Night Watch

North Korea - South Korea: The North Korean party daily Rodong Sinmun published an article on 6 August that mentioned the Kaesong industrial complex in passing in the context of the deterioration of North-South relations.

Comment: This is the first time any North Korean medium has mentioned the industrial complex since the South's final offer of talks. The article contained no comments conveying a willingness to talk, except for the fact of its publication.

Japan: Japan launched on 6 August its largest military ship, Izumo, which displaces 19,500 tons and whose deck is 248 meters (814 feet) long and 38 meters wide. The "Izumo" will become fully operational in March 2015. It is a helicopter carrier, but the Japanese call it a destroyer. A second ship of the class is under construction.

Chinese media ran factual accounts of the announced characteristics and mission of the new ship.

Comment: The ship has a flat, straight flight deck that resembles light aircraft carriers in World War II, but it has no catapults for launching fixed wing aircraft. Vertical takeoff fighters could use the ship, however.

The announced missions are national defense support for other self-defense force activities and humanitarian relief operations. The ships will add flexibility and sustainability to Japanese operations in defense of their offshore islands.

The Japanese publicity appears partly intended to ensure the Chinese know Japan is enhancing its capabilities to defend its islands that China claims. Chinese coverage of the event registers that authorities in Beijing got the message.

India-Pakistan: Indian military officials said Kashmiri militants from Pakistan ambushed an Indian patrol in Kashmir.

Indian media reported that the militants killed five Indian soldiers.

"The ambush was carried out by approximately 20 heavily armed terrorists along with persons dressed in Pakistan Army uniforms," Defense Minister A.K. Antony told parliament.

Pakistan denied that there had been an exchange of fire. The Foreign Ministry said it was committed to restarting talks.

Comment: Indian officials fear that as NATO reduces combat operations in Afghanistan, Islamic militants will shift focus against Indian Kashmir. Some politicians said that this incident might be the start of that trend.

Night Watch

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