Friday Five: March 1, 2013

China’s government, embroiled in an ongoing row with the United States and other governments over cybersecurity, shared figures on the number of attacks that the Chinese Ministry of Defense website absorbed last year. A defense ministry spokesperson indicated that the ministry IP address received an average of 144,000 cyberattacks a month throughout 2012, 62% of which reportedly originated from hackers in the United States. CSIS’s James Lewis recently penned an extended series on Asia in the age of cyber threats, noting China’s role and challenges of what to do, which readers can find here.

The Indian government has announced that its federal budget for the upcoming year will increase spending across many sectors and seek additional revenue by taxing the wealthiest citizens at a greater rate prior to elections in 2014. One area in desperate need of reform, the government’s ability to respond to rising violence against women, received modest attention, in the form of a fund to improve women’s public safety.

Prime Minister Najib Razak of Malaysia and Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra of Thailand had a shock meeting this week to begin talks on a framework for a peace process between Thailand and Thai separatist groups. The Malaysian government has offered to serve as a broker between the Thai government and representatives of Muslim separatist groups operating in southern Thailand. Despite deep reservations of some government factions in Thailand about the Malaysian government’s sincerity, the talks are moving forward in an effort to resolve the longstanding conflict.

Taiwan completed a cabinet re-shuffle showing the political importance of jumpstarting economic growth and restoring public confidence only a year after President Ma’s re-election. CSIS Freeman Chair in China Studies Christopher Johnson and program coordinator Nicole White answer key questions on the new cabinet here.

In a bizarre cross over between international relations and sports culture, former U.S. basketball star Dennis Rodman visited isolated North Korea and spent an extended period this week with reclusive leader Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang.  The two ‘bonded’ and observed a split squad tie between a North Korean team and members of the Harlam Globetrotters. Rodman declared himself “a friend for life” to Kim Jong-un and assembled North Koreans after the game.






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