|Asia News Digest
Zardari: Terrorism Supported in the West
Dec. 9 (EIRNS)Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari said today that the terror being used to provoke conflict in the Indian subcontinent is international in creation and sponsorship. He refrained from naming the British.
"The Mumbai attacks were directed not only at India, but also at Pakistan's new democratic government and the peace process with India that we have initiated," Zardari wrote in a New York Times op-ed. "The world worked to exploit religion against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan by empowering the most fanatic extremists as an instrument of destruction of a super-power. The strategy worked, but its legacy was the creation of an extremist militia with its own dynamic. Pakistan continues to pay the price."
As EIR has long documented, the Islamic terror network was created by British/Saudi operatives, with support from their U.S. dupes, during the Russian occupation of Afghanistan, and the networks were sustained and internationalized after that war. President Zardari pointed to this in concluding: "The challenge of confronting terrorists who have a vast support network is huge." He emphasized that the primary need in Pakistan is for economic development.
China's Role in Pakistani Ban on Jamaat-ud Dawa
Dec. 13China played a key role in the Pakistani government's ban of the terrorist group Jamaat-ud Dawa, the Islamabad Daily Times reported today. Pakistani government and military leaders "have done Pakistan a great service by heeding the voice of the international community in general, and China in particular," to ban Jamaat-ud Dawa and Jaish-e Muhammad, the Daily Times editorial stated. The article details the extent of Dawa's penetration of Pakistan itself, and the role of its "charity" operations to finance terror operations.
Previously, including in 2006, Pakistan-ally China had vetoed UN Security Council moves to impose sanctions on Jamaat-ud Dawa, but this time, China told Islamabad that it would not veto. The Chinese "had reportedly told Islamabad as much beforehand, compelling our permanent representative at the UN to assert that Pakistan would accept the ban if it came," the article went on. "One subliminal message was also given to Chief Minister Punjab, Mr. Shehbaz Sharif, during his recent visit to China, and the message was that Pakistan had to seek peace with India or face change of policy in Beijing. Once again, it is our friend China whose advice has been well taken; above all, thankfully, by the media, while discussing the Dawa ban on the night of December 11."
Last week, a leading Indian political analyst said in a discussion with Lyndon LaRouche, that the tensions between India and Pakistan over terrorist operations could "be resolved in five minutes," were the United States and China to discuss how to cooperate to support Pakistan in clearing up terror operations run from its territory, rather than competing over relations with Pakistan.
China and India yesterday concluded a week-long joint anti-terrorism drill in Belgaum, India. On Dec. 11, Chinese Public Security Minister Meng Jianzhu said that the attacks in Mumbai showed that terrorist forces were active in the entire region, and China has to keep a high alert on potential threats, particularly from the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement, which was identified as a terrorist organization by the UN in 2002. "We must fully estimate the negative impact possibly brought about by the incident [in Mumbai] and seriously learn lessons from it," Meng told the national anti-terror authorities.
In New Delhi on Dec. 11, former UN Undersecretary for Communications Shashi Tharoor told a meeting on terrorism after the Mumbai attack, that there is a view in Beijing that its opposition to India on the issue of terrorism would "no longer be compatible with [China] being seen as a responsible player in the system." He said India wants more measures: "We want the terror camps to be dismantled, freezing of bank accounts and assets... and the leaders investigated," he said.
Philippines Senate Defends American-Style Presidential System
Dec. 12 (EIRNS)All 23 members of the Philippines Senate signed a resolution rejecting the effort by President Gloria Arroyo and the government-controlled House to scrap the Presidential system in favor of a parliamentary system. The new charter would eliminate the Senate, and therefore also the system of checks and balances against Executive tyranny. The resolution expressed "the sense of the Senate that any attempt by the House of Representatives to unilaterally propose amendments to, or revision of, the Constitution without the approval by three-fourths of the Senate voting separately, is unconstitutional."
A mass rally has been organized by church groups, to protest the attempt to implement "charter change" through convening the House as a Constitutional Assembly (popularly known as Con Ass), ignoring the Senate, with the intention of making the House into a Parliament and eliminating the Senate. Five Senators who are potential Presidential candidates for the 2010 election will attend the rally.
Sen. Francis Pangilinan, who introduced the resolution, said this was the first time in his seven years in the chamber that a resolution carried the signatures of all its members. "This sends the strongest message yet that the Senate stands united against attempts by allies of the President in the lower house to subvert the Constitution for dubious ends," he said.
Japan's Machine-Tool Sector, World's Largest, Is Collapsing
Dec. 10 (EIRNS)Japan's machine-tool sales in November fell by 62.2% over 2007, reported the Japan Machine-Tool Buildersthe largest drop since they began tracking sales in 1988. Machine tools are the driver of industrial production, and their sales rate is a marker for future manufacturing growth.
Japan hosts three of the world's top four machine-tool makers, and the nation accounts for a third of the world's total production. Their production has been in decline since early summer.
Unemployment Threatens China's Stability
Dec. 10 (EIRNS)China must keep its urban unemployment rate below 5% to ensure social stability, Zheng Gongcheng, a member of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, told China Daily, in an interview published Dec. 9. The official rate is currently 4%. These figures do not include migrant workers from the countryside, said Zheng, who is a professor of social security at Beijing's Renmin University. He said that China has over 230 million migrant workers, about half of whom have left their own provinces to seek work. Some 60-70% of these workers are younger than 28, and are not trained as farmers. "The social trend shows more and more surplus laborers will migrate from rural areas to cities and become industrial workers. We should not drive them back to the countryside," Zheng said.
The National Central Economic Work Conference has just concluded its discussion of national policy, in Beijing. The focus was on creating jobs for both the rural and urban populations. "If the government can keep the registered urban jobless rate around 4.5%, everything would be okay," Zheng said, but if it rises above 5%, "it will lead to a series of negative consequences," including rising urban poverty and decline of urban living standards. If urban unemployment rises, this will make the situation even more difficult for the migrant workers, who will lose work to those registered in the cities. That is the "last thing we want to see," Zhenge said, because a drastic increase in the number of jobless migrant workers could pose a threat to social stability.
China's 'Processing' Economy Shrinking Fast
Dec. 10 (EIRNS)China's exports and imports contracted sharply in November from a year ago, with exports declining 2.2% in dollar value, the first year-on-year decline since 2002although they had increased by over 19% in October from the year before. The decline was even more dramatic on a month-to-month basis, with exports down 10.4% from October to November.
The figures are affected by the over 6% rise of the yuan relative to the dollar this year, but more fundamentally demonstrate the dramatic impact on the processing sector of China's economy by the collapse of globalization. Importsboth commodities and components for export productscrashed by 17.9% from the year-earlier value, and 19.5% month-on-month, although oil and other prices have declined in recent months. This sharp contraction sent China's trade surplus rising to a record $40.1 billion, 50% higher than the year before.
Asian Development Bank economist for China Zhuang Jian confirmed that it is the processing economy which is going under, Xinhua reported today. "When exports fall due to weak external demand, imports will drop more drastically because most of the country's export industry is processing with supplied or imported materials," Zhuang said. He reported that U.S. importers' orders at this year's Canton Fair were only one-third of the previous year's volume. The United States is China's second-largest trading partner.
Foreign direct investment is also contracting, down over 36% in November from a year ago, to US$5.32 billion, and the number of new foreign-funded enterprises was down over 38%.