Chinese ships back near the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. Japan’s Coast Guard identified three Chinese coast guard ships inside Japan’s territorial waters off the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea over the weekend. The Chinese vessels spent around two hours in Japan’s territorial waters. The incursion is the first since September 19. Separately, one of the two Japanese men detained by China on charges of espionage in May was arrested on the Nanji islands in the East China Sea. The Nanji island chain is roughly 300 kilometers northwest of the Senkakus (which are uninhabited). China is supposedly building a military outpost on the islands; imagery released earlier in the year by IHS Jane‘s shows a heliport and other military facilities.
Russia will hold off on recognizing North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. Though relations between Moscow and Pyongyang have displayed some signs of rapprochement, particularly in the months after Russia’s estrangement from the West over its annexation of Crimea, the Russians won’t accept North Korea as a nuclear weapon state. This is in line with how other parties to the Six-Party Talks process, which has been stalled since 2008, view North Korea. Russian deputy foreign minister Igor Morgulov noted on Sunday that ”It is never acceptable for Russia to effectively recognize North Korea’s status as a nuclear possessing country.” However, Morgulov wasn’t entirely dismissive of North Korea’s decision to pursue a nuclear weapons program: ”At the foundation of North Korea’s choice of nuclear weapons were concerns over their own national security,” he noted identifying the U.S.-South Korea alliance as a threat to North Korea’s security.