I am a freelance journalist based in New York writing about Asian politics and media tendencies covering the region. His articles have appeared in openDemocracy, New Europe, Europe’s World, Social Europe Journal, Public Service Europe, Understanding China, Eurasia Review, Global Affairs, Global Politician, Mizzima News Agency (Myanmar/Burma), North Korean News (DPRK Information Center), The UB Post (Mongolia) and Bilaterals.org.
Yemen is not Paris: western media’s cold shoulder - Open Democracy Yemen is a failed state devastated by fighting, with thousands of civilians killed by a strong jihadist presence and widespread suffering. It has made very few headlines. The fact that one of the world's poorest and hungriest countries is being fatally hit by man-made mayhem has failed to make a sustained dent in the western media in the way that similar conflicts did.
Europe’s Bailout Fund: Fears and Hopes of China’s Bill -Social Europe Journal Over the last four months, China has been claiming that it will help Europe’s financial woes by contributing billions of dollars to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Recently the G20 finance leaders told Europe that, if the IMF is to fortify the eurozone financial facility, Brussels has to beef it up further. Such a warning provides China with some breathing space. This article sheds light on what Chinese leaders may be weighting up before writing the check.
Scratching the surface of the Chinese Government Procurement mountain -Understanding China Western firms, and European in particular, are looking increasingly east to revive their dormant profits. China’s massive government procurement market seems like the ideal outlet to do just that. Nevertheless, foreign investors are still handicapped when competing in the Chinese government procurement giant. Last year marked China’s 10th anniversary of its accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), a development doomed to stir up the corridors of the body’s headquarters in Geneva. Such a prediction has not let anybody down.
The alarmingly uneven deal of the India-EU FTA-Bilaterals Europe is India’s major trading partner and biggest –real- source of foreign direct investment (FDI), what gives a flavour of the weight that Brussels carries in the Indian economy. In addition, the EU’s gross domestic product is about ten times larger than India’s. In paper, this asymmetry should present equal opportunities as challenges: a remarkable increase in Indian exports to the enormous European market combined with bigger FDI inflows from the continent, whereas European corporations step up or expand their businesses in India. However, a closer look at the course of the India-EU FTA negotiations reveals a different picture. [continue reading]
EU-India FTA, the data exclusivity dilemma -Public Service Europe Conflict between European and Indian pharma industries might be played out again in FTAs with other nations. Early last month, it was announced that data exclusivity will not be part of the prospective European Union-India free trade agreement. Such a provision would have protected clinical test data, impeding generic manufactures who use this material to produce cheap drugs. The move unleashed a wave of criticism from two camps. One side indicating that it still falls short of guaranteeing access to affordable, life-saving medicaments. The other side arguing that it undermines the competitiveness of the Indian pharmaceutical industry.
Europe’s plight to punch its weight in North Korea - NK News. DPRK Information Center May marked the 10th anniversary of official relations between the European Union (EU) and North Korea. Initially seeming a promising relationship, it soon revealed its wobbly foundations when, after just one year, Pyongyang’s violation of its commitments to the International Atomic Energy Agency brought dialogue to a sudden end. Today, North Korea’s nuclear manoeuvres remain an issue of consternation in the EU, holding the key to unlock Brussels ties with Pyongyang.
Interview with MEP Mr Christian Ehler on North Korea - NK News. DPRK Information Center Last week, a team of the European Union (EU) Humanitarian Aid department initiated a field visit to North Korea aimed at assessing the country’s food shortages. Furthermore, last month marked the 10th anniversary of the European Commission’s (the EU’s executive body) relations with North Korea. Coinciding with these two benchmarks, Javier Delgado Rivera interviews Mr Christian Ehler, a German Member of the European Parliament (MEP) and Chair of the European Parliament Delegation for relations with the Korean Peninsula.
Korea after reunification: Challenges and opportunities -Opendemocracy Last year’s deadly rise in tensions in the Korean peninsula put off any prospects of reunification. Young-II Kim, a North Korean defector and executive director of PSCORE, an organisation furthering the understanding between Seoul and Pyongyang, appears more optimistic. In an interview with Javier Delgado Rivera, he dissects the major issues the Korean Peninsula will face when reunification comes about. For decades, North Korean observers have but failed to predict the breakdown of the Kim Jong-il’s regime. Is it going to be different this time around?
North Korea Political Prisoner Camps; an Interview with Tae Jin Kim -Global Politician Earlier this month, the US State Department released its 2010 Human Rights Report. It portrays the a systematic and severe human rights abuses occurred throughout the [North Korean] prison and detention system" as some of the grimmest violations against humanity anywhere in the world. Coinciding with the launch of the report, Javier Delgado Rivera interviewed Mr Tae Jin Kim, president of Free the NK Gulag, a Seoul-based organisation raising awareness on the North Korean political prisoner camps (Kwan-Li-So in Korean). Mr Kim, a former prisoner himself, provides an illustrating picture of the dire realm of today's Kwan-Li-So.
The EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement is a Green Sin -Social Europe At its last plenary, the European Parliament (EP) ratified the Union’s free trade agreement with the Republic of Korea (EU-ROK FTA), the largest trade deal ever signed by the EU. The accord removes the current 8% tariff on EU cars exported to South Korea and is expected to double the €53 billion bilateral trade in 20 years. The pact was endorsed despite the vote against the Green/EFA and the leftist GUE/NGL Parliamentary Groups, bringing to light the deal’s perceived lack of environmental credentials.
Europe expresses frustration over Burma’s polls - Europe’s World Just days after the polls, European leaders’ outrage at the Burmese elections is mounting. “The EU regrets that the [Burmese] authorities did not take the necessary steps to ensure a free, fair and inclusive electoral process,“ laments Catherine Ashton, European Union (EU) foreign policy chief, in a declaration on the elections in Burma. This statement largely encapsulates the frustration felt in most European quarters towards the uncompromising, stifling environment leading to the ballot box.
Big prospects for the upcoming EU-Singapore FTA -Europe’s World The recent conclusion of the EU-South Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) has turned Brussels’ attention towards the ongoing EU-Singapore FTA negotiations. The Asian city-state is a European key trade partner that gives the continent access to the wider Southeast Asian region. A promising scenario for the recovering, consumers-craving EU firms.
8th Asia-Europe Meeting: A Practical Talking Show -Eurasia Review Earlier this month, 48 Asian and European leaders met in a summit that, though not decisive, proved conductive in getting both regions to talk about shoring up the slow recovery of the world’s economic health. The 8th edition of the biannual Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM) agreed that, to sustain the global recovery momentum, market confidence and enhanced trade, under an improved global economic governance, is the way forward.
The EU-Malaysia FTA: an overdue assignment -New Europe In terms of commercial engagements, Southeast Asia represents a region still relatively untapped by the EU– the kind of panorama that the EU craves in its road to economic recovery. Following the collapse of the EU-Asean FTA negotiations, the ongoing EU-Malaysia FTA talks evidence Brussels’ understanding of such prospective. A number of issues will be settled promptly during the negotiations: the EU is aware that there is no time to lose if it wants to bring the prosperity of Asia a little closer to Europe.
Flaws and challenges of EU policy on Burma -Mizzima News Agency No credible international actor deems the forthcoming national elections in Burma as anything other than a mere act of pretence. Judging by the European Union’s (EU) latest statements on Burma, Brussels is no exception. Last February, the European Parliament (EP) concluded that under the present conditions, elections in Burma cannot be free or democratic. In this vein, the EP called on Naypyitaw to “take without delay the steps needed to ensure a free, fair, transparent and inclusive electoral process.”
EU sends unsound signals to ASEAN Regional Forum -Eurasia Review The European Union (EU) punched below its weight at an important Asia-Pacific gathering, leaving behind a set of flat statements by its representative, an unexpectedly low-profile EU member state foreign minister. If Brussels is to live up to its nicely-worded rhetoric in its multifaceted ties with Asia, it cannot keep missing opportunities like the last week’s ASEAN Regional Forum.
Spaniard works to keep Burma high on EU agenda - Mizzima News Agency “There is a pressing urgency to prevent the EU from losing interest in what is going on in Burma” – Spanish Member of the European Parliament, Raul Romeva i Rueda. Ahead of the forthcoming elections in Burma, Raul Romeva i Rueda, a Spanish Member of the European Parliament, spoke to Mizzima in the Brussels seat of the European chamber. He is vice-president of the Greens/European Free Alliance Group, the fourth largest bloc in the European Parliament.
Interview with MEP Robert Goebbels on Burma/Myanmar -Mizzima News Agency Robert Goebbels, a member of the European Parliament (EP) from Luxembourg, received Mizzima at his office in Brussels. The Socialist member of the EP since 1999 is vice-chairman of the delegation for relations with the countries of Southeast Asia and Asean and has been minister of economic affairs, transport and public works and energy for Luxembourg. He is a member of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats group within the EP, the second-largest bloc in the parliament.
Thailand’s Road to Reconciliation -openDemocracy Weeks after the Thai army ended a bitter nine-week protest by the red shirts in Bangkok, Thailand's Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is campaigning for reconciliation – a move already burdened with a heavy load of polemic. With the state of emergency still disrupting the fundamental rights of Thais, the government has commissioned an independent investigation on the rally and its crackdown. The adjective independent has been received with disbelief by wide sectors of the Thai society all too familiar with its elites’ (particularly the army’s) habit of political interference – tendency that had its latest chapter in last December 2008 dissolution of the Thaksin-proxy and then ruling People's Power Party.
Mongolia: Elbegdorj Meets European Union Leaders -The UB Post Mongolia's President Tsakhia Elbegdorj met the European Union's leaders on the first two days of February, in Brussels, Belgium, after attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Increased EU aid assistance, standardization cooperation and Mongolia'ss recent moratorium on the death penalty were high on the agenda. Accompanied by Mongolia'ss Foreign Minister and the country's Ambassador in Belgium, Elbegdorj met the three presidents of the Union: Hernan Van Rompuy (European Council), Jerzy Buzek (European Parliament), and Jose Manuel Barroso (European Commission).
India’s elections: Anatomy of a Democracy -Global Affairs India is often described as the largest democracy in the world. A label widely honoured last April and May, as the 58 per cent of the 714 India’s eligible voters went to the polls in largely peacefully and internationally praised parliamentary elections. Exceeding even the best previsions, the incumbent Congress Party (‘the Congress’) won a remarkable victory at the Lok Sabha, the lower House of the Indian Parliament, taking over 206 of its 543 seats.