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International press review Extrema Ratio June 2, 2023

Extrema Ratio focuses on the topics we work on, including geopolitcs, military, cybersecurity, critical technologies, foreign interference, disinformation, international law & national security.


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Extrema Ratio

La Cina, ha detto Xi Jinping, ha bisogno di «un nuovo modello di sviluppo con una nuova architettura di sicurezza».

Military

Newspaper of the People's Liberation Army


China Military

China and Singapore signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the Establishment of a Secure Defense Telephone Link on Thursday. Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister General Li Shangfu reiterated China's firm stance over the Taiwan question when meeting with the Minister for Defense of Singapore Dr. Ng Eng Hen on June 1st.

China Military

The 43rd and 44th Chinese naval escort taskforces recently held a mission handover ceremony in the Gulf of Aden. The 44th Chinese naval escort taskforce has officially succeeded the 43rd taskforce to perform escort mission in the Gulf of Aden and the waters off Somalia.


Photo: China Miliary

China Miliary

Chinese naval training ship Qi Jiguang (Hull 83) rounded off its goodwill visit to Thailand and set sail for Brunei on the morning of June 1.

At 10 am local time on June 1, the Thai side held a farewell ceremony for the ship at the Sattahip Port. More than 200 people, including Chinese Military Attaché Major General Wang Zheng, staff of the Chinese Embassy in Thailand, representatives of overseas Chinese, as well as representatives of the Royal Thai Navy, saw off ship Zhanjiang at the dock.

The Defence Post

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has confirmed negotiations with British defense giant BAE Systems to establish a weapons production facility in Kyiv.

The factory will facilitate the local manufacture of arms and equipment to build the country’s military arsenal to resist Russian forces.

C4ISRNET

Israel's missile defense leader said his government will share whatever information is necessary to allow Iron Dome to be integrated with U.S. systems.

C4ISRNET

U.S. officials did not disclose details of the deal — including cost, contract timing or the length of service — citing operational security concerns

The Defence Post

NATO foreign ministers meeting in Oslo Thursday debated providing security guarantees to Ukraine after its war with Russia ends, as the alliance looks to bridge divisions over Kyiv’s push to join the bloc.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February last year has galvanised the Western military alliance set up almost 75 years ago to face off against the Soviet Union.

The Defence Post

Two civilians and at least 50 “terrorists” were killed in jihadist-hit northern Burkina Faso when a food convoy being escorted by troops was ambushed, the armed forces said on Thursday.

The incident happened on Wednesday near Tibou in Loroum province bordering Mali, when the convoy of trucks came under attack by around 100 armed men, it said.

USNI News

The Navy issued Boeing $200 million to keep its F/A-18E/F Super Hornet production line humming ahead of a congressionally mandated 20 fighter buy, USNI News has learned.


Photo: USNI

USNI News

China’s ongoing aggression and ambitions across the Indo-Pacific has caused India to move closer to the United States and Europe militarily and economically, according to Asian security experts.

USNI News

The following is the May 30, 2023, Government Accountability Office report, F-35 Joint Strike Fighter: More Actions Needed to Explain Cost Growth and Support Engine Modernization Decision.

Janes

The US Department of Defense (DoD) has contracted SpaceX to provide its Starlink satellite communication (satcom) services to Ukraine.

An announcement by the DoD on 1 June stated it had contracted Starlink to provide satcom services to Ukraine as it “constitutes a vital layer in Ukraine's overall communications network.”

Ukraine has ordered 300 additional reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from German-based Quantum-Systems.

An announcement by the company on 31 May stated the order would be the third placed by Ukraine for the Vector electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) UAV since August 2022.


Quantum-Systems Vector UAV has been ordered for a third time by the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence. (Quantum-Systems)

Janes

The Armed Forces of the Republic of Moldova has received its first batch of European Union (EU)-funded military equipment as part of the European Peace Facility (EPF), the EU announced on 31 May.

Over a 36-month period, Moldova will receive EUR40 million (USD42.87 million) worth of non-lethal military equipment in the areas pertaining to air surveillance, mobility and transportation, logistics, command-and-control (C2), and cyber defence.

GovCon Wire

A Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) business has received a $240 million contract from the U.S. Air Force to develop a variant of the company’s cruise missile system offering.

The Drive

A U.S. Air Force officer helping to spearhead the service's work on artificial intelligence and machine learning says that a simulated test saw a drone attack its human controllers after deciding on its own that they were getting in the way of its mission. The anecdote, which sounds like it was pulled straight from the Terminator franchise, was shared as an example of the critical need to build trust when it comes to advanced autonomous weapon systems, something the Air Force has highlighted in the past. This also comes amid a broader surge in concerns about the potentially dangerous impacts of artificial intelligence and related technologies.

Republic World

Germany's defense minister said Friday his country will look into a report that former German air force fighter plane pilots have been training pilots for the Chinese military. News magazine Der Spiegel and public broadcaster ZDF reported Friday that “at least a handful” of former German air force officers are working as trainers in China, and that in several cases they were apparently paid through companies in Seychelles. They said that such training has been going on for years, that several pilots didn't respond to requests for comment or were unreachable, and that one rejected the allegations.

NATO

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg concluded an informal meeting of Foreign Ministers in Oslo, Norway, on 1 June 2023, calling it an ''opportunity to discuss key issues as we prepare for our summit in Vilnius in July.''

Ministry of National Defence ROC

10 PLA aircraft and 2 PLAN vessels around Taiwan were detected by 6 a.m.(UTC+8) today. 2 of the detected aircraft had crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait or entered Taiwan’s southwest ADIZ. R.O.C. Armed Forces have monitored the situation and tasked CAP aircraft, Navy vessels, and land-based missile systems to respond these activities.


Photo: Ministry of National Defence ROC

Ukraine - Russia

  • In order to deter Russia beyond the war in Ukraine, NATO members must grow their military spending, Britain’s Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said, outlining his ambitions for NATO’s future as it considers its next leader. Wallace has said that the same complacency that NATO members had vis-a-vis Russia before the invasion of Ukraine persists concerning the threats posed by China and destabilizing activity in Africa. Wallace’s comments come as speculation intensifies about who will replace NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg following his expected departure this year. Missy Ryan reports for the Washington Post.

  • The United States is seeking to secure supplies of explosives in Japan, as Washington sends weapons and ammunition to Ukraine, two people familiar with the matter said. While export rules ban Japanese companies from selling lethal items overseas, Japan will allow the sale of industrial TNT because the explosive is not a military-use-only product. Tim Kelly, Nobuhiro Kubo, Yukiko Toyoda, and Kaori Kaneko report for Reuters.

  • The U.S. continues to scour the globe for artillery shells that it can send to chronically limited Ukrainian batteries. Officials are reportedly in talks with Japanese countries to supply explosives, which "would test [Japan's] willingness to court controversy to help Kyiv because export rules ban Japanese companies from selling lethal items overseas," Reuters reports, citing two unnamed sources.

  • Several Russian governors reported attacks on their regions today as the war spills over from Ukraine’s borders into Russian territory. There were no reports of any injuries. Reuters reports.

  • Two people were injured by falling debris after Ukraine’s air defenses repelled a Russian aerial attack on Kyiv earlier today. Jessie Yeung reports for CNN.

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Kyiv officials of negligenceafter civilians were killed when they were locked out of a shelter Wednesday night. Zelenskyy warned that the situation “should never happen again” and said it was the duty of local authorities to ensure shelters are available and accessible. Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko said investigations into the incident are underway. Andrew Jeong and Ellen Francis report for the Washington Post.

  • A growing feud between the paramilitary organization Wagner group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin and Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, Russia’s two most powerful warlords, exposes the rifts in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war machine. The replacement of Wagner’s troops holding Bakhmut with Kadyrov’s troops could be a ploy by the Kremlin to escalate the rivalry between the two warlords, who joined forces last year to criticize the Russian defense ministry. Thomas Grove reports for the Wall Street Journal.

Russian FSB accuses U.S. of hacking thousands of iPhones in Russia VICE Joseph Cox Russia’s FSB has publicly accused the U.S. of hacking thousands of Apple iPhones, including those of people inside Russia, as well as embassies in Russia belonging to NATO countries, post-Soviet countries, and Israel, Hong Kong, and China.

Ukraine war blurs lines between cyber-crimes and state-sponsored attackers The Register Jeff Burt A change in the deployment of the RomCom malware strain has illustrated the blurring distinction between cyberattacks motivated by money and those fueled by geopolitics, in this case Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine, according to Trend Micro analysts.

Russia fines WhatsApp for first time for not deleting banned content Reuters Alexander Marrow A Russian court on Thursday fined messenger service WhatsApp three million roubles ($37,080) for not deleting banned content, its first fine in Russia for that offence.

Fake signals and American insurance: How a dark fleet moves Russian oil The New York Times Christiaan Triebert, Blacki Migliozzi, Alexander Cardia, Muyi Xiao and David Botti For years, ships wanting to hide their whereabouts have resorted to turning off the transponders all large vessels use to signal their location. But the tankers tracked by The Times go beyond this, using cutting-edge spoofing technology to make it appear they’re in one location when they’re really somewhere else.

World

  • U.S.-China Tensions Set to Dominate Asian Security Summit. Diplomats and military officials are weighing the dynamics (NPR) of an arms buildup in the Pacific region at the annual Shangri-La Dialogue, which began today in Singapore. Ahead of the summit, China’s defense minister, who has been under U.S. sanctions since 2018, turned down a meeting with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese opened the event with a speech in which he called for diplomacy (The Conversation) to preserve regional stability and praised U.S. efforts to establish a “reliable and open” channel of communication with China.

  • A meeting of foreign ministers of the BRICS group of nations in South Africa has called for rebalancing the global order away from Western nations. Allegations of Russian war crimes in Ukraine have clouded the talks, as has the International Criminal Court’s warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s arrest. As a court member, South Africa would be obliged to arrest Putin if he attends a BRICS summit scheduled for Johannesburg in August. BRICS is an acronym for Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Oliver Slow reports for BBC News.

US, Europe working on voluntary AI code of conduct as calls grow for regulation Associated Press The United States and Europe are drawing up a voluntary code of conduct for artificial intelligence, a top European Union official said Wednesday, as the developing technology triggers warnings about the risks it poses to humanity and growing calls for regulation.

  • U.S.-EU joint statement of the Trade and Technology Council The White House On this occasion, the United States and the European Union reiterated the central role of the TTC in the broader transatlantic partnership, the strategic nature of which was reconfirmed in the context of Russia’s illegal and unjustifiable war of aggression against Ukraine. We reaffirm our unwavering commitment to support Ukraine for as long as it takes.

China

Chinese leader Xi Jinping called for tech self-sufficiency a decade ago, according to speech in new book South China Morning Post Ben Jiang President Xi Jinping determined as early as 2013 that China had little choice but to pursue self-sufficiency in key technologies, and that the country could rely on its socialist system to seek technological advantages, according to an internal speech made public for the first time in a new book.

China warns of artificial intelligence risks, calls for beefed-up national security measures Associated Press China’s ruling Communist Party has warned of the risks posed by advances in artificial intelligence while calling for heightened national security measures. The statement issued after a meeting Tuesday chaired by party leader and President Xi Jinping underscores the tension between the government’s determination to seize global leadership in cutting-edge technology and concerns about the possible social and political harms of such technologies.

USA

  • U.S. military planners are shifting away from big military bases in the Asia-Pacific region in a bid to disperse their assets that could be vulnerable to China’s growing missile arsenal. Tabletop simulations conducted by U.S. security analysts, including of a hypothetical war over Taiwan, generally assumed Beijing would try to destroy key U.S. installations early in the conflict. China now has over 1,300 ballistic missiles that could target the region, including over 250 that could reach as far as major U.S. military bases in Guam. Alastair Gale reports for the Wall Street Journal.

  • China’s intelligence agencies are investing in open-source intelligence to learn more about the capabilities of the U.S. military, according to an analysis by the threat intelligence company Recorded Future. China’s government and companies are collecting publicly available data from the Pentagon, think tanks, and private firms to help Beijing’s military plan for a potential conflict with the United States. Julian E. Barnes reports for the New York Times.

  • Iran is planning attacks against U.S. troops in Syria and is working with Russia on a strategy to drive Americans from the region, intelligence officials and leaked classified documents say. Such attacks would escalate Iran’s long-running campaign of using proxy militias to launch rocket and drone strikes on U.S. forces in Syria, risking a wider military confrontation with Iran. Iran is developing more sophisticated weaponry and teaching its proxies to use them against U.S. personnel. Joby Warrick and Evan Hill report for the Washington Post.

  • The U.S. Treasury Department yesterday imposed sanctions on members and affiliates of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard and its external operations arm. Washington has accused the Islamic Revolutionary Guard of participating in terrorist plots targeting former U.S. government officials, dual U.S. and Iranian nationals, and Iranian dissidents. Reuters reports.

  • The White House announced yesterday that it would impose sanctions against key defense companies and people who “perpetuate violence” in Sudan. “These measures are intended to hold accountable those responsible for undermining the peace, security, and stability of Sudan,” White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said,as the warring factions failed to abide by a ceasefire agreement. Jack Jeffery and Aamer Madhani report for AP News.

  • The Biden administration announced yesterday that it is revoking the visas of Russian nuclear inspectors, denying pending applications for new monitors, and canceling standard clearances for Russian aircraft to enter U.S. airspace. The move is in retaliation to Russia’s suspension of the New START nuclear treaty. Matthew Lee reports for AP News.

  • The U.S. and Taiwan formally inked a trade deal, irking China, AP reports. The deal will "cut red tape at customs and reduce waiting times for U.S. businesses bringing products to Taiwan. It also commits the U.S. and Taiwan to adopting measures to combat bribery and other forms of corruption and to encouraging more trade involving small- and medium-sized businesses," an earlier AP report said.

Asia Financial

The US is set to implement curbs on investments in Chinese technology firms developing advanced chips, artificial intelligence and quantum computing, according to testimony from a US Treasury official on Wednesday. In March, The Australian Strategic Policy Institute found in a study that China had a “stunning lead” in a majority of critical emerging technologies, including AI, advanced materials, quantum technology, electric batteries and nano manufacturing.

US seeks to curb investment in Chinese chips, AI and quantum computing Reuters Karen Freifeld New rules under consideration would restrict the flow of U.S. investments and know-how into Chinese companies working on advanced semiconductors, artificial intelligence and quantum computing, a U.S. Treasury official said on Wednesday.

Amazon's Ring used to spy on customers, FTC says in privacy settlement Reuters Diane Bartz A former employee of Amazon.com's Ring doorbell camera unit spied for months on female customers in 2017 with cameras placed in bedrooms and bathrooms, the Federal Trade Commission said in a court filing on Wednesday when it announced a $5.8 million settlement with the company over privacy violations.

Section 702 data led to State Department warnings about North Korean IT scams, official says CyberScoop Tonya Riley A controversial surveillance authority played a vital role in State Department’s ability to learn about and warn international partners and U.S. businesses about North Korea’s efforts to commit digital fraud to fund its nuclear program, a senior state department official said Tuesday.

Enzo Biochem says ransomware attack exposed clinical test data of 2.5 million patients TechCrunch Carly Page Enzo, which manufactures and sells DNA-based tests to detect viral and bacterial diseases including COVID-19 and cancer, confirmed in an SEC filing this week that it experienced a ransomware attack on April 6. While it was able to remain operational by disconnecting its systems from the internet, Enzo said it discovered on April 11 that hackers were able to access and exfiltrate sensitive data from the company’s systems.

US eating disorder helpline takes down AI chatbot over harmful advice The Guardian Lauren Aratani The National Eating Disorder Association has taken down an artificial intelligence chatbot, “Tessa”, after reports that the chatbot was providing harmful advice. On Monday, activist Sharon Maxwell posted on Instagram that Tessa offered her “healthy eating tips” and advice on how to lose weight. The chatbot recommended a calorie deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories a day and weekly weighing and measuring to keep track of weight.

Americas

  • U.S. Says Migrant Processing Centers to Open in Guatemala. The new centers will open on June 12 to provide appointments (Al Jazeera) for temporary work permits, family reunification, and other legal pathways to the United States to reduce crowding at the U.S.-Mexico border. The White House did not say where in Guatemala the centers will be located.

  • U.S./Mexico: Mexico accepted a U.S. trade request to monitor alleged labor violations (Reuters) at a Goodyear tire plant in San Luis Potosí state. Mexico’s labor ministry now has thirty-five days to investigate and make a decision.

Meta threatens to block news in California over journalism bill The Washington Post Naomi Nix and Cristiano Lima Meta is threatening to block users in California from sharing news articles on its social media networks to protest a state legislative proposal that would force tech companies to pay publishers for their content.

North Asia

  • Japan to Increase Funding to Boost Falling Birth Rate. Prime Minister Kishida Fumio said the country planned to spend (Bloomberg) around $25 billion on the initiative, which would raise government spending per child on families to the level of Sweden to help bolster the country’s sliding birth rate. He has yet to explain how the government will fund this plan.

South Korea slaps sanctions on North's hacking group after failed satellite launch Reuters South Korea on Friday announced new sanctions against a North Korean hacking group, Kimsuky, it accused of being involved in the North’s latest satellite launch attempt.

Japan considers official security clearance system to ease trade and cooperation Japan Times Yoshiaki Nohara and Yuki Hagiwara Economic Security Minister Sanae Takaichi said she wants to submit a security clearance bill by next year’s parliamentary session at the latest. Without a law in place, Japanese companies risk missing out on highly sensitive contracts including those with overseas allies in areas like cutting-edge chip technology and cybersecurity.

Nvidia CEO eyes China talks despite US curbs Australian Financial Review Chunying Zhang Nvidia chief executive Jensen Huang is heading to China to meet with tech executives in the world’s biggest chip market, despite rising tensions between Washington and Beijing, according to people familiar with the matter.

Southeast Asia

  • Singapore and China agreed to establish a high-level hotline (Bloomberg) for military communications. Meanwhile, European officials are expected to urge other attendees to take a stance on Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Cross-border cooperation vital for Asia's cyber defense Nikkei Asia Michaela Browning When global security leaders meet this week in Singapore for the Shangri-La Dialogue, they will be gathering in the region home to the world's largest group of internet users and to extraordinary digital capability and dynamism. At the same time, the region is the target of more cyberattacks than any other. Restricting data flows across borders may not be the most effective defense against cyberthreats.

Asia

  • Indian Opposition Leader Criticizes Modi During Visit to Washington. Rahul Gandhi, a former member of Parliament, said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is undermining India’s democratic institutions (Bloomberg) in a speech in Washington yesterday. U.S. President Joe Biden is set to host Modi for a state dinner later this month.

  • Pakistan: Prominent human rights activist Jibran Nasir was abducted (Dawn) yesterday, his wife said. Nasir has criticized the government crackdown on former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s party and the decision to try protesters under military law.

Australia

Plan to stop AI threats applauded but calls for urgent funding Australian Financial Review Paul Smith Leading Australia-based artificial intelligence experts have urged the government to tie funding to its fresh focus on the rapidly developing capabilities of the technology, as Minister for Industry and Science Ed Husic said some AI applications may be banned due to fears of harm to humanity.

Liberals to propose new technology security office The Australian Noah Yim The opposition will propose the creation of a new office to ­assess security risks in government-used technology. Opposition home affairs spokesman James Paterson is scheduled to deliver a speech on Thursday to the Australian Cyber Security Summit in Canberra, where he will propose a ­national technology security ­office.


Europe

  • Reuters: U.S. To Offer Deal With Russia on Nuclear Arms Curbs Through 2026. White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan is expected to offer in a speech today (Reuters) for the United States to abide by the New START nuclear arms treaty’s limits until its 2026 expiration if Russia agrees to do the same. Russia suspended its participation in the treaty in February.

  • The eruption of violence in Kosovo this week, which left dozens of people wounded, has raised fears in Western capitals that the possibility of conflict could create an opening for Russia to reignite one of Europe’s unresolved flashpoints. The violence was caused when Kosovo attempted to forcibly install ethnic Albanian mayors in ethnic Serb areas following elections that international observers dismissed as unrepresentative. NATO, which provides troops to keep the peace in Kosovo, dispatched an additional 700 troops following the unrest. Bojan Pancevski reports for the Wall Street Journal.

  • U.S./Ukraine: The U.S. military acknowledged it is paying SpaceX (WaPo) for Starlink satellite internet access in Ukraine, but did not disclose the amount. U.S. defense officials previously estimated that the annual cost of the service, which SpaceX had been donating toward, was hundreds of millions of dollars.

Italian senator reads AI-generated speech in parliament 'to stir debate' Reuters Federico Maccioni An Italian senator has surprised his colleagues by reading out in parliament a speech drafted by a chatbot, saying afterwards that he pulled the stunt to stir "a serious debate" on risks and opportunities posed by artificial intelligence.

Greece orders probe into massive school exam cyber-attack Balkan Insight Eleni Stamatoukou Greece’s Supreme Court Public Prosecutor Isidoros Dogiakos ordered an investigation into a cyber-attack on the data bank providing the school exam questions, with the assistance of the Police’s Cyber Crime Unit.

Middle East

  • Lebanese Military Court Charges Men for Killing UN Peacekeeper . An unnamed senior judicial official said the five men who committed the killing last December were linked (AP) to the militant group Hezbollah. One of the five men is in custody, while the other four remain at large.

  • Jordan/Saudi Arabia: The heir to the throne of Jordan married a woman (CNN) related to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman yesterday in Jordan’s capital, Amman. Ties between the two countries have recently thawed.

Who faked an Israeli magazine to trash 'Ukrainian Nazis'? Haaretz Avi Scharf A pro-Russia disinformation campaign which impersonates an Israeli magazine has been circulating over the past week on Facebook, and claims Israel’s economic crisis is a result of its so-called support for Nazism in Ukraine.

Africa

  • Clashes erupted between protesters and security forces after a court in Senegal sentenced the country’s leading opposition figure, Ousmane Sonko, to two years in prison yesterday after finding him guilty of “corrupting youth.” The ruling bars Sonko from running in future elections. The conviction relates to an accusation that Sonko had a sexual relationship with a massage parlor worker under the age of 21. Elian Peltier reports for the New York Times.

  • Nine Die in Clashes After Senegal Opposition Leader’s Sentencing. Opposition leader Ousmane Sonko received a two-year sentence (FT) for “corrupting youth” that could threaten his ability to run for president next year. After intense protests broke out, the government blocked access to social media sites that it said were being used to incite violence.

  • U.S./Sudan: The United States sanctioned parties from both warring sides (AFP) in Sudan’s conflict yesterday after they broke a previously negotiated cease-fire.

Artificial Intelligence

War crimes evidence erased by social media platforms BBC Jack Goodman and Maria Korenyuk Evidence of potential human rights abuses may be lost after being deleted by tech companies, the BBC has found. Platforms remove graphic videos, often using artificial intelligence - but footage that may help prosecutions can be taken down without being archived.

Misc

Top tips to make businesses safer as cyber crime evolves IT Brief Shannon Williams Culture, strategy and compliance are among the top tools Australian business leaders can leverage to protect their companies from cyber criminals in a rapidly-evolving threat landscape, according to new guidance from BSA | The Software Alliance.




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