2 June 2018   Leave a comment

US Secretary of Defense, General Jim Mattis, gave a speech at the annual Shangri-La Dialogue, a security summit held in China.  The speech gave a very straightforward assessment of the US view of Chinese military activities in the South China Sea:

“Yet China’s Policy in the South China Sea (SCS) stands in stark contrast to the openness our strategy promotes; It calls into questions China’s broader goals.

“China’s militarization of artificial features in the SCS includes the deployment of anti-ship missiles, surface-to-air missiles, electronic jammers and, more recently, the landing of bomber aircraft at Woody Island.

“Despite China’s claims to the contrary, the placement of these weapon systems is tied directly to military use for the purposes of intimidation and coercion.

“China’s militarization of the Spratleys is also in direct contradiction to President Xi’s 2015 public assurances in the White House Rose Garden. “

Secretary Mattis’s Speech at the Shangri-La Conference

 

The US vetoed a Kuwaiti Resolution at the UN Security Council that “urged the Council to consider ‘measures to guarantee the safety and protection” of Palestinian civilians and requests a report from the UN Secretary-General on a possible “international protection mechanism.’”  The resolution received 10 affirmative votes and four abstentions, but the US veto was based on its view that the resolution was “one-sided” and did not condemn the violence of the Palestinians at the Gaza-Israeli border.  The US then offered a resolution that “called on Hamas and Islamic Jihad to ‘cease all violent activity and provocative actions, including along the boundary fence.’”   That resolution had 3 negative votes and 11 abstentions with only the US voting in favor of its resolution.  The vote is an index of the US isolation on the Israeli-Palestinian issue.

 

North Korea invited news correspondents, but not arms control experts, to witness its “destruction” of its nuclear test site at Punggye-ri.  However, arms control experts are raising serious questions about whether the explosions were sufficiently large to actually destroy the facility.  38North, which is the most reliable source of information about North Korea, has published a number of before and after satellite photographs of the site and pointed out specific inconsistencies in the story that the facility was irreversibly destroyed.  The photo opportunity may simply be a sleight of hand designed to persuade the world to reduce some of the sanctions against North Korea.

Posted June 2, 2018 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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