Under the Radar News, 2.19.2010

Posted on Friday, February 19, 2010 by Matthew Hallex

A weekly compilation of underreported developments in Asia

  • Despite increased tensions between China and the United States following the announcement of arms sales to Taiwan the Chinese government granted permission for the U.S.S. Nimitz carrier strike group to dock in Hong Kong. In 2007 China canceled a port visit by a US carrier group after the U.S. awarded the Congressional Gold Medal to the Dalai Lama.

  • South Korean has deployed a contingent of 240 peacekeepers to support UN relief efforts in Haiti. South Korea has previously deployed troops as part of UN peacekeeping missions in Africa, East Timor and Lebanon.

  • The last group of child soldiers has been released from cantonments housing demobilized Maoist rebels in Nepal. Maoist forces, confined to the cantonments as part of a peace agreement between rebels and the Nepalese government, included almost 3000 child soldiers.

  • The Thai tourism council has issued a warning to tourists to avoid Bangkok due to rising tensions in the city. Violent protests are expected after two attempted bombings in the city and the expected verdict in former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s asset seizure case next week.

  • The Malaysian navy rescued 11 Indonesian sailors who had been set adrift after pirates seized their ship. Despite efforts by law enforcement and navies in the region piracy continues to pose a significant threat to shipping in Southeast Asia.

  • The sister of Kim Jong Il has returned to the public spotlight in North Korea after a six year absence taking control of a government agency charged with the oversight of light industry. The move reflects Kim’s increased reliance on his family after reportedly suffering a stroke in 2008.

  • Gunmen murdered a mayoral candidate in the Southern Philippines. This is the latest instance of political violence that has claimed 64 lives in the lead up to the national elections in May.
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