Under the Radar 06.17.11

Posted on Friday, June 24, 2011 by Maggie Rank

A weekly compilation of underreported events in Asia.

  • A member of China’s Central Military Commission resolutely opposed nationalizing the People's Liberation Army (PLA) characterizing the absolute leadership of the Communist Party over the military as the ‘soul’ of the army and an important political advantage of the party and the state.


  • President Obama announced the drawdown of 10,000 American troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2011 with an additional 23,000 returning by the end of summer 2012. Concerns remain about the capacity of Afghan security forces to adequately maintain security in the country, see Project 2049 Institute’s latest report on advancing Afghan police training .


  • The air forces of Japan and Australia will hold their first-ever joint exercise in Alaska in July, in line with a bilateral defense cooperation agreement signed in May last year.


  • U.S. President Barack Obama issued a public notice Thursday to extend the national emergency in relation to North Korea by one year, citing the existence and risk of nuclear proliferation as well as the country’s actions and polices as posing an unusual and extraordinary threat to the United States.


  • UN reports name Burma as the fifth largest producer of refugees, with 415m700 reported to be fleeing the conflict, and trailing Afghanistan as the second largest producer of opium.


  • Officials from Libya's rebel National Transitional Council undertook a two day visit to China where they will meet with Chinese officials, despite Beijing's opposition to the current NATO operation.


  • Vietnam and China conducted two days of joint navy patrols including a port call in China, despite recent confrontations over territory in the South China Sea.


  • China’s share of the world’s production of rare earth minerals, critical for the manufacturing of many electronics, is expected to decrease sharply in the next two years from its current 95% to 60% as American, Australian, and European corporations resume domestic mining operations. See Project 2049 Institute’s analysis of China’s rare earth monopoly.


  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday announced that starting on July 1 next Friday, all first-time passport applicants, regardless of their ages, will have to complete their applications in person at designated governmental offices . This is seen as a step towards qualifying for visa waiver agreements with countries such as the United States.


  • Rising Chinese Communist Party star Bo Xilai, one of China’s “new left” is resurrecting Maoist values and ideas through his “red” campaign. This is part of a small but growing resurgence of Maoist doctrine in contemporary China.


  • TEPCO, the Japanese operator of the crippled Fukushima reactor, backs out of bidding for Malaysia's first nuclear power plant. Japan had positioned nuclear power export as a part of its economic growth strategy, but the recent disaster has caused concern among potential Southeast Asian customers. For more, see the Project 2049 Institute report on nuclear energy in Southeast Asia.


  • The air forces of Japan and Australia will hold their first-ever joint exercise in Alaska in July, in line with a bilateral defense cooperation agreement signed in May last year.
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