Under the Radar News 02.20.12

Posted on Wednesday, February 22, 2012 by Ai-Shan Lu

A weekly compilation of events in Asia.

  • Unipec, a Chinese state-owned oil company, renewed its supply contract with National Iranian Oil Co. (NIOC) on February 18. Therefore, NIOC will increase oil exports to China to 500,000 barrels per day after a decline in Iranian crude exports to China earlier this year. The renewal appears as a snub to the international community’s efforts to isolate Tehran for its nuclear ambitions.

  • South Korea is reportedly planning to establish a pilot training center in Portugal and will deploy the T-50 supersonic military jet trainers produced by Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI). South Korea is attempting to attract international attention to its aerospace industry (Indonesia has ordered 16 T-50 Golden Eagle advance jet trainers from KAI.).

  • China’s Vice President Xi Jinping and U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta emphasized the necessity of strengthening military relations between the two powers after talks at the Pentagon on February 14. Xi "urged both sides to maintain and strengthen practical exchanges and cooperation between the two militaries," while Panetta suggested humanitarian assistance and counter-piracy efforts "as productive areas for deepening cooperation," according to Pentagon spokesperson George Little.

  • On February 13, U.S. business entities signed three memorandums of understanding (MOU) with Yonker Environment Protection Institute (Yonker EPI), whose mission is to develop and commercialize advanced environmental technologies in China. The first and the second MOUs focus on cooperation in water technologies and the latter also includes utility management. The third MOU is mainly about providing technology for solid waste gasification in China.

  • Israel accused Iran of being involved in a bombing attack on an Israeli vehicle in New Delhi. The Indian government, however, has refused to take actions against Iran unless there is concrete evidence to prove Iran’s involvements in the attack.

  • Masaaki Shirakawa, who is the governor of Bank of Japan (BOJ), said that the Japanese economy is headed toward a moderate recovery but the outlook remains highly uncertain. The director of macroeconomic analysis at the Cabinet Office, Minoru Masujima, also said that domestic demand was relatively firm. Yet, records of January exports seemed to be less promising due to the strong yen and the euro zone debt problems harming overseas demand.
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