Photo Credit: The Straits Times
Economy, Investment and Trade
Malaysia and China ties strengthen through their visa policy
(28 August 2017) China and Malaysia will begin discussion on a reciprocal visa policy. Currently, the Partial Visa Abolition (PVA) Agreement allows diplomatic or official/services passport holders from China and Malaysia to enter and stay under certain conditions. According to Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman, Malaysia is exploring ways to expand the PVA by including all passport holders to show strength of the bilateral bond.
Lao government approves US100 million worth of Chinese investment
(24 August 2017) The Lao government gave approval to a Chinese firm to invest in trade and tourism projects worth up to US$100 million in an area near the Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge which crosses the Mekong River in Bokeo. Director of the Bokeo provincial Department of Planning and Investment Buasavath Inthavanh said the project which included a shopping centre and several warehouses will begin immediately. Bokeo is strategically located between several ASEAN countries and Southwestern China and this development is expected to attract more tourists to boost economic growth.
China’s large tech firms continues to invest in ASEAN’s startups
(25 August 2017) Some of China’s largest tech firms have been actively investing in ASEAN startup companies to boost their presence in the region. Recently, China’s second largest e-commerce firm JD.com Inc invested US$100 million in Go-Jek, Indonesia’s ride-hailing startup. Indonesia is currently JD.com’s highest investment outside of China and other large companies such as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and Didi Chuxing have also made their mark by investing in the region.
Vietnam urges ASEAN to unite amid South China Sea tension
(24 August 2017) General Secretary of the Communist Party and National Assembly Chairman of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong urged stronger unity among ASEAN states amid the tension in the South China Sea. Vietnam is currently the most vocal opponent to China on the issue and has further angered Beijing by organising a meeting among ASEAN states as well as increasing its defence links with United States, Japan and India.
Myanmar’s FPNCC calls for China to get involved in Myanmar’s peace process
(29 August 2017) Myanmar’s Federal Political Negotiation and Consultative Committee (FPNCC) called for China to get involved in Myanmar’s peace process and expressed their willingness to attend the third session of the 21st Century Panglong Conference if invited. The allied groups were able to attend the Second 21st Panglong Conference last May after the mediation of a special envoy from the Chinese Foreign Ministry Sun Guoxiang. According to advisor to the government peace commission U Min Zaw Oo, third party assistance is needed for the country to achieve the country’s peace process.