Monday, May 10, 2010

DTN News: BAE Systems - Navistar Defense - ArvinMentor Team Delivers First Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTV) to U.S. Army and Marine Corps

DTN News: BAE Systems - Navistar Defense - ArvinMentor Team Delivers First Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTV) to U.S. Army and Marine Corps *Australian JLTV Prototypes to Follow in June Source: DTN News / BAE Systems 03 May 2010 Ref. 087/2010 (NSI News Source Info) ARLINGTON, Virgina - May 11, 2010: BAE Systems, through its U.S. Combat Systems line of business, teammates Navistar Defense and ArvinMeritor, are proud to announce an on-time delivery of its Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) prototype vehicles to the U.S. Army and Marine Corps. The prototypes will undergo a 12-month rigorous government test and evaluation period as part of the JLTV Technology Development (TD) phase. The BAE Systems – Navistar – ArvinMeritor team handed over seven JLTV prototype vehicles and four companion trailers to the U.S. Army in a ceremony last week at the Navistar Defense productions facility in West Point, Miss. The mix of vehicles included two JLTV Category A General Purpose vehicles, four JLTV Category B Infantry Carriers, one Category C Utility Carrier. In January 2009 Australia entered into a Land Force Capability Modernization (LFCM) Project Arrangement (PA) for the TD phase of the JLTV program, enabling tactical vehicle interoperability and integration between U.S. future forces and Australian land forces. In support of the Australian Department of Defence, the team is now focused on completing the build of three additional variants and a companion trailer that will be delivered in June. These vehicles are designed to be highly compatible with the U.S. variants, ensuring interoperability between forces, yet tailored specifically to meet the needs of the Australian troops. “Our rich history and extensive experience with combat vehicles has allowed us to develop a JLTV family of vehicles design that represents a balance between performance, protection and payload,” said Ann Hoholick, vice president and general manager of New Vehicles and Amphibious Systems for BAE Systems. “We have invested heavily in the development of the technology and capabilities that a platform like JLTV could provide to the modern day war fighter.” The JLTV design incorporates lessons learned from the U.S. Department of Defense's Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle program and features the latest in lightweight, advanced armor and a V-shaped hull design to provide maximum crew protection. “The BAE Systems - Navistar ArvinMeritor team brings a balance of military, production and automotive experience to the program,” said Archie Massicotte, president of Navistar Defense. “We work hard to provide vehicles that are safe to operate and survivable against current threats. We also understand that our design needs to be flexible so it can evolve ahead of future threat levels.” The team builds off the three companies’ current leadership in armored and tactical vehicle development and support. Combined, the BAE Systems - Navistar – ArvinMeritor team maximizes JLTV program value through proven capabilities, lean manufacturing and extensive worldwide logistics support. The team draws on top talent from across the country. Sites participating in the development include: York, Pennsylvania; Ontario, San Diego and Santa Clara, California; Dearborn Heights, Sterling Heights and Troy, Michigan; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Johnson City, New York; Austin, Texas; Nashua, New Hampshire; Reston, Virginia; Melrose Park and Warrenville, Illinois; Fort Wayne, Indiana; West Point, Mississippi; Huntsville, Alabama; and Laurinberg and Aiken, South Carolina. About BAE Systems BAE Systems is a global defense, security and aerospace company with approximately 107,000 employees worldwide. The Company delivers a full range of products and services for air, land and naval forces, as well as advanced electronics, security, information technology solutions and customer support services. In 2009 BAE Systems reported sales of £22.4 billion (US$ 36.2 billion). About Navistar Defense Navistar Defense is an affiliate of Navistar International Corporation (NYSE: NAV), a holding company whose subsidiaries and affiliates produce International® brand commercial and military trucks, MaxxForce® brand diesel engines, IC Bus™ brand school and commercial buses, Monaco RV brands of recreational vehicles, and Workhorse® brand chassis for motor homes and step vans. It also is a private-label designer and manufacturer of diesel engines for the pickup truck, van and SUV markets. The company also provides truck and diesel engine service parts. Another affiliate offers financing services. About ArvinMeritor ArvinMeritor, Inc. is a premier global supplier of a broad range of integrated systems, modules and components to original equipment manufacturers and the aftermarket for the transportation and industrial sectors. The company marked its centennial anniversary in 2009, celebrating a long history of 'forward thinking.' The company serves commercial truck, trailer and specialty original equipment manufacturers and certain aftermarkets, and light vehicle manufacturers. ArvinMeritor common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol ARM. For further information, please contact Stephanie Bissell Serkhoshian, BAE Systems Tel: +1 703 894 3522 Mobile: +1 703 785-7891
Elissa Koc, Navistar Defense Tel: +1 630 753 2669

DTN News: Oshkosh Corporation Receives $410 Million Delivery Order For Family Of Medium Tactical Vehicles

DTN News: Oshkosh Corporation Receives $410 Million Delivery Order For Family Of Medium Tactical Vehicles Source: DTN News / Oshkosh Corporation (NSI News Source Info) OSHKOSH, Wis. - May 11, 2010: Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE: OSK), a leading manufacturer of specialty vehicles and vehicle bodies, announced today that its Defense division has received a delivery order valued at more than $410 million from the TACOM Life Cycle Management Command (LCMC) for the production and delivery of 2,634 Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) trucks and trailers for the U.S. Army. This award is for deliveries scheduled between March and December 2011. To date, Oshkosh Corporation has received orders valued at more than $690 million under the five-year FMTV requirements contract. Oshkosh Corporation utilized its own resources to lean forward before its original contract award was affirmed by the Army on February 12, 2010, enabling the company to deliver FMTV vehicles and trailers according to the Army's original schedule. The company will begin supplying initial trucks to the Army this month for performance and durability testing. Production deliveries will begin in October 2010. All Oshkosh FMTV vehicles will include the company's Long-Term Armor Strategy (LTAS)-compliant armor solution. “Oshkosh Corporation’s world-class production capabilities, coupled with our independent investments in this program, will ensure vehicles are delivered without any disruption to the original timeline,” said Robert G. Bohn, Oshkosh Corporation chairman and chief executive officer. “We are closely engaged with the Army and moving forward on all necessary processes to maintain this schedule and deliver high-quality trucks and trailers to meet the Warfighters’ needs.” The five-year, multi-billion-dollar contract calls for the production of an estimated 23,000 trucks and trailers, as well as support services and training. The FMTV is a series of 17 models and 23 variants ranging from 2.5-ton to 10-ton payloads. Oshkosh Corporation has broken ground on a new 150,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art electrocoat (E-coat) facility in Oshkosh, Wis., to support the FMTV program, and possibly other programs. Facility start-up will begin in late summer 2010. The company also announced last month that it is expanding its Michigan office with plans to move into a new facility in Warren, Mich., and hire up to 190 new employees there to support the FMTV System Technical Support (STS) work. About Oshkosh Defense Oshkosh Defense, a division of Oshkosh Corporation, is an industry-leading global designer and manufacturer of tactical military trucks and armored wheeled vehicles, delivering a full product line of conventional and hybrid vehicles, advanced armor options, proprietary suspensions and vehicles with payloads that can exceed 70 tons. Oshkosh Defense provides a global service and supply network including full life-cycle support and remanufacturing, and its vehicles are recognized the world over for superior performance, reliability and protection. For more information, visit About Oshkosh Corporation Oshkosh Corporation is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of a broad range of specialty access equipment, commercial, fire & emergency and military vehicles and vehicle bodies. Oshkosh Corp. manufactures, distributes and services products under the brands of Oshkosh®, JLG®, Pierce®, McNeilus®, Medtec®, Jerr-Dan®, Oshkosh Specialty Vehicles, Frontline™, SMIT™, CON-E-CO®, London® and IMT®. Oshkosh products are valued worldwide in businesses where high quality, superior performance, rugged reliability and long-term value are paramount. For more information, log on to ®, ™ All brand names referred to in this news release are trademarks of Oshkosh Corporation or its subsidiary companies. Forward-Looking Statements This press release contains statements that the Company believes to be “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements other than statements of historical fact, including, without limitation, statements regarding the Company’s future financial position, business strategy, targets, projected sales, costs, earnings, capital expenditures, debt levels and cash flows, and plans and objectives of management for future operations, are forward-looking statements. When used in this press release, words such as “may,” “will,” “expect,” “intend,” “estimate,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “should,” “project” or “plan” or the negative thereof or variations thereon or similar terminology are generally intended to identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to risks, uncertainties, assumptions and other factors, some of which are beyond the Company’s control, which could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. These factors include the impact on revenues and margins of the planned decrease in M-ATV production rates; the cyclical nature of the Company’s access equipment, commercial and fire & emergency markets, especially during a global recession and tight credit markets; the duration of the global recession, which could lead to additional impairment charges related to many of the Company’s intangible assets and/or a slower recovery in the Company’s cyclical businesses than equity market expectations; the expected level and timing of U.S. Department of Defense procurement of products and services and funding thereof; risks related to reductions in government expenditures, the potential for the government to competitively bid the Company’s Army and Marine Corps contracts, the startup of the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles contract and the uncertainty of government contracts generally; the consequences of financial leverage associated with the JLG acquisition, which could limit the Company’s ability to pursue various opportunities; risks related to the collectability of receivables during a recession, particularly for those businesses with exposure to construction markets; risks related to production delays as a result of the economy’s impact on the Company’s suppliers; the potential for commodity costs to rise sharply, including in a future economic recovery; risks associated with international operations and sales, including foreign currency fluctuations; and the potential for increased costs relating to compliance with changes in laws and regulations. Additional information concerning these and other factors is contained in the Company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. All forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this press release. The Company assumes no obligation, and disclaims any obligation, to update information contained in this press release. Investors should be aware that the Company may not update such information until the Company’s next quarterly earnings conference call, if at all.

DTN News: U.S. Department of Defense Contracts Dated May 10, 2010

DTN News: U.S. Department of Defense Contracts Dated May 10, 2010 Source: U.S. DoD issued May 10, 2010 (NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - May 11, 2010: U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs) Contracts issued May 10, 2010 are undermentioned; CONTRACTS ARMY ~Mission Essential Personnel, Columbus, Ohio, was awarded on May 7 a $679,000,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity with cost-plus-award fee contract. This contract action seeks the continuation of linguist/translation services which provide our forces with the ability to communicate effectively with the local populace, gather information for force protection, and interact with foreign military units in Afghanistan. Work is to be performed in Afghanistan (86.202 percent); Bahrain (0.926 percent); Djibouti (0.102 percent); Germany (2.081 percent); HOA (1.230 percent); Italy (0.92 percent); Kenya (0.174 percent); Kirgizia (0.042 percent); Qatar (0.163 percent); Redstone Arsenal, Ala. (0.002 percent); Camp Pendleton, Calif. (1.235 percent); Los Angeles, Calif. (0.002); Atlanta, Ga. (0.002 percent); Fort Gordon, Ga., (4.743 percent); Hunter Army Airfield, Ga. (0.504 percent); Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii (0.401 percent); Camp Lejeune, N.C. (0.501 percent); Fort Bragg, N.C. (0.127 percent); Nashville, Tenn. (0.001 percent); Fort Hood, Texas. (0.343 percent); San Antonio, Texas. (0.0104 percent); Arlington, Va. (0.027 percent); Fort Belvoir, Va. (0.144 percent); and Quantico, Va., (0.017 percent), with an estimated completion date of Apr. 1, 2011. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command, Principal Assistant Responsible for Contracting, Alexandra, Va., is the contracting activity (W911W4-07-D-0010). ~Oshkosh Corp., Oshkosh, Wis., was awarded on May 7 a $410,066,021 firm-fixed-price contract for the production of 2,634 Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles; 2,230 trucks; and 404 trailers. Work is to be performed in Oshkosh, Wis., with an estimated completion date of March 31, 2012. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with three bids received. TACOM LCMC, Warren CCTA-ATB, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-09-D-0159). ~Textron Systems Corp., Slidell, La., was awarded on May 7 a $290,169,680 firm-fixed-price contract to establish the following options to be exercised between the date of award and Sept. 30, 2011: 475 M1117 armored security vehicles (ASV); 220 M1200 Armored Knights (AK); 82 M1117 ASV field sets; 28 M1117 sustainment sets; 63 M1200 AK field sets; 21 M1200 AK sustainment sets; 240,000 systems technical support hours; 19,710 Iraq/Afghanistan field services representative (FSR) man-days; 2,190 Kuwait FSR man-days; and 6,570 FSR man-days throughout the continental U.S. Exercising the following options: 327 M1117 ASVs; 96 M1200 AKs; 55 M1117 ASV sustainment sets; 19 M1117 ASV sustainment sets; and 44 M1200 AK field sets. Work is to be performed in Slidell, La., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2011. One bid was solicited with one bid received. TACOM Contracting Center, Warren, CCTA-ATB-D, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-09-C-0532). ~Raytheon Co., Integrated Defense Co., Andover, Mass., was awarded on May 7 a $105,334,824 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for fiscal 2010 Patriot engineering services contract for 907,043 man-hours of effort. Work is to be performed in Tewksbury, Mass (73.77 percent); Andover, Mass. (12.79 percent); Huntsville, Ala. (7.02 percent); Burlington, Mass. (4.46 percent); and El Paso, Texas (1.96 percent), with an estimated completion date of Jan. 31, 2014. One bid is solicited with one bid received. Aviation & Missile Command Contracting Center, Huntsville, Ala., is the contracting activity (W31P4Q-09-C-0057). ~Honeywell International, Inc., Phoenix, Ariz., was awarded on May 7 a $93,391,753 firm-fixed-price contract. This modification is for a funding action to provide parts and support for the overhaul of 1,000 automotive gas turbines; 1,500 engines; or equivalents for Program Year 5 of the Total Integrated Engine Revitalization program support of Abrams tank production, Abrams derivative vehicles, and Army stock spares. Work is to be performed in Phoenix, Ariz. (66 percent); Greer, S.C. (19 percent); Anniston, Ala. (13 percent); and Rocky Mount, N.C. (2 percent), with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2011. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army TACOM, Warren, AMSCC-TAC-AHPD, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-06-C-0173). ~Hellfire Systems, LLC, Orlando, Fla., was awarded on May 7 an $84,515,385 firm-fixed-price contract for fiscal 2010 option exercise for a total quantity of 1,253 Hellfire II missiles. Work is to be performed in Orlando, Fla., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2013. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Contracting Command, AMCOM Contracting Center, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W31P4Q-08-C-0361). ~A. E. New Jr., Inc, Pensacola, Fla., was awarded on May 6 a $16,132,000 firm-fixed-price contract for the design-build two single-story sprinkler-equipped child development center facilities, each consisting of a concrete foundation, split-faced concrete block over a steel frame, and sloped standing seam metal roof. Facility includes core administration area, staff support area, facility support area, and child care areas. Work is to be performed at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., with an estimated completion date of Aug. 17, 2011. Bids were solicited via the Federal Business Opportunities Web site with 21 bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District, Mobile, Ala., is the contracting activity (W91278-10-C-0060). ~BAE Systems, Sealy, Texas, was awarded on May 7 a $11,942,784 firm-fixed-price contract for the federal retail excise tax for 401 M1157A1P2 10-ton dump trucks scheduled to remain within the continental U.S. Work is to be performed in Sealy, Texas, with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2010. One bid was solicited with one bid received. TACOM Contracting Center, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-08-C-0460). ~AeroVironment, Inc., Simi Valley, Calif., was awarded a $11,198,967 firm-fixed-price contract to definitize and exercise not-to-exceed fiscal 2010 option for 113 full rate production Raven systems, 113 Raven initial spare packages, and Raven engineering services. This effort procures 63 Raven systems; 63 Raven initial spare packages; Raven engineering services; and logistics support for the family of systems proof of principle. Work is to be performed in Simi Valley, Calif., with an estimated completion date of Jan. 30, 2011. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Contracting Command, CCAM-AR-A, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-05-C-0338). ~Gulf Island Fabrication, Inc., Houma, La., was awarded on May 6 a $9,410,156 firm-fixed-price contract to obtain marine services to modify the dredge Potter. The modification includes replacing the existing upper deckhouse and pilothouse areas. This project requires engineering and design, fabrication, testing, and delivery services to provide the required modifications. The dredge Potter is in support of dredging efforts for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Louis District. Work is to be performed in Houma, La., with an estimated completion date of July 23, 2011. Thirteen bids were solicited with three bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Philadelphia District, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (W912BU-10-C-0019). ~Hawker Beechcraft Corp., Wichita, Kan., was awarded on May 6 a $6,219,165 firm-fixed-price contract for the purchase of one Beechcraft King Air B350 aircraft in a click configuration. Work is to be performed in Wichita, Kan., with an estimated completion date of April 28, 2011. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Commands, CCAM-RD-F, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-09-C-0087). MISSILE DEFENSE AGENCY ~Raytheon Missile Systems Co., Tucson, Ariz., is being awarded a cost-plus-incentive-fee modification with a total value of $54,320,048 under contract N00024-07-C-6119. Under this modification, Raytheon will procure, fabricate, and assemble Standard Missile-3 Block IA spares common and unique material for the U.S. manufacturing components and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) manufacturing components. The work will be performed in Tucson, Ariz. The performance period for this work is from May 2010 through March 2011. Research, development, test, and evaluation funding fiscal 2010 ($15,000,000) and FMS funding fiscal 2010 ($7,905,395) will be used to incrementally fund this effort in the amount of $22,905,395. The Missile Defense Agency is the contracting activity (HQ0276). AIR FORCE ~L3 Communications Integrated Systems, LP, Greenville, Texas, was awarded a $31,072,452 contract which will provide preliminary design review through critical design review to include both A & B kits for the C-20B switch digitization airborne information management system Phase II prototype and install. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. 727 ACSG/PKB, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., is the contracting activity (FA8106-08-C-0005). ~Raytheon Co., Omaha, Neb., was awarded a $21,778,959 contract which will provide for joint environment toolkit program which represents the next generation of existing weather systems, focusing on the incremental integration, consolidation, extension, and potential replacement of existing and evolving meteorological operational capability component systems capabilities. At this time, $7,203,670 has been obligated. 651 ESS, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., is the contracting activity (FA8720-04-C-0015).

DTN News: China Prefers Devil It Knows

DTN News: China Prefers Devil It Knows Source: The Diplomat By Richard Weitz (NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - May 11, 2010: Chinese policymakers are looking for a change of behavior in North Korea, not in its regime, argues Richard Weitz. Following his return from a May 3-7 visit to the People’s Republic of China, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il affirmed his government’s willingness to respect his hosts’ desires and resume participation in the Six-Party Talks on denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula at an appropriate time. The talks have remained suspended following an upsurge in tensions last April, when the UN Security Council imposed additional sanctions on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea after North Korea launched a ballistic missile under the guise of testing space rockets. Pyongyang responded defiantly by withdrawing from the talks and then testing another nuclear weapon, the second following its initial test in October 2006, in contravention of previous UN resolutions. According to the state-controlled Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), Kim ‘expressed the DPRK’s willingness to provide favourable conditions for the resumption of the Six-party talks.’ He also said that his government ‘remains unchanged in its basic stand to preserve the aim of denuclearising the Korean peninsula, implement the joint statement adopted at the Six-party talks and pursue a peaceful solution through dialogue.’ The KCNA report, issued on May 8, resembles statements that appeared the previous day in the Chinese government media, which only confirmed Kim’s visit after he had left. ‘The North Korea side stated that its stance in favour of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula has not changed,’ the government-run Xinhua news agency related on May 7. ‘The North Korean side is willing, together with all parties, to discuss creating favourable conditions for restarting the Six-party talks.’ Although welcome, the wording is sufficiently vague as to cast doubt on whether a genuine breakthrough has occurred. Kim has often promised de-nuclearization; the problem has always been getting him to implement these pledges. The statements don’t, for example, mention any timetable and the reference to ‘favourable conditions’ could mean a restatement of North Korean demands that it would only rejoin the talks if the United Nations lifted its sanctions and the United States agreed to sign a treaty formally ending the Korean War. The KCNA report gives the impression that one way Chinese officials tried to induce Kim to make even this vague commitment was to endorse Kim’s efforts to have his third son, Jong-Un, succeed him as leader. Kim, who looked partly paralyzed and emaciated even in the Chinese TV broadcasts of his recent visit, reportedly suffered a major stroke in August 2008. KCNA related a statement by Kim that ties between the two nations will remain unchanged ‘despite the passage of time and the replacement of one generation by a new one,’ which also alludes to Kim’s becoming North Korea’s leader following the death of his father Kim Il-Sung, who founded North Korea after World War II. According to Xinhua, Chinese President Hu Jintao also said at a state dinner in Kim’s honour that ‘the traditional friendship between China and the DPRK is the common treasures of the two governments, parties and peoples, and it is the historical responsibility of the two sides to push forward their friendship with the progress of the times and from generation to generation.’ The Chinese hosts strived to demonstrate respect for Kim on his fifth visit to China, and his first trip to Beijing since 2006. The Chinese press noted that Chinese leaders ‘offered its highest diplomatic courtesy to Kim, as all nine members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China met him during his stay, a rare occasion in the country’s diplomatic history.’ The Chinese government arranged for Kim to tour several high-technology companies in Beijing, Dalian, Shenyang and Tianjin. Kim’s Chinese guests also suggested they’d provide additional economic assistance, though less in return for nuclear concessions than for introducing his own economic reform program, which China experts believe would help promote the country’s internal stability. Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao reportedly told Kim that the two nations enjoyed ‘big potential for developing economic and trade co-operation’ and offered to promote cross-border transportation infrastructure by constructing a new bridge across the Yalu River, which flows between the China and North Korea. The Chinese media quoted Kim as praising China’s economic reforms while visiting the country’s special economic zones and observing China’s sophisticated industries. They also reported Kim as inviting additional Chinese investment in his country, and then cited Chinese experts as stressing the magnitude of the North Korean economic crisis and its need for foreign trade, investment and assistance. To avert state failure in North Korea, China continues to provide North Korea with essential supplies of food, weapons and other economic and political support. According to one estimate, North Korea receives about half its food and almost all its oil imports from China. In 2008, trade between the 2 reached $2.79 billion, up 41 percent since 2007, making China North Korea’s most important trading partner. Hundreds of thousands of North Koreans reside and often work in China and Chinese enterprises also own substantial investments in North Korea. Although China provides much economic and technological aid to the DPRK, presumably some occurs due to commercial considerations that provide some benefits to the Chinese partner. These growing economic ties, as well as China’s security and other interests in North Korea, give many Chinese a major stake in averting additional economic sanctions, not antagonizing the North Korean leadership to such an extent that Pyongyang might retaliate against Chinese economic interests and above all avoiding regime change. A major impediment to a rapid resumption of the Six-Party Talks are the widespread suspicions that North Korea played some part in the powerful explosion that sunk a South Korean warship, the Cheonan, near the border with the North in late March. The governments of both South Korea and the United States have indicated that any re-launching of the Six-Party Talks—which also include China, Japan, Russia and North Korea—should await the outcome of their joint investigation into the tragedy, in which almost half the crew, 46 South Korean sailors, died. South Korean officials expressed some displeasure that Beijing had decided to host Kim despite the unresolved sinking of the warship. Likewise, when asked about Kim’s comments, US State Department spokesman Philip Crowley replied that, ‘if Kim Jong-il wants to create favourable conditions for Six-Party Talks, he can do exactly what we have outlined for months and years – meet its international obligations, pursue the commitments that it made in the joint communiqué in 2005, cease provocative actions that destabilize the region.’ US policy toward the region, Crowley explained, would ‘be guided by North Korea’s actions. There are things that North Korea has to do, not say. And they have to meet their international obligations, cease provocative actions. That is what we’ll be looking for from North Korea.’ After Kim’s return home, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu offered several defences of his ‘unofficial visit.’ She argued that Kim’s trip had been planned well before the Cheonan’s sinking, that North Korea’s involvement in the incident remained unproven, that the two issues were separate events, and that maintaining regional peace and security should be the most important considerations even when determining how to respond to the explosion that destroyed the ship. The Chinese officials who briefed the South Korean Ambassador to China, Yu woo-ik, about the visit reported that the North Korean delegation had denied any involvement in the sinking. Jiang’s comments underscore China’s priorities when it comes to North Korea. They should also prompt a sense of caution over the future of the talks even if the parties overcome their current impasse. It’s understandable that the international community has looked to China to influence Pyongyang’s policies and help end the protracted dispute over North Korea’s nuclear program and other threatening behavior—China is North Korea’s most important foreign diplomatic, economic and security partner. Through the Six-Party Talks and other mechanisms, Chinese policymakers have felt the optimal outcome would be for the North Korean regime to relinquish its nuclear weapons and moderate its other foreign and defence policies in return for security assurances, economic assistance and diplomatic acceptance by the rest of the international community. Such a benign outcome would avoid the feared consequences of precipitous regime change—humanitarian emergencies, economic reconstruction, arms races and military conflicts. Yet, Beijing’s willingness to pressure Pyongyang to modify its policies is constrained by a fundamental consideration. Unlike most policymakers in Seoul, Tokyo and Washington, Chinese policymakers want to change Pyongyang’s behavior, not its regime. Chinese officials remain more concerned about the potential collapse of North Korea than about its government’s intransigence on the nuclear issue or other questions. Chinese policymakers fear that North Korea’s disintegration could induce widespread economic disruptions in East Asia; generate large refugee flows across their borders; weaken China’s influence in the Koreas by ending their unique status as interlocutors with Pyongyang; allow the US military to concentrate its military potential in other theatres (e.g., Taiwan); and potentially remove a buffer separating their borders from US ground forces (i.e., should the US Army redeploy into northern Korea). At worst, North Korea’s collapse could precipitate military conflict and civil strife on the peninsula—which could spill across into Chinese territory. Chinese policymakers have therefore consistently resisted military action, severe economic sanctions and other developments that could threaten stability on the Korean peninsula. Whatever their personal feelings about Kim’s provocative foreign policies and his dynastic ambitions, they prefer to deal with the devil they know rather than the phantom of their nightmares. Richard Weitz writes a weekly column for The Diplomat on Asian defence and security. He is a senior fellow and director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Political-Military Analysis. *This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News, contact: Disclaimer statement Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information supplied herein, DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. Unless otherwise indicated, opinions expressed herein are those of the author of the page and do not necessarily represent the corporate views of DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News.

DTN News: France Dassault-UAE May Have Rafale Deal This Year

DTN News: France Dassault-UAE May Have Rafale Deal This Year Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) PARIS, France - May 11, 2010: Discussions between France and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on a prospective next-generation Rafale strike fighter are taking longer than expected but Paris hopes an agreement can be reached on a "common core" aircraft by the end of the year, a French official said May 3. An agreement reached by "the end of 2010" would open the way for delivery of the more capable Rafale model in 2014 and a flying operational life in 2015, said the official, who is familiar with the negotiations. The talks on cooperation also mean the French Air Force and Navy could get an advanced F4 version of the Rafale earlier than planned. The F3 standard is just entering service and is expected to fly until 2018-20. The F4 model would be a true "fifth-generation" aircraft, the official said. A buyback of the Mirage 2000-9 fleet flown by the UAE has not been agreed with France, but remains a "hypothesis among others," the official said. There is "a small club" of countries flying the Mirage 2000 into which the UAE could sell the Mirage 2000-9 aircraft, the official said. The main additional capabilities under discussion with the UAE include an active electronically scanned array radar, advanced electronic warfare and frontal sector optronics gear, and a nine ton thrust version of the M88 engine. Dassault Aviation is prime contractor for the Rafale. Thales builds the electronic systems, Snecma the M88 engine.

DTN News: Taiwan Could Seek Mirage Kickbacks

DTN News: Taiwan Could Seek Mirage Kickbacks Source: DTN News / Taipei Times (NSI News Source Info) TAIPEI, Taiwan - May 10, 2010: The Air Force may file a case with the international commercial arbitration court to seek the return of kickbacks that were allegedly paid during the procurement of French Mirage 2000 jet fighters in 1992. In the wake of a ruling handed down on Monday by an international court of arbitration in Paris ordering French company Thales (formerly known as Thompson-CSF) to repay the Taiwanese government about US$861 million in kickbacks involved in the scandal-plagued Lafayette frigate deal, the Air Force said on Wednesday it was reviewing the Mirage deal. If the Air Force decides that kickbacks were paid during the procurement of the fighter jets, it would decide whether to file a case with the international court, it said. The court in Paris ordered ­Thales to repay the money given in unauthorized commissions to help Thomson-CSF win a deal to sell the six frigates for US$2.5 billion in 1991. Taiwan ordered 48 single-seat Mirage 2000-5EI interceptors and 12 Mirage twin-seat 2000-5DI trainers in 1992. The first squadron became operational in 1997. French newspaper Le Monde reported on Nov. 30, 2001, that a French judicial probe was opened that year to investigate claims that much of the money paid by Taiwan during the Lafayette deal went to commissions for middlemen, politicians and military officers in Taiwan, China and France. However, an investigation by the judiciary in Taiwan alleged Andrew Wang, the main figure in the Lafayette scandal, might have received US$260 million in kickbacks over the course of the Mirage deal. In August 2004, the Control Yuan announced that the Mirage deal was “suspicious” because the Air Force had originally reported the cost as 22.8 billion francs (worth US$4.3 billion in 1992), but then 6 billion francs was added to the bill at a later date. The Control Yuan requested a judicial probe be opened into the Mirage deal. “The price of the procurement of the Mirage aircraft is obviously much more than their market price,” Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chang Hsien-yao said on Wednesday. He said he suspected the kickbacks paid in the deal were higher than those in the Lafayette deal. In the Lafayette case, Taiwanese investigators said Thompson-CSF paid US$495 million to Wang and US$25 million to Alfred Sirven, a former vice chairman of French oil firm Elf-Aquitaine. Wang fled Taiwan in late 1993 following the death of Navy Captain Yin Ching-feng, whose body was found in the sea off the east coast of Taiwan. Yin was believed to have been ready to blow the whistle on those who received kickbacks in the deal.

DTN News: Prince Harry Passes Army Pilot Course

DTN News: Prince Harry Passes Army Pilot Course Source: DTN News / Telegraph (NSI News Source Info) LONDON, U.K. - May 10, 2010: The 25-year-old was told that he had completed his training and was also informed he had the ability to fly either the Lynx or Apache helicopters. The prince has until his graduation ceremony next Friday to decide which aircraft he would like to specialise in and his preference will be taken into consideration when military commanders make their final decision. A St James's Palace spokesman said: ''Prince Harry is very pleased. He will give the matter serious consideration over the next few days before inputting his preference.'' Lieutenant Harry Wales served in Afghanistan's Helmand Province as a forward air controller directing air strikes for 10 weeks in 2007-08 and he has made no secret of his wish to return. The prince, an officer with the Household Cavalry Regiment, changed the direction of his military career and became a pilot to increase his chances of being deployed to the Middle East country. Harry began his flying training with the Army Air Corps in January last year and has been working hard to complete the course. Speaking last June about his flying training, he said: "I'm really enjoying it and, as everyone knows, it's my easiest way of getting back to the front line. Maybe safer, maybe not, I don't know." He added: "To get out to Afghanistan again would be fantastic and my best chance is to do it from a helicopter." Harry has been training with the Army Air Corps (AAC) at its base in Middle Wallop, Hampshire, flying the Squirrel helicopter. He will have spent more than 90 hours in the air during the 22- week course. He successfully completed its final handling test yesterday and earlier in the week finished the "course final exercise". A St James's Palace spokesman said: "Instructors assessed Prince Harry as capable of being an Apache or a Lynx pilot." The choice before the prince is one of two extremes. The Apache is a fearsome attack helicopter and one of the most advanced military aircraft in the world. UK forces in Helmand Province have employed the aircraft to hunt and kill Taliban fighters, gather intelligence and provide cover for larger Chinook helicopters transporting troops and vital supplies. The Lynx is a versatile machine which is used for reconnaissance, as an aerial vantage point for commanders during battles, and to transport troops. The Army's 22 Lynxes are currently being upgraded to Mk9A standard so they can support British forces on the front line in the blisteringly hot conditions of an Afghan summer. Speaking about the prince's helicopter choice, the spokesman added: "As with any other pilot, Prince Harry's preferences will be taken into account by the chain of command, which will make its final decision about aircraft type ahead of next Friday's graduation ceremony." Harry's father, the Prince of Wales, who is the AAC's Colonel in Chief, will present him with his provisional wings at the event being held at Middle Wallop. Harry will begin his "conversion to type" training once a decision has been made about which helicopter he will fly.

DTN News: Pakistan Faces Taliban Resurgence

DTN News: Pakistan Faces Taliban Resurgence Source: DTN News / BBC (NSI News Source Info) ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - May 10, 2010:

Pakistani Taliban militants
Taliban fighters are moving back into Swat

The local Taliban are back in the seven tribal agencies that make up the Federal Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and in Swat, where the Pakistani army has cleared militants with large-scale offensives.

In some areas those who fled the fighting have returned.

The situation in the region has once again become the focus of international attention - this time because of the recent failed car bomb attack in New York.

The alleged perpetrator, Faisal Shahzad, is reported to have trained with the Taliban in the Waziristan region.

Once again the Pakistani Taliban have begun to murder local leaders, intimidate the population, pose a risk to the security forces, prevent development projects and threaten wider violence.

Pakistan "lacks a coherent strategy" to deal with the Taliban

A suicide bomber killed five people in the Swat valley on 1 May, while in April at least six prominent tribal elders were killed outside their homes in the district capital, Mingora, and other towns.

Heavily-armed militants drive through villages on motorbikes to intimidate the population, burn down girls schools and threaten anyone co-operating with the army - often in plain sight of police or army sentries.


Such tactics are well-known signs that the Taliban are preparing to make a dramatic comeback in Swat.

Maulana Fazlullah, the Pakistani Taliban leader there, is still alive and in hiding and could reappear at any moment.

Pakistan's army chief, Gen Ashfaq Kayani, has made several trips to the valley to assess the situation.

Swat and adjoining valleys were declared cleared of militants a year ago after heavy fighting and the deployment of some 50,000 troops.

Pakistani soldier in tank making victory salute
The Pakistani army had claimed victory in Swat

And the militants also want revenge on the army.

According to Western and Pakistani officials, the army is holding some 2,500 suspected militants in indefinite detention, because the civil justice system cannot deal with them.

Many of the detainees are from Swat, where Human Rights Watch has also documented some 300 alleged extra-judicial killings by the military over the past year.

Meanwhile in the tribal agencies, the army has announced that it has cleared most areas of militants, with several offensives over the past 18 months.

However, thousands of fighters and their commanders have regrouped in North Waziristan, which the army has left alone.


North Waziristan is controlled by the Afghan Taliban leader, Jalaluddin Haqqani, and a Pakistani Taliban leader, Gul Bahadur.

Both claim to attack US forces across the border in Afghanistan but not the Pakistan army.

The US and Nato have urged the army to launch an offensive in North Waziristan but so far it has declined, saying it is over-stretched already.

All but two of some 30 drone missile strikes launched by the US so far this year have been aimed at North Waziristan .

It is here that Faisal Shahzad - who's accused of planting a car bomb to explode in New York last week - is alleged to have received his training in bomb making.

Over the past few months militants in North Waziristan have been infiltrating the other tribal areas and are launching dramatic attacks on army convoys and outposts, as well as suicide attacks and targeted killings of local elders who provide information to the army.

In one of the worst attacks militants ambushed an army convoy near Miranshah in North Waziristan on 23 April killing seven soldiers, wounding 25 and destroying six trucks.

In other attacks, convoys carrying oil and other goods for US bases in Afghanistan have been attacked. There has been fighting in Orakzai, South Waziristan and in the Bajaur tribal agencies.

Pakistani soldier beside burning truck
The army is struggling to protect fragile supply lines from ambush

Meanwhile North Waziristan has become the biggest haven for militant groups.

Groups resident there include Central Asians, Chechens, Arabs, Kashmiris and numerous Punjabi groups from southern Pakistan as well as the more regular Pakistani Taliban made up of Pashtun tribesmen.

The local Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud, who was presumed killed on January in a drone strike, re-emerged last week alive and well, after apparently hiding out in North Waziristan.

There is increasing anarchy in North Waziristan as the authority of Haqqani and others seems to be ignored by the plethora of groups and splinter factions now operating there, especially the ruthless Punjabi militants.

The truth is that there is still no coherent counter-insurgency strategy or doctrine that by now should have been jointly formulated by the Pakistani army and civilian government and should be guiding their actions.


In modern counter-insurgency warfare now being pursued by the US and Nato in Afghanistan, there is a phased ''clear, hold, build and transfer'' strategy.

In Pakistan, the army works to clear an area of the insurgents and then hold it.

It is also conducting the reconstruction and never transfers the region to civilian authority. The army is not trained or equipped to carry out the latter two tasks.

In the tribal agencies and Swat the army is dealing with a quarter of a million internal refugees, humanitarian relief, reconstruction, administration, road building and maintaining the food supply lines along routes that are regularly ambushed by militants.

While the government has not offered to take over these civilian tasks, the army has yet to put together a plan to encourage the civilians to do so.

Pakistan Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud
Hakimullah: alive and at large in North Waziristan

While Prime Minister Yousuf Gilani has handed over all internal security matters to Gen Kayani, the army has not constituted plans which would encourage civilians to work alongside it while the army offers them protection.

This leaves much of the population in limbo - they dislike the presence of the army but have no choice but to accept their help because there is no civil administration to look after them.

The deteriorating security in North Waziristan is now having a global impact and creating a vast and multi-faceted militant hub. Meanwhile other areas are on the verge of falling back into the hands of the Taliban.

Pakistan's civil and military need to formulate a coherent counter-insurgency strategy to provide security and an administration, so that development can reach the people and the militants can be isolated.

Without such a strategy, an ad hoc approach is leading to an ever-worsening security situation.

Ahmed Rashid is the author of the best-selling book Taliban and, most recently, of Descent into Chaos: How the war against Islamic extremism is being lost in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia.

DTN News: Financial News May 10, 2010 ~ EU Sets Up Massive Euro Defense Against Markets

DTN News: Financial News May 10, 2010 ~ EU Sets Up Massive Euro Defense Against Markets Source: DTN News / By RAF CASERT and ELENA BECATOROS (AP) (NSI News Source Info) BRUSSELS, Belgium - May 10, 2010: The European Union and the International Monetary Fund have pledged nearly $1 trillion to defend the embattled euro, hoping to turn back relentless attacks on the eurozone's weakest nations and allow the continent to resume its hesitant economic recovery. Central banks around the world joined the coordinated effort to prevent Europe's debt crisis from derailing the global economy's rebound from recession. The U.S. Federal Reserve reopened a program to ship billions of U.S. dollars overseas in a bid to pump more short-term cash into the financial system and make sure banks have the dollars they need. Other central banks, including the Bank of Canada, the Bank of England, the European Central Bank, the Swiss National Bank, and the Bank of Japan also are involved in the temporary dollar swap plan. Separately, the ECB jumped into the bond market, saying it is ready to buy eurozone bonds to shore up liquidity in "dysfunctional" markets. Markets, rattled for weeks by the prospect Greece would default on its mountain of debt, heaved a sigh of relief. The euro climbed to $1.2963, up from the 14-month low of $1.2523 it hit late last week. Japan's Nikkei 225 stock average rose 1.3 percent to 10,499.25 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index climed 0.8 percent to 20,080.18. Futures suggested Wall Street would welcome the euro defense. Dow futures jumped 233 points, or 2.3 percent, to 10,568, and S&P and Nasdaq futures were both up more than 2.7 percent. Under the three-year plan, the EU Commission will make euros60 billion ($75 billion) available while countries from the 16-nation eurozone would promise backing for euros440 billion ($570 billion). The IMF would contribute an additional sum of at least half of the EU's total contribution, or euros250 billion. "We shall defend the euro whatever it takes," EU Commissioner Olli Rehn said after an 11 hour-meeting of EU finance ministers that capped a hectic week of chaotic sparring between panicked governments and aggressive markets. Officials hope the massive sums will deter currency speculators from betting on a euro collapse after political posturing and soothing words failed to convince investors that Greece's financial implosion could be contained. Markets had battered the euro and Greek government bonds even as EU leaders insisted for days that Greece's problems were a unique combination of bad management, free spending and statistical cheating that doesn't apply to other euro-zone nations. In the end, even longtime skeptic Germany realized Europe had to show the money after financial attacks on Greece's debt seemed poised to spread to other weak European nations such as Portugal and Spain. Fear of default led to investors demanding high interest rates that Greece could not pay, forcing it to seek a bailout. Many feared market skepticism would make Portugal and Spain pay more and more to borrow, worsening their plight. "We now see herd behaviors in the markets that are really pack behaviors, wolf pack behaviors," Swedish Finance Minister Anders Borg said Sunday. If unchecked, "they will tear the weaker countries apart. So it is very important that we now make progress." Spain and Portugal have committed to "take significant additional consolidation measures in 2010 and 2011," a statement from EU finance ministers said. The two countries will present them to EU finance ministers at their meeting on May 18. "We are facing such exceptional circumstances today and the mechanism will stay in place as long as needed to safeguard financial stability," the ministers said. Some eurozone nations, meanwhile, blamed the fragile governments and a lack of European cooperation for the crisis. "I'm against putting all the blame on speculation," said Austrian Finance Minister Josef Proell. "Speculation is only successful against countries that have mismanaged their finances for years." Seperately, eurozone leaders on Saturday gave final approval for a euros80 billion ($100 billion) rescue package of loans to Greece for the next three years to stave off default. The International Monetary Fund also approved its part of the rescue package — euros30 billion ($40 billion) of loans — in Washington Sunday. The Fed's move to back the euro defense plan reopens a program put in place during the 2008 global financial crisis under which dollars are shipped overseas through the foreign central banks. In turn, these central banks can lend the dollars out to banks in their home countries that are in need of dollar funding. Swap agreements generally allow one central bank to borrow a currency from another, offering an equivalent amount of its own as collateral. The Fed said action is being taken "in response to the reemergence of strains in U.S. dollar short-term funding markets in Europe" and to "prevent the spread of strains to other markets and financial centers." A so-called "swap" line with the Bank of Canada provides up to $30 billion. Figures weren't provided for the other central banks. AP Business Writer Emma Vandore in Brussels, and Associated Press writers Elaine Ganley in Paris, Matt Moore in Frankfurt, Daniel Wagner and AP Business Writer Jeannine Aversa in Washington contributed to this report.

DTN News: Planned Defense Seen Unable To Destroy U.S.-Bound N. Korean Missiles

DTN News: Planned Defense Seen Unable To Destroy U.S.-Bound N. Korean Missiles Source: DTN News / The Mainichi Daily News, Japan (NSI News Source Info) TOKYO, Japan - May 10, 2010: A next-generation missile interceptor being co-developed by Japan and the United States would not be able to take out U.S.-bound North Korean long-range ballistic missiles flying over Japan, senior Defense Ministry officials said Sunday. This is because the range of the interceptor, dubbed the Standard Missile 3 Block 2A, would not allow an Aegis-equipped ship deployed off Japan to target high-flying missiles, the officials told Kyodo News. The outlook could affect debate in Japan over whether to exercise the constitutionally banned right of collective self-defense so as to shoot down U.S.-bound missiles flying over the country. With an estimated range of 200 to 300 kilometers, the current SM-3 is known to be unable to intercept long-range ballistic missiles. Some military analysts had argued that the SM-3 Block 2A would be capable of doing so, though its range has not been made public. An advanced version of the SM-3, the SM-3 Block 2A, will have a longer range and higher targeting accuracy. The United States plans to begin deploying it in 2018. As the new model will be able to counter decoys or multiple warheads, one Aegis-equipped vessel with the interceptor is expected to be sufficient to defend Japan, instead of the two presently needed. Despite the outlook for the next-generation interceptor, the Defense Ministry officials said it might still be able to knock out ballistic missiles bound for Hawaii if activated in seas near the U.S. Pacific island state just before the missiles reenter the atmosphere. According to a ministry report about North Korea's missile launch in April last year, the missile flew more than 3,000 km after passing 370 to 400 km above northeastern Japan. A missile bound for Hawaii, about 7,000 km away from the reclusive nation, would fly at an even higher altitude. When deciding to introduce missile defense in 2003, Japan said it will not be used to defend third states. Tokyo takes the position that the country has the right to defend an ally under attack but "cannot exercise" the right under the pacifist Constitution. But a blue-ribbon panel proposed in 2008 that the current interpretation of the Constitution concerning the right of collective self-defense be altered in favor of intercepting U.S.-bound missiles. Washington pointed out last year that if Tokyo cannot move to counter U.S.-bound missiles, it will make it harder for U.S. citizens to understand the need to maintain a bilateral alliance with Japan. Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has said his government has no intention of reviewing the interpretation of the Constitution over this matter.

DTN News: Chinese, Russian Leaders Seek Enhanced Bilateral Strategic Ties

DTN News: Chinese, Russian Leaders Seek Enhanced Bilateral Strategic Ties Source: DTN News / Xinhua (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW, Russia - May 10, 2010: Chinese President Hu Jintao and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev met here on Sunday to discuss ways to strengthen bilateral strategic relations of cooperation and partnership. Hu was in Moscow for the celebrations marking the 65th anniversary of the victory of the Great Patriotic War over Nazi Germany. He said the celebrations were wonderful and splendid, fully testifying to the strength of thepeace-loving Russian people in building their country. Medvedev said Russia and China shared similar views on the history of World War II, and the attendance of the two heads of states at the celebrations was of great significance. The Chinese president said both sides should promote cooperation in trade and energy, as well as people-to-people and cultural exchanges, adding the two countries should implement in earnest the summer camp program that will bring 1,000 Russian middle and primary school students to China. Hu brought forward a four-point proposal for boosting China-Russia strategic coordination. First, both countries should strengthen their coordination and cooperation in theinstitutionalization of the Group of 20, seek greater say for the two countries in international affairs and uphold their just rights and interests and those of the developing countries. Secondly, both countries should keep close communication, and help maintain regional peace and stability. Thirdly, both sides should enhance cooperation in fighting terrorism, as well as the "three forces," namely extremism, separatism and terrorism. And fourthly, both countries should strengthen coordination and cooperation in such major international issues as climate change and energy security. Medvedev shared Hu's views on further boosting bilateral relations, saying that Russia was ready to strengthen cooperation with China in economy and trade, science and technology, energy, culture, and regional affairs. The Russian president said both sides should make joint efforts to make the "Year of the Chinese Language" in Russia a success, regarding it as a major task for bilateral cultural cooperation this year. Medvedev congratulated China over the grand opening of the Shanghai World Expo, and voiced his expectation to attend Russia's National Pavilion Day at the Expo. The meeting was the second between the two leaders in less than a month. Hu and Medvedev met in Brasilia on April 15 on the sidelines of a summit of the BRIC nations -- Brazil, Russia, India and China. On Sunday, Hu and other leaders took part in a series of celebrating activities, including a military parade at the Red Square, a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers, and a banquet hosted by President Medvedev. The parade, which was accompanied by over 50 Russian and foreign military orchestras, was divided into the military personnel's march, the parade of military armaments on the ground and in the sky. More than 10,000 personnel, 159 military armaments, 127 aircraft and helicopters participated in the Red Square parade. On Saturday, Hu called for further strengthening of China-Russia ties while meeting with some Russian soldiers who helped China battle Japanese aggressor troops in the World Anti-Fascist War. During his meeting with the Russian veterans, Hu said the Chinese people would never forget the Soviet Red Army's contributions to the success of China's Anti-Japanese War. Many Russian soldiers and citizens sacrificed their lives for the liberation of the Chinese people, he said. Fighting together against the fascists, the Chinese and Russian people forged a profound friendship, he added. "The friendship cemented with blood and people's lives lays a solid foundation for the China-Russia strategic relations of cooperation and partnership," Hu said. Hu also called for a correct view of history, saying the Soviet Union and China's contributions to victory in the World Anti-Fascist War are "ironclad." The Chinese president returned to Beijing Monday morning after attending the celebrations in Moscow.