After the closing of the ASEAN Summit and after President Obama’s visit to Asia, news is a little light this week, but there are some few gems.
So in case you didn’t know, I live not too far from a country with one of the most oppressive and dangerous regimes in the world. Occasionally, this country gets a little ornery and they like to do things like test long range missiles. This is widely seen as new leader Kim Jong-un’s way of establishing his authority and playing chicken with the US and China. For the most part, South Koreans seem unconcerned.
The Taliban continue to wreak havoc in Afghanistan and Pakistan with their latest provocation being a bombing of a NATO base in Jalalabad near the Pakistani border. As many as nine suicide bombers targeted an airstrip, killing six people and injuring several others.
As if it wasn’t a large enough country anyway, China is still on its campaign to own all the things and have ruled that their military ships can intercept other ships in disputed areas of the South China Sea. The various disputes over islands that are little more than rocks are really just a cover to gain control over crucial international shipping lanes. Both the Philippines and Vietnam have refused to stamp Chinese passports that contain maps showing disputed waters as belonging to China.
Many countries are participating in World AIDS Day. Though the AIDS crisis arrived late to Asia, it hit the continent hard. Today, the rate of overall infections have been stabilized, but certain populations are still at risk. The most at-risk are men who visit sex-workers and their partners. Unfortunately, there are still some lingering taboos that prevent people from getting help.
After President Obama’s trip to Myanmar, the government is backing away from some of it’s more brutal tactics of keeping the people in line. Police apologized to 10 monks after a crackdown at a protest outside a China-backed copper mine. On Saturday, Myanmar’s president appointed opposition leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to lead a probe into the crackdown, and will also assess the future of the controversial mine project.
Finally, the Taiwanese government is hoping to root out all forms of discrimination over the next few years. President Ma Ying-jeou specifically wants to target sexism and new immigrants.