Friday, August 10, 2012 - President Lee Myung Back of South Korea has landed on the remote islands of Dokjo (known as Takeshima in Japan) against the warnings of Tokyo, where he is accompanied by the North Gyeongsang province governor.
This is the first visit of a South Korean President to the islands which caused a ripple between South Korea and Japan as both countries have claimed their stake. This action of the President has caused the Japanese government to strike a quick comeback where they summon the South Korean ambassador and called back their envoy from Seoul.
The Russian feminist punk-rock collective members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Ms. Alekhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich pleaded not guilty on charges of hooliganism.
The three were arrested in February after singing an anti-Putin, punk prayer song in Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow. The chant was said to be a call for the Virgin Mary to rid Russia of Putin. Their action angered the Russian Orthodox Church, which in turn accused them of blasphemy. All three are now facing up to 7 years of imprisonment if found guilty on charges of “premeditated hooliganism performed by organized group of people motivated by religious hatred or hostility.”
Although the tropical Storm Gener (international codename: Saola) did not hit the Philippines directly, it still brought heavy, torrential rains for three days in a row, which resulted in floods and landslides that knocked down power lines. The bad weather caused by Gener was amplified by another Low Pressure Area and lashed Manila with tornado-like winds and powerful thunderstorms.
Joint US-Philippine military drills have kicked off in the South China Sea, near an island claimed by both the Philippines and China. The controversial exercises are seen by many as a provocation that could lead to a real military conflict. The US said the location of the annual exercises with Philippine troops is “irrelevant,” and that China should not worry.
Strong and prosperous.
North Korea’s biggest diplomatic ally and source of economic assistance has expressed confidence that under Kim Jong-un’s leadership, the reclusive Communist-run state will continue to progress towards a ‘strong and prosperous’ country. The official statement was given by Dai Bingguo, China’s senior most diplomat, as he met with North Korean delegates who have been visiting Beijing. The group was led by Kim Yong-il, secretary of the central committee of North Korea’s ruling Workers' Party and considered to be North Korea’s top diplomatic envoy.
Senkaku for sale.
Controversial Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara has announced plans to purchase three uninhabited islands which count Japan, China and Taiwan among those who claim sovereignty over the islands. Uotsurishima, Kita-Kojima and Minami-Kojima form part of a chain of islands known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan, and Diaoyutai in China. The five-island chain sits in the East China Sea, about 1,900 kilometres southwest of Tokyo and is administrated by the Okinawa Prefecture.
Rocket launch over food.
The United States has called off plans to send food aid to North Korea, after the impoverished state launched a rocket in defiance of international demands. A UN agency says that more than three million people in the country could go hungry this year as a result of insufficient food supplies.
A global superpower.
Motivated by the need to modernise its armed forces – or, as experts say, by its ambitions to be counted among major regional or even global powers – India has continued to purchase sophisticated defence equipment such as warships and fighter aircraft, accounting for 10 per cent of the global arms trade in the process.
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) reported that India has been the world’s biggest customer for weapons for the last five years. While India strives to establish a strong domestic defence industry by taking policy measures encouraging the private sector to take up shop in the defence industry, defence analysts say that the country will continue to be the world’s largest arms importer in the foreseeable future.
A satellite launch.
Despite having agreed to suspend long-range missile tests in exchange for humanitarian and food aid last month, Pyongyang has surprisingly announced plans to launch what it calls a rocket-mounted ‘working satellite’ to mark the 100th birthday of its late Great Leader Kim Il-sung in April.
The controversial announcement has provoked alarm among neighbouring countries in the region, most particularly Japan as the last North Korean ballistic missile test was launched over the country. South Korea, China, Russia and the US have also expressed concern over the planned satellite launch, with the US specifically warning it could be a cover for the communist country’s missile programme.
China’s likely next leader takes front and center.
The introductory rituals are being repeated as Xi Jinping makes key diplomatic visits around the globe. Like Hu before him, Xi also currently holds the position of vice president. But there is a big difference with Hu's visit. Xi now represents a rising superpower that is preparing to challenge the world's current hegemon.
Xi was selected by a regime that looked on as ailing Western industrialized nations, which had behaved as proud enemies and occupiers in the past, sought Beijing's assistance during the financial and euro crisis. The 58-year-old Xi's visits give the international media an opportunity to take a new look at the balance of power in global politics as the West currently knows little about the man set to be the next president of the rising Asian superpower.