Under the Radar News 7.16.10

Posted on Friday, July 16, 2010 by Alexandra Matthews

A weekly compilation of underreported developments in Asia

  • In a meeting with Wu Poh-hsiung, honorary chairman of Taiwan’s Kuomintang (KMT) party, Chinese President Hu Jintao praised the two countries’ signing of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) last month. The controversial agreement, yet to be approved by Taiwan’s parliament, would reduce trade tariffs on hundreds of products.

  • The Australian plan to set up a refugee processing center in East Timor has been rejected by the nation’s lawmakers.

  • The high courts of Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, the Philippines, Thailand and Uzbekistan adopted the Jakarta Declaration, establishing the Association of Asian Constitutional Courts and Equivalent Institutions, the first organization of its kind in Asia. The Association aims to strengthen democracy and promote human rights in its member countries.

  • In what some see as an effort to deepen ties with Nepal and the entire region of South Asia, China has planned to expedite the building of the biggest land port in Tibetan city of Xigaze. The port will boost overland trade and further connect the two of the world’s largest economies, those of India and China.

  • In the wake of last month’s referendum that created a new constitution and turned Kyrgyzstan into a parliamentary republic, the country’s president, Roza Otunbayeva, has established a “technical government” that will rule the country until parliamentary elections are held in October.

  • China appears to be cracking down on micro-blogging websites similar to Twitter, as some sites have been experiencing disruptions while others have been shut down altogether.

  • For the first time, Malaysia is sending troops on a medical and humanitarian aid mission to Afghanistan. Malaysia has voiced its opposition to US-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the country’s Ministry of Defense stressed that troops will not engage in combat.

  • In an attempt to help restore fiscal sustainability to Japan, the International Monetary Fund has suggested the country start gradually raising its sales tax from 5 to 15 percent, a move that could potentially strengthen the government’s few fiscal conservatives and produce revenue of up to 5 percent of Japan’s GDP.
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