|Asia News Digest
Chinese Scholar: Obama's Money Printing Is Destroying World Economy
May 10 (EIRNS)A leading Chinese scholar, Yu Keping, head of the China Center for Comparative Politics and Economics at Beijing University, addressed a Brookings Institute dinner May 9, about the gradual but steady democratic reforms in China as the economy drives forward. Asked by EIR what he thought about the anger in China over the hyperinflation driven by the money-printing in the U.S., Prof. Yu responded: "As you observed, many scholars and economists are very critical of Obama for printing bills, and making the rest of the world pay for it. I share this view with you. I have paid close attention to this discussion on the websites in China.... I am not an economist, but I know two things: one, development depends on real production of real goods, not just printing bills, and two, I understand that governments must raise funds by taking loans, but if this goes over to future generations without production, things will come to an end."
Under Green Threat, Japan PM Rushes To End Nuclear Program
May 10 (EIRNS)A day after strong-arming Chubu Electric to renounce the three 1,100-mw nuclear reactors at its Hamaoka plant, Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan called for the end of the aggressive nuclear program in Japan. He told a news conference today that Japan needs to "start from scratch" on its long-term energy policy. Kan said nuclear and fossil fuel used to be the pillars of Japanese energy policy, but now it will add two more: renewable energy such as solar, wind, and biomass, and a conservationist-oriented society as a fourth pillar. Japan will thus abandon a plan that the same Kan government had released last year to build 14 more nuclear reactors by 2030, to increase the share of nuclear power in Japan's electricity supply to 50%, as well as to expand the nation's large nuclear export business to the rest of the world.
As many as 42 of Japan's 55 reactors "could be offline during the peak electricity demand period this summer. That situation could lead to power outages spreading throughout Japan," according to the Asahi Shimbun on May 10. There are now 34 reactors offline. Four of these are those damaged by the tsunami at Fukushima, but the rest are reactors shut for one reason or the other, and never restarted. There are seven additional reactors that automatically shut down, as designed, during the March 11 quake; the rest were shut down for normal maintenance, unplanned safety checks, refueling, minor faults, etc. The government has not announced that the plants are to be permanently shut, but there are no plans at this time to restart any of them.
There are another six reactors that are scheduled to be closed for pre-planned maintenance by mid-summer. With these plants shut, over 20% of Japan's total generating capacity will have been lost by the peak summer period.
The rationale being given for the continuing shutdown of perfectly functional plants, is not only "safety" reasons, but now also "local opposition."
China Takes Preemptive Route To Deal with Disasters
May 8 (EIRNS)China has begun a project to relocate as many as 2.4 million people from disaster-prone areas in Northwest China's Shaanxi Province to other parts of the province, Xinhua reports. The 2.4 million people are from, especially, the three cities of Hanzhong, Ankang, and Shangluo in southern Shaanxi, and account for 26.4% of the total population in the southern part of Shaanxi Province.
The area that people are being moved from is especially vulnerable to mud-rock flows, landslides, and flooding. Every year there are hundreds of deaths due to these kind of problems, and it is difficult to develop the area to modern standards because of the extremely rough topography. One of the goals of the resettlement plan is to allow the population to "lead a better life."
The construction of the first batch of resettlement projects will kick off at the end of May, allowing 240,000 people to be resettled this year. The resettlement is expected to cost more than 110 billion yuan ($16.9 billion), most of which will be funded by the government, according to the plan.
Suicide Bombing in Pakistan Is Revenge for bin Laden Killing
May 13 (EIRNS)A double suicide bombing on a paramilitary training center took 80 lives and wounded 140 others, of whom 40 were reported to be fighting for their lives, at Charsadda, a town about 30 kms north of Peshawar, the capital of Pakistan's Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province. Charsadda is where the father of Sanskrit grammar, Panini, lived around 500 B.C.
"This was the first revenge for Osama's martyrdom. Wait for bigger attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan," Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told Agence France Presse by telephone from an undisclosed location.
In addition to the double suicide bombing, later in the day a remote-controlled device planted under one of the tankers carrying fuel for NATO troops in Afghanistan went off, triggering a fire that engulfed four more tankers, local administration official Iqbal Khan Khattak said. The tankers were parked in the Torkham area of the troubled Khyber tribal region near the Afghan border. Although the targets of the attacks were Pakistanis, these attacks were a violent expression of opposition against Islamabad for lending support to the U.S. and NATO troops' military operations in Afghanistan.
In light of these developments, Gen. Khalid Shameem Wynne, chairman of the Pakistani Joint Chiefs of Staff, on Friday cancelled a scheduled six-day (May 22-27) visit to the United States, a military official said. Islamabad does not say why the trip was cancelled, but there was speculation that it is the fallout from the raid on bin Laden's compound May 1. A senior Pakistani official told AFP the visit had been cancelled "in view of the prevailing environment."
The visit could have been canceled also because the influential U.S. Sen. John Kerry has announced his visit to Pakistan ostensibly to mend fences. "A number of people suggested it would be good to get a dialogue going about the aftermath and how we get on the right track," Kerry, who heads the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told reporters. "There are some serious questions, obviously, there are some serious issues that we've just got to find a way to resolve together," he said.
China Building Industrial Park in North Korea on the Yellow Sea
May 16 (EIRNS)China and North Korea have begun preliminary construction of an industrial park in a North Korean city bordering China's Dandong, the border city where the Yalu River flows into the Yellow Sea. This is the second major industrial development project to be launched by China in North Korea, the first being the development of Rason in the far northeast at the tri-border of China, Russia, and North Korea, where China has developed a modern port and upgraded the road from China to the port.
The new industrial park is being developed along the lines of the Kaesong industrial zone in North Korea run jointly by North and South Korea. A new bridge over the Yalu is also under construction.
Jang Song Thaek, the brother-in-law of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, will take part in a groundbreaking ceremony on May 28, together with Chinese Vice Premier Wan Qishan.