US Protests ‘Unprofessional’ Intercept by Chinese Jets

A pair of Chinese fighter jets conducted an “unprofessional” intercept of an American radiation-sniffing surveillance plane over the East China Sea, the U.S. Air Force said Friday, the latest in a series of such incidents that have raised U.S. concerns in an already tense region.

On Wednesday, the two Chinese SU-30 jets approached a WC-135 Constant Phoenix aircraft — a modified Boeing C-135 — conducting a routine mission in international airspace in accordance with international law, Pacific Air Forces spokeswoman Lt. Col. Lori Hodge said in a statement.

The WC-135 crew characterized the intercept as unprofessional “due to the maneuvers by the Chinese pilot, as well as the speeds and proximity of both aircraft,” Hodge said.

She declined to provide further details and said the issue would be addressed with China through “appropriate diplomatic and military channels.”

“We would rather discuss it privately with China,” Hodge said in an email to The Associated Press. “This will allow us to continue building confidence with our Chinese counterparts on expected maneuvering to avoid mishaps.”

Read more at Military.com

 

North Korea ‘tests ballistic missile’ amid reports Pyongyang stating war ‘imminent’

North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile in the early hours of Saturday morning, reports in South Korea said, amid rising military tensions with the US.

The missile, launched from a region north of the capital, Pyongyang, appeared to have blown up a few seconds into flight, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said.

The exact type of weapon being tested was unclear. It was the second failed test of a ballistic missile this month and came amid a flurry of rhetoric from North Korea warning of “imminent” war against the US.

“North Korea fired an unidentified missile from a site in the vicinity of Bukchang in Pyeongannam-do (South Pyeongan Province) early this morning,” Yonhap reported, quoting a statement issued by South Korea’s military. “It is estimated to have failed.”

On Friday, Rex Tillerson, the US secretary of state, warned that failure to curb North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes could lead to “catastrophic consequences”.

He called for a greater enforcement of UN sanctions against North Korea and requested the help of the rest of the world in pressuring North Korea to step back from its military threats.

China said it was not only up to Beijing to solve the North Korean problem.

“The key to solving the nuclear issue on the peninsula does not lie in the hands of the Chinese side,” Wang Yi, the Chinese foreign minister said.

Read More at the The Telegraph UK.

Russian spy ship collides with freighter, sinks in Black Sea

A Russian naval reconnaissance ship sunk in the Black Sea Thursday after colliding with a freighter near the Turkish coast.

The Russian Defense Ministry said the collision occurred about 25 miles northwest of the Bosphorus Strait and left a hole in the hull of the Liman. The ministry statement, carried by Russian news agencies, said none of the crew members was hurt.

A Turkish coastal official told the Reuters news agency that almost 80 personnel from the Russian ship had been safely evacuated from the stricken vessel, which sunk near Bosphorus, Turkey.

Turkey’s state-run news agency said the prime minister had called his Russian counterpart to express his “sadness” over the collision.

Read more at CBS News.

 

Russian bombers again fly near Alaska

For the second consecutive night, Russia flew two long-range bombers off the coast of Alaska on Tuesday, this time coming within 36 miles of the mainland while flying north of the Aleutian Islands, two U.S. officials told Fox News.

The two nuclear-capable Tu-95 bombers were spotted by U.S. military radar at 5 p.m. local time.

Unlike a similar incident Monday night, this time the U.S. Air Force did not scramble any fighter jets.

Instead, it launched a single E-3 Sentry early warning aircraft, known as AWACS, to make sure there were only the two Russian bombers flying near Alaska, and not other aircraft flying underneath the large bombers.

U.S. territorial waters extend 12 nautical miles from shore.

Two Russian bombers flew within 100 miles of Alaska on Monday night.

The Russian bombers took off from an airbase in Petropavlovsk, Russia and returned five hours later to an airbase in Anadyr. Both locations are in eastern Russia, some 1,000 miles away.

Read More at Fox News.

US official: With eye on North Korea, China puts bombers on ‘high alert’

Several senior administration officials told CNN Thursday that President Donald Trump’s strategy toward North Korea hinges on one word: China.

“Nobody thinks the Chinese are going to press North Korea militarily or bring the regime to its knees, but the strategy looks to China to find a political solution more than anything else,” one senior official said.

The officials said Trump’s approach is based on a careful review of past US efforts to deal with North Korea, noted that during the analysis of failed negotiating efforts with the long-reigning Kim family, one thing became abundantly clear: “China has never exerted maximum leverage on the Kim regime.”

Trump’s China-centric approach comes as the US sees evidence that the Chinese military is preparing to respond to a potential situation in North Korea, a US defense official told CNN Thursday.

Chinese air force land-attack, cruise-missile-capable bombers were put “on high alert” on Wednesday, the official said, adding that the US has also seen an extraordinary number of Chinese military aircraft being brought up to full readiness through intensified maintenance.

The official said that these recent steps by the Chinese are assessed as part of an effort to “reduce the time to react to a North Korea contingency.”

Such a contingency could include the risk of an armed conflict breaking out as tensions on the peninsula have risen in the wake of multiple North Korean missile tests. There has also been ratcheted up rhetoric from the US and Pyongyang, with the latter’s state media warning Thursday that a pre-emptive strike by North Korea would result in the US and South Korea being “completely destroyed in an instant.”

Read More at CNN.com

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