Under the Radar 06.10.2011

Posted on Friday, June 10, 2011 by Maggie Rank

A weekly compilation of underreported events in Asia.

  • Tensions between Vietnam and China escalate as hackers respond to the maritime conflict over the Spratly Islands. The territorial dispute has migrated to the internet where pictures of armed Vietnamese men on Chinese sites, and Chinese flags on Vietnamese sites have taken the place of protesters.

  • Thailand has released almost 100 Pakistani refugees of the Ahmadiyah Muslim group after six months in detention. Thailand does not recognize refugees; the Thai Committee for Refugees and other activists paid more than $150,000 in bail to release the prisoners.

  • The nuclear-capable Prithvi-II missile was successfully test-fired in India. The missile is capable of carrying payloads up to 1,000 kg and has a sophisticated inertial navigation system.

  • Malaysia is considering what could become its largest-ever program to legalize illegal immigrants upon whom it relies heavily for labor. The plan is designed to document “foreign workers in the country, which could improve national security, reduce human trafficking and increase tax revenues.”

  • Foreign ministers gathered in Godollo, Hungary for the 10th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) to discuss natural disasters and terrorism, and other non-traditional security issues.

  • The IMF is urging Japan to triple its sales tax,from 5 percent to 15 percent, over the next several years. Following the crises this March, Japan faces a debt twice as large as its $5 trillion gross domestic profit. The IMF says increasing the tax will give “confidence to the Japanese people about the long-term sustainability of the outlook.”

  • Following the elections last year, Burma received record $20 billion in foreign investments, compared to $300 million in 2010.

  • North Korea reported fired at least one KN-06 missile into the Yellow Sea as a statement to garner attention and food aid. Military sources say that the tests were planned before North Korea threatened to sever military ties and communication with South Korea.

  • Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) traveled to the United Kingdom and to Germany to learn about sustainable energy. The primary purpose of the trip was to gather information about the EU’s green energy programs and the future of nuclear programs and safety.

  • Afghan President Karzai traveled to Pakistan for reconciliation talks amid foreign withdrawal concerns. Afghan officials said the visit will test whether or not Pakistan is prepared cooperate in ending the war in Afghanistan.

  • China reports a trade surplus far smaller than expected, due in part to soaring imports and a drop in global demand. The surplus rose to $13.1 billion this April, but did not hit Reuter’s forecast of $18 billion.
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