China, Japan end spat over maritime collision
Japan declared an end Tuesday to a dispute with China over a high-seas collision last month and the two countries agreed to resume exchanges and projects that had been stopped because of the incident.

A Beijing Backlash
Over the past two weeks, all of Asia watched with alarm as China forced Japan to back down in a maritime dispute by downgrading diplomatic ties, and tolerating if not encouraging public street protest against Tokyo as well as halting shipments of critical industrial metals to Japan. The face-off symbolizes Beijing’s new attitude: once officially committed to rising peacefully in cooperation with its neighbors, China now seems determined to show its neighbors—and the United States—that it has growing military and economic interests that other countries ignore at their peril.

Russia along for a Chinese ride
By assigning great importance to the incident involving a Chinese fishing boat and the Japanese Coast Guard, China demonstrated that it is willing to take unexpectedly bold risks. That Russia allowed itself to become a supporter of China at the expense of the Japanese no doubt surprised and delighted Beijing. India was not as impressed.

Russian Navy Chief Warns Of China’s Race For Arctic
Russia will increase naval patrols in the Arctic Ocean to defend its interests against nations such as China seeking a share of the area’s mineral wealth, the navy commander was quoted as saying on Monday. Arctic nations such as Canada, Russia, Norway, the United States and Denmark are trying to file territorial claims over the oil, gas and precious metal reserves under the Arctic sea bed that may become accessible as the ice cap shrinks.

Nobel Committee faces down the dragon
Much to Beijing’s chagrin, mainland rights activist Liu Xiaobo is the odds-on favorite to win the Nobel Peace Prize this week. This high-profile smear on China’s carefully cultivated image as a “harmonious society” would be a public-relations disaster, and Chinese elites are applying all of their growing clout to stop it.

French Police Arrest Twelve Suspected al-Qaida Terrorists
French authorities arrested twelve men on Tuesday morning on suspicion of involvement with al-Qaida and terror plots, news agencies reported. AFP reported a police source as saying the men were detained in the southern French cities of Marseille and Bordeaux. According to an official, police seized “some weapons, including a Kalashnikov and a pump-action shotgun, as well as ammunition.”

Satellite image shows activity at North Korea’s Yongbyon nuclear site
North Korea continues to keep the experts guessing. Last week, it promoted the third son of its current leader, Kim Jong Il, prompting speculation that he is on track to succeed his father.

‘Private Navy’ Aims To Cash In On Surge In Horn Of Africa Piracy
WITH the Somali pirating season about to begin in earnest, one US company is proposing a radical solution to increase maritime safety around the lawless Horn of Africa country – privately operated warships. Several dozen international warships already mount anti-piracy patrols, but mandates end at the water’s edge and commanders say they are far too few to cover the vast Indian Ocean.

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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