Asia Daily: October 5, 2023
US Announces Sweeping Action Against Chinese Fentanyl Supply Chain Producers. The Biden administration has announced indictments and sanctions against Chinese companies and executives for their role in importing chemicals used to produce fentanyl. The actions target eight Chinese companies and 12 executives, along with 28 individuals and companies in China and Canada. Eric Tucker and Fatima Hussein, AP News, October 4
Taiwan says China has 'very diverse' ways of interfering in election. China employs a variety of methods to interfere in Taiwan's upcoming January elections, ranging from exerting military pressure to disseminating fake news and manipulating opinion polls, as stated by a senior Taiwanese security official on Wednesday. This interference is seen as an attempt by Beijing to influence the election results in favor of candidates who might be more amenable to China. By Ben Blanchard for Reuters, October 4
Myanmar guerrilla group claims it killed a businessman who helped supply arms to the military. A guerrilla group in Myanmar, known as Urban Owls, has taken responsibility for the recent assassination of Nyan Lwin Aung, a businessman alleged to be an arms dealer for the country's military. The businessman was shot while dining at a street food stall in Yangon. This act is the latest in a series of targeted killings by militants opposing the military rule in Myanmar. The country has been in turmoil since the military coup over two and a half years ago, leading to widespread opposition and conflict. By Grant Peck for AP News, October 4
Foreign troops must leave Maldives, president-elect Muizzu says. The president-elect of the Maldives, Mohamed Muizzu, declared at a celebratory rally that foreign military forces cannot remain in the country. This statement comes after his victory in the recent presidential elections, which are anticipated to reshape the Maldives' relationships with both India and China. By Mohamed Junayd, Krishn Kaushik, Uditha Jayasinghe and Blassy Boben for Reuters, October 4
Philippines Marcos Jr says boat deaths in South China Sea being probed. Three Filipino fishermen lost their lives after their fishing vessel was hit by an unidentified foreign commercial ship in the South China Sea. The incident took place near the contested Scarborough Shoal. While several crew members survived the sinking, the Philippine Coast Guard is actively investigating the matter. An initial evaluation suggests a crude oil tanker under the Marshall Islands flag might have been involved. Al Jazeera, October 4
China rebukes EU after formal launch of EV subsidy probe. China has expressed concerns over the European Union's hasty request for consultations regarding the bloc's investigation into subsidies for electric vehicles. The economic recovery of China has been uneven, leading to global apprehensions, despite some improvements since the late summer. The lack of significant reforms from Beijing might keep China's economy subdued in the coming year. By Chen Aizhu and Philip Blenkinsop for Reuters, October 4
Guatemala to keep Taipei ties while seeking better Beijing relations. Guatemala's president-elect, Bernardo Arévalo, during a visit to Washington, reaffirmed his commitment to sustaining his nation's relationship with Taiwan. However, he also expressed interest in enhancing trade relations with mainland China. During his election campaign, Arévalo had been ambiguous about his position on Taiwan and China, leaving it unclear whether he planned to break diplomatic ties with Taipei. By Igor Patrick for South China Morning Post, October 4
Children's agency chief Ayuko Kato vows to tackle falling birthrate. The newly-appointed minister of the children and families agency, Ayuko Kato, has pledged to introduce a series of new policies addressing child-related concerns. The Children's Future Strategy, unveiled in June by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, aims to counteract Japan's diminishing birthrate. The details of the strategy are expected to be refined by the end of the year. By Yukana Inoue for The Japan Times, October 4
TikTok ends retail business in Indonesia after ban on social media shopping. TikTok announced its decision to cease its online retail operations in Indonesia, following the country's move to prohibit e-commerce transactions on social media platforms. This regulation, introduced by the Indonesian government on September 28, aims to shield small businesses from e-commerce competition, accusing prominent apps and websites of employing predatory pricing tactics. AP News, October 4
Kyrgyzstan: Infamous underworld figure killed in security services operation. Kyrgyzstan's most infamous gangland figure, Kamchybek Kolbayev was killed during a security services operation on Oct. 4. The State Committee for National Security (GKNB) had been pursuing Kolbayev for his suspected involvement in property expropriation from businesspeople and his alleged ties to the murder of a rival underworld figure, Chingiz Jumagulov, in July 2022. By Ayzirek Imanaliyeva for Eurasianet, October 4.
S. Korea, Japan to hold 'strategic dialogue' amid warming ties. South Korea and Japan are scheduled to conduct vice-ministerial talks in Seoul, marking the first such dialogue in nine years as relations between the two nations improve. First Vice Foreign Minister Chang Ho-jin of South Korea will engage in "strategic dialogue" with his Japanese counterpart, Masataka Okano. The discussions are anticipated to cover a range of topics, from bilateral ties to regional and global challenges. By Kim Seung-yeon for Yonhap News Agency, October 5
Will Xi’s Military Modernization Pay Off? Under Xi Jinping's leadership, China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) has undergone significant modernization, aiming for a more integrated and outward-facing military force. While these efforts have enhanced the PLA's capabilities, they have also led to increased international pushback and concerns. Xi's focus on consolidating his authority over the military and aligning it closely with the Chinese Communist Party has been a key part of this modernization. By David M. Finkelstein Foreign Affairs, October 4
How to Break China’s Hold on Batteries and Critical Minerals. The United States faces challenges in securing its supply chains for electric vehicles (EVs) due to China's dominance in critical minerals. However, these challenges are surmountable through diplomacy, investment, and innovation. The risks associated with mineral dependence are not as severe as those for oil, and technological advancements can reduce the need for certain minerals. Diversifying supply chains and fostering innovation are key to achieving a more resilient and sustainable clean energy transition. Brian Deese and Jason Bordoff, Foreign Policy, October 4
Beyond Rhetoric: The Tangible Impact of China-US Decoupling. Economic statistics reveal a shift in China-U.S. relations, with both nations reevaluating their economic integration due to rising security concerns. Trade and investment data indicate a decline in China's economic footprint in the U.S., as well as a diversification of export markets by both countries. Amid geopolitical tensions, companies are aligning with their respective countries' strategic objectives, contributing to a cycle of deteriorating relations. By Gabriele Manca The Diplomat, October 4
Advancing the Mongolia–US Strategic Economic Partnership. Mongolia aims to capitalize on its critical mineral resources and diversify economically through flexible relationships with the United States, Russia, and China. The U.S. and Mongolia have been strengthening their economic ties in sectors like critical minerals, aviation, and trade. Amid geopolitical tensions involving Russia and China, Mongolia's balanced approach is crucial for its economic and social development. Bolor Lkhaajav East Asia Forum, October 4
South Korea Builds Nuclear Plants Quickly and Cheaply. South Korea's newly built nuclear plants have surpassed their global counterparts in speed and cost-effectiveness, including those in the U.S., Europe, China, and Russia. Despite its smaller domestic market, South Korea aims to be a significant player in the global nuclear industry by exporting its reactors. The country's competence in nuclear power positions it as a crucial ally for any potential nuclear renaissance in the developed world. Samo Burja,, October 4
The Average Chinese City. Baoji, a city in northwestern China, serves as a microcosm of the country's urbanization challenges and economic struggles. Amid falling property sales and high youth unemployment, Baoji represents the "Middle China" that is neither rich nor poor, neither globalized nor remote. The city's economy has shifted from being an industrial hotspot to relying on critical minerals, and its population has been shrinking since 2010. Despite these challenges, Baoji remains a symbol of the kind of urbanization most Chinese people experience. Irene Zhang, ChinaTalk.
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