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Which Chinese military units are expanding while others are shedding troops? China’s hypersonic superweapons put US under threat, expert warns As China Speeds Up Nuclear Arms Race, the U.S. Wants to Talk Taiwan says China military trying to wear it out, but it can respond First indigenous trainer to be delivered Monday Italy envoy calls Taiwan a 'silent giant,' looks for closer partnership Israel worries Iran will get sanctions relief without capping nuclear projects China, Iran, Russia held useful informal consultations on nuclear deal — Russian diplomat Omicron poses very high global risk, world must prepare -WHO China has expanded its combat forces to adapt to changing risks – despite a years- long push to streamline the People’s Liberation Army, according a Communist Party publication. In a book of commentaries published in mid-November by party mouthpiece People’s Daily, military commentator Zhong Xin said the PLA had been “optimising” its personnel structure by deploying more troops to combat roles while cutting 300,000 positions.
The book focuses on President Xi Jinping’s reforms over the last decade and in it Zhong said the military now had about 2 million personnel, down from a peak of more than 6 million in the midst of the Korean war in the 1950s. But more work still needs to be done or the PLA’s ambitions will not be realised, according to Zhong. operations,” Zhong wrote. “If these problems are not resolved, plans to build a world-class modern military are just empty talk.” The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said most of the 300,000 positions shed were from non-combat units, including the now defunct general political, general logistics and general armaments departments, the five army groups, as well staff in veterans homes. The units that gained personnel came under the air force, the rocket force, and the strategic supporting force, among others, the source said.
“The PLA airborne troop units were upgraded from division-level to brigades, while the number of pilots was also increased to support more new-generation fighter jets like the J-20s, J-16s, J-10Cs,” the source said. State media, including military mouthpiece the PLA Daily, reported earlier that the navy’s marine corps had been expanded to shore up defences of its maritime lifelines. The South China Morning Post also reported earlier that the PLA planned to expand its marine corps from about 20,000 personnel to 100,000, increasing the number of brigades from two to 10 Some troops would be stationed at ports China operates in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa and Gwadar in southwest Pakistan. Xi’s goal is to turn the PLA into a modern fighting force by 2027, the PLA’s centennial, and a world-class military on a par with the United States by 2050 In another essay in the book, Liu Yantong, another military commentator, said risks to China’s security were growing as it came under greater technological, economic and political pressure from a number of other countries. The country’s borders were also unresolved. “Right now, we are facing the threat of war. The army needs to be urgently aware that a war may happen overnight ... We should be fully prepared and combat ready at all times,” Liu wrote. American air defences and ships are vulnerable to China’s hypersonic superweapons as officials in Washington appear naive about Beijing’s military intentions, an expert warns. Elites within the Chinese Communist Party are pursuing an imperialist agenda as the country aims to seek military parity with the US in the coming years, reported The Sun.
Sam Armstrong, of the Henry Jackson Society, told The Sun: “We’re led to believe that the West was unaware of China’s hypersonic missile. Its role remains unknown as commentators speculated that the missile could’ve been used to target or deflect a power’s defences against a potential hypersonic attack. Mr Armstrong continued: “After the Cold War, there was a degree of naivety and hubris among Western foreign policy elites as they thought they had won the great battle of ideas.”
Space Force General David Thompson warned: “We’re not as advanced as the Chinese or the Russians in terms of hypersonic programs.” Mr Biden and Mr Xi have agreed to hold talks designed at reducing tensions, but Mr Armstrong says it’s difficult to see what the discussions will achieve. He said: “China has very little to gain in giving up on its military or imperial ambitions right now. China’s hi-tech Type 003 aircraft carrier is apparently nearing completion and Beijing has conducted tests using underwater explosives. It will feature more advanced aircraft launching technology, allowing it to launch the FC-31 new generation of stealth fighters much faster.
The Pentagon thinks Beijing may build 1,000 or more weapons by 2030 But it’s the new technologies that worry strategists. The United States has no nuclear hotline to Beijing. The two countries have never had an in-depth, serious conversation about American missile defenses in the Pacific, or China’s experiments to blind U.S. satellites in time of conflict. And Chinese officials have consistently rejected the idea of entering arms control talks, shutting down such suggestions by noting — accurately — that the United States and Russia each have deployed five times more nuclear warheads than Beijing possesses. President Biden is seeking to change all that. For the first time, the United States is trying to nudge China’s leadership into a conversation about its nuclear capability. U.S. officials, describing the American strategy,
say Mr. Biden and his top aides plan to move slowly — focusing the talks first on avoiding accidental conflict, then on each nation’s nuclear strategy and the related instability that could come from attacks in cyberspace and outer space. Finally — maybe years from now — the two nations could begin discussing arms control, perhaps a treaty or something politically less complex, such as an agreement on common norms of behavior. In his virtual summit meeting earlier this month with Xi Jinping, China’s president, who clearly has sought to present himself as a epoch-defining leader alongside Mao, Mr. Biden raised what the White House has euphemistically called “strategic stability talks.” In Washington, the issue has taken on more urgency than officials are acknowledging publicly, according to officials who are involved. Mr. Biden’s aides are driven by
concern that a new arms race is heating up over hypersonic weapons, space arms and cyberweapons, all of which could unleash a costly and destabilizing spiral of move andcountermove. The nuclear relationship with Russia, he noted, is “far more mature, has a much deeper history to it.” After the summit meeting between Mr. Biden and Mr. Xi, he added, it is time to begin such conversations with China. “It is now incumbent on us to think about the most productive way to carry it forward,” he said. Earlier this month the Pentagon concluded that the size of the Chinese nuclear arsenal may triple by 2030, to upward of 1,000 warheads. But the administration’s concern is not just the number of weapons — it is the new technology, and particularly how Chinese nuclear strategists are thinking about nontraditional arms.
China's military is trying to wear out Taiwan's armed forces with its repeated missions nearby, but Taiwan is capable of responding, Taipei's defence minister said on Monday after a renewed spike in Chinese air force activity. Taiwan scrambled fighters again on Sunday after 27 Chinese air force planes again entered its air defence identification zone, or ADIZ. "Their intention is to slowly exhaust, to let you know that we have this power," Defence Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng told reporters on the sidelines of a parliamentary briefing for lawmakers, when asked about the latest incursion. "Our national forces have shown that, while you may have this power, we have countermeasures."
Chiu, who described the situation as "very serious", said Taiwan will continue to analyse the types of aircraft China uses to inform future plans. The latest Chinese mission included 18 fighters jets plus five nuclear-capable H-6 bombers, as well as, unusually, a Y-20 aerial refuelling aircraft, Taiwan's Defence Ministry said. The bombers and six of the fighters flew to the south of Taiwan into the Bashi Channel which separates the island from the Philippines, then out into the Pacific before heading back to China, according to a map the ministry provided. Those aircraft were accompanied by the refuelling aircraft, suggesting China refuelled the shorter-ranged fighters inflight, a skill the country's air force is still working to hone to enable it to project power further from China's shores. Taiwan sent combat aircraft to warn away the Chinese aircraft, while missile systems were deployed to monitor them, the ministry said. China has previously said such missions are designed to protect the country's sovereignty.
Taiwan's Air Force is scheduled to take delivery Monday of the first indigenous advanced jet trainer (AJT) to roll off the production line, a military source told CNA Sunday. Manufactured by the government-funded Aerospace Industrial Development Corp. (AIDC), the trainer, with the serial number 11003, has completed all the required tests before being delivered to the military, including a successful round of test flights on Oct. 21, according to the source who spoke under the condition of anonymity. The AJT will be taking off from Taichung Air Base, where the AIDC is located, at 9 a.m. on Monday before it is scheduled to arrive at Taitung Air Base in southeastern Taiwan at 10 a.m., the source said.
Upon its landing at the Taitung Air Base, a water salute will be held to welcome the jet, it added. Two AJT prototypes, with the serial numbers 11001 and 11002, were also manufactured, with test flights conducted in June 2020 and December 2020, respectively. A second AJT has also come off the mass production line, with the serial number 11004, and its first round of test flights was conducted in Taichung on Saturday, the source added. A total of 66 AJTs are expected to be delivered before the end of 2026, the report said. The AJT project was initiated in 2017 to replace the military's decades-old AT-3 trainer aircraft and F-5E/F lead-in fighter trainers.
Taiwan and Europe must work together to defend against authoritarianism and disinformation, President Tsai Ing-wen told visiting lawmakers from the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia on Monday. Lithuania has faced sustained pressure from China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory, since allowing the opening of a de facto Taiwanese embassy in its capital. "Now the world faces challenges posed by the expansion of authoritarianism and threat of disinformation. Taiwan is more than willing to share its experience at combating disinformation with its European friends. We must safeguard our shared values to ensure our free and democratic way of life." Matas Maldeikis, leader of the Lithuanian parliament's Taiwan Friendship Group, told Tsai in response their group was in Taipei to express their solidarity with the island.
"Lithuanian government policy towards Taiwan has wide support in our society. Preserving freedom and the rules-based international order is in the vital interests for both Taiwan and Lithuania," he said. Lithuania faces problems too with pressure from Russia and Belarus, with migrants on its border with Belarus. Italy's top representative to Taiwan has praised the country as a "silent giant" of the global supply chain, saying he was looking forward to closer cooperation with its world- leading semiconductor sector and beyond. "Taiwan's role in global production chains has largely gone unnoticed until recently. This may have to do with the fact that Taiwanese companies do not always enjoy strong brand power," Davide Giglio told CNA during a recent interview. However, the global chip shortage has changed that and brought to light Taiwan's strengths in such a strategically important sector, he said.
Israel worries Iran will secure a windfall in sanctions relief in renewed nuclear negotiations with world powers but will not sufficiently roll back projects with bomb- making potential, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Sunday. Negotiators will convene in Vienna on Monday in a last-ditch effort to salvage a nuclear deal which the United States under then-President Donald Trump quit in 2018, reimposing sanctions on Iran. That led to breaches of the deal by Tehran, and dismayed the other powers involved. Israel, which is not a party to the talks, opposed the original 2015 pact as too limited in scope and duration. Israeli leaders have long threatened military action against Iran if they deem diplomacy a dead end for denying it nuclear weaponry.
"Israel is very worried about the readiness to remove the sanctions and to allow a flow of billions (of dollars) to Iran in exchange for unsatisfactory restrictions in the nuclear realm," Bennett told his cabinet in televised remarks. "This is the message that we are relaying in every manner, whether to the Americans or to the other countries negotiating with Iran." Few expect a breakthrough in the talks as Iran's uranium enrichment activities have escalated in an apparent bid to gain leverage against the West. Six rounds of indirect talks were held between April and June. The new round begins after a hiatus caused by the election of a new Iranian president, Ebrahim Raisi, a hardline cleric.
Iran, China and Russia held useful informal consultations ahead of the beginning of the Vienna talks on the restoration of the Iran nuclear deal, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the Vienna-based international organizations Mikhail Ulyanov said on Sunday. "China, Iran and Russia held today trilateral informal consultations in preparation of the official resumption of the ViennaTalks on November 29 The exchange of views was useful, first of all for better understanding of the updated negotiating position of Tehran," he wrote on his Twitter account. The seventh round of talk on the restoration of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear program, which was suspended in June because of elections in Iran and the formation of its new government, will begin on November 29 llegations that Russia is planning to attack anyone are absolutely groundless, Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov told TASS on Sunday. "Allegations that Russia is planning to attack anyone and rebukes that it is behaving aggressively are absolutely groundless and wrong," he said, when asked to comment Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s statement that Russian President Vladimir Putin "must say it publicly" that Russia has no plans to attack Ukraine. "Russia has never hatched, is not hatching and will never hatch any plans to attack anyone," he stressed. "Russia is a peaceful country, which is interested in good relations with its neighbors."
According to Peskov, allegations about Russia’s aggressive plans may be meant to disguise preparations for a force scenario in Donbass. "We are afraid, and we have already said this, that these allegations might be meant to hide [Ukraine’s] own preparations for a force scenario in Donbass. It would be an utter recklessness," he said. He noted that the anti-Russian hysteria fanned by US, British and Ukrainian mass media, and Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky is inadmissible. "We think that this hysteria, which is being whipped up in the US and British media, in the Ukrainian mass media and is supported by Ukrainian politicians, including the head of state, is absolutely inadmissible," he said.
The Omicron coronavirus variant is likely to spread internationally, posing a "very high" global risk of infection surges that could have "severe consequences" some areas, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Monday. The U.N. agency urged its 194 member states to accelerate vaccination of high-priority groups and, in anticipation of increased case numbers, to "ensure mitigation plans are in place" to maintain essential health services. "Omicron has an unprecedented number of spike mutations, some of which are concerning for their potential impact on the trajectory of the pandemic," the WHO said.
"The overall global risk related to the new variant ...is assessed as very high." To date, no deaths linked to Omicron had been reported, though further research was needed to assess Omicron's potential to escape protection against immunity induced by vaccines and previous infections, it said. It has since spread around the world, with new cases found in the Netherlands, Denmark and Australia even as more countries imposed travel restrictions to try to seal themselves off. Japan said on Monday it would close its borders to foreigners, joining Israel in taking the toughest measures. The WHO, in its latest guidance, reiterated that countries should use a "risk-based approach to adjust international travel measures in a timely manner". Further advice would be forthcoming, it said.
Australia said on Monday it would delay the reopening of its international border by two weeks after reporting its first cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant. Prime Minister Scott Morrison convened a meeting of his national security committee and said it received advice from Australia's chief health officer to delay the reopening after the first cases of the new variant were detected on Sunday. About 87% of Australia's population aged over 16 is fully vaccinated, above the rates seen in the United States, Britain and much of Western Europe. "The temporary pause will ensure Australia can gather the information we need to better understand the Omicron variant, including the efficacy of the vaccine, the range of illness, including if it may generate more mild symptoms, and the level of transmission," Morrison said in an emailed statement.
Officials on Sunday ordered 14-day quarantine for citizens returning from nine African countries. The first group of passengers crossing over a newly reopened land border into neighbouring Malaysia departed Singapore on Monday (November 29) morning. Once one of the world's busiest land borders, the crossing was reopened on Monday for vaccinated travellers after nearly two years of being shut down. The sudden closing of the border in March 2020 left tens of thousands stranded on both sides, separated from families and fearing for their jobs.
Travellers who were about to board buses bound for Malaysian border city Johor Bahru said they welcomed the chance to reunite with family and friends, but there were still concerns the border might be closed again due to the new coronavirus variant Omicron. "I am actually very worried (about omicron variant and) about getting stuck… hopefully everything is fine," said Eugne Ho, a 31-year-old banker who hasn't seen his family in Malaysia for nearly two years. Under the new arrangement, up to 1,440 travellers from each side can cross the land border each day without quarantine, if they hold citizenship, permanent residency or long-term visas in the destination country, according to guidelines published by the Singapore government. These are FBNC's morning International news Thanks for watching See you in the next FBNC's morning International news