During the 46th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting over the weekend, Filipino Foreign Secretary Albert Del Rosario accused China of a “massive” military buildup in the South China Sea. Global Inquirer | AFP | AAP.
His counterpart from Vietnam was not as direct, but nonetheless said that “ASEAN should push China to engage in official negotiations on the Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC).”
This came just a couple of days after China preemptively slammed Japan’s forthcoming 2013 defense white paper, on grounds of the usual Chinese self-narrative of victimization. In the parallel universe inhabited by Chinese propagandists, it’s Japan that regional actors are worried about.
Vietnam will pass on used Su-30Ks, according to Bao Dat Viet [in Vietnamese]. The 18 aircraft were returned by India 10 years ago and have been stored in Belarus ever since. Belarus was earlier reported as one of the potential buyers, but Rosoboronexport has also been eyeing sales to African countries such as Ethiopia.
There is mounting opposition in the US Congress to the Obama administration’s decision to arm Syrian rebels. Several bills were introduced by strange bedfellows, as they were sponsored by a makeshift alliance of liberal Democrats and Tea Party Republicans.
Russian officials denied that they had evacuated their naval base in Tartus, Syria, but in the same breath acknowledge that only a few civilians are left there. Same difference.
Oman’s Navy received RNOV Al Shamikh from BAE Systems at the Portsmouth naval base in the UK. Acceptance is scheduled for 2014 after hot weather tests. BAE inherited the 3-ship corvette program – custom-made for Oman – with its acquisition of VT Group in 2009. VT Group had won the contract in 2006, but cost overruns forced BAE to take a £160M charge (about $250M) 2 years ago.
NATO recently held “Capable Logistician”, its largest logistics common exercise in at least a decade: 1,750 troops, 600 pieces of equipment, 35 countries. It ran the gamut from fuel handling, to ammo storage, to water production, purification and production.
Germany retired [in German] its last F-4F Phantom fighters/bombers over the weekend. Officious tribute video below, with corny music to boot: