China-ASEAN Monitor


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Photo Credit: AGENCE Agence France-Presse

Economy, Investment and Trade

Singapore to send a delegation to OBOR summit in China
21 April 2017 – Singapore will be sending a delegation to the Silk Road Summit in mid-May. The delegation will be led by Mr Lawrence Wong, Minister for National Development and Second Minister for Finance. China-Singapore Chongqing Connectivity Initiative is one of the priority demonstration projects for the One Belt One Road (OBOR) and was launched by the leaders of the two countries in November 2015. The Singapore Ministry of National Development said that Singapore is looking forward to deepening their cooperation with China and other countries along OBOR in areas of infrastructure and human resource development. Other Asean leaders attending include Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi.
Source: Nikkei Asian Review (4 April 2017)

Thai junta defends purchase of submarine from China
25 April 2017 – The Thai government defended its decision to buy a US$393 million from China, bringing the junta’s total military purchases from China to US$1 billion since the coup. The government was responding to criticism which claimed that the submarine deal was shrouded in secrecy and questioned the cost and utility of the submarine. The cabinet approved the purchase last week but the decision was only made public on April 24, triggering concerns about the lack of transparency. The junta’s deputy leader General Prawit Wongsuwon said that the submarine is required to protect Thailand’s natural resources in the Andaman Sea.
Source: Bloomberg (2 April 2017)

Chinese company to build agriculture park in Laos
26 April 2017 – The Lao Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry signed a Memorandum of Understanding with China’s Xuanye (Lao) Co., Ltd to build a modern agricultural industrial park in Laos. The project will be complementary to the currently under construction China-Laos railway, and will serve as a regional hub for agriculture. Lao Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Lien Thikeo said the country has benefitted since the launching of the Belt and Road Initiative. He said that many Chinese enterprises have come to invest in Laos with constructive proposals, providing Laos with the opportunity to go from a land-locked to a land-linked country.

Source: The Star (29 March 2017)

 

Foreign Affairs

Malaysia and China set up defence cooperation committee
23 April 2017 – Malaysia’s Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein and Chinese defence minister General Chang Wanquan set up a high-level defence cooperation committee during the former’s official visit to China. Hishamuddin said that the purpose of the committee was to identify a more practical and structured form of cooperation in the area of defence. He had also instructed the Malaysian Army Chief General Zulkiple Kassim and the Malaysian Air Force Chief Gen Affendi Buang to further discuss defence and military cooperation between the two countries.
Source: The Straits Times (5 April 2017)

China offers to play mediator between Bangladesh and Myanmar on Rohingya issue
25 April 2017 – China’s special envoy Sun Guoxiang said that China was willing and ready to help in the row between Bangladesh and Myanmar. He said this on his four-day visit to Bangladesh. The two countries have been at odds since 69,000 Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh to escape violence in Myanmar beginning October 2016. China has strong relationships with both countries. It has been heavily involved in construction of infrastructure in Bangladesh while it recently struck a deal with Myanmar on a lucrative oil pipeline.
Source: The Straits Times (5 April 2017)