Under the Radar News, 12.4.09

Posted on Friday, December 4, 2009 by Kolby Hanson

A weekly compilation of underreported developments in Asia.

China’s Legal System to Pressure Local Governments to Transparency (Xinhua) The Chinese Supreme Court rules that local government interests can no longer be used as grounds to keep information secret. This may force all local governments to post their official budgets online. This is the latest move by the central government to crack down on corruption on local levels.

SDP Threatens to Leave Japan’s Ruling Coalition over Base Issue (Japan Times) The Social Democratic Party, one of three parties in Japan’s ruling coalition, threatens to leave the coalition if the U.S.’s Futenma base is not relocated. If the SDP were to leave, the DPJ would lose their majority in the Upper House and the coalition could collapse. This only puts additional pressure on the alliance and negotiations with the U.S.

China Relocates Tibet’s Farmers to Government Housing (People’s Daily) The Chinese government is nearing completion of a nearly $2 billion project to build 270,000 houses for itinerant farmers and herdsmen in Tibet. By the end of 2010, they plan to have housed all of the multiple million people. This both continues the Chinese government’s affirmative action programs in Tibet, and may help to reduce social and cultural conflict.

Indonesian President Under Scrutiny in Bank Century Corruption Case (Antara) Indonesian President Suilo Bambang Yudhoyono, elected largely on his anti-corruption and pro-environmental agenda, allegedly provided stimulus funds to campaign contributor Bank Century (now Bank Indonesia).

Japan to Deploy Forces to Sudan (Yomiuri Shimbun) Japan’s Ground Self Defense Forces, which pulled its last troops out of Afghanistan last year, plan to contribute several hundred troops to the U.N. mission in Sudan. This humanitarian move is rare for Japan’s military-wary government, and is stark in comparison to its recent drawback on support of U.S. missions.

China Targets Central Asian Trade with Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan (Xinhua) More than 20 Chinese and Kazakh officials met to discuss encouraging bilateral trade. China is already Kazakhstan’s 3rd leading trading partner, and trade increased 27% last year. Uzbekistan and China are also meeting to expand their growing trade.

Taiwan and China to Sign Currency Pact (China Post [Taiwan]) China and Taiwan are set to sign an agreement allowing direct currency exchange in order to facilitate cross-strait investment, further integrating Taiwanese and Chinese economies. Sources say it will go into effect even before their Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) is signed.

Chilean Officials Plan to Replicate Growing Chinese Solar Industry (Xinhua) Chilean ambassador Fernando Reyes Matta says that Chile’s energy establishment should further investigate China’s solar industry and announce an emissions target like China’s. This not only points to China’s success in renewables but also its growing influence in South America.

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