Posted on Monday, July 9, 2012 by Rosalind Reischer
A weekly compilation of under reported news in Asia.
- Pakistani Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani travelled to India to meet with his counterpart Ranjan Mathai for discussions on normalization of India-Pakistan relations. One conclusion that emerged was that finding justice for the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks is the most important confidence building measure for India and Pakistan.
- Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono proposed a plan for joint military exercises focused on disaster relief with the U.S., Australia, and other militaries in the region, including, China. The plan marks an easing of Jakarta’s distrust in U.S. plans to rotate 2,500 Marines through Darwin, Australia.
- South Korea delayed signing a military pact with Japan last week due to lingering public resentment, but a few days later Seoul officials confirmed that South Korea had already signed a provisional intelligence-sharing pact in April, without reporting it to the Korean National Assembly.
- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued an apology to Pakistan for a NATO airstrike that killed 24 Pakistani troops in November 2011. As a result, Pakistan reopened vital supply routes to Afghanistan. Sherry Raman, Pakistan’s ambassador to the U.S., called it a “historic turn” for relations between the U.S. and Pakistan.
- On July 4, China added the last of 32 hydropower generators to the Three Gorges Dam, which is now operating at full capacity. The addition of the final turbine will enable the dam to generate 11 percent of China’s total hydropower potential.
- Beijing initiated the strategic purchase of Rare Earth Elements (REE), taking advantage of current low prices and stockpiling against future shortages. Officials hope that the recent purchases will stabilize REE prices which plummeted earlier this year, and that the investment will grant China more control over rare earth prices.
- South Korean left wing reunification activist Ro Su-Hui was arrested after returning from an unauthorized visit to North Korea. Ro had gone to North Korea in March to attend an event commemorating the death of Kim Jong-Il, and reportedly met with Kim Jong-Un during his time there. Due to a South Korean security law that punishes Koreans who visit North Korea without permission, Ro could face up to ten years in jail for his actions.
- A Taiwanese fishing boat accompanied by four Taiwan Coast Guard patrol boats entered contiguous waters surrounding the disputed Senkaku (Diaoyutai) Island chain. Taiwanese officials claimed the patrol boats were sent to protect the fishing vessel, which carried nine activists advocating for ROC sovereignty over the island.
- The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) will start their annual live ammunition exercises in the East China Sea on July 10. The exercises are designed to test new strategies as well as practice coordination between warships and fighter jets. The upcoming five-day military exercises are intended to assert sovereignty over the region, especially the Diaoyutai (Senkaku) Islands. This announcement is in the wake of similar exercises the PLAN carried out last week in the same area.
- Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda announced plans to purchase one out of the five major Senkaku Islands. Uosturi, one of the larger islands, had been the focal point in a simmering dispute involving a Taiwanese fishing boat and four patrol vessels. China and Taiwan responded to the proposition with separate statements expressing indignation over perceived infringement of their respective claims over the islands.