The Chinese military has deployed its latest airborne early warning and control aircraft to an air base in the vicinity of the contested South China Sea islands, according to Defense News, citing satellite imagery.
The imagery provided by DigitalGlobe company shows a number of Shaanxi KJ-500 and KJ-200 airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft at the Jialaishi Air Base in the northern part of China’s Hainan island, Defense News reported on Friday.
According to the news outlet, this is the first time China has stationed its state-of-the-art KJ-500 aircraft in Hainan.
The KJ-500, bearing a distinctive radar antenna over the fuselage, is equipped with a “dorsal radar dish mounting a phased array radar with three fixed arrays angled at 120 degrees relative to each other for all-round coverage.”
The new aircraft are expected to replace the ageing KJ-200s currently in service with the Chinese military. The large radar array provides for better situation awareness and allows guidance and control of enemy and friendly aircraft, while smaller radars installed on the nose and rear fuselage ensure additional coverage.
KJ-500s entered service with the Chinese Air Force in late 2014 or early 2015, Defense News reports, with six KJ-500s known to have been delivered to the military as of January 2017, including at least two for the Navy.
The aircraft deployed in Hainan come from two Air Force regiments tasked with carrying out special missions. The detachments usually operate from Lingshui on the southeastern part of Hainan.
Jialaishi is one of three major Chinese Navy air bases in Hainan, which is located in the northern part of the South China Sea and its disputed islands.
While Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines, and other nations all claim parts of the South China Sea as their own, China says that most of it has been within its territory for centuries.
Tensions have been running high in the region, with claimants moving military assets closer to the disputed islands. Over the past few years, China has built a number of military installations, airfields, radars, and anti-aircraft systems covering a sizeable area of the South China Sea.
Though Beijing says that these facilities are for civilian purposes only, the US and its regional allies are stepping up their military presence off Chinese waters. The build-up includes regular aerial and maritime patrols, as well as massive military exercises, to ensure what Washington calls “freedom of navigation.”
Earlier on Thursday, the Philippines moved troops and equipment to a disputed island in the South China Sea which is claimed by both Manila and Beijing, according to Lt. Gen. Raul del Rosario, head of the Philippines military’s Western Command. Troops and materiel arrived at Pag-asa Island last week – a move which triggered a harsh response from China.
One day earlier, a top US Navy commander said American vessels will continue to operate in the area regardless of Beijing’s reaction. “US forces operate in the Asia-Pacific region on a daily basis, including in the South China Sea,” US Navy Commander Gary Ross told the South China Morning Post newspaper in an email.
Trump shifts: Flexibility, evolution or flip-flop?08:01
Alice Stewart: Idea that the base will abandon Trump for changing his stances is simplistic
Parts of the base are very happy with him and others are taking a wait-and-see attitude
Alice Stewart is a CNN political commentator and former communications director for Ted Cruz for President. The views expressed in this commentary are her own.
(CNN)A series of policy reversals by President Donald Trump has supporters and critics alike asking the question: Is the candidate who vowed to drain the swamp getting swamped in Washington? Those on the left say he’s abandoning his base and that in turn, they will abandon him. In other words: it’s about to get real for the reality star turned president.
But not so fast. Before you write off the base, you have to understand who the base is. Trump got the most primary votes of any Republican in history. He did that by expanding the GOP establishment vote to solidify support from three key groups: social conservatives, the “alt-right,” and the Rust Belt coalition. All of which are responding to the recent course corrections by the president.
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In a little over a week, Trump reversed on several key policy positions: he ordered missile strikes in Syria after opposing military action there for many years, he dropped his view that NATO is obsolete, he walked back the claim that China is a currency manipulator and indicated he is no longer certain he will replace Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen when her term expires next year.
Keep in mind, if voters thought that Trump’s tendency to change his positions was an unforgivable sin, he never would have won the GOP nomination and never would have been elected president.
First, social conservatives have felt burned by the GOP over the past decade. They did not get their candidate of choice in 2008 or 2012, but the party relied on them to man phone banks, knock on doors and get out the vote in the general election.
While Trump was not the first choice for many of them, they quickly came to see him as a willing advocate. The Trump transition team brought them into the conversation and truly listened to them. In 2016, social conservatives no longer felt like a GOP afterthought.
Social conservatives wanted a Scalia-like Supreme Court justice and they got it with the confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch. For many, this was the single biggest factor in their support of the president.
These pro-life conservatives also wanted Trump to honor the anti-abortion message he campaigned on, which he did last week with the signing of an order allowing states to withhold federal money from abortion providers, including Planned Parenthood. Victory on these issues was like eating dessert before dinner for them; they got the sweet stuff they wanted and they didn’t have to wait. They are not troubled by recent head fakes by the President — they are playing long ball.
Secondly, the “alt-right” movement, viewed as anti-intervention and anti-multiculturalism, embraced candidate Trump’s populist isolationism message. The movement had lived largely online, but came out to campaign events and voting booths for Trump.
Many ardent supporters are now vocal opponents of Trump’s decision to order the missile strike against Syria. Some question whether he should have the nuclear codes if he’s making military decisions based on emotions. These people want a lot more, a lot faster from the administration.
Alt-right leaders are also up in arms over Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon losing his seat at the National Security table and rumors of Bannon’s departure due to infighting with the President’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. It’s not the end of the world if Bannon is shown the door, but it would be problematic with this portion of the Trump base.
The third facet of Trump’s support is the Rust Belt coalition that voted for President Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 but switched to Trump in 2016 because they saw him as the working man’s champion. The Rust Belt’s revenge turned blue states to red for Trump. Working-class voters in the nation’s heartland supported the President’s trade and economic message. These are not hard-core issue conservatives, but they like knowing their president is going to stick it to China and roll back burdensome federal regulations that stifle the economy.
The West Wing reversals are clearly ruffling some feathers in the base. Asked about the President’s shifting positions, White House press secretary Sean Spicer says it’s the various circumstances, not Trump, that have changed. He even made the dubious claim that “some cases or issues, are evolving towards the President’s position.”
Draining the swamp is an easy campaign slogan, but Trump is learning that successful governing is much more difficult than winning campaigns.
President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree approving Russia’s new Foreign Policy Concept. The document specifies Moscow’s position on key global issues, highlighting its relations with the US, EU, China and other countries.
Published on Thursday, the concept is now in force, replacing the previous one from 2013. Moscow’s “views on core principles, priority directions, aims and tasks of the Russian foreign policy” are stated in the document of almost 40 pages.
Saying that Russia pursues an independent foreign policy based both on national interests and respect for international law, the concept states that Moscow’s policy is “open, foreseeable” and “shaped by centuries” of Russia’s historic role in the development of global civilization.
“Russia is fully aware of its special responsibility for maintaining security in the world both on global and regional levels, and is aimed at cooperative actions with all concerned states in the interest to solve common issues,” the document says.
Moscow calls for “creation of a broad international anti-terrorist coalition, firmly based on a legal framework, and effective and systematic cooperation among states,” the document says. No “double standards” should have a place in such a coalition, which should become the main force to fight global terrorism.
Nuclear war hazard low, but US missile shield threatens Russia’s national security
Moscow stands for the creation of “zones free of nuclear weapons and other types of weapons of mass destruction, especially in the Middle East,” the concept states, adding that “fighting international terrorism is key priority in international security.”
No country should use terrorist organizations to pursue its “political, ideological and other aims,” it says. Political and legal framework for nuclear and other weapons nonproliferation course is key, to avoid risks of such weapons landing in the hands of terrorist organizations.
Russia stays true to its international obligations in the arms control, and expects the same from its partners. Washington’s development of its global missile defense system is viewed as a “threat to national security,” with Moscow “reserving the right to take relevant counter measures.”
“Russia stands for constructive cooperation with the US in the field of arms control, with a compulsory allowance for an inseparable correlation between strategic offensive and defense weapons,” the document says. Global strategic stability should be the key factor in possible further arms reduction, it adds.
“Despite [the fact] that a threat of a large-scale war, including nuclear war, initiated between key states remains low, risks that [such states] may be involved in regional crisis, escalating them, are growing,” the new Foreign Policy Concept warns.
Russia-US dialogue possible, but only if US abandons its ‘restraining’ course
Washington and its allies have been pursuing a “restraining course” against Russia, aiming to “pressure” it both politically and economically, the document says, adding that such policy “undermines regional and global security.” It also harms long-term interests of both sides, and goes against a “growing necessity for cooperation” and joint counteraction to global threats.
Russia reserves the right to “harsh” retaliatory measures to “unfriendly actions,” including measures in toughening its national defense.
Moscow “is interested in building mutually beneficial relations with the US, taking into consideration the two countries’ responsibility for global strategic stability and the state of international security in general,” the concept stresses, adding that the two nations have significant opportunities in trade, investment, scientific and other forms of cooperation.
The development of dialogue on bilateral relations, as well as on other international issues “is only possible if based on equality, mutual respect and non-interference in one another’s internal affairs.”
In regard to contacts with NATO, Moscow plans to build its relations with the alliance based on its eagerness to be engaged in equal partnership. So far, Russia negatively regards NATO’s expansion, with its military infrastructure getting closer to the Russian borders. Such actions are considered as “defying the principle of equal security” and might cause new “division lines in Europe.”
Meanwhile, Moscow praises the role of the United Nations in “regulating international relations and coordinating world policies,” saying that there are no other options to replace the organization in the 21st century.
Relations with EU among Moscow’s priorities, abolishing visa regime will strengthen ties
Stepping-up mutually beneficial bilateral ties with European countries is named among one of Russia’s key priorities in the new Foreign Policy Concept.
The EU is Russia’s important trade and economic partner, the document says, adding that Moscow also regards Europe as its associate in foreign policy and is looking for “stable cooperation” based on mutual respect. Relations with Germany, France, Italy and Spain are mentioned as being key for the Kremlin in promoting its interests on the international arena.
“The strategic task in relations with the EU is forming a broad economic and humanitarian space from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean,” that will unite and “harmonize” the European continent, the concept says.
“The visa regime remains one of the main barriers in the way of development of contacts between Russia and the EU. The gradual cancellation of the visa regime on a reciprocal basis will become a powerful impulse for strengthening cooperation between Russia and the EU in economic, humanitarian, cultural, educational and other spheres,” the document says.
Russia to strengthen ties with the East, presence in the Antarctic
Among other Moscow’s foreign policy priorities, the concept mentions developing further relations with its eastern neighbors. “Full-scale” partnership and cooperation with China is on the agenda, as well as “further deepening” of strategic partnership with India. With the latter, Russia has always had “privileged” relations, according to the document, which says that the two nations’ cooperation is based on corresponding foreign policies, “historic friendship and deep mutual trust.”
Japan and other countries in the Asia-Pacific Region are also mentioned as important partners to work with in the near future.
“Russia will also continue its work on preserving and widening its presence in the Antarctic,” the concept states, adding that Moscow is as well “open for building relations with Canada” to cooperate in the Arctic and other regions.
Russia’s position on Syria is also mentioned in the new Foreign Policy Concept, with Moscow standing for the Middle Eastern country’s “unity, independence and territorial integrity.” Representatives of all ethnic and religious groups in Syria should be provided with equal security and peace, and enjoy “equal rights and opportunities,” the document says.
According to different estimates, between 2,300 and 4,700 people have been killed in police operations or by vigilantes during part of the campaign, as the president introduced a shoot-to-kill policy in the police and urged the population to attack criminals.
On Tuesday, the Philippines police chief, Ronald dela Rosa, expressed disappointment over the failure of the deal with the US, saying that M4 rifles were “reliable.”
The latest outbursts from Duterte came just a few days after he promised to stop swearing, saying that God had ordered him to do so while he was on a plane returning from a visit to Japan.
“While on up there on my way here, I heard a voice telling me to stop swearing or the plane will crash in midair, and so I promised to stop,”he said, according to the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Since taking office in June last year, Duterte has made plenty of controversial statements about the US, calling President Barack Obama “a son of a whore” and urging America to stop treating the Philippines like “a dog with leash.”
Washington has largely opted to play down the insults to avoid jeopardizing the relationship with a key Southeast Asian ally.
At least 267 people have been killed in Pakistan, the countries disaster management agency said on Wednesday. More than 10,000 homes and 147 schools have also been damaged or destroyed, officials said.
In Afghanistan, at least 115 people have died and more than 550 wounded, while more than 7,500 homes have been destroyed. Three people were also killed in Indian-controlled Kashmir.
The focus of relief operations is shifting to providing food, shelter and hygiene to the thousands left homeless as winter arrives to the mountainous region.
Pakistan’s military is taking the lead in the remote north parts of the country, bringing in tents, food and in some cases evacuating people with helicopter. Pakistan’s disaster management agency said it has distributed 15,519 tents, 25,700 blankets and tons of food.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif attended a briefing in the northwestern city of Peshawar on Wednesday, where he pledged the government would provide compensation of $2,000 (1,807 euros) to each person to rebuild their homes.
In Afghanistan, the Taliban’s presence in Badakhshan has complicated relief efforts, despite the militant organization’s urging aid agencies to come and offering them help. On Wednesday, the Taliban overran a district on Afghanistan’s border with Tajikistan in Takhar province, which although not impacted by the earthquake, highlights the difficult security environment.
cw/kms (AFP, AP, dpa)
UN: Assessing full quake impact ‘will take days’
As rescuers hunt for survivors of a massive earthquake that hit parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan, DW spoke to OCHA in Kabul about how the remoteness of the area and poor communications are hampering relief efforts. (27.10.2015)
Strong Afghanistan earthquake felt across South Asia
A 7.5 magnitude earthquake has struck northeastern Afghanistan, sending tremors that were felt in Pakistan and India. At least 210 deaths have been reported, including 12 schoolgirls killed in a stampede. (26.10.2015)
Rescuers race to find survivors in Afghanistan-Pakistan quake
Islamabad mobilized the military to begin a rescue mission for survivors of a massive earthquake that has killed hundreds. Roads destroyed in the disaster made it difficult to reach the remote regions most affected. (27.10.2015)
Protests have been held on The Mall and outside Parliament by members of the Anti-China Free Tibet group and the human rights group Amnesty International.
Crowds of anti-China protesters and pro-China supporters also gathered in front of Buckingham Palace.
By Carrie Gracie, BBC China editor
From the point of view of the Communist Party leadership, it’s imperative that the visit goes off without a hitch.
The government’s reputation for competence was undermined over the summer by the stock market meltdown, growing questions over economic growth and the Tianjin warehouse explosions.
The party needs President Xi to be shown respect internationally in order to bolster its own popularity and power at home.
Chinese state media have effused about “the reddest of red carpets” and a new golden era of “win-win results” between China and the UK.
In general the public is supportive of President Xi, thanks to his campaign against corruption and his carefully-crafted “man of the people” image. They too want to see their leader, and his glamorous celebrity wife, shown respect on the world stage.
But there is also a fascination among the emerging middle classes of China for things British, including royalty, contemporary music, fashion and TV drama.
Ministers expect more than £30bn of trade and investment deals to be struck during the four-day visit.
The Treasury hopes that within 10 years China will be Britain’s second biggest trading partner.
However, critics have accused the government of “kowtowing” to Beijing.
“If you act like a panting puppy, the object of your attention is going to think they have got you on a leash,” James McGregor, chairman of consultancy group APCO Worldwide’s Chinese operations, said.
At the scene
By Ben Geoghegan, BBC news correspondent
President Xi’s supporters vastly outnumber the human rights protesters. So why the repeated attempts to block the protesters’ banners and upstage them?
On several occasions, I’ve seen huge Chinese flags “strategically moved” so that they obscured signs and placards being held up by Amnesty International, Falun Gong or the Free Tibet movement.
When I was interviewing two female students a man appeared and told them to move to a different position because there was an anti-Xi message behind them.
My camera crew found the Chinese flag repeatedly being waved in front of the lens when they tried to film protesters.
The pro-China flags are bigger, their drums are louder. Some of President Xi’s supporters seem determined to make sure their opponents aren’t seen or heard.
“I think we are developing a mature relationship with the Chinese,” he said.
“They know that we are looking not just to China but to many other countries for infrastructure investment in the UK.”
The trip has been hailed by officials from both countries as the start of a “golden era” of relations.
Chinese companies are to be allowed to take a stake in British nuclear power plants, and a trip by Mr Xi and Mr Cameron to Manchester later in the week is expected to see the announcement of further investment in the so-called “Northern Powerhouse” project.
But the visit comes after China’s economy grew by 6.9% in the third quarter, the weakest rate since the global financial crisis.
China’s slowdown, volatile financial markets and tumbling raw-materials prices have raised the risks to economic growth around the world, the International Monetary Fund reported.
In an assessment of threats published as top finance ministers and central bankers meet this week in Turkey, the IMF warned that the problems could lead to “a much weaker outlook” for global growth.
It urged wealthy countries to continue easy-money policies and “growth friendly” tax and spending programs. Some emerging-market countries, meanwhile, should let their currencies fall substantially to support their exporters and economic growth, while also enacting reforms to make their economies more efficient, it added.
The Chinese economic slowdown, though long anticipated, “appears to have larger-than-previously-envisaged” repercussions in other countries, the IMF said. China’s troubles have sent the prices of raw materials such as oil and copper into a freefall, pinching Brazil, Russia and other commodity exporters.
The report did not revise the fund’s economic forecasts for this year, last updated in July, though it concluded that “downside risks have risen.”Get Newsmax TV At Home »
The IMF expects the global economy to grow 3.3 percent this year, little-changed from 3.4 percent in 2014; the U.S. economy to grow 2.5 percent, versus 2.4 percent in 2014; the 19-country eurozone to grow 1.5 percent, nearly double 2014’s 0.8 percent; and China to grow 6.8 percent, down from 7.4 percent last year.
Some economists expect Chinese growth to decelerate even more — to below 6 percent. The Chinese stock market has been falling since mid-June, and on Aug. 11 Chinese authorities unexpectedly devalued China’s currency, the yuan. They said they were responding to signals from investors that the currency was overvalued. But skeptics feared it was a desperation move to give Chinese exporters a competitive advantage — and a sign the economy was weaker than anybody realized.
In an interview with CNBC Wednesday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew warned China against manipulating its currency to give its exporters an unfair advantage. “We are going to hold them accountable,” he said.
The IMF is also worried about the potential fallout if the U.S. Federal Reserve decides this year to raise the short-term interest rate it controls, pinned near zero for seven years. Higher U.S. rates would likely lure investment out of emerging markets to America and drive up the value of the U.S. dollar. That could shake up global markets. It could also squeeze emerging-market companies that have borrowed in U.S. dollars and would have to scrounge up more money in their local currencies to meet the payments.
In June, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde advised the Fed to delay a rate hike until 2016. She argued that the risk of raising rates prematurely — and damaging the U.S. and global economies — outweighed the risk of waiting too long and allowing inflation to creep up.
Finance ministers and central bankers from the G-20 major economies are meeting Friday and Saturday in the Turkish capital Ankara.