Under the Radar News 02.13.12

Posted on Monday, February 13, 2012 by Ai-Shan Lu

A weekly compilation of events in Asia.

  • During a three-day visit to China, Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna held talks with Zhou Yongkang, China's ninth-highest ranked politician and the CCP Central Committee Politburo Standing Committee member. The meeting reportedly laid out a new roadmap for Sino-Indian bilateral relations.

  • Burmese Press Scrutiny and Registration Department (PSRD) loosened its grip on media censorship and journalists are being released from prisons. Also, reports on the country’s democracy icon, Aung San Suu Kyi, are no longer taboo subjects in the local press.

  • Under a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) signed between Indonesia and Pakistan last week, tariffs on more than 500 commodities traded by the two countries will be reduced. The PTA ratification and technical preparation for the tariff reduction is expected to be completed in three months. As the world’s largest crude palm oil (CPO) producer, Indonesia expects to increase its exports of CPO to Pakistan.

  • A special committee on climate change in the South Korean National Assembly—the eighth-largest carbon emitter in the world—voted to impose greenhouse-gas restrictions on the country’s largest companies. The bills, however, are being opposed by large manufacturers, claiming that their cost will boost and hence make exports less competitive.

  • According to a survey of 1,791 farmers conducted by the Seattle-based Landsea Rural Development Institute, more than half of Chinese farmers are dissatisfied with rural policies. The Institute concluded that 43.1% of villages had experienced "takings of land" for commercial uses since the late 1990s, moreover, that these incidents increased dramatically from 2007.

  • During a panel on "America, Europe and the Riseof Asia" at the 48th Munich Security Conference, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun stated that military alliances have no role in Asia and reiterated China’s policy of strengthening friendship with its neighboring countries. FM Zhang also condemned foreign influence on China’s domestic affairs and emphasized that “the development of both the East and the West is not a zero-sum game”.

  • The U.S. will reportedly decrease defense budget by deploying marines abroad on a rotating basis. According to a South Korean government source, Washington is considering to redeploy some of its marines from Okinawa to Korea. South Korean President Lee Myung-bak is reportedly concerned about possible opposition from China and North Korea against U.S. redeployment.
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