Weekly Snapshot
10-16 June 2018

1. US Consulate in China Under Possible Supersonic Attack

The United States Consulate located in Guangzhou, China, is believed to have suffered from a supersonic attack. These attacks appear to have been going on for the past few months. Consulate worker Mark Lenzi, in addition to his wife and son, have reported what they think are neurological symptoms and have since been flown back to the United States for further testing.

The symptoms of this alleged event are strikingly similar to the case in which 24 embassy workers in Cuba fell prey to a supersonic attack in 2016. Though Lenzi is currently the only consulate worker to have reported issues, information has been coming out that the neighbors of the Lenzi family have been hearing the same noises and reported the same health issues.

2. North Korean Nuclear Facility Collapses

North Korea’s main nuclear test site partially collapsed due to the underground nuclear explosive testing which was being conducted there. The site, Punggye-ri, is located in the northeastern portion of the small country. The collapse raised speculation as to whether or not North Korea was back tracking on their promise to end nuclear testing.

The failure of the site poses an issue for both North Korean citizens as well as those located within the fallout zone in China. Further testing at the site would raise the issue of radiation leaks through access tunnels and other operational shafts.
The bomb test, which is believed to have caused the collapse, manifested in a 6.3 magnitude tremor and is believed to have triggered at least four different earthquakes. The magnitude of the tremor has researchers ruminating that the detonation was well over 100 kilotons of TNT. This bomb would be larger than any other explosive developed by North Korea thus far.

3. United States to Increase Patrols in South China Sea

In an attempt to create a more consistent military operational posture on the South China Sea, the Pentagon has released a schedule for naval patrols in the region. The increase in activity has been in response to China’s claims to the area which could disrupt the freedom of movement through the high seas. China cites its self-proclaimed control of the islands located in the sea as their justification for owning the surrounding waters.
United States Pacific Command, which symbolically changed its name last week to the Indo-Pacific command in order to bolster a friendly relationship with India, will be conducting what they call “freedom-of-navigation” patrols within the South China Sea, 2 to 3 times each month. The patrol posture counters Beijing’s approach to the situation which claims that international action in the area is destabilizing.

4. Russia Intensifies Alleged Role in Syria

An overnight bombing of a small village, Zardana, located in the rebel held province of Idlib left 44 dead and more than 60 others injured. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a group monitoring the Syrian situation, claimed that this was the deadliest single attack to be carried out in the past year.
Though the attack was denied by Moscow, as confirmed by Russian news agencies, the Russian government was quick to publicly report intelligence on heavy artillery fire in the past 24 hours. The claims that the artillery fire is responsible for the damage has countered the claims of Russian style fighter jets operating in the airspace.