Expert warns on PRC's military drills
RISING TENSIONS: The secretary-general of the Chinese Council of Advanced Policy Studies in Taipei said that the next six months will be critical for cross-strait relations
Over the past six months, China has intensified its military exercises in the Taiwan Strait as a subtle threat to Taiwan in advance of next year's elections and plans for a referendum on UN membership, raising the prospects of heightened cross-strait military tensions through next spring, a leading Taiwan expert said in Washington on Monday.
"The next six months will be a critical period for cross-strait relations," Andrew Yang (???), the secretary-general of the Chinese Council of Advanced Policy Studies in Taipei, told a seminar on cross-strait relations sponsored by the Atlantic Council.
"For the past six months or so, the military in Taipei has witnessed `unusual military exercises being conducted' in the coastal regions facing Taiwan," he said.
"The Taiwanese military is concerned that with the exercises, the PLA [People's Liberation Army] is enhancing its readiness for some sort of action against Taiwan. They're really worried about it," he said.
The leadership in Beijing, "is demanding that the military upgrade their readiness to face any political fallout [from next year's presidential election and the UN resolution]," he said.
The military exercises, Yang said, "send a signal to Taipei that Beijing is intensifying its preparations, their readiness to use force ... and their will to use force" if they deem Taiwan to be moving toward independence.
The "tendency toward escalation" over the next six to eight months "could make the Taiwan Strait a potential flashpoint for both sides," Yang said.
He said the exercises detected by the Ministry of National Defense have included an increasing number of air sorties to the middle line of the Taiwan Strait and beyond that line, as well as "naval exercises symbolizing efforts to facilitate the use of force."
They have also involved drills with live fire, "which [the Taiwan military] considers unusual compared to the past."
Pakistan to join military exercises under US Central Command
Islamabad, Aug 22: Pakistan will take part in the multinational biennial military exercises to be conducted jointly by the US Central Command (USCENTCOM) and Egyptian armed forces in the Mediterranean Sea in November 2007, an official statement said Wednesday. At a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, the Federal Cabinet of Pakistan Wednesday allowed the Ministry of Defence to sign a memorandum of understanding between Pakistan and Egypt so as to enable the Pakistan Navy to participate in the military exercises, it said. USCENTCOM is the unified command responsible for US
securityinterests in 25 nations from Egypt in the west to Pakistan in the east, from Kazakhstan in the north to Kenya and the Horn of Africa in the south. (cont..)
Ionatron wins Navy contract for anti-bomb technology
Tucson-based Ionatron Inc., a developer of directed-energy weapons, said today it has won a $1 million contract the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane, Ind., for development of technology to defeat improvised explosive devices, or IEDs.
Ionatron shares closed today at $3.61, up 23 percent or nearly 7 percent, in trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market.
The contract represents initial funding for engineering development and testing of Ionatron's Dual Effect Standoff IED Neutralization System. The company said the system employs next generation technology for neutralizing IEDs but has not released detailed information on the technology.
An earlier Ionatron technology was designed to defeat IEDs by a strong electrical pulse.
Funding for the contract is provided by the U.S. military's Joint IED Defeat Organization, Ionatron said. (cont..)
Russia accused of entering Georgian airspace
A Russian fighter jet has violated Georgian airspace for the second time in a month by flying three miles inside its borders, the former Soviet satellite has claimed.
The report comes a day after it was revealed that two RAF Eurofighter Typhoon jets were scrambled to intercept Russian nuclear bombers approaching British airspace last week (cont..)