"[Japan and the United States] need to agree upon what constitutes unfortunate but acceptable levels of ordinary harassment around the islands (e.g., occasional intrusions by Chinese vessels, aircraft or drones; incidents involving ships switching on their engagement radars). The allies need to distinguish this from behavior in which China aims to meaningfully change the facts on the ground, such as by stationing military forces on the islands, building and claiming structures there or attempting to deny Japanese access. The allies also need to have some private and frank conversations about likely responses to such Chinese actions," writes Jennifer Lind for the Asahi Shimbun.
"Besides the question of personal chemistry between Obama and Abe, the 'discordance' surfacing within the alliance risks sending the wrong message to the Chinese, who are watching for any sign of weakness in U.S.-Japan relations which might help them contest Japan's sovereignty over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands. Tokyo's priority will therefore be a joint declaration by the two leaders in reaffirming the healthy state of the alliance. Obama will no doubt grant this assurance, although it will be carefully worded to avoid the U.S. being automatically dragged into an open conflict between Japan and China over the disputed territory," writes Yo-Jung Chen in the Diplomat.
"Rebalancing is indeed desirable, including reconfirmation of American security commitments. Yet that alone will only increase the likelihood of an arms race and the risks of military clashes. All around the periphery of China nations should follow the Philippine example of seeking to test China's claims and their own before an impartial international tribunal, and the U.S. should be openly encouraging them to do so, despite its own mixed record in dealing with international law," writes CFR's Jerome Cohen in ChinaFile.
Labor Strikes Spread at Chinese Factories
A strike at a Chinese factory over better pay and benefits has spread, gaining up to thirty thousand participants, according to the New York-based NGO China Labor Watch. The strike comes as rising wages have led manufacturers to move some operations to lower-cost countries like Vietnam (Guardian).
Politicianís Death Spurs Potential Escalation in Ukraine
Acting president Oleksandr Turchynov ordered a resumption of military operations against pro-Russian separatists after two men, one a local politician, were found dead in eastern Ukraine with indications they had been tortured (BBC). The move came as U.S. vice president Joe Biden was in Kiev seeking to de-escalate the crisis, and threatens the Geneva accord reached last week.
NATO: Six hundred U.S. troops will arrive in Poland and Baltic states bordering Russia for exercises to reassure NATO allies, the Pentagon announced (WSJ).
CFR President Richard N. Haass writes in a new essay for The American Interest that the Obama administration must prove to U.S. allies that it is competent to lead.
Brazil Hosts Conference on Future of Internet Governance