Thursday, January 06, 2011

War wares and China Round Up

First off, the EU has rejected an attempt to end the EU arms embargo against China.
"There remains a broad consensus within the EU that the time is not right to lift the arms embargo. We need to see clear progress on the issues that necessitated the embargo in the first place, namely on civil liberties and political rights," a British diplomat told EUobserver on Tuesday (4 January) in response to speculation on a potential shift in EU policy, which would require agreement by all 27 EU members.

A diplomat from a former Communist EU country added: "There is simply no talk of it in the run-up to the EU foreign ministers' meeting [on 31 January]. After the Nobel Peace Prize and China's reaction to that, it is politically unimaginable to make any move for the time being."
The move came down in the latest EU foreign policy blueprint by Catherine Ashton, the High Rep for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. Wiki has some quite nasty criticisms of her:
For example, on her appointment, the associate editor of The Spectator, and former editor of BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Rod Liddle, wrote: "Never elected by anyone, anywhere, totally unqualified for almost every job she has done, she has risen to her current position presumably through a combination of down-the-line Stalinist political correctness and the fact that she has the charisma of a caravan site on the Isle of Sheppey."[30] According to one Whitehall source[who?]: "Cathy just got lucky...The appointment of her and Herman Van Rompuy [as European Council president] was a complete disgrace. They are no more than garden gnomes."
The motion to end the embargo was supported by France (slogan "not quite as venal as the US in foreign policy, but we're trying hard!") and Spain, and objected to by Washington. I heard privately that Ashton had not consulted any senior officials around the EU countries before making this recommendation.

China's boorish objections to the Liu Xiaobo Nobel make a nifty reason not to lift the embargo, and a reminder of how the CCP actually stays in power.

WSJ has an article on the sighting of an alleged stealth fighter, designated the J-20, in China.
But many more experts say they believe the pictures and the aircraft are authentic, giving the strongest indication yet that Beijing is making faster-than-expected progress in developing a rival to the U.S. F-22—the world's only fully operational stealth fighter.

China's defense ministry and air force couldn't be reached to comment on the latest photos. Even without official confirmation, however, the photographs are likely to bolster concerns among U.S. officials and politicians about China's military modernization, which also includes the imminent deployment of its first aircraft carrier and "carrier-killer" antiship ballistic missiles.
More details on the fighter are in this Washington Times piece. Meanwhile the US navy says the effectiveness of those famous Chinese anti-ship ballistic missiles is as yet unknown [thanks for the correction].
While the Chinese have deployed an early version of the world’s first anti-ship ballistic missile system, U.S. naval intelligence officials downplay the near-term impact, since China’s military hasn’t conducted a full-scale test or established an operational unit for the missiles.

China has a “workable design” for an anti-ship missile but “it is unknown to us and probably the Chinese as to how effective the missile will be without a full-scale test,” the Navy’s Office of Naval Operations for Information Dominance, which includes Navy intelligence, said in a statement yesterday to Bloomberg News.
On a related note, a columnist at Foreign Policy says there will be reshuffling in the Obama Asia team. Jeff Bader will likely be stepping down from his post as essentially Obama's Asia man.
The leading candidate to replace Bader, according to several administration sources, is the NSC's Daniel Russel, one of the directors who currently works under Bader. Russell is a Japan hand, having served as the head of State's Japan Desk after being consul general in the Japanese cities of Osaka and Kobe. Russell's selection might give Japan watchers hope that the White House would reinvigorate the stagnant U.S.-Japan relationship, but the likelihood is that China will continue to dominate the administration's Asia agenda going forward.
Similarly India, in a bid to become independent of its Russian military supplier for naval hardware, is launching a design center for naval shipbuilding. Alarmed by China's moves in the Indian Ocean region, India is responding by moving to guarantee control over that vital area.
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les said...

I don't know which is more alarming, China's moves toward hegemony in Asian waters or their forcing smaller economies around the region into an arms race they cannot afford.

SoCalExpat said...

The US now claims they’ve known about China’s stealth fighter development for years so the recent appearance of the J-20 is no big surprise, nothing to get excited about. If this is true, then why is the US pushing overpriced new production F-16s on Taiwan for $70 mil each (US sells slightly used F-16s to other allies for $15 mil each) that have no chance of surviving any encounter with a J-20? Taiwan should take the money the US wants for the F-16s and invest it in research and development on a Taiwanese domestic stealth fighter.

Anonymous said...

"Meanwhile the US navy says those famous Chinese anti-ship ballistic missiles aren't effective yet."

Uh, sharpen up your reading comprehension skills. The US navy says it's *UNKNOWN* whether the ASBM are effective... while your interpretation seems to be they *KNOW* the ASBM to be ineffective.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and as far as the EU embargo goes...

""The Chinese have stopped pressing on the arms embargo at every possible opportunity and are focusing their efforts more on high-tech exports for now," the contact explained."

Translation, there's little military technology left for the EU to export to China at this point. Look at China's military imports over the last 10 years:

Chinese imports, by 2009, had dropped by a factor of 5x - 10x from where it was at the beginning of the century. 2010 isn't on that table, but China bought even less last year. And there are no major import contracts on the horizon with Russia.

These embargoes (including the US's ITAR restrictions on space-applications) have forced China to develop its own industries rather than relying on the EU/US... which, ultimately, is to China's great long-term benefit.