Photo Credit: Samaa TV
G7 remarks on South China Sea prompts response from China
(28 May 2017) A G7 communique said its members are committed to “maintaining a rules-based order in the maritime domain based on the principles of international law,” and expressed “concerns” about the situation in the East China Sea and South China Sea. China’s foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said the G7 and “countries outside” should respect the efforts made by countries in the region to handle disputes, and stop making irresponsible remarks.
China and Thailand strengthen military ties
(30 May 2017) Thailand and China pledged to push forward the development of military relations between the two countries. Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said that the kingdom is ready to learn from China’s experiences on reform and will combine its national development strategy with the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative. Thailand is also ready to boost cooperation in joint training on counter-terrorism with China.
Economy, Investment and Trade
Malaysia, China to hold talks on development of ports and pipeline
(30 May 2017) High level officials from both Malaysia and China will be meeting to discuss proposals for the construction of three new ports along the Straits of Malacca as well as plans to jointly develop the Bandar Malaysia project linked to state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). The meeting is to discuss funding options and implementation timelines for the development of ports in the states of Melaka, Selangor and Perak and plans for an oil pipeline. The talks are to be led by China’s Public Security Minister Guo Shengkun and Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as the projects are of mutual security interest to both governments.
China’s investments in Southeast Asia growing by leaps and bounds
(31 May 2017) Chinese companies invested a record US$14.6 billion into Southeast Asia in 2015, nearly double that in 2014 and significantly larger than the $156 million a decade ago. Chinese FDI into ASEAN is also diversifying away from manufacturing, mining and agriculture into financial and commercial services, such as advertising and travel. Chinese FDI on such a large scale has been possible due to trillions of dollars in savings. China is turning its eye to Southeast Asia in part to source cheaper manufacturing and partly because of President Xi JinPing’s plans to revitalise the ancient Silk Road trading routes between Asia and Europe.