Under the Radar News 04.15.11

Posted on Friday, April 15, 2011 by Lana Buu

A weekly compilation of underreported events in Asia

  • The Varyag--a refurbished aircraft carrier purchased by China for about US$20 million from Ukraine in 1992--is near completion and could take to sea as early as July 1 of this year.

  • The Taiwanese Air Force launched its annual war games involving 100,000 soldiers and reservists responding to simulated attacks from the mainland.

  • The defense ministries of China and the United States held their seventh working-level meeting in Beijing on Monday. Both sides reviewed the development of the relationship between their militaries and agreed to maintain dialogue and communication at all military levels and to strengthen exchanges and cooperation in non-traditional security sectors.

  • Indonesia has selected South Korea's state-run aircraft maker as the preferred bidder for its trainer jet project, a government official said Tuesday, paving the way for Seoul to export its T-50 Golden Eagle fighters to the Southeast Asian nation.

  • The Australian federal government on Monday released the biggest area in more than a decade for offshore petroleum exploration –a total of 29 areas in nine basins in Australian waters covering around 200,000 square kilometers—stretching from the West Coast through the Northern waters to Victoria in the south.

  • Thailand is currently in discussion with the newly elected Burmese government about the possible closure of its Burmese refugee camps and the forced repatriation of over 100,000 Burmese refugees who have taken shelter in Thailand for the last 20 years.

  • Indonesia has decided to join the Malaysian-led 60-member International Monitoring Team in order to assist in the safeguarding of the ceasefire between the Philippines government and the country's largest Muslim rebel group.

  • The development of the revolutionary Joint Strike Fighter, intended to provide Australia's air defense through this century, is running well behind schedule and the RAAF may need to buy 18 more Super Hornets for $1.5 billion to fill the gap.

  • The Korean government will conduct a safety inspection on nuclear power plants in the country amid growing worries about the radiation leaks in Japan. Officials said they may shut down reactors if they fail to meet safety standards. Currently, South Korea’s nuclear power industry presently stands as the world’s fifth-largest and the second largest in Asia. A total of 21 nuclear reactors are currently in operation, providing some 40 percent of the nation’s power supply.

  • The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states will launch an infrastructure fund later this year to finance infrastructure projects in the region. Malaysia is the biggest contributor with 150 million dollars, followed by Indonesia and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), whose contribution was not specified.

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