Focus: Indo-Pacific | 30th November 2023

Last week India-Australia 2 + 2 Ministerial meeting notwithstanding recent thaw in Beijing-Canberra ties gave a big push to strategic partnership eyeing to ensure peace and stability in Indo-Pacific region amid Beijing’s belligerence. In the same spirit even as China is making an attempt to expand business ties with traditional rival Vietnam, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Vietnamese President Vo Van Thuong have agreed to deepen maritime security cooperation between the two nations in the face of China’s growing military assertiveness. Meanwhile, the US and China are pitching rival visions of what constitutes a resilient and sustainable supply chain, marking the latest chapter in their fierce competition to assert a global trading system built on respective needs. Japanese companies that have relied on critical battery and semiconductor materials made in China are also moving to broaden their sources as Beijing tightens export controls. Meanwhile, Chinese ally North Korea’s actions along the inter-Korean border are raising the risk of military tensions and miscalculations, according to the USA.  

 

Momentum in the India-Australia Relationship on Display With 2+2 Strategic Dialogue

The Diplomat | 27th November 2023

India has had a busy couple of weeks. Following the India-U.S. 2+2 strategic dialogue in early November, India had another 2+2 with Australia last week. New Delhi hosted the second edition of the India-Australia Foreign and Defense Ministerial Dialogue on November 20. Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Richard Marles and Foreign Minister Penny Wong were in New Delhi for extensive discussions with their Indian counterparts, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar. The Australia-India relationship has grown tremendously in the last three years, especially considering that the two countries elevated their relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership only in June 2020.

 

China, Vietnam seek rail and hi-tech ‘interconnection’ as trade, investment skyrocket

South China Morning Post | 28th November 2023

Manufacturing heavyweights China and Vietnam have stepped up talks toward improving economic ties that could give Chinese railway contractors and hi-tech firms, among others, a stronger hold in the Southeast Asian country. Chinese Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao told Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on Saturday in Ho Chi Minh City that the neighbours should cooperate on “interconnection”. Pham, meanwhile, advocated the promotion of railway links, according to a statement from the Ministry of Commerce.

 

Japan and Vietnam agree to deepen security cooperation

Japan Times | 27th November 2023

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Vietnamese President Vo Van Thuong agreed Monday (Nov 27) to deepen maritime security cooperation between the two nations in the face of China’s growing military assertiveness in the Asia-Pacific region. During their talks at the Prime Minister’s Office in Tokyo, Kishida and Thuong confirmed they will continue to prepare for the success of a special summit involving Association of Southeast Asian Nations leaders that Japan will host next month to mark 50 years of their friendship and cooperation.

 

US and China pitch rival supply-chain visions in latest clash over global trade and economic needs

South China Morning Post | 28th November 2023

The US and China this week are pitching rival visions of what constitutes a resilient and sustainable supply chain, marking the latest chapter in their fierce competition to assert a global trading system built around their respective economic needs. Just hours before Beijing was to launch its first international expo on supply chains featuring American tech giants like TeslaAppleIntel and Qualcomm under the tagline “connecting the world for a shared future”, US President Joe Biden convened the inaugural meeting of his supply-chain resilience council in Washington on Monday. In doing so, Biden announced 30 new actions “to strengthen supply chains critical to America’s economic and national security”, according to the White House.

 

Japan looks beyond China for EV and chip materials

Nikkei Asia | 28th November 2023

Japanese companies that have relied on critical battery and semiconductor materials made in China are moving to broaden their sources as Beijing tightens export controls. The Chinese government has decided to require export permits for a portion of graphite shipments starting Friday. Graphite is essential in making negative electrodes in lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles.

 

U.S. says N. Korean actions along DMZ increasing risk of military tensions, miscalculations

Yonhap | 28th November 2023

North Korea’s actions taking place along the inter-Korean border are raising the risk of military tensions and miscalculations, a State Department spokesperson said Monday (Nov 27), as the recalcitrant regime began reinstalling guard posts and heavy firearms there. Seoul’s defense ministry has said that North Korean troops were spotted installing temporary guard posts and carrying weapons inside the Demilitarized Zone separating the two Koreas, after Pyongyang declared it would not be bound by a 2018 inter-Korean military tension reduction deal, called the Comprehensive Military Agreement (CMA).

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