US ignores China's new airspace defense zone; Thai protests extend beyond Bangkok;  Germans agree on "grand coalition" government; Microsift to ramp up encryption efforts to stop NSA intercepting traffic; and more 

Top of the Agenda: U.S. Bombers Defy China's New Air Zone

Two unarmed U.S. B-52 bombers flew over disputed islands in the East China Sea, ignoring a new airspace defense zone that China declared on Saturday with warnings that it would take "defensive emergency measures" if the zone was breached (Reuters). China's defense ministry said it monitored the flights without mentioning any intentions to retaliate (BBC). The flare-up of tensions between China and Japan, as well as anger from Seoul's over Japan's colonial past, is piling on problems for the Obama administration as it seeks to forge deeper ties with Beijing and make East Asia more stable (AP).

Analysis

"The U.S. also can't stand by and allow unwise words and acts by allies to fuel crises like this one in the first place. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan definitely gets this year's Lee Teng-hui award for intemperate statements. Like it or not, Japan and China may lack the historical maturity to resolve this crisis on their own. Now there's something that would be worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize, Mr. President," writes James Gibney for Bloomberg.

"Beijing's brinksmanship is reminiscent of its frequent harassment of U.S. naval vessels in international waters and the buzzing by Chinese fighters of U.S. EP-3 surveillance planes that caused a collision in 2001. Beijing is trying to make its exclusive economic zone into a no-go area for foreign military ships and aircraft. This is a serious violation of international law that must be resisted if U.S. security guarantees and President Obama's 'pivot' to Asia are going to have any credibility," the Wall Street Journal writes in an editorial.

"If Beijing is so convinced that international law is on its side it should seek to take the dispute to international arbitration. Tokyo probably would not agree but—equally convinced of its claim—just might if it could be assured that Beijing would abide by the result," the Financial Times writes in an editorial.

PACIFIC RIM

Thai Protests Expand Beyond Bangkok

Protests aiming to topple Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra continued for a third day, with demonstrations fanning out across Bangkok to government offices and into provincial centers outside the capital (WSJ). Protestors have occupied the finance ministry since Monday.

CFR's Joshua Kurlantzick explains in this blog post why Thailand's government may collapse.

ELSEWHERE:

Germans agree on "grand coalition" government

Microsoft to ramp up encryption efforts to stop NSA intercepting traffic

This is an excerpt of the CFR.org Daily News Brief. The full version is available on CFR.org.   

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