Thursday, January 05, 2006

India, Japan agree on annual N-dialogue

In trying to build a greater understanding on nuclear issues, India and Japan agreed today to start an annual dialogue on nuclear matters under the framework of disarmament and non-proliferation.

From an Indian standpoint, this allows New Delhi to iron out differences in ways that could make for gaining greater international cooperation on civilian nuclear energy. Japan, as a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, will play a crucial role in decisions related to India when the grouping meets next, possibly in March.

The agreement was arrived at during discussions between Minister of State for Foreign Affairs E Ahamed and visiting Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso.
‘‘The ministers agreed to launch a ... dialogue on disarmament and non-proliferation, with the objective of promoting commonalities and enlarging areas of convergence for mutual cooperation in a constructive manner,’’ a joint press release said.

The dialogue will also address issues linked with high technology trade. It will be conducted at the joint-secretary level and will take forward the resolve to work on areas of convergence in nuclear matters stated during Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s visit in April.


Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Divisions, Rivalries threaten new Cold War in East Asia

What we have feared is threatening to become a reality. The open rivalry and discord between Japan and China is becoming the most destabilizing factor to the peace and prosperity of East Asia. The United States is so concerned by the mounting tensions between the two leading nations in the region that it has called on them to settle their differences.

Divisions not unity. It has become clear, however, that the U.S. fear that an East Asian Community concept, centered on ASEAN Plus Three (Japan, China and South Korea), may lead East Asia to coagulate into a regional Pan-Asianism bloc has turned out to be groundless. Far from embracing Pan-Asianism, East Asia is deeply divided.

Two international events that should mark the conclusion of the 60th anniversary year of the end of World War II took place in 2005 -- the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum plenary meeting in Seoul and the East Asia Summit in Kuala Lumpur. Nevertheless, discord between China and South Korea, on the one hand, and Japan, on the other -- the three nations that form a core group in the East Asian region -- is growing more serious.

As a result, the two events, which were supposed to shape the future of East Asia, ended up being an all-star show that produced nothing worth mentioning.

The East Asia Summit in particular, held with much fanfare, failed to achieve anything substantial, simply issuing a declaration whose focus was blurred due to the fact that the agenda covered an unnecessarily broad spectrum of items. There are three major reasons for this.


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