Japan’s frictions with neighbors have resurfaced after a group of 168 Japanese lawmakers on Tuesday paid their respects at the controversial Yasukuni Shrine, which glorifies war-dead including those guilty of atrocities. It was the first time in eight years that a group of over 100 Japanese politicians visited the shrine. On the same day, a fleet of Chinese marine surveillance vessels drove Japanese boats out of waters surrounding the Diaoyu Islands, thwarting the provocative attempts of around 80 Japanese right wingers.
The South Korean government has issued a strongly worded complaint over the Japanese politicians’ visit to the shrine. China and South Korea have shown their shared outrage over the Yasukuni Shrine issue, but Japan seems to have disregarded this.
There are not many extreme right wingers in Japan, but Japanese society has still been tilting further toward right-wing views.
These days, provocations have been coming from Japan’s deputy prime minister, a group of over 100 lawmakers and the right wingers creating waves over the Diaoyu Islands issue.
The Chinese government is taking the lead in dealing with Japan. However, it has little leverage when dealing with various forces within Japan. This reality cannot be changed in the near future. This means the Chinese government’s stance has to be tough. Chinese marine surveillance vessels have done a pretty good job on this occasion. Since the Diaoyu crisis broke out last year, the tough resistance of the Chinese government against Japan has made it the main force in safeguarding the sovereignty of the Diaoyu Islands.
The latest situation involving the Diaoyu Islands has demonstrated the contrast in terms of strength between China and Japan as well as the changing East Asia strategic arena.
The Yasukuni Shrine visits are evidence of Japan’s reluctance to accept reality. Japanese society is becoming increasingly radical, but continues to take a careful approach in maritime conflicts with China.
Japan lacks a clear strategy in East Asia. Encountering China’s rise, it hasn’t formed a policy that helps it maximize its interests, and instead shows resentment and anxiety. Its alliance with the US cannot help it solve its own strategic dilemma.
The gradual decline in Japan’s power is the reason for its lack of confidence.
Japan is like a marijuana smoker, who enjoys the excitement of the moment but is ultimately damaging itself at the same time. Japan will fall by itself. China doesn’t need to launch fierce counterattacks. Instead, it can just express its firm stance to make Japan feel scared.
China needs to create diplomatic leverage over Japan, which could help it express its determination when dealing with issues related to sovereignty and historical matters, and bring the Sino-Japanese conflict under control. – Global Times
Japan shrine visit angers South Korea
South Korea has abruptly cancelled a trip to Tokyo by its foreign minister in protest at visits to a controversial war shrine over the weekend by Japanese cabinet ministers, including the deputy prime minister.
Visits to the Yasukuni shrine – which honours 14 class-A war criminals among 2.5 million other Japanese war dead – have traditionally angered China and South Korea, which view the site as a symbol of Japanese militarism.
Four ministers in the conservative administration of Shinzo Abe paid visits to the shrine, including his finance minister, Taro Aso.
Beijing did not immediately respond but South Korea said on Monday that its foreign minister, Yun Byung-se, would not be making a two-day visit to Tokyo due to begin this Friday.
“Amid this kind of atmosphere our stance is that it will be difficult to hold a productive discussion and Yun decided not to visit to Japan this time,” an unnamed South Korean official told the Yonhap news agency.
Abe did not visit the shrine but sent a decorative branch of a cypress tree as a ritual offering, with his name and title written beneath, according to media reports.
China is unlikely to overlook the visit while the two rivals continue to stake rival claims to the Senkaku islands, known as the Diaoyu in China.
For many in China and South Korea, visits to Yasukuni in central Tokyo are proof that Japan’s modern leaders have yet to atone for their country’s military misadventures on the Asian mainland in the first half of the 20th century.
He later said he regretted the decision and with his popularity ratings high at home speculation is mounting that he may be less willing to consider sensibilities in China and South Korea, particularly if his party wins key upper house elections in July, giving it control of both Diet chambers.
Aso, who also serves as deputy prime minister, has a reputation for angering Japan’s neighbours; in 2003, he praised the country’s 1910-1945 colonisation of the Korean peninsula and has refused to apologise for his family firm’s past use of Korean forced labourers and allied prisoners of war.
Aso, a former prime minister, wants class-A war criminals “delisted” from Yasukuni, thereby removing the biggest obstacle to members of the imperial family resuming their annual visits.
On Sunday, he bowed in the Shinto shrine’s worship hall and left without speaking to reporters.
The other visitors included Keiji Furuya, a state minister in charge of resolving the abduction of Japanese nationals by North Korea during the cold war. “It is natural for a lawmaker to offer heartfelt condolences for spirits of the war dead who sacrificed their lives for the nation,” he said.
Abe visited the shrine in 2012 while leader of the then main opposition Liberal Democratic party, drawing criticism from China.
In late March, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said the objections over Yasukuni centred on a desire for Japan to “face up to and reflect on its history of aggression and respect the feelings of people from the victimised countries, including China”. -
China knows when to mount pressure on the DPRK and tell its ally what to do for the sake of its Asian neighbours’ interests in the region, say Chinese political analysts.
TALKS that China has lost its influence on North Korea have emerged again as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is reported to be ready to launch a missiles attack on the Korean Peninsula.
The standard calm reaction and seemingly lack of action against DPRK by China have been the reasons why the international community feels that the China factor in the DPRK administration is fading.
But, China is not a country that one should underestimate. China knows when to mount pressure on DPRK and tell its ally what to do for the sake of its Asian neighbours’ interests in the region, said Chinese political analysts.
Historically, China and DPRK established solid strategic relations and partnership when the former entered the Korean War in support of DPRK in 1950.
During the war between 1950 and 1953, China sent as many as three million volunteer soldiers to assist the DPRK forces fight the Americans and South Koreans in the name of United Nations on the peninsula.
About 180,000 Chinese soldiers, including Mao Zedong’s son Mao Anying, were killed.
Since the end of the war, China and DPRK have continued their cooperation in security and defence issues. But in recent years, China has turned more of a peacemaker instead when tension occurs between North and South Korea.
In the Takung Pao newspaper’s editorial, veteran political analyst and The International Chinese Newsweekly correspondent Ji Shuoming said DPRK intentionally flexed its muscles to wage war in retaliation of a recent joint South Korea-United States military exercise.
He said the tension on the peninsula had been escalating with the North Koreans telling ambassadors, diplomats and tourists in South Korea to evacuate, as their forces were prepared to launch their missiles.
“At the UN Security Council meeting (in March), in a rare decision, China voted in favour of new sanctions on North Korea in view of its nuclear weapon tests. This has somehow caused North Korea’s hostility against China.
“North Korea is going too far by dragging itself to the edge of a war. The US, South Korea and Japan hope that China will restrain North Korea but some people say China has not been able to restrain North Korea anymore.
The Chinese leaders and the Chinese Communist Party-run newspaper recently sent out a clear message to North Korea, and this shows that China still has a degree of influence over North Korea,” he said.
Ji said that in past conflicts, China would talk about brotherhood and defend North Korea and this had made its ally a spoiled kid and had made it difficult to fundamentally solve the problem.
Today, China has chosen a more international approach. When North Korea goes against the international regulations, China will firmly safeguard the international interests. But this does not mean that China has lost its influence and it’s just that it is assessing the pros and cons of the influence, Ji added.
Nankai University International Relations Department Associate Prof Yang Lei was quoted by Global Times as saying that in the past, North Korea employed the approach of causing tension and then implying the possibility of dialogue and negotiation after achieving its target.
“North Korea continuously escalates its offensive rhetoric to draw the attention of the international community. It hopes that surrounding countries can get involved and provide a way to ease the situation,” he said.
He said China was adjusting its policy on North Korea according to the changing US and South Korean policies on North Korea but China could still continue to impose necessary sanctions on North Korea to make its ally aware of the importance of outside help and the strategic Chinese support.
“Such pressure should push North Korea to ease relations with South Korea.
“Then the next step for China is to persuade North Korea and South Korea to hold dialogue and offer North Korea a way out,” he said.
In its editorial, China Daily said the situation on the peninsula was dangerous and any miscalculation by any party might prove disastrous to the region.
The newspaper said Pyongyang might have adequate reasons to demonstrate its security concerns that was entitled to enhance its national defence and develop its science and technology, but it had no excuse either to defy the UN resolution requiring it to drop its nuclear programme.
“The tactic (employed by North Norea) is dangerous … As a close neighbour of the two Koreas, China will not allow troublemaking at its doorstep.
“The message is loud and clear that it opposes any move to resolve the dispute by force,” it said.
In wake of the rising tensions on the Korea Peninsula, for the regional peace and stability and to safeguard China’s national interest, it is necessary to address relevant sides over the issue:
To DPRK: do not misjudge the situation
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has many reasons to strengthen the arms and technology, and there are legitimate concerns of their own national security, but there is no reason to violate the relevant resolutions of the United Nations Security Council to engage in nuclear testing and launch missile using ballistic missile technology, which cannot shirk its responsibility in upgrading tensions on the peninsula last year.
The DPRK has its own special circumstances, political needs, policy choices and political language style, which is its internal affairs and the outside world has no right to interfere in. But if its choice and words intensifies the Korean Peninsula tensions and affects peace and stability in the region, it becomes the international issues. The situation’s development on the peninsula will not necessarily go according to the ideas and expectations of the DPRK.
To the United States: do not add fuel to the flames
Even with the United Nations Security Council’s resolution on the Korean Peninsula issue, and has legitimate concerns over the nuclear non-proliferation and security issues, unilateral sanctions from the United States against the DPRK which are beyond the UN resolutions would be counterproductive and will add pressure to the situation.
For decades, sanctions, pressure, isolation against the DPRK initiated by the United States is one of the root causes of conflicts on the peninsula. Since the 1990s, U.S. government policy toward the DPRK has swung between engagement and isolation, making the DPRK doubtful of the sincerity of the United States, and giving an excuse to the DPRK in violation of the agreement.
The United States, as the superpower whose comprehensive national and military strength is far stronger than the DPRK’s, is in a strong position; therefore, any strong move will only increase tension on the peninsula.
To South Korea: do not miss the focus
With the “protective umbrella” provided by the U.S., South Korea’s security is still fragile. Due to the geographical location and military deployment, South Korea would become the biggest victim if any conflicts and wars break out on the peninsula.
The south and north peninsula have had a period of increased contacts and exchanges, and South Korea’s new government has repeatedly expressed its willingness to implement policy toward the DPRK which are different from the Lee Myung-bak government.
Being one of the major parties of the Korean Peninsula issue, South Korea should play the role to cool down the tensions on the Korean Peninsula, rather than pushed by the DPRK or the United States.
To Japan: do not fish in troubled water
Every time North Korea test-fired a satellite or missile, Japan will deploy so-called “interception” in a big way. This is largely a move of Japan taking the opportunity to adjust and increase in arms.
During the process of the Six-Party Talks in the past, Japan sometimes played the role to hold back the process by entangling in some particular issues. This short-sighted strategy and using the pretext of the DPRK “threat” to develop armaments and adjust security strategy will only increase complicated factors in the regional situation.
Warfare and chaos on the Korean Peninsula does not meet the interests of any party. The war caused by trouble will have impact on regional peace and stability, endangering regional cooperation and win-win situation, hurting any party that causes trouble.
Although the situation on the peninsula has not come to the point when conflicts can be triggered at any moment, it has brought harm to regional peace and stability.
Not allowing troublemaking at the doorsteps of China means to stop the vicious circle of tension on the peninsula, to prevent any party from stirring up trouble, to oppose creating tension on purpose, and to say no to render the use of force to resolve the problem. Words and deeds that intensify the tensions on the Korean Peninsula should be condemned and opposed.
Not allowing troublemaking at the doorsteps of China is not China’s “Monroe Doctrine”. China does not seek spheres of influence. China intends to maintain regional peace and stability on the Peninsula, and determine its own position and actions in accordance with the Peninsula situation on its own merits. At present, it is not without hope to maintain peace and stability on the peninsula.
The pressing matter of the moment is that all parties should calm down and restrain, move to ease the tension as soon as possible to create the conditions for the situation to change.
Why North Korea conducts nuclear test?
The republic is concerned about China’s rising economy resulting in an expanding maritime force at a time when the US military might is weakening.
Lee Hsien Loong paid his second visit to the United States in six years that was evidently aimed at deepening Singapore’s strategic ties with Washington at a time of rising tensions in Asia.
In a meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House, Hsien Loong appealed to the economically-weakened United States to stay committed in Asia despite plans for big defence cuts.
Of late, Asia has been plagued by territorial claims and counter-claims involving China and at least a dozen countries, sometimes resulting in frictions and warning shots being fired.
While Hsien Loong was in America, former Singapore prime minister Goh Chok Tong arrived in China for a seven-day visit, where he met the new Chinese leader Xi Jinping.
The Singaporean leader’s US visit took place as many foreign leaders were sending congratulations to Xi on his assumption of office.
It comes in the wake of a decision by the American president and Congress to cut the Pentagon’s budget by US$487bil (RM1.498 trillion) over the next decade. The cut took effect on March 1.
Singapore has become more concerned about China’s rising economy resulting in an expanding maritime force at a time when the US military might is weakening.
His attempt to maintain a balance in the republic’s ties with China and United States had long been the forte of founding leader Lee Kuan Yew. It had kept Singapore in good stead with both.
Despite this, Singapore has been placing greater trust on the protection of the United States.
Although Singaporeans are predominantly Chinese and have built up strong economic and other ties with Beijing, the city has strong military and strategy relations with Washington.
Singapore is more worried about China’s soft encroaching use of its power in the area than any prospect of it starting a war in Asia.
For example, Beijing has begun using a new passport which shows a map showing several disputed territories as part of the nation of China.
This has instilled regional worries, leading several countries involved to strengthen ties with the United States.
In a new book released in February, Kuan Yew – now a passive 89-year-old Member of Parliament – voices worries about China’s rise in power.
“Many small and medium countries in Asia are concerned (and are) uneasy that China may want to resume the imperial status it had in earlier centuries,” Kuan Yew says.“They have misgivings such as being treated as vassal states.”
“China tells us that countries big or small are equal, that it is not a hegemon,” Kuan Yew writes.
“But when we do something they do not like, they say you have made 1.3 billion people unhappy. So please know your place.”
It prompted Singapore to move closer militarily to the United States years ago by offering passing facilities for its air force and navy, including aircraft carriers.
Hsien Loong’s visit probably has another purpose. Singapore is reportedly on the verge of making a decision to buy America’s F-35 fighter jets to upgrade its air force.
Singapore’s defence minister Ng Eng Hen said last week that the air force “has identified the F-35 as a suitable aircraft to further modernise our fighter fleet”.
“Our F-5s are nearing the end of their operational life and our F-16s are at their mid-way mark,” he said in parliament. “We are now in the final stages of evaluating the F-35.”
The order could be for 12 F-35Bs (estimated cost: US$2.8bil (RM8.6bil)), which can take off and land vertically, a useful feature given Singapore’s limited air space.
However, it is not known if there are further plans to buy more in future. Reuters quoted industry and US sources as saying Singapore may buy up to 75 F-35Bs eventually.
Singapore was the world’s fifth-largest importer of conventional weapons in 2008-12, at 4% of the global total, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute says. It trailed behind India, China, Pakistan and South Korea.
The visiting Hsien Loong was assured by US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel that the United States remained “committed towards the Asia-Pacific region”.
Of growing US focus is China’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, which is projecting the country’s new maritime power.
Although Hsien Loong became prime minister eight years ago, this is his first real test of his diplomatic skill in a major foreign policy without Cabinet guidance from his father.
This visit – and the consequences – will determine if he could succeed in steering Singapore through the intensifying rivalry of China and the United States.
In his after-dinner speech in Washington, Hsien Loong said Singapore got along well with both.
One reason he implied was China needed to look at his city-state to try to understand how it could balance its own economic and social goals while growing.
The Chinese needs Singapore as a political model for them to learn from, without political reforms, Hsien Loong told the Americans.
What of China’s intention? Kuan Yew says he is certain China’s leaders want to displace United States as the leading power in the Asia-Pacific.But in speeches published, he says he is less worried about the current generation of leaders than he does about the next.
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An official with the fleet said missile-equipped vessels tested their capabilities, including emergency docking and undocking, over-the-horizon missile attack, joint air defense, and combined assault against enemy warships. On Tuesday, the fleet held an oath-taking ceremony at Zengmu Reef (James Shoal), the Southernmost part of China’s territory. They vowed to safeguard China’s sovereignty.
The Chinese navy has a right to patrol the South China Sea, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said at a daily press briefing on Thursday.
Hong Lei’s remark came after a four-ship Chinese Navy fleet that has conducted patrol and training missions on the South China Sea over the past few days reached Zing Reef, the southernmost part of China’s territory, on Tuesday.
The country’s stance on the South China Sea is consistent and clear, Hong said, noting that China has played a vital role in keeping the region peaceful and stable.
Zengmu Reef (James Shoal)
“The visit to James Shoal, known as Zengmu Reef to China, was unusual for the firepower brought to bear on a territory also claimed by Malaysia and Taiwan (a province of China).”
China will not be passive in sea disputes
Chinese naval fleets recently conducted patrols on the South China Sea, reaching as far as Zengmu Reef, the southernmost part of Chinese territory. In an oath-taking ceremony on board Tuesday, the troops and officials vowed to safeguard China’s sovereignty.
Earlier this month, a Chinese vessel fired two warning signal shells into the sky to prevent illegal fishing operations by Vietnamese fishermen. Both showed China’s firm determination to insist upon its stance amid the South China Sea disputes.
Washington expressed its concerns in both cases, reinforcing its attitude that the US can interfere in the South China Sea issue any time.
Despite the fact that John Kerry, the new US secretary of state, has stepped into office and some side effects brought by his predecessor’s aggressive approach are in decline, the US stance on the South China Sea will not fundamentally change. Behind China’s frictions with the Philippines and Vietnam is actually the rivalry between Beijing and Washington over the South China Sea.
After Hillary Clinton’s four-year intervention into the South China Sea issue with her “smart power” diplomacy, and Manila and Hanoi’s frictions with Beijing, all kinds of risks within the South China Sea issue have become evident. All parties involved now have a clearer understanding of each other’s national strength and determination.
China, through powerful countermeasures against Manila and Hanoi’s provocations, has changed its passive status. Beijing had been worried that frictions on the South China Sea would cause deterioration in its surrounding environment and thus undermine its period of strategic opportunities. Now most of its concerns have been dispelled.
Crises like the Huangyan Island standoff have made one thing explicit – those were, after all, conflicts between countries whose strength were unequally matched. Manila and Hanoi would not have any chance of victory if the South China Sea issue escalated into a confrontation of national strength.
China has no plan to wage a war and recover all the islands illegally occupied by the Philippines and Vietnam. However, China has become more resolute in terms of strikes against the two’s provocations.
China’s growing leverage over the South China Sea issue stems from stable domestic development. Meanwhile, Manila and Hanoi are witnessing a reduced ability to provoke Beijing over those disputes. Washington is also seeing an increasing number of restraints in its South China Sea policy. The Philippines and Vietnam would face more troubles if they choose to seek fierce confrontation with China.
China should focus on peaceful development. But meanwhile, it is not afraid of adopting resolute measures to protect core national interests. China should avoid external misjudgments toward it, which is pivotal to the nation’s long-term strategic environment.
Sources: CCTV, Peace and Freedom, Global Times
A Nuri helicopter departing for Kampung Tanduo to take part in an air offensive against the terrorists holed up there. Bernama pic
NO CHOICE: Police, military unleash massive offensive against terrorists
LAHAT DATU: SECURITY forces successfully launched a major offensive at daybreak yesterday on Sulu terrorists following a 21-day stand-off that had left eight policemen dead and triggered panic in Sabah’s east coast.
In a never-before-seen offensive, security forces yesterday unleashed a massive strike involving the police and the military on Kampung Tanduo near here, where the terrorists were holed up.
While the number of deaths among the terrorists following the strike, codenamed Ops Daulat, was not immediately known, what was obvious was the tremendous support shown by Malaysians for this course of action.
Malaysians had run out of compassion for this band of terrorists as numerous efforts undertaken by the governments of Malaysia and the Philippines to end the stand-off peacefully, were ignored.
Some 2,000 security personnel from the armed forces and police were deployed yesterday in a 2km area in Kampung Tanduo after airstrikes. There were no reports of casualties from the Malaysian side.
Morale among the security forces was high, despite the fact that they lost eight of their comrades in clashes with terrorists several days ago.
Just after the strike, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, delivering an emotionally-packed speech at a gathering of Islamic scholars in Bukit Jalil, was firm when he spoke of their resoluteness in protecting Malaysia’s sovereignty.
Najib, with a pained look as he narrated the grief he felt when meeting the widows of the policemen, also expressed his frustration that the terrorists had not heeded calls to withdraw and avoid bloodshed.
It was a tough call, but one that “as the leader of the government”, Najib had to make.
The 16,000-odd crowd applauded in approval when Najib said the time for diplomacy had ended.
Nobody could have mistaken that as a show of arrogance. It was simply an endorsement that as the leader of the country, he was doing what needed to be done.
While some opposition leaders had politicised the issue, there were those who also threw their support behind yesterday’s action.
Even Kelantan Menteri Besar Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, an ardent critic of the government, supported the move, urging Sabah folk to remain loyal to the country and not help the terrorists.
Yesterday, three weeks after the Sulu gunmen landed on our shores, Malaysia and the Philippines agreed that they be labelled “terrorists”.
This was decided at a meeting between Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman and his Philippine counterpart, Senator Albert F. del Rosario.
Anifah also asked that action be taken against the self-proclaimed Sultan of Sulu, Jamalul Kiram III, for inciting hatred and violence against Malaysians.
Yesterday’s strike, however, is not the end of the issue.
Residents are afraid of reprisals by the terrorists but in a joint media briefing, the defence and home ministers assured Sabahans that they would always be protected.
Malaysia can extradite so-called Sulu Sultan
Wanted: Jamalul speaking to the press in Manila as he affirms his sultanate’s claim to Sabah. — AFP
PETALING JAYA: Malaysia can seek the extradition of self-proclaimed Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III from the Philippines to face the law over the intrusion into Sabah, legal experts said.
They said Malaysia’s arrest and extradition of Moro National Liberation Front leader Nur Misuari to the Philippines in 2001 following a request by that country had set a precedent for cooperation in dealing with such cases.
Muslim Lawyers Association of Malaysia Datuk Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar said the culprits, including those based in Philippines such as Jamalul Kiram, needed to be brought to Malaysia to face criminal charges of waging war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, an offence under the Penal Code that is punishable by death upon conviction.
“Our sovereignty has been challenged and while Malaysia wanted to avoid bloodshed they started firing, triggering action which resulted in our security personnel dead, which means there is no more room to forgive them,” said Zainul.
He added that since Jamalul Kiram did not directly take up weapons in Malaysian territory, he could be investigated for abetting to wage war, which also carries the death penalty upon conviction.
International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) Associate Professor Shamrahayu A. Aziz said the charge could be used against the culprits even if they were not Malaysian citizens because what mattered was where the crime was committed.
“It is also possible for Malaysia to request the extradition of a person who is not in our country if we can prove that the instructions came from him or that he instigated or incited the actions,” she said.
Emeritus Professor of Law at Universiti Teknologi Mara Prof Datuk Shad Saleem Faruqi said many Sections in Chapter 6 of the Penal Code could be used against the culprits.
He said Malaysians in Lahad Datu, who had given protection to the intruders, could also be charged under Section 125A of the Act, which makes it an offence to harbour any person in Malaysia or a foreign country who is at war or considered hostile against the King.
In addition, Shad Faruqi said the culprits could also be charged under the newly included Section 6A of the Penal Code, which deals with offences relating to terrorism.
On the possibility of the Philippines requesting to Malaysia to send its naval ships to offer assistance, Prof Dr Aruna Gopinath from Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia said it must only be done after obtaining an agreement from the Malaysian Government.
“If there is an offer from them to want to help or monitor then they must wait for an agreement from us, they cannot just sail here unilaterally as that would be trespassing,” she said.
In an unrelated development Raja Muda Azzimudie Kiram, the brother of the self-proclaimed Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, is believed to be alive and well even after the attack.
“He (the Raja Muda) is still alive,” the sultanate’s spokesman Abraham Idjirani told The Star in a phone interview from Manila.
“I spoke to him yesterday (Tuesday) morning and he said he and the troops were still in Sabah and still in good condition”.
However, Idjirani admitted he had not heard from Azzimudie since then but claimed he was “definitely okay”.
“The Malaysian security forces attacked an area that the Raja Muda and his troops had long since vacated. There are only four injured men, but they are all safe.” he said, referring to the Malaysian security force’s assault on the intruders in Lahad Datu early yesterday morning.
Sources: Asia News Network
The former Sulu Sultanate, a foreign problem in history that became Sabah’s
SABAH STANDOFF, invaders from the Philippines shoot dead!
Filipinos’ Sulu militant group in Sabah must leave Malaysia today
LAHAD DATU: Malaysia has extended the deadline for the Sulu armed group to move out of Tanduo village and return home to today, following a request from the Philippines.
The Philippine Government had earlier asked for the deadline to be set for Tuesday to allow them to persuade Sultan Jamalul Kiram III to order his brother Azzimudie Kiram and the armed group of more than 100 to get out of Tanduo village in Felda Sahabat 17 where they have been holed up since Feb 9.
The request was made to Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman by his Philippine counterpart Albert del Rosario after the expiry of the Friday deadline.
Anifah, however, told The Star that he had conveyed the decision on the new Sunday deadline to Rosario.
“We are hoping the stand-off will end peacefully with the latest deadline,” he said, echoing Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein‘s statement that he wanted the two-week stand-off to “end sooner than later” without bloodshed.
Hishammuddin told reporters in Kluang that the extended period would not be too long as his ministry would leave it to the security forces to conduct an operation to end the stand-off.
He said the Tanduo incident was different from the country’s past experience with armed groups such as Al-Maunah, Abu Sayyaf and Jemayah Islamiah as this group claimed to be descendents of the Sulu sultanate.
However, he said the country’s sovereignty and the pride of the Sabah people must not be taken for granted.
The priority of the armed forces was to defuse the situation without bloodshed as it could affect Malaysia’s good relationship with the Philippines, he said, adding that the preparation for the deportation of the Sulu group “is in the final stage”.
As the Philippine Government tries to persuade the Sulu Sultan to take their Sabah claim demand to a diplomatic level, the Kiram family has been adamant and had asked Azzimudie’s group to stay put in Tanduo.
Although emissaries have been negotiating with Azzimudie, the political pressure in Manila has been mounting on President Benigno Aquino and his Cabinet to resurrect the long dormant Sabah claim following talk that the Oct 15 peace deal with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front had left out the Sulu sultanate as well as Nur Misuari’s Moro National Liberation Front.
To help defuse and bring the stand-off to a peaceful conclusion, Philippine Defence Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said he and his Malaysian counterpart, including the armed forces of both countries, were closely coordinating their actions and exchanging information.
Gazmin said the Philippine military had enforced a naval blockade in the Sulu Sea to prevent undocumented Filipinos from entering Sabah as reports emerged that other groups from southern Philippines were poised to help Azzimudie’s gunmen.
Stating that the Sulu group was pursuing its Sabah claim the wrong way, Gazmin revealed that six navy ships and a transport vessel were on standby in Tawi Tawi, about a 15-minute fast boat ride to Tanduo village.
China’s state media has come out fighting after over allegations of cyberattacks on US companies, and declared the accusations a “commercial stunt.”
Earlier this week, Alexandria based Internet security firm Mandiant, said Chinese military cyberspy unit had been targeting US and other foreign firms and organisations in hacking attacks.
But China Daily have hit back, writing: “One cannot help but ask the real purpose of such a hullabaloo.”
“With the US economic recovery dragging its feet, it is reasonable to think that some in Washington may want to make China a scapegoat so that public attention is diverted away from the country’s economic woes.”
China Daily also quoted defense ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng as saying the People’s Liberation Army had also been targeted in a “significant number” of cyberattacks.
“A considerable number” of them originated in the United States, judging from the IP addresses involved,” he said, but added that he did not “accuse” the US government of being involved.
According to Agence France-Presse, Mandiant’s report alleges that the hacking group “Advanced Persistent Threat” (APT1), was part of the Chinese military’s Unit 61398. Mandiant also said APT1 have stolen hundreds of terabytes of data from at least 141 across 20 industries, some of whom are involved with US domestic infrastructure.
But official state news agency Xinhua said the Mandiant report “reeks of a commercial stunt”.
“Next time,” wrote Xinhua in a stinging commentary, “the CEO could simply say: ‘See the Chinese hackers? Hurry up, come and buy our cyber security services.’ ”
The state news agency added that the US had a “matchless superiority and an ability to stage cyberattacks across the globe”, and that the US military had “established a significant cyber force, including the 780th Military Intelligence Brigade, which is a regular military unit tasked with carrying out cyber missions”.
In a further missive, Xinhua said Washington had a “habit of accusing other nations based on phony evidence,” adding:
“Facts will eventually prove that the cyberattacks accusations are groundless and will only tarnish the image and reputation of the company making them, as well as that of the United States.”
The comments in China’s media comes after President Obama’s administration executive order on February 12 which promised to aggressively combat the increase in cyberattacks pursuing trade secrets that could threaten domestic economic and national security, Mondaq reports.
In a report titled the Cyberspace Policy Review, the White House did not explicitly name China as a threat, but the inference was clear.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday, “We have repeatedly raised our concerns at the highest levels about cybertheft with senior Chinese officials, including in the military, and will continue to do so. This is a very important challenge.”
At a subsequent press briefing on Wednesday, Carney added there could be possible trade restrictions imposed on China.
But some experts say most the documented cyberattacks have been linked to Eastern Europe, with the remainder linked to the U.S. and only a handful to China.
“There are too many people right now saying, ‘the sky is falling,’ without proposing cost-effective solutions, which is causing a lot of confusion,” said James Hendler, professor of computer science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, IB Times reports.
China has successfully conducted flight landing on its first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, naval sources said.
A new J-15 fighter jet was used as part of the landing exercise.
After its delivery to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy on Sept. 25, the aircraft carrier has undergone a series of sailing and technological tests, including the flight of the carrier-borne J-15.
Capabilities of the carrier platform and the J-15 have been tested, meeting all requirements and achieving good compatibility, the PLA Navy said.
Since the carrier entered service, the crew have completed more than 100 training and test programs.
The successful flight landing also marked the debut of the J-15 as China’s first generation multi-purpose carrier-borne fighter jet, the PLA Navy said.
Designed by and made in China, the J-15 is able to carry multi-type anti-ship, air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles, as well as precision-guided bombs.
The J-15 has comprehensive capabilities comparable to those of the Russian Su-33 jet and the U.S. F-18, military experts estimated.
Successful aircraft landing exercises on China’s first aircraft carrier mean the country is now capable to deploy fighter jets on the carrier, a senior navy officer said Sunday.
Pilots have mastered key skills to ensure the success of the take-off and the landing, especially under unfavorable conditions such as poor visibility and unstable airflow, said Vice-Admiral Zhang Yongyi, a deputy commander of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy.
“It’s like ‘dancing on a knifepoint’ as the aircraft have to land on a very limited space,” Zhang said while commenting on the successful flight landing recently conducted on the carrier, the Liaoning.
The aircraft must land precisely over a very short and narrow runway on the carrier at a speed of several hundreds of kilometers per hour, Zhang said in an interview with Xinhua Sunday, after the J-15 fighter succeeded in the landing tests.
“We have done all these test flights from the very beginning, and finally we mastered the key skills for the landing of carrier-borne aircraft,” said Zhang, who is also the commander-in-chief in charge of the tests and training program of the flight landing.
Currently, the Chinese pilots have found out the right ways to conduct the landing and they have consolidated their skills, according to the Navy officer, who himself is a meritorious pilot of the Chinese naval air force.
Zhang said the carrier-borne aircraft and special equipment for the landing flight have gone through strict tests, and fighter jets can be deployed on the aircraft carrier.