Pushback against China’s expansionist designs including attempts to create Sino-Centric world order gained salience across the Indo-Pacific region during the past week even as the Singapore PM called for managing tensions with SE Asia feeling the maximum heat. Ahead of her trip to Beijing European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen has accused China of pursuing a “systemic change of the international order”. Japan’s Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada is considering visiting Australia in early May to meet with his counterpart Richard Marles and discuss expanding joint exercises and other areas of cooperation to counter China. This comes amid visit by Japanese FM to China, first since 2019. Taiwan, meanwhile, increased its outreach to Central America where China is luring Taipei’s diplomatic allies. Interestingly Philippines decided to “disengage” from any contact and communication with the International Criminal Court (ICC) after it rejected the country’s request to suspend its ongoing investigation into former President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war.
EU chief calls for muscular policy to counter China’s ‘alternative world order’
South China Morning Post | 30th March 2023
European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen has accused China of pursuing a “systemic change of the international order” with Beijing at its centre. In a hotly anticipated speech about EU-China relations in Brussels on Thursday, von der Leyen said the commission would propose a new “economic security strategy later this year”, designed to counter what she described as an “increasingly assertive” Beijing.
Boao Forum: Singapore, Malaysian leaders voice concerns over spillover effects of US-China rivalry
South China Morning Post | 30th March 2023
Southeast Asian leaders attending an annual economic forum in China have warned of the spillover effects of great power rivalry, calling for healthy competition instead in the latest sign of deepening worries in the region over US-China tensions. The US-China relationship was the “most worrying” and tensions between the two were felt “keenly” across the world, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong told the Boao Forum for Asia in the southern Chinese province of Hainan on Thursday morning. Rising to speak after Lee, Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim stressed the need for talks among top leaders to prevent competition – especially in the tech sector – from taking a taking a destructive turn.
Taiwan president starts sensitive U.S. stopover; China warns against meetings
Reuters | 30th March 2023
Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen arrived in New York on a sensitive U.S. stopover on Wednesday, vowing en route not to let external pressure prevent the island from engaging with the world after China threatened retaliation if she met U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
Japan defense chief eyes trip to Australia as China’s influence grows
Kyodo News | 30th March 2023
Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada is considering visiting Australia in early May to meet with his counterpart Richard Marles and discuss expanding joint exercises and other areas of cooperation to counter China’s rapid military buildup in the Indo-Pacific region, government sources said Thursday.
Japan’s top diplomat set for first visit to China since 2019
The Japan Times | 29th March 2023
Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi has set his sights on visiting China this weekend, in an effort to right foundering ties, as Tokyo presses for the release of a Japanese national detained by Beijing over alleged espionage activities. If the plan comes to fruition, this would be the first visit to China by a top Japanese diplomat in more than three years after the eruption of the COVID-19 pandemic — and Beijing’s harsh response — halted diplomatic activities.
Japan to face 11 million worker shortfall by 2040, study finds
The Japan Times | 30th March 2023
Japan may face a shortage of more than 11 million workers by 2040, a study has found, underscoring the economic challenges the nation faces as its population ages rapidly. The working age population is expected to rapidly decline from 2027, according to the study by independent think tank Recruit Works Institute, published Tuesday. The worker supply is expected to shrink by about 12% in 2040 from 2022, even as labor demand remains steady, the report said.
PBBM: PH ‘disengaging from any contact’ with ICC
Philippines News Agency | 28th March 2023
The Philippines is “disengaging” from any contact and communication with the International Criminal Court (ICC) after it rejected the country’s request to suspend its ongoing investigation into former President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said Tuesday. Marcos made this remark after the ICC Appeals Chamber, in a decision dated March 27, denied the Philippines’ plea “in the absence of persuasive reasons in support of ordering suspensive effect.”