Posts Tagged ‘US aircraft’

Op-Ed: If we’re going to rule out negotiations with North Korea, we have to be ready for war — Chinese air traffic controllers eager to chase away U.S. military aircraft

March 23, 2017

By Robert L. Gallucci
The Los Angeles Times

March 23, 2017

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Robert L. Gallucci

During a visit to Seoul last week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson drew some reddish lines around North Korea.

“Twenty years of talking has brought us to the point we are today,” Tillerson said at a news conference. “Talk is not going to change the situation.” If North Korea threatens South Korean or American forces or elevates the level of its weapons program, Tillerson warned, preemptive military action is “on the table.”

Tillerson’s comments did not come entirely out of left field. For months, Washington has been abuzz over the possibility that North Korea may successfully test an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of delivering a nuclear weapon to an American city. In a New Year’s address, North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un indicated such a test could come sooner than we think.

But Tillerson’s warning did signal that the Trump administration is taking U.S. policy toward North Korea in a new direction — that we may be serious about abandoning engagement and willing to pursue containment through military action.

If North Korea is newly capable of striking an American city with a nuclear-armed missile, however, it would not be the first time that the U.S. was defenseless against an adversary’s weapons.

Americans lived for years with Soviet and Chinese missiles pointing in our direction. We had no way to defend against Soviet missiles in the 1950s, nor Chinese missiles in the 1960s. We were worried in 1960 when Nikita Khrushchev, then the Soviet leader, pounded his shoe against a table during a session of the United Nations General Assembly. For many reasons, Mao worried us even more.

Analysts can read Tillerson’s comments in different ways. If he meant to indicate that the U.S. would undertake a military strike on North Korea to prevent the testing and development of an ICBM — a “left of launch” program, as the Pentagon would call it — such an act could not properly be called preemption, because it would not be responding to an imminent attack. Rather, we would be taking preventive action and risking a preventive war with the goal of cutting off the emergence of a future threat. The invasion of Iraq in 2003, for instance, was a preventive war, not an act of preemption. Ethics, law and prudence are on the side of preemption but not on preventive strikes.

If, on the other hand, the U.S. intelligence community were to conclude that North Korea was about to launch a missile at Los Angeles, Seoul or Tokyo, we should fully expect Trump to order a preemptive strike to take out the missile before it is launched. If this is the only line Tillerson meant to draw, he should have saved the ink and not made news with the threat.

In either scenario, we can expect that attacking North Korea, even with an intended “surgical strike,” will bring retaliation, most likely against South Korean and American forces and civilians on the Korean peninsula — there are a lot of both within range of North Korean missiles and artillery — and possibly a second Korean War. The U.S. and its allies should be ready for this. At the moment, neither we nor our allies are prepared for war.

With so much at stake, Tillerson should disclose what exactly is new about the North Korean threat that makes deterrence suddenly unreliable. Certainly it is not the quality or quantity of North Korea’s nuclear weapons. At the height of the Cold War, the number of Soviet weapons — counting tactical and strategic weapons deployed in silos, on submarines and aboard bombers —reached 30,000 or so. The North Koreans have less than 20. It is possible that U.S. officials lack confidence in the rationality of Kim Jong Un. If this is the case, the American people should be informed that this is why we are risking another Korean War.

Some argue that an alternative to military action is the adoption of tougher sanctions together with more pressure on China to allow them to work. While there is nothing intrinsically wrong with such an approach, there is little reason to think it will be effective in stopping North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs. So the real alternative to war is a negotiated settlement that addresses the threat. There is a lot of work yet to be done in order to set the table for productive negotiations. More than 20 years ago, we struck a deal with the North that froze plutonium production for almost a decade before the deal collapsed: They cheated and we caught them. That was still a deal worth making, and the next one will have to be better. For starters, we should require that North Korea improve the human rights of its citizens as a condition of normalizing relations with the U.S.

The United States has no real capability to shoot down ICBMs, but we never have. We have been defenseless against this threat for six decades. For all those years, we have relied on deterrence and the promise of devastating retaliation. The logic is that the capability of our conventional and nuclear weapons deters our enemies and provides for the nation’s security. If the U.S. is going to abandon this logic now, it should be done with great care, and with the full understanding that we are risking war.

Robert L. Gallucci is a professor of diplomacy at Georgetown University. He served in the State Department as chief U.S. negotiator during the North Korean nuclear crisis of 1994, and as an ambassador-at-large and special envoy dealing with threats posed by the proliferation of ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction.


China threatens American B-1 bomber flying off South Korea: Stand off as Beijing claims US aircraft violated its ‘defense zone’

  • China has accused the US plane of operating in its airspace without permission 
  • Pliots of a Air Force B-1B Lancer bomber were forced to respond to controllers 
  • Chinese Air Traffic officials radioed the bomber flying 70 miles from Jeju Island 
  • The US bomber was in the controversial Chinese Air Defense Identification Zone
  • American and Japanese officials do not recognize the airspace China claism 

Chinese military officials have accused US bombers of flying too close to the country and operating in its airspace during a mission off South Korea.

Pilots of the US Air Force B-1B Lancer bomber were forced to respond to Chinese air traffic controllers during a flight about 70 nautical miles southwest of South Korea’s Jeju Island.

American officials told CNN the pilots told the Chinese controllers they were conducting ‘routine operations in international airspace and did not deviate from their flight path’.

Chinese military officials have accused a US B-1B Lancer bomber of flying too close to the country and operating in its airspace during a mission off South Korea

Chinese military officials have accused a US B-1B Lancer bomber of flying too close to the country and operating in its airspace during a mission off South Korea

This map shows where the bomber was flying when Chinese officials contacted the American pilots during the stand off

This map shows where the bomber was flying when Chinese officials contacted the American pilots during the stand off

The network revealed the tense moment was the result of the bombers had actually entered the Chinese Air Defense Identification Zone – a controversial area of sky over the East China Sea.

The airspace also covers islands claimed by Japan, and it is not officially recognized by the US.

‘Pacific Air Forces … did not recognize the Chinese Air Defense Identification Zone when it was announced in November of 2013, and does not recognize it today,’ US Pacific Air Forces spokesman Major Phil Ventura told CNN.

This map shows how the different airspaces in the area in question are divided up by the different countries in the region

This map shows how the different airspaces in the area in question are divided up by the different countries in the region

The US B-1B Lancer bomber was seen flying in formation with Japan Air Self Defense Force F-15s on March 21

The US B-1B Lancer bomber was seen flying in formation with Japan Air Self Defense Force F-15s on March 21

‘The ADIZ has not changed our operations.’

Chinese authorities demand airplanes flying over or through the airspace must first notify officials.

US Air Force sources said B-1 bomber was carrying out training operations with Japanese and South Korean jets in recent days.

On March 21, the American bomber was seen flying in formation with Japan Air Self Defense Force F-15s.


Afghan district falls to Taliban

August 20, 2016


AFP/File | Afghan security personnel prepare for an operation against Taliban militants in Kunduz province on May 31, 2016

KUNDUZ (AFGHANISTAN) (AFP) – Taliban militants on Saturday captured a district in northeastern Kunduz province, near the provincial capital where militants scored their biggest victory in 14 years last September.The militants, waging a bloody insurgency to topple the Western-backed Kabul government, have intensified their attacks nationwide and tightened their grip on the besieged capital of Helmand province southwest of Kunduz in recent weeks.

Khan Abad district, which is around 30 kilometres east of Kunduz city, fell to Taliban after the militants launched a pre-dawn attack on the district centre, according to local officials.

“After several hours of fighting the militants overran the district,” the district’s governor Hayatullah Amiri told AFP, adding that the provincial governor ignored their calls for reinforcements.

Provincial spokesman Sayed Mahmood Danish confirmed the overnight battle, and said security forces were “trying to get back control of the district from the Taliban”.

Khan Abad resident Abdul Satar told AFP hundreds had fled their homes amid the fighting.

“The residents of the city are worried about their lives and safety. People are fleeing their homes and they have left their shops,” he said, adding that roads to neighbouring provinces were closed.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed in a statement that the group’s fighters were in control of district and police headquarters.

The Taliban briefly captured northern Kunduz city in September last year, the first city to fall to the insurgents in their biggest victory in 14 years of war.

The militants were driven out almost two weeks later by Afghan forces backed by US aircraft and NATO soldiers, but it marked the first time since 2001 that the Taliban were able to take control of a major city in the country.

But US and Afghan officials insist that they will not allow another urban centre to be captured after after Kunduz was briefly overrun last year.

China Declares Victory in US Surveillance Overflight as State Run Media Propaganda Machine Goes Into Action

May 22, 2015


China declared victory on Friday over an encounter with a US surveillance aircraft overflying the contested South China Sea, saying its military “drove away” the intruder with radio warnings.

Beijing is in the throes of a rapid land-reclamation programme in the area, building artificial islands and facilities including an airstrip — raising tensions with Washington and the risk of a standoff on the high seas.

China regards almost the whole of the South China Sea as its own and the foreign ministry condemned the overflight as “highly irresponsible and dangerous”, warning that such actions could cause “unwanted incidents”.

The US Navy has released video footage taken from the P-8 Poseidon surveillance plane, which received several warnings from the Chinese military to retreat as it flew over the South China Sea — home to vital shipping lanes.

The footage showed a flotilla of vessels carrying out reclamation works in one lagoon, and an airstrip under construction on another island.

A CNN crew on board captured a tense radio exchange between the US aircraft and Chinese forces.

“This is the Chinese navy… This is the Chinese navy… Please go away… to avoid misunderstanding,” a voice can be heard telling the Americans.

The Chinese navy issued eight such warnings during the P-8’s flight near Fiery Cross Reef, one of the sites of Beijing’s land reclamation effort, CNN reported.

American pilots replied in each case that they were flying through “international airspace”.

Foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a regular briefing in Beijing: “China garrison troops drove it away by radio in accordance with relevant regulations.

“US actions have posed threats to the security of Chinese maritime features, it is highly likely to cause unwanted incidents, it’s highly irresponsible and dangerous. We are strongly dissatisfied with this.”

A U.S. Navy P-8 maritime patrol aircraft.

He urged the US not to take “any risky and provocative actions”, saying China would “take proper and necessary measures to guard against any harm to China’s maritime features and incidents in waters and airspace,” he added.

China’s state broadcaster, CCTV, played part of the CNN footage showing the Chinese navy ordering the US plane out of the area with Chinese subtitles.

The US does not recognise China’s claims to the artificial islands.

But China has repeatedly said it has “indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha islands and adjacent waters”, using its name for the archipelago known as the Spratlys.


 (Contains links to several related articles)

Ukraine: U.S. Engages in Only Very Tenuous Sabre Rattling

March 6, 2014


Reuters/Tony Gentile

Reuters/Tony Gentile

Under the pretext of “deterring Russian aggression” in Ukraine, the US Defense Department has announced plans to add several fighter jets to US aircraft squadrons based near Russian borders, in a move to embolden the Baltic states and Poland.

Following NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen  announcement that alliance officials would put “the entire  range of NATO-Russia cooperation under review,” Pentagon  head, Chuck Hagel, outlined plans on Wednesday to broaden  military cooperation with Poland and the Baltic states, without  elaborating on the details.

An unnamed source told Reuters that the Pentagon plans to send  six additional F-15 fighter jets, and a Boeing KC-135 refueling  Stratotanker, to beef up the squadron of four F-15 currently  flying air patrols over the Baltic states. NATO has been carrying  out patrols in the Baltic states for the last 10 years.

In Poland the US Air Force has a training squadron of F-16  fighters and Lockheed C-130 Hercules transport planes, and the  same source said that more aircrafts might be added there.

Washington is accusing Moscow of deploying troops to the  Ukrainian region of Crimea and has already called off all planned  exercises and training with the Russian military in protest.

It should be noted that according to a Russian-Ukrainian treaty  signed in 2010, Moscow has an agreed and constant military  presence in the Crimean peninsula. Russia pays Ukraine $97.75 million annually for use of the  naval base in Sevastopol. The treaty underpins Russia’s right to  bolster personnel in the Crimea to up to 25,000 troops.

Earlier this week, President Vladimir Putin said that Russia’s military involvement in Ukraine  would take place only as a “last resort.”

“If we see this lawlessness starting in eastern regions, if  the people ask us for help – in addition to a plea from a  legitimate president, which we already have – then we reserve the  right to use all the means we possess to protect those citizens.  And we consider it quite legitimate,” he said.

Last week Russia’s Federation Council unanimously approved President Vladimir Putin’s request to use  Russian military forces in Ukraine if civil rights of the Russian  minority in the country are violated.

Western capitals remain skeptical of Moscow’s policy and continue  to blame Russia of “military intervention” in Ukraine.

“This morning the Defense Department is pursuing measures to  support our allies,” Hagel told American lawmakers,  specifying that this will include expansion of aviation training  in Poland and deployment of additional US aircraft for patrol  missions in the skies above Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

It is “time for all of us to stand with Ukrainian people in  support of their territorial integrity,” Hagel told the  Senate Armed Services Committee.

The general dismissed Moscow’s assertion that Russian troops are  not deployed in the Crimea peninsula in Ukraine and called to   “deter further Russian aggression.”

Hagel also said that the head of the US European Command, General  Philip Breedlove, also planned to hold consultations with central  and eastern European defense chiefs.

  ‘Deterring Russian aggression’

After Crimea’s self-defense forces took control of the peninsula,  Poland requested a NATO emergency meeting under the pretext of   ‘Article 4’, which empowers any NATO member to request  consultations if it believes its security, independence or  territorial integrity are under threat.

“Regardless of the limited trust the world and Poland have to  words spoken in Moscow, it must be said that we treat some of  President Putin’s remarks as proof that pressure … to stop a  brutal intervention, a paramilitary intervention in Crimea is  working,” the Polish prime minister said last Tuesday,  urging Russia to “abandon its aggressive plans toward  Ukraine.”

This statement was made after Russian President Vladimir Putin  accused Poland and Lithuania of inciting protests in the capital  of Ukraine, and training the protesters who battled against  police forces in Kiev.

Ukraine is not a NATO member country, yet the recent developments  in Ukraine caused Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen to make  a statement that NATO plans to “intensify our  partnership” and “strengthen our cooperation” with  Ukraine in order to “support democratic reforms.”

Russia’s NATO envoy, Aleksandr Grushko, told reporters “that  NATO still has a double standard policy” and that “Cold  War stereotypes are still applied towards Russia.”

“Ukraine cannot join NATO because the West realizes what  Kiev’s NATO membership would mean for Russia,” noted Deputy  Foreign Minister Vasily Nebenzya.