04 Feb 17. Mattis says no need for dramatic U.S. military moves in S. China Sea. U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Saturday played down any need for major U.S. military moves in the South China Sea to contend with China’s assertive behavior, even as he sharply criticized Beijing for “shredding the trust of nations in the region.”
“At this time, we do not see any need for dramatic military moves at all,” Mattis told a news conference in Tokyo, stressing that the focus should be on diplomacy. (Source: Reuters)
04 Feb 17. Iran tests missile and radar systems, defying U.S. sanctions. Iran is holding a military exercise on Saturday to test its missile and radar systems, a day after U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration imposed sanctions on Tehran for a recent ballistic missile test. The United States sanctioned 13 individuals and 12 entities related to Iran’s missile programme and Trump’s national security adviser Michael Flynn said the United States was putting Iran on notice over its “destabilising activity”.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards website said that the aim of the military exercise in Semnan province was to “showcase the power of Iran’s revolution and to dismiss the sanctions.”
Iranian state news agencies reported that home-made missile systems, radars, command and control centres, and cyber warfare systems would be tested in the drill.
Although tensions between Washington and Iran have risen, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Saturday he was not considering raising the number of U.S. forces in the Middle East to address Iran’s “misbehavior” at this time, but warned that the world would not ignore Iranian activities. Iran has one of the Middle East’s largest missile programmes
and held a similar exercise in December to showcase its defence systems, including radars, anti-missile defence units, and short and medium-range missiles.
Tehran confirmed on Wednesday that it had test-fired a new ballistic missile, but said the test did not breach the Islamic Republic’s nuclear agreement with world powers or a U.N. Security Council resolution endorsing the pact.
Iran has test-fired several ballistic missiles since the nuclear deal in 2015, but the latest test was the first since Trump entered the White House. Trump said during his election campaign that he would stop Iran’s missile programme.
The United Nations Security Council held an emergency meeting on Tuesday and recommended the missile testing be studied at committee level. The new U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, called the test “unacceptable”.
The Security Council resolution was adopted to buttress the deal under which Iran curbed its nuclear activities to allay concerns they could be used to develop atomic bombs, in exchange for relief from economic sanctions.
The resolution urged Tehran to refrain from work on ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons. Critics say the resolution’s language does not make this obligatory.
Tehran says it has not carried out any work on missiles specifically designed to carry nuclear payloads. (Source: Reuters)
03 Feb 17. Myanmar In Advanced Negotiations to Licence-Build JF-17 Fighter. After deciding to purchase 16 JF-17 Thunder multi-role combat aircraft in 2015, Myanmar is now in advanced negotiations with Pakistan to also licence-build the third-generation fighter, defence industry sources in Yangon and sources close to the Myanmar Air Force (MAF) told Jane’s in mid-January. If an agreement is reached, Myanmar’s bid to manufacture the single-engine combat aircraft – co-developed by the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) and China’s Chengdu Aerospace Corporation (CAC) – could mark a significant step forward in the country’s efforts to expand its local defence industry. As the MAF phases out its obsolete fleet of F-7M Airguard and A-5C ‘Fantan’ combat aircraft purchased from China in the 1990s, licensed production of the JF-17 Thunder would also mean that the aircraft will lik