Under the Radar News 01.20.11

Posted on Thursday, January 20, 2011 by Ian Easton

A weekly compilation of underreported events in Asia

  • The Japanese government agreed to a U.S.-proposed dual runway, part of a plan to move the Marine Corps Air Station on Okinawa to Henoko and away from the more heavily urbanized Futenma. This move comes amidst rising tensions between Japan and China.

  • Laos opened its first stock exchange, marking an important step towards building a market economy.

  • China began shipping from a leased port facility in North Korea that gives it an access point into the sea of Japan. The shipload of coal leaving Hunchun, North Korea for Shanghai, was the first PRC shipment to utilize the port facility.

  • China brought 11 rare earth mines under state control in a move seen as further consolidating its control over 95% of the world's supply of these strategic resources. The immediate effect of the move was expected to be higher prices of the elements on the global market.

  • As Chinese President Hu Jintao visited the White House, the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs heard unusually candid testimony stating that Taiwan is in dire need of new F-16s and submarines because of the PRC's rapid militarization.

  • The U.S. is moving its F-15 fighter drills from Okinawa to Guam. With China's build-up of long-range ballistic and cruise missiles threatening bases in Japan, Guam is increasingly seen as a strategic redoubt in the Pacific.

  • Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou was "Not very satisfied" after major ROC air defense missile test results in five out of 19 failures.

  • China received its first overseas order for four advanced LNG (liquefied natural gas) ships from Australia and Papua New Guinea. China has already completed five LNG ships for domestic clients. LNG ships must be capable of transporting fuel at minus 136 degrees Celsius.

  • Tajikistan's lower house of parliament ceded one thousand square kilometers of disputed territory to China, despite Tajik protests.

  • India and Singapore conducted annual joint military drills to increase interoperability and bilateral security cooperation.
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