Posted on Friday, September 17, 2010
by Alexandra Matthews
A weekly compilation of underreported developments in Asia
For the first time ever, the Taiwanese and Chinese coast guards will conduct a joint maritime rescue drill. Both countries will contribute boats and aircraft to simulate a sea collision.
An Indonesian counter-terrorism unit based on the island of Ambon will be disbanded after allegations its members tortured political protestors. Indonesia’s counter-terrorism measures have come under fire recently for what some describe as human rights abuses.
The Chinese Communist Party has launched an online message board, “Direct Line to Zhongnanhai”, that allows citizens to post questions and comments for China’s leaders. The 26 types of banned content, including “obscure and vacuous” content, however, suggest that it is a marginal step toward open political debate and discussion in China.
China has established a space-ground integrated multi-functional space tracking and control network for tracking manned space missions and supporting its 20-odd satellites.
South Korea is redirecting the focus of its navy to be better prepared to defend against North Korean provocation. The redrawing of its coastal defense plans marks a shift away from the navy’s traditional emphasis on open-sea operations.
Troubled Thailand takes a step toward political reconciliation as the Bhumjaithai Party seeks public support for amnesty for those who participated in red-shirt and yellow-shirt protests with the exception of politicians.
South Korea raises the limit for South Koreans staying overnight in the Kaesong Industrial Complex by 50% as a response to lower production levels caused by fatigue and other staffing-related problems.
Pakistani printers have admitted to producing thousands of fake voter registration cards ahead of Afghanistan’s parliamentary elections. The printers say they are printing the cards at the request of Afghan officials, a sign that fraud and corruption will likely influence the results of the upcoming elections on Saturday.
As part of its new "RISING initiative", South Korea will provide $1.09 billion to 12 African countries to improve infrastructure and spur economic growth. South Korea has been stepping up its engagement with Africa, including boosting economic assistance, leasing farmland and exploring mining resources.
July marked the first time since April that China bought more US Treasury debt that it sold, placing its total holdings at $847 billion. Japan, the United States’ second largest lender, bought $17 billion worth of US bonds, bringing its total closer to China’s at $821 billion.
A Chinese consortium will build another port in Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo. China, Sri Lanka’s largest lender, has already constructed a port in south Sri Lanka. The new port will bring the island nation one step further to becoming a shipping hub for South Asia.
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