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NightWatch 20100910


For the Night of 10 September 2010

Japan-China: The captain of a Chinese fishing boat was taken to a Japanese court on Ishigaki Island in Okinawa Prefecture on 10 September. Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi demanded the "immediate and unconditional" release of the captain and other crewmembers, according to news relays.

Yang summoned Japanese Ambassador to China Uichiro Niwa to lodge a third protest with Tokyo over what the Chinese Foreign Ministry described as an "illegal detention." Yang told Niwa that Beijing is determined to defend Chinese sovereignty of the Diaoyu Islands, where the ramming incident occurred, and demanded the unconditional release of the boat and crew, according to the ministry

Japan asserts the incident occurred in Japanese territorial waters and that Japan is handling the case in line with domestic law, Niwa told the Chinese. On 10 September a Japanese court ruled that prosecutors can detain the captain of the Chinese fishing boat for 10 days.

In reaction to and protest of the court ruling, the Chinese announced a postponement of a second round of negotiation over disputed island territories. Lest the Japanese miss the point, the Chinese statement described the postponement as a "grave protest."

Comment: Japan and South Korea require little encouragement in standing up to China on territorial or other disputes. In part, this is because they see China's export dependent modern sector as a competitor with their own export-driven economies. Neither Japan nor South Korea is inclined to accommodate China or accept it as a regional leader.

An epochal strategic shift continues to evolve in which Asian States are not only taking responsibility for the security of Asia, they are shaping the nature of  the strategic relationships. Japan and South Korea will not roll over for China the way North Korea is doing,with or without US assistance.

South Korea-US: A US Defense Department spokesman announced today, 10 September, that the aircraft carrier USS George Washington will participate with South Korea in war games in international waters of the Yellow Sea off the Korean Peninsula. The US spokesman said the deployment is not aimed at challenging China, but is a warning to North Korea.

Comment: After much hemming and hawing, the US appears to have made a decision in favor of strategic dominance and in favor of US Allies in Asia. Apparently thanks for the extra time to think straight goes to the intervention of a typhoon. The typhoon delayed Allied anti-submarine warfare training in the Yellow Sea and gave the US leadership time to make a decision in favor of American allies and interests.

China-Taiwan: For the record. Taiwan's Coast Guard Administration (CGA) will conduct a maritime rescue drill the week of 13 September with China's Maritime Search and Rescue Center, Taiwanese Central News Agency reported 10 September. The drill will be held in waters off southeastern China, between Taiwan's Kinmen Island and Xiamen, China.

Taiwan's CGA will send nine patrol boats, including a 500-ton patrol vessel, and helicopters to Kinmen. All participating ships and rescue teams will carry flags that symbolize the joint drill, CGA officials said, in an attempt to avoid territorial disputes.

Comment: The drill will be the first time the two coastal patrol agencies will have held joint exercises.

Burma (Myanmar)-China: The China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) has begun construction of China-Myanmar oil and natural gas pipelines, according to Chinese media. The announcement coincided with a ground-breaking ceremony for a 200,000 barrel-per-day oil refinery in Anning city, Yunnan Province, China.

According to the CNPC statement, the company wants to complete the China section of the pipelines, as well as the refinery, by 2013. The oil pipeline, which will have a capacity of 440,000 barrels per day, will wind 771 kilometers (479 miles) through Myanmar, then stretch 1,631 kilometers though China before ending in Chongqing.

The natural gas pipeline will have a 12 billion cubic meter capacity, and will span 793 kilometers in Myanmar and 1,727 kilometers in China before ending in Guangxi region. The company did not disclose whether or when all three projects would receive final approval from China's National Development and Reform Commission, the body in charge of economic planning and pricing.

Comment: The significance of this information plus other recent reports about China building a railroad through Burma is that they reinforce the assessment that Chinese leaders see Burma as a gateway for channeling natural resources to China.

This symbolizes the next step in China's economic imperialism by creating a network of vertical and horizontal monopolies on a global scale that gather and ship back to China the resources from concessions in Third World countries that the Chinese already have secured.

By using Chinese-made Burmese ports and infrastructure, natural resources from Africa and the Middle East can reach hubs in southern China and avoid the hazards of transiting the Straits of Malacca and Singapore and the South China Sea.

Afghanistan: President Karzai called on Taliban leader Mullah Omar to stop fighting and join peace talks aimed at ending the war in Afghanistan, Pakistan's Dawn News reported 10 September. The Afghan government hopes Mullah Omar joins the peace process, gives up fratricide, bombings and blasts, and stops causing casualties to Afghanistan's children, women and men, Karzai said, using Omar's religious title.

Comment: Some US media have reported without context that Karzai's overtures to the Pashtun Taliban, led by Omar, are creating fissures within Karzai's government. Actually that assertion is accurate but not new.

Since 2001, when non-Pashtun tribes supported the US special forces in recapturing Kabul from the fleeing Taliban, the northern tribes have resisted every attempt by any group to reach out to the Pashtuns. The Uzbeks and Tajiks blame the Pashtuns for the atrocities of the Taliban government and oppose any effort to reward the evil-doers.

Nevertheless, Pashtuns are a plurality in Afghanistan. No government can long survive without their cooperation. Despite the resentment of northern tribal leaders over rewarding the Pashtuns, in any reasonable democratic government scheme, the Pashtuns always dominate or force a coalition government. Demographics accomplish that result every time in a democratic system.

The northern tribes were oppressed and besieged by the Taliban regime in Kabul. They have good grounds for resenting and resisting any program that rewards their Pashtun tormentors and enemies with political clout. They have never surrendered and will never surrender their tribal grievances just because Westerners say to do so. Many also do not see the wisdom or value in pursuing non-violent solutions in pursuit of justice in a tribal feud. This is a study in democracy

Iran: The release of an American held captive by Iran, which was scheduled for 11 September, has been delayed, according to the deputy chief of communication for the Iranian president's office. Other Iranian news sources reported the release as having been canceled.

Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said the release was canceled because the legal process in the woman's case has not yet been completed.

Comment: The use of the word, "canceled" is ambiguous because it can refer to a permanent cancellation or to a decision that applies only to 11 September. Iranian press reports suggest the Iranian leaders mean that the release will not take place on 11 September, as promised originally, but will be accomplished after all the paper work is in order.

Whatever international goodwill Iran accrued by its post-Ramadan gesture of clemency, it has undone because of bureaucratic legalese. The release will occur soon.

For the record. The US government has backed Iranian denials of another secret uranium enrichment facility. US media recently revealed images and charts presented by an Iranian dissident group who claim Iran has a second secret nuclear facility that they found.

The United States issued a statement that it has long known about the facility, but has no reason to believe it is nuclear.

Comment: US television media provided lavish coverage of the original presentation by the Iranian dissidents. They gave no coverage to the US refutation, the very next day.

NightWatch Special Announcement:

Kforce Government Solutions (KGS) is pleased to announce that it will sponsor the first ever short course entitled "NightWatch Concepts of Analysis" on the afternoon of 29 September at the AFCEA auditorium. The Instructor/Facilitator will be Mr. John F. McCreary, founder of NightWatch.

Please follow the link below to register for the course and to obtain further information about the course, the instructor, the location and the fee schedule.

End of NightWatch for 10 September.

NightWatch is brought to you by Kforce Government Solutions, Inc. (KGS), a leader in government problem-solving, Data Confidence® and intelligence. Views and opinions expressed in NightWatch are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily represent those of KGS, its management, or affiliates.

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