Under the Radar News 01.23.12

Posted on Tuesday, January 24, 2012 by Ai-Shan Lu

A weekly compilation of underreported events in Asia.

  • According to the PRC’s National Bureau of Statistics, 51.3% of China’s total 1.3 billion population is now living in urban areas and the proportion of city dwellers has risen by almost 14% in the past decade. The data reportedly includes a large number of migrant workers. The NBS recommended that the Chinese government develop policies to address the country’s urbanization trend, for example, constructing more infrastructures and providing better social welfare to migrant labors.

  • Japan’s latest move to name uninhabited islets claimed by both China and Taiwan in the East China Sea could arouse controversy. According to Japan’s top government spokesman, Osamu Fujimura, naming those islands could boost the outer boundaries of Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). On the other hand, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin claimed that those islets have been an inherent territory of China since ancient times.

  • Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao urged countries in the world to cooperate and proposed an idea of a global energy market management mechanism within the framework of G20 so as to maintain the stability and safety of resources supply at opening of the 5th World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi. Wen expressed China’s willingness to collaborate with other nations but also emphasized that developed countries should assist developing countries in acquiring new technologies that enhance efficiency while protecting intellectual property rights.

  • The PRC’s vice president, Xi Jinping, met with former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger on January 16 and stated that, “the U.S. can view China’s strategic intentions and development path in as sensible and objective way, and be committed to developing a cooperative partnership.” Also, Xi emphasized that the bilateral relations between the two countries should be based on the three joint communiqués agreed and signed by both the PRC and the United States.

  • With more and more Asian countries strengthening their submarine fleets so as to protect their interests in the South China Sea, the US is facing greater challenges. China has increased its budget for modernizing its fleet and South Korea is selling subs to Indonesia. Also, India will acquire its nuclear-powered submarine from Russia. Even Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan and Bangladesh are planning to get subs. The significance of South China Sea cannot be overstated since most ships traveling between continents go through it and it is abundant in natural resources.
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