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31 Jul 20. These three companies submitted bids for Canada’s fighter competition. The bids are in for Canada’s fighter competition, and three companies will go head-to-head for the chance to build 88 new jets.
The Canadian government on Friday confirmed that the field is down to two American entrants — Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and Boeing’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet — as well as Swedish aerospace manufacturer Saab’s Gripen E. All companies submitted proposals before the July 31 deadline.
The contest is scheduled to be decided in 2022, with the first aircraft delivery projected in 2025. Up to CA$19bn (U.S. $14bn) is up for grabs.
“Our government committed to purchasing a full fleet of 88 aircraft to be able to meet our NORAD [North American Aerospace Defense Command] and NATO obligations simultaneously,” Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said in a statement. “Efficient and modern fighter jets are an integral part of any air force and we continue to work diligently to make sure that we provide the members of the Royal Canadian Air Force the tools they need to protect Canada, both at home and abroad.”
Canada could downselect to two bidders in spring 2021 after an initial evaluation of proposals, though it could keep all three companies as options until the final selection of a single bidder in 2022, the Canadian government said in statement.
The competing companies must submit proposals that offer economic benefits to Canadian defense contractors and other businesses, as industrial incentives and offsets make up 20 percent of the criteria under evaluation. The proposals will also be evaluated on each aircraft’s capability and cost, which will be weighed at 60 percent and 20 percent respectively.
The new fighter will replace the Royal Canadian Air Force’s fleet of aging CF-18s.
For its proposal, Saab will partner with Canadian defense firms IMP Aerospace & Defence, CAE, and Peraton Canada, and will offer a competitive package of industrial and technological benefits, the company announced.
“Saab’s Gripen fighter is designed to operate in harsh environments and defeat the most advanced global threats. The system meets all of Canada’s specific defence requirements, offering exceptional performance and advanced technical capabilities,” said Jonas Hjelm, who heads Saab’s aeronautics business.
As a partner nation of the F-35 program, Canada has contributed funding for the development of the Joint Strike Fighter and is involved in the production of the jet. In Lockheed’s statement confirming the bid, the firm said the F-35 program would support an estimated 150,000 jobs in Canada over its life span.
“The 5th Generation F-35 would transform the Royal Canadian Air Force fleet and deliver the capabilities necessary to safeguard Canadian skies,” said Greg Ulmer, Lockheed’s F-35 program executive vice president. “The F-35′s unique mix of stealth and sensor technology will enable the Royal Canadian Air Force to modernize their contribution to NORAD operations, ensure Arctic sovereignty and meet increasingly sophisticated global threats.”
Boeing’s argument for its Super Hornet Block III was simple: The Royal Canadian Air Force already operates F/A-18s, and buying the latest version of the Super Hornet is a proven, affordable option that will allow the service to reuse existing infrastructure and reduce sustainment costs.
“We have a partnership with Canada that spans more than 100 years. We don’t take that lightly. The response we submitted today builds upon that great legacy and allows us to continue to bring the best of Boeing to Canada and the best of Canada to Boeing,” said Jim Barnes, Boeing’s director of Canada fighter sales. “Our proven, two-engine design can operate in the harshest environments and provide support no matter where the mission takes its pilots. That, coupled with Boeing’s 100% guaranteed industrial plan, will also deliver long term, well-paying jobs.” (Source: Defense News)
30 Jul 20. Indian Navy expands deployment of ships in Indian Ocean. The Indian Navy has expanded its deployment of frontline warships and submarines in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
India had deployed its warships in the IOR amid border clashes with China in the Galwan Valley in June that led to the death of 20 Indian Army personnel.
With the aim of sending out a strong message to China, the government has taken a multi-pronged approach involving three defence forces, reported PTI, citing defence sources.
An undisclosed defence source was quoted by the news agency as saying: “Yes, our message has been registered by China.”
It was further reported that there was no visible increase in forays by Chinese vessels in the IOR.
According to a PTI report, this could be because of an increase in the deployment of ships by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy in the South China Sea following tensions with the US over territorial disputes.
The Indian Navy recently conducted exercises with naval forces of the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force and French Navy in the IOR to enhance regional security.
Earlier this month, the US Navy’s nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, USS Nimitz (CVN 68), along with its Carrier Strike Group (CSG), conducted a passing exercise (Passex) with the Indian Navy.
The CSG was deployed to the Indian Ocean in support of an open Indo-Pacific free from influence. After the Galwan Valley clashes, the IAF deployed fighter jets, including Sukhoi 30 MKI, Jaguar and Mirage 2000 aircraft in Ladakh airbases. (Source: naval-technology.com)
30 Jul 20. Japan ruling party proposes strike capability to halt enemy missile attacks. A ruling party committee on Friday approved a proposal for Japan to acquire capabilities to halt ballistic missile attacks within enemy territory, bringing the pacifist nation a step closer to acquiring weapons able to strike North Korea.
Giving long range munitions to Japan’s Self Defence Forces is a controversial issue for a country that renounced the right to wage war after its defeat in World War Two. The proposal could also anger China and Russia, which could fall within range of any new strike weapons.
“Our country needs to consider ways to strengthen deterrence, including having the capability to halt ballistic missile attacks within the territory of our adversaries,” the proposal document said.
The proposals, crafted by senior Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers including former defence minister Itsunori Onodera, will be presented to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as early as next week.
The proposal “is to stay within the bounds of the constitution and to comply with international law, that has not changed,” Onodera said at a briefing following policy committee meeting.
The recommendations will be discussed by Japan’s National Security Council, which is expected to finalise new defence policies by the end of September.
Abe has pushed for a more muscular military, arguing Japan needs to respond to a deteriorating security environment in East Asia as North Korea builds missiles and nuclear weapons, China builds a modern, powerful military and Russian forces re-engage in the region.
A strike option is attractive because it is much easier to hit missiles on launch pads than warheads in travel at several times the speed of sound. Finding mobile launchers to hit, however, require close surveillance with satellites that Japan does not currently possess, meaning it would have to rely on help from ally the United States.
Japan’s defence ministry could decide on equipment purchases by the end of the year, government officials told Reuters.
The ruling party deliberations were prompted by defence minister Kono Taro’s decision in June to cancel two planned Aegis Ashore sites designed to track and target incoming ballistic missiles from North Korea, citing a risk posed to nearby residents from falling booster rockets and rising costs. The LDP document included a recommendation that Japan consider how to acquire a defence radar system on a par with Lockheed Martin’s Aegis Ashore system that could also track other threats such as drones and cruise missiles. Among proposals being considered by officials is locating the Aegis Ashore at other ground sites, or putting the new powerful radar on ships. U.S. defence company Raytheon has been lobbying senior LDP lawmakers with a proposal to choose its SPY-6 radar rather than using Lockheed’s system, sources earlier told Reuters.
“The government will make a decision regarding this by the end of September and our thinking will be reflected in that,” Onodera said.
30 Jul 20. Iran launches underground ballistic missiles during drill. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) launched underground ballistic missiles targeting a fake US aircraft carrier in the Strait of Hormuz, as part of a drill.
The two missiles blasted out from what seemed to be central Iran’s desert plateau. However, the precise geographic location has not been disclosed.
The exercise comes amid heightened tensions between Iran and the US over ‘tattered’ nuclear deal with world powers, reported Associated Press.
IRGC Aerospace Division commander General Amir Ali Hajizadeh told state TV: “We have carried out the launch of ballistic missiles from the depths of the earth for the first time.
“That means without utilising conventional launchpads, the buried missiles suddenly rip out of the earth and hit their targets precisely.”
IRGC did not disclose details of the missiles launched either. However, the drone footage indicated the debris, post the blast, flying up into the air.
The footage of the drill, called Great Prophet 14, showed a missile striking a target that looked similar to the US missile defence system Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD).
Missile expert Melissa Hanham was quoted by Associated Press as saying that that the launch is intended to demonstrate the strength of the country’s missile programme.
The missile launches were carried out on Wednesday 29 July, according to the Guard’s aerospace division General Amir Ali Hajizadeh. (Source: army-technology.com)
27 Jul 20. China Shipbuilding Group plans to build amphibious assault ship. China Shipbuilding Group is planning to build an advanced amphibious assault ship to boost the Chinese marines’ ability to hit targets on land and at sea. According to a report of South China Morning Post, the new Type 076 warfare ships are expected to be similar in design to the Type 075 vessel, but will feature an electromagnetic catapult launch system.
This launch system will be used on the currently under-construction next generation Type 002 advanced aircraft carrier vessel. China expects to launch the first Type 002 aircraft carrier in 2021.
The upgraded design of a more powerful proposed assault ship will mean that it will be able to accommodate up to 30 helicopters, rotor-wing drones, hovercraft, amphibious tanks, armoured vehicles, boats, hundreds of marine troops for land attacks, and follow-up operations on the ground.
Once in service, the vessel will enhance the country’s ability to attack ships and land-based targets from the high seas.
Contractor China Shipbuilding Group is yet to receive approvals for the plan from the government.
Work on the new assault vessel is expected to take at least five years.
The proposed vessel is likely to have a displacement of about 40,000t.
This vessel will be the world’s third largest amphibious assault ship after US Wasp-class and America class vessels, and the country’s first.
China has been strengthening its military in recent years and has launched five amphibious assault ships since 2016.
The country launched its second Type 075 LHD in April, but these vessels are yet to enter service.
Naval commentator Li Jie was quoted by the Hong Kong-based publication as saying that there were technological challenges in integrating electromagnetic catapult technology with Type 075 design.
Jie said: “Only when the new Type 002 aircraft carrier finishes testing the three electromagnetic catapult can we make sure it’s a mature technology that could be applied on the flight deck of the Type 075.
“Indeed, the full development of the Type 076 will only be finalised when China successfully develops the first stealth carrier-based fighter jet, as well as other variants of stealth drones.” (Source: naval-technology.com)
30 Jul 20. China, Russia Nearing Status as U.S. Nuclear Peers, Stratcom Commander Says. For the first time, the United States will face two peer competitors with nuclear capabilities — China and Russia — by the end of this decade, the commander of U.S. Strategic Command said.
Speaking today at the Nuclear Deterrence Forum sponsored by the Air Force Association’s Mitchell Institute, Navy Adm. Charles A. Richard discussed the rapid modernization and readiness improvements by Russia and China in both their strategic and conventional military capabilities — and the challenges those improvements pose for the United States.
“China is on a trajectory to be a strategic peer to us by the end of the decade. So for the first time ever, the U.S. is going to face two peer-capable nuclear competitors,” Richard said, adding that Russia is the other peer. “We have never faced that situation before.”
China is in the process of completely building out its own nuclear triad, with the strategic bomber being the last part to be put into place, he said. The other two legs of the triad — intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarines — are already operational.
In addition, the admiral said, China is expanding all of its other capabilities, including new command and control systems and new warning systems, as well as conventional readiness and modernization improvements.
In its rapid expansion of across-the-board military capabilities, Richard said, China always goes faster than the United States.
He noted that in 2013, the Chinese didn’t have a coast guard. Today, he said, it has 255 cutters, adding that the coast guard is a perfect instrument to use below the threshold of armed conflict.
Likewise, Richard said, Russia has been modernizing everything over the last 15 years, and that process is about 70% complete. That includes command and control, warning systems, doctrine, as well as improved readiness and competence in conducting exercises, he said.
“The United States and the Department of Defense have not had to consider the full implications of competition through possible crisis and possible armed conflict with a nuclear-capable peer adversary in close to 30 years,” he said. “The implications are profound.”
The department has good leadership and a good strategy for addressing the situation, in the National Defense Strategy, Richard said. The NDS states that, in conflict, all domains — sea, air, land, space and cyber — will be challenged, he said, adding that it warns that strategic deterrence, which has always been foundational to the rest of the defense strategy, “will be tested in ways that haven’t been tested before.”
The admiral said that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Stratcom “did not miss a beat.”
“We remained fully mission-capable throughout,” he said. (Source: US DoD)
30 Jul 20. UK troops prepare for Mali deployment. The UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) has announced that troops deploying to the United Nations (UN) peacekeeping operation Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) in Mali this December have reached a significant training milestone in preparation for their upcoming mission.
Personnel from the Light Dragoons and 2 Royal Anglian completed a 14-day training session on Salisbury Plain, which marks the start of months of mission preparation. Training will focus around reconnaissance, intelligence gathering, patrols and medical evacuation with the unit acting as a long-range reconnaissance task group for MINUSMA.
The MOD said part of the unit’s non-combat role will be to conduct patrols in Jackal 2 high-mobility weapons platform vehicles to provide situational awareness and intelligence in support of the UN mission.
The MOD added that terrorist violence and conflict is on the rise in Mali and the wider region. The area is affected by chronic poverty, instability and high levels of gender inequality, and is one of the regions most impacted by climate change Light Dragoons commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Robinson said: “This exercise is part of an intensive training package. Over recent months we have been honing our specialist skills and now we have brought all aspects of the task group together to operate as a highly professional and effective peacekeeping force.”
This pre-deployment training marks the first time that the 250-strong task group has trained together.
In West Africa, the UK is working with regional partners across defence, diplomacy and aid to contain the spread of instability from the Sahel to other parts of West Africa and the world.
The MOD said: “The new operation follows a successful three-year commitment to the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan, where British engineers and medics built and repaired much-needed hospitals and military bases.”
It added that the deployment supports UK engagement in the Sahel under the government’s new strategic approach to Africa, which includes support and training to Commonwealth partners.
The Royal Air Force (RAF) has already deployed Chinook helicopters in Mali, supporting the UN peacekeeping mission in the country. Air support from the RAF was previously extended since operations began last year. The helicopters have been used to transport French personnel and equipment around the region. (Source: army-technology.com)
29 Jul 20. Australia Defence Export Controls to Conduct Online Outreach Event on Hypersonic Technologies and Australia’s Export Controls
The Australian Government’s Defence Export Controls has announced that it will conduct an online outreach event on Hypersonic Technologies and Australia’s Export Controls on Thursday, 13 August 2020, from 9:30 – 10:30 AM (AEST). Dr. Michael West will present this sector-specific event. Dr. West has degrees in Aerospace Engineering and Science (majoring in Physics and Geophysics) from the University of Sydney and a Ph.D. in Applied Physics from the Australian National University. Dr. West has over a decade of experience with the Department of Defence and has worked in engineering analysis, policy and governance, and technical management roles that support the Defence capability development and acquisition process. Dr. West is a Senior Member of the American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics (AIAA) and in 2018 received AIAA’s prestigious Lawrence Sperry Award for his contributions to the AIAA and the Australian aerospace sector. Registration is via the Eventbrite site, which can be accessed here.
https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/hypersonic-technologies-and-australias-export-controls-tickets-115139352904?aff=ebdssbonlinesearch (Source: glstrade.com)
17 Jul 20. Morocco plans its next arms industry. The Moroccan House of Representatives approved a draft framework law for national arms development. The Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Borders of the Moroccan House of Representatives accepted a draft framework law which seeks to bring about the development of an arms industry in the Alaouite kingdom.
The legal text was approved on 14 July and refers to defence and security materials and equipment, including armed equipment. The Ministry of National Defence of Morocco developed the legal text with the cooperation of several institutions in the field of Moroccan defence and security.
The challenge is to regulate the manufacture, trade, import, export and transport of security equipment. This would be done by establishing an authorization system that documents, tracks and controls these operations.
Draft law 29.20, which complements law 5.99 on the reserve of the Royal Armed Forces (RAF), provides for the integration of the personnel of public establishments and companies, legal persons under public law or private law who have received military training in ”an establishment belonging to the Royal Armed Forces”, as noted in an official note.
Abdellatif Loudiyi, Minister Delegate in charge of National Defence Administration, welcomed, in his speech on the occasion of the presentation of the draft laws related to national defence, the great attention paid by the nation’s representatives to the structures of the department proper to their area; of vital importance because it is responsible for the mission of protecting and preserving the territorial integrity of Morocco under the leadership of King Mohammed VI, Chief of Staff of the Royal Armed Forces.
The monarch of the North African country had already given the go-ahead to the draft of a law that includes up to 55 articles, regulating the trade in arms and ammunition. The project will allow the construction of units for the arms industry in Morocco. It would also allow the manufacture of weapons by national operators, also with foreign participation.
The regulation covers the requirements that companies must meet to enter this business and the main buyer should be the RAF and the country’s security services.
The law stipulates that future companies that manufacture arms and ammunition in Morocco must be wholly or majority owned by Moroccan capital.
The recently adopted text would also establish a national committee to oversee the authorisations granted to arms manufacturers. In addition, the law sets out the conditions for selling, exporting and transporting arms to foreign customers, and the penalties imposed on violators. Penalties include imprisonment for up to 20 years and fines of up to 5m Moroccan dirhams (about $522,000).
After its approval by the House of Representatives, the framework law has to go through the House of Councillors before its final adoption.
The House of Representatives adopted a total of six laws: on the financial and banking sector, national defence and information security. According to a press release from the legislature, these bills were adopted during a plenary session chaired by Habib El Malki, Speaker of the House of Representatives, in the presence of the Minister of Economy, Finance and Administrative Reform, Mohamed Benchaâboun, and Abdellatif Loudiyi himself. These are bills 36.20 relating to the transformation of the Central Guarantee Fund (CCG) into a joint stock company (SA), 44.20 amending and supplementing law 103.12 relating to credit institutions and similar bodies, and bill 05.20 on cyber security. There is also draft law 10.20 on defence and security materials and equipment, weapons and ammunition, draft law 29.20 supplementing law 5.99 on the reserve of the Royal Armed Forces and draft law 42.18 on export control of civilian and military dual-use goods and related services.
30 Jul 20. Op-Ed: What can the West do about China? Beijing’s international and regional behaviour has finally started to raise alarms with nations around the world. This is particularly the case for Western nations who are struggling to balance the economic potential of the superpower with its now very obvious national security and strategic threat. How the West responds will be critical, says Commodore (Ret’d) Patrick Tyrrell, OBE, RN.
China is rarely out of the news these days whether in terms of trade with the US and American allies, control of the South China Seas, maintaining the “One Country, Two Systems” ethos agreed in the Sino-British declaration over Hong Kong in 1984, the security of Taiwan, the issue of control by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) of so-called independent IT companies or the “Wolf Warrior” approach to diplomacy adopted under President Xi Jinping.
There seems to be no way of controlling the behemoth that is China.
In those heady days at the end of the Cold War (1989-92), the collapse of the Soviet Bloc and the USSR and the general feeling of euphoria captured in a number of strategy papers at the time, led the West to believe that China was ready to be admitted into the congress of nations as a full participant after years of introspection and slow development.
As a result, China was admitted to membership of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in 2001 to a great fanfare, the totalitarian flourish of Tiananmen Square (1989) and its aftermath notwithstanding. China was now “one of us” and would abide by international norms and the overarching Rule of Law. Hong Kong, the former British colony, was handed back to China when the 99-year lease on the New Territories expired in 1997.
The terms of the return were agreed under the Sino-British Declaration of 1984 and introduced the concept of One Country, Two Systems whereby Hong Kong was guaranteed a measure of autonomy for 50 years following the handover.
Hong Kong was a financial centre for global business as well as an entry point into the People’s Republic of China. The policy was also considered to be a template for the eventual reunification of Taiwan with the PRC.
The Chinese have always been credited with the ability to think long term and, as modern media has become more ubiquitous and more intrusive, their Western equivalents seem to have allowed their own strategic horizons to shrink to months or, in some cases, a mere matter of days.
The shape of modern great power competition
The recent events in Hong Kong show that the Chinese Communist Party, led by President Xi, feels that China has less need of the services provided by the region to facilitate interaction with the global financial community and is quite prepared to see Hong Kong wither and die as a major financial hub.
It also has repercussions for Taiwan where One Country, Two Systems is increasingly seen as a busted flush. President Xi has also reiterated the importance of Taiwan to China and has threatened that reunification may be undertaken by force.
The Hong Kong security legislation, first released on 30 June 2020 and implemented the following day, is draconian. It establishes the rights of the mainland to conduct intelligence and security activities without oversight, or responsibility to, the local government.
There is an element of extraterritoriality contained within the legislation which allows for the prosecution of those accused of any offence under the legislation (and the offences are defined extremely widely) wherever in the world that purported offence might have occurred.
Those accused under the legislation can be extradited to the mainland where the conviction rate is in excess of 97 per cent (which is probably a better reflection on the power and influence of the CCP than of the quality of the prosecution’s case!)
It is important to recognise where China is coming from. It is, justifiably, a proud and talented nation with a long and remarkable history. China suffered its ‘Century of Humiliation’ by the West after the two Opium Wars of the early 19th century and the occupation, by Japan, in the 20th century.
China now sees its future as regaining its rightful position in the world, where other nations demonstrate their respect and bend a knee acknowledging Chinese suzerainty.
China recognises that there is a historical opportunity to right many of the wrongs suffered in the past as the democratic West faces a series of unparalleled difficulties brought about by a number of existential challenges; the financial crisis of the first decade of the new century, the apparent disintegration or erosion of the world’s financial and trading infrastructure developed in the post-1945 world, or the current pandemic.
As we know, the Chinese are renowned for their ability to develop their strategies over a long period of time, waiting for the opportunity to leverage any vulnerabilities in their perceived challengers. Over the past 25 years, Chinese companies and individuals have established themselves in positions of influence within the countries China wishes to hold sway over.
They have sought out ‘elite capture’ within communities of influencers and policymakers to work within Chinese companies or influence groups promoting the message that China is there to help their nations and their individual companies to do well in China and with China.
The messages are always consistent with overall CCP ambitions. It is a slick and professional marketing technique! In the UK, for example, the Chinese have endeavoured to make themselves indispensable in the nuclear power industry, the automotive industry and, until very recently, the IT backbone for the future 5G network for the UK.
Important those these issues are, they pale into insignificance when placed in the Sino-American context and the battle for supremacy that is occurring between the world’s great superpower and its apparent successor.
This is not just a battle for the top space: it is an existential battle for the resources, minds and control of the greater part of the globe, a confrontation between the authoritarian, communist didactic model of the CCP and the unalloyed capitalist markets of the US, supported to a greater, or lesser, extent by its erstwhile, liberal, democratic allies in the West.
This confrontation, however, is less about the conflict between two opposing ideologies and more about the testosterone of President Xi and President Donald Trump. Both are headstrong individuals in a position of great power who both feel the need to have a cause célèbre of some sort in order to cement their respective positions at home and remain in power.
President Xi has now been accorded the role of president-for-life and President Trump faces an election this November. Both appear to be adopting the well understood tools of bullies, particularly against anyone perceived to be weaker (which in the case of both the US and China is every other nation who disagrees with them).
So Norway was hit with a ban on salmon exports when the Nobel Committee awarded a Peace Prize to a Chinese dissident (2011), China “freezes” out the UK when the then prime minister David Cameron meets up with the Dalai Lama (2012) and Australia was hit with a ban on beef exports when it called for an exhaustive inquiry into the coronavirus pandemic (2020).
On President Trump’s side, tariffs have been imposed on a variety of goods and services for real or imagined slights to the US; he cut a state visit to Denmark when the Danish government refused to sell Greenland to the US (2019), he stormed out of a NATO meeting when he thought that the assembled heads of state had not accorded him with the respect he thought was his due (2019) and he has dispensed with the niceties of diplomatic protocol running his administration in a series of tweets.
Where do we go from here? We are, of course, where we are and the current climate does not appear conducive to cool, calm, diplomatic resolution. Misjudgement, by either side, has the potential to turn events from complex to a disaster.
We, in the West, need to look at how we can begin to reorganise our relationships and, perhaps, be able to push the ‘reset’ button and find a way in which China, as a large, powerful and talented country, can live in harmony and co-operation with the rest of the world.
This is a non-trivial task!
The non-trivial task
As an authoritarian dictatorship, China has a number of oppressive strategies incompatible with the liberal, democratic West. Beijing can close off the entire Chinese populous to any information and data flows considered to be anti-CCP and its refusal to meet the international norms of behaviour including the Rule of Law, human rights, anti-racism and centralising power among the ruling elite, is diametrically opposed to Western political, legal and social norms.
The CCP has a membership around 90 million, which in a population of 1.4 billion is approximately 6.4 per cent representation. China suppresses free expression of thought or religion and is currently waging a cultural war against the predominantly Muslim Uyghur population in East Turkestan (Xinjiang Province) in north-west China and has been very active in suppressing the Tibetan population.
Unlike the former Soviet Union and the current Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), the Chinese have encouraged their population to travel abroad and, in particular, to study at Western universities.
In part this recognises many of the weaknesses incumbent in the former Soviet and North Korean regimes where they had little or no exposure to modern technology and understanding of their potential competitors.
China has been training engineers, doctors, specialists in banking, finance and business management at Western centres of excellence for a number of years, bringing them back to China to help build a sustainable industrial and financial base.
In order to ensure that not too many defected to the West upon their exposure to Western lifestyles, the Chinese built international networks of loyal party cadres reporting back through local embassies on any unapproved activities, somewhat in the manner of the Stasi in the former East Germany.
How then do we achieve a ‘re-set’ that enables the West to live in a world where China is a major global superpower without sacrificing the principles of Western democracy?
China’s development of the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ (BRI) has given China great leverage within international organisations by providing major infrastructure development in a great many countries. This political leverage is a form of ‘soft power’ and the Chinese have used it to good effect.
At the same time, the West has allowed its soft power to whither; facing financial austerity at home, political dissonance, reducing defence and security budgets and lacking a coherent and sustained vision as to what the West’s objectives might be.
A first step should be to build upon a collaboration of like-minded nations to look at how we might develop a co-ordinated strategy for promoting Western democratic values using a combined soft power. For example, some of the infrastructure built by China under BRI was neither required nor needed by the recipient countries and many of them have been unable to pay the large costs and have been forced to turn the asset over to the Chinese for their exclusive use.
Perhaps the West needs to look at taking on some of this debt burden, bringing relief to these impoverished nations and giving them an alternative to China avoiding Beijing’s debt trap diplomacy.
The West needs to be able to provide a bulwark against Chinese aggression and, in particular, ensure that the South China Sea remains open and international and that the rulings of international tribunals are upheld. On 12 July 2016, an independent arbitral tribunal established under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) published a clear and binding ruling on China’s claims vis-à-vis the Philippines in the South China Sea.
China’s response at the time was to dismiss the ruling as ‘nothing more than a piece of waste-paper’.
Dealing with Chinese companies will be more complicated over the next few years. There is little doubt that these companies, supported as they are by the Chinese state, are beholden to the CCP and will obey the bidding of the Politburo whether it be to obtain other companies’ IPR or to report back on activities in their target countries.
We, the West, need to recognise that and improve our security and vetting systems and protect Chinese citizens who might be targeted under wide-ranging extra-territoriality legislation. The message needs to be clear and unambiguous: “you can lay down the law in your own country but not in ours!”
Over the past 25 years, China has invested hugely in Western firms and technologies. This is not necessarily a bad thing and, within a global, ‘politically neutral’ context, is what helps trade flourish and grow.
However, many critical industries have fallen to the Chinese, leading, in some cases, to potential monopoly situations. This has been particularly so in terms of IT infrastructure (think Huawei) and in rare earth mining where China accounts for 95 per cent of global production.
The West needs to determine what their collective and respective requirements are for such critical industries and ensure that they recover control of their own future needs. The old cry that you could outsource everything and buy it in as and when you needed it have been firmly put to rest by the recent pandemic where individual countries have had to develop and replace China-dependent supply lines to ensure the continuation of critical industries.
There is a tendency to try to develop an equivalence between the Cold War and the present situation with China replacing the Soviet Union as the bad boy on the block. This analysis leads many to consider future military conflict within the Pacific, primarily between the US and her allies and China.
Such conflict is not inevitable. China is currently playing the bully with President Xi flexing his muscles at every opportunity.
It is worth remembering that the Cold War ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union because the West maintained a consistent and measured approach over some 40 years. It was a long and, at times, difficult policy to maintain.
We need to build on that experience, recover our strengths as a coherent bloc; to develop the co-ordinated foreign policy that builds strength and consensus and provide an example that the Chinese people, now travelling extensively to our countries can enjoy, admire and emulate, free of the influences of the CCP.
We need to repurpose the existing political and military structures of NATO to provide a firm foundation for building clear and consistent foreign policies amongst like-minded nations as well as giving the necessary common infrastructure for military preparedness and deterrence.
The Western allies must develop firm alliances within the Indo-Pacific region to allow the development of necessary skills including military and other security exercises and co-ordination of national policies on mutual assistance. Essential to achieving this will be the involvement of Australia, Japan and India as key partners.
If NATO is reluctant to see such an expansion of its role, consideration could be given to the re-energising of the SEATO (1954-77) and widening its remit and membership to reflect the new realities of the 21st century.
One of the critical issues to be addressed, whether it be through NATO, SEATO or a third grouping, will be that of contributions to the costs of the endeavour. NATO has been riven with debate about burden sharing and using a formula based upon relative national means immediately post World War II will not be conducive to a success.
China has made huge strides over the past 30 years to become a major power and, on present trends, will become a clear rival to the US within the next 50 years. China is ruled by an authoritarian regime, seemingly reluctant to abide by accepted international norms for the Rule of Law, human rights and current conflict resolution arrangements.
We must, however, maintain dialogue between the two blocs. The world has faced such situations in the past: the Cold War period of 1948-89 is a clear example. We avoided a major war by preparing for one as a single, motivated group of like-minded nations. We can do so again, it may be bumpy and, at times, difficult, but our grandchildren will thank us.
Patrick Tyrrell, OBE, is a retired Royal Navy Commander and chair of the SIA Advisory Board and Senior Non-Resident Fellow Global & Maritime Security – Cornwall, United Kingdom. (Source: Defence Connect)
28 Jul 20. Joint Statement on Australia-U.S. Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) 2020. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper hosted Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne and Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds on July 28 in Washington for the 30th Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN 2020).
During their discussions, the Secretaries and Ministers built on Prime Minister Morrison’s historic official visit to Washington in September 2019, which demonstrated what President Trump has called the “long, cherished, and unwavering friendship between the United States and Australia.” More than a century since we first fought side-by-side, 80 years after the United States and Australia established diplomatic relations, and 68 years since the formation of our Alliance, our shared commitment to freedom and democracy remains unbreakable.
The Secretaries and Ministers discussed the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and resolved to strengthen cooperation to support our collective recovery and foster a post-COVID-19 world where all countries prosper as sovereign States.
Secretaries and Ministers noted the need to strengthen global efforts to prevent and mitigate future health crises and pandemics and reaffirmed their commitment to bilateral health security cooperation, with a focus on the Indo-Pacific, in line with the release of the AUSMIN Global Health Security Statement. They noted the World Health Assembly resolution on identifying the zoonotic origin of the virus and evaluating the World Health Organization-coordinated international health response, and reaffirmed their commitment to facilitating timely and broad deployment of affordable, safe, and effective COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics, including to support a response in the Indo-Pacific region.
The Secretaries and Ministers reaffirmed that the Indo-Pacific is the focus of the Alliance and that the United States and Australia are working side-by-side, including with ASEAN, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and Five Eyes partners, to strengthen our networked structure of alliances and partnerships to maintain a region that is secure, prosperous, inclusive, and rules-based. They also reaffirmed that women’s security and meaningful economic and political participation in line with the Women, Peace, and Security agenda and women’s economic empowerment is key to achieving these goals.
The United States and Australia reaffirmed their commitment to a stable, secure open, and prosperous Pacific, and recognized the immediate and ongoing impact of COVID-19 on economies in the region. The two sides recognized Australia’s Partnerships for Recovery as setting out a framework for supporting the region’s recovery and welcomed the U.S. government’s commitment of over $118m in funding to support the COVID-19 response in the Pacific Islands.
The United States and Australia recognized the important role of the Pacific Islands Forum and the Pacific Community (SPC) in helping mitigate the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in the region. They committed to supporting the Forum’s Pacific Humanitarian Pathway for COVID-19, including funding for the UN World Food Programme Pacific Humanitarian Air Service to operationalize the Pathway (Australia has contributed AUD$3m, and the United States has committed to contributing US$5m). They underlined their support for the SPC’s regional work on health and economic impacts, which will be important for the region’s economic recovery.
The Secretaries and Ministers also committed to working to support the Pacific’s economic stability and recovery, including through advice and budget support for Pacific Island countries and high-quality infrastructure investment, such as under the Papua New Guinea Electrification Partnership and the proposed undersea cable for Palau that will connect to the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation-supported trans-Pacific cable. Working with the United States, the Government of Palau, and other partners including Japan, Australia has already invested in the marine survey and branching unit that will allow the Palau cable to come to fruition.
The Secretaries and Ministers noted that the pandemic has reduced States’ resilience to shocks and created incentives for some actors to pursue strategic gains in ways that undermine the rules-based international order and regional stability.
The United States and Australia expressed deep concern about the People’s Republic of China (PRC) government’s efforts to undermine the “One Country, Two Systems” framework and to erode Hong Kong’s autonomy and freedoms in violation of its obligations under the Sino-British Joint Declaration. In particular, the principals expressed deep concern at the imposition of sweeping and vague “national security” legislation on Hong Kong that has imperiled the rule of law and undermined the rights to freedom of expression, including for members of the press, and to peaceful assembly. The Secretaries and Ministers noted that both the United States and Australia are taking steps to suspend their respective extradition treaties with Hong Kong as a result of the PRC’s actions and announced mechanisms to admit Hong Kong residents to our countries. They also reiterated their support for the people of Hong Kong to be able to elect Legislative Council representatives via a genuinely free and fair election, which is credible and peaceful, on September 6.
The United States and Australia expressed deep concern over the PRC’s campaign of repression of Uyghurs and members of other minority groups in Xinjiang, including mass detentions, forced labor, pervasive surveillance, restrictions on freedom of religion, and reports of forced abortions and involuntary birth control.
The Secretaries and Ministers re-affirmed Taiwan’s important role in the Indo-Pacific region as well as their intent to maintain strong unofficial ties with Taiwan and to support Taiwan’s membership in international organizations where statehood is not a prerequisite. Where statehood is a prerequisite for membership, both sides support Taiwan’s meaningful participation as an observer or guest. The United States and Australia highlighted that recent events only strengthened their resolve to support Taiwan. They reiterated that any resolution of cross-Strait differences should be peaceful and according to the will of the people on both sides, without resorting to threats or coercion. They also committed to enhancing donor coordination with Taiwan, with a focus on development assistance to Pacific Island countries.
The Secretaries and Ministers expressed serious concerns over recent coercive and destabilizing actions across the Indo-Pacific. In line with the 2016 decision of the Arbitral Tribunal, they affirmed that Beijing’s maritime claims are not valid under international law. Specifically, they affirmed that the PRC cannot assert maritime claims in the South China Sea based on the “nine-dash line,” “historic rights,” or entire South China Sea island groups, which are incompatible with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). They noted that the 2016 Arbitral Award is final and binding on both parties and emphasized that all claims in the South China Sea must be made and resolved in accordance with international law. They also expressed their support for the rights of claimants to lawfully exploit offshore resources, including in relation to long-standing oil and gas projects as well as fisheries in the South China Sea, free from harassment and coercion. They welcomed the recent ASEAN Leaders statement that a South China Sea Code of Conduct should be consistent with UNCLOS, and emphasized that any Code should not prejudice the rights or interests of States under international law or undermine existing regional architecture, and should strengthen the commitment of parties not to engage in actions that complicate or escalate disputes, notably militarization of disputed features.
The United States and Australia reaffirmed the significant role of the United Nations and other key international organizations, especially specialized agencies and standards-setting bodies, in delivering outcomes vital to our shared security, interests, values, and prosperity. They pledged to deepen cooperation to promote consistent and fair processes for elections of qualified, meritorious candidates for leadership positions in these bodies and to pursue meaningful reforms to ensure international organizations are accountable to Member States and free from undue influence.
They affirmed that state-sponsored malicious disinformation and interference in democratic processes are significant and evolving threats, with both countries recently joining a cross-regional statement pledging to combat the “infodemic” that has accompanied the COVID-19 pandemic. They plan to continue to counter these threats vigorously, including through collaboration with international partners, and through a new working group between the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Department of State, which will monitor and respond to disinformation efforts.
The United States and Australia share the view that malicious behavior in cyberspace can undermine the national security and economic prosperity of States. The principals expressed deep concern that the targeting of intellectual property and sensitive business information, including information relating to the development of vaccines and treatments for pandemic response, presents an increasing threat to the global economy, and they committed to holding malicious actors accountable.
Both sides reaffirmed that allowing high-risk vendors that are subject to extrajudicial directions from a foreign government to supply 5G network equipment or build telecommunications cables creates unacceptable risks to national security, critical infrastructure, and privacy. The principals noted the role of 5G network security best practices, such as the Prague Proposals, and expressed their intent to work with like-minded partners to develop end-to-end technical solutions for 5G that use trusted vendors. Acknowledging that 5G is only the starting point, the two nations also reaffirm their commitment to lifting the security of critical and emerging technologies that will be vital to our nations’ prosperity.
The Secretaries and Ministers called on the PRC to be transparent and to negotiate in good faith with the United States and Russia on limitations on nuclear weapons as well as measures to reduce risk and build confidence. They recalled obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to nuclear disarmament.
The Secretaries and Ministers affirmed their support for U.S.-DPRK denuclearization negotiations and their commitment to fully implement sanctions against North Korea to counter the threat to security and regional stability posed by North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
The United States and Australia reaffirmed their commitment to cooperation on counterterrorism. Both sides are proud of the achievements under the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS (Da’esh) and in the Indo-Pacific region. They committed to continue to work together with Indo-Pacific partner countries to mitigate any impacts of COVID-19 on exacerbating the regional terrorist threat environment and to support regional counter-terrorism partner countries in addressing these threats, including any potential movement of foreign terrorist fighters within the region.
The United States and Australia reaffirmed their commitment to Trilateral dialogues with Japan and Quad consultations with Japan and India. The Secretaries and Ministers look forward to further ministerial meetings in these fora. They reaffirmed their strong support for ASEAN, ASEAN-led regional architecture, and ASEAN’s Outlook on the Indo-Pacific, and applauded Vietnam, as current ASEAN Chair, for its leadership of ASEAN in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic. They underscored the role of the East Asia Summit as the region’s premier leaders-led forum for addressing political and security challenges. They welcomed and acknowledged the role of APEC, as the premier economic forum in the region, in strengthening the region’s resilience to future economic shocks and addressing health-related threats, particularly infectious diseases, to trade and investment in the region.
The United States and Australia plan to continue to mobilize private sector investment throughout the Indo-Pacific to deliver high-quality, resilient infrastructure and natural resource projects in partner countries that adhere to international standards and best practices on the rule of law, sovereignty, and free-market principles. The United States and Australia updated their development cooperation Memorandum of Understanding, committing to build the stability, prosperity, and resilience of the Indo-Pacific. The United States and Australia also committed to uphold robust standards for development and infrastructure assistance and to avoid burdening recipients with unsustainable debt. They called on all G20 Members and their official creditor agencies to follow through on their G20 commitments under the Debt Service Suspension Initiative and provide debt relief to eligible countries that request forbearance. Recognizing the vital role multilateral development banks (MDBs) play in regional economic development, the two sides intend to work with likeminded shareholders to ensure effective and transparent implementation of MDB procurement frameworks and policies that emphasize value for money and quality over lowest-price bids and seek to multiply the development benefits by encouraging domestic capacity development and increased opportunities for SMEs in the borrowing country.
The United States and Australia continue to prioritize close and continuing cooperation on supply-chain diversification and resilience, particularly for essential medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, critical technologies, and critical minerals. They welcomed the announcement that Lynas has signed a Phase 1 contract with the U.S. Department of Defense for an engineering and market feasibility study for the design of a heavy rare earth separation facility in the United States. Both countries remain committed to working with like-minded partners to support continued access to critical goods and services. The principals reaffirmed their nations’ openness to an open exchange of views, exploration of new approaches to diversification, and the maintenance of reliable and secure supply chains.
In particular, the Secretaries and Ministers welcomed the continued development of a U.S.-Australia Critical Minerals Plan of Action to improve the security of critical minerals in the United States and Australia. Recognizing the impact of market-distorting practices by near-monopoly suppliers of critical minerals, including attempts to drive out competitors and deter new market entrants, principals plan to progress options to support new investment in the sector to diversify supply chains, and to consider work with like-minded partners to develop international standards on critical minerals.
Bilateral Defense Cooperation
The United States and Australia are determined to strengthen defense cooperation, including on force posture, and acknowledged that the presence of U.S. forces in the Indo-Pacific has been vital to preserving the region’s security and prosperity for 75 years. They signed a classified Statement of Principles on Alliance Defense Cooperation and Force Posture Priorities in the Indo-Pacific. The Statement establishes a bilateral Force Posture Working Group to develop recommendations that will advance force-posture cooperation in the Indo-Pacific to promote a secure and stable region and deter coercive acts and the use of force.
The Secretaries and Ministers discussed practical ways to strengthen our ability to address a range of challenges in a more contested Indo-Pacific, from countering malign gray-zone tactics to deterring aggression in the region. They recognized Australia’s 2020 Defence Strategic Update and Force Structure Plan further builds Australia’s contribution to the Alliance by investing in a more agile, potent, and self-reliant Australian Defence Force. Australia’s sharper regional Indo-Pacific focus will allow the Australian Defence Force to make its strongest contribution to shared security interests in the Indo-Pacific, be better able to project military power, and deter destabilizing actions at a longer range.
The Secretaries and Ministers emphasized the importance of ensuring that our enhanced defense engagement and capacity building, especially with partners in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, are closely coordinated to avoid duplication and to maximize their impact in protecting sovereignty and building resilience.
Following this year’s cooperative naval activity between HMAS Parramatta and the USS America Expeditionary Strike Group in the South China Sea, the principals committed to pursue increased and regularized maritime cooperation in the region, as well as the Indian Ocean, bilaterally and in concert with other likeminded and regional partners. They were pleased Australia and the United States proceeded with the Marine Rotational Force-Darwin rotation this year, despite COVID-19 challenges. Discussions also included the potential expansion of Marine Rotational Force-Darwin joint training exercises to include additional partners and allies to bolster regional relationships and capabilities.
The two sides recognized that the operational effectiveness of the Alliance relies increasingly on secure supply chains to support our combined capability and readiness.
In a significant step toward strengthening the resilience of our supply chains, the United States and Australia intend to establish a U.S. funded commercially operated strategic military fuel reserve in Darwin.
The United States and Australia also determined to advance initiatives that diversify and harness our industry cooperation, including further pursuing options that enable greater maintenance, repair, overhaul, and upgrade of U.S. military platforms and components in Australia to further strengthen our supply chain resilience in the Indo-Pacific.
Acknowledging the unique role of technology and our respective industries in the U.S.-Australia defense partnership to maintain our competitive edge, the Secretaries and Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to closely collaborate and encourage bilateral defense trade to promote interoperability, and to pursue cooperation in defense innovation. As an example, they welcomed that over 50 Australian companies were contributing to the global F-35 program. They welcomed Australia’s inclusion in the U.S. National Technology Industrial Base and committed to work to reduce barriers to industrial base integration, including Australian participation in U.S. supply chains. In addition, they noted the ongoing collaboration through the AUS-U.S. Defense Trade Working Group is expected to identify and help resolve defense trade issues of mutual concern, including on export controls, thus facilitating cooperation and strengthening our respective industrial bases and collaboration into the future.
The Secretaries and Ministers recognized an interest in strengthening the mutual security and prosperity of the United States and Australia through investment in technology, innovation, and research to develop new industries, drive economic growth, and enhance readiness. The Secretaries and Ministers affirmed the value of bilateral collaboration on issues including hypersonics, integrated air and missile defense, electronic and undersea warfare, space, cyber, critical minerals, and other technologies.
The United States and Australia also have a rich history of collaboration on civilian science, technology, and innovation, and welcome the fifth U.S.-Australia Joint Commission Meeting on Science and Technology Cooperation in 2020. Building off the 2019 Joint Statement of Intent between the Australian Space Agency and NASA, the principals expressed their support for expanding space exploration cooperation under the Artemis program and committed to finalizing a bilateral Space Framework Agreement as soon as possible, including to support NASA’s mission to put the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024, as well as broader space collaboration between the nations. Australia looks forward to hosting the next AUSMIN in 2021. (Source: US DoD)
28 Jul 20. UAE reveals export controls list. The United Arab Emirates’ (UAE’s) export control authority, the Committee for Goods and Materials Subject to Import and Export Control, has released a list approved by the UAE Cabinet of equipment subject to export control restrictions.
Published on the authority’s website on 22 July, the list was approved through the Cabinet Resolution 50 of 2020; and is an annex to the existing Federal Law number 13 of 2007 that introduced export controls on goods entering and leaving the country.
The schedule of goods implements controls on a number of dual-use goods and equipment as agreed through multilateral export control regimes including those developed by the Australia Group, the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Missile Technology Control Regime, the Wassenaar Arrangement, the Chemical Weapons Convention, and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
The 11 categories cover a range of technologies, including nuclear materials, sensors, avionics and navigation systems, and telecommunications systems.
Notably, Category 11 of the list covers specific ‘National Controlled Commodities’, which includes a range of military ground vehicles and marine systems. These include vehicles, trailers, armour, and shock absorbers. Additionally, unmanned conversion kits and systems are also included in the category, including equipment for remote or autonomous steering, acceleration and braking, and control or navigation systems, as well as test and evaluation equipment.
Both military and civil security vehicles are included in Category 11, with cash-in-transit and riot control vehicles mentioned. (Source: Jane’s)
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