As oil prices show no signs of declining and transportation of goods becomes costlier, Asia is looking ahead. The region is strategically strengthening trade ties with its neighbors in order to improve the Asian economy. Boosting trade and tourism ties, the bloc of South East Asian countries also plans on raising funds to build missing links to a railway system from Singapore to Kunming in Southern China, connecting eight Asian countries by 2010
On Thursday, ASEAN also finalized free trade agreements with India and its Pacific neighbors Australia and New Zealand, creating a common market of 1.7 billion consumers, cutting across some of the world’s fastest growing economies. The deal will be formalized by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Bangkok this December and will be effective from January 2009. It will allow seamless and duty-free movement of goods across territories. India and China are also expected to sign trade agreements with each other that will boost economic synergies between them in December.
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Its the Asian century for sure, but how much of Asia is actually impacting the world? Does Asia have the strength to stop America from sinking into a recession? According to a Xinhua News Agency story, Asia’s super charged growth is preventing America from drowning in depression.
“We are experiencing the first episode in history of reverse coupling, in which the rest of the world pulls the U.S. forward rather than the opposite,” said Fred Bergsten, director of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, a leading think tank in the United States.
Violence has erupted in almost every part of Asia, overthrowing the old order and squashing out the opposition. Countries ranging from Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and North Korea are all up in arms, fighting for justice and equality, at a time when inflation in the region has reached astronomical heights.
In Thailand, thousands of demonstrators besieged government offices on Tuesday and briefly shut down a television station in some of the most aggressive actions in months of street protests. While rebel fighting in the southern Philippines between government troops and Islamic separatists intensified with the number of the displaced now reaching 300,000, officials and aid workers the New York Times reported on Tuesday. Further, asserting their stance in world politics, North Korea said Tuesday that it had stopped disabling its main nuclear complex and threatened to restore facilities there that the North had used to produce plutonium for nuclear weapons unless the United States removed it from a terrorist list. Continue reading
Foreign ministers of 20 Member countries of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) met in AlmaAta, Kazakhstan on Monday to strengthen pan Asian cooperation on security issues plaguing the region. The CICA includes Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, Egypt, Iran, India, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Palestine, Russia, Tajikistan, Thailand, South Korea, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Jordan and the United Emirates. Indonesia, Japan, the United States, Vietnam, the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the Arab League are observer countries /organizations to the CICA.
Spearheaded by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, the CICA plans to unify Asia through an effective mechanism for safeguarding security in Asia and promoting cooperation in the region, Xinhua News Agency reported. Speaking in the city closely associated with Silk Road, “No other regional organization covers so much of territory. We see CICA as contributing to the struggle against terrorism through building of CBMs. These would reduce tensions and misgivings, thus providing less ground for terrorism, he said. Continue reading
Chinese President Hu Jintao will visit South Korea, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan on a three nation tour starting today to boost bilateral ties, strengthen its borders and gain prominence in Central Asia, a region being viewed by everyone interested in energy security.
The Chinese leader who will meet ROK President Lee Myung-bak, house speaker and prime minister today, is expected to sign a number of cooperation deals on energy saving, technology, economics, trade, education and the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai.
China Daily reported that President Hu will leave Seoul tomorrow for Dushanbe, capital of Tajikistan, where he will attend the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the mutual security group including China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
The Chinese leader will visit Turkmenistan in the last leg of his tour. Continue reading
As heavy downpours continue to flood South Asia, the waters have killed 147 people, swamped villages and caused landslides. Most of the deaths were due to house collapses triggered by incessant rains in India, Bangladesh and the Philippines. As more rain is forecast in the next 48 hours, officials have already begun evacuating people to higher and safer places.
Every year the presence or absence of the monsoon rains leave a trail of death and destruction across South Asia, a region where much of the economy, largely agricultural depends on the downpours. As the monsoon unleashes her madness, this year, economists debate downpours and droughts in a region crippled by inflation and food scarcity. The pattern of chronic flooding and chronic droughts adds to the challenges Asian economies are already suffering from.
According to the International Herald Tribune in 2006 Asia had less fresh water – 3,920 cubic meters, or 138,000 cubic feet, per person – than any other continent outside of Antarctica, according to a report by the United Nations. When the capacity of lakes, rivers and groundwater are added up, Asia has marginally less water per person than Europe or Africa, one-quarter that of the North America, nearly one-tenth that of South America and 20 times less than Australia and the Pacific islands. Continue reading