News Briefs – July 24, 2019


Bolton meets Japanese officials to discuss Iran, South Korea

U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton held talks with Japanese officials on July 22, presumably to discuss a U.S.-led military coalition to safeguard shipping in the Strait of Hormuz amid escalating tensions in the region.
Japan, whose use of force is limited to self-defense of itself and its allies under its pacifist constitution, is cautious about a military coalition.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reiterated Monday that he wants to learn more about Washington’s intentions before deciding if or how Japan can cooperate, hinting that he is not planning to join the effort immediately.
“In order to ease tensions, we hope to make Japan’s own effort first,” Abe said. “We have to wait until we hear more about what the U.S. is talking about, as we don’t have a clear picture of its purposes and other details.”
Bolton, after meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono on July 22, said they “covered a lot of ground.” Asked if they discussed Iran, he did not elaborate but hinted they did.
“We talked about all the issues that confronted us from a national security point of view,” he said.
Japanese media said Bolton might also discuss an escalating spat between Japan and South Korea over trade and wartime labor issues. AP

Cambodian leader denies allowing China naval base

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has strongly denied allowing China to set up a military outpost in the Southeast Asian nation, after a news report alleged that the two nations signed a secret pact allowing Beijing exclusive use of a naval base on the Gulf of Thailand.
Hun Sen told the pro-government Fresh News website July 22 that the report by The Wall Street Journal was “the worst distorted news,” and that Cambodia had never discussed with China setting up a base.
The Journal’s report said an early draft of the reputed agreement would allow China use of the Ream naval base for 30 years, where it would be able to post military personnel, store weapons and berth warships.
China is Cambodia’s biggest investor and closest political partner. AP

South Korea fires warning shots at Russian warplanes

South Korean jets fired warning shots after a Russian military plane violated South Korea’s airspace on July 23, Seoul officials said, in the first such incident between the countries.
Three Russian military planes initially entered South Korea’s air defense identification zone off its east coast before one of them entered the country’s territorial sky, the South’s Defense Ministry said.
South Korean fighter jets then scrambled to the area to fire warning shots, a ministry official said, requesting anonymity due to department rules.
The Russian plane left the area but it returned and violated the South Korean airspace again later Tuesday, the ministry official said. He said the South Korean fighter jets fired warning shots again. Each time, the Russian plane didn’t return fire, the official said.
It was the first time a Russian military plane violated South Korean airspace, according to South Korean officials.
The airspace the Russian plane violated was above a group of South Korean-held islets roughly halfway between South Korea and Japan that has been a source of territorial disputes between them. Russia isn’t a party in those disputes.
The three Russian planes had entered the South Korean air defense identification zone with two Chinese military planes. But it wasn’t immediately known whether the two countries deliberately did so, according to the South Korean official.
Before their joint flights with the Russian planes, the Chinese planes entered South Korea’s air defense identification zone off its southwest coast earlier Tuesday, according to the South Korean official. Chinese planes have occasionally entered South Korea’s air defense identification zone in recent years.
South Korea’s Defense Ministry said it plans to summon Russian and Chinese Embassy officials later Tuesday to register formal protests. AP

Lockheed: Second quarter earnings snapshot

Lockheed Martin on July 23 reported second-quarter earnings of $1.42 billion.
The Bethesda, Md.,-based company said it had net income of $5 per share.
The results beat Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of six analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $4.74 per share.
The aerospace and defense company posted revenue of $14.43 billion in the period, also exceeding Street forecasts. Four analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $14.16 billion.
Lockheed expects full-year earnings to be $20.85 to $21.15 per share, with revenue in the range of $58.25 billion to $59.75 billion.
Lockheed shares have risen 36 percent since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has increased 19 percent. The stock has climbed 11 percent in the last 12 months. AP