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PLA Deployed Unmanned Ground Vehicles at the China-India Border

In September 2020, military soldiers from China and India clashed and the two countries have continued having standoffs along the border between the two countries. The Indian television station Times Now reported that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has stationed unmanned ground vehicles (UGV’s) along the border, including 88 Sharp Claw vehicles. WION reported that the PLA has stationed 120 to 300 Mule-200 vehicles.

According to National Interest, the Sharp Claw can either be controlled remotely, or move on its own. It can be used either as an unmanned delivery truck or as a weapon, such as a mounted firearm.

Sharp Claw was developed by a PLA defense company NORINCO, for surveillance and limited combat capability. The Mule was developed by Zhong Tian Zhi Kong Technology Holdings, with a firing range of 31 miles and a weight capacity of 440 pounds (it can carry ammunition, supplies, or weapons.)

The PLA has also stationed VP-22 anti-mine, anti-ambush vehicles there.

Source: Epoch Times, December 31, 2021

Former Armed Police Chief of Xinjiang Named the New Military Commander of Hong Kong

For the first time, Peng Jingtang, who comes from the Armed Police Force and has experience in Xinjiang, replaced the commander of the Chinese military forces in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong media analyzed this as a signal that Beijing believes that, after the implementation of the national security law, it is still necessary to prevent the Hong Kong version of a color revolution.

On January 10, the Hong Kong media Hong Kong 01 cited public information that Peng Jingtang served as a brigade commander of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Jinan Military Region, and was a director of the military training division of the PLA Jinan Military Region Command, chief of staff of the Armed Police Force in Xinjiang, and deputy chief of staff of the national Armed Police Force

. In July 2018, Peng was promoted to the rank of Major General.

Hong Kong 01 commented that Peng’s appointment indicates that the dust has not settled in Hong Kong with the passage of the National Security Law. For Beijing, it is still necessary to prevent Hong Kong from becoming a base for opposition to the Chinese regime, and to avert a Hong Kong version of the color revolution. The appointment of Peng Jingtang, a veteran counter-terrorism leader, as the commander of the PLA in Hong Kong is both a deterrent and a precautionary measure.

Source: Hong Kong 01, January 11, 2022深度報道/722361/反恐幹將接掌駐港解放軍-傳遞三大信號

Global Times: Japan Signed New Agreement with the U.S. after the Australian Agreement

Global Times recently reported that the Japanese and American governments signed a cooperation research agreement on defense equipment after the “Security Consultative Committee” (2+2) meeting attended by the foreign affairs and defense cabinet officials of the two sides. The agreement is aimed at countering the development of new weapons such as hypersonic missiles that China and North Korea have advanced. The joint statement of the meeting issued by both Japan and the United States repeated some of the same information about many negative China-related issues, such as the human rights concerns related to Xinjiang and Hong Kong, the importance of peace and stability in Taiwan, the East and South China Sea issues, the Senkaku Islands being subject to the Japan-US Security Treaty, as well as other issues. This was the first Japan-US “2+2” meeting since Fumio Kishida took office as Prime Minister of Japan. It is worth noting that just one day before, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison held a video conference with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and signed a historic defense and security cooperation agreement. Before that, Japan had only signed such an agreement with the United States. The Australian Agreement was viewed as a blatant interference in China’s internal affairs, against the backdrop of China’s rising military and economic power.

Source: Global Times, January 7, 2022

Reference News: China and Japan Agreed to Establish a Defense Hotline

Reference News, a well-known branch of Xinhua News, recently reported that, on the December 27, Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe held a video conference with the Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi. The call took about two hours, which exceeded the original scheduled time. The two defense ministers agreed to strengthen bilateral strategic communication and manage risks to prevent conflicts from escalating. Also, they agreed that a defense hotline will be established in 2022. The Japanese Cabinet recently approved a preliminary budget for 2022. The annual increase in the defense budget was 1.1 percent. It not only marks the tenth consecutive year of growth in Japan’s defense budget, but also breaks Japan’s long-standing rule of capping the increase in the defense budget at under one percent of the nation’s GDP. Singapore’s primary Chinese language newspaper Lianhe Zaobao also reported on this news and indicated that, during the call, Nobuo Kishi emphasized the importance of maintaining stability in the Taiwan Strait. This point was left out in the Reference News report.

(1) Reference News, December 29, 2021
(2) Lianhe Zaobao, December 28, 2021

Global Times: Russia Started Delivering S-400 Missiles to India

Global Times recently reported that, according to Russian and Indian media reports, Russia has begun to deliver the S-400 air defense missile system to India, and will complete the delivery of the first batch of S-400 missiles when Putin visits India next month. The United States wants to impose sanctions on India for this, but it also fears that, as a result, India may fall to Russia. Recently, The U.S. has been trying to engage India as an ally. Nonetheless, this Russian deal did bring serious obstacles to strengthening political and military relations between Washington and New Delhi. It is puzzling that India is buying the same system that China also bought. It thereby suffers the risk that China will have full knowledge of the system’s technical details. On the other hand, it is understandable that most of India’s current mature air defense systems are medium and short-range missiles. There are not many choices for missiles with a maximum range of 250 kilometers in the market. The S-400 makes sense when India wants to establish multi-source weapons procurement channels.

Source: Global Times, November 15, 2021

Lianhe Zaobao: China’s 003 Aircraft Carrier Expects Earliest Launch Date to Be in February

Singapore’s primary Chinese language newspaper Lianhe Zaobao recently reported that the U.S. think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) released its satellite image analysis, showing that the Shanghai Jiangnan Shipyard is completing the installation of the main external and internal components of China’s 003 aircraft carrier. Before the carrier sails into the Yangtze River, it only needs to install some additional items such as radar and weapon systems. CSIS estimated that the 003 aircraft carrier will be launched in about three to six months. Once ready, this will become China’s third aircraft carrier and the second domestically-made carrier. Unlike the first two, experts expressed the belief that the 003 model will use more advanced aircraft ejection technology, similar to the ejection system used by American aircraft carriers. According to Matthew Funaiole, senior researcher of CSIS China Project, the 003 carrier will be the Chinese military’s “first foray into a modern aircraft carrier.” This is a major step forward for China. However, all U.S. aircraft carriers are nuclear-powered. The Chinese 003 carrier is believed to use conventional steam-powered propulsion, which will limit its range.

Source: Lianhe Zaobao, November 10, 2021

China Bans Flightradar24 as Espionage App

The flight tracking service website Flightradar24 uses the signal receiving device “ADS_B” to monitor aircraft and track real-time flight information around the world. Recently the service attracted the attention of the Chinese government, which calls it as a “spy tool.” The application can no longer be downloaded in China.

The Chinese government recently said that ADS_B devices can receive data from military aircraft in addition to real-time data from civil flights, allowing users to send data abroad. According to a report by China Central Television (CCTV), Chinese national security authorities have discovered that, since 2020 several foreign organizations have launched websites and used social media platforms to provide Chinese aviation fans with data receiving devices and other benefits. The purpose was to recruit volunteers to collect relevant data and send it overseas.

The ADS_B device, which Flightradar24 offers to its members, is used to monitor and collect flight data within a radius of more than 300 kilometers by placing it window side. With an Internet connection, the data can be transmitted outside the country.

Chinese authorities have studied the possibility of setting up about 300 ADS_Bs in China to monitor aircraft signals in the country’s airspace. The collected information would cover both civilian and military aircraft. Beijing city’s National Security Bureau said this poses a direct threat to military aircraft. Revealing their whereabouts could lead directly to failure with “incalculable consequences.” The authorities reportedly have launched investigations, picked up hundreds of illegal devices, and temporarily confiscated the equipment of aviation fans.

Flightradar24 was founded in Sweden in 2006 to provide real-time flight details, including basic flight information, the path of the flight, the altitude and the airspeed. In the past, media outlets would use the service to search for information about plane crashes.

Source: Radio Free Asia, November 5, 2021

People’s Daily: China Suspending National Defense Mobilization Laws

People’s Daily recently reported that the Standing Committee Member of the National People’s Congress just adopted an official decision to suspend these provisions in the National Defense Mobilization Law, the Civil Air Defense Law, the National Defense Transportation Law, and the National Defense Education Law: national defense mobilization, militia mobilization, economic mobilization, civil air defense, transportation readiness, national defense education leadership administration, military and local functions configuration, work organization settings, as well as commend and control of national defense mobilization resources. The Chinese congressional decision cited the Communist Party Central Committee’s policies on “deepening the reform” of the national defense mobilization system. The above-mentioned provisions in these respective laws will remain suspended until the Party fully develops the reform measures and is ready to amend the laws. At the same time, popular Chinese news site The Paper reported that The Chinese Central Military Commission approved free medical care for military spouses, as well as preferential medical care for parents of military personnel and the parents of their spouses.

(1) People’s Daily, October 24, 2021
(2) The Paper, October 27, 2021