• North Korea to shutdown nuclear plant by July 2007.  Russia’s Interfax news agency is reporting this AM that North korea will be shutting down and sealing up its controversial nuclear plant by July.  This is the plant  that serves as North Korea’s main nuclear reactor and source for weapons grade plutonium.  The development comes on the heels of the announcement over the weekend that IAEA reps will be invited to watch the shutdown and later to re-visit the site once the reactor is sealed.  The move comes following the release last week of the funds blocked in Macau for almost two years due to suspicions of links to illicit activity by the North.  US nuclear envoy, Chris Hill, in a separate statement is confirming progress this morning as well.
  • China: Pushing Forward on Developing Heavier Lift Rockets.  In an article found in the International Herald Tribune today, China announced its intention to build heavier lift rockets capable of lifting components to assemble a space station and put a man on the moon by 2015.  To accomplish this, the Long March series  of current space launch vehicles will have to be drastically upgraded from 9.5 tons lift capacity to over 25 tons.
  • Iran says Russia to drop Radar Sharing Plan.  Foreign Ministry Spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini said Sunday that Tehran has received signals Russia would drop its plan to share the use of the Gabala radar station in Azerbaijan with the US to ensure better protection against a possible Iranian missile threat. The spokesman told reporters in Tehran that in meetings with the ambassadors of Russia and Azerbaijan there have been signals that Russian President Vladimir Putin would not allow the plan to be implemented for avoiding further regional instability.

2 Comments

  1. China, to my mind, is playing the part of the sleeping dragon quite well. They have been remarkably quiet while events unfolded in Palestine, Russia adopted “Cold War” stances at the G-8 Summit, and North Korea decided to close a nuclear reactor. It is my contention that they are biding their time until the United States presidential campaign moves forward at a quicker pace early next year.

    With both China and Russia selling arms to the Middle East, and having millions of ground troops at their disposal, I am having some difficulty comprehending how we will be able to sustain fighting a war with the possibility of military-funding constraints, proposed base closures in the future, and any downsizing of Troop levels over increased high-tech/unmanned weapons and weapons’ systems.

    My feelings have nothing to do with whether or not I am pro-Military, but rather with what are realistic concerns over the main stream media seeming to become ever more left-leaning. We, the public, are bombarded hourly with segments on the plight of the Palestinians over how Israeli civilians are coping with Lebanon’s renewed rocket attacks (no, I’m not Jewish regardless of the name), the plight of Iraqi civilians (which is indeed difficult) over balanced coverage of any progress our Military is making, the plight of the Iraqi Police/Iraqi Army over all our Troops in Iraq, the plight of Afghan tribes over our Troops in a growing forgotten war, the plight of Chinese civilians/farmers over the rest of the world being poisoned by contaminated food products, the plight of Muslim-Americans/Canadians over the extreme Muslim fundamentalists who are becoming a real and present threat to our own security…and so on, ad infinitum.

    The majority of any balanced coverage is, I find, increasingly on sites by active-duty/retired Military or on the DOD-Pentagon-Military sites and e-mails. Perhaps I’m mistaken, but I find that many issues which usually would receive wide-spread coverage are being covered in small blips with little, or no, follow up coverage.

    Thank you as always and I apologize for being so long-winded today.

    Veritas et Fidelis Semper

  2. Steeljawscribe

    Some of the keys for discerning China’s intents will be Africa (Sudan, Nigeria, etc) as they move to secure a reliable/steady source of energy (possibly even Venezuela though Vz crude tends to require more sophisticated processing because of high sulfur levels), rapproachment, if any, with India, South Korea and Japan and movement to bring the yuan to more equitable exchange levels (though that won’t necessarily be a good thing for the US…). Given the more “realistic” view of China today (e.g., away from the export of revolution which was the policy during “The Great Leap Forward”), I frankly think they could give two figs over the Palestinians except to the degree they could use it to leverage securing steady energy sources as noted above.

    My 2-pence worth at least…

    – SJS

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