Night Watch

Vietnam-China: Vietnamese authorities said a Chinese ship sank a Vietnamese fishing boat near the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea on 26 May. They said a Chinese vessel rammed the wooden Vietnamese boat on the 26thand fled. Casualties were not reported.

Chinese media reported the Vietnamese boat capsized after it tried to ram a Chinese ship. Chinese news coverage said the Vietnamese boat was trying to interfere with Chinese oil drilling in the area.

Comment: This is the first boat lost in the latest confrontation over disputed sea claims. It will not be the last. The Vietnamese version of the story seems the more plausible.

China: Police in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in western China seized 1.8 tons of material for explosive devices and caught five suspects in a raid that disrupted a terrorist group led by Abliz Dawut. The raid occurred in Hotan Prefecture in south Xinjiang. Police also retrieved videos, audios and printed materials on how to make bombs.

According to Chinese news accounts, the police suspect Abliz and his gang made the bombs that were used in the Urumqi attack on 22 May.

Police also executed raids in Aksu, Kashgar and Ili prefectures on Monday.

Comment: In targeting the bomb makers, the Chinese show some insight that elimination of the bomb makers is part of a permanent solution to terrorism. Nevertheless, the amount of materials seized is impressive because private ownership of almost any harmful device is a crime. This also suggests support from officials or companies in Xinjiang.

Ukraine: Ukrainian security forces regained control of the airport in the eastern city of Donetsk on 27 May after a day of airstrikes and fighting with separatists. At least 100 separatists died in the fighting. Late reports indicate unidentified reinforcements have arrived in Donetsk to help the separatists withstand what appears to be the strongest attack yet mounted by forces loyal to Kyiv.

Comment: President-elect Poroshenko is moving quickly to keep his promise to bring peace to Ukraine. The fight at Donetsk airport is now the deadliest of the Ukraine crisis. Casualties on this scale could challenge Russian President Putin to take action on his commitment to protect ethnic Russians in Ukraine.


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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