Defence: Friendship Expanded Through Exercise Aman Youyi 3/2016

A major disaster strikes and the damage to infrastructure massive. Despite an overwhelming situation, friendly countries extend assistance through their military to rescue and treat injured survivors as well as provide humanitarian relief aid.

That was the scenario displayed during the opening ceremony of Exercise Aman Youyi 3/2016, conducted jointly by the Malaysian Armed Forces and the People’s Liberation Army of China at the Paya Indah Wetlands in Dengkil, Selangor.

The exercise uses humanitarian assistance and disaster relief as theme is conducted through Staff Exercise (STAFFEX) with the aim to establish a Standard Operating Procedure and enhance interoperability in the event of a disaster.

This exercise is another major development and an extension to the exercise by Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak to further enhance the 42-year old friendship between Malaysia and China last month.

Officiating the ceremony was Chief of the Malaysian Armed Forces, General Tan Sri Dato’ Seri (Dr) Haji Zulkifeli bin Mohd Zin and Chief of Joint Staff PLA, General Fang Fenghui.

In his speech General Haji Zulkifeli said that humanitarian assistance and disaster relief was adopted as the backdrop of the exercise because the Asia-Pacific region suffered approximately 160 disasters in 2015 resulting in 16,000 deaths and a loss of about USD45.1 billion.

Therefore the synchronisation of collective multinational measures will determine the efficiency and success of humanitarian assistance.

Also in attendance were the Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia His Excellency Dr Huang Huikang, and Team Leader for the Royal Thai Armed Forces observers Major General Thitichai Tiantong.

A total of 410 personnel are involved in this exercise namely 215 from Malaysia and 195 from China, with 10 observers from the Royal Thai Armed Forces.

Gut Gemacht

Dato Sri Najib Razak flanked by Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed and Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong at the press conference in Germany at 1500UTC on the 28th September 2016
Dato Sri Najib Razak flanked by Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed and Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong at the press conference in Germany at 1500UTC (11pm Malaysian time) on the 28th September 2016
Prime Minister Najib Razak’s 3-day visit to Germany has been a success.  Starting with a dialogue session with German Business Leaders made up of 24 German renowned companies and four Malaysian companies that have invested in Germany, together with various trade and industrial associations that have operations and investments in Malaysia.  This dialogue session focused on the manufacturing sector as Germany is a renowned high-technology industrial nation that is highly innovative especially in the automotive, machineries, electrical and the electronics sectors.

The objective of this dialogue session was not only to inform the German business community about the two-way trade and investments between the two nations, but also to obtain feedbacks and views from German investors.  With Germany being the largest trading partner from the European Union, with investments in the manufacturing sector reaching USD11.4 billion, it is apt for Malaysia to propose itself to become the host for the 16th German Asia-Pacific Business Conference.  The last time Malaysia played host to this conference was in 2000.

Najib Razak also witnessed and attended MoU signing ceremonies and trade discussions with companies that are involved in the pipeline, semiconductor, aviation, automotive as well as the shipping industries with one company committing to a second wave of investment to set up three competence centers.

The Prime Minister also held a bilateral meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel discussing international terrorism, the refugee situation as well as the South China Sea disputes.

In another development, Najib Razak says that Malaysia wants to see those involved in the crime of the downing of Flight MH17 to be brought to justice, and would like to see nations involved to hold a discussion to identify the ways forward to fulfill promises made to the victims’ next-of-kin.

It is unfortunate that Mahathir thinks that Malaysia has slid into the abyss of failed states when she continues to enjoy the confidence of foreign businesses and investors and continue to prosper under the stewardship of Najib Razak.

Enter The Dragon – Part 2

Chinese Aircraft Carrier (Asian-Defence.net)20121029-225730.jpg

May I also refer to my previous posting (Enter The Dragon)

On Friday, 26th October, 2012, Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun warned Japan over its action at the Diaoyu (called Senkaku by the Japanese) islands.

“We are watching very closely what action Japan might take regarding the Diaoyu islands and their adjacent waters,” Zhang Zhijun said, as reported by Reuters, at an unusual late night news briefing. “The action that Japan might take will shape China’s countermeasures.”

“If Japan continues down its current wrong path and takes more erroneous actions and creates incidents regarding the Diaoyu Islands and challenges China, China will definitely take strong measures to respond to that,” Zhang said.

China’s stance vis-à-vis the East and South China Seas have alarmed regional defence watchers. The Philippines, fresh from a very heavily one-sided standoff with the Chinese navy, mulled the purchase of two Maestrale-class frigates from Italy “as is” in order to boost up its antiquated navy.

Phillipines Defense Undersecretary for Munitions, Installations and Material Fernando Manalo described the frigates as “more lethal” than the Navy’s BRP Gregorio del Pilar, a re-commissioned but stripped down US Hamilton-class Coast Guard cutter.

He stressed that the frigates would not be stripped down like the Hamilton-class cutters.

“We demanded that we will not accept what is less than what has been installed in the vessel. Nothing will be removed,” Manalo said.

Chinese naval officers of late have been quoting Alfred Thayer Mahan extensively. In expanding her fleet, the Chinese have consistently argued that China now depends on oceanic trade for vital raw materials and for energy. Mahan always saw oceanic trade as the key argument for seapower. And while Mahan’s doctrine is greatly appreciated by the Chinese, the Americans will continue to see a reduction in their naval assets, putting pressure on America’s allies to arm themselves.

The Chinese recently had its first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, entered service in September this year in the midst of the Senkaku/Diaoyu fiasco. The former Soviet Varyag will be joined by two other aircraft carriers now being built in China.

The Chinese have also acquired the licence to build Tu-22M3 very potent anti-carrier bombers that gained notoriety during the Cold War in which the US Navy concluded that it was not nearly enough to shoot down anti-ship missiles launched by Backfires simply because the bombers could launch missiles from beyond the horizon, return to base to re-arm, and return for another attack, until the US fleet’s defences were exhausted. It is a popular belief that the Chinese navy would want to acquire the AS-4 anti-ship missiles once carried by Soviet Backfires, now being produced again by the Russians. This missile would give the Chinese a true beyond-the-horizon capability. Otherwise, they can employ their AS-17 rocket-ramjet anti-ship missiles.

Whether or not the East China Sea is the real focus of China remains to be seen. But the acquisition of aircraft carriers and Backfire bombers certainly reinforce China’s adoption of Mahanian ideas – keep the US fleet beyond the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands, while their real focus is the South China Sea where the stakes may be quite high (oil and fishery, the valuable latter is already proven to be there).

Chinese hegemony in the South China Sea, strengthen by its now blue-water navy and good deterrence provided by the Backfire bombers, would almost certainly force ASEAN member countries to one day accept a considerable degree of Chinese “sovereignty” over the South China Sea.

And Malaysia’s already precarious position as a maritime nation is not helped by myopic politicians who keep questioning defence purchases just for the sake of winning public opinion.