For the night of 14 September 2012
China -Japan: Six Chinese surveillance ships entered Japan's territorial waters Friday near the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, the Japan Coast Guard said, prompting the government to set up task forces at the crisis management center within the prime minister's office and at the National Police Agency.
All six ships belong to China's State Oceanic Administration, an organization of the Ministry of Land and Resources. They left Japanese territorial waters later on Friday and were seen moving away from the disputed islet group, the Japan Coast Guard said.
It was the first intrusion by Chinese ships into Japan's territorial waters since the Japanese government nationalized the Japanese-controlled islets in the East China Sea this month. The coast guard said it was the largest group of Chinese surveillance ships to enter Japanese territorial waters near the Senkakus at one time.
Japan filed a strong protest with China through diplomatic channels. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda told reporters in Tokyo, "We will take all possible measures" to ensure security around the Senkakus.
In Beijing, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said the Chinese surveillance ships sailed to the Senkaku waters "to protect our sovereignty." "It is a just action, and it is appropriate," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said.
Xinhua News Agency quoted a government statement as saying that the "law enforcement and patrol activities" are aimed at demonstrating "China's jurisdiction over the Diaoyu Islands (Senkakus) and its affiliated islets and ensure the country's maritime interests."
China - UN: China's permanent representative to the United Nations Li Baodong on Thursday met UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and filed a copy of the Chinese government's Diaoyu Islands baseline announcement with the United Nations.
China has now fulfilled all the obligations stipulated in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, and has completed the legal process regarding the announcement of the base points and baselines of the territorial waters of Diaoyu Islands and their affiliated islets.
Under Article 16 of the Convention, coastal states are required to deposit with the UN chief charts showing straight baselines and archipelagic baselines as well as lists of geographical coordinates.
Earlier in the week, the Chinese government on Monday announced the base points and baselines of the territorial waters of the Diaoyu Islands and their affiliated islets in accordance with its law on territorial seas and adjacent zones.
Comment: The Chinese stole a march on the Japanese by filing first their baselines with the UN, as prescribed by the Convention on the Law of the Seas. Filing with the UN is a key step in obtaining international recognition of a nation's claim.
Straight baselines are used to draw an outer perimeter around a country's claimed territories and islands. These are used as the baseline for measuring the width of the territorial sea - usually 12 nm from a baseline-as well as the width of the exclusive economic zone - usually 200 nm. The zone is the sea area in which a nation exercises the exclusive right to exploit fisheries and seabed resources and arrest poachers.
The Convention specifies how long baselines may be so that entire oceans may not be claimed as territorial seas. It also contains rules for deconflicting baselines when they overlap, as all national claims do in the South China Sea.
Two points are a bit perplexing. China and Japan could have filed claims years ago. It is odd that China waited so long to file and odd that Japan waited so long to purchase the islands from a private owner.
The 3rd Convention has existed since 1982. China signed the Convention in 1982 and ratified it in 1996. Japan signed the convention in 1983 and ratified it in 1996, but only purchased the islands this month. This Convention enables continental countries to use distant islands to extend their claims to national sovereignty deep into ocean regions that previously were international waters.
As for China and Japan, it has now become impossible to separate issues of national pride from economic interests. China will not back down or compromise because of its 2005 Anti-Secession Law. Japan has no comparable law, but the government could fall if it does not challenge China's claims, especially since Japan possesses the islands.
China's aggressive deployment of surveillance ships, which are in effect maritime police, deliberately raises tension and contradicts the blandishments of Chinese diplomats.
The dispute is likely to lead to exchanges of naval gunfire as warnings, but no naval clashes. The underlying issues are tailor-made for international law attorneys and negotiations. The Japanese will find, however, that the Chinese will not compromise which will pose serious problems for Japanese decision makers.
Japanese leaders are not likely to resort to military actions at this time but Chinese fisheries and ocean agencies need to proceed with caution and synchronize their actions with Chinese diplomats. The two are widely out of sync at this time.
Chinese assertions of sovereignty in Asia this year are the most destabilizing development in Asia since the end of the Vietnam War.
Japan and certainly South Korea will not defer to China in northeast Asia. With US Naval backing, the Southeast Asians also will not defer to China. A period of prolonged tension is in prospect, in a region that has been stable for more than three decades.
Anti-US protests: A compilation of reporting from news services shows there were anti-American protests and demonstrations in more than 22 countries and territories. Reporting from Islamic states in Africa has been slow, and might increase the final tally.
Burnings of American flags occurred from Morocco to Indonesia, including Kashmir in India and Niger, in northern Africa. Only Turkey and Saudi Arabia experienced no significant disorders. Turkey is not an Arab country and Saudi Arabia imposed security restrictions so tight that no demonstrations were permitted.
This was a spasm of anti-American sentiment unlike any since the attack at the Ka'aba in 1979 in Mecca. That was the year the US Embassy was burned in Islamabad and the last time a US Ambassador was assassinated, in Kabul, Afghanistan.
The most sensational attacks occurred in Tunisia, Sudan and Lebanon. In Tunis, the US Embassy compound was breached and a US school was burned. A US employee told the media that he never thought that Tunisian security and police would walk away and allow the demonstrators to break into the US Embassy compound.
In Sudan the US, German and British embassies in Khartoum were attacked. The German Embassy was breached and burned.
In Tripoli, Lebanon, two US fast food restaurants were torched. In Beirut, one person was killed and 25 wounded in clashes near the US Embassy. Eighteen of the wounded were Lebanese policemen.
In Egypt, demonstrations continued for a fourth day in Cairo. They also occurred in Alexandria for the first time. In Sinai, Bedouin militants attacked a UN peacekeepers' camp in the name of protesting the anti-Muslim video.
In Afghanistan, a large demonstration occurred in Jalalabad, near the border with Pakistan. Protestors burned President Obama in effigy. Demonstrations also occurred in Kabul, but were not reported in mainstream press.
In Iraq, non-violent protests occurred in Baghdad, Hilla, Kufa, Samarra and Tikrit.
In Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei continued to stoke anti-American sentiment in Tehran. It was echoed in Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Palestine and Yemen.
In Pakistan, anti-American demonstrations occurred in multiple cities, but no clashes have been reported.
In India, Muslim anti-American militants demonstrated in Kashmir and in Chennai.
Anti-American demonstrations also occurred in Jakarta, Indonesia; Somalia; Jordan; London; Oman and Bangladesh, for a second day.
Comment: One difference from past eruptions of Islamic ire is that in some Arab countries demonstrators not only denounced the US and Israel, they also denounced President Obama by name, calling for his death. This is the first time that anti-American sentiment was personified.
Readers need to know that these protests were uniformly anti-American. Equally significant is that local security forces were prone to not oppose the demonstrators in multiple cases.
Four US diplomatic facilities have been breached, if not burned. All occurred in states touched by the so-called Arab Spring - Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen.
In earlier times, Muslim preachers insisted that democracy was not consistent with Islam. They denounced it. The great change in the past two years is that Imams, encouraged by Turkey's Prime Minister Erdogan, have come to understand that democracy may be rationalized with ultra-conservative Islam as a pathway to a caliphate, by choice of the voters.
To paraphrase Erdogan, democracy is a station stop, not a political end-state in itself. Even conservative Imams now seem to understand Erdogan's wisdom.
Islamists, Salafists and the Muslim Brotherhood are using elections to advance their objective of creating Islamic governments in the Arab Spring states. Islamic monarchies will be the next targets after the Islamic democracies consolidate power, provided they can. After that, Israel is the target.
US-Libya: Update: The British news outlet, The Independent, today published a detailed list of the extent of the security disaster in Benghazi, which goes beyond the tragic murders. According to The Independent, laptops were stolen that contain lists of Libyans who cooperate with the Americans, classified papers were taken and classified data was compromised.
NightWatch cannot corroborate the statements in the article in The Independent. However, NightWatch can attest that anytime a sensitive US facility or asset is seized, secrets are compromised. An organized and carefully planned penetration of any diplomatic facility anywhere could afford a disciplined attacker access to sensitive information that jeopardizes far more lives than the four Americans killed this week.
Finally, for the record, Readers should know that the authoritative source for information on the security arrangements at US embassies around the world is the State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security.
End of NightWatch for 14 September.
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