Night Watch

Japan-China: For the record. Japanese media reported on the morning of 19 September two Chinese Coast Guard ships entered Japanese territorial waters near the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea on Thursday morning, according to the Japan Coast Guard.

The ships were spotted entering Japanese territorial waters around 7:10 a.m. and moved away about two hours later, according to the 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters in Naha, Okinawa Prefecture.

Comment: The Japanese coast guard said today's was the 65thsuch intrusion since last September.

North Korea: At the international symposium in honor of the 10thanniversary of the Six Party Talks in Beijing today, North Korea's First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan said North Korea is prepared for an early resumption of the Six Party Talks on denuclearization but without pre-conditions.

Comment: This is the standard line that the North uses. Its apparent simplicity resonates with the international media, but it implies that the North gets a do-over. The North wants the Western Allies to not hold it accountable for armed provocations, missile launches and nuclear tests nor for past broken agreements, such as the commitment to dismantle its nuclear program. The North now calls that past commitment "unreasonable."

At the same symposium, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that "all parties should maintain restraint and work together to consolidate the hard-won easing situation in the Peninsula, set reasonable threshold for the resumption of the talks, push forward the objectives of the 19 September 2005 Joint Statement in parallel and improve the six-party talks mechanism to enhance its binding force and effectiveness."

Comment: Wang's statement encouraging all parties to "set reasonable threshold for the resumption of the talks" looks like a significant concession to the North Koreans to get the talks moving again.

Russia-UN-Syria: Russia yesterday denied that the UN inspectors' report of the 21 August sarin attack implicated Syria. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said, "There is still no answer to the question of where the missile was produced." Lavrov also questioned the U.N. report, saying there are "serious grounds to believe" the incident was a provocation carried out by the rebel side.

Russia-Syria: The Syrian government provided Russia new materials about the sarin attack outside Damascus on 21 August, according to Sergei Ryabkov, the Russian deputy foreign minister who is in Damascus for talks.

Night Watch

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