Focus: Indo-Pacific | 12th December 2023

US, after the Biden-Xi Summit, is planning to put in place a Confidence Building Measure that could reduce chances of conflict in the Indo-Pacific region. The U.S. is weighing a proposal to exchange missile launch notifications with China after the leaders of the two powers agreed to stabilize the tense relationship. But the USA upheld its commitment to its defense treaty with Philippines following China’s reckless maneuvers against Philippine vessels in West Philippine Sea (WPS) over the weekend (Dec 9-10). However, vis a vis Vietnam, China is trying to extend an olive branch when President Xi Jinping visits the communist-ruled neighbour this week. Meanwhile, at the EU-China Summit last week, the Chinese President went on a charm offensive following which the Europeans felt their concerns were being taken seriously by Xi. In an interesting move IndiaSouth Korea and the US will start an informal trilateral technology dialogue in the first quarter of 2024 in response to China’s rapid progress in critical technologies within the Indo-Pacific region. Meanwhile, domestic politics in Japan and Indonesia are entering into interesting era. In Indonesia the three presidential candidate pairs kept up their pace in the second week of campaigning for next February’s election. In Japan Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is looking to remove all Cabinet members belonging to the largest faction of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party from their posts amid the deepening political funds scandal.

 

U.S. considers missile launch notification framework with China

Nikkei Asian Review | 10th December 2023 

The U.S. is weighing a proposal to exchange missile launch notifications with China, a senior State Department official told Nikkei Asia, after the leaders of the two powers agreed to stabilize the tense relationship in November. According to the White House, U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping resolved to address key issues including arms control and nonproliferation when they met in California last month, directing their senior officials to follow up. The senior U.S. official said that Washington hopes to hold talks on arms control with China early next year. Launch notification is one of the concrete measures under consideration within the U.S. government, the official said.

 

In Vietnam, a ‘shared destiny’ and the US are likely to be high on Xi Jinping’s agenda

South China Morning Post | 11th December 2023

China will try to boost political trust and economic cooperation with Vietnam when President Xi Jinping visits the communist-ruled neighbour this week. Both Beijing and Hanoi have confirmed Xi’s state visit to Vietnam. His wife Peng Liyuan will accompany him on the two-day trip from Tuesday, the Vietnamese communist party said in a statement. Observers say Beijing is seeking closer ties with Vietnam and hopes to sell the idea of a “community of a common destiny”.

 

Europe is no one’s vassal, ‘relaxed’ Xi Jinping tells EU leaders in Beijing

South China Morning Post | 8th December 2023

EU leaders are arriving back in Brussels with few concrete deliverables but a sense that Beijing is in no doubt as to the problems in their relations – and that this time they listened. At Thursday’s (Dec 7) summit, the Europeans felt their concerns were being taken seriously by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Qiang compared to recent interactions – one of which was famously panned as a “ dialogue of the deaf” – even if they remain far apart on core issues like trade and Russia.

 

US tells China to stop its ‘dangerous and destabilizing conduct’ in WPS

Inquirer.net | 11th December 2023

United States (US) once again upheld its commitment to its defense treaty with Philippines following China’s reckless maneuvers against Philippine vessels in West Philippine Sea (WPS) over the weekend (December 9-10). “We reaffirm that Article IV of the 1951 US – Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty extends to armed attacks on Philippine armed forces, public vessels, or aircraft – including those of its Coast Guard – anywhere in the South China Sea,” said US Department of States Spokesperson Matthew Miller in a statement issued Monday (Philippine time).

 

India, US and South Korea to launch technology dialogue in early 2024

The Economic Times | December 11, 2023

IndiaSouth Korea and the US will start an informal trilateral technology dialogue in the first quarter of 2024 in response to China’s rapid progress in critical technologies within the Indo-Pacific region. The decision was taken at the inaugural US-South Korea Next Generation Critical & Emerging Technologies Dialogue held in Seoul on Friday (Dec 8).

 

Candidates keep up pace as presidential campaign enters second week

Jakarta Post | 10th December 2023

The three presidential candidate pairs kept up their pace in the second week of campaigning for next year’s election, as they canvassed for support on the ground, either trying to fend off efforts by rivals to make inroads in their strongholds or seeking to secure a spot in a possible runoff vote. With nine weeks left until the campaign season draws to a close, rivalry on the ground is deepening among the candidates vying to succeed outgoing President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.

 

Kishida looking to replace all Cabinet members from troubled faction

Japan Times | 10th December 2023 

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is looking to remove all Cabinet members belonging to the largest faction of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party from their posts amid the deepening political funds scandal, sources said Sunday. Some members of the faction formerly led by the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are suspected of receiving tens of millions of yen in unreported funds from the proceeds of fundraising parties, according to sources.

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