance to avoid aggravating existing tensions with China, which has denounced the new deal for intensifying an arms race in the region.
Under the partnership, announced by President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, the United States and Britain will provide Australia with the technology and capability to deploy nuclear-powered submarines.
The United States and its allies are looking for ways to push back against China’s growing power and influence, particularly its military buildup, pressure on Taiwan and deployments in the contested South China Sea.
The three western leaders did not mention China by name in Wednesday’s announcement and senior Biden administration officials, who briefed reporters ahead of time, said the partnership was not aimed at countering Beijing.
However, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said the trio were “severely damaging regional peace and stability, intensifying an arms race, and damaging international nuclear non-proliferation efforts.”
We all recognize the imperative of ensuring peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific over the long term
Countries should not build partnerships that target third countries, he told a regular briefing in Beijing on Thursday.
“China will closely watch the situation’s development.”
In a three-way virtual announcement, the leaders stressed Australia will not be fielding nuclear weapons but using nuclear propulsion systems for the vessels, to guard against threats.
“We all recognize the imperative of ensuring peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific over the long term,” said Biden.
“We need to be able to address both the current strategic environment in the region, and how it may evolve because the future of each of our nations and indeed the world depends on a free and open Indo-Pacific enduring and flourishing in the decades ahead,” he said.
Biden also appeared to forget Scott Morrison’s name during the press briefing, as he thanked the U.K. and Australian prime ministers for their role in the partnership.
After Morrison and Johnson finished speaking, Biden turned to face the screen where Johnson appeared and said: “Thank you Boris.”
However, when he turned to do the same for Morrison, Biden appeared to fumble a bit. “I want to thank, uh, that fella down under. Thank you very much pal, I appreciate it, Mr. Prime Minister,” he said.
Morrison appeared to give an awkward thumbs up in response, before the U.S. president began his own scripted remarks, which included the correct names of the other leaders.
“As Prime Minister Morrison and Prime Minister Johnson said, I want to thank you for this partnership, your vision as we embark together on this strategic mission,” he said.
Morrison said the submarines would be built in the city of Adelaide and Australia would meet all of its nuclear non-proliferation obligations.
Johnson said the pact was not meant to be adversarial towards anyone and it would reduce the costs of Britain’s next generation of nuclear submarines.
“Now that we have created AUKUS we expect to accelerate the development of other advanced defense systems including in cyber, artificial intelligence, quantum computing and undersea capabilities,” Johnson told parliament.
One U.S. official said the partnership was the result of months of engagements by military and political leaders during which Britain – which recently sent an aircraft carrier to Asia – had indicated it wanted to do more in the region.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern welcomed the focus on the Indo-Pacific but said Australia’s nuclear-powered submarines would not be allowed in its territorial waters under a long-standing nuclear-free policy.
Singapore said it had long had relations with Australia, Britain and the United States and hoped their grouping would contribute to peace and stability.
Japan said the three countries’ strengthening of security and defense cooperation was important for peace and security.
A U.S. official briefing before the announcement said Biden had not mentioned the plans “in any specific terms” to Chinese leader Xi Jinping in a call last Thursday, but did “underscore our determination to play a strong role in the Indo-Pacific.”
I am angry and bitter. This isn’t done between allies
U.S. officials said nuclear propulsion would allow the Australian navy to operate more quietly, for longer periods, and provide deterrence across the Indo-Pacific.
The partnership ends Australia’s 2016 deal with French shipbuilder Naval Group to build it a new submarine fleet worth $40 billion to replace its more than two-decades-old Collins submarines, a spokesperson for Morrison told Reuters.
France accused Biden of stabbing it in the back and acting like his predecessor Donald Trump .
“This brutal, unilateral and unpredictable decision reminds me a lot of what Mr Trump used to do,” Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told franceinfo radio. “I am angry and bitter. This isn’t done between allies.”
Naval Group said in a statement that Australia’s decision was a major disappointment.
Biden said the three governments would launch an 18-month consultation period “to determine every element of this program, from workforce, to training requirements, to production timelines” and to ensure full compliance with non-proliferation commitments.
The pact should be a boon for the U.S. defense industry and among the firms that could benefit are General Dynamics Corp and Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc.
This is frankly an exception to our policy in many respects, I do not anticipate that this will be undertaken in other circumstances
General Dynamics’ Electric Boat business does much of the design work for U.S. submarines, but critical subsystems such as electronics and nuclear power plants are made by BWX Technologies Inc
U.S. officials did not give a time frame for when Australia would deploy a nuclear-powered submarine, or how many would be built. They said that since Australia does not have any nuclear infrastructure, it would require a sustained effort over years.
A U.S. official said Washington had shared nuclear propulsion technology only once before – with Britain in 1958 – and added: “This is frankly an exception to our policy in many respects, I do not anticipate that this will be undertaken in other circumstances … We view this as a one-off.”
4. • Expanding arsenal. China is greatly expanding its conventional and nuclear weapons arsenal:
Pentagon Sounds Alarm About China’s Nuclear Weapons Expansion
by Kris Osborn
China will likely double the size of its nuclear stockpile over the next decade.
The Commander of the U.S. military’s nuclear weapons arsenal is expressing serious concerns about the growing weapons threat presented by China’s massive military expansion.
“We are witnessing a strategic breakout by China including explosive growth in modernization in nuclear and conventional forces which can be described as breathtaking. It does not matter why China continues to grow and modernize. They are building the capability to execute any nuclear employment strategy.
China is unconstrained by treaties. Business as usual will not work,” Adm. Charles Richard, the commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, said before an audience at the 2021 Space and Missile Defense Symposium in Huntsville, Alabama.
Richard went on to cite a handful of specific Chinese weapons systems which continue to both expand and cause significant concern. China has a road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launcher able to launch missiles armed with multiple reentry vehicles, DF-26 missiles, Jin-class nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarines armed with new, long-range JL-3 missiles and its H-6 nuclear-armed bomber. China is also rapidly increasing its arsenal of nuclear weapons and improving its nuclear capacity.
There are additional Chinese capacity variables that only compound U.S. concerns about the threat. China has a large and fast-growing number of nuclear weapons to include ICBMs and two nuclear missile fields in Western China, each with 120 missiles, Richard said.
Richard was clear that there are metrics and technological variables far more significant than sheer numbers when it comes to the actual size of a given country’s number of nuclear weapons.
“I caution about a comparison of stockpiles. A nation’s stockpile is a crude measure, as you need delivery systems and range as well,” Richard explained.
Additionally, Richard mentioned the crucial significance of arsenal size and capacity, saying that although the United States now has more ICBMs than China, that margin of difference is rapidly diminishing. The Pentagon’s 2020 China Military Report, for example, specifies that China will likely double the size of its nuclear stockpile over the next decade.
“Mass matters or quantity has a quality all of its own. Does not matter if our stuff is better, if you don’t have enough of them you still lose,” Richard said.
Richard made his comments in the context of deterrence theory and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s call for “integrated deterrence.”
“To achieve integration every domain must be considered,” Richard said.
Finally, Richard concluded his remarks with an interesting reference to what could be called an enduring paradox of deterrence, essentially ensuring massive, devastating destruction with nuclear weapons for the explicit and clear purpose of maintaining peace.
Time is running out for the West to stop China’s global takeover
For decades we have turned a blind eye to Beijing’s crimes and kidded ourselves it won’t take advantage of our weakness
by Edward Lucas, April 24 2020, The Times
Anyone witnessing Xi Jinping’s state visit to London in 2015 would have thought that the Chinese leader came as a conqueror. Officials in distinctive blue track suits marshalled obedient crowds of Chinese expats to wave flags for the visiting president. But it was British police who kept the streets clear of even the tiniest murmur of dissent.
When Shao Jiang, a survivor of the Tiananmen Square massacre, dared to hold up two sheets of A4 paper with the slogans “Democracy Now” and “End Autocracy”, he was bundled away. Along with two Tibetan exiles, he was charged not with a minor public order offence but with conspiracy. This allowed the police to search his home under anti-terrorism powers, seizing his computers. Shortly afterwards, he received a warning from Google that a “state actor” had attempted to access his accounts. That should have been a scandal.
Peaceful protest is a fundamental right in a free country. A police watchdog investigation found evidence of extraordinary pressure exerted by the Chinese authorities on the Metropolitan Police in the run-up to the visit. Indeed, during the talks, the Chinese delegation even threatened to walk out if Shao was not detained. But the arresting officer refused to answer questions about the case and it was dropped for lack of evidence.
The episode reveals a central fact about modern China. The regime in Beijing does not just seek to control its own vast country, it wants to control the way other countries behave, too. Nowhere is off limits.
Recent books have highlighted Chinese pressure in Canada (Claws of the Panda by John Manthorpe) and in Australia (Silent Invasion by Clive Hamilton). Hamilton has co-authored a forthcoming book, Hidden Hand, about the way Chinese power is being exercised in Britain and Europe. Isaac Stone Fish, a leading American China-watcher, is researching the same topic in the US.
The locations differ but the tactics are always the same. China wields its economic clout to reward submissive governments and punish unhelpful ones. It offers generous inducements to friendly China-watchers and freezes out weekend essay. For decades we have turned a blind eye to Beijing’s crimes and kidded ourselves it won’t take advantage of our weakness, says Edward Lucas.
Time is running out for the West to stop China’s global takeover those who ask awkward questions. Anne-Marie Brady, a leading authority on the Chinese propaganda machine, is one of the few critical academics prepared to speak out. When her home and office in New Zealand were mysteriously burgled, police investigations got nowhere. When she tried to give evidence to a parliamentary committee, her testimony was cancelled on spurious procedural grounds.
It is easy to see China not just as confident, capable and determined but unstoppable. This is the contention of Has China Won?, a provocative new book by a Singaporean diplomat and commentator, Kishore Mahbubani.
Written before the coronavirus outbreak, he argues that China is in many respects already ahead of the US, even if America has yet to realise it. China’s 1.3 billion people have a bigger share of global purchasing power than the US. It has a better system of government, greater global popularity and a stronger economy.
On the one hand stands a plutocracy, deluded about its strengths and popularity, enfeebled by its greed, inequality and political dysfunction, and on the other a dynamic meritocracy run by brainy, patriotic long-term thinkers. [I think Mahbubani means the U.S. is the plutocracy and China the meritocracy!]
The examples he provides are striking. When China opened the longest route on its high-speed rail network, from Beijing to the southern commercial hub of Guangzhou, the service took just eight hours. Over a comparable 1,200-mile stretch in the US, between Key West in Florida and New York, the Amtrak service takes 30 hours. That was in 2012.
Since then, American infrastructure has deteriorated further while China’s has soared. China is also gaining the edge in artificial intelligence, robotics, life sciences and space technology. Unlike the US, it does not saddle itself with burdensome defence spending and foreign wars. It buys cheap “carrier-killer” missiles, each of which costs less than one thousandth of the giant warships that America believes vital for its global prestige.
The West was once admired, envied and emulated around the world for the freedom, prosperity and fairness it offered its people. Now, says Mahbubani, it has lost its soft-power advantage. The contrast between Donald Trump’s empty, bombastic “Make America Great Again” and the steely, efficient stewardship of the Chinese Communist Party’s plan for “national rejuvenation” is glaring.
Social President Xi has built up China’s dominance but also been blamed for a number of failures. Yet the US under Barack Obama and Donald Trump, and the West as a whole, have not checked its progress mobility — the heart of the American dream — is worse in the US than in China. Poor people in China get richer every year. In the US, the bottom half of the population has experienced stagnant wages for 30 years. For China, those same three decades have been the most prosperous and stable since 221 BC. [!!]
The US-led alliances that once glued the West together are fraying, while China slowly builds up a network of economic, political and security clients. The economic and cultural conflict between the US and China might not escalate, Mahbubani concedes. And even if it does, the US may win. But China has won the first round, and has done so before many in the West realised that the competition for global supremacy was even under way.
His book, out next week, certainly deserves a careful read. But his thesis is open to attack. The Chinese Communist Party has overreached abroad and is in trouble at home. The West is in a mess but its plight can be fixed. The motto of Chinese diplomacy used to be “hide and bide”. Chinese diplomats could be choleric on occasion, particularly over issues such as Taiwan, Tibet, human rights or territorial disputes in the South China Sea. But their main aim was to project an image of China as a reliable and unthreatening partner. That era is definitely over. The new mantra is “wolf warrior diplomacy”, named after two gung-ho action movies featuring a heroic, Rambo-style Chinese adventurer.
The new tone is confrontational and patronising, reflecting, as the official Global Times newspaper puts it, a changing balance of power: The days when China can be put in a submissive position are long gone. China’s rising status in the world requires it to safeguard its national interests in an unequivocal way. When the West falls short of its ability to uphold its interests, it can only resort to a hysterical hooligan-style diplomacy in an attempt to maintain its waning dignity. As western diplomats fall into disgrace, they are getting a taste of China’s “wolf warrior diplomacy”.
Didi Kirsten Tatlow, a journalist based in Berlin, got a taste of Chinese diplomacy when she moderated a UN human rights meeting in Geneva in 2018. The Chinese participants systematically disrupted the discussion, shouted talking points, intimidated witnesses and refused to identify themselves. “It really knocked me sideways,” she says. “It just didn’t let up. It was very threatening.” Since then her employer has received anonymous emails denouncing her as a racist.
Closer to home a Chinese state TV correspondent, Linlin Kong, was convicted of assault after she slapped a steward at last year’s Conservative Party conference who had tried to stop her disrupting a meeting about democracy in Hong Kong. She claimed to be the victim of hypocrisy and discrimination.
China’s hold over the World Health Organisation is another case in point. The UN health body has been craven in its refusal to criticize any aspect of Chinese health policy, and in its official disdain for Taiwan. For Beijing, the status of the offshore republic is totemic: it must on no account be treated as an independent country. In a startling vignette, Bruce Aylward, a Canadian WHO official, squirmed and pretended not to hear when a journalist from Hong Kong recently dared to ask him about Taiwan’s exemplary response to the pandemic.
China has found that intimidation often works. But it is beginning to stiffen resistance. Relations with the US, which looked so promising a year ago, are icy. Though the trade war has reached an uneasy truce, American politicians are furious with China for stoking conspiracy theories about the coronavirus and for botching the original response, which enabled it to gain a foothold in Wuhan and spread abroad. The anger is bipartisan: Democrats and Republicans vie to sound more hawkish, in some cases verging on racism. As even Mahbubani notes, there is no longer any lobby in the US willing to defend détente with China.
Corporate America is bruised by decades of Chinese state-sponsored intellectual property theft, the protectionist restrictions it faces in China’s domestic market‚ and competition from China’s business champions. Even the EU, which has been jelly-like in its China policy, is stiffening up. This was meant to be the “Year of Europe” in China’s diplomatic calendar: a charm offensive to persuade European countries that co-operation would bring benefits on everything from trade (£600 billion last year) to climate change. It is turning out rather differently.
The crisis sparked by the coronavirus has led to the cancellation of two summits and stalled trade negotiations. A further summit planned for September in Leipzig looks in doubt. If it happens, and if President Xi attends as promised, it threatens to be a showdown over his country’s mischief-making, not a showcase for co-operation.
China’s response to the pandemic, combining public temper tantrums and politicised aid shipments, has sparked alarm bordering on fury in European capitals. The EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, warned its members to be ready for a “struggle for influence” and decried China’s “politics of generosity”. The pandemic has exposed how much Beijing’s thuggish foreign policy has in common with its repressive approach at home. Not only are there signs of a cover-up about the origins of the virus, but the Chinese authorities bullied into silence the doctors who tried to warn about its danger.
China has sprayed disinformation abroad, dodging blame, claiming credit and spreading confusion. The foreign ministry spokesman went so far as to claim that it was a US military delegation that brought Covid-19 to Wuhan.
For years the outside world has been willing to turn a blind eye to human rights abuses in China: the occupation of Tibet, the cultural genocide of the Muslim Uighurs in the province of Xinjiang, the much less-noticed oppression of ethnic Mongolians, the crackdown in Hong Kong, the persecution of the underground Catholic church, and the savage treatment of dissidents.
All this was regrettable, the argument went, but the bigger picture was positive, or at least tolerable. The most important thing was to play for time and not to overreact. That disastrous approach was the hallmark of Barack Obama’s presidency. When China picked on other western countries, America did nothing. Obama shied away from confrontation in the South China Sea, to the point where these vitally important international waters have been turned into a fortified Chinese lake.
Each new transgression of international law could have been met with a firm protest from his administration and decisive countermeasures. Now it is too late: China’s military and naval presence in the disputed region is so strong that countering it is impossible, short of a full-blown military conflict.
Books like Has China Won? make the mistake of exaggerating the Chinese Communist Party’s role in the country’s economic miracle. It is far from being the omnipotent source of prosperity it claims to be. What’s more, China’s 21st-century success story seems to have flipped under Xi’s rule into a catalogue of failures.
Andreas Fulda, a professor at Nottingham University, says: “Xi has lost control of Hong Kong, destroyed the US-China relationship singlehandedly, and now owns Covid-19.” On the domestic front, he adds, “there are so many unresolved issues: the health sector is underfunded, the education sector is corrupt, pension funds are plundered by corruption, and food safety is a scandal. They kick the can down the road. But if you do that with lots of issues, the cans pile up and it only takes one to explode for there to be a chain reaction.”
The West is waking up to the true cost of China-centred globalisation. Oddly, this criticism is coming more from the right than the left, where kneejerk anti-Americanism still blinds many to the obvious. The real issue is not that China is invincible but that the West is divided.
Ten years ago it was possible to see how a rising China could be constrained by a strong international alliance of advanced industrialised democracies. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) would bring together north America and the European Union. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) would do the same for the US and its allies in eastern Asia.
Though the goal was rarely stated publicly, these economic agreements were about far more than stimulating trade by reducing tariff barriers. They were the building blocks of a new global economic governance, which would have touched everything from the 5G network and the future of the internet to environmental standards and protection of intellectual property.
Faced with a united western block with a comparable population — 1.3 billion — and far bigger GDP, China would have had little choice but to engage with the US-led, rules-based international order. But TTIP and the TPP failed, stymied by anti-Americanism in Europe, missteps in Washington, public weariness with the effects of globalisation and a lack of urgency regarding China.
Now we have to try again to rebuild a multilateral economic, political and security international order with enough consent and clout to contain China’s meddling. That will help channel its rise towards co-operation rather than conflict. The task is urgent. The regime in Beijing has not won yet. But unless we wake up to the danger now, it could.