August 2023


News In Asia

  • The Indian state of Manipur, on the border with Myanmar, has been plunged into ethnic strife, with at least 130 dead and 60,000 displaced. The majority Meitei people are clashing with the minority Kuki and Naga hill tribes. A video of two Kuki women being stripped naked, paraded through the ruins of their village, and publicly gang-raped went viral, sparking mass protests.
  • An American soldier, Travis King, is in North Korean custody after apparently defecting to the secretive hermit state. Private King, 23, was being escorted back to the US to face disciplinary action when he escaped his handlers and joined a civilian tour group to the Korean DMZ. Witnesses say he laughed as he bolted across the border at the Joint Security Area.
  • Henry Kissinger arrived in China on a surprise visit. Dr. Kissinger, who turned 100 this year, is most famous for reopening US relations with China in 1971. Although he has not been in government for decades, Dr. Kissinger is considered the west’s leading elder statesman, and his visit is an encouraging sign after years of frosty relations between the two superpowers. He is particularly popular in China; President Xi Jinping welcomed his visit by saying that ‘the Chinese people never forget their old friends’.
  • Pita Limjaroenrat’s bid to become prime minister of Thailand has failed after the military-controlled Senate refused to approve his nomination. Mr. Pita’s party, Move Forward, won the popular vote in a landslide in May. The Senate will continue voting until a different prime minister is found. Thaksin Shinawatra, an exiled former prime minister, has announced he will return to the country. (His sister Yingluck Shinawatra, another former PM also living in exile, will not).
  • Hun Sen, the longtime ruler of Cambodia, was re-elected with 96% of the vote. His opponents had not been allowed to run. Hun, who prefers the title ‘Lord Prime Minister and Supreme Military Commander’, has been in high office since 1984. He has said that he will soon hand over to his son, Hun Manet, an army officer and economist trained at West Point and the University of Bristol.
  • Tobias Ellwood MP, the chair of the British Defence Select Committee, visited Afghanistan, where he made a video calling for the UK to re-engage with the ruling Taliban. His comments, where he noted a drop in corruption and the opium trade, were condemned by the British media as being unduly supportive of the extremist group. Mr. Ellwood has since deleted the video, but it remains available on Taliban social media pages, where it is paired with incongruously jolly background music.
  • Piracy in the Malacca and Singapore Straits have increased in 2023, according to the International Maritime Bureau. This rise is part of a global trend, particularly affecting areas with high maritime traffic like the Straits of Malacca and Singapore. The persistence of piracy is attributed to complex coastal geography, territorial disputes, and socio-economic factors such as coastal poverty and overfishing.
  • Vietnam has banned the new Barbie film, after censors spotted what they claim is a depiction of the controversial ‘nine-dash line’ on a map in one scene. China draws the line on maps to support its territorial claims in the South China Sea, which overlap with Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone. Warner Bros, the distributor of the film, said any resemblance was purely coincidental.

Editors Pick

The Straits of Malacca

Dire straits: Malacca, Singapore and the future of the global economy

Sean Paterson | 29th July 2023
It’s no exaggeration to say that much of the global economy hinges on a single 500 mile-long stretch of water. The Straits of Malacca, running between the Bay of Bengal and the South China Sea, with Indonesia on one side and Malaysia on the other,

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We Need To Talk About Inflation | Stephen D. King

We Need To Talk About Inflation

Recorded – 26th July 2023
An insightful discussion on the complexities of inflation with Stephen D. King, a senior economic advisor to HSBC. This video explores the historical lessons on inflation, the challenges and risks in navigating the current inflationary period, and the impact of inflation on economic decision-making.