Under the Radar News 2.26.2010

Posted on Friday, February 26, 2010 by Matthew Hallex

A weekly compilation of underreported developments in Asia

  • The deputy Chinese central bank governor, Zhu Min, has been appointed a special adviser to the managing director of the IMF, the highest level staff position ever held by a Chinese national. This comes as part of an effort by the IMF to better represent the interests of developing economies in Asia.

  • Rising income inequality is fueling resentment and social unrest in China according to government polls. While China’s growing economy has created opportunities for many to gain newfound wealth, polls show that corruption and nepotism are commonplace amongst the rich.

  • The navy chief of Burma (also known as Myanmar) is in India this week meeting with his Indian counterparts. India has made great efforts to improve its military ties with Burma in an attempt to balance rising Chinese influence in the region.

  • The Japanese government confirmed the existence of a secret nuclear pact that would allow the United States to deploy nuclear weapons to Okinawa in case of conflict in the region. This revelation is likely to lead to a renegotiation of the pact in light of the Japanese public’s strong anti-nuclear sentiments.

  • The Taiwanese government has announced plans to subsidize artificial insemination in an effort to raise Taiwan’s birthrate. Declining fertility in many countries in East Asia is projected to cause economic difficulties as labor forces shrink and the number of pensioners rise.

  • Shanghai has announced that it will become the first city to provide education for the children of migrant workers. Millions of migrants from rural villages work in factories and construction sites in China’s booming cities but are not entitled to the same social benefits as urban residents.

  • China has launched an investigation into its role in assisting North Korea illegally export weapons after South Africa seized a shipment of North Korean tank parts intended for the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A UN resolution bans North Korea from exporting weapons.

  • President Lee Myung-bak has called for South Korea to revise its constitution. His proposed change would replace the current five-year single-term presidency with a four-year, two-term presidency similar to that of the United States.

  • NASA has broken ground on a new set of antennas for its Deep Space Network outside of Canberra. The antennas allow for tracking, control and communications with NASA missions.
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