#AceNewsReport – Jan.14: As China scrambles to ensure a stable supply of energy, Beijing is looking to boost bilateral relations with oil-abundant Gulf countries by entering into a strategic partnership and expediting the implementation of a free-trade agreement.
In a rare move, Beijing invited a high-level delegation of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members, including its secretary general and the foreign ministers of four member countries – Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain – for a China visit this week.“
#AceHealthReport – Jan.10: Xi’an, capital city of northwest China’s Shaanxi Province, has basically stopped the spread of COVID-19 in communities one month after the resurgence of the epidemic hit the city, thanks to stringent containment measures such as city-level lockdown and rounds of mass nucleic acid testing.
#CoronavirusNewsDesk – Brutal Lockdown in community due to spread of #COVID19 basically blocked in China’s Xi’an according to Xinhua Headlines: Published On Jan.09:
XI’AN, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) — Xi’an, capital city of northwest China’s Shaanxi Province, has basically stopped the spread of COVID-19 in communities one month after the resurgence of the epidemic hit the city, thanks to stringent containment measures such as city-level lockdown and rounds of mass nucleic acid testing.
As notable progress has been made to control the epidemic, Xi’an will gradually lift closed-off management based on the judgment and research conducted by national and provincial experts.
The virus spread in communities had been basically cut off, Xu Mingfei, vice mayor of Xi’an, told a press conference on Jan. 5. Xu said that all the new cases found over the previous rounds of nucleic acid testing were among the people who were quarantined at designated places (centralized quarantine) or at home.
Daily cases in Xi’an with a population of 13 million began to drop since the start of this year and slipped to two-digit numbers quickly, with 30 new cases, all in centralized quarantine, reported on Saturday.
The city, a popular tourist destination known for the Terracotta Warriors, registered 1,989 locally transmitted confirmed cases as of Saturday since Dec. 9, 2021.
The viral genome sequencing of the new cases has identified them as strains of the highly contagious Delta variant, which are highly homologous with imported cases from an inbound flight on Dec. 4, 2021, according to the provincial center for disease control and prevention.
STRICT CONTAINMENT MEASURES
Many positive patients didn’t show obvious symptoms in the initial stage, and they tended to ignore their physical condition, which led to community transmission and clustered cases, local officials have said.
The number of confirmed cases in Xi’an rose by more than 150 per day for a week in late December, and the virus has spread to other cities and provinces.
To curb the spread of the virus, the city has launched several rounds of mass nucleic acid testing, with thousands of sample collecting venues set up.
Mass nucleic acid testing can help health authorities identify the infected cases and put them under quarantine early. Meanwhile, it is conducive to adopting precise control measures and relieving public stress, said Li Qun, director of the health emergency center of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
As the trajectories of the positive cases in Xi’an were complex and involved a wider area, and some could not be traced to known sources, the megacity imposed closed-off management for communities and villages since Dec. 23 last year.
“The strict containment measures introduced are based on the epidemic situation to prevent transmission within the city and spreading elsewhere,” said Lei Zhenglong, a member of the Xi’an taskforce team sent by the State Council for epidemic control.
JOINT EFFORTS AGAINST EPIDEMIC
During a recent tour to Shaanxi Province for investigation and research on prevention and control of the epidemic, Vice Premier Sun Chunlan said that Xi’an saw a sharp decline in daily-reported new COVID-19 cases and had basically blocked the spread of COVID-19 in communities. However, Sun warned that the epidemic containment is still at a crucial stage, and urged efforts to prevent the rebound of the epidemic.
As of 6 p.m. Jan. 6, the city arranged 431 venues for centralized quarantines, putting 45,760 people under quarantine.
“The quarantined personnel have overcome the inconvenience to themselves and their families for the safety of all. They are also heroes,” said vice mayor Xu.
Ma Hui, one of the residents in isolation, recorded his life in a quarantined site in short videos. “Despite some inconvenience at the beginning, the room is warm, and we receive necessities and even snacks,” said Ma, 40, in a video.
Community workers and volunteers have devoted themselves to sending free groceries to residents in lockdown. People can also place orders online, and items will be distributed and delivered to each household by community staff and volunteers.
A volunteer arranges packed vegetables in Yanta District of Xi’an, capital of northwest China’s Shaanxi Province, Jan. 5, 2022. (Xinhua/Zhang Bowen)
The city government has taken measures to help people under closed-off management overcome inconvenience brought about by containment measures.
For example, responding to people’s difficulty in accessing medical services, the city government has dispatched buses to shuttle those who need emergency treatment at hospitals to prevent the risk of cross-infection, said vice mayor Xu.
In Yanta District, the worst-hit district, several officials, including the Party chief of the Yanta District, have been removed from posts due to dereliction of duty.
As notable progress has been made to control the epidemic, Xi’an will gradually lift closed-off management based on the judgment and research conducted by national and provincial experts, Lyu Yongpeng, deputy director of the city’s health commission, said on Saturday.
As of Saturday, a total of 262 patients had been discharged from hospitals after recovery.
(Video reporters: Wu Hongbo, Yang Yimiao, Lin Juan, Liang Aiping and Zhao Yingbo; Video editors: Zhang Qiru, Zhu Jianhui) ■
#AceNewsReport – Jan.05: It is her second conviction over the banned vigils, which Chow tried to organise in 2020 and 2021: The latest case saw her urge people to light candles to mark the event, which is a highly sensitive topic in China.
Hong Kong authorities have banned the vigil for the past two years, citing Covid restrictions.
Chow was vice chairwoman of the now-disbanded Hong Kong Alliance (HKA), which organised annual vigils for the victims of China’s brutal crackdown on democracy protesters on 4 June 1989.
The court ruled on Tuesday that those articles amounted to inciting others to defy the police ban on the vigil.
“The law never allows anyone to exercise their freedom by unlawful means,” magistrate Amy Chan said, according to AFP news agency.
Chow, a trained barrister who represented herself during the trial, had pleaded not guilty. She defended herself by saying she wanted to “incite others not to forget June 4”, not encourage a gathering.
However, the judge dismissed her argument, calling it “simply unbelievable”. She added Chow’s academic qualifications would have allowed her to be clearer in her writing.
Chow appeared defiant during the hearing, using her mitigation on Tuesday to read from the memoirs of families of people killed at Tiananmen before being admonished by the judge.
“It can be foreseen that the public space to discuss June 4 will disappear entirely,” she told the court after the verdict. “Tyranny is greedy, red lines will keep expanding.”
Hong Kong was formerly one of the only places in Chinese territory where people could commemorate the Tiananmen crackdown.
Huge crowds would gather in Hong Kong’s Victoria Park each year to mark the anniversary. When it was banned for the first time in 2020, activists accused Hong Kong officials of bowing to pressure from Beijing to muzzle pro-democracy expression.
#AceNewsReport – Jan.02: The 176-kilometer rail link will shorten the current four-hour journey from Nanchang in Jiangxi to Hefei in Anhui to around two hours. It will boost the railway network between provinces in Central China and help to develop the Yangtze River Economic Belt, the company said.
#AceDailyNews says according to RT Business News Report: The new railway linking Anqing in East China’s Anhui Province and Jiujiang in East China’s Jiangxi Province has a designed speed of 350 kilometers per hour. It snakes down through rivers, lakes, urban main roads and other railways, according to the railway builder China Tiesiju Civil Engineering Group.
“China has both land border and coast line, high-speed railway is able to connect multiple international ports with inland provinces, and further accelerate international co-operation between China and ASEAN member countries,” Sun Zhang, a mass transit expert and professor at Shanghai Tongji University, told the Global Times.
Experts say China’s efficient high-speed railway system will play an important role in the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership in the future.
The country is set to open an estimated seven additional high-speed rail links operating at 350 kilometers an hour in 2022, media report.
#AceNewsReport – Dec.29: The HKJA also “urges the government to protect press freedom in accordance with the Basic Law.”
#AceDailyNews says according to Guardians of Hong Kong News Report: In a statement, the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) is “deeply concerned that the police have repeatedly arrested senior members of the media and searched the offices of news organizations containing large quantities of journalistic materials within a year.”
📡Guardians of Hong Kong, [Dec 29, 2021 at 04:16] #Statement: #HKJA expresses deep concern on the arrest of directors and senior staff of #StandNews
In addition, HKJA expressed that it “has learned that Ronson Chan Ron-sing, the deputy assignment editor of Stand News and the chairman of HKJA, was also taken away by the police this morning. We are investigating the incident and have no further comment at this time, but will announce any new information in due course.”
Source: InMedia; Hong Kong Journalists Association #Dec29 https://www.hkja.org.hk/en/statements/statement-hkja-expresses-deep-concern-on-the-arrest-of-directors-and-senior-staff-of-the-stand-news/
📡Guardians of Hong Kong, [Dec 29, 2021 at 09:08] #StandNews#Crackdown Stand News: Operation ceased; social media accounts will be removed
Full translation of the announcement:
Today (Dec 29), Hong Kong Police arrested a number of our current and former management staff, and took away others for investigations. Police has also confiscated a number of computers and documents from our office. Stand News has offered help to the affected staff.
In light of these circumstances, Stand News will cease operation immediately; updates to the website and all social media are also stopped immediately, and will be removed within the day. Acting chief editor Lam Shiu-tong has already resigned; all Stand News staff are immediately laid off.
Stand News, formerly House News, was established in December 2014. Operating according to non-profit principles, it makes its stand on the home soil of Hong Kong. Its editing policy is independent, and strives to safeguard Hong Kong’s core values: democracy, human rights, freedom, the rule of law, justice, and many more. It ceases operation on December 29, 2021.
#AceNewsReport – Dec.29: Taiwan’s Foreign Relations Ministry called the move “unlawful and utterly disgusting,” blasting the “Ortega regime” for blocking the plan to sell the property to the Nicaraguan Catholic church for the symbolic price of $1.
#AceDailyNews says according to a RT News Report: Authorities in Taipei lashed out at Nicaragua’s decision to hand over to Beijing the building in Managua that previously served as the embassy of Taiwan.
Earlier on Monday, the office of Nicaragua’s Attorney General Ana Julia Guido said the sale, which was reported by the local press, had no legal power. The attempted transfer of the real estate, vehicles, and other embassy property happened last week, shortly before the deadline set by President Daniel Ortega’s Sandinista government for Taiwanese diplomats to leave the country.
The AG statement said that Nicaragua considered the property to be owned by China and that officials appointed by Beijing had the right to manage it since Managua switched its diplomatic recognition back to the mainland government. Taiwan, which succeeded the losing side in the Chinese civil war, formally considers itself the legitimate government of China.
Nicaragua’s Attorney General states that China has absolute and unrestricted ownership over its real estate, furniture, etc. amid claims by some media that Taiwan ‘donated’ its diplomatic headquarters, vehicles and assets to the Archdiocese of Managua before leaving the country. pic.twitter.com/fXUGeojUcu— Camila (@camilapress) December 27, 2021
Taiwanese diplomats wanted the embassy to go to the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Managua. Its vicar general, Carlos Aviles, who confirmedthe move to the anti-Sandinista newspaper La Prensa on Monday, said the legal process was yet to be officiated.
Silvio Jose Baez, an auxiliary bishop of the diocese who went into exile in 2019, appeared to criticize the government’s move by posting a link to the news on Twitter. He also offered several quotes from the Bible denouncing theft of property and greed.
Nicaragua’s switch of China recognition reversed a decision taken in 1990 by President Violeta Chamorro, after she won an election and came to power. The previous government under Ortega maintained Nicaragua’s original diplomatic relations with Taipei until 1985, when he dropped them and established ties with Beijing.
The Sandinista leader returned to power by winning the 2016 election, but kept ties with Taiwan, which became a major investor and jobs creator in Nicaragua. Many observers explain the change of the status quo by citing Ortega’s poor relations with the US – Taiwan’s staunch supporter – and China’s ambitious investment projects in Latin America.You can share this story on social media:
#AceNewsReport – Dec.24: The NHL season has been disrupted since mid-December by a raft of postponements
#AceSportsDesk says according to a BBC Sports News Report: NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said “Olympic participation is no longer feasible” with 50 league games postponed up to 23 December.
It follows disruption to the regular NHL season because of a surge in Covid-19 cases.
The Games are scheduled to begin in China on 4 February, 2022.
Without the NHL’s stars, national teams at the Olympics will resemble those that featured at the Pyeongchang Winter Games four years ago.
With the time difference between South Korea and North America, many of the matches at the 2018 Games were played in the middle of the night for US audiences, and the NHL felt it was not right to put its league on hold for three weeks and allow its players to go to Pyeongchang.
“It’s disappointing,” said Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos, a Canada international.
“For whatever reason, the Olympic card just hasn’t worked out in my favour. It sucks. That’s something I probably won’t have a chance to do now.”
The NHL and players union had agreed to send athletes to the 2022 and 2026 Winter Olympics unless league seasons were impacted by Covid.
#AceNewsReport – Dec.23: Understanding the connection between China’s military spending and its military power is complicated by a lack of transparency. Although Beijing provides figures for its defense spending each year, outside estimates of China’s defense budget are often significantly higher than the official numbers. China provides limited information on the distribution of its military spending, which further obscures spending patterns.
#AceDailyNews says according to China Power News Report: Comparing defense spending between countries — whether nominally or as a percent of government expenditure — is a useful gauge of relative military strength.
Spending patterns can also reveal key political events that have implications for defense and national security
Defense Spending Giants
This interactive compares China’s defense spending from 2000 to 2020 with that of other key countries. Use the filtering options to select other measures of spending or to look at another country grouping. Data provided by the SIPRI Military Expenditure Database
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Spending (Constant 2019 US$) Percent of GDP Percent of Government Spending Per Capita
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Top 10 Spenders China’s Neighbors Top Spenders in G20 Developing Economies Largest Populations
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Tracking Chinese Military Spending
There is no universally accepted standard for reporting military spending. While international mechanisms exist, such as the UN Report on Military Expenditures, participation is voluntary. This allows governments to report their expenditure with varying degrees of detail. China joined the UN instrument in 2007, but it remains less transparent than many countries.
The Chinese government reports expenditure information annually. In March 2021, China announced a yearly defense budget of RMB 1.36 trillion ($209.2 billion),1 marking a 6.8 percent increase from the RMB 1.27 trillion ($183.5 billion) spent in 2020.2 This continues a recent trend that has seen yearly percentage increases in spending fall to single digits.
Yet how much China actually spends on its military is widely debated. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) estimates the overall 2019 figure to be $240.3 billion and the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) puts the number at $234 billion. The US Department of Defense (DoD) does not publicly provide a specific estimate, but concludes that China’s 2019 military spending “could be higher than $200 billion.”
Notwithstanding these differences, Beijing’s official figures may now more accurately represent defense expenditures than in the past. In 2002, the DoD reported that China’s actual defense spending may have been upwards of four times larger than its officially announced budget. In comparison, the 2020 estimate from SIPRI pegs China’s nominal defense spending at $252.3 billion – less than 1.4 times larger than the official figure.
Varying levels of transparency from Beijing compound outside efforts to estimate China’s defense budget. The publication of 11 defense white papers since 1995 has provided some insight into the nature of Chinese military spending, but with varying degrees of specificity. White papers published between 1998 and 2008 included comparative budget breakdowns between China and countries like Japan and Russia. These comparisons were removed from white papers after 2008, but reappeared in the most recent white paper that was released in July 2019.
Most defense white papers – except those released in 2013 and 2015 – also outline three spending categories: personnel, training and maintenance, and equipment.3 Beijing states that it annually reports categorized military spending information to the UN; however, this information is only available from the UN in one-page reports for fiscal years 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2017. 4 The reports from the mid-2000s show roughly equal spending between each of these three categories. The 2019 white paper, which includes spending breakdowns between 2010 and 2017, reveals a noticeable shift away from this even distribution. Spending on equipment now accounts for the largest share of the defense budget, accounting for just over 41 percent of total spending in 2017.
Please note that the figures in the graph above are based on spending figures provided in the 2019 defense white paper and do not match with figures provided by the Ministry of Finance.
Official military spending is further complicated by the Chinese government’s inconsistent reporting of figures. The figures provided by the Ministry of Finance, for instance, differ from expenditure reported in the 2019 defense white paper.5 This discrepancy may be the result of the Ministry of Finance excluding the costs associated with militia forces in its defense figures. In 2017, this inconsistency resulted in a difference of $2.9 billion.
China’s lack of transparency leads to discrepancies between official figures and outside estimates. Official figures do not account for a number of military-related outlays, including some military research and development, aspects of China’s space program, defense mobilization funds, authorized sales of land or excess food produced by some units, recruitment bonuses for college students, and provincial military base operating costs.6
Official military spending also excludes spending on public security, which includes the People’s Armed Police (PAP). The PAP is a paramilitary police component of China’s armed forces that is charged with internal security, law enforcement, and maritime rights protection. The Central Military Commission maintains direct control of the PAP. Official expenditure at the central level for the PAP stood at RMB 123.2 billion ($17.8 billion) in 2020, though this figure is widely believed to significantly undercount total spending on the PAP.
China is not alone in excluding elements of defense-related spending from its official defense budget. India’s paramilitary forces, which make up the Central Armed Police Forces, fall under the Ministry of Home Affairs, not the Ministry of Defense. India is also not forthcoming about space and nuclear weapons expenditures. The United States funds its nuclear weapons through the Department of Energy and does not include these details in its defense budget. However, the US government maintains a high level of budgetary transparency, which enables analysts to readily account for discrepancies.
Estimates of China’s military spending are further complicated by the reporting of costs not typically included in the defense budgets of many other countries. For instance, disaster relief in China is funded through the defense budget and is to be reimbursed by non-defense agencies. Likewise, perquisites for retired senior officers — including offices, assistants, and special access to hospital facilities — are all funded through China’s defense budget. In many other countries, these functions and associated costs are typically incurred by nonmilitary organizations.
A Conversation With Richard Bitzinger
Comparison of Official Military Spending FiguresBillions of RMB (Billions of USD)
Source: Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Defense.USD values are based on average annual RMB-USD conversions using data provided by the IMF.
The inconsistencies in estimates are further complexified by a lack of pricing information. Beijing does not release accurate cost data for military goods and services, making it difficult to make calculations based on purchasing power parity (PPP). Some of the chief challengesare uncertainty over which goods to place in China’s defense spending basket, and which goods to compare between China and other countries. Independent organizations, such as the IISS, caveat their PPP estimates, noting that no specific PPP rate applies to the Chinese military sector and that there is no definitive means through which elements of military spending can be calculated using PPP rates.
China’s defense spending has seen a nearly six-fold increase over the past two decades, jumping from $41.2 billion in 2000 to $244.9 billion in 2020. China currently spends more on defense than Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, and Vietnam combined, and China’s military spending is second only to the United States.
This growth in military spending is tied to China’s rising gross domestic product (GDP). Since 2000, China’s defense expenditures as a share of its GDP has hovered at or below 2 percent. In comparison, US military spending averaged about 3.9 percent of GDP from 2000 to 2020. Japan’s military spending has remained set at approximately 1 percent of its GDP, but this could change in the coming years. Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi signaled in May 2021 that Tokyo may push to increase defense spending above 1 percent of GDP in the face of China’s growing military power.
China’s rising defense spending corresponds with over two decades of modernization efforts. China began military modernization in earnest after the 1995–1996 Taiwan Strait crisis, which exposed fundamental weaknesses in China’s ability to deter foreign intervention in sovereignty disputes. The increase in China’s defense spending in recent decades was, in part, also a response to domestic policies that left China’s defense budget relatively stagnant prior to the 2000s.
Aggregate spending increases have corresponded with several high-profile procurement programs, military reforms, and doctrinal and strategic shifts within the People’s Liberation Army. These shifts have facilitated China playing a larger role in regional and international security. Some of these efforts, such as China’s participation in UN peacekeeping operations, antipiracy efforts, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief are welcome contributions to global governance. On the other hand, defending China’s growing security interests in the East and South China Seas has strained relations with other regional actors.
Heavy defense spending in recent decades has allowed China to make significant strides toward modernizing the People’s Liberation Army Navy. Learn more about how China’s naval capabilities are evolving.
Despite considerable increases over the past fifteen years, China’s military spending pales in comparison to that of the US, which spent more than three times as much as China in 2020, at $766.6 billion. Even when accounting for reporting discrepancies, China would have to raise its spending considerably to match the US. However, it is worth noting that the US maintains a global military presence while China remains primarily focused on security issues within the Indo-Pacific.
When considering military spending as a percent of total government expenditure, Chinese military spending has dropped noticeably — from 11.3 percent in 2000 to 4.7 percent in 2020. For the US, after a marked increase from 2002 to 2011, its military spending has likewise decreased and returned to pre-September 11 levels (9.6 percent in 2001 and 7.9 percent in 2020). Although Russia’s spending as a share of government expenditure remains high, it declined from 14.8 percent in 2016 to 11.4 percent in 2020.
Looking at broader regional trends, defense spending in East Asia increased from $91.7 billion in 1990 to $351 billion in 2020. Much of this growth in expenditure has been driven by China. In 1990, China constituted 23.2 percent of total East Asian expenditure. As of 2020, this number stood at 69.8 percent. In terms of the broader regional context, the Chinese military budget constitutes 39.5 percent of the total cumulative spending across the Asian continent (including the Middle East).
#AceNewsReport – Dec.20: How China has reshaped Hong Kong ahead of elections: Leaders in Hong Kong have insisted the change is needed to ensure stability: But critics say it has weakened democracy in the city.
#AceDailyNews says according to BBC Asia News Report: Hong Kong: LegCo: In March, officials approved a controversial “patriots” resolution which drastically cut democratic representation and allowed Beijing to vet every candidate.
It comes after China introduced a national security law, making it easier to punish pro-democracy protesters following massive demonstrations in the territory back in 2019.
Polls opened at 08:30 local time (00:30 GMT) and closed at 22:30. Full results are not expected until Monday.
Figures on Sunday suggested turnout was lower than in previous elections. According to the South China Morning Post, one hour before polls closed about 29% of the electorate had voted, compared with 53% in the 2016 poll.
The Legislative Council, widely known as LegCo, is a powerful body that makes and amends laws in Hong Kong.
Only 20 of the 90 legislative seats will be directly elected, with 40 picked by the pro-Beijing Election Committee and 30 chosen by special interest groups like business and trade – which also historically lean towards Beijing.
Ahead of the election government officials urged the city’s 4.5 million registered voters to take part, sending out mass texts on Saturday to encourage a higher turnout.
Starry Lee, head of the largest pro-Beijing party DAB, told reporters on Sunday that “polling stations’ feedback showed that not many people are voting” and encouraged the electorate to cast their ballots.
But one woman, an accountant in her 20s, told AFP news agency she had no plans to take part. “My vote won’t mean anything because ultimately it’s Beijing’s people winning,” she said.
“People do not want to vote for a rubber-stamp chamber and pretend everything is all right,” tweeted Nathan Law, a former legislator who lives in the UK and is wanted by Hong Kong authorities.
Some activists have urged people to boycott the election or to leave their ballots blank as a protest. While casting a blank vote is legal, it is now against the law to incite anyone to do so, or to encourage them not to vote.
More than 10,000 police officers were on the streets of Hong Kong on Sunday to “ensure a smooth process”, police chief Raymond Siu said.
#AceNewsReport – Dec.17: Putin and Xi spoke as Moscow faces heightened tensions with the West over a Russian troop buildup near Ukraine’s border. In recent weeks, Western nations engaged in diplomatic efforts to prevent a possible invasion of Ukraine. The Kremlin has denied harboring plans to storm its neighbor.
#AceDailyNews – MOSCOW — Chinese President Xi Jinping supported Russian President Vladimir Putin in his push to get Western security guarantees precluding NATO’s eastward expansion, the Kremlin said Wednesday after the two leaders held a virtual summit.
Putin, meanwhile, demanded guarantees that NATO will not expand to Ukraine or deploy troops and weapons there.
He told Xi on Wednesday about “mounting threats to Russia’s national interests from the U.S. and the NATO bloc, which consistently move their military infrastructure close to the Russian borders,” Putin’s foreign affairs adviser, Yuri Ushakov, said.
The Russian leader stressed the need to hold talks with NATO and the U.S. on legally binding security guarantees, according to Ushakov. Xi responded by saying he “understands Russia’s concerns and fully supports our initiative to work out these security guarantees for Russia,” Ushakov said.
He said Moscow’s proposals have been passed on to U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Karen Donfried, who visited Moscow on Wednesday and met with Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov.
In recent years, China and Russia have increasingly aligned their foreign policies to counter U.S. domination of the international economic and political order.
Both have faced sanctions — China over its abuses against minorities, especially Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang, and for its crackdown on the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, and Russia for annexing Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014 and over the poisoning and imprisonment of opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
Beijing and Washington also remain at odds over trade, technology and China’s military intimidation of Taiwan, which it claims as its own territory.
Russia’s relations with the U.S. sank to post-Cold War lows after it annexed Crimea and threw its weight behind a separatist insurgency in Ukraine’s east. Tensions reignited in recent weeks after Moscow massed tens of thousands of troops near Ukraine’s border, a move Ukraine and the West feared may indicate plans for a new invasion.
Moscow has denied that it plans to attack Ukraine and in turn blamed Ukraine for its own military buildup in the country’s war-torn east. Russian officials alleged that Kyiv might try to reclaim the areas controlled by the rebels.
It is within that context that Putin has pressed the West for guarantees that NATO will not expand to Ukraine or deploy its forces there.
During their call on Wednesday, Putin and Xi hailed relations between Russia and China, with the Russian leader saying they are based on “such principles as not interfering in internal affairs (of each other), respect for each other’s interests, determination to turn the shared border into a belt of eternal peace and good neighborliness.”
Xi said, through a translator, that he appreciated that Putin “strongly supported China’s efforts to protect key national interests and firmly opposed attempts to drive a wedge between our countries.”
Chinese state broadcaster CCTV reported that Xi said “both China and Russia need to carry out more joint actions to more effectively safeguard our security and interests.”
“At present, certain international forces are arbitrarily interfering in the internal affairs of China and Russia under the guise of democracy and human rights, and brutally trampling on international law and the norms of international relations,” Xi was quoted by CCTV as saying.
Putin also said he plans to meet with Xi in person in Beijing in February and to attend the 2022 Winter Olympics.
The U.S., Canada, Australia and Britain have said they will not be sending dignitaries to the Winter Olympics as part of a diplomatic boycott to protest China’s human rights record. Other countries have said they won’t be sending officials because of pandemic travel restrictions.
In welcoming Putin’s planned visit, Xi said sports could be a channel for their countries to boost ties.
“Both sides should strengthen coordination and cooperation on international affairs to maker louder voices on global governance, and come up with practical plans on global issues including the pandemic and climate change,” Xi was quoted by CCTV as saying.
China’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying Xi told Putin he “very much looks forward to this ‘get together at the Winter Olympics’ and stands ready to work with President Putin ‘for a shared future’ to jointly open a new chapter in post-COVID China-Russia relations.”
#AceDailyNews says that China warns nations after the US, UK, Australia and Canada will not send government representatives to the Games because of concerns over China’s human rights record according to BBC World News Report:
John Kerry: 2022 Winter Olympics diplomatic boycott is not a lecture: This includes widespread allegations of abuse against the Uyghur minority group.
France, host of the next Summer Games, said it would not join the boycott.
The Winter Olympics are set to take place in Beijing in February.
“The United States, Britain and Australia have used the Olympics platform for political manipulation,” Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson at the Chinese foreign ministry, said.
Reuters: The Beijing Winter Olympics are set to take place in February
Chinese state media claimed on Wednesday that Beijing “never planned to invite US and Western politicians who hype the ‘boycott’ topic”.
The US was the first country to announce a diplomatic boycott, with Australia, Canada and the UK following suit.
The move by these countries stops short of preventing athletes from attending – something which has been welcomed by International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach.
“The presence of government officials is a political decision for each government so the principle of IOC neutrality applies,” he said.
Relations between the boycotting nations and China have been tense in recent years.
The US has accused China of genocide in its repression of the Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang region. China denies all allegations of human rights abuses, saying its network of detention camps in Xinjiang are for “re-education” of the Uyghurs and other Muslims.
Relations are also strained over a crackdown on political freedoms in Hong Kong and concerns over Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai, who was not seen for weeks after she accused a top government official of sexual assault.
Relations with Canada have also been turbulent over its arrest of a top executive with Chinese tech giant Huawei, and the subsequent detention of two Canadians in China. All three were released earlier this year.
New Zealand is not sending its officials due to the pandemic but has also raised concerns in the past about human rights issues in China.
Other countries – including Japan – are said to be considering diplomatic boycotts of the Games.
Italy says it is not planning to join the diplomatic boycott. Russian President Vladimir Putin has accepted an invitation to attend, despite his country being banned from competing due to a doping scandal in 2014.
#AceNewsReport – Dec.02: It’s an arms race that has been going on for quite some time. The Chinese have been at it very aggressively.”
#AceDailyNews says the US in hypersonic weapon ‘arms race’ with China: Air Force chief: There is an arms race, not necessarily for increased numbers, but for increased quality,” Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall told Reuters during an interview in his Pentagon offices according PressTV Report:
Wednesday, 01 December 2021 8:57 AM [ Last Update: Wednesday, 01 December 2021 8:57 AM ]
Hypersonic weapons travel in the upper atmosphere at speeds of over five times the speed of sound, or about 6,200 kilometers (3,853 miles) per hour.
The remarks by Kendall come as the US Defense Department has held several hypersonic weapons tests with mixed success this year.
In October, the Navy successfully tested a booster rocket motor that could be used to power a launch vehicle carrying a hypersonic weapon aloft.
However, in the same month, a test for an experimental system from the Pacific Spaceport Complex on Kodiak Island in Alaska failed due to a problem with the booster system.
Meanwhile, China has conducted tests of its hypersonic weapons systems over the summer, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley confirmed in October.
Kendall admitted the US has focused resources on Iraq and Afghanistan at the expense of developing hypersonic weapons.
“This isn’t saying we’ve done nothing, but we haven’t done enough,” he said.
His remarks reflect a growing effort by Biden administration officials to focus more on China and Russia following the US’ chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan in August.
Last month, US Space Force General David Thompson said the US’ hypersonic missile capabilities are “not as advanced” as those of China or Russia.
“We have catching up to do very quickly, the Chinese have an incredible hypersonic program,” he said.
In its 2021 Global Posture Review, published Monday, the Pentagon said it was planning major infrastructure improvements at military airfields in Guam and Australia to counter China in the Asia-Pacific region.
For the fiscal year running through 2022, the US is planning to spend $3.8 billion on hypersonic missiles, according to a memo the Congressional Research Service (CRS) provided for US Congress on Oct. 19.
#AceHealthReport – Dec.01: In a speech via video link at the opening of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, Mr Xi said 600 million doses would be donations and 400 million doses would be provided through other means, such as joint production by Chinese companies and relevant African countries.
The Belt and Road Initiative — in which Chinese institutions finance major infrastructure in mainly developing nations — has slowed: Chinese bank financing for infrastructure projects in Africa fell from $US11 billion in 2017 to $US3.3 billion in 2020, according to a report by international law firm Baker McKenzie.
China’s imports from Africa, one of its key sources of crude oil and minerals, will reach $US300 billion in the next three years, Mr Xi said, adding that the two sides would cooperate in areas such as health, digital innovation, trade promotion and green development.
South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa, also speaking via video link, thanked China for its support and said African economies should be able to manufacture COVID-19 vaccines.
Travel bans have been imposed worldwide on people travelling from southern Africa after the World Health Organisation last week announced a new COVID-19 variant of concern, dubbed Omicron.
Lower vaccination rates linked to increased risk of variants emerging
For months now, experts have been warning of the risk that dangerous new variants pose for developing countries with lower vaccination rates.
More than a dozen nations across Africa and the Middle East, as well as Australia’s nearby neighbour Papua New Guinea, have vaccinated just 1 or 2 per cent of their populations.
The End COVID For All campaign, backed by leading health and charity groups, has called on the Australian government to prioritise sharing the vaccine to lower income countries to reduce the risk of variants emerging.
“More than 19 low-income countries have such low rates of vaccination, that on current rates they would not vaccinate 70 per cent of their populations until after 2030,” a report published by the group last month stated.
“Without rapid, widespread vaccination to slow mutation there is a significant risk that variants will not respond to existing vaccines or boosters.”
#AceNewsReport – Nov.27: However, current versions of the apps are still available to be downloaded and used as normal: The suspension of new app roll outs and updates is expected to continue to the end of the year as they undergo technical testing by the regulator, the BBC understands.
#AceDailyNews according to BBC Business News Report: Chinese tech giant Tencent told to suspend new app roll updates to their products and it comes as the technology industry regulator reviews compliance with privacy rules introduced this month.
“We are continuously working to enhance user protection features within our apps, and also have regular cooperation with relevant government agencies to ensure regulatory compliance. Our apps remain functional and available for download,” Tencent said in statement.
The move came after Beijing started to implement its Information Protection Law from the beginning of November.
The new rules are aimed to more tightly regulate how technology firms handle their users’ data.
It is part of a wider policy by the Chinese government to increase its oversight over some of the country’s biggest technology companies.
State broadcaster CCTV reported that the MIIT had said all new app roll outs and updates from 24 November until the end of this year will be reviewed before they are allowed to be made available to the public.
In recent months the industry has seen a deluge of action taken against it, including crackdowns on ecommerce firms, online finance services, social media platforms, gaming companies, cloud computing providers, ride-hailing apps and cryptocurrency miners and exchanges.
Tencent, which is the world’s biggest video game seller, owns the WeChat super app and QQ messaging platform.
The company’s shares closed 3% lower in Hong Kong on Friday.
#AceHealthReport – Nov.22: Pfizer’s CEO has described the company as “thrilled” and the boss of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has said he is “extremely grateful” about the donation of doses to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.
“We are thrilled that our Covid-19 vaccine will again help as part of the efforts to support Olympic and Paralympic athletes and delegations,”Pfizer boss Albert Bourla responded, adding that it was “important to note” that the doses would be produced in addition to existing quotas.
“We hope they will enjoy a sense of global community while competing at the highest level.”
Ugur Sahin, the CEO and co-founder of BioNTech, said the group was “honored” to “support the safety” of the Games by contributing vaccines.
“The return of the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games is an historic moment representing the global community and how we stand together,” he said.
“With more than two billion doses already delivered, our vaccine continues to help protect lives around the world and reconnect after these months when the virus has been separating us.”
Pfizer donates vaccines to …athletes to enable the Beijing Winter Olympics to go ahead. The pharma giant has made more than $35b in profit this year alone from its COVID vax while programs trying to distribute jabs to the poor have struggled to secure the vaccines they need. pic.twitter.com/lrWUtYecJJ— Latika M Bourke (@latikambourke) November 19, 2021
IPC President Andrew Parsons said that the entire Paralympic movement was “extremely grateful” to the IOC for securing the donations.
“This is another measure in our plan to stage safe Games for the athletes and all the participants and builds on our successful collaboration,” said IOC President Thomas Bach, adding his gratitude.
Pfizer-BioNTech has had a busy week after the US Food and Drug Administration deployed an emergency use authorization to approve its booster jab for adults on Friday.
The authorization, which came two months later than president Joe Biden had wanted, arrived amid data showing that the efficacy of vaccines wanes over time.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 95 percent effective at preventing infection from the virus in people who receive two doses and have no evidence of being previously infected.
The CDC recommends the treatment for anyone aged over five, adding that it has an efficacy of more than 90 percent in children.
Side effects are said to be more common after a second dose, and ‘rare cases’ of myocarditis and pericarditis have been reported in adolescents and young adults.
A data summary said that Covid vaccines will “continue to undergo the most intensive safety monitoring in US history.”
#AceNewsReport – Nov.15: The patrol was aimed at what the Chinese military said in a statement were the “seriously wrong” words and actions of “relevant countries” on the Taiwan issue and the activities of pro-independence forces in Taiwan.
Taiwan’s defence ministry said six Chinese military aircraft entered its south-western air defence identification zone on Tuesday, including four J-16 fighter jets and two surveillance planes.
Several Taiwan media outlets reported on Tuesday that unspecified members from both the US House of Representatives and Senate had arrived in Taipei on a US military plane.
The American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto US embassy in the absence of formal diplomatic ties, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
China’s defence ministry said in a statement that members of the US Congress had arrived in Taiwan by military plane.
“We firmly oppose and strongly condemn this,” it said.
US Congressional delegations frequently use military aircraft, like the C-32, to make foreign trips, including past visits to Taiwan.
In June, China’s defence ministry denounced a brief weekend visit by three US senators to Taiwan on a US military aircraft, calling it a “vile political provocation” that was irresponsible and dangerous.
#AceNewsReport – Nov.12: Meteorological researchers in the Mongolian city of Tongliao told state outlet the Global Times that the snowstorm was an extremely random and sudden extreme weather event.
#AceWeatherDesk says according to BBC Asia News Report: China: North-eastern city sees highest snowfall in 116 years: In the capital city of Shenyang, in Liaoning province, average snowfall reached 51cm (20 inches)……….This is the highest recorded snowfall since 1905, said state outlet Xinhua….
In neighbouring inner Mongolia, one person died and more than 5,600 were affected after a heavy snowstorm:
A total of 27 red alerts were issued across Inner Mongolia and north-eastern China – the highest warning alert for snowstorms.
China’s north east region was one of the areas particularly affected by rolling power outages this year
Local traffic has been severely affected by the blizzard
The cold wave, which began on Sunday, caused temperatures to plummet by at least 14 degrees in some parts of north-eastern China.
In Liaoning, traffic has been severely affected by the heavy onslaught, with most expressway toll stations closed as of Tuesday.
Train and bus stations have also remained shut, except for those in the cities of Dalian and Dandong.
An aircraft stands at Shenyang Taoxian International Airport
Authorities said they were intensifying efforts to keep homes warm by ramping up coal imports and maximising energy production capacity. It also urged markets and grocery stores to increase food supplies and reduce prices.
China’s north-east region was one of the areas particularly affected by rolling power outages in September this year, with rising costs contributing to a short supply of coal, said local media outlets.
But though the power crunch has eased, China’s State Grid Corp had earlier still warned of an “overall tight balance with partial gaps” between power supply and demand through the winter so why has China been hit by power shortages
China is highly dependent on coal for power, though Chinese leader Xi Jinping has pledged that his country will reach peak carbon emissions within nine years.
#AceNewsReport – Nov.12: It was passed on Thursday at the sixth plenary session, one of China’s most important political meetings: As only the third Chinese leader to have issued such a resolution, the move aims to establish Mr Xi as an equal to party founder Mao and his successor Deng.
#AceDailyNews says according to a BBC Asia Report: China’s Xi Jinping cements his status with historic resolution: It is only the third of its kind since the founding of the party – the first was passed by Mao Zedong in 1945 and the second by Deng Xiaoping in 1981: The document, a summary of the party’s 100-year history, addresses its key achievements and future directions.
Some observers see the resolution as Mr Xi’s latest attempt to turn back decades of decentralisation by Chinese leaders that began under Deng and continued through other leaders like Jiang Zemin – a sign that China might be moving back to a so-called cult of personality.
The four-day closed door session gathered more than 370 full and alternate members of the party’s 19th Central Committee – the country’s top leadership.
It was the last major meeting of party leaders ahead of the national congress next year, where Xi is expected to seek a historic third term as president.
Essentially, it cements Mr Xi’s hold on power, experts told the BBC.
“He is trying to cast himself as the hero in the epic of China’s national journey,” said Adam Ni, editor of China Neican, a newsletter on Chinese current affairs.
“By pushing through a historical resolution that puts himself at the centre of the grand narrative of the Party and modern China, Mr Xi is demonstrating his power. But the document is also a tool to help him retain this power,” he said.
Dr Chong Ja Ian from the National University of Singapore said the latest move set Mr Xi apart from other previous Chinese leaders.
“[Former leaders] Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin never had as much consolidated authority as Mr Xi. However, it is unclear whether they had the inclination to do so even if presented with similar opportunities,” said Dr Chong.
“There is certainly a lot of emphasis on Mr Xi as a person at present. The degree to which it becomes more formally institutionalised is what many are watching out for at the moment.”
Both Deng and Mao, who passed previous resolutions, used it as a way to break with the past.
The first resolution, adopted at a party plenum in 1945, helped Mao consolidate his leadership so that he had full authority when he declared the creation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.
When Deng took over as leader in 1978, he initiated the second resolution in 1981 where he criticised Mao’s “errors” during the Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976, which led to millions of deaths. Deng also set the foundations for China’s economic reforms.
Unlike the former resolutions, however, Mr Xi is looking instead to emphasize continuity with his resolution, said Mr Ni.
After all, Mr Xi’s report comes at a time when China has become a global power – something scarcely imaginable just a few decades ago.
“The country stands at a point where it can now look back at significant growth in its economy, military, and recognition of its status as a major power, with the CCP as well as its leadership deeply entrenched with no opposition domestically,” said Dr Chong.
“In some ways, the CCP with Mr Xi at its helm has reached a pinnacle of achievement for the party and for China.”
Still, politics can be “surprising”, experts said, and despite all the evidence of Mr Xi retaining leadership for the foreseeable future, anything can happen.
“China’s elite politics is opaque, so there is much we don’t know,” said Mr Ni.
After the discovery during the summer of what appears to be at least three vast missile silo fields under construction near Yumen, Hami, and Ordos in north-central China, new commercial satellite images show significant progress at the three sites as well as at the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force (PLARF)’s training site near Jilantai.
The images provide a vivid and rare public look into what is otherwise a top-secret and highly sensitive construction program. The Chinese government has still not officially confirmed or denied that the facilities under construction are silos intended for missiles and there are many uncertainties and unknowns about the nature and role of the facilities. In this article we use words like suspected, apparent, and probable to remind the reader of that fact.
Yet our analysis of hundreds of satellite images over the past three years of the suspected missile silo fields and the different facilities that are under construction at each of them have increased our confidence that they are indeed related to the PLARF’s modernization program. In recent analysis of new satellite images obtained from Planet Labs and Maxar Technologies, we have observed almost weekly progress in construction of suspected silos as well as discovered unique facilities that appear intended to support missile operations once the silo fields become operational.
In this article we describe the progress we have observed. We first describe the shelters, then what we see under the shelters, unique support facilities, and end with overall observations.
Shelter Features and Activities
Some of the most visible features at each of China’s newly-discovered probable missile silo fields are the environmental shelters that cover each suspected silo headworks. It was these structures, first seen at Jilantai, that led to the discovery of the three large suspected missile silo fields. Shelters are not new phenomena in Chinese missile construction; declassified reports from the US National Photographic Interpretation Center suggest that in the 1970s and 1980s China used a mixture of “large rectangular covers,” “camouflage nets,” and other types of sheltersto protect its silos from the elements, as well as from spy satellites above.
The construction progression typically goes like this: a space for each silo headworks is cleared, then the shelter is erected before large-scale excavation begins. Occasionally the silo hole – or part of it – is excavated first and the shelter is erected over it before the silo components are installed. Several satellite images show semi-circle structural forms that may be lowered into the hole and assembled to form the silo walls during this phase. Several months later, the shelter is removed, and construction continues in the open-air with less sensitive auxiliary structures.
Apart from hiding silo details from satellites, these environmental shelters play an important role in the construction process: winter temperatures in areas like the Jilantai training area can reach below -25 degrees Celsius and pouring concrete in cold temperatures can cause it to freeze and crack. Additionally, many of China’s suspected silo sites are located in desert areas with periodic sandstorms. Spring floods are another challenge, so many silo sites and roads are elevated above the ground level and often with barriers or tunnels to prevent water damage. Environmental shelters, therefore, help keep construction running smoothly and on schedule year round, and they can be erected and dismantled in just a couple of days.
Interestingly, China appears to be experimenting with several different types of shelters for each of its suspected silo fields. The reason for this may have to do with practical construction issues rather than what is being constructed under them.
Short Rectangular Shelters
The most common shelter visible at China’s suspected silo complexes is a rectangular dome-like structure very similar to those used at indoor tennis courts or soccer pitches. Each structure appears to be air-inflated with an estimated area of 4,125 square meters, and must be accessed through a series of airlocks––one for pedestrians and an extended one for vehicles. The external ventilation system provides climate control and a slight continuous overpressure inside the dome, allowing it to retain its rounded shape. See example of inflatable shelter.
In July 2021, Capella Space––a satellite company specializing in synthetic aperture radar––imaged one of the domes at the Yumen site. The SAR image allowed analysts to see the outlines of some structures underneath the dome, although it is difficult to discern much from the image except the clearly-visible framework of the external airlock. There appears to be significant activity directly in the center of the dome, which is where the suspected silo hole appears to be located.
Long Rectangular Shelters
At the suspected Hami silo field, we see deployment of a slightly longer variant of the regular dome shelter. The Hami site is at a later stage of development than its counterpart at Yumen. The structures measure approximately 20 meters longer than the aforementioned domes erected at Yumen and Jilantai, but otherwise appear to be very similar. One discernible difference between the two is that the vehicle airlock is not extended outside of the dome’s main structure but appears to be embedded within the dome itself (see image below).
Although the suspected silo site at Hami contains both types of inflatable domes, there are now more of the longer variant than the shorter version. Given that Hami is a newer site than both Yumen and Jilantai, it is possible that construction has now switched entirely to the longer version and will continue to use this structure for future sites. While Yumen does not appear to have any longer domes on-site, it is notable that some crude extensions to its shorter domes were erected there. This adds approximately 20 meters and expands the short dome to the size of the new longer dome (see image below).
This reason for building longer dome shelters could indicate that silo excavation and construction activities required more space than the PLARF originally thought, and that they are now having to adjust for their newer sites. The estimated area of the longer domes is 4,925 square meters, excluding the approximately 300 square meters needed for the embedded vehicle airlock; this makes the total area slightly less than that of an NFL football field, which has an area of approximately 5,350 square meters.
At a third suspected missile silo field near Ordos is deploying a different type of inflatable air dome. Instead of the shorter and longer rectangular domes, the PLARF has opted to use round domes with circular bases. Interestingly, these circular domes appear to have several different types of patterns (see image below).
Other than the differences in shape and pattern, the domes appear to function the same way as the other sites. Similar to the longer rectangular air domes, the vehicle airlock appears to be embedded within the dome itself.
There are some potential advantages to these circular domes, compared to the rectangular domes used at Yumen, Hami, and Jilantai. A rounder shape is stronger than a rectangular one, and offers the maximum amount of internal space with the least amount of surface area. This means that less fabric is needed to create the structure, thus creating a potential cost savings. The estimated area of the round domes is approximately 4,725 square meters, excluding the 300 square meters needed for the embedded vehicle airlock.
The PLARF has also constructed solid, rectangular structures to temporarily cover some of its suspected missile silo sites. In 2018, Catherine Dill noted that a solid 32m x 66m gable-roofed structure had covered a silo at Wuzhai before it was removed in December 2017. In 2019, Hans Kristensen’s discovery of the Jilantai missile training area included a solid structure with similar measurements covering a newly-constructed silo; in total, the first four apparent silos at Jilantai were built under solid shelters. In 2020, Scott LaFoy and Decker Eveleth also notedthe presence of four high-bay structures with similar measurements covering previously-identified DF-4 ICBM launch sites at Sundian.
In addition to these sites, 11 identical solid structures have been erected at the suspected Yumen missile silo site (see image below). These structures––which were among the very first structures erected at Yumen between March and October 2020––are outliers for the entire complex, which is subsequently has filled entirely with shorter dome shelters that were deployed later in the complex’s construction period (see image below).
What Is Underneath The Shelters?
Several shelters over suspected silo construction sites have now been removed, which allows us to better determine the possible function of the sites. The new satellite images show features that reaffirm that the sites appear to be silos in various stages of construction. A few satellite images taken at sites before the shelters were built already showed features strongly suggesting the sites were missile silos, and the first four sites at Jilantai are clearly silos. But with the growing number of shelters being removed, so far over 40, the evidence pointing to silo construction is in our assessment getting stronger.
Because silo construction at the PLARF training site near Jilantai began before construction at the three large missile silo fields, developments at Jilantai are likely precursors for events that will appear later at the other sites. One of the first four silos (39.76470°N, 105.53952°E) appears to show silo operations. Preparation of this site began in July 2019, and by early-August, satellite images showed excavation of a six-meter-wide deep hole inside a shallower 14–15-meter hole. The following month a shelter was built over the silo apparently to hide technical details from satellites. This was a solid shelter similar to the first 11 later constructed at Yumen. Once silo construction had been completed the shelter was dismantled while construction of access roads and command and control facilities continued. This summer, a Maxar satellite photo showed what appeared to be a missile loading operation at the site, and on October 29, a Planet Labs satellite photographed additional crane operations over the open silo (see below). The silo is probably not yet operational.
The first four silos at Jilantai were covered by garage-like shelters. But in early 2021, dome-like shelters were erected over an additional 10 possible missile silos. These domes, or inflatable shelters, are identical or similar to the shelters over the vast majority of suspected silo sites at Hami, Yumi, and Ordos. In late-October, the dome shelters at Jilantai began to come down. A satellite image of one of these (39.72593°N, 105.52898°E) shows clear signs of a possible silo, first during the early stages immediately before the shelter was erected, and finally immediately after shelter was dismantled. Visible features include what appear to be a silo hatch, small auxiliary buildings, and ground markings from possible buried command and control cables or power lines (see image below). The other sites at Jilantai have the same features and dimensions.
The silo features are also clearly visible at Yumen, which began construction earlier than Hami and Ordos. So far, the shelters have been removed from at least 29 suspected silos at Yumen. The structures are very similar: an apparent silo hatch on an elevated dirt mound, with small auxiliary structures, a wide-turn access road presumably for use by missile transport and maintenance trucks. One of the apparent silo sites under construction at Yumen is shown below. Over the next several months, the remaining surface features will be completed.
Operation of large missile silo fields requires extensive support infrastructure. This includes main base headquarters, technical support bases, missile and warhead support facilities, command and control infrastructure, electrical power supply, and roads. Many of the facilities under construction at the three suspected missile silo fields at Hami, Yumen and Ordos, as well as at the training site near Jilantai, appear intended to support such functions.
One of the most unique facilities under construction is a large complex that includes what appear to be three large parallel tubes embedded in trenches and connected to buildings via smaller tubes. Underground tunnels connect the three tubes, which might eventually be covered with soil. So far, this type of facility has been found at the Hami and Ordos missile silo fields (see image below), but not yet at Yumen. The function of these two facilities is unknown but could potentially be related to climate-controlled storage or handling of fragile missile and/or warhead components, or command bunker function. (Note: there is no evidence this is the case.)Large and unique support facilities are under construction at the suspected missile silo fields at Hami and Ordos. Click on image to view full size.
There are also many other structures under construction that may be technical service facilities and launch control centers. Especially at Hami, we see construction of long lines of what may be powerlines intended to provide electrical power to the sprawling facilities. Finally, a number of larger and smaller construction camps and soil extraction sites are visible at all the suspected missile fields.
In order to help monitor and illustrate the construction of China’s suspected missile silo fields, the Federation of American Scientists has created an interactive map for each of the suspected missile silo fields at Yumen, Hami and Ordos (see example of Yumen below). Each map has a slider that allows the viewer to see how the construction of major facilities has progressed over time. These maps will be updated as construction continues. To access the maps, use these links:
The similarities of the structures and the construction activities at the Jilantai training area and the three suspected missile silo fields under construction near Yuman, Hami, and Ordos all show what appear to be a clear connection to the PLARF’s missile program. Early on, this connection was most visible at Jilantai, where commercial satellite imagery captured telltale semi-circle silo wall structures, silo hatches, and even a potential missile loading operation. With construction progressing at the larger missile fields at Yumen, Hami and Ordos as described in this article, we see strong indications in the satellite images of what appear to be construction of missile silos and support facilities.
It is notable that at this time, no other inflatable air dome complexes on this scale have been spotted at other sites in China. Some sites (for example: 40.18064° N, 107.53670° E) appear to have similar (but much shorter) spacing patterns to those seen at the suspected silo fields; however, at higher imagery resolutions it becomes clear that those structures are not dome shelters or silos, but are in fact much smaller and very different structures for windmills. It is potentially possible that some windmills will be constructed in between the apparent silos; there is some evidence of that at Yumen. We note that some US ICBM silos are also in close proximity of windmills (for example: 40.8222, -104.0505); this does not appear to interfere with silo operations but can effect helicopter operations in the area.
Although we are increasingly confident that the facilities we describe are related to the PLARF’s missile program, it is also important to exercise caution and avoid confirmation bias––particularly if there are additional relevant sites out there that have not yet been spotted on commercial satellite imagery. Nor do we know what China plans to load into the apparent missile silos or how many of them will eventually be armed. The Chinese government has not yet officially confirmed or denied that the facilities are missile silos. But U.S. military officials appear to have confirmed that the reported missile silo fields are part of China’s nuclear modernization program. And based on the features we can examine on the new satellite images, we are increasingly confident that the facilities are indeed missile silos and support facilities under construction.
For China, this is an unprecedented nuclear buildup. We and others have remarked that it raises questions and uncertainty about China’s minimum nuclear deterrent and policies. On the other hand, even construction of large number of silos may not necessarily reflect a change in the basic role the Chinese leadership attributes to its nuclear forces. For example, China could potentially still retain its no-first-use policy. The apparent missile silo fields are still many years away from becoming fully operational and it remains to be seen how China will arm and operate them.
It is important that the buildup does not further increase nuclear competition and fuel worst-case planning in other nuclear weapon states, although we fear those are likely outcomes. These developments will feature prominently in the Biden administration’s ongoing Nuclear Posture Review and we urge the administration not to overreact but pursue conversations with the Chinese government to develop measures to reduce tension and increase transparency.
The reason is obvious: Although China has so far rejected limits on its nuclear forces by arguing that “Countries with the largest nuclear arsenals [Russia and the United States] have special and primary responsibilities in nuclear disarmament,” the size of the Chinese missile silo program – combined with the other elements of China’s nuclear modernization – could bring China into that category in the not too distant future. With approximately 300 apparent silos under construction – a number that exceeds the number of ICBM silos operated by Russia – and an additional 100-plus road-mobile ICBM launchers, China’s total ICBM force could potentially exceed that of either Russia and the United States in the foreseeable future.
This worrisome development may ironically also create new opportunities for arms control discussions and potential agreements. That is, if there is the political will to pursue them. With the review conference of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty approaching early next year, this would seem to be a good time for the large nuclear powers to demonstrate that will.
This publication was made possible by generous support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the New Land Foundation, the Ploughshares Fund, and the Prospect Hill Foundation. The statements made and views expressed are solely the responsibility of the author.Categories: China, Nuclear Weapons
#AceNewsReport – Oct.25: Moscow and Beijing, which staged naval cooperation drills in the Sea of Japan earlier in October, have cultivated closer military and diplomatic ties in recent years at a time when their relations with the West have soured.
#AceDailyNews says according to a Reuters report Chinese and Russian Warships Hold First Joint Patrols in the Pacific as the naval manoeuvres have been closely watched by Japan which said earlier this week that a group of 10 vessels from China and Russia sailed through the Tsugaru Strait separating Japan’s main island and its northern island of Hokkaido video below ……
“The group of ships passed through the Tsugaru Strait for the first time as part of the patrol,” Russia’s defence ministry said in the statement. The strait is regarded as international waters.
“The tasks of the patrols were the demonstration of the Russian and Chinese state flags, maintaining of peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, and guardianship of the subjects of maritime economic activities of the two countries,” the ministry added.
Reuters: Reporting by Polina Devitt Editing by Peter Graff