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Junta troops have burned more than five dozen civilians to death since the end of December in three regions of Myanmar w...
03/10/2022
Dozens burned to death in three regions amid junta scorched earth campaign

Junta troops have burned more than five dozen civilians to death since the end of December in three regions of Myanmar where they have encountered heavy armed resistance to military rule, sources in the regions said Wednesday.

Residents told RFA’s Myanmar Service that at least 65 people had been set on fire and killed in the 10 weeks leading to March 7, in Kayah state’s Hpruso and Demoso townships and Magway region’s Gangaw township.

In the Sagaing region, troops burned 10 people to death in Salingyi township, four in Ye-U township, three in Kalay township, and five in Myinmu township, they said.

Residents are demanding justice for military atrocities and taking up arms to fight.

A Chinese military aircraft crashed in the South China Sea earlier this month, Taiwan said Thursday, providing a possibl...
03/10/2022
Taiwan intel: China military plane crashed in South China Sea

A Chinese military aircraft crashed in the South China Sea earlier this month, Taiwan said Thursday, providing a possible explanation for China’s closure of a part of the Gulf of Tonkin near Hainan island. Chen Ming-tong, director general of Taiwan’s National Security Bureau, told the country’s Parliament that the crash prompted China’s People's Liberation Army (PLA) to set up a navigation exclusion zone in the adjacent waters to carry out search-and-rescue.

He also warned that as the world is focused on the war in Ukraine, China is taking advantage of the situation to "test the limits of the U.S. and other South China Sea claimants." On March 4, the Hainan Maritime Safety Administration issued a navigation warning banning ships from entering an area in the Gulf of Tonkin that was closed for military drills until March 15.

Part of the area lies within Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry protested, asking China to respect its EEZ and continental shelf. China’s Foreign Ministry replied, saying that "it is reasonable, lawful and irreproachable for China to conduct military exercises on its own doorstep.”

The crash provides a possible explanation for China’s closure of a part of the Gulf of Tonkin near Hainan island.

The U.S. should strengthen defense relationships in the Indo-Pacific in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and a pote...
03/10/2022
US official: Stronger Indo-Pacific military relations needed to keep peace

The U.S. should strengthen defense relationships in the Indo-Pacific in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and a potential similar one involving China and Taiwan, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith said Wednesday.

“The entire world is a challenge with Russia’s unprovoked and devastating invasion of Ukraine,” Smith said in a congressional hearing. “We have been reminded that we can’t just focus on one part of the world, but the Indo-Pacific region is clearly one of the most important regions in the world.” Smith noted that China is the country most capable of competing with the U.S. in terms of economic and military strength.

The head of a congressional military committee voices concern about China being combative toward Taiwan, neighbors.

A summit between U.S. President Joe Biden and leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) slated for t...
03/10/2022
End-March US-ASEAN summit postponed, rotating SE Asian bloc leader Cambodia says

A summit between U.S. President Joe Biden and leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) slated for the end of this month has been postponed, Cambodia's foreign minister said on Wednesday, citing that some ASEAN leaders will not be be able to attend.

Biden had invited leaders of the 10-member bloc to Washington, D.C. for a March summit. On Monday Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, whose country is currently chairing ASEAN, said at least three leaders wanted to reschedule the meeting. There were no immediate comments on the summit from the White House or from Indonesia, which is the coordinator of the summit, and other members of ASEAN.

President Joe Biden had invited leaders of the 10-member Southeast Asian bloc for a summit on March 28-29.

Russia launched a full-scale attack on Ukraine on Feb. 24, drawing swift condemnation from a shocked world after repeate...
03/10/2022

Russia launched a full-scale attack on Ukraine on Feb. 24, drawing swift condemnation from a shocked world after repeated denials from Moscow that it had any such plans.
RFA is tracking the impact of the war on Asian countries, while sister agencies Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Voice of America cover events in Ukraine and its neighbors.
You can read all of our coverage here:
https://www.rfa.org/english/news/special/u030222/russia-war-on-ukraine.html

kraine is setting up a foreign legion, and thousands have reportedly volunteered from countries across the world. But yo...
03/10/2022
Sign me up for Ukraine fight: Not so fast, say Southeast Asia governments

kraine is setting up a foreign legion, and thousands have reportedly volunteered from countries across the world. But you won't see Vietnamese, Cambodian and other Southeast Asian fighters in the international legion in Ukraine any time soon.
Here's why: https://www.rfa.org/english/news/vietnam/ukraine-volunteers-03082022145035.html

Recruiting fighters in Southeast Asia may prove difficult for Kyiv despite local enthusiasm.

A summit between U.S. President Joe Biden and leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) slated for t...
03/10/2022
End-March US-ASEAN summit postponed, rotating SE Asian bloc leader Cambodia says

A summit between U.S. President Joe Biden and leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) slated for the end of this month has been postponed "because some ASEAN leaders can’t join the meeting," Cambodia's foreign minister said.
https://www.rfa.org/english/news/cambodia/usa-asean-03092022171929.html

President Joe Biden had invited leaders of the 10-member Southeast Asian bloc for a summit on March 28-29.

Human rights groups called on the U.N. human rights chief to issue an overdue report on serious rights violations by Chi...
03/10/2022
Human rights groups urge UN rights chief to issue report on atrocities in Xinjiang

Human rights groups called on the U.N. human rights chief to issue an overdue report on serious rights violations by Chinese authorities targeting Uyghurs and other Turkic communities in Xinjiang, a day after she announced that she would visit China and the turbulent region in May.

“The release of the report without further delay is essential — to send a message to victims and perpetrators alike that no state, no matter how powerful, is above international law or the robust independent scrutiny of your Office,” said their open letter to Bachelet. They noted that her office still had not issued the report, despite Bachelet saying in September 2021 that they were finalizing an assessment of available information on allegations of serious human rights violations in Xinjiang “with a view to making it public.”

The call comes a day after Michelle Bachelet announced a trip to China planned for May.

Thailand has agreed in principle to buy more electricity from Laos after signing an agreement that expands energy cooper...
03/10/2022
Thailand agrees to buy more electricity from Laos

Thailand has agreed in principle to buy more electricity from Laos after signing an agreement that expands energy cooperation between the two Mekong River neighbors. Laos has staked its future on power generation in a controversial bid to become “The Battery of Southeast Asia,” exporting electricity from more than 50 large and small-scale dams on the Mekong River and its tributaries.

“The next step will be…to negotiate prices and a power purchase agreement directly with the buyer, Thailand,” one Lao energy official said. Thai environmental advocacy groups criticized the agreement, saying that it would promote more degradation of the Mekong River’s ecology and impact riparian communities

Thai environmentalists say the move favors profits over nature and riparian communities.

Australia plans to build a new submarine base on the east coast of the country to support its new nuclear-powered submar...
03/10/2022
Australia to build east coast base for its planned nuke subs

Australia plans to build a new submarine base on the east coast of the country to support its new nuclear-powered submarines, the Australian prime minister said. Last September, the Australian government announced a plan to acquire at least eight nuclear submarines as part of the newly-established trilateral security arrangement between Australia, the U.K. and the U.S. (AUKUS). At that time, China criticized the AUKUS deal, describing it as "extremely irresponsible" and “intensifying the arms race."

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a joint statement with Minister of Defense Peter Dutton late on Monday that the future east coast submarine base “would enhance Australia’s strategic deterrent capability in the Pacific Ocean.” The Australian government has identified three locations for the new submarine base on the east coast: Brisbane, Newcastle, and Port Kembla.

China has criticized the AUKUS arrangement as "extremely irresponsible" and “intensifying the arms race."

Two trains traveling on the new China-Laos high-speed railway experienced lengthy and unexpected weather delays this wee...
03/10/2022
Laos-China railway suffers lengthy delays due to heavy rains during storm

Two trains traveling on the new China-Laos high-speed railway experienced lengthy and unexpected weather delays this week in Laos, with one train taking eight hours to travel between the historic town of Luang Prabang and the capital Vientiane, about five times longer than usual, passengers said.

The Lao section of the railway handles an average of two trains each way daily, covering 254 miles and 10 passenger rail stations from Boten on the Chinese border to the Lao capital. The two trains on Monday were slow and experienced several delays, stopping for one to two hours at different spots during a journey that normally takes one hour and 40 minutes, passengers said.“The cause was the storm and the heavy rain that technically overwhelmed the capacity of the train,” one train attendant said. “We have to stop to see if there is any danger or risk when it’s raining hard.”

“We arrived at the capital at 9:30 p.m.,” one traveler said. “There was no food, and passengers were not allowed to get off. Nothing was available, no food, no water. The train got stuck for too long, and we were hungry.” He said he didn’t want compensation for the delay, but rather an explanation and an improvement in service. “The train should have water or snacks for sale,” he said.

Angry passengers want the company to explain the long stoppages.

As CIA director William Burns warned lawmakers in Washington not to underestimate Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader X...
03/10/2022
China's Xi Jinping 'unlikely' to invade Taiwan ahead of party congress: analysts

As CIA director William Burns warned lawmakers in Washington not to underestimate Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Xi Jinping, analysts said Beijing is highly unlikely to start any military action against its democratic neighbor ahead of the CCP congress later this year. "I would just say analytically, I would not underestimate President Xi and the Chinese leadership's determination with regard to Taiwan," Burns told lawmakers.

"I do think ... that they have been surprised and unsettled to some extent by what they've seen in Ukraine over the last 12 days, everything from the strength of the Western reaction to the way in which Ukrainians have fiercely resisted," he added.

CIA director William Burns warns that Beijing's resolve shouldn't be underestimated, however.

Tibetan children returning to their schools after winter break are now entering classes taught only in Chinese, as autho...
03/09/2022
Tibetan school year begins with classes taught only in Chinese

Tibetan children returning to their schools after winter break are now entering classes taught only in Chinese, as authorities push forward with policies that critics say are aimed at weakening students’ connection to their native language and culture. A source in Tibet speaking with RFA said that teachers are also being given workshops on how to start teaching children in the Chinese language.

Some of these texts had already been translated by the beginning of the last academic year, another source from Tibet said. “But now the emphasis on teaching in Chinese has increased in all Tibetan schools, and the political ideology of Chinese president Xi Jinping is now a key theme for instruction.”

Critics say the policy will weaken Tibetan students' connection to their national language and culture.

Authorities in Hong Kong scrambled to control soaring COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday, as plans for compulsory mass testing...
03/09/2022
Hong Kong struggles to curb deaths, hospitalizations amid fifth COVID wave

Authorities in Hong Kong scrambled to control soaring COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday, as plans for compulsory mass testing of seven million people appear to have been put on hold. The city reported 195 new COVID-19-linked deaths in the last 24 hours on Wednesday, with an additional 25,991 new cases confirmed during the past 24 hours.

The high death rate is likely linked to relatively low levels of vaccination in the city, which has only offered its residents Chinese-made vaccines to date, amid growing calls for imported vaccines to be on offer as well. Tony Ko, chief executive of the Hospital Authority, said the authorities are switching over large numbers of hospital beds to designated COVID-19 wards.

A Chinese official urges the city government to redouble its efforts to implement Beijing's zero-COVID policy.

The U.S.-based son of a Chinese woman trafficked into marriage at a young age from Yunnan during the 1980s spoke to RFA'...
03/09/2022
Interview: 'They figured she was being beaten because she had been bought'

The U.S.-based son of a Chinese woman trafficked into marriage at a young age from Yunnan during the 1980s spoke to RFA's Mandarin Service about growing up amid daily domestic violence and abuse, and about -- eventually -- persuading his mother to get herself free.

The man, who gave only the nickname Rocky, said that “my mother was abducted, but in essence, her experience was in line with the definition of human trafficking. I divide it into three stages. The first is the use of persuasion and deception in the early stages, which is the kidnapping part. The second stage involves money, and the third involves controlling the person. Anything that meets those three criteria is trafficking.”

The son of a domestic abuse victim talks about growing up as the son of a kidnapped and bought bride.

More than 10,000 refugees who fled clashes between junta troops and armed ethnic groups for the jungle along the border ...
03/09/2022
Junta roadblocks leave 10,000 refugees at risk of starvation in Myanmar

More than 10,000 refugees who fled clashes between junta troops and armed ethnic groups for the jungle along the border of Myanmar’s Southern Shan and Kayah states are at risk of starvation because roads to the area have been shut down by the military, according to aid workers. The refugees had been relying on a flow of goods through Mobye, which served as a regional hub until access was cut off at the beginning of the month, a staffer with a local ethnic Karenni aid group told RFA’s Myanmar Service.

In the nine months leading to the end of February, the number of war refugees in Kayah state has risen to around 170,000, Karenni aid groups said. Junta troops had killed at least 221 civilians and arrested 220 people in the state since the military seized power in the Feb. 1, 2021, coup.

Truck drivers say troops are demanding bribes in Southern Shan and Kayah states.

Taiwan’s military and defense officials have been keenly looking at Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with the assumption the...
03/09/2022

Taiwan’s military and defense officials have been keenly looking at Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with the assumption their counterparts in China are also monitoring the war, and the global response to it, to plan a potential incursion into Taiwan.

The use of precision missiles by Russia, and their apparent failure to fully disable Ukrainian military infrastructure, is being closely watched in security circles in Taiwan, who are also looking at how the underpowered Ukrainian army is resisting the much larger Russian army. Taiwan’s president has repeatedly pushed the idea of “asymmetric warfare,” making Taiwan’s forces more flexible and mobile in the face of China’s army.

Taiwan has also reportedly been building its own missiles that can reach into mainland China, and the island is also extensively monitoring any Chinese military moves near its border.

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Junta troops have burned more than five dozen civilians to death since the end of December in three regions of Myanmar where they have encountered heavy armed resistance to military rule, sources in the regions said Wednesday. Residents told RFA’s Myanmar Service that at least 65 people had been set on fire and killed in the 10 weeks leading to March 7, in Kayah state’s Hpruso and Demoso townships and Magway region’s Gangaw township. In the Sagaing region, troops burned 10 people to death in Salingyi township, four in Ye-U township, three in Kalay township, and five in Myinmu township, they said.
A Chinese military aircraft crashed in the South China Sea earlier this month, Taiwan said Thursday, providing a possible explanation for China’s closure of a part of the Gulf of Tonkin near Hainan island. Chen Ming-tong, director general of Taiwan’s National Security Bureau, told the country’s Parliament that the crash prompted China’s People's Liberation Army (PLA) to set up a navigation exclusion zone in the adjacent waters to carry out search-and-rescue. He also warned that as the world is focused on the war in Ukraine, China is taking advantage of the situation to "test the limits of the U.S. and other South China Sea claimants." On March 4, the Hainan Maritime Safety Administration issued a navigation warning banning ships from entering an area in the Gulf of Tonkin that was closed for military drills until March 15. Part of the area lies within Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry protested, asking China to respect its EEZ and continental shelf. China’s Foreign Ministry replied, saying that "it is reasonable, lawful and irreproachable for China to conduct military exercises on its own doorstep.”
The U.S. should strengthen defense relationships in the Indo-Pacific in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and a potential similar one involving China and Taiwan, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith said Wednesday. “The entire world is a challenge with Russia’s unprovoked and devastating invasion of Ukraine,” Smith said in a congressional hearing. “We have been reminded that we can’t just focus on one part of the world, but the Indo-Pacific region is clearly one of the most important regions in the world.” Smith noted that China is the country most capable of competing with the U.S. in terms of economic and military strength.
A summit between U.S. President Joe Biden and leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) slated for the end of this month has been postponed, Cambodia's foreign minister said on Wednesday, citing that some ASEAN leaders will not be be able to attend. Biden had invited leaders of the 10-member bloc to Washington, D.C. for a March summit. On Monday Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, whose country is currently chairing ASEAN, said at least three leaders wanted to reschedule the meeting. There were no immediate comments on the summit from the White House or from Indonesia, which is the coordinator of the summit, and other members of ASEAN.
Russia launched a full-scale attack on Ukraine on Feb. 24, drawing swift condemnation from a shocked world after repeated denials from Moscow that it had any such plans. RFA is tracking the impact of the war on Asian countries, while sister agencies Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Voice of America cover events in Ukraine and its neighbors. You can read all of our coverage here: https://www.rfa.org/english/news/special/u030222/russia-war-on-ukraine.html
kraine is setting up a foreign legion, and thousands have reportedly volunteered from countries across the world. But you won't see Vietnamese, Cambodian and other Southeast Asian fighters in the international legion in Ukraine any time soon. Here's why: https://www.rfa.org/english/news/vietnam/ukraine-volunteers-03082022145035.html
A summit between U.S. President Joe Biden and leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) slated for the end of this month has been postponed "because some ASEAN leaders can’t join the meeting," Cambodia's foreign minister said. https://www.rfa.org/english/news/cambodia/usa-asean-03092022171929.html
Human rights groups called on the U.N. human rights chief to issue an overdue report on serious rights violations by Chinese authorities targeting Uyghurs and other Turkic communities in Xinjiang, a day after she announced that she would visit China and the turbulent region in May. “The release of the report without further delay is essential — to send a message to victims and perpetrators alike that no state, no matter how powerful, is above international law or the robust independent scrutiny of your Office,” said their open letter to Bachelet. They noted that her office still had not issued the report, despite Bachelet saying in September 2021 that they were finalizing an assessment of available information on allegations of serious human rights violations in Xinjiang “with a view to making it public.”
The election of conservative Yoon Suk-yeol as South Korea’s next president Wednesday is likely to bring more hawkish policies toward North Korea and less deference toward China. More details: https://www.rfa.org/english/news/korea/yoon-03092022195109.html
Thailand has agreed in principle to buy more electricity from Laos after signing an agreement that expands energy cooperation between the two Mekong River neighbors. Laos has staked its future on power generation in a controversial bid to become “The Battery of Southeast Asia,” exporting electricity from more than 50 large and small-scale dams on the Mekong River and its tributaries. “The next step will be…to negotiate prices and a power purchase agreement directly with the buyer, Thailand,” one Lao energy official said. Thai environmental advocacy groups criticized the agreement, saying that it would promote more degradation of the Mekong River’s ecology and impact riparian communities
Australia plans to build a new submarine base on the east coast of the country to support its new nuclear-powered submarines, the Australian prime minister said. Last September, the Australian government announced a plan to acquire at least eight nuclear submarines as part of the newly-established trilateral security arrangement between Australia, the U.K. and the U.S. (AUKUS). At that time, China criticized the AUKUS deal, describing it as "extremely irresponsible" and “intensifying the arms race." Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a joint statement with Minister of Defense Peter Dutton late on Monday that the future east coast submarine base “would enhance Australia’s strategic deterrent capability in the Pacific Ocean.” The Australian government has identified three locations for the new submarine base on the east coast: Brisbane, Newcastle, and Port Kembla.
Two trains traveling on the new China-Laos high-speed railway experienced lengthy and unexpected weather delays this week in Laos, with one train taking eight hours to travel between the historic town of Luang Prabang and the capital Vientiane, about five times longer than usual, passengers said. The Lao section of the railway handles an average of two trains each way daily, covering 254 miles and 10 passenger rail stations from Boten on the Chinese border to the Lao capital. The two trains on Monday were slow and experienced several delays, stopping for one to two hours at different spots during a journey that normally takes one hour and 40 minutes, passengers said.“The cause was the storm and the heavy rain that technically overwhelmed the capacity of the train,” one train attendant said. “We have to stop to see if there is any danger or risk when it’s raining hard.” “We arrived at the capital at 9:30 p.m.,” one traveler said. “There was no food, and passengers were not allowed to get off. Nothing was available, no food, no water. The train got stuck for too long, and we were hungry.” He said he didn’t want compensation for the delay, but rather an explanation and an improvement in service. “The train should have water or snacks for sale,” he said.