Xi Calls for Strong Army, Tells China Troops ‘World Isn’t Safe’

President Xi Jinping said China needs to speed up the modernization of its military to fend off threats in increasingly dangerous times.

“The world isn’t safe at this moment” Xi, wearing a camouflauge military uniform, said on Sunday after riding in an open jeep at an army parade in Inner Mongolia. “A strong army is needed now more than ever.”

The speech came just hours after U.S. President Donald Trump lambasted China for failing to do more to stop North Korea’s nuclear program, saying “we will no longer allow this to continue.” North Korea, which relies on ally China for food and fuel, test-fired a second intercontinental ballistic missile late on Friday night.

Over the past two years, Xi has overseen the most sweeping changes to China’s military since the 1950s in an effort to create a fighting force that can win modern wars. The modernization drive, which has focused on expanding China’s air and naval reach, is challenging more than 70 years of U.S. military dominance in the Western Pacific.

The parade at Zhurihe Training Base on Sunday marked the 90th anniversary of the creation of the People’s Liberation Army. It featured the Chengdu J-20, China’s stealth jet fighter that some have compared to the F-22 Raptor. About 40 percent of the military equipment in the parade was publicly displayed for the first time, according to Phoenix TV, a pro-Beijing media outlet.

Read More at Bloomberg.


South Korea considers a nuclear arsenal to counter the North

No longer sure they can rely on the United States, an increasing number of South Korean lawmakers say their country should develop its own nuclear arsenal to deter an attack by Kim Jong Un, their belligerent neighbor to the north.

North Korea’s rapid missile advances, including successful tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) in July and again on Friday, are reviving calls for South Korea to assert its “nuclear sovereignty.” South Koreans are wary of President Donald Trump’s isolationist rhetoric and his calls for Asian allies to shoulder more of the defense burdens borne by the U.S. military.

“Trump’s ‘America-first’ policy has triggered this kind of public sentiment,” said Moon Chung In, a top national security adviser to South Korean President Moon Jae In. Trump also has wavered on his commitment to defending South Korea, he said, including suggesting during the campaign that South Korea and Japan should develop their own nuclear arsenals.

While President Moon, a liberal who took office in May, does not support calls for South Korea to join the nuclear club, polls show that a majority of South Koreans surveyed favor the idea. Support bumps higher whenever North Korea conducts a nuclear or missile test and members of South Korea’s two major conservative parties are pressing Moon to at least explore the nuclear option of developing nuclear weapons.

Read More at the McCaltchy DC

Putin shows off Russia’s naval might with major parade


President Vladimir Putin on Sunday oversaw a pomp-filled display of Russia’s naval might as the Kremlin paraded its sea power from the Baltic Sea to the shores of Syria.

Some 50 warships and submarines were on show along the Neva River and in the Gulf of Finland off the country’s second city of Saint Petersburg after Putin ordered the navy to hold its first ever parade on such a grand scale.

“Today much is being done to develop and modernise the navy,” Putin told servicemen after surveying the military hardware from his presidential cutter.

“The navy is not only dealing with its traditional tasks but also responding with merit to new challenges, making a significant contribution to the fight against terrorism and piracy.”

The showcase event to mark Russia’s annual Navy Day is the latest to be beefed up by Putin, with the Kremlin strongman also bolstering the traditional WWII victory parade in Moscow as he looks to flex the country’s military muscles.

Russia has ramped up its military manoeuvres as ties with the West have slumped over Moscow’s meddling in Ukraine, unnerving NATO and its members in Eastern Europe.

Source: Yahoo News

US shoots down second Iran-made armed drone over Syria in 12 days

US forces in southern Syria have shot down an Iranian-made armed drone in the second such incident in 12 days, in a further sign that Washington and Tehran’s agendas are colliding along the Syrian-Iraqi desert frontier.

A US F-15 fighter jet opened fire on the drone in the early afternoon because it was approaching a US outpost near al-Tanf where US advisors were training an anti-Isis local militia, according to the Pentagon spokesman, Capt Jeff Davis.

“The F15 intercepted the armed UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle] after it was observed advancing on coalition positions. It had ‘dirty wings’, meaning it was loaded with ordnance. The UAV did not make an attempt to divert, Davis said.

Al-Tanf is a strategic point near the Syrian, Iraq and Jordanian borders. In a similar incident on 8 June, an Iranian-made drone of the same kind dropped a bomb near US troops at the same training outpost before it was shot down by a US plane.

“We have said before that demonstrated hostile intent and actions of pro-regime forces towards coalition partner forces in Syria that are conducting legitimate counter-Isis operations in Syria, will not be tolerated,” Davis said. “We do not seek conflict with any party in Syria other than Isis but we will not hesitate to defend ourselves or our partners if necessary.”

Read More at the Guardian.

Armed Russian Jet comes within 5 feet of US Recon Jet

An armed Russian fighter jet buzzed a U.S. Air Force reconnaissance aircraft in the Baltic Sea on Monday, two U.S. officials told Fox News.

The Russian Su-27 jet had air-to-air missiles under its wings and approached the U.S. Air Force RC-135 recon jet “rapidly,” coming within 5 feet of the American aircraft, the officials said.

Once alongside, the Russian jet was “provocative” in its flight maneuvers and flying “erratically,” according to another official.

Since June 2 there have been more than 35 interactions in the Baltic Sea region between U.S. and Russian jets and warships, but the incident Monday morning is notable because the U.S. military considered it “unsafe,” according to one official.

Read More at Fox News.

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