Under the Radar News 03.04.11

Posted on Friday, March 4, 2011 by Lana Buu

A weekly compilation of underreported events in Asia

  • The U.S. and South Korean militaries on Monday launched major annual land, sea and air exercises, amid North Korean threats to turn Seoul into a 'sea of flames' in case of any provocation.

  • China will kick start a truck manufacturing line in Burma. Chinese investments helped boost bilateral trade between the two nations by 50% in 2010, with China eclipsing Thailand as the largest investor in Burma. China injected $US9.603 billion in the Burmese economy over a 20-year period compared to Thailand’s $9.568 billion.

  • The newly-appointed secretary- general of the SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation), Fathimath Dhiyana Saeed of Maldives, assumed office at the SAARC Secretariat in the Nepali capital Kathmandu on Wednesday. Ms. Saeed is the tenth secretary-general of SAARC and the first woman to occupy this prestigious position.

  • China plans to carry out more than 20 space missions this year, an acceleration of efforts to improve its space technologies. A Chinese senior space technology expert said Thursday that China is expected to launch its first space laboratory before 2016. With its first unmanned space module, Tiangong-1, or Heavenly Palace, in the second half of 2011, China hopes to build a space station before 2020.

  • The Philippine military Thursday accused the Chinese navy of entering Manila's waters in the South China Sea and ordering an oil exploration vessel to leave. The area in question is subject to multiple competing claims of sovereignty.

  • Timor-Leste on Friday has sent a formal application to join the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to Indonesia, the current chair of the bloc. Timorese Foreign Minister Zacaria Albano da Costa points to double digit economic growth and a bounty of natural resources in Timor-Leste in regard to the concern of a “development gap” between ASEAN members. Indonesian President Yudhoyono voiced support for the Timorese candidacy on Thursday and vowed to use Indonesia's term as ASEAN chairman to direct its acceptance into ASEAN.

  • Russia plans to deploy anti-ship and anti-aircraft missile systems along the coast of the Kuril Islands, which include the Northern Territories that are claimed by Japan, according to media reports. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced his intention to strengthen Russia's military control over the disputed islands in February.

  • The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) will expand its overseas operations and boost its defense capability at home by adding to its arsenal. Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Teo Chee Hean yesterday unveiled plans to have more overseas peace support operations and patrol the pirate-infested waters off Somalia.

  • Environment ministers from BASIC countries - Brazil, South Africa, India and China - met in New Delhi to assess the post-Cancun climate change policy and discuss coordination for talks in Durban conference in December 2011. Indian environment minister Jairam Ramesh introduced a joint statement which pointed out that the Second Commitment Period of Kyoto Protocol and Fast Start Finance were the two critical issues that need further clarity.

  • North Korea hopes to register 10 hydro-power generation facilities with the United Nations by the end of this year and receive emission credits, using the clean development mechanism outlined in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. With carbon dioxide emissions currently trading for about 20 euros (about 2,200 yen or US$28) a ton, Pyongyang could expect to reap millions of dollars in income.

  • Nearly one-quarter of Burma's new national budget will go to defense, an official publication called the Government Gazette reported Tuesday. The gazette reported that 1.8 trillion kyat (US$2 billion), or 23.6% of the budget this year, will go to defense. The health sector, meanwhile, will get 99.5 billion kyat (US$110 million), or 1.3%.


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