China and Thailand began three weeks of joint military training between Chinese marines and the Thai marine corps. The modest exercise, involving 115 Chinese and 188 Thai marines, will involve 20 days of “skill demonstrations, mixed training, joint research and alcohol testing.” This follows years of China courting the current military-backed government in Thailand for stronger military ties. Chinese troops are also training with Romanian mountain troops in the mountains of Kunming, in Yunnan Province. Both come a month after People’s Liberation Army Air Force air exercises with the Turkish air force, China’s first ever with a NATO state.
Taiwan has announced the existence of the Wan Chien (“Ten Thousand Swords”) air-base suppression system. The air-to-ground missile, meant to be delivered via fighters against People’s Liberation Army Air Force airfields in southeastern China, was developed after the United States refused to allow Taiwan to purchase the Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW). Taiwan seems to be attempting to deal with the Chinese fighter threat by disabling the airfields they operate from. The weapon apparently has sufficient range to be fired from the safety of Taiwanese airspace.
Japan conducted its third successful Ballistic Missile Defense shoot-down, with the destroyer JDS Kirishima destroying an Oribital Sciences drone mimicking a ballistic missile in flight. All four destroyers of the Maritime Self Defense Force’s Kongo class are now capable of undertaking the BMD mission. Originally built for air defense, each destroyer has been refitted for the mission and then subjected to a $55 million test of its abilities. (Only Chokai failed to achieve an intercept, for unknown reasons.)