Thursday, July 13, 2017
At least 120 planes operating on US Navy aircraft carriers patrolling the Western Pacific are slated for relocation to Iwakuni, in Japan’s Yamaguchi Prefecture, after being stationed in Kanagawa Prefecture. Locals have protested for decades that the jets were causing undue noise pollution.
ON FRIDAY the assembly of Okinawa, Japan’s southernmost territory, is set to approve a new lawsuit to block construction of an American military base on the territory’s main island. Takeshi Onaga, the governor of Okinawa, accuses the Japanese government, which is building the base, of “barging forward recklessly” and wrecking the pristine environment of the quiet fishing village of Henoko on Okinawa’s main island. It is the latest salvo in a battle that has occupied Japan’s parliament and courts for two decades. The outcome could torpedo plans to build the offshore facility, set to be the greatest concentration of military power in East Asia.
by: William Cole | .
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser | .
published: July 11, 2017
HONOLULU (Tribune News Service) — Hawaii is now within reach of North Korean intercontinental ballistic missiles after the rogue nation’s successful test launch on July 3, some experts maintain. So what should be done to better protect the state?
Hawaii’s congressional delegation continues to place faith in 36 ground-based interceptor missiles, mainly in Alaska but also in California, to shoot down an incoming North Korean missile. The number of ground interceptors is expected to increase to 44 by the end of the year.
July 11 (UPI) -- The commander of the U.S. 8th Army in South Korea defended the deployment of the U.S. THAAD battery on the Korean peninsula.
Lt. Gen. Thomas Vandal told reporters at Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, THAAD is needed in central South Korea for strategic reasons, local news service EDaily reported.
The field army, which completed its move from its former base in Yongsan, Seoul, to Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province, on Tuesday, is "ready to fight tonight," Vandal said at the press conference, according to Stars and Stripes.
How vulnerable are U.S. bases in the Pacific? A new report by Commander Thomas Shugart and Commander Javier Gonzalez at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) suggests that the constellation of U.S. bases in the region has become deeply vulnerable to attack by Chinese ballistic missiles.
While the threat of anti-ship ballistic missiles has captured many of the headlines regarding the changing balance of power in the Pacific, the authors of the report argue that land-based installations are just as tenuous, if not more so. China’s PLA Rocket Force (PLARF) enjoys a degree of independence that has no useful counterpart in the American system. The report suggests that China currently deploys upwards of 1,600 conventionally armed ballistic missiles of various ranges. These missiles can carry a variety of payloads, including submunitions designed to severely damage above-ground military installations. Ground launched cruise missiles, flying on pre-determined courses at low altitude, can also inflict considerable damage with little warning.
The lead vessel of the U.S. Navy’s newest class of amphibious assault ships, the USS America, designated Landing Helicopter Assault (LHA) 6, departed San Diego on July 7 for its first regularly scheduled deployment to the Pacific, Middle East, and the Horn of Africa, the U.S. Navy reports.
The new America Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) consisting of the USS America, the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS San Diego, and the Harpers Ferry-class dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor, along with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), an expeditionary quick reaction force, comprise around 1,800 sailors and 2,600 marines.
The America ARG and its MEU will conduct maritime security operations, crisis response capability, and theater security cooperation with allied navies, as well as contribute to the U.S. Navy’s overall forward naval presence. The ARG’s first destination will be the Western Pacific. “We are looking forward to conducting persistent forward naval engagement and being always prepared to respond as the nation’s force in readiness,” Colonel Joseph Clearfield, the commander of the MEU said.
China’s president Xi Jinping and US president Donald Trump vowed to step up security co-operation between their two countries to tackle the North Korean nuclear crisis, and Mr Xi has ordered China’s navy to take part in US-led military exercises in the Pacific Rim next year.
Mr Xi held a 1½-hour meeting with Mr Trump on the fringes of the G20 in Hamburg, and news of military and security co-operation comes as a surprise after the relationship between the world’s two biggest economies appeared strained by a series of aggressive remarks by the US leader. Just days before the G20, Mr Trump tweeted that China was not doing enough to restrain North Korea.
While ordering the navy to take part in the “Rimpac” manoeuvres and proposing military co-operation with the US, Mr Xi restated the North Korean nuclear standoff could be resolved only through dialogue.
Last month, a noted figure for peace and demilitarization in the Asia-Pacific region, former governor of Okinawa Masahide Ota passed away. He was 92 years old.
Ota was governor of the Okinawan islands in 1995 when the community’s long-held resentment over U.S. military bases exploded following the rape of a 12-year-old girl by three U.S. servicemen. Close to 100,000 people demonstrated to show their outrage.
As governor and later as a private citizen, Ota undertook a number of activities aimed at promoting peace and facilitating the demilitarization of Okinawa, which to this day has nearly 20 percent of its land occupied by U.S. military bases and training areas.
Executive Office for the Governor of Okinawa states U.S. military will not be allowed use of Naha Airport as a condition for Futenma return
July 6, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo
In regard to the fact that the United States military predicates the return of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Futenma on the ability to use a civilian airport in case of emergencies, Kiichi Jahana, head of the Executive Office for the Governor of Okinawa, said at a meeting of the Prefectural Assembly on July 5 that he supposes the civilian airport the U.S. government has in mind is likely Naha Airport. He emphasized, “We will absolutely not permit use of Naha Airport [by the U.S. military].” It was the first time a prefectural official made reference to a specific civilian airport that might be used.
Monday, July 10, 2017
We are now in the second week of Exercise Talisman Sabre 2017. This year is the largest ever of the biennial training and interoperability exercise hosted by Australia, with more than 30,000 troops, including personnel from the United States, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and Canada participating.
The massive set of month-long war games demonstrates Australia’s firm place within the system of US regional military dominance and alliances that has underpinned regional stability since the Vietnam war.
However, as China continues to grow, and the United States continues to pursue total military supremacy, the system now threatens to inflame the very thing it was designed to prevent, large-scale conflict between the region’s most powerful states. The very scenario simulated in Talisman Sabre.
Sunday, July 09, 2017
China's navy will join will join next year's Pacific Rim military exercises, state news agency Xinhua quoted President Xi Jinping as saying on Saturday following his meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the G20 summit in the German city of Hamburg.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)
PYONGYANG, July 7 (Xinhua) -- The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Friday warned the United States against further resorting to military gambling.
A spokesman for the Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee said in a statement that "the U.S. Defense Department is loudly trumpeting a military attack option" advocated by U.S. President Donald Trump to cope with the north's "provocations."
The DPRK said that the U.S. promise that it would not invade "is a whopping lie and a trick to cover up its sinister intention to put its war ambitions into practice through a surprise attack," said the spokesman.
Volunteer group Pokinawa presents plan to set up permanent consultation mechanism to prevent crimes by US military
July 3, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo
On July 2, in Naha City, the group Pokinawa (Positive Campaign Okinawa), which aims to overcome differences in opinion through dialogue, held a presentation to discuss plans to prevent crimes by U.S. military in light of the rape and murder of an Okinawan woman by a U.S. military civilian worker in April last year.
The group presented four plans, including the establishment of a permanent organization through which the Okinawa Prefectural Government and the U.S. military on Okinawa will consult regularly on crime prevention measures.
About 60 people, including citizens and experts, participated in the meeting and deepened understanding after exchanging opinions on the plans.
June 25, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo
On August 12 at Sakurazaka Theatre in Naha City, documentary film “Kamejiro, the man the U.S. military was most afraid of” (directed by Takahiko Sako) will be preliminarily screened. The documentary is about politician Kamejiro Senaga who stood firm in protest against tyranny in Okinawa under US occupation.
The movie explores why citizens in Okinawa, where U.S. military bases remain concentrated even 45 years after reversion, continue to raise their voice, carrying on Senaga’s “unyielding” spirit.
June 30, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo
On July 7 the Trilateral Liaison Council concerning U.S. Kadena Air Base, which consists of Kadena Town, Okinawa City, and Chatan Town, will go to Tokyo. There, the council will submit its appeal to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and the Ministry of Defense (MOD), requesting that parachute drop training at Kadena Air Base be discontinued and that use of the former U.S. Navy aircraft parking apron be prohibited. Four representatives of the Okinawa Prefectural government and other municipal government bodies will unite, proclaiming that they will not allow exceptions being made to the U.S.-Japan Joint Committee Agreement.
Up until now the prefectural government has taken the standpoint that parachute drop training should be carried out in accordance with the intent of the Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO) final report, and has not yet gone so far as to allude to prohibition of this training at Kadena Air Base. However, based on local feeling in the three aforementioned municipalities, which is due to training being forcibly conducted again and again, the prefectural government has come to request that the training be discontinued.
By Karin Stanton and Jill Burke
KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii/WILLOW, Alaska (Reuters) - Disused military tunnels snake beneath the crater of Diamond Head, out of sight of the tourists lounging near the volcano on Waikiki Beach but very much on the mind of Gene Ward, a state representative from Honolulu.
Alarmed by North Korea's latest missile tests and claims that its newly developed intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) can carry a large nuclear warhead, Ward believes it is time to refurbish the tunnels as civilian shelters in case of a North Korean attack.
"We've had wake-up calls before but what happened on July 3 is shaking us out of bed," said Ward, referring to Pyongyang's latest missile test.
Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Wesley Clark cautioned on Thursday that the U.S. has limited options in ending the North Korean missile crisis.
Clark spoke after President Donald Trump pledged in a speech in Warsaw, Poland, to confront Pyongyang "very strongly."
"There really are no good military options with Korea," Clark said on CNBC's "Squawk Box." "We're at the end of the line at which you can simply fly a couple of B-2 bombers over and threaten North Korea. We've done that in the past. It hasn't worked."
The crisis reached a new peak on the Fourth of July, when North Korea successfully test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile that experts said could reach Alaska.