|Asia News Digest
Eurasian Survivors' Club's Dense Pattern of Diplomacy
April 30 (EIRNS)The Eurasian nations that Lyndon LaRouche called the "Survivors' Club" at the end of the 1990s, because of their efforts not go down with the sinking Anglo-Dutch empire ship, are carrying on intense diplomacy. Chinese President Hu Jintao will start a five-day visit to Japan on May 6, the first by a Chinese President in ten years. Russia-Iran discussions are one highlight (see Russia/CIS Digest). Russia's President-elect Dmitri Medvedev confirmed in an interview with Argumenty i fakty weekly, that his first foreign visits will be to Kazakstan and China. Medvedev is also likely to go to India before the end of the year.
Japan's Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda met Russian President Vladimir Putin April 26 near Moscow, with trade, energy development, and the upcoming G-8 talks in Japan on the agenda. "In the past two or three years, we have managed to change our relations qualitatively," Putin said. Fukuda also met with Medvedev.
China and Japan have had several high-level exchanges to prepare Hu's visit in this 30th anniversary year since the China-Japan Peace and Friendship Treaty, concluded five years after Japan recognized the Peoples Republic in 1972. Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi went to Japan April 17, just as a delegation from the Japanese Liberal Democratic Party was in Beijing. The last high-level Chinese visit to Japan was Prime Minister Wen Jiabao's "ice-thawing" visit in 2006, after the provocative Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi left office. Fukuda returned the visit in late 2007. Former Japanese Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone also went to China, meeting with Hu Jintao April 29. Nakasone, attending the third Northeast Trilateral Forum in Beijing, said that China, Japan, and South Korea must spare no efforts to pursue peace and friendship, and called for a three-nation summit. Also at the meeting were former Chinese vice premier Qian Qichen and former South Korean premier Lee Hong Koo.
China-Taiwan cross-Strait relations are also moving forward, after the historic meeting between Hu and Taiwan vice-president-elect Vincent Siew April 12, the highest-level cross-Strait meeting since 1949. Hu received a delegation led by Lien Chan, honorary head of the Taiwan KMT (Kuomintang), April 28. Hu first met Lien three years ago, at the first official summit between the CPC and the KMT in 60 years.
Afghan President Survives Assassination Attempt
May 2 (EIRNS)Afghan President Hamid Karzai was shot at by a rooftop sniper on April 27, while attending a military parade commemorating the Soviet troop withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack. Gunfire and explosions erupted after Karzai had taken the stage following an inspection of troops. Karzai and scores of cabinet members, ambassadors, and U.S. military commanders slammed to the floor or were whisked out by security, and were unharmed, officials said. Nonetheless, three people died, including an Afghan member of parliament, and a dozen others were wounded. Karzai appeared on television within an hour, to say: "The enemy of Afghanistan, the enemy of the security and development of Afghanistan, tried to disrupt the celebration and tried to create fear."
Although the sniper attack was probably set up from inside the security forces, there is little doubt that the Taliban, which does not want to decimate itself confronting well-trained and well-armed U.S. and NATO troops, is spreading the fear of irregular warfare throughout Afghanistan. Recently, U.S. commander Lt. Gen. Dan McNeill told the media that the Afghans fear the lack of security more than ever before.
According to one source, armed terrorists, who were earlier ensconced in Pakistan's tribal areas, are moving to northern Afghanistan, threatening the relative peace that prevails there. The source claims the terrorists are neither Pushtun Taliban nor Pakistani Taliban, but most likely the "foreigners"Arabs from Arabia, Maghreb Arabs, Uzbeks, Chechens, Uighurs, and others. One reason why these terrorists are moving northwestward would be the recent Russia-NATO agreement for NATO to ship some of its supplies to Afghanistan across Russian territory. But Russia lacks a border with Afghanistan, and Moscow has not succeeded so far in pinning down permission from some combination of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Kazakstan to allow passage of the supplies. The source report claims that these terrorists want to deter the "stan" nations from agreeing to the Russian request. Thus, it is expected that, in the near future, these terrorists will make their presence felt along Afghanistan's borders with Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan.
India's High Growth Rate Left 300 Million Poor Untouched
April 29 (EIRNS)Speaking at a conference at London's International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), India's Minister of Commerce and Industry Kamal Nath said, that while the challenge to India, and also to many other nations, is growth, "our 8 or 9% growth is showing up on the radar screens in different ways. When it shows up on our radar screens in different ways, the management of growth becomes a big challenge. When we say this, we talk of India's IT skills and these great figures, but we cannot lose sight of the fact that India has 300 million people living on less than $1 per day. How do we make growth reach them? How do we make it touch their lives? That is our challenge."
He pointed out that India is young, in that 50% of its population is around 25 years old. "So when today we meet in a looming global economic outlook that is gloomy, the question is, how does India respond to this? That is another challenge. Of course we are not an externally driven or export-driven economy, we are a domestic market-driven economy. We are an economy today in global trying times in food, where global food prices are going up...."
China to Merkel: Stop Blaming Asia for Food Crisis
May 1 (EIRNS)China and India are not responsible for the world grain crisis, China's Vice Agricultural Minister Niu Dun told a visiting delegation of the European People's Party and European Democrats, the European Parliament wing of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU. Last week, Merkel blamed Chinese consumption for pushing up German milk pricesdespite the reality that German dairy exports to China are very small, and are falling anyway.
"Population growth and higher living standards in China and India were not the roots of the global crisis," Niu Dun said. "Instead, developed countries should bear the main responsibility."
The European delegation, the biggest group in the European Parliament, was led by chairman Joseph Daul. It is European countries and the United States which have consumed so much grain and other crops for biofuels, which has both damaged the environment and hit grain production, Niu said. Grain production was already under pressure from the high energy prices. On top of this, massive capital flows from developed countries to grain futures markets had driven up prices, Niu also told the Europeans, according to an Agriculture Ministry release. The developed nations should cut biofuel production and increase grain aid to food-poor regions, Niu said.