News Briefs – December 10, 2018


U.S. Marines ID dead crew member in Japan warplanes crash

The U.S. Marine Corps has identified a fighter pilot who died after his jet collided with a refueling aircraft during training off Japan’s coast, leaving five other Marines missing and one rescued.
Two pilots were flying an F/A-18 Hornet that collided with a KC-130 Hercules about 2 a.m., Dec. 6. The other pilot was rescued and the crew of the refueling plane is missing.
The Marine Corps identified the dead crew member as Capt. Jahmar Resilard, 28, of Miramar, Fla. He served with Marine All Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 242, stationed on Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Yamaguchi, Japan.
“The Bats are deeply saddened by the loss of Captain Jahmar Resilard. He was an effective and dedicated leader who cared for his Marines and fellow fighter pilots with passion,” Lt. Col. James Compton, commanding officer of the squadron, said in a statement.
“His warm and charismatic nature bound us together and we will miss him terribly,” he added.
The Marines said that the two planes were involved in routine training, including aerial refueling, but that it was still investigating what caused the crash.
President Donald Trump tweeted that his thoughts and prayers were with the Marine Corps crew members involved in the collision. He thanked U.S. Forces in Japan for their “immediate response and rescue efforts” and said “Whatever you need, we are here for you.”
The crash is the latest in recent series of accidents involving the U.S. military deployed to and near Japan.
Last month, a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornet from the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan crashed into the sea southwest of Japan’s southern island of Okinawa, though its two pilots were rescued safely. In mid-October, a MH-60 Seahawk also belonging to the Ronald Reagan crashed off the Philippine Sea shortly after takeoff, causing non-fatal injuries to a dozen sailors.
More than 50,000 U.S. troops are based in Japan under a bilateral security pact. AP

Cambodian premier says no to foreign military bases

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said Dec. 7 that his government will not allow any foreign military bases in its territory and called media reports that China is seeking a naval base there “fake news.”
Hun Sen, who was on a three-day visit to Vietnam, insisted at a news briefing with his Vietnamese counterpart, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, that the Cambodian Constitution does not permit foreign military bases.
“I want to emphasize to you that the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia does not allow any country to set up military bases in Cambodia,” Hun Sun said through a translator.
Asia Times reported last month that China has lobbied Cambodia since 2017 for a base in the southwestern province of Koh Kong in the Gulf of Thailand.
Hun Sen dismissed the report.
“There has been distorting information over the past month that there are preparations to build military establishments in Cambodia,” he said. “I want to say and I have just told Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and the Vietnamese delegation that this is fake news and there’s no such thing happening in Cambodia.”
Asia Times said the alleged naval base is part of a $3.8 billion tourism development named Dara Sakor Beachside Resort led by a Chinese company. It said the project reportedly includes a deep-water port, an international airport and manufacturing facilities.
It is located in the Gulf of Thailand but has direct access to the South China Sea, most of which is claimed by China. China in recent years has built seven artificial islands in the disputed Spratly Island chain and placed military equipment on some of them, raising alarm among other countries in the region and in the United States. AP

Cyprus rejects Russian claims of U.S. military build-up

Cyprus’ foreign minister has rejected Russian claims that the U.S. is looking to set up a military base on the east Mediterranean island as a bulwark against expanding Russian influence in the region.
Nikos Christodoulides told private TV station Sigma on Dec. 7 that he called his Russian counterpart to convey Cyprus’ “grave concern” over the remarks from Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.
The remarks, he said “didn’t correspond with reality” and had breached “diplomatic decorum.”
Christodoulides said Cyprus receives many foreign government requests to act as a potential waystation for evacuated citizens in case of a regional crisis.
Zakharova also said Dec. 5 Moscow had warned Cyprus that attempts to bring the country into U.S. and NATO plans for the region would entail “retaliatory action.” AP

U.S. Navy bombing range expansion could limit public access

Conservationists are leading opposition to a proposal to triple the size of a U.S. military bombing range and training grounds in northern Nevada in a move that could gobble up more than 900 square miles of public land across five counties.
The Navy wants to add more than 100 square miles of private land to the Fallon Range Training Complex, about 60 miles east of Reno.
Navy officials say the additional space is needed to safely provide more realistic training using faster, more advanced aircraft and weaponry.
But critics say it could have ramifications for hunters, ATV riders, backcountry explorers and wildlife, all of which could face access restrictions.
Public meetings are scheduled throughout the month. AP

Brazil court suspends Boeing-Embraer deal until next year

A Brazilian federal court has at least temporarily blocked a US$4.75 billion joint venture between Boeing and Embraer until the incoming government takes office.
The two aerospace companies announced their intentions in July to create a merger to run Embraer’s commercial aviation business. The deal would result in Boeing holding 80 percent of the resulting company and Embraer the remaining 20 percent.
The left-leaning Workers’ Party said Dec. 7 that Judge Victorio Giuzio Neto ruled this week to block the merger following a petition by of the party’s congressmen. The lawmakers contend the deal will cost Brazil jobs and expertise.
Boeing declined to comment. Embraer sent a statement to The Associated Press saying it will appeal.
President-elect Jair Bolsonaro takes power Jan. 1. AP