Focus: Indo-Pacific | 9th January 2023

HIGHLIGHTS

The past week witnessed a significant step forward towards bonding among Quadrilateral nations Australia in a significant move has announced hosting the next Quad Summit in its PM’s home town months ahead of the Summit notwithstanding recent meeting between PM Anthony Albanese and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Simultaneously in New Delhi External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar lauded growth of Quad amid China’s objections to the Indo-USA Joint military exercises. Both India and USA have dismissed China’s objections and Japan has pushed to enhance its defence capabilities. India will host first ever Quad Foreign Ministers meet ahead of the Summit next year. Meanwhile, elsewhere in the Indo-Pacific region the Chinese Communist Party continued to battle student protests with no end in sight in near future. President Xi Jinping blamed this on frustrated students during his meeting with top EU official. In Malaysia, hectic efforts are being made for much needed political stability.

Big deal’: World leaders head to Sydney in bid to push back on China 

The Sydney Morning Herald | 1st December 

Three of the world’s most powerful leaders – US President Joe Biden, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi  and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida – will travel to Sydney next year for a historic summit with  Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age can reveal Albanese has selected  his home town to host the first leaders-level meeting of the Quadrilateral security dialogue to be held in  Australia. 

Growth of Quad testimony to farsightedness of leaders of four nations Jaishankar The Week | 1st December 1  

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday said the growth of the Quad alliance over the last five  years was a testimony to the creativity and the farsightedness of the leaders of the four countries. “Quad  is very interesting because the other three are treaty allies. For three treaty allies to work with a non-treaty  country is a novel experience for us as it is for them. We all having to change as we go along,” Jaishankar  said at the Global Technology Summit. 

Japan, Quad 3.0, and the Thucydides Trap in the Indo-Pacific 

The Diplomat | 29th November

Early next year, Australia, India, Japan, and the United States will hold a foreign ministers’ meeting of the  quadrilateral security dialogue (Quad) in New Delhi, India. The Quad member states have held regular  meetings over the last five years to discuss regional and global security issues based on their shared  fundamental values, such as democracy, human rights, and rule of law. 

Chinese President Xi Jinping believes ‘frustrated students’ are behind Covid-19 protests, EU officials say South China Morning Post | 2nd December  

Chinese President Xi Jinping told European Council President Charles Michel that people protesting against  the country’s strict Covid-19 measures are “mainly students” who are “frustrated” after three years of the  pandemic, according to senior EU officials. They said he made the comments during a three-hour meeting  in Beijing on Thursday. 

China’s chip industry fights to survive U.S. tech crackdown 

Nikkei | 30th November 

In the southeastern Chinese port city of Quanzhou, a near-derelict factory hit by U.S. sanctions four years  ago has discreetly come back to life. Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co. (JHICC), a memory chipmaker,  had to halt operations after the U.S. accused it of stealing trade secrets in late 2018. But it has been  gradually resuming production after a mysterious new client emerged. 

Japan ruling bloc agrees on acquiring “counterstrike capability” 

Kyodo News | 2nd December  

Japan’s ruling parties agreed Friday that the country should pledge to acquire a “counterstrike capability”  to address the rapid deterioration of the regional security environment, heralding a major shift in the  nation’s security policy. The Liberal Democratic Party had advocated obtaining an enemy base strike  capability, while its junior coalition partner Komeito, known as a pacifist party, had been wary that such a  move would constitute a change in Japan’s exclusively self-defense-oriented policy. 

Malaysia’s new Cabinet: PM Anwar Ibrahim is finance minister, Zahid is DPM 

The Strait Times | 2nd December  

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has unveiled a new Cabinet, in which he will also hold the post of  Finance Minister while Umno chief Zahid Hamidi becomes Deputy Prime Minister. The leaner Cabinet  comprising 28 ministers was unveiled on Friday, with appointments distributed among the top leaders of  coalitions making up the unity government, namely Pakatan Harapan (PH), Barisan Nasional (BN),  Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) and Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS). Mr Anwar, who was sworn in as prime  minister last week, said ministers should begin their duties soon and he advised them to avoid wastages,  bribery, and abuse of power. 

Ex-cop, 2 women face questioning about triad assets 

Bangkok Post | 2nd December 

Police have summoned a former police officer and two women for questioning about the hidden assets of  alleged Chinese triad leader “Tuhao”, who is accused of involvement in the drug trade. chief Pol Gen  Surachate Hakparn said on Friday that police were extending the investigation to include people with links  to Chinese businessman Chaiyanat Kornchayanant.

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