Under The Radar 10.31.12

Posted on Wednesday, October 31, 2012 by Lucy Wen-Chin Lo

A weekly compilation of under-reported events in Asia.

  • Clashes between Rohingya Muslims and Rakhine Buddhists continued to spread in Myanmar (Burma). The Burmese government attempted to resolve the conflict caused by the rape of a Buddhist woman in late May by segregating the two communities.

  • North Korea has reportedly taken a step forward with its special economic and trade zone with the establishment of the Rason Economic and Trade Zone Management Committee. The special economic and trade zone will be jointly developed and operated by North Korea and China.

  • Former Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai was stripped of party membership for alleged power abuse, corruption, bribe-taking and involvement in his wife’s murder of a British businessman. The decision was reportedly made by the Political Bureau of the Chinese Communist Party and the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress and Chongqing Municipal People's Congress. More than 700 leftist academics and former officials sent an open letter that condemned the central government’s action as legally inappropriate and politically motivated.

  • Greenpeace claimed that the Japanese government underestimated the radiation levels in areas near the Fukushima nuclear power plant. The environmental group advised the government to be more efficient and effective in decontamination.

  • Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Genba embarked on a European tour to France, England and Germany in seek of support for his government’s position in the East China Sea dispute with China. France, England and Germany did not express clear support for Japanese claim of sovereignty over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Island.

  • Following a surprise visit by South Korean President Lee Myung-bak to Dokdo/Takeshima Islands in August, South Korean MPs made a follow on visit on October 23. The trip was reportedly for checking security measures around the Islands. However, a photo released showed South Korean lawmakers wielding placards reading “Dokdo is our land. We will defend it.”

  • UN peacekeepers in Timor-Leste are being withdrawn over the next two months as the international body hands over full policing responsibility to the Timor-Leste government. There will be no UN peacekeepers left in the country by December 15, according to head of the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT).

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