Focus: Indo-Pacific | 1st  November 2023

Ananta Centre

Once tipped to be the top leader former Chinese premier Li Keqiang’s sudden demise mean a loose loss of a prominent moderating voice within the senior levels of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) that could restrain President Xi.  There is no one apparently who is being able to take over the mantle. A major security forum opened October 29 in Beijing with the United States among participants from more than 90 countries and international organizations. Interestingly, the list participants include Defence Ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia raising prospects of Chinese mediation between Yerevan and Baku. But China came in for criticism when Trade ministers from the Group of Seven industrialized nations said on Sunday (October 29) they were “disturbed” by the growing recurrence of coercive economic measures and vowed to enhance joint efforts in addressing the issue. But support for Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has fallen further, a weekend poll by Nikkei and TV Tokyo finds, after the Japanese leader floated a tax cut to ease the pain of high prices. Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim is visiting Singapore from Sunday (October 29) for a two-day retreat, where leaders of both countries will discuss bilateral issues and explore new areas of cooperation. In SE Asia’s biggest state Indonesia —  Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) has given its clearest sign yet that it is ready to contest the 2024 election without the support of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and his family, citing disagreements over the latter’s attempt to subvert the Constitution.

 

Li Keqiang: Ex-Chinese premier sidelined by Xi dies at 68

BBC | 27th October 2023

Former Chinese premier Li Keqiang has died of a heart attack aged 68. State media said he died at 10 minutes past midnight on Friday (October 27) despite “all-out” efforts to revive him. Li was once tipped to be the country’s future leader but was overtaken by President Xi Jinping. A trained economist, he held the second highest-ranked position in China, though in recent years, he was widely isolated amongst China’s top leadership. He was the only incumbent top official who didn’t belong to Mr Xi’s loyalists group. “Li’s death means the loss of a prominent moderating voice within the senior levels of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), with no one apparently being able to take over the mantle,” Ian Chong, non resident scholar at the Carnegie China think tank told the BBC.

 

Int’l security forum opens in China with U.S. among participants

Kyodo News | 29th October 2023

A major security forum opened Sunday in Beijing with the United States among participants from more than 90 countries and international organizations, while the host China was not represented by a defense minister following the unexplained dismissal of Li Shangfu last week. The Xiangshan Forum, which Beijing promotes as the Chinese alternative to the annual Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, is being held in person for the first time since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

G7 trade ministers vow to further unite against economic coercion

Kyodo News | 29th October 2023

Trade ministers from the Group of Seven industrialized nations said Sunday (October 29) they were “disturbed” by the growing recurrence of coercive economic measures and vowed to enhance joint efforts in addressing the issue often associated with China. In a joint statement issued following their two-day talks in Osaka Prefecture, the ministers also said they “strongly call for the immediate repeal of measures that unnecessarily restrict trade, including the newly introduced import restrictions on Japanese food products,” in apparent reference to moves by China and Russia. The two countries have imposed import bans on Japanese seafood over the release since August of treated radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant, which suffered fuel meltdowns in three reactors following a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in 2011, into the sea.

 

Japan PM Kishida’s approval rating hits new low of 33%: Nikkei poll

Nikkei Asia | 29th September 2023

Support for Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has fallen further, a weekend poll by Nikkei and TV Tokyo finds, after the Japanese leader floated a tax cut to ease the pain of high prices. The approval rating for Kishida’s cabinet dropped 9 percentage points from September to 33%, the poll found, the lowest since he took office in October 2021.

 

Malaysian PM Anwar visits Singapore for two-day leaders’ retreat with PM Lee

The Strait Times | 29th October 2023

Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim is visiting Singapore from Sunday (October 29) for a two-day retreat, where leaders of both countries will discuss bilateral issues and explore new areas of cooperation. He will be here for the 10th Singapore-Malaysia Leaders’ Retreat, at the invitation of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. The retreat, a key annual platform for the two leaders to meet and discuss bilateral issues, is the first one to be held since the Covid-19 pandemic hit.

 

‘Jokowi has left us’: PDI-P parts ways with First Family

Jakarta Post | 29th October 2023

The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) has given its clearest sign yet that it is ready to contest the 2024 election without the support of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and his family, citing disagreements over the latter’s attempt to subvert the Constitution. Following weeks of protracted speculation of failing ties between Jokowi and the PDI-P – which has served as the President’s political vehicle for decades – party secretary-general Hasto Kristiyanto aired the party’s grievances in a press statement on Sunday.

 

 

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