Off the Radar News Roundup

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– China’s defense minister gets face time with Kim Jong-Il on the third day of his visit to North Korea. – A high-ranking Chinese military envoy was in Moscow for discussions with Russia’s defense minister. – A high-ranking Chinese political envoy was in Quito to discuss deepening ties with Ecuador. Among the deals signed was a credit line for Ecuador to purchase Chinese military aircraft. That’s pretty remarkable, given the extent to which Ecuador’s military has historically been U.S.-trained, equipped and oriented. (Little-known fact: There’s a small but visible Chinese expat population spread throughout Ecuador. Second little-known fact: Ecuadoran-style Chinese […]

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– The unofficial U.S. ambassador to Taiwan said that Chinese Preseident Hu Jintao was more interested in “scoring points” on the Tibet issue than on Taiwan in his talks last week with President Barack Obama. – China and South Korea will be expediting negotiations for a free trade agreement. It’s pretty surprising that the EU already beat the U.S. to a FTA with South Korea. But if China does, too, that would be incredible. A number of obstacles remain, though, including U.S. opposition. – Islamabad unveiled a package of political and economic reforms aimed at tamping down separatism in Balochistan. […]

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– According to the People’s Daily, “Chinese experts” say China is not taking sides in the Kashmir dispute. The comments come in response to a Kashmiri separatist leader applauding the U.S.-Chinese joint declaration’s reference to promoting India-Pakistan reconciliation. I suspect President Barack Obama will also walk this back at the first opportunity during Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit. – Meanwhile, in a CNN interview in advance of his visit to Washington,Singh ruled out redrawing Kashmir’s borders, drawing a protest from Islamabad. – China’s defense minister traveled to North Korea in the latest of a series of high-level defense meetings […]

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– China’s foreign minister visits Japan for the first time since the DPJ took power. – China and Vietnam agree to boost economic ties. – China and Burma agree to establish railroad and banking links to facilitate resource flow. – Remarks by President Barack Obama in Korea reflect how the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have transformed U.S. forces stationed there — like the Army reserves back home — into an operational, as opposed to a strategic, reserve. – The leader of the Hurriyat, a Kashmir political coalition advocating for self-determination, declared his support for the U.S.-China joint declaration regarding […]

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– China plays both sides of the DMZ, hosting the speaker of the ROK Parliament and a high-level DPRK military envoy at the same time. – New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key has refused to meet with the Dalai Lama, explaining, “The reason simply is I’ve decided that I wouldn’t get a lot out ofthat particular meeting.I’ve seen him in the past, I may see him in thefuture.” If there’s a foreign policy equivalent of Maslow’s pyramid of needs, defending human rights would figure on the high end. That’s why the Dalai Lama will have an easier time getting meetings […]

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– After meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao calls the G-2 appelation premature, saying everyone should remain “sober-minded” about it. – After going online in August 2009, the Chinese Defense Ministry’s Web site was cyberattacked 2.3 million times in the first month. Payback? (Much more of interest in a People’s Daily interview with the site’s editor.) – China and Vietnam signed an agreement definitively demarcating their 800-mile land border, a process that took 10 years. They agreed to continue negotiations regarding their maritime boundary disputes. It’s important to remember when considering China’s rise that in addition […]

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– China and Brazil reach a five-point consensus to strengthen military personnel exchanges, and technology cooperaiton. (Despite the emerging South-emerging East angle, France still makes a better fit for defense partnerships with Brazil.) – Free press vs. free pass: A high-ranking Chinese Communist Party official goes on a state visit to Sudan, and the People’s Daily doesn’t mention the problematic nature of that bilateral relationship once. – Taiwan and China finally signed that MoU on financial regulation. Financial observers exepect a major inflow of Chinese capital to Taiwan when it takes effect two months from now. – In addition to […]

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– China announces yet another military cooperation upgrade, this time with Thailand. – This article about the followup to the Obama-Hatoyama meeting includes a good rundown of what the U.S.-Japan dispute over the Futenma air base closure is all about. – I mentioned the various competing plans for Asian regional integration earlier today. Here are the broad outlines of Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s version. – In the runup to the one-year anniversary of the Mumbai attack, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi issues a call for renewing the Composite Dialogue with India. – Turkey moves forward with its Kurdish […]

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– Interesting, given the climate of anxiety in Washington over China’s military intentions, that in the week before President Barack Obama’s first state visit to the PRC, Beijing announces plans for closer military cooperation with Togo and Khazakhstan, to say nothing of Macedonia yesterday. – Fresh off a successful counterinsurgency campaign, a general quits his command amid rumors of a future in politics. Yet another reason Gen. David Petraeus will be keeping an eye on Sri Lanka. – When all you’ve got is nukes . . . In a leaked internal review, Russia’s military gets low grades on combat readiness. […]

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– Good thing Greece blocked Macedonia’s NATO bid in 2008. Now the Macedonian army chief of staff is in Beijing looking to improve military cooperation with China. – For that China-Taiwan MoU on banking regulation, the signature’s ready, but the title it goes over is holding things up. – After Malaysia, Chinese President Hu Jintao visits Singapore. His way of letting President Barack Obama know just whose neighborhood it is? – Don’t hold your breath on Turkey-Armenia reconciliation. – France and Turkey have reportedly reached an agreement on Turkey’s EU accession: France will continue to oppose it, without blocking continued […]

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– Among the agreements signed during Chinese President Hu Jintao’s visit to Malaysia was an MoU on banking regulation. This seems to be an increasing priority for Chinese regional policy. – Count World Bank President Robert Zoeller as the latest believer in the Yuan as an alternative reserve currency. – If China is looking to raise its profile in the Gulf, Qatar makes for a logical partner. – It looks like Japan and the U.S. have agreed to downgrade the Futenma base dispute, in advance of President Barack Obama’s imminent arrival in Tokyo. – China agrees to sell $1.4 billion […]

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– Chinese President Hu Jintao kicked off a state visit to Malaysia, pledging to deepen strategic cooperation between the two countries. Hu is the first Chinese head of state to visit the country in 15 years. – China’s Health Ministry will step up regulation and licensing of medical practitioners, after a high-profile case of medical malpractice involving unlicensed medical students. – As part of its independent “space program,” Iran has announced plans to launch a second research satellite in 2011. – Macau, the Las Vegas of Asia, is running out of potable water. The city has 10 days of drinking […]

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– Thought Chechnya was “pacified”? Think again. Violence has spiked since Russia officially ended its 10-year counterterror mission there in April. (The implications for Iraq seem ominous.) – It’s been a violent week for Chechnya’s North Caucasus neighbors, too, with attacks reported in Ingushetia, Dagestan and North Ossetia. – Japan continues its checkbook diplomacy, pledging $5.55 billion to the Mekong states: Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and, yes, Burma. Among the reasons for the aid given by Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama are China’s growing influence and America’s greater interest in the region. Interesting . . . Chinese influence, American interest. […]

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– South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak rules out a North-South summit without an end to the DPRK nuclear program. – The EU and India set ambitious goals for bilateral trade, but a long-negotiated free trade deal is still being held up by disagreements over EU demands on regulatory standards (a major component of EU soft power). At the same summit, the two sides signed a civil nuclear agreement on fusion research. – Another Indian free trade agreement, this one with South Korea, is set to take effect now that South Korea’s parliament just ratified the deal. Trade between the two […]

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This is a new feature we’re going to experiment with here on the blog, with the help of our intrepid editorial assistant, Kari Lipschutz. The idea is to catch significant news in the foreign English-language media, before it shows up in Western outlets. So, yes, it amounts to yet another news roundup. But we’re going to try to justify it by delivering not so much breaking news as developing news. In the context of Chaos Theory and the Butterfly Effect, we’re trying to catch the butterfly before it becomes a monsoon. So with that in mind, here goes: – Is […]

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