Under the Radar News 12.02.11

Posted on Friday, December 2, 2011 by Jessica Drun

A weekly compilation of underreported events in Asia

  • Last week, Chinese marines in Liaoning province allegedly started drone patrols in the East China Sea. The unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are deployed from Dalian to observe conditions in the ocean, along the coastline, and on nearby islands to ensure the security of the Chinese coast and prevent unlawful activities in the waters. Scholars warn that the provincial government’s inexperience conducting drone patrols, poses the risk of unintentional flights into foreign territories and may lead to diplomatic disputes. Others are speculating that the purpose of the patrols is to monitor North Korean defectors and curtail Chinese trawlers fishing illegally in South Korean waters.

  • Chen Bingde, Chief of General Staff of the People’s Liberation Army and Min Aung, Hlaing Commander of the Burmese Armed Forces met on November 28 to discuss military ties. The two agreed to increase trust and cooperation between their respective forces, praising their previous accomplishments in high-level visitations, training, and defense initiatives. Hliang also reaffirmed Naypyidaw’s adherence to the One China Policy.

  • Kontras, a human rights group, denounces the Indonesian government for allegedly perpetuating the political conflict in Papua. A spokesperson for the group believes Jakarta is seeking material profit and national acclaim as a promoter of the sovereignty of the Indonesian republic against the instability that the province poses for the nation. Papua and West Papua, in Western Indonesia, have been embroiled in the Free Papua separatist movement since 1965.

  • South Korea signs aid partnership agreements with Brazil and Germany at the International Aid Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan. Each agreement will work through a triangular relationship between the signatories and an underdeveloped country to reduce poverty levels in the latter. The Korean International Cooperation Agency has cited the importance of forging innovative partnerships in international development programs.

  • Steel Authority of India, and six other Indian companies, have cemented a $10.3 billion dollar agreement with Afghanistan, securing rights to three iron ore mines. The contract follows a move last month by New Delhi and Kabul to bolster their strategic partnership in via trade, security, and culture. The deal may increase tensions between India and Pakistan.

  • Transparency International, a corruption watchdog organization, recently revealed that two-thirds of states in the Asia-Pacific were “more corrupt than clean.” The organization followed with a precautionary warning to Australian businesses to safeguard their investments abroad.

  • UNESCO experts from Japan, Italy, and the Netherlands, joined by embassy officials from Japan, Portugal, and the United States, are in Thailand this week to oversee restoration projects of World Heritage Sites, which were hard-hit by floods last month. The team will assess the damages and outline recommendations for the Thai government.
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