Then, just days later, the Reagan was targeted for a very close flybyinvolving a pair of Russian Tu-142 bombers that flew within a mile of the massive carrier at an attack altitude of 500 feet. The U.S. Navy said warplanes were scrambled from the Reagan to ward off the Russian planes.
The PLAN sub-Reagan encounter also occurred days before the American guided missile destroyer, USS Lassen, was sent to conduct a freedom of navigation operation in the South China Sea. The Lassen passed to within 12 nautical miles of a manmade Chinese atoll in the South China Sea that is located in a highly disputed region, as reported.
Chinese military and government officials heavily criticized the Lassen voyage, claiming the United States violated Chinese sovereign territory. The Obama administration, however, insisted the warship remained well within international waters.
Disclosure of the Chinese submarine encounter comes as Adm. Harry Harris is visiting China for the first time as the commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific, the WFB reported.
One defense official, speaking on background, told the WFB that the sub’s detection set off alarm bells on the Reagan, though it was not clear whether U.S. anti-submarine warfare aircraft were launched in a bid to locate and track the Chinese sub.
Russia’s foreign minister said Monday the next round of Syria talks expected to be held this weekend must not focus squarely on demands for Syrian President Bashar Assad’s resignation, which he called a “simplistic approach.”
Sergey Lavrov, speaking on a trip to Armenia, said the talks should focus instead on reaching consensus on who should represent the Syrian opposition and who should be considered extremists.
At the initial talks in Vienna on Oct. 30, the US, Russia, Iran and more than a dozen other nations agreed to launch a new peace effort involving Syria’s government and opposition groups. But they carefully avoided the issue of when Assad might leave power — a dispute at the heart of the nearly five-year-old conflict that has claimed more than 250,000 lives.
British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said there is “quite a lot going on” behind the scenes ahead of this weekend’s talks, and US Secretary of State John Kerry “is highly active in trying to promote this process.” But Hammond stressed to reporters at UN headquarters in New York that no one should underestimate “the scale of the challenge.”
Hammond cited the “fundamental difference” between Britain, the US and other countries that believe Assad must leave office as part of the transition process, and Syrian allies Russia and Iran “who believe that he should be able to take part in a future election and if that election decides that he should go, then he goes at that point.”
Lavrov said some participants in the initial round of Vienna talks have kept pushing for Assad to step down instead of focusing on who should participate in negotiations.
But Hammond said “we do not believe it is going to be possible to bring the opposition groups into the political process and have an effective cease-fire unless we have a clear point at which President Assad will depart at some point during the transitional process.”
The communique issued after the Oct. 30 meeting refers to the roadmap to peace adopted by key nations in Geneva in June 2012 which calls for the formation of a transitional government with full executive powers “on the basis of mutual consent,” leading to elections.
What’s really going on here? China, South Korea and Japan are trying to form a free trade zone, something which the U.S. opposes. China was excluded from the TPP Treaty and this trade partnership among China/S Korea/Japan – which represents 20% of the global GDP – would partially undermine the U.S.-directed TPP Treaty in this region.
The presence of U.S. military power in the South China Sea region is extraordinary. South Korea and Japan are de facto U.S. military occupied countries. Viet Nam, the Philippines and Japan are essentially U.S. lap dogs. The U.S. military aggression toward China is part of a military strategy to destabilize and reassume control over China politically and economically that dates back to 1949:
Erdogan continues to transform his regime into a one-man dictatorship. First by opting to arrogate executive power to the previously ceremonial post of president, and now by eliminating opposing opinion in the press, that has enabled him to make the AKP into a single party rule. Erdogan has gradually been able to do away with the solid institutions established by Ataturk, who sought to create a secular and modern Turkey. He has destroyed the military that served as the guardian of secularism, and along with it the judicial system, which he reshaped with like-minded people. Once elected as president, Erdogan wasted little time in which to expose his intentions as president. He hosted a cabinet meeting in his new 1,000 room Ankara palace, and surrounding himself with powerful advisors, that constitutes, in practice, a shadow cabinet. Turkey, under Erdogan increasingly resembles the strong-man regimes in the Arab world or Russia.
The U.S. expressed deep concern over Erdogan’s regime led campaign of intimidation and fear that coerced the opposition press into virtual silence during the last few months of the election campaign. The OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) has issued a sharp statement pointing out that the Turkish elections last week were characterized by violence, indecency, fear and oppression practiced by the regime on the media.