China · Information operations · Information Warfare · North Korea

DPRK / PRC / WESTPAC Ad Hoc Update (34)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting

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A very busy week in Asia:

  1. Russia tries to meddle in DPRK;
  2. DPRK-USA summit debate continues;
  3. Kim fires his senior military leadership, replacing them with loyalists;
  4. Debate over destruction of DPRK nuclear test site continues;
  5. Evidence emerges of destruction of DPRK ballistic missile test facilities;
  6. Putin visits Xi with grandiose pronouncements of friendship – are we in for a re-run of the great friendship of Nikita and the Great Helmsman?
  7. Evac of US personnel believed to have been injured by suspected ultrasonic weapon in China;
  8. Trade and tech debate continues;
  9. Tiananmen anniversary commemorated and debated;
  10. SECDEF Mattis address at Shangri-La conference;
  11. PLA in South China Sea / GWOS developments;
  12. PRC covert intel collection in the US;
  13. China to take delivery of second tranche of Su-35SK FLANKERs;
  14. More on the new “Countering the Chinese Government and Communist Party’s Political Influence Operations Act” – in many ways a replay of the German Bund scenario;
  15. India increasing PACRIM engagement;
  16. Other miscellaneous reports, including MH370;


Putin invited N.Korea’s Kim to visit Russia in September: RIA

Russian President Vladimir Putin invited North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to travel to Russia in September, RIA news agency reported on Monday.

Putin: North Korea Wants ‘Absolute’ Security Guarantee To Abandon Nuclear Arms

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that the United States will have to offer North Korea “absolute” security guarantees if it wants Pyongyang to get rid of all its nuclear weapons.

Russia attempts to regain clout over North Korea | North Korea News | Al Jazeera

Unlike the West, Russia does not want the Kim Jong-un regime to collapse – or change at all.

Trump-Kim summit: Russia plays an important role

Given its ties with Pyongyang, Moscow probably can’t be ignored in any potential peace deal between the United States and North Korea.

China, Russia want Trump to fail with North Korea: Rep. Duffy – YouTube

Fox Business Published on May 31, 2018 Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) on why China and Russia want President Trump’s potential summit with North Korea to fail.

US-North Korea: Trump gets a strangely large letter – BBC News – YouTube

BBC News Published on Jun 2, 2018 Donald Trump’s summit with Kim Jong-un in Singapore on 12 June is back on, the US president says, after receiving an unusually large letter.

Trump: N. Korea summit will go on as scheduled – YouTube

CNN Published on Jun 1, 2018 President Donald Trump says the June 12 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore with on go as scheduled, just days after canceling the meeting.

Surreal Trump-Kim summit defies diplomatic playbook – POLITICO

From security to menus to media access, planners must somehow merge Trump’s style with a reclusive dictator’s carefully guarded image.

What China wants from a U.S.-North Korea summit — and why it makes Trump nervous

In the whipsawing drama of the off-again, on-again U.S.-North Korea summit, the unpredictable main actors, President Trump and Kim Jong Un, have held center stage. But China’s role is just as odd.

The three things North Korea wants – BBC News – YouTube

BBC News Published on Jun 6, 2018 North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is about to meet US President Donald Trump at the bargaining table in Singapore. But what exactly does North Korea want?

Trump and Bolton spurn top-level North Korea planning – POLITICO

After two months on the job, Trump’s new national security adviser has not called a single top-level National Security Council meeting on North Korea.

National Security Adviser John Bolton reportedly angered Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and was barred from a major meeting between Trump and a top North Korean official | Business Insider

There was one notable senior US official missing when President Donald Trump met with North Korean vice chairman Kim Yong Chol at the White House on Friday: National Security Adviser John Bolton. National Security Adviser John Bolton was absent from President Donald Trump’s meeting with a top North Korean official last week. Bolton ruffled some feathers in April by speculating that the Trump administration was “looking at the Libya model of 2003, 2004” as part of potential negotiations with North Korea. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reportedly said, because of Bolton’s remarks, which upset the North, Bolton’s presence in the meeting between Trump and North Korean vice chairman Kim Yong Chol would be “counterproductive.”

Bolton sidelined as Trump readies for North Korea – CNNPolitics

As President Donald Trump huddled in the Oval Office on Friday with Kim Jong Un’s right-hand man, he was accompanied by only one other US official: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Absent was the administration’s most vocal North Korea hawk, national security adviser John Bolton.

Kim Jong Un Begged for Summit ‘on His Hands and Knees,’ Giuliani Says – WSJ

President Donald Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un got “on his hands and knees and begged” for their summit to be held after Mr. Trump canceled it last month.

Mattis warns of bumpy road to US, North Korea nuclear summit | Fox News

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is warning it will be a bumpy road to the nuclear negotiations with North Korea later this month.

Relief for North Korea only after clear, irreversible steps to denuclearization: Mattis | Reuters

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Sunday North Korea will receive relief only after it takes clear and irreversible steps to end its nuclear program, adding it would be a bumpy road to a summit between U.S. and North Korean leaders.

Trump should demand North Korean pledge to denuclearize — or walk away from summit | Fox News

At the historic summit in Singapore with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, now back on for June 12, President Trump should demand that Kim make a commitment to begin working toward nuclear disarmament. This should be the single focus of the meeting.

Putin, Kim plan to meet at summit later this year, Kremlin confirms – To Inform is to Influence

By Dan Boylan – The Washington Times – Friday, June 1, 2018 The Kremlin on Friday verified reports from North Korea that plans are underway for Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to hold a summit later this year. “Yes, indeed, this meeting may take place, its modalities and time will be further agreed…

Opinion: Kremlin courts North Korea to thwart Donald Trump – To Inform is to Influence

Donald Trump has made progress with North Korea’s regime. In the spirit of Cold War II, the Kremlin will use every opportunity to complicate the US’s North Korea policy, the Russian journalist Konstantin Eggert writes. At the end of 2017, one of the Russian research centers that regularly supply state institutions with recommendations sent Foreign…

Trump just made 3 shocking North Korea statements – Vox

President Donald Trump says he’d “certainly” host North Korean Kim Jong Un at the White House, would be fine normalizing relations.

Trump’s North Korea Gamble Is a Real-Time Experiment – Defense One

Here’s how the president’s bets look when viewed through the lens of behavioral economics.

‘Speed dating’: Critics worry Trump is already handing propaganda victories to North Korea – The Washington Post

Ahead of a rushed Singapore summit, the U.S. president was all smiles posing with a former spy chief blamed for deaths and mass imprisonment.

Tensions Over Defectors, Military Exercises Hang Over Korean Talks – WSJ

North and South Korea took steps to revive mutual engagement after high-level talks at the demilitarized zone, but lingering disputes over military exercises and North Korean defectors remain an obstacle to easing cross-border tensions.

The Korean Crisis Can Only Get Worse | The National Interest Blog

By cancelling the summit President Trump has abandoned an opportunity to reduce tensions on the peninsula and possibly transform the region.

Why U.N. sanctions did not bring North Korea to the summit table – POLITICO

Although U.N. sanctions have limited growth, North Korea’s financial health — and the physical health of its people — seem to be stabilizing

Trump warned not to bring up cyber at Korea summit

Experts and lawmakers warn that discussing cybersecurity during a planned summit with North Korea could backfire for President Donald Trump.

As Trump Plans North Korea Summit, Defectors Tell Harrowing Stories – WSJ

Torture and starvation in political prison camps, public executions and forced abortions persist in North Korea, defectors from the country say, repression that’s been largely ignored as leader Kim Jong Un seeks to rehabilitate his international image with a swing to diplomacy.

🇰🇵 Expert: North Korea could become world’s cheapest factory | Al Jazeera English – YouTube

Al Jazeera English Published on Jun 7, 2018 US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will sit down next week for a landmark summit in Singapore. North Korea’s controversial nuclear weapons programme will be top of the agenda, but other issues are also expected to play a part in negotiations, including the country’s economy. Al Jazeera’s Scott Heidler reports from Singapore, where an international investment expert who has had dealings with Pyongyang explained why North Korea could become the cheapest place to build factories if it is reintegrated into the global market.

Kim Jong Un’s regime is using American technology, researchers find

Despite tough US sanctions, North Koreans have gotten their hands on technology products from US companies like Apple and Microsoft, according to a new report.

North Korea shakes up top military brass ahead of Trump summit – U.S. official | Reuters

North Korea’s top three military officials have been removed from their posts, a senior U.S. official said, a move analysts said on Monday could support efforts by the North’s young leader to jump-start economic development and engage with the world.

North Korea’s three new military leaders are loyal to Kim, not policies | Reuters

North Korea’s new top three military officers are known for their unquestioning support of leader Kim Jong Un and are flexible enough to accept the massive changes that may come from any deal with U.S. President Donald Trump, people who follow the secretive country say.

Kim Jong Un fires military leaders as summit with Donald Trump nears

Kim Jong Un’s overhaul of his top military leadership a week before a planned summit with President Trump may be a sign that the North Korean leader is worried about opposition from the country’s powerful armed forces as he heads into the talks, some analysts said Monday.

Four Ways North Korea’s Nukes Spell Trouble for the US — Even If They’re Never Used – Defense One

Kim Jong Un\’s ability to export anything from ICBM plans to working warheads gives him tremendous leverage, while boxing in U.S. responses.

North Korea Razes Missile Test Facility Ahead of Meeting With Trump – The New York Times

North Korea has used the facility to test a type of missile technology that is considered a particularly worrisome addition to the country’s arsenal.

Experts doubt North Korea destroyed nuclear test site

The weak explosions on May 24 at entrances to the Punggye-ri test site deep beneath Mount Mantap did not trigger the internal collapses that would put the site out of commission, a U.S. official told CNN, based on seismic data.

North Korea razes missile test site, 38 North says – CNN

Satellite images appear to show that North Korea has dismantled one of its missile testing sites, according to an analysis published by 38 North, a prominent North Korea monitoring group.

North Korea isolation crumbling as Donald Trump seeks Singapore Summit

President Trump’s overtures to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have produced a small wave of diplomatic openings, dismantling the isolation he promoted a year ago as part of his “maximum pressure campaign” to battle the North’s nuclear weapons program.

The U.S. is trying to find a discreet way to pay for Kim Jong Un’s hotel during the summit – The Washington Post

The Trump administration might cover the cash-poor nation’s hotel expenses, or ask Singapore to do it.

China’s Trade With North Korea Is Set to Soar With a Trump-Kim Deal – The New York Times

A shadowy gray market of “shuttle traders” and money couriers already exists, and economic ties could quickly take off if sanctions are lifted.

Is the U.S.-South Korea Alliance Worth It? – WSJ

Kim Jong Un wants all U.S. troops gone. That would be a mistake, but scaling back may make sense.

Chinese Leader Hails Russia Ties As Putin Visits Beijing

Chinese President Xi Jinping has hailed ties with Russia as he held talks with President Vladimir Putin in Beijing ahead of this weekend’s summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

China’s Xi touts Putin ties as US tensions bring them closer

President Xi Jinping gave China’s first friendship medal to Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Friday as the neighbouring giants touted their close ties amid diplomatic and economic challenges from the US.

Xi touts Putin ties as US tensions bring them closer

President Xi Jinping gave China’s first friendship medal to Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Friday as the neighbouring giants touted their close ties amid diplomatic and economic challenges from the US. Xi placed the large golden medal around Putin’s neck at the grandiose Great Hall of

‘Soulmates’ Xi and Putin meet for 25th time at Beijing State visit | Daily Mail Online

Xi hailed China’s ties with Russia as he treated Putin to a state visit on Friday to bring the neighbouring giants closer in the face of US diplomatic and economic challenges.

Putin arrives in Beijing for state visit with birthday buddy Xi Jinping – CNN

Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in China for a state visit Friday, his third trip in just over one year as Beijing and Moscow look to promote their special relationship.

China’s Xi awards ‘best friend’ Putin friendship medal, promises support | Reuters

Chinese President Xi Jinping gave visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin China’s first friendship medal on Friday, calling him his best friend, underscoring the close ties between the two despite deep reservations many Western nations have of Putin.

TASS: World – Putin and Xi Jinping make joint statement following talks

Russia and China have agreed to bolster cooperation in all spheres

U.S. Issues Alert to Americans in China in Wake of Sonic Attack Fears – The New York Times

A strange illness reported by some American diplomats in the southern city of Guangzhou prompted the U.S. to urge its citizens in China to get help for any symptoms.

U.S. Diplomats Suffering From Mysterious Illness Evacuated From China | HuffPost

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the State Department has established a task force “to direct a multi-agency response to the unexplained health incide…

U.S. Evacuates Multiple Employees From Chinese Consulate Over Mysterious Illness : NPR

The State Department would not say how many employees were sent home from the consulate in Guangzhou. In May, one employee was confirmed as having symptoms similar to the mysterious attacks in Cuba.

U.S.-China Trade Talks End in an Impasse – The New York Times

Chinese officials refused to commit to buying more American goods without a Trump administration agreement not to impose further tariffs on Chinese exports.

China increasingly challenges American dominance of science – The Washington Post

“China is the best place in the world to start your own laboratory,” said one researcher who left Yale for Beijing.

Worried About Big Tech? Chinese Giants Make America’s Look Tame – The New York Times

China’s two internet behemoths, Tencent and Alibaba, are spending billions of dollars in an escalating battle to dominate every part of daily life.

Don’t Close the Door on Chinese Scientists Like Me – Foreign Policy

New visa limitations for Chinese students only aid Beijing’s technocratic ambitions.

China won’t budge on tech policy, market access in Trump talks – Business Insider

The United States and other governments complain Chinese technology industries are built on know-how Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand…

China Warning on ‘Dictatorship’ Chant Chills Hong Kong Vigil – Bloomberg

For 28 years, tens of thousands of Hong Kong democracy advocates have marked the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown by rallying for political change in China. This year, they face new risk in doing so.

Hong Kong Marks Tiananmen Crackdown, as China Ignores Event – The New York Times

The vigil in Hong Kong is the biggest gathering to call attention to the Chinese government’s deadly 1989 crackdown on protesters in Beijing.

Mike Pompeo to China: ‘Make a full public accounting’ of Tiananmen Square massacre

Chinese leaders must “make a full public accounting” of the 1989 crackdown on protestors in Tiananmen Square, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday.

U.S. urges China to come clean on Tiananmen anniversary | Reuters

The United States urges China to make a full public account of those killed, detained or who went missing during a crackdown on student-led pro-democracy protests in and around Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.

China’s Trade Surplus Narrows—but Not With the U.S. – WSJ

China’s trade surplus narrowed in May on strong imports, through the gap with the U.S. widened—in part, some economists said, because of concerns that trade tensions could worsen in the months ahead.

China’s Military Escalation – WSJ

Mattis and Congress push back against Beijing’s South China Sea deployments.

China is putting troops, weapons on South China Sea islands, and has every right to do so, PLA official says | South China Morning Post

Head of Chinese delegation at Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore accuses US of being the real ‘source of militarisation’ in disputed waterway

South China Sea dispute: Beijing attacks ‘irresponsible’ US comments – BBC News

Beijing says it has the right to deploy “on its own territory” after US accusations of intimidation.

US B-52s again fly in contested airspace of South China Sea claims

Tuesday’s flight is just the latest in increasing warnings to China over island militarization

Mattis warns China: ‘America is in the Indo-Pacific to stay’

Official site of The Week Magazine, offering commentary and analysis of the day’s breaking news and current events as well as arts, entertainment, people and gossip, and political cartoons.

Defense Secretary Mattis Warns Of Chinese Intimidation In Disputed Waterway : The Two-Way : NPR

Mattis said China’s military buildup in the South China Sea is an attempt to intimidate and coerce its neighbors. The contested waterway is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.

U.S. weighs more South China Sea patrols to confront ‘new reality’ of China | Top News | Reuters

The United States is considering intensified naval patrols in the South China Sea in a bid to challenge China’s growing militarization of the waterway, actions that could further raise the stakes in one of the world’s most volatile areas.

U.S. will ‘compete vigorously’ in South China Sea, Mattis warns Beijing – POLITICO

Mattis’ speech came amid increased rivalry between China and the U.S.

France, Britain to sail warships in contested South China Sea to challenge Beijing | South China Morning Post

Defence ministers tell security forum they are contributing to rule-based order

Mattis slams China over placement of weapons in South China Sea – YouTube

Mattis Says China Trying to Intimidate, Coerce Neighbors in South China Sea – YouTube

VOA News Published on Jun 2, 2018 U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Saturday said China’s behavior in disputed areas of the South China Sea is meant to intimidate and coerce its neighbors. The comments came during a defense dialogue in Singapore, where U.S.-North Korea talks will take place. More from VOA’s Bill Gallo, who is traveling with the Pentagon chief. Originally published at –

Mattis slams China on South China Sea island weaponization | Fox News

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says China’s placement of weapons systems on manmade islands in the South China Sea is designed to intimidate and coerce others in the region.

Mattis accuses China of ‘intimidation and coercion’ in South China Sea | TheHill

“It calls into question China’s broader goals,” U.S. defense secretary says.

Mattis accuses China of acts of ‘intimidation and coersion’

China’s actions in the South China Sea also spurred the decision to uninvite the country from participation in a multinational naval exercise.

Mattis slams China on South China Sea, leaves door open for ‘results oriented relationship’ | Reuters

The United States is willing to work with China on a “results oriented” relationship, but Beijing’s actions in the South China Sea were coercive and the Pentagon would “compete vigorously” if needed, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Saturday.

Mattis takes hard line on China in Singapore speech – CNNPolitics

US Defense Secretary James Mattis accused China of “intimidation and coercion” in the Indo-Pacific and declared that the United States does not plan to abandon its role in the region during a speech Saturday in Singapore.

South China Sea dispute: Mattis says China ‘intimidating neighbours’ – BBC News

The US defence chief says Beijing’s South China Sea actions raise questions about its broader goals.

James Mattis on South China Sea, North Korea and Taiwan

U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis blasted Beijing on Saturday for the militarization of artificial features in the South China Sea.

Jim Mattis Warns of Consequences If Beijing Keeps Militarizing the South China Sea – WSJ

The U.S. and China seem to be headed for a more confrontational relationship in Southeast Asia as Washington warns of a more aggressive response to the militarization of islands in the South China Sea.

U.S. Military ‘Prepared’ To Face China and North Korea Ahead of Major Asia Conference

A Chinese Foreign Ministry official likened U.S. complaints about China’s militarization of the South China Sea to “a thief crying ‘stop thief.'”

Trump says he is ‘very surprised’ about alleged Chinese ‘intimidation,’ ‘coercion’ | Fox News

President Trump said Saturday that he is “very surprised” about China’s alleged militarization of a string of islands in the South China Sea, which Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis reportedly said were used for “intimidation and coercion.”

Former intel officer accused of leaking secrets to China

The information the contractor attempted to transmit to China may have included documents related to U.S. Cyber Command, according to a Department of Justice complaint.

China’s Last Order of Russia’s Su-35 Fighter Is Coming This Year

The last of the Su-35s that China is purchasing from Russia will be delivered this year, according to a Russian state-owned corporation. During the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum from May 24–26, Rostec, a state-owned company, announced that the last ten Su-35s would be delivered to China

Beijing Announces Inaugural China-Africa Defense Forum – Defense One

Hosted by the Ministry of Defense, the June 26-July 10 event is just Beijing\’s latest effort to deepen ties with the continent.

U.S. Lawmakers Target Chinese Interference in New Bill – Foreign Policy

Bipartisan legislation would require an unclassified report on Chinese political influence operations in the United States.

Taiwan F-16 fighter jet crashes during military drills simulating Chinese attack – CNN

A F-16 fighter jet crashed in mountains near Taipei Monday after going missing during annual military drills that simulate an attack on Taiwan by China.

Philippines Duterte tells U.N. human rights expert: ‘Go to hell’ | Reuters

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has told a U.N human rights expert who said the country’s judicial independence was under threat to ‘go to hell’, warning against interference in domestic affairs.

PM Modi, US Defense Secretary Meet, Discuss Cooperation In The Indo-Pacific – YouTube

NDTV Published on Jun 2, 2018 Prime Minister Narendra Modi today met US Defense Secretary James Mattis in Singapore and discussed security related issues, days after the Pentagon renamed its Pacific Command as the ‘Indo-Pacific Command’ in a largely symbolic move to signal India’s importance to the US military. NDTV is one of the leaders in the production and broadcasting of un-biased and comprehensive news and entertainment programmes in India and abroad. NDTV delivers reliable information across all platforms: TV, Internet and Mobile.

Boeing Sees Two-Year Wait for World’s Biggest Fighter Jet Deal – Bloomberg

It could be another two years before India picks the winner of the world’s biggest combat aircraft order, according to a senior Boeing Co. executive.

Analysis: With ports, ships and promises, India asserts role in Southeast Asia | Reuters

Almost lost in the din of the upcoming U.S-North Korea summit and fresh tension between Washington and Beijing last week, India cemented its diplomatic and security ties across Southeast Asia in a clear challenge to China.

Singapore Says U.S., China Both Risking Status Quo With Actions – Bloomberg

Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen criticized both the U.S. and China for taking “unilateral actions,” lumping the two rivals together as nations challenging the current global order.

Malaysian Airlines MH370 search team’s last-ditch attempt | Daily Mail Online

Ocean Infinity will examine a spot in the southern Indian Ocean where a Chinese patrol ship detected an ultrasonic pulse in 2014 that could have been from the black box.

MH370 Didn’t Just Disappear, It Was Caught in a Swamp of Corruption

From the beginning, the crash investigation fell victim to a regime in Malaysia now revealed to have been one of the most corrupt in the world. There are other scandals, too.