Night Watch

China-South China Sea: China continues to require that fishing craft from Southeast Asian nations that border the South China Sea must follow Chinese fishing regulations which are now in force.

Comment: The leaders of the regional states are finally coming to appreciate the significance - or audacity -- of the Chinese claim. The South China Sea is enormous, but China reportedly plans to enforce its claim by seizing and occupying the islands that are claimed by other states, one by one, according to one Chinese report over the weekend.

Collectively, the Southeast Asian states might pool their resources to confront China once or twice. However, without US naval backing and extensive support, those would be diminishing efforts that eventually would leave their states vulnerable to Chinese military pressure.

Without a nearly permanent US Navy presence in Southeast Asia, the Chinese claims will go unchallenged for all practical purposes. The regional fishing fleets will comply with the new Chinese rules.

China will not attack Spratly Island, the largest in the Spratly chain, because it is held by Chinese Nationalist soldiers from the Republic of China, on Taiwan, which asserts the same ownership claim as the People's Republic government in Beijing.

Thailand: Update. Prime Minister Yingluck insisted Tuesday she would not resign, which protestors continue to demand. The anti-government demonstrators blocked key roads in central Bangkok for a second day.

Comment: The demonstrators had pledged to 'shut down' the city of 12 million people. Nevertheless, life in most of Bangkok was unaffected, with school classes restarting, commuters heading to work and most businesses open.

Army sources said no casualties occurred during the demonstrations. The conditions for military intervention have eased.

Iraq: Sunni militants in Iraq executed coordinated attacks Tuesday near Fallujah, west of Baghdad. Police said the attacks destroyed two army tanks and captured a police station. Car bombs and shootings killed at least 24 people.

The Iraqi police reported that Sunni fighters recovered partial control of six neighborhoods in the southern and central parts of Ramadi.

Across the country, at least 65 people were killed and 80 were wounded in Iraq today.


Night Watch

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