China’s Plot to Deploy Army Against North Korea Could Start WW3

New photos of a recent highway construction in China could be part of a contingency plan to invade North Korea or amass a huge army on their shared border. Experts fear this newly uncovered plot could stoke the fires of World War 3, inevitably involving the United States.
According to The Express UK, communist China has traditionally been North Korea’s closest ally, but Kim Jong-un’s continued nuclear and ballistic missile tests have tested Beijing’s patience on the rising tensions worldwide. These new revelations also come as North Korea was spotted transporting 30 Scud missiles from Hwangju, south of the capital Pyongyang, to Nampo, on the Korea Bay coast opposite China.
New photos have emerged and they reveal that the Communist superpower is building a six-lane highway in its desolately populated northeast on route to North Korea. With most Chinese peasants not able to afford the luxury of a car, the construction of the G1112 Ji’an – Shuangliao Expressway, has led experts to believe it will be used for quick deployment of tanks and troops to its North Korean border. The photos obtained by Daily Star Online show Chinese construction workers digging tunnels through the mountains and massive cranes constructing bridges over rivers.

This post was published at shtfplan on October 16th, 2017.

US Deploys Special Forces “Decapitation” Team To South Korea

Today, the South Korean and U. S. navies kicked off massive combined drills off the coast of the Korean peninsula amid heightened tensions, a training exercise which North Korea has warned may prompt another ballistic missile launch potentially to coincide with the launch of the Chinese 19th Party Congress on October 18. The two allies plan to continue the Maritime Counter Special Operations Exercise (MCSOFEX) through Friday in the East Sea and the Yellow Sea.
As reported over the weekend, the drill involves the U. S. 7th Fleet’s aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) and two Arleigh Burke-class destroyers – the USS Stethem (DDG-63) and the USS Mustin (DDG-89). The carrier strike group will train with South Korean warships and other defense assets, such as the Sejong the Great Aegis ship and P-3 Orion anti-submarine aircraft in the East Sea.
And while details of the drill were well-known in advance, what was reported for the first time overnight from Yonhap is that a unit of U. S. special forces tasked with carrying out “decapitation” operations is also aboard a nuclear-powered submarine in the group, according to a defense source. So far, little else is known about why said decapitation team is on location, or whether it will be put into use, although it presence may explain Trump’s “calm before the storm” comment that beffudled the media two weeks ago.
Among other assets mobilized for the joint drill are F-15K, FA-18 and A-10 fighter jets, as well as AH-64E Apache attack helicopters, Lynx and AW-159 Wild Cat naval choppers. The U. S. has also deployed a Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) plane to closely monitor the North’s ground and naval forces.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 16, 2017.

The True Danger Of The North Korea Crisis: It Could Cost America Its Allies

Tough North Korea rhetoric from the U. S. administration continues. Major South Korean media increasingly talk as if U. S. air strikes are likely, and theexpert community seems increasingly resigned to them as well. Despite constant criticism of his incendiary language, President Donald Trump continues to suggest that major action against North Korea is imminent – most recently by suggesting that we are now in a period of ‘calm before the storm.’
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I have argued in these pages that such strikes would be an enormous risk. We do not know what the North’s redlines for retaliation against such a strike are. We do not know if the strikes would so unnerve the North’s elites that war was next, that they would respond with enormous force, possibly including nuclear weapons. An expert study of this scenario suggests appalling casualty numbers. We also do not know what China’s thresholds are for intervention. China is treaty-bound to help North Korea if it is attacked. It may not, but if a U. S. air strike against North Korea spirals into a major conflict, then the likelihood of Chinese intervention rises.
It is also worth noting that even if the Chinese and North Koreans do not respond to air strikes, North Korea will almost certainly deploy human shields as soon as the bombs start to fall. And the North has so many targets that the United States would like to hit, that any ‘air strike’ would look a lot more like a major air campaign and not a quick ‘surgical strike,’ as in Syria earlier this year. An air campaign against sites with human shields means a high civilian death toll. The North Koreans will not make this easy for us at all.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 16, 2017.

“China’s Big Reshuffle”: A Preview Of The Year’s Biggest Political Event, China’s 19th Party Congress

Nearly two years after the historic, and still mysterious “Shanghai Accord” which in early 2016 halted what at the time appeared to a global collapse in capital markets courtesy of what appears to have been unprecedented political, fiscal and monetary coordination between the developed world and China, on October 18 the world turns its attention to what is arguably the most important political event of the year, and the logical conclusion to the stabilization process which started with the Accord, when the Chinese Communist Party kicks off its 19th Party Congress, the political event that will determine the country’s leadership lineup and policy priorities for the next five years.
Given the emphasis on maintaining stability in the run-up to this pivotal political transition, what the Congress will mean for China’s economy, its markets, and its place in the world is why Goldman has dedicated its latest “Top of Mind” periodical to the Congress, with editor Allison Nathan asking two experts on Chinese politics how Xi Jinping – who is already widely regarded as the most powerful leader of China since Mao Zedong – can use the reshuffle to further consolidate power. And, more importantly, what he intends to do with it: pursue economic reforms more aggressively or maintain the status quo.
Specifically, five of seven seats on the Politburo Standing Committee (PSC) – the senior-most CCP leadership – are expected to turn over, as is about half of the Politburo, the 25-member decision-making body that sits just below the PSC.
To explore these issues, Goldman sat down with two Chinese political experts, David Shambaugh of the George Washington University and Willy Lam of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Both anticipate the Congress will cement Xi Jinping’s absolute authority over the CCP and the country. And both raise the possibility that Xi could be paving the way to stay in power beyond two terms, in a break with historical norms. However, Shambaugh and Lam view Xi as a visionary, not a reformist. They believe his overriding goal is to strengthen and perpetuate CCP rule, with no tolerance for policies that could destabilize the political order. (Lam argues, for example, that Xi is determined to avoid the political self-criticism that he believes brought down the USSR.) As such, both experts see only limited prospects for economic reform. But one possibility to watch: a potential reshuffling involving the role of premier that might signal a more aggressive reform stance.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 15, 2017.

China Looking at Taking Stake in Aramco

According to local sources in the Middle East, financial difficulties in Saudi Arabia may see a cash injection coming for its oil industry – Aramco. The Saudis are considering a private placement of its shares instead of a traditional float of shares on the stock exchange. The buyer is of course China.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Oct 14, 2017.

Satellite Footage Shows North Korea Preparing Ballistic Missile Launch Ahead Of US Naval Drills

Echoing a report from earlier this week, when on Wednesday the Seoul-based Asia Business Daily reported that North Korea is preparing to fire multiple short-range rockets around the opening of the Chinese Communist Party’s twice-a-decade congress on Oct. 18 – arguably the year’s most important geopolitical event – on Saturday the South Korean press claimed that “North Korea is believed to be preparing to launch a ballistic missile ahead of an upcoming joint naval drill by the US and South Korea”, according to a government source.
The Donga Ilbo daily said satellite pictures show ballistic missiles mounted on “transporter erector vehicles” and being moved out of hangars near Pyongyang and in the North Phyongan Province. US and South Korean military officials suspect the North might be preparing to launch missiles capable of reaching US territory, the newspaper said.
A defence ministry spokesman declined to comment on the report, saying: “we don’t comment on any matters of military intelligence” but added that “we are keeping a close watch over the North.”
Quoted by AFP, Donga Ilbo said that US and South Korean military officials suspect the North might be preparing to launch missiles capable of reaching US territory, and that this could be the Hwasong-14 inter-continental ballistic missile, whose range could extend to Alaska, or Hwasong-12 intermediate-range missiles which Pyongyang threatened to fire towards the US Pacific territory of Guam in Augus . Another possibility is that the North might be preparing to test a new Hwasong-13 ICBM, it added, that has a longer maximum range than the other two missiles and could potentially reach the US West Coast.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 14, 2017.

North Korea Preparing To Fire Multiple Short-Range Missiles Next Week: Report

North Korea is preparing to fire multiple short-range rockets around the opening of the Chinese Communist Party’s twice-a-decade congress on Oct. 18, the Seoul-based Asia Business Daily reports, citing an unidentified person. According to the newspaper, the U. S. and South Korean militaries have recently spotted about 30 Scud rockets being moved from Hwangju, south of the capital Pyongyang, to a missile maintenance facility in the western coastal city of Nampo.
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More from the report, google translated:
According to the authorities, the ROK-US military intelligence agency captured the process of transferring 30 Scud missiles deployed in the Hwangju area of ??North Hwanghae province to a missile repair facility in Jamsun, West Sea, Nampo, through information assets. It is unusual for North Korea to massively move Scud missiles.
The Jangjin missile factory, which North Korea refers to as the Taesung Machinery Factory, is the most important missile production plant in North Korea, producing a variety of missiles such as scud and labor. Kim Jong-un inspects the Jamsil plant in March last year, when the North Korean Workers’ Party chairman passed a resolution imposing sanctions on the UN Security Council, emphasizing that “the working class should shine forth the immortal achievements of the followers with high productivity.” to be.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 11, 2017.

Are Russia And China Right On North Korea?

Authored by Matthew Jamison via The Strategic Culture Foundation,
With the nuclear standoff between North Korea and the United States having heated up significantly over the summer, it has been the Governments of Russia and China who have sought to be the responsible, mature and wise international parties at the United Nations and throughout the international community.
It has been the brilliant diplomacy of Moscow and Beijing who have been the voices urging restraint, calm and dialogue unlike the insane, ridiculous and totally counter-productive rhetoric of the American President Donald Trump and the US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 10, 2017.

Iran and North Korea Demonstrate the Trouble With International Agreements

For over two decades, the American response to North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons has been to seek a diplomatic solution that would give the North Koreans an incentive to abandon their quest. The North Koreans agreed to suspend production of nuclear material, took the money and other incentives, and then proceeded to develop nuclear weapons anyway. This policy of diplomacy, concessions, and betrayal lasted through the administrations of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama, and has now been handed to the Donald Trump administration.
The story with Iran is somewhat similar. Iran, the US, the EU, China, and Russia negotiated a deal in which the Iranians agreed not to develop a nuclear weapon in exchange for the lifting of sanctions. It is unclear whether the Iranians have truly discontinued their nuclear program, but they assuredly have continued to develop missiles that could deliver nuclear weapons to targets.
The US claims that the development of these missiles constitutes a problem worthy of new sanctions; Iran counters that the missiles are not intended to carry nuclear weapons. Either way, Trump is on the verge of declaring that the Iranians are not complying with the agreement and imposing new sanctions and other measures.
A Contract’s Real Value
This is hardly unique to international relations. How often has each of us negotiated an agreement only to find that the other side interprets its meaning differently than we do? Sometimes there is genuine confusion; sometimes there is a deliberate attempt to gain an advantage. In international relations, sometimes the market conditions have changed, or sometimes the relative strength of the signatories has changed.
Whatever the reason, there are those who regard a signed contract as the beginning of the negotiating process and not the end. The outcome frequently rests less on the facts and more on how important the issue is to each side and how deep their pockets are. In business and in diplomacy, a contract’s value rests in the ability to enforce it.

This post was published at Mauldin Economics on OCTOBER 9, 2017.

China On Pace To Dethrone The US

‘Not sure whether China will be nice to self-ruled Taiwan? Wait until after the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party.
What’s in store for the hotly disputed, resource-rich South China Sea, where Beijing has taken a military and technological lead since 2010? Wait until after the Congress.
Coffee maker wouldn’t start today? Wait until after the Congress.
Wait. But you get the idea: This event, due to start Oct. 18, is monumental enough to put a lot of Asia on hold – and make it worry.’
That’s how Ralph Jennings opened his piece for Forbes on Wednesday. Humor aside, the point he’s making is the same one I made at the end of September – that China’s upcoming National Congress is a really big deal.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 8, 2017.

MYANMAR: A Confrontation Between China and ‘Political’ Islam

You are probably aware that you are incompletely informed about what is brewing in Myanmar, and you probably haven’t heard about the military coalition that is preparing to attack that country. And yet, as Thierry Meyssan reveals here, these current events have been in preparation by Riyadh and Washington since 2013. Don’t take sides before you read this article and digest the information.
Pursuing its Grand Strategy of extending the theatre of war [1], the Pentagon is at the same time preparing the instrumentation of the Kurds in the Greater Middle East, a civil war in Venezuela and a war of attrition in the Philippines. However, these conflicts will have to wait for the implementation of a fourth theatre of operations – namely Burma, China’s next-door neighbour.
During the meeting of the UN Security Council on 28 September, the US ambassador and several of her allies accused Myanmar’s coalition government of genocide [2]. This loaded word – which, in European law, designates the massacre of a great number of people, but in US law applies to a method of killing, even if the criminal kills only one person – is enough for Washington to justify a war, with or without the backing of the Security Council, as we saw in Yugoslavia [3]. The meeting of the Security Council was held at the request of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
In order to make the facts correspond to their narrative, the United States, the United Kingdom and France, which had celebrated Aung San Suu Kyi and the Buddhist monks for their non-violent resistance to the dictatorship of the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) during the Saffron revolution in 2007 [4], simply redefined the Burmese army, Nobel Peace Prize-winner Aung San Suu Kyi [5], and all the Buddhists in the country [6] as ‘the bad guys’.

This post was published at 21st Century Wire on OCTOBER 8, 2017.

Putin Strikes Again: Russian Hackers Reportedly Stole NSA Data On Cyber Defense

Looks like Russian President Vladimir Putin is back at it.
The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that hackers working for the Russian government have stolen data describing how US intelligence agencies infiltrate foreign computer networks and how they defend against cyberattacks. The data were stolen after a National Security Agency contractor removed the highly classified material and put it on his home computer, according to WSJ’s anonymous sources.
News of the hack, which hasn’t been exposed previously, explains the federal government’s abrupt crackdown on Moscow-based security firms Kaspersky Labs. As WSJ explains, the contractor may have been targeted after hackers identified the files thanks to the contractor’s use of a popular antivirus software created by Kaspersky.
According to WSJ, the hack is considered by experts to be one of the most significant security breaches in recent years. It offers a rare glimpse into how the intelligence community thinks Russian intelligence exploits the widely available software products. It appears to be one of the most harmful infiltrations of government servers since hackers purportedly sponsored by the Chinese military stole records about US intelligence assets from the Office of Personnel Management’s servers.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 5, 2017.

China’s Oil Demand Is Far Ahead Of Last Year’s Pace

OPEC recently released its Monthly Oil Market Report which covers the global oil supply and demand picture through July.
OPEC crude oil production decreased by 79,000 BPD in August to average 32.8 million BPD. This marks the first OPEC production decline since April and was primarily driven by sizable outages in Libya.
The cartel revised global oil demand growth for 2017 upward by 50,000 barrels per day (BPD) to 1.42 million BPD. The group reports strong growth from the OECD Americas, Europe, and China.
Global oil demand for 2018 is expected to grow by 1.35 million BPD, an upward revision of 70,000 BPD from the previous report. Growth next year is expected to be driven by OECD Europe and China.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 5, 2017.

Russia Increases Economic Support For North Korea As China Backs Away

Over the past two months, China, North Korea’s economic benefactor and formally the source of 90% of its foreign trade, has been withdrawing financial support, ostensibly under the auspices of US sanctions, as Communist Party leaders try to rein in the North’s nuclear program to appease the US and prevent a potentially destabilizing conflict on its border – a development that would be particularly unwelcome during the Communist Party’s upcoming national congress.
As we reported earlier this week, North Korea’s thriving black-market economy (the county earns hundreds of millions of dollars a year from illegal weapons sales, along with other illicit activities rumored to include counterfeiting of US dollars and the manufacture of methamphetamine) has helped blunt the economic impact of UN sanctions meant to reduce the country’s legitimate exports by 90%.
Last month, China ordered North Korean businesses operating in the country to close, and asked its banks to stop doing business with North Korean businesses and individuals in accordance with the latest round of UN Security Council sanctions.
But as China withdraws, Reuters reports that Russia, which shares a small border with North Korea along the country’s eastern flank, is quietly stepping in to offer economic support for its restive neighbor, even after declining to use its veto power to kill UN sanctions against the rogue state.
Russia’s reasoning is simple: If the North Korean regime falls, more US troops could deploy near Russia’s eastern border – an eventuality that Moscow would like to avoid, given the NATO buildup in Europe.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 5, 2017.