China Asia

Latest news and analysis on diplomacy between Asian governments including China, Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines. Coverage of ASEAN summits.  
  1. North Korean foreign minister Ri Yong-ho has been replaced, Seoul-based NK News reported on Saturday.The usually well-informed outlet, citing multiple unnamed sources in Pyongyang, said Ri would be replaced by Ri Son-gwon, the former chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country (CPRC), who played a prominent role in inter-Korean talks in early 2018.North Korea news said the move, of which there has been no mention in official North Korean media, was part of a major…
  2. Facebook Inc said on Saturday it was working to find out how Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s name appeared as “Mr S***hole” in posts on its platform when translated into English from Burmese, apologising for any offence caused and saying the problem had been fixed.The error came to light on the second day of a visit by the president to the Southeast Asian country, where Xi and state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi signed dozens of agreements covering massive Beijing-backed infrastructure plans.A…
  3. Since Donald Trump became the American president in January 2017, he has frequently called his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping “a friend”, even throughout the on-off trade war between the world’s two largest economies over the past 18 months.At the ceremony on Wednesday when he and Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He inked the phase one trade agreement, Trump, true to form, called Xi “a very, very good friend of mine” and promised to visit China “in the not-too-distant future”.Xi appears to have…
  4. When Indonesian President Joko Widodo visited a small archipelago on the edge of the South China Sea this week, he sent a message to the world.“There are no more debates. De facto, de jure, Natuna is Indonesia,” said Widodo as he met fishermen, promised investment and reiterated his long-standing position on the sovereignty of the Natuna Islands.The Natunas, which lie roughly 1,100km south of the Spratly Islands, are at the centre of a spat between Indonesia and China that this week forced its…
  5. With geopolitical rivalries over the Indian Ocean heating up, the Maldives will tie its fortunes to India even at the risk of displeasing China.That was the message from the Maldives’ Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid, who told the South China Morning Post in an exclusive interview on Thursday that the island chain would back Washington’s Indo-Pacific strategy – widely seen by critics as aimed at containing China.Shahid described India as a “special” friend and said the two countries had the …
  6. Southeast Asian countries are grappling with the ongoing conundrum of anxiety about China’s rise and disillusionment over the reliability of the United States, with a recent poll revealing such sentiments have deepened in the past year.More than half of respondents to the annual survey conducted by Singapore’s ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, published on Thursday, saw China as wielding the most political and strategic influence in Southeast Asia – with more than eight in 10 of that group saying it…
  7. The foreign ministers of Russia and Iran used a conference in New Delhi on Wednesday to criticise Washington’s assassination of the Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.Russia’s Sergey Lavrov, who has previously labelled the killing an “illegal power move”, slammed the US for not following international law, said Russia proposed a no-aggression pact for the Middle East region and offered support to Iran over “stringent” US sanctions. Meanwhile his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, slammed…
  8. More than two months after India pulled out of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar has suggested New Delhi could rethink its decision. “We haven’t closed the door on [the RCEP]. The ball is in the court of the countries concerned and whether they make it worth our while,” he told the Raisina Dialogue, a three-day conference in the Indian capital organised by the government and the Observer Research Foundation think tank. The RCEP is…
  9. Lending by the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank will not create a “debt trap” for its borrowers, the bank’s president said, rejecting concerns that Beijing could use similar institutions to advance its geopolitical agenda.Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) president Jin Liqun told the Asian Financial Forum in Hong Kong this week that the bank’s efforts to support infrastructure investment in Asia are made with the best of intentions.“A debt trap will not emerge in the…
  10. The first Chinese coastguard ship ever to visit the Philippines was officially welcomed on Tuesday, as Manila called on Beijing to discuss ways of ensuring the safety of both countries’ fishermen at sea.The controversial visit, which is being led by Commandant General Wang Zhongca and lasts until Friday, comes amid growing anger in the Philippines over China’s repeated incursions into both the country’s exclusive economic zone and what Manila claims as its territory in the South China Sea.“The…