Under the Radar News 05.06.11

Posted on Friday, May 6, 2011 by Sophia Tsirbas

A weekly compilation of underreported events in Asia

  • Malaysia and India’s bilateral agreement, MICECA, is set to be implemented July 1st. The agreement may double bilateral trade by 2015; in particular, it will be a major boost to the services sector and will increase human capital movement.

  • ASEAN senior officials agreed to support Myanmar as chair in 2014. This approval comes despite former threats by the EU and US to boycott in 2005, if Myanmar assumed leadership.

  • A UN report revealed that China is emerging as a major, new investor in Latin America; ninety percent of its investments are targeted at extracting natural resources, particularly mining. China is planning to diversify its investments into the infrastructure and manufacturing sectors.

  • China may cut railway investments by more than 200 billion yuan this year, from its previous target of 700 billion yuan. Led by the new railway minister’s “conservative development” strategy, a slowdown may limit the increasing debt faced by rapid railway expansion.

  • South Korea has announced it will invest in yuan as its foreign exchange currency reserves passed $300 billion. Korea wishes to diversify in light of the current dollar devaluation and in anticipation of the yuan’s rise as the dominant global currency.

  • The Korea-EU FTA passed the legislature in Seoul, a final step in ensuring the implementation of the world’s second largest free trade agreement. This deal may result in an over 3 percent increase in Korea’s GDP. The ratification came on the heels of US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke’s visit to South Korea in efforts to promote ratification of the Korea-US FTA, on hold since 2007.

  • According to a new report, China has increased the number of applications for defense related patents. Not only has there been a rise in volume, but there has also been a shift to more advanced technologies.

  • The 14th ASEAN +3 Finance Ministers' Meeting opened this past week in Vietnam. The Ministers stressed managing inflation and resisting protectionism to ensure sustained economic growth in the region.

  • South Korea has developed a vertical launching system (VLS) for about 3,000-ton heavy attack submarines, which will be deployed after 2018. This marks the first time that a VLS development has been confirmed by the government. The VLS will make it possible to launch long-range cruise missiles at North Korean targets.

  • A forty-year-old military exchange between South Korea and Taiwan is set to end in favor of the launch of a similar program with China. The program was regarded as an impediment to establishing strategic partnership cooperation between the ROK and PRC.
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