|Asia News Digest
A Race Riot Is Planned in Britain
July 3 (EIRNS)Following the crashing of two cars at the Glasgow airport, slogans have appeared on the walls urging British whites to "Kill All the Pakis" (a derogatory term used by British to identify Indians, Pakistanis, and other "Asian-looking" people). Although the attackers have been identified so far as two Asians, the ground is being prepared for unleashing a race riot, which has the potential to spread throughout Britain.
Glasgow is the home of some 50,000 Muslims, of whom almost 35,000 are of Pakistani origin. The Pakistanis are feeling under siege after this incident, the Daily Times of Lahore said. Mohammad Sarwar, a member of the House of Commons from Glasgow, confirmed to The News that slogans like "Kill All the Pakis" had started appearing on the walls and roads of the city after this terrorist activity. Sarwar, who is concerned about the possibility of racial attacks, said, "Pakistanis were scared, since it was announced that the attackers were Asian-looking men."
Meanwhile, British authorities are assiduously keeping alive the fear among the population, a necessary ingredient to start a race riot. Airline passengers said on July 3 that Terminal 4 at London's Heathrow airport was being evacuated after a suspicious package was found. Officials at the airport could not confirm that the terminal was being evacuated, but said that a suspicious bag had been found, Reuters news agency reported. Flights departing from Terminal 4 are mainly operated by British Airways and by Dutch KLM, to European and long-haul destinations. Britain is on "critical" security alert following last week's failed bombings at Glasgow airport and in central London, believed to be an al-Qaeda plot. Security services fear a terror attack could be imminent.
U.S. and NATO Aid 'Talibanization' of Pakistan
July 3 (EIRNS)Pakistan's Interior Ministry has prepared a report which has warned President Gen. Pervez Musharraf that Islamic militants and Taliban fighters are rapidly spreading beyond the tribal areas of Pakistan, and that without a "swift and decisive action," the militancy could engulf the rest of the country. It also says security forces in the NWFP (North West Frontier Province) were outgunned and outnumbered and had forfeited authority to the Taliban.
Interior Secretary Kamal Shah said on June 28 that in the aftermath of the ministry's analysis, the government has put 31 platoons of the Frontier Constabulary into the area where the tribal lands and NWFP meet. The Frontier Corps, which patrols the border with Afghanistan, is being strengthened, as are the police. "We are getting more mobility, more equipment, and more transport," he added.
However, one of the principal reasons behind the upsurge of the Taliban-type forces in the NWFP, is the increasing discontent among the local population against Islamabad's U.S.-dictated policy of allowing foreign troops to kill Pakistanis under the pretext of carrying out the "war on terror."
According to Syed Saleem Shahzad, the on-the-ground correspondent for the Asia Times, Musharraf and U.S. and NATO commanders reached an agreement recently, giving occupying forces in Afghanistan the green light to hunt operatives and camps of the Taliban and al-Qaeda inside Pakistan's borders. He adds that coalition forces will start hitting targets wherever they might be. Officially, both NATO and Pakistan deny any agreement on hot-pursuit activities. But the realities on the ground are different, Asia Times insists.
Japan's Cooperation in Developing India's Infrastructure
July 6 (EIRNS)Signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), India and Japan have agreed to step up negotiations on an economic pact and the $90 billion Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC). The MoU was signed by the Indian Minister of Commerce & Industry, Kamal Nath, and Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan, Akira Amari. Amari told reporters: "What we are trying to do, is to cooperate with India to recreate in India, what we did in Japan to make it develop into the second-largest economy in the world through infrastructure development."
"India is to become a platform for production and development, and a gateway for trade with Europe, West Asia, and Africa," said Amari. For industry, time means cost, he said, stressing the need for nations to cooperate to improve infrastructure and make India a one-stop shop for licensing and other services.
The DMIC project will include a high-speed-rail freight corridor, new power capacity of 4,000 megawatts, three new seaports, and six airports. India also plans to upgrade existing industrial units, build 12 new industrial clusters, 10 logistics parks, and agricultural hubs alongside the industrial corridor. The project will commence after final approval from both governments during Prime Minister Abe's visit to New Delhi in August.
The project is being planned along the Tokyo-Osaka industrial corridor, and officials have identified five investment regions and five industrial areas in the first phase of the project. Japan is keen to start work on the project by 2008, and Amari said he hoped the concept paper would be ready before Abe visits New Delhi. A two-phase concept, the first phase of the DMIC, is expected to be completed by 2012, and the second phase in 2016.
Japan Plans a Missile Shield
July 6 (EIRNS)Japan, a non-nuclear-weapons nation, desires to build its own missile shield in cooperation with the United States, amid fears of a potential missile threat from North Korea, and China's drive to boost its military power, according to a White Paper published by Japan's Defense Ministry on July 6. At $39 billion, Japan's defense budget is little changed from last year and remains at just under 1% of the country's gross domestic product. Tokyo's spending on missile defense increased to $1.3 billion this year.
"Globalization has stripped traditional meaning from national borders, and Japan's responsibilities today include utilizing its defense capabilities ... for international peace cooperation activities," the White Paper 2007 said. Japan's determination to boost its missile defenses was strengthened after Pyongyang conducted a series of ballistic missile tests in July 2006, and an underground nuclear test explosion three months later. The document also criticized China for not being transparent in terms of its military power, and said Beijing had never given a satisfactory explanation for its anti-satellite weapons test this year, RIA Novosti reported.
"The series of actions taken by North Korea poses a serious threat to the peace and stability of the international community, in particular to East Asia," the White Paper said. The report reaffirmed Tokyo's plans to deploy a two-tier missile shield combining sea- and land-based systems. The U.S. SM-3 interceptor missiles, to be deployed on five Aegis-class destroyers in the Japanese Navy, are designed to intercept incoming missiles in mid-trajectory, while the U.S. Patriot PAC-3 systems, deployed at four ground-to-air missile units, are set to shoot down missiles before they hit the ground.
Chinese Reject Carlyle Group Bid for Regional Bank
July 4 (EIRNS)The Chinese Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) has rejected an attempt by the vulture fund, the Carlyle Group, to buy an 8% share of the Chongqing Commercial Bank, based in western China. The China Knowledge website reports that the CSRC could have been concerned about Carlyle's lack of banking experience. The bank reported that the bid was rejected because it "does not meet current relevant rules and regulations."
In 2005, Carlyle had tried to buy an 85% controlling stake in Xugong Group, China's biggest construction-machinery manufacturer. This was rejected by the Ministry of Commerce in March 2006, because of concern about Chinese national economic security. The Carlyle bid became a national issue, and opponents launched an Internet blog against the takeover. Eventually Carlyle was only able to acquire 45% of the firm.
China's National People's Congress is now considering an anti-monopoly law, which would require a national security review before foreign companies could take over Chinese enterprises.
Hot Money Again Flooding Asia
July 5 (EIRNS)Capital-flows into Asia from private equity funds and hedge funds have increased dramatically, driving up stock and property values in a new Asian bubble, according to Nomura strategist Sean Darby at the fourth annual Nomura Asia Equity Forum held in Singapore July 4, reports the Straits Times. "There are already certain characteristics of a bubble forming in Asia, particularly in China's equity market," Darby said.
The figures are eye-popping: The Shanghai and Shenzhen stock markets have risen by 42.6% and 96%, respectively, so far this year, while housing prices in the country's 70 largest cities are growing at 6.4%. The more established exchange in the British banking outpost of Singapore has surged 19.1% so far this year, while the Kuala Lumpur share market has jumped 25.6%.
Senior economist Takuma Ikeda at Nomura Research Institute warned that the current defaults in the subprime mortgages sector of the U.S. economy could "wreak financial havoc" in the region.