Asia Daily: October 4, 2023
Schumer confirms U.S. Senate trip to China, Japan, South Korea U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced a Senate delegation trip to China, Japan, and South Korea. This marks the first U.S. congressional delegation visit to China in four years. The trip comes amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and China, with both nations clashing over trade, human rights, and other issues. By David Shepardson for Reuters, October 3
NewsClick editor arrested in India after raids over alleged foreign funding. Indian authorities have conducted searches at the residences of journalists associated with the Newsclick news portal. This action is part of an ongoing investigation into allegations of illegal foreign funding. Newsclick and its employees have previously faced scrutiny and legal challenges, which many believe are attempts to stifle independent journalism in the country. Al Jazeera, October 3
India asks Canada to withdraw dozens of diplomatic staff - reports. In a significant escalation of ongoing tensions, India has reportedly requested Canada to withdraw approximately 40 of its diplomatic staff by October 10, after which they would lose their diplomatic immunity. This development comes after Canada's claim last month that India might have been involved in the assassination of a Sikh separatist leader, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, in Canada, an allegation India has refuted. By Meryl Sebastian for BBC News, October 3
US announces sweeping action against Chinese fentanyl supply chain producers. The Biden administration has announced indictments and sanctions against Chinese companies and executives accused of importing chemicals used to produce the lethal drug fentanyl. This move is part of the U.S.'s efforts to combat the most severe overdose crisis in its history. Eight Chinese companies are charged with advertising, manufacturing, and distributing precursor chemicals for synthetic opioids like fentanyl. By Fatima Hussein and Eric Tucker for AP News, October 3
Two earthquakes strike Nepal, sending tremors through the region. Northwestern Nepal experienced two earthquakes on Tuesday, causing tremors throughout the area. Several homes in Bajhang district were reportedly damaged, but no casualties have been immediately reported.The earthquakes, with initial magnitudes of 5.3 followed by 6.3, had their epicenter in Bajhang district, near the Indian border. The tremors were also felt in India's capital, New Delhi. AP News, October 3
Ukraine puts China’s three biggest oil producers on a ‘sponsors of war’ list. Ukraine added China's top three state-owned oil firms to its "sponsors of war" list due to their joint ventures with Russia. The National Agency on Corruption Prevention listed CNOOC Group, Sinopec Group, and CNPC, emphasizing their role in supporting Moscow's war efforts. The move may escalate tensions between Ukraine and Beijing. By Finbarr Bermingham for South China Morning Post, October 4
Malaysians urged not to panic-buy local rice after import prices rise substantially. Malaysia's government has called on its citizens not to hoard locally produced rice following a surge in panic-buying that resulted in empty supermarket shelves. Agriculture and Food Security Minister Mohamad Sabu emphasized that there is sufficient rice in the country and that the price hike in imported rice is due to export restrictions from countries. Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim warned against hoarding and stated that violators would face legal consequences. AP News, October 3
Yen surges against dollar, leads some to suspect intervention. The Japanese yen saw a significant strengthening against the dollar, prompting speculation among traders that Japanese policymakers might have intervened to support the currency. Analysts noted that the yen's movement was smaller than previous interventions by Japanese officials. The exact cause of the rapid currency shift remains a topic of debate among market participants. By Chuck Mikolajczak, Saqib Iqbal Ahmed and Lucy Raitano for Reuters, October 3
Activists claim Indonesian state weapons manufacturers are supplying Myanmar. Human rights groups have called on Indonesia to investigate potential arms sales by its state-owned companies to Myanmar. This comes amidst concerns over Indonesia's efforts to foster reconciliation in Myanmar since the 2021 military coup that led to widespread conflict. The exact details and extent of the alleged arms sales remain unclear. By Kate Lamb and Ananda Teresia for Reuters, October 3
Thai police say boy, 14, arrested after shooting at mall in Bangkok. A 14-year-old boy has been taken into custody following a shooting at the Siam Paragon mall in central Bangkok, which resulted in the deaths of a Chinese and Burmese national. Five others were injured in the incident. Thailand’s national police chief mentioned that the young suspect had a history of mental health issues and had not been on his prescribed medication. The motive behind the shooting remains unclear. By Rebecca Ratcliffe for The Guardian, October 3
Singapore Tries to Plug Money-Laundering Loopholes. Singapore is ramping up its anti-money laundering measures as assets seized in a major case have nearly tripled to over S$2.8 billion (US$2 billion). The Monetary Authority of Singapore is scrutinizing financial institutions linked to the case, and an inter-ministerial committee is being formed to strengthen regulations. The committee will focus on four main areas, including how to prevent corporate structures from being abused and how to enhance controls in financial institutions. By Toh Han Shih forOctober 3
China's Generative AI Revolution. China is positioning itself as a leader in the generative AI sector, with a focus on regulation that supports growth rather than stifles it. The government is working on a regulatory framework that balances innovation and risk management, aiming to foster a competitive AI industry. This approach contrasts with the more restrictive regulatory environments in the U.S. and Europe, potentially giving China a significant advantage in the global AI race. By Angela Huyue Zhang for Project Syndicate, October 3.
Taiwan's Drone Industry Takes Flight. Taiwan is making significant strides in its drone industry, focusing on both military and civilian applications. With increasing investments and a supportive regulatory environment, the island nation aims to become a key player in the global drone market. This development is also seen as a strategic move to bolster Taiwan's defense capabilities amid rising tensions with China. By Mercy A. Kuo for The Diplomat, October 3.
Who Killed the Chinese Economy? Complexity defines China's economic slowdown, with multiple factors such as demographic changes and global conditions playing a role, rather than solely attributing it to Xi Jinping's policies. By Zongyuan Zoe Liu, Michael Pettis, and Adam S. Posen. Foreign Affairs, October 3
China's biggest green tech projects in Southeast Asia. Chinese firms are setting up green tech factories in Southeast Asia, capitalizing on the region's abundant resources and growing clean tech market. This move is also a strategic play against U.S.-China trade tensions. Companies like BYD and EVE Energy are investing heavily in EV and battery production, further intertwining Southeast Asia's economies with Beijing despite South China Sea disputes. Nikkei, October 3
Lessons from the Black Box of Chinese Politics. Challenging the media's speculative narratives about the inner workings of China's Communist Party, particularly regarding factional disputes and alleged attempts to overthrow Xi Jinping. Scholar Wu Guoguang offers a framework for understanding the secretive decision-making processes within the Party. Translated and introduced by eminent Sinologist Geremie R. Barmé for The China Project, October 3.
Thank you for reading The Asia Cable! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support our work.