Asia – Topics – RantAWeek

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Asia – Topics

Burma (Myanmar)

Ruled for many years by a military junta, leader Thein Sein has moved towards democratic reforms over the recent months.  The most notable reform included allowing members of an opposition party to assume seats in Burma’s parliament.  The leader of the opposition, Aung San Suu Kyi, has gone from house arrest to occupying a seat in parliament.  However, the military backed party still controls a vast majority of the government, and it is uncertain how much change these reforms will bring.


A rapidly expanding nation that is the most populous in the world, China has gained economic clout over the past few decades.  Cheap labor and production costs have led to many companies to move assembly operations to China.  The government of China is still technically Communist, but a large array of capitalist reforms have left the nation with a mixed system.  However, the Chinese government has been accused of many human rights violations, and China has been known to jail dissidents and censor the internet.

Criticism is not a one-way road.  China has criticized the west for interference in Middle Eastern uprisings, and it has used its permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council to prevent direct action against Assad’s government in Syria.

China is also trying to flex its economic muscle on the world stage.  The nation has been investing heavily in Africa and has offered financial help to the troubled E.U.  China also purposely devalues its currency in order to make its products cheaper to other countries.

China also has a claim to a group of islands in the South China Sea that are also claimed by both the Philippines and Vietnam.  The large amount of oil reserves located underneath these islands are causing regional tensions.

Korea Conflict

Since the 1950-53 Korean War never ended in an armistice, the nations of North and South Korea are still technically at war with each other.  A De-Militarized Zone (commonly abbreviated to DMZ) separates both countries, but each country has a large military presence on its respective side of the DMZ.  While South Korea has turned into an economically prosperous nation, North Korea lacks the ability to feed its citizens.  North Korea has  provoked the rest of the world on numerous occasions, and its nuclear weapons program has resulted in crippling sanctions from the rest of the world.  The main exception is China, which still trades with North Korea.


A member of the rapidly expanding BRIC nations, India is becoming a regional economic powerhouse.  Until recently, the government had in place many regulations that checked foreign investment.  However, the current government has shown openness to foreign investment, and money is pouring into the Indian economy as a result.  While India does face a problem with rural poverty, its middle class is expanding.  Still, there are concerns over whether or not the growth will continue.

India has a decades long dispute with Pakistan.  Both countries have nuclear warheads, making the situation tense.  One main point of dispute is the region of Kashmir, which both countries claim.


One of the largest economies in the world, Japan’s government is heavily in debt.  However, it is still a powerful trading force and its people are very wealthy.  Japan is a big exporter of finished goods, but must often import raw materials.  As a chain of islands, Japan has limited raw materials of its own.  Japan has faced a series of economic problems in recent years, and failure of politicians to easily fix these problems has caused the country to change its leadership quite often.  New Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has launched a series of programs in an attempt to help fix Japan’s economic woes.


Pakistan’s government has faced instability recently when there were fears of a coup attempt against current President Zardari by the army.  Zardari’s government has been viewed as corrupt, and his frequent trips out of the country made it seem like he was losing power internally.  While the military still holds great power, Zardari has not been forcefully removed from office.  It should also be noted that much of the country’s political power is not invested in Zardari but instead lies with Prime Minister Gillani.

Pakistan has a decades long dispute with India.  Both countries have nuclear warheads, making the situation tense.  One main point of dispute is the region of Kashmir, which both countries claim.




  • On September 20, 2012 at 9:55 pm Wobby B. said

    Who is Manoj Jayaswal?


    • On September 22, 2012 at 12:39 pm Tyler Miksanek said

      He is an Indian tycoon who has recently faced an investigation by the Central Bank of India over allegedly unfair business practices in the energy sector.


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