Under the Radar News 8.20.10

Posted on Friday, August 20, 2010 by Alexandra Matthews

A weekly compilation of underreported developments in Asia

  • A consortium of Chinese and Australian companies will develop three Iranian oil fields, which are expected to eventually produce 20,000 barrels of oil per day. China has been a strong economic supporter of Iran, which has the world’s third largest oil reserves.

  • The Presidents of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Tajikistan met at a summit in Russia this week to discuss coordinating anti-terrorism and drug trafficking measures, among other issues. At NATO‘s request Russia has agreed to provide training and equipment to Afghan forces, but will not send troops into the country.

  • Thai naval vessels carrying 371 personnel will head to Somalia in September to assist the international anti-piracy effort. Thai vessels have been victims of pirate attacks in the past and a government official noted that piracy disrupts the economies of many countries.

  • Despite strengthening political and economic relationships, China has moved new longer range CSS-5 missiles to its borders with India. China is currently undertaking large-scale infrastructure development in Western China, near its disputed territories with India.

  • Government ministers from Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam have agreed to build a railway in the Mekong area, which will connect over 300 million people in the region. The participating countries hope that the project will boost trade and economic development.

  • North Korea has begun building up a personality cult around Kim Jong-il’s son and likely heir, Kim Jong-Un. According to South Korean intelligence sources, Jong-Un has recently been more active in policymaking and inspection tours.

  • Taiwan has passed a controversial bill that will allow mainland Chinese students to enroll in Taiwanese universities. Although Chinese students will not be permitted to hold jobs while studying in Taiwan, the country’s lawmakers hope the bill will provide students with valuable educational exchanges.

  • Pakistani militant groups such as Jamat-ud-Dawa and Sipah-e-Sahaba are using social networking sites such as Facebook. Although the Pakistani government recently censored websites in the country for ‘anti-Islamic’ content, the groups have been operating freely on the internet.

  • Around 50 pro-independence groups staged a two-day sit-in in Taipei to protest the economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA), signed by Taiwan and China in June. Some opponents of the pact fear political motives are always at the root of China’s economic deals.
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