Under the Radar News 9.10.10

Posted on Friday, September 10, 2010 by Alexandra Matthews

A weekly compilation of underreported developments in Asia

  • Taiwan is expected to unveil a $9.4 billion missile defense shield next year. The development of the defense shield comes as China is building an anti-ship ballistic missile.

  • The United Nations has warned Nepal that if political deadlock is not ended and a government is not formed, its political mission will leave the country. The announcement, made by Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, came shortly after the Nepalese parliament failed to elect a leader for the seventh time.

  • Turkey may join South Korea’s KF-X fighter development plan to replace its older F-16 aircraft by 2020. Turkey will contribute the same development costs as Indonesia, which has joined the development plan itself and has agreed to pay 20 percent of the costs.

  • China’s Vice Premier Li Keqiang met with representatives from the 33rd Pacem in Maribus (Peace in the Oceans) Conference and pledged support for sustainable marine development. Li said China will work with the international community to address climate change by promoting the conservation of ecosystems and developing a green marine economy.

  • The Burmese Air Force (BAF) has purchased 50 combat helicopters from Russia, marking the first time Burma has acquired combat helicopters. The purchase may be viewed as an effort to modernize Burma’s air force and quell insurgency in areas where armed groups still operate.

  • Cambodia and the United Nations have asked the international community for help funding the Khmer Rouge war crimes tribunal, which is running out of money ahead of its second trial of former Khmer Rouge leaders. International donors have been hesitant to fund the Cambodian court due to allegations of political interference and bribery.

  • In an attempt to improve the country’s infrastructure, India is planning to build a 500 billion rupee debt fund for the power sector. According to a recent report by India’s Planning Commission, deficiencies within the power sector could prevent the country from achieving double-digit growth.

  • Pakistan will likely become the next chair of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) board, even though it does not adhere to the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

  • After the signing of ECFA, Taiwan and China are in talks to negotiate an investment deal. Taiwan recently agreed to discuss a free trade deal with Singapore, another indication it is looking to become a competitive Asian economy.

  • Sri Lanka’s parliament has passed an amendment to the country’s constitution that removes the two-term limit for the country’s president. Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa may be able to remain in his position for life, as Sri Lankan presidents, including Rajapaksa, have a history of corruption and power brokering.

  • Chinese officials have indicated they are interested in resuming military-to-military relations with the United States. In response to the news, Pentagon officials noted that Defense Secretary Robert Gates would meet with his Chinese counterpart. They also announced the aircraft carrier USS George Washington will return to the Yellow Sea to resume exercises and “send a message” to North Korea.
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