Chinese Troops Enter Disputed India Territory


Chinese troops have advanced in recent days into disputed territory claimed by India, echoing a similar incursion last year that raised tensions between the two rival giants, official sources said on Tuesday (Aug 19).

Chinese troops twice crossed over the border into a remote area of the western Himalayas, with some unfurling a banner that read “this is Chinese territory, go back”, an official said on condition of anonymity.

Indian border police noticed the troops on Sunday in an unpopulated area of Ladakh during a patrol of the informal border that separates India and China. “It was a temporary peaceful face-off with PLA well inside Indian territory,” the official told AFP referring to China’s People’s Liberation Army.

He said troops returned to India’s Burtse area in Ladakh on Monday displaying a banner “understood to be saying ‘this is Chinese territory, go back’.” Indian army spokesman Colonel S D Goswami declined to confirm if any such incidents had taken place. But the incursions were confirmed by several official sources.

Chinese troops crossed over the border into the same area last April and set up camps, triggering a three-week standoff with Indian soldiers which was only resolved after senior officers from both sides reached an agreement for a joint pullback. That row had threatened to dent improving ties between the two countries which have long been dogged by mutual suspicion – a legacy of a 1962 border war.

The informal border separating China and India is known as the Line of Actual Control (LAC). While it has never been formally demarcated, the countries have signed two accords to maintain peace in frontier areas. Small incursions of a few kilometres (miles) across the contested boundary are common but it is rare for either country to set up camps in disputed territory. Continue reading “Chinese Troops Enter Disputed India Territory”

Chinese hackers’ stole data on Israel’s Iron Dome missile shield

Group linked to PLA accused of stealing documents on Iron Dome shield


PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 30 July, 2014, 9:50pm

Reuters in Vienna
Three Israeli defence contractors behind the Iron Dome missile shield and related systems were robbed of hundreds of documents by hackers linked to the Chinese government starting in 2011, a US-based computer forensics expert said.

Comment Crew, as the hacking group is known, stole designs for Israeli rocket systems in a spree of attacks during 2011 and 2012, Joseph Drissel, chief executive of Cyber Engineering Services, said.

The targets of the online attacks were top military contractors Elisra Group, Israel Aerospace Industries, and Rafael Advanced Defence Systems. The companies built the system that now partially insulates Israel from rocket barrages from Gaza. Continue reading “Chinese hackers’ stole data on Israel’s Iron Dome missile shield”

Chinese could be ready to invade in 2020: MND Taiwan

– China is boosting its combat capabilities to the point at which it could mount a full cross-strait attack in 2020

English: ROC Military Police special forces di...

ANALYSIS::Defense minister Yen Ming is to present the report to a legislative committee today. It says China poses the biggest threat of armed conflict to Taiwan

By Rich Chang and Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter with staff writer

Thu, Mar 06, 2014

China is boosting its combat capabilities to the point at which it could mount a full cross-strait attack in 2020, according to a new report from the Ministry of National Defense (MND).

The report added that Chinese leaders have not given up the option of mounting a military invasion of Taiwan to unify it with “the Chinese motherland.” Continue reading “Chinese could be ready to invade in 2020: MND Taiwan”

Senior Navy intelligence officer ” China was training its forces to be capable of carrying out a “short, sharp” war with Japan in the East China Sea “

Pentagon plays down intelligence officer’s provocative China assessment

Segment found at about 26:28

Source: Reuters – Fri, 21 Feb 2014 01:31 AM

Author: Reuters

WASHINGTON, Feb 20 (Reuters) – The Pentagon on Thursday played down remarks by a senior Navy intelligence officer who told a public forum that he believed China was training its forces to be capable of carrying out a “short, sharp” war with Japan in the East China Sea.

The comments by Captain James Fanell, director of intelligence and information operations at the U.S. Pacific Fleet, were little noticed when he made them last week at a conference on maritime strategy called “West 2014” in San Diego. They can be seen here: Continue reading “Senior Navy intelligence officer ” China was training its forces to be capable of carrying out a “short, sharp” war with Japan in the East China Sea “”

China welcomes neighbors’ prosperity, firmly safeguards peripheral security

EEV: Continued Escalation

China's first aircraft carrier, the Soviet-era Liaoning, entered service last year

(Xinhua) 07:08, February 08, 2014

BEIJING, Feb. 7 — Recent events have demonstrated that while China sincerely share neighbors’ joy in making achievements, it never hesitates to safeguard peripheral peace and security.

When Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Russia to attend the opening ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympic Games, he told Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that he came to offer his congratulations in person, as is customary for Chinese to do upon their neighbors’ joyous occasions. Continue reading “China welcomes neighbors’ prosperity, firmly safeguards peripheral security”

U.S. Pacific forces chief concerned over Japan-China tension


Jan. 24, 2014 – 03:00PM JST


The commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific said Thursday the tensions between China and Japan are likely to grow unless they talk to each other.

The two Asian powers are at loggerheads over remote islands that are administered by Japan but also claimed by China. Beijing has also been angered by a recent visit by Japan’s prime minister to a controversial war shrine.

Maritime claims in the South China Sea

Adm. Samuel Locklear told a news conference that “the risk calculation can grow” when two large powers have a disagreement but aren’t talking to each other and when there’s no clear resolution in sight. Continue reading “U.S. Pacific forces chief concerned over Japan-China tension”

China seeks to calm US fears over missile

EEV – Great example of the Chinese Government , getting its point across. Through building the illusion of the capabilities of its potential adversary. The Chinese military is far more capable than they will ever reveal publicly. This deserves a read from our defense personnel, that understand the semantics involved.

– dismissing media reports that China’s recent ultrahigh-speed missile test flight was aimed at delivering warheads through the missile defenses of the United States

– The advantages of hypersonic craft include precise targeting, very rapid delivery of weapons, and greater survivability against missile and space defenses.

Washington is afraid that China’s growing power will reduce its influence in the region

By ZHOU WA (China Daily)    07:14, January 16, 2014


The Ministry of National Defense issued a statement on Wednesday dismissing media reports that China’s recent ultrahigh-speed missile test flight was aimed at delivering warheads through the missile defenses of the United States. Continue reading “China seeks to calm US fears over missile”

No Clear Strategy On China, Experts Say

Dec. 11, 2013 – 07:09PM   |

The 18th CPC National Congress - Previews

A Chinese boy looks at a photo of the Liaoning, China’s first aircraft carrier. The ship gives the Chinese navy more options in projecting power in the western Pacific (Feng Li / Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — No real US strategy exists right now for dealing with China, even as the country challenges the territorial status quo of nearby Asian waters, several experts said Wednesday.

“You have the option of examining the classified war plans and decide if they reflect a strategy for conducting an upper-level war,” naval analyst Ronald O’Rourke of the Congressional Research Service told Congress. “But for situations short of war, it is not clear to me we have a strategy for that.”

Such a strategy, he said “needs to involve our allies — it’s not something we can do ourselves.” Continue reading “No Clear Strategy On China, Experts Say”

New Yellow Sea naval drills seen as warning message


PUBLISHED : Friday, 06 December, 2013, 1:24pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 07 December, 2013, 3:33am

Minnie Chan



  • ef8062ffbe4562ac064935bb80db6e7.jpg       
A ship gun fires during last month’s exercises. Photo: SCMP

The PLA Navy launched eight days of naval drills in the Yellow Sea and Bohai Strait yesterday – a day after US Vice-President Joseph Biden departed China for South Korea.

The drills were confirmed by a navigation warning issued by the Liaoning Maritime Safety Administration, which oversees the area. The notice banned all civilian vessels from northern portions of the Yellow Sea and Bohai Strait from 4pm yesterday to the same time next Friday.

The administration said the area would be used for a military mission, suggesting that the People’s Liberation Army would be conducting naval drills similar to those conducted in the area last month.

The previous drills ended a day before the Ministry of National Defence announced the creation of an air defence identification zone (ADIZ) over mos of the adjacent East China Sea, drawing protests from Seoul, Taipei, Tokyo and Washington. The zone includes the disputed Diaoyu, or Senkaku, islands, which are claimed by Japan, as well as Taiwan.

Continue reading “New Yellow Sea naval drills seen as warning message”

Stealth drone completes successful maiden flight

EEV: Since most clips of the story are being taken from 5 month old reports. We took the liberty of posting a better video of the drone.


Unmanned reconnaissance aircraft, which may help monitor disputed territory, latest example of country’s fast improving military technology

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 November, 2013, 4:29am
UPDATED : Friday, 22 November, 2013, 10:24am

Minnie Chan


A photo posted on an online forum for military enthusiasts shows the Lijian unmanned combat aerial vehicle during its successful flight test yesterday. Photo: SCMP

China yesterday staged the successful maiden test of its first jet-powered stealth drone, making the fourth country to implement the technology after the Britain, France and the United States.

Continue reading “Stealth drone completes successful maiden flight”

China’s first stealth combat drone takes maiden flight – reports

Published time: November 22, 2013 01:40                                                                             
Screenshot from YouTube user JDUS2020 Screenshot from YouTube user JDUS2020

The first Chinese stealth unmanned combat drone conducted a successful maiden flight Thursday, according to accounts by Chinese media and photos taken from a popular Chinese military website.

Lijian, or “sharp sword” in English, aced its first test  flight in southwest China, making the People’s Republic of China  the fourth nation to successfully fly a stealth unmanned aerial  vehicle.

The test flight lasted nearly 20 minutes, according to accounts  on, a Chinese military forum, and later picked up by  the People’s Daily, Xinhua News Agency and the South China  Morning Post.

Continue reading “China’s first stealth combat drone takes maiden flight – reports”

China accuses Japan of interfering in naval drills

Nov. 01, 2013 – 06:17AM JST


China’s Defense Ministry said on Thursday it has lodged a formal diplomatic complaint over what it called “dangerous provocation” by Japan for shadowing Chinese military exercises in the western Pacific.

Sino-Japanese ties have been strained for months by a dispute over tiny islands in the East China Sea believed to be surrounded by energy-rich waters. They have also been overshadowed by what China says is Japan’s refusal to admit to atrocities committed by Japanese soldiers in China between 1931 and 1945.

Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said that a Japanese naval and air patrol disrupted a Chinese live ammunition military drill last Friday, without giving the precise location.

Yang also said Japanese patrols of ships and aircraft were gathering information about the exercises.

“Not only did this interfere with our normal exercises, but endangered the safety of our ships and aircraft, which could have led to a miscalculation or mishap or other sudden incident,” Yang told a news briefing.

“This is a highly dangerous provocation, and China’s Defense Ministry has made solemn representations to the Japanese side,” he added, according to a transcript of his remarks on the ministry’s website.

Diplomatic complaints are normally lodged by the Foreign Ministry, so the Defense Ministry’s unusual move signals the military’s anger.

A former Japanese military officer told Reuters this week that the situation in the East China Sea was worrisome.

“As the Chinese are getting more active, we have more opportunities to confront each other,” he said. “If something happens accidentally, it may very seriously deteriorate the bilateral relationship.”

Ties between the two countries took a hit in September 2012 after Japan bought two of the disputed islets from a private owner, setting off a wave of protests and boycotts of Japanese goods across China.

China on Saturday criticised a Japanese media report saying Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had approved a policy for Japan to shoot down foreign drones that ignore warnings to exit its airspace.

Abe has said Japan is ready to take a more assertive stance toward China.

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2013.

Chinese military researchers state the U.S. is its Enemy ? China PLA video claims Washington uses military programmes to try to brainwash future leaders

EEV: Currently Searching for the actual video / 3:17 U.S. is implied to be China’s enemy

US accused of using military exchanges with PLA to disrupt China

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 31 October, 2013, 3:52am
UPDATED : Thursday, 31 October, 2013, 3:52am

Minnie Chan

Wang Xibin

Influential military researchers have accused the United States, in a video they helped produce, of using exchanges between American defence officials and the PLA to undermine the state and corrupt officials.

Military experts said the claims threatened to harm exchanges between the two countries and showed the PLA was trying to address the spread of graft within its ranks and the party.

The unusually hardline video in which the military researchers are quoted was produced by the PLA’s National Defence University, based in Beijing, and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences along with the army’s General Staff Department.

“The American elites … confidently believe that the best way to disorganise China is to work closely with it, allowing it to gradually become part of the US-led international and political system,” said General Liu Yazhou, the university’s political commissar and one of the video’s producers.

The 100-minute video appears to be intended for internal distribution but copies have circulated online and state censors had not taken them down as of yesterday. A second producer of the video is General Wang Xibin , a former president of the university.

The video lists several strategies it says the US uses in a bid to weaken the state, including cultural exports, bribing and brainwashing rising young Chinese political stars, and training pro-American activists and scholars through exchange programmes, including ones involving defence officials.

It said Washington used the same tactics to cause the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and to influence the “jasmine revolution” that toppled Tunisia’s former strongman Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in 2011.

Dr Zeng Zhiping, a retired lieutenant colonel and expert in military law, said the propaganda effort would hurt the two countries’ military exchange efforts.

“Only blinkered military officials would be easily brainwashed,” said Zeng, who spent last year in the US on a fellowship studying military law. “I am afraid that under such hardline propaganda, only politically correct officials will be sent to study overseas, and that’s not a good thing for young officers who are keen on learning advanced military thinking in the West and discovering its culture.”

Shanghai-based military expert Ni Lexiong said the film illustrated the contradiction the army and the party faced in trying to instil “traditional Red virtues – hardship and simplicity” – amid the corruption that has taken root after 30 years of economic opening up.

“The party is reluctant to find out the real reasons behind corruption … and blaming US infiltration is … convenient, ” he said.

Dr Richard Bitzinger, a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, said the video showed that many top PLA leaders harboured long-standing fears about Western countries’ ideological infiltration of the army.

“It is no secret that many in the PLA have been worried for a long time that the so-called softening of young politicians and opinion leaders, partially as a result of their exchanges with the United States, could break China’s resolve to defend key strategic interests,” he said.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as US accused of using exchanges to disrupt China.

Russian Brigades Brace For The Chinese Threat

October 24, 2013: Russia recently announced that it would accelerate its plan to create 40 more combat brigades by the end of the decade. This conversion was first announced in 2009, and since then 70 brigades have been created. Not all are fully manned or equipped. Only 35 are maneuver (tank or infantry) brigades and only about half of them are at full strength. The other 35 brigades are artillery, engineer, and the like. Converting the force from one based on divisions to one based on brigades was an admission that this two decade old Western practice was the correct solution to the many changes in military equipment during the last few decades. It is uncertain if the army would be able to scrounge up the needed manpower for another 40 brigades but, for the moment, that’s the plan. The basic element of brigade-centric organization is to distribute many of the division and higher level support functions (supply, maintenance, artillery, engineer, communications) to the regiments (which are now brigades) and make the larger units more capable of operating independently and not simply as a subdivision of a division. The brigades are larger in terms of personnel and equipment than the older regiments. New training is required as well.

The brigade decision also included the elimination of many other Soviet era practices. For example, nearly all brigades will be at full strength in peacetime, eliminating the need to wait for reservists to arrive to fill out the unit before it can move out. Another change is moving weapons and ammunition to the brigade’s base, instead of distant locations (a measure partly to prevent mutinous troops from arming themselves). The reforms make it possible for a brigade to be available for combat, or movement to a combat area, within a few hours, not a day or more. Improved training, better leaders, and new equipment are being used to bring Russian peacetime forces up to the same quality level of those in the West, particularly the United States or Britain. The Russians were impressed with the performance of these Western brigades in Iraq and Afghanistan and want to emulate it.

Changes like this are also driven by the fact that the Russian armed forces lost 80 percent of its strength in the 1990s, and for equipment many troops are still getting by with barely operational Cold War leftovers. The shock of this has caused a lot of indecision in the Russian military leadership and the internal debates over what to do. For example, a change in leadership in the military and Defense Ministry in late 2013 brought forth proposals for returning to the use of divisions rather than brigades and rebuilding a large reserve force that Russia had favored for over a century. The reason for this was the possibility of a large war in the east. The only major foe out there is China but China was not mentioned. Nevertheless, China is the major potential threat to Russia. The Chinese Army is three times larger and has 15 tank and mechanized infantry divisions it could place on the Russian border. China is also reorganizing its ground forces into one based on brigades rather than divisions. Still, China has 3 times as many brigades right now. Officially, Russia has ceased to consider Chinese ground forces a threat, as Russian nuclear weapons are supposed to be what would stop a Chinese ground assault. Traditionalists in the Defense Ministry are pointing out that nuclear war would destroy both nations and that the current situation allows China to quickly grab the Russian Far East (which China has long claimed) and then call for a peace conference. This is the sort of tactic China has used in the past and the Chinese are big fans of their imperial past. The pro-brigade leaders won this debate and it is apparently agreed that a brigade-centric army would be more successful in fighting the Chinese threat.


PLA military drill broadcast ‘intentionally’ shows map of Taiwan, say Taiwanese media

A state media broadcast of joint military exercises in Guangzhou attracted attention when a map of the island was subtly visible amongst the footage

    Tuesday, 15 October, 2013, 6:28pm

Jeremy Blum

  • militarydrill.jpg
Soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army oversee military exercises while a map of Taiwan prominently hangs in the background. Photo: SCMP Pictures

A military exercise broadcast by Chinese state media has set off alarms amongst Taiwanese media outlets, particularly because one shot clearly shows mainland generals with a map of Taiwan hanging in the background.

The broadcast, parts of which are viewable below, aired on September 12 by China Central Television (CCTV). It focuses on the People’s Liberation Army “Mission 2013B”, a series of joint military exercises initiated on the 11th and attended by more than 20,000 PLA soldiers stationed in the Guangzhou Military Region, one of China’s seven military administrative areas.

Showcasing footage of squadron exercises, missile launches and various helicopter and tank drills, the broadcast is also noteworthy for one shot depicting PLA generals and personnel in a military conference room where various maps are displayed along the wall. One of these is a map of Taiwan that zeroes in on the Penghu islands, a 64-island archipelago located off the coast of western Taiwan and formerly under the jurisdiction of the island’s local government.

The United Daily News, one of the largest newspapers in Taiwan, argued in an editorial on the 14th that the framing of this shot was no coincidence, and its placement on military CCTV news was “intentionally leaked” and held “subtle intentions that were worth paying attention to.”

Citing Taiwanese media analysts, the United Daily News also reported that one of the squadrons engaged in the Mission 2013B exercises was the 42nd Army of the PLA, a unit that had previously participated in the Korean war and the Sino-Vietnamese war. Various media outlets, and articles written on Chinese online encyclopedia Baidu, have speculated that the 42nd Army might play a prominent role in the event of any PLA military action against Taiwan.

Not all Taiwanese news agencies were alarmed at the CCTV broadcast. Taiwan’s Central News Agency argued that since the squadrons participating in the Mission 2013B exercises were all stationed in southern China’s Guangzhou Military Region, “it was not surprising” that a map of Taiwan would be prominently displayed in military headquarters – especially since Taiwan’s Penghu islands have also been the site of military drills that have simulated a hostile PLA takeover.

Located about 150 kilometres from the mainland, Penghu was host to a series of live-fire drills in April 2013. Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou presided over the drills, arguing that they were needed to test the defence capabilities of the Taiwanese military in the case of a potential mainland attack.

Taiwan military says China able to invade by 2020

Tuesday, 08 October, 2013, 3:44pm

Agence France-Presse in Taipei



The Taiwanese military has said that China will be able to take Taiwan by force before the end of 2020. Photo: Reuters

China’s arms buildup over the last two decades would give it the power to invade Taiwan by 2020 even if allies came to the island’s aid, a military report said on Tuesday.

The mainland’s annual military spending has grown on average by double-digit rates over the past 20 years or so, according to Taiwan’s National Defence Report this year.

Aside from military might, it said, China’s capacity for weapons research and manufacturing had greatly increased, “which has boosted its military deterrent and posed a grave threat to Taiwan”.

Among the new weapons China had acquired, both locally produced and purchased from Russia, were nuclear-powered and conventional submarines, strategic bombers, stealth fighters, early warning aircraft and ballistic and air defence missiles, it said.

“With the continued arms buildup, the Chinese communists will be able to take Taiwan by force before the end of 2020,” it said.

The report also cited China’s growing military capability to deter foreign intervention, in contrast to the US Pacific pivot policy which it said had been “stifled” due to budget constraints.

The United States is Taiwan’s main ally. In 1996 it sent two aircraft carrier battle groups to waters near the island after China lobbed missiles into the sea to try to deter Taiwanese from voting for President Lee Teng-hui.

The report said China’s military, known as the People’s Liberation Army, has a total strength of 2.27 million of which the army accounts for 1.25 million. About one-third of its army is deployed directly opposite Taiwan.

Military analysts say China has targeted the island with at least 1,600 ballistic missiles.

Despite the potential military threat, Taiwan is cutting its own defence spending, with the number of troops due to be reduced to 215,000 next year from the present 240,000.

Ties between Taipei and Beijing have eased markedly since Ma Ying-jeou of the China-friendly Kuomintang was elected in March 2008 on a platform of ramping up trade and tourism links. He was re-elected in January last year for a second and last four-year term.

But Beijing still refuses to renounce its use of force should the island declare independence, even though Taiwan has ruled itself for more than 60 years.


Video Games Ruin Chinese Military Leadership

August 21, 2013: The Chinese armed forces is running into problems raising the standards of its officers and specialists. Over the last few years the Chinese have made more of an effort to attract college graduates to the military. Much to the dismay of recruiters, most (at least 60 percent) applicants failed the physical. The most common problems were being overweight or having bad eyesight. Pundits blame this on the popularity of video games and the one-child policy.

In response to this, the military lowered recruiting standards in 2008 and 2011, but most applicants continued to be unacceptable for military service. Analysis of data collected from the unqualified applicants indicates that the main causes for the various problems were higher living standards and the greater amount of time spent studying (instead of play, exercise, or physical activity in general).

This is a new development because suddenly (in the last two decades) China has its first middle class. But with the large number of young men who have attended college comes a generation that suddenly switched to a higher-calorie Western diet and a low-physical activity Western lifestyle. This change is most striking when you look at photos of Chinese soldiers from the last century. You rarely see anyone who is overweight, and the men of heft are usually older and very senior. But now you see junior officers who are actually fat. It’s a striking change and, in historical terms, quite sudden.

Japan had a similar problem after their economy took off in the 1960s. By the 1980s there were family photos showing the younger adults towering over their parents and grandparents (often by 30cm/a foot or more). This was not a big deal militarily because the Japanese military was much smaller and it was easier to maintain high physical standards. But the Chinese want, and need, a lot more officers.

It’s not just more overweight officers with poor eyesight. The Chinese armed forces have changed a lot in the last decade. Uneducated country boys are no longer welcome. Then again, neither are tattooed and pierced urban hipsters or anyone who snores. Recruiting standards have changed a lot. In the 1990s, the military was, as the Chinese like to say, a “peasant’s army.” Worse, none of the officers or NCOs had any combat experience. The last of the Korean War vets were gone and the few veterans of the 1979 war with Vietnam were still trying to forget that disaster. The army was largely non-mechanized, with many primitive weapons and aging equipment. That has all changed in the last decade.

Now most of the troops are better educated, more experienced, and largely from urban areas. Most of these troops are single children, the result of the “one child” policy. Officially introduced in 1978, this draconian solution to population growth did not really get going until the 1980s. In the last decade nearly all the new recruits came from single child families. Often called “little princes,” their parents (and grandparents) lavished them with all the attention usually spread among many more kids. Often described as spoiled, these kids did get more adult attention, better education, and more of everything. They enter the military with lots of skills (computer, driving, and the ability to learn new stuff in a hurry). The best of these kids went to the top universities but few of these hotshots choose the military as a career.

The army has found that this new generation is much more capable and quick to learn. Senior commanders welcome this because it’s the kind of manpower Western forces use to achieve very impressive results on the battlefield. Chinese NCOs and officers have learned how to work around the bad habits (selfishness, insubordination, stubbornness) of some little princes and make the most of the talents these troops bring with them. The most incorrigible little princes are just tossed out.

Partly in response to this dramatic change, China revised its Military Service Law (which stipulates how troops are recruited, their living conditions, and benefits in general) in 2011, for the first time since the 1990s. In an attempt to get more highly educated young Chinese to join, living conditions are being improved and pay has been increased. Moreover, in recognition of the fact that many of the brightest troops will not make a career out of the military, the new law gives departing troops help in getting a good civilian job. One of the more attractive benefits is help with college tuition for soldiers who successfully complete their service. The Chinese probably noted how successful the U.S. G.I. Bill educational benefits were in attracting prime recruits, if only for a while. But that enables men and women with an aptitude for military service to discover that they like and can make a career of it.

There’s more and more discussion in the state-controlled Chinese media about the need for college educated men to join the armed forces. The military has made themselves more attractive to college grads and has been able to attract more of them. But the military has not been able to attract many from the top universities. These are the men needed to lead the troops in 20-30 years, when Chinese forces will be much more powerful. The Chinese military is getting a lot more high-tech gear in the next three decades, and it knows that it will require high quality leaders to get the most out of it. At the moment it looks like the high-end gear will arrive on schedule but not the high end leadership. There are too many more attractive opportunities in the civilian economy and the conscription process is corrupt enough that anyone who doesn’t want to be in the military can avoid it. This is troubling because the government, and to a lesser extent the military leadership, want to do something about the corruption in the military. This problem can best be addressed with better quality leadership. The current leadership knows that many of its senior officers are dirty. All these guys came up in the wake of the calamitous 1960s “Cultural Revolution.” This disaster discredited the communists and led to the economic reforms (a market economy) of the 1980s. The Communist Party is still in charge but wants to deal with the corruption (which is fomenting rebellious attitudes among the people) and increase the quality of leadership in the military. This is proving to be difficult.

The military is smaller now. A decade ago there were 2.4 million, 40 percent of them conscripts. Now there are 2.1 million with a third of them conscripts. Most Chinese troops are volunteers. Technically, about 700,000 men are conscripts that serve for two years, with each year’s class of conscripts inducted in the autumn. Only about 350,000 conscripts are inducted each year, and nearly all of these tend to be volunteers. That’s because only about four percent of each year’s crop of 18 year old males is needed. How do they decide who to take? Naturally the army tries to get the most physically, psychologically, and educationally fit for the armed forces. To that end the military has been administering tests to draftees for about a decade now. If you’re not literate (over 90 percent of Chinese are) they don’t want you. But the better educated 18 year olds don’t want to go into the military, not with that booming economy out there. If selected most of these lads bribe their way out, or simply rely on there being enough qualified volunteers to satisfy the recruiting officials.

A lot of young men who don’t have much education very much want to get into the military. For one thing, it’s a job, and there are opportunities for education and advancement. The military tries to identify the more capable among these poor, uneducated young men, so they can be taken into service. Men who have been accepted by a university are automatically exempt, as are those with a criminal record. Drug addicts, the physically or mentally infirm, and anyone who just doesn’t seem right to the examiners, is exempt from conscription. And for many of those who are perfect, there are numerous officials willing to take a bribe and get you off the list.

The work of deciding who actually gets drafted is done by thousands of draft boards or, as the Chinese call them, People’s Armed Forces Departments (PAFD). Each is assigned a quota, based on how many 18 year olds are coming of age in a town or city neighborhood. Since these locations vary greatly in the wealth and educational levels of the inhabitants, some PAFDs have an easy time of it, while others have to struggle to meet their quota. In some wealthy PAFDs hardly anyone wants to go and some interesting soap operas ensue. In less wealthy PAFDs bribes will be paid to get some kids in. Not large bribes but you get the picture. In the late 1990s, the operation of the PAFDs was turned over to the military, in an attempt to reduce the corruption and ensure that the best quality recruits were obtained. This was partially successful.

Chinese Hackers Caught by US water control system Honeypots

Chinese Hackers Caught by Honeypot US water control system
A notorious Chinese hacker collective known as APT1 or Comment Crew, possibly linked to the Chinese Army, have been caught red handed breaking into a fake United States water control system i.e. known as a Honeypot.
Kyle Wilhoit, a researcher with security company Trend Micro has just revealed the details at BlackHat Conference on Wednesday.
Hackers hacked a water control system for a US municipality back in December last year, but it was merely a decoy set up by Kyle Wilhoit using a Word document hiding malicious software to gain full access.
The honeypots directly mimicked the ICS/Scada devices used in many critical infrastructure power and water plants. Cloud software was used to create realistic Web-based login and configuration screens for local water plants seemingly based in Ireland, Russia, Singapore, China, Japan, Australia, Brazil, and the U.S.
Researchers have been tracked back to the APT1 Group, which security company Mandiant has claimed operates as part of China’s army. Wilhoit used a tool called the Browser Exploitation Framework, or BeEF, to gain access to his attackers’ systems and get precise data on their location. He was able to access data from their Wi-Fi cards to triangulate their location.
Between March and June this year Wilhoit’s 12 honeypots attracted 74 attacks and roughly half of the critical attacks on his honeypots come from China, with Germany, UK, France, Palestine and Japan. “I actually watched the attacker interface with the machine. It was 100 percent clear they knew what they were doing.” Wilhoit said.
The incident has led Wilhoit to believe that other utilities around the world may have already been infiltrated by hackers, and that engineers working at these facilities may not realize that their systems have been compromised. The attacks reportedly occurred before the US opened talks with China over cyber security.


Mohit Kumar aka ‘Unix Root’ is Founder and Editor-in-chief of ‘The Hacker News’. He is a Security Researcher and Analyst, with experience in various aspects of Information Security. Other than this : He is an Internet Activist, Strong supporter of Anonymous & Wikileaks. Follow him @ Twitter | LinkedIn | | Email | Facebook Profile


DoD Calls Out China On Cyber Spying

Jun. 19, 2013 – 09:50AM   |
By Staff report   |

Filed Under

C4ISR Journal

The Pentagon for the first time is making direct allegations that China’s government and military are behind widespread cyber spying. Previously, the U.S. had tried to be diplomatic. But in the Defense Department’s annual report to Congress on “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2013,” the language could not be clearer. It is well worth a read for anyone who follows the darker corners of cyber.“Cyber Activities Directed Against the Department of Defense. In 2012, numerous computer systems around the world, including those owned by the U.S. government, continued to be targeted for intrusions, some of which appear to be attributable directly to the Chinese government and military. These intrusions were focused on exfiltrating information. China is using its computer network exploitation (CNE) capability to support intelligence collection against the U.S. diplomatic, economic, and defense industrial base sectors that support U.S. national defense programs. The information targeted could potentially be used to benefit China’s defense industry, high technology industries, policymaker interest in U.S. leadership thinking on key China issues, and military planners building a picture of U.S. network defense networks, logistics, and related military capabilities that could be exploited during a crisis. Although this alone is a serious concern, the accesses and skills required for these intrusions are similar to those necessary to conduct computer network attacks. …

“Cyberwarfare in China’s Military. Cyberwarfare capabilities could serve Chinese military operations in three key areas.

First and foremost, they allow data collection for intelligence and computer network attack purposes. Second, they can be employed to constrain an adversary’s actions or slow response time by targeting network-based logistics, communications, and commercial activities. Third, they can serve as a force multiplier when coupled with kinetic attacks during times of crisis or conflict.

“Developing cyber capabilities for warfare is consistent with authoritative PLA military writings. Two military doctrinal writings, Science of Strategy, and Science of Campaigns identify information warfare (IW) as integral to achieving information superiority and an effective means for countering a stronger foe. Although neither document identifies the specific criteria for employing computer network ­attack against an adversary, both advocate developing capa­bilities to compete in this medium. …

“In parallel with its military preparations, China has increased diplomatic engagement and advocacy in multilateral and international forums where ­cyber issues are discussed and debated. Beijing’s agenda is frequently in line with Russia’s efforts to promote more international control over cyber activities. China and Russia continue to promote an Information Security Code of Conduct that would have governments exercise sovereign authority over the flow of information and control of content in cyberspace. Both governments also continue to play a disruptive role in multi­lateral efforts to establish transparency and confidence-building measures in international fora such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), ASEAN Regional Forum, and the UN Group of Governmental Experts.”|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|p

Chinese general says Ryukyu islands do not belong to Japan

Politics May. 17, 2013 – 06:45AM JST ( 72 )


A senior Chinese military officer has said the Ryukyu Islands—which include Okinawa and its U.S. military bases—“do not belong to Japan”, as a territorial row mounts between the Asian powers.

The comments by People’s Liberation Army Major General Luo Yuan were published by the China News Service website Wednesday, after the country’s leading newspaper last week carried a call to review Tokyo’s sovereignty over the chain.

Luo emphasised that the islands were historically in a vassal relationship with imperial Chinese dynasties.

Those ties did not necessarily mean they were part of China, he said, adding: “But we can be certain of one point. The Ryukyus don’t belong to Japan.”

“If the Ryukyus don’t belong to you,” he said, referring to Tokyo, “how can you talk about the Diaoyus?”

China and Japan have been in a long-running dispute over islands in the East China Sea that Tokyo administers as the Senkakus, but Beijing claims as the Diaoyus.

The row intensified last year after Japan purchased islands in the chain it did not already own, sparking outrage in China, with anti-Japanese demonstrations taking place in Chinese cities.

Chinese vessels regularly enter waters around the islands and Japan has scrambled jets to ward off Chinese flights in the area, stoking fears of armed conflict.

Analysts have said questions in China about the Ryukyus’ status are probably aimed at pressuring Japan to make concessions in the dispute over the islands, which are administratively part of Okinawa Prefecture.

Luo seemed to back up such a view, saying that by raising the issue of the Ryukyus, China struck a blow at Japan’s “soft spot.”

Last week, the People’s Daily, China’s most-circulated newspaper and the mouthpiece of the ruling Communist party, carried an article by scholars arguing that the country may have rights to the Ryukyus.

Japan says the islands are its territory and are accepted as such internationally.

Before being annexed into Japan in the late 19th century, the independent Ryukyu kingdom, centered on Okinawa, paid tribute to China for centuries—as did numerous other traditional Asian states—often receiving favourable trading rights in return.

Okinawa is home to 1.3 million people. The U.S. military occupied Okinawa and some other islands in the Ryukyu chain for 27 years after the end of World War II, returning them to Japan on May 15, 1972.

© 2013 AFP


‘Chinese’ attack sucks secrets from US defence contractor


Comment Crew blamed for three-year attack on QinetiQ

By Phil Muncaster

Posted in Security, 2nd May 2013 04:54 GMT

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Just when it looked like US-China relations couldn’t get any more frosty, news has emerged that defence contractor QinetiQ suffered a massive breach of classified data over three years which may have leaked advanced military secrets to the infamous PLA-linked hacking gang Comment Crew.

Bloomberg [1] spoke to Verizon’s Terremark security division, HB Gary and Mandiant – all security firms which were hired by QinetiQ to deal with the problem – and sifted through reports and emails made public by the 2011 Anonymous hack of HBGary [2], in order to get a clear picture of the scale of the breach.

The report reveals poor security practice and misjudgement allowed the hackers to siphon off terabytes of data, potentially compromising national security.

“We found traces of the intruders in many of their divisions and across most of their product lines,” former Terremark SVP Christopher Day told the newswire. “There was virtually no place we looked where we didn’t find them.”

QinetiQ is thought to have been among around 30 defence contractors targeted by hackers in a campaign dating back to 2007, with a group Comment Crew apparently pegged by investigators as the perpetrators – although there’s no explanation for how they arrived at this decision.

The group was famously outed by Mandiant [3] in a high profile report back in February as linked to People’s Liberation Army Unit 61398 and responsible for over 100 other attacks.

QinetiQ was apparently first notified of an intrusion back in 2007, when an agent from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service warned that two employees working at the firm’s US HQ in McLean, Virginia, had their laptops compromised.

The agent had stumbled upon the breach as part of a separate investigation but apparently left out many key details including the fact that other contractors were being hit. QinetiQ limited the following forensic trawl to a few days and mistakenly treated it and several succeeding incidents as unconnected.

Even when NASA warned the firm that it was being attacked by hackers from one of QinetiQ’s computers the firm apparently continued to treat incidents in isolation.

The attackers’ MO appears to have been classic APT-style attack. Once inside the network they appear to have moved laterally to nab internal passwords, allowing them access to highly classified data including source code from the Technology Solutions Group.

Huge amounts of data were apparently smuggled out of the company in small packets to evade detection by traditional filters.

It is claimed that QinetiQ didn’t operate a two-factor authentication system, which could have prevented the hackers logging on with the stolen passwords, and that when Mandiant suggested a simple fix to the problem it was ignored.

Investigators also found in 2008 that QinetiQ’s corporate network could be accessed using unsecured Wi-Fi from a car park outside a facility in Waltham, Massachusetts, the report claimed.

The hackers targeted advanced drone and robotics technology and compromised hundreds of machines in QinetiQ’s facilities all over the US, including St. Louis, Mississippi, Alabama and New Mexico, according to Bloomberg.

Last year China made a splash [4] at the Zuhai air show with a range of drone aircraft similar in design to their US equivalents but pitched at a lower price point.

As if the persistent hacking incursions weren’t enough, investigators brought in to help apparently made matters worse by arguing with each other.

Then software installed by HBGary to monitor for malicious activity wouldn’t function properly and was deleted by many employees because it apparently used too much processing power.

The investigators even found evidence that Russian hackers had been stealing QinetiQ secrets for over two years through a compromised PC belonging to a secretary.

The report comes just a day after news that the Pentagon has leased a Chinese commercial satellite [5] for communications in Africa. It also emerged this week that Comment Crew is very much still operating [6], despite being named and shamed in the Mandiant report earlier this year. ®

China builds second aircraft carrier

Navy has a single carrier, the Russian-built Liaoning, and says another larger vessel is under construction

  •  Reuters in Shanghai
  •,              Wednesday 24 April 2013 00.23 EDT
China's first aircraft carrier, the Soviet-era Liaoning, entered service last year

China’s first aircraft carrier, the Soviet-era Liaoning. Photograph: Str/AFP/Getty Images

China will build a second, larger aircraft carrier capable of carrying more fighter jets, the official Xinhua news service has reported, quoting a senior officer with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy.

The report comes after Chinese officials denied foreign media reports in September 2012 that China was building a second carrier in Shanghai.

“China will have more than one aircraft carrier … The next aircraft carrier we need will be larger and carry more fighters,” Xinhua quoted Song Xue, deputy chief of staff of the PLA Navy, as saying at a ceremony with foreign military attaches.

Song said foreign media reports saying the carrier was being built in Shanghai were inaccurate but did not elaborate, according to the report.

China currently has one aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, which it bought from the Russians and refitted. Considered by military experts to be decades behind US carrier technology, it was officially said to have been bought to serve as a floating casino but was turned to military use.
China is also building up other forms of military hardware, including a stealth fighter jet believed to be capable of landing on a carrier, drone aircraft and nuclear submarines.

China is alone among the original nuclear weapons states to be expanding its nuclear forces, according to a report by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

Song said the PLA Navy was building a naval aviation force for the Liaoning and there would be at least two aviation regiments on one carrier, including fighters, reconnaissance aircraft, anti-submarine aircraft, electronic countermeasure (ECM) planes and rotary-wing aircraft, the report said.
Chinese officials have said the Liaoning will be used primarily for training purposes.

Military buildup in China near North Korean border continues as tanks, armored vehicles spotted / Troop buildup may be a signal to Pyongyang that China will abide by its defense commitment to North Korea

Risky Business

Chinese Internet photo of a truck carrying a tank en route to an area near North Korea

Chinese Internet photo of a truck carrying a tank en route to an area near North Korea

BY:   April 3, 2013 4:59 am

China continued moving tanks and armored vehicles and flying flights near North Korea this week as part of a military buildup in the northeastern part of the country that U.S. officials say is related to the crisis with North Korea.

The Obama administration, meanwhile, sought to play down the Chinese military buildup along the border with Beijing’s fraternal communist ally despite the growing danger of conflict following unprecedented threats by Pyongyang to attack the United States and South Korea with nuclear weapons.

According to U.S. officials with access to intelligence reports, both intelligence and Internet reports from the region over the past week revealed the modest military movements in the border region that began in mid-March and are continuing.

The buildup appears linked to North Korea’s March 30 announcement that it is in a “state of war” with South Korea after the United Nations imposed a new round of sanctions following the North’s Feb. 12 nuclear test and because of ongoing large-scale joint U.S.-South Korea military exercises.

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troop and tank movements were reported in Daqing, located in northeastern Heilongjiang Province, and in the border city of Shenyang, in Liaoning Province.

Officials said one key military unit involved in the mobilization is the 190th Mechanized Infantry Brigade based in Benxi, Liaoning Province. The brigade is believed to be the PLA’s frontline combat unit that would respond to any regional conflict or refugee flows. Troops and tank movements also were reported in Dandong, in Liaoning Province.

Fighter jets were reported flying in larger numbers in Fucheng, Hebei Province, and in Zhangwu, in Liaoning Province, and Changchun, in Jilin Province.

One of China’s Russian-made Su-27 jets crashed on Sunday in Rongcheng, a city directly across the Yellow Sea from the Korean peninsula. The accident may have been part of the increased warplane activity related to the military mobilization, officials said.

The PLA movements were first reported Monday by the Free Beacon.

The buildup likely serves two goals, the officials said. One is to bolster border security in case a conflict sends large numbers of refugees from the impoverished state into China.

Additionally, the troop buildup is a signal to Pyongyang that China will abide by its defense commitment to North Korea in the event of renewed conflict.

China’s military maintains a mutual defense treaty with North Korea. The last time Chinese troops defended North Korea was during the Korean War.

U.S. officials also said there were signs of increased movement inside North Korea, specifically movement of road-mobile missile systems. One official said activity was seen at the long-range missile launch complex at Tongchang-ri on the west coast.

Pentagon press secretary George Little was asked about possible North Korean missile launches and said test flights were possible.

“We can’t rule out the possibility, obviously, that they may conduct some kind of tests or engage in some kind of provocative behavior that would cause problems,” he said. “We hope that doesn’t happen, but if history’s any guide, it could. So we really need to be ready to respond, and that’s our goal.”

Asked about the Chinese military buildup near the border, Little did not deny reports of the mobilization but referred reporters to the Chinese military for comment.

“I have seen those reports,” Little said of news reports of the Chinese border buildup. “But I would refer you to the Chinese military or the Chinese government for comment.”

Little said he was unaware of any communication between the Pentagon and the Chinese military regarding the Korean situation.

Two U.S. missile defense warships, the destroyers USS Decatur and the USS McCain, were deployed in the western Pacific to deal with any North Korean missile threats, he said. A large sea-based x-band missile defense radar also could be moved closer to Korea, he said.

“Missile defense is an important priority for us in the Asia-Pacific and elsewhere, and we are postured to protect our allies and our own interests in this region and other regions of the world,” Little told reporters at the Pentagon.

Chinese military and civilian spokesmen in Beijing made no mention of the northeast troop buildup in remarks to reporters at two briefings on Tuesday. The officials called for calm.

Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun described the current situation on the Korean peninsula as “extremely complicated and sensitive.” He said all sides should seek to ease tension and maintain regional peace and stability.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters Tuesday that “we regret” Pyongyang’s announcement that it will restart a five-megawatt nuclear reactor.

Asked if recent Chinese military exercises could increase tensions, Hong said, “We believe that war on the Korean Peninsula would not serve the interest of any party. The parties concerned have a common interest in and a joint responsibility for maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia at large. We hope that the parties concerned will act in the overall interest, remain calm, show restraint, resume dialogue and negotiations, improve relations, promote the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and maintain enduring peace and stability in Northeast Asia.”

However, a senior Chinese military official said Tuesday that the PLA should strengthen combat readiness to ensure victory in wars.

Gen. Fan Changlong, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), made the comments during a visit to PLA troops in eastern China’s Jiangsu, Fujian, and Zhejiang provinces, the state-run news outlet reported.

“Military officers and soldiers must be absolutely loyal, pure and reliable and firmly follow the directions of the Central Committee of the CPC, Central Military Commission and chairman Xi [Jinping],” Fan said.

Additionally, North Korea’s government announced it would step up nuclear weapons development by adopting what Pyongyang called a “new strategic line” that seeks to bolster both economic and nuclear development together.

The government issued a decree that sought to place the position of nuclear weapons for self-defense as a higher national priority.

One step is to restart the Yongbyon reactor that had been reportedly destroyed by North Korea in 2007 under international pressure.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters on Monday that the U.S. government does not recognize North Korea as a nuclear weapons state.

Gen. James Thurman, commander of U.S. forces in South Korea, told ABC News that the situation on the divided peninsula was as “volatile” and “dangerous” as he has seen in two years as commander.

South Korea’s Defense Ministry announced on Monday that it has adopted new contingency plans called “active deterrence” that would permit the military to carry out preemptive attacks against the North in the face of an imminent nuclear or missile strike.

One sign that relations had not reached a tipping point toward conflict despite the growing tensions on the peninsula is the fact that the North-South special economic zone at Kaesong remains open with South Korean workers traveling to the zone without disruption.

South Korea’s Daily NK newspaper, known for contacts inside North Korea, reported on Tuesday that a source in the country said orders for the entire country to go to a war footing were issued March 26, but only two days of lectures, rallies, and meetings for soldiers and civilians were held.

The North Korean government since then appears to have backed off the war preparations.

“They had the PSM (People’s Safety Ministry; the North Korean police force), people’s unit heads, and NSA (National Security Agency) all out there in meetings telling people they needed to stay vigilant, but people responded indifferently,” the source told the newspaper. “It was because the measures had been going on for months; nobody had any further interest in them.”


China mobilizes military on N. Korea threats

Published time: April 02, 2013 04:16  Edited time: April 02, 2013 06:30                                                                            

AFP Photo / China Photo

AFP Photo / China Photo

China has started mobilizing military forces around the Korean peninsula in response to rising tensions that follow recent threats by North Korea to launch missile attacks against its southern neighbor and the United States.

According to US officials, Pyongyang’s declaration of a ‘state of war’ against South Korea has led to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to increase its military presence on the border with the North. The officials say the process has been going on since mid-March, and includes troop movements and readying fighter jets. The PLA is now at ‘Level One’ readiness, its highest.
Chinese forces, including tanks and armored personnel carriers, have been spotted in the city of Ji’an and near the Yalu River, which splits China and North Korea. Other border regions were also reportedly being patrolled by planes.
China has also been conducting live-firing naval exercises in the Yellow Sea, scheduled to end on Monday. The move is widely viewed as open support for North Korea, which continues to show extreme opposition to the US-South Korean military drills that are to last until May.
The news comes as the US deployed its USS Fitzgerald destroyer off the coast of North Korea, adding to its Sunday deployment of F-22 fighter jets to take part in the drills with the friendly South, which has further served to heighten tensions on the peninsula.
Meanwhile, North Korea has been mobilizing its short and medium-range missile arsenal, according to analyses of satellite imagery. Officials say Pyongyang is set to test its new KN-08 medium-range mobile missile; they say preparations have been spotted in the past. Pyongyang claims that since March 26, its forces have been placed on their highest possible status of alert.
Although officials believe Pyongyang will not provoke Seoul during the war games, they also fear that a miscalculation by South Korea could lead to all-out war, following its promise of retaliation against the North, should it launch its missiles first.

South Korean anti-aircraft armoured vehicles move over a temporary bridge during a river-crossing military drill in Hwacheon near the border with North Korea on April 1, 2013 (AFP Photo / KIim Jae-Hwan)

South Korean anti-aircraft armoured vehicles move over a temporary bridge during a river-crossing military drill in Hwacheon near the border with North Korea on April 1, 2013 (AFP Photo / KIim Jae-Hwan)

North Korea and China have maintained a long-standing defense treaty under which Beijing is to come to Pyongyang’s aid in the event of an attack. The last time this was put into practice was during the Korean War, when tens of thousands of Chinese volunteer forces were deployed on the Korean Peninsula. The relationship between the two countries is often referred to as being “as close as lips and teeth” by Chinese military spokesmen.

Despite the heated tensions leading to an apparent disruption in trade and commerce between China and North Korea, the two are already making future plans to bolster their economic ties. March 27 saw the announcement of a new high-speed railway, as well as a special highway passenger line.

Still, many in Chinese circles have shown displeasure at Pyongyang’s seemingly aggressive relationship with Seoul and Washington. A Chinese official, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, has testified that US presence in the region is a helpful restraint against an unpredictable Kim Jong-un, which many believe to be the real reason Beijing has not been strong in its criticism of the amassing of US forces in the region.

Furthermore, Chinese websites and blogs could sometimes be found openly bashing the North Korean leader for an apparent mishandling of the situation in the region, playing diplomatic games amid chronic food shortages in his country. An editor at the country’s Study Times newspaper was recently suspended for openly criticizing China for abandoning North Korea.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un attending the plenary meeting of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea in Pyongyang (AFP Photo / KCNA via KNS)

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un attending the plenary meeting of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea in Pyongyang (AFP Photo / KCNA via KNS)

Expert opinion differs on what China’s exact position is in the unfolding regional crisis.

US officials claim the China’s main fear is a collapse of order in North Korea, which would lead to a large-scale refugee flow into China.

Another possible reason for China to worry is advanced by journalist James Corbett, host of the Corbett Report, who believes that foreign military presence in the region is just as unnerving to China as it is to Pyongyang. He discussed this in the light of the latest war drills.

“I think that this has the possibility of ratcheting things up to the point where tensions might actually spill over as a result of this, and we saw that recently with the deployment of B-2 nuclear armed bombers in South Korea which is not only, I think, worrying to Pyongyang, but also to China, to have nuclear bombers that close to the peninsula there, on China’s southern border. I think that China wouldn’t be pleased with that either, so this is quite an escalation that’s taking place.”

Others believe openly that the US strategy is geared not towards the destabilization of North Korea, but that of China. Li Jie, an expert with a Chinese navy research institution, has told Reuters that “the ultimate strategic aim is to contain and blockade China, to distract China’s attention and slow its development. What the US is most worried about is the further development of China’s economy and military strength.”

Retired Major General Luo Yuan, who is one of China’s foremost military authorities, believes, however that “once the joint US-South Korean exercises have finished and with birthday celebrations for (late founder of North Korea) Kim Il-sung imminent, the temperature will gradually cool and get back to the status quo of no war, no unification.”

While it has been urging calm and peace in the region, Beijing has been very obliging at the UN Security Council, when it helped push through the latest round of sanctions against North Korea in March, following its third nuclear test the previous month. Despite being Pyongyang’s greatest ally in the region, some experts believe this is a sign of Beijing’s growing impatience. American diplomat Christopher R. Hill, who helped under the Bush administration to negotiate a deal for the dismantling of North Korea’s nuclear facilities (which didn’t last), says that the Chinese strategy is“not about the words, it is about the music.”

The resolution came hours after North Korea, angered at both the US-South Korean war games, and at the proposed UN plan, threatened pre-emptive nuclear action against the South and US military bases in the region.

This latest standoff between North and South Korea and the US is credited to have started on February 12, when Pyongyang supposedly performed its latest underground nuclear weapons test. Just this weekend, North Korea vowed to boost its nuclear arsenal, calling it a “treasure of a reunified country” which it would never trade for anything, even “billions of dollars” worth of aid.

Chinese general who threatened US with nuclear strike is Pentagon’s guest of honor

 Published time: March 06, 2013 01:39                                                                            
AFP Photo

AFP Photo

A Chinese general who once threatened to nuke the US is visiting Washington this week as part of a military exchange program with the Pentagon.

The Pentagon’s collaboration with Major Gen. Zhu Chenghu, head of China’s National Defense University, is surprising considering the threats the general made against the US in 2005.

“If the Americans draw their missiles and position-guided ammunition on the target zone on China’s territory, I think we will have to respond with nuclear weapons,” Zhu told a Financial Times reporter in 2005, describing his country’s predicted reaction if the US were to conflict with China over Taiwan.

A State Department official called the comment “highly irresponsible”. The comment closely reiterated similar statements Zhu had made in the past, describing his intentions to nuke the US if the US were to defend Taiwan in a conflict.

We Chinese will prepare ourselves for the destruction of all of the cities east of Xian,” he said in 1995. “Of course, the Americans will have to be prepared that hundreds of cities will be destroyed by the Chinese.”

But despite the Chinese general’s repeated threats to destroy the US, he has been invited by the Pentagon to visit the US this week as part of a military exchange program. Zhu and his delegation of 10 senior colonels from the Chinese military will visit Hawaii and Washington, DC. Later this year, US officials will visit China for a reciprocal exchange, according to the Free Beacon.

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told the Free Beacon that Zhu’s visit will allow the Pentagon to learn more about China’s nuclear weapons intentions, which the US has long struggled to understand.

“We do know, as the congressionally mandated US-China Economic and Security Review Commission reported last year, that ‘China has assumed a more muscular nuclear posture, which ongoing improvements will continue to enhance,’” he said.  “Before the president reaches out to Russia for yet another round of US nuclear reductions, we should know more about how such reductions will affect the nuclear balance with China.”

Zhu’s comments about China’s willingness to nuke the US may hold more truth than some would be inclined to believe: China specialists told the Beacon that no Chinese general would make such inflammatory statements unless they reflected official military policy, since inaccurate statements could get someone fired or reprimanded. Shortly after making the 2005 statement, Zhu was promoted.

“[This] should be a clear signal to American policymakers that Chinese state policy is to use nuclear weapons as an instrument of intimidation,” said State Department official John Tkacik, who specializes in China affairs.


APT1, that scary cyber-Cold War gang: Not even China’s best


More B-team than elite team, say security experts

By John Leyden

Posted in Security, 27th February 2013 13:47 GMT

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Shanghai hackers APT1 – outed this month in a high-profile report that linked them to the Chinese military – may not be China’s top cyber-espionage team despite its moniker. Security experts say the team is more prolific than leet.

The gang, believed to carrying out orders from state officials, was accused of siphoning hundreds of terabytes of sensitive data from computers at scores of US corporations. China’s government has denied any involvement.

Jaime Blasco, labs director at security tools firm AlienVault, described APT1, aka Comment Crew, as one of the more successful hacking group based on the number of targets attacked – but not necessarily on the skill level of its members.

“APT1 is one of the less sophisticated groups,” Blasco said. “They commonly reuse the same infrastructure for years and their tools are more or less easy to detect. The techniques they use to gain access to the victims are more based on social engineering and most of the times they don’t use zero-days exploits to gain access.”

Several teams are said to be much more sophisticated, not least because they make extensive use of zero-day security vulnerabilities in Adobe PDF, Flash, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Office and Java to compromise systems: they often roam across domain names, IP addresses and network infrastructures, making them harder to pin down using previous intelligence.

“Their malware and tools has been built to avoid detection and to hide their presence and remain in the networks for years giving access to the compromised companies at any moment,” Blasco said.

Confusingly, there isn’t general agreement among security researchers on how to designate or name APT (advanced persistent threat) groups. Crews tend to be named after their computer espionage campaigns: “As an example you have groups like, Nitro, Aurora, ElderWood, Sykipot, Comment Crew (APT1), NightDragon, FlowerLday, Luckycat, Pitty Panda,” according to Blasco.

Google and other high-tech firms were hit by malware in an attack dubbed Operation Aurora in 2009. Google went public with details of the assault in early 2010, blaming the Elderwood Crew or Beijing Group, another group of hackers allegedly affiliated with the Chinese state’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA). The group has also been linked to attacks against Tibetan activists. Sykipot is associated with the high-profile attacks against RSA Security and linked to the NightDragon attacks.

Joe Stewart, director of malware research at Dell SecureWorks CTU, broadly agreed with Blasco’s assessment, but said that the skill level of Comment Crew’s peeps varied.

“The Comment Crew are, in general, not terribly sophisticated,” Stewart told El Reg. “But there are some people in there who are quite skilled not just in the malware they create but in their ability to hide their tracks. You are always going to get some junior members in any hacking or security group who are less skilled.”

‘Russian crims are milking this attention on China’

Industry experts such as Mandiant – which produced the high-profile dossier on APT1 this month [1] – and Cyber Squared and others reckoned there are anywhere between a handful and 20 groups in China alone as well as a dozen more state-sponsored hacking crews in other countries.

Stewart explained that Dell SecureWork’s research suggested that the Shanghai group was one of two main APT hacking crews based in China; the other main unit is apparently clustered around an ISP in Beijing. The so-called Beijing Group is also affiliated to China’s PLA. In addition, there are four or five anomalous groups, according to Stewart.

“The number of APTs groups is hard to define,” he said. “When you look closely there are more or more links between different sub-sets that make us think that several are part of the same group.”

Policy documents from the Obama administration, published last week, blamed Russia in addition to China for some cyber-espionage. Other spying activities – such as the Red October attack against former Soviet countries and, in particular, the Flame attack against Iran and other countries in the Middle East – don’t fit the PLA-affiliated Chinese hackers narrative. US media reports claim Flame came from the same joint US-Israel operation codenamed Olympic Games that created Stuxnet.

“There is a small amount of APT activity coming out of different countries but none is on the same scale as China,” Stewart told El Reg.

A minority of security researchers reckon the focus on China as the primary source of APT attacks, which commonly feature a combination of spear-phishing and custom malware, is dangerous.

“Now that everyone’s obsessed with China, the Russian underground can continue ‘milking’ its favourite cash cow, the US,” said [2] cybercrime researcher Dancho Danchev. “Anything launched by eastern European cyber-criminals can be described as an APT these days. It’s just that go after the dollar, not the intellectual propery,” he added. ®

Security report becomes security risk


Mandiant’s report on Chinese hacking used as bait in spear phishing attacks

By Phil Muncaster

Posted in Security, 22nd February 2013 03:49 GMT

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A high profile security report released earlier this week detailing Chinese military involvement in widespread online attacks is itself now being used as a lure in spear-phishing attacks, according to researchers.

The report, APT1: Exposing One of China’s Cyber Espionage Units [1], published by security firm Mandiant, made headlines across the globe [2] as one of the first to detail a concrete link between the Communist Party and advanced persistent threat (APT) style attacks on a range of targets worldwide.

It claimed to have tracked down a group known as “APT1” or the “Comment Crew”, which operated out of the same Shanghai tower blocks as a unit of the People’s Liberation Army – 61398.

Now security vendor Symantec has spotted new targeted attacks using the report’s notoriety to trick users into opening a malicious email attachment.

It explained the following in a blog post [3]:

The email we have come across is in Japanese, but this does not mean there are no emails in other languages spreading in the wild. The email purports to be from someone in the media recommending the report. The attachment is made to appear like the actual report with the use of a PDF file and the name of the company as the file name. However, like in many targeted attacks, the email is sent from a free email account and the content of the email uses subpar language.

The PDF file hides malware detected as Trojan.Pidief which, if opened, executes exploit code for an Adobe Acrobat and Reader remode code execution vulnerability.

In this instance the exploit code doesn’t drop any malware onto a user’s computer, although Symantec warned that there may be other variants in the wild which are more dangerous.

A second malicious version of the report was spotted by security researcher Brandon Dixon.

Labelled “Mandiant_APT2_Report.pdf” – this malicious file is password protected but if opened appears to contain elements of the CVE-2011-2462 Adobe Reader exploit spotted back in December 2011 [4], he wrote in a blog post. [5]

“Once executed on the system, a new process under the name ‘AdobeArm.tmp’ was identified running and the original Mandiant APT1 report is shown,” Dixon continued.

“This payload was collected back on November 6, 2012 and was completely unchanged showing a reuse in payloads even after several months.”

The threat will then try to contact a domain used in previous attacks on human rights activists, he said.

Mandiant issued a notice [6] on Thursday warning users only to retrieve the official report from its own web site.

“We are currently tracking the threat actors behind the activity and have no indication that APT1 itself is associated with either variant,” it added. ®

New York Times claims huge attack by Chinese hackers

Stories about wealth of outgoing premier Wen Jiabao appeared to be catalyst for attack, possibly by military, says paper

    • Jonathan Kaiman in Beijing
    •, Thursday 31 January 2013 01.02 EST
Wen Jiabao

Chinese hackers, possibly from the country’s military, hacked the New York Times’ computers while it was investigating the wealth of Wen Jiabao, the paper has said. Photograph: Corbis/Xinhua

Hackers with possible ties to the Chinese military have repeatedly attacked the New York Times‘ computer systems over the past four months, possibly in retaliation for a series of stories that the paper ran exposing vast wealth accumulated by the family of outgoing premier Wen Jiabao, the newspaper has reported.

The hackers gained entry to the newspaper’s internal systems and accessed the personal computers of 53 employees including David Barboza, its Shanghai bureau chief and author of the Wen exposé, and Jim Yardley, a former Beijing bureau chief.

An investigation by Mandiant, a cyber-security company hired by the New York Times, concluded that the hacks were likely part of an elaborate spy campaign with links to the country’s military. The company traced the source of the attacks to university computers that the “Chinese military had used to attack United States Military contractors in the past”, the Times said.

Although the hackers gained passwords for every Times employee, Mandiant found that they only sought information that was related to the Wen story.

The Times said it worked with telecommunications company AT&T and the FBI to trace the hackers after AT&T noticed suspicious activity on the paper’s computer networks on 25 October, one day after the article appeared in print. A later analysis concluded that hackers initially broke into Times computers on 13 September when reporting for the Wen story was in its final pre-publishing stages.

The Times hired Mandiant on 7 November when management realised initial efforts to expel the hackers from the company’s computer systems had been unsuccessful.

“To get rid of the hackers the Times blocked the compromised outside computers, removed every back door into its network, changed every employee password and wrapped additional security around its systems,” said the article.

While Times executives worried that a flurry of hacker activity around the time of the US presidential elections may have indicated that the hackers were intent on shutting down the paper’s publishing systems, “the attackers’ movements suggested that the primary target remained Mr Barboza’s email correspondence”.

The Chinese government had warned the Times that the exposé would “have consequences”, according to the report.

The hackers used a technique called spear-phishing, according to the article, allowing them to install malware on their targets’ computers via seemingly innocuous email messages. The malware allowed them to add remote access tools that gave them access to data from employees’ computers.

“Attackers no longer go after our firewall. They go after individuals. They send a malicious piece of code to your email account and you’re opening it and letting them in,” said Michael Higgins, the Times’ chief security officer.

Chinese hackers began targeting western journalists in 2008 as part of a possible campaign to pre-empt stories that could damage the leadership’s reputation at home and abroad, the article said. Bloomberg was also a victim of cyber-attacks after the newswire published a report on the vast wealth of incoming president Xi Jinping’s family last summer.

In response to allegations that the Chinese military was behind the attacks, China‘s ministry of national defence told the New York Times that “Chinese laws prohibit any action including hacking that damages internet security” and that “to accuse the Chinese military of launching cyber-attacks without solid proof is unprofessional and baseless”.


Third testing of China’s anti-satellite weapons?

Jan 10, 2013 18:23 Moscow Time

китай спутник ракета запуск

Photo: EPA

A number of US experts in the area of strategic arms based on the information received from the US intelligence community have announced that China is getting ready for the third testing of its system of anti-satellite weapons. The first two sets of testing were performed in 2007 and 2010 on the same day – January 11, which leads one to believe that this trend will continue this time as well.

It is not known what signs of the preparation for the testing have been registered by the American intelligence. But according to Vasily Kashin, an expert at the Russian Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, the fact of the existence in China of a program to develop anti-satellite weapons raises no doubt.

In the course of 2007 testing, China managed to destroy at the altitude of 850 km its own meteorological satellite that had exceeded its service life. The 2010 testing apparently did not result in any hitting of real targets, but was aimed at launching an intercepting rocket to a reference point in the orbit.

Vasily Kashin points out that one can presume that China used the intercepting rocket KT-1 in both cases. The Chinese plan to use it both as a component of the strategic anti-satellite defense system and as a weapon against scouting enemy satellites in low orbits.

This time a different and more powerful system is involved. According to previously published evaluations, American military specialists assume that the project called DN-2 is meant for destroying satellites in high geostationary orbits (about 20 000 km). The creation of such a system would make China the only country in the world capable of successfully hitting satellites of global positioning systems, such as the American GPS.

Taking into account the high dependence of the US Air Force, the Navy and many systems of weapons guiding, on the GPS signal, targeting such a system can become an effective way of neutralizing the military superiority of the USA.

Similar to the USA, Russia is developing its own anti-satellite defense programs that are related to the missile defense programs.

For example, it is anticipated that the new Russian rocket complex S-500 will be capable of hitting targets in the near space. There is also research work being done in the area of modern laser systems of satellite defense.

According to Vasily Kashin, the Chinese system, if successfully tested, could open a new chapter in the arms race in space and would require large scale and expensive counter measures on the part of the US. It is obvious that it would be necessary to increase the survivability and reliability of the existing system of global positioning as well as develop methods and ways of locating the Chinese systems of anti-satellite weapons and neutralizing them before they are put into operation. It would be the second example of China developing a radically new type of rocket weapons capable of changing the rules of the game in the military sphere. The ballistic anti-vessel rocket DF-21D was the first system of this kind. At the same time, it is obvious that the testing would cause an extremely negative political reaction on the part of the US and would have long-term consequences for the China-US relations, stresses Vasily Kashin, an expert of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies.

China and Japan step up drone race as tension builds over disputed islands

Both countries claim drones will be used for surveillance, but experts warn of future skirmishes in region’s airspace


China-Japan tensions

The row between China and Japan over the disputed islands – called the Diaoyu by China and the Senkaku by Japan – has escalated recently. Photograph: AP

Drones have taken centre stage in an escalating arms race between China and Japan as they struggle to assert their dominance over disputed islands in the East China Sea.

China is rapidly expanding its nascent drone programme, while Japan has begun preparations to purchase an advanced model from the US. Both sides claim the drones will be used for surveillance, but experts warn the possibility of future drone skirmishes in the region’s airspace is “very high”.

Tensions over the islands – called the Diaoyu by China and the Senkaku by Japan – have ratcheted up in past weeks. Chinese surveillance planes flew near the islands four times in the second half of December, according to Chinese state media, but were chased away each time by Japanese F-15 fighter jets. Neither side has shown any signs of backing down.

Japan’s new conservative administration of Shinzo Abe has placed a priority on countering the perceived Chinese threat to the Senkakus since it won a landslide victory in last month’s general election. Soon after becoming prime minister, Abe ordered a review of Japan’s 2011-16 mid-term defence programme, apparently to speed up the acquisition of between one and three US drones.

Under Abe, a nationalist who wants a bigger international role for the armed forces, Japan is expected to increase defence spending for the first time in 11 years in 2013. The extra cash will be used to increase the number of military personnel and upgrade equipment. The country’s deputy foreign minister, Akitaka Saiki, summoned the Chinese ambassador to Japan on Tuesday to discuss recent “incursions” of Chinese ships into the disputed territory.

China appears unbowed. “Japan has continued to ignore our warnings that their vessels and aircraft have infringed our sovereignty,” top-level marine surveillance official Sun Shuxian said in an interview posted to the State Oceanic Administration’s website, according to Reuters. “This behaviour may result in the further escalation of the situation at sea and has prompted China to pay great attention and vigilance.”

China announced late last month that the People’s Liberation Army was preparing to test-fly a domestically developed drone, which analysts say is likely a clone of the US’s carrier-based X-47B. “Key attack technologies will be tested,” reported the state-owned China Daily, without disclosing further details.

Andrei Chang, editor-in-chief of the Canadian-based Kanwa Defence Review, said China might be attempting to develop drones that can perform reconnaissance missions as far away as Guam, where the US is building a military presence as part of its “Asia Pivot” strategy.

China unveiled eight new models in November at an annual air show on the southern coastal city Zhuhai, photographs of which appeared prominently in the state-owned press. Yet the images may better indicate China’s ambitions than its abilities, according to Chang: “We’ve seen these planes on the ground only — if they work or not, that’s difficult to explain.”

Japanese media reports said the defence ministry hopes to introduce Global Hawk unmanned aircraft near the disputed islands by 2015 at the earliest in an attempt to counter Beijing’s increasingly assertive naval activity in the area.

Chinese surveillance vessels have made repeated intrusions into Japanese waters since the government in Tokyo in effect nationalised the Senkakus in the summer, sparking riots in Chinese cities and damaging trade ties between Asia’s two biggest economies.

The need for Japan to improve its surveillance capability was underlined late last year when Japanese radar failed to pick up a low-flying Chinese aircraft as it flew over the islands.

The Kyodo news agency quoted an unnamed defence ministry official as saying the drones would be used “to counter China’s growing assertiveness at sea, especially when it comes to the Senkaku islands”.

China’s defence budget has exploded over the past decade, from about £12.4bn in 2002 to almost £75bn in 2011, and its military spending could surpass the US’s by 2035. The country’s first aircraft carrier, a refurbished Soviet model called the Liaoning, completed its first sea trials in August.

A 2012 report by the Pentagon acknowledged long-standing rumours that China was developing a new generation of stealth drones, called Anjian, or Dark Sword, whose capabilities could surpass those of the US’s fleet.

China’s state media reported in October that the country would build 11 drone bases along the coastline by 2015. “Over disputed islands, such as the Diaoyu Islands, we do not lag behind in terms of the number of patrol vessels or the frequency of patrolling,” said Senior Colonel Du Wenlong, according to China Radio International. “The problem lies in our surveillance capabilities.”

China’s military is notoriously opaque, and analysts’ understanding of its drone programme is limited. “They certainly get a lot of mileage out of the fact that nobody knows what the hell they’re up to, and they’d take great care to protect that image,” said Ron Huisken, an expert on east Asian security at Australian National University.

He said the likelihood of a skirmish between Chinese and Japanese drones in coming years was “very high”.

US drones have also attracted the interest of the South Korean government as it seeks to beef up its ability to monitor North Korea, after last month’s successful launch of a rocket that many believe was a cover for a ballistic-missile test.

The US’s Global Hawk is piloted remotely by a crew of three and can fly continuously for up to 30 hours at a maximum height of about 60,000 ft. It has no attack capability.

The US deployed the advanced reconnaissance drone to monitor damage to the Fukushima nuclear power plant in the aftermath of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami on Japan’s north-east coast.

China ‘highly vigilant’ over Japanese fighters flying over disputed islands

AFP Thursday, Dec 27, 2012

BEIJING – China is “highly vigilant” about Japanese jet fighter flights over islands claimed by both countries and Japan must bear responsibility for any consequences, Chinese military and maritime officials said on Thursday.

The officials, speaking a day after a new hawkish Japanese prime minister took office, were responding to Japan sending jet fighters several times in the past two weeks to intercept Chinese patrol planes approaching airspace above the islands.

The situation in the volatile East China Sea region has severely strained relations between Beijing and Tokyo.

“We will decisively fulfil our tasks and missions while coordinating with relevant departments…so as to safeguard China’s maritime law enforcement activities and protect the country’s territorial integrity and maritime rights,” Defence Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun told a news conference.

Japan’s Defence Ministry has acknowledged scrambling F-15 jets on several occasions in recent weeks to intercept Chinese marine surveillance planes approaching the islands, called the Diaoyu in Chinese and the Senkaku by Japan.

It says a Chinese aircraft breached what it considers Japanese airspace for the first time on Dec. 13.

The Japanese government administers the islands and purchased three of them from a private owner this past summer, sparking violent anti-Japanese protests across China.

New Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has promised not to yield in the dispute over the islands and boost defence spending to counter Beijing’s growing military clout.

“The Japanese side is using military aircraft to interfere with planes on normal patrol in undisputed Chinese airspace,”said Shi Qingfeng, director general of the Administration Office

of the State Oceanic Administration, the agency whose ships patrol disputed waters in the South and East China Seas.

“This is highly unreasonable conduct and the Japanese side is consciously trying to escalate the situation,” Shi said at a presentation for Chinese media and diplomats. “The Japanese side must assume responsibility for the consequences.”

China has been increasingly flexing its military and political influence in the western Pacific, forcefully asserting territorial claims while it builds up its military forces.

Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also claim parts of the South China Sea.

To China’s east, the island conflict with Japan has led to tense confrontations in the waters around the islands.

“China-Japan defence relations are an important and sensitive part of bilateral ties, and the Japanese side should face up to the difficulties and problems that currently exist,”Yang said.

Second Chinese stealth fighter makes test flight

J-31 aircraft photographed near Shenyang appears to be a smaller version of the J-20 prototype tested last year


Associated Press in Beijing,  Thursday 1 November 2012 08.34 EDT

A Chinese J-20 stealth jet

A Chinese J-20 stealth jet. The J-31 spotted this week is smaller and nimbler. Photograph: AP

China has test-flown a second model of a prototype stealth fighter, aviation experts said. Photos posted online on Thursday showed the aircraft airborne with its landing gear down near the north-eastern city of Shenyang.

Two Chinese-made J-11 fighters accompanied it on the flight, which Chinese military enthusiast websites said took place on Wednesday and lasted about 10 minutes.

Ross Babbage, of Australia’s Kokoda Foundation, and Greg Waldron, of Flightglobal magazine in Singapore, said the plane, known as the J-31, appeared to be a smaller version of the J-20 prototype that was tested last year in Chengdu.

Both planes feature stealth design features but their true capabilities in terms of sensors, radar-absorbing coatings and other factors remain unknown. It is not known when, or if, either plane will go into production.

“I think it’s a fairly straightforward evolution to develop advanced fighters at this time, but you can’t read too much into it in terms of capabilities,” Waldron said. He said the smaller and nimbler J-31 appeared intended for a fighter-interceptor role similar to the US Joint Strike Fighter, and the heavier J-20 could target airfields, warships and other ground targets.

The technical barriers and development costs for such aircraft are enormous and the US has struggled for years to deliver on their potential. Babbage said another challenge for China was developing engines reliable and capable enough for such cutting-edge aircraft.

China remains overwhelmingly reliant on Russia for engines for its latest J-10, J-11, and J-15 models, the last two of which were developed from Russian Sukhoi fighter-bombers. “The demands in the engine area are very substantial,” Babbage said.

Despite that, the ability to develop two prototype stealth fighters at the same time demonstrates an impressive capability on the part of the Chinese industry, he said. “It’s a very interesting development. It shows how rapidly they’re moving ahead.”

Chinese telecom giants Huawei and ZTE pose a security threat to the United States …

China telecom giants threaten US: Congress panel

ZTE Executive Vice President, He Shiyou, pictured in February. Chinese telecom giants Huawei and ZTE pose a security threat to the United States and should be barred from US contracts and acquisitions, a yearlong congressional investigation has concluded

ZTE Executive Vice President, He Shiyou, pictured in February. Chinese telecom giants …


AFP NewsBy Rob Lever | AFP News – 11 minutes ago

Chinese telecom giants Huawei and ZTE pose a security threat to the United States and should be barred from US contracts and acquisitions, a yearlong congressional investigation has concluded.

A draft of a report by the House Intelligence Committee, obtained Sunday by AFP, said the two firms “cannot be trusted” to be free of influence from Beijing and could be used to undermine US security.

The panel launched its probe over concerns that China could use the fast-growing firms for economic or military espionage, or cyber attacks.

“Based on available classified and unclassified information, Huawei and ZTE cannot be trusted to be free of foreign state influence and thus pose a security threat to the United States and to our systems,” the draft document said.

Both Huawei and ZTE have denied any ties with the Chinese government. Top executives of the firms appeared at a hearing held by the panel last month, stressing that they were focused on business, not politics.

Huawei reiterated that position in response to queries.

“The integrity and independence of Huawei’s organization and business practices are trusted and respected across almost 150 markets,” Huawei vice president William Plummer said in an emailed statement.

“Purporting that Huawei is somehow uniquely vulnerable to cyber mischief ignores technical and commercial realities, recklessly threatens American jobs and innovation, does nothing to protect national security, and should be exposed as dangerous political distractions.”

ZTE did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The committee said both companies failed to provide adequate answers to lawmakers’ questions about their relationship with the Chinese government.

“China has the means, opportunity and motive to use telecommunications companies for malicious purposes,” said the report, due to be published Monday.

Based on its investigation, the panel said US authorities “must block acquisitions, takeovers or mergers involving Huawei and ZTE given the threat to US national security interests.”

The panel said the US should even consider extending the authority of a super-secret panel that reviews foreign acquisitions to include purchasing agreements.

US government systems, particularly sensitive ones, should not include Huawei or ZTE equipment — not even component parts — nor should those of government contractors working on sensitive US programs, it said.

The report also said private US firms “are strongly encouraged to consider the long-term security risks associated with doing business with either ZTE or Huawei for equipment or services.”

Because of the lack of clear information on how the companies operate, the committee report said they could be used for “malicious Chinese hardware or software implants” that could serve as “a potent espionage tool.”

The committee said it received what appeared to be authentic internal Huawei documents showing the company provides “special network services to an entity the employee believes to be an elite cyber-warfare unit” in the Chinese military.

The 59-page draft report cited a host of other potential issues with the two firms, including unfair subsidies, allegations of bribery or corruption, dealings with Iran and ties with China’s military and Communist Party.

In addition to the concerns cited by the lawmakers, the report said an unpublished, classified annex includes even more.

“That information cannot be shared publicly without risking US national security,” it said.

House committee chairman Mike Rogers told the CBS program “60 Minutes” in a segment aired Sunday that he would urge American firms looking at doing business with Huawei to “find another vendor if you care about your intellectual property, if you care about your consumers’ privacy, and you care about the national security of the United States of America.”

The probe was called amid ongoing reviews around the world on whether the big firms are linked to the Chinese military or government.

Australia earlier this year blocked Huawei from bidding for contracts on its Aus$36 billion (US$36.6 billion) broadband plan due to fears of Chinese cyber attacks. In the US, Huawei was forced to back away from several investments amid pressure from Washington.–finance.html

Military conflict ‘looms’ between China and Japan: Speculation already taking place into what role the U.S. will play in the War

War between China and Japan looms, with neither power willing to back down over a disputed chain of islands, expert warns.

Yan Xuetong who has warned that unless one side backs down, there could be a repeat of the Falklands Conflict in Asia
Malcolm Moore

By , Beijing

3:16PM BST 27 Sep 2012

The spat over the Diaoyu or Senkaku islands has escalated dramatically in the past month with violent protests across China.

But with a national election approaching in Japan, and a change of leadership in China, politicians on both sides have refused to step back from the brink, afraid that they will appear weak.

“There is a danger of China and Japan having a military conflict,” said Yan Xuetong, one of China’s most influential foreign policy strategists, and a noted hawk.

“One country must make a concession. But I do not see Japan making concessions. I do not see either side making concessions. Both sides want to solve the situation peacefully, but neither side can provide the right approach,” he added.

He warned that unless one side backs down, there could be a repeat of the Falklands Conflict in Asia.

“Generally speaking, according to the theory of international relations, unless one country makes concessions to the other, the escalation of a conflict between two countries will not stop until there is a military clash, like between the UK and Argentina,” he said.

He added: “China takes a very tolerant policy elsewhere, with smaller powers. But the case of Japan is different. There is history between us. Japan is a big power. It regards itself as a regional, and sometimes a world power. So China can very naturally regard Japan as an equal. And if we are equal, you cannot poke us. You cannot make a mistake.”

Mr Yan is the dean of International Relations at Tsinghua university, the elite college that schooled both China’s president, Hu Jintao, and his likely successor, Xi Jinping.

He is also one of China’s representatives to the Council of Security Cooperation of Asia-Pacific, a non-governmental body that coordinates security in the region.

Chinese and Japanese diplomats have met this week for talks over the crisis, but no agreement has been reached.

Yesterday, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign ministry attacked Yoshihiko Noda, the Japanese prime minister, for telling reporters at the United Nations that the islands belonged to Japan.

“There are no territorial issues as such. Therefore, there cannot be any compromise that represents a retreat from this position,” Mr Noda said.

“China is strongly disappointed and sternly opposes the Japanese leader’s obstinacy regarding his wrong position on the Diaoyu Islands issue,” replied the Chinese Foreign ministry.

In the balance is some £216 billion of bilateral trade. Last year, exports to China were responsible for three per cent of the Japanese economy.

Meanwhile Japan’s new opposition leader, Shinzo Abe, is, if anything, more determined than Mr Noda. “Japan’s oceans and territory are being threatened. It is my mission to overcome these difficulties,” he said.

Several Japanese businesses on the Chinese mainland have had to shut down because of the crisis. Nissan, which relies on the Chinese market for as much as 25 per cent of its revenues, has shut down until October 7 after demand for its cars plummeted.

Toyota has suspended plants in Tianjin and Guangzhou until October 8.

Chinese consumers are shying away from Japanese cars not just because of nationalism, but out of fear after one man in Xi’an was beaten into a coma for driving a Japanese marque.

All Nippon Airways, meanwhile, said 40,000 reservations had been cancelled on flights between China and Japan from this month to November. A cruise line between Shanghai and Nagasaki will suspend its operations from October 13. Guizhou television has banned all advertisements by Japanese brands.

Mitsumi, a supplier for Nintendo, has not reopened its factory in Qingdao since September 16, while two toothbrush factories owned by Lion Corporation also remain shuttered.

Mr Yan predicted that if there was a military confrontation between China and Japan, the United States would not physically intervene.

“I do not think they will send soldiers to fight against the People’s Liberation Army,” he said. “They [the US] will be involved, but they can be involved in many different ways, providing intelligence, ammunition, political support, logistical help and so on.”

Mr Yan said he expected whoever wins the US presidential election to continue to toughen policy on China.

“In terms of the economy, China and the US are partners. But in terms of security, they are rivals. We both know we cannot get along. Both sides are always alert to the other’s military policy,” he said.

“In the future, the military relationship will become more important. There is a simple reason for this: American hegemony is based on military capability and the military gap with China. When China narrows that gap, it will scare the US,” he said.

However, he added that China increasingly needs to change the ideology that guides its foreign policy. “Deng Xiaoping said China should not take a leadership role, make no alliances, and focus on the economy.

“This gap, between China’s international status and its foreign policy is widening. We have reached the point where China needs to seriously consider having a new policy consistent with its international status. I do not know when it will happen, but it will not be too long,” he said.

Additional reporting by Valentina Luo

China Navy Takes Delivery of 1st Aircraft Carrier: Report

Sep. 23, 2012 – 12:28PM   |
China's first aircraft carrier berthed at Dalian port is seen Sept. 5.

China’s first aircraft carrier berthed at Dalian port is seen Sept. 5.   (AFP)

BEIJING — China’s first aircraft carrier was handed over to the navy of the People’s Liberation Army on Sept. 23, state press said, amid rising tensions over disputed waters in the East and South China Seas.

The handover ceremony of the 300-meter (990-foot) ship, a former Soviet carrier called the Varyag, took place in northeast China’s port of Dalian after a lengthy refitting by a Chinese shipbuilder, the Global Times reported.

During the handover ceremony the aircraft carrier raised the Chinese national flag on its mast, the PLA flag on its bow and the navy’s colors on its stern, the short online report said. A ceremony to place the ship into active service would be held sometime in the future, the paper said without elaboration.

China’s defense ministry was unavailable to comment on the ceremony.

The announcement comes at a time of heightened tensions over maritime disputes in the Asia-Pacific region, where China’s growing assertiveness has put it on a collision course with Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines.

On Sept. 23, China also postponed a ceremony marking the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties with Japan, due to a noisy territorial dispute with Tokyo over the Diaoyu Islands, known in Japanese as Senkaku. Tensions have also risen this year with Vietnam and the Philippines over disputed islands in the South China Sea.

Beijing confirmed last year it was revamping the old Soviet ship, and has repeatedly insisted the carrier poses no threat to its neighbors and will be used mainly for training and research purposes.

But numerous sea trials of the aircraft carrier — currently only known as “Number 16” — since August 2011 were met with concern from regional powers including Japan and the United States, which called on Beijing to explain why it needed an aircraft carrier.

Construction of the Varyag originally ended with the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union. China reportedly bought the carrier’s immense armored hull — with no engine, electrics or propeller — from Ukraine in 1998 and began to refit the vessel in Dalian in 2002.

The PLA — the world’s largest active military — is extremely secretive about its defense programs, which benefit from a huge and expanding military budget boosted by the nation’s runaway economic growth. China’s military budget officially reached $106 billion in 2012, an 11.2 percent increase.

According to a report issued by the Pentagon in May, Beijing is pouring money into advanced air defenses, submarines, anti-satellite weapons and anti-ship missiles that could all be used to deny an adversary access to strategic areas, such as the South China Sea. China’s real defense spending amounts to between $120 billion to $180 billion, the report said.

Insight: China builds its own military-industrial complex: “China’s military spending is now second only to the United States”

By David Lague and Charlie ZhuPosted 2012/09/16 at 5:14 pm EDT

HONG KONG, Sep. 16, 2012 (Reuters) — When China turned to Russia for supplies of advanced weapons through the 1990s, it kick-started Beijing’s military build-up with an immediate boost in firepower.

It also demonstrated the failure of its domestic defense sector which was still turning out obsolete 1950s vintage equipment for the People’s Liberation Army from a sprawling network of state-owned arms makers.

Now, after more than two decades of soaring military spending, this once backward industry has been transformed — China is creating its own military-industrial complex, with the private sector taking a leading role.

With Tiananmen-era bans on Western military sales to China still in place, an innovative and efficient domestic arms industry is crucial for Beijing as it assembles a modern military force capable of enforcing claims over Taiwan and disputed maritime territories.

China has locked horns recently with its Southeast Asian neighbors over conflicting claims to strings of islets in the South China Sea. Tensions have also flared with Japan over uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, even as the United States executes a strategic military pivot towards the Pacific.

Well funded defense groups have rapidly absorbed the technology and expertise needed to build complex weapons, freeing China from its former heavy reliance on Russian and other foreign equipment, Chinese and Western experts say.

“A country’s defense sector should reflect the strength of the country’s economy,” says Wu Da, a portfolio manager at Beijing-based Changsheng Fund Management Co Ltd which invests in listed Chinese defense stocks.

But, he adds, the sector is so shrouded in secrecy it’s been hard to assess how viable it is.

“Some of the Chinese defense groups are already quite strong after so much military spending in recent years but you don’t know exactly how well they are doing financially or technologically because China does not want others to know.”

That could start to change.


Beijing is enlisting the private sector to accelerate the rise of its best defense contractors, issuing new guidelines in July aimed at encouraging private investment in a sector traditionally sheltered from competition and public scrutiny.

Listed subsidiaries of top Chinese military contractors now intend to buy at least 20 billion yuan ($3.15 billion) in assets from their state-owned parents in the second half, according to their recent filings with the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges.

This would double the value of military related assets injected into these listed companies since 2007 with more in the pipeline, as Beijing presses ahead with an ambitious program to privatize most of a vast arms industry employing more than a million workers at more than 1,000 state-owned enterprises.

The long term goal is to transform some of the leading contractors, such as China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC), Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) and China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation into homegrown versions of American giants Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman or Britain’s BAE Systems.

AVIC, which is aiming to quadruple its sales to one trillion yuan ($157.7 billion) by 2020 from 250 billion yuan in 2011, plans to inject 80 percent of its main businesses into some of its listed companies by the end of next year.

Beijing has made repeated calls to speed up listings of all but the most sensitive military businesses. The authorities have also promised to allow public bidding for unclassified and minor defense contracts in a sector that is likely to enjoy strong growth if China continues its sustained military build-up.

China’s top 10 defense groups with estimated combined assets of 2 trillion yuan ($315 billion) have listed more than 70 subsidiaries, including over 40 with defense-related businesses. About 25 per cent of the assets of the top 10 are now held in the listed companies, according to market analysts.

Some of these stocks have been strong performers. Sustained military outlays and the expectation of asset injections have insulated them from the country’s current economic slowdown. They also tend to spike in price at times of increased tension between China and its neighbors over disputed territory.

The plan to buy more of their parent’s military related assets would allow these listed companies to raise extra funds for research and development, the companies say.

AVIC subsidiary Hafei Aviation Industry Co Ltd plans to issue shares this year to buy 3.3 billion yuan ($520.5 million) in assets from its parent, including helicopter manufacturing companies.

“AVIC’s injection of (its) helicopter business into the listed company will be a key experiment of China’s strategic upgrade and transformation of its domestic defense and science industry,” Hafei said in a July prospectus.


The growth of the domestic arms industry has allowed China to steadily reduce military imports. International arms transfer figures from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) show China’s defense imports fell 58 per cent between 2007 and 2011.

In this period, China slipped to fourth place in the ranks of global arms buyers after holding top position in the five years to 2006.

“The PLA has clearly turned away from acquiring foreign developed platforms,” says Scott Harold, a China analyst for the Santa Monica, California-based Rand Corporation.

After double digit, annual increases in outlays over most of the last 20 years, China’s military spending is now second only to the United States.

In March, Beijing announced its defense budget for this year would increase 11.2 per cent to $106 billion but some foreign analysts believe this understates the country’s overall military budget.

In its annual report on the Chinese military, the Pentagon in May estimated Beijing’s total 2012 spending would be between $120 billion and $180 billion. Washington will spend $614 billion on its military this year.

Private data analyst, IHS Jane’s Defense Budgets, forecasts that Beijing’s annual outlays will reach almost $240 billion by 2015, more than the combined budgets of all nations in the Asia Pacific region and four times Japan’s military spending.

About 30 per cent of China’s military budget goes to weapons and equipment, according to Beijing’s most recent defense White Paper published last year.


Military experts say that alongside reorganization and streamlining launched in the late 1990s, this avalanche of cash has sharply improved the output from key sectors of the Chinese defense industry despite the inefficiencies of many big state-owned companies, widespread corruption and a lack of official or public oversight.

“There is just something about money, and the more of it the better,” says Rand Corp’s Harold.

Russian weapons, including Su-27 fighters, Kilo-class submarines and Sovremenny-class cruisers, remain some of the PLA’s most potent hardware.

However, some Chinese-made equipment is now thought to be comparable to their Russian or Western counterparts, military experts say, although they acknowledge that accurate information about the performance of PLA weapons remains scarce.

Over the last decade, China has launched two classes of locally designed and built conventional submarines that are now the mainstays of the PLA’s underwater fleet.

It has also built versions of the Su-27 combat aircraft and begun mass production of its J-10 fighter that some experts rank with the U.S.-made F-16 in performance. China reportedly has developed its first stealth fighter, the J-20, but details of its capabilities remain unclear.

Chinese factories also appear to have made rapid progress in developing a range of advanced missiles. These include up to 1,000 ballistic and cruise missiles deployed against Taiwan and new mobile launchers for the PLA’s nuclear weapons.

Even in more basic equipment, China’s arms industry appears to have made significant improvements. In little over a decade, shabby uniforms and poor quality footwear have been replaced with smart, comfortable looking camouflage uniforms, lightweight helmets and solid combat boots.

Ground troops carry new assault rifles and small arms, while modern tanks, armored personnel carriers and artillery have been introduced to replace equipment derived from Soviet designs of the 1950s.

Arms trade experts conclude that China’s factories are now capable of satisfying most of the PLA’s needs – and that of other nations as well.

In the 10 years to 2011, China’s foreign military sales increased 95 per cent, making it the sixth largest arms supplier behind the UK, SIPRI figures show. Sales of jet fighters, warships and tanks to political ally Pakistan, however, account for much of this increase.


Despite clear progress, some glaring weaknesses remain in Chinese defense technology, military experts say.

The PLA still appears reliant on imports of high performance jet engines from Russia for its most advanced fighters despite decades of research and development aimed at developing local power plants.

It also depends on dual-use, imported engine technology from Europe for its warships, submarines and armored vehicles.

Domestic aerospace companies have so far been unable to build big military transport aircraft that are important for military mobility in a country as big as China. These companies also remain heavily dependent on European, U.S. and Russian designs and technology for locally built helicopters.

Beijing is pinning its hopes on competitive market forces to help close these gaps as it continues its military spending spree.

That means more business for listed arms makers such as China Shipbuilding Industry Ltd which raised 8 billion yuan ($1.26 billion) in May from a convertible bond issue to buy military assets from its parent, the giant China Shipbuilding Industry Corp.

“With the construction of our country’s navy steadily pushed forward, we expect our company’s income from defense business to keep increasing,” the company said in a May stock exchange statement.

(Editing by Bill Tarrant)

China’s nuclear weapons strategy highlights the risk of escalation to nuclear war from a conflict beginning with conventional weapons, due to the unusual structure of the nation’s military

Contact: Katie Baker
SAGE Publications

China’s nuclear dilemma

Los Angeles, CA (September 14, 2012) – An expert assessment of China’s nuclear weapons strategy highlights the risk of escalation to nuclear war from a conflict beginning with conventional weapons, due to the unusual structure of the nation’s military. The new study, previously only available in Chinese, appears in the latest edition of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, published by SAGE. The authors believe that this is the first comprehensive non-governmental study on how China’s nuclear-war plan was developed.

John W. Lewis and Xue Litai, of Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC), which Lewis co-founded, conclude that China’s unique deployment of modern conventional ballistic missiles had a decisive effect on its war plan. Jiang Zemin, Chinese Central Military Commission (CMC) head from 1989 to 2004, first highlighted the relationship between the “conventional sword” and the “nuclear shield” as China’s unique dual deterrent. The CMC considers conventional missiles to be one of the multiple means to bolster the nation’s strategic deterrent. The possibility of combining or sequentially launching conventional and nuclear missiles is deemed a fundamental source of political and military strength – but also generates critical uncertainties:

“The basic dilemma for the war planners stems from the deployment of the two types of missiles on the same Second Artillery bases with fundamentally different capabilities and purposes,” Lewis and Xue say.

The article notes that Beijing’s nuclear missiles exist to deter a nuclear first strike on China, and are only to be used in extremis. At the same time, the conventional weapons on the formerly all-nuclear bases must be ready to strike first and hard. Targeted enemies and their allies will not immediately be able to distinguish whether any missiles fired are conventional or nuclear.

This means that those enemies may justifiably launch on warning and retaliate against all the command-and-control systems and missile assets of the Chinese missile launch base and even the overall command-and-control system of the central Second Artillery headquarters. In the worst case, a self-defensive first strike by Chinese conventional missiles could end in the retaliatory destruction of many Chinese nuclear missiles and their related command-and-control systems.

“That disastrous outcome would force the much smaller surviving and highly vulnerable Chinese nuclear missile units to fire their remaining missiles against the enemy’s homeland,” Lewis and Xue warn. “Escalation to nuclear war could become accelerated and unavoidable.” Policies that have led to conventional and nuclear weapons doubling up at the same base could cause, rather than deter, a nuclear exchange.

Chinese military planners tend to take the view that launching conventional weapons from nuclear bases might deter any direct response, because the victim of that attack would fear the consequences of retaliating against bases that have nuclear and not just conventional weapons. This fear—that a conventional response might trigger a Chinese nuclear counter-retaliation—could, in the eyes of Chinese experts, deter such a response, preventing escalation.

Beijing’s overall defence strategy has evolved significantly in recent decades. According to the authors, China’s revolutionary leader Mao Zedong directly shaped the policies for the Second Artillery, the nation’s strategic missile forces. China’s nuclear strategy—dominated by military considerations—is sensitive and is rarely elaborated in public. Step by step, the ever-more complex command-and-control mechanisms of the People’s Liberation Army adopted and refined new roles for its nuclear and conventional missiles to support peacetime diplomacy, to manage military crises, and to pursue combat readiness. Nuclear deterrence strategies finally came of age in 2006 with the official endorsement of the terms ‘nuclear deterrent force’ and ‘strategic deterrence’ in a defence white paper.

The early 1990s saw the introduction of new, short-to-medium range conventional missiles. These did not go to the regular armed forces, but instead were added to the Second Artillery, which manages nuclear capabilities, because the Second Artillery had the proven leadership, management and logistical systems to rapidly deploy conventional missile launch sites and support facilities. To this day, nuclear and conventional missiles are both managed and launched from Second Artillery’s nuclear bases