Shipping Chaos Sends Japan Manufacturers Home

By Masumi Suga (Bloomberg) Japanese manufacturers are increasingly looking to move offshore operations to their home market, according to a Tokyo Steel Manufacturing Co. executive. The rapidly weakening yen that…

By Masumi Suga (Bloomberg) Japanese manufacturers are increasingly looking to move offshore operations to their home market, according to a Tokyo Steel Manufacturing Co. executive. The rapidly weakening yen that...

Chinese Navy Ship Operating Off of Australia, Canberra Says

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – A People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) intelligence ship is currently operating off the north-west shelf of Australia, the Australian Department of Defence said Friday. Australia’s DoD identified the vessel as China’s Dongdiao-class auxiliary intelligence ship Haiwangxing (792) and released imagery and video of the ship. A graphic of Haiwangxing’s voyage showed […]

People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) Intelligence Collection Vessel Haiwangxing operating off the north-west shelf of Australia. Australian Department of Defence Photo

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – A People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) intelligence ship is currently operating off the north-west shelf of Australia, the Australian Department of Defence said Friday.

Australia’s DoD identified the vessel as China’s Dongdiao-class auxiliary intelligence ship Haiwangxing (792) and released imagery and video of the ship.

A graphic of Haiwangxing’s voyage showed the ship crossed Australia’s exclusive economic zone on the morning of May 6. On Sunday, it was approximately 70 nautical miles off the Harold E. Holt Communications Station, in Exmouth, Western Australia, while a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft monitored the ship.

Harold E. Holt Communications Station provides Very Low Frequency (VLF) communication transmission services for Australian, the United States and Australian-allied submarines.

The Chinese ship continued sailing southwards, and on Monday, it was 150 nautical miles off Exmouth while an RAAF P-8 tracked the intelligence ship. At the same time, HMAS Perth (FFH157) sailed out from port to monitor Haiwangxing but subsequently turned back because the Chinese ship changed its sailing direction on Tuesday morning. Haiwangxing turned north, sailing at a speed of six knots, 125 nautical miles from Exmouth. An RAAF P-8 and an Australian Border Force (ABF) Dash-8 maritime surveillance aircraft monitored the ship.

On Wednesday, Haiwangxing sailed northeast at 12 knots, with the ship approaching as close as 50 nautical miles of the of Harold E. Holt Communication Station, while an RAAF P-8, ABF Dash-8 and ABF patrol vessel ABFC Cape Sorell monitored. Haiwangxing was last spotted on Friday at 6 a.m. local time, approximately 250 nautical miles northwest of Broome Western Australia. An RAAF P-8 and a Maritime Border Command Dash-8 maritime surveillance aircraft monitored the ship on Thursday.

“Australia respects the right of all states to exercise freedom of navigation and overflight in international waters and airspace, just as we expect others to respect our right to do the same. Defence will continue to monitor the ship’s operation in our maritime approaches,” the Australian DoD said in the news release.

Movements of PLAN Dongdiao AGI-792 near Australia May 8-13 2022. Australian Department of Defence Photo

Meanwhile, over in the Philippine Sea, the PLAN’s CNS Liaoning (16) carrier strike group continues flight operations, according to the Japanese Ministry of Defense’s daily news releases this week. Liaoning; Type 055 destroyer CNS Nanchang (101); Type 052D destroyers CNS Xining (117), CNS Urumqi (118) and CNS Chengdu (120); Type 052C destroyer CNS Zhengzhou (151); Type 054A frigate CNS Xiangtan (531); and Type 901 fast combat support ship CNS Hulunhu (901) sailed into the Pacific Ocean via the Miyako Strait earlier this month.

The carrier and ships in its CSG performed a series of flight operations four days in a row this week. On 9 a.m. Sunday local time, Liaoning, the two Type 052D destroyers and Hulunhu were sighted 160 kilometers south of Ishigaki Island conducting flight operations with its embarked J-15 fighter aircraft and Z-18 helicopters from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., according to news releases from Japan’s Joint Staff Office.

On Monday, the same ships were seen at 10 a.m. sailing 200 kilometers south of Ishigaki Island, performing flight operations from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. On Tuesday at 9 a.m., the group was sailing 310 kilometers south of Ishigaki Island, performing flight operations from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. On Wednesday at 9 a.m., Liaoning and two Type 052D destroyers were seen 160 kilometers south of Ishigaki Island, again performing flight operations from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) destroyer helicopter carrier JS Izumo (DDH-183) has tracked the Liaoning carrier strike group since May 2. Japanese destroyer JS Suzutsuki (DD-117) took over the task of tracking the Liaoning carrier group on Tuesday.

A People’s Liberation Army Navy J-15 carrier fighter takes off from Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning (16) on May 7, 2022. Japanese MoD Photo

Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) fighter aircraft scrambled each day in response to the J-15 launches, according to the news release. In a Tuesday press conference, Japan Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said the Chinese carried out a total of 100 sorties with its J-15s and Z-18s from Liaoning between May 3 and May 8.

While the activities of the PLAN carrier group were likely aimed at improving its aircraft carriers’ operational capabilities and its ability to carry out operations away from home, Kishi said Japan is concerned about the operations given that they were happening close to the Ryuku Islands and Taiwan. The Japanese Ministry of Defense will continue to monitor such activities, he said.

The Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group is also operating in the Philippine Sea. Earlier this week, the CSG conducted deterrence missions in the Philippine Sea by performing long-range maritime strike with refueling help from Pacific Air Forces KC-135 Stratotankers, according to a U.S. 7th Fleet news release issued Friday.

An F/A-18E Super Hornet, assigned to the “Tophatters” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 14, prepares to make an arrested landing on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) in the Philippine Sea on May 12, 2022. U.S. Navy Photo

USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72), destroyers USS Spruance (DDG-111) and USS Dewey (DDG-105), and cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG-53) also performed multi-domain training to defend the carrier, according to the news release.

“Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group is a powerful presence in the Philippine Sea that serves as a deterrent to aggressive or malign actors and supports a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Rear Adm. J.T. Anderson, the commander of carrier strike group Three, said in the release. “There is no better way to strengthen our combat-credible capabilities than to work alongside other joint forces to demonstrate our commitment to sovereignty, the region, and a rules-based international order.”

Chinese Carrier Strike Group Continues Drills Near Japan

China’s aircraft carrier CNS Liaoning (16) has been launching fighters near Japan since last week all the while being shadowed by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer helicopter carrier JS Izumo (DDH-183), according to Japanese forces.Liaoning, together with the Type 055 destroyer CNS Nanchang (101), Type 052D destroyers CNS Xining (117), CNS Urumqi (118) and […]

A People’s Liberation Army Navy J-15 carrier fighter takes off from Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning (16) on May 7, 2022. Japanese MoD Photo

China’s aircraft carrier CNS Liaoning (16) has been launching fighters near Japan since last week all the while being shadowed by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer helicopter carrier JS Izumo (DDH-183), according to Japanese forces.Liaoning, together with the Type 055 destroyer CNS Nanchang (101), Type 052D destroyers CNS Xining (117), CNS Urumqi (118) and CNS Chengdu (120), Type 052C destroyer CNS Zhengzhou (151), Type 054A frigate CNS Xiangtan (531) and Type 901 fast combat support ship CNS Hulunhu (901), sailed into the Pacific Ocean via the Miyako Strait on May 2.

Chinese officials said the Liaoning Carrier Strike Group was training in the western Pacific Ocean and that it was a routine training event organized by the Chinese navy, according to its annual plan and in line with relevant international law and international practice, and not targeting any party.

The JSO has issued daily releases on the PLAN carrier group activities since May 4. The Japanese say Liaoning, along with destroyers Xining, Urumqi, Chengdu, Zhengzhou, frigate Xiangtan and combat support ship Hulunhu were sighted at noon on May 3 sailing around 160 km southwest of Oki Daito island, and flight operations of embarked J-15 fighters and Z-18 helicopters had been carried out from noon until 6 p.m. Liaoning together with destroyers Nanchang, Xining, Urumqi and Chengdu were then seen at noon on May 4 sailing around 230km Southwest of Okinawa. Flight operations were carried out from noon until 6 p.m. that day.

On May 5, Liaoning sailed with destroyers Nanchang, Xining, Urumqi and Chengdu and combat support ship Hulunhu 320 km southeast of Miyako Island, and flight operations were conducted from 2-8 p.m.

Chinese Carrier Strike Group Operations on May 7, 2022. Japanese MoD Image

The six ships sailed 170 km south of Ishigaki Island at 9 a.m May 6 with flight operations from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. On Saturday, Liaoning was sighted with two of the Type 052D destroyers and Hulunhu 150km south of Ishigaki Island at 9 a.m. with flight operations carried out from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) fighter aircraft scrambled in response to the launches of the J-15s.

In December last year, the Liaoning, along with other PLAN ships, conducted flight operations in the vicinities of Kita Daito and Oki Daito islands in the Pacific Ocean.

While these activities are permissible under international norms, the Japanese government have raised concerns about the proximity of the activities in Pacific to Japan, as well as North Korea’s launch of ballistic missiles and the Russian and Chinese separate and joint naval and air activities near the country.

The Japanese government plans to increase its military capabilities as part of its response to increased concerns.

The Russian Pacific Fleet announced //when?// that the corvette RFS Gremyashchy (337) carried out a successful firing of the Otvet anti-submarine missile system at an underwater training target in the Sea of Japan. The Russians deployed 15 other ships to support the firing.

A People’s Liberation Army Navy J-15 carrier fighter takes off from Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning (16) during a December 2021 deployment. PLAN Photo

Moscow has been holding a number of live firing from the Sea of Japan in recent months, the last being on April 14 where submarines RFS Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky (B-274) and RFS Volkhov 3M14K Calibre (SS-N-30A) cruise missiles (B-603)

Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi and U.S Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin held a meeting at the Pentagon on May 4 where both defense chiefs reaffirmed their commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific and pledged to promote the norms, values, and institutions that underpin the rules-based international order, according to a statement released by the Japan Defense Ministry.

Austin and Kishi discussed China’s behavior in the Indo-Pacific region and its coercive actions in the East and South China Seas. They both affirmed that that any change to the status quo by force in the Indo-Pacific region cannot be condoned, and that both countries would continue to strengthen cooperation to deter and, if necessary, respond to such actions.

Austin affirmed that the Senkaku Islands are under the administration of Japan, and that Article V of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty applies to the Senkaku Islands. Austin also expressed his opposition to any unilateral attempts to undermine the administration of Japan. Both defense chiefs also reiterated the importance of peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait.

Along with condemning Russia’s aggression towards Ukraine, both leaders stated that the U.S and Japan will work together to support Ukraine as much as possible. Austin and Kishi agreed that North Korea’s repeated missile launches and nuclear development are a serious threat against peace and stability of the region and the international community, and that such actions cannot be tolerated. Both pledged to advance close bilateral and trilateral cooperation among Japan, the United States, and the Republic of Korea in response to North Korean provocations.

Chinese Carrier Liaoning Strike Group Steaming Near Japan, Says MoD

The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) dispatched an eight-ship carrier group, led by the carrier CNS Liaoning (16) and accompanied by five destroyers, a frigate and a replenishment ship, into the Pacific Ocean via transit of the Miyako Strait Monday, marking the first time since December 2021 that the carrier has operated in the area. […]

Chinese ships operate off the coast of Japan on May 2, 2022. Japanese MoD Images

The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) dispatched an eight-ship carrier group, led by the carrier CNS Liaoning (16) and accompanied by five destroyers, a frigate and a replenishment ship, into the Pacific Ocean via transit of the Miyako Strait Monday, marking the first time since December 2021 that the carrier has operated in the area.

The Joint Staff Office (JSO) of the Japan Self Defense Force (JSDF) issued a release Monday on the group’s passage along with photographs of the ships in the group, identifying them by class and pennant number.

Along with Liaoning, the ships in the group are the Type 055 destroyer CNS Nanchang (101), Type 052D destroyers CNS Xining (117), CNS Urumqi (118) and CNS Chengdu (120), Type 052C destroyer CNS Zhengzhou (151), Type 054A frigate CNS Xiangtan (531) and Type 901 fast combat support ship CNS Hulunhu (901).

Liaoning together with Nanchang, Xining, Urumqi, Chengdu and Hulunhu were sighted sailing south in an area 350km west on the uninhabited Danjo Islands in the East China Sea around midnight Sunday, according to the Joint Staff Office’s release. At 6 p.m. Sunday, Xiangtan was sighted sailing eastward in an area 480km northwest of Okinawa. On Monday, Zhengzhou was sighted traveling south, 160km north of Taisho Island. The PLAN ships subsequently sailed south together through the Miyako Strait.

The Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) destroyer helicopter carrier JS Izumo (DDH-183) together with JMSDF P-1 Maritime Patrol Aircraft of Fleet Air Wing 4, based at Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Honshu, and P-3C Maritime Patrol Aircraft of Fleet Air Wing 5, based out of Naha Air Base, Okinawa, conducted monitoring of the PLAN ships, according to the release. Liaoning conducted helicopter operations while in the East China Sea.

Chinese naval spokesperson Gao Xiucheng said the Liaoning group is conducting training in the western Pacific Ocean and that it was a routine training organized by the Chinese navy, according to its annual plan and in line with relevant international law and international practice, China’s Xinhua news agency reported Tuesday.In December last year, Liaoning along with other PLAN ships conducted flight operations in the vicinities of Kita Daito and Oki Daito islands in the Pacific Ocean. Japan now plans to have a mobile radar station based on Kita Daito Island and is considering moving towards permanent radar stations on the Daito Islands to monitor foreign naval activities and transits in the area.

A People’s Liberation Army Navy J-15 carrier fighter takes off from Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning (16) during a December 2021 deployment. PLAN Photo

Littoral Combat Ship USS Jackson (LCS-6) is now in Singapore at Changi Naval Base, arriving on Tuesday to carry out a planned maintenance availability (PMAV) period while in Singapore, according to a 7th Fleet release

“Having Jackson once again using Changi Naval Base as the site for maintenance is a significant milestone and gives operational commanders increased adaptability for maintaining and operating ships,” said Rear Adm. Chris Engdahl, commander, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 7/Task Force 76 in the release. “We are thankful for our defense relationship with the Republic of Singapore and their willingness to host our ships as we strive toward a common goal of ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

The Royal Navy Offshore Patrol Vessel HMS Spey (P234) arrived in Singapore Friday at Sembawang Naval Installation to join sister ship HMS Tamar (P233). Both Royal Navy vessels are on a five-year deployment to the Indo-Pacific region as part of an overall UK policy to strengthen its presence in the region.

Japan’s Coast Guard Intensifies Search For Missing Tour Boat

by David Dolan (Reuters) Ten people found so far from a Japanese tour boat missing off the country’s northern coast have been confirmed dead, the coast guard said on Sunday. The boat…

by David Dolan (Reuters) Ten people found so far from a Japanese tour boat missing off the country’s northern coast have been confirmed dead, the coast guard said on Sunday. The boat...

Japan’s Foreign Minister Promises A Stronger Military During Visit To US Aircraft Carrier

ABOARD USS LINCOLN, April 23 (Reuters) – Japan’s foreign minister promised his country would bolster its military to help the United States maintain regional security during a visit on Saturday to a U.S. aircraft…

ABOARD USS LINCOLN, April 23 (Reuters) – Japan’s foreign minister promised his country would bolster its military to help the United States maintain regional security during a visit on Saturday to a U.S. aircraft...

Russian, Chinese Ships Steaming Near Japan as Carrier Lincoln Operates Near Korea

KULA LUMPUR – Three Russian warships and three Russian civilian vessels transited the Tsushima Straits on Tuesday, while a Chinese surveillance ship sailed from the East China Sea into the Pacific Ocean on Wednesday, according to releases posted on Wednesday by the Joint Staff Office of the Japan Self-Defense Force. The three Russian Navy ships […]

An E-2D Advanced Hawkeye landing aboard USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72). US Navy Photo

KULA LUMPUR – Three Russian warships and three Russian civilian vessels transited the Tsushima Straits on Tuesday, while a Chinese surveillance ship sailed from the East China Sea into the Pacific Ocean on Wednesday, according to releases posted on Wednesday by the Joint Staff Office of the Japan Self-Defense Force.

The three Russian Navy ships are destroyer RFS Admiral Panteleyev (548), an Altay-class replenishment ship and rescue tug SB-408. The JSDF identified the civilian ships as pipe-laying ship Akademik Cherskiy, offshore supply ship Ivan Sidorenko and offshore supply ship Ostap Sheremeta. All three Russian civilian ships are sanctioned by the United States over to their involvement in the Russian Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline under the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) Specially Designated Foreign Nationals (SDN) list. Work on the pipeline had been completed in September last year and it’s likely the civilian ships are now in the Pacific for new assignments by their owners.

The Russian ships were sighted 80 kilometers west of the Danjo Islands at 9 a.m. on Tuesday by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) and subsequently went north through the Tsushima Strait and sailed toward the Sea of Japan, according to the news release. The JSDF added that Admiral Panteleyev had previously been sighted on March 24 going southwest through the Tsushima Strait. P-1 maritime patrol aircraft of Fleet Air Wing 4 based at Naval Air Station Atsugi and fast attack craft JS Shirataka (PG-829) monitored the Russian ships.

In a second news release, the JSO said People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) Dongdiao-class surveillance ship 795 had been sighted traveling southeast in the sea, 160 kilometers northwest of Amami Oshima island, Kagoshima Prefecture and subsequently sailed east between Amami Oshima and Yokoate island before traveling into the Pacific Ocean. P-1 maritime patrol aircraft of Fleet Air Wing 1 based at Kanoya Air Field and the replenishment ship JS Hamana (AOE-424) monitored the PLAN ship, according to the release.

Meanwhile, U.S. aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) is now operating in the Philippine Sea after finishing exercises with all three arms of the JSDF that began on April 8. Abraham Lincoln, cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG-52) and destroyer USS Spruance (DDG-111), with JMSDF destroyers JS Inazuma (DD-105) and JS Kongo (DDG-173), conducted joint drills ranging from air warfare exercises to maritime communication operations, according to a U.S. 7th Fleet news release issued Monday.

Chinese Dongdiao surveillance ship (AGI) 794 path through the Tsushima Strait on April 11, 2022. Japanese MoD Images

“Our enduring commitments to our relationships in the Indo-Pacific region continue to grow and blossom through integrated and bilateral at-sea exercises including the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force,” Rear Adm. J. T. Anderson, the commander of Carrier Strike Group 3, said in the release. “These exercises demonstrate our collective combat-credible capabilities while safeguarding our shared interests and values.”

During the exercise, Japan Ground Self-Defense Force CH-47s and troops from the Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade (ARDB) operated off Abraham Lincoln, while a JGSDF AH-64 helicopter conducted deck landing operations on Inazuma.

As the security environment surrounding Japan becomes even more severe, Japan and the United States are always working closely together to ensure the defense of Japan and the peace and security of the region,” Japan Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said of the exercises during his regularly scheduled press conference on Tuesday. “Through this training, we believe that Japan and the United States have always been fully prepared to prevent unilateral attempts to change the status quo in the region and destabilize it by force.”

Landing platform dock USS John P. Murtha (LPD-26) is also operating in the Philippine Sea to perform routine operations, according to a Pentagon news release. Meanwhile, expeditionary support base USS Miguel Keith (ESB-5) is on a scheduled visit to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni and submarine USS Alexandria (SSN-757) arrived at Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka on Monday for a scheduled port visit.

Japan Monitoring Russian and Chinese Military Activity in Sea of Japan, Defense Minister Says

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Japan is monitoring the increased Russian and Chinese military activity around its country, the Japanese defense minister said Friday. The Japanese Ministry of Defense and Japanese Self-Defense Force will handle all measures taken against Japanese territory, territorial waters and airspace in accordance with international law and the JSDF law, said Defense […]

Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Arthur Renteria, from Carson, California, stands starboard life buoy watch on the fantail aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) as Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Murasame-class destroyer JS Inazuma (DD 105) sails in formation during a U.S.-Japan bilateral exercise in the Sea of Japan on April 12, 2022. U.S. Navy Photo

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Japan is monitoring the increased Russian and Chinese military activity around its country, the Japanese defense minister said Friday.

The Japanese Ministry of Defense and Japanese Self-Defense Force will handle all measures taken against Japanese territory, territorial waters and airspace in accordance with international law and the JSDF law, said Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi.

Kishi spoke during the regularly held post-Cabinet press conference at the Japanese Ministry of Defense, where he said the Japan Air Self-Defense Force scrambled against foreign aircraft 1,004 times in 2021, a record high since 2016, when it carried out 1,168 scrambles.

Out of last year’s figures, 722 of them involved Chinese aircraft, while 266 involved Russian aircraft. Kishi did not disclose which other countries made up the balance, but said the number of scrambles against Chinese aircraft had increased by 260 in comparison with the 2020 figures, while scrambles against Russia were about the same, with 258 in 2020.

The increasing number of China’s activities, coupled with the lack of transparency regarding its defense policy and military, has become a strong concern for the security of the region, including Japan and the international community, Kishi said.

Kishi told the media that he would not make a definitive statement on Russia’s intentions in launching 3M14K Calibre (SS-N-30A) cruise missiles from submarines in the Sea of Japan, but noted that the two submarines conducting the launch were suspected to be operating in the Far East since November of last year. He said the launches were an “intention to show the modernization of naval power domestically and internationally even in the current situation.”

“In any case, in recent years, the activities of the Russian military, including the deployment of the latest equipment and exercises/training, have tended to become more active around Japan,” Kishi added.

On Thursday, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced the launching of the cruise missiles from submarines RFS Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky (B-274) and RFS Volkhov (B-603) in the Sea of Japan and said the missiles successfully hit their target, a mock surface ship, though it did not disclose the location of the target. Fifteen warships and support ships, along with aircraft with the Russian Pacific Fleet, took part in the exercise, according to the Russian Ministry of Defense.

Volkhov previously fired a of 3M14K Calibre (SS-N-30A) cruise missile from the Sea of Japan against a coastal target 1,000 kilometers away in January. Both Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and Volkhov, together with the corvette RFS Gremyashchiy (337), joined the Russian Pacific Fleet in November 2021, having previously been assigned to the Russian Baltic Fleet.

Asked whether North Korea would conduct additional ballistic missile launches and nuclear tests, Kishi said Pyongyang has been launching ballistic missiles frequently since the beginning of this year, and that since North Korea has turned its back on the international community, it’s possible it will take further provocative actions in the future. But the Japan Ministry of Defense will continue to work closely with the United States and other countries in regard to North Korea’s military activities, he added.

The U.S. currently has the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group operating in the Sea of Japan as a deterrence against North Korea. The strike group conducted bilateral training with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) and the JASDF on Tuesday.

Cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG-53) and destroyer USS Spruance (DDG-111), from the Lincoln CSG, conducted additional exercises on Wednesday and Thursday with JMSDF destroyer JS Kongō (DDG-173). The training included ballistic missile information sharing, according to a JMSDF Friday news release and a social media post.

China has been monitoring the Lincoln CSG’s activities in the Sea of Japan with its Dongdiao-class surveillance vessel number 794. The surveillance ship was seen traveling southwest, about 160 kilometers north-northeast of Tsushima, at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, according to a JSDF and Joint Staff Office news release issued Friday.

After that, the ship sailed southward in the Tsushima Strait toward the East China Sea. The ship was the same one reported traveling north in the Tsushima Strait on Monday, the JSO said, adding that Japanese destroyer JS Inazuma (DD-105) and P-1 maritime patrol aircraft from Naval Air Station Atsugi had monitored the Chinese ship. Inazuma had taken part in the exercise with the Lincoln CSG on Tuesday.

Panel: Beijing Closely Tracking Global Reaction to Ukraine Invasion

China’s Xi Jinping is closely monitoring what is happening to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s reputation following the invasion of Ukraine, retired Marine Corps Gen. James Jones said Monday. Xi is looking at how the world views Putin as a gauge of global reaction he might face should Xi move against Taiwan, Jones argued. Jones, who […]

Xi Jinping President of the People’s Republic of China speaks at a United Nations Office in Geneva on Jan. 18, 2017. UN Photo

China’s Xi Jinping is closely monitoring what is happening to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s reputation following the invasion of Ukraine, retired Marine Corps Gen. James Jones said Monday.
Xi is looking at how the world views Putin as a gauge of global reaction he might face should Xi move against Taiwan, Jones argued.

Jones, who also served as the national security adviser and top commander in Europe, said the reaction could range from hailing Putin as a world leader who is “welcomed once again to the Munich Security Conference” to condemning him as a war criminal.

“I think the Taiwanese are as willing to defend their homeland” as the Ukrainians have been, he said.

Xi and Putin “have concluded the U.S. commitment to our regional relationships are not what they used to be” when they signed a cooperative agreement package during this year’s Olympics in Beijing, prior to the invasion. With Russian forces stalled, Xi is “walking a tightrope” in his relationship with Putin, said Michelle Flournoy, former civilian policy chief at the Pentagon.

At the Atlantic Council online forum, Jones and Flournoy said in both cases – Ukraine and Taiwan – it is a struggle between democracies and authoritarian rule. The implications of the outcomes in that struggle will be felt in the Middle East, Africa, the Western Hemisphere and in India, which is a United States partner in the Indo-Pacific. Many of those nations chose not to back the U.S. in its United Nations condemnation of the Kremlin’s unprovoked attack on Kyiv. Multiple abstained although the condemnation resolution passed.

Jones said the U.S. is not helping itself with countries – like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and others – by not having permanent ambassadors in place to show American engagement with them on economic, security and diplomatic fronts. To them, the lack of ambassadorial presence demonstrates “a void of commitment” by Washington. Flournoy added the lack of U.S. presence at meetings of regional organizations like the Association of South East Asian Nations [ASEAN] allows Chinese influence to grow unchecked.

Looking specifically at Taiwan, Flournoy said, “we really need to help with an asymmetric defense” like Ukraine has used to so far to stall the Russian advance. This would be a shift away from selling Taipei large platforms like F-16 fighters to having them build-up their anti-ship, anti-aircraft and anti-tank missile defenses and maritime defenses. The island would become “a little porcupine” to overcome and slow down an invasion across the Taiwan strait. If others, like the U.S., are to help, “they need time to arrive.”

Flournoy, who recently returned from a trip to Taiwan, said president Tsai Ing-wen has emphasized the readiness of its active forces and is paying new attention to improved reserve forces. At the same time, Taipei has created a mobilization agency to use civilians and their skills in the case of natural disasters and a possible invasion from the mainland. She noted the success the Taiwanese have had in relying on volunteerism to augment its police and fire services.

Both said there was no need to abandon “strategic ambiguity” when it comes to the defense of Taiwan. But, “frankly Beijing is going to pay a lot more attention to our actions than our words,” Flournoy added, like helping Taipei build strong invasion defenses.

“I put the responsibility of de-escalation [of tensions over Taiwan and in the South China Sea] on Beijing.” The message being sent is: “We’re going to do [Freedom of Navigation operations] when you threaten Taiwan” with air and maritime incursions, said Flournoy.

Xi’s “preferred approach is to create so much economic leverage” over Taiwan that there would be no resistance to its total alignment with Beijing. She cited China’s increased economic ties with the island in key industries there like investing in semi-conductors, encouraging Taiwanese businesses to operate across the strait and the increased recruiting of young Taiwanese to work on the mainland for higher pay and more career opportunities.

Taiwan is not the only entity or nation seeing increased Chinese business interest in its activities.

China’s economic influence, especially through its Belt and Road infrastructure initiative and regional trade pact, is widely felt across the Indo-Pacific. Washington needs to create a “counter-vortex” of economic investment across the region, Jones said. He noted 25 percent of South Korea’s gross domestic product is tied to China and the percentage is growing yearly. “That can affect South Korea’s politics at some point,” he said.

Likewise, China is Japan’s and Australia’s largest trading partner.

President Tsai Ing-wen reviews a Marine Corps battalion in Kaohsiung in July 2020. Ministry of National Defense of the People’s Republic of China

“We want to keep putting meat on the bones of the Quad,” the informal security and economic arrangement between the U.S., Australia, Japan and India, Flournoy said. She called for near-term technology wins in the Australia-United Kingdom-United States [AUKUS] agreement. “We can help with that” in New Delhi’s case in wooing India away from its reliance on Russian military systems that date back to the Cold War and still require spare parts to keep the Chinese at bay in the Himalayas.

The military sales relationship, in part, explains India’s abstention in condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Flournoy said citing new reports.

Both agreed applying sanctions to Beijing in the case of an invasion of Taiwan would be far more difficult than with Russia because China’s economy is much bigger, more diverse and globally engaged, including with the U.S., than Moscow’s reliance on energy exports to boost its GDP.

Russian Amphibious Sealift Ships Sail Towards Europe

by Tim Kelly (Reuters) Japan’s military said on Thursday that it had spotted four large Russian amphibious warfare ships sailing close to its islands as they traveled west, possibly towards Europe. Pictures…

by Tim Kelly (Reuters) Japan’s military said on Thursday that it had spotted four large Russian amphibious warfare ships sailing close to its islands as they traveled west, possibly towards Europe. Pictures...