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Chinese army develop first-person shooter game with U.S. troops as the enemy

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The Chinese army have developed a computer game that sees their troops shooting at ‘enemy’ U.S. forces.

Glorious Revolution, which is used as a training tool for People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers, pits the Chinese army against the U.S. military in a ‘Call of Duty’ style first person shooter.

In a video report, Chinese soldiers can be seen storming buildings and shooting at ‘enemy’ troops as they exit a bunker, before destroying an Apache helicopter gunship.

Training: Chinese troops hone their skills on the Glorious Revolution computer game

A Chinese state media video report shows rows of PLA soldiers hunkered over computer screens as they play through missions of Glorious Revolution.

The use of computer games by governments and international organisations to train their people has become more widespread in recent years.

The game is similar to the U.S. army’s very own shooter, America’s Army, which is used as a recruitment tool.

In the same vein, the Pentagon has developed its own ‘thinking’ first person simulators that deliberately overload commanders with information to see how they cope.

NATO also has its own game for negotiating with maritime pirates and even Hezbollah created a game called Special Force 2.

The news comes as it emerged the U.S. military are considering sending officers and cadets to China on study exchange programs.

Admiral Patrick Walsh said Washington is seeking to improve its relationship with the Chinese military, and an officer exchange program would provide a better understanding of Chinese culture, goals and thoughts.

‘There’s a strong effort here to improve the relationship,’ Adm. Walsh said on the sidelines of a global naval conference in Singapore.’

Shot: One scene depicts an Apache helicopter ship being blown out of the sky

Shot: One scene depicts an Apache helicopter ship being blown out of the sky

Troops: Chinese forces are seen here battling U.S. forces

Troops: Chinese forces are seen here battling U.S. forces

Despite this being the PLA’s first publicised foray into the world of first person shooters, reviews of the Chinese game have been broadly positive.

According to Wired magazine, one blogger who saw the game wrote: ‘The game itself looks pretty well-made.

‘Graphics definitely on par with at least the [Call of Duty] series.’

Despite the virtual nature of the game, one Chinese website warned the political and propaganda overtones it embodies could be damaging to trainees.

They wrote: ‘The game content and the values ​​embodied in military thinking … are very different.

‘Long-term use is not conducive to military education and training, and may even mislead officers and men.’

The game comes as President Barack Obama and U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates have been been in talks to help restore military-to-military relations between the two countries.

Early last year, China angrily cut off most of those contacts after the United States announced a $6.4 billion arms sale to Taiwan, the self-governing island that China considers a renegade province.

China has also expressed a desire for warmer military ties, most recently when the chief of staff of the People’s Liberation Army, General Chen Bingde, visited Washington this week.

Via DailyMail

China no threat, Chinese general says on U.S. trip

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A top Chinese general rejected growing American concerns about China’s military buildup Wednesday, telling audiences at the National Defense University and the Pentagon that the People’s Liberation Army was no threat.

“The world has no need to worry, let alone fear … China’s growth,” said General Chen Bingde, chief of the PLA general staff, in a rare address to a packed room of U.S. military officers and faculty at the National Defense University.

But the reassurances by Chen during a high-profile visit to the United States were also accompanied by fresh warnings against any future U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, which underscored the fragile nature of the relationship.

As members of Congress press for the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan, which Beijing sees as a renegade province, Chen warned that new U.S. weapons sales to the self-ruled island would damage military ties.

“As to how bad the impact will be, it will depend on the nature of the weapons sold to Taiwan,” Chen told a Pentagon media briefing.

With an occasional smile, Chen quoted U.S. presidents including Abraham Lincoln to drive home his points. He turned to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s famous quote “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” trying to allay concerns about China.

Military ties are perhaps the weakest link in relations between the world’s two largest economies — which have also been tested in the past year by disputes over trade, currency, North Korea and human rights.

Chen is the highest ranking official to lead a military delegation to the United States since Beijing cut off ties to the United States in 2010 over a U.S. arms sale to Taiwan worth up to $6.4 billion.

Those ties appeared to gain new footing during Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ January trip to Beijing, even though it was overshadowed by a test flight of China’s J-20 stealth fighter that again stoked concerns about its military buildup.

China also plans to develop aircraft carriers, anti-ship ballistic missiles and other advanced systems which have alarmed the Asian powers and the United States, the dominant power in the Pacific. U.S. officials accuse Beijing of designing their weapons system to counter U.S. capabilities.

DECADES BEHIND THE WEST?

Chen played down Chinese military advances on his trip, telling the audience of U.S. military officers and faculty at the National Defense University the People’s Liberation Army lagged at least 20 years behind developed Western nations.

“To be honest, I feel very sad after visiting (the United States), because I think, I feel and I know, how poor our equipments are and how underdeveloped we remain,” Chen said.

Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff and Chen’s host, stressed the importance of renewed dialogue to minimize the risk of misunderstanding.

“What he and I have both talked about is a future that is a peaceful future and a better one for our children and grandchildren. That does not include a conflict between China and the United States,” Mullen told reporters.

But some members of Congress criticized the U.S. military for too openly engaging with Chen and his delegation, particularly his access to U.S. military facilities. Chen will visit Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, home to some high-tech U.S. defenses.

“There can be no doubt that every scrap of information this expert delegation collects will be used against us,” said Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee in a statement.

“The Chinese military openly regards the United States as an enemy,” she said. “We should not undermine our own security by thinking we can make friends with self-proclaimed adversaries with hospitality and open arms.”

Still, the Chinese and U.S. economies, Chen noted, are inextricably linked. China has the world’s biggest foreign exchange reserve, with about two-thirds estimated to be held in dollars. Jokes about U.S. dependence on China to finance its debt are commonplace in the United States, and Chen appeared to seize the opportunity in Washington.

Talking about fiscal constraints on China’s military, Chen got a long round of laughter from his U.S. audience by joking: “If you can lend us some money, I think that would be easier.”

Provided by NewsDaily

U.S. fines BAE $79 million over arms-control breaches

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Britain’s BAE Systems Plc agreed to pay up to $79 million in U.S. government fines for more than 2,500 alleged breaches of rules governing military exports, the State Department said on Tuesday.

The civil settlement is the biggest in the department’s history. It ends long-running corruption investigations into the company, Europe’s biggest arms maker by sales, on both sides of the Atlantic.

The department cleared BAE’s fast-growing U.S. unit and its subsidiaries of all charges against the parent company, based in Farnborough, outside London.

But it said a lack of full cooperation from the parent had left it “unable to assess fully the potential harm to U.S. national security” from the unauthorized resale of U.S. weapons and technology know-how to more than a dozen countries.

The U.S. subsidiary, BAE Systems Inc, accounts for about 52 percent of the company’s worldwide sales and is among the Pentagon’s top 10 suppliers. It operates a separate export compliance program under a special security pact that governs its dealings inside and outside the United States.

The State Department said it found a total of 2,591 BAE arms-control breaches after the parent company’s criminal conviction last year for violations of the U.S. Arms Export Control Act and International Traffic in Arms Regulations, which frame U.S. arms-control laws.

For instance, the department said, BAE failed to get a required U.S. nod to engage in “brokering activities” involving U.S. systems or sub-systems incorporated on the EF-2000 Eurofighter Typhoon. Since 1998, BAE has marketed or exported the fighter to Australia, Czech Republic, Greece, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Austria, Denmark, Japan and Switzerland, the department said.

Beside unauthorized brokering of U.S.-supplied arms and services, the alleged breaches of U.S. law included failure to register as a broker; failure to file mandated annual reports; causing unauthorized brokering; failure to report the payment of fees or commissions associated with arms deals; and failure to maintain records involving controlled transactions.

The State Department, in a “proposed charging letter” made public on its web site, described the violations as “systemic, widespread and sustained for more than 10 years.”

BAE also failed to cooperate fully for the 14 months since the criminal pleadings set the stage for the parallel civil investigation, the department said. It followed the global settlement announced in February 2010 of criminal cases brought by the U.S. Department of Justice and Britain’s Serious Fraud Office.

Under its agreement last year with the Justice Department, the company pleaded guilty to one charge of conspiring to make false statements to the U.S. government and paid a fine of $400 million. In London, BAE pleaded guilty to one charge of failing to keep records of payments made to a marketing advisor in Tanzania and paid about $50 million.

The cases grew from criminal investigations into arms deals in Saudi Arabia, Tanzania, Sweden, the Czech Republic and Hungary.

The State Department said it is releasing an administrative hold it imposed, after the criminal conviction, on license applications by the parent company to export U.S.-origin arms and services.

But it declared a policy of presumptive denial on three BAE subsidiaries “because of their substantial involvement in activities related to the conviction.” The units’ export license requests would be approved only if they were determined to be in the U.S. national interest.

The department identified these as BAE Systems CS&S International, Red Diamond Trading Ltd and Poseidon Trading Investments Ltd.

BAE, apparently referring to this, said a limited number of its UK-originating exports would be subject to “enhanced administrative review.” This was not expected to hurt current or future exports, it said.

The parent company’s settlement with the State Department will have “zero impact” on the U.S. unit’s ability to carry out its business plan, John Suttle, a company spokesman, said in a teleconference.

Phil Finnegan, director of corporate analysis at the Teal Group aerospace consultancy, said BAE needed to make such an agreement because it is heavily reliant on the U.S. arms market, the world’s most lucrative.

“BAE must continue to be in a strong position with the U.S. government so it can win new contracts and expand through its continuing stream of U.S. acquisitions,” he said.

Under the four-year term of its consent deal with BAE, the State Department agreed to consider suspending $10 million of the new fines to offset the cost of improved export control compliance measures.

Shares in BAE, which have risen 3 percent in 2011, closed down 0.6 percent at 337.2 pence on the London Stock Exchange.

Via NewsDaily

Written by Nokgiir

May 18, 2011 at 12:08 am

Russia may take action over U.S. missile shield

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Russia says it may take action if Washington and Moscow fail to agree on a joint missile shield

Russia’s deputy defense minister has said action could be taken if the United States deploys its new missile defense system near Russia’s borders.

In a news conference on Friday, deputy defense minister Anatoly Antonov said the Russian military was looking at ways to “protect our nation if Russia is not consulted in talks with NATO.”

“There is not only talk, some serious work is also being done,” Antonov said. “The Defense Ministry should allow for the worst possible scenario.”

His comments come just hours after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters in Kazakhstan that the talks were going through a complicated phase.

“So far this matter is proceeding with difficulty, but the [U.S.] Secretary of State [Hillary Clinton] has assured us that measures are being taken on her side,” Lavrov said.

Lavrov added that he had met Clinton during an Arctic Council meeting in Greenland on Thursday and had discussed missile defense.

“We agreed that it was necessary to give a political impulse to the work of experts, so that before our two presidents meet in Deauville for the G8 summit it will be possible to set out some results,” Lavrov said.

The United States and Romania announced last week a deal to deploy missile interceptors in Romania as part of its plan to erect a missile shield over Europe.

The move immediately drew criticism from Russia, which fears the scheme may compromise its security by weakening its nuclear missile arsenal.

But U.S. Undersecretary of State Ellen Tauscher said Moscow need not worry.

“We have good relations with Russia. We have just ratified the New START treaty, we are working together on various other issues,” she was quoted as saying in media reports last week.

“It is a system that will defend NATO and, if Russia chooses to work with us in a cooperative manner, the system will defend Russia, too.”

Russia agreed to cooperate on NATO’s European missile defense program at a NATO summit in Lisbon last year.


Russia ‘disappointed’ by U.S. failure to provide missile guarantees

Moscow is concerned by the United States’ refusal to provide legally binding guarantees that its European missile defense system will not be directed against Russia, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Monday.

“The Americans are insisting on the importance of launching practical cooperation without any preconditions,” he said, adding that Russia “cannot start cooperation on specific projects without legal guarantees that a future system will not be directed against our security interests.”

Moscow reserves the right to pull out of the new START Treaty, he warned.

“The new START Treaty may become hostage to the U.S. approach,” the official said.

“The qualitative and quantitative buildup of the U.S. missile defense system, which will jeopardize Russia’s strategic nuclear capability, can be regarded as an exceptional event under Article 14 of the said Treaty whereby Russia has the right to withdraw from this agreement,” Ryabkov said.

Russia and NATO agreed to cooperate on the so-called European missile shield during the NATO-Russia Council summit in Lisbon in November 2010. NATO insists there should be two independent systems that exchange information, while Russia favors a joint system.

Russia is opposed to the planned deployment of U.S. missile defense systems near its borders, claiming they would be a security threat. NATO and the United States insist that the shield would defend NATO members against missiles from North Korea and Iran and would not be directed at Russia.

Via Rian & Russia

Bin Laden dead before U.S. raid – Iranian Intelligence Minister

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Osama bin Laden

Iranian Intelligence Minister Heidar Moslehi said Tehran has evidence that al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden had died of disease long before the United States’ alleged raid on the terrorist, FARS Iranian news agency said.

Bin Laden was killed on May 2 in the Pakistani town of Abbottabad, north of the capital Islamabad, during a raid by U.S. Navy Seals.

“We have accurate information that bin Laden died of illness some time ago,” Moslehi said.

Bin Laden’s body was buried at sea less than 24 hours after the operation.

“If the US military and intelligence apparatus have really arrested or killed bin Laden, why don’t they show him (his dead body) why have they thrown his corpse into the sea?” Moslehi continued.

A DNA test proved that the corpse of the dead man belonged to bin Laden, who has topped the FBI’s most wanted list for the past decade.

White House spokesman, Jay Carney said on Wednesday that Washington would not release bin Laden’s postmortem photos to avoid instigating propaganda and possible violence.

Via Rian

Between us, we’re worth $1 trillion: The world’s richest dinner party

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Who would you invite to your fantasy dinner party?

It’s difficult to imagine a wealthier set of guests than those invited to the home of Silicon Valley venture capitalist John Doerr earlier this year, in the mega-wealthy enclave of Woodside, California. Together they represent companies worth nearly $1 trillion.

By all accounts, Obama didn’t have an easy ride – many of the diners are generous political donors and the President was criticised for slow progress on policy promises. The dinner lasted two hours, and is expected to be the first in a series that Obama holds with Silicon Valley’s leaders.

So what was on the menu? Chef Yigit Pura would only reveal that Obama said, ‘Banana cream pie was solid,’ as he kissed his fingers.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the evening was Mark Zuckerberg’s decision to ditch his hoodie for more formal attire – normally, the only suits he’s acquainted with are of the legal variety…

ERIC SCHMIDT

Title Chairman, Google

Worth $7 billion

Google market valuation $171.8 billion

In his ten-year tenure, Schmidt oversaw Google’s transformation into the global internet giant that it is today. He stepped down as CEO last month and is now a member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

ARTHUR D LEVINSON 

Title Chairman, Genentech

Worth Earned $850,000 in 2010

Genentech market valuation $46.8bn

Founded in 1976, Genentech (now owned by Roche) pioneered using human genetic information to develop medicines, including cancer treatments. Levinson stepped down as CEO in 2009, and now sits on Apple’s board of directors.

JOHN T CHAMBERS 

Title CEO, Cisco Systems

Worth $1 billion

Cisco market valuation $96 billion Chambers raises his glass extra-high to Obama, showing that there are no hard feelings on the part of this co-chair of John McCain’s 2008 presidential bid. He earns his seat as chairman of Cisco, the dotcom boom’s most valuable company.

JOHN DOERR

Title Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

Worth $2.2 billion

The host for the evening, Doerr is a tech investor with a knack for backing a winning idea. Back in 1999, KPCB led a $25 million investment in upstart Google. KPCB has participated in over $2.3 billion of investments since May 2010.

LARRY ELLISON 

Title CEO, Oracle

Worth $39.5 billion

Oracle market valuation $177.6 billion

Currently the fifth wealthiest human being on the planet, Ellison co-founded Oracle in 1977. In true billionaire fashion, he splashed out over $100 million to ensure that his BMW Oracle sailing team won the America’s Cup last year.

REED HASTINGS

Title Co-founder and CEO, Netflix

Worth Earned $5.5 million in 2010

Netflix market valuation $12 billion

In 1997 Hastings co-founded Netflix, an online subscription service for movies and TV which now has over 20 million members across North America. He once taught maths in Swaziland during a two-year stint in the US Peace Corps.

JOHN L HENNESSY

Title President, Stanford University

Worth $31.4 million

Stanford endowment $15.9 billion

Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, Stanford has a long association with the area’s tech companies, many of whose founders  –  including those of Google, Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard and Yahoo!  –  passed through the university.

CAROL BARTZ 

Title CEO, Yahoo!

Worth Earned $47.2 million in 2009

Yahoo! market valuation $23.7 billion

Bartz, who joined Yahoo! in 2009, holds the honour of having topped a 2010 list of executives paid too much for running underperforming companies. Although Yahoo! remains a global internet brand, it’s still considered to be in decline.

DICK COSTOLO 

Title CEO, Twitter

Worth $120 million

Twitter market valuation $3.7 billion

A computer science graduate and former improvisational comedian, Costolo sold FeedBurner  –  a provider of management tools for website owners  –  to Google in 2007 for a rumoured $100 million. Last year he took over as CEO of Twitter.

MARK ZUCKERBERG 

Title CEO, Facebook

Worth $13.5 billion

Facebook market valuation $50 billion

The Social Network’s complex antihero, Zuckerberg is ‘trying to make the world a more open place by helping people connect and share’, according to his own Facebook profile. Luckily for him, he’s becoming filthy rich in the process.

STEVE WESTLY

Title Managing partner and founder, The Westly Group

Worth $500 million

A Democratic Party supporter, venture capitalist Westly served as a California co-chair for Obama’s 2008 presidential election campaign. The Westly Group has participated in over $178 million of investments since April 2010.

BARACK OBAMA 

Title President, USA

Worth $10.5 million

USA $14.7 trillion (GDP)

Obama is noted for his love of technology: he embraced social media in his election campaign, and was reportedly gifted an iPad 2 a month before they went on sale. His aide Valerie Jarrett also attended the dinner (seated to Zuckerberg’s right).

ANN DOERR 

Title Philanthropist

The hostess, as the wife of John Doerr, is no stranger to technology herself, holding bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering. An environmental activist and trustee of the New York-based Environmental Defense Fund, she works alongside her husband in his philanthropic endeavours.

STEVE JOBS 

Title Co-founder and CEO, Apple

Worth $8.3 billion

Apple market valuation $323.3 billion

Jobs has transformed the tech industry several times. After his pioneering early years at Apple, he left the firm to set up NeXT (which created the machine on which the Web was developed), before returning to spearhead the ‘iRevolution’.

Via DailyMail

Bombers take bin Laden revenge in Pakistan

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Suicide bombers killed 80 people at a Pakistani paramilitary academy on Friday in revenge for the death of Osama bin Laden in a U.S. raid and militants in Pakistan vowed to carry out more attacks.

A member of the Pakistani parliament said Lieutenant-General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, Pakistan’s spy chief, said he was “ready to resign” over the bin Laden affair that has embarrassed the nation. Pakistan’s opposition leader accused the Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, spy agency of negligence and incompetence.

Followers of bin Laden have vowed revenge for the al Qaeda chief’s death and the Pakistani Taliban said Friday’s attack by two suicide bombers in the northwestern town of Charsadda was their first taste of vengeance.

“There will be more,” militant spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan said by telephone from an undisclosed location.

The bombers struck as recruits were going on leave and 65 of them were among the 80 dead. Pools of blood strewn with soldiers’ caps and shoes lay on the road outside the academy as the wounded, looking dazed with parts of their clothes ripped away by shrapnel, were loaded into trucks.

Pakistan’s military and government have drawn criticism at home, partly for not finding bin Laden but more for failing to detect or stop the U.S. raid on May 2 that killed him.

A senior Pakistani general also canceled a planned visit to the United States. Pakistan depends heavily on U.S. aid.

In addition, U.S. authorities in Pakistan interviewed three of bin Laden’s widows, detained by Pakistan in the compound after the U.S. raid, but gathered little new information, U.S. officials said in Washington.

Pakistan said it would repatriate the three widows and their children. One is from Yemen and the others from Saudi Arabia.

U.S. special forces killed bin Laden, the man behind the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, at a compound near Pakistan’s top military academy in the northern town of Abbottabad. Pakistan welcomed his death as a major step against militancy but called the secret U.S. raid a violation of its sovereignty.

Shahid Ali, 28, was on his way to his shop when the bombs went off in Charsadda. He tried to help survivors. “A young boy was lying near a wrecked van asked me to take him to hospital. I got help and we got him into a vehicle,” Ali said.

‘DISRUPT, DISMANTLE AND DEFEAT’

In Washington, U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner condemned the attack, offered condolences to the families of the victims, and stressed the U.S. alliance with Pakistan.

“Terrorists have shown time and again that they are the true enemy … of the people and the government of Pakistan,” Toner said. “We respect the nation’s sacrifices in the fight against terrorism and will continue to stand with Pakistan in our joint struggle to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al Qaeda and allied terrorist organizations.”

White House spokesman Jay Carney said the United States would be “very vigilant” about revenge attacks.

Hours after the bombing, a U.S. drone aircraft fired missiles at a vehicle in North Waziristan on the Afghan border, killing five militants, Pakistani security officials said.

It was the fourth drone attack since bin Laden was killed, inflaming another sore issue between Pakistan and the United States. Pakistan officially objects to the attacks, saying they violate its sovereignty and feed public anger.

Military and intelligence chiefs gave parliament a closed-door briefing in which ISI chief Pasha told legislators he was ready to take responsibility for any criminal failing, Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan said.

“If any of our responsibility is determined and any gap identified, that our negligence was criminal negligence, and there was an intentional failure, then we are ready to face any consequences,” Awan told Express TV, citing Pasha.

Another member of parliament said Pasha told the assembly he did not want to “hang around” if parliament deems him responsible. “I am ready to resign,” Riaz Fatyana quoted the ISI chief as saying.

The spy chief also told parliament bin Laden had been isolated, Awan said. “We had already killed all his allies and so we had killed him even before he was dead. He was living like a dead man,” Awan quoted Pasha as saying.

The chairman of Pakistan’s joint chiefs of staff committee, General Khalid Shameem Wynne, canceled a five-day visit to the United States that had been set to begin on May 22.

“The visit could not be undertaken under existing circumstances,” a military official told Reuters.

He did not elaborate, but the decision to cancel the visit came as the Cabinet defense committee said it was reviewing cooperation with the United States on counterterrorism.

U.S. officials are sifting through what they describe as a treasure trove of intelligence material seized in the raid on bin Laden’s compound.

Officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, revealed on Friday that a stash of video pornography was found in the hideout there but said they did not know if bin Laden himself had acquired or viewed the material.

The White House also said President Barack Obama would lay out his vision for Middle East policy next Thursday, using bin Laden’s death as a chance to recast the U.S. response to political upheaval in the Arab world.

Former U.S. President George W. Bush, who spent years searching in vain for bin Laden, described for the first time the call he received from Obama informing him that U.S. forces had killed the al Qaeda leader.

Bush said he was eating souffles at a Dallas restaurant when he got word Obama was trying to reach him.

“I excused myself and went home to take the call,” Bush said. “Obama simply said, ‘Osama bin Laden is dead.'” After Obama described the U.S. raid and the decision he made to go ahead with the mission, Bush said he told Obama, “Good call.”

Via NewsDaily

China, U.S. grapple with military distrust on PLA visit

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China and the United States next week hold their first top level military-to-military talks since 2009 to try to bring more trust to a relationship overshadowed by weapons sales to Taiwan and unease over the growing reach of Beijing’s armed forces.

The week-long visit by People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Chief of General Staff Chen Bingde follows this week’s talks of top government officials seen as making some ground in easing tensions between the world’s two biggest economies.

“The lack of high-level and sustained military-to-military engagement means that the whole of the U.S.-China relationship remains unbalanced,” said Cheung Tai Ming, a senior fellow at the University of California’s Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation.

China sharply cut back military contacts after the Obama administration announced in early 2010 major weapons sales to Taiwan, which Beijing considers a renegade province.

Chen told a visiting U.S. delegation last month that those arms sales were still the biggest obstacle facing military relations.

His talks with Obama administration officials and military commanders are unlikely to yield breakthroughs but could help warm relations.

“The U.S. has a whole range of proposals on information and operational exchanges on the table, and none of that can take place until the upper echelons within the military, as well as the civilian apparatus, agree on this,” Cheung said.

But military strains could still flare, especially with a U.S. presidential race and leadership transition in China in 2012 that could distract decision-makers and make them less willing to compromise on disputes.

“Pretending that tensions between our two militaries can be placed in an isolation ward and not affect the views of the top leadership in each country is wishful thinking,” said David Finkelstein, director of China Studies at CNA, which advises Washington policy-makers on security issues.

“I am confident that officials on both sides understand that the military dimensions of U.S.-China relations are too important to be held hostage to polls, bloggers, and Op-Eds,” he said.

The United States, and others in the region, have watched with concern as China’s military has extended its reach in Asia and built up its military prowess.

In one display of military muscle, China confirmed it had held its first test flight of the J-20 stealth fighter jet during a January visit to Beijing by U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

It is also possible China will launch its first aircraft carrier later this year.

RISK OF DANGEROUS MISSTEPS

Chinese ships shadowing U.S. vessels in the South China Sea and Beijing’s surprise launch of a missile that destroyed an inactive Chinese satellite in 2007 have raised worries about the risk of dangerous missteps, especially as China’s expanding military capabilities rub up against U.S. forces in Asia.

For its part, China sees the heavy U.S. military presence in Asia, especially bases in South Korea and Japan, as threats to its influence and interests.

However, both also see the need to communicate better.

“This military relationship is taking on more importance, not only because as China’s military develops so do the chances of mistrust, but also because cooperation in problem spots like Libya, Afghanistan and Pakistan cannot develop without it,” said Peking University professor Zhu Feng.

Apart from meeting top U.S. civilian and military leaders, including Defense Secretary Gates, Chen will visit key military sites, something a Chinese official praised ahead of the visit.

“The U.S. side has made considerate arrangements. Some sites have not accepted visiting military leaders for years,”the state-run China Daily quoted Defense Ministry official Huang Xueping as saying.

(Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard, and Phil Stewart in Washington; Editing by Don Durfee and Jonathan Thatcher)

 

Written by Nokgiir

May 14, 2011 at 6:41 am

Bush tells Obama on bin Laden: “Good call”

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Former President George W. Bush, who spent years searching for Osama bin Laden, had two words for President Barack Obama when Obama told him of the al Qaeda leader’s death: “Good call.”

Bush, who has shied away from the public eye since leaving office in January 2009, spoke about the U.S. raid that killed bin Laden in remarks to a conference of hedge fund managers. An ABC News contributor attended the event and reported on them.

Bush said he was eating souffles at a Dallas restaurant with his wife, Laura, and two friends when he got word that Obama, his successor as president, was trying to reach him.

“I excused myself and went home to take the call,” Bush said. “Obama simply said, ‘Osama bin Laden is dead.'”

After Obama described in detail the secret U.S. raid on Osama’s compound in Pakistan and the decision he made to go ahead with the mission, Bush said he told Obama: “Good call.”

ABC News said Bush told the group that bin Laden’s death was a victory for the American people and “a great victory in the war on terror.”

He said U.S. intelligence services deserve a lot of credit for tracking down bin Laden and spoke of meeting in Afghanistan with Navy SEAL Team Six, the highly skilled strike team that reportedly conducted the raid.

“They are awesome, skilled, talented and brave,” he added. “I said, ‘I hope you have everything you need. One guy said, ‘We need your permission to go into Pakistan and kick ass.'”

Bush escalated a U.S. hunt for bin Laden after the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington, but the al Qaeda leader escaped from the mountains of Tora Bora in Afghanistan and ended up living in a large house in the Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad, apparently for years.

Bush’s predecessor, President Bill Clinton, launched missile strikes against bin Laden’s compound in Afghanistan in 1998 in an unsuccessful effort to kill bin Laden following al Qaeda attacks on U.S. embassies in Africa.

(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Will Dunham)

Via NewsDaily

Written by Nokgiir

May 14, 2011 at 6:32 am