Sunday, January 09, 2005

What to watch in 2005?

According to the Christian Science Monitor, there are several countries that need to put on the attentions especially China and India. They described this both countries are the parts of the world fastest economy development. Furthermore, both countries also play as the main actor in their foreign affairs.

1. Can China slake its thrist for oil?
Chinese leaders now tour the globe regularly, cutting new deals in almost every energy market they can visit. China's thirst has created disputes with Japan over a Russian oil pipeline and natural-gas reserves under the East China Sea.

Early Indicator: A Sino-Canadian oil deal could be struck as early as this month. Canada is the chief source of oil for the US; how Washington reacts could set the tone for a new age of resource rivalries.

2. India: China as bigger threat than Pakistan
Both countries have enormous populations, nuclear weapons, and industries that compete well in global markets.Both countries aspire to expand their trade and diplomatic relations, especially in Southeast Asia. India and China fought a brief border war in 1962. Since then, relations have been strained by Beijing's economic and political backing for Pakistan.

What to watch?
a. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will visit India in March, a moment he describes as the most important on his 2005 calendar. China has expressed hopes of resolving remaining border issues before the visit.

b. President Bush has also announced he will visit India this year, a moment that could increase India's regional stature.

3. After Tsunami, Asia Rebuilds
Recovery from the tsunami, say experts, could take a decade. 2005 will test the coordination and endurance of the initial rush to help. The outpouring of goodwill has drawn the diverse Southeast Asian region, Western donor nations, and even warring factions closer together.

Separatists in Aceh announced a unilateral cease-fire. Tamil Tiger rebel leaders reached out to the Sri Lankan government. And US forces helping with rescue efforts were welcomed in Muslim Indonesia.

Early Indicator: Local elections in Aceh were scheduled for June. Those could indicate whether Acehnese are more open to candidates pushing autonomy rather than independence.

"I would be extremely skeptical that this disaster would lead to a resolution of the conflict. On the other hand, the relief effort ... might have more Acenhese willing to give Jakarta the benefit of the doubt," says Sidney Jones of International Crisis Group.

The ASA are welcome you all to provide your comments on these points.