Japan to release Chinese boat captain
Japan on Friday announced the release of a Chinese fishing boat captain whose arrest 16 days ago sparked a furor between the Asian neighbors, bringing relations to their lowest point in years.

Dispute with Japan highlights China’s foreign-policy power struggle
The increasingly bitter dispute between China and Japan over a small group of islands in the Pacific is heightening concerns in capitals across the globe over who controls China’s foreign policy.

China’s Back-Door Yuan Strategy
It has been widely reported that China has dramatically reduced its purchases of US Treasuries over the past year. But it would be wrong to conclude that China has stopped intervening in currency markets or even that it is dumping the dollar.

North And South Korea On the Brink Of War, Russian Diplomat Warns
North and South Korea are on the brink of war, a top Russian diplomat has warned, calling for both countries to exercise restraint and sit down for talks. In Moscow’s bleakest assessment of the situation on the Korean peninsula yet, Russian deputy foreign minister Alexei Borodavkin said tensions between the two countries were running at their highest and most dangerous level in a decade. “Tensions on the Korean Peninsula could not be any higher. The only next step is a conflict,” he told foreign policy experts at a round table on the subject in Moscow.

Washington Take Note: The Era of Great Power Politics Is Far from Over in Asia
The key factor in Asia’s underlying instability may be China’s rise relative to Japan’s decline, so it will be important to managing the growing Sino-U.S. security competition so that rivalry does not lead to conflict.

Karzai on India and Pakistan
There were some insightful observations made during a discussion on the topic ‘Afghanistan Today and Tomorrow,’ at the Indian think-tank Observer Research Foundation on September 17. Noted journalist Saeed Naqvi shared experiences from his recent two-week tour of Afghanistan, and the highlight was his informal hour-long meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Naqvi informed the gathering at ORF that although his conversation with Karzai was off-the-record, the leader was willing to make an exception and be quoted on three ‘issues’.

Asia Driving Global Arms Sales
For a while at least, it looked like there was one trade that was immune from the global financial crisis. Governments continued buying foreign weapons in 2008 despite the economic turmoil that summer. But in 2009, the financial downturn finally caught up with some of them. Striving to contain soaring budget deficits resulting from declining tax revenues and rising social welfare expenditures, leaders of several developing nations cancelled or deferred many arms purchases, reducing international weapons purchases and deliveries to their lowest levels in years. But the cutbacks in arms purchases weren’t universal — Asian governments in particular continue to purchase large volumes of foreign weapons.

U.S. General: Iran Behind Attacks on Green Zone
U.S. Brig.-General Ralph Baker, commander of U.S. forces in central and western Iraq, told a news conference held in the Green Zone that recent attacks directed at the U.S. Embassy in the Green Zone was meant to send a message to the world and foreign investors that the Iraqi capital is not safe. He also said that Iraq is flooded by cheap imports from Iran to slow down economic progress.

Iran Gives Shi’a Parties In Iraq Five Days To Agree On A PM Candidate
In his meetings in Baghdad with the leaders of the two Shi’a parties, Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law and al-Hakim/al-Sadr’s Iraqi National Alliance, Qassim Suleimani, the Iranian official in charge of the Iraqi dossier in the Qods Brigade of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has warned them to chose one of their two rival candidates – Nouri al-Maliki or Adel Abd al-Mahdi – or Iran will support a compromise candidate.

New START Treaty’s China Challenge
Discussion of the US-Russia Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty — a k a New START — has so far pretty much skipped one very important consideration: China.

If NATO disappeared, would anyone notice?
NATO is by common consensus the most successful political-military alliance in modern history. It has lasted longer than almost all others, incorporates more members, and it achieved its central purpose(s) without firing a shot. After the Cold War ended, it managed to redefine itself by taking on a broader array of security missions and has played a modest but useful role in the war in Afghanistan. By surviving well beyond the demise of the Soviet Union, it has also defied realist predictions that its days (or at least its years) were numbered.

Terrrorism at Sea Warning
A reliable source indicates that there is a “terrorism warning” in effect for ships in the eastern Mediterranean.

Chris van Avery is an Asia-Pacific FAO and Military Professor at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, and blogs on a variety of topics at The Yankee Sage.

Posted by Chris van Avery in Foreign Policy, Homeland Security, Maritime Security

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