US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke by phone with Singapore's Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan on Tuesday (Oct 23), the State Department said. The two discussed the upcoming US-Asean and East Asia Summits in Singapore next month, according to a statement by spokesman Heather Nauert. Both sides looked forward to US Vice-President Pence's travel to the region. Singapore, as the Asean chair this year, is hosting the summits that will take place from Nov 11 to 15 and be attended by Mr Pence and other leaders. Mr Pompeo and Dr Balakrishnan also discussed Asean's central role in the US' Indo-Pacific Strategy and opportunities for further enhancing bilateral and regional cooperation, Ms Nauert said. … [Read more...] about Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, US’ Pompeo discuss Asean, East Asia summits
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East Asia’s oceans are sources of massive wealth and vital highways of world trade, but the East China Sea and South China Sea are riven with state-to-state hostilities, making its many disputed territories flashpoints of potential conflict. Exacerbating this risk at a time when regional powers such as China and Japan are upgrading their navies is the lack of any consultative regional security body to serve as a conflict resolution and crisis management body. The dailyReport Must-reads from across Asia - directly to your inbox These risks, and some potential solutions, were addressed at last month’s multinational Seoul Defense Forum, which welcomed vice-ministerial level delegates and military professionals from around the region and elsewhere in the world to the Chosun Hotel in the South Korean capital. However, while the conference was attended by a wide range of representatives, one key regional security player was notably absent: organizers told journalists that … [Read more...] about How can East Asia defuse multiple maritime security risks?
WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - President Donald Trump will skip summits with Asian leaders in Singapore and Papua New Guinea in November, sending Vice-President Mike Pence in his place, the White House announced on Friday (Aug 31). Trump had been invited to attend the US-Asean summit and the East Asia summit in Singapore and also the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Papua New Guinea. He attended these events last November. White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement that Trump has asked Pence to represent him at the summits, where he will "highlight the United States' vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific, based on respect for sovereignty, the rule of law, and the principles of free, fair, and reciprocal trade." Trump will travel to Paris to attend a Nov 11 commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I. Trump had wanted a US military parade in Washington but balked at price estimates. "While in Europe, the president also will visit … [Read more...] about Donald Trump to skip Asia summits in Singapore and Papua New Guinea, to send Mike Pence instead
Too much analysis of geopolitics in East Asia, whether in the media, academia or by governments, is pervaded by the binary fallacy. This is a mode of thought in which something must necessarily be one thing or another. United States-China relations are the major axis of the East Asian geopolitical equation. There is a tendency to think that anything adversely affecting the US must necessarily rebound to China's advantage. A particularly egregious example was a Foreign Policy article the day after the 2016 US presidential election with the absurd headline "China just won the US election". More than a year later, too much of that attitude still persists. A more symmetrical US-China relationship is certainly emerging. But binary thinking is misleading and can be dangerous. China's rise is not America's decline except relatively. Both are and will remain substantial powers. Neither's future is going to be described by a straight-line trajectory up or down. They distrust each other, but are … [Read more...] about How not to think about geopolitics in East Asia
The southern Malaysian region of Iskandar, which includes Johor Baru, is a classic example of the opportunities - and challenges - that come with the rapid urbanisation that is taking South-east Asian economies by storm. Just across the border from Singapore, Iskandar's population is expected to double to three million people, from its 1.6 million currently, by 2025. Cities all over South-east Asia - from Jakarta to Manila to Ho Chi Minh - are on a similar growth trajectory. Rapid urbanisation means that between 2015 and 2030, about 100 million people in Asean are expected to migrate from the countryside to cities. While this is exciting from an economic point of view - urbanisation generally means improved productivity for companies, and better incomes and access to education, healthcare and transport for millions of ordinary citizens - the rapid growth of towns and cities also presents its own set of challenges. These range from congestion, crime, inequality and more expensive … [Read more...] about South-east Asia is getting ‘smart’ with urbanisation