Under the Radar 12.17.12

Posted on Monday, December 17, 2012 by Henna Sharif

A weekly compilation of under-reported events in Asia.

  • North Korea’s missile launch last week brought about strong concerns from the international community. South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan Jin said Wednesday's missile had a range of about 10,000 kilometers, which would be enough range to reach the mainland U.S., deepening U.S. concerns on the issue.

  • On Sunday, voters in Japan returned power to the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in the parliamentary election. Public broadcaster NHK said the LDP grabbed 294 spots in the lower house and the ousted Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) won only 57. Shinzo Abe, party president of the LDP, is slated to become the country’s prime minister for the second time.

  • Anti-China protests took place in Vietnam in response to what is seen as Chinese aggression and expansionism. Although the protests were quickly stopped, public anger has been growing in Vietnam over issues including maritime claims in the region, the sabotage of the PetroVietnam survey vessel, and the new Chinese passports infringing the sovereignty of other nations.

  • Li Chuncheng has been removed from his post as deputy Party secretary of Sichuan Province in China and is suspected of "serious violations of discipline." Li is alleged to have bribed supervisors for promotion and taken kickbacks from the construction industry. He is the highest-level official to be sacked since Xi Jinping vowed to crack down on graft when he was elected as head of the ruling party last month.

  • India is investigating how Swedish-made weapons bought by its army turned up in Myanmar (Burma), a minister visiting Yangon said Dec. 15. The minister denies New Delhi had supplied arms in contravention of EU sanctions. Sweden asked India to clarify how the weapons wound up in Myanmar after being informed by the Swedish Agency for Non-Proliferation and Export Controls that the weapons had come from India.

  • The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will help vulnerable communities in Cambodia raise their ability to respond to and cope with natural disasters by providing a $35 million U.S. dollar loan to manage risks stemming from extreme floods and droughts. The Cambodia project includes upgrade to irrigation systems and other infrastructure, a strengthened national flood forecasting center, and training and support to farmers for community-based disaster risk management.

  • Former Thai PM Abhisit Vejjajiva has been charged with murder over the death of a taxi driver shot by soldiers during political violence when thousands of protesters took to the streets in 2010 demanding his government step down. He gave orders allowing troops to use live ammunition on protesters, who had shut down parts of Bangkok.
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