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Russia is alarmed by a US Air Force visit to Norway’s Jan Mayen

Norway’s defense minister insists the Arctic island won’t be used for military activities. By Reuters -February 13, 2020398Share on FacebookTweet on Twitter

Two U.S. Air Force F-22 stealth fighter jets are about to receive fuel mid-air from a KC-135 refueling plane over Norway en route to a joint training exercise with Norway’s growing fleet of F-35 jets August 15, 2018. (Andrea Shalal / Reuters File Photo)

MOSCOW/OSLO — Russia said on Thursday it was alarmed by a trip that a U.S. Air Force unit took to a Norwegian Arctic outpost and urged Oslo to refrain from what it said were de-stabilizing moves in the strategic region.

A squadron of U.S. Air Force staff visited Norway’s air base on the island of Jan Mayen in the North Atlantic in November to test the airfield and to see whether U.S. C-130J Super Hercules military transport planes can land there.

[A US helping hand to Norway in Jan Mayen also extends the Pentagon’s Arctic reach]

The potential for conflict in the Arctic has grown as climate change has made the region more accessible, and Russia has built up its own military presence there while touting the potential of the Northern Sea Route across its northern flank.

Moscow has repeatedly raised concerns over NATO-member Norway’s military spending, its moves to develop its military infrastructure and the deployment of foreign military personnel in the country.

Commenting on the U.S. visit to the island, the Russian Foreign Ministry told Reuters Moscow believed Norway’s recent military activity was ultimately aimed at Russia and that such actions destabilize the region.

“…the sheer fact of the possible presence of the U.S. Air Force on the island, albeit occasional, is alarming,” it said.

“We hope Oslo will be responsible and far-sighted in building its policy in the north and will refrain from actions that undermine regional stability and damage bilateral relations,” the ministry said.

Earlier this month, Moscow accused Norway of restricting its activities on the archipelago of Svalbard, a remote chain of islands in the Arctic, and said it wanted talks with Oslo to have the issue resolved.

The U.S. Air Force visit has also raised questions in Oslo.

Norwegian Defense Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen has played down the implications of the visit on the security situation in the north and Norway’s relationship with Russia.

“Individual transport flights to Jan Mayen with planes from allied countries will not impact the security policy picture in the north,” he told parliament.

He said a request to help with transport flights to Jan Mayen was sent to allied countries in 2019 as Norway’s air force was stretched.

He said planes from military forces from Austria, Sweden, Denmark and France had flown to Jan Mayen between 2017 and 2019.

“Jan Mayen will not be used for military activities,” he said.

Reporting by Maria Kiselyova in Moscow and Gwladys Fouche in Oslo.

Sino-Russian and US-Russian relations are studied in Finland

By Xuefei Chen Axelsson

STOCKHOLM, Key changes in the Sino-Russian and US-Russian relationships can have significant consequences for the global balance of power and the international order at large. A report published today shows how vulnerable the recently deepened Sino-Russian relationship is as it represents a joint reaction towards the US hegemony rather than a deep strategic alliance.

The relationship is imbalanced and relies on Chinese self-restraint. The relationship between the US and Russia again suffers from a long-term structural problem as the US refuses to recognise the great power status, which Russia is longing for. Both relationships include important uncertainties as factors related to regime succession might decisively affect their future direction.

The Sino-Russian relationship has deepened during the past few years with cooperation in energy policy and military security in its core. The cooperation corresponds to the strategic needs of China, which has the upper hand in defining its future. Both great powers engage in their own regional projects in Central Asia, the Chinese Silk Road Project and the Russian-led Eurasian Union. Thus far an open competition between them has been avoided. Whilst China and Russia share a common interest in safeguarding their authoritarian political systems from Western values, their approaches to the Western led international order differ. This creates a key obstacle for any far-reaching alliance between them.

The relationship between the US and Russia has been constantly deteriorating after the end of the Cold War due to very different expectations about the relationship. The person factor forms an important determinant: the Donald Trump presidency was expected to respond to the long-term Russian demands on bargaining with Russia. The domestic controversies on Russian election hacking have, however, made the future of this relationship increasingly unpredictable. Taking the key driving forces into account it is less likely to change in the near future than the Sino-Russian relationship.

This publication is part of implementing the Government’s plan for analysis, assessment and research in 2018 (www.tietokayttoon.fi).

Source: www.tietokayttoon.fi

Global arms industry: First rise in arms sales since 2010, says SIPRI

 Xuefei Chen Axelsson
STOCKHOLM, Jan. 22(Greenpost)– Global arms sales increased 38 percent since 2002, according to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute report issued in December.

Global arms industry: First rise in arms sales since 2010, says SIPRI

The F-35 Lightning II, produced by Lockheed Martin Corporation, the company at the top of SIPRI’s Top 100. Photo: Flickr/Jasper Nance.

Sales of arms and military services by the world’s largest arms-producing and military services companies—the SIPRI Top 100—totalled $374.8 billion in 2016, according to new international arms industry data released today by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

The total for the SIPRI Top 100 in 2016 is 1.9 per cent higher compared with 2015 and represents an increase of 38 per cent since 2002 (when SIPRI began reporting corporate arms sales). This is the first year of growth in SIPRI Top 100 arms sales after five consecutive years of decline.

US companies increase their share of total arms sales in 2016

At a combined total of $217.2 billion, arms sales of US companies listed in the SIPRI Top 100 grew by 4.0 per cent in 2016. US military operations overseas as well as acquisitions of large weapon systems by other countries have driven this rise. Arms sales by Lockheed Martin—the world’s largest arms producer—rose by 10.7 per cent in 2016, which was decisive to the increase in the USA’s share of overall SIPRI Top 100 sales to 57.9 per cent. ‘With the acquisition of helicopter producer Sikorsky in late 2015 and higher delivery volumes of the F-35 combat aircraft, Lockheed Martin reported significant growth in its arms sales in 2016,’ says Aude Fleurant, Director of SIPRI’s Arms and Military Expenditure Programme.

The rise in sales and the number of US military services companies ranked in the SIPRI Top 100 are noticeable trends in 2016. Some of these companies have increased their sales through the acquisition of the military services divisions of larger arms producers. This was the case for Leidos, for example, which acquired Lockheed Martin’s information technology and technical services businesses in 2016.

Arms sales by companies in Western Europe remain stable, but trends diverge

The combined arms sales of companies in Western Europe listed in the SIPRI Top 100 remained stable in 2016 at a total of $91.6 billion—an increase of 0.2 per cent compared with 2015. However, the trends for arms sales in the largest arms-producing countries— namely the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Germany—displayed clear divergences. There were overall decreases in the arms sales of Trans-European, French and Italian companies, while companies in the UK and Germany recorded overall increases.

‘Germany’s 6.6 per cent increase in arms sales for 2016 is mainly due to the growth in sales of armoured vehicle producer Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (12.8 per cent) and land systems producer Rheinmetall (13.3 per cent),’ says SIPRI Senior Researcher Pieter Wezeman. ‘Both companies have benefited from demand for arms in Europe, the Middle East and South East Asia.’

The UK’s decision to withdraw from the European Union did not seem to have an impact on the arms sales of British companies, which rose by 2.0 per cent in 2016. The arms sales of BAE Systems, the fourth largest arms producer globally, remained stable (up by 0.4 per cent). The highest growth in arms sales by a British company (43.2 per cent) was recorded by GKN, an aerospace components manufacturer.

Russian arms sales grow, but pace of increase slows

The combined arms sales of Russian companies listed in the SIPRI Top 100 increased by 3.8 per cent, amounting to $26.6 billion in 2016. Russian companies accounted for 7.1 per cent of the overall total. ‘The major economic difficulties experienced by Russia in 2016 have contributed to a slowdown in the rate of increase in the arms sales of Russian companies,’ says SIPRI Senior Researcher Siemon Wezeman.

Among the 10 Russian companies listed in the SIPRI Top 100, the trends in arms sales are mixed: five companies recorded sales growth, while the other five showed decreases. The highest ranked Russian company in the SIPRI Top 100 for 2016 is United Aircraft Corporation, which is placed 13th. Its arms sales grew by 15.6 per cent compared with 2015 due to increased deliveries to the Russian armed forces and higher export volumes.

 South Korea dominates arms sales by emerging producers

SIPRI’s ‘emerging producers’ category covers companies based in Brazil, India, South Korea and Turkey. The trend in this category for 2016 is dominated by the 20.6 per cent overall increase in the arms sales of South Korean companies, with total sales amounting to 8.4 billion. ‘Continuing and rising threat perceptions drive South Korea’s acquisitions of military equipment, and it is increasingly turning to its own arms industry to supply its demand for weapons,’ says Siemon Wezeman. ‘At the same time, South Korea is aiming to realize its goal of becoming a major arms exporter.’

 Falling Japanese arms sales drive decline in other established producers’ total

SIPRI’s ‘other established producers’ category covers companies based in Australia, Israel, Japan, Poland, Singapore and Ukraine. The combined arms sales of companies in these countries fell by 1.2 per cent in 2016, largely driven by an overall decrease in the arms sales of Japanese companies (–6.4 per cent). Japan’s largest arms companies experienced sharp falls in 2016: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ arms sales decreased by 4.8 per cent, while those of Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Mitsubishi Electric Corporation declined by 16.3 and 29.2 per cent respectively.

 The SIPRI Arms Industry Database

The SIPRI Arms Industry Database was created in 1989. It contains financial and employment data on arms-producing companies worldwide. Since 1990, SIPRI has published data on the arms sales and employment of the 100 largest of these arms-producing companies in the SIPRI Yearbook.

‘Arms sales’ are defined by SIPRI as sales of military goods and services to military customers, including sales for domestic procurement and sales for export. Changes are calculated in real terms and country comparisons are only for the same companies over different years.

China lodges protest with U.S. on warship patrol in South China Sea

BEIJING, Oct. 27 (Greenpost) — The Foreign Ministry on Tuesday expressed “strong  discontent” and “resolute opposition” over a U.S. warship patrol near Zhubi Reef, which is part of China’s Nansha Islands in the South China Sea.

This action by the United States threatens China’s sovereignty and security interests, endangers the safety of personnel and facilities in the reef, and harms regional peace and stability, ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said in a statement.

Lu urged the U.S. to “immediately correct its wrongdoing.”

Earlier on Tuesday, the U.S. warship USS Lassen entered waters near Zhubi Reef without the permission of the Chinese government, according to Lu.

The U.S. warship was monitored, tracked and issued with warning, said the spokesperson, adding that China will continue to watch the situation and “do whatever is necessary.”

Stressing that China’s sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and its adjacent waters is “irrefutable,” Lu said China is prepared to respond to any deliberate provocation by any country.

China respects other countries’ freedom of navigation in accordance with international law, Lu said, however, China is firmly opposed to any action that harms China’s sovereignty and security in the name of freedom.

The construction activities undertaken by China on its own territory is an internal affair and will not block the legal freedom of other countries, the spokesperson said.

The U.S. side should remember its commitment that it would take no position on territorial disputes, as this would damage China-U.S. ties and regional peace, said Lu.

Earlier Tuesday, Foreign Minister Wang Yi, in response to a question on the U.S. Navy’s intention at a seminar, warned the U.S. not to “make trouble out of nothing.”

“If it is true, we advise the U.S. to think twice before it takes any action,” he said, urging them “not to act in an imprudent way and not to make trouble out of nothing.” Enditem

Source: Xinhua

Editor: Xuefei Chen Axelsson


China Focus: Key China-U.S. dialogue set for next week

China Focus: Key China-U.S. dialogue set for next week

BEIJING, June 19 (Greenpost) — High-ranking officials from China and the United States will meet next week in Washington D.C. to discuss issues ranging from security to the economy and people-to-people exchanges, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

The two countries have decided that the seventh China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) and the sixth China-U.S. High-Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange (CPE) will take place on June 23 and 24, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said.

The S&ED will be co-chaired by Vice Premier Wang Yang and State Councilor Yang Jiechi, who will act as special representatives of Chinese President Xi Jinping, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, who will act for U.S. President Barack Obama.

The CPE will be co-chaired by Vice Premier Liu Yandong and Kerry.

“China is ready to work with the United States to implement the consensus reached by their leaders, enhance strategic communication, promote mutually beneficial cooperation, properly handle differences, so as to push for new progress in the building of a new model of major power relationship,” said Lu.

The CPE will discuss cooperation in education, science and technology, culture, health, sports, women and youth, according to the spokesperson.

The S&ED and CPE, among more than 90 dialogue mechanisms between China and the United States, have become the most important regular platforms between the two countries, gathering dozens of influential officials in fields ranging from trade and finance to diplomacy and defense.

“The coming S&ED and CPE will help enhance mutual understanding and build trust, promote cooperation and make preparations for President Xi Jinping’s visit to the United States in September,” Assistant Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang said on Friday.

Xi accepted U.S. President Barack Obama’s invitation for a state visit during a phone conversation in February.

It will be Xi’s first state visit to the United States since he became president in 2013.

“This year’s strategic dialogue will cover a wide range of topics,including bilateral, regional and global issues of common concern,” Zheng said.

Hot topics include climate change, China-U.S. interaction in the Asia-Pacific region, management of differences and sensitive issues, United Nations and multilateral issues, science and innovation, green ports and ships and the illegal trade in animals and plants.

Ahead of the strategic dialogue, Chinese and U.S. representatives of the military and related departments will meet to discuss security, Zheng said.

“The major task for the economic dialogue is to reach agreement on economic issues and create a good environment for the presidential summit in September,” China’s vice finance minister Zhu Guangyao said.

At the economic dialogue, officials will have in-depth discussions on macro-economic policy and restructuring, promoting trade and investment and stabilizing and reforming the financial market, according to Zhu.

As the world’s two largest economies, the United States and China are increasingly economically interdependent, with their trade volume hitting 550 billion U.S. dollars last year.

U.S. investment in China has amounted to nearly 100 billion U.S. dollars, while Chinese investment in the United States has also grown, official data indicates.

“Increasing China-U.S. economic cooperation is not only in tune with the requirements of the two peoples, but also a reflection of two countries’ efforts to shoulder their responsibilities as world powers,” Zhu said.

The fact that the CPE and S&ED are being jointly held in the United States for the first time this year shows the seriousness in which the two sides are aiming to build their new-model relationship, according to Chinese Vice Minister of Education Liu Limin.

He said people-to-people exchanges are irreplaceable and he is looking forward to the upcoming consultation.

A range of China-U.S. events will take place in America during the Chinese leaders’ time there.

Liu Yandong will address a forum for university presidents of the two countries. Twenty-six Chinese university chiefs and 23 from the United States are scheduled to attend.

As this year marks the 70th anniversary of victory in the World Anti-Fascist War and also victory in the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries and the Chinese Embassy to the United States will hold a joint exhibition to commemorate cooperation between China and the United States in World War II, Liu Limin said.

Liu Yandong will deliver a speech at a dialogue with female leaders from the two countries.

She will attend a seminar aiming to help African countries improve their healthcare systems and the opening ceremony of a competition for young technology enthusiasts.

According to Liu Limin, one of the achievements of the CPE is expected to be a plan for China to invite 100 American youth leaders to visit China for a study tour in the coming five years.

The coming activity will follow a U.S. visit by Fan Changlong, vice chairman of China’s Central Military Commission, earlier this month. Fan said during the trip that the the two nations “should take the higher ground to look into the future and gain perspective on regional and international issues”.

His U.S. meetings saw discussion of a “mutual trust mechanism” covering encounters in the air, building on such mechanisms for land-based and maritime encounters, Zheng said.

The main goal of Fan’s visit was to create “a positive atmosphere” for Xi’s September U.S. visit, according to Guan Youfei, director of the Foreign Affairs Office of the National Defense Ministry. Enditem

Source   Xinhua

Editor    Xuefei Chen Axelsson


China Voice: South China Sea issue should not hinder China-U.S. ties

China Voice: South China Sea issue should not hinder China-U.S. ties

BEIJING, June 1 (Greenpost) — A series of actions and words by the United States are an overreaction on the South China Sea issue, which only lead to their international credibility being affected.

A U.S. anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft flew over waters off China’s Nansha Islands last month. Onboard the aircraft was also a CNN team, which claimed they had been given permission by the Pentagon.

Clearly the United States wanted to play up China’s island construction activities to portray it as a threat to regional stability.

Speaking on his way to Singapore to attend the annual Shangri-La Dialogue security forum last week, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter called for an end to island-building in the South China Sea, despite the fact that Beijing has repeatedly elaborated that China’s construction on the islands, besides meeting necessary defense needs, mostly serves civil purposes.

For a long time, the South China Sea has maintained peace and stability with the freedom of navigation fully upheld. China’s construction activities on the Nansha islands and reefs are entirely within China’s sovereignty. They are lawful, justified and reasonable and do not affect or target any particular country.

China’s sovereignty, rights and interests in the South China Sea have been consistently upheld by successive Chinese governments and established over a long history, with ample historical and legal basis.

China’s stand has been firm and clear: It will not want anything that does not belong to it, but it will ensure each inch of land it owns safe and sound.

Currently, China and ASEAN countries have identified a “dual track” approach on the South China Sea, which calls for disputes to be resolved through negotiation and consultation between parties directly concerned and for China and ASEAN member states to work together to maintain peace and stability.

Progress has been made in consultations on a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC), and the COC is meant to be a set of rules for China and countries in the region rather than rules set by outsiders.

One thing for sure, the United States is not a party concerned with the South China Sea issue. Stirring up trouble in the region will only make it unpopular.

If unnecessary anxiety by the U.S. and oversensitivity to the South China Sea issue is developing to the severity that hurts the stability and development of the Asia-Pacific region, it will run against the common aspiration of the people and countries of the Asia-Pacific region and be detrimental to the United States itself.

On the whole, the China-U.S. relationship is developing on a steady track, the stability brooks no disturbance or troublemaking. More importantly, both sides should properly handle disputes so as not to distract the overall direction of the bilateral ties. The world’s most important bilateral relationship deserves to be cherished.

The South China Sea issue will not and should not become an obstacle of the China-U.S. ties. Washington should be aware of this and be discreet in its words and deeds. Enditem

Editor’s note: This article doesn’t represent Greenpost’s view.

Source Xinhua

Editor  Xuefei Chen Axelsson

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