- Sino-Australian relations have deteriorated sharply across a range of issues, including trade, investment, security, cybersecurity, Covid-19, and human rights.
- Australia’s relationship with China may offer a preview of trends that are also beginning to emerge in other industrialized democracies.
Leaders of the ten countries of the Association of Southeast Asian (ASEAN) nations met virtually on Tuesday, 14 April, and then with their counterparts from China, South Korea and Japan (the so-called “+3” countries) on the same day.… Read the rest
● Reports of more activity in the disputed maritime zones in the South China Sea do not signal an immediate increase in risk.
● China may be opportunistically taking advantage of distracted governments.… Read the rest
Specific issues could arise in several countries next week.
President Joko Widodo continues to argue against both shelter-in-place (or home containment as it is referred to in other Southeast Asian countries) and the quarantining of the populated island of Java from the rest of the archipelago – a move that could backfire politically if the numbers of the diagnosed and fatalities post a sustained and significant increase in the coming weeks.… Read the rest
● An increase in COVID-19 cases in many countries this week is likely to lead to more restrictions on movement and business in the coming days.
● Approaches continue to vary, from the relatively light measures of Myanmar and Laos to the stringent tightening in the Philippines and Malaysia—all with potentially-different political consequences.… Read the rest
- The Abe government unveiled a new basic policy to combat the novel coronavirus outbreak on 25 February.
- The absolute number of cases remains relatively low, the government is hoping to prevent the emergence of the large disease clusters seen in other countries.
After a four-day party plenary session of the central committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK), North Korean leader Kim Jong Un struck a cautious note towards the US, even after North Korea’s year-end deadline for progress in denuclearization talks passed without any change in Washington’s negotiating position.… Read the rest