Under the Radar News 4.16.10

Posted on Friday, April 16, 2010 by Evelyn Kusnawirianto

A weekly compilation of underreported developments in Asia

  • Myanmar has started building 400-kilometer-long railroads across the nation. These railroad projects will connect the south with north, and east with west of the country, as well as ethnic minority states including Rakhine, Kachin and Shan.

  • A group of 35 Chinese government officials and tourists has arrived in Pyongyang. The group is the first of such tourist visits after China granted North Korea destination status in February, symbolizing closer ties between the two countries.

  • Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) has announced the decision to halt gasoline supply to Iran. This is in response to its desire to safeguard business exposure in the US and to support US threats to sanction Iran.

  • Vietnam will adopt the Shinkansen system, the Japanese bullet train technology, to shorten travel times between its capital Hanoi and the southern commercial hub of Ho Chi Minh City from three days to six hours non-stop.

  • A new party called the Sunrise Party of Japan, headed by former Trade Minister Takeo Hiranuma, has been formed to prevent the incumbent Democratic Party of Japan from seizing a majority in the July upper chamber election. The potency of the new party is in question due to the policy differences between leaders Hiranuma and former Finance Minister Karu Yosano.

  • Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping has met with chief advisor of Taiwan’s Cross-Strait Common Market Foundation chief advisor Fredrick Chien to discuss cross-strait economic and trade exchanges.

  • The US Forces Korea announced that the Eight U.S. Army (EUSA) will be reformed into a field command unit to support the new Korea Command.

  • The North China Sea Fleet of the Chinese Navy conducted training for its new multi-functional fighter bombers.

  • Japan has questioned the intentions of the Chinese sending two submarines and eight destroyers on the high seas near Japan. China responded that they are part of the navy’s routine training in international waters and is no cause for alarm.
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