Under the Radar 1.22.13

Posted on Tuesday, January 22, 2013 by Henna Sharif

A weekly compilation of under-reported events in Asia.

  • The chief human rights official at the United Nations, Navi Pillay, called for an international inquiry into human rights offenses committed by the North Korean government over many decades. Human rights groups have been lobbying for an international investigation over the past year, and they hope to persuade Japan to sponsor a resolution at the next session of the Human Rights Council in March that would create a commission of inquiry.

  • The foreign ministers of Japan and Australia agreed to strengthen security cooperation in the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean regions with the United States amid China's growing maritime assertiveness, stressing the importance of security cooperation between the two countries and their common ally the United States.

  • Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) members expressed mixed feelings about DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang’s plan to try to recall President Ma Ying-jeou and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers. The reasoning behind the plan is legitimate because Ma’s governance has been poor, some DPP figures said, but others were concerned about the political ramifications the move could have and the difficulty of achieving the recall.

  • The United Nations (UN) in Vietnam has initiated a series of consultations with a broad range of Vietnamese citizens on the new development framework to be put in place in 2015, once the current Millennium Development Goals expire. The UN wants to ensure that a diversity of voices is heard in determining the new development goals post-2015 and the consultations are an excellent way to identify how to best address the new development challenges.

  • Foreign affairs and defense officials from the United States and Japan began consultations over revising guidelines on defense cooperation. One focus of the revisions was how to beef up cooperation between the security allies in monitoring and surveillance activities as China moves to increase its maritime presence in the region. Japan and the United States also hope to deepen their alliance in areas that are not confined to those surrounding Japan, such as U.N. peacekeeping operations in various parts of the world, antipiracy missions and fighting cyberterrorism.

  • Nuclear specialists from the United States offered in-person assistance to Myanmar's (Burma) plan to accept greater international scrutiny of any atomic activities. Officials from the National Nuclear Security Administration were in Myanmar for a workshop with atomic energy, science and diplomatic officials. “The purpose of the workshop was to promote awareness of the international safeguards system, including elements and requirements for the implementation of the IAEA Additional Protocol and the modified Small Quantities Protocol,” the U.S. Embassy in Myanmar said in a release issued on Wednesday.

  • India and China discussed reviving military exercises that have been stalled since 2010, and increasing military exchanges during the Third India-China Annual Defense Dialogue in Beijing. The two sides also discussed regional and international issues of common interests, including potential hotspots in the Asia-Pacific region and in the India-China border areas.
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