|Asia News Digest
China To Build Bangladesh Naval Base
Bangladesh is negotiating with China and South Korea to develop its military and civilian facilities at the Chittagong port as part of its move to strengthen its navy for high-seas patrols, and to protect its economic interests, Newsinsight reported from Dhaka June 13. Chittagong is the only major port Bangladesh has, and it is located in the Bay of Bengal facing the Andaman Sea.
Reports indicate that while the civilian contract may go to South Korea, China will upgrade and build the military side of Chittagong under a grant in aid program.
Indian authorities note this development with a certain amount of uneasiness. China has already developed capabilities less than 100 miles east of Chittagong along the Myanmar coast. India has just recently completed building a very large naval base in the Andaman Islands not far from the Chittagong port.
UK Fears Record Afghan Heroin Output This Year
Despite much-vaunted talks of using the NATO troops to eradicate large tracts of poppy fields, in reality, British officials are bracing themselves for the results of an annual UN poppy survey due later this Summer, according to the Guardian Unlimited June 13. Early indications show an increase in the southern Afghan province of Helmand's 1999 record of 45,000 hectares, and a near-doubling of last year's crop. "It is going to be massive," said one British drug official. "My guess is it is going to be the biggest ever." UN, American, and Afghan officials agreed.
Last year, poppy cultivation declined by 21%. Although President Hamid Karzai took credit for the drop, some analysts point out the massive drug production in 2004 created the slump. In 2001, Helmand province had poppy cultivation of 8,000 hectares when Afghanistan was under the Taliban rule. Authorities point out that the slashing of poppy cultivation during the Taliban rule was accomplished by the Taliban militia threatening to shoot farmers.
Britain is particularly unnerved by the massive growth in poppy cultivation in Afghanistan. A large chunk of Afghan heroin ends up in Britain, and the Blair government has been promising the Parliament since 2002 that they are working with the Americans to bring down drug production there.
Indian PM Worried Over Urban-Rural Divide
Having pursued a policy of economic reforms, liberalization, and minimum of infrastructural development, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has expressed concern over the growing urban-rural divide in India, IndiaDaily reported June 16. It was not that Manmohan Singh was not aware of this, but he dismissed it easily because it did not have the rubber stamp of "his economists."
Now, his most trusted economist and Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, has sent a recommendation paper for the upcoming 11th Five-Year Plan that stresses that "there is a point beyond which the urban sector cannot grow without being complemented by the rural sector," hence the urgency to launch an aggressive economic campaign targetting the rural poor.
The paper pointed out that the plethora of rural programs launched by the government were not doing the magic of transforming life of the poor; instead it is becoming worse and worse.
Archives Show Kissinger Role in Cambodian Genocide
In papers released this year through the National Security Archive, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger expresses full American support for the Cambodian Khmer Rouge in November 1975, nine months after the Khmer Rouge takeover of Cambodia and their forced expulsion of the entire population of Phnom Penh to forced labor camps in the countryside.
As EIR has documented, Kissinger had virtually created the Khmer Rouge in the first place, by deploying the greatest mass bombardment per square mile in history over Cambodia between 1970-1975, driving the entire population either into the capital of Phnom Penh, or into the resistance dominated by the Khmer Rouge, a gang of anti-technology killers whose leaders were trained at the Sorbonne in Paris, who took over the decimated country in January 1975.
Kissinger told Thai Foreign Minister Chatchai Chunawan, on Nov. 26, 1975, that he should inform the neighboring Khmer Rouge leaders, whose "communist" ideology had been used by Kissinger to justify the carpet bombing of Cambodia, that "we bear no hostility towards them. We would like them to be independent as a counterweight to North Vietnam.... We are aware that the biggest threat in Southeast Asia at the present time is North Vietnam.... You should also tell the Cambodians that we will be friends with them. They are murderous thugs, but we won't let that stand in our way. We are prepared to improve relations with them. Tell them the later part, but don't tell them what I said before."
Under Kissinger's direction, the U.S. did exactly that. As the reports of mass murder and starvation in Cambodia spread around the world, the U.S. supported the Khmer Rouge government, as a tool in the "China Card" manipulation of the Sino-Soviet conflict (with North Vietnam defined as being in the Soviet sphere).
Even after the Vietnamese moved in, in 1979, in collaboration with anti-Khmer Rouge Cambodians, to end the genocide, the U.S. (under Kissinger's twin, Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter's National Security Advisor) demanded that Cambodia's UN seat be given to the defeated genocidalists from the Khmer Rouge, rather than the new government, which was denounced as a Vietnamese puppet.
Australia Role in East Timor Revolt Exposed
The drumbeat demanding the resignation of East Timor's first Prime Minister, Mari Alkatiri, directed from Australia, grew louder this week as Fernando de Araujo, the head of the small Democratic Party, closely tied to the international human rights mafia, went into hiding, claiming that there was a "hit order" on him which he believed came from Alkatiri.
Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer immediately described de Araujo's accusation against Alkatiri as "extremely serious," and said that if the East Timor government failed to investigate, it should be turned over to the UN.
Meanwhile, the head of the rebel force, the Australian-trained Col. Alfredo Reinado, attended a church service in the western mountainous region of East Timor with a dozen armed men, accompanied by two Australian SAS soldiers with automatic weapons. The Australians have reoccupied East Timor as "peace-keepers."
Prime Minister Alkatiri is hated in Australia for his tough negotiating over oil rights in the Timor Sea, his support for the "President's Club" in South America, and similar nationalist policy positions.
Vietnam Completes Its Section of the 'Asian Highway'
More pieces of the ambitious 141,204-kilometer Asian Highway network fell into place this month as Vietnam completed its section, linking Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and Myanmar, Asia Times reported June 13. Do Ngoc Dung, vice director general of the My Thuan Project Management Unit (PMU), announced completion of the work. The US$144.77 million construction bill was partly financed by the Asian Development Bank.
The $44 billion Asian Highway network weaves through 32 countries, connecting Asia with Europe. A total of $26 billion has already been invested in the Highway and $18 billion more is needed, although it is more than 80% complete.
Philippines Inquirer Defends Presidential System
The Inquirer, the "newspaper of record" in the Philippines, defended the Presidential system, and warned of a dictatorship should the country shift to a parliamentary system. "We believe," stated an Inquirer editorial June 13, "especially at this time, when there is a growing tendency toward authoritarianism, a vigilant Senate can serve as an effective check on the Executive. The nation has seen how a politically smart President can bend the House of Representatives to her willto kill an impeachment move, or make it pass a general appropriation bill that promotes their selfish political interests. Without a Senate, what will serve as a check on an Executive-House combine?"
Lyndon LaRouche, recently asked by a Philippine official about the attempt by President Arroyo and her backers to change the Constitution to a parliamentary system, made exactly the same warning, reviewing the tendency of parliamentary systems in a time of crisis to generate dictatorships. The American Presidential system, said LaRouche, while easily corrupted, as today, in a time of crisis tends to generate a debate among the branches of government over natural law, and allows creative leadership to solve the crisis constitutionally.
Philippines Fails To Sell Treasury Notes
The Philippine government's weekly effort to sell about $60 million in T-bills failed totally, as the government would have had to raise the rate from 5.0% to nearly 9%, the Inquirer reported June 13. Treasurer Omar Cruz, asked if Manila would issue U.S. dollar bonds to meet debt service, said: "You will not find any issuer in his right mind who will enter this kind of market because of uncertainties. The market is selling. How can you issue when no one is buying?"