China's virus control efforts 'are working'

China's efforts to control the deadly outbreak of a new coronavirus "are working", Beijing's top diplomat said Thursday, attributing an easing in new cases to his country's "forceful action" against the illness.Speaking in Lao before talks with peers from the 10 Southeast Asian (ASEAN) countries, Wang Yi said the outbreak was "controllable and curable" despite the global panic it has seeded."China is not only protecting its own people

21 February 2020

Philippines will withdraw from US military pact

The Philippines told the US on Tuesday it was quitting a pact key to their historical military alliance, triggering a six-month countdown to the deal's termination. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte ordered his cabinet to give notice to quit the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) after voicing anger over Washington cancelling the visa of the official who led his internationally condemned drug war.The move also follows Duterte's repeated, unfulfilled threats to shrink or eve

12 February 2020

Indonesia deploys military to disputed waters

Indonesia has deployed fighter jets and warships to patrol islands near the disputed South China Sea, the military said Wednesday, escalating tensions with Beijing after a diplomatic spat over "trespassing" Chinese vessels.President Joko Widodo also headed Wednesday to the fishing-rich waters around the Natuna islands - which border the South China Sea - most of which is claimed by China despite competing claims from other Southeast Asian nations including Vietnam, the Philippines a

9 January 2020

Indonesia beefs up patrols after China boat spat

Indonesia is stepping up sea and aerial patrols of islands near the disputed South China Sea, an official said Saturday, following a diplomatic spat over "trespassing" Chinese vessels.Military aircraft and three warships with some 600 navy, army and air force personnel have been deployed to waters around the Natuna islands, which border the South China Sea.Indonesia has detained Chinese vessels in the fishing-rich waters in the past."Territorial violations by foreign vessels in

5 January 2020

UN 2020 budget includes funds for war crime probes

The United Nations General Assembly on Friday adopted a US$3.07 billion operating budget which for the first time includes funding for the investigation of war crimes in Syria and Myanmar.The budget represents a slight increase from 2019's figure of US$2.9 billion.The increase is due to additional missions assigned to the UN Secretariat, inflation and exchange rate adjustments, according to diplomats.These include the observer mission in Yemen, a political mission established in Haiti, t

1 January 2020

Indonesians hold solidarity rally for Uighurs

Hundreds of Muslims in Indonesia held a protest Friday against China's treatment of Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang in front of China's embassy in Jakarta.The rally was organised by hardline Islamic group the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) but was attended by members of other Muslim communities under heavy security.The protest started at noon, after Friday's mass prayer, and continued until late afternoon despite heavy rains, according to the media.Demonstrators brought posters showi

30 December 2019

Philippines bans US senators

The Philippines banned two US senators and threatened to introduce visa restrictions for Americans entering the country, the president's spokesman said Friday, if Washington pushes ahead with sanctions against Filipino officials involved in jailing a leading opposition leader.Senators Richard Durbin and Patrick Leahy were banned from entering the country after introducing a provision in the 2020 US budget that would prevent officials involved in the incarceration of Senator Leila de Lima

28 December 2019

Opportunities of an economically developed D-8

With Chile withdrawing from its role as this year’s host of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), attention is now shifted towards the 2020 Summit which will be hosted by Malaysia. Whilst APEC has been an integral part of Malaysia’s regional and international credential and status, there are other smaller groupings which deserve attention. One of these is the Group of Developing Eight (D-8).Even though the D-8 has been in existence for some 20 years, the “output gap”, i.e.

25 December 2019

Key issues for the Modi-Xi summit

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and China's President Xi Jinping will meet in the Indian city of Chennai from Friday in a bid to ease strained bilateral ties.The leaders of the world's two most populous nations will tackle "over-arching issues", according to India's announcement of the meeting.

10 October 2019

US-China trade talks to resume despite low expectations

As they prepared to return to the negotiating table on Thursday, top Chinese trade officials faced a blitz of aggressive US manoeuvres, with expectations for a grand bargain between both sides approaching zero.President Donald Trump – who has taken the global economy on a white-knuckle ride since launching multi-pronged trade offensives with China and Europe last year – said Wednesday the outcome was down to him."They want to make a deal," he said at the White House.

10 October 2019

US-China power rivalry set for Bangkok staging

The US-China rivalry is set to be sharpened at a Bangkok summit starting Wednesday, where Washington's top diplomat will insist his nation remains a key Asia-Pacific power in the face of Beijing's military machinations in contested seas and airspace.Foreign ministers from 10 Southeast Asian countries are meeting in the Thai capital this week.They will be joined by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his Chinese and Russian counterparts, with old flashpoints in the disputed South C

31 July 2019

'Just a collision': Duterte downplays sinking

The sinking of a Filipino fishing boat by a Chinese vessel in the disputed South China Sea was "just a collision", the Philippine's President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday as he moved to soothe anger over the crash.The typically brash Duterte urged calm in his first public comments about the June 9 incident, which has fed into outrage over China's expansive claims to the resource-rich waterway.Critics have voiced anger over the Chinese trawler's failure to rescue the 22

18 June 2019