Under the Radar News 01.28.2011

Posted on Friday, January 28, 2011 by Sophia Tsirbas

A weekly compilation of underreported events in Asia

  • Singapore loses top spot on index for world's most globalized economies, falling to third, behind Australia and Hong Kong.


  • China believed to have collected fragments of downed US fighter during Kosovo war to develop their first stealth jet, the Chengdu J-20.


  • China spending on South-to-North Water Diversion Project hit 115 billion yuan. This project, started in 2002, will consist of three routes aimed at diverting water from mainly the Yangtze to the north. It is estimated that 330,000 residents of Hubei and Henan province will be relocated by 2014.


  • Google set to open up offices in Malaysia, its second in Southeast Asia. Internet usage has risen significantly in Malaysia, with 17 million users out of a population of 27 million.


  • In Japan, opposition parties respond to Prime Minister Kan’s call for policy discussions with a request of their own. The opposition asserts that they will agree to talks, only if Kan resigns.


  • Myanmar passes 'Special Economic Zone Law'to attract foreign investment. This new law follows other recent reforms including privatization of government assets and expansion of banking, shipping, agricultural, and telecommunication sectors.


  • African Development Bank chief economist speaks positively at World Economic Forum on Chinese investment in Africa. China’s investment and humanitarian aid are needed to develop the “last frontier.”


  • Pakistan and Afghanistan will establish a joint commission to combat terrorism. The commission, comprised of military, Foreign Office, and intelligence members, is a sign of strengthening cooperation and coordination between Islamabad and Kabul.


  • Japan approved additional loans for Vietnam worth 58 billion yen for poverty reduction, infrastructure development and energy projects. Japan continues to be the largest bilateral ODA (Official Development Assistance) provider to Vietnam.


  • The Pentagon will consider bolstering U.S. forces along the Pacific Rim, particularly in Southeast Asia, says spokesman. U.S. seeks to enhance its presence in the region through military facilities in Australia, Singapore, and Guam.
  • Under the Radar News 01.20.11

    Posted on Thursday, January 20, 2011 by Ian Easton

    A weekly compilation of underreported events in Asia

  • The Japanese government agreed to a U.S.-proposed dual runway, part of a plan to move the Marine Corps Air Station on Okinawa to Henoko and away from the more heavily urbanized Futenma. This move comes amidst rising tensions between Japan and China.

  • Laos opened its first stock exchange, marking an important step towards building a market economy.

  • China began shipping from a leased port facility in North Korea that gives it an access point into the sea of Japan. The shipload of coal leaving Hunchun, North Korea for Shanghai, was the first PRC shipment to utilize the port facility.

  • China brought 11 rare earth mines under state control in a move seen as further consolidating its control over 95% of the world's supply of these strategic resources. The immediate effect of the move was expected to be higher prices of the elements on the global market.

  • As Chinese President Hu Jintao visited the White House, the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs heard unusually candid testimony stating that Taiwan is in dire need of new F-16s and submarines because of the PRC's rapid militarization.

  • The U.S. is moving its F-15 fighter drills from Okinawa to Guam. With China's build-up of long-range ballistic and cruise missiles threatening bases in Japan, Guam is increasingly seen as a strategic redoubt in the Pacific.

  • Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou was "Not very satisfied" after major ROC air defense missile test results in five out of 19 failures.

  • China received its first overseas order for four advanced LNG (liquefied natural gas) ships from Australia and Papua New Guinea. China has already completed five LNG ships for domestic clients. LNG ships must be capable of transporting fuel at minus 136 degrees Celsius.

  • Tajikistan's lower house of parliament ceded one thousand square kilometers of disputed territory to China, despite Tajik protests.

  • India and Singapore conducted annual joint military drills to increase interoperability and bilateral security cooperation.
  • Under the Radar News 01.14.11

    Posted on Friday, January 14, 2011 by Amy Chang

    A weekly compilation of underreported events in Asia

  • China may depart from its declared stand of a “no-first-use” policy. The Chinese military will consider launching a preemptive nuclear strike if the country finds itself faced with a critical situation in a war with another nuclear state.

  • U.S. Secretary of State Clinton urges China to vigorously implement sanctions on North Korea, as a response to North's nuclear and missile tests over the past few years.

  • Burma intends to privatize 90% of state-owned enterprises by the end of 2011. China has emerged as the main buyer for Burma's exports of gas, gems and other natural resources in recent years.

  • China's Qingdao Port has signed an agreement with the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) to build and operate a wharf on Burma's western coastline from which China will send its crude oil brought from Africa and the Middle East via an inland pipeline to Yunnan Province.

  • Malaysia investigates nuclear energy options to reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

  • India plans to reduce its security forces by 25% in Kashmir to ease conditions for people in one of the world's most militarized areas.

  • A 130-year-long territorial dispute between China and Tajikistan settled, China to increase land mass by 1,000 sq km.

  • China is scheduled to have a deep space monitoring network in 2016 to support the country's future space missions. The network will consist of two monitoring stations in China, in Kashgar and Jiamusi, and one in South America.

  • China is making progress in building an "upper-atmosphere" jet fighter. Hong Kong's Ming Pao daily has reported that Shaanxi acting provincial governor Zhao Zhengyong said China has "succeeded in the test flight of a prototype aircraft that can fly through the atmospheric layer."

  • Sri Lanka president offers to share power with minority Tamils. President Mahinda Rajapakse was open to devolving power to address the long-standing grievances of ethnic Tamils.

  • Five major telecom operators from Taiwan and China signed a contract Thursday to build the first undersea cable directly linking the island and the mainland to meet mounting demand.

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    Under the Radar News 01.07.11

    Posted on Friday, January 7, 2011 by Amy Chang

    A weekly compilation of underreported events in Asia

  • Japan's $480 million investment in Vietnam's fledgling space industry will improve Japan's galactic public image and give Vietnam its own set of eyes in outer space.

  • China’s People’s Liberation Army is assembling the production and basing capacity to make its aircraft carrier program one of Asia’s largest military endeavors. By the 2020s, it is conceivable for China to have five aircraft carriers, including the ex-Soviet carrier Varyag, which entered a phase of accelerated reconstruction in 2009.

  • China has completed a prototype of a next-generation stealth fighter, the J-20, to be deployed as early as 2017. The Jian-20 is speculated to be capable of carrying large missiles and, with airborne refueling, could fly as far as Guam. The development, along with news of advances on an anti-ship missile, raises concerns about China's military intentions and poses a threat to U.S. presence in the region.

  • Hardeep Puri, India's permanent representative in the UN, was elected to chair the key UN Security Council counterterrorism committee (UNSCR 1373) and international security committee (UNSCR 1566).

  • Chinese scientists have made a breakthrough in nuclear fuel reprocessing technology that could effectively end any uranium supply concerns. China's proven uranium sources will last only 50 to 70 years, but this now changes to 3000 years.

  • India's new Power Reactor Fuel Reprocessing Plant-2 facility in Tarapur will break down highly radioactive used nuclear fuel to extract uranium and plutonium for reuse in fast neutron reactors. It was hailed as “a significant milestone in India's three-stage indigenous nuclear program.” The plant is expected to replace the existing 10-tonne per annum facility at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre. The new facility is capable of reprocessing 100 tonnes of spent fuel a year.

  • South Korea's special forces have dwindled to the point that they are outnumbered 10:1 by their North Korean counterparts. The North has increased special forces by 80,000 to 200,000 over the past four years. By contrast, the number of the South Korean special forces stands at fewer than 20,000.

  • North Korea has lowered its military alert status, prompting similar moves by Seoul and U.S. forces as tensions on the Korean peninsula showed signs of easing. Tensions have been high since the North shelled South Korea's frontline Yeonpyeong Island on Nov. 23.

  • Bouasone Bouphavanh abruptly resigned as Laotian prime minister in December amid fierce opposition to his policy of opening up the country's economy.

  • SIPC Myanmar Petroleum Co. Ltd (a joint venture between Burma’s Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise and China’s Sinopec) uncovered gas reserves in the Pahtolon oilfield of at least 909 billion cubic feet, and potentially 7.16 million barrels of gas condensate.

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