Under the Radar News 09.16.11

Posted on Friday, September 16, 2011 by Isabella Mroczkowski

A weekly compilation of underreported events in Asia

  • China has reportedly accelerated the pace of mapping the deep seabed from the ground area along the country's 3 million square kilometers of water territory that it claims. According to China's 2011 Ocean Development Report, offshore development and resource exploration are expected to bring in $814 billion in revenue by 2020.

  • The Chinese government officially recognized the National Transition Council as the legitimate authority in Libya and pledged to play an active role in the country’s reconstruction.

  • Japan’s Prime Minister Noda restarted nuclear power plants that were decommissioned following the Fukushima Daiichi disaster. He also proposed a plan for an International Nuclear Safety Training Institute, which would seek to improve the quality of nuclear reactors within Japan and invite international experts to share best practices.

  • Indonesia and Vietnam established joint maritime patrols to improve security in the South China Sea in an apparent effort to reassert their own territorial claims and economic interests in the region.

  • A leaked cable from the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou describes pollution in China’s Pearl River Delta as a threat to the region’s health and economic sustainability, citing cases of cancer and bone disease. Experts in Vietnam are concerned that the toxin-littered Dong Nai River awaits a similar fate.

  • Severe flooding in Thailand has claimed 91 lives and affected over 1 million people. Large dams are running near full capacity from the ongoing flood and an unconfirmed number of downstream residents may be forced to relocate.

  • U.S. Senator John Cornyn and Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (the chair of the House Committee on Foreign Relations) introduced two new Taiwan bills to Congress ordering an arms sale of 66 F-16C/D aircraft to Taiwan and enhancing the Taiwan Relations Act.

  • With elections next year in Malaysia, Prime Minister Najib Razak has promised a series of reforms including: relaxing censorship, guaranteeing freedom of assembly, and dismantling the Internal Security Act, which permitted indefinite detention for those critical of the government.

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