Under the Radar News 05.27.11

Posted on Thursday, May 26, 2011 by Isabella Mroczkowski

A weekly compilation of underreported events in Asia

  • Taiwan plans to spend $860 million to buy MK 54 and MK 48 torpedoes to replace aging U.S. and German weapons. The Taiwanese Defense Ministry also plans to purchase M1A2 tanks and amphibious landing vehicles to modernize defense capabilities.

  • Extreme water shortages have caused extensive damage to farmland and crops, affecting 4.42 million people along the Yangtze River. Drought conditions may affect whether the amount of rice planted meets the expected 5.87 million hectares for 2011.

  • Kim Jong Il’s week-long China trip concludes in DPRK-China consensus for peaceful resolution of the nuclear standoff, including resuming six-party talks. The visit largely sought to lay the foundation for rebuilding a cooperative relationship with China and boosting the DPRK economy.

  • Indonesia will send a team of surveyors to inspect the Thai-Cambodian border area, but not the actual 4.6 sq km of contested territory where Cambodian and Thai troops are currently stationed.

  • Shortage of thermal coal, insufficient facilities, and grid transmission problems may lead to China’s worst power shortage in decades. Twenty-six out of thirty-one provincial regions including Beijing, Shanghai, and Tianjian will be affected.

  • Singapore announced intention to sign an FTA with Taiwan, the first Southeast Asian nation to do so following the cross-Strait economic agreement in 2010. A FTA will increase Taiwan’s access to Singapore’s financial markets and potentially into ASEAN’s agricultural markets. The Philippines and India are also initiating talks of trade agreements with Taiwan.

  • India’s Chief of the Naval Staff has asked his top commanders to be operationally ready. This notice comes in the wake of a terror attack on a naval base in Karachi last Sunday which resulted in loss of lives and destruction of maritime patrol aircraft.

  • Japan has permitted the U.S. to export a jointly developed ballistic missile interceptor, which the U.S. plans to deploy for a shield in Europe in response to threats from Iranian missiles. This step away from the three principles on arms exports is seen as an attempt to reaffirm bilateral ties after the controversial Okinawa relocation stalemate.

  • The Philippines has made little progress on meeting the 6th Millennium Development Goal of curbing HIV/AIDS. The Filipino Department of Health estimates a five-fold increase in new HIV infections in the next five years. Meanwhile, President Bengino Aquino III continues to advocate for use of contraceptives in spite of threats of excommunication from the Catholic Church.
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