Thursday, September 08, 2016

Tense Shift: Understanding the changes to China's State, plus #DPRK #Philippines

Original image Aly Song/Reuters

Michael S. Chase and Jeffrey Engstrom explain the changes to the PLA's organization, and the (possibly) conflicting goals of boosting CPC control and military superiority:
... Scheduled for completion by 2020, the reforms are likely to offer benefits in several areas, including improving joint operations, optimizing organizational structures for combat, and ensuring the PLA is able to wage war in new domains, seeking to attain information dominance against an adversary:
  • Historically, the PLA's ground forces dominated the entire military, but under the new system, they will be on par with the PLA's air, naval and newly formed strategic missile service, the Rocket Force...
  • The second major benefit derives from the replacement of the PLA's outdated Military Regions with Theater Commands, which is intended to improve the PLA's ability to prepare for and execute modern, high-intensity joint military operations and, ... make transition from peacetime to wartime command much easier... 
  • A third advantage could come from the creation of the PLA Strategic Support Force which is responsible for space, cyber and electronic warfare, and is intended to enhance the PLA's ability to fight multi-domain conflicts against high-end adversaries.
What does this mean for hypothetical conflict against the United States in the South China Sea or in a Taiwan scenario?
Find out here:

Meanwhile Longmei Zhang examines the (mixed) success of China's economic transition:
China’s economy is like a large, high-powered ship that is still sailing fast, but in a lopsided way, listing and drawing water. “Rebalancing” refers to the structural transformation that should put this economy on a more even keel, making its voyage more balanced, its growth more sustainable. This economic transformation has four inter-related dimensions: external, internal, environmental, and distributional. 
Overall progress since the global financial crisis has been mixed—strong on external rebalancing (i.e., switching from external demand to domestic demand in generating growth), and uneven on the other dimensions. The current account surplus has fallen from the pre-crisis peak of 10 percent of GDP to around 3 percent in recent years, and exports are no longer driving growth.

Hmmm. Again it's worth looking at the relationship the Xi regime places between economic expectations and relative freedoms. How long can Xi Dada keep the lid on?

Main Article

Also: analysts looks at DPRK missile developments as expressed in the recent launches against Japan's EEZ:
A debate is raging over what type of ballistic missile North Korea launched on Sept. 5. The Ministry of National Defense announced at the time that the North had launched three Nodong missiles, which had flown just over 1,000 km over the East Sea.
The following morning, North Korea published an image of the launch in its Rodong Sinmun newspaper. The conical warhead for the missile in that photograph was more reminiscent of a Scud, differing from the “baby-bottle-neck” shape of the Nodong. The transporter erector launcher (TEL) in the photograph also appeared to be the four-wheeled vehicle reportedly used for the Scud, rather than five-wheeled kind used with previous Nodong missile launches. 
Contrary to the announcement by the Ministry of National Defense, experts suggested the missile launched on Sept. 5 may have been the Scud-ER, an improved version of the Scud. Scud ballistic missiles possessed by North Korea include the Scud-B, which has a range of 300 km; the Scud-C, with a range of 500 km; and the Scud-ER (extended range), with a range of 700 to 1,000 km.  
“The North Korean missile launched yesterday was slightly different in form from the Nodong missile launched in July,” observed University of North Korean Studies professor Kim Dong-yup. “From the size and other data, it does appear to be a Nodong missile, but the warhead is from the Scud series,” Kim continued.

Finally, NPR Marketplace offers a very unique look inside Duterte's Drug (Proxy) War:

I don’t know who she’s killed and she doesn’t talk about it. She doesn’t like to know either. I do know the profiles of a lot of people who have been killed. I’ll give you an example. We went to one neighborhood in Manila, following up some security camera video that we had of a man being shot early in August by …what the Philippines call a tandem. It’s two guys in a motorbike. The back one literally comes up – this guy’s at a food stall – she shoots him in the neck, off he goes. And when we went back to the neighborhood and talked to the wife, the family, all the local officials as well who were there, they said this guy wasn’t actually involved in drug dealing. He had been a drug user but he was involved in illegal gambling which is another very big business in the Philippines, and that he had a dispute, again, with a policeman about it and they believe that was the reason he’d been killed. So it’s very hard to know why people are being killed and how big they are.
Listen to the fascinating interview here:

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