Under The Radar 09.25.12

Posted on Tuesday, September 25, 2012 by Lucy Wen-Chin Lo

A weekly compilation of under-reported events in Asia. 
  • The Japanese government’s purchase of the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands has sparked violent street protests throughout China as fishing boats were dispatched to the disputed waters to oppose Japan’s nationalization of the contested islands.
  • China hopes to ally with Korea in Seoul’s bid for UN confirmation over Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands when Korea plans to submit documents to UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) to claim its rights to a deep sea trench near Okinawa, which falls under joint jurisdiction with Japan.
  • The honorary chairman of the Kuomintang (KMT), Lien Chan, visited Nanjing. During his meeting with Jia Qinglin, the top political advisor of the Communist Party of China (CPC), Lien expressed Taiwan’s firm stance on safeguarding the sovereignty over the islands in the East China Sea, while Jia called for the two sides to surpass differences and join efforts in safeguarding territorial integrity.
  • Korean software tycoon Ahn Cheol-soo launched an independent presidential bid. Ahn’s candidacy opens up a three-way race between Moon Jae-in of the Democratic United Party’s and Park Guen-hye of the New Frontier Party. The presidential election will take place in December and the debate thus far centered on how to address social disparity in South Korea.
  • The United States’ largest debt holder, China, boosted its holding of U.S. Treasury bills to $1.15 trillion, while Japan, the second-largest holder of U.S. debt, increased its holding by $7 billion, making its total $1.12 trillion.  
  • The Ministry of Transport of Malaysia and China Southern Railway (CSR) signed a Memorandum of Arrangement on September 24 for the development of a railway complex in Batu, Gajaj and Perak, with an estimated cost of RM 400 million ($63.4 million). The infrastructure development project is expected to create 800 jobs in local support industries. There is growing demand for railway development in ASEAN Countries and the Middle East where altogether an estimated 2,900 new units of railway coaches and locomotives are needed in the next five years.
  • Anti-American protests ignited in Thailand and Indonesia following the film “Innocence of Muslims”was posted online. The Obama administration has denounced the film as ‘disrespectful’, but Google has yet to remove the video due to the right of freedom of expression.
  • Day-long strikes across India led by opposition parties and trade unions highlight public concerns toward the government’s new policy of allowing multinational giant retailers like Wal-Mart and Tesco to reach out directly to Indian customers, ostensibly to avoid the threat of a downgrade in India's credit rating. The business of local retailer shop would be greatly affected by the low price offered by transnational retailer corporations. 
  • The Nobel laureate and Myanmar opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kvi, called for an easing of U.S. sanctions on Burma, so that Burmese people could start consolidating their own democracy without outside pressure on the military government. Meanwhile, some human rights group sees the next election in 2015 as test of whether Burmese generals can hand over power peacefully to civilians.
  • According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, Arctic sea ice cover melted to its lowest extent this year, breaking the previous record low observed in 2007. This shows a seasonal summer melting, indicating long-term climate warming. 
  • King Pu-tsung, former Kuomintang (KMT) secretary-general, was selected to serve as the new Taiwan (ROC) representative to the United States. According to observers, King was chosen  to minimize interference in U.S.-Taiwan diplomacy and fully implement President Ma’s foreign policies.

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