In an attempt to assert Vietnamese sovereignty over the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, a delegation of six Buddhist monks will be sent to restore the shrines on the islands. China, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also claim parts of the islands.
Singapore and Mongolia have agreed to collaborate in information technology through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on March 6. According to the MOU, projects will include e-Government, enterprise architecture, and cloud computing.
India’s ruling Congress Party faced a crushing defeat in a local election on March 6. In the state of Uttar Pradesh—located in northern India—the Congress Party won only 35 seats in the 403-seat state assembly while the Samajwadi Party attained 224 seats to establish a clear majority.
According to the Korea National Oil Corporation—one of South Korea’s most important industrial powerhouse—rising oil prices in the country are caused by international sanctions imposed on Iran. Thorny problems like inflation, soaring energy costs and a weak currency are causing political difficulty for the Lee Myung-bak administration as the parliamentary and presidential elections approach.
In light of Indian farmers concerns over falling prices of cotton, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh ordered a review of the decision to ban cotton exports by the Commerce Ministry. China’s cotton industry, which reportedly purchased 80% of Indian production, also criticized the ban as irresponsible.
The Thai and Japanese prime ministers emphasized the importance of the economiccooperation between the two nations during their talks in Tokyo on March 7. The two sides agreed to collaborate closely on disaster management, especially on flood control measures.
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The Project 2049 Institute seeks to guide decision makers toward a more secure Asia by the century’s mid-point. The Institute is the only Washington-based think tank that focuses exclusively on future-oriented studies of the Asia Pacific.