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Issue #1715      January 20, 2016

Region Briefs

The US recently deployed a B-52 long-range bomber to South Korea as part of its retaliation for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) successful underground hydrogen bomb test. The South Korean government also showed a hostile attitude to the DPRK, spreading anti-DPRK messages at the shared border. Both the US and South Korea are considering further military actions, such as deploying the THAAD missile system, nuclear-powered submarines and aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan to South Korea.

Human trafficking has been reduced in the border area of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia due to a three-month counter-transnational crime operation, according to Vietnam’s Investigation Police Department. Victims were forced into slave labour, illegal marriages, prostitution and organ sales. An estimated 3,000 people were trafficked and another 3,500 women were forced into marriage.

The Vietnamese Embassy in China recently hosted a ceremony in Beijing, marking the 66th anniversary of the establishment of Vietnam-China diplomatic ties. The Vietnamese ambassador, Dang Minh Khoi, praised the ties and said his country attached special importance to China and wished to continually foster the relationship in 2016. Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou hoped to promote collaboration on the basis of mutual benefit and deal with differences for the good of the two people. For maintaining regional peace and stability, both sides also agreed to settle differences relying on the principles of neighbourly friendliness, international law and agreements that had been reached by the two countries’ top leaders.

Ten major Japanese general construction contractors won contracts for building a new US military base in Okinawa, after they had donated A$7.8 million to the Japanese ruling Liberal Democratic Party in 2014. Taisei Corporation won three out of seven contracts and Shimizu Corporation won one. In 2015, the Japanese government promised to give a A$11.7 billion subsidy to the US military in Japan from the period of 2016 to 2020, in order to help the US to maintain a large number of troops in the country.

Hundreds of protesters blocked roads to Srinagar airport and shouted anti-India slogans in Indian-controlled Kashmir, as Indian police were accused for torturing and killing Owais Bashir Malik, a college engineering student. Indian police open fired and threw tear gas shells to disperse the crowd.

China has started to register people who were born illegally under the One Child Policy, or out of marriage and the official adoption system. The registration will help the people to have full access to compulsory education, medical insurance and other social benefits. According to the 2010 national census data, there are 13 million unregistered citizens in the country. China’s police, education, social security, civil affairs, health and family planning authorities recently issued a joint statement, calling for registration to be provided to everyone regardless of any reason in order to “remove restriction to citizens’ rights to register”. The government also promised to ensure that previously unregistered people get the benefits due to them.

Next article – Culture & Life – The year that was

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