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US vulnerable to Chinese electromagnetic attack, experts say Philippines rejects China's demand to remove grounded navy ship Taiwan's presence at Democracy Summit will test US-China ties: Wall Street Journal Lithuania, in spat with China, urges Europe to brace for ‘coercion’ from Beijing EU extends human rights sanctions, including on Chinese officials Dimon says he regrets comment on JPMorgan outlasting China Communist Party Top general warns Iran ‘very close’ to having nuclear weapon capability Polyp in Biden's Colon Was Benign, Potentially Pre-Cancerous Thailand sees gradual tourism recovery a month after reopening Experts are warning that the United States is vulnerable to an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack from adversaries such as China, and that time is running out to invest in defending the country from it. "That poses a real threat of possibly being able to win a war with a single blow by means of an EMP attack," Peter Vincent Pry, the executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security, said during a virtual forum hosted by the Universal Peace Federation Tuesday. "Moreover … they don’t envision employing an EMP by itself. It would be used in conjunction with cyberattacks and physical sabotage, and non-nuclear EMP." The U.S. electric grid and other infrastructure – such as communications and transportation systems and water and sewer services – could all be devastated
by such an attack, experts like Pry warn, noting that time is of the essence for the U.S. to defend itself. China already possesses "super EMPs" and last summer tested a new hypersonic glide vehicle that analysts warn could deploy the EMP and cause a long-lasting blackout that would shut down key infrastructure and cripple the military's ability to communicate. While such an attack would be "bloodless" at first, experts warn that a yearlong blackout caused by an EMP could kill an estimated 90% of the American population. "It’s bloodless, at least initially," said Plamen Doynov, a professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and chief technology officer at the company EMP Shield.
More worrisome is the idea that countries without cutting edge military technology could successfully launch an EMP attack, meaning less advanced adversaries such as North Korea could strike a devastating blow against the U.S. homeland. "There is no need for precision. North Korea doesn’t need to have a very good ballistic missile in order to precisely deploy and detonate the weapon," Doynov warned. China has invested heavily in its EMP program, with a strategy that "emphasizes suppressing, degrading, disrupting or deceiving enemy electronic equipment throughout the continuum of a conflict while protecting its ability to use the cyber and electromagnetic spectrum," reads a recent Pentagon report on Chinese military capabilities. "The PLA is likely to use electronic warfare early in a conflict as a signaling mechanism to warn and deter adversary offensive action
If China or any other adversary such as Russia were to successfully cause a large scale blackout, Pry warns that there is little the U.S. could do in response. While the U.S. possesses the technology and capability to defend the nation's infrastructure from such an attack, deploying it across a country that has several different state agencies and utility companies responsible for the grid will be a challenge. "We do know how to protect against it. It’s not a technological problem. It’s a political problem," Pry said.
Former President Donald Trump took steps in 2019 to begin addressing that challenge, signing an executive order that directed government-wide coordination to defend against an EMP attack. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana dismissed China's assertion on Wednesday that the Philippines had committed to remove the BRP Sierra Madre, which was intentionally grounded at the Second Thomas shoal in 1999 to reinforce Manila's sovereignty claims in the Spratly archipelago. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian on Wednesday said Beijing "demands the Philippine side honour its commitment and remove its illegally grounded vessel". The Philippines will not remove a dilapidated navy ship grounded on an atoll in the South China Sea, its defence chief said on Thursday, rejecting a demand by China after it blocked a mission to resupply the vessel's crew. The 100 metre-long (330-ft) tank landing ship was built for the U.S. Navy during World War Two. Lorenzana accused China of "trespassing" when its coast guard interrupted a resupply mission for the troops.
Inviting Taiwan to participate in the Summit for Democracy will test U.S.- China relations in the wake of the recent Biden-Xi virtual summit, according to a Wall Street Journal article released on Wednesday (Nov. 24). The U.S. and China managed to lower tensions at the meeting between their leaders by being cordial in areas of disagreement and instead focusing on shared interests, such as climate action. Yet Biden's move to invite Taiwan to the international gathering in December, combined with the possibility he will push for a diplomatic boycott of the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing, may spoil the cooperative mood. The director of the German Marshall Fund's Asia Program, Bonnie Glaser, told the WSJ inviting Taiwan will not cross any red lines since the country’s participation will be low-key and not involve its executive leadership.
“China will likely respond in some way, but it will not lead to a major setback in the relationship,” Glaser said. “Taiwan will not be referred to as a country; its president will not participate.” The invitation is just the latest in a series of recent U.S. initiatives designed to bolster ties with Taiwan and give it space to participate in the international community. In joining the summit, Taiwan will be able to showcase its vibrant democracy and respect for human rights, Taiwanese and U.S. officials said. Taiwan's legislative authorities on Tuesday passed an extra budget worth NT$240 billion ($8.63 billion) for the island's navy and air force to counter the Chinese mainland's military modernization and "increasingly aggressive behavior," Taiwan News reported on the same day.
To be spread out over five years, the spending covers the procurement of eight weapons systems - coast-based anti-ship missiles, anti-air missiles, long-range precision missiles, vessels for the Navy and others for the Coast Guard, drones, Wan Chien air-to-ground cruise missiles and Hsiung Sheng missiles - the report said, noting that the weapons will be primarily produced in Taiwan. From technical and tactical points of view, these weapons indeed pose certain asymmetrical threats to the coastal regions of the Chinese mainland and the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), but they cannot shake the huge military power gap between the mainland and the island, analysts said. Taiwan's armed forces are planning to arm the island into being a "porcupine" - these weapons are spines to the island - and apply asymmetric warfare strategies, for example, using long-range supersonic anti-ship missiles and land- attack cruise missiles to threaten the mainland's coastal regions and warships, or using small Tuo Chiang-class corvettes and other patrol vessels to counter the mainland's large warships in maritime guerilla warfare, Wei Dongxu, a Beijing- based military expert, told the Global Times on Wednesday. The Taiwan military wants to use these weapons to resist reunification by force and impede the PLA's amphibious landing forces, Wei said. Wei said that Taiwan's arms industry is not well-established enough to develop and mass produce some of these advanced weapons to meet the demands of its armed forces in just five years, and it is just bragging about many of its capabilities.
Lithuania will adapt to "short-term" economic pain dealt by China over its moves to enhance ties with Taiwan, foreign minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said on Wednesday, while urging Europe to brace against Beijing's economic "coercion" by getting more involved in the Indo-Pacific. China downgraded diplomatic ties with Lithuania on Sunday over the Baltic country's move to allow self-ruled Taiwan to open a de facto embassy there. Lithuania has formal relations with China and not Taiwan. Landsbergis told Reuters in an interview in Washington that such losses would be short-lived as Lithuania was working to make its supply chains less dependent on China. "In the short term, it is painful for any country when your contracts are cut," Landsbergis said. "But it is short term, because markets adapt. Companies adapt."
Landsbergis said China had not only cut links with Lithuanian companies, but had approached companies in third countries to press them not to do business with Lithuania. He said Lithuania would provide a model for countries on how to withstand such pressure, but European nations in particular should become more involved in the Indo-Pacific to enhance their economic security. "We have to understand that every country now is involved in the Indo-Pacific," Landsbergis said. Landsbergis met earlier with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, who according to a State Department statement, underscored "ironclad U.S. solidarity" with its NATO ally.
Sherman welcomed Lithuania, a country of about three million, expanding ties with democracies in the Indo-Pacific. Washington has sought to carve out more space for Taiwan in the international system, one of the main factors in increasingly sour relations with Beijing. Indo- Pacific coordinator Kurt Campbell said last week that U.S. attempts to expand cooperation with its partners and allies in the region were causing China "heartburn." Beijing described the moves as Cold War thinking. European Union ambassadors approved the renewal of sanctions on four Chinese officials and one Chinese entity on Wednesday as part of an extension of a human rights blacklist, two diplomats said.
The EU added the four Chinese officials, including a top security director, to its sanctions list in March over accusations of human rights abuses in China's Xinjiang region. Beijing responded with its own sanctions on Europeans. The entity sanctioned was the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps Public Security Bureau, which the EU said was responsible for "large-scale arbitrary detentions and degrading treatment" of the Uyghurs. China denies any wrongdoing.
The decision, which will formally be adopted early next month, puts in jeopardy a Chinese-EU investment agreement signed in late December 2020 Zhang Ming, China's ambassador to the EU, told an online event last week that, after seven years and 35 rounds of negotiations, the investment pact was in danger because of "obstacles caused by the European side". The U.S. government put a dozen Chinese companies on its trade blacklist on Wednesday for national security and foreign policy concerns, citing in some cases their help developing the Chinese military's quantum computing efforts. The government also said several entities and individuals from China and Pakistan were added to the Commerce Department's Entity List for contributing to Pakistan's nuclear activities or ballistic missile program. The latest U.S. action on Chinese companies comes amid growing tensions between Beijing and Washington over the status of Taiwan and trade issues.
In total, 27 new entities were added to the list from China, Japan, Pakistan, and Singapore. Suppliers to companies on the entity list will need to apply for a license before they can sell to them, which is likely to be denied. The entity list has increasingly been used for national security and foreign policy aims since the Trump administration. Chinese telecom company Huawei was added in 2019, cutting it off from some key suppliers and making it difficult for them to produce mobile handsets.
Speaking at a Boston College series of CEO interviews on Tuesday, Dimon said: "I made a joke the other day that the Communist Party is celebrating its 100th year - so is JPMorgan. I'd make a bet that we last longer." "I can't say that in China. They are probably listening anyway," he added. Dimon's comments had risked jeopardizing JPMorgan's growth ambitions in China where it won regulatory approval in August to become the first full foreign owner of a securities brokerage in the country. Beijing's approval for JPMorgan to take full ownership of its securities business was a milestone in the opening of China's capital markets after years of gradual moves and pressure from Washington. China experts in the United States said his quick apology should ensure no serious damage was done.
"I regret and should not have made that comment. I was trying to emphasize the strength and longevity of our company," Dimon said in a statement issued by the bank. Dimon realized immediately after he made the comment that it was a mistake, according to a source familiar with his thinking. After seeing the reaction, he decided to express regret, the source said. In a later statement, Dimon said: "It's never right to joke about or denigrate any group of people, whether it's a country, its leadership, or any part of a society and culture. Speaking in that way can take away from constructive and thoughtful dialogue in society, which is needed now more than ever." Referring to the matter in a comment posted on Twitter on Thursday, the outspoken editor of nationalistic tabloid Global Times, Hu Xijin, said: "You don't have to regret actually.
"The CPC has succeeded in its sphere far more than JP Morgan's. As a member of the CPC, I don't mind your company riding the wave of CPC's popularity." A day earlier, Hu said: "Think long-term! And I bet the CPC will outlast the USA." "Dimon's apology shows the degree of deference foreign businesses have to show to the Chinese government in order to remain in its good graces and maintain access to the country’s markets," said Eswar Prasad, a professor at Cornell University.
"I don't think this will have any longer term consequences," said Leland Miller, chief executive at data firm China Beige Book and an expert on China's financial system. The head of US Central Command said Wednesday that Iran is “very close” to producing enough enriched uranium to create a nuclear weapon, though he added that he believes the theocracy has not made a final decision about whether to actually build a warhead. “I think they like the idea of being able to breakout,” Gen. Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie told Time magazine of Iran’s rulers, using the term for when Tehran will enrich enough uranium to create a single nuclear weapon. The International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations nuclear watchdog, has warned that its ability to monitor Iran’s nuclear program has been curtailed in recent months.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration is attempting to rejoin the 2015 nuclear deal, which eased sanctions on Iran in return for curbs on its nuclear program and which President Donald Trump pulled the US out of in 2018 McKenzie’s words echoed comments by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who told an audience in Bahrain Saturday that “the United States remains committed to preventing Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon, and we remain committed to a diplomatic outcome of the nuclear issue.” “But if Iran isn’t willing to engage seriously,” Austin added, “then we will look at all of the options necessary to keep the United States secure.” On Wednesday, IAEA head Rafael Mariano Grossi warned that the agency is “close to the point where I would not be able to guarantee continuity of knowledge” due to stonewalling by Iranian officials. The Indo-Pacific region will be a priority for France when it takes the presidency of the European Union next year, its foreign minister said on Wednesday (November 24) during a visit to Indonesia. Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said France wants to be the "go-between" of Indo- Pacific and European countries and that strategic cooperation is one its priorities for the presidency of the EU bloc. "France is committed to reinforcing the European Union's engagement in the Indo-Pacific region, by constructing very concrete co-operation projects with our partners in the region, which includes of course Indonesia. The foundation of this engagement is the vision of an Indo-Pacific region open and free, based
on the rule of law, the respect of the sovereignty of each state, multilateralism, and the rejection of any form of hegemony." France had also agreed to commit 500 million euros ($562 million) worth of investment in energy transition projects in the Southeast Asian country, according to the minister. He did not provide details. Le Drian was speaking with his Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi, after meeting earlier with the country's defence minister. He is scheduled to meet President Joko Widodo later on Wednesday. Ukraine is just another name on the long list of places devastated by the West’s overseas interventionism, the head of Russia’s Security Council has claimed, warning that the interference has helped destroy the country's economy.
In an interview with Argumenty i Fakty on Tuesday, Nikolay Patrushev blasted powers like the US and EU, arguing that the heads of these states destroyed the homelands of the desperate people who have attempted to cross over into the EU via Belarus in recent days. According to him, foreign intervention has a disastrous record in the case of Libya, Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq. Patrushev said that uncontrolled migration will continue unless the root causes are eliminated. This means, he insisted, “the West should abandon its policy of interfering in the internal affairs of other countries, [and] from imposing its beliefs with the use of brute military force.”
The top official’s comments come as the continent grapples with an influx of thousands of migrants from war-ravaged Middle Eastern countries attempting to reach EU states through Belarus. According to the senior Moscow official, this approach has also ruined one of the most populous countries in Eastern Europe. “Having created its protectorate in Ukraine, the West has destroyed the economy of this country, driven society to disenfranchisement and certain demographics into poverty.” “At any moment, Ukraine could flare up so millions of its citizens will flee to seek refuge elsewhere,” Patrushev said.
Last week, Ukraine’s minister of internal affairs, Denis Monastirsky, said that the nation needs millions of dollars to beef up its frontiers with neighboring Russia and Belarus. The spotlight has also fallen on Kiev amid the crisis. Earlier in November, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken claimed that Minsk’s actions are a distraction to deflect “from Russia’s activities on the border with Ukraine.” The polyp removed from President Joe Biden's colon last week was a benign, slow-growing but potentially pre-cancerous lesion that required no further action, his doctor said in a follow-up memo.
The Mayo Clinic defines a colon polyp as a small clump of cells that forms on the lining of the colon. Most colon polyps are harmless, according to Mayo's website, but some colon polyps can develop into colon cancer over time. Biden, who turned 79 last week and is the nation's oldest president, remains “healthy” and “vigorous” and fit for duty, O'Connor said in his initial report after Biden's first routine physical in office. The president is showing some signs of aging, the doctor noted. French President Emmanuel Macron met with Croatian President Zoran Milanovic in Zagreb on Thursday (November 25), ahead of the signing of a deal for the sale of 12 Dassault-made Rafale fighter jets to the Balkan country. The one billion euro ($1.1 billion) deal for the 12 used planes is the most important defence deal signed by Croatia since its war of independence that ended in 1995 "In the field of defence, the Rafales, as well as a training program and a link from one government to another will allow to strengthen these bilateral ties that contribute to European defence, which is itself a part of the transatlantic partnership," Macron said. Macron has throughout his mandate been pushing ambitions for a bigger EU role in defence, with Berlin. Britain's exit from the EU, while depriving the bloc of a military power, has strengthened those efforts.
At least six people died and dozens were trapped after a fire in a coal mine in the Kemerovo region of Russia's Siberia on Thursday (November 25), emergency services and local authorities said, with a rescue operation underway that had already saved more than 200 people. There were 285 people in the Listvyazhnaya mine, Russia's emergency services said, and 236 had been brought to the surface. The rescue operation was ongoing. "According to preliminary data, a number of workers suffered from smoke poisoning. The number of victims is being specified," the regional branch of Russia's Investigative Committee said in an earlier statement. Although a shadow of its former self since the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, Bangkok's once-bustling Khaosan Road is showing slow signs of recovery nearly a month into its reopening to tourism. Before the pandemic, Khaosan Road was heaving with people on weekends and at night with cheap beer bars, tattoo parlours, street vendors, hostels and buzzing nightlife drawing budget travellers and tour groups alike.
As the country's borders closed, shops in Khaosan were boarded up, with a few dozen locals wandering past restaurants giving meal and drinks deals. The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Bangkok, the world's most-visited city for four consecutive years before a ban on international travel, could not be clearer. Despite the reopening, however, some restrictions remain, including on alcohol, which can only be sold at restaurants until 9 p.m. in Bangkok.
Still, for some the smaller crowds and discounts on offer are an advantage. "It's a good time to come back to Thailand again," said German tourist Markus Klarer. Thailand, one of the Asia-Pacific's most popular destinations, is heavily dependent on tourism. In 2019, it welcomed 40 million arrivals in 2019 who spent 1.91 trillion baht ($57 billion). In the first ten months of 2021, Thailand saw 106,117 foreign tourists, a drop from 6.7 million recorded last year.
Thailand expects only 200,000 foreign tourists this year, and 5 million in 2022 These are FBNC's morning International news Thank you for watching See you in the next FBNC's morning International news