Japan -China: A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Tuesday that China does not accept Japan's protest and representation over Chinese maritime surveillance ships' patrol in waters off the Diaoyu Islands. (Note: Japan refers to them as the Senkaku Islands.)
"The Diaoyu Islands and their affiliated islets have always been China's inherent territory. The patrol conducted by China's maritime surveillance ships in waters off the islands is a normal performance of duty to exercise jurisdiction," the spokesman said.
He added that as Japan had sent vessels and planes several times to "illegally enter the waters and airspace of the Diaoyu Islands," China had lodged protest and representation to the Japanese side to demand an end to its illegal activities.
Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga today said the government summoned the Chinese ambassador to protest the presence of four surveillance ships near the Senkaku Islands.
Comment: These Chinese missions directly contributed to the landslide victory of the Liberal Democratic Party in the December elections and to rising nationalism in China and Japan. Prime Minister Abe has ordered a review of defense programs through 2016 and supports the first increase in the defense budget in 11 years. Expect more limited confrontations in the sea areas and airspace around the islands.
India-Pakistan: Update. Indian press reported a second security incident occurred on 8 January in a central sector of the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir State. The Indians claim that a Pakistan Army team killed two Indian soldiers while operating a half kilometer on the Indian side. According to the press, one of the Indian soldiers was decapitated and his head taken back to the Pakistan side of the Line of Control.
The Indian Army said the Pakistan Army team was driven back across the border after a 30-minute gun battle. It also confirmed that the body of one of the soldiers had been mutilated.
Indian military authorities have protested the incident to their counterparts, but the Pakistanis deny any action took place.
Comment: The only explanation provided by the Indians for the two incidents this week is a sudden increase in militant infiltration from Pakistani Kashmir into Indian Kashmir. The normal time for infiltration, however, is late autumn to help the Kashmiri militants prepare for winter.
The timing of the incidents relative to the promulgation of a new Pakistan Army doctrine last month is suspicious. The new doctrine establishes suppression of internal security threats as a top priority for the Pakistan Army.
Hard liners, especially in Pakistan's intelligence service, insist that India remains the highest priority threat. They also disdain Army support to civil law and order authority as a police task. They have the motive, means and opportunity to punctuate their argument with manufactured incidents along the Line of Control in Kashmir. This is a hypothesis at this time.
The probability of escalation remains low, especially if hardliners primarily are attempting to make a point to the National Security Council of Pakistan.
More as new information is reported.
End of NightWatch ###
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