U.S. official warns Australia it must choose between U.S. and China


Reuters reported that “A senior U.S. soldier said on Sept. 1 that Australia must choose between a stronger U.S. alliance or closer ties with China, and urged Canberra to take a tougher stance against Chinese claims in the South China Sea.

“The Pentagon, however, disputed the statement by U.S. Army Assistant Chief of Staff Colonel Tom Hanson, saying it did not represent the position of the U.S. government.

“I think the Australians need to make a choice … it’s very difficult to walk this fine line between balancing the alliance with the United States and the economic engagement with China,” Colonel Hanson said on Australian Broadcasting Corp. Radio.

“There’s going to have to be a decision as to which one is more of a vital national interest for Australia,” he said, adding that the comments reflected his personal view and were not necessarily that of the U.S. government.

“The idea that Australia, or any country, needs to choose between its longstanding ties to the United States and its emerging links with China presents a false choice,” U.S. Navy Commander Gary Ross, a Pentagon spokesman, said. . “Australia has strong, multifaceted ties with its Pacific neighbors, including China, just as we seek the same.”

Colonel Hanson’s comments came after a  parliamentary booklet warned Australian lawmakers to treat Chinese motives in Asia-Pacific region with caution as Beijing moves, many observers think, to establish hegemony in the South China Sea

To read the entire article on this, please hit this link.


U.S., India tighten de-facto defense alliance


The United States and India  agreed Aug 29 to allow the use of each other’s land, air and naval bases for repair and resupply, part of an initiative to tighten their growing de-facto defense alliance to counter  China’s  growing military aggressiveness, especially in the South and East China Seas.

The signing of the agreement will “make the logistics of joint operations so much easier and so much more efficient,” U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in a news briefing with Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar.

To read the Reuters article on this, please hit this link.


Russia-N. Korea-Chinese alliance may be pushing Asia/Pacific toward war


Anders Corr, writing in Forbes.com, warns that the  aggressive dictatorships of China, Russia and North Korea may be pushing the Asia/Pacific region toward war.

Mr. Corr writes: “Official news sources in China have claimed that plans to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-ballistic missile system in South Korea {to protect itself from North Korean nuclear missile threats} are pushing China, Russia, and North Korea into closer relations, what I would call a de facto authoritarian alliance.”

He goes on: “China is the only country, of these three, not currently subject to international economic sanctions, yet it is driving the conflict in Asia. The international community should impose such sanctions before Asia spirals into military conflict.   Not doing so encourages continued risk-taking on the part of China.

“On the flip side of this authoritarian alliance, Chinese, North Korean, and Russian belligerency is uniting the Asian democracies. Japan and South Korea, along with the U.S. and Australia, are increasingly tough on China and North Korea. In what is spiraling towards a potential military conflict, or at the very least an arms race and media war, South Korea plans to have the U.S. deploy THAAD in its territory, and Japan wants to speed up purchase of a THAAD system under its own operational control. THAAD is the latest issue to unite the U.S., Japan, South Korea, and Australia, against China and North Korea…”

To read all of Mr. Corr’s remarks, please hit this link.

Vietnam reportedly fortifies some islands against China


The Guardian and Reuters  passed on not totally confirmed reports that Vietnam has fortified several islands it controls in the South China Sea with mobile rocket launchers  so  that it can strike Chinese military bases in the region. This would be one of the most assertive Vietnamese moves in decades and would be in response to China growing militarization in the sea, which it claims control of in violation of international law.

To read the full article on this, please hit this link.

Chinese regime hurts itself in show trials


This week’s show trials  of lawyers who had the courage to defend those campaigning for human rights in the increasingly tough dictatorship of Chinese President Xi Jinping may be in the short-term interest of the Chinese government, but it will hurt the regime in the long term, writes the BBC’s Carrie Gracie.

“With many of the bravest and most defiant in China’s legal community now humiliated, cowed, discredited and jailed, who will represent the child poisoned by toxic milk powder, the ethnic minority academic accused of separatism, the feminist protesting sexual harassment or the citizen maimed by unaccountable thugs? In a world full of danger and drama, the Tianjin {show} trials have won little attention at home or abroad.

“Only China watchers and human rights campaigners freeze to attention as a mighty country, one which says it is ruled by law, holds a group of lawyers for a year without access to family or representation, and then convicts them in trials unworthy of a great nation.”

To read the essay, please hit this link.