Under the Radar News 07.08.11

Posted on Friday, July 8, 2011 by Isabella Mroczkowski

A weekly compilation of underreported events in Asia.

  • Anti-government strikes in Bangladesh shut down the city for two days and left dozens injured and at least 27 jailed. Strikers are protesting changes to the electoral system that would unfairly favor the incumbent government in the 2014 elections.

  • Japanese researchers discovered new rare earth reserves in the Pacific Ocean; with appropriate technology, the deep-sea minerals may replace the need for land-based rare earth elements of which China currently produces 90 percent of the world’s demand.

  • Taiwan’s navy reportedly developed a new "stealth coat" paint. During tests, the paint allowed the Israeli-designed Seagull fast attack boat to travel undetected by radar until it was within view.

  • Australia will slash aid to China and India, the world’s second and sixth largest economies respectively, and instead focus on Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands, the Middle East and Africa—where Australia’s most direct strategic and economic interests lie.

  • The Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) urged businesses to set up shop in China’s smaller cities, citing larger consumption growth in emerging cities beyond first-tier cities such as Beijing and Guangzhou.

  • Recently surfaced documents show that North Korea's government paid more than $3.5 million to two Pakistani military officials as part of a deal for critical weapons technology in the late 1990s. Pakistan’s dealings with rogue state undermine U.S. trust and potential to cooperate in the battle against militant extremists in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

  • China’s Central Bank will raise its benchmark deposit and lending rates by 0.25% points, its third rate increase this year. With May inflation rates at a high of 5.5% and rising food prices, Chinese leaders seek to slow growth and avoid potential social unrest.

  • After convening in China, the Filipino and Chinese Foreign Ministers agreed to abide to the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, to maintain stability in the South China Sea, and to settle all disputes peacefully. Earlier this week tensions rose as a suspected Chinese war plane flew over a Filipino fishing vessel and the Philippines sought out a lease of U.S. military equipment to secure territory in the South China Sea.

  • The Mongolian government selected a consortium of U.S., Chinese, and Russian firms to develop one of the world’s largest unexplored reserves of coking coal, a resource used to make steel. The consortium reflects Mongolia’s efforts to appease its immediate neighbors while including the U.S., a political ally, in developments in the Central Asia region.
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