For the Night of 29
Japan-US: Prime Minister Hatoyama restated that his
government will review comprehensively the Japan-U.S. alliance and will
continue developing bilateral ties, The Associated Press reported 29
Hatoyama said the comprehensive review of the alliance
coincides with next year's marking of the 50th anniversary of the revision of
the bilateral security treaty. He said the Japan-U.S. alliance is the
cornerstone of Japan's
foreign policy, adding that Japan
will deepen the ties in a multilayered way.
The Democratic Party coalition government leaders are fast
learners in the hardball of alliance politics.
US governments from both parties have yet to demonstrate they understand
the significance of partnership and mature relationships. The world has changed,
but the attitudes of some Americans seem stuck in an earlier, less complex era.
Chinese President Hu has invited North Korean leader Kim Chong-il for a
visit to China,
reported 29 October. Hu told a visiting official of the Workers' Party of
Korea, Choe Thae Bok, to convey the invitation, adding that Kim should visit
"at a time convenient to him."
The timing of this invitation, soon after Premier Wen Jiabao’s
visit to Pyongyang,
suggests Wen’s visit did not achieve the results President Hu and the Chinese Politburo
wanted. Readers could conclude that Wen’s visit to Pyongyang was a failure.
North Korea-US: The State Department said the United States and North
Korea failed to make progress toward resumption of
six-party nuclear negotiations during talks held on the sidelines of an
academic seminar in San Diego,
reported 29 October.
An official stated that Sung Kim, the U.S. special envoy for
the Six-Party Talks, and North Korea's Vice Foreign Minister Ri Gun discussed
many issues, but the US delegate was not prepared to say there was progress
toward resuming the Six-Party Talks. Kim will likely attend another seminar in New York to continue
informal talks with Ri.
The North repeatedly has declared the Six Party Talks venue
to be dead. It is unclear why the US would
insist on reviving a talks venue that was not productive and which the North
cannot rejoin without losing face.
This insistence conveys to the North’s leaders that the US
does not respect them and is not serious about talks. If the US is serious about making progress
in nuclear non-proliferation, it needs to use more creativity and imagination.
Kashmir State: The Army plans to withdraw
about 15,000 troops from Jammu
and Kashmir State,
according to Army spokesman Lt. Col. Biplab Nath, Reuters reported 29
October. Nath said one army division has
been moving out of the Poonch and Rajouri districts because the security
situation has improved there.
Poonch and Rajouri sectors are on the Line of Control and
are notorious infiltration routes from Pakistani held Kashmir. The withdrawal of a division from the Line of
Control has no precedent in the last 20 years of fighting in Indian Kashmir. Depending
on where the unit relocates, this would be the first major army formation to
withdraw and the strongest indication that police forces now have the Kashmir security situation under control.
Rajouri District, at one time one of the most violent and
unstable in Kashmir, has a website and office
Pakistan-US: For the record. The US
secretary of state questioned Pakistan's
commitment to the fight against al-Qaida, saying she found it hard to believe
that no-one in the Pakistan
government knows where senior figures are hiding.
"I find it hard to believe that nobody in your
government knows where they are and couldn't get them if they really wanted
to," she told a group of newspaper editors during a meeting in the city of
Bravo for Secretary Clinton.
Either the Pakistani security services contain senior officers who know
where bin Laden is and are lying or they are incompetent and ought to be
dismissed. There are no other explanations for Pakistan having become the headquarters
for al Qaida and the base area for international Islamic terrorism.
Afghanistan: The Taliban in Afghanistan
plan to intensify their attacks to disrupt the upcoming runoff presidential
election, Taliban spokesman Yousuf Ahmadi said 29 October, according to Agence
If the Taliban do as Ahmadi said, a Tajik is likely to be
the next president of Afghanistan.
No Pashtun wants that. A more likely
strategy is for the Pashtuns to vote for their favorite son, Hamid Karzai. If the voter turnout is as this note expects
– Karzai wins easily -- it will tend to be the strongest proof yet that the
fight is a civil war featuring a Pashtun uprising.
Atomic Energy Agency: Iran
is expected to propose two changes to the International Atomic Energy Agency's
deal on Iranian uranium enrichment, Javan newspaper reported today,
citing an unnamed source.
wants to "gradually" send its low-enriched uranium stock to be
processed in several batches rather than 75 percent of it all at once.
wants to receive highly enriched uranium fuel simultaneous to when it hands
over its low-enriched uranium.
So…. why would the US
back a plan for Iran to
receive highly enriched uranium from Russia even in small batches? Plus,
what is the enrichment percentage of the uranium involved in this transfer?
In short, for now, Iran has again rejected the IAEA
proposal by countering with its own. The Iranians would be stunned in the event
the IAEA accepted the latest Iranian proposal because it appears deliberately
crafted to be unacceptable. The IAEA should call Tehran’s bluff.
Russian President Medvedev and Ecuadorian President Correa signed a $22
million military deal and other energy and trade agreements in Moscow on 29 October, The Associated Press reported.
Under the deal, Russia will
provide two Mi-17 helicopters to Ecuador. Medvedev said the deal was
just a beginning as Moscow has renewed ties with
countries in Latin America.
This looks like a good deal except it is with the Russians.
Honduras: Update. Negotiations between representatives for
interim President Micheletti and ousted President Zelaya began again on 29
October, according to Reuters. U.S. Assistant Secretary of
State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Thomas Shannon participated in the talks. Shannon will hold meetings with representatives from the
two sides as well as Micheletti and Zelaya themselves.
It is bewildering that the US will not sit back and await the
results of the November presidential elections which remain on schedule. If
Zelaya is as popular as he contends, the vote will provide the proof. If he is
as dirty as Micheletti, the Supreme Court, the Congress and the Army contend,
the vote will show he could not win without using the patronage powers of the
presidency to rig the election.
What could be wrong with letting the democratic process
proceed without further US meddling? If Zelaya were in power, the US probably would be meddling to ensure a
credible outcome in a rigged election, as it is doing in Afghanistan.
End of NightWatch
for 29 October.