Posted on Friday, August 27, 2010
by Alexandra Matthews
A weekly compilation of underreported developments in Asia
The United States approved sale of radar equipment to Taiwan to upgrade the island's air defense radar systems. The sale will be carried out through a direct commercial sales program, a move welcomed as a sign toward normalizing arms sales.
Japan is turning its attention to developing economies and plans to send 100 diplomats to countries including India, South Africa, Brazil, and Turkey. Part of this transition will involve bringing infrastructure-related technologies to the emerging economies and securing support for global issues such as climate change and nuclear disarmament.
A senior Vietnamese defense official said China’s military build-up does not threaten regional stability. The official described China as a “friendly neighbor” and noted that because of its strong military, China can contribute to disaster relief in the region.
In a year that saw thousands of natural disaster-related deaths, China has spent $357 million on flood and drought prevention and relief. China plans to reinforce vulnerable dams and reservoirs and establish a nationwide flood monitoring and early warning system.
Eight high-ranking Burmese military officers, including junta chief Snr-Gen Than Shwe have stepped down from their military posts just months before the country’s first election in twenty years. Than Shwe and the other officers will retain their government posts and will likely continue to exert their influence from behind the scenes.
The Indonesian and Malaysian foreign ministers will meet next month to discuss the sea boundary between their countries. The meeting is being held after the Indonesian Fisheries Ministry detained seven Malaysian fishermen and Malaysian forces detained three officers of the Indonesian ministry in Indonesian-Malaysian waters, an incident the officials say they hope to learn from.
New Zealand has joined the Asia-Europe Meeting as one of the three non-European and Asian nations participating in the forum.
The UN has reported that over 1 million people in Kyrgyzstan do not have enough food, a figure that will likely rise as a result of high food prices, approaching winter months, poor harvests, and last June’s violence in the south.
In response to the Pentagon report detailing China’s plans to move advanced CSS-5 ballistic missiles to the Sino-Indian border, India will deploy its Agni-II ballistic missile to its border with China. The missiles have a range of about 2,000 km.
Chinese experts have warned that water and land shortages could significantly reduce the country’s grain output over the next ten years. A growing population and decreasing reserves of arable land will make meeting the government’s goal of boosting grain output to more than 550 million tons by 2020 difficult.
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