Under the Radar News 03.18.11

Posted on Friday, March 18, 2011 by Sophia Tsirbas

A weekly compilation of underreported events in Asia

  • According to a Stockholm International Peace Research Institute report, India is the world’s largest arms importer, with Russia as its biggest supplier. The United States is the largest arms exporter.

  • Malaysia has invited the Singapore navy to cooperate in the monitoring of the Gulf of Aden. In response to Somali piracy, Southeast Asian nations are working together to ensure safe passage for merchant ships.

  • The Philippines has announced plans of raising $4.6 billion for the creation of a fund to aid private enterprises in the building of roads, rail, and port projects. The government is also pushing for a $1 billion investment in roads and rails to maintain 7 to 8% growth for the year.

  • Singapore has announced the loosening of restrictions on new media for the use of political campaigning. Political party officials view these changes as an indication of government recognition of the difficulties in monitoring new media.

  • South Korea will ship boron to Japan to aid in efforts to stabilize its nuclear reactors. Japan’s own stock of boron was depleted by the Fukushima nuclear plant.

  • Taiwan’s intelligence chief confirmed that China has deployed DF-16 ballistic missiles. The long range and destructive powers of these missiles is of serious threat to Taiwan.

  • The United States and Japan exhibit differing views on the depth of the crisis, with U.S. officials issuing much more dire warnings. Despite the panic, President Obama has said that no harmful radiation is expected to hit the U.S.

  • China objects to a U.S. report placing certain Chinese companies, such as search engine Baidu, on the “notorious markets" list for selling counterfeit and pirated goods. China has faced much international criticism for its extensive intellectual property rights violations.

  • A Tibetan monastery is closed off after a twenty-one year old monk’s death through self-immolation sparked limited protests. Anti-government unrest has been high in Tibetan areas, particularly in response to cultural erosion and lack of religious freedom.

  • After two years in office, Obama heads to Latin America for state visits to Brazil, Chile, and El Salvador. His trip is seen as a response to growing Chinese influence in the region and to push for energy and construction deals.

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