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NightWatch 20101022


For the Night of 22 October 2010

South Korea-North Korea: A report to the UN Secretary General indicated North Korea is in danger of another food crisis this winter because of poor harvests. Nevertheless, a South Korean Unification Ministry spokesman reaffirmed the Lee government policy of not providing large scale food aid to North Korea, regardless of need unless and until the political atmosphere improves.

The government in Seoul will continue to approve private humanitarian relief, such a recent shipment of 5,000 tons of rice and other supplies for flood victims.

Comment: The South still wants the North to apologize for the sinking of its patrol ship last March. Prior to 2008 and the South's election of the hard line Lee administration, the South annually provided 400,000 tons of rice and 300,000 tons of fertilizer to the North.

North Korea-China: For the record. Vice Chairman of China's Central Military Commission Gua Boxiong will lead a delegation of senior Chinese military officers to North Korea on 23 October, according to the Ministry of National Defense, Xinhua reported on 22 October. The delegation will attend activities to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the entry of the Chinese People's Volunteers into the Korean front and meet with the North's military leaders to discuss issues of mutual concern, said Chinese spokesman Geng Yansheng.

China: Update. Tibetan language demonstrations spread in northwestern China, as students in Tsolho and Golog prefectures demanded the right to study in their language, according to Free Tibet and Agence France-Presse. Some 2,000 students marched to the local government building in Chabcha, chanting demands for Tibetan language freedoms. Police and teachers turned them away. The Dawu police restricted movement of local residents following student protests in the area.

Comment: This is a minor outbreak of unrest but it continues to showcase the Han Chinese policy of forced assimilation of minorities.

India-Pakistan: Indian Army Chief of the Army Staff General V K Singh said on 22 October that interceptions and border monitoring reports have indicated that there are 500 to 600 militants on the Pakistani side of the Line of Control preparing to infiltrate India's state of Jammu and Kashmir, The Times of India reported.

Intelligence inpurts indicate the leadership of Hizbul Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami and Jaish-e-Mohammed have conducted reconnaissance along the Line of Control in advance of infiltration operations. General Singh reported there are teams of eight to nine who are trying to cross the border every day.

Singh also said the anti-India terrorist infrastructure in Pakistan is intact and 42 camps are being run, including newly created camps in Pakistani Kashmir. Infiltration has risen in late summer, as it seasonally does. The Indian Army recorded 10 infiltration incidents in June, six in July and 33 in August.

General Singh judged that about 20-25 infiltration attempts succeeded, which is indicated by the fact that 12 to 15 terrorists were killed in the last 15-20 days. "This shows people have come from somewhere," he said. He concluded that Pakistan perceives Kashmir as an "unfinished agenda.

Comment: Infiltration from Pakistan into Indian Kashmir always increases before winter. The number of Kashmiri militant camps is as high as it has been in the past ten years. This means the progress in reducing the number of camps under Musharraf has been reversed. The camps and the infiltration infrastructure into Kashmir cannot exist without official Pakistani government support.

Even allowing for an anti-Pakistani bias, General Singh's account of conditions along the Line of Control is consistent with autumn conditions in past years. His statements are a reminder that Pakistan remains a state sponsor of terror and continues to use terror as an instrument of state policy against India.

US-China-India: President Obama will visit India between 6 and 9 November. The forthcoming trip has generated significant unease in China about US strategy in Asia.

Since Thursday, a half dozen or more Chinese newspapers and strategists have complained about the US relationship with India. A National Defense University official wrote, "India's goals of becoming a global power cannot be realized by just following the US. This writer accused the US of "building a strategic fence" with Japan and South Korea as the backbone and a carapace of India, Vietnam and other nations having territorial disputes with China.

This official wrote, "India's politicians should be aware that as the two weaker sides of a triangular relationship, it is very important for India and China to maintain stability to prevent the US from profiting from their disputes….The US fence around China is weak but could become an iron wall if China makes strategic mistakes."

Earlier, a Chinese air force colonel wrote about a crescent ring encircling China from Japan to Afghanistan. A professor at Beijing University's School of International Studies said, "If you look around Asia and see what the US is doing, it is not surprising and difficult to understand America's needs in South Asia."

A Fudan University analyst wrote in the China Daily that India and China are made for each other but must guard against western elements. "Some Indian media raised a hue and cry over so-called 'border invasion' by China last year and the recent suspension of bilateral military exchanges,'' said the commentary."Some Western countries and media are trying to use this to drive a wedge between the two neighbors."

Comment: These two ancient cultures have had no significant interaction until modern times. But for colonial era land disputes, they are not natural enemies. However, their aspirations for world power stature have converted them into at least strategic competitors, sometime rivals and potential enemies.

China's rise to great power stature impedes India's dominance in South Asia. China has developed proxies or allies on every Indian border, which undercuts the credibility of its complaints about encirclement. China has spurred India to look to its strategic space in South Asia and to increase security cooperation with East Asia powers with which it has never had significant interaction … before the rise of China.

It is curious that Chinese international affairs commentators evince so much insecurity, for a country that considers itself the equal in many areas of the United States and has become so aggressive in asserting its right to be the leader of Asia.

End of NightWatch for 22 October.

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