China-ASEAN Monitor


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Singapore’s Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, left, shakes hands with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi after a joint press conference following their meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing.
Photo Credit: ABC News

Foreign Affairs

Singapore offers support to China’s global ambitions
(12 June 2017) Singapore is offering its financial industry to help fund China’s ambition to develop ports, railways, power plants and other projects across Asia, Europe and east Africa. By partnering in financial matters, Singapore aims to restore strained ties with China and profit from its global aspirations. However, experts claim that Singapore will face stiff competition from countries such as Hong Kong and London which also hope to play key roles in China’s effort to integrate economies. The relationship between Singapore and China is to be further strengthened as the countries work together to advance Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a pending trade deal among the ASEAN countries, China, India, Japan and others.
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Former Filipino House Speaker urges collaboration in oil drilling in South China Sea
(13 June 2017) The former Filipino House Speaker Jose De Venecia suggested that the South China Sea should be explored collaboratively through oil drilling agreements. He emphasised that the contested waters are not owned by the Philippines, China or any other claimant country. He believes that such a joint agreement will lower the likelihood of conflict in the South China Sea. This form of collaboration has been carried out in the past when Norway, Germany and the United Kingdom had a joint operating agreement to drill for oil in the North Sea.
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Economy, Investment and Trade

Thai junta pushes development of high speed railway
(13 June 2017) Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha plans to invoke his ‘absolute power’ to overcome obstacles that are preventing the building of a multi-billion-dollar railway with China. There have been several setbacks in moving the project forward. For example, Thai law limits the number of foreign nationals who can work as engineers and architects on mega-projects in the country. This is an issue because majority of the technical expertise handling the project will be provided by Chinese engineers. The Prime Minister has vowed to make use of Article 44 – a law which gives him absolute power and enables him to make executive decisions which supersede current laws to move this project forward.
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Indonesia encourages China to invest in the country’s oil and gas industry
(9 June 2017) Indonesian Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Inagsius Jonan encouraged Chinese companies to increase their investment in the oil and gas sector in Indonesia. American oil and gas companies such as Chevron and Exxon have been operating in the province of Riau for approximately a century. He made this request during a speech given at the the eighth Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM8) meeting in Beijing in the presence of energy ministers and other high-level delegates from 24 countries and the European Union.
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