|Asia News Digest
Biden's Visit to Pakistan Exhibits Poverty of Obama's Policy
Jan. 12 (EIRNS)Vice President Joe Biden's six-hour visit to Pakistan, under intense security, is a clear signal that the United States' Pakistan policy is non-existent. What the Obama Administration has adopted instead is an ad hoc, or knee-jerk, policy towards that country.
There is no gainsaying that Biden is the toughest talker within the Obama Cabinet. He went to Pakistan to tell the Pakistanis a number of things that he believes should be attended to: Pakistan must exert more efforts to eliminate the insurgents that are sheltered inside Pakistan and are fighting the U.S./NATO troops; Pakistan must take note of growing militancy, Biden pointing out that "societies that tolerate such actions wind up being consumed by those actions"; that "the U.S. was not against Islam but would continue to take action against extremists holed up in the tribal areas of Pakistan"; and that U.S. policies do not favor India and "seek to weaken or dismantle" Pakistan.
In return, according to Geo News, a channel close to the Pakistani military and foreign office told the U.S. VP that Pakistan will not tolerate a U.S. "great game" in the region, and secured the promise that "no U.S. boot will tread on Pakistani soil, and there will be no violation of Pakistan's sovereignty and territorial integrity."
What has not been reported yet, is whether any discussion took place on Islamabad's outing of the CIA station chief last December. On Dec. 18, CIA station chief Jonathan Banks was forced to flee Islamabad, after a journalist, Karim Khan, brought a case to court, accusing Banks of killing Pakistani civilians. Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) denied the U.S. charge that Pakistani intelligence was involved in unmasking Banks's identity. However, the situation is such that the U.S. cannot have a CIA information-gathering operation inside Pakistan. With the war raging along the Afghanistan-Pakistan borders, it does not look good for the United States to have its intelligence-gathering capability inside Pakistan severely curbed.
Philippines LaRouche Society Builds 'Save the Nation' Movement
Jan. 9 (EIRNS)As the financial bailout of banks in the West begins driving hyperinflation in the Philippines, Butch Valdes, the head of the Philippines LaRouche Society, reports that a new movement, "Save the Nation" (SANA), has been born, as a coalition of individuals and institutions, based on a common dedication to three necessary steps: a new "green revolution" in agriculture; restoration of the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Plant and the building of other nuclear plants; and a moratorium on the usurious and illegitimate foreign debt. The initial Declaration has been signed by The Filipino Inventors Society; the president of the Philippine Society of Mechanical Engineers; the president of the Institute of Integrated Electrical Engineers; the president of a national broadcasters association; an association of science journalists; the Philippines Atoms For Peace group; the Philippine Chamber of Commerce Foundation; and the Philippines LaRouche Society.
The Declaration begins: "As the whole world experiences the ongoing and rapid disintegration of the global economy and financial system, and despite ample warnings by the LaRouche Movement, a negligent government, incompetent economic managers, and a confused population helplessly look on as prices of all commodities begin to spiral. As economic policies of import-liberalization, privatization, and deregulation, as well as our transformation to a 'service economy' relying heavily on exporting domestic helpers, rather than developing agro-industries which generate employment, have proven to be the means to destroy our society's ability to survive as a nation."
China-Myanmar To Rebuild Stilwell Road Link to India
Jan. 11 (EIRNS)Myanmar has finally awarded a contract to rebuild a vital 312-km section of the historic Stilwell Road, which will link southwest China to India. On Nov. 22, the government in Naypyidaw, the capital of Myanmar, gave China's Yunnan Construction Engineering Group and the Myanmar Yuzana Group, the contract to rebuild the section of the road from Myitkyina in Myanmar, to the Pangsau Pass on the India-Myanmar border, the Indian Express reported last week. The road will benefit the entire region.
The road, 1,736 km in length, was built during World War II, linking Ledo, in Arunachal Pradesh, India, to Kunming, in southwest China, through extremely rugged terrain. After 1942, the road provided the only overland route to supply the Kuomintang armies based in Chongqing. After the war, the road was not used, and whole sections in Myanmar have disappeared.
China has already rebuilt the 640-km stretch inside China, and linked it to the national highway network.
Myanmar's government had approached New Delhi on the project in 2008, but finally decided to award the contract to China. In any case, the road will also benefit India greatly, expanding access to the landlocked Northeast. From Partition on, that area of India lost access to the nearest port, Chittagong, to Bangladesh, although in the past two years, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been promoting expanding road, port, and rail links with India, China, and Myanmar.
Despite continued border issues between China and India, over Arunachal Pradesh, building this direct road link will greatly benefit both nations. The Asia Times today quoted Mahesh Saharia, chairman of the Northeastern Initiative of the Indian Chamber of Commerce, calling the benefits of reopening the Stilwell Road "unimaginable." The new road could cut transport costs between China and India by 30%, Saharia said. "It takes seven days for cargo to move by road from the northeast to Kolkata, then around three to four weeks to move by sea to China," he said, but cargo from the northeast could reach Yunnan in less than two days, via the new road.
Japanese, South Korean Industries Spurn Carbon Trading
Jan. 13 (EIRNS)South Korean and Japanese firms are fiercely opposed to carbon trading. The Federation of Korean Industries said Jan. 11 that starting carbon emissions trading in 2013, as proposed, would add to the cost of doing business, and put the country at a disadvantage, unless Japan and China were to do the same. Keidanren, Japan's largest business lobby, said 61 of 64 companies that responded to a survey in September opposed introducing carbon trading.
"The U.S. reluctance to embrace emissions trading might easily spread to Asia," said Georgina Edwards, an analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance in London. "They're almost like dominos at this stage."
Bloomberg complains that the businesses are opposing an "emission markets worth a potential $212 billion by 2020." However, some in Japan and South Korea realize that the billions go to the speculators, not for production or products to be used by the people.