Tuesday, April 29, 2014

South Korea Grapples With Implications of Ferry Tragedy

In the aftermath of one of its worst-ever maritime disasters, South Korea has found itself grappling with the question of how a modern ferry came to capsize in calm waters with the loss of 302 passengers, most of them high school students.
Alongside the expected grief and anger, the sinking of the Sewol on April 16 has also fuelled introspection about arguably the crowning achievement of the country’s modern history: its rapid rise from poverty to prosperity.
From the 1960s up until the 1980s, successive dictatorial governments implemented massive infrastructure projects and ambitious manufacturing targets at lightning speed. There followed an almost uninterrupted period of unprecedented economic growth. The “ppalli ppalli” (hurry, hurry) mentality exemplified by former dictator Park Chung-hee is considered to have been an indispensible ingredient in the “Miracle on the Han.”
But in the wake of the tragedy, newspaper editorials and commentators have asked if one cost of such a dramatic economic rise has been a society with a pervasive disregard for public safety.

China’s Rare Earths Advantage


READ MORE

US, Japan to Boost ASEAN Maritime Security


READ MORE

Obama in Philippines: 'Our Goal Is Not to Contain China'

READ MORE

Geothermal Energy and Mongolia By Paul Sullivan,


READ MORE

Monday, April 28, 2014

How caviar is produced in Vietnam


READ MORE

Archives reveal 'comfort women' official actions of Japan - Global Times

Archives reveal 'comfort women' official actions of Japan - Global Times


Americans Support the TPP, Trade With Japan

A majority of Americans want the U.S. to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership, according to a new poll.
On the eve of President Barack Obama’s trip to Asia last week, the Pew Research Center released a new public opinion poll it had conducted on Americans’ views of the TPP, the major free trade pact being negotiated between 12 Pacific Rim nations.
As Pew explained the result “A recent survey from the Pew Research Center found that a majority of Americans (55%) believe the Trans-Pacific Partnership is a good thing, while just 25% think the agreement will be bad for the country and 19% don’t have an opinion.”

US-Philippines Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement Bolsters 'Pivot to Asia'


READ MORE

China Is Fine With Obama’s Trip to Asia - Except for Japan


READ MORE

No longer emerging, BRICS have arrived

The BRICS economies are collectively worth around $12 trillion, and will surpass the size of the US economy which is approximately $15 trillion, by 2015. Source: Eduard Pesov / RIA Novosti
The five-nation group is no longer an emerging group but a powerful agglomeration that is setting down the rules of global economic engagement for the coming decades.
In 1983 Belgian economist Paul Bairoch presented a detailed study of the world economy that caused a furore in Western academic and political circles. In ‘Economics and World History: Myths and Paradoxes’ he said that in 1750 India’s share of global GDP was 24.5 percent, China’s 33 percent, and the combined share of Britain and the US was 2 percent.
Shaken by these facts, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, a largely Western club, constituted a Development Institute Studies under professor Angus Maddisson of the University of Groningen to investigate Bairoch’s claims.
The data Maddison compiled affirmed – what nearly all Indian school children knew but was mysteriously unknown to the West – that India and China were the biggest economies in the world for almost all of the past 2000 years. His figures showed India was the leading economic power of the world from the first year of the millennium till 1700 – that’s 18 of the last 20 centuries. India had 32 percent share of world’s GDP in the first 1000 years and 28-24 percent in the second millennium till 1700.

Obama in Asia: Military deal tops Philippine agenda


READ MORE

Xi'an, the New Center of Korean Multinationals in China


Since the hosting of Samsung Electronics semiconductor plant, the Chinese city of Xi'an is experiencing a sea change. For example, the number of Korean expats living in the old city in the central-northwest region has quadrupled to 5,000, with Korean companies including Samsung partner firms numbering 100. Even though the city has been continuously inhabited for more than 3,000 years, it has been late in catching up with the change of time in the late 20th century.
READ MORE

Asia to remain at 5.4 pct economic growth in 2014, IMF report


READ MORE

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Obama’s Asia trip will be overshadowed by China’s 'blue national soil' nine dash line.


READ MORE

The Renminbi Goes Abroad


Signs of the growing international presence of the Chinese renminbi (RMB) have fueled speculation that the yuan will be the world’s next reserve currency. The Chinese economic miracle has catapulted the RMB to a spot among the top 10 traded currencies in the global economy, thanks to high GDP growth, consecutive current and capital account surpluses and an aggressive People’s Bank of China (PBoC) policy since 2009, a time when China found itself in the “dollar trap.”
However, the yuan’s rapid offshore growth, driven by increased trade settlement, offshore deposits, central bank currency swaps, and issuances of RMB-denominated bonds, may be a function of investor speculation, not organic acceptance of China’s economic weight in the international economy. Unless offshore RMB use becomes more international and less driven by speculation, it could threaten China’s internationalization timetable.
It has long been thought that the RMB is undervalued due to the PBoC’s policy of promoting the export-dependent tradable goods sector. By accumulating nearly $4 trillion in foreign exchange reserves through a “twin surplus” (current and capital account surpluses), China has been able to suppress the RMB’s value through sterilization. Foreign investors have relished the opportunity to invest in the RMB since 2005, when China unpegged the currency from the dollar, seeing appreciation as a certainty. If investors hold RMB or RMB-denominated assets, they can anticipate translation gains when converting those assets back into their local currencies. As of April 2014, the RMB had appreciated 34 percent versus the dollar since it was unpegged.

Obama’s “Rebalancing”: A Fig Leaf

On the eve of U.S. President Barack Obama’s eight-day trip to Asia, Thomas E. Donilon, until recently the president’s National Security Adviser, provided The Washington Post with an overview of America’s strategy in Asia. He makes no reference to “pivoting” to Asia—the new catchphrase is “rebalancing.” Instead of being portrayed as increasing its commitment to the region, the United States is now said to be merely restoring its commitment to a previous, unspecified level. For instance, the number of American troops in the area, which was decreased as units were moved from Asia to the Middle East, is being restored to its pre-Afghanistan and Iraq level. This emphasis on rebalancing is supposed to reassure U.S. allies in the Middle East and Europe that they are not being abandoned or even short-changed—and to reduce the concerns the pivot has raised in China.
READ MORE

Hunting the Tokay Gecko


READ MORE

North Korea Detains (Another) American


READ MORE

Meet the LG G Watch, the First Android Wear Release LG has released details about the first smartwatch to be powered by Google’s Android Wear OS.


READ MORE

Friday, April 25, 2014

Is Communist China Christianity’s Future? New estimates predict China will soon be home to the world’s largest Christian community.


READ MORE

CSTO Looks Away From NATO and Toward SCO


READ MORE

Pakistani Journalist Accuses Spy Agency of Assassination Attempt Plus, Mumbai votes, Afghanistan’s election results come in, and India makes it easier for Chinese citizens to visit.


READ MORE

Dangerous trends in nuclear South Asia By Shams Zaman


Bhutan’s Human Rights Record Defies ‘Happiness’ Claim


READ MORE

Everest Tragedy Highlights Plight of Sherpas


READ MORE

China’s Military Urges Increased Secrecy


READ MORE

Taiwan to Simulate Chinese Aircraft Carrier Assault


READ MORE

Why Obama Should Meet Anwar Ibrahim in Malaysia


READ MORE

The Crisis of Confidence in US Hegemony

The 21st century is still young, but it has already presented the United States with a series of internal and external challenges. In the very first year, the U.S. faced a major security threat from non-state actors manifest in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which completely changed Americans’ traditional view of their homeland as a safe haven.
Following the attacks, the Bush administration launched its global war on terrorism. Rather than achieve its stated objective, however, the war placed the U.S. under fiscal pressure and damaged its international standing. Meanwhile, America now faces a new challenge: the rise of non-Western countries, a development likely to have a much more far-reaching impact on U.S. hegemony.
When U.S. President Barack Obama took office, he found that global power had subtly but irreversibly shifted in a way that reflected the new features of the international system. Thus, in the U.S. National Security Strategy (2010), the administration acknowledged that the international system needed to adjust to accommodate the interests of new centers of power.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

China And Cuba: Skip the Ideology, Let's Talk About Money

China And Cuba: Skip the Ideology, Let's Talk About Money

South Korea's Storm in a Rice Bowl - Inter Press Service

Storm in a Rice Bowl - Inter Press Service

Korean rice farmers protesting in Seoul against any new imports under an agreement with the World Trade Organisation. Credit: Ahn Mi Young/IPS.
Korean rice farmers protesting in Seoul against any new imports under an agreement with the World Trade Organisation. Credit: Ahn Mi Young/IPS.
SEOUL, Apr 24 2014 (IPS) - Rice, a staple of the South Korean diet, is stirring up a bowlful of worry for Seoul. Under a promise to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the government has to make a tough choice on rice imports by June this year.
It can either allow foreign suppliers to sell rice in its market – that is, open up its rice sector to the world – or it can continue to import a fixed quota of rice annually from countries like the U.S., China and Thailand

Chinese Sandstorm Turns Day Into Night

China Revises Environmental Law for the First Time Since 1989


READ MORE

ASEAN and UN Peacekeeping ASEAN will slowly develop and evolve regional peacekeeping coordination capacity.


READ MORE

Powering the Future of Japan’s Industrial-Political Economy


READ MORE

Central Asia is a key to Moscow’s reintegration efforts

Central Asia is a key to Moscow’s reintegration efforts
Forestry officers in Markakol reserve, Altay Mountains, Kazakhstan. Source: Dmitry A. Mottl / wikipedia
The resource-rich former Soviet republics are of vital interest to Russia and form the backbone of the Kremlin-initiated Eurasian Union.

Why Can’t Vietnam Grow Better Rice? Although the country is a major rice exporter, the industry suffers from quality issues.


READ MORE

The Legacy of Writer and Activist Win Tin One of Myanmar’s most dominant democracy figures has died, at 85.


READ MORE

From Flanders to Helmand By Brian Cloughley

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, Canadian Army, 1915 ................................


In Helmand's fields the poppies blow
Between the craters, row on row,
That mark the bedlam; in the sky
The drones, still whistling, blitzing, fly
Scarce heard amid the screams below. 

We are the Maimed and Dead. Short days
Ago we lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, but suffered hell
In Helmand's fields. 

We are limbless, mentally
Disturbed, deserted and forgot
By most save army charities.
You've broken faith with those who died 

And none of you should sleep,
Though poppies grow
In Helmand's fields

READ MORE

US 'pivots', China reaps dividends By Pepe Escobar

Let's start with a flashback to February 1992 - only two months after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. First draft of the US government's Defense Planning Guidance. It was later toned down, but it still formed the basis for the exceptionalist dementia incarnated by the Project for the New American Century; and also reappeared in full glory in Dr Zbig "Let's Rule Eurasia" Brzezinski's 1997 magnum opus The Grand Chessboard.

It's all there, raw, rough and ready

Asia Times Online :: Aging Japan seeks more foreign workers

Asia Times Online :: Aging Japan seeks more foreign workers