World View: Vietnamese Boatmen Defy China's Fishing Ban in South China Sea

World View: Vietnamese Boatmen Defy China's Fishing Ban in South China Sea

Today’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com.

  • France’s power couple: François Hollande and Valérie Trierweiler
  • Azerbaijan conducts high-powered military exercises in the Caspian Sea
  • China imposes a 2 1/2 month fishing ban in the South China Sea
  • Vietnam’s fishermen defy China’s fishing ban in South China Sea
  • Today’s Schadenfreude: North Koreans kidnap 29 Chinese fishermen
  • U.S. is aiding supplying of weapons to Syria’s rebels
  • New Cyprus controversy strains relations between Turkey and Israel

France’s power couple: François Hollande and Valérie Trierweiler

Valérie Trierweiler, the ‘partner’ of France’s new president François Hollande, is moving to distinguish herself from her predecessor Carla Bruni, the supermodel/singer wife of Nicolas Sarkozy. Trierweiler is bringing back the traditional French music, like Edith Piaf’s La Vie en Rose, as well as the accordion. Trierweiler claims to be better placed than Bruni to handle the workings of power. “I am and remain passionate about news. I know politics, I know the media. Bruni came from a world totally alien to that of politics. She didn’t necessarily know the codes,” she said. Guardian

Azerbaijan conducts high-powered military exercises in the Caspian Sea

Azerbaijan recently completed large-scale military exercises in the Caspian Sea, involving around 1,200 servicemen, 21 ships, 20 speedboats as well as eight helicopters. Although Azerbaijan is claiming that the purpose of the exercises is to protect Azeri assets from terrorists, the huge scale of the exercises implies that they’re really targeted at countering military buildups by Iran and Russia. Jamestown

China imposes a 2 1/2 month fishing ban in the South China Sea

According to China’s fishery authorities, China has imposed a 2½ month fishing ban in the South China Sea, “as part of ongoing efforts to rehabilitate the area’s marine resources.” The ban runs from May 16 to August 1. Violators will face punishments such as fines, license revocations, confiscations and possible criminal charges. Also, all fishing boats are required to have activated positioning equipment so they will not accidentally enter banned areas. Xinhua

Vietnam’s fishermen defy China’s fishing ban in South China Sea

Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry has protested China’s fishing ban: “Vietnam opposes this unilateral decision by China and views it as an invalid one.” China is imposing the ban pursuant to its claim to have full sovereignty over the entire South China Sea, including areas historically belonging to other countries. ( “13-May-12 World View — China denies preparing for war with the Philippines”) A group of Vietnamese fisherman have set sail to defy China’s fishing ban. One of the fishermen was among 20 Vietnamese fishermen previously kidnapped by the Chinese for violating an earlier fishing ban. “Whatever orders the Chinese government wants to give, they can go ahead, but we are not scared of them,” he said. Radio Free Asia

Today’s Schadenfreude: North Koreans kidnap 29 Chinese fishermen

As my mother used to say, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. The North Koreans have kidnapped 29 Chinese fisherman in three fishing boats, and demanded $190,000 for their release. It’s not clear whether the North Korean government authorized the captures. According to a person who has spoken with the captors, “If the kidnappers don’t get the money by [Thursday], they will sell off the boats, which are worth 3 million yuan (U.S. $473,000).” Radio Free Asia / AFP

U.S. is aiding supplying of weapons to Syria’s rebels

Obama administration officials now believe that an expanding military confrontation in Syria is inevitable, and is coordinating the effort to supply arms to the rebels. According to one State Dept. official:

“We are increasing our nonlethal assistance to the Syrian opposition, and we continue to coordinate our efforts with friends and allies in the region and beyond in order to have the biggest impact on what we are collectively doing.”

The flow of arms to Syria’s rebels has increased significantly in recent months after a decision by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other gulf states to provide millions of dollars in funding each month. Administration officials also held talks in Washington this week with a delegation of Kurds from sparsely populated eastern Syria, where little violence has occurred. The talks included discussion of what one U.S. official said remained the “theoretical” possibility of opening a second front against Bashar al-Assad’s forces that would compel him to move resources from the west. Washington Post

New Cyprus controversy strains relations between Turkey and Israel

Relations between Turkey and Israel have been relatively calm in recent months, thanks to the crisis in Syria, but a new controversy is causing disputes to flare again. Turkey is demanding an explanation from Israel on Thursday for violation Turkish Cypriot airspace by an Israeli plane that was chased away by Turkish fighter jets. Turkey and Greece fought a bitter war in Cyprus in 1974, resulting in a partition of the island into Greek and Turkish regions. Tensions flared in 2010 over an Israeli-Greek Cypriot deal for oil and gas explorations around Cyprus. The ownership of the gas and oil is disputed, and Turkey is accusing Israel of violating Turkish Cypriot airspace in order to spy on Turkey’s oil and gas exploration efforts. Zaman (Istanbul)


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