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from Expert Zone:

Chinese general warns India even as Antony visits Beijing

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)

India’s Defence Minister A. K. Antony is in Beijing on an official visit and a provocative curtain-raiser was provided by a retired major general of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) who cautioned India not to “provoke new problems and increase military deployments at the border area and stir up new trouble.”

Predictably, this statement by Major General Luo Yuan, who is associated with the PLA’s Academy of Military Sciences, hit the headlines in both countries. Luo is no stranger to such controversy and has in the past made shrill and hostile remarks to local media and in Chinese cyberspace about Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines. One assertion - since denied - was that China should bomb Tokyo if Japan stepped out of line in relation to the long-standing island dispute between the two East Asian neighbours.

Luo is among a handful of former PLA personnel who have been taking an extremely hardline stand and advocate Chinese military assertiveness to deal with complex territorial disputes that the political leadership in Beijing is trying to address through political dialogue. The  question that engages China watchers in the region and globally is the degree to which such views are reflective of the tension between hardliners and moderates in the  Chinese political  leadership - and among the opaque strategic community that is grappling with many such issues under the veil of authoritarian secrecy.

Luo’s remarks are in sharp contrast to the more official position echoed by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who on the sidelines of an ASEAN meeting in Brunei this week said his discussion with his Indian counterpart Salman Khurshid had been cordial:

from Breakingviews:

Asia’s pain unevenly spread as China slows

By John Foley

(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own)

Asia’s falling markets reflect the belief that a slowdown in China will take its toll on the region. But things aren’t so straightforward. Look at what proportion of the region’s largest economies goes to China, and how important those exports are to domestic GDP. Despite a decade of rapid growth, the world’s second-largest economy has had a smaller impact on its neighbours than might be expected.

from Davos Notebook:

A golden opportunity for a new trading system

INDONESIA-JAPAN/ PACT

By Mari Pangestu, who is the Trade Minister of Indonesia. The opinions expressed are her own.

The world continues to face great uncertainties. Global recovery has been uneven, unemployment high and current account imbalances have led to continued tension including the use of currencies and other mercantilist policies for protectionist purposes. And we have yet to conclude the Doha Round of World Trade Organization Negotiations. So what do trade policymakers have to do to face this situation and ensure trade continues to contribute to growth and development?

from Russell Boyce:

Asia – A Week in Pictures 31 October 2010

In terms of the Ring of Fire, Indonesia had just been too quiet. Warnings that Mount Merapi, which towers above the outskirts of Yogyakarta city on Java island, was about to erupt, were heeded by some and ignored by many. On Monday, a 7.5 magnitude quake triggered a tsunami that hit the remote western Mentawai islands killing at least 343.  A day later, Mount Merapi erupted, killing at least 34.  It took almost three days for Jakarta based photographer Crack Palinggi to reach the scene of the devastation caused by the tsunami. Beawiharta was quicker to scene of the volcano; needless to say it's always worth standing well back when people are evacuating from an erupting volcano.  Bea's picture screams panic, heat and noise of those fleeing as hot ash falls to earth, the drama amplified by the flash blur technique used.  It is in complete contrast to the picture taken a day later of sombre near silence as rescue workers crunch through the muffled ashen landscape like newly fallen snow.

INDONESIA-VOLCANO/

 A woman covers her baby as she runs from ash falling from an erupting volcano at Kaliurang village in Sleman, near Indonesia's ancient city of Yogyakarta, October 26, 2010. Mount Merapi erupted on Tuesday, prompting terrified villagers to flee and join the thousands already evacuated from its slopes, witnesses said.  REUTERS/Beawiharta

from Raw Japan:

Balancing Asia with an old friend

There was no U.S. representative at a recent summit of Asian leaders but, one official told me, Washington still played a leading role behind the scenes at the meetings held in the Thai seaside town of Hua Hin.

A top Japanese government official told us as we flew south with Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama to Thailand that his boss would tell Asian counterparts that the U.S. "involvement" would be important when he pushes for his idea of an East Asian Community. ASIA-SUMMIT

from Global News Journal:

Southeast Asia’s Islamists try the domino theory

Photo: Jihad book collection in Jakarta Sept.21, 2009. REUTERS/Supr

A half-century ago, Washington worried about Southeast Asian nations falling like dominoes to an international communist movement backed by Maoist China, and became bogged down in the Vietnam War.

Noordin Top, believed to be the mastermind behind most of the suicide bombings in Indonesia -- including the July 17 attacks on two luxury Jakarta hotels -- pronounced himself to be al Qaeda's franchise in Southeast Asia.

from Global News Journal:

ASEAN seeks to create one big village

ASEAN/ A pink dragon-like alien from outerspace (who for some odd reason is called "Blue") is driving through space one day when he gets into a traffic accident with some space debris and falls to earth. The creature lands in Southeast Asia (where bizarre traffic accidents are commonplace) in a place called "ASEAN Village". It is here, waiting for his spaceship to be fixed, where Blue learns about ASEAN and its acheivements over the past 40 years, and its aspiration to become one big happy ASEAN Community.

Environmental activists dressed in orangutan suits at the ASEAN summit in Hua Hin, Thailand, Feb. 28, 2009. REUTERS PHOTO/Adrees Latif

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