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Defense/Military

China Opens its First Military Hospital Train

China News reported that on August 6, China opened the Xinqiao Hospital train, the first military hospital train in China. The train consists of boxcars that serve purposes such as a command center, medical care, surgical emergency, intensive care, and medical technical support. It is the equivalent of a mobile hospital with the capacity to load 500 wounded personnel and it can carry out surgical first aid, intensive care, virtual treatment, and other medical services during transportation. There are two dedicated railroad lines for the hospital train which are located on the east side of Xinqiao university hospital. The railroad lines connect to the national railroad network through the nearby Chongqing (Sichuan province)–Guiyang (Guizhou province) Railway. The Xinqiao Hospital train will be used as a hospital train and carry out corresponding medical training. In wartime or military operations, however, it will perform strategic support and emergency rescue tasks. It will also deliver medical support and services to the country  and to regions along the belt and road areas.

Source: Chinanews, August 7, 2020
http://www.chinanews.com/gn/2020/08-07/9258882.shtml

Has China Developed a Nuclear Missile Early Warning System?

Kyodo News Agency learned on August 2 that a nuclear missile expert from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) said that China has an early warning system that can detect nuclear missiles before they land and can use nuclear weapons to counterattack. The expert pointed out that at present only the United States and Russia possess this technology. If the claim is true, China will enhance its nuclear combat capability and change the world’s strategic balance.

The early warning system is the key to high-end missile defense (MD) technology, composed of manmade satellites and maritime radar, used for detecting the launch of ballistic missiles. China has always been opposed to the United States’ missile defense development.

Yang Chengjun (杨承军) is a retired officer who served for years in Chinese military’s nuclear missile forces, also known as the PLA Rocket Forces. He is also widely known as a security expert in the National Security Commission of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Yang’s article, titled, “It is inappropriate to hype up nuclear-related issues on the Internet,” was published in a government magazine, Motherland (祖国)” (electronic version on May 12). It states that the Chinese military has an early warning system that can detect nuclear missile attacks within minutes after their launch and conduct a nuclear counterattack before they land. He emphasized that China’s comprehensive nuclear combat capability is not inferior to the United States or Russia.

The system is said to be able to detect nuclear missiles in three stages: the initial stage after launch, the intermediate stage of cruising beyond the atmosphere, and the final stage of returning to the atmosphere. If a counterattack can be carried out within a few minutes, it implies that China has mastered the technology to use early warning satellites to detect heat sources during launch. China is believed to be developing this technology.

Source: Kyodo News Chinese, August 2, 2020
https://china.kyodonews.net/news/2020/08/73db29416aa3.html

Global Times: India to Increase Troops along India-China Border

Global Times recently reported that, according to Indian media quoting anonymous sources, India plans to send 35,000 more troops to strengthen its military presence along its border with China. The reasoning behind the decision is that the Indian government found the probability of quickly reducing the tension between the two countries is getting lower. Although some recent negotiations cooled down the situation, yet there are still plenty of issues left that have not been resolved. This new decision of adding troops is expected to add a greater burden to India’s tight defense budget as well. Some Indian military leaders said it has been more than a couple of weeks with no improvements on the ground. A full disengagement between the two armies was not achieved. In the meantime, the Indian government just announced new trade sanctions and investment restrictions against China.

Source: Global Times, August 1, 2020
https://world.huanqiu.com/article/3zHoxhkYVWf

Former PLA Officer: CCP Will Collapse If China and the US Go to War in the South China Sea

Radio Free Asia reported that, in an interview with Yao Chen, the former CCP navy Command Lieutenant Colonel, Yao said that if China and the U.S. start a war in the South China Sea, the CCP will soon collapse.

According to Yao, the CCP’s military strength is far less than that of the US military. If the two sides confront each other in the South China Sea using their navies and air force, he estimated that it will take less than a day for the U.S. military’s F-35 stealth fighters to destroy the CCP’s navy and air force. He said that the U.S. policy toward China does not show it intends to occupy China’s territory, but the CCP’s current expansion in the South China Sea has touched the bottom line for the Western world, especially the U.S. Yao said that once the U.S. and China go to war in the South China Sea, there may also be a military confrontation on a border, such as the China-Indian border and a resistance from Uyghurs in Tibet and Xinjiang. Yao Chen also believes that, if the U.S. and China have a military confrontation, Japan and ASEAN countries would all support the U.S. As soon as the CCP launches its military force, it is expected that the whole world will stand up to resist China. Therefore, as long as the CCP starts a war, it will soon to collapse.

Source: Radio Free Asia, July 31, 2020
https://www.rfa.org/cantonese/news/war-07312020060431.html

SIPRI: China Added at Least 30 Nuclear Warheads in 2019

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), a Swedish think tank, recently released reports, showing a total of 13,400 nuclear warheads worldwide as of January 2020, distributed among the USA, Russia, UK, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea. China currently has a stockpile of 320 warheads in its arsenal, compared to 5,800 in the United States and 6,370 in Russia. However, “in 2019 China and India were, respectively, the second- and third-largest military spenders in the world. China’s military expenditures reached $261 billion in 2019, a 5.1 per cent increase compared with 2018, while India’s grew by 6.8 per cent to $71.1 billion.”

SIPRI pointed out that “China is in the middle of a significant modernization of its nuclear arsenal. It is developing a so-called nuclear triad for the first time, made up of new land- and sea-based missiles and nuclear-capable aircraft.” According to sources from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), China added at least 30 nuclear warheads in 2019, some of which are already ready for deployment. As it is difficult to tell China’s intentions, its unrestricted arsenal has become a threat to many countries. The latest advances in artificial intelligence (AI) have also contributed to nuclear risks.

The specifics of the nuclear tactics of the PLA, including its weapons manufacturing and the capability of its buildup and deployment, have always been the focus of foreign observers, who believe that the Chinese military has hidden nuclear warheads in many inland provinces, especially Xinjiang. China is believed to have conducted test explosions in the enclosed areas of Xinjiang, Sichuan, Qinghai, and Inner Mongolia.

“SIPRI’s estimates suggest that China is the second-largest arms producer in the world, behind the United States and ahead of Russia. All four of the profiled companies would have been ranked among the 20 largest arms-producing and military services companies globally in 2017, with three—AVIC, NORINCO, and CETC—in the top 10.”

SIPRI’s database shows that China was the fifth largest exporter in 2015–19, following the United States, Russia, France, and Germany. The large buyers of Chinese weapons include Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Algeria. According to SIPRI, “Most of these countries are considered friendly or are allies of China.”

So far, China has not signed the 2013 United Nations’ Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) or any relevant international agreement. The United States insists that China should join the nuclear arms reduction talks, but China has repeatedly refused. The U.S. has insisted that China join future nuclear arms reduction talks—something that China has categorically ruled out.

Sources:
1. Radio Free Asia, June 26, 2020.
https://www.rfa.org/mandarin/yataibaodao/junshiwaijiao/cl-06262020125541.html
2. Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, June 15, 2020
https://sipri.org/media/press-release/2020/nuclear-weapon-modernization-continues-outlook-arms-control-bleak-new-sipri-yearbook-out-now

People’s Liberation Army’s Website Information Raises Suspicion about Plan for Nuclear-powered Aircraft Carrier

On June 23, the website of the “Military Weapon and Equipment Procurement Information Network” (http://www.weain.mil.cn/), headed by the Equipment Development Department of the Central Military Commission, released “nine new procurement needs and 53 procurement announcements.” One of the procurement announcements was for a “ship with a nuclear power system analysis model development project.” The announcement that was circulated among mainland military fans was that the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) nuclear-powered aircraft carrier has entered into the evaluation stage.

The PLA already owns two non-nuclear-powered aircraft carriers: the Liaoning and the Shandong. A third larger and more modern aircraft carrier is being built in Shanghai’s Jiangnan Shipyard. According to media reports, this ship, code-named 003, is still using traditional power.

Although the PLA wanted to build a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, it has not been able to make a breakthrough in the nuclear power system technology. The PLA already owns ten nuclear-powered submarines, but it is much more difficult to develop a nuclear reactor for larger ships.

Source: Central News Agency, June 25, 2020
https://www.cna.com.tw/news/firstnews/202006250166.aspx

China to Increase the Proportion of New Graduates among the Military Recruits

China’s Ministry of Education and the National Defense Mobilization Department under the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) Central Military Commission (CMC) jointly issued a notice on enlisting college graduates in 2020. The notice requires that the recruitment offices and education departments (education committees) of the governments of all provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities) give a top priority to college graduates when recruiting for the military. The notice also asked to optimize the structure of the recruits from the college graduates by increasing the proportion of recent graduates, so as to furnish the military with more high-quality soldiers. Local governments have been told to set up medical check-up stations that accommodate the current epidemic prevention and control, and establish an unimpeded green channel for college graduates to enlist in the military.

Source: People’s Daily, June 3, 3020
http://paper.people.com.cn/rmrb/html/2020-06/03/nw.D110000renmrb_20200603_4-06.htm

Former Head of China’s Air Carrier Program Is under Investigation

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), the disciplinary arm of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) made an announcement at midnight on May 12 that Hu Wenming, former chairman and Party branch secretary of China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC), is now under investigation for “being suspected of serious violations of discipline and the law.” Mainland Chinese media reported that Hu’s work experience includes the construction of equipment for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), in particular. He was the head of research for the development of China’s first domestically made aircraft carrier Shandong.

CSIC, a key PLA naval institution, undertakes the tasks of research, design and production of air carriers, nuclear submarines and other naval weaponry. The probe gave rise to widespread concerns whether he was involved in leaking state secrets and how this case is related the sacking of his former deputy.

In July 2019, the Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate Court sentenced Sun Bo, CSIC’s former general manager and Hu’s deputy, to 12 years for bribery and abuse of power as an employee of a state-owned company. As the evidence of his crimes involved “state secrets,” Sun was not tried publicly. Hong Kong based the South China Morning Post, quoting unnamed sources, disclosed that Sun might face a death sentence for his involvement in leaking confidential documents on China’s first domestically produced air carrier to foreign intelligence agencies.

The wechat account of Beijing Youth Daily reported that Hu, who retired in 2019, had also worked at the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), China North Industries Group Corporation Limited (Norinco), and China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC), covering the weapons and equipment construction for the land, sea and air forces. Hu also participated in the production of the Chengdu J-10 fighter and the Comac C919 aircraft.

Source: Central News Agency, May 13, 2020
https://www.cna.com.tw/news/firstnews/202005130057.aspx

CNA: Hu Xijin Called for Adding Nuclear Warheads

Primary Taiwanese news agency Central News Agency (CNA) recently reported that Hu Xijin, Chief Editor of the Chinese hawkish CCP newspaper Global Times, called for a short term increase to 1,000 in the number of China’s nuclear warheads. This includes the need for at least 100 Dongfeng-41 intercontinental strategic missiles. The purpose of this proposal, according to Hu, is to suppress the U.S. strategic ambitions and impulses toward China. Based on the estimate made by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) in June 2019, China has 290 nuclear warheads, thereby ranking number four globally. Hu said that China needs to reach the new level in a very short period of time. He predicted that, in the near future, China will need a very strong will to face the upcoming challenges. It must be backed by the Dongfeng and Julang (Giant Wave) families of missiles. The Julang family of missiles are China’s intercontinental submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM). Hu said that people should not dismiss the usefulness of the warheads just because they are merely sitting there. He further explained, “These warheads are shaping the attitude of the American elites towards China, on a daily basis,”

Source: CNA, May 8, 2020
https://www.cna.com.tw/news/acn/202005080206.aspx

Global Times: U.S. Military Repeatedly Visited the South China Sea Region

Global Times recently reported that, not long ago, the U.S. Navy ship, the USS Barry DDG-52 destroyer “freely navigated” through the Paracel (Xisha) Islands without the permission of the Chinese government, which was considered illegal. Then the U.S. Navy USS Bunker Hill CG-52 missile cruiser again “freely navigated” the Spratly (Nansha) Islands. On April 30, once again the U.S. Air Force two B-1B strategic bombers flew from Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota over the South China Sea region for a 32-hour long distance training mission. The U.S. military has, very recently, been entering Chinese territories repeatedly and even performed a joint exercise with the Australian Navy in the South China Sea. These moves are not making a positive contribution to regional stability and are proof that the United States is the one militarizing the South China Sea. The Chinese Military has been monitoring and issuing warnings to the U.S. operators.

Source: Global Times, May 2, 2020
https://mil.huanqiu.com/article/3y3je7LuuHw