Under the Radar News 12.17.10

Posted on Friday, December 17, 2010 by Amy Chang

A weekly compilation of underreported events in Asia

  • Japan's Cabinet adopted a new defense buildup program which eyes more proactive policies and "dynamic defense capability," which is designed to increase readiness, mobility and flexibility of Japan’s Self Defense Force.

  • Opium poppy cultivation surged in Southeast Asia by 22 percent in 2010, with production value rising over $100 million from 2009 figures to $219 million. It is hypothesized that the growth in production transpired from the poverty and instability of the global economic crisis.

  • The Russian government has offered to build a nuclear power plant in Indonesia.

  • Laos and North Korea have signed a cooperation agreement to enhance relations between their ruling parties, including increasing exchange visits and areas of traditional cooperation.

  • China's western push strengthens Pakistan links, including the acceleration of rail-link construction and a pipeline connecting the two countries. The investments indicate China’s long-term intentions to strengthen economic links in the region.

  • As part of a US$1.2 billion deal, Lockheed Martin has delivered the first of six C-130J Super Hercules airlifters for the Indian Air Force.

  • China, the world’s second-largest consumer of oil, is poised to buy more Saudi oil than the United States. While Saudi Arabia has also recently bought more Chinese goods (such as food, textiles, and hardware) than American ones, the U.S. remains its main supplier of military arms and technology.

  • China proposed investing $8 billion to set up a development bank with other member nations of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Though details are vague, the bank would fund energy exploration and infrastructure projects such as oil and gas pipelines.

  • Thailand and Cambodia have revoked the need for entry visas between the two countries as a "gift" for their citizens to mark the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations.

  • South Korean officials brushed off as "unrealistic" Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan's remarks on a possible dispatch of his country's Self-Defense Forces to the Korean Peninsula in case of contingencies.

  • While some Pakistanis displaced by the devastating floods that hit their country are able to return to their homes, the United Nations and its partners warned today that humanitarian needs (food aid, shelter materials, and medical aid) remain enormous amid dwindling resources.

  • The Defense Consultative Talks between the U.S. and China restarted the bilateral military-to-military relationship. The two sides also discussed maritime safety and security concerns in Africa, North Korea, and Iran.

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