Photo Credit: Tansettakij Multimedia
Economy, Investment and Trade
Economic ministers to advance the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership
(4 September 2017) Economic ministers from ASEAN are meeting in the Philippines to advance the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a free trade agreement (FTA) among ASEAN member nations and their non-ASEAN trading partners Australia, China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, and New Zealand. The Philippines’ Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said that RCEP holds many opportunities for all parties involved and with ASEAN markets integrated, the region will be more attractive and competitive in partnering for change and engaging the world. The RCEP is seen as a shield against protectionist policies, as well as promoting inclusive growth that will result in region-wide prosperity.
ASEAN, China meet to discuss South China Sea Code of Conduct
(2 September 2017) Representatives from ASEAN and China have started meeting in the Philippines to negotiate on the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea. The Philippines’ Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano remains positive on the practical cooperation between Asean and China in the South China Sea despite Vietnam’s strong opposition to China’s military exercises in the north-western part of the South China Sea. Mr Cayetano said that officials will begin setting the groundwork for negotiations on the COC which ASEAN and China are expected to announce at their summit in Manila in November.
Five new ports join the China-Malaysia Port Alliance
(5 September 2017) Kemaman Port, Sabah Ports Authority and Kuching Port Authority are among the new ports to join the port alliance between Malaysia and China. The alliance is aimed at promoting technology and knowledge transfer from the larger ports to the local port industry. Malaysian Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said that various infrastructure improvements, such as the expansion of Port Klang, are currently in progress as Malaysia aims to be the logistics hub for the South-East Asia region.
Singapore, China joint venture to develop Chongqing into a logistics hub
(31 August 2017) Officials from Singapore and China met to discuss the implementation of the Chongqing Connectivity Initiative (CCI). Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said that the two joint projects launched at the meeting – the Chongqing Logistics Development Platform and the Multi-Modal Distribution and Connectivity Centre – will contribute to the development of the Southern Transport Corridor, a new trade route between western China and Southeast Asia.
China to strengthen cooperation with Thailand in various fields
(4 September 2017) Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and expressed an interest to strengthen cooperation with Thailand in areas of investment, railways, Internet finance, digital economy and e-commerce. President Xi expressed appreciation for friendly relations between China and Thailand, and hopes that Thailand will lead the drive in improving the China-ASEAN relationship, as well as the Lancang-Mekong cooperation.
Indonesia’s North Natuna Sea angers China
(2 September 2017) China claims that Indonesia is renaming the southwest part of the South China Sea to North Natuna Sea, and demands that Indonesia rescinds its decision. Beijing claims that China and Indonesia have overlapping maritime claims, and that Indonesia’s decision threatens the peace and stability of the China-Indonesian relationship. Indonesia, however, claims that the northern waters off Indonesia’s Natuna archipelago are part of the country’s exclusive economic zone.