Under the Radar 11.13.12

Posted on Tuesday, November 13, 2012 by Lucy Wen-Chin Lo

A weekly compilation of under-reported events in Asia.

  • A Japan-proposed resolution calling for joint action to eliminate all nuclear weapons was passed in the First Committee of the UN General Assembly. Four nuclear powers including the U.S., Britain, France and Russia were among the 159 countries that voted for the resolution, while China together with 11 countries like India, Pakistan and Israel abstained. North Korea was the only country that voted against the resolution.
  • The number of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) delegates from the private sector has doubled from 17 in the 17th Party Congress to 34 in the 18th Party Congress. Since 2001, the CCP has started to assimilate private entrepreneurs into the participation of Party’s decision making process.
  • The Chinese delegation was absent in this year’s Tokyo Defense Forum (TDF). Japan's Minister of Defense Satoshi Morimoto said that he hoped that senior Chinese officials would attend to exchange ideas on new security challenges. TDR has been annually held by Japan’s Ministry of Defense since 1996. This year, the forum focused on U.S. role in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Myanmar (Burma) and Thailand plan to accelerate the joint development of the Dawei Special Economic Zone (SEZ) with the formation of a high-level joint committee. Myanmar Vice President U Nyan Tun’s visited Thailand last week and signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that prioritized certain sectors for development. The SEZ project includes steel mills, refineries, a petrochemical complex and powerplants, and is expected to be completed by 2018. The project also includes the construction of the Dawei deep-sea port, which would shorten the transportation route to Southeast Asia and the Pacific.
  • The UN Security Council ordered sanctions against the Haqqani militant group. The Haqqani militant network in Afghanistan was founded by Jalaluddin Haqqani and now led by Qari Zakir. The group is responsible for sophisticated attacks on the Afghan government and NATO forces. The sanctions include a freeze on Haqqani assets, an arms embargo and a travel ban against Zakir.
  • According to a series of recent polls, South Koreans in their 30s – compared to others segments of the population – are ostensibly less conservative in terms of their views toward North Korea. Experts say that people now in their 30s were taught progressive ideas during college by the older generation who participated in the country’s democratic movements, and had to face the turmoil of the 1997 Asian financial crisis, which helped to cultivate their strong anti-establishment views.
  • At the ninth Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao urged for further cooperation on energy security and disaster prevention and mitigation with European countries. Asian countries have acquired experiences in disaster prevention while European countries have high-tech products in the field. Wen suggested three-point proposal on how the two sides could cooperate in the future.

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