Under The Radar 11.26.12

Posted on Wednesday, November 28, 2012 by Henna Sharif

A weekly compilation of under-reported events in Asia.

  • On the eve of the East Asia Summit, India granted its support to the proposed Code of Conduct between ASEAN and China to govern the use of the resource-rich South China Sea. A majority of ASEAN members support the Code of Conduct, which seeks to internationalize South China Sea issues and advocates for a multilateral approach. China has staunchly advocated for bilateral dialogue.

  • In his first overseas trip since re-election, President Barack Obama visited the East Asia region to participate in the East Asia Summit in Phnom Penh. The trip underlines the strategic re-balancing to Asia and the U.S.’s diplomatic and security commitments to the region. President Obama also became the first U.S. president to visit Burma (Myanmar), where he met with Aung San Suu Kyi and President Thein Sein and discussed the nation’s path of democratic re-engagement. He also met with Cambodian Prime Miniser Hun Sen for discussions on human rights and democracy.

  • China is set to emerge as the world’s largest nuclear power generator by 2020. Policy planning and third generation power plants that produce electricity more cheaply than coal and gas plants, have spurred growth in the nuclear energy sector. Despite increased nuclear energy generation targets, coal will continue to comprise the bulk of China’s energy supply.

  • South Korea, China and Japan, three of the world’s largest economies, have agreed to launch discussions on a free trade agreement (FTA). The trilateral FTA, while unlikely to dissolve political tensions, demonstrates a desire to limit the economic fallout from territorial disputes and nationalist sentiments. The first discussions will take place in South Korea in March 2013.

  • In the backdrop of upcoming national elections in Japan, Toru Hashimoto’s Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) and Shintaro Ishihara’s Taiyo no To (The Sunrise Party) have merged into one political party. Despite divergent stances on policy issues such as the Transpacific Partnership (TPP) and the future of nuclear energy, Hashimoto and Ishihara’s merge demonstrates party efforts to be a viable third force in upcoming elections.

  • During the East Asia Summit, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda announced a $615 million low-interest, long-term government loan to Burma (Myanmar). The loan will largely be used for infrastructure projects that will enable Japanese companies to further invest in Burma. The new loan comes after an earlier Japanese announcement to waive $3.5 billion of Burma’s unpaid loans.

  • Independent South Korean presidential candidate Ahn Cheol-soo on Friday announced his abrupt withdrawal from the presidential campaign and his endorsement of Rep. Moon Jae-in of the main opposition Democratic United Party (DUP). His withdrawal clears the way for a two-way race with ruling party hopeful Park Geun-hye in the Dec. 19 polls.

  • Chinese fighter jets successfully landed on the Liaoning aircraft carrier while it was at sea. This marks the first official confirmation that China has mastered the technology and technical skills necessary to operate fighters from a carrier at sea. The feat further demonstrates the Middle Kingdom's progress towards becoming a global military power.
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