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26 Oct 18. South Korea to conduct military drills amid stalled exercises with U.S.. South Korea will stage two military drills next week amid a thaw in relations with North Korea, which have prompted Seoul and Washington to suspend joint exercises with the United States to spur nuclear talks. The allies agreed last week to halt the Vigilant Ace air defence drills planned for December, after delaying August’s major annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercises. The move was intended to give the ongoing nuclear negotiations between the United States and North Korea “every opportunity to continue,” the Pentagon said.
To maintain defence readiness and boost jointness within the military, South Korea decided to carry out the Taeguk and Hoguk drills, its Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.
The Taeguk is a command post exercise to be conducted from Monday to Friday, and the Hoguk field manoeuvre exercise will kick off on Monday for a two-week run around the South Han River, east of the capital Seoul.
“This year’s exercise is to sustain balanced defence posture and improve the practice effects, considering the suspension of the Ulchi Freedom Guardian,” the JCS said in a statement.
The defence chiefs of South Korea and the United States will meet in Washington on Wednesday for their annual Security Consultative Meeting, where they are expected to formally announce the suspension of the Vigilant Ace air defence drills.
On Friday, military generals of North and South Korea held talks at the border village of Panmunjom within the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ), the latest development in their rapidly improving ties.
Both sides are likely to discuss reinstating a joint military commission in line with their military pact reached at last month’s summit in Pyongyang.
The accord includes the halting of “all hostile acts” around their border including military exercises, a no-fly zone and the gradual pullout of guard posts, weapons and landmines within the DMZ.
As part of efforts to implement the agreement, the two Koreas completed the removal of guard posts and firearms within the Joint Security Area in Panmunjom on Thursday, Seoul’s defence ministry said. (Source: Reuters)
24 Oct 18. Putin: Russia Will Target Nations Hosting U.S. Missiles. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that, if the United States deploys intermediate-range missiles in Europe, Moscow will have to target the countries hosting them. The October 24 statement follows U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement over the weekend that he intends to withdraw from a 1987 nuclear arms control pact over alleged Russian violations. Putin spoke on October 24, four days after U.S. President Donald Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty over alleged Russian violations. The INF treaty prohibits the United States and Russia from possessing, producing, or deploying ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with a range of between 500 kilometers and 5,500 kilometers. Nearly 2,700 missiles were eliminated by the Soviet Union and the United States — most of the latter in Europe — under the treaty. Trump and White House national security adviser John Bolton, who met with Putin and other top officials in Moscow on October 22-23, cited U.S. concerns about what NATO allies say is a Russian missile that violates the pact and about weapons development by China, which is not a party to the treaty.
Putin said he hoped the United States wouldn’t follow up by positioning intermediate-range missiles in Europe.
“If they are deployed in Europe, we will naturally have to respond in kind,” Putin said at a news conference after talks with visiting Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. “The European nations that would agree to that should understand that they would expose their territory to the threat of a possible retaliatory strike. These are obvious things. I don’t understand why we should put Europe in such serious danger.”
“I see no reason for that,” Putin said. “I would like to repeat that it’s not our choice. We don’t want it.”
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said October 24 that European members of the military alliance are unlikely to deploy new nuclear weapons on their soil in response to the alleged violations of the INF treaty.
“We will, of course, assess the implications for NATO allies, for our security of the new Russian missiles and the Russian behavior,” Stoltenberg said. “But I don’t foresee that [NATO] allies will station more nuclear weapons in Europe as a response to the new Russian missile.
Putin rejected Trump’s claim that Russia has violated the INF treaty, adding that he hoped to discuss the issue with Trump in Paris when they both attend November 11 events marking the centennial of the armistice that ended World War I.
“We are ready to work together with our American partners without any hysteria,” he said. “The important thing is what decisions will come next.” (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Radio Free Europe)
17 Oct 18. President Xi calls on China to deepen civilian-military integration. China’s President Xi Jinping has urged for deeper civilian-military integration (CMI) to spur further technical advancement within the country. The call came a week after the United States government identified the CMI strategy as one that is supporting China’s rapidly expanding defence industrial capabilities. The official Xinhua news agency said that on 15 October President Xi presided over the second session of the Central Commission for Integrated Military and Civilian Development, which – headed by Xi – was established in January 2017. Xi is also chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC). According to Xinhua, President Xi approved the implementation of new guidelines at the commission’s meeting that will “strengthen the development of rule of law in integrated military and civilian development”. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
22 Oct 18. Kremlin – We’ll respond in kind if U.S. develops intermediate missiles. The Kremlin said on Monday that Russia would be forced to respond in kind if the United States began developing new missiles after quitting a landmark Cold War-era treaty. President Donald Trump said on Saturday that Washington would withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty because Russia was violating the pact, triggering a warning of retaliatory measures from Moscow.
The treaty, signed by then-President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987, required the elimination of short-range and intermediate-range nuclear and conventional missiles by both countries. Its demise would raise the possibility of a spiralling arms race.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday that the U.S. move would make the world a more dangerous place and said Russia would be forced to act to restore the balance of military power if Washington quit the pact and started developing new missiles.
“This is a question of strategic security. Such measures can make the world more dangerous,” Peskov said of the planned U.S. withdrawal.
President Vladimir Putin had repeatedly said that the demise of the treaty would force Russia to take specific steps to protect its own security, Peskov said.
“It means that the United States is not disguising, but is openly starting to develop these systems in the future, and if these systems are being developed, then actions are necessary from other countries, in this case Russia, to restore balance in this sphere,” said Peskov.
There was a six-month period for the United States to withdraw from the treaty after Washington gave official notification it was leaving, he said, something he noted it had not yet done.
That meant the question of Russia developing its own new intermediate-range missiles — something Washington accuses it of doing anyway — was not “for today or tomorrow,” he said.
Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton is due to hold talks with senior officials in Moscow later on Monday and to meet Putin on Tuesday.
Peskov said Trump’s decision to quit the pact would obviously be a subject for discussion and that Moscow was looking for a detailed explanation for why Washington had decided to turn its back on the treaty.
Russia denied U.S. accusations it had breached the treaty, said Peskov, alleging that the United States had been steadily undermining it.
“Putin has said many times said the United States de facto is taking measures that are eroding the conditions of this treaty,” said Peskov, referring to strike drones and anti-missile systems capable of destroying short- and intermediate-range rockets. (Source: Reuters)
22 Oct 18. Australian Army tests latest capabilities during land trial exercise. The Australian Army has been undertaking an assessment of its latest capabilities as part of a land trial exercise in Townville. More than 200 people participated in the land trial exercise over the past month, including personnel from the army’s 3rd Brigade, 6th Brigade and 17th Brigade, Defence Science and Technology, Defence Industry Division, as well as the Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group. Australian Army land capability head major general Kath Toohey noted that the trial served as a platform to showcase the modernisation of the army.
Toohey said: “This is an exciting time for the army as it transitions from testing and evaluating individual pieces of equipment to testing and evaluating its capabilities as part of a complete system. This process of continually testing and evaluating is important as it ensures that army personnel are always ready and prepared now and into the future.”
Meanwhile, several combat team scenarios were carried out to perform additional testing of the army’s latest capabilities, including the light protected mobility vehicle Hawkei, and Bushmaster.
Other capabilities subjected to testing included the soldier combat ensemble, enhanced night fighting equipment and the Black Hornet 3 nano unmanned aerial system and battle management system.
The exercise allowed soldiers to test and provide feedback on these capabilities.
Toohey added: “Their input combined with the feedback from key defence capability experts informs final adjustments and decisions prior to the roll-out of equipment to units. This trial is an important final step to ensure some of the army’s latest capabilities are ready for introduction to units.” (Source: army-technology.com)
22 Oct 18. Royal Navy chief vows to send ships through South China Sea. First Sea Lord says Britain must ‘showcase’ support for its Pacific allies. Britain will assert its right to freedom of navigation in the South China Sea despite recent Chinese claims of provocation, the head of the Royal Navy has vowed. Admiral Sir Philip Jones said Britain had an obligation to “showcase” physical support for its allies in the Asia Pacific region and to resist what he sees as China’s flouting of international conventions on the laws of the sea. “If you are going to have a different interpretation of that [convention] to the majority of nations then that has to be resisted,” said Sir Philip in an interview with the Financial Times. “Otherwise you could see right around the world nations who will start to make their own interpretations.” Beijing last month accused Britain of infringing Chinese sovereignty when one of the navy’s amphibious assault ships, HMS Albion, sailed close to the disputed Paracel Islands, which are also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan. Asked whether he would continue to send British warships through the disputed territorial waters, Sir Philip added: “I expect we will do more of that as we transit through with the ships we have there.” UK’s most expensive warship arrives in US The First Sea Lord spoke as the Royal Navy was preparing to sail its biggest and most expensive warship — the £3.1bn aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth — into less contentious waters. Since the start of October the ship has been conducting landing trials and tests with two F-35B fighter jets off the eastern coast of the US as it continues its preparations for operational duty in 2021. On Friday, the 65,000 tonne ship entered New York harbour, squeezing under the bay’s Verrazzano Bridge with just 14 feet to spare, and dropping anchor close to the Statue of Liberty in a move designed to signal Britain’s renewal as a maritime power but also to send a message that the UK is open for business after Brexit. HMS Queen Elizabeth prepares to drop anchor close to the Statue of Liberty on Friday © Getty But Britain’s shrinking navy is under intense pressure, facing a growing commitment in the Far East — defence secretary Gavin Williamson has ordered three ships to sail to the Asia Pacific region this year — and resurgent Russian naval activity near UK waters. Last year the Royal Navy escorted ships from the Russian fleet close to UK waters on 33 separate occasions. Sir Philip said Russian activity was still on the rise with the numbers likely to be the same “if not higher” in 2018. “They [Russia] are flexing their muscles on a global stage,” said Sir Philip. “We have to work very hard to understand their intent and to be able to track and cope with what they do. it’s a very significant development in British defence.” Number of frigates and destroyers dwindles The problem for the Royal Navy is that with a dwindling number of frigates and destroyers — the number has fallen from 28 in 2005 to 19 this year — the need to urgently respond to Russian activity can leave the rest of the fleet stretched when it is facing so many tasks in other parts of the world. According to statistics released this month by the defence minister Stuart Andrew, four of the UK’s 13 Type 23 frigates spent the whole of 2018 in port. The Type 45 destroyer was beset by engine problems in 2017 and there are concerns over a shortage of attack submarines. Naval chiefs insist the force is going through a transition period and that the arrival of seven new Astute class attack submarines, eight new Type 26 frigates and the general purpose Type 31E frigates will take the Royal Navy to levels of potency not seen since the Falklands War in 1982. But defence analysts argue the decision to build HMS Queen Elizabeth and a second £3.1bn aircraft carrier, HMS Prince of Wales, has not only sucked money out of other areas of UK defence but also added to a shortage of manpower in the navy. A National Audit Office report in April revealed the navy had missed its recruitment targets by 16 per cent in 2016/17. The requirement to provide escort ships and submarines to protect the carriers on deployment will only add to the pressures on crewing. “It’s a constant battle,” said Captain Jerry Kyd, commander of HMS Queen Elizabeth. “It would be lovely to have another 10,000 people but we have to be realistic.” Future of the navy rests on defence review Much will hinge on the outcome of the government’s defence review, which is unlikely to be published until long after next week’s Budget. Sir Philip said he could not “speculate on whether we get the money or not” following the conclusion of the review but said Mr Williamson’s recent pledge to safeguard the UK’s two amphibious landing ships, HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark, was an “enormously positive step”. Recommended UK politics & policy UK armed forces’ personnel shortage is ‘largest in a decade’ He added there would be no “concomitant knock on effect” to other parts of the fleet, rebutting speculation that two Type 23 frigates would have to be taken out of service early to pay for the commitment. And yet some defence experts remain unconvinced at the direction in which the navy is heading. “Where is the navy conceptually, what are they thinking about?” said Peter Roberts, director of military sciences for the think-tank the Royal United Services Institute and a former naval officer. “They seem to be obsessed over the last five years with the carriers to the detachment of everything else.” (Source: FT.com)
22 Oct 18. SA government establishes Defence Landing Pad. The South Australian government has announced that a new one-stop shop supporting international defence companies to establish themselves in SA will be located at Adelaide’s new innovation precinct, Lot Fourteen. The Defence Landing Pad will provide immediate access to affordable, short-term office facilities, which are co-located with other like-minded companies and industry associations in the Adelaide CBD.
Premier Steven Marshall, who will be promoting the initiative when he attends Euro Naval in Paris this week, said the Landing Pad will enable international businesses to build relationships with South Australian businesses and create opportunities for supply chain collaboration.
Companies will also have access to government and industry support services in a single location, providing assistance with local regulations, migration, business establishment and real estate, as well as information on workforce availability and skilling opportunities.
“The Defence Landing Pad combines our defence industry credentials with our culture of innovation. The Defence Landing Pad will provide the opportunity for South Australia to capture new defence industry investment, as part of a growing local industry with significant employment opportunities,” Premier Marshall said.
Developed on the site of the former Royal Adelaide Hospital, Lot Fourteen is being transformed into one of the nation’s premier technology innovation hubs playing home to defence, cyber security, artificial intelligence and space companies.
Premier Marshall said, “I’m incredibly proud of the Defence Landing Pad initiative, as we launch a new way in which South Australia is fostering collaboration and creating business opportunities for our international defence partners.
“Companies that join the Defence Landing Pad will have a unique opportunity to be a part of Lot Fourteen, which is fast becoming a business hub for entrepreneurs, start-ups, corporations, mentors, researchers and investors.”
The Defence Landing Pad will be overseen by Defence SA and will provide immediate access to affordable, short-term office facilities co-located with other like-minded companies and industry associations.
Defence SA chief executive Richard Price said, “The Defence Landing Pad has already received a high level of interest, as it will make it easy for international companies to start doing business in South Australia.”
The Defence Landing Pad will provide immediate access to affordable, short-term office facilities, which are co-located with other like-minded companies and industry associations in the Adelaide CBD. Companies will also have access to government and industry support services in a single location, providing assistance with local regulations, migration, business establishment and real estate, as well as information on workforce availability and skilling opportunities.
“We are looking forward to highlighting this unique opportunity and spruiking the benefits of doing business in South Australia to major international companies at Euronaval in Paris from 23-26 October,” Price said.
The seven-hectare redevelopment site aims to drive jobs growth in these fast growing industries as well as blockchain, robotics and related technologies, with around 1,000 people expected to be working at Lot Fourteen by late 2019, with more than 40 businesses, including aerospace, technology and innovation giant Lockheed Martin, recently announcing tenancy in at the site. (Source: Defence Connect)
21 Oct 18. Russia hits back at US over withdrawal from nuclear treaty. Moscow attacks ‘dangerous’ Trump decision ahead of visit by John Bolton. Russia has warned US president Donald Trump that his plans to ditch a key nuclear arms-control agreement risk a military escalation and will strike a major blow against global security. The proposed withdrawal from the 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty, which helped end the cold war, was “a very dangerous step”, Russian officials said, as Nato allies in Europe warned against dismantling one of the continent’s major safeguards against conflict. The INF treaty is one of the key pillars of global peacekeeping infrastructure and its potential collapse has sparked fears that other pacts, such as those restricting nuclear warheads, could also break apart. Russia’s fierce backlash against Mr Trump’s plan came as John Bolton, his hawkish national security adviser and a primary critic of the arms-control agreement, landed in Moscow for two days of talks amid rapidly souring relations between the two nuclear superpowers. “Unlike our American colleagues, we understand all the seriousness of the issue and its significance for security and strategic stability,” Sergei Ryabkov, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, said on Sunday. “If the Americans continue to act as crudely . . . and unilaterally withdraw from all sorts of agreement and mechanisms from the Iran deal to the International Postal treaty, then we’ll be reduced to taking action in response, including of a military nature. But we don’t want to go that far.” Under no circumstances should we tear up old disarmament agreements. Do they really not understand in Washington what this could lead to? Former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev © AP The sabre-rattling will further chill the atmosphere of Mr Bolton’s meetings, which are set to involve President Vladimir Putin, and will include a warning from the powerful White House aide that Russia not help Iran evade US sanctions preventing its exports of oil. Mr Trump explained his decision on Saturday by claiming Russia had been violating the key arms control treaty for years, a charge Moscow denies. “We’re going to terminate the agreement and we’re going to pull out,” the US president said, giving no timeline for withdrawal. “We’re not going to let them violate a nuclear agreement and go out and do weapons and we’re not allowed to,” he said in reference to the INF accord. Mr Ryabkov said the US had “no grounds to accuse Russia of supposedly violating the treaty”. Signed in 1987 by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, the INF treaty banned all conventional and nuclear missiles with ranges between 500km and 5,500km, amid fears the Soviet Union’s missile programmes could threaten European capitals. Over the past decade, the US has claimed that a number of new Russian missiles are in breach of the treaty, something Moscow denies. In turn, Russia claims that European parts of the US missile defence shield hosted by Nato allies, specifically the one operational base in Romania and another under construction in Poland, are similarly in breach of the treaty. Heiko Maas, Germany’s foreign minister, said that while Europe had “frequently called on Russia in the past to address the serious charges that it is violating the INF treaty”, the US decision to withdraw was “regrettable”. “The INF treaty . . . has been an important pillar of our European security architecture for 30 years. For us in Europe it is therefore of tremendous importance.” Mr Gorbachev, the former Soviet leader, said the US decision was a “mistake”. “Under no circumstances should we tear up old disarmament agreements,” he said, according to Russia’s Interfax news agency. “Do they really not understand in Washington what this could lead to?” Analysts have also warned that because China is not a signatory to the current treaty, it leaves the US exposed to a potential build-up of missile capacity by Beijing. Mr Trump said on Saturday that the US would consider capping its nuclear weapons development if it could make a new arrangement with both Russia and China. “But if Russia is doing it and if China is doing it, and we’re adhering to the agreement, that’s unacceptable,” he said. Alexei Pushkov, a Russian senator, said Mr Trump’s statement was “returning the world to the cold war”. Recommended Russian politics Vladimir Putin uses speech to herald end of US hegemony “Such an exit would be the second most powerful blow inflicted on the world’s entire system of strategic stability,” he said. “The first blow was America’s withdrawal from the anti-ballistic missile treaty in 2001. Once again, the initiator of the treaty withdrawal is the US.” Gavin Williamson, UK defence secretary, blamed Russia for the breakdown, insisting that Britain stood “resolute” behind the US. Mr Bolton, a Russia hawk, is due to meet senior Moscow officials on Monday to discuss the INF treaty and other subjects of contention between the two countries. A senior administration official told reporters last week that the US was also looking at renegotiating another nuclear treaty between the US and Russia, the 2010 New Start treaty, which caps the number of nuclear warheads each country can have and is due for renewal in 2021. “We don’t have a definitive US position yet, but there are several considerations including renegotiation,” said the official. (Source: FT.com)
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