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সব প্রস্তুত, লড়াই শুরু এখন [...]

সব প্রস্তুত, লড়াই শুরু এখন

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চীন : জাপান = ২(চীন, উত্তর কোরিয়া) : ২(জাপান, দক্ষিণ কোরিয়া)

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চি জিনপিং (Xi Jinping) হলেন বিপ্লবী কমিউনিস্ট পার্টির জাপান খেদাও আন্দোলনের নায়ক চি ঝংচুনের (Xi Zhongxun) ছেলে।

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শিনজো আবে (Shinzo Abe) হলেন জাপানের যুদ্ধকালীন মন্ত্রী নবুসুকে কিশি (Nobusuke Kishi) যিনি জাপান অধিকৃত মাঞ্চুরিয়া শাসনে প্রধান ভূমিকা নিয়েছিলেন, তার নাতি।

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কিম জং-উন (Kim Jong-un) হলেন কিম ইল-সুং ( Kim Il-sung) যিনি জাপানের উপনিবেশ থেকে উত্তর কোরিয়াকে মুক্ত করেছিলেন, তার নাতি।

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পার্ক গিউন-হাই ( Park Geun-hye) হলেন ১৯৬১ সালে সেনা কু-এর মাধ্যমে ক্ষমতায় আসা এবং ১৯৭৯ সালে খুন হওয়ার আগ পর্যন্ত দক্ষিণ কোরিয়ার একনায়ক পার্ক চুং-হি ( Park Chung-hee)এর মেয়ে।

এই হল খেলোয়াড়দের কুষ্ঠি, এরাই ২০১৩ থেকে হয়ে উঠবে পৃথিবীর সবচেয়ে বিপদজনক খেলোয়াড়, এরাই করবে প্রশান্ত মহাসাগরের ঊর্মিমালা অশান্ত — আর সেখানেও দ্বিতীয় বিশ্বযুদ্ধে ইউরোপের দূরবর্তী যোদ্ধাশক্তি আমেরিকা থাকবে কৌশলগত বিকট সর্বত্রব্যাপ্ত ইউএসমেরিনকর্পস হিসাবে।

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মাসুদ করিম

লেখক। যদিও তার মৃত্যু হয়েছে। পাঠক। যেহেতু সে পুনর্জন্ম ঘটাতে পারে। সমালোচক। কারণ জীবন ধারন তাই করে তোলে আমাদের। আমার টুইট অনুসরণ করুন, আমার টুইট আমাকে বুঝতে অবদান রাখে। নিচের আইকনগুলো দিতে পারে আমার সাথে যোগাযোগের, আমাকে পাঠের ও আমাকে অনুসরণের একগুচ্ছ মাধ্যম।

৬৩ comments

  1. মাসুদ করিম - ২৮ জানুয়ারি ২০১৩ (৯:৫০ পূর্বাহ্ণ)

    এখানে আরো কিছু নাম অনায়াসে যুক্ত হয়ে যাবে — ফিলিপাইন, তাইওয়ান, ভিয়েতনাম, সিঙ্গাপুর, ইন্দোনেশিয়া, অস্ট্রেলিয়া, ভারত। এই অশান্ত অবস্থার লক্ষ্য বলা হচ্ছে চীনকে, না চীন শুধু লক্ষ্য নয় উপলক্ষও। আরো কয়েকটি দেশের কথা নিচের লেখাটিতে আসেনি, সেদেশগুলোও অনায়াসে যোগ হতে পারে — বার্মা, বাংলাদেশ, থাইল্যান্ড, মালেশিয়া।

    311412[1]

  2. মাসুদ করিম - ১৯ ফেব্রুয়ারি ২০১৩ (৩:১৩ অপরাহ্ণ)

    3472788141

    Secret Chinese military unit believed to be behind cyber attacks in U.S.

    Report by U.S. computer security company identifies the People’s Liberation Army’s Shanghai-based Unit 61398 as the most likely driving force behind series of hacking attacks

    A secretive Chinese military unit is believed to be behind a prolific series of hacking attacks, a U.S. computer security company said, contradicting claims by China’s government that it is not involved in such operations.

    The report by Mandiant identified the People’s Liberation Army’s Shanghai-based Unit 61398 as the most likely driving force behind the hacking. Mandiant said it believed the unit had carried out “sustained” attacks on a wide set of industries.

    “The nature of ‘Unit 61398’s’ work is considered by China to be a state secret; however, we believe it engages in harmful ‘Computer Network Operations’,” Mandiant said in the report released in the United States on Monday.

    “It is time to acknowledge the threat is originating in China, and we wanted to do our part to arm and prepare security professionals to combat that threat effectively,” it said.

    China’s Defense Ministry did not immediately respond to faxed questions about the report on Tuesday.

    Unit 61398 is located in Shanghai’s Pudong district, China’s financial and banking hub, and is staffed by perhaps thousands of people proficient in English as well as computer programming and network operations, the report said.

    The unit has stolen “hundreds of terabytes of data from at least 141 organizations across a diverse set of industries beginning as early as 2006”, it said.

    Most of the victims were located in the United States, with smaller numbers in Canada and Britain. The information stolen ranged from details on mergers and acquisitions to the emails of senior employees, the report said.

    The Chinese government has consistently denied being involved in such activities. Experts scoff at the denials.

    “The PLA plays a key role in China’s multi-faceted security strategy, so it makes sense that its resources would be used to facilitate economic cyber espionage that helps the Chinese economy,” said Dmitri Alperovitch, chief technology officer and co-founder of CrowdStrike, one of Mandiant’s competitors.

  3. মাসুদ করিম - ৮ মার্চ ২০১৩ (১২:৫৪ অপরাহ্ণ)

    34925781

  4. মাসুদ করিম - ১২ মার্চ ২০১৩ (২:৫৪ অপরাহ্ণ)

    China, S Korea envoys skip tsunami ceremony

    Japan said Tuesday it was “disappointed” that China did not send anyone to a ceremony marking the second anniversary of the tsunami, in the latest sign of deteriorating ties between the two countries.

    Beijing’s apparent snub came after Japan invited representatives from Taiwan to take part on an equal footing with other diplomats in the national remembrance for people killed by the 2011 quake-tsunami.

    The move also came as tensions between Tokyo and Beijing simmer over a territorial row, with Chinese government ships on Tuesday spotted in disputed waters, the latest salvo in a spat over the sovereignty of uninhabited, but strategically vital, islands.

    “The Japanese government explained to China that we would treat Taiwan appropriately in this ceremony considering its enormous support to us,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters.

    Tokyo told Beijing “that this would not change Japan’s position over the status of Taiwan as stipulated in the Japan-China Joint Communique”, he said.

    “But China didn’t understand and was absent from the ceremony, which is extremely disappointing and a great pity,” he said.

    China considers Taiwan a renegade province and aims to bring it back under control, using force if necessary.

    In the 1972 joint communique, Japan recognized China “as the sole legal government of China”.

    China’s foreign ministry said in a statement Monday that Beijing had expressed opposition to Japan’s move in which it “treated a representative from Taiwan the same as diplomatic envoys and members of international institutions.”

    On the first anniversary of the disaster, Japan’s then-government, led by Yoshihiko Noda, excluded Taiwan’s representative from a list of countries and territories read out at the ceremony.

    However, Japan’s representative office in Taipei published half-page “thank-you” advertisements in major newspapers on the island, recording the government’s gratitude for aid from Taiwan that local media estimated came to around $224 million.

    Relations between Beijing and Tokyo have deteriorated badly over the last year as the two sides have bickered over the sovereignty of Tokyo-controlled islands in the East China Sea.

    Suga also told the press conference that no diplomatic representative from South Korea had been at the tsunami ceremony, in which a minute of silence was observed in commemoration of the more than 18,000 who lost their lives in Japan’s worst post-war disaster.

    However, he said Seoul informed Tokyo on Monday its envoy’s absence was due to a clerical mistake.

    Japan and South Korea have a dispute over a different set of islands, which sit in the sea midway between the two nations.

  5. মাসুদ করিম - ২৮ মার্চ ২০১৩ (৩:০৪ পূর্বাহ্ণ)

    Johnson-MAP-040413_jpg_630x1100_q85

  6. মাসুদ করিম - ৩১ মার্চ ২০১৩ (৯:৫৭ পূর্বাহ্ণ)

  7. মাসুদ করিম - ২ এপ্রিল ২০১৩ (১০:৩২ পূর্বাহ্ণ)

  8. মাসুদ করিম - ১০ এপ্রিল ২০১৩ (১১:২৫ পূর্বাহ্ণ)

  9. মাসুদ করিম - ১৫ এপ্রিল ২০১৩ (১০:০১ পূর্বাহ্ণ)

  10. মাসুদ করিম - ১৯ এপ্রিল ২০১৩ (৫:৩৭ অপরাহ্ণ)

  11. মাসুদ করিম - ২৪ এপ্রিল ২০১৩ (২:৫৯ অপরাহ্ণ)

    North Korea has started building anti-tank barricade lines near the border with the South, the Yonhap news agency said on Wednesday citing a Chinese TV channel.

    China’s Beijing TV showed footage of North Korean servicemen building structures from logs, stones and concrete. The report said the barricades were possibly intended to hold South Korea’s tanks and other military vehicles in case of a war.

  12. মাসুদ করিম - ১ মে ২০১৩ (১১:৩৫ পূর্বাহ্ণ)

    শুধু প্রশান্ত ঊর্মিমালাই অশান্ত হবে তা নয়, অশান্ত পর্বতমালাও আরো অশান্ত হয়ে উঠবে। এর ফলে ভারতসহ পুরো দক্ষিণ এশিয়াই জড়িয়ে যাবে করুণ যুদ্ধপরিস্থিতিতে।

  13. মাসুদ করিম - ২ মে ২০১৩ (২:৫১ অপরাহ্ণ)

  14. মাসুদ করিম - ১৯ মে ২০১৩ (৬:৪৬ অপরাহ্ণ)

  15. মাসুদ করিম - ২৯ মে ২০১৩ (১২:৩৯ অপরাহ্ণ)

    N. Korea Wants Peace Treaty with South – Media

    Wednesday’s edition of Rodong Sinmun, an official paper of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK), has published an article calling for the replacement of the Korean War armistice deal with Seoul by a formal peace treaty, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported.

    The paper, which effectively reflects the view of the ruling party and its leadership, said there was “a pressing need to replace the Armistice Agreement, which is a relic of the war, with a permanent peace regime.”

    The article states that the armistice treaty, signed at the end of the 1950-1953 Korean War, benefits only the United States, and Washington’s move to hold onto the deal reflects its desire “to stifle the DPRK by force.”

    “If the peace regime was created in the past, the current standoff over denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula would not have become a problem in the first place,” the article reads.

    The statement comes a day after North Korea announced it would not give up its nuclear deterrent capability amid “continuing U.S. threats.”

    Tensions rose sharply on the Korean Peninsula in December last year after North Korea tested a Taepodong 2 missile and again in February when it carried out its third nuclear test.

    The UN Security Council imposed new sanctions against the reclusive Communist state over the tests, the United States and South Korea began joint military exercises in March, and Seoul warned of possible preemptive strikes against its northern neighbor.

    That triggered a belligerent reaction from Pyongyang, which declared an end to its truce with South Korea; denounced all denuclearization agreements to which it was a signatory; cut off an emergency hotline to Seoul; threatened to attack US bases in Okinawa, Guam and Pearl Harbor; closed the Kaesong industrial zone it runs jointly with South Korea; reportedly moved two ballistic missiles to its southern border; and urged the evacuation of all foreigners from both Koreas.

    However, Pyongyang seemed to soften its belligerent stance this month when it lifted the highest combat alert for its armed forces and withdrew ballistic missiles from their launch sites in the east.

    During his visit to China last week, a special envoy for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Choe Ryong Hae, said that Pyongyang was ready to return to six-party talks on its controversial nuclear program.

  16. মাসুদ করিম - ৯ জুন ২০১৩ (২:২৭ অপরাহ্ণ)

  17. মাসুদ করিম - ৯ জুন ২০১৩ (৫:৫৪ অপরাহ্ণ)

  18. মাসুদ করিম - ২০ জুন ২০১৩ (১০:৩৬ পূর্বাহ্ণ)

  19. মাসুদ করিম - ২৭ জুলাই ২০১৩ (১২:২২ অপরাহ্ণ)

  20. মাসুদ করিম - ৩১ জুলাই ২০১৩ (৩:৩৪ অপরাহ্ণ)

  21. মাসুদ করিম - ২১ আগস্ট ২০১৩ (৬:৩৪ অপরাহ্ণ)

  22. মাসুদ করিম - ৭ অক্টোবর ২০১৩ (৬:৫৯ অপরাহ্ণ)

    China warns U.S., Japan, Australia not to gang up in sea disputes

    China said on Monday the United States, Australia and Japan should not use their alliance as an excuse to intervene in territorial disputes in the East China Sea and South China Sea, and urged them to refrain from inflaming regional tensions.

    On Friday, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry raised the maritime disputes during a trilateral strategic dialogue in Bali, Indonesia.

    Relations between China and Japan, the world’s second- and third-largest economies, have been troubled in recent years by a row over tiny, uninhabited islands in the East China Sea known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China.

    In the South China Sea, Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei and China are involved in long-standing sovereignty disputes over the potentially oil- and gas-rich island chain.

    A joint statement from the U.S.-Japan-Australia meeting opposed “coercive or unilateral actions” that could change the status quo in the East China Sea and called on claimants to maritime disputes in the South China Sea to refrain from destabilizing actions, according to the State Department website.

    “The United States, Japan and Australia are allies but this should not become an excuse to interfere in territorial disputes, otherwise it will only make the problems more complicated and harm the interests of all parties,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Monday.

    “We urge the relevant countries to respect facts, distinguish right from wrong, be cautious, and stop all words and deeds that are not beneficial to the proper handling of the issue and undermine regional stability,” she said in comments on the ministry website.

    The U.S.-Japan-Australia meeting took place on the sidelines of an annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting on the Indonesian island of Bali.

    Separately, another Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Qin Gang, voiced China’s opposition to Kishida’s raising of maritime security at an informal breakfast meeting with foreign ministers, saying that it has long been considered inappropriate to discuss issues of political security or sensitive and controversial topics at APEC.

    “There has not been a problem with freedom and security of navigation in this region for a long time,” Qin said in another statement released late on Sunday.

    “Playing up so-called maritime security issue goes against real efforts for the freedom and security of navigation.”

  23. মাসুদ করিম - ২৫ নভেম্বর ২০১৩ (১২:১৬ পূর্বাহ্ণ)

  24. মাসুদ করিম - ১ ডিসেম্বর ২০১৩ (১১:৪০ পূর্বাহ্ণ)

    The Air Defense Identification Zone is airspace over land or water in which the ready identification, location, and control of civil aircraft over land or water is required in the interest of national security. China’s Defence Ministry announced its ADIZ over a vast area in the East China Sea on November 23, 2013, which covers the area around the Diaoyu islands, controlled by Japan and known as the Senkaku Islands. The establishment of this zone drew strong opposition from Japan, the US and South Korea, becoming a flashpoint in East Asian politics and security.

    Beijing’s air defence zone aimed at making Tokyo negotiate, analysts say

    China hopes to force Japan back to the negotiating table over disputed islands in the East China Sea by establishing an air defence identification zone (ADIZ) there, analysts say.

    Beijing’s declaration of the zone last week attracted criticism – and warplanes – from Japan and its ally the United States, and drew the ire of South Korea and Taiwan, whose own air defence zones partly overlap Beijing’s.

    But analysts said Beijing’s primary goal remained pressing Tokyo to forsake its stance over the Diaoyu Islands, which Japan calls the Senkakus.

    “The biggest concern is the overlapping of Chinese and Japanese air zones, including the airspace above the disputed Diaoyu Islands … that implies the risk of a clash between both sides’ fighter jets increasing,” said Professor Liu Jiangyong , an expert on Sino-Japanese relations at Tsinghua University.

    “To reduce such risk, it has became more pressing for both sides to sit down and negotiate the dispute over the Diaoyus,” Liu said. “That has been all along what China asked for: Japan has to acknowledge there is a sovereignty dispute.”

    Xu Guangyu , a retired People’s Liberation Army general, agreed.

    “The eventual purpose is to force Japan to sit down with China, to avoid miscalculation and escalation,” Xu said.

    Japanese news agency Kyodo has reported that Tang Jiaxuan , a former state councillor overseeing foreign policy, put forward the proposal during a meeting with Japanese politicians in Beijing on Wednesday.

    “Similar to the established bilateral crisis-management mechanism by Chinese and Japanese defence departments at sea, management for aviation activities is necessary, and this issue should be discussed,” Tang reportedly told his guests.

    But the proposal apparently was not well received in Tokyo.

    On Friday, Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera said his country “cannot accept any negotiation request from the Chinese side over how the ADIZ should be operated”.

    “Under the Chinese air defence identification zone, the Senkaku Islands become Chinese territory, so Japan cannot accept it,” the Financial Times quoted Onodera as saying.

    Professor Ni Lexiong , a Shanghai-based military expert, said Beijing might also be aware that if the air zone works in settling the situation with Japan, it could send a signal to claimants in its other territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

    “President Xi Jinping may have found the country now in a somewhat similar situation to what it once faced during Mao Zedong’s days – coupling domestics politics with formidable foreign threats,” Ni said. “He may have to resort to Mao’s strongman approach.”

    Analysts said the chance of a real military clash between China and other parties remained limited. Peng Tinghua, a freelance military blogger, said: “Other countries like South Korea and the US have also reacted fiercely on [ADIZ]. But China is not targeting them. Forget a direct confrontation with the US.”

    Liu of Tsinghua University said: “In its protests, Japan is acting like a kid losing his temper.”

  25. মাসুদ করিম - ৫ ডিসেম্বর ২০১৩ (৩:০৪ অপরাহ্ণ)

  26. মাসুদ করিম - ৯ ডিসেম্বর ২০১৩ (৭:১২ অপরাহ্ণ)

  27. মাসুদ করিম - ৩ জানুয়ারি ২০১৪ (৫:২২ অপরাহ্ণ)

    Take East Asia: The new geopolitical crisis there has been triggered by China’s muscular move in declaring an Air Defence Identification Zone (Adiz) extending to territories it does not control. This is just the latest example of China’s territorial creep in Asia.

    As China accumulates economic and military power, it has increasingly taken to flexing its muscles, ratcheting up territorial disputes with multiple neighbours and seeking to alter the status quo through surprise actions. It is nibbling at territories held by several neighbours, as highlighted by its growing military incursions across the long and disputed Himalayan border with India, its success in outwitting the Philippines to gain effective control of the Scarborough Shoal and the Second Thomas Shoal, and its aggressive moves against Vietnam over their unsettled maritime boundary.

  28. মাসুদ করিম - ৩ জানুয়ারি ২০১৪ (১১:৪৯ অপরাহ্ণ)

    Can a Sunken Rock Unite Japan and Korea?

    All the drama surrounding China’s declaration of a vast “air-defense identification zone” off its shores centers on the disputed islands known as the Senkaku by Japan, which administers them, and the Diaoyu by China, which challenges Tokyo’s claim. The new zone encompasses the airspace over the islands: Beijing wants any planes in the area to identify themselves beforehand or face unspecified, possibly military, action. Japan scoffs at this demand, as does the U.S., which has accused China of unilaterally trying to alter the status quo by threat of force.

    The issue dominated U.S. Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Tokyo today — and will do the same when he travels to Beijing tomorrow. The Japanese have been pushing the U.S. — which has recommended that American airlines respect China’s rules even if the U.S. military will not — to take an even tougher stand against Beijing. If he really wants to undercut China, though, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe should be focusing on another island entirely.

    Well, not an island exactly. Socotra Rock is a submerged rock feature sitting 15 feet below the surface of the East China Sea. The nearest actual territory — less than 100 miles to the north — belongs to South Korea, which calls the rock Ieodo and has built a towering helipad and research station on top of it to reinforce its claim. China, which also claims the feature (which it calls Suyan Rock), has extended its air-defense zone to cover it as well.

    Outraged commentators in Seoul have called on the government to extend its own air-defense zone into the area — something that wasn’t considered necessary when the zone was drawn (by the U.S. Air Force) in 1951. In fact, until now the only defense zone that included the airspace above Socotra Rock belonged to Japan, which has made no claim on the feature whatsoever.

    That last detail gives Abe an opening, as Rand Corp. analyst Scott Harold points out. The prime minister could score an easy PR coup by offering to redraw Japan’s air-defense area, in close consultation with Seoul. In effect, Japan would cede the airspace over Socotra to South Korea to monitor. Abe could even earn a few brownie points by publicly calling the rock Ieodo — an emotional issue for hardcore Korean nationalists — and offering to collaborate in the marine research taking place there.

    Such a move would accomplish two critical goals. For one thing, it would underscore exactly what China did wrong in unilaterally declaring its defense zone. Beijing is right that 20 other nations — including its two neighbors and the U.S. — have established their own such zones. But in doing so, none of them tried to restrict airspace claimed by another country. Where zones butted up next to one another, as in North America, the countries involved hashed out the boundaries together. China’s zone is hardly so comradely.

    A show of cooperativeness here could also help thaw relations between Japan and South Korea, which have gone into a deep freeze. In recent weeks South Korean President Park Geun Hye has flatly declared that she sees no point in even sitting down to talk with Abe, whom she accuses of trying to whitewash Japan’s wartime record. U.S. officials have fretted that Park, who received a rock star’s welcome when she visited Beijing in June, was drifting closer to China than to fellow U.S. ally Japan.

    Chinese officials clearly recognize that they’ve blundered by nipping off the airspace over Socotra Rock. They vow to resolve any issues with South Korea through “friendly consultations and negotiations.” But Beijing can’t afford to back down on the boundaries of its zone, not least because of raging nationalist sentiment at home.

    Japan can and should. Shrinking its own air-defense zone a bit wouldn’t materially threaten the country’s security or its claim over the Senkaku/Diaoyu. Even if South Korean officials — some of whom have started to make friendlier noises about Japan in the last few days — don’t immediately respond, Abe would at least earn credit with the U.S. If Seoul embraces the idea, all three nations would be able to present a stronger, more united front against China.

    How to exploit that solidarity is a separate issue. In Tokyo, Biden said the U.S. was “deeply concerned” about China’s recent move but did not call for the zone’s outright rollback, knowing that would be an impossible demand. The best one can probably hope for is that China quietly does not enforce the zone against Japanese, Korean and U.S. military planes that fly through without identifying themselves. That will only work, of course, if the three allies don’t loudly publicize their defiance and China’s lack of response. Abe should remember that some grand gestures are worth making — and some are not.

  29. মাসুদ করিম - ৮ জানুয়ারি ২০১৪ (১:৪০ অপরাহ্ণ)

    The United States said on Tuesday it will send 800 more soldiers and about 40 Abrams main battle tanks and other armored vehicles to South Korea next month as part of a military rebalance to East Asia after more than a decade of war in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    The battalion of troops and M1A2 tanks and about 40 Bradley fighting vehicles from the 1st U.S. Cavalry Division based at Fort Hood, Texas, will begin a nine-month deployment in South Korea on February 1.

    A Pentagon spokesman said the personnel would remain for nine months but on departing would leave their equipment behind to be used by follow-on rotations of U.S. forces.

    “This addition of forces to Korea is part of the rebalance to the Pacific. It’s been long planned and is part of our enduring commitment to security on the Korean peninsula,” Army Colonel Steve Warren said.

    “This gives the commanders in Korea an additional capacity: two companies of tanks, two companies of Bradleys,” he said.

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se in Washington on Tuesday and stated the U.S. position on nuclear weapons in North Korea.

    “The United States and the Republic of Korea stand very firmly united, without an inch of daylight between us, not a sliver of daylight, on the subject of opposition to North Korea’s destabilizing nuclear and ballistic missile programs and proliferation activities,” Kerry said.

    The United States has some 28,000 troops based in South Korea, which has remained technically at war with Communist North Korea since the 1950-1953 Korean conflict ended in stalemate.

    The deployment of additional U.S. troops comes at a time of raised tensions on the Korean peninsula after North Korea executed the powerful uncle of young leader Kim Jong Un last month, the biggest upheaval in years as the ruling dynasty.

    South Korea’s Yonhap news agency quoted military officials as saying that the new U.S. troops would be deployed in North Gyeonggi Province, just south of the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas.

    U.S. President Barack Obama announced a strategic rebalancing of U.S. priorities toward the Pacific in late 2011 while ending the direct U.S. military involvement in Iraq and announcing plans to wind down the long U.S. engagement in Afghanistan.

    Since the announcement of that so-called “pivot” in foreign, economic and security policy, the Philippines, Australia and other parts of the region have all seen increased numbers of U.S. warships, planes and personnel.

  30. মাসুদ করিম - ৮ জানুয়ারি ২০১৪ (৬:০৫ অপরাহ্ণ)

    Tokyo announces plan to register 280 isolated isles as state property, as National Security Council is launched, tightening Abe’s grip

    Japan yesterday said it will accelerate the nationalisation of 280 uninhabited islands in a bid to strengthen control of the country’s maritime territory.

    Ichita Yamamoto, minister for oceanic policies and territorial issues, said Tokyo would formally register the remote islands, which are among the more than 400 land features that define Japan’s territorial waters.

    “We will register the remote islands as state property to enhance their management,” Yamamoto said.

    Also yesterday, Tokyo formally launched the administrative office of Japan’s newly established National Security Council, which would strengthen Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s control over various security agencies.

    Tokyo earlier claimed the need for forming a national security council as a response to China’s increasing military assertiveness. But Chinese scholars viewed it as Japan’s attempt to rearm itself and increase its military presence in the region.

    Both moves announced by Tokyo yesterday could further fuel tensions between Japan and its neighbours China and South Korea.

    The locations of these 280 islands are not known yet and it is not clear whether they are contested by other countries. When asked by the South China Morning Post, the secretariat of the Headquarters for Ocean Policy in Japan said the islands were “all around Japan” and were not under dispute. Media reports have said that these islands are without owners, and some of them are even nameless.

    Yamamoto said that Tokyo had finished the nationalisation of 99 remote islands within its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) by August 2011.

    The nationalisation of the 280 islands is seen by some Chinese analysts as a move by Japan to further bolster its maritime power. Relations between China and Japan have soured after a series of events, ranging from China’s establishment of an air defence identification zone over the East China Sea in November to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine last month.

    The Japanese defence ministry said yesterday that it scrambled a military jet in response to a Chinese government plane seen flying towards the disputed islands known as the Diaoyus in China and the Senkakus in Japan, the first such incident since November, when China declared an air defence identification zone which overlaps with Japan’s.

    Da Zhigang , an expert in Japanese affairs at the Heilongjiang Academy of Social Sciences, said Tokyo’s move to nationalise the islands would further dismay China and South Korea. “The timing is very suspicious. Why does Tokyo announce such a plan after Abe’s visit to the Yasukuni shrine?” Da said.

    But Professor Lian Degui , of the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, said Tokyo would only target islands that are not claimed by China or South Korea.

  31. মাসুদ করিম - ১২ জানুয়ারি ২০১৪ (২:০৮ অপরাহ্ণ)

    Abe leading Japan in dangerous direction: Chinese ambassador

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to the Yasukuni Shrine and his government’s provocative policies towards neighboring countries are leading Japan in a very dangerous direction, Chinese Ambassador to Russia Li Hui said Friday.

    In an article published by Russia’s Interfax news agency, Li strongly condemned Abe’s Dec. 26 visit to the shrine, which honors Japan’s war dead, including 14 convicted class-A World War II war criminals.

    Abe’s move challenged generally accepted rules and norms, and was “an open provocation against justice in international relations and insolent trampling of mankind’s common sense,” Li said in the article.

    The shocking action has caused concern not only in neighboring countries such as China and Russia, but also throughout the international community, he said.

    According to Li, the visit was by no means a Japanese internal affair, nor was it Abe’s private business, nor merely an issue in China-Japan and South Korea-Japan relations.

    The real problem, Li said, was that the Japanese leadership was not ready to correctly evaluate and deeply rethink its past of militarism, aggression and colonialism, nor was it ready to obey the UN Charter and principles and follow a peaceful path.

    It was a core issue concerning the line between aggression and repulsion, justice and evil, light and darkness, the Chinese diplomat said, adding that it was also a serious issue of principle concerning the political basis of Japan’s relations with neighboring countries and with the international community as a whole.

    During his first year in office, Abe promoted his theory, whitewashing the history of militarism, aggression and colonialism, and changed Japan’s defense policy, increasing its defense budget and capabilities, Li noted.

    In addition, Abe had snubbed Japan’s pacifist constitution, facilitated a sharp rise of right-wing forces, and staged a farce about the Diaoyu Islands.

    He also tried to play up the so-called China threat, provoked conflicts among Asia-Pacific countries and sought excuses for the revival of Japanese militarism, the diplomat said.

    “The country has become the largest ‘troublemaker’ in Asia,” Li said.

    China and Russia, fighting fascism during World War II and now serving as permanent members of the UN Security Council, have been united under the common understanding and responsibility to defend world justice and post-war order, the diplomat said.

    He recalled a joint declaration released on Sept. 28, 2010, by leaders of Russia and China to mark the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II, which condemned any attempts to falsify the history of World War II, to excuse the Nazis, militarists and their accomplices, and to smear liberators.

    Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, held a phone conversation on the eve of 2014, during which both sides opposed Abe’s visit to the shrine, deeming it a provocation to Japan’s Asian neighbors.

    In the article, Li also mentioned recently released movie “Stalingrad,” saying the popularity of the movie “confirms the two nations’ adherence to justice, their uncompromised moral position, respect to history, and decisiveness to protect the results of World War II,” Li said.

    The Chinese government and people would never forget the Soviet soldiers and civilians who offered help during the war, Li said.

    China would never accept nor tolerate Japanese militarists’ remarks and actions, which still lacked admission and repentance of the crimes they had committed, Li said.

    “Japan’s attempt to deny its past as an aggressor, as well as its attempts to revive militarism, must be perceived by all people in the world with disdain and be rejected,” Li concluded.

  32. মাসুদ করিম - ১৫ জানুয়ারি ২০১৪ (২:০৪ পূর্বাহ্ণ)

    এরমধ্যে সঙ্গত কারণে আফ্রিকাও ঢুকে পড়ল।

    Japan’s Shinzo Abe woos Africa with funds for peace and security

    Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wooed Africa on Tuesday, pledging financial packages to boost peace and security on the continent, which has become a key trading partner with China.

    “In order to respond to conflicts and disasters in Africa, Japan is now preparing to implement assistance of approximately $320 million,” Abe said in his policy speech for the continent at the African Union (AU) headquarters in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia.

    As part of that deal, Abe pledged $25 million to address the crisis in South Sudan, where fighting between government forces and rebels has taken the world’s youngest nation to the brink of all-out civil war.

    On Monday, Abe urged warring South Sudanese parties to sign a cease fire after weeks of violence that has left thousands dead.

    “All parties need to reach an early agreement to stop violence. . . . There also needs to be sincere efforts towards national reconciliation among the ethnic groups,” Abe added.

    Around 400 Self-Defense Forces personnel are in South Sudan as part of a U.N. peacekeeping force.

    “Japan believes mediation from neighboring states such as Ethiopia is vital and should be supported,” Abe said.

    Japan has been engaged in Africa for decades, particularly in financing peacekeeping missions.

    In addition to the money earmarked for South Sudan, Abe said Japan would donate $3 million to the crisis in the Central African Republic, which has been engulfed in conflict since last year.

    The head of the AU’s executive council, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, expressed her gratitude for Japan’s contribution.

    “We welcome the support the prime minister has just announced for the African Union in peace and security in Central Africa, South Sudan, humanitarian assistance and capacity building,” she said.

    Abe said strengthening business ties with Africa and promoting the private sector is a priority for his government, and pledged to boost Japanese investment on the continent.

    “Africa has now become the continent that carries the hopes of the world through the latent potential of its resources and its dynamic economic growth,” he said, adding that Japan would offer a total of $2 billion in loans to the private sector, doubling a 2012 pledge.

    Key to this growth was the central role of youth and women on the continent, whose roles he said can’t be ignored.

    “We will center the axis of Japan’s diplomacy towards Africa on two groups: young people, who will without a doubt shoulder the responsibility for the future Africa, and women, who will give life to Africa’s future generations,” he said.

    Africa is home to several of the world’s fastest growing economies, but it also has large populations of unemployed youth who represent both an opportunity and a potential burden.

    Abe’s two-day trip to Ethiopia was his last stop on an Africa tour that took him to Cote d’Ivoire and Mozambique in a bid to bolster Japanese ties and business relations.

    The leader pledged to continue his political and economic cooperation with Africa.

    “I myself would like to visit Africa multiple times as necessary, in order to support vigorously these efforts to bring about a brilliant future for Africa,” he said.

    China became in 2009 Africa’s top trading partner at 13.5 percent, compared with trade at 2.7 percent with Japan, according to the OECD.

    Abe was scheduled to fly to Oman later Tuesday before heading back to Tokyo.

  33. মাসুদ করিম - ২৩ জানুয়ারি ২০১৪ (১০:৩৪ পূর্বাহ্ণ)

    Retooling for a new Asia
    C. Raja Mohan

    That India has little sense of geography and history was once again underlined by the scant national attention paid to President Pranab Mukherjee’s visit last week to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Mukherjee’s visit to the Andamans, as his trip to Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland a few weeks ago, was about alerting the Indian political classes about the geopolitical significance of its far-flung and neglected territories.

    Even if New Delhi does not get it, the rest of the world is reminding us of the importance of space and time for the management of India’s national security. No one is going to do it more clearly than Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who arrives in Delhi this week as the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations. Abe’s visit, coming amidst mounting Sino-Japanese tensions, should help us reflect on the intersection of the Sino-Japanese rivalry with India’s history and geography.

    While the current uncertainty in Sino-US relations has generated considerable debate in Delhi, there is a lot less appreciation of the consequences of the fast-deteriorating relations between China and Japan. The military standoff between Beijing and Tokyo over the disputed islands in the East China Sea — called the Daioyu in China and Senkaku in Japan — is only the most visible expression of a deepening conflict between the world’s second- and third-largest economies. It has raised big questions about Asia’s contemporary history, the new nationalist passions in China and Japan, and the future of the Asian security order.

    For many in India, the arguments between Beijing and Tokyo over Beijing’s historic claims over disputed maritime territories and Abe’s visit to the Yasukuni shrine that commemorates Japan’s war-dead seem abstract and distant. But as in the past, so in the future, the nature of the relationship between China and Japan is of enduring significance for India.

    The rise of Japan at the turn of the 20th century and its victory over Russia in 1905 gave a big boost to Indian nationalism by demonstrating that Asia can indeed prevail over Western powers. But Japan’s occupation of China in the 1930s and World War II in Asia produced a diverse set of responses from India. The Indian National Congress extended its solidarity to the people of China against the Japanese occupation in the inter-war period. But the intensification of India’s own struggle against British colonialism generated serious complications.

    When Chinese nationalist leader Chiang Kai Shek came to India in 1942, asking Gandhi to suspend the agitation against Britain and lend support to the Allies in the war against Japan, the Mahatma was reluctant. Yet, the war saw the full mobilisation by the British of Indian military manpower — 7,50,000 to be precise — to reverse Japanese aggression in Burma and Southeast Asia. India also became the base from which America and Britain supported the Chinese war against Japan. Even as Indian resources helped China fight imperial Japan, a section of the nationalist movement, led by Subhas Chandra Bose, aligned with Tokyo to oust Britain from India. Another part of the national movement, the Communist Party of India, extended full support to the British war effort after the Soviet Union joined the Anglo-American alliance.

    President Mukherjee’s recent visits to Nagaland and the Andamans captured India’s contradictory responses to World War II. In Kohima, Mukherjee remembered the brave Indian and British soldiers who decisively turned the tide against Japan’s advance into the subcontinent. In Port Blair, Mukherjee celebrated the arrival of Bose and the Indian National Army in the Andamans and the establishment of the Azad Hind government after the Japanese navy ousted the British from the islands. The national movement’s ambivalent response to the shifting great power dynamic in the run-up to World War II had a huge impact on the manner in which the subcontinent was partitioned. It also severely weakened India’s position in the postwar order that emerged in Asia and the world. A similar danger awaits India if it fails to correctly assess and respond effectively to the unfolding Sino-Japanese rivalry in Asia.

    Two broad principles outlined by Jawaharlal Nehru at the dawn of India’s independence must guide Delhi’s current approach to the Asian power rivalry. One is to seek good relations with both China and Japan; it is a proposition that Delhi has upheld despite great difficulties with both in the postwar period. The other is Nehru’s insistence that postwar Japan should not be isolated or punished because of its imperial past. In renouncing reparations and demanding that Japan not be treated as an enemy state, Nehru understood that there could be no stability or security in Asia without Tokyo getting its due as a great power. This is the unambiguous message that Delhi must put out during Abe’s visit to India.

    For nearly four decades, Japan and China have had closer relations with each other than with India. As they clash today, both attach considerable value to their relationship with India, which has the potential to alter the larger Asian context. Rising China’s interest is essentially a negative one, to keep the relationship with India tranquil as it confronts Japan in the east. Tokyo’s interest is positive, as it seeks to build a strong strategic partnership with Delhi to balance an increasingly assertive Beijing.

    World War II — which brought the Sino-Japanese conflict to Delhi’s eastern frontiers in the Northeast, Burma, the Andamans and Southeast Asia — severely tested incipient India’s strategic coherence. Delhi needs to demonstrate a much better geopolitical aptitude in securing its interests as Sino-Japanese rivalry engulfs Asia.

  34. মাসুদ করিম - ৩০ জানুয়ারি ২০১৪ (১২:২৬ পূর্বাহ্ণ)

    Japanese, N. Korean officials may have met secretly in Hanoi

    Senior Japanese and North Korean officials may have met in Hanoi recently in what would be their first contact since the launch in December 2012 of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration, a diplomatic source said Tuesday.

    If the meeting did take place, Tokyo is almost certain to have asked Pyongyang to resume its probe into the fate of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korean agents decades ago.

    Junichi Ihara, head of the Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, accompanied by Keiichi Ono, chief of the bureau’s Northeast Asia Division, were in the Vietnamese capital on Saturday and Sunday, and a North Korean official was also there last weekend, according to the source.

    Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga denied any meeting took place.

    “We are aware of media reports, but there is no fact like that,” he said. “Our government wants to solve the abduction issue. We are looking at every possible way under Prime Minister Abe, who is strongly determined to solve it.”

    Glyn Davies, U.S. special representative for North Korea policy, told reporters in Beijing he has heard nothing about a possible meeting.

    Davies was in the Chinese capital for talks with his counterpart, Wu Dawei, on the situation in Pyongyang since the execution last month of leader Kim Jong Un’s once-powerful uncle and how to deal with its nuclear ambitions.

    In November 2012, under the previous administration of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, Japan agreed with North Korea in a meeting of senior officials in Ulan Bator to continue talks on the matter.

    Japan postponed a follow-up meeting scheduled for Dec. 5 and 6, 2012, in Beijing after North Korea announced Dec. 1 that the country would launch a rocket carrying an “Earth observation satellite.”

    The long-range rocket was launched 11 days later, with many countries viewing it as a test of the North’s ballistic missile technology, in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

    North Korea last week proposed to South Korea resuming the reunions of families separated by the 1950-1953 Korean War amid the stalemate over the restart of talks with the United States seen by Pyongyang as crucial.

    Experts on international affairs say North Korea may also be prepared to go to the negotiation table with Japan.

  35. মাসুদ করিম - ২০ ফেব্রুয়ারি ২০১৪ (২:২১ অপরাহ্ণ)

    নতুন ‘সিল্ক রুট’ এর কথা বলে হিমালয় ভারত মহাসাগর সব একাকার করে ফেলবে চীন। জড়িয়ে যাবে ভারতসহ পুরো দক্ষিণএশিয়াও।

    The great Game Folio: Silk routes

    SILK ROUTES
    As China reconfigures India’s neighbourhood through its active promotion of new silk routes — over the Great Himalayas and across the Indian Ocean — New Delhi must make up its mind on how best to respond. That Delhi is shedding some of its past defensiveness is evident from the UPA government’s recent decision to discuss the Chinese proposal for the so-called BCIM Corridor that will integrate eastern India, Bangladesh, Myanmar and southwestern China. Delhi also appears to be ready to consider positively Beijing’s invitation last week to join China in the construction of a “Maritime Silk Route” between the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
    There is a huge difference, of course, between agreeing to discuss and collaborating with China on large transborder projects. China has been pushing the BCIM corridor at least since the late 1990s. India’s default position was to duck and fume. The reluctance in Delhi’s foreign and security establishments against any overland connectivity projects with Beijing has been deep and is tied to the difficult political relationship and unresolved boundary dispute. Delhi has also been wary of China’s growing maritime presence in the Indian Ocean, which it sees as India’s backyard.
    While Delhi fretted, China has over the last decade and a half dramatically expanded its connectivity over land and sea with India’s neighbours in the subcontinent. In the north, China built the spectacular Tibet Railway to Lhasa and is planning to extend it to Nepal. To the east, Beijing plans to build road and rail connections to Bangladesh through Myanmar. China has built a twin pipeline system that will move oil and natural gas from Myanmar’s Arakan coast to the Yunnan province. It also has plans to build a road and rail corridor parallel to the pipelines.
    In the west, China is modernising the trans-Karakoram highway, linking China’s Xinjiang province and Pakistan’s northern territories. It is now ready to invest billions of dollars to develop what is being called the “Kashgar Corridor” that will connect Xinjiang province with the Arabian Sea. In the south, China has built new ports in Hambantota, Sri Lanka and Gwadar, Pakistan. As its economic interests grow rapidly in the Indian Ocean, Beijing is looking to develop maritime infrastructure all across the littoral as part of a new maritime silk route.

    INSULAR INDIA
    Together, the Chinese projects compel us to rethink our long-held assumptions about India’s physical space. The Great Himalayas are no longer a protective barrier for the subcontinent, as Chinese economic power now radiates out of inner Asia and connects markets and peoples that were once considered remote.
    In the Indian Ocean, we have focused for centuries on Western primacy. As China becomes the world’s foremost trading nation with an increasingly powerful navy, Beijing is all set to redefine India’s maritime environment. In boldly re-engineering the subcontinent’s physical environment, Beijing is behaving much like the British Raj, which sought to open new trade routes between India and inner Asia and develop connectivity with Xinjiang, Tibet and Yunnan.
    The difference, of course, is in the scale of the resources that China can mobilise today. If Beijing is reviving the Raj tradition, Delhi has largely forgotten it. If Partition physically shrunk India and separated it from many adjoining regions, an inward-looking economic policy devalued external transport corridors.
    India has finally woken up in recent years to the implications of Chinese infrastructure projects in the subcontinent and beyond. Although Delhi now mutters the mantra of connectivity, its ability to turn words into deeds has been less than impressive.

    CHINA PLUS
    In responding to China’s silk route development around the subcontinent and the Indian Ocean, Delhi must discard any residual notion that it can build a “great wall” against Chinese economic influence in its neighbourhood. Nor should India believe economic cooperation with China will in itself help resolve Delhi’s other political disputes with Beijing. The next government in Delhi must outline a bold vision for connectivity in India’s frontier regions and across borders and identify a set of ambitious projects. If China can be useful in implementing some of them, Delhi must go ahead without any political hesitation.
    For India, China is not the only option. Japan has been eager to build corridors between India and Southeast Asia. Multilateral institutions like the Asian Development Bank have long been eager to develop transborder projects between India and its neighbours. It is Delhi that has fallen short until now in geo-economic imagination and pragmatic project implementation.

  36. মাসুদ করিম - ২৭ ফেব্রুয়ারি ২০১৪ (২:০৬ অপরাহ্ণ)

    China blasts Japan’s pro-military tendencies, nuclear stockpile

    China on Wednesday strongly denounced the Japanese government’s pro-military tendencies and controversial view on history, and threw doubts on the country’s nuclear material stockpile.

    PRO-MILITARY WORDS, HISTORY VIEW

    In an interview with the Wall Street Journal last week, Etsuro Honda, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic aide who is also a key architect of Abe Economics, said Japan needed a strong economy so it could build a more powerful military and stand up to China.

    When asked to comment on the remarks, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular press briefing on Wednesday, “Those words show that Abe Economics is in fact aimed at serving Japan’s military expansion, which mirrors the country’s pre-war militarism.

    “Those voices from Japan have proved the country’s so-called active pacifism and willingness to hold dialogue with China as deceptive.”

    Such statements revealed Japan’s “dangerous tendencies” to stand against China, and to change its post-war peaceful development road, she said.

    Japan, led by its right-wing forces, is on a dangerous direction and is becoming a troublemaker which would harm regional peace and stability, Hua said.

    Hua also commented a recent report from the United States Congressional Research Service (CRS), which expressed worry over Abe’s view on history.

    “The CRS report pointed out problems that exist in the Japanese leader’s view on history,” Hua said.

    She criticized Japan’s recent moves to deny or whitewash its aggression history. “They are in fact challenging the world’s anti-fascism achievements and the post-war order,” she said.

    Hua urged Japanese leaders to listen to the voices of the international community and to regain trust from its neighbors and the world via tangible measures.

    DOUBTS ON NUKE STOCKPILE

    While commenting on reports that the Japanese government is to hand over its plutonium stockpile to the United States, Hua said China supports the U.S. to demand Japan return those nuclear materials.

    She urged Japan to return weapons-grade nuclear materials at an early date.

    Since the nuclear security summit in Washington in 2010, the U.S. government has been pressing Japan to return 331 kilograms of weapons-grade plutonium given to the country during the Cold War.

    The U.S. plans to reach an agreement with Japan before the nuclear security summit in the Netherlands in March.

    However, it has been reported that a large amount of highly enriched uranium is also in Japan’s hand.

    “Highly enriched uranium is a problem which could ignite nuclear security and proliferation risks,” Hua said, adding that doubts from the international community should be addressed.

    “Does Japan have highly enriched or weapons-grade uranium? How much does Japan store?” Hua asked, adding that China urges Japan to take a responsible attitude and explain its answers to the world.

  37. মাসুদ করিম - ২৭ ফেব্রুয়ারি ২০১৪ (২:৪৪ অপরাহ্ণ)

    মোদী যদি তাই হয়, ভারতের আবে হয়, তাহলে তো বিজেপির ২০১৪ লোকসভা ভোটে জেতার পরপর ঊর্মিমালা আরো বিক্ষুদ্ধ হবে – পর্বতমালা আরো উৎকণ্ঠ হবে।

    The world of Narendra Abe

    At the tail end of a question-answer session following a lecture in Singapore, an East Asian member of the audience asked me if I could enlighten him on what India’s foreign policy was likely to be in a Narendra Modi government. Pressed for time, and not prepared for the question, I offered a telegraphic reply. Modi, I told him, would be the Shinzo Abe of India. Many heads nodded in the audience, as if my reply was crystal clear.

    Modi is not an Abe in terms of his inheritance. Abe’s biography reads more like that of Rahul Gandhi. The grandson of a former prime minister, Abe is related to the Japanese emperor. He is the “insider” among Tokyo’s power elite. Modi is the “outsider” in the Delhi darbar. But, Modi would seek to define his foreign policy in more nationalist terms, as Abe has tried to, partly as a way of reviving the national mood in a dispirited country.

    Modi represents a brand of Asian nationalism kindled by China’s rise and the West’s part-confused, part-duplicitous response. Asian nations preparing themselves for the new power balances of the 21st century have to chart their own course, dealing with a rising China and a West preoccupied with its economic woes.

    It is noteworthy that the three countries that Modi has visited as chief minister have been China, Japan and Singapore. The Asian focus of Modi’s foreign policy has been shaped both by the West’s, especially the United States’, treatment of him and, more importantly, the longstanding admiration of Asian nationalism within the wider Sangh Parivar. It is not often remembered in contemporary discourse that during the 1970s and ’80s, the intellectual leadership of the Jana Sangh greatly admired Japan. As Asia’s first industrial nation, which was also the first Asian power to defeat a European one in over 300 years, Japan was a great source of inspiration for Indian leaders including Swami Vivekananda, Rabindranath Tagore, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and Jawaharlal Nehru.

    But it is not just history, technology and investible capital that makes Japan a country to draw inspiration from. Modi seems to recognise the value of Abe’s combination of investing in domestic economic capability and external strategic capacity for nation building. Modi’s domestic policy focus, drawing from Gujarat’s experience, has been on building India’s economic capability. His political rhetoric focuses on the need to revitalise a moribund economy, which is exactly how Abe came to power in a depressed and depressing Japan.

    Not surprisingly, Modi’s first major foreign policy statement in the run up to the general elections of 2014 has also focused on China’s new assertiveness. However, as journalist Ashok Malik has observed, Modi would understand that India has to, for some time to come, maintain a balanced relationship with China, pushing back in response to its assertiveness but cooperating with it to ensure the continuity of Asia’s rise. In essence, Modi’s policy towards China is unlikely to be very different from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s, as Malik has also noted, though it will be articulated more emphatically than many in the Congress party and government were willing to.

    While talking tough, Modi should be expected to do business with China. On his visit to Beijing in 2011, when China received him with the courtesy due to a head of government at a time when Western governments were refusing to even give him a visa, Modi invited Chinese companies to invest in India. He has often urged Indian business leaders to learn from China. He should be expected to pursue a balanced policy of defending India’s national interests at a bilateral level while working with China at the regional and global level.

    It is also unlikely that Modi’s approach to the US would be any different from that of Singh. Recall the fact that during the entire debate on the India-US civil nuclear energy cooperation agreement, Modi adopted a more supportive posture than the BJP’s national leadership was willing to. BJP leader L.K. Advani’s trenchant opposition was defined by his desperation to dislodge the Manmohan Singh government and become prime minister. Those close to Modi within the BJP, like Arun Jaitley, adopted a more conciliatory stance on the nuclear deal. Just as the Congress was divided on the subject, so was the BJP.

    While Modi should be expected to remain engaged with the US, it is up to the Obama administration to wake up and craft a more consistent and convincing India policy. The recent impasse in the bilateral relationship is a result of policy confusion both in New Delhi and Washington DC. Modi’s election may clear the air in Delhi, but it may further muddy the waters in Washington, unless President Barack Obama pays personal attention and seeks to revive the relationship.

    Modi should, however, be expected to be forthright in his outreach to Japan. Not only did the Japanese also receive him as if he were a head of government when he visited Tokyo, but they have also put their money where their mouth is and are investing in Gujarat in a big way.

    Modi, like three of his predecessors — Narasimha Rao, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh — should also be expected to give priority to India’s economic imperatives in crafting his foreign policy. His election campaign has focused on the need to step up economic growth, holding Gujarat as an example for India. His “5 T” focus on “talent, tourism, technology, tradition and trade” would suggest that mutually beneficial relations with countries that can contribute to these Ts, especially trade, technology and tourism, should be a priority. These elements should also define his neighbourhood policy, as well as stance towards other emerging economies.

    In keeping with his nationalist posture, Modi should be expected to strengthen the relationship between defence and diplomacy. This would privilege the relationship with Israel and other major defence suppliers. It should also revive India’s engagement with Indian Ocean maritime diplomacy. Taken together, all these elements would suggest that the role model for Modi may well be Japan’s Shinzo Abe, whose singular focus has been on restoring to Japan its lost dynamism.

  38. মাসুদ করিম - ১৭ মার্চ ২০১৪ (১১:২৮ পূর্বাহ্ণ)

    The antagonism reflects, in part, long-simmering tensions in the region. A number of countries involved in the search have been arguing in recent years over territories not far from where someone in the plane’s cockpit last contacted air traffic control.

    Six nations involved in the search have argued over islands and sea and air lanes in the South China Sea: China, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Indonesia.

    Just days ago, a dispute flared between China and the Philippines over a shoal in the South China Sea.

    But the concerns about the search and investigation reflect more than long-standing tensions among Asian countries. In Washington, officials said they were frustrated because they think the FBI could be of substantial assistance. A team of FBI agents is ready to go to Kuala Lumpur, but their assistance has not been requested by the Malaysian government, the officials said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of diplomatic sensitivities.

    The most reproachful official comments during the disaster have come from China. Its Foreign Ministry has urged Malaysia to “step up their efforts and speed up their investigation.” And China’s leaders keep sending more assets and officials to aid the investigation — and ratchet up the pressure.

    An editorial Sunday by China’s official Xinhua News Agency accused Malaysia of ­“dereliction of duty” and “intolerable” reluctance to share vital information.

    Much of China’s urgency stems from the fact that 154 of the 239 people aboard were from China or Taiwan. But there’s also a history of bad blood between the two nations.

    In recent years, China has aggressively entered what Malaysia considers its territorial waters.

    That may partly explain Malaysia’s days-long reluctance in revealing that its military and radar operators failed to track the plane as it turned and flew above one of the country’s biggest cities.

    “I believe Malaysia was defensive about this and embarrassed,” said Ernest Bower, a Southeast Asia expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. With many Malaysians viewing China as a growing threat, their failure on radar detection sends a “signal to China and other neighbors that they are not able to use their maritime and aviation domain awareness capabilities to full effect,” he said.

    Malaysian authorities say they have been forthcoming. Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein has pointed repeatedly to the country’s eventual release of military radar data as proof that the government is prioritizing the search above national security concerns.

  39. মাসুদ করিম - ২৪ মার্চ ২০১৪ (১:৩০ অপরাহ্ণ)

  40. মাসুদ করিম - ২৪ এপ্রিল ২০১৪ (১২:১৪ অপরাহ্ণ)

    Pay No Attention to that Panda Behind the Curtain

    President Barack Obama is in Asia, ostensibly to reassure U.S. allies that he really does mean it when he says we’re “pivoting” to Asia (or “rebalancing,” or whatever). Yet even as he attempts to put the focus on Asia, events elsewhere are raising precisely the sort of doubts that he’d like to dispel. And that makes me worry that he’ll spend all his time on this trip making promises and flowery speeches, instead of getting some commitments from his hosts.

    This trip, like so many others, takes place amid doubts about U.S. credibility. If the United States and NATO don’t do more to help Ukraine, what does that say about our commitment to uphold current territorial arrangements in the South or East China Seas? (Answer: not much, but many people seem to think it does.) But if the United States does do more regarding Ukraine (or Syria), what does that tell U.S. allies about its ability to make Asia a bigger priority and to stick to those priorities when crises emerge elsewhere? No matter what the United States does, its Asian partners are going to raise questions about Washington’s staying power and strategic judgment.

    Frankly, this recurring discussion about U.S. credibility — including the sincerity of the pivot and the subsequent rebalance — strikes me as silly. For starters, the United States is still the most powerful military actor in the world — including Asia — and it will be for some time to come. One can wonder about the regional balance of power at some point in the future, but not right now. And if China’s increased military power is really so alarming, why are countries like Japan, South Korea, and Australia doing so little to bolster their own military capabilities? Either they aren’t as worried as they pretend, or they have become accustomed to assuming Uncle Sam will take care of them no matter what. It seems to be easier to complain about U.S. credibility than to dig deep and buy some genuine military capacity.

    And there shouldn’t be any doubt about the sincerity of the pivot/rebalancing strategy, because U.S. national interests dictate a greater focus on Asia in the years ahead. As former Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell and Ely Ratner make clear in a recent article, Asia’s growing economic clout and China’s emergence mandate an American response. The credibility of the U.S. commitment in Asia doesn’t depend on what presidents say or how often they visit, but ultimately rests on whether other states believe that it is in the U.S. interest to be engaged there. If it were truly not in America’s interest to be a major strategic actor in Asia, no amount of presidential speechifying or handholding would convince our Asian partners otherwise.

    More than anything else, Obama needs to spend his time in Asia explaining to officials there why it is in the U.S. interest to maintain its security position in Asia. This policy is not an act of strategic philanthropy; it is rooted in U.S. self-interest, geopolitics, and America’s longstanding desire to be the only regional hegemon in the world. If China continues to rise and develop its military power, it might one day be in a position to strive for regional hegemony in Asia. The United States would like to prevent this, because a balance of power in Asia forces Beijing to focus a lot of attention on regional affairs and prevents it from meddling in other parts of the world (including the Western hemisphere). It’s impolitic to say this out loud, but the long-term purpose of the “rebalancing” policy in Asia is to contain the more powerful China that seems likely to emerge in the decades to come. That’s what Chinese leaders think, and they’re right.

    Moreover, the United States also has an interest in discouraging nuclear proliferation in Asia. China already has four nuclear-armed powers on its borders (Russia, Pakistan, India, and North Korea), and several other states might go nuclear if they decided they could no longer count on American security guarantees. As long as nuclear non-proliferation remains a core objective of U.S. foreign policy, it will have a strategic interest in remaining in Asia.

    For all of these reasons, America’s Asian partners shouldn’t question the U.S. commitment to maintain its military presence in Asia and its security commitments to its various Asian partners. This policy is rooted in geopolitics and America’s own strategic interests. Obama could do everyone a favor if he explained this to his hosts in simple, clear, and forceful terms, and reminded them that the U.S. security presence has been a powerful bulwark of regional stability for decades.

    Unfortunately, such assurances might not be enough. As I’ve noted before, managing relations with our skittish Asian partners is going to be a challenging task in the years ahead. Not only do some key U.S. allies keep quarreling with each other — as Japan and South Korea are wont to do — they tend to be unhappy no matter what Washington does. If the United States focuses its sights elsewhere and doesn’t give Asia lots of love and attention, they complain they are being neglected. (With the exception of India, this accusation was partly true during the Bush years). But if the United States re-engages and tries to do more, then its allies fret that the United States is “remilitarizing” the region and threatening to ignite a new Cold War. They also use renewed U.S. attention as an excuse to free-ride some more.

    I suspect Obama will try to walk a very fine line this week. He’ll do his best to reassure his hosts that the United States is serious about devoting more time and energy to Asia, while denying that any of this is directed at Beijing. He’ll make it clear that he wants to see a peaceful and stable Asia in which all nations can grow richer, and he’ll pretend that serious geopolitics is “so last century.” Above all, he’ll try to convince America’s Asian allies that Washington still has their back, but that it won’t act in ways that might raise the temperature in the region.

    But I wonder if it’s time for a slightly different conversation. Obama should tell his hosts that the United States is committed to maintaining a balance of power in Asia and preventing Chinese hegemony down the road, for the reasons listed above. But maybe he could also find a way to remind them that while the United States cares about the Asian balance of power and about its allies’ security, it cannot and should not care more about this than these countries do themselves. He might gently suggest to his hosts that although the United States prefers to lead a network of strong and reliable Asian allies, it could do without those allies if it absolutely had to.

    In other words, the credibility of America’s Asian alliances is more our allies’ problem than ours.

    Helping maintain a balance of power in Asia may be in our interest but it won’t be cheap, and providing the necessary level of assistance ought to be worth a lot to our Asian partners. Instead of flying off to Asia just to hold their hands, I hope Obama will also remember to ask them what they are going to do for us, and for themselves.

  41. মাসুদ করিম - ১৪ মে ২০১৪ (২:২৫ অপরাহ্ণ)

  42. মাসুদ করিম - ২২ মে ২০১৪ (১২:২০ অপরাহ্ণ)

    Modi plans border visits

    India’s next Prime Minister Narendra Modi is planning to visit the country’s borders with Pakistan and China – but not the border with Bangladesh or Myanmar. Officials in the Home and Defence ministries have already been informed of Modi’s plans. ‘We are working it out – the possible locations and time,’ said a top official but on condition of strict anonymity. BJP sources said a strong internal security regime is one of Modi’s poll-time pledges and strengthening border management is an integral part of it. ‘The planned visit will boost the morale of our forces and also send a signal that India will be tough in dealing with violations of Line of Actual Control,’ said a senior BJP leader close to Modi. By restricting his visit to the border with Pakistan and China, Modi is also giving enough indication of his priorities. ‘There has been a growing spate of LAC violations by Pakistan army which actively pushes in terrorists through the border in Kashmir. Modi has been critical of the weak response of the previous government and his visit will be to impress on field commanders that they need not fear being tough,’ the BJP leader said. Both army and BSF commanders have been previously hamstrung by instructions from the top to avoid any kind of escalation. ‘We don’t want to start a war but we want to impress on the Pakistan military that their aggression will come at a high cost. The higher headquarters can always control an escalation but unless the field units hit back, the enemy will always be encouraged to create mischief.’ On the border with China, Modi will try to familiarise himself with the terrain and how effective the new Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) with China has been in checking LAC violations, according to bdnews24.com.

  43. মাসুদ করিম - ৭ সেপ্টেম্বর ২০১৪ (১০:০৭ পূর্বাহ্ণ)

    69 Years Since WWII, Japan to Re-enter Northeast India

    Apart from committing to strengthen defence and strategic ties, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe also agreed to cooperation in the development of Northeast India. “Both sides decided to strengthen cooperation in the field of connectivity and socio-economic development in Northeast India,” said a fact-sheet on India-Japan projects. It spoke about Japan’s help for road connectivity, forest resource and water supply projects in the sensitive area.

    Japan is probably the first foreign country to be allowed to invest in the Northeast, a large part of which is claimed by China. In 2007, China had blocked a loan by Asian Development Bank for a project in Arunachal Pradesh. The last time Japan was in India’s Northeast was during World War II. Ahead of a meeting with Abe, Modi also took a dig at China. “Encroaching on a country, entering into sea somewhere and occupying territory — this expansionism cannot do good to humanity in the 21st century,” Modi said without naming China

    Even in the joint statement by Modi and Abe, while there was no mention of Japan’s island dispute with China, there was a clear allusion to it. “They (Modi and Abe) affirmed their shared commitment to maritime security, freedom of navigation, overflight, civil aviation safety, unimpeded lawful commerce, and peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with international law,” said the joint statement. The inclusion of “freedom of navigation and overflight” clause hints heavily to the dispute over East China Sea where China arbitrarily imposed an Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) last November.

    Chinese president Xi Jinping will make his first visit to India in the third week of September. In Beijing, there was a cautious reaction. “You just mentioned comments made by him (PM Modi). I don’t know what he is referring to,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang. “But I can answer the question by quoting his (Modi’s) words. He said China and India are strategic partners for common development. Cooperation between the two counties is of great significance to the prosperity of the whole world and all mankind.”

    Abe steals a march on China with South Asia tour

    Prime Minister Shinzo Abe flew to Bangladesh on Saturday for a two-stop tour of South Asia as the globe-trotting leader asserts Tokyo’s interest in a region where it has ceded influence to China.

    Abe becomes the first Japanese prime minister to visit Bangladesh in 14 years and on Sunday will be the first to travel to Sri Lanka in nearly a quarter of a century.

    “I came here with 22 top leaders of business, ranging from infrastructure to safe water, with a strong hope of doing business in Bangladesh,” Abe told a forum in Dhaka attended by more than 100 executives from both countries.

    Asian great-power diplomacy has stirred to life since the rise to power of Indian nationalist Narendra Modi, who announced his intent to play an active role on the world stage by inviting regional leaders to his inauguration in May.

    Abe comes to India’s backyard after hosting Modi for summit talks that yielded a Japanese pledge to invest $34 billion in India and launched a “special, strategic global partnership” to deepen security cooperation.

    Abe pre-empts Chinese President Xi Jinping, who travels to India and Sri Lanka later this month.

    “Prime Minister Modi is weaving a complex tapestry of relations with Asia,” said Dayan Jayatilake, a political scientist, author and former Sri Lankan diplomat.

    From economic parity in 1980, China’s growth has outstripped India’s fourfold and Beijing has sought to recycle some of its vast export surpluses into foreign investments in resources and infrastructure in South Asia to feed its industrial machine.

    That rising economic presence in the Indian Ocean region has stoked concerns in New Delhi that China is creating a “string of pearls” that surrounds India and threatens its security.

    In addition to reaching out to Abe, Modi this week welcomed Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, hosting the first solo visit by a foreign leader since his election and signing a deal for supply of uranium for nuclear power generation in India.

    Although Modi seeks pragmatic economic engagement with China, in Tokyo he criticized countries with an “expansionist” mind-set, a coded jibe against Beijing’s assertive behavior in Southeast Asia.

    Modi “has a new equation with China, which is reciprocated by the Chinese leadership based on economic pragmatism,” said Jayatilake, “but he is also seeking closer ties with Japan and Australia in the Asia-Pacific region.

    “So we can discern multi-tiered Asian architecture in the new foreign policy of Prime Minister Modi.”

    For Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, the increased attention of the region’s largest economies creates the opportunity to attract much-needed investment and promote exports.

    Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina visited Tokyo in May and Abe’s return visit followed up on Japan’s commitment to invest ¥600 billion ($5.7 billion) over the next four to five years.

    Abe praised Bangladesh’s progress in developing its Bay of Bengal industrial belt but urged the country to do more to improve infrastructure and transportation. He praised the export growth achieved by the Bangladeshi garment industry.

    Japan also provided a $450 million development loan for the construction of a 1,350-megawatt coal-fired power station.

    In return, Hasina told Abe that Bangladesh had withdrawn its bid for a non-permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council for 2015-16 in favor of Japan. “I appreciate the decision, and it will foster the relationship of the two counties,” Abe said.

    For Japan, which has to import most of its energy, the Indian Ocean is a critical sea passage for supplies of oil and liquefied natural gas from the Middle East.

    Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa will welcome the attention of Japan as a donor and investor and as a counterweight to China, which financed a $500 million port terminal in Colombo that was opened last year.

    “They (the Japanese) are aware that we are beholden to China’s influence in many ways, so they would like to counter that,” said Nanda Godaga, a retired Sri Lankan diplomat who follows Japanese foreign policy.

  44. মাসুদ করিম - ১৫ সেপ্টেম্বর ২০১৪ (৯:০২ পূর্বাহ্ণ)

    Generals stress joint combat against militancy, terrorism

    Generals began a meeting in Dhaka Sunday with a focus on exploring new avenues of cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region to combat international militancy and terrorism.

    At the outset of the 38th Pacific Armies Management Seminar (PAMS) it was pointed out that trans-national crimes, environmental disasters, illegal drug cartels, child and women trafficking and many other non-traditional security threats were gaining momentum.

    “They affect all of us. And no country can face threats to the security alone,” said Bangladesh Chief of Army Staff General Iqbal Karim Bhuiyan said about the emerging threats while inaugurating the seminar.

    General Bhuiyan and General Vincent Brooks, Commander of U.S. Army’s Pacific command, jointly inaugurated the four-day PAMS seminar at the Radisson Blue Water Garden Hotel with a unanimous call for cooperation of all in the anti-terror fight.

    “Cooperation from all is necessary to face the international militancy and terrorism,” General Brooks told the inaugural ceremony of the seminar, co-hosted by the U.S. Army, Pacific command, and the Bangladesh Army.

    Senior military and security officials from 32 nations in the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean region are attending the meet to discuss ‘opportunities and challenges’ of the region.

    Lt-General Md Mainul Islam, chief of general staff of Bangladesh Army, and General Brooks also discussed many bilateral issues and later they briefed the journalists on the aims and objectives of the seminar and its outcome. They also answered queries from the reporters.

    At the conference, both the generals said that they agreed to work more closely together for peace of the region.

    Asked about measures to tackle trans-boundary militancy as well as the impact of cyber-crime, the generals said that all the issues would be discussed in the seminar with due importance to find ways and means of combating those more effectively.

    The four-day seminar will mostly focus on the challenges and opportunities of land forces of the Asia-Pacific region from the Indian subcontinent to the western shores of the Americas.

    This region is home to almost half the world’s population and is home to emerging powers like China and India. Bangladesh is co-hosting this seminar with the US Army Pacific command after 22 years.

    It is a multinational military seminar that provides a forum for senior-level (lieutenant colonel to lieutenant general, or national equivalent) officers from the Asia-Pacific regional ground forces to exchange views and ideas on the contemporary tasks.

    It is not only a forum to enhance understanding of the subjects studied, it also provides an opportunity for the future leaders of the region’s armies to establish and cultivate a set of strong interpersonal relationships, the organisers said.

    Pacific Armies Management Seminars have been held throughout the Asia-Pacific region since 1978. The long-term objective of PAMS is to facilitate capacity building, via information exchange and dialogue on themes and topics, promote security cooperation in an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect.

    The US Army Pacific area of operations covers half the globe and consists of six of the world’s 10 largest armies.

  45. মাসুদ করিম - ১৫ সেপ্টেম্বর ২০১৪ (৯:২৩ পূর্বাহ্ণ)

    Silk route to Beijing

    China’s decision to postpone President Xi Jinping’s visit to Pakistan has got much attention in New Delhi. But this in no way marks a major change in Beijing’s policy towards Islamabad. President Xi is likely to travel to Islamabad sooner rather than later and reaffirm the depth of Beijing’s commitment to Islamabad. Delhi, however, is in danger of missing the significance of a more important change in Xi’s itinerary for the subcontinent. Instead of Pakistan, Xi has gone to the Maldives and also keeps his original date with Sri Lanka.

    Thanks to its preoccupation with the defence of the contested northern frontiers with Pakistan and China, Delhi does not pay adequate attention to the emerging maritime dynamic to the south of the subcontinent. China’s interest in the island states of the Indian Ocean is relatively new and could turn out to be rather consequential.

    As China’s economic interests in the Indian Ocean expanded rapidly in recent decades, Beijing’s naval interest and profile in the littoral also grew steadily. Sceptics say China’s naval priority is the western Pacific, where it is locked in intensifying territorial disputes with its Asian neighbours. They note Beijing’s determination to contest America’s longstanding naval primacy on its eastern sea board.

    Others insist that Beijing is pursuing a two-ocean strategy rather than limiting itself to the western Pacific. Since the end of 2008, the Chinese navy has deployed its naval units on a continuous basis for anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden. This has provided the Chinese navy with valuable experience in conducting “far sea operations”.

    Beijing sees the sea lines of communication (SLOCs), which move massive amounts of energy and mineral resources from the Middle East and Africa to China through the Indian Ocean, as vital lifelines. Securing these SLOCs has emerged as a major justification for China’s growing naval activity in the Indian Ocean.

    Over the last decade, Beijing has also focused on building maritime infrastructure in the Indian Ocean. Its investment in the development of new ports at Gwadar in Pakistan, Hambantota in Sri Lanka, and Kyaukphyu in Myanmar, has generated much concern in India about China’s long-term intentions in the Indian Ocean.

    Although these are all civilian ports for now, Delhi worries that they may portend a permanent Chinese naval presence in the Indian Ocean. Beijing has also cultivated special political relationships with key countries in the region and has stepped up its maritime diplomacy in the littoral. Xi’s predecessor, Hu Jintao, visited Seychelles and Mauritius during his tenure as president (2003-13). Now, Xi becomes the first Chinese president to visit Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Xi would certainly want to make these visits memorable.

    Spread across the sea lanes of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Mauritius and Seychelles are exceptional vantage points to monitor and secure them, ensure valuable access for navies and project maritime power. In all these island states, which have long been associated with India, Chinese influence has begun to rise.

    Xi has elevated China’s intense outreach to the Indian Ocean island states with a new proposal for a “21st century maritime silk road” that will connect China’s coastline with critical locations in Southeast Asia, the subcontinent, the Gulf, the Mediterranean and the east coast of Africa.

    The Chinese president wants to develop ports across the littoral, build special export processing zones around them, and promote economic and financial interdependence with China. Xi’s invitation to Sri Lanka and the Maldives to join the “maritime silk road” has been accepted with alacrity by Colombo and Male. Xi’s visit to these two nations is likely to help China consolidate the emerging maritime partnership with Sri Lanka and lay the foundation for building one with the Maldives.

    Xi has also invited Delhi to join both the maritime silk route as well as the overland trade corridor connecting south-western China with the eastern subcontinent through Myanmar. After prolonged hesitation, India has begun formal discussions with officials from China, Myanmar and Bangladesh on developing the so-called BCIM corridor or the “southern silk road”. Yet there are many reservations in the Indian establishment on both the overland and maritime silk road proposals. Xi Jinping’s visit to

    India this week gives Prime Minister Narendra Modi the chance to weigh in on the issue and develop a new approach that takes into account India’s long-term economic, political and strategic interests.

    India can’t stop its neighbours from cooperating with China on infrastructure development at a moment when Delhi is doing exactly the same with Beijing. Instead of blocking China’s silk road initiatives in the region, Delhi must actively participate and shape the agenda. At the same time, it must leave its neighbours in no doubt that there are certain red lines regarding India’s security that can’t be transgressed in their collaboration with China on mega projects.

    Putting in place a strategy to modernise India’s internal connectivity and strengthen its maritime infrastructure is critical for any effective Indian response to China’s silk road initiative. Modi must also find ways to overcome one of India’s biggest weaknesses in promoting transborder corridors, which is project implementation at home and in the neighbouring countries.

    India needs to develop a vigorous framework for maritime economic activism in the Indian Ocean and beyond. It must include collaboration with powers like Japan who are eager to develop transfrontier corridors through the region. The question is no longer about keeping China out of the subcontinent. India must collaborate with whoever it can in reconnecting the subcontinent with itself and the neighbouring regions.

  46. মাসুদ করিম - ১৮ ডিসেম্বর ২০১৪ (৯:৫২ পূর্বাহ্ণ)

    South China Sea legal battle hots up

    The historic legal battle between the Philippines and China over disputed territories in the South China Sea has entered a new phase. There are renewed risks of escalation. In recent days, China, the United States and Vietnam have all expressed their position on the legal aspects of the maritime spats in the Western Pacific.

    China reiterated its outright opposition to any form of third party arbitration vis-a-vis sovereignty disputes in the South China Sea by releasing a position paper on Dec 7, which contains three major arguments.

    First, Beijing contends that the special arbitral tribunal at The Hague, where the Philippines filed a memorial earlier this year, has no jurisdiction over the issue, since the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos) does not accord it the mandate to address what are essentially sovereignty-related issues. Although China is a signatory to Unclos, it has exercised its right (under Article 298) to absolve itself of any compulsory arbitration (under Article 287 and Annex VII) over territorial delimitation issues, among other things.

    Second, China maintains that, based on supposed “historical rights”, it exercises “inherent and indisputable” sovereignty over the disputed features, including those that fall well within the Philippines’ 200 nautical miles Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

  47. মাসুদ করিম - ১৩ জানুয়ারি ২০১৫ (৩:০০ অপরাহ্ণ)

    Textbook publisher to delete, dilute ‘comfort women’ passages

    A Tokyo-based textbook publisher has obtained government approval to delete depictions of “comfort women” and references to foreign workers forcibly brought to Japan, from its high school social studies books, sources said Friday.

    The education ministry approved publisher Suken Shuppan’s November request to delete such references from three textbooks.

    Suken Shuppan refused to comment on why it chose to cut the references. The textbooks were to be distributed for use this April.

    Its previous political science and economics textbook said discussions have been held on issuing compensation for “forcibly moving” foreigners to work in Japan and for “military comfort women” during the war.

    The new version contains no specific mention of forced laborers or the thousands of comfort women who were forced to provide sex to Japanese soldiers in Japan’s military brothels before and during World War II.

    Instead, the revised version simply states that some South Korean “individuals victimized by Japan during the war” have filed lawsuits in Japanese courts seeking an apology and damages.

    In January 2014, the education ministry revised its textbook-screening standards for social studies and asked publishers to state the government’s official views or the Supreme Court’s decisions on contentious issues.

  48. মাসুদ করিম - ১৩ জানুয়ারি ২০১৫ (৩:০৩ অপরাহ্ণ)

    Japan, China hold maritime crisis talks in Tokyo

    Japan and China hold the fourth round of talks in Tokyo on maritime crisis management mechanism Monday, with both countries agreeing to launch it as soon as possible once a broad agreement is reached.

    The working-level talks, participated by officials from Japan’ s Defense Ministry and the Maritime Self-Defense Force and China’ s Defense Ministry, firstly reaffirmed basic agreements they have made so far.

    The two sides also discussed some specifics of the mechanism, including technical problems, and agreed to trigger it as soon as possible after some necessary adjustments based on Monday’s talks, Chinese officials said.

    The mechanism of high-level consultations on maritime affairs between the two countries was launched in 2012. After three rounds of successful talks, the talks were suspended after the Japanese government’s so-called”nationalization”of China’s Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea in September 2012.

  49. মাসুদ করিম - ২৭ জানুয়ারি ২০১৫ (১২:০৭ অপরাহ্ণ)

    Obama, who has visited India twice after taking office in 2009, a first for a sitting president, signed a breakthrough deal in a long-stalled nuclear pact with Modi on Sunday during his three-day visit to the country.

    “Deeper ties with India will be America’s top foreign policy priority,” Obama said at a joint press conference with Modi.

    Obama also expressed US support for India in its bid for a permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council.

    Stressing that both India and the US are committed to working together to address common interests in the Asia-Pacific, Obama said that the two sides “will jointly develop defense technologies.”

    “Obama’s strategy is quite clear. He wants to split the relations between China and India, as well as India and Russia, in an effort to fulfill his strategy of a “re-balance” in Asia,” Zhou Fangyin, a professor at the Guangdong Research Institute for International Strategies told the Global Times.

    The US is courting India to become an ally in South Asia to contain China by supporting economic and military development, Zhao said.

  50. মাসুদ করিম - ২৭ জানুয়ারি ২০১৫ (১২:১৩ অপরাহ্ণ)

    China concerned about Japan’s wording on history: spokeswoman

    China is concerned about the attitude adopted by Japan’s government regarding their history of aggression, said a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman on Monday.

    Spokeswoman Hua Chunying made the remarks after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hinted that he may alter the wording of a war anniversary statement originally issued in 1995 by then Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama.

    The Murayama statement said Japan, through colonial rule and aggression, caused great damage and suffering to people in many countries, particularly in Asia, and that no such mistake should be made in the future.

    This year marks the 70th anniversary of the victory in the World Anti-Fascist War and the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, which is an important moment to review the history and map out the future, said Hua at a routine press briefing.

    China is concerned about what signals Japan will send to the public on the important occasion, she said.

    It remains to be seen whether Japan will downplay its history of aggression and carry on with its negative equity, or move on by reflecting on its militaristic past, she added.

    Hua said China hopes Japan will abide by its commitments to recognize and reflect on its aggression history, follow the path of peaceful development, win trust from the international society through concrete actions and play a constructive role in safeguarding peace and stability in the region.

    Abe said he wants to reflect his government’s position in a statement to be released in August on the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.

    He plans to uphold the statements issued by past Japanese prime ministers in general, he said, but indicated he may not use the same wording in the Murayama statement in his new statement, Kyodo News Agency reported.

  51. মাসুদ করিম - ৯ এপ্রিল ২০১৫ (২:০০ অপরাহ্ণ)

    South Korea’s PM warns Japan of ‘grim judgment’ over textbooks that ‘distort history’

    South Korean Prime Minister Lee Wan Koo on Thursday warned Japan it would face a “grim judgment” if it failed to address what he called the realities of history.

    Mr Lee issued the warning during a specially called press conference following Monday’s announcement by Japan’s Education Ministry that all 18 new social studies textbooks for use in junior high schools assert Japanese ownership of two separate island groups at the centre of disputes with China and South Korea.

    “You can never cover up stark truth. (Japan) will eventually face a grim historical judgement,” Mr Lee was quoted as saying by the Yonhap news agency. “(Japan) must stop distorting history.”

  52. মাসুদ করিম - ৩০ জুন ২০১৫ (৫:৫৭ অপরাহ্ণ)

    Construction in S China Sea to boost rescue efforts

    Constructions in South China Sea ‘to boost search and rescue efforts and international liaison’

    China’s ongoing efforts to build and upgrade infrastructure on islands and reefs in the South China Sea will improve its maritime search and rescue capability and help other nations, according to military experts.

    They were speaking after China invited the international community to use its facilities in the waterway for anti-piracy and humanitarian missions.

    “Anyone can see from the hunt for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 that China lacks sufficient maritime search and rescue force in the South China Sea,” Yin Zhuo, director of the Expert Consultation Committee of the People’s Liberation Army navy, told China Daily.

    “Under international maritime conventions, China has responsibilities to perform rescue operations in the South China Sea.

    “However, if our rescue team is based in Hainan province, it will take several days for large ships to reach the scene of a wreck, and aircraft will have short ranges due to fuel limitations,” he said.

    “So it is very necessary to construct or upgrade infrastructure on islands and reefs in the South China Sea, as we can then send rescue ships and planes there in case of emergency.”

    Yin’s remarks follow an invitation from the top commander of the PLA navy for the international community to use Chinese facilities in the South China Sea for anti-piracy and humanitarian missions.

    Admiral Wu Shengli said China’s construction work on islands and reefs will not threaten freedom of navigation and overflights.

    “Instead, the infrastructure will enhance China’s capabilities to provide public services such as weather forecasting and maritime assistance.

    “It will enable China to better perform its international obligation to protect maritime security,” Wu was quoted as saying in a news release by the PLA navy.

    Wu was speaking last week in his first video conversation with Admiral Jonathan Greenert, the US Navy’s chief of naval operations.

    Zhang Junshe, a senior researcher at the PLA Naval Military Studies Research Institute, said Wu made the offer to help the US to understand China’s intentions behind its construction and upgrading efforts.

    During their discussion, Wu urged the two navies to maintain regular communication between their leaderships, to deepen exchanges between their front-line commanders and sailors, and to stage more joint drills.

    However, he warned that close-range reconnaissance operations by US ships and aircraft of Chinese military assets are “totally out of step” with the two nations’ efforts to improve their relations.

    Wu asked the US to cherish the ties between the two countries and their militaries.

    Greenert said he hopes both countries will strengthen implementation of the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea, and avoid accidents in the air and at sea caused by misunderstanding or misjudgment.

  53. মাসুদ করিম - ৫ মার্চ ২০১৬ (১১:৪৫ অপরাহ্ণ)

    চীনের ওপর নজরদারিতে ভারতের না

    দক্ষিণ চীন সাগরে আমেরিকার যৌথ নজরদারির প্রস্তাব প্রত্যাখ্যান করল ভারত। চীনকে রুখতে দক্ষিণ চীন সাগরে চার-দেশীয় যৌথ নজরদারি চালানোর প্রস্তাব দেন মার্কিন নৌসেনার প্যাসিফিক কম্যান্ডের প্রধান অ্যাডমিরাল হ্যারি হ্যারিস। কিন্তু তাঁর প্রস্তাব ফিরিয়ে দিয়েছেন ভারতের প্রতিরক্ষামন্ত্রী মনোহর পরীক্কর। তিনি বলেন, ভারত কখনও যৌথ নজরদারিতে অংশগ্রহণ করেনি। তাই এখনও পর্যন্ত ভারত এই বিষয়ে সিদ্ধান্ত নেয়নি। সূত্রের খবর, সীমান্ত নিয়ে আগে থেকেই চীনের সঙ্গে সমস্যা রয়েছে ভারতের। তাই এই অবস্থায় যৌথ নজরদারিতে অংশ নিতে ইচ্ছুক নয় ভারত।‌

  54. মাসুদ করিম - ২৮ এপ্রিল ২০১৬ (৯:০৫ পূর্বাহ্ণ)

    U.S. and Vietnamese officials familiar with the defense relationship maintain that in spite of any lifting, major defense contracts and transfers could take some time because they are contingent on other factors, including growing Vietnamese familiarization with U.S. procurement procedures relative to its other traditional defense partners like Russia. Though the partial lifting has seen the U.S. announce the provision of patrol vessels to Vietnam to enhance the its maritime domain awareness and maritime security, The Diplomat understands that progress on other fronts, including Washington’s new Maritime Security Initiative, has been slow (See: “America’s New Maritime Security Initiative for Southeast Asia”).

    America’s New Maritime Security Initiative for Southeast Asia

    A look at the Southeast Asia Maritime Security Initiative as it gets underway.

    On March 18, Amy Searight, the deputy secretary of defense for South and Southeast Asia, told reporters at the opening session of the U.S-Philippine Bilateral Security Dialogue that the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) had submitted a notification to Congress as it prepares to roll out a new maritime capacity-building initiative for Southeast Asian states near the South China Sea (See: “A Big Deal? US, Philippines Agree First ‘Bases’ Under New Defense Pact”). With that notification, the United States will soon begin implementing the so-called Southeast Asia Maritime Security Initiative (MSI) which was initially announced last June.

    While U.S. defense officials have remained tight-lipped on the exact details of MSI with a congressional notification pending, its goal is to build regional capacity to address a range of maritime challenges – including China’s growing assertiveness in the South China Sea – through various means such as improving regional maritime domain awareness, expanding exercises, and leveraging senior-level engagements. Even though MSI is significant both for the five main Southeast Asian states involved – Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam – and the Obama administration’s rebalance to the Asia-Pacific more generally, it is also facing a number of challenges as it gets underway.

    Background

    The essence of MSI – building ally and partner maritime capabilities – is not new. Even before the advent of this initiative, the Obama administration had accelerated U.S. maritime security assistance to Southeast Asian states as Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea became clear, with efforts such as helping the Philippines build its National Coast Watch Center; assisting Vietnam in constructing a coast guard training center; and bolstering the maritime surveillance and radar capabilities of Indonesia and Malaysia.

    MSI is also just one of various sources of funding for U.S. maritime capacity-building efforts, from the general foreign military financing (FMF) program to pools of money under specific departments or bureaus. In December 2013, for example, U.S. secretary of state John Kerry announced expanded U.S. assistance for maritime capacity building of $32.5 million in FMF for Southeast Asian states. Also in December that year, the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs designated $25 million to develop the Southeast Asia Maritime Security Law Enforcement Initiative (MLE). MSI, by contrast, is funded with DoD money.

    The most distinguishing component of MSI relative to other capacity-building initiatives of its ilk, those familiar with the initiative say, is its focus on enhancing regional maritime domain awareness (MDA) and moving towards establishing a common operating picture (COP). Put simply, Washington is working with Southeast Asian states to improve their ability to detect, understand, react to, and share information about air and maritime activity in the South China Sea, eventually leading to a common and regularly updated picture so that the nations concerned are on the same page.

    Specifics about how MSI aims to do this or what kind of investments will be made this year have yet to be revealed publicly because DoD’s congressional notification is still being reviewed, defense department spokesman William R. Urban said in response to a detailed inquiry. But one source with intimate knowledge of the initiative, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Diplomat in an interview that, broadly, U.S. officials are thinking about how investments can increase the ability of allies and partners to “sense, share and contribute” in the maritime domain.

    Speaking generally due to the sensitivity of the issue, the source said that more advanced intelligence, surveillance and radar (ISR) capabilities might enhance ‘sensing’ of allies and partners in the South China Sea; technical “supporting infrastructure” would facilitate ‘sharing’ maritime information across the region to build a COP; and expanded exercises, training and other engagements would lead to more ‘contributing’ from allies and partners. MSI is more about equipment, supplies, training and small-scale construction that fit within this broad approach, rather than hardware.

    “What you hear is improving the ability of allies and partners to sense, share and contribute,” the source said.

    How exactly this might work is still unclear. The “big picture,” the source said, would be to work towards a COP in the South China Sea starting with the Philippines’ National Coast Watch Center and out onto the rest of the region, with willing countries as initial connective nodes eventually leading to a network that actors can “plug into.” (See: “The Truth About Philippine Military Modernization and the China Threat“).

    “This is more about building a system, a network where countries can plug in if they want to,” the source said, stressing that MSI was still very much in its early stages.

    Enhancing regional MDA and building a COP in the South China Sea is an idea that has been floating around for years and had already been discussed at previous U.S. interactions with Southeast Asian states, including at the first ever meeting of ASEAN defense ministers in Hawaii in April 2014. There have also been ongoing engagements exploring various aspects of this since, including several workshops held by U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) with ASEAN countries. But MSI is the clearest and most concrete manifestation of this U.S. objective yet.

    MSI itself originated initially not from DoD, but the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) led by John McCain who has long been a key voice on Asia security policy. It has since been adopted by DoD, and was first publicly unveiled by U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter at the Shangri-La Dialogue – Asia’s premier security summit – in Singapore in June 2015 (See: “US Launches New Maritime Security Initiative at Shangri-La Dialogue 2015“).

    “Today, I am pleased to announce the DoD will be launching a new Southeast Asia Maritime Security Initiative. And thanks to the leadership of the senators here today and others, Congress has taken steps to authorize up to $425 million for these maritime capacity-building efforts,” Carter said in his remarks.

    MSI has since been officially incorporated into DoD’s Asia-Pacific Maritime Security Strategy which was released last August. Within the DoD’s overall U.S. regional maritime security strategy, MSI falls into the broader category of maritime capacity-building – one of the four so-called “lines of effort” – with the other three being strengthening U.S. military capacity; leveraging military diplomacy; and strengthening regional security institutions.

    Following this, MSI was incorporated as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2016. Under section 1263, MSI, which actually appears as “South China Sea Initiative,” authorizes funds for assistance and training for the purpose of increasing maritime security and maritime domain awareness of countries along the South China Sea – Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. Specifically authorized elements of assistance for these countries include equipment, supplies, training and small-scale military construction. The authorization also includes additional “covered countries” – Brunei, Taiwan and Singapore – which may participate in training and other activities.

    Section 1263 also specifies a 15-day congressional notification period for MSI, where the Secretary of Defense would submit a notification to congressional defense committees containing details for the year such as the recipient foreign country, a detailed justification of the program and its relationship to U.S. security interests, the budget and a timetable of expenditures, and program objectives. On March 18, Searight, the deputy secretary of defense, told reporters at the opening session of the sixth U.S.-Philippine Bilateral Security Dialogue in Washington, D.C. that DoD had notified Congress a day earlier and was now awaiting for the congressional notification period to expire before moving forward with the initiative.

    Significance

    Though MSI will gradually be rolled out over the next few months and – assuming the next administration chooses to continue it – take shape in subsequent years, its potential significance is clear. By devoting funding to maritime security capacity-building in Southeast Asia over several years, MSI is at once a tangible demonstration of the U.S. rebalance at work, a sustainable American resource commitment during a challenging budgetary environment, and a big step towards a broader strategic objective of creating a common maritime operational picture in the region.

    First, optics-wise, the allocation of $425 million in DoD funding is tangible proof that the United States is willing to devote resources to making the rebalance a reality. With funds already allocated for the next five years – as of now, The Diplomat understands from a source familiar with the initiative, $50 million for fiscal year 2016; $75 million for fiscal year 2017; and $100 million each of fiscal years 2018, 2019 and 2020 – it sends a strong message that Washington is committed to sustaining its efforts to aid maritime capacity-building efforts in the region.

    “It says we’re willing to put our money where our mouth is, and that’s a powerful signal,” the source, who preferred to remain anonymous, told The Diplomat in an interview.

    Though the amount itself is admittedly a modest start, it is by no means insignificant. For perspective, for 2016, $50 million is being set aside just for MSI alone, while the Obama administration announced last November ahead of the president’s trip to the Philippines for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit that the total amount of assistance it would provide for this year would be $140 million, a slight increase from the $119 million committed in 2015 (See: “US Announces Maritime Security Boost for Southeast Asia“).

    Second, bureaucratically, MSI creates a pool of pre-allocated DoD funding that is both insulated from the fierce battles over foreign assistance as well as geared towards a specific goal. That itself is a notable feat given the difficulty of resourcing the rebalance at a time of budgetary difficulties.

    The $425 million for the initiative comes from existing DoD money, which means that these defense funds will not need to be administered through the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program which is run by the State Department, with implications for authorization as well as allocation. Pulling money out of other accounts like FMF – where a paltry 1 percent of total global funding went to the Asia-Pacific in 2015 – is a challenge that officials know well. In addition, congressional authorization also enabled Carter to then make an even stronger case for the reallocation of funds within DoD to resource MSI.

    “It’s significant in that we’ve found a way to secure funding despite the challenges that come with how the United States does foreign assistance,” Brian Harding, a former defense official in the Obama administration who worked on Southeast Asia, told The Diplomat.

    “This creates a very focused, regional pot of money, and it makes it easier to get support for it,” Harding, who is now director for East and Southeast Asia at the Center for American Progress, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, said.

    Third, strategically, as mentioned earlier, MSI represents a big step towards a broader U.S. objective of enhancing MDA to create a regional COP. DoD’s 2015 Asia-Pacific Maritime Security Strategy technically specifies several lines of effort for MSI of which this is only one – others include providing supporting infrastructure for maritime response operations; expanding maritime exercises and engagements; strengthening maritime institutions, governance and personnel training; and identifying modernization or new systems requirements for critical maritime security capabilities.

    There is also predictably no direct mention of it being directed at a particular threat – the goal is framed as building regional capacity to address “a range of maritime challenges.”

    Yet to those familiar with MSI, it is nonetheless clear that a major thrust of it is to build maritime domain awareness and a common operating picture to help Southeast Asian states deal with or even counter China’s growing assertiveness in the South China Sea. While greater individual and regional awareness would also be useful for other objectives as well including countering illegal fishing, cracking down on transnational crime, and responding to natural disasters, it would both reduce the vast asymmetry that exists between these countries’ capabilities and China’s as well as enable them to better deter gray zone coercion by Beijing both individually and collectively.

    “There’s no doubt a big part [of this] is about helping countries deter and deal with China, because capacity is an issue still,” a source told The Diplomat.

    Challenges

    But if the significance of MSI is already apparent, so too are its challenges. Indeed, policymakers will have to navigate past a range of issues that exist at home, in the region, and in their specific consultations with U.S. allies and partners.

    At home, beyond the perennial question of the sustainability of such new initiatives beyond this administration, the concerns chiefly relate to resourcing and bureaucratic politics. On funding, $425 million for five years – the initial authorization runs up to September 30, 2020 – is not a lot of money, especially if Washington wants to realize its goal of building a COP in the South China Sea anytime soon. MSI will likely need to be supplemented with additional funding either from DoD or other sources.

    “The problem with MSI is that it’s ‘budget dust’ in Pentagon speak; you can’t do much with $425 million,” Van Jackson, a former Pentagon official who served in the Obama administration from 2009 to 2014 and a regular contributor to The Diplomat, said.

    Overcoming that financial hurdle is possible, says Jackson, now an associate professor at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Honolulu as well as an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), a Washington, D.C.-based think tank. With additional resources as well as partnerships with the private sector in Silicon Valley, Jackson says, Washington could create a good-enough common operating picture – as opposed to a military-grade COP requiring significant ISR capabilities which would cost billions of dollars. At present, though, that kind of partnership does not yet exist.

    “It’s been difficult for government to bridge the divide with the tech sector though. Silicon Valley is completely aloof of the Pentagon’s strategic problems like the South China Sea,” said Jackson, the lead author in a report on constructing a common operational picture in the South China Sea released by CNAS in March.

    The other domestic concern among some relates to whether MSI could inadvertently be contributing to the creeping militarization of U.S. foreign assistance. Since MSI is being financed with existing DoD money, rather than administered through the FMF program run by the State Department, there are those who worry whether this undermines State’s lead role in doling out foreign assistance, thereby leading to the approval of security funds that might contradict broader U.S. foreign policy interests such as preserving human rights. Indeed, some voices within Congress have even reportedly called for MSI to be moved over to the State Department.

    To those familiar with MSI, this is rather overblown. As one source put it, claiming that less than half a billion dollars spread over the next five years (in a nearly $600 billion DoD annual budget) across an entire subregion is going to reshape U.S. foreign assistance policy seems like quite an exaggeration. Furthermore, as was mentioned earlier, the money will be spent on things like facility construction and training rather than weapons or hardware.

    “We’re talking about peanuts in a budgetary sense, and despite the bureaucratic contentiousness of it all, there is a basic consensus about what the money should be spent on,” the source, who preferred to remain unnamed because of the sensitivity of the issue, told The Diplomat.

    Publicly, both DoD and State say they are on the same page when it comes to MSI. Though the initiative is housed under DoD, David McKeeby, a spokesperson for the State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, told The Diplomat that the concurrence of the State Department is required on all MSI proposals, a requirement that Congress wrote into law to ensure foreign policy coordination.

    “[D]oD and State have committed to work closely together to determine what assistance will be offered through its MSI to our allies and partners,” McKeeby said.

    “The coordination of security assistance within a foreign policy framework remains a vital aspect of its delivery – no less in a politically sensitive region like this one.”

    MSI could face regional challenges as well as it seeks to build this common operating picture. Some Southeast Asian countries may be hesitant to share information with their neighbors, not just due to sensitivities but other reasons as well including rivalries between them. The clearest example of this is the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) concluded in 2004, which now includes 20 Asian states. Malaysia and Indonesia are still not official members up till today, in part due to disagreement on the location of the headquarters of the information sharing center in Singapore.

    There is also the concern that MSI could be perceived as a U.S.-led tool directed against China even if it is not publicly presented as such, thereby complicating both the relationships these individual countries have with Beijing as well as regional MDA efforts. It is worth noting that while MSI has a much more ambitious goal of developing a COP in the South China Sea, the region does already have a few more modest initiatives of its own, from systems like Singapore’s Information Fusion Center (IFC) to multilateral cooperative endeavors such as the Malacca Straits patrols. For Washington, striking a balance between raising the bar to work towards a COP while also not getting too far ahead of regional MDA efforts will be a tricky one.

    “It depend[s] on how it [MSI] evolves – it can lead to more security or more instability, but the point is that it is us in the region who have to live with either of those,” one official from a Southeast Asian state involved in MSI told The Diplomat.

    The challenge of securing adequate buy-in and being sensitive to regional perceptions is not a new one. The cautionary tale of the Regional Maritime Security Initiative (RMSI) – a proposal launched in 2004 during the George W. Bush administration which was initially meant to be a voluntary partnership between states to promote information-sharing and early warning to counter maritime transnational threats – is a case in point. Media reports that the-then PACOM commander Admiral Thomas Fargo had said that U.S. special forces and marines would patrol the Malacca Strait led to angry responses by both Malaysia and Indonesia, undermining the initiative and eventually leading to its demise soon after. Though there are some significant differences between RMSI and MSI, the point here is simply that the case nonetheless illustrates the importance of optics and messaging which is a useful lesson to remember.

    Washington and Southeast Asian states have also encountered challenges in their initial efforts working together on MSI. More than one of the MSI members told The Diplomat that they initially did not have a clear sense of what the initiative was and was not – including specifics about its objectives and kinds of assistance they could seek.

    Part of the problem on the U.S. side, a source told The Diplomat, was because DoD only had a few months this time around to finalize a list of projects and send them over for a congressional notification. This may have left less time than would have been preferred for partner countries to have time to think about projects that would fit under the initiative for the year. It was partly because of this that Manila ended up getting the “lion’s share” of the $50 million sought for 2016, as Searight told reporters March 18.

    “It was difficult to understand but we also did not have enough time to decide on our side this time,” an official from another one of the five main countries involved in MSI admitted.

    To a certain extent, that was to be expected and is not entirely Washington’s fault. For instance, an MSI country like Vietnam is a relatively new U.S. security partner, which means Hanoi does not possess as thorough of an understanding of U.S. bureaucratic processes as do other U.S. partners.

    During his remarks commemorating the 20th anniversary of the normalization of U.S.-Vietnam relations at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C. last April, U.S. ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius himself acknowledged that it might take some time for Vietnam to become familiar with complex U.S. procurement procedures (See: “What’s Next for U.S.-Vietnam Defense Relations?“). Vietnam also has its own internal considerations beyond MSI, such as what it would specifically like from Washington relative to its more traditional defense partners like Russia. As with other Southeast Asian cases – consider U.S.-Indonesia defense relations, for instance – it will take some time before this process of familiarization to gradually occur.

    Conclusion

    We will likely hear more details about MSI over the next few months, particularly with U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s upcoming visit to the Philippines in April as Manila lies right at the heart of the initiative. But the significance of MSI is already clear. By committing itself to a multi-year maritime security capacity-building initiative in Southeast Asia with the key objective of creating a common operational picture in the South China Sea, Washington is tangibly demonstrating that the U.S. rebalance has real weight behind it and can serve both U.S. interests as well as those of regional states.

    Though it is still early days and challenges remain, with the Permanent Court of Arbitration set to rule on the Philippines’ case against China on the South China Sea in May or June and the Shangri-La Dialogue coming up in early June as well, MSI’s rollout will certainly coincide with some interesting security developments in the region (See: “Does the Philippines’ South China Sea Case Against China Really Matter?“).

  55. মাসুদ করিম - ১১ এপ্রিল ২০১৭ (৭:২৯ অপরাহ্ণ)

  56. মাসুদ করিম - ১২ এপ্রিল ২০১৭ (৯:১১ পূর্বাহ্ণ)

    Japan plans joint drills with US carrier headed to Korean peninsula: Sources

    Japan’s navy plans joint drills with the US Navy’s Carl Vinson carrier strike group as it steams towards the Korean peninsula in a display of military power aimed at deterring the North Korean regime from further missile tests, two sources said.

    The Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force (MSDF) may conduct helicopter landings on each other’s ships, as well as communication drills, as the USS Carl Vinson and its escort ships pass through waters close to Japanese territory, the sources said.

    “Japan wants to dispatch several destroyers as the Carl Vinson enters the East China Sea,” said one of the sources.

    One of the people who spoke to Reuters has direct knowledge of the plan, while the other has been briefed on the exercises. MSDF officials did not respond immediately when asked to comment.

    The display of US-Japan naval power close to China could upset Beijing, which is locked in a territorial dispute with Tokyo in the region over uninhabited islets close to Taiwan.

    The show of naval force by Tokyo comes as concern grows in Japan over the rapid pace of North Korea’s ballistic missile development and US President Donald Trump’s threat of unilateral action to solve the North Korean problem.

    North Korean state media warned on Tuesday (April 11) of a nuclear attack on the United States at any sign of American aggression.

    Trump, who has urged China to do more to rein in its impoverished ally and neighbour, said on Twitter that North Korea was “looking for trouble” and the United States would “solve the problem” with or without Beijing’s help.

    South Korea’s acting president Hwang Kyo Ahn, has warned of “greater provocations” by North Korea and ordered the military to intensify monitoring and ensure close communication with Washington.

    Tension has escalated sharply on the Korean peninsula amid concerns that reclusive North Korea may soon conduct a sixth nuclear test.

    North Korea fired a liquid-fueled Scud missile this month, the latest in a series of tests that have displayed the Pyongyang regime’s ability to launch attacks and use hard-to-detect solid-fuel rockets and tracked launch vehicles.

    North Korean officials, including leader Kim Jong Un, have indicated an intercontinental ballistic missile test or something similar could be coming, possibly as soon as Saturday, the 105th birthday of North Korea’s founding president.

    North Korea remains technically at war with the United States and its ally South Korea after the 1950-1953 Korean conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty. It regularly threatens to destroy both countries.

    The Carl Vinson strike group, which cancelled a planned visit to Australia, is sailing from Singapore. The 100,000-tonne Nimitz-class vessel is powered by two nuclear reactors and carriers almost 100 aircraft.

    Under Third Fleet command, it has been patrolling Asia for several months as the Seventh Fleet’s forward-deployed carrier in Yokosuka, Japan, undergoes scheduled maintenance.

    Japan’s navy, the second largest in Asia after China, is made up mostly of escort destroyers, but includes four large helicopter carriers.

  57. মাসুদ করিম - ১৮ এপ্রিল ২০১৭ (৯:১৬ পূর্বাহ্ণ)

    China, Russia send ships after US aircraft carrier

    Changing Trump views worry some allies

    China and Russia have dispatched intelligence-gathering vessels from their navies to chase the USS Carl Vinson nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, report agencies.

    The carrier is heading toward waters near the Korean Peninsula, multiple sources of the Japanese government revealed to The Yomiuri Shimbun.

    It appears that both countries aim to probe the movements of the United States, which is showing a stance of not excluding military action against North Korea.

    The Self-Defence Forces are strengthening warning and surveillance activities in the waters and airspace around the area, according to the sources.

    The aircraft carrier strike group, composed of the Carl Vinson at its core with guided-missile destroyers and other vessels, is understood to be around the East China Sea and heading north toward waters near the Korean Peninsula.

    China and Russia, which prioritizs stability in the Korean Peninsula, showed concern over the tough US stance, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov saying the issue should be resolved peacefully through political and diplomatic efforts.

    The dispatch of the intelligence-gathering vessels appears to be partly aimed at sending a warning signal to the United States.

    Meanwhile another report adds, once soft on Russia and hard on China, President Donald Trump rapidly reversed course in the last weeks, concluding there’s more business to be done with Beijing than with Moscow.

    Trump’s evolving views on those two world powers have brought the U.S. back into alignment with former President Barack Obama’s pattern of “great power” politics. Though Russia critics welcomed Trump’s newly hardened tone, there’s less enthusiasm from America’s allies in Asia, who fear the U.S. could overlook China’s more aggressive posture toward its neighbors.

    It may be that Trump, the businessman-turned-world leader, is discovering China’s transactional approach to foreign relations is better suited to achieving his own goals. Chinese leaders have sought a U.S. relationship based on the two powers respecting each other’s spheres of influence and not intervening in one another’s internal affairs.

    Such a balance-of-powers approach had been Russia’s traditional stance. Moscow still wants Washington out of its backyard, but Russia’s alleged campaigns to influence the U.S. presidential election and upcoming votes in the heart of Western Europe have made it harder for American officials to take the offer seriously. Russia’s support for Syrian President Bashar Assad and Trump’s newfound commitment to militarily countering any chemical weapons attacks also is proving hard to square.

    Also, Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s shared tendency toward nationalist, “don’t-mess-with-us” rhetoric may be putting the pair on a collision course.

    The sudden U-turn for Trump has been head-snapping for people around the world, despite his self-professed penchant for unpredictability and willingness to adapt to changing circumstances.

    As the Republican presidential nominee, Trump praised Putin repeatedly as a strong, “very smart” leader. Trump dismissed America’s Russia hawks as “stupid people or fools” and predicted that under his leadership the Cold War foes would “work together to solve some of the many great and pressing problems and issues of the world.”

    Trump’s gestures to Moscow even fueled perceptions that his campaign and Russia were colluding to help him get elected – a possibility the FBI is now investigating.

    “Frankly, if we got along with Russia and knocked out ISIS, that would be a good thing, not a bad thing,” Trump told a radio host in October, citing his still unrealized goal to have both countries cooperate to defeat the Islamic State group.

    This past week, it was the opposite message, as the U.S. and Russia feuded about Syria.

    “We’re not getting along with Russia at all,” Trump said. “We may be at an all-time low.”

    Trump’s declaration came at a joint news conference with the leader of NATO, an alliance established as a Cold War bulwark against the Soviet Union. Trump had dismissed NATO as “obsolete,” but now says it is “no longer obsolete.”

    As he shifts away from Russia, Trump is offering an outstretched hand to China. Trump recently hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping at Trump’s Florida resort, and on Thursday hailed Xi as a “terrific person” and a “very special man.”

    For years Trump said that China was “eating our lunch,” and he peppered his campaign rallies with promises to label China a currency manipulator as one of his first acts. He even threatened to start a trade war, arguing that China’s trade surplus was the reason for America’s economic woes.

    Trump’s growing focus on the North Korean threat, heightened by signs the North might soon conduct another nuclear test, has changed Trump’s thinking. Now he is looking for help from China, North Korea’s dominant trade partner, and easing up on his rhetoric. “I think China has really been working very hard” on North Korea, he said.

    Coinciding with this new assessment was Trump’s announcement that he won’t declare China a currency manipulator. It was Trump’s second major concession to Xi, after backing away from a threat to abandon America’s “One China” policy that sees Taiwan as part of China.

    So what did Trump, the self-declared deal-maker, get in return?

    “The U.S. hasn’t gotten anything from China yet,” said Evan Medeiros, who was Obama’s top Asia adviser in the White House. “The question becomes, if they don’t give him what he wants, what happens next?”

  58. মাসুদ করিম - ২৮ মার্চ ২০১৮ (৯:০২ অপরাহ্ণ)

    China, DPRK to increase high-level exchanges

    China will increase high-level exchanges with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to strengthen strategic communications and expand cooperation, Spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Lu Kang said on Wednesday.

    Lu spoke about the significance of the meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and the DPRK leader Kim Jong Un, stressing that the two sides have a tradition of high-level exchanges.

    “In fact, high-level exchanges have played a leading role in promoting bilateral relations. During this visit, President Xi says he is willing to keep close contact with Kim through various forms… such as exchanging visits, and sending special envoys and letters to each other,” Lu added.

    Lu said the meetings between the two leaders have shown that both sides attached high importance to party-to-party and state-to-state relations.

    He mentioned that friendship is a common treasure, as Xi has pointed out, noting that safeguarding, consolidating and developing China-DPRK relations are unswerving guidelines for the Communist Party of China and the Chinese government.

    Xi spoke highly of the efforts made by the DPRK side to improve the situation on the Korean Peninsula.

    The spokesperson said that Xi highlighted that China will continue to play its constructive role and stand ready to work with all parties, including the DPRK, to jointly strengthen China’s proposed dual-track approach and other suggestions, and work for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and the establishment of long-term peace and stability in the region and the world.

    Kim on his way back to the DPRK sent a message of thanks to Xi, KCNA news agency has reported.

    In the message Kim said that the “socialist cause of the peoples of the two countries has entered the phase of new development, marking a wonderful occasion that provided an epoch-making landmark for carrying forward and developing the traditional DPRK-China friendship as required by the new era.”

    Russia on Wednesday welcomed the meeting between Xi and Kim as an important step to strengthen positive changes on the Korean Peninsula. The Russian Foreign Ministry said Moscow will continue to improve cooperation with China to resolve tensions on the peninsula through “purely diplomatic means.”

    The White House said in a statement that China has briefed the US government on the meetings and noted that communication included a personal message from Xi to US President Donald Trump.

  59. মাসুদ করিম - ৩১ মে ২০১৮ (১২:৫৪ অপরাহ্ণ)

    ভারতের ( ভারতের জন্য নয়, ভারত মহাসাগরের জন্য হবে সম্ভবত, খবর সংগ্রহের ভুল মনে হচ্ছে- অথবা বলা যেত, ভারতকে প্রতীকী স্বীকৃতি দিতে) জন্য ‘প্যাসিফিক কমান্ডে’র নাম পরিবর্তন যুক্তরাষ্ট্রের

    পেন্টাগনের কাছে ভারতের বাড়তে থাকা গুরুত্বকে স্বীকৃতি দিয়ে নিজেদের ‘প্যাসিফিক কমান্ড’ এর নাম পরিবর্তন করে ‘ইউ.এস. ইন্দো-প্যাসিফিক কমান্ড’ নামকরণ করেছে যুক্তরাষ্ট্রের সামরিক বাহিনী।

    বুধবারের এই পরিবর্তন বহুলাংশে প্রতীকী বলে জানিয়েছেন যুক্তরাষ্ট্রের কর্মকর্তারা, খবর বার্তা সংস্থা রয়টার্সের।

    বৃহত্তর প্রশান্ত মহাসাগরীয় অঞ্চলে যুক্তরাষ্ট্রের সব ধরনের সামরিক তৎপরতা দেশটির প্যাসিফিক কমান্ডের অধীন। এই অঞ্চলে দায়িত্ব পালনের জন্য কমান্ডের তিন লাখ ৭৫ হাজার সামরিক ও বেসামরিক সদস্য রয়েছে। ভারতও এই অঞ্চলের অন্তর্ভুক্ত।

    আগে থেকেই প্রস্তুত করে রাখা ভাষণে যুক্তরাষ্ট্রের প্রতিরক্ষামন্ত্রী জিম ম্যাটিস বলেছেন, “আঞ্চলিক স্থিতিশীলতা বজায় রাখার ক্ষেত্রে আমাদের প্রশান্ত ও ভারত মহাসাগরীয় মিত্র ও অংশীদারদের সঙ্গে সম্পর্ক গুরুত্বপূর্ণ প্রমাণিত হয়েছে।

    “ভারত ও প্রশান্ত মহাসাগরের মধ্যে বাড়তে থাকা সংযোগের স্বীকৃতি দিতে আজ আমরা ইউ.এস. প্যাসিফিক কমান্ডের নাম পরিবর্তন করে ইউ.এস. ইন্দো-প্যাসিফিক কমান্ড করলাম।”

    কমান্ড পরিবর্তনের এক অনুষ্ঠানে এসব কথা বলেন তিনি। নতুন নামকরণ করা কমান্ডের দায়িত্ব পেয়েছেন অ্যাডমিরাল ফিলিপ ডেভিডসন।

    সাবেক ইউ.এস. প্যাসিফিক কমান্ডের দায়িত্বে থাকা অ্যাডমিরাল হ্যারি হ্যারিসকে দক্ষিণ কোরিয়ায় যুক্তরাষ্ট্রের নতুন রাষ্ট্রদূত হিসেবে মনোনয়ন দিয়েছেন প্রেসিডেন্ট ডোনাল্ড ট্রাম্প।

    ভারতের বাড়তে থাকা সামরিক প্রাসঙ্গিকতা যুক্তরাষ্ট্রের জন্য গুরুত্বপূর্ণ, নতুন এই নামকরণের মাধ্যমে সেই স্বীকৃতিই এসেছে। তবে এই পরিবর্তনের পরও ওই অঞ্চলে অতিরিক্ত কোনো সম্পদ সরবরাহ করছে না যুক্তরাষ্ট্র।

    ২০১৬ সালে যুক্তরাষ্ট্র ও ভারত একটি সমঝোতা চুক্তি করে, তাতে উভয়ে উভয়ের স্থল, বিমান ও নৌ ঘাঁটি মেরামত ও পুনঃসরবরাহ কাজে ব্যবহার করতে পারবে বলে স্বীকৃত হয়। এর মাধ্যমে উভয় দেশ চীনের বাড়তে থাকা নৌশক্তির মোকাবিলায় প্রতিরক্ষা মিত্রতা গড়ে তোলার দিকে অগ্রসর হয়।

    পাশাপাশি যুক্তরাষ্ট্র ভারতের বিশাল প্রতিরক্ষা বাজারে প্রবেশ করতেও আগ্রহী। দেশটি এরইমধ্যে ভারতের দ্বিতীয় প্রধান অস্ত্র সরবরাহকারী দেশে পরিণত হয়েছে।

  60. মাসুদ করিম - ১৩ জুন ২০১৮ (৯:২৫ পূর্বাহ্ণ)

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