Main news of the last weeks


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24 NOVEMBER 2019

Hong Kong districts election: Huge victory of the Democrats

Landslide victory for pan-democratic parties in district council elections will have a sweeping impact on city gripped by social unrest, and sends a message to both the chief executive and Beijingttps://


US, South Korea to suspend joint air drill again to avoid tensions with North Korea, Yonhap reports

The United States and South Korea will suspend a planned air-power military drill for the second straight year to avoid increasing tensions with North Korea while denuclearisation talks between Washington and Pyongyang are stalled,Yonhap News reported, citing an unidentified official


Germany’s Merkel renews push for FTA with India, pledges green funds

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday (Nov 2) there was a need for a fresh attempt to restart talks on finalising a free trade agreement (FTA) between India and the European Union

ASEAN summit grapples with US-China trade war

Southeast Asian leaders have gathered in Bangkok for a three-day summit expected to be dominated by trade. ASEAN members are trying to finalize a China-backed plan to create the world’s biggest free trade area

1st NOVEMBER 2019

China to ‘perfect’ Hong Kong leader appointment system amid ongoing pro-democracy protests

China will « perfect » the way the leader of Hong Kong will be appointed and replaced, refusing to tolerate separatism or threats to national security there, according to a senior Chinese official

China wins WTO case to sanction US$3.6 billion in US products

The World Trade Organisation on Friday allowed China to levy US$3.6 billion worth of punitive tariffs on US goods in an anti-dumping dispute Beijing brought against Washington in 2013

Pakistan opposition sets ultimatum for government to step down

Tens of thousands of members of a radical Islamist party demanded on November 1 that Prime Minister Imran Khan and his administration resign within two days, raising the stakes in a protest campaign that the government has denounced as a threat to democracy

31 OCTOBER 2019

India strips Kashmir of special status and divides it in two

State taken under federal control and split into Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh

Japan’s Shuri Castle engulfed by fire

A major fire has broken out at a 500-year-old castle on Japan’s southern island of Okinawa. Authorities say much of the World Heritage-listed Shuri Castle has now been reduced to a charred skeleton

19th CPC Central Committee concludes fourth plenary session

The 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) concluded its fourth plenary session in Beijing on Thursday with the release of a communique

29 OCTOBER 2019

Hong Kong’s pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong barred from election

The Hong Kong Electoral Affairs Commission said Joshua Wong’s nomination was found to be « invalid. » The 23-year-old activist said he was the only candidate who was barred from running

Despite al-Baghdadi’s death, the Islamic State remains a major threat in Southeast Asia

The leader of the Islamic State died three days ago in a US military operation. Southeast Asia has more than a hundred Jihadi networks loyal to the Islamic State group. in the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia, security forces are ready to respond to reprisals

India ‘hand picks’ far-right EU parliamentarians to assess troubled Kashmir

The visit drew ire from rights activists and leaders of the opposition as the ruling BJP has barred foreign journalists and independent groups from visiting Kashmir, where a clampdown on dissent has continued since August 5

28 OCTOBER 2019

Korea to bolster fintech cooperation with ASEAN

South Korea’s financial regulator said Monday it will deepen cooperation with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations in the financial technology sector

Hong Kong officially enters recession, with zero growth expected for remainder of 2019

Hong Kong has fallen into recession and is unlikely to achieve any growth this year following almost five months of anti-Government protests, the city’s financial secretary says

Bangladesh High Court orders Muhammad Yunus to surrender by Nov 7

The High Court on Monday asked Nobel laureate Dr Muhammad Yunus to surrender within November 7 in three cases filed for terminating employees of Grameen Communications

27 OCTOBER 2019

Huge rallies kick off in Pakistan to oust PM Imran Khan

Pakistani PM Khan faces a tough political challenge as an anti-government march to topple his government set off on Sunday. Khan’s woes have been aggravated by a deteriorating economy and accusations of bad governance

26 OCTOBER 2019

China seeks closer ties with Brazil

China would like to expand cooperation with Brazil in areas covering agriculture, energy, mining industry, aerospace and infrastructure, President Xi Jinping said

Donald Trump to suspend US$1.3 billion in trade preferences for Thailand over workers’ rights

United States President Donald Trump has suspended US$1.3 billion in trade preferences for Thailand because of its failure “to adequately provide internationally-recognised worker rights”, such as protection for freedom of association and collective bargaining

25 OCTOBER 2019

Solomons vetoes China ‘lease’ on Pacific isle

The prime minister of the Solomon Islands said on Friday that a Chinese company’s attempt to lease the entire island of Tulagi in the Pacific archipelago was unlawful and would not be allowed to go ahead

Muslims in south Thailand mark 15 years since ‘Tak Bai massacre’

Muslims in Thailand’s south on Friday marked with prayers the 15th anniversary of the death of scores of protesters who suffocated in army trucks, an incident that galvanised unrest and remains an emblem of state impunity

24 OCTOBER 2019

European Union ‘won’t rush into trade deal’ with China

The European Union is in no rush to seal a major trade deal with China despite Beijing saying good progress had been in the talks, an EU spokesman said after a meeting between top officials on Thursday

Ruling BJP headed for mixed results in state elections in India

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) returned to power in the western state of Maharashtra, but was falling short of a majority in the northern state of Haryana in a mixed set of results for a party that has seemed invincible

North Korea may allow China to tap rare earth mine in exchange for solar investment

North Korea plans to grant China access to a rare earth mine in exchange for investment in solar energy that could ease chronic power shortages in the impoverished country, according to an article posted on an industry association website

Chinese Uyghur activist Ilham Tohti wins EU human rights award, the Sakharov Prize

The European Parliament awards the 2019 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to Ilham Tohti, a renowned Uyghur activist who dedicated his life to fighting for the rights of China’s Muslim minority

Pakistan and India sign Sikh pilgrimage corridor agreement

India and Pakistan have signed an agreement to operationalize the Kartarpur corridor, which will connect Sikh shrines located on either side of the border

23 OCTOBER 2019

Indonesia’s President selects Cabinet, appointing Opposition Leader as Defence Minister

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has selected Opposition Leader Prabowo Subianto to serve in his new Cabinet as Defence Minister

Hong Kong’s ‘dead’ extradition bill finally buried as government formally withdraws it

Hong Kong’s extradition bill, declared “dead” months ago by the government, was finally buried on Wednesday with the formal withdrawal of the much-hated legislation which sparked the city’s worst crisis in decades

S Korean facilities at Mt Kumgang resort must be removed: KCNA

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said South Korean facilities at North Korea’s Mt Kumgang tourist resort had become « shabby » and had to be removed, state media reported on Wednesday, underlining the cooling relations between the two countries

22 OCTOBER 2019

Japan’s Naruhito declares himself emperor

The reign of Japan’s 126th emperor, Naruhito, has begun following a series of ancient ceremonies at the Imperial Palace. He succeeded his father, who became the first emperor to abdicate in over two centuries

21 OCTOBER 2019

Defence minister says ‘no force’ can stop China reunification

China’s defence minister said on Monday that resolving the « Taiwan question » was China’s greatest national interest, and that no force could prevent the country’s « reunification »

Thai king dismisses consort for undermining the queen

Thailand’s king has stripped his royal noble consort of her titles and military ranks for disloyalty, accusing her of seeking to undermine the position of his official wife for her own benefit

20 OCTOBER 2019

Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo sworn in for second and final term

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who rose from poverty and pledged to champion democracy, fight entrenched corruption and modernize the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, was sworn in Sunday for his second and final five-year term with a pledge to take bolder actions

Singapore and China sign agreement to boost defence cooperation

The enhanced Agreement on Defence Exchanges and Security Cooperation (ADESC) formalises activities between Singapore’s Ministry of Defence (Mindef) and China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA), including port calls, bilateral exercises, mutual visits and cross-attendance of courses, Mindef said in a news release on Sunday–defence-agreement-scale-up-army-12018308

19 OCTOBER 2019

Australia urged to return $5bn to Timor-Leste and launch royal commission

Australia’s negotiations with Timor-Leste should be the subject of a royal commission, and the government should return $5bn unfairly taken from the impoverished nation, a parliamentary inquiry has been told

18 OCTOBER 2019

Zhao Ziyang: Purged Chinese Communist reformer is buried

Only close family were allowed to attend the low-key burial in Tianshou Garden cemetery in Chaoping in Beijing’s northern outskirts. Well-wishers and supporters were kept away

Japan to send its own forces to protect Middle East shipping

Japan will send its own ships and planes to protect its merchant vessels in the Arabian Gulf, an official said on Friday, rejecting calls to join a US coalition formed to safeguard shipping in the region

China’s quarterly economic growth sinks to 26-year low amid US trade war

The world’s second largest economy grew by 6% in the three months ending in September, compared with the same period last year. That was down from 6.2% in the preceding quarter, and was the weakest rate since China began reporting quarterly data in 1993

Pakistan denies entry to Asia coordinator for global press freedom group which has criticised government censorship

Pakistan has banned the Asia coordinator of the Committee to Protect Journalists from entering the country, in a move the global press freedom group said reinforces its “deep and growing concerns” about censorship in the country

17 OCTOBER 2019

China signed deal to ‘lease’ Pacific island in Solomons

A Chinese company signed an agreement to lease an entire island in the Solomon Islands a day after Beijing recruited the Pacific nation as its latest ally in the strategically important region, according to documents obtained by AFP Thursday (Oct 17)–lease–pacific-island-in-solomons-12009268

Malaysia must prepare navy for possible conflict in South China Sea, foreign minister warns

Malaysia’s navy needs upgrading to deal with the possibility of armed conflict in the South China Sea, the country’s foreign minister said on Thursday ahead of the long-awaited release of a Defence White Paper expected to outline a 10-year plan for the armed forces

India, Japan conduct joint military exercise ‘Shinyuu Maitri’

The air forces of India and Japan are going to conduct a joint military exercise named ‘Shinyuu Maitri’ at Air Force Station Arjan Singh in Panagarh, West Bengal

16 OCTOBER 2019

Hong Kong leader forced to abandon state of the union address amid protests

Hong Kong’s embattled leader Carrie Lam abandoned a state-of-the-union style address after opposition politicians heckled her in chaotic scenes inside the city’s legislative chamber

Taiwan F-16 fighter jet upgrades on schedule, despite delays

Taiwan’s multimillion dollar programme to retrofit its 142-strong fleet of F-16 fighter jets to bring them up to Viper standard is expected to be completed within the next four years

15 OCTOBER 2019

Singapore and China sign 9 agreements, exchange views on ‘excellent’ state of relations

Singapore and China have signed nine agreements and Memoranda of Understanding, following the conclusion of a top-level bilateral meeting in Chongqing on Tuesday (Oct 15)

Human rights group shut down in Maldives for ‘insulting’ religion

A temporary shut down order was issued by the Maldives government against the Maldivian Democracy Network for a 2015 report that allegedly ‘insulted’ religion

Taiwan sends presidential envoy to boost Czech ties after Prague moves to scrap sister city agreement with Beijing

Taiwan has sent a presidential envoy to the Czech capital after the Prague city authorities moved to cut ties with their counterparts in Beijing over the one-China policy

Will not allow water to Pakistan: Indian Prime Minister Modi

“For 70 years, the water which belongs to India and the farmers of Haryana flowed to Pakistan. Modi will stop this water and bring it to your houses,” the Prime Minister said in an election meeting, the second in two days, in Charki Dadri in Haryana

Philippines Conducts Maritime Exercises with US, Japan and Australia

The Philippines launched large-scale maritime drills on Wednesday with allies the United States and Japan near disputed areas in the South China Sea, military officials said Tuesday, amid heightened concern about Beijing’s military influence in the region

14 OCTOBER 2019

Prince William, Kate visiting Pakistan to boost ties

Britain’s Prince William and his wife Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, are arriving in Islamabad on Monday for the first royal trip to the country in more than a decade. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be accorded a red carpet welcome for their first visit to the Pakistan

13 OCTOBER 2019

Xi Jinping promises to step up Chinese support for Nepal as two-day visit concludes

The two countries signed 20 agreements on Sunday to wrap up Xi’s two-day visit, which marked the first visit by a Chinese state leader to the Himalayan state in more than two decades as Beijing seeks to bolster its influence in South Asia

Pope Francis elevates Kerala nun Mariam Thresia to sainthood at Vatican City

Mariam Thresia, who founded the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family in Thrissur in May 1914, was raised to the highest position within the centuries-old institution during the ceremony at the St Peter’s Square

12 OCTOBER 2019

Xi, Modi agree to trim trade deficit, boost mutual trust amid US-China tensions

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minster Narendra Modi concluded their second informal summit on Saturday by pledging to overcome trade differences and appreciate “each other’s autonomous foreign policies”, signalling an effort to focus on mutual interests rather than on long-standing contentious issues

11 OCTOBER 2019

South Korea’s army says will cut force by 100,000 in three years

The Army plans to slash troop numbers by nearly 100-thousand in the next three years due to demographic decline and a need to enhance unit structures

10 OCTOBER 2019

Indonesian Security Minister Wiranto stabbed by suspected Islamic State sympathiser

Indonesia’s Chief Security Minister Wiranto is recovering in hospital after he was stabbed by a suspected Islamic State sympathiser at an event where scores of people were queuing to shake his hand and take selfies

Two Malaysian lawmakers arrested over alleged ties to Sri Lankan Tamil Tigers

Assemblymen G. Saminathan from the state of Malacca and P. Gunasekaran of Negeri Sembilan were arrested on Thursday, confirmed Thomas Su, a member of the central executive committee in the predominantly-Chinese Democratic Action Party (DAP), which the duo also belong to

South Korea may acquire nuclear submarines after North’s missile test

South Korea’s navy is considering acquiring nuclear-powered submarines, it said on Thursday (Oct 10) in a surprise announcement which would change the balance of power in North-east Asia and is likely to upset several of its neighbours

9 OCTOBER 2019

Japan’s Akira Yoshino, 2 others win Nobel Prize in Chemistry for Li-ion battery work

Akira Yoshino, honorary fellow at Asahi Kasei Corp., has won this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced on Oct. 9 in Stockholm

Malaysian MPs vote to repeal ‘fake news’ law

Malaysian lawmakers on Wednesday (Oct 9) once again voted to repeal a controversial law that punished spreading « fake news » with up to six years behind bars and which critics said was aimed at stifling dissent

Pakistan thanks China for ‘support on Kashmir issue’

The dispute over India’s move to scrap Kashmir’s special status and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor were the main topics of discussion between two leaders. China’s president is expected to travel to New Delhi soon

8 OCTOBER 2019

Filipino performance artist and activist Carlos Celdran dies

Celdran died in Madrid, where he had been living since January of this year

Vietnamese activist arrested for criticising Communist government on Facebook

Human rights groups have called for the immediate release of a Vietnamese activist arrested for criticising one-party Communist rule on his Facebook page

India takes first delivery in French jet deal

India received on Tuesday the first of 36 Rafale fighter jets ordered from France in 2016 in a multi-billion-dollar deal that Paris hopes will unlock more sales

South Asia region Al Qaeda chief Asim Omar killed in Afghanistan

Afghan intelligence agency has confirmed Asim Omar, leader of al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), was killed in a joint US-Afghan raid on a Taliban compound in Musa Qala district of Helmand province, while several others captured, including Pakistani citizens

7 OCTOBER 2019

National Exhibition of Sci-Tech with focus on robots held in Pyongyang

Rapid progress is being made in developing robot technology in North Korea. At the 2019 National Exhibition of Sci-Tech Achievements in the Field of Robot held this week in Pyongyang

More than 16,000 flee unrest in Indonesia’s Papua region

More than 16,000 scared residents have fled an unrest-hit city in Indonesia’s Papua region, the military said on Monday, as one of the deadliest eruptions of violence in years sparked calls for an independent investigation

Seoul fears US is delaying envoy’s approval in retaliation for scrapping of security pact, sources say

South Korea has waited two months for the US government’s approval of its appointed ambassador to Washington, raising concern that the US is delaying its nod in retaliation for Seoul’s abandonment of a security pact with Japan

US and Taiwan hold forum to shore up support for Taipei in Pacific

Representatives of Pacific Island nations, the US and Taiwan  met in Taipei on Monday to find ways to shore up support for the self-ruled island in the region as Beijing continues to poach its allies

6 OCTOBER 2019

Hong Kong court rejects bid to suspend mask ban

A Hong Kong judge has rejected a bid from the city’s pro-democracy legislators to suspend the government’s ban on wearing face masks at protests. Mass demonstrations have continued in defiance of the ban

Sri Lanka President Sirisena abandons re-election bid

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has decided not to stand for re-election in November polls, as the politically influential Rajapaksa family nominated two candidates by final registration on Sunday (Oct 6)

North Korea pulls out of nuclear talks after US insist two sides had ‘good discussions’

Nuclear talks between North Korea and the United States have broken down, Pyongyang‘s chief negotiator has said, despite Washington’s assurances the two sides had “good discussions” in Sweden

Chinese President Xi Jinping and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un hail immortal ties

Chinese President Xi Jinping has promised to promote a « long-term, sound and stable » relationship with North Korea, state news agency Xinhua said on Sunday (Oct 6), as the two countries mark 70 years of diplomatic relations

Vietnam again accuses China of violating its fishing rights in its exclusive economic zone

Hanoi has again accused Beijing of violating its rights after three Chinese vessels stopped a local crew from fishing in the country’s exclusive economic zone in the disputed South China Sea on Saturday, Vietnamese media reported

5 OCTOBER 2019

Việt Nam, Cambodia issue joint statement

Việt Nam and Cambodia have issued a joint statement on the occasion of the Việt Nam visit by Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen from October 4-5 at the invitation of his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyễn Xuân Phúc

Thailand judge shoots himself in court after criticising system

A Thai judge shot himself in the chest in front of a packed court after acquitting several murder suspects and decrying the kingdom’s judicial system in an impassioned speech broadcast on Facebook Live

North Korea and US begin fresh talks on nukes and sanctions

North Korean and US officials on Saturday gathered for new nuclear talks in Stockholm after months of deadlock and Pyongyang’s defiant test of a sea-launched ballistic missile this week

Taliban meet US peace envoy for first time since ‘dead’ deal

The Taliban met U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad in the Pakistan capital for the first time since President Donald Trump declared a seemingly imminent peace deal to end Afghanistan’s 18-year war ‘dead’ a month ago, a Taliban official said early Saturday

China launches satellite that can photograph every metre of ground

The Chinese satellite, Gaofen-10, was launched at 2:51 a.m. Saturday (Beijing Time) aboard a Long March-4C rocket and entered the planned orbit successfully. It was the 314th flight mission of the Long March carrier rocket series

India, Bangladesh sign seven pacts

In a joint statement issued on Saturday, India and Bangladesh hailed the bilateral ties between the two countries, as they signed seven agreements including the setting up of a joint coastal surveillance system

4 OCTOBER 2019

Thai army charges opposition politicians with sedition

The Thai army has filed sedition charges against six key opposition party leaders who debated possible devolution of some powers to the nation’s violence-hit south

Vladimir Putin says Russia is helping China build a missile early warning system

Russia is helping China to build an early warning system to counter missile attacks, Vladimir Putin said on Thursday

Duterte seeks deeper ties with Latin America, Africa, Central Asia

“In the remaining three years of my term, we will likewise expand the horizon of Philippine diplomacy by deepening our engagement in Latin America, Africa and Central Asia,” Duterte said

3 OCTOBER 2019

Cambodia Judge Orders Re-Investigation of RFA Reporters’ Case

The judge in Cambodia’s trial of two former Radio Free Asia journalists on Wednesday called for a reinvestigation of the espionage and the production of pornography charges, a ruling that a rights expert said was “ridiculous and punitive” and showed the weakness of the case

North Korea says underwater-launched missile test succeeded

North Korea confirmed Thursday it has carried out its first underwater-launched ballistic missile test in three years, in an apparent bid to dial up pressure on the United States ahead of a weekend resumption of their nuclear diplomacy

2 OCTOBER 2019

India celebrates Gandhi Jayanti 150th birthday: PM Modi, President Kovind pay tribute to the Mahatma

It’s the 150th birth anniversary of The Mahatma and celebrations are being held across the country and the world. In pic: PM Modi and Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi on 150th birth anniversary at the Rajghat, New Delhi

Sukarno heir Maharani elected as Indonesia’s first female House speaker

Maharani is the daughter of former president Megawati Sukarnoputri and granddaughter of Indonesia’s founding president

Japan ups sales tax to 10% amid signs economy is weakening

Japan raised its national sales tax to 10% from 8% on Tuesday, risking short-term pain for the sake of the country’s future financial stability as it copes with a fast aging and shrinking population

1 OCTOBER 2019

Hong Kong Police Fire Live Ammunition At Protesters, Boy Shot in Chest

A Hong Kong police officer shot a protester with a live round on Tuesday (Oct 1) after his unit was attacked by demonstrators in Tsuen Wan district during sustained clashes in the city, a police spokesperson said

China anniversary: Beijing celebrations mark 70 years of Communist rule

China has celebrated 70 years of Communist party rule and its rise to global superpower status with a military parade showcasing the country’s technology, and a promise from President Xi Jinping that “no force can shake the status of this great nation”


Chinese President Xi Jinping vows to uphold ‘one country, two systems’ in Hong Kong

Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged on Monday (Sept 30) to uphold the principles of « one country, two systems », amid fears that Beijing would intervene to end pro-democracy protests that have rocked Hong Kong for months


Singapore opposition politician Chee Soon Juan launches party manifesto as election chatter grows

As talk of an impending general election heats up in Singapore, the opposition Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) launched its manifesto, with its party chief insisting that unless the city state became more free and open, it would lag behind in fostering the creativity and innovation needed to drive progress


Afghanistan presidential election: polls close as large-scale violence avoided

Polls have closed in Afghanistan’s presidential election amid widespread complaints of irregularities and pockets of violence from Taliban insurgents, mostly in the south and north of the country

China set to join Arms Trade Treaty that Donald Trump threatened to abandon

Beijing says it wants to join the pact, which regulates the $70 billion cross-border trade in conventional weapons, as soon as possible. The treaty has been ratified by 104 countries but US President Trump has U-turned


Death of Chinese activist in police custody prompts calls for investigation into torture

Human rights advocates are calling for an investigation into the death of a Wang Meiyu, Chinese activist, arrested after holding up a placard calling for Chinese leader Xi Jinping to step down

In Counterweight to China, EU, Japan Sign Deal to Link Asia

The European Union and Japan signed an infrastructure deal on Sept. 27 to coordinate transport, energy and digital projects linking Europe and Asia, seeking an alternative to Chinese largesse that has raised suspicion in Brussels and Tokyo

Indonesian President Jokowi urges police restraint after student protesters’ deaths

Indonesian president Joko Widodo on Friday (Sep 27) called for police restraint and promised an investigation into the deaths of two students, killed while taking part in protests that have spread to become the country’s biggest in decades


US Senate Committee Passes TAIPEI Act to Boost Taiwan’s International Standing

The U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations unanimously passed the TAIPEI Act on Sept. 25, moving forward a bill that would bolster Taiwan’s ability to fend off China’s diplomatic bullying

Sri Lanka’s governing party picks Premadasa as candidate

Sri Lanka’s governing party on Thursday named its charismatic deputy leader, Sajith Premadasa, as its candidate in November’s presidential election, ending a long tussle with the party leader, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, over the nomination

Beijing issues position paper on China and the UN

China’s cooperation with the United Nations (UN) is growing stronger and deeper and entering a new era, according to a position paper published by the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs

US and Japan agree initial trade deal focusing on agriculture

President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Sept. 25 signed an initial trade deal that opens up markets to $7 billion worth of U.S. agricultural goods


Pakistan growth rate to be lowest in South Asia: ADB

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has projected that Pakistan’s economic growth rate will be 2.8% – the lowest in South Asia – and its inflation rate will be 12% – the highest in the bloc of eight nations – in this fiscal year

US sanctions Chinese companies for Iran oil imports: Pompeo

The United States on Wednesday (Sep 25) announced sanctions on Chinese companies for buying Iranian oil, stepping up pressure despite European attempts to arrange talks between Washington and Tehran

Marshall Islands Shows Support for Taiwan After Neighbors Favor China

The Marshall Islands confirmed it was maintaining diplomatic ties with Taiwan on Sept. 25, a welcome show of support for President Tsai Ing-wen who has seen two other Pacific nations drop ties in favor of China in a matter of weeks

Beijing Daxing: China’s huge new ‘starfish’ airport opens its doors

Built at a cost of US$63 million, the airport is roughly the size of 100 football fields and is expected to become one of the world’s busiest. It boasts four runways and is expected to handle up to 72 million passengers a year by 2025, eventually reaching 100 million


Japan not inviting South Korea to naval review amid dispute

Japan announced Tuesday that it is not inviting South Korea to a multinational naval review it is hosting next month because their ties are badly strained over history, trade and defense

Singapore renews military bases pact with US amid deepening defence ties with China

The renewal of a three-decade old pact between the United States and Singapore that grants US forces access to the Lion City’s naval and air bases signals that Washington views the city state as a vital part of its Asia strategy for a long time to come, analysts have said

Laos to go ahead with Luang Prabang dam project despite warnings

The government of Laos has officially informed the intergovernmental Mekong River Commission (MRC) of its plan to build a new dam in Luang Prabang, despite warnings about the project’s environmental effects

China pledges new impetus in climate efforts after 2020

China will inject new impetus into climate change efforts after 2020, and use its Belt and Road initiative to boost cooperation in the fight against global warming, State Councillor Wang Yi, the country’s top diplomat, said in a statement

Cambodia’s exiled former opposition leader Sam Rainsy calls for uprising

The former Cambodian opposition leader who lives in exile is calling for a people’s uprising, and an army rebellion, against the government


‘Howdy, Modi!’: Trump hails Indian PM at ‘historic’ Texas rally

US President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi exchanged warm words of friendship in Texas at a rare mass rally for a foreign leader

Indonesia says at least 20 killed, dozens injured in Papua unrest

At least 20 people were killed and dozens more injured as fresh unrest erupted in Indonesia’s restive Papua region Monday, with some victims burned to death in buildings set ablaze by protesters, authorities said


Solomon Islands establishes diplomatic ties with China

Solomon Islands says the decision to switch diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China was based on « national needs. » The development leaves Taiwan more isolated than ever


Kiribati cuts ties with Taiwan to switch to China, days after Solomon Islands

The Pacific island nation of Kiribati cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan on Friday, becoming the second country to do so this week and strengthening Beijing’s hand


China publishes white paper on progress of women’s cause

China on Thursday issued a white paper on the progress of women’s cause in the past 70 years since the founding of the People’s Republic of China

India builds detention camps for Assam ‘foreigners’

After excluding 2 million people from a citizenship list, Indian authorities in Assam are now building detention centers to incarcerate « stateless » people. DW reporter Murali Krishnan visited an under-construction camp

Malaysia Seeks Non-Militarization of South China Sea

Malaysia called Wednesday for non-militarization of the South China Sea, as Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad unveiled his Pakatan Harapan government’s first comprehensive foreign policy document since it took power last year


Hong Kong refuses to renew work visa for representative from Taiwan

Tsai Meng-chieh, who works for Taiwan’s Investigation Bureau, was forced to return home on Wednesday after the city government refused to extend his papers, according to officials from the bureau and the Mainland Affairs Council


Indonesia Raises Minimum Marriage Age for Girls to 19

The Indonesian parliament on Monday raised minimum marriage age for girls from 16 to 19 years, as the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation responded to pressure to end child weddings

Japan’s Shinzo Abe wants a ‘space self-defence force’ to protect the country’s satellites

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Tuesday that Japan’s existing Air Self-Defence Force may “evolve into the Air and Space SDF” in the future as he stressed the need to strengthen the country’s defence capabilities in outer space

Blast at Rally for President Ashraf Ghani Kills 24; Ghani Unharmed

Taliban suicide attackers killed at least 24 people in Afghanistan on Sept. 17, their deadliest bombing taking place near an election rally by President Ashraf Ghani, although he was unhurt


China extends influence in Pacific as Solomon Islands break with Taiwan

The move is a huge blow to self-ruled Taiwan, which has lost six allies since 2016, and to Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, who is seeking re-election in January amid rising tension with China

600,000 Rohingya still in Myanmar at ‘serious risk of genocide’: UN

Rohingya Muslims remaining in Myanmar still face a « serious risk of genocide », UN investigators said on Monday (Sep 16), warning the repatriation of a million already driven from the country by the army remains « impossible »

India arrests Kashmir leader Farooq Abdullah under controversial law as restore normal life to Kashmir, Supreme Court tells government

A senior pro-India Kashmiri politician was arrested under a controversial law that allows authorities to imprison someone for up to two years without charge or trial

‘Very difficult’ for China’s economy to grow at 6 percent: PM Li Keqiang

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said it is « very difficult » for China’s economy to grow at a rate of 6 percent or more because of the high base from which it was starting and the complicated international backdrop


Rare map that bolstered Philippines’ case in territorial dispute with China sold for $1 million

A copy of the map, first published in 1734 by the Jesuit cartographer Pedro Murillo Velarde. It was among 270 maps presented to a five-man arbitration tribunal to back the Philippines’ rights to parts of the South China Sea that China was also claiming. Less than a dozen copies exist today

Afghan Taliban revoke months-long ban on Red Cross

The Taliban on Sunday lifted their ban on the International Committee for Red Cross (ICRC) that was imposed in April this year, saying in a statement issued by the militant group that they were “granting ICRC permission » to resume their activities


Malaysian opposition parties UMNO and PAS formalise pact

Malaysia’s two oldest political parties – UMNO and PAS – signed a charter of formal cooperation on Saturday (Sep 14), presenting arguably the largest political platform for the majority Malay-Muslims


Thai navy inks deal for LPD warship from China

China and Thailand have signed a deal that will see a Chinese shipbuilding company build a Type 071E landing platform dock (LPD) warship for the Thai navy, a move which shows deepened arms trade cooperation between the two countries, a Chinese military expert said


Duterte says Xi Jinping offered him an oil and gas deal to ignore South China Sea ruling

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte said he has been offered a controlling stake in a joint energy deal by Chinese President Xi Jinping in exchange for ignoring an international arbitration in Manila’s favor on the South China Sea

India jailed thousands in Kashmir crackdown – official data

Authorities in India-administered Kashmir have arrested nearly 4,000 people since New Delhi took its limited autonomy last month, government data shows, the most clear evidence yet of the scale of one of the disputed region’s biggest crackdowns

Emotional footage emerges of BJ Habibie, Xanana Gusmao saying farewell

Following the death of former Indonesian president Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie, footage has emerged of an emotional hospital visit from former Timor-Leste president and prime minister Xanana Gusmao

Cambodia, Laos, agree to step up border demarcation effort

Prime Minister Hun Sen and his visiting Lao counterpart, Thongloun Sisoulith, agreed in a statement to complete the process now that 86% of the border has been marked. The two countries are to add border pillars and produce a map of the borderline as party


Former Indonesian president Habibie dies at the age of 83

Former Indonesian President Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie, who allowed democratic reforms and an independence referendum for East Timor following the ouster of the dictator Suharto, has died aged 83

Japan’s Shinzo Abe shakes up Cabinet, brings in rising star

Japan’s Shinzo Abe on Wednesday (Sept 11) appointed new foreign and defence ministers and promoted a popular rising political star, in a Cabinet reshuffle that fuelled speculation over the Prime Minister’s successor


Thailand : Another micro party pulls out of coalition

Pichet Sathirachawal, leader of the Prachatham Thai Party, held a briefing in Bangkok on Tuesday to announce the party’s decision

Indonesian police arrest dozens over Papua riots

Indonesian authorities have arrested 85 people linked to weeks of deadly unrest in Papua, police said, as Jakarta accused an exiled separatist leader of stoking riots in its easternmost territory

Solomon Islands Says ‘Business as Usual’ with Taiwan as it Mulls Diplomatic Switch to China

Solomon Islands said that its diplomatic ties with Taiwan were stable, giving the assurance even as China woos the Pacific nation with a development fund if it switches alliance from Taipei to Beijing

India, Nepal inaugurate South Asia’s first cross-border oil pipeline

South Asia’s first cross-border oil pipeline with an annual capacity of 2 million metric tonnes was jointly inaugurated via video conference on Tuesday by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Nepalese counterpart KP Sharma Oli


Malaysia rebukes Philippines for ‘unfriendly’ remarks as Sabah sovereignty claim resurfaces

Bilateral ties could suffer if the Philippines continues to insist it has claims over the Malaysian state of Sabah, said analysts, a day after Putrajaya issued a strong rebuke against “unfriendly” remarks from its Southeast Asian neighbour

India imposes curfew after clashes in Kashmir

India imposed a curfew in several parts of the contested Kashmir region yesterday after clashes between security forces and Shi’ite Muslims taking part in a procession, officials and eyewitnesses said

Nepal, China ink 3 agreements during Chinese FM’s visit

Nepal and China on Monday exchanged three agreements following bilateral talks between the Nepalese Minister of Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali and his visiting Chinese counterpart Wang Yi

India criticises China on ‘one-sided’ trade policies

Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar on Monday (Sept 9) criticised China for what he described as one-sided trade policies, casting doubt over the progress of negotiations for a pan-Asian free trade agreement


Hong Kong filmmaker Yonfan’s animation condemning ongoing anti-government protests wins best screenplay award at Venice Film Festival

Hong Kong filmmaker Yonfan’s riot-themed animation won best screenplay at the Venice Film Festival, with the director condemning protesters for the prolonged political unrest in the city

Afghan peace talks dead, U.S. to keep pressure on Taliban: Pompeo

Talks on bringing peace to Afghanistan are on hold and the United States will keep pressuring Taliban militants for significant commitments while providing military support to Afghan troops, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday


MILF rebels hand in guns in Philippines as part of treaty to end decades-long separatist insurgency

Muslim rebels in the mainly Catholic Philippines began handing over their guns to independent foreign monitors on Saturday, as part of a treaty aimed at ending a decades-long separatist insurgency that has left about 150,000 people dead

North Korean artillery commander becomes military chief

Pyongyang has named an army general with expertise in artillery as its new military commander, North Korean state media reported, in a move that an analyst said could signal plans for the development of new weapons

India loses contact with spacecraft trying to land on Moon

India’s space agency has lost contact with the Chandrayaan-2 lunar lander, just as the probe was due to touch down on the moon. It is currently unclear if the mission has failed


North Korea pursues nuclear weapons programme, evades sanctions: UN

North Korea is pressing ahead with its nuclear weapons programme while evading sanctions, a United Nations report said, following a series of recent test-launches that have been downplayed by US President Donald Trump


Malaysia, Russia discuss ways to strengthen bilateral ties

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin have discussed ways to further strengthen ties between the two countries

North Korea tells UN to cut international aid staff in Pyongyang

North Korea has told the United Nations to cut the number of international staff it deploys to Pyongyang, saying the organisation’s programmes have failed « due to the politicisation of UN assistance by hostile forces, »

India extends $1 billion line of credit for development of Russia’s Far East; PM Modi vows to walk shoulder-to-shoulder with Moscow

India on Thursday announced an “unprecedented” USD 1 billion line of credit for the development of Russia’s Far East with Prime Minister Narendra Modi vowing that New Delhi will walk shoulder-to-shoulder with Moscow in its quest for the development of the resource-rich region


India keen to acquire shipbuilding tech from Russia as Modi-Putin visits modern shipyard in Vladivostok

Prime Minister Narendra Modi travelled on a ship with Russian President Vladimir Putin to the Zvezda shipbuilding complex, the first stop in his two-day visit to the Russian Far East region and spent quality time together as Delhi showed interest in acquiring shipbuilding technology from Moscow

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam announces formal withdrawal of extradition Bill

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam on Wednesday announced the formal withdrawal of a controversial extradition bill that has plunged the Chinese-ruled city into its worst political crisis in decades


Top North Korean, Chinese diplomats meet in Pyongyang amid stalled nuclear talks with U.S.

The foreign ministers of China and North Korea have held talks in Pyongyang, with the two allies vowing to bolster bilateral ties and work closely on security issues amid the North’s stalled nuclear talks with the U.S


Hong Kong’s Carrie Lam says she would ‘quit’ if she could, fears her ability to resolve crisis now ‘very limited’

Embattled Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said she has caused « unforgivable havoc » by igniting the political crisis engulfing the city and would quit if she had a choice, according to an audio recording of remarks she made last week to a group of businesspeople

US to start Afghan withdrawal with 5,000 troops out in 20 weeks

America has agreed in principle to withdraw 5,000 troops from five military bases in 20 weeks, in a deal with the Taliban to kick start talks with the Afghan government

Vietnam commemorating 50 years since Ho Chi Minh death

Ho Chi Minh is still revered in Vietnam, seen as the man who brought independence to the country


China, US kick off new round of tariffs in trade war

China and the United States have begun imposing additional tariffs on each other’s goods, the latest escalation in a bruising trade war

Myanmar govt, armed groups issue ceasefire communique

Representatives of Myanmar government’s National Reconciliation and Peace Center (NRPC) and four ethnic armed groups issued a joint communique late on Saturday following their meeting in Kengtung, Shan state, earlier on the day

Seoul eyes intelligence-sharing pact with Bangkok as President Moon Jae-in seeks pivot to Asean

To signal its growing interest in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), South Korea will seek an intelligence-sharing pact – called the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) – with Thailand