Under the Radar News 08.26.11

Posted on Friday, August 26, 2011 by Isabella Mroczkowski

A weekly compilation of underreported events in Asia

  • South Korean President Lee Myung-bak embarked on his three-country tour of Central Asia. He elevated South Korean and Mongolian relations to "comprehensive partnership" status and signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) calling for greater cooperation in natural resource development, infrastructure investment, and defense. President Lee also signed a $4.1 billion deal to develop Uzbekistan’s Surgil gas fieldand two $4 billion deals to develop a thermal power plant and petrochemical complex in Kazakhstan.

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong-il holds talks with Russian leader Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow to end Pyongyang’s nuclear programs. The two leaders also discussed building a natural gas pipeline from Vladivstok to Seoul.

  • Amidst South China Sea tensions the Philippines and Vietnam boost their defense capabilities. This week, Vietnam acquired the Gepard class frigate from Russia. The guided missile frigate is Vietnam’s most modern warship. Meanwhile the Philippines acquired the Hamilton-class cutter, a weather high endurance cutter, from the U.S.

  • Two Chinese fishing ships entered Japan’s territorial waters near the disputed Senkaku Islands sparking a formal protest by Japan. The encroachment was a reminder of last year’s incident in which a Chinese fishing boat collided with a Japanese coast guard vessel, severing relations between the two nations.

  • The Philippines may have $1 trillion of untapped mineral resources in Mindanao, the site of the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front, (MILF). U.S. Representative Jerry Trenas argues that government-initiated peace talks with the MILF can propel the Philippines from "third world status to economic powerhouse."

  • Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan resigns after necessary precondition—a renewable energy bill—passes. The new bill will subsidize electricity from renewable sources and facilitate Japan’s shift away from nuclear power after the Fukushima reactor meltdowns in March.

  • The 2011 Pentagon report on Chinese military buildup reveals China deployed nuclear capable CSS-5 MRBM missiles on India’s border as a “deterrent posture.” The report also warns that Chinese infrastructure investments on the border while aimed at facilitating economic development, may also support PLA border defense operations.
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