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China building an army of unmanned military drones ‘to rival the U.S.’

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America’s success with unmanned military drones has sparked a ‘global rush’ for weaponised and surveillance aircrafts, according to a new report.

Over 50 countries have purchased surveillance drones or started their own development programmes to step up military capacity in recent years.

And experts say China, having only unveiled its first drone at an air show five years ago, is on the fast track to develop unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that rival U.S. technology.

Drone: The UAV WJ-600, unveiled at the Zhuhai air show in southern China in November

Drone: The UAV WJ-600, unveiled at the Zhuhai air show in southern China in November.

Experts told the Washington Post America’s ‘cheap weapons, reconnaissance abilities, and ease of use, could make drones the standard for many application.’

The recent spike, they say, is ‘because no nation is exporting weaponised drones beyond a handful of sales between the United States and its closest allies.’ And China is seeking to take a piece of the market.

Twenty five UAVs were unveiled the Zhuhai air show in southern China last November, designed and produced by China’s ASN Technology Group, China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp (CASIC), and China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp (CASC).

At the show, a crowd gathered around an armed, jet-propelled drone called the WJ-600, where a video demonstrated the aircraft locating what appears to be a U.S. aircraft carrier group flying close to Taiwan.

The drone is shown sending targeting information back to shore for a follow-up attack.

Other models were designed to fire missiles, and one, powered by a jet engine, has the capability to fly faster than the Predator and Reaper drones the U.S. has used on missions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, according to the report.

Cheaper alternative: America's Predator B, or MQ9-Reaper drone, costs about $10.5million, compared to an F-22 fighter jet's $150million price tag

Cheaper alternative: America’s Predator B, or MQ9-Reaper drone, costs about $10.5million, compared to an F-22 fighter jet’s $150million price tag.

It was a record number for the country, which until recently, had not extended its military capacity to include UAVs.

The Wall Street Journal reported at the time that while military and aviation experts said China’s drones are presumed to be several years behind the U.S., the country is on the fast track to catching up.

Retired Lieutenant General David A. Deptula, the former deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance at the Air Force, told the Washington Post: ‘We are well ahead in having established systems actively in use. But the capability of other countries will do nothing but grow.’

The industry is expected to boom over the next decade; according to a 2011 market study by the Teal Group in Fairfax, global spending on drones will double to $94billion by 2021.

Much of China’s progress remains secret.

Capabilities: The UAV WJ-600 was shown locating what appears to be a U.S. aircraft carrier group flying close to Taiwan in a video demonstration at the Zhuhai air show

Capabilities: The UAV WJ-600 was shown locating what appears to be a U.S. aircraft carrier group flying close to Taiwan in a video demonstration at the Zhuhai air show.

In action: The unmanned drowne is shown sending targeting information back to shore for a follow-up attack

In action: The unmanned drowne is shown sending targeting information back to shore for a follow-up attack.

Exhibitors of the 25 UAVs did not disclose which aircrafts were fully operational.

However, the Wall Street Journal confirmed at least two propeller-powered UAVs had been deployed by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

Zhang Qiaoliang, a representative of the Chengdu Aircraft Design and Research Institute, which manufactures many of the most advanced military aircraft for the People’s Liberation Army, told the Washington Post: ‘The United States doesn’t export many attack drones, so we’re taking advantage of that hole in the market.’

U.S. anxiety about China’s UAVs was highlighted in a report released last November by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, reported the Journal.

Surveillance: The unmanned jet-propelled aerial vehicle narrows in on its target

Surveillance: The unmanned jet-propelled aerial vehicle narrows in on its target.

Mission accomplished: The aircraft carrier is targeted and blasted with missiles off the coast of Taiwan

Mission accomplished: The aircraft carrier is targeted and blasted with missiles off the coast of Taiwan.

‘The PLA Air Force has deployed several types of unmanned aerial vehicles for both reconnaissance and combat purposes,’ the report read.

It cited the Pentagon, continuing: ‘In addition, China is developing a variety of medium and high-altitude long-endurance unmanned vehicles, which when deployed will expand the PLA Air Force’s options for long-range reconnaissance and strikes.’

And other countries are following the lead; around the world UAVs are being seen as cheap and effective alternative to manned aircraft. America’s Predator B, or MQ9-Reaper, manufactured by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, costs about $10.5million, compared to an F-22 fighter jet’s $150million price tag.

According to the Washington Post, Israel trails the U.S. as the second-largest drone manufacturer, and has flown armed models; India also announced this year it is developing armed drones that will fly at 30,000ft.

Russia has shown models of drones with weapons, but it is unknown if they are fully operational; and Pakistan has said it plans to obtain armed drones from China, according to the report.

Kenneth Anderson, a professor of law at American University who studies the legal questions surrounding the use of drones in warfare, said: ‘This is the direction all aviation is going. Everybody will wind up using this technology because it’s going to become the standard for many, many applications of what are now manned aircraft.’

 

 

Via DailyMail

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China hacks Gmail accounts of senior U.S. officials one day after Obama’s cyber warning

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  • Google said U.S. government officials targeted
  • Security breach larger than previous Gmail attacks
  • Pentagon warn U.S. may retaliate with military force
  • Hackers also target military contractor that supplies unmanned aerial vehicles
  • Beijing denies being behind attack

Fears China is plotting a devastating ‘cyber war’ against the West were heightened yesterday when it emerged Chinese hackers have stolen hundreds of passwords belonging to senior U.S. government officials.

The security breach was revealed by Google which said victims had been carefully targeted in a scam traced to the city of Jinan in the Communist state’ s Shangdong province.

Experts suspect Chinese hackers are capable of reducing the U.S. or its allies including Britain to stone-age conditions at the press of a button – by crippling the computers running everything from banks and supermarkets to power stations and water plants.

 

Hacked: Google admitted that hundreds of Gmail accounts had been targeted by hackers in China, including those of senior U.S. officials

Hacked: Google admitted that hundreds of Gmail accounts had been targeted by hackers in China, including those of senior U.S. officials.

In a chilling echo of the Cold War, a ‘cyber arms race’ is rapidly developing between East and West, with the U.S. even threatening to retaliate with military weapons to any ‘act of war’ attack on its computers from a foreign power.

Earlier this week the US said it would react militarily to future cyber incursions from other countries.

One U.S. military official quoted in the Wall Street Journal as saying: ‘If you shut down our power grid, maybe we will put a missile down one of your smokestacks.’

British defence minister Nick Harvey underlined the growing sense of panic by declaring that ‘action in cyberspace will form part of the future battlefield’.

Row: Google said the phishing scam had originated in China

Row: Google said the phishing scam had originated in China.

Sir Michael Rake, chairman of BT Group and a figurehead for cyber security issues in industry, warned world powers were being drawn into a hi-tech arms race in which countries could wage war without firing a single shot.

Sir Michael said: ‘I don’t think personally it’s an exaggeration to say you can bring a state to its knees without any military action whatsoever.’

Although there is no direct evidence that the Chinese hackers in the latest case are in the pay of the Chinese government, their attacks were so sophisticated and highly-targeted that few experts doubt they were state-sponsored.

Apart from anything else, unlike other internet scams, there was no obvious financial gain behind them, suggesting a sinister rather than a financial motive.

Senior U.S. and South Korean government officials who fell victim to the scam were tricked into giving away their Google and Yahoo email login details.

Threat: The Pentagon said it is ready to retaliate against cyber attacks

Threat: The Pentagon said it is ready to retaliate against cyber attacks.

Defence: The Pentagon will reclassify cyber attacks as an aggressive act if it causes the equivalent loss of life or damage to infrastructure as a conventional military attack

Defence: The Pentagon will reclassify cyber attacks as an aggressive act if it causes the equivalent loss of life or damage to infrastructure as a conventional military attack.

They had received ‘Trojan horse’ emails that purported to be from someone they knew, but were in fact carefully-crafted fakes.

One example email had the title: ‘Fw: Draft US-China Joint Statement’, and contained the text: ‘This is the latest version of State’s joint statement.’

Enticed into opening the email, the unsuspecting user was directed to a convincing but bogus Google or Yahoo email page where they were invited to type in their login and password. When they did so, their supposedly-secret details immediately fell into the hands of the Chinese hackers.

Armed with the passwords, the hackers could access the user’s real email account and spy on genuine emails being sent between government officials.

Although the scam – which went on for months before being uncovered – targeted personal email accounts, rather than government accounts, officials could have forwarded their work emails to their personal Gmail accounts.

Sensitive: The Lockheed Joint Strike Fighter, just one of many weapons manufactured by the company and used by both the U.S. and the UK armed forces

Sensitive: The Lockheed Joint Strike Fighter, just one of many weapons manufactured by the company and used by both the U.S. and the UK armed forces.

A Google spokesman said yesterday: ‘Google detected and has disrupted this campaign to take users’ passwords and monitor their emails. We have notified victims and secured their accounts.’

The White House said it was investigating. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the allegations were ‘very serious’ and would be investigated by the FBI.

Online threat: Hackers have breached Lockheed security (file photo)Beijing has repeatedly denied hacking into foreign countries’ systems.

Britian has found itself under attack also.

Last month, Chancellor George Osborne revealed that foreign intelligence agencies were trying to break into the Treasury computer system to steal information or spread viruses at the rate of more than one attack a day.

MI5 and the FBI have warned British and American companies of the mushrooming threat from Chinese government-backed hackers trying to pilfer commercial secrets.

Whitehall has announced an extra £500million to be spent on bolstering cyber security, amid concerns that Britain’s computer networks linking banking, power and water systems are too vulnerable to digital sabotage.

But America is not always the victim in cyber attacks. The U.S. and Israel were blamed for the development of the Stuxnet virus, a computer worm that targets industrial software and was credited with sabotage attacks on Iran’s nuclear programme.

Delegates at an international cyber security conference held in London this week warned the crisis was so severe that nations should agree an international ‘non-proliferation’ treaty similar to the one drawn up to slow the spread of nuclear weapons.

 

Via DailyMail

U.S. arms makers said to be bleeding secrets to cyber foes

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Top Pentagon contractors have been bleeding secrets for years as a result of penetrations of their computer networks, current and former national security officials say.

The Defense Department, which runs its own worldwide eavesdropping, spying and code-cracking systems, says more than 100 foreign intelligence organizations have been trying to break into U.S. networks.

Some of the perpetrators “already have the capacity to disrupt” U.S. information infrastructure, Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn, who is leading remedial efforts, wrote last fall in the journal Foreign Affairs.

Joel Brenner, the National Counterintelligence executive from 2006 to 2009, said most if not all of the big defense contractors’ networks had been pierced.

“This has been happening since the late ’90s,” he told Reuters Tuesday. He identified the main threats as coming from Russia, China and Iran.

“They’re after our weapons systems and R&D,” or research and development, said Brenner, now with the law firm of Cooley LLP in Washington.

Lockheed Martin Corp, the Pentagon’s No. 1 supplier by sales, said on Saturday that it had thwarted “a significant and tenacious” attack on its information systems network that it detected May 21. Ten days later, the company says its still working to restore full employee access to the network while maintaining the highest level of security.

Lockheed, which is also the government’s top information technology provider, said it had become “a frequent target of adversaries from around the world.” A spokeswoman said it said it used the term “adversaries” only in a general sense.

Lockheed builds F-16, F-22 and F-35 fighter jets as well as Aegis naval combat system, THAAD missile defense and other big-ticket weapons systems sold to U.S. allies. It has not disclosed which of its business units was targeted.

Cyber intruders were reported in 2009 to have broken into computers holding data on Lockheed’s projected $380 billion-plus F-35 fighter program, the Pentagon’s costliest arms purchase.

Other big Pentagon contractors include Boeing Co, Northrop Grumman Corp, General Dynamics Corp, BAE Systems Plc and Raytheon Co. Each of these declined to comment on whether it believed its networks had been penetrated.

James Miller, the principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, said last May that the United States was losing terabytes of data in cyber attacks, enough to fill “multiple Libraries of Congress.” The world’s largest library, its archive totaled about 235 terabytes of data as of April, the Library of Congress says on its web site.

“The scale of compromise, including the loss of sensitive and unclassified data, is staggering,” Miller told a Washington forum.

U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, who led a Senate Intelligence Committee cyber task force last year, said in March that cybercrime has put the United States “on the losing end of what could be the largest illicit transfer of wealth in world history.”

Retired Air Force General Michael Hayden, a former director of central intelligence and ex-head of the Pentagon’s National Security Agency, said no network was safe if it had Internet access.

“You can isolate a network, a classified network,” he told Reuters in an interview last year. “Maybe you can get a certain level of confidence that you are not penetrated. But if you are out there connected to the world wide web you are vulnerable all the time.”

Anup Ghosh, a former senior scientist at the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, said there had been a string of intrusions into networks of U.S. defense contractors, security companies and U.S. government labs, including the U.S. Energy Department’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, since the start of this year.

The advantage is with the intruders, said Ghosh, who worked on securing military networks for DARPA from 2002 to 2006 and now heads Invincea, a software security company.

“We’ve failed to innovate in the area of information security,” he said in an email Tuesday. “We’re fighting today’s battles with the equivalent of cold-war era defenses.”


Via NewsDaily

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

Washington Worries China Will Challenge U.S. Dominance in Space

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U.S. power brokers aren’t sure how to handle China’s rapidly expanding space capabilities, according to testimony at a congressional hearing yesterday (May 11).

China recently demonstrated the ability to destroy satellites on orbit, and it’s ramping up plans for a space station and a possible manned lunar landing in the next decade or so. At a hearing on “The Implications of China’s Military and Civil Space Programs,” a range of experts discussed what these developments might mean for the United States.

While opinions and viewpoints varied, a few key themes emerged, including the need to engage with China to better understand just what the nation hopes to achieve in space. [Photos: China’s First Space Station]

“There’s still a lack of clear understanding of what Beijing’s goals are, and how we interact with those,” Ben Baseley-Walker of the Secure World Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to space sustainability, told SPACE.com. Baseley-Walker attended the hearing, which took place at the Capitol in Washington, D.C.

China’s space capabilities ramping up

In 2007, China destroyed one of its own satellites on orbit during an anti-satellite test, showcasing an ability that makes the United States and other nations nervous. Since then, the country has conducted other tests advancing its military space capabilities, including a 2010 missile-interception demonstration.

Beijing is also ramping up its human spaceflight program. In 2003, China became the third nation to launch a person into space, and it has flown several manned missions since.

The country also hopes to build a large space station between 2015 and 2022, according to hearing panelist Alanna Krolikowski, a visiting scholar at George Washington University’s Space Policy Institute.

And, beyond that, China appears to be gearing up for a manned lunar landing. The nation’s human spaceflight program aims to complete an in-depth concept study on the subject by about 2020, Krolikowski said at the hearing. [Infographic: How China’s First Space Station Will Work]

These developments have some politicians and policy experts worried. They think China may be positioning itself to challenge outright the United States’ dominance in space, which currently gives America a huge advantage on the battlefield.

“What concerns me most about the Chinese space program is that, unlike the U.S., it is being led by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA),” Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA) testified at the hearing. “There is no reason to believe that the PLA’s space program will be any more benign than the PLA’s recent military posture.”

Is Beijing a threat?

The White House has recently stated a willingness to work with China on expensive, difficult space projects, such as a manned mission to Mars. Wolf thinks this is a bad idea, citing the potential threat China poses as well as its abysmal human-rights record.

“The U.S. has no business cooperating with the PLA to help develop its space program,” said Wolf, who chairs the commerce, justice and science subcommittee of the powerful House Appropriations Committee.

However, other panelists cited the possible benefits to the United States of such cooperation, which range from expanding opportunities for American businesses to increasing space security. If the United States thinks China can become a “normal” spacefaring country, keen to exploit space commercially, collaboration is probably a good idea, according to Krolikowski.

“As China invests in and derives greater benefit from space, it will acquire the same stake in creating a predictable, stable, safe and sustainable space environment that the U.S., Canada, Japan and European and other countries already share,” Krolikowski said.

Cooperation and engagement could also help reveal China’s goals for space. Does China, for example, hope to dominate military space aggressively in the near future, or is it concerned more about self-defense?

“While China’s capabilities in space are known to U.S. observers, its intentions are not,” Krolikowski said.

According to Baseley-Walker, panelists stressed the importance of getting to the bottom of those intentions. It’s difficult to draw up and implement effective policy, after all, without a basic understanding of where China is coming from, and where it’s going.

Via Space

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