Thursday, March 23, 2017

Bevacqua: Group helping erase Chamorro rights

In the case of Arnold “Dave” Davis v. the Guam Election Commission, the government of Guam and the Chamorro people, Davis recently won. The U.S. District Court ruled in his favor, that a non-binding decolonization plebiscite for the native inhabitants of Guam was race-based and unconstitutional.
In some conservative media and some local media outlets, he has been hailed as a hero. Before anyone takes this too far, you might want to take a look at who Davis has been hanging out with lately.
Davis has been a familiar voice in Guam for the past few decades. He has called in to radio shows, penned letters to the editor and for a time had his own weekly column. Throughout that time, he has made many veiled and sometimes less-veiled remarks attacking the Chamorro people, calling into question their existence, their intelligence and maligning their culture. His attacks have been most vehement with regard to ways in which the indigenous presence of this island is codified into law or policy, such as the decolonization plebiscite or the Chamorro Land Trust.

NASDAQ: North Korean missile launch fails - U.S. military says

By Ju-min ParkSEOUL, March 22 (Reuters) - A North Korean missile launch failed on Wednesday, with the rocket exploding within seconds, the U.S. military said, the latest in a series of North Korean weapons tests to rattle its neighbours and raise tension in the region. 

South Korea said the apparent test launch of one missile by nuclear-capable North Korea, from the city of Wonsan on its east coast, had failed. South Korea's defence ministry said it was conducting an analysis to determine more details. 

The U.S. military statement shed more light. "U.S. Pacific Command detected what we assess was a failed North Korean missile launch attempt ... in the vicinity of Kalma," Commander Dave Benham, a spokesman for U.S. Pacific Command, said in the statement, referring to an air field in Wonsan. 


A military expert asserted that a ballistic strike on the U.S.' Pacific facilities could be conducted by Beijing within minutes. China's missile testing facilities have already been equipped with mock U.S. and Japanese targets.
In his latest report on the blog, "War on the Rocks," former Navy Cmdr. Thomas Shugart presented an in-depth view of China's military infrastructure in the Gobi Desert. The analysis offered side-by-side comparisons of Chinese military bases and U.S. facilities in Japan, showing striking similarities and revealing just how quickly Beijing could strike U.S. and Japanese assets if a conflict broke out. The region is already plagued with heightened tensions between nations, Washington-based military newspaper Stars and Stripes reported Tuesday. 

Stephen Biddle on Strategy in the Western Pacific

By CIMSEC 2017-03-22 19:22:56
[By Matt Merighi]
The following is an interview between Mina Pollman, CIMSEC’s director of external relations, and Professor Steve Biddle of George Washington University’s Elliot School of International Affairs.
MP: Our first question is about anti-access area-denial (A2/AD) which has become a popular concept when discussing China’s maritime strategy in the Western Pacific. What is the political and strategic motivation for China to pursue A2/AD and what are the greatest technical limitations of A2/AD? How limiting will a fully mature Chinese A2/AD capability be  for U.S. operations in the Western Pacific?

Questions over U.S. alliance with Japan

By Satoshi Ogawa / Yomiuri Shimbun Washington Bureau ChiefAt the outset of U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration, more than a few of our readers must be wondering if the alliance between Japan and the United States can be maintained as it was in the past.
A number of remarks made by Trump during the presidential election, ignoring the reality of the alliance, caused this anxiety. On top of that, there is growing concern among Japanese government officials and experts over the fact that there is no one in the current administration who has experience maintaining and managing the alliance.
One person who is well versed in Japan, said to me, “Now you must understand how we felt in 2009 when Yukio Hatoyama took office as prime minister.”

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

North Korea defiant amid threat of U.S. military strike

North Korea said Monday it is not frightened by U.S. threats of possible pre-emptive military action to halt its nuclear and missile buildup.
A spokesman for North Korea’s Foreign Ministry slammed U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s recent talk of tougher sanctions, more pressure, and possible military action, and said the North would not be deterred in its nuclear program.
“The nuclear force of (North Korea) is the treasured sword of justice and the most reliable war deterrence to defend the socialist motherland and the life of its people,” the official Korean Central News Agency quoted the spokesman as saying.

Pope says indigenous people must have final say about their land

In the 15th century papal bulls promoted and provided legal justification for the conquest and theft of indigenous peoples’ lands and resources worldwide - the consequences of which are still being felt today. The right to conquest in one such bull, the Romanus Pontifex, issued in the 1450s when Nicholas V was the Pope, was granted in perpetuity.
How times have changed. Last week, over 560 years later, Francis, the first Pope from Latin America, struck a rather different note - for indigenous peoples around the world, for land rights, for better environmental stewardship. He said publicly that indigenous peoples have the right to “prior and informed consent.” In other words, nothing should happen on - or impact - their land, territories and resources unless they agree to it.
“I believe that the central issue is how to reconcile the right to development, both social and cultural, with the protection of the particular characteristics of indigenous peoples and their territories,” said Francis, according to an English version of his speech released by the Vatican’s press office.

North Korea missile test fails, U.S. and South say, as tensions simmer

By Ju-min Park | SEOUL
A North Korean missile appeared to have exploded on Wednesday just after it was launched, the U.S. and South Korean militaries said after detecting the latest in a series of weapons tests by the nuclear-armed state that have alarmed the region.
The launch attempt was made from near the city of Wonsan, on North Korea's east coast, the same place from where it launched several intermediate-range missiles last year, all but one of which failed.
"U.S. Pacific Command detected what we assess was a failed North Korean missile launch attempt ... in the vicinity of Kalma," Commander Dave Benham, a spokesman for U.S. Pacific Command, said in a statement, referring to an air field in Wonsan. 

READY FOR WAR: China deploys missiles capable of ANNIHILATING US military bases

The bases in Okinawa, Taiwan, are within range of the missiles, as relations between the two super-powers continue to decline.
In January, China revealed war with the US is now a “practical reality” as military officials prepare to “retaliate decisively” to any of Donald Trump’s new policies they consider to be a threat.
Taiwan’s defence minister has confirmed the deployment of the DF-16 missiles, which are capable of striking precise locations more than 1,000km away.
On Monday, Feng Shih-kuan told lawmakers the development comes as China “strengthens its weaponry modernisation and military hard power”. 

US military generates largest amount of garbage yet: 2.6 tons, a 11% increase and 1.8 times that generated by Okinawans

March 16, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo
In fiscal 2015, 26,332 tons of ordinary waste was generated on U.S. bases in Okinawa, a 11.4% increase year on year. This was the first time that the amount of generated garbage exceeded 26,000 tons since fiscal 2010, and the largest amount of garbage generated in the past five years.
Because the U.S. military does not publicly announce the amount of garbage it generates per fiscal year, the Okinawa prefectural government arrived at the above figure through interviews with representatives at waste management facilities and the like. Of ordinary waste generated by the U.S. military in fiscal 2015, 6,500 tons (24.7%) was recycled, and 19,832 tons was disposed of by incineration or in a landfill.
Because the U.S. military stopped publicly announcing the number of military personnel, contractors and dependents after June 2011, the amount of waste generated per capita is unclear. In 2011, the total number of U.S. military personnel, contractors and dependents was 47,300. The numbers have likely changed over the years, making a direct comparison difficult, but if daily per capita waste generated in fiscal 2015 were calculated on the basis of the 2011 figure, it would come to 1,525 grams, which is 1.8 times the daily waste generated per capita by Okinawans in fiscal 2014 (844 grams).

Urgent Action Victory! Okinawa Activist Released On Bail After Five Months (Japan: UA 23/17)

Amnesty USA:

Hiroji Yamashiro, 64 years of age, has been released on bail after five months in detention without being able to see his family. Arrested for his role in protests against new U.S. military construction projects in Okinawa, his next court hearing is scheduled for 27 March 2017.
Hiroji Yamashiro was released on bail on the evening of 18 March 2017, a day after his first court hearing. Arrested on 17 October 2017 for his role in protests against the construction of new U.S. Marine Corps facilities near Takae, Okinawa, Hiroji Yamashiro had been held in detention for five months under restrictive conditions and without access to his family. The first and only time he was able to see his wife was on 13 March 2017 for 20 minutes, less than one week before his release. 
Upon his release, Hiroji Yamashiro was finally able to read the over 400 letters of encouragement sent to him, as the detention centre had banned all external communications. At a press conference on 18 March 2017, Hiroji Yamashiro thanked everyone for the support he received from Okinawa and beyond and went on to say:

Okinawa governor to join local rally to protest planned U.S. base in Nago

Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga will join a rally to protest the relocation of a U.S. military base’s operations to the coastal Henoko area of Nago in Okinawa Prefecture, slated to be held in the district later this week, a prefectural government source said Tuesday.
The decision came after Onaga, who was elected on an anti-base platform in 2014, ended up withdrawing the revocation of his predecessor’s approval for land reclamation work in October 2015 as the Supreme Court found it illegal late last year.
It would be the first time for the governor to take part in an anti-relocation rally held in the Henoko district.

Proposed firing range, training zone discussed

"There's a large portion of our community that don't want to see our ecology, cultural and historical resources further impacted by militarization."
 - Vice Speaker Therese Terlaje

After weeks of tension over native sovereignty, land stewardship and the impact of a proposed military firing range adjacent to Ritidian, representatives from various agencies and interests raised concerns over a proposed urban warfare training range at Andersen South at an information briefing on Tuesday.
"First and foremost, we want to protect the human skeletal remains, and then the pre-contact-era latte stones," said Linda Aguon, a Guam State Historic Preservation officer. "Northwest field itself must be protected, and an adequate evaluation of the area needs to conducted."

Regional partners on island for military seminar

Regional military partners are in Guam this week to improve cohesion and build relations as the U.S. continues its power shift into the Asia-Pacific region.
The National Guard's State Partnership Program pairs 79 partner countries, 15 of which are in the Asia-Pacific region, with National Guard forces across the U.S.
This week's training involves six member countries partnered with their U.S. counterparts:
  • Alaska and Mongolia
  • Hawaii and Indonesia
  • Idaho and Cambodia
  • Guam and the Philippines
  • Nevada and Tonga
  • Oregon and Bangladesh
This is also the first time the seminar is being held in Guam since the program was established over 20 years ago.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Guam Leaders Defend Indigenous Rights; Won't Cut Deal With U.S. Justice Department

Feds accuse Chamorro Land Trust of illegal racial discrimination; seek consent decree
By Jerick Sablan
HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, March 20, 2017) – When it comes to defending the Chamorro Land Trust, the governor does not want to cut any deals with the U.S. Department of Justice, according to the governor's office.
The Justice Department, in a Jan. 13 letter to the governor, stated it believes that the Guam government's Chamorro Land Trust program illegally discriminates on the basis of race. The Land Trust holds public land for the benefit of Guam's Chamorro people, allowing them to receive low-cost, long-term agricultural and residential leases. The Land Trust also issues commercial leases to non-Chamorros to generate revenue to support the Land Trust and its programs — a move some Chamorro residents oppose.
The Justice Department has called for pre-lawsuit negotiations to resolve the issue in the form of a consent decree, according to the governor's office, which stated the administration will be working with the attorney general and Guam lawmakers to discuss available options.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Anti-base Okinawa activist released after five months in detention

A prominent leader of the anti-base movement in Okinawa was released on bail Saturday after spending five months in jail over minor offenses.
The Naha branch of the Fukuoka High Court ordered Hiroji Yamashiro, 64, head of the Okinawa Peace Action Center, released on bail, upholding the Naha District Court’s decision on Friday. Prosecutors had appealed the district court ruling.
Yamashiro was arrested in October for allegedly cutting barbed wire at a U.S. military training area in Higashi, Okinawa. He has also led groups opposed to the relocation plan for U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma further south in Ginowan. Okinawa hosts the bulk of U.S. military facilities in Japan.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Tillerson says diplomacy with North Korea has ‘failed’

TOKYO – The Trump administration made a clear break Thursday with diplomatic efforts to talk North Korea out of a nuclear confrontation, bringing the United States and its Asian allies closer to a military response than at any point in more than a decade.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that 20 years of trying to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear program had failed and that he was visiting Asia "to exchange views on a new approach."
Soon after Tillerson's remarks, in a sign of mounting tensions, the North Korean Embassy held an extraordinary news conference in Beijing to blame the potential for nuclear war on the United States while vowing that its homegrown nuclear testing program will continue in self-defense.
North Korea has amassed a huge nuclear stockpile and appears at the brink of being able to strike the U.S. mainland and American allies in Asia. The rising threat from the isolated military dictatorship has prompted the Trump administration to begin assessing its options for how to respond and serves as an early test for how the president will confront an increasingly volatile international situation.

The Army is preparing for war in the Pacific

HONOLULU — The US Army soldiers finished wading across a stream in a rainforest in Hawaii, and they were soaked. Their boots and socks were water-logged and their clothes, hair and ears were caked with mud.
The soldiers were going through training at the first jungle school the Army has established in decades. The course is part of a program to train soldiers for exercises and potential combat on terrain that looks more like islands and nations in the Pacific than arid Afghanistan and the deserts of the Middle East.
Brig. Gen. Stephen Michael, deputy commander of the 25th Infantry Division, said the Army set up the school as its footprint was shrinking in Iraq and Afghanistan after more than a decade of war in those countries.

French carrier to lead joint amphibious Pacific drill in show of force aimed at China: Sources

TOKYO — In a display of military power aimed at China, France will dispatch one of its powerful Mistral amphibious carriers to lead drills on and around Tinian island in the western Pacific, with Japanese and US personnel and two troop-carrying helicopters sent by Britain, two sources told Reuters.
“Rather than just being a naval exercise, this amphibious exercise will send a clear message to China,” said one of the sources, who were not authorised to talk to the media and so asked not to be identified.
The exercise will take place in the second and third week of May, the other source said.
As China’s military strength grows with the addition of power-projecting aircraft carriers, Beijing is extending its influence beyond its coastal waters into the Pacific. The move worries Japan and the United States, but is also a concern for France which controls several Pacific island territories, including New Caledonia and French Polynesia.

Residents of South Korean Jeju Island Outraged With US Military Base Plans

Residents of the South Korean resort island of Jeju strongly object to the military setting up of a base on it with the possible deployment of the US Navy's newest Zumwalt destroyer "to deter North Korean aggression," a source in the security service of the island told Sputnik Korea.

On March 9,  the South Korean Air Force announced that it plans to establish a base at Jeju’s second airport site in Seongsan-eup.
The country's Air Force Chief of Staff Jeong Gyeong-du confirmed that the military wants to locate the Southern Region Search and Rescue Air Group at the airport which is due for completion by 2025.
It will comprise four planes, four helicopters and up to 300 Air Force personnel. The base is expected to cover a fifth (1-1.3 square kilometers) of the new airport area and it could be included in the next Mid-Term Defense Plan from 2021.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Court Signals Bend of U.S. Marine Base for Okinawa Dugong

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) — The Ninth Circuit on Wednesday indicated that the Defense Department may have to reconsider how it will operate a controversial new military base on Okinawa, to protect the endangered Okinawa dugong, a manatee-like marine mammal.
Ninth Circuit Judge Paul Watford told government attorneys at the hearing that the Center for Biological Diversity and other U.S. and Japanese environmental groups have standing to seek a ruling that the Department of Defense failed to adequately consider whether the base would harm the dugongs, vacate the Pentagon’s findings that it would not, and order it to issue new ones.
”What I’m inclined to think is your position on standing is completely wrong,” Watford told Department of Justice attorney Mark Haag. “How in the world do they not have standing to seek that relief?”

Guam link revealed in ‘epic’ Navy bribery scandal

"This is a fleecing and betrayal of the United States Navy in epic proportions, and it was allegedly carried out by the Navy's highest-ranking officers." – acting U.S. Attorney Robinson

A defense contractor who has pleaded guilty in a massive case alleging U.S. military officials received bribes – including luxury hotel stays, fancy dinners and services from Manila prostitutes – also tried to undercut a Guam bidder for a contract that provides services to visiting U.S. Navy ships and submarines, a federal indictment states.
The U.S. Department of Justice announced the indictment March 14.
The Guam part of the case was a small portion of a major bribery scandal that has indicted newly retired U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Bruce Loveless and eight other high-ranking Navy officers. They're charged in a federal indictment with accepting luxury travel, elaborate dinners and services of prostitutes from foreign defense contractor, according to the indictment.

Military in talks with local contractors on project cost increases

The Guam Contractors Association is working with the Navy to determine what cost increase, if any, contractors will have to take due to the continuing shortage of skilled construction workers on the island.
The shortage stems from the continued high denial rate of H-2B visa petitions Guam employers have filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, to try to hire foreign workers to fill a shortage of local skilled laborers.
GCA President James Martinez said the lack of temporary foreign labor would stall some pending projects on island, both military and local commercial contract work.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Bevacqua: Decolonization never easy or fair

Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood’s decision last week in favor of Dave Davis and against the rights of Guam’s indigenous people was not surprising. For those familiar with the U.S. court system, it has long been designed to take rights away from indigenous people of the U.S., and instead develop nonsensical, self-serving arguments that force incorporation of the indigenous people and their lands/resources into the union.
For your average federal judge, the particularities of Guam’s status or the quest of Chamorros for decolonization are trivial and mean little. As a Chamorro herself, we might have hoped that Tydingco-Gatewood would have taken this decision as a chance to expand American notions of justice.
This would mean to take seriously its history and its contemporary responsibilities as a colonizer, and simply follow its obligations as a signatory to the United Nations charter. To also take seriously the notions that the U.S. and its court system are based on issues of justice or liberty, and what that would mean in terms of how to guide the decolonization of the sites of American-made injustice and liberty deprived in the name of American interests. 

Agent Orange health survey planned

Sen. Fernando Esteves announced plans yesterday to conduct a health survey through the Investigative Task Force on Environmental Pollutants, to record oral histories regarding exposure to Agent Orange and other cancer-causing pollutants on the island.
The survey, along with other environmental health analytics, will be compiled to conduct a comparative analysis of subjective and objective data to verify whether the military did use Agent Orange on Guam.
“The short-term goal is an admittance of guilt by the Department of Defense,” he said. “And I think they’re going to have a hard time proving that they didn’t use Agent Orange here.”

North Asia on a knife's edge: Whose position is strongest?

Hong Kong (CNN)US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson begins a series of meetings in Asia this week with the region in a military turmoil. North Korean missiles streaking toward Japan. US anti-missile batteries arriving in South Korea. China's foreign minister fearing a massive military confrontation is about to happen. China's state news agency openly speculating Asia is on the verge of a nuclear arms race, the likes of which has not been seen since the Cold War.

Each one of these things alone would be enough to destabilize the status quo. Taken together, they have placed tensions in North Asia on a knife's edge. Should they tip over, who would come out on top? What are the strengths and weakness of the forces that would fight a North Asian war.

 China: Big on numbers, short on experience

With almost 3 million people in its military, the People's Republic of China has the world's largest fighting force in terms of sheer manpower, but most of that won't come into play in any Pacific conflict. And analysts say manpower plays into one of China's biggest weakness: The collective lack of combat experience in those forces. China has not fought a conflict since a border war with Vietnam in 1979; the US military, their most likely adversary, has been involved numerous conflicts over those 38 years.

Taiwan says Chinese military poses growing threat amid uncertain U.S. regional strategy

China’s accelerated military development and recent activity by its military aircraft and ships around Taiwan pose an increased threat to the self-ruled island, according to a Taiwanese government defense report draft reviewed by Reuters.
The 2017 Quadrennial Defence Review (QDR) also highlights the uncertainty over the future strategic direction of the United States in the region, the impact of Japan flexing its military capabilities and “conflict crisis” potential in the disputed South China Sea.
“The recent activity of Chinese jets and ships around Taiwan shows the continued rise in (China’s) military threat capabilities,” highlighting the importance of Taiwan’s need to defend itself, the review will say.

Sex assault reports up at Navy, Army academies

WASHINGTON — Reports of sexual assaults increased at two of the three military academies last year and an anonymous survey suggests sexual misconduct rose across the board at the schools, The Associated Press has learned.

 The new data underscore the challenge in stemming bad behavior by young people at the military college campuses, despite a slew of programs designed to prevent assaults, help victims and encourage them to come forward.

The difficulties in some ways mirror those the larger military is struggling with amid revelations about Marines and other service members sharing nude photos on websites.

Nago BOE requests cultural property survey to be conducted on Henoko sea area

March 8, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo
By Kazuki Furugen
On March 7, the Nago City Board of Education (BOE) requested the Okinawa Defense Bureau (ODB) to conduct a cultural property survey for the sea area of Ora Bay. This must be done before reclaiming the area from the sea. The U.S. military Futenma Air Base is to be relocated to this area located in Henoko, Nago. Last July, part of U.S. military Camp Schwab, which has plans to be remodeled, was recognized as a new historical site, the “Nagasaki Kaneku Relic Scattered Area.” This area includes both land and sea. According to the Cultural Properties Protection Law, the relic scattered area including the sea area must be surveyed before being remodeled. The Nago BOE has also requested for the sea area outside of the relic scattered area to be surveyed because there is a high likelihood of it containing related cultural properties. Depending on how the survey goes, it may affect the construction schedule.
The ODB responded to Ryukyu Shimpo’s questions as follows: “Regarding the cultural property survey within Camp Schwab, both Okinawa prefecture and the Nago BOE have coordinated. (We) will continue to follow related laws and regulations, and respond appropriately.”

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Overseas Territories Review: 'U.S. Virgin Islands at the centennial of U.S.depe...

Overseas Territories Review: 'U.S. Virgin Islands at the centennial of U.S.depe...: by Charice Antonia Rivera and Eldris Bradford II

 Special to OTR

 Scholarly papers on the political evolution of the U.S. Virgin ...

Japan, U.S. hold joint military exercise with Osprey, first joint drill since Dec. crash

TOKYO, March 13 (Xinhua) -- Four controversial Osprey aircraft took part in a joint drill between Japan and the United States in Niigata Prefecture on Monday, in the largest such exercise to be held by the aircraft so far in Japan.
As many as six MV-22 Ospreys, which can take off and land like a helicopter and fly like a regular fixed-winged plane, will join the drills from a U.S. base in Okinawa, local media reported.
The joint exercise between Japan and the U.S., which began on March 6 and will conclude on Friday in Niigata, involves a contingent of 750 troops from the Ground Self-Defense Force's Camp Somagahara.
The drill marks the first time the plane has been used in a joint exercise since an Osprey crashed in waters off Nago, near the U.S. Marine Corps' Camp Schwab, in Okinawa, on Dec. 13 last year.

Experts agree: U.S. military action against North Korea won’t work

ROK, Japanese analysts see a pre-emptive strike against the North as far too risky
March 14th, 2017

While the Trump administration explores options, including use of military force, to counter North Korea’s increasing threat, South Korean and Japanese experts see military options against North Korea as all-but-impossible.
They say that any U.S. military action against North Korea entails high damage risks on South Korea and Japan, and that the U.S. will be forced to shelf plans for military intervention eventually.
The new strategies toward North Korea that are being reviewed internally by the White House include the possibility of regime change and the use of military force to weaken the North Korean nuclear threat, theWall Street Journal reported on March 1, quoting a source familiar with the review.
The paper said Deputy National Security Advisor Kathleen McFarland had instructed officials to put all options on the table, from acknowledging North Korea as a nuclear-armed state to taking military action against Pyongyang.

Pacific News Minute: Federal Judge Rules Guam's Decolonization Plebiscite Unconstitutional

Late last week, a federal judge in Guam struck down the territory’s plan to hold a plebiscite on de-colonization. The ruling said that a ballot restricted to Chamorros violates the constitution’s ban on racial discrimination. More from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.  
Guam is an unincorporated territory of the United States, occupied for the past 450 years by Spain, the U.S. or, during the Second World War, by Japan. The Organic Act of 1950 recognized its indigenous inhabitants, and independence advocates argue that they and only they are entitled to decide the islands political future.
After decades of indecision, Governor Eddie Calvo pushed an advisory plebiscite last year that would give Chamorros three choices: independence, statehood, or Free Association with the United States. Any change would have to be approved by the U.S. Congress.

Exclusive: Taiwan says Chinese military threat grows, U.S. regional strategy unclear

China's accelerated military development and recent activity by its military aircraft and ships around Taiwan pose an increased threat to the self-ruled island, according to a Taiwanese government defense report draft reviewed by Reuters.
The 2017 Quadrennial Defence Review (QDR) also highlights the uncertainty over the future strategic direction of the United States in the region, the impact of Japan flexing its military capabilities and "conflict crisis" potential in the disputed South China Sea.
"The recent activity of Chinese jets and ships around Taiwan shows the continued rise in (China's) military threat capabilities," highlighting the importance of Taiwan's need to defend itself, the review will say.

Federal Appeals Court Considers U.S. Military Base's Harm to Endangered Okinawa Dugong

For Immediate Release, March 14, 2017
Contact: Peter Galvin, Center for Biological Diversity, (707) 986-2600,
Sarah Burt, Earthjustice, (415) 217-2055,
Federal Appeals Court Considers U.S. Military Base's Harm to Endangered Okinawa Dugong
SAN FRANCISCO— The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments tomorrow, March 15, in a lawsuit seeking to compel the U.S. government to disclose and consider the impacts of its proposed military base in Okinawa, Japan, on the critically endangered Okinawa dugong.
The suit was brought by conservation groups and Okinawa residents. The base would destroy important habitat for Okinawa dugongs, marine mammals related to manatees whose population has declined to just a few individuals.