News Briefs – May 22, 2017


N. Korea fires ballistic missile in latest test, Seoul says

North Korea on May 21 fired a ballistic missile from an area near its capital, Pyongyang, South Korea’s military said, in the latest weapons test for a country speeding up its development of nuclear weapons and missiles.
The missile was fired from an area near Pukchang, in South Phyongan Province, and flew eastward about 500 kilometers (310 miles), said South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff. It didn’t immediately provide more details.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in held a National Security Council meeting at the presidential Blue House to discuss the missile launch, Moon’s office said.
The launch comes a week after North Korea successfully tested a new midrange missile that Pyongyang said could carry a heavy nuclear warhead. Experts said that rocket flew higher and for a longer time than any other missile previously tested by North Korea, and that it could one day reach targets as far away as Hawaii and Alaska. AP

Pence tells Ohio air base big hike in defense money coming

Vice President Mike Pence is telling military members at a base in Ohio that the Trump administration’s budget coming out next week will include the largest increase in defense spending since the days of Ronald Reagan.
Pence made a stop Saturday at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, to celebrate Armed Forces Day.
He says President Donald Trump is dedicated to making sure the military has the resources and training it deserves to accomplish its missions.
Trump has made fighting terrorism a top priority, and his overall budget outline calls for significant increases in military spending.
Pence says the nation will not rest until it defeats the Islamic State.
Earlier in the day, urged graduating students at a Pennsylvania college to become leaders and cited Trump’s “leadership and perseverance.” AP

U.S. Navy to search Alaska ocean floor for explosives

The U.S. Navy will be searching for World War II-era explosives on the ocean floor near an Alaska island in June.
The Navy will be looking for any munitions and explosives that may have been left behind in the water surrounding Kodiak Island, the Kodiak Daily Mirror reported May 19.
The move is part of an environmental restoration program that assesses potential issues that may have resulted from past operations and activities, Navy Public Affairs Officer Leslie Yuenger said. The water surrounding Kodiak Island was named a Naval Defensive Site on March 22, 1941.
There have been no reports of munitions or explosives spotted in the waters near Kodiak, but Yuenger said another Alaska survey has discovered World War II munitions or explosives in the water surrounding Dutch Harbor.
“We want to make sure you guys are safe when you’re out there,” Yuenger said.
The Navy surveyors will be using a tube-shaped apparatus and unmanned underwater vehicle equipped with side-scan sonar that will let them see and photograph the ocean floor without harming marine life.
The survey findings will be made into a public site inspection report. AP

Canada warns it may cancel U.S. jet buy over Bombardier probe

Canada’s government warned May 18 it could cancel a planned US$2 billion purchase of 18 Super Hornet fighter jets from Boeing because of U.S. Department of Commerce anti-dumping investigations against Canadian plane maker Bombardier.
Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland issued the threat in a statement about Boeing’s complaint against Bombardier.
“Canada is reviewing current military procurement that relates to Boeing,” Freeland said.
Boeing argued at a hearing in Washington May 18 that duties should be imposed on Bombardier’s new larger CSeries passenger aircraft, insisting it receives Canadian government subsidies that give it an advantage internationally.
Freeland said Boeing’s petition is “clearly aimed at blocking Bombardier’s new aircraft, the CSeries aircraft, from entering the U.S. market.” She said the government strongly disagrees with the Commerce Department’s decision to initiate anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations.
The threat comes amid increasing trade disputes between Canada and the U.S. and on the same day the Trump administration formally told Congress that it intends to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Chicago-based Boeing has petitioned the U.S. Commerce Department and the U.S. International Trade Commission to investigate subsidies of Montreal-based Bombardier’s CSeries aircraft. Boeing said Bombardier has received more than US$3 billion in government subsidies so far that have allowed Bombardier to engage in “predatory pricing.”
Brazil has also launched a formal complaint to the World Trade Organization over Canadian subsidies to Bombardier. Sao Paolo-based Embraer is a fierce rival of Bombardier’s.
The Quebec government invested US$1 billion in exchange for a 49.5 percent stake in the CSeries last year. Canada’s federal government also recently provided a US$275 million loan to Bombardier, which struggled to win orders for its new medium-size plane. But Bombardier won a 75-plane order for the CSeries from U.S.-based Delta Air Lines in 2016. Bombardier said its planes never competed with Boeing in the sale to Delta.
The Canadian government said late last year it would enter into discussions with the U.S. and Boeing on buying 18 Super Hornet jet fighters from Boeing on an interim basis and hold an open competition to buy more planes over the next five years.
Canada remains part of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program. AP