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There’s a word for Beijing’s new island dispute tactics with Tokyo: Hardball

A Japan Coast Guard vessel (bottom) monitors a Chinese fisheries patrol boat (top) near the disputed Senkaku or Diaoyu islands in the East China Sea in August 2011.

Special to By Willy Lam, Since territorial disputes erupted between China and Japan in the early 1970s over the Diaoyu islets (called the Senkakus in Japan), Beijing has stuck to late patriarch Deng Xiaoping’s famous dictum: “Leave the question of sovereignty for the next generation; let’s put the emphasis on joint [economic] development.” [...]

July 18th, 2012 | Posted in China,Exclusives,Intel Brief,Japan,Life,NE Asia | Read More »

‘Island of peace’ haunted by memories of war

The Nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington looms large, if rarely in view.  /Fremantle Por

Special to By Donald Kirk, JEJU – Schoolchildren here sing a mournful song about a gigantic rock about 90 miles southwest of the island where the souls of fishermen lost at sea find their final repose. The rock cannot really be called an outcropping since it’s actually submerged several meters, but South Korea [...]

June 21st, 2012 | Posted in China,Exclusives,Japan,NE Asia,North Korea,South Korea,Top Stories | Read More »

As Japan’s birthrate drops, pets outnumber children

Some of Japan's pampered pet dogs. / Alamy / Guardian As Japan’s birthrate plummets, the estimated worth of its pet industry has risen to $10bn, with pampered pooches enjoying holidays at hot spring resorts, yoga classes and designer clothes. While the birthrate has been falling dramatically and the average age of Japan’s population has been steadily climbing, Japan has become a pet superpower. Official [...]

June 10th, 2012 | Posted in Japan,Life | Read More »

On the town in Okinawa: U.S. Marines have other concerns than local and global politics

The U.S. military presence in Okinawa has become a fact of life for most.  /Okinawa Soba

Special to By Donald Kirk, KIN TOWN, Okinawa, Japan — The neon signs over the little bars and eating places beckon U.S. Marines like bright lights attracting moths to flames. From an old-time camp across the highway that runs up the eastern fringe of this island bastion of American military might, Marines hit [...]

June 1st, 2012 | Posted in Exclusives,Japan,NE Asia,Stateside,Top Stories,U.S. Military | Read More »

U.S.-Japan turf battles still fester in Okinawa but now China is a factor

U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma base in Ginowan, Okinawa prefecture.  /AFP

Special to By Donald Kirk, NAHA, Okinawa, Japan — The future of American power in Asia revolves closely around U.S. forces on this island that is home to a full panoply of U.S. air and ground forces well south of the Japanese “mainland.” Most people here would just as soon they go somewhere [...]

May 20th, 2012 | Posted in China,Exclusives,Japan,NE Asia,North Korea,Stateside,Top Stories,U.S. Military | Read More »

As West falters, Asia Pacific region emerging as new global economic engine

The Korean stock index is reflected on glass at the Korea Exchange in Seoul.  /AFP

John J. Metzler UNITED NATIONS — Despite the persistent economic headwinds which are expected to slow economic expansion this year, “growth in the Asia and the Pacific area remains better than in any other region; continuing as an anchor of stability and a new growth pole for the world economy.” That’s the guardedly optimistic prognosis [...]

May 16th, 2012 | Posted in Africa / Europe,China,Columnists,COMMENTARY,Exclusives,Japan,John Metzler,Life,NE Asia,Stateside,Top Stories,U.S. Economy,United Nations | Read More »

Report: Rising demand in China to keep oil prices high

oil prices high despite a dramatic improvement in world supply and a big build in stocks, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said.  /AFP/Getty Images

Special to LONDON — Despite reduced tension with Iran, global oil prices were expected to remain high throughout 2012. The International Energy Agency (IEA) said oil prices would remain high amid rising demand. The Paris-based agency said demand would increase in China and Japan with a decline reported in Europe and the United States. [...]

May 14th, 2012 | Posted in China,Exclusives,Iran,Japan,Mideast,NE Asia,Saudi Arabia,Stateside,Top Stories,U.S. Economy | Read More »

Tensions in Asia-Pacific give rise to multiple war games

Members of the U.S. Marines Echo Company of the 2nd Marine Division based in Fort Lejeune in North Carolina participate in an Amphibious Assault Exercise in Dingalan Bay, Aurora Province.  /AFP/Arlan Naeg

Special to By Willy Lam, A series of naval exercises involving troops from China, Russia, South Korea, the U.S. and the Philippines are likely to significantly raise tensions in the Asia-Pacific. The largest China-Russian naval war game since 2005 is scheduled to start next week in waters very close to South Korea and [...]

April 25th, 2012 | Posted in China,Exclusives,Intel Brief,Japan,NE Asia,Philippines,South Korea | Read More »

Hu adopts hawkish tone, blames U.S. and Japan for Pyongyang’s nuclear brinksmanship

President Barack Obama and China's President Hu Jintao arrive for a plenary session during the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul on March 27.  /Reuters/Yuriko Nakao

Special to By Willy Lam, Beijing has blamed the U.S. as well as Japan and South Korea for provoking Pyongyang into persevering with its program to build weapons of mass destruction. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) administration has also called upon Washington to exercise “caution” in its plans to construct in Asia an [...]

April 4th, 2012 | Posted in China,Exclusives,Intel Brief,Japan,NE Asia,North Korea,South Korea,Stateside,Top Stories,U.S. Politics,World Links | Read More »

Sapped by its major ally China, Burma reaches out to the West and Japan

A Burmese worker paints the trimming at a condominium complex under construction earlier this month in Rangoon, Burma (Yangon, Myanmar).  /Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

John J. Metzler UNITED NATIONS — In a world beset by war, ethnic conflict and humanitarian disasters, Burma seems one of those rare places where diplomats can say they are making a positive difference. Maybe that’s precisely because this Southeast Asian land, was until recently a pariah state, suffering from the self- inflicted wounds of [...]

February 29th, 2012 | Posted in China,Columnists,COMMENTARY,Exclusives,Japan,John Metzler,NE Asia,United Nations,World Links | Read More »

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