Under the Radar News 3.19.10

Posted on Friday, March 19, 2010 by Matthew Hallex

A weekly compilation of underreported developments in Asia

  • The World Health Organization has invited Taiwan to attend the 2010 World Health Assembly. This will be the second time that Taiwan attends as an observer, under the name “Chinese Taipei”.

  • Indonesia plans to deploy an additional four battalions of troops to Papua to provide additional security against Papuan separatists. The Indonesian military has been accused of systemic abuses of human rights in Papua.

  • Guangdong in southern China will be making its provincial budget public this year. Publicizing the budget, which has in the past been regarded as a state secret, is a step forward in efforts to increase government transparency and fight corruption.

  • The UN country head in Cambodia has been threatened with expulsion after he called for a longer period for public review of a proposed anti-corruption law. Critics of the proposed law believe that it would be used by the government to silence critics.

  • Plans to allow permanent foreign residents of Japan to vote in local elections have meet with staunch opposition. Critics of the plan have suggested that extending voting rights to foreign residents would weaken Japan’s position in territorial disputes with China and South Korea.

  • Russia plans to assist Vietnam with construction of a new naval base to house Vietnam’s fleet of Russian-built submarines. Vietnam has also requested assistance in construction of a naval repair facility that may service visiting Russian ships.

  • The Burmese government has ordered civil servants to leave the Kokang region, inhabited by the ethnic-Chinese Wa, in the north of Burma. This move has heightened fears that the conflict between the central government and Wa separatists may restart.

  • Controversy has erupted in Taiwan over the Taiwanese Air Force’s failure to intercept a Russian bomber that strayed into Taiwanese airspace in January.
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