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Posts tagged ‘Liaoning’

China Confirms Near Miss With US Ship in South China Sea.

BEIJING — China Wednesday confirmed an incident between a Chinese naval vessel and a U.S. warship in the South China Sea, after Washington said a U.S. guided missile cruiser had avoided a collision with a Chinese warship maneuvering nearby.
Experts have said the near-miss between the USS Cowpens and a Chinese warship operating near China’s only aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, was the most significant U.S.-China maritime incident in the disputed South China Sea since 2009.
China’s Defense Ministry said the Chinese naval vessel was conducting “normal patrols” when the two vessels “met.”
“During the encounter, the Chinese naval vessel properly handled it in accordance with strict protocol,” the ministry said in a statement on its website (
“The two defense departments were kept informed of the relevant situation through normal working channels and carried out effective communication.”
Washington said last week its ship was forced to take evasive action on December 5 to avoid a collision.
The incident came at a time of heightened tensions in the region following Beijing‘s declaration of an air defense identification zone further north in the East China Sea, which prompted protests from Washington, Tokyo, and Seoul.
China’s Defense Ministry said, however, there were “good opportunities” for developing Sino-U.S. military ties.
“Both sides are willing to strengthen communication, maintain close coordination and make efforts to maintain regional peace and stability,” the ministry said.
The Liaoning aircraft carrier, which has yet to be fully armed and is being used as a training vessel, was flanked by escort ships including two destroyers and two frigates during its first deployment into the South China Sea.
Friction over the South China Sea has surged as China uses its growing naval might to assert a vast claim over the oil-and-gas rich area, raising fears of a clash between it and other countries in the area, including the Philippines and Vietnam.
The United States had raised the incident at a “high level” with China, according to a State Department official quoted by the U.S. military’s Stars and Stripes newspaper.
Beijing routinely objects to U.S. military surveillance operations within its exclusive economic zone, while Washington insists the United States and other nations have the right to conduct routine operations in international waters.
China deployed the Liaoning to the South China Sea just days after announcing its air defense zone, which covers air space around a group of tiny uninhabited islands in the East China Sea that are administered by Japan but claimed by Beijing as well.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

US, Chinese Warships Narrowly Avoid Collision in South China Sea.

Image: US, Chinese Warships Narrowly Avoid Collision in South China Sea

The USS Cowpens

A U.S. guided missile cruiser operating in international waters in the South China Sea was forced to take evasive action last week to avoid a collision with a Chinese navy ship maneuvering nearby, the U.S. Pacific Fleet said in a statement on Friday.

The incident on Dec. 5 involving the USS Cowpens came at a time of heightened tensions between the United States and China following Beijing’s declaration of an Air Defense Identification Zone in the East China Sea.

The Pacific Fleet statement did not offer details about what led to the near-collision. But it did say the incident underscored the need for the “highest standards of professional seamanship, including communications between vessels, to mitigate the risk of an unintended incident or mishap.”

Beijing declared the air defense zone over the East China Sea late last month and demanded that aircraft flying through the area provide it with flight plans and other information.

The United States and its allies rejected the Chinese demand and have continued to fly military aircraft into the zone, which includes air space over a small group of islands claimed by China but currently administered by Tokyo.

In the midst of the tensions over the air defense zone, China deployed its only aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, to the South China Sea for maneuvers. Beijing claims most of the South China Sea and is involved in territorial disputes in the region with several of its neighbors.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.


China Mobilizes Forces, Warplanes in NKorea Border Region.

In response to mounting tensions on the Korean peninsula, China has ordered military forces on heightened alert in its border region with North Korea, according to U.S. officials, the Washington Free Beacon reports.

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) mobilization in the northeast section of the nation began in mid-March, and includes troop movement and placing warplanes on the ready, according to the Free Beacon. Beijing took action in response to North Korea’s declaration of a “state of war” and threats to conduct missile attacks against the United States and South Korea.

In addition, China’s navy warships have been engaged in live-firing naval drills in the Yellow Sea adjacent to the Korean peninsula, apparently in solidarity with North Korea, the Free Beacon reports. U.S.-South Korean military drills — set to continue throughout April — have inflamed the government in Pyongyang.

Meanwhile, North Korea is mobilizing missile forces, officials familiar with satellite imagery of missile bases say, according to the newspaper. The satellite imagery shows Nodong medium-range missiles and their mobile launchers, the officials said.

North Korea is also expected to conduct a flight test of its new KN-08 road-mobile ICBM — or its intermediate-range Musudan mobile missile — and moves in this direction have also been noted, according to the officials, the Free Beacon reports.

Although North Korean forces are not expected to take action against the South while the war games continue in South Korea, the situation remains precarious, because a miscalculation could result in unintended action.

The government in Seoul has warned it would react with force to any military provocation from the North.

PLA movement near North Korea was seen in Jilin Province, and intelligence on March 19 showed the Chinese military was ordered to go to “Level One” alert status, the Beacon reports.

Massive soldier deployment was evident in Ji’an, a city in Jilin, and PLA tanks and armored personnel carriers, were reported moving near the Yalu River that separates China from North Korea.

Additionally, PLA troops and military vehicles were seen near Baishan, in Jilin province, around March 21.

PLA air force jets have also been noted flying at several border locations in China, including Yanji and Yanbian in Jilin, Kuancheng, in Hebei province, and Dandong, in Liaoning province, according to the Beacon.

China maintains a long-standing defense treaty with the North that obligates Beijing to defend Pyongyang, an agreement that was last implemented during the Korean War.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Hiram Reisner

Second stealth jet puts China on path to top regional power: expert.

BEIJING (Reuters) – China‘s second stealth fighter jet that was unveiled this week is part of a program to transform China into the top regional military power, an expert on Asian security said on Friday.

The fighter, the J-31, made its maiden flight on Wednesday in the northeast province of Liaoning at a facility of the Shenyang Aircraft Corp which built it, according to Chinese media.

“This is the second entirely new fighter design that’s emerged from China in the last two years, which suggests a pretty impressive level of technical development, and puts them ahead, certainly, of all their regional neighbors,” said Sam Roggeveen, a security expert with the Lowy Institute in Sydney.

The Chinese military “has been extremely deliberate and well funded and persistent, and it’s starting to bear fruit”, Roggeveen said.

“What you’re now seeing since the early ‘90s is the slow emergence of a first-class regional military power.”

China’s Defence Ministry did not respond to a request for comment.

China’s previous stealth fighter, the J-20, is a heavier aircraft and believed to be less manoeuvrable than the J-31.

China’s military capabilities lag far behind those of the United States, but China is seeking aggressively to boost its strength, including launching its first aircraft carrier – purchased from Ukraine – in September.

The buildup is a worry for neighbors uneasy about China flexing its military muscle, especially in territorial disputes with Japan in the East China Sea and with Vietnam and the Philippines in the South China Sea.

“Just like the U.S. F-22 and F-35 fifth-generation fighters, the J-20 and J-31 will complement each other during future operations,” Bai Wei, former deputy editor of the weekly Aviation World, told the Global Times newspaper.

“The J-31 is almost certainly designed with the intention to have the potential of operating on aircraft carriers, judging from its enhanced double-wheel nose landing gear and two big tail wings, which help increase vertical stability,” Bai said.

China needs both the heavier J-20 and more nimble J-31 to defend its air space, Bai said.

The J-31 is a mid-sized fighter using Russian-made engines which will later be replaced by Chinese engines, the Global Times reported.

“The big Achilles heel for Chinese aerospace generally, and particularly for both of these two programs, is engines,” Roggeveen, a former analyst for Australian government intelligence and editor of the Lowy Institute’s blog

“They still rely very much on foreign technology, and their progress on developing domestic high-performance engines for combat aircraft has been frustrating and slow,” he said.

While the J-31 and J-20 will add to China’s offensive as well as defensive capability, “it will take many, many years” for them to enter service with the air force, Roggeveen said.

(Reporting by Terril Yue Jones; Editing by Robert Birsel)



Dispute escalates between China and Japan.


TOKYO/BEIJING (Reuters) – China sent its first aircraft carrier into formal service on Tuesday amid a tense maritime dispute with Japan in a show of force that could worry its neighbors.

China’s Ministry of Defence said the newly named Liaoning aircraft carrier would “raise the overall operational strength of the Chinese navy” and help Beijing to “effectively protect national sovereignty, security and development interests”.

In fact, the aircraft carrier, refitted from a ship bought from Ukraine, will have a limited role, mostly for training and testing ahead of the possible launch of China’s first domestically built carriers after 2015, analysts say.

The Pentagon played down the event, with spokesman George Little telling a briefing that the United States was monitoring China’s development of its military but noted, “This wasn’t a particular surprise.”

China cast the formal handing over of the carrier to its navy — attended by President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao — as a triumphant show of national strength at a time of tensions with Japan over islands claimed by both sides.

“The smooth commissioning of the first aircraft carrier has important and profound meaning for modernizing our navy and for enhancing national defensive power and the country’s overall strength,” Xinhua news agency cited Wen as saying at the commissioning ceremony in the northern port of Dalian.

Sino-Japanese relations deteriorated sharply this month after Japan bought the East China Sea islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, from their private owner, sparking anti-Japan protests across China.

“China will never tolerate any bilateral actions by Japan that harm Chinese territorial sovereignty,” Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun told his Japanese counterpart on Tuesday as the two met in a bid to ease tensions.

“Japan must banish illusions, undertake searching reflection and use concrete actions to amend its errors, returning to the consensus and understandings reached between our two countries’ leaders.”

Japanese diplomats gathered in New York for the U.N. General Assembly said their government’s purchase of the islands from its private owners was designed to contain the controversy.

“The Japanese government has communicated and explained this intention to the PRC. However, we have the current situation,” said Naoki Saiki, deputy press secretary of Japan’s Foreign Ministry.

Saiki did not indicate whether Tuesday’s vice-ministerial talks with China made concrete progress, but she said, “The important thing is that both sides did agree on the continuation of contacts and communications with each other.”

In a sign of the tensions, China has postponed a ceremony marking the 40th anniversary of the resumption of diplomatic ties with Japan. But an official at the Japan-China Economic Association said Toyota Motor Corp Chairman Fujio Cho and Hiromasa Yonekura, chairman of Japanese business lobby Keidanren, and other representatives of Japan-China friendship groups would attend an event on Thursday in Beijing.

The risks of military confrontation are scant, but political tensions between Asia’s two biggest economies could fester and worries persist about an unintended incident at sea.

“If blood is shed, people would become irrational,” Koichi Kato, an opposition lawmaker who heads the Japan-China Friendship Association and will travel to Beijing, told Reuters.


For the Chinese navy, the addition of carriers has been a priority as it builds a force capable of deploying far from the Chinese mainland.

China this month warned the United States, with President Barack Obama’s “pivot” to Asia, not to get involved in separate territorial disputes in the South China Sea between China and U.S. allies such as the Philippines.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in turn urged China and its Southeast Asian neighbors to resolve disputes “without coercion, without intimidation, without threats and certainly without the use of force”.

Narushige Michishita, a security expert at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in Tokyo, said he thought the timing of the launch was unrelated to the islands dispute.

Rather, experts said it might be associated with China’s efforts to build up patriotic unity ahead of a Communist Party congress that will install a new generation of top leaders as early as next month.

“China is taking another step to boost its strategic naval capability,” Michishita said. “If they come to have an operational aircraft carrier, for the time being we are not super-concerned about the direct implications for the military balance between the U.S. and Japan on the one hand, and China on the other. This is still not cutting edge.”

The East China Sea tensions with Japan were complicated on Tuesday by the entry of Taiwan, the self-ruled island that Beijing calls an illegitimate breakaway, which also lays claim to the islands.

Japanese Coast Guard vessels fired water cannon to turn away about 40 Taiwan fishing boats and 12 Taiwan Coast Guard vessels. Six Chinese patrol ships were also near the islands but four left, leaving two nearby but not in waters Japan considers its own.

Japan protested to Taiwan, a day after lodging a complaint with China over what it called a similar intrusion by Chinese vessels.

Taiwan has friendly ties with Japan, but the two sides have long squabbled over fishing rights in the area. China and Taiwan both argue they have inherited China’s historic sovereignty over the islands.

The flare-up in tension comes at a time when both China and Japan confront domestic political pressures. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s government faces an election in months, adding pressure on him not to look weak on China. China’s Communist Party is preoccupied with the leadership turnover, with President Hu Jintao due to step down.

(Additional reporting by Linda Sieg in Tokyo, Sui-Lee Wee, Ben Blanchard and Chris Buckley in Beijing, Paul Eckert in New York, and Phil Stewart in Washington; Editing by Nick Macfie, Jeremy Laurence and Cynthia Osterman)


By Kiyoshi Takenaka and Terril Yue Jones | Reuters

China rounds up activists on Tiananmen anniversary.

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Chinese authorities have rounded up hundreds of activists in the capital Beijing, rights campaigners said on Monday, as they marked the 23rd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown.

The detentions came as Washington urged Beijing to free all those still jailed over the demonstrations on June 4, 1989, when hundreds, if not thousands, of peaceful protesters were shot and killed by soldiers.

The anniversary of the brutal army action in the heart of Beijing is always hugely sensitive, but particularly so this year ahead of a once-a-decade handover of power marred by fierce in-fighting in the ruling Communist Party.

“They brought in a lot of buses and were rounding up petitioners at the Beijing South rail station on Saturday night,” Zhou Jinxia, a petitioner from northeast China’s Liaoning province told AFP.

“There were between 600 to 1,000 petitioners from all over China. We were processed, we had to register and then they started sending people back to their home towns.”

Police made it clear that the round up of petitioners — people who gather at central government offices in Beijing to seek redress for rights violations in their localities — was to prevent them from protesting on June 4, she said.

China still considers the June 4 demonstrations a “counter-revolutionary rebellion” and has refused to acknowledge any wrongdoing or consider compensation for those killed, more than two decades later.

The government attempts to block any public discussion or remembrance of the events by hiding away key dissidents in the run-up to June 4 each year, taking them into custody or placing them under house arrest.

Any mention of the 1989 protests is banned in Chinese state media, and the subject is largely taboo in China. Searches on China’s popular social media sites for June 4, the number 23 and the word “candle” were blocked on Monday.

Despite the heightened security, numerous public events have been held around the nation to commemorate the “Tiananmen massacre” and demand democratic reforms.

More than 80 rights campaigners met in a Beijing square on Saturday, carrying banners and shouting slogans calling for a reassessment of the 1989 protests.

“We shouted ‘down with corruption’, and ‘protect our rights’,” Wang Yongfeng, a Shanghai activist, who attended the protest, told AFP.

“So many people were killed on June 4, we think the government should fully account for what happened.”

Photographs of the Saturday protest posted online showed demonstrators with large placards that said “remember our struggle for democracy, freedom and rights as well as those heroes who met tragedy.”

A similar protest occurred in a park in southeast China’s Guiyang city last week, with police subsequently taking into custody at least four of the organisers of the event, the Chinese Human Rights Defenders group said on its website.

In Beijing, veteran dissident Hu Jia said on his microblog that, as in previous years on the Tiananmen anniversary, police had stepped up security around the homes of numerous political activists and social critics.

Rights activists and lawyers said police had also contacted them and warned against participating in activities marking the crackdown.

Another rights defender, Yu Xiaomei from eastern Jiangsu province, told AFP by telephone she had been followed by three men when she left her home on Monday.

“I recognised one of them. He had beaten me and detained me two years ago. I ran away, I don’t dare go out onto the street today,” she said.

The only open commemoration of the crackdown to be allowed on Chinese soil will take place in Hong Kong, a Chinese territory that enjoys freedoms not allowed in the mainland.

Organisers say they expect more than 150,000 people to join a candlelight vigil to mark the anniversary.


AFPBy Robert Saiget | AFP 

Graduation photo faux pas: Chinese students pose as school appears to burn in background.

(Want China Times via the Daily Mail)

A group of students at China‘s Dalian University of Technology City College is under fire (pun definitely intended) for posing for graduation photos in their caps and gowns while a factory fire near their dormitory burned in the background.

In the much-shared photo set, 23 students are seen in their graduation attire in front of the dorm while a large plume of black smoke billows behind.

The dorms were evacuated due to the fire, and the students wanted to snap one last photo on the Liaoning province campus, but school officials are nonetheless fuming over the impromptu photo shoot.

“Our students should not be celebrating destruction,” one official said, according to this ABC News blog.


By Dylan Stableford | The Sideshow 

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