Night Watch

Japan-China: On Sunday, China's Ministry of National Defense claimed that Japanese Self-Defense Forces (SDF) aircraft obstructed exercises in the East China Sea.

A ministry statement said that SDF aircraft entered China's air defense identification zone and reconnoitered and obstructed joint drills between the Chinese and Russian navies. China scrambled fighter interceptors which took necessary identification and security steps.

The Chinese ministry said the action by the Japanese aircraft constituted a serious violation of international law and practice because the aircraft ignored China's no fly zone. The ministry requested the Japanese side stop every surveillance and obstruction activity.

On Saturday, Japan's Defense Ministry said that Chinese Su-27 fighter jets flew abnormally close to aircraft of the Japanese Maritime and Air Self-Defense Forces over the East China Sea. The SDF planes were flying over the high seas, the ministry said.

The Japanese ministry said the Chinese fighters flew 30 to 50 meters from the Japanese aircraft.

Comment: The Japanese ministry published video images of a Chinese fighter as it approached a Japanese aircraft. Without commenting on the various sovereignty claims, the Chinese fighter flew too close for safety. China really cannot afford to lose any of its advanced fighter aircraft.

China-South Korea: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will visit Seoul on Monday for talks on North Korea's nuclear issue and the timing of the Chinese president's visit to South Korea, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said.

Comment: The diplomatic firmament is starting to move in the direction of North Korean denuclearization talks. Last week a US delegation met North Korean counterparts in Mongolia. Now, this visit. Apparently, the meetings are still mainly exploratory. The prospect of talks has no effect in restraining provocative North Korean behavior, especially since Kim Jong Un became the North Korean leader.

Thailand: King Bhumibol Adulyadej will address the nation on 26 May to endorse General Prayuth Chan-ocha as head of a ruling military council. Afterwards the General will then give his first address to the nation since seizing power last week.

Comment: As old hands know, no coup succeeds without the approval of the monarchy. The King wants stability and an end to street demonstrations and violent protests. The Shinawatra's failed to respect his will and have now paid for it.

Night Watch

NightWatch is an internationally acclaimed nightly newsletter that tracks and assesses threats to US national security. It has an edgy, executive style unlike any other summary of its kind.

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