Disclaimers on Views/Information Contained in this Blog

Follow the link to my Homepage.

Disclaimers on Views/Information Contained in thie Blog

- The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author's (or the author(s) of the original articles), and do not reflect, in any shape, way, or form, the official policy or position of the author's employer (current or former) or any other organization.

- Information contained on this blog is entirely derived from unclassified open source information, and is based exclusively on the content and behavior of selected media.

- Please note that some of the postings will provide only information with no comments or analysis while other postings will have comments and/or analysis.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Regional Update for September 13

New Zealand-China: A Chinese naval training ship and a frigate arrived in Auckland, New Zealand on 11 September for a four-day visit, New Zealand and Chinese press reported. Chinese Rear Admiral Leng said the visit was part of efforts to construct a harmonious world and a harmonious ocean. He added that it was also conducive to improving the level of military cooperation between the two countries.

New Zealand is the fourth stop on the Chinese Navy ships' itinerary, which has included calls at Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and Tonga, and will take them to Australia next.

Japan-China: Update. A Chinese government law enforcement ship on 11 September asked a Japanese coast guard survey ship operating in Japan's exclusive economic zone to stop its activities, according to coast guard officials.

The encounter occurred about 280 kilometers (173 miles) north-northwest off Okinawa Island. The Japanese ship continued surveying operations for nearly two more hours. Japan later delivered an official complaint to China. The Japanese will not back down from the Chinese, with our without US encouragement.

South Korea-North Korea: Update. South Korea announced today , 13 September, that is will provide aid to North Korea, but repeated that the government in Pyongyang was responsible for the sinking of the South Korean corvette Cheonan in March.

Over the weekend, the North offered to resume reunions of families divided by the Korean War's outcome. None have occurred in over a year.

It also accepted the South Korean Red Cross' offer of $8.3 million in aid, which includes 5,000 tones of rice, 10,000 tons of cement and 3 million packs of instant noodles. Red Cross chief Yoo Chong-ha said the South Korean government is the main financier of the aid.

According to Red Cross figures, about 80,000 elderly South Koreans seek a brief meeting with family left in the North after the war.

Comments from KGS NightWatch: The apparent peace offensive is almost certainly camouflage to obscure the North's failure to convene the 3rd Party Conference. The overtures have no significance except to prolong a benign strategic environment, while the North's leaders sort out their next step.

North Korea: The South Korean television channel YTN reported the 3rd Party Conference has been delayed because of the health of leader Kim Jong-il. Unidentified South Korean intelligence officials supposedly told the station that Kim's health worsened after his five-day trip to northeast China late last month.

The station's report said the Conference would likely be held soon since the 68-year-old's health was not bad enough to warrant a cancellation.

Comments from KGS NightWatch: Our assessment is that Kim's health has been so poor that he is non compos mentis most of the time, except after dialysis, which well-informed observers say occurs thrice weekly. We also judge he has so many body doubles and it is sometime difficult to distinguish them - presumably the Chinese experts on Korea could identify the real Kim from a double.

The Conference does not seem to have taken place yet, which North and South Korean media blame on the exertions of Kim's trip to China. The subtext is the Chinese are to blame for the Dear Leader's present infirmity. There is no way to know who went to China or what was accomplished. The North has raised its shroud of obscurity and might declare the Conference a success tomorrow!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Regional Update for September 10

Japan-China: The captain of a Chinese fishing boat was taken to a Japanese court on Ishigaki Island in Okinawa Prefecture on 10 September. Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi demanded the "immediate and unconditional" release of the captain and other crewmembers, according to news relays.

Yang summoned Japanese Ambassador to China Uichiro Niwa to lodge a third protest with Tokyo over what the Chinese Foreign Ministry described as an "illegal detention." Yang told Niwa that Beijing is determined to defend Chinese sovereignty of the Diaoyu Islands, where the ramming incident occurred, and demanded the unconditional release of the boat and crew, according to the ministry

Japan asserts the incident occurred in Japanese territorial waters and that Japan is handling the case in line with domestic law, Niwa told the Chinese. On 10 September a Japanese court ruled that prosecutors can detain the captain of the Chinese fishing boat for 10 days.

In reaction to and protest of the court ruling, the Chinese announced a postponement of a second round of negotiation over disputed island territories. Lest the Japanese miss the point, the Chinese statement described the postponement as a "grave protest."

Comments from KGS NightWatch: Japan and South Korea require little encouragement in standing up to China on territorial or other disputes. In part, this is because they see China's export dependent modern sector as a competitor with their own export-driven economies. Neither Japan nor South Korea is inclined to accommodate China or accept it as a regional leader.

An epochal strategic shift continues to evolve in which Asian States are not only taking responsibility for the security of Asia, they are shaping the nature of the strategic relationships. Japan and South Korea will not roll over for China the way North Korea is doing,with or without US assistance.

South Korea-US: A US Defense Department spokesman announced today, 10 September, that the aircraft carrier USS George Washington will participate with South Korea in war games in international waters of the Yellow Sea off the Korean Peninsula. The US spokesman said the deployment is not aimed at challenging China, but is a warning to North Korea.

Comments from KGS NightWatch: After much hemming and hawing, the US appears to have made a decision in favor of strategic dominance and in favor of US Allies in Asia. Apparently thanks for the extra time to think straight goes to the intervention of a typhoon. The typhoon delayed Allied anti-submarine warfare training in the Yellow Sea and gave the US leadership time to make a decision in favor of American allies and interests.

China-Taiwan: Taiwan's Coast Guard Administration (CGA) will conduct a maritime rescue drill the week of 13 September with China's Maritime Search and Rescue Center, Taiwanese Central News Agency reported 10 September. The drill will be held in waters off southeastern China, between Taiwan's Kinmen Island and Xiamen, China.

Taiwan's CGA will send nine patrol boats, including a 500-ton patrol vessel, and helicopters to Kinmen. All participating ships and rescue teams will carry flags that symbolize the joint drill, CGA officials said, in an attempt to avoid territorial disputes.

Comments from KGS NightWatch: The drill will be the first time the two coastal patrol agencies will have held joint exercises.

Burma (Myanmar)-China: The China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) has begun construction of China-Myanmar oil and natural gas pipelines, according to Chinese media. The announcement coincided with a ground-breaking ceremony for a 200,000 barrel-per-day oil refinery in Anning city, Yunnan Province, China.

According to the CNPC statement, the company wants to complete the China section of the pipelines, as well as the refinery, by 2013. The oil pipeline, which will have a capacity of 440,000 barrels per day, will wind 771 kilometers (479 miles) through Myanmar, then stretch 1,631 kilometers though China before ending in Chongqing.

The natural gas pipeline will have a 12 billion cubic meter capacity, and will span 793 kilometers in Myanmar and 1,727 kilometers in China before ending in Guangxi region. The company did not disclose whether or when all three projects would receive final approval from China's National Development and Reform Commission, the body in charge of economic planning and pricing.

Comments from KGS NightWatch: The significance of this information plus other recent reports about China building a railroad through Burma is that they reinforce the assessment that Chinese leaders see Burma as a gateway for channeling natural resources to China.

This symbolizes the next step in China's economic imperialism by creating a network of vertical and horizontal monopolies on a global scale that gather and ship back to China the resources from concessions in Third World countries that the Chinese already have secured.

By using Chinese-made Burmese ports and infrastructure, natural resources from Africa and the Middle East can reach hubs in southern China and avoid the hazards of transiting the Straits of Malacca and Singapore and the South China Sea.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Regional Update for September 9

A Foreign Ministry source said Beijing has deployed a "law enforcement ship" to the region in the East China Sea where a Chinese trawler collided with two Japanese coast guard vessels.

The action is an effort to protect Chinese fishermen, the Ministry said.

A ministry spokeswoman called Tokyo's intentions to apply Japanese domestic law to the case of the Chinese trawler that rammed a Japanese coast guard ship absurd and illegal. The spokeswoman suggested the case could have a serious impact on bilateral relations.

A Japanese coast guard spokeswoman said an inspection of the trawler has begun, as well as an interrogation of the 14 fishermen who were on board. The fishing boat is docked off Ishigaki Island in Okinawa prefecture.

Comments from KGS NightWatch: Japanese commentaries about the event conclude the Chinese trawler deliberately rammed the Coast Guard ships so as to create an incident. The Chinese reaction seems to reinforce that Japanese conclusion rather than refute it, as might have been expected from an emerging regional leader, as the Chinese describe their nation.

The Chinese have responded with increased law enforcement capabilities instead of a statesmanlike appeal to maintain regional stability. The stationing of one or more law enforcement ships in a disputed maritime region of East Asia matches one of several Chinese tactics for asserting China's claims to the South China Sea up to the limits of the territorial seas of Southeast Asian states.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Regional Update for September 8

Premier Choe Yong Rim of North Korea said 8 September that hastening economic growth as a way to improve living standards is of critical importance for North Korea. Speaking at a national assembly marking the founding of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Choe said the public and the army should work to develop agriculture and light industry, as well as metalwork, electricity, coal and railway infrastructure.

Comments from KGS NightWatch: The premier's public statement is significant for several reasons. First it suggests the 3rd Party Conference has not begun. More importantly, it is the latest manifestation that Kim Jong-il's government has made a major change in strategic priorities in favor of non-military development. Choe's comments are the most explicit to date in directing that the army should support the civilian sectors in promoting general prosperity.

Old hands will recall that Kim Il-sung, President forever, reached the same conclusion in 1993. Kim Jong-il's Father suspended the seven-year national planning system in December 1993 because it failed. He reprioritized national activity as agriculture-- food production, consumer goods for daily living, goods for export and goods to support the armed forces. This order of effort had no precedent in Korean communism. North Koreans were malnourished in danger of starving.

Kim Jong-il, under threat of a military revolt and for his survival, rejected the legacy of his Father and made military production first, from mid-1994. Sixteen years later and facing death, Kim apparently has had an epiphany about the wisdom of his Father. Once again , under Kim's leadership, North Koreans are malnourished in danger of starving.

The elder Kim recognized that the state and the army could not survive unless the people from whom they are drawn and on whom they depend are healthy. Kim Jong-il is late in reaching that insight.

The message for outsiders is the infrastructure that supports the North's military capabilities is hollow. Kim Jong-il's rule has been a waste of time and resources, repeating mistakes his father made. Nevertheless, the North Korean people will never be permitted to draw those conclusions.

The North's media and sympathetic commentaries in Japan ascribe the new priorities to the third son, Kim Jong-eun. That callow youth has not dealt with the entrenched vice marshals and corps commanders of the Korean Peoples Army. Nor has his mentor and regent Chang Song-taek, who is a party aficionado, not a military man.

Thus Readers might expect the 3rd Party Conference to endorse a new set of strategic priorities in which food production is the highest national priority. That does not mean the Army will follow the Party Conference's lead. More later.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Regional Update for September 7

China-Burma (Myanmar): China hailed Myanmar as a "friendly neighbor" and warned the world not to meddle in its upcoming election. General Than Shwe, the head of Burma's military junta, arrived in Beijing for a state visit with President Hu Jintao. Than Shwe's visit will last four days during which he will meet all the top officials.

Comments by KGS NightWatch: Today's praise plus warning expose the fundamental difference between the Chinese communist ideas of democracy and those of the West, even taking into account the imperfect nature of Western voting practices. The fact of a vote is important in authoritarian Asian states; they approve of the legitimacy that voting lends authoritarian rule. The idea the outcome might be determined by the electorate, however, is alien to this political philosophy.

Thus the Chinese could with a straight face endorse the already ham-fistedly contrived Burmese elections - what do Burmese generals know about democracy?

In a strategic sense, the Burmese leaders are engaged in a dangerous policing balancing act to retain some freedom of action between India and China. Than Shwe's visit indicates the Burmese junta prefers to tilt towards China more than India.

China-India: Yesterday, 6 September Indian Prime Minister Singh told New Delhi newspaper editors that, ""China would like to have a foothold in South Asia, and we have to reflect on this reality." India had to be aware of this, and also of a "new assertiveness among the Chinese - and it was difficult to tell which way it will go."

Today, 7 September, in an effort to downplay Prime Minister Singh's remarks, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu said China is committed to safeguarding peace and stability in Asia, including South Asia. Jiang said China is one of the important members of Asia, and that seeking common development with it, South Asia and other countries is in the common interest of "all of us."

Comments from KGS NightWatch: Several features of the exchange are worth noting. First the Indians are aware of and are monitoring Chinese inroads in the Indian Ocean region, which they claim as their sphere of influence. Second, the Indians describe this as new assertiveness, a term not yet recognized in Western commentaries. Third, the Chinese attempt to assuage Indian concerns is actually a deliberate challenge in which China claims interests in al South Asia, as well as East Asia.

China-Iran: China's Railways Minister Liu Zhijun will visit Tehran on 12 September to sign a contract between Iran and a Chinese company to build a $2 billion rail link to Iran, according to Iranian Transport Minister Hamid Behbahani. Transport ministers from Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Iran are expected to gather in Dushanbe in October to firm up the deal for a 2,000-kilometer (1,200-mile) route that links China and Iran.

Comments for KGS NightWatch: For more than a decade Chinese leaders have talked about linking Chinese rails with systems in Central Asia at meetings of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Within the past five years, the Chinese have backed their talk with investment.

China has railroad projects in Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Burma and now Iran. It has road and pipeline projects in Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan.

Many of the projects are scheduled to be completed by 2012. Their cumulative effect would be to shift the economic focus of Central Asian states from Moscow to Beijing. The advantage China brings is that the Chinese rails would use standard gauge, making it possible to ship from the Pacific Coast of China to Turkey without changing bogeys or moving containers in order to accommodate different rail gauges.

Until the Chinese projects become operational, all rail traffic from Asia to Europe will continue to rely on Russian gauge railroads and multiple gauge changes in Asia and at the border of European states.

Afghanistan: NATO and Afghan forces hope to clear the Taliban out of Kandahar by the end of November, according to a statement by the commander of international forces in the south of Afghanistan. NATO forces have secured Kandahar city and are now targeting the surrounding districts of Arghandab, Zharai and Panjwai. British Major General Nick Carter said that 15,000 to 17,000 Afghan security forces and 15,000 international troops have numerical superiority over an estimated 1,000 Taliban insurgents in and around the city.

Comments by KGS NightWatch: The only significance of this report it that it is the first open source estimate of the number of Taliban in Kandahar. The force ratio of 30 allied troops for each Taliban continues to favor the Taliban.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Regional Update for September 6

South Korea-US: The Allies announced that a typhoon has prompted them to postpone the anti-submarine warfare exercise in the Yellow Sea for safety reasons.

North Korea-South Korea: The Korean Central News Agency said on 6 September that North Korea will release the South Korean fishing boat and its crew which the North captured last month for violating the exclusive economic zone. The announcement described the release as made "from the compatriotic and humanitarian points of view."

Comments from KGS NightWatch: Like the release of the US citizen to former President Carter, this is further confirmation that the North wants no grievances with neighbors and enemies to cast a shadow over the Party Conference - most likely this week - that might be exploited to disrupt it.

North Korea: Party Conference Update. The Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun reported on 6 September that delegates from the Workers' Party are arriving in Pyongyang for the 3rd Party Conference. The leadership has not announced the date the conference begins or how long it will last. Often for security purposes, the North withholds that information for significant internal events until after they have concluded their work.

Comments from KGS NightWatch: More than 1,300 delegates attended the 1966 conference. Accommodation is a significant burden, but delegates will have been arriving most likely for weeks before now. If the Conference has not already begun, it is likely to this week, based on today's announcement.

Kim Chong-il is not likely to designate in public his third son as his successor. Instead he is likely to appoint him to a post that will point to his succession. Kim's brother-in-law and the youth's uncle, Chang Song-taek, has been promoted to party and government positions that supposedly will enable him to act as regent and tutor for Kim Chong-eun, whom Japanese sources say is only 27.

The public appearance of the third son would be a sign that the speculation about his succession to leadership is accurate.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

China and North Korea agrees to Open a New Container Shipping Route

* Article from Asahi Shimbun *

N. Korea, China eye shipping route
By Daisuke Nishimura
September 6, 2010 (Japan Standard Time)

China and North Korea have agreed to open a container shipping route from the North's Rason special economic zone, sources close to the Hunchun-based shipping company involved in the deal said. Hunchun is on China's border with Russia and North Korea.

The agreement was reached during the Northeast Asia Investment and Trade Expo, which runs until Monday in Changchun, China.

The new route, which starts at Rajin in North Korea, is expected to open by the end of December at the earliest, the sources said.

It is expected to handle about 300,000 tons of cargo annually, they said.

The envisioned route will link Rajin with foreign ports, such as Busan, but will be limited at its startup. It will begin shipping products into China from Europe and the United States via China's Qingdao.

Cooperation between China and North Korea has accelerated in the northeast amid heavy international sanctions levied against North Korea after the sinking of a South Korean warship in March.

In the Tumenjiang river area, other projects are also under way, including repairs to a cross-border bridge in Hunchun.

A private company based in Dalian, Liaoning province, is working to develop a pier at Rajin port. And sources said a company in Jilin province has acquired the right to use a pier at North Korea's Chongjin port, to the south of Rajin.

In a forum at the trade expo, North Korea's vice trade minister expressed hope that his country could make Rason into "a base for world-class processing trade and intermediate trade."

Meanwhile, China's inland Jilin province aims to secure sea routes to the Sea of Japan via North Korea's Rajin and Chongjin ports.

The Chinese government last year designated the Tumenjiang river area, which includes the Yanbian autonomous prefecture, Jilin and Changchun, as a pilot development zone.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Regional Update for September 3

South Korea-US: Update. US Forces Korea today confirmed that South Korea and the United States will hold anti-submarine warfare exercises from 5 to 9 September in the Yellow Sea. The statement said the exercises will send a message of deterrence to North Korea, while improving Allied anti-submarine warfare capabilities. Ten ships will participate including the two U.S. guided-missile destroyers, USS Curtis Wilbur and USS Fitzgerald, and a fast-attack U.S. submarine.

South Korea's Joint Staff announced the South will contribute four destroyers, a submarine, high-speed frigates and P-3C aircraft to practice techniques to cope with infiltration by enemy submarines.

Comment: As of 3 September, neither China nor North Korea has commented in response.

India- South Korea: In Seoul, today, Indian Defence Minister Antony and South Korean National Defense Minister Kim approved two memoranda of understanding that will strengthen force cooperation and defense industrial collaboration under the India-South Korea Defence Agreement.

The first memorandum of understanding (MoU) covers sharing of military expertise; exchanges of visits by military personnel and experts in defense services; education and training, and conduct of military exercises, as well as joint visits by ships and aircraft. It also includes cooperation in humanitarian assistance and international peacekeeping.

The second MoU is far reaching, aimed at identifying futuristic defense technology research and development for co-development and co-production of defense products.

Defence Minister Antony remarked that "We live in a troubled neighborhood. Some call it a fragile region. We have to maintain balance and restraint even in the face of grave challenges to our security."

Comment from KGS NightWatch: This was a high powered delegation that included senior officers from the armed services and from the defense research establishment. The Indians came to create an architecture for doing business and their timing could not have been better.

Serendipitously, the Indian delegation is in Seoul coincident with a powerful Chinese military region commander's visit to Pyongyang as a follow-up to Kim Jong-il's secretive China visit. The Indian visit also almost coincides with the start of the US-South Korean naval exercises in the Yellow Sea.

India-China: India conveyed its concerns to China on 3 September about an increase in the Chinese troop presence and activities in Pakistan-administered Kashmir. Embassy officials said Indian Ambassador to China S. Jaishankar met China's Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Zhang Zhijun in Beijing to discuss India's concerns.

India news papers quoted government sources that 11,000 Chinese have been detected in the Pakistan-controlled section of western Kashmir

In response to the Indian demarche, the Chinese said the soldiers were assisting with flood relief without further explanation.

Comments from KGS NightWatch: The Indian press indicates China stonewalled India on this and several other issues, especially those related to Kashmir. While not confirmed, the size of the Chinese contingent equals that of an infantry division. The location could be east of Islamabad … if confirmed. Earlier press reports indicated the Chinese troops were providing security for railroad construction, but the Chinese did not confirm those reports.

China appears to be dropping the nuances in its policy actions of the past ten years as to disputed regions of Asia. In doing so, it is siding openly and unequivocally with longstanding allies. This explains China's open embrace of Kim Jong-il, which matches its equally open tilt to Pakistan on the issue of Kashmir.

China is asserting itself as the Asian hegemon from Northeast Asia, through Southeast Asia to Southwest Asia. This is a strategic challenge to the interests of the US, its allies and friends.

Pakistan: Pakistani Taliban again claimed responsibility for killing at least 43 people and injuring 78 others in a suicide blast at a Shiite procession in Quetta, Pakistan, according to police chief Ghulam Shabir Sheikh. The occasion of the march is al Quds Day, which is an annual protest in solidarity with the Palestinians and to condemn Israel. Al Quds is the Muslim name for the city Jerusalem.

Comments from KGS NightWatch: Pakistani Sunni terrorists evidently will not tolerate Pakistani Shiites protesting in support of Sunni causes, namely, the Palestinians. The plight of the Palestinians has no relevance to the goals of the Pakistani Taliban which include creation of a Pakistani Islamic emirate based in Islamabad.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Regional Update for September 1

Japan-China-North Korea: Update. Japan rejected North Korea's apparent interest in a quick resumption of six-party talks on Pyongyang's nuclear program, saying Tuesday that the time was not right for fresh discussions.

In a meeting Tuesday, 31 August, with China's nuclear envoy, Wu Dawei, Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada said conditions for talks were not right.

"As South Korea is dealing with the sinking of its warship, it is still too early to resume the six-party talks," Okada was quoted as telling Wu, according to a statement from the ministry.

Comments from KGS NightWatch: Japan's stand with South Korea to hold North Korea accountable for the sinking of the Cheonan contrasts sharply with the US and China movement to resume talks quickly, regardless of the North's act of war in sinking the patrol ship. Japan appears to be supporting South Korea whose leaders also think the time is not appropriate for nuclear talks.

Some Western commentators and officials have raised unrealistic expectations about the likelihood of nuclear talks. North Korea is preparing for the 3rd Party Conference, not talks. Kim's language about talks is not in the published remarks during his China visit.

The point is the North's pool of skilled managers is too small to manage simultaneously a Party Conference and nuclear talks probably through mid-September. The Party Conference is far more important to them than nuclear talks.

The Chinese appear to be the only source of the statements attributed to Kim that he wanted an early resumption of talks. They appear to have been crafted to placate the US while North Korea tends to succession business.

North Korea-China: Leaders from North Korea and China said the countries' military relations would be strengthened, Xinhua reported on 1 September. President of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly Kim Yong-nam met a delegation from the Shenyang Military Region in northeastern China at the Mansudae Assembly Hall to discuss military issues today.

Lieutenant General Zhang Youxia, head of the Chinese delegation and Commander of the Shenyang Military Region which abuts North Korea, said the China-North Korean relationship will be consolidated. He also said the Shenyang Military Region will make active efforts to further develop bilateral military exchanges and cooperation.

Comments from KGS NightWatch: The anomaly in the public announcement is that a Chinese military region commander was received by the official President of North Korea, not the Chief of the General Staff or any of the North Korean corps commanders opposite Shenyang Military Region.

General Zhang's visit is not likely a coincidence, occurring two days after Kim Chong-il visited General Zhang's military region. The visit looks like a follow-up to Kim's for the purpose of implementing agreements reached in China, such as coordination of military plans in the event of a crisis in Pyongyang. As a region commander, Zhang's involvement signifies operational and tactical details were discussed … details of execution rather than formulation of strategy.

China has a friendship treaty with North Korea which most old hands suspect includes a provision for Chinese forces to enter North Korea to preserve the communist regime during an emergency. Zhang's visit suggests he, as the responsible theater commander, is inspecting a likely future area of operations.
Introduction of Chinese forces for any purpose, even to save the Kim family regime, would require extensive operational and tactical coordination, establishment of deconfliction procedures and many other forms of cooperation with some of the most powerful North Korean army units, which guard the highway from China to Pyongyang.

China: The Chinese news agency reported China launched routine, annual naval training exercises in the Yellow Sea on 1 September. The Beihai fleet of the navy of the People's Liberation Army is to perform live ammunition firing training in waters off the east coast near Qingdao through the 4th.

Comments from KGS NightWatch: The Chinese live firing practice will not affect in any way the Allied anti-submarine exercises on the other side of the Yellow Sea near North Korea.