We have international incidents. First, the ROK Coast Guard thought the Japanese Coast Guard was illegitimately pursuing a South Korean fishing vessel, but the captain admitted he'd gone into Japanese waters. But the real international story today is related to Secretary of Defense Gates's visit to Tokyo, where he is pushing Tokyo to play a larger role in East Asian security, particularly as Seoul and Washington stand up to Pyongyang and Beijing.
Now I'll be the first to admit that the mealy-mouthed expressions of regret that Tokyo's conservative leadership has turned out (and then often practically reneged) in the past, combined with its myriad unresolved World War II-era territorial disputes, spell geopolitical disaster if Tokyo were to shed its pacifist right now, but I do like the idea of Beijing seeing that there are undesirable consequences when it allows its unleashed pitbull to bite the neighbors.
- South Korean fishing boat captain admits veering into Japanese waters in dispute that brought out coast guards of both countries (Yonhap, CSM, Korea Times)
- Note that the Christian Science Monitor article says the Sea of Japan is "also known as the East China Sea"
- In bid to fight inflation, South Korea's central bank raises benchmark interest rate from 2.50 percent to 2.75 percent (Reuters, AP via WaPo, WSJ, Joongang Daily, Bloomberg, Korea Times)
- Government announces other steps to rein in inflation (Joongang Daily)
- USFK Commander General Walter Sharp says US could destroy North Korea's missiles if they pose to great a threat (AFP)
- Tokyo seeks stronger ties with Washington (WaPo, Bloomberg)
- Gates asks Tokyo to play stronger role in East Asia (LAT)
- Gates says US troops keep North Korea and China at bay (AP via MSNBC)