In an aggressive move, a Chinese naval reconnaissance vessel enters waters near Kuchinoerabu Island off Kagoshima Prefecture.
Ayako Mie reports: A Chinese navy reconnaissance vessel entered Japanese territorial waters near Kuchinoerabu Island off Kagoshima Prefecture early Wednesday morning — the first time since 2004 that a Chinese military ship has done so.
Wednesday’s incursion comes just under a week after a Chinese naval frigate entered the contiguous zone just outside Japan’s territorial waters near the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.
The ministry said it warned the Chinese ship to exit the territorial waters — generally defined under international law as within 12 nautical miles (22 km) of a nation’s land border — prompting it to leave the waters south of Yakushima Island, sailing southeast, at around 5 a.m.
Wednesday’s incursion was the second time since the end of World War II that a Chinese military ship entered Japanese waters. The last time was in 2004, when a Chinese submarine was detected in the territorial waters near Ishigaki Island in Okinawa Prefecture. In response, Yoshinori Ono, the Defense Agency’s director general at the time, ordered the MSDF to boost its maritime security measures.
Such an order was not issued this time as the Chinese ship left before the Defense Ministry could determine if the passage involved any malicious intent, the ministry said.
International law allows all ships, regardless of their country of registration, to pass through another country’s territorial waters so long as they do not endanger the peace and security of the coastal state.
While Beijing’s intentions remain unclear, Defense Minister Gen Nakatani said that the Chinese ship entered the waters after following two Indian ships participating in the trilateral Malabar drills. Japan, the U.S. and India have been conducting those exercises in the waters east of Okinawa, near the Senkakus, since last Friday.
The Chinese ship also shadowed the U.S. aircraft carrier John C. Stennis, which was participating in the joint exercise, Reuters reported, citing a Japanese official.
The intrusion by the Chinese navy comes just six days after a Chinese Navy frigate entered the contiguous waters near the Japanese-administered Senkakus, which are also claimed by China and Taiwan, where they are known as the Diaoyu and Tiaoyutai, respectively.
While the Senkakus are uninhabited, Kuchinoerabu Island has a population of 123 as of the end of last month. It is a popular tourist destination and a part of Yakushima National Park. Read the rest of this entry »
Noting a marked shift in China’s behaviour around the islands since last December, a Japanese foreign ministry official said: “The situation in the East China Sea is getting worse.”
Tension over the group of five uninhabited islands and three barren rocks mounted in September 2012, when the Japanese government — which has administered the islands since 1895 — bought them from a private owner.
Japanese officials fear Beijing is using the shift in international attention towards the South China Sea — where China has been constructing artificial islands — to mount a new push in the waters further north.
Tokyo has formally protested the Chinese actions, which it calls a “forceful, coercive attempt to change the status quo”, but has so far avoided any escalation with countermeasures of its own.
In late December, China sailed an armed vessel into territorial waters around the disputed islands for the first time.
Sailing with three other Chinese vessels, a former naval frigate converted for coastguard use but carrying four quick-firing 37mm cannon, entered the 24 nautical mile “contiguous zone” around the islands for the first time on December 22, and the 12 nautical mile territorial waters on December 26. Read the rest of this entry »
The metal balls fell from the sky, scaring local residents.
Vietnam’s military is investigating the appearance of three mysterious metal balls — believed to be debris from space — which landed in the country’s remote north, a senior army official said Friday.
Two metal balls were discovered in northwestern Yen Bai province on January 2, army spokesman Lieutenant General Vo Van Tuan told AFP.
Later a larger ball weighing some 45 kilograms (100 pounds) landed in a maize field in neighbouring Tuyen Quang province, he said.
“We are still identifying where they came from,” he said, adding the army had determined they did not contain explosives or hazardous material.
The metal balls fell from the sky, he said, scaring local residents.
“Before and after these objects were discovered, the Vietnamese army was not conducting any military activity in the region,” Tuan said.
Think tank: path to Iran nuke warhead 2-4 months
VIENNA AP — Iran could produce enough weapons-grade uranium to arm a nuclear bomb within two to four months but would still face serious “engineering challenges” — and much longer delays — before it succeeds in making the other components needed for a functioning warhead, a respected U.S. think tank said Monday…
via >> AP — Yahoo! News
- Think tank: path to Iran nuke warhead 2-4 months (dailystar.com.lb)
- Iran could make enough weapons grade uranium for a nuclear warhead in two months, U.S. think tank says (news.nationalpost.com)
- U.S. think tank: Iran could produce a nuclear warhead within 2-4 months (haaretz.com)
- Turkey deploy tanks and missile defense assets to border as clashes with Syria continue | Atlantic Council (thenewirscholar.wordpress.com)