Friday Five: March 29, 2013

In the South China Sea the season for territorial and fishing clashes has started. Vietnam accused China of firing shots at a fishing trawler near the Paracel islands, while a Chinese ministry of defence report stated that only flares were fired at vessels violating Chinese territorial waters. Vietnam’s friction with China over the fisheries and oil blocks is well documented.  Following the January decision by the Philippines to take its dispute with China to ITLOS, we can likely expect a series of similar incidents as fishing season begins.

A U.S. congressional delegation met with controversial state minister Narendra Modi  in Gujarat, India. U.S. representatives from Wyoming, Illinois, and Washington state offered Modi, a BJP politician now rising in national stature, support for a U.S. visa despite allegations of  past negligence during mass religious violence. Gujarat’s investment friendly policies were cited as one potential motivating factor driving the visit.

On the Korean peninsula tension failed to subside between North Korea and South Korea. As CSIS Korea Chair Fellow Ellen Kim explained to VOA, Kim Jong-un’s series of provocations may elicit a sharp kinetic response from South Korea, if the North carries out another armed provocation, potentially leading to escalation. Meanwhile, a pair of U.S. AirForce B-2 bombers conducted a rarely publicized marathon training mission to the region, in a not so subtle reminder of U.S. capability in support of its joint U.S. – ROK forces. China’s ministry of foreign Affairs appealed for calm on all sides.

Newly minted Chinese president Xi Jinping took his first overseas tour to Africa and gave a keynote speech on China’s role in African states’ economic development. Xi visited Tanzania, South Africa, and Congo earlier this week, announcing trade commitments and then attending the BRICS summit in Durbin.

The end of the week saw mixed news for Japan’s economy. The Nikkei 225 stock index reportedly achieved its highest back to back quarterly growth in nearly forty years, yet the unemployment rate increased & manufacturing output fell. CSIS Simon Chair in Political Economy Matt Goodman offered his take on Japan’s broader economic future and the role of women.


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