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Global Times: The U.S. May Have Lost Hope Counting on Indian Aircraft Carriers

Global Times recently reported that, after visiting India’s first domestically constructed Vikrant-class aircraft carrier, top U.S. Naval engineers may have lost hope in expecting India’s cooperation to contain the Chinese Navy in the Indian Ocean. To the surprise of the Americans, the supposedly combat-ready carrier, launched three years ago, may take up to another ten years to obtain real battleground operational capabilities. The Americans found the Indian carrier doesn’t even have a small-scale missile system for self-defense. The Pentagon was very much concerned that India insisted on producing aircraft carriers entirely on its own, which significantly delayed the combat readiness of the ship. According to India’s own audit report released in September, the first India-made carrier suffered significant flaws in both design and construction quality, such as the aircraft launch system and the air conditioning system, due to the shipbuilder’s lack of experience. The three-billion-dollar project has been delayed for five years now. The Indian-made Tejas fighter jets suffered a troublesome record in practice on and off the deck, while Russian jets had absolutely no issue in using the same deck. The U.S. experts expressed their belief that the first Indian carrier can only operate within the range of India’s land-based air force coverage. However, the United States confirmed its willingness to continue its cooperation with the Indian Navy but will put its the faith in India’s second domestically built carrier.

Source: Global Times, December 2, 2016

People’s Daily: What Does Trump’s Exit from the TPP Mean for China and the United States?

In a recent People’s Daily report, several Chinese scholars gave their opinions on the following question: The TPP agreement was originally seen as the United States’ Asian rebalancing strategy to contain China. Trump decided to change the U.S. policy and withdraw from the TPP. What effect will this have on the two sides?

According to Yuan Zheng, Director of the American Foreign Affairs Department at the American Studies Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, “The United States’ retreat from the TPP and the resulting policy adjustments greatly disappointed its allies. In fact, it damaged the United States’ political reputation and shattered the emotional balance of member countries.” Yuan cited the responses of leaders from a number of TPP member countries to support his observation; he said Japan was the most prominent one.

According to Wang Wen, Executive Director of the Finance Institute of Renmin University of China, “The U.S. exit from the TPP is not entirely a good thing for China. The future will present many challenges.” He did not think that the withdrawal of the United States from the TPP would entirely benefit China’s interests. Wang thought that the U.S. withdrawal would have two major effects. One is that it would change the expectation of a global trend in international trade. The expectation of the two major trade competitions between the U.S.-led regional trade liberalism and the China-led free trade zone would change. First, Trump may introduce new policies for future global trade. Therefore, global trade may become more uncertain. Second, China is in a critical period with both opportunities and challenges in development. It is very challenging for China to deal with the uncertainty of the international situation in the new era of unwinding the TPP. The original TPP member countries will continue to increase demands on China. It may enhance China’s trade discourse, but it will also increase China’s responsibilities and the burden on the global trade system.

Zhang Tengjun, a researcher at the American Studies Section of the International Studies Institute of China, also believed that the United States withdrawal from the TPP would relieve some pressure on China. However, what measures Trump will introduce to safeguard the interests of the United States in the Asia Pacific and even in international society remains to be seen.

Source: People’s Daily, November 29, 2016

China Will Implement a New Military Ranking System in 2017

According to Bowen Press, the Chinese military will implement a new ranking system on August 1, 2017. The main changes include the abolition of senior colonel, grading the Generals, and the addition of the level of Brigadier General. In the reform of the military structure, the division and the regiment will be abolished. The division will be replaced by the brigade; under brigade will be the battalion. The ranking reform is to be in line with international standards and to broaden the avenue for the promotion of military officers.

After the reform, the new military ranking system will include three ranks and 12 levels, i.e., Lieutenants (Second Lieutenant, First Lieutenant, Captain); Colonel Officers (Major, Lieutenant Colonel, Colonel); Generals (Brigadier General, Major General, Lieutenant General, General. General is also divided into General, General tier II and General tier I).

Source: Bowen Press, November 23, 2016

Chinese Army Ground Forces to Be Cut Further, Reducing One Army Group in Each of the Five Combat Regions

The Chinese media Bowen Press reported that, in addition to its disarmament reform program of 300,000 layoffs, the Chinese army will further reduce the scale of its ground forces, substantially cutting one army group in each of the five combat regions. The current 300,000 army layoffs mainly involve non-combat troops, including administrative organs, logistics, schools, hospitals and other functions. However, structurally, the ground forces among the five military entities are still too large as there are 18 army groups of 800,000 members, which accounts for one third of the total of all PLA troops.

Source: Bowen Press, November 24, 2016

Singapore Media Unhappy about the New Port Construction Deal between China and Malaysia

Well-known Chinese news site Sina recently reported that, last month, the China Electric Power Construction Group and the Malaysian government jointly held a groundbreaking ceremony to kick off the Melaka Gateway construction project. Melaka Gateway is expected to be a deep water port located on the west coast of the Malay Peninsula south of Kuala Lumpur. The plan is to make this new port city, composed of three islands, the “Number One Port at the Strait of Malacca.” The Strait is one of the most critical military and commercial pathways in the world. However, Singapore media have been criticizing the new port plan ever since the idea was announced. As the key holder of the Strait of Malacca, Singapore questioned the usefulness of having another nearby port city. Given the increasingly more military activities China held jointly with Malaysia, as well as China’s 99-year operational lease of the new port Melaka Gateway, Singapore expressed its doubts about China’s real purpose in helping to build the port. Recently, Singapore has been siding with the United States on containing China’s expansion in the region.

Source: Sina, November 21, 2016

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