Under the Radar News 10.14.11

Posted on Friday, October 14, 2011 by Isabella Mroczkowski

A weekly compilation of underreported events in Asia.

  • Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda announced that his administration will ease the long-standing arms export ban. The lifting of these restrictions will allow Japan to export weapons and technologies to countries that have agreed to international arms exports regulations, and thereby boost Japan’s defense industry.

  • A cargo ship off of New Zealand’s coast reportedly spilled 200-350 tons of oil in what is considered the country’s worst environmental disaster ‘in decades’.

  • Burma announced plans to release over 6,300 prisoners including journalists, pro-democracy activists, and political dissidents. Human Rights groups question whether the amnesty plan reflects genuine reform or government efforts to stave off international economic sanctions.

  • Beijing is building its first megawatt solar plant. When completed at the end of this year, the plant will generate 3,600 kilowatt-hours of electricity daily—the capacity needed to power 1,150 homes.

  • Japan’s Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba establishes new maritime security partnerships with Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia in an effort to deepen regional cooperation amidst growing tensions and territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

  • Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin are reportedly close to finalizing a gas deal that will bring China 70 billion cubic meter of gas to China annually for the next 30 years.

  • Vietnam and India’s leaders join hands to strengthen ties and defend the right of an Indian state-owned oil and gas company to begin exploration in waters claimed by both Beijing and Hanoi.

  • Indonesian citizens urge their government to back the United Nations Human Rights Council’s new mandate on accountability for serious crimes and human rights violations.

  • Australia’s House of Representatives and Senate pass the Carbon Tax proposal into law. The law is unpopular with the Australian public because it imposes extra costs on households and businesses for clean energy.

  • China unveils plan to invest $600 billion in comprehensive water-security projects to overcome water shortages that threaten the country’s economic growth.

  • Vietnam and China ink deals to address their maritime border dispute. The new plan establishes a defense hotline and the mechanism for a high-level biannual meeting to discuss long-term solutions to conflicting territory claims in the South China Sea, the islands, and resource reserves.

  • Taipei and Beijing are negotiating plans to swap imprisoned spies. Earlier this year spy agents for Taiwan and Beijing were caught and handed life sentences.
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