Sino-Russian military exercise spooky to some

It appears the Japanese (and probably a couple of other nations) are a bit concerned about the Sino-Russian military exercises beginning tomorrow that will feature some 10,000 troops and some pretty sophisticated weapons. As the Globe and Mail put it:

When China and Russia launch their first joint military exercise tomorrow, their neighbours will be wondering why long-range strategic bombers and amphibious landing craft are being deployed in what is supposed to be an anti-terrorism drill.

The two countries are calling it Peace Mission 2005, but it looks more like a rehearsal for full-scale war. The 10,000 Russian and Chinese soldiers will be practising a variety of standard combat techniques: long-range bombing runs, cruise-missile attacks, a naval assault on a coastal beachhead and a parachute landing by paratroopers.

Japan’s Nihon Keizai reported that some in Japan’s defense establishment believe the exercise to be practice for a possible intervention in North Korea, or more specifically, to determine whether in the wake of a North Korean collapse, Sino-Russian forces can get to the DMZ faster than ROK-U.S. forces can get to the Yalu. I’m not sure if that’s actually the case, as the LAT reported that Russia originally wanted to carry out the exercise in Central Asia and China near Taiwan, with Shandong being the resulting compromise. Still, the Japanese suspicions are at least interesting to think about.

Another concern, apparently, is that the Russians may sell the Chinese a couple of Tu-22M “Backfire” bombers. Apparently, rumors of such a deal have been circulating for some time. News of such a sale in January made Charles Smith over at Newsmax more than slightly concerned. Personally, it surprises me none at all that China would wish to upgrade from Il-28s and Tu-16s. Regional powers may have to upgrade their air defenses accordingly, but that’s the way the game is played. I’m more surprised the Russians are willing to sell ’em to Beijing, although a deal is not a deal until it’s made.

Of course, those who’ve played Jetfighter IV know this so-called “exercise” is really preparation for a Sino-Russian invasion of Northern California.

  • Katz

    Maybe these guys appear to be righteous and try to write what looks right. But their comments are actually nonsense and choking.

  • Kushibo

    Katz, WHO are you referring to?

  • KrZ

    Who Katz?

  • dogbert

    Only choking being done around here is that of katz’ chicken.

  • The Marmot

    Katz — you are more than welcome to frankly express your opinions, but being new to this forum, you may wish for the time being to refrain from referring to other posters us “mfs” and “dumbasses.” The blog administrator thanks you in advance.

    Now, if we could get back to the topic at hand…

  • Katz

    It’s funny at same time enraging seeing these two disgraced countries trying to lead other countries to disgrace along themselves and not letting others to progress who want to.

  • Kushibo

    And those two disgraced countries can still do a lot of damage, Katz. I agree that it’s enraging.

    I wish the Korean press weren’t so afraid of offending China… the potential of what this may mean should be fully reported.

  • Katz

    Are you Chinese?

  • Kushibo

    Are you kidding me?

  • Katz

    Your comments seem not to help my country but to harm them.

  • kimbob

    No Katz, he’s not Chinese.

    But what he says is correct.

    There is no other country in the world that has done what they have done for South Korea. That’s the USA. Remember that. America is the reason why South Korea is prosperous today, not China. Korea should emulate and share the values that America has. China’s values are inhuman rights, it should be condemned.

  • virtual wonderer

    The real question is, is Katz really Korean? HmmmMMmMMMmmmm…

  • Curious (a.k.a. Sewing)

    It’s not a popular thing to say these days, but the US is also pretty much the only country that has involved itself in Korea’s/South Korea’s history and not taken out more than it put in. In other words, it’s pretty much the only country without baggage when it comes to its relations with Korea. (The Katsura-Taft treaty and other such pre-WWII details notwithstanding….) Compare this to Japan, China, or even Russia. I’m guessing that many left-leaning Koreans today identify the US with the former regimes of Park Chung Hee and Chun Doo Hwan, and can’t look beyond that to see the alternatives (a unified Korea controlled directly by P’yngyang and indirectly by Beijing; a province of the Russian Far East; orhad Japan never attacked Pearl Harboura peninsula full of third-generation Japanese speakers working in sweatshops and factories owned by Mitsui and Mitsubishi).

  • Curious (a.k.a. Sewing)

    One small correction: “Pearl Harbor,” not “Pearl Harbour,” unless Hawaii just became Canada’s 11th province (and about time, too: finally a tropical paradise of our very own!).

  • Katz

    I was referring to China and Russia, mf idiots. And you’re stupid dumbasses mfs to agree with the US in their injustices.

  • virtual wonderer

    But you knew this, didn’t you? OOooo… Never trust a maple leaf!

  • Curious (a.k.a. Sewing)

    Better watch out…right now there’s a diplomatic tussle between those two hot-blooded countries Canada and Denmark (a la Dokdo but without the tourists and protests) over some small island halfway between Nunavut and Greenland. It’s ours, dammit! We may have to rename danish pastries as “Dominion Pastries” to show how serious we are, too.

  • usinkorea

    I have some slight doubts about Katz being authentic too.

    If China is practicing beach landings, I doubt North Korea is a primary reason for it.

    In the long span of history, I’d think Chinese dynasties and societies gave Korea plenty. I would think it gave more than it took away, though I wouldn’t disparage the bilateral relationship on either side.

    Some Korean historians, now and in the past, and some Korean’s I’ve talked to, lambast Korea’s historic relationship with China as being colonial-like and hegemonic and yada yada yada.

    This is even more ridiculous than calling the US-SK relationship such.

    Much of what we consider Korean cultural norms came from Chinese civilization. To too many nimrods that run and those who seek higher education, that fact alone makes the relationship deplorable, as if somehow each individual society should be hermetically sealed from all possible contamination, and if it isn’t, all changes occuring from contact with Others is disastrous.

    So, modern higher education should at least fall in love with the idea of a North Korea — even though the 1990s proved juche was full of bull hockey.

    And thus, modern higher education has to fall back on bushmen or Amazon rain forest dwellers as the perfect societies…..

    Buddhism came to Korea from China, but they made it their own. China got Buddhism from India and made it their own.

    Korea got Confucianism from China – where it originated – but the Chosun dynasty largely rejected the reforms spurred by the thought of Wang Yang Min (if I got the name correact) and in fact, Korean scholar-officials were known to scold their Chinese counter-parts for being unConfucianistic when they visited.

  • changehappens

    Russia and China exercising in a way to obviously menance Taiwan, Japan and the US should interest the Koreans. The US and Japan will study this work in progress closely and will reinforce their alliance as needed. Same for the US and Taiwan. What of Korea?

    Dance partners are choosing up sides and its clear who is with whom. Russia, China, DPRK and South Korea are doing the freak to each other while the US and Japan waltz the night away.

    Can Sino-Korean military exercises against terrorists lerking in Taiwan be far off?

  • Curious (a.k.a. Sewing)

    Usinkorea, I agree the cultural exchange between China and Korea over the millennia was fruitful. I was thinking more of the tributary relationship between the two countries during the Chosn Dynasty, China’s involvement in the Korean War in this century (although it could be argued that they only leaped into the fray because the UN forces had made it all the way north to the Chinese border), and their current policy of sending North Korean refugees back to NK in order to maintain good relations with the North.

  • Curious (a.k.a. Sewing)

    …And the fracas last year over the official Chinese interpretation of the history of Kogury.

  • kimbob

    Usainkorea, cultural affinity toward China is a totally different thing then from being politically aligning with China. It’s two different things. South Korea censoring the internet is more similiar with values that China as a communist dictatorship holds. South Korea trying to discourage North Koreans from fleeing North Korea is also similiar with values that China holds. South Korea appeasing North Korea in everyway possible is same as China. Well I say South Korea always shouldn’t always automatically and every time side with China.

  • usinkorea

    I had in mind with that comment not the blog comments but stuff like the writing of Shin Chae Ho and press/historians in the late Chosun Dynasty and things I had heard average Koreans in the late 20s and early 30s say casually over the years.

    You know…….how it is a root memory saying by all Koreans (it seems) about “Korea’s 5,000 year history of oppression at the hands of outsiders” and so on.

    I would say, however, that Korea was aligned politically with Chinese civilization for significantly long periods of its past.

    Some Korean historians have argued it was a master-servant relationship, but I think Korea held its own fairly well.

    It needed some help with the Manchurian tribes and the Japanse pirates, and China needed help with trouble from them and others too.

    It was a bilateral relationship.

    Which is a hell of a lot more common than the fatansy world of “each nation living alone and determining its own pay without any outside influence/interference” that too many scholars and a whole lot of pseudo-intellectuals (like myself) like to use as some unspoken (or spoken) backdrop for criticising bilaterial and multilateral relationships and cultural influence.

    This is part of my soapbox against post-modern higher eduction far beyond South Korean society…..

  • usinkorea

    “pay” should be “path”

  • Paul H.

    “…The Katsura-Taft treaty and other such pre-WWII details notwithstanding…”

    It wasn’t a treaty. Treaties have to be debated and ratified by the US Senate (ie such as the Kyoto Treaty which was voted down “informally” by
    95 to zero in the US Senate, and thus never submitted for formal ratification by President
    Clinton who had signed it).

    TK was a memorandum of agreement between the Japanese Prime minister and the US Secretary of War
    (note: not the US Secretary of State).

    Again, US was concerned for safety of its newly acquired possession the Phillippines against possible Japanese expansionism. Japan was already occupying Korea as a result of the Russo-Japanese war and nobody was going to get them out there, least of all the US.

  • Curious (a.k.a. Sewing)

    Hmmm, speaking of that, I see that the Treaty of Portsmouth celebrates its 100th birthday this coming September. Another day, another anniversary….

  • James

    The relationship with China in the past was mutually beneficial up until the beginning of the 20th century when China became involved in Korea. Arguably, the Koreans themselves at least exacerbated the issue by having the different factions close to the royal family trying to curry favor with one either China or Japan. Korea was always a protectorate of China meaning Korea would pay homage to the Chinese emperors by sending gifts such as tiger skins and mulberry root paper which were particularly valued by the Chinese. In accordance with Confucian teachings, however, the Chinese always sent back gifts to Korea.
    Relations between China and Korea in the past 100 years have given China plenty of baggage. As for any US connection to Park and Chung, I wonder how much of that is just speculation. Accusations seem to go back and forth on that issue. I think that more than anything at that time, the US was happy that NK was behaving and that there were capitalists in the South.
    As for the joint exercises I suspect maybe Russia might have training for the possibility of having to become involved in a collapsing NK. Certainly China??s main objective is to evaluate the Russian military and their equipment. I am sure China would like to have a port directly on the North Pacific.

  • slim

    With Tom Clancy running out of classic bad guys (I mean big-time evil empire types as opposed to those crude Islamofascists) it’s good to see China and Russia teaming up.

  • Curious (a.k.a. Sewing)

    Another slightly off-topic point of historical trivia: the main street running from Namdaemun through Seodaemun/Sdaemun and out beyond into the northwestern suburbs of Seoul is called Uijuro (ijuro). It was at the old gate beside Dongnimmun/Tongnimmunnorthwest of Seodaemun; the name escapes me right nowthat the annual embassy from China was received and escorted to the royal palace.

    Anyhow, I never though much of the street’s name, until I realized that it’s so named because it’s the road that led to ijuthe old town next door to Siniju on the border with China.

  • Curious (a.k.a. Sewing)

    Re Slim’s comment in #23:

    Yes, it has the makings of a new-old Bond film!

  • Katz

    Why do you f* appreciate Chinese culture and relationship? Are you Chinese? These Chinese mfs is not even interested in helping Korea, they only do things according to their f* interests. And that’s what they have been doing since history.

  • Katz

    “The relationship with China in the past was mutually beneficial up until the beginning of the 20th century when China became involved in Korea.”

    Why do you say beneficial? What’s beneficial about this

    “Korea was always a protectorate of China meaning Korea would pay homage to the Chinese emperors by sending gifts such as tiger skins and mulberry root paper which were particularly valued by the Chinese. In accordance with Confucian teachings, however, the Chinese always sent back gifts to Korea.
    Relations between China and Korea in the past 100 years have given China plenty of baggage.”

    Why do you see this as good? Why do you write favoring China?

  • Curious (a.k.a. Sewing)

    Katz, who is the “you” you are referring to? All of us? Me? Someone else? If you’re referring to me, I suggest you reread my comments.

  • Curious (a.k.a. Sewing)

    Ah, I see by your last comment that you were referring to someone else….

  • James

    I am not writing in favor of China but rather illustrating the fact that the relationship between China and Korea has not always been as bad as it has been over the past 100 years. Before that, both countries regularly sent each other gifts and maintained good relations. There are many things that have come to Korea from China. You claim to be Korean, certainly you are not going to make me point out examples of this.

  • James

    Katz, if you are having a difficult time expressing yourself in this forum in English-feel free to do so in the language you are most comfortable in, we are a multi-talented group you know.

  • judge judy

    exactly right. i think that it would be better if you wrote in korean to clarify your point (and not the one on your head-that one’s obvious).

  • Kushibo

    Katz wrote about me in #5 in relation to China:Your comments seem not to help my country but to harm them.I don’t think so. Look here, here, here, and here.

  • James

    Kushibo is one of the last people I would expect to be negative about Korea-critical, perhaps but never negative.

  • Shenzhen Whitey

    Anyone here have much konowledge on both Tibet and Korea? I am curious as to whether Korea and Tibet’s relationship to China were both similar before the 20th century. That is, if there were a few changes in historical events in the 20th century, would China be saying ‘Korea is, and always was, a part of China’?

  • Kushibo

    Shenzhen Whitey (#35), I think they’re getting ready to say that about North Korea.

    The People’s Republic of Choson, the other PRC.

  • Katz

    If I was specific about the posters I’m referring to I would be a defamer. But btw, do you have another word for choke, shitface?

  • usinkorea

    James made me think to rememember that at times China sought to block the number of “tribute missions” the South Korean courts sent to it, because of the amount of resources that flowed back into Korea from them. Besides the “subservient” recognition such visits entailed in the East Asian (China centered) diplomatic discourse of the day, they were also business exchanges. They were also kind of exchanges of “technology” — I say that because I can remember reading about China also putting a limit on the amount of books Korean scholars and government officials could take away with them at some points when they were afraid they were getting too much.

    On the Taft treaty. One thing to keep in mind — a primary thing — is that the conversation happened, unless I am forgetting the stuff I just read recently, during the period in which Japan was kicking Russia’s behind all over Manchuria.

    Japan was firmly estalished in Korea and was just making that hold a heck of a lot stronger by fighting a war with a power deemed stronger than America at that time.

    The US was also firmly established in the Philippines.

    The idea that Japan was “allowed” to “enter” or “take” Korea due to whatever Taft said is too far fetched. It is simply wrong.

    I can cut some people today some slack, because I think Paul H. mentioned elsewhere previously, some American missionaries and critics of Teddy Roosevelt’s ideas of an American empire did strike at him by saying the Taft conversation was a “secret treaty.”

    Politics will be politics.

    I see the Taft conversation as something like this given the realities of the day —

    Japan — We’ve got Korea, and once we’re done kicking the crap out or Russia, we’ll be even more entrenched. What do you think about that? Going to do something about it?

    US — We’d be stupid to try. Besides, our president likes you Japanese and he has disdain for the Koreans. But what can we do about your hold on Korea anyway? The only way we’re going to get into a pissing contest with you is if you try something like push us out of the Philippines. Then we’d have to fight.”

    Japan — “We’re not stupid. We see you’re in there to stay. So, I guess there really isn’t anything standing between us. And I’m grateful your president likes our culture. Let’s write up an understanding of this conversation and sign it.”

    US — “Sure thing….”

    The position as outlined by my imaginary (or really paraphrased recount of what was actually said) by the US side is pretty much the position we kept in until Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941.

    We didn’t like her taking over chunks of China and moves it was making to make a big push in the rest of Asia. So, we did something we were not willing to do in the early 1900s — slap sanctions on Japan.

    And look what good that did —- it didn’t prevent Japan from seeking to colonize much of Asia, not technically, but it did lead it to decide to try and knock the American pacific fleet out of commission long enough that it coudl take hold of the rest of Asia just as much as it had taken Korea earlier before the US could build back up to threaten war against it.

    It was a miscalculation of tremendous proportions for Japan. They misjudged the American culture and its ability to bounce back from the initial blow.

    But, if you look at the isolationsist tendancies of the US pre-WWII, tendancies against gettnig involved in foreign wars or a fight over something like the Japanese colonization of Korea, the idea that the Taft conversation was a key moment in history —where the US had the choice to either stop Japan from taking Korea or agree to it —- doesn’t make sense.

  • gbnhj

    Can’t be sure, of course, but I’d say that Katz doesn’t have any difficulties in expressing his thoughts, but rather in controlling them.

  • James


  • usinkorea

    #35 — I don’t claim to know a definative amount of history about Korea especially past the late Koryo dynasty, but

  • snow

    chill out, Katz. That being said, I think that the Chinese relationship with Korea was not a meeting of ‘equals’ in the past.

    I recall reading about the Danish sailors (Hamel et al) who were stranded in Korea in 1608 or so. At one point, they flagged down an emissary of the Chinese emporer for help and the Korean king ended up paying a pile of gold to the emissary to not say a word to his boss back in China. Sounds like the Korean king was scared crapless about this, and though I’m not sure why, it certainly doesn’t sound like a relationship between equals.

  • kimbob

    I’m not sure if it was historically accurate or not but in the KBS drama Yi Soon Shin, the king of Korea knelt before a Chinese emmissary. The Chinese emmissary slapped the king and told him to fuck off, when the king asked the Chinese help to repell the invading Japanese in 1592.

    The sense that Korea has always been screwed by the big powers plays a powerful psychology in Koreans of today. Koreans don’t trust anybody.

  • usinkorea

    Who said it was a relationship “between equals”? In strictest terms, those of the day in East Asia, it was not equal. It was spoken of in terms of family relatioships — China always being the father or grandfather or uncle and so on — the higher ranking male, and Korea’s position varied over time rising in and falling in considered importance.

    What I’ve been saying is that it was not most of the time a detrimental relationship to Korea. In fact, in the terms of the day, Korea was considered “more civilized” and had a higher rank in the East Asian foreign policy of the day than other members of Asia based on its relationship with China.

    Somehow, in common culture, we have gotten too often out of whack on how we imagine international reltionship basically exist.

    Like ideas of things being “equal.”

    Or, like in the common knock you hear among younger Koreans that the United States didn’t fight in the Korean War or deter North Korea “for humanitarian” reasons — with the idea being there are only two options —- a reltionship is “self-less” or “selfish.”

    The world has never worked that way and never will.

    Every nation seeks connections with the outside world for their own benefit. They join bilateral and multilateral arrangments with the idea that it should help them at least in the long run.

    That is not necessarily selfish. It is what a state is supposed to do for its people.

    And what is best is for the relationship to benefit both nations.

    And in the broad stretch of history, China and Korea’s relationship was usually more co-benefical than one-sided to the detriment of the other.

  • Curious (a.k.a. Sewing)

    Usinkorea: interesting comments, especially # 46. That would be the Liaotung Peninsula, by the way, Ydong in Korean (if I’m not mistaken).

  • James

    My understanding of the Japanese invasion that brought about the turtle ships is that there is a difference of opinion. The version that Kimbob refers to is of course the Korean one-it would not be propper to admit that they had to accept help from foreigners to repel the Japanese when they had Yi Su Shin and his turtle ship navy right? The Chinese helped extensively and in China there is a mural that depicts the battle from the Chinese point of view that shows roughly a one to one ratio of Chinese ships to Korean ships. I have heard some scholars list the aid that China contributed to Korea as one of the root causes of the dynasty of that time (ming?) because they over extended themselves. There was a Chinese person that decided to stay in Korea and he was the founder of a new family in Korea as a result (I can’t remember which one off hand).
    I do not think that the relationship was equal but I would not characterize it as particularly disadvantageous for either. The area of China that was part of Korea at one point did not become Chinese territory because the Chinese squatted on it but I am not aware of any major wars that were fought and lost for it.

  • Curious (a.k.a. Sewing)

    James wrote:

    “There was a Chinese person that decided to stay in Korea and he was the founder of a new family in Korea as a result (I can??t remember which one off hand).”

    It may be a Ku clan/family (don’t know the Hanja offhand; would have to do more research). I knew a Ku from this particular family, who said the progenitor came from China, though I don’t recall the historical circumstances behind his move.

  • usinkorea

    Turning military confrontational again — this time with nuclear weapons to back it up — nuclear weapons and missiel capable of hitting China…..

  • Kushibo

    I’m just saying that the India-China relationship is already pretty sour.

  • virtual wonderer


    All our base are belong to him.
    We are on the way to destruction.

    Take off every Zig!! For great justice!

  • virtual wonderer

    ??There was a Chinese person that decided to stay in Korea and he was the founder of a new family in Korea as a result (I can??t remember which one off hand).??

    I thought it was the “Suk”(stone) family… I could be wrong. Someone told me that all the Korean Suk is from this line; but this someone doesn’t always know what he says…

    I also heard a Korean “Hahn” ssi who told me that his family probably came from fleeing Han royal familiy members when Han fell.

    Once I met a guy who’s last name was “Ja Gal” (sp??) it was so unusual korean name, I asked him about it, and he claimed that it’s the same surname is “Zhuge Liang” of the Romance of the 3 Kingdoms fame. He claims zhuge liang was his ancestor.

    But I know better than to believe a lot of these illustrious family history that people say.

    I think Korean scholarship shows that much of the Korean people’s surnames are artifical–that is to say that some were “purchased” from poor Yangban, some randomly assigned by Japanese administrators, etc.

  • Curious (a.k.a. Sewing)

    I would tend to agree, VW, especially considering the vast majority (I presume) of the populace up until the 20th century were peasants. Nevertheless, there is an American writer married to a Korean man; his family’s genealogy purportedly went back to some royal family member in Kory, if I recall correctly. She took it with a generous grain of salt, but they went to Korea, did exhaustive research, and sure enough, as far as it could be verified, there really was a royal family member in his family’s past.

  • Curious (a.k.a. Sewing)

    Anyhow, Naver has a ?????? ??? ??? page, which lists (exhaustively, it appears) all clans and all ???? (?), together with a history for each. No time to try to read these various family histories now, but that’s definitely a resource to check out.

  • kimbob

    Whenever a Korean says his ancestors were royal family or that they came from China or even India, you should take that with grain of salt. Koreans like to think that their family tree is unique and important in origin.

  • Curious (a.k.a. Sewing)

    India: you must be thinking of ???????….

  • usinkorea

    One thing about the upgrading of equipment being old equipment in comparison of what the US is putting out and even France or the UK or Germany’s top of the line stuff —

    I wonder —- in a wild guess sort of way —- China doesn’t strike me as a very foolish nation.

    If the equpiment would be no match for the current and especially the coming-on-line US weapons systems, would China, who is still focused on economic growth as their primary tool for rising in power and prestige, really funnel money away from that for such equpiment? I get the feeling they would wait until later and concentrate that money on trade and development, then try to buy German and French top model systems.

    Which leads me to guess wildly —- perhaps these arms deals are not done with the US in mind or even Taiwan — who gets to buy some key US equipment.

    Maybe these purchases by China have in mind nations around it that have lower than the standard Backfire bombers?

    Maybe it has in mind the weaker nations around it and even India or Pakistan?

    I’m not trying to build a conspiracy theory here….

    Compared to the US, China isn’t exactly in a stable region.

    Pakisan, India, Afghanistan, the other -stans, and so on.

    I once asked a Chinese grad student who brought up the North Korean nukes and US missile defense what China thinks about Pakistan and India having nukes and rocks or Iran working on ICBMs with the help of North Korea?

    I said China is already much, much closer to nuclear states with rockets that can already reach it.

    I thought if I were China, I might want to talk the US into including me in a limited regional missile defense shield or at least start shopping around for some Patriot-missile type systems from France or Israel or somebody.

    It should be the job of the Chinese government to make plans and analysis about “what ifs” that include something like the India-China relationship turning sour within the next 50 years or Pakistan falling to radical forces and then supporting seperatists in China’s western area openly.

  • Kushibo

    The India-China relationship turning sour?

  • nulji

    i never thought i’d write this, but thanks, usinkorea, for some interesting posts.

    on a different note, why did hedeyoshi want the chinese to recognize him as ruler of all japan?

    lastly, to kushibo: i keep seeing you write that china is going to take north korea. what i don’t see you write is the reasons why. why would china take north korea? i understand if you have no time to respond.

  • Ray

    “Whenever a Korean says his ancestors were royal family or that they came from China or even India, you should take that with grain of salt. Koreans like to think that their family tree is unique and important in origin.”

    I once knew a woman who said she was related to King Sejong; like she was his _th great grandaughter or something. Is this an example of what you mention?

  • usinkorea

    Ray just reminded me of a Dr. Lee I once taught. I was at the royal ancestor’s memorial day at the Chongmyo shrine, and I saw him in the crowd near the roped off area filming. I was filming too, and I hadn’t seen him in a couple of years, so I asked him what was up. He said he was filming his father — thus his father was part of the performance. I asked him which one was him, and he said the guy in the yellow hat. I looked and the only one that had gold in his headdress was the guy playing the part of the king. I was impressed, since I think the people who perform the roles really are descendants of the royal family….

  • KrZ

    In 400 years, assuming reproduction at the age of 20, and no inbreeding, with 3 offspring per coupling, King Sejong would have over 1 billion progeny populatind the earth after 400 years. At 2 offspring per coupling he would have over half a million descendents. I would imagine a large portion of the population probably is related to King Sejong, and a majority are almost certainly related to Ghengis Khan. Not such a stretch of the imagination

  • Paul H.

    The primary purpose of the Backfire design was for these aircraft to operate as a land-based long-range anti-shipping strike force.

    The long range enabled them to operate from Russian Arctic and Pacific bases while ranging for immense distances out into the North Atlantic and North Pacific oceans, where they could use cruise missiles to attack US naval task forces and shipping from “stand-off”. Their land bases would be relatively immune to counterattack from the much shorter-ranged US naval aircraft, operating from carrier task forces.

    Their theoretical ability to attack the continental US and then return (with aerial refueling) was a standard theme of stories about them, in the US media during the 70’s and 80’s.

    But a military weapons system, though it may prove adaptable to a great variety of missions, is usually built with a very specific “mission” in mind. The US B-52, B-1, and B-2 bombers were built for the original mission of long-range attack against the Soviet Union with nuclear weapons. However, the Backfire was not meant by the Soviet Union to be a parallel to these US aircraft.

    My guess is that the Chinese are undoubtedly interested in acquiring the Backfire for this same specific mission of long-range naval attack. Since the Russians are no longer able to maintain much of their own deepwater navy, and since any potential differences Russian might have with the PRC don’t involve competition over issues of sea power, it’s not surprising to me that the Russians might be rapidly losing any reluctance they have retained to date about selling the Chinese some Backfires.

    It would be interesting to know if the Backfire is still in production. Even if it isn’t, if the Russians have some mothballed “low-mileage” ones (as one of the linked stories seems to imply), these could prove quite suitable for the Chinese. The Chinese should be able to get a pretty good deal on them.

    The Chinese lack of an aerial refueling capability (a capability that requires an enormous expenditure of resources to acquire) wouldn’t matter. Like the Russians, the Chinese will count on their land-based ICBMs as their deterrent against a US strategic nuclear attack.

    The best description of the potential use of Backfires I’ve ever seen was in the Tom Clancy novel Red Storm Rising. Warning it’s immensely long (but easily skimmed due to the way he wrote it). Should be a lot of used paperback copies out there.

  • Paul H.

    Huh? What basis do you have for thinking something like this is even remotely possible?

    Are you saying that North Korean pilots routinely operate these days as part of the flight crews on the normal missions of Chinese military aircraft (to include fully armed missions on routine patrols, or maybe just on routine “strip alert” status)?

    I wouldn’t think so, but I admit I don’t know. However, your scenario sounds more like a James Bond movie than something that is a realistic possibility.

    Even if NorK pilots do train routinely these days with the PRC air force, I don’t think the Chinese would allow North Korean pilots to be members of Backfire aircrews.

    The theoretical basis for any such joint training would be to help the North Koreans to improve their skills. Since North Korea doesn’t (and presumably won’t) have any Backfires, there would be no reason for PRC to allow NorK pilots any access to their Backfires.

    I would guess that the Japanese Air Force, along with USAF fighter acft stationed in Japan, do practice routinely the interception of unidentified aircraft headed toward the Japanese home islands.

    They probably got a lot of practice in this during the Cold War, intercepting Russian long-range patrol acft (Tu-95) that routinely patrolled out of the Soviet Far East air bases.

    Might have fallen off some after the Cold War ended but I bet it picked up again after 9/11. Also anything unidentified coming out of China would be intercepted immediately.

    It would be interesting to know if Japan keeps at least a couple of fighters in the air 24/7, given how close they are to NorK and China. Even if they don’t, I suspect they ( also USAF) can “scramble” air defense fighters 24/7 in a couple of minutes.

  • Curious (a.k.a. Sewing)

    Kushibo wrote (#64):

    “I??m just saying that the India-China relationship is already pretty sour.”

    Maybe it was, but didn’t Hu Jintao and Manmohan Singh reach a number of trade/cultural agreements on Hu’s recent visit to India, as well as an agreement to some kind of resolution of their border dispute?

  • Kushibo

    Window dressing, Curious (#72). They have disputed territories, the Tibetan government-in-exile is in India, along with tens of thousands of Tibetan refugees.

    I admit there are hopeful signs, though. I hope things do work out, because I think China will be a better behaved superpower if it doesn’t feel threatened all along its periphery.

  • gorea

    I think China will be a better behaved superpower if it doesn??t feel threatened all along its periphery.

    As long as China is under CCP, they need enemy.

  • muruneko

    According to the recent several news articles in Hong Kong, China is funding all the cost for this military exercise. What do you read about this?