28 June 2017

USA: USS Green Bay visits Cairns ahead of Talisman Saber exercise

By MC3 Sarah Myers, USS Green Bay Public Affairs

USS Green Bay (LPD 20) operates in the Philippine Sea earlier this month. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Sarah Villegas) >>

CAIRNS, Australia - Sailors and Marines aboard the amphibious transport dock USS Green Bay (LPD 20) arrived in Cairns for a routine port visit, June 28.

The visit to Cairns comes after a month of shipboard joint exercises while operating with Expeditionary Strike Group 7 flagship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), USS Ashland (LSD 48), USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) and the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU).

The port visit will be a short break from their high-tempo training, and it will be the first time for many of Green Bay’s Sailors and Marines to see the local sights and sounds of Australia.

USA: USNS Sacagawea arrives in New Caledonia for Koa Moana 2017

By MC3 Madailein Abbott

USNS Sacagawea (T-AKE 2) sits anchored off shore of Kiribati during the most recent Koa Moana, June 19. (U.S. Navy/MC3 Madailein Abbott) >>

NOUMEA, New Caledonia -Military Sealift Command’s (MSC) USNS Sacagawea (T-AKE 2) arrived in New Caledonia June 25 in support of Koa Moana 17 (Ocean Warrior).

The Koa Moana exercise series seeks to enhance senior military leader engagements between allied and partner nations with a collective interest in military-to-military relations and to discuss key aspects of military operations, capability development, and interoperability.

From June-September 2017 U.S. Marines from 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine regiment, 1st Marine Division, stationed in Twentynine Palms, Calif. and Marines from Combat Logistics Battalion 3, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, from Marine Corps Base Hawaii have embarked aboard the USNS Sacagawea to participate in Koa Moana 17 events in Kiribati, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tonga, and Vanuatu. Working alongside these partner nations, the Marines also work alongside the crew of the USNS Sacagawea, attending shipboard training, drills, and sharing workload duties during their time onboard.

Industry: Australian Navy MATV arrives in home port of Sydney, Australia

MV Sycamore during sea-trial's
26 June 2017: Completing her maiden voyage, the Damen Multi-role Aviation Training Vessel (MATV) MV Sycamore arrived in Sydney harbour early on Monday morning. The 94-metre long vessel is now less than a month away from deployment as a versatile multi-role vessel and helicopter training platform for the Royal Australian Navy.

"It is definitely an impressive sight to see the Sycamore enter Sydney harbour," states Damen Sales Director Asia Pacific Roland Briene. "The MATV project really highlights what can be achieved with this joint team effort. We have accomplished the on-time and on-budget construction of a complex vessel that will provide an efficient, functional and comfortable training platform for the Royal Australian Navy."

News Report: Tokyo Institutes ‘Catch All’ Policy to Slow North Korea’s Nuclear Supplies Trade

Japanese lawmakers agreed on Tuesday to initiate a naval operation to seize contents from any and all ships that might be used for Pyongyang’s missile development program.

The ordinance allows authorities to do more thorough searches of cargo heading for North Korean ports, Yomiuri Shimbun reports, while adding teeth to some of the UN Security Council resolutions sanctioning North Korea’s nuclear buildup.

Current policy lists about 100 items that are not legally allowed to enter North Korea as they might be used to facilitate missile building, testing or research. Like putting a rock under a waterfall, the regulation changed how the flow occurred but did not alter where the water ended up, and Pyongyang officials and its trading partners adapted quickly to the rule. They began taking apart weapons and other prohibited items and sending them as parts or raw materials to avert confiscation.

The new policy gives inspectors more leeway under a “catch all” provision to ban the transport of any goods that might be used for the missile program.

“We are determined to firmly carry out UN sanctions on human rights issues that include nuclear weapons, missiles and abductions, we’d like to continue to deal with this matter,” a Japanese official told reporters on Tuesday morning.

This story first appeared on Sputnik & is reposted here with permission.

News Report: Japan Enhances Offensive Capabilities, Equips F-35s with Joint Strike Missiles

The Japanese Self-Defense Force (JSDF) is making moves to enhance its return on investment in F-35 fighters by equipping the aircraft with Joint Strike Missiles designed by Norway’s Kongsberg Defence Systems, the South China Morning Post reported.

“Japan has never previously had anything like this,” defense analyst Lance Gatling of Nexial Research Inc. told the news outlet on Tuesday.

The F-35 can maintain its stealth profile while carrying the weapons, which allows pilots to soar “much closer to targets” when they launch the missiles, Gatling added.

As a self-defense outfit, the JSDF has been reluctant to procure offensive weapons capability, but Tokyo’s posture is shifting as potential regional threats loom on the Korean Peninsula and in the South and East China Seas. Upgrading strike capabilities for the F-35 is a natural decision for policymakers in light of such developments, Yomiuri Shimbun, a Japanese newspaper, reported on June 27.

News Report: Defense Ministry to Residents - Seoul Will Honor ‘Alliance Decision’ on THAAD

A South Korean defense official said Tuesday that his country’s government will honor an "alliance decision" to deploy a controversial US missile defense system, as Seoul attempts to make domestic political matters more transparent.

US Forces Korea’s (USFK) Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD) is in partial operation in the county of Seongju, where Vice Defense Minister Suh Choo-suk met with residents Tuesday, pointing out that the deployment of THAAD was agreed upon by Washington and Seoul to counter aggression from North Korea.

Suh "clearly delivered the government's position that it honors the decision and requested active cooperation from local residents," the ministry said, according to Yonhap News Agency. Part of this was promising that his ministry will establish clearer line of communication with residents.

He also advised against protest acts like blockading roads, saying such demonstrations are unwarranted.

News Report: India, US to Jointly Ensure Stability in South China Sea, Indo-Pacific Region

India and the US have vowed to promote stability and ensure the freedom of navigation across the Indo-Pacific region

New Delhi (Sputnik) — Experts said the development is significant as it reinforces American commitment in ensuring the balance of power in the region where China has emerged as a dominant power.

A joint statement issued after the meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump’s maiden meeting on Monday in the White House said the two sides will forge close ties to ensure peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

“As responsible stewards in the Indo-Pacific region, President Trump and Prime Minister Modi agreed that a close partnership between the United States and India is central to peace and stability in the region,” the joint statement read.

In their discussion, Modi and Trump reiterated their commitment to the “tenets outlined in the UN Charter, they committed to a set of common principles for the region (Indo-Pacific), according to which sovereignty and international law are respected and every country can prosper.”

News Report: India Leans Towards US in 'Standoff Against China in Asia'

There is a relation between the China-India border conflict and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the United States, experts told Sputnik. Delhi wants to win Washington’s support against China, especially in South Asia.

On June 27, the Chinese Foreign Ministry accused Indian border guards of crossing into its territory from the state of Sikkim on India’s northeastern border with Tibet.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Geng Shuang said Indian guards "obstructed normal activities" by Chinese forces on the border, and called on India to withdraw immediately.

He urged India to respect China’s territorial integrity, adding that such incidents pose a "serious threat" to peace and stability in border areas.

Commentators noted that this was the first incident of the kind since Chinese President Xi Jinping and Modi exchanged visits in 2014 and 2015. After three years of stability, currently there is a new surge in bilateral tensions.

News Report: Questions Arise as US-India F-16 Deal Seeks to Get Airborne

CGI of Lockheed Martin's F-16 for India (File Photo)
A lucrative aviation deal between US-India firms to manufacture F-16 fighter jets in the south Asian nation has attracted criticism that old technology is being "dumped."

US defense contractor Lockheed Martin has taken further steps to secure a deal which would relocate the manufacture of F-16 fighter jets to India. News of the multi-billion dollar agreement with Indian industry giant Tata Group came as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with US President Donald Trump in Washington on Monday, June 26.

A press release issued by both firms stated that India will be able to "produce, operate and export the multi(-role) fighter F-16 Block 70 aircraft."

News Report: India Stops China’s Road Construction, Braces for Lengthy Face-off

The month-long tussle at the India-China border is expected to continue until winter with India pulling the brakes on China’s road construction at the trijunction of Tibet, Bhutan and India. China planned a road from Tibet to Bhutan via territory claimed by both countries.

New Delhi (Sputnik) — Troops of both the countries have been engaged in a major stand-off for a month at Doka La as China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) brought in construction equipment and set up labor camps in the area for road construction. India sent reinforcements and deployed more troops in the region.

The Chinese Defense Ministry has accused Indian troops of crossing the Line of Actual Control "in an attempt to prevent a road construction by the Chinese side".

"Indian troops' provocation has violated the consensus and relevant agreements on border issues between the Chinese and Indian governments, seriously endangering the peace of the border areas," Ren Guoqiang, a Chinese Defense Ministry spokesperson, said on Monday. The road construction was carried out on China's territory and India had no right to interfere, Ren said.