World View: India's Navy Prepares to Confront China in South China Sea

This morning's key headlines from
  • Japan deploys Patriot Missiles to counter North Korea's planned rocket launch
  • India's navy prepares to confront China in South China Sea
  • A 'Coalition of the Willing' is emerging against China
  • European nations summon Israeli ambassadors over new settlement announcement

Japan deploys Patriot Missiles to counter North Korea's planned rocket launch

North Korea says it will launch a long-range rocket in a southerly direction sometime between December 10-22, between 7 am and noon. This will be the first new attempt following a humiliating failure in April, where the rocket exploded shortly after launch. North Korea claims that the purpose of the launch is to test putting a satellite into orbit, but it's believed to be a test of a long-range nuclear weapon delivery system. Because of the possibility that the rocket will land on Japanese territory, Japan will position surface-to-air Patriot missiles on Okinawa and two other islands, all of which are under the North Korean missile's likely flight path. In addition, Aegis ships carrying interceptor missiles will be deployed. The Asahi Shimbun (Tokyo) and Yonhap (Seoul)

India's navy prepares to confront China in South China Sea

India's nave is holding practice exercises to confront China's warships in the South China Sea. Navy chief Admiral DK Joshi said on Monday that the Indian Navy was prepared to defend Indian assets in the South China Sea: 

Not that we expect to be in those waters very frequently, but when the requirement is there for situations where the country's interests are involved, for example ONGC Videsh, we will be required to go there and we are prepared for that.

ONGC Videsh is an Indian energy firm that signed a deal in 2011 with Vietnam to explore oil in three oil blocks in the South China Sea off the coast of Vietnam. Oil has already started flowing from one of those blocks, despite the fact that China warned India earlier this year to refrain oil exploration in the Vietnamese blocks in order to ensure "peace and stability" in the area. However, China has announced plans to board and seize foreign ships in the South China Sea starting in 2013 and has been conducting naval drills with warships in preparation. The Indian navy has so far restricted its sphere of influence to the Indian Ocean region from the Gulf of Aden to the Malacca Straits near Singapore. The navy chief's statement could mark a shift in that policy particularly with an assertive China. India Today

A 'Coalition of the Willing' is emerging against China

As we've been reporting, China's neighbors have been expressing increasing alarm over China's recent moves to consolidate its takeover of the entire South China Sea, including regions that historically have belonged to other countries. In addition to announcing plans to board and seize foreign ships entering the region, China has issued new passports containing it's "nine-dash map" that claims sovereignty over the entire area. ( "2-Dec-12 World View -- China's neighbors express alarm over militant new South China Sea policy"

In the wake of fury over China's belligerent policies, an ad hoc security alliance is emerging among Japan, the Philippines, Vietnam, and other countries to block China's assertive interventions through diplomacy or possibly by other means.

Japan is the only naval power in East Asia that can face off with the burgeoning naval power of the People's Liberation Army. Japanese officials say Japan has been "building up ties with other nations that share worries about their imposing neighbor." 

 According to one Japanese official: "We want to build our own 'coalition of the willing' in Asia to prevent China from just running over us."

China Post (Taiwan)

European nations summon Israeli ambassadors over new settlement announcement

Britain, France, Spain, Denmark and Sweden all summoned their Israeli ambassadors on Monday to criticize Israel's decision to build thousands of new settlement homes in the West Bank. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the it "a setback for peace," while Britain called the move "deplorable," and said in a statement:

I also made clear that the strength of our reaction stems from our disappointment that the Israeli government has not heeded the calls that we and others had made for Israel to avoid reacting to the U.N. General Assembly resolution in a way that undermines the Palestinian Authority or a return to talks.

Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel said her government is "worried" about Israel's plans. Merkel is meeting with Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Berlin on Monday.

According to an Israeli official:

[Israel will] continue to stand up for its vital interests even in the face of international pressure.

The Palestinian unilateral move at the UN is a blatant and fundamental violation of agreements to which the international community was a guarantor. No one should be surprised that Israel is not sitting with its arms folded in response to the unilateral Palestinian steps.

Jerusalem Post and CNN

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