Saturday, November 13, 2010

APEC Yokohama - Day One

When the highlight of the day's reports is the exercise in artistic indulgence that is the "virtual koi pond" in the convention center, you just know that not much good happened.

Just Not Going to End Well Situation: Medvedev spokeswoman Natalya Timakova speaking of the side meeting planned between Russian President Medvedev and Japanese PM Kan about the Northern Territories - "She added that Moscow's position that the disputed islands belong to Russia has not changed." No kidding. After all the other statements, the Vostok military exercises this year focusing on Sakhalin and the nearby possessions, the adoption of a formal Russian position that hostilities in WWII in the Pacific didn't end until September of 1945, and then the Medvedev visit to the occupied islands on November 1st of this year... you'd think it would be pretty obvious at this point. Even the Kan administration is going to come to realize that continuing to do favors for Russia is not buying them anything.

Petty Moment of the Day: US President Obama crying out "Stephen, don't fall in!" while Canadian PM Stephen Harper was looking at the virtual pool. Typical, but still disappointing.

Unsaid, but Lurking: Way too many of the nations surrounding the South China Sea have been nervous for years about the PRC's massive upgrading and enlargement of the PLA-N (their navy). After the events of this year, add Japan and quite possibly the ROK to the "concerned" list. The question is rapidly changing from "should something be said/done?" to "what are we going to say/do?". If that pops out in public statements during this conference, I'd say things could get rather ugly.

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