Under the Radar 1.14.13

Posted on Monday, January 14, 2013 by Henna Sharif

A weekly compilation of under-reported events in Asia.

  • Thai Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubumrung met with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and the interior minister last week. The talks focused on Thailand's restive South and the need for cooperation to maintain peace in the region.

  • The Sri Lankan parliament voted to remove Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake in a move analysts say could trigger a constitutional crisis. The parliament accused her of corruption, an allegation which she has denied. President Mahinda Rajapaksa dismissed her from office on Sunday in the culmination of a widely criticized impeachment process that has crippled the nation’s courts and may precipitate a constitutional crisis.

  • China called for a reinforcement of cooperation among the five BRICS countries at the third meeting of senior representatives of national security affairs. The meeting was chaired by Indian National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon and was attended by senior officials from Russia, Brazil and South Africa. Chinese State Councillor Dai Bingguo suggested that BRICS countries establish more confidence in their own ways and prospects of development and in cooperation among themselves by promoting the ideas of solidarity, cooperation and win-win situation.

  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe convened the first meeting of the Economic Revitalization Headquarters, endorsing the outline of the government's emergency stimulus package totaling some ¥20 trillion in a bid to steer Japan out of deflation and prop up the economy with massive public works spending. The package includes public-private initiatives and spending by local governments.

  • China's new ties with the Maldives, Seychelles, and Sri Lanka may sink India's influence over the Indian Ocean. With the rise in the military capabilities of China and India, the two are increasingly rubbing against each other; China expands its presence in the Indian Ocean region and India makes its presence felt in East and Southeast Asia.

  • Former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson and Google Chairman Eric Schmidt went on a private trip to North Korea in an attempt to secure the release of Kenneth Bae, a US citizen who is being held awaiting trial.

  • The Vietnam- France Joint Committee on Defense Cooperation held its third session, which was co-chaired by Vietnamese Deputy Minister of National Defense Lieutenant General Nguyen Chi Vinh and French Deputy Chief of Staff Major General Gratien Maire. Both sides evaluated effective cooperation in various areas between the Vietnamese and French ministries of defense, including exchange of visits, staff training, cooperation on military science and technology and suggested measures to further enhance the all- sided cooperation in the future including maritime security, patrol and supervision, staff training and others.

  • South Korea urged the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to take action against North Korea’s recent long-range missile launch, which violates UN resolutions, within two weeks time. “Key players, including South Korea, are currently in the process of unofficially negotiating UNSC countermeasures against North Korea.”
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