Missile Defense Station Strains Chinese Ties to Japan, US
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced Tuesday, September 17 that the U.S. had reached an agreement with Japan to deploy a missile defense radar installation on the island nation, increasing American and Japanese tensions with China. The Chinese government criticized the deal, seeing it as a show of support by the U.S. to Japan in the recent conflicts over small resource-rich islands between the two Asian nations.
The U.S. has sought to end the dispute over the islands, hoping to avoid an armed conflict. According to the Vancouver Sun, Panetta has warned that if the spat led to war, it would draw in other countries, and advised them to show restraint in the matter.
US Repeals Docking Ban
On Friday, September 20, the U.S. lifted a 26 year ban, allowing New Zealand naval ships to dock at American ports and military bases.
The ships were banned in 1986, when the Australia, New Zealand, United States Security (ANZUS) treaty was suspended in retaliation to the ban of many U.S. Naval ships from New Zealand. In 1984, the N.Z. capital banned all ships “carrying nuclear explosive device[s]” from entering New Zealand ports or waters in 1984, to a radius of 12 nautical miles from the island nation. New Zealand has strengthened this stance in the time since the ban was enacted, and its stance has not been affected by the reversal of the U.S. snub.
The move came from U.S. officials hoping to strengthen relations with the nation. They hope to bring about a “new era” in relations, according to comments made by U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta at a New Zealand news conference. He described the changes as in the interest of both nations, as he announced that restrictions on military exercises and meetings between officials had also been lifted, as reported by ABC News. Jonathan Coleman, Panetta’s New Zealand counterpart, says that the two nations have moved past their dispute about nuclear ships, and have recently worked for close military cooperation. According to the Chicago Tribune, it had been 30 years since a Pentagon chief had visited New Zealand before Panetta’s trip last week.
Anti-Islam Film, Cartoons Cause Worldwide Riots
An anti-Islam video posted on Youtube Monday, July 2 sparked global protests after being dubbed in Arabic in early September, depicting the Prophet Muhammad as a womanizer and child abuser. American flags were burned and at least three U.S. Embassies were bombed in the following riots, necessitating an increase in security at many other Middle Eastern embassies, such as Egypt, reports the BBC. According to a Thursday, September 20 article in the State, the U.S. Government has denounced the film and has spent $70,000 to run ads in Pakistan showing President Obama rejecting the contents of the video, in an attempt to quell rage.
The situation worsened Thursday, September 19, when a French magazine published cartoons mocking Muhammad, according to Reuters. The highest-ranking Islamic official in Egypt, Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa, urged the population to endure the insults peacefully, reminding them of the Prophet’s example to endure personal attacks without any kind of retaliation. The Grand Mufti said that the publication of the cartoons showed how opposed the Western and Muslim worlds were, saying that they were an attempt at incitement.