17 December 2019 Military News
- U.S. Defense Chief Says He's Fine With Afghan Troop Reduction 'With Or Without' Peace Deal RFE/RL 17 Dec 2019 -- U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper on December 15 said he wants a drawdown of soldiers in Afghanistan "with or without" a peace deal, while voicing confidence that the head of the NATO mission in the country could carry out current tasks with fewer numbers.
Defense Policy / Programs
- U.S. Senators Request Intelligence Review On Not Extending Nuclear Arms Treaty With Russia RFE/RL 17 Dec 2019 -- Three U.S. senators have asked Joseph Maguire, the acting director of National Intelligence, to conduct an impact assessment of how Russia and China would react if Washington withdraws from the last remaining nuclear arms treaty with Russia.
- Iwo Jima Departs Mayport for Sea Trials NNS 17 Dec 2019 -- The Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) is underway for sea trials, Dec. 15, following a year-long Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) availability maintenance period at Naval Station Mayport, Florida.
- Russia, Syria navies stage joint military drills in Mediterranean Press TV 17 Dec 2019 -- Russian and Syrian naval forces are holding their first-ever joint military exercises in the Mediterranean Sea with the aim of boosting cooperation in the counter-terrorism battle.
- Russian, Syrian Forces Start Joint Exercise in Mediterranean – Rear Admiral Yuldashev Sputnik 17 Dec 2019 -- The Russian and Syrian naval forces are starting joint drills in the Mediterranean on Tuesday, Rear Admiral Alexander Yuldashev, the commander of the military exercises, says.
- Russia to Test One of the Most Powerful Guns in the World Sputnik 17 Dec 2019 -- The Malka, one of the most powerful self-propelled artilleries in the world, is a modernised version of the 2S7 Pion ("peony"). It can fire 2.5 rounds per minute, and its ammunition load is eight projectiles -requiring at least 7 people to operate the weapon.
- First Test Batch of Russia's New Koalitsiya-SV Self-Propelled Guns Ready Sputnik 17 Dec 2019 -- Russia's Uraltransmash plant (a subsidiary of Uralvagonzavod) has produced the first test batch of new Koalitsiya-SV self-propelled artillery cannons, Uraltransmash Director General Dmitry Semizorov stated.
- China commissions 2nd aircraft carrier Global Times 17 Dec 2019 -- China's second aircraft carrier, the country's first domestically built one, the Shandong (hull 17), was delivered and commissioned to the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy on Tuesday in Sanya, South China's Hainan Province, after refitting and sea trials since its launch in 2017.
- China's 1st home-built aircraft carrier enters service: State media Press TV 17 Dec 2019 -- China has officially entered into service its first domestically-built aircraft carrier, the second carrier in its naval fleet, at a key base on the shores of the disputed South China Sea, state media say.
- China's First Domestically-Produced Aircraft Carrier Commissionned into Service Sputnik 17 Dec 2019 -- The new vessel, which was previously codenamed the Type 001A, received the name "Shandong". It was expected to enter service in April, but its trial phase had to be prolonged.
- 2nd aircraft carrier boosts China's defense ability Global Times 17 Dec 2019 -- The Shandong (hull 17), China's second aircraft carrier as well as its first domestically built one, was commissioned Tuesday afternoon into the People's Liberation Army Navy in Sanya, South China's Hainan Province. This marks China's entry into an era of dual aircraft carriers and home-built aircraft carriers. China's comprehensive national defense strength has taken another great step forward.
- China Prepares for 'Unexpected Confrontations' With More South China Sea Drills Sputnik 17 Dec 2019 -- China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) has conducted one of its longest airborne early warning exercises yet, with crews training last month in identifying more than 10 kinds of hostile signals and coordinating with other crews over the hotly contested South China Sea.
- Xi signs order to release regulations on military safety management People's Daily 17 Dec 2019 -- Xi Jinping, chairman of the Central Military Commission, has signed an order to release the newly-revised regulations on safety management of the military.
- India Successfully Test Fires Land Attack Version of BrahMos Supersonic Cruise Missile Sputnik 17 Dec 2019 -- In recent years, India has actively been marketing the BrahMos supersonic missile to other countries in the East Asian region. New Delhi is currently in talks with the Philippines about selling the weapons systems to Manila. India is also holding negotiations on the possible sale of missiles to Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam.
- All defense, security equipment rely on domestic production IRNA 17 Dec 2019 -- Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami said that the current budget and defense budget are in line with the situation, noting that all defense, security equipment rely on domestic production.
- Turkey plans to set up military base in Libya: Local media Press TV 17 Dec 2019 -- Turkey is planning to establish a military base in Libya aimed at providing greater support for the Tripoli-based unity Government of National Accord (GNA) in the wake of a military deal signed between the two sides last month.
- US Defence Secretary Says Must Speak With Turkish Counterpart About Base Closure Threats Sputnik 17 Dec 2019 -- US Defence Secretary Mark Esper told reporters on Monday that he would need to speak with his Turkish defence counterparts in order to determine the gravity of recent remarks in Turkey regarding the possible closure of US and NATO bases.
- Remarks by President Trump and President Morales of the Republic of Guatemala Before Bilateral Meeting The White House 17 Dec 2019
- Contracts For Dec. 17, 2019
- AIDC, Lockheed Martin MOU good for both sides: premier CNA 17 Dec 2019 -- An agreement signed between a state-run aircraft builder and a U.S. defense contractor Tuesday to turn Taiwan into a maintenance hub for F-16 fighter jets will be a win-win for both parties, according to Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌).
- 17 December 2019 - Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General United Nations 17 Dec 2019
- World must 'reboot' approach to refugees, first UN Global Forum hears UN News 17 Dec 2019 -- The world needs to transform the way it responds to refugee situations and do more for the struggling countries that shelter almost all of them, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Tuesday, at a high-level forum seeking solutions to a decade of extraordinary mass displacement.
- The JIAT Team, in Yemen Refutes a Number of Allegations Made by some Int'l Bodies, Organizations SPA 17 Dec 2019 -- The Official Spokesman for the Joint Incident Assessment Team (JIAT) in Yemen, Legal Adviser Mansour Al-Mansour refuted a number of allegations made by UN agencies, international organizations and media outlets, alleging mistakes made by the coalition forces to support legitimacy, in Yemen, during its military operations inside Yemen.
- Russia proposes own Syria aid resolution to UN Press TV 17 Dec 2019 -- Russia has drafted a resolution outlining the manner of aid delivery to Syria, urging the United Nations to adopt it in place of a Western-backed one, which Moscow finds lacking in terms of transparency.
- Armed Groups Plan Attacks on Syrian Forces - Reconciliation Centre Sputnik 17 Dec 2019 -- Armed groups are planning attacks on Syrian forces, as Russia has revealed the transfer of militants and armored vehicles to the Idlib de-escalation zone, Maj. Gen. Yury Borenkov, head of the Russian centre for Syrian reconciliation, said at a briefing on Tuesday.
- Syrian Army May Begin Wide-Scale Operation in Idlib Province – Reports Sputnik 17 Dec 2019 -- The Syrian army is pulling military reinforcements into the country's northwestern province of Idlib and might start a large-scale offensive there, Syrian state-run media reported, citing a military source.
- Erdogan, Putin Hold More Discussions on Libya VOA 17 Dec 2019 -- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke Tuesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin about Libya as Ankara prepares for the possible deployment of soldiers to the war-torn country.
- Reported Draft of US deal: New Palestine, shared al-Quds, Saudi control of al-Aqsa Press TV 17 Dec 2019 -- A Lebanese TV network has published what it reported to be a draft of US President Donald Trump's controversial deal on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which envisages the establishment of a "new Palestine," with occupied Jerusalem al-Quds remaining under mostly Israeli control and Saudi Arabia replacing Jordan as the custodian of the al-Aqsa Mosque.
- Bill Noting Armenian Genocide Isn't Policy, Says U.S. State Department RFE/RL 17 Dec 2019 -- The U.S. State Department said on December 17 that recent congressional action to recognize the Armenian genocide does not reflect the policy of U.S. President Donald Trump's administration.
- South Sudan: political will needed to form a unified government, on the road to peace UN News 17 Dec 2019 -- Extending the deadline for the establishment of a unity government in South Sudan has helped maintain a ceasefire but also disillusioned many citizens, the Security Council heard on Tuesday.
- President of South Sudan and Ex-Rebel Leader Agree to Form Government of National Unity - Reports Sputnik 17 Dec 2019 -- The formation of a unity government in South Sudan was delayed because the country has not received sufficient external financial aid to boost reconciliation efforts, the opposition South Sudan Patriotic Movement leader, Costello Garang, stated in November.
- Myanmar Navy Picks Up Some 175 Rohingya in Andaman Sea Radio Free Asia 17 Dec 2019 -- Myanmar's navy detained a vessel at the weekend carrying about 174 Rohingya in waters off the country's southern tip, and authorities are trying to determine their origin, a military spokesman told RFA's Myanmar Service on Tuesday.
- Churches Open Again in Myanmar Areas Controlled by Wa Rebel Army Radio Free Asia 17 Dec 2019 -- Christian churches ordered closed last year by an ethnic separatist army in northern Myanmar's Shan state have begun to reopen, with 52 Baptist churches now again in operation, sources in the region said.
- Letter from President Donald J. Trump to the Speaker of the House of Representatives The White House 17 Dec 2019
- Senator Concerned Over Reports Top U.S. Envoy To Ukraine To Be Recalled Early RFE/RL 17 Dec 2019 -- A top U.S. senator said he is concerned over reports that the Trump administration plans to recall its top diplomat from Ukraine after he gave critical testimony during the impeachment hearing.
- McConnell Rejects Schumer's Bid for More Testimony at Trump Impeachment Trial VOA 17 Dec 2019 -- U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday rejected Democratic leader Chuck Schumer's bid to have key aides to President Donald Trump testify at a Trump impeachment trial in January.
- Backgrounder: U.S. Democrat-led House impeachment process against Trump People's Daily 17 Dec 2019 -- The U.S. Democrat-led House of Representatives is set to vote on the two articles of impeachment accusing President Donald Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress on Wednesday. Trump has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
- U.S. Senate Approves Nord Stream 2 Gas Pipeline Sanctions RFE/RL 17 Dec 2019 -- The U.S. Senate on December 17 voted overwhelmingly to impose sanctions on companies working on a Russian pipeline in a move likely to be criticized by European nations counting on receiving the project's natural gas.
- Big Brother Is Watching: Putin Poster Pun No Laughing Matter For Russian Police RFE/RL 17 Dec 2019 -- Student activists calling themselves "the brigade" say they were just looking to have some fun in Petrozavodsk, the capital of the Karelia region in northwestern Russia.
- US Senate Passes Defence Budget Bill Stipulating Sanctions on Nord Stream 2 Sputnik 17 Dec 2019 -- The US Congress passed a defence bill for 2020 on 11 December that includes new sanctions on contractors who are helping build Gazprom's Nord Stream 2 pipeline. The curbs are aimed at preventing its completion, which is still expected this year.
- China, Russia Propose Lifting Sanctions on North Korea for Humanitarian Purposes at U.N. Security Council Radio Free Asia 17 Dec 2019 -- China and Russia Monday made a draft resolution proposing that the U.N. Security Council lift sanctions-mandated bans on North Korean exports of statues, seafood and textiles in what Moscow says is a move to encourage dialogue between Pyongyang and Washington.
- Experts: 'Abrupt End' to Talks Likely If North Korea Launches Holiday Missile VOA 17 Dec 2019 -- As Pyongyang appears to be preparing to launch a long-range missile, experts see an end to a diplomatic process Washington has pursued to denuclearize North Korea.
- Trump says U.S. is watching DPRK closely People's Daily 17 Dec 2019 U.S. President Donald Trump said Monday he would be disappointed if something is "in the works" in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).
- Trump to North Korea: 'We're watching very closely' Press TV 17 Dec 2019 -- American President Donald Trump has said the United States is watching North Korea "closely" as a year-end ultimatum from Pyongyang about the fate of their nuclear talks approaches.
- US rejects China, Russia's call for lifting of some N Korea sanctions Press TV 17 Dec 2019 -- The United States has rejected a proposal by Russia and China to lift some United Nations sanctions on North Korea, saying Pyongyang has yet to make progress toward denuclearization.
- China, Russia urge easing of UN sanctions on North Korea Global Times 17 Dec 2019 -- China and Russia have proposed the UN Security Council lift some sanctions on North Korea, which Chinese analysts view as a responsible attitude to help resume talks between North Korea and the US and achieve ultimate denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a flexible manner.
- China hopes UN will reach consensus on North Korea ahead of meeting Press TV 17 Dec 2019 -- China says it hopes the United Nations Security Council will adopt a draft resolution on easing sanctions on North Korea.
- Fishy North Korean Drug Runners Smuggle Meth into China Inside Frozen Seafood Radio Free Asia 17 Dec 2019 -- There's something fishy about those fish! North Korean smugglers are using frozen seafood to sneak large quantities of methamphetamine into China, prompting authorities there to crack down on fisheries products imported from their northeastern neighbor.
- Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un Visits Kumsusan Palace of Sun KCNA 17 Dec 2019 -- All the people across the country are extending the highest respects and tribute of the best wishes for immortality to the sacred temple of Juche with ardent yearning after Chairman Kim Jong Il at this time when 8 years have lapsed since his demise.
- Russia, China Submit UN Resolution to Lift Sanctions on North Korea Sputnik 17 Dec 2019 -- Russia and China have submitted a draft resolution to the UN Security Council to lift sanctions on North Korea and promptly resume the 'six-party' talks, according to the text of the document.
- Rouhani: US sanctions unsustainable, world wants ties with Iran Press TV 17 Dec 2019 -- President Hassan Rouhani says the United States' "cruel and unlawful" sanctions against Iran will not be sustainable, and that all countries are want to foster close and friendly relations with the Islamic Republic.
- Rohani Visiting Japan This Week Amid U.S.-Iranian Tensions RFE/RL 17 Dec 2019 -- Iranian President Hassan Rohani will make a two-day trip this week to Japan, a U.S. ally which maintains friendly ties with Iran and has previously tried to ease tensions between Tehran and Washington.
- Amnesty Says Iran Protests Death Toll Now at 304, Will Rise Further VOA 17 Dec 2019 -- Amnesty International says its documented death toll from Iran's recent anti-government protests will rise again from the group's latest report that at least 304 demonstrators were killed by security forces.
- US expands sanctions on metal trade with Iran Press TV 17 Dec 2019 -- The US government has warned against exports of steel-making materials to Iran, the latest salvo in Washington's campaign to target everything from oil sales to civilian transportation and financial activities.
- U.S. Threatens To Sanction Parties Who Export Metal Products To Iran RFE/RL 17 Dec 2019 -- The U.S. State Department has issued a sanctions advisory that warns "entities and individuals" of transferring two crucial steel-making inputs to Iran in its pursuit to deprive Tehran of revenue that could be used to promote the "regime's malign behavior."
- US Charges Indonesian Executive, 3 Firms With Illegal Sales to Iran's Mahan Air – Treasury Sputnik 17 Dec 2019 -- An Indonesian businessmen and three companies based in Indonesia face charges over the procurement of US-made goods for Iran's Mahan Air, the Treasury Department announced in a press release.
- Indonesian Citizen and Three Indonesian Companies Charged with Violating U.S. Export Laws and Sanctions Against Iran US Dept. of Justice 17 Dec 2019 -- Sunarko Kuntjoro, 68, a citizen of Indonesia, and three Indonesian-based companies, PT MS Aero Support (PTMS), PT Kandiyasa Energi Utama (PTKEU), and PT Antasena Kreasi (PTAK), were charged today in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia on Dec. 10, 2019, with violating U.S. export laws related to U.S. sanctions against Iran.
- China Ramps Up Security Checks Ahead of Xi Jinping's Trip to Macau Radio Free Asia 17 Dec 2019 -- Security is tight ahead of President Xi Jinping's visit to the former colonial city of Macau, which the ruling Chinese Communist Party has lauded as a model of integration 20 years after Portugal handed it back to China.
- Xi and his firm support for Macao's prosperity, stability Global Times 17 Dec 2019 -- President Xi Jinping is scheduled to arrive in Macao on Wednesday for the 20th anniversary of Macao's return to the motherland.
- "One country, two systems" principle key to Macao's prosperity People's Daily 17 Dec 2019 -- Since its return to the motherland 20 years ago, Macao has written a glorious chapter of "one country, two systems". Under the support of the central government and its inland counterparts, the city, which covers only 30 square kilometers, has forged ahead, creating the best development prospect in history and displaying the great advantages and vitality of the "one country, two systems" principle.
- Hong Kong 'disappointed with resumption of violent protests' Press TV 17 Dec 2019 -- Hong Kong's chief secretary, Matthew Cheung, has expressed his disappointment with the resumption of violent protests in the Chinese city after a period of relative calm, admitting, however, that "deep-rooted problems" must be addressed.
- China's debt risk controllable: analysts Global Times 17 Dec 2019 -- China's debt issue - specifically its debt-to-GDP ratio - is drawing more attention amid the country's economic downward pressure and the prolonged China-US trade war, but given China's growing GDP and the capacity to repay the debts, potential debt risks are totally controllable, industry analysts told the Global Times on Tuesday.
- Xi meets with HKSAR chief executive People's Daily 17 Dec 2019 -- President Xi Jinping on Monday met with Chief Executive of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Carrie Lam, who is on a duty visit to Beijing.
- Xi backs Lam in hard times Global Times 17 Dec 2019 -- President Xi Jinping met Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, who is on a duty visit to Beijing, on Monday and reaffirmed the determination to implement the "one country, two systems" principle and oppose foreign interference in Hong Kong affairs, while saying that Hong Kong faced the most severe and complicated situation this year since the 1997 return.
- Officials confirm HZM Bridge checkpoint to guarantee security and order Global Times 17 Dec 2019 -- A temporary security checkpoint has been set up at the east artificial island on the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge to check personnel and vehicles that enter Macao and Zhuhai via Hong Kong, the Global Times learned from authorities on Monday.
- Economic Watch: China poised to meet economic targets for 2019 People's Daily 17 Dec 2019 -- China has the confidence to meet growth targets in 2019 and march on the course it has mapped out for long-term development.
- Arrest of Activists in Kazakhstan Likely Linked to Criticism of Plan to Deport Chinese Nationals Radio Free Asia 17 Dec 2019 -- Two activists arrested by authorities in Kazakhstan last week were likely detained because they challenged government plans to deport a pair of ethnic Kazakh Chinese nationals who fled persecution in neighboring China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), according to fellow rights campaigners.
- BeiDou Navigation Satellite System completes deployment Global Times 17 Dec 2019 -- The pair are the last two medium Earth orbit (MEO) satellites of their kind for the BDS-3 constellation, marking the completion of the global navigation system's core constellation deployment, according to officials on Monday.
- Pakistan's Musharraf sentenced to death for 'high treason' Press TV 17 Dec 2019 -- A special court in Pakistan has handed former military ruler Pervez Musharraf a death sentence for "high treason" in an unprecedented ruling in the country's history.
- Pakistan's Musharraf Sentenced To Death In Treason Case RFE/RL 17 Dec 2019 -- A Pakistani court has handed a death sentence to former military ruler General Pervez Musharraf on treason charges for suspending the country's constitution 12 years ago.
- General Musharraf Can 'Surely' Never Be a Traitor - Pakistan Army Sputnik 17 Dec 2019 -- Soon after the death sentence order was passed by a special court in Pakistan, the country's armed forces huddled at the Pakistan Army's headquarters at Rawalpindi about the way forward. This is the first time when a court has handed down the death penalty to a former army chief.
- Former Pakistani President Musharraf Sentenced to Death VOA 17 Dec 2019 -- A special court in Pakistan Tuesday found former president and military ruler Pervez Musharraf guilty of high treason and sentenced him to death.
- Pakistan's Khan: India's Anti-Muslim Policies Will Trigger Refugee Crisis VOA 17 Dec 2019 -- One of the biggest refugee crises is about to take place because of recent actions by the Indian government, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan warned delegates Tuesday at the Global Refugee Forum.
- Eighth Meeting of the Law Enforcement Coordination Group Focused on Countering Hizballah's Terrorist and Illicit Activities US Dept. of State 17 Dec 2019 -- The Law Enforcement Coordination Group (LECG), which focuses on countering Hizballah's terrorist and illicit activities, convened at Europol's headquarters in the Netherlands on December 16-17, for its eighth meeting.
- Turkey detains opposition mayor over affiliation to 2016 botched putsch Press TV 17 Dec 2019 -- Turkey has arrested a mayor from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) over his alleged membership of a movement led by US-based opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen, who the Ankara government accuses of having masterminded the failed July 2016 coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
- District Mayor in Turkey Remanded by Court for Alleged Links to Gulen Movement - Reports Sputnik 17 Dec 2019 -- A recently appointed district mayor in Turkey's Izmir province on Tuesday gave testimony to a prosecutor and was later remanded by the court over alleged connections to US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen's movement, referred to by Ankara as the Fethullah Terrorist Organisation (FETO), Anadolu news agency reported.
- Clashes Erupt in Lebanon Over Release of Online Video VOA 17 Dec 2019 -- An online video purportedly deemed offensive to Shi'ite Muslims has sparked unrest in Lebanon, which remains on edge amid anti-government protests that have been ongoing since mid-October.
- Former Kyrgyz Prime Minister Forcibly Brought To Court As Corruption Trial Opens RFE/RL 17 Dec 2019 -- Former Kyrgyz Prime Minister Sapar Isakov, who is already serving 15 years in prison, has appeared before a court in Bishkek to face new corruption charges.
- Uzbekistan's Upcoming Vote A 'Missed Opportunity' For Further Reforms, HRW Says RFE/RL 17 Dec 2019 -- Human Rights Watch (HRW) says that after taking "some steps" toward reforming Uzbekistan, President Shavkat Mirziyoev has not extended this "reform spirit" to this month's elections.
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