News from Asia
Chinese Misbehavior Increases Support for Taiwan
by Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan (The Diplomat) on October 23, 2020 at 6:27 pm
Beijing’s pressure on Taiwan and on other countries is generating greater sympathy and support for Taiwan.
In Korean War Commemoration, Xi Warns That China Will ‘Use War to Prevent War’
by Shannon Tiezzi (The Diplomat) on October 23, 2020 at 4:36 pm
Xi Jinping extolled China's victory in the War to Resist American Aggression -- and sent a very clear warning to the U.S.
National University of Singapore admits mishandling lecturer’s sexual misconduct case
by Kok Xinghui (South China Morning Post) on October 23, 2020 at 2:27 pm
Singapore’s largest university on Friday admitted its failings in dealing with allegations of sexual misconduct in cases involving its students and pledged to improve how it handles such situations in the future.The commitment to be “more open, more transparent [and] more willing to disseminate information in a timely manner” came on Friday from Tommy Koh, the rector at National University of Singapore’s residential Tembusu College, as he addressed brewing public criticism over the sacking of…
Eating rats and snakes to survive: the brutal toll of Myanmar’s second coronavirus lockdown
by Reuters (South China Morning Post) on October 23, 2020 at 2:20 pm
After the first wave of coronavirus hit Myanmar in March, 36-year-old Ma Suu closed her salad stall and pawned her jewellery and gold to buy food to eat.During the second wave, when the government issued a stay-home order in September for Yangon, Ma Suu shut her stall again and sold her clothes, plates and pots.With nothing left to sell, her husband, an out of work construction labourer, has resorted to hunting for food in the open drains by the slum where they live on the outskirts of Myanmar…
It’s Time for an International Human Rights Alliance to Defend Democracy
by Times Wang and Jianli Yang (The Diplomat) on October 23, 2020 at 1:34 pm
By now, the need for principled solidarity in the face of the PRC’s abuses should be obvious.
Sri Lanka’s Changing Relationship to Chinese Loans
by Umesh Moramudali (The Diplomat) on October 23, 2020 at 1:34 pm
Both the share and the type of loans from China are changing as Sri Lanka wrestles with persistent balance of payment issues.
Did China Join COVAX to Counter or Promote Vaccine Nationalism?
by Hemant Adlakha (The Diplomat) on October 23, 2020 at 1:02 pm
China has finally announced its membership in the WHO’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution alliance. What took so long?
Malaysia’s Anwar cries foul as embattled PM Muhyiddin said to eye bid for emergency powers
by Tashny Sukumaran (South China Morning Post) on October 23, 2020 at 12:56 pm
Malaysia’s opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on Friday criticised a purported plan by the government to suspend parliament and rule by decree in the midst of surging coronavirus cases, saying the move would herald “dictatorship and authoritarianism”, as reports swirled that embattled Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin was manoeuvring to gain emergency powers.Other critics too slammed the ruling Perikatan Nasional alliance for seeking to suspend the legislature as an underhanded means to avoid an…
US Aid Pledge to Pro-Taiwan Solomon Islands Province Raises Eyebrows
by Joshua Mcdonald (The Diplomat) on October 23, 2020 at 12:38 pm
The $25 million in aid to Malaita has sparked concerns that Washington is aid for geopolitical gain vis-a-vis China.
US Touts Uncertain Plan to Put Hypersonic Missiles on Destroyers
by Steven Stashwick (The Diplomat) on October 23, 2020 at 12:09 pm
The national security advisor says all three variants of Arleigh Burke destroyers will get new missiles.
Pompeo’s Indonesia visit to focus on Muslim youth group and engaging with ‘humanitarian Islam’
by Joe Cochrane (South China Morning Post) on October 23, 2020 at 10:49 am
When US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visits Indonesia next week, China, the South China Sea maritime disputes, freedom of navigation and regional security will top his agenda in talks with Indonesian leaders to “preserve a free and open Indo-Pacific”, as he told reporters in Washington on Wednesday.But the real catalyst for his first-ever official visit to Indonesia, a one-day trip on Thursday to the capital Jakarta, is not about China but a scheduled address to the world’s largest Islamic…
In Nagorno-Karabakh, drones rain death but won’t bring quick end to war
by Alessandro Arduino (South China Morning Post) on October 23, 2020 at 8:10 am
Each day brings new reports of the horrors of the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. As attempts to broker ceasefires flounder, both sides have doubled down, ratcheting up the brutality. From artillery barrages and missile strikes, the war is now increasingly being fought in the trenches, as waves of volunteers, ex-soldiers and others respond to nationalist appeals from both governments and rush to the front line. This grinding war of attrition…
Cambodia breaks up anti-China protest in capital over alleged military base
by Reuters (South China Morning Post) on October 23, 2020 at 7:05 am
Cambodian security guards broke up a small protest on Friday near the Chinese embassy opposing alleged plans to boost Beijing’s military presence in the country, as police detained some demonstrators for questioning.After brief scuffles, city security guards carried three protesters to a nearby police pickup truck, according to live streaming by local media and Reuters witnesses.As China calls, is writing on wall for US-Cambodia military ties?“We reject the Chinese military presence in Cambodia…
Singapore, Germany agree to start ‘green lane’ for business travellers amid pandemic
by Bloomberg (South China Morning Post) on October 23, 2020 at 6:40 am
Singapore and Germany have agreed to start a reciprocal “green lane” allowing travel for business or official reasons, the latest step by governments to prise open borders largely sealed by the coronavirus.Residents of both countries will have to follow virus prevention and public health measures, according to a joint statement on Friday. Operational details, including health protocols and application processes, will be announced in due course. The agreement could serve as a model for future…
The Japan-Korea Dispute Over the 1965 Agreement
by Jinyul Ju (The Diplomat) on October 23, 2020 at 6:02 am
In fact, the agreement makes the path to resolution quite clear.
29 Years on, Landmark Peace Accord Charts Deep Divides in Cambodia
by Sebastian Strangio (The Diplomat) on October 23, 2020 at 5:36 am
The legacy of the 1991 Paris Peace Agreements, which aimed to bring the country peace and democracy, remains deeply contested.
Philippines cancels centuries-old ‘Black Nazarene’ parade over coronavirus infection fears
by Reuters (South China Morning Post) on October 23, 2020 at 5:07 am
The Philippine capital of Manila on Friday cancelled an annual procession of a centuries-old black wooden statue of Jesus Christ that draws millions of Roman Catholic devotees as the coronavirus pandemic continues to afflict the country.The Philippines, renowned for its colourful religious rituals, has the second-highest number of novel coronavirus infections and deaths in Southeast Asia behind Indonesia.Philippines fights pregnancy boom amid coronavirus lockdown“The grand procession of the…
Goldman Sachs Subsidiary Pleads to US Charges in 1MDB Probe
by Associated Press (The Diplomat) on October 23, 2020 at 4:21 am
Prosecutors alleged that bond sales organized by Goldman Sachs helped enable the pilfering of the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund.
Mind the Gap: How Southeast Asia Can Make the AI Leap
by Mark Manantan (The Diplomat) on October 23, 2020 at 4:09 am
Artificial Intelligence technology holds out huge potential benefits for ASEAN – if the region can close some crucial shortfalls.
Japan signs first post-Brexit trade deal with Britain, but UK-based Japanese firms still nervous
by Kyodo (South China Morning Post) on October 23, 2020 at 4:00 am
Japan and Britain signed a post-Brexit bilateral free trade agreement on Friday, paving the way for its implementation on January 1 next year to ensure continuity in trade and investment beyond the end of London’s transition period out of the European Union.Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and British International Trade Secretary Elizabeth Truss signed the deal in Tokyo. The pact, which largely replicates the existing Japan-EU free trade accord, will enter into force after domestic…
Sri Lanka rolls back reforms aimed at curbing authoritarianism in vote to boost president’s powers
by Associated Press (South China Morning Post) on October 23, 2020 at 3:25 am
Sri Lanka’s parliament has approved – by a large majority – a constitutional amendment concentrating powers under President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and reversing reforms a previous government had made to curb authoritarianism.After the August elections gave him the parliamentary votes to change the charter, Rajapaksa had said the amendment would be his government’s priority because the reduced presidential powers hindered his work.What does the parliamentary election result mean for Sri Lanka?The…
Goldman Sachs cuts US$174 million of pay for current and former executives, taking them to task for bank’s role in 1MDB fraud
by Enoch Yiu (South China Morning Post) on October 23, 2020 at 2:41 am
Goldman Sachs will cut or claw back US$174 million of pay from a dozen of its most senior current and former executives, holding them personally accountable for the Wall Street bank’s role in the 1MDB fraud, after the bank’s Asia unit was slapped with a record fine by Hong Kong’s regulator.The bank will cut the compensation for chief executive David Solomon and his team of senior executives, and claw back the financial awards allocated to the former CEO Lloyd Blankfein, according to a statement…
South Korea vaccine death toll grows to 32 amid denials flu shot linked to teen’s demise
by Reuters (South China Morning Post) on October 23, 2020 at 2:10 am
South Korea’s forensic agency said it found no links between a 17-year-old boy’s death and a flu shot he had taken, as Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun on Friday called for an investigation amid rising concerns about the safety of the vaccines following the death of at least 32 people.The teen was among the first reported to have died as part of a government campaign to vaccinate about 30 million of a population of 52 million to prevent coronavirus complications. The toll has grown over the past…
Australia ‘sextortion’ suspect tricked 112 underage girls to send nudes by impersonating teen social media star, police say
by DPA (South China Morning Post) on October 23, 2020 at 1:14 am
A 25-year-old man in Western Australia is set to face court on Friday after being charged with “sextortion” of 112 girls around the world, federal police said.The man “allegedly pretended to be a teenage social media celebrity to befriend girls before blackmailing them into performing sexual acts on camera”, the Australian Federal Police said in a statement on Friday.Sextortion, lies and videotape: the Philippine cybercriminals targeting men worldwidePolice were tipped off by a 13-year-old girl…
Blood plasma of recovered coronavirus patients fails to reduce deaths, study finds
by Agence France-Presse (South China Morning Post) on October 23, 2020 at 1:08 am
Plasma taken from the blood of people who have recovered from Covid-19 and given to people sick with the disease does not reduce their chances of getting seriously ill or dying, new research has found.The findings are from one of the first clinical trials to report the effects of convalescent plasma, which has been given emergency approval in countries including India and the US.As a potential treatment for patients with moderate Covid-19, particularly in places where laboratory capacity is…
The Beginning of the End of Kem Sokha’s Ordeal in Cambodia?
by David Hutt (The Diplomat) on October 23, 2020 at 12:41 am
In recent weeks, Prime Minister Hun Sen has softened his stance toward his main political rival. As usual, there is more than meets the eye.
Amid US Criticisms, China Offers Mekong Nations Access to Crucial River Data
by Sebastian Strangio (The Diplomat) on October 23, 2020 at 12:09 am
The move is a welcome development for downstream nations, but only underlines China's strategic hold over the crucial waterway.
Thailand protests: meet the street food vendors cashing in on the front lines
by Agence France-Presse (South China Morning Post) on October 23, 2020 at 12:00 am
With an intelligence network so good they have been compared to the CIA, Thai street vendors are often first on the scene at “guerilla” democracy protests in Bangkok, where they hawk sour pork and fishballs to a democracy-hungry crowd.After a government crackdown last week, protest groups have begun keeping the venues for their demonstrations demanding the resignation of Premier Prayuth Chan-ocha secret until the last minute, in a bid to outsmart authorities.But protesters have quickly noticed…
US policy toward North Korea under Joe Biden: pageantry out, pragmatism in
by John Power (South China Morning Post) on October 22, 2020 at 11:30 pm
US President Donald Trump’s unorthodox approach to North Korea saw him threaten “fire and fury” and ramp up sanctions, then meet dictator Kim Jong-un and exchange “beautiful” letters.The election of his Democratic challenger and strong front runner Joe Biden on November 3 would likely put US efforts to denuclearise the North back on more familiar territory.Under a Biden administration, personal rapport and summit pageantry would likely make way for traditional working-level diplomacy and…
Hypersonic Missiles For All US Destroyers?
by Robert Farley (The Diplomat) on October 22, 2020 at 9:37 pm
U.S. National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien this week announced a plan to equip an array of ships with hypersonic missiles.