China’s Diplomatic Ties With Ally North Korea Are Fraying
When Kim Jong Un inherited power in North Korea in late 2011, then-Chinese president Hu Jintao was outwardly supportive of the untested young leader, predicting that “traditional friendly cooperation” between the countries would strengthen. Since 2013, ties between the allies have deteriorated so sharply that some diplomats and experts fear Beijing may become, like Washington, a target of its neighbor’s ire.
China Drags Indonesia Into South China Sea Morass
John McBeth, The Asia Times
Six weeks after Indonesia declared its intention to rename its 200-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) north of the Natuna islands as the ‘North Natuna Sea’, China has demanded that Jakarta drop the new moniker, saying it isn’t conducive to the “excellent” relations between the two countries.
Chinese Rights Lawyer Writes to China’s Leaders Calling For Amnesty
Radio Free Asia
A prominent human rights lawyer has penned an open letter to the leaders of the ruling Chinese Communist Party calling for an amnesty for political prisoners and democratic reform. Xie Yanyi, who was among hundreds of lawyers and associated rights activists detained during a nationwide police operation targeting the legal profession since July 2015, said he wrote to President Xi Jinping and members of the all-powerful Politburo standing committee because he believes a democratic future is the only viable one for China.
“Embargo” Explores The US-Cuba Relationship
Michael Rechtstaffen, The Los Angeles Times
America’s long-standing history of strained relations with Cuba is documented in the self-explanatory “Embargo,” an earnest first film by Jeri Rice that lacks an incisive point of view. Rice, who spent three decades in the high-end clothing business, traveled to Cuba in 2002 with a group of influential women from the Pacific Northwest, during which time she briefly met with Fidel Castro.
Another North Korean Holiday? It’s Probably Time For Another Missile Launch
Michelle Ye Hee Lee, The Washington Post
Saturday is the 69th anniversary of the founding of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and neighboring countries are bracing for the rogue country to celebrate in a classic North Korean way: by conducting a test of its nuclear and missile program. Since earlier in the week, South Korean government officials had reported signs of another missile test in the works, possibly a long-range launch set for this weekend.
Missing Ukrainian Teen Faces Terrorism-Related Charges In Russia
A Ukrainian teenager who was allegedly lured into Belarus by the Russian security services is being held in Russia on suspicion of terrorism-related crimes, according to a copy of an official Russian document seen by RFE/RL. The Federal Security Service (FSB) letter seen by RFE/RL on September 8 says that Pavlo Hryb is being held at a detention facility in Krasnodar Krai in southern Russia.
It’s Time To Plan For Civil War In Venezuela
Adm. James Stavridis, Time Magazine
An enormous crisis is brewing just a few hundred miles south of Miami: Venezuela, a nation of more than 30 million people, with the largest oil reserves in the world, is on the brink of collapse and civil war. The implications for the Americas are profound and dangerous. What should the U.S. be doing while Caracas sinks into anarchy?
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
September 8th, 1954: The Southeast Asian Treaty Organization (SEATO) was formed. Its charter specifically references “communist aggression” and was intended to be a collective defense coalition to hold back the People’s Republic of China.
Massoud Day/Martyr’s Day: Afghanistan recognizes September 8th/9th as “Martyr’s Day,” honoring Ahmad Shah Massoud, one of the most successful mujahid fighters against the Soviet invasion. Massoud was later assassinated on September 9th, 2001 by al-Qaida fighters.