Dear ST reader,
We hope you are doing well.
In our Asian Insider newsletter this week, we take a look at regional security as the United States forms a new partnership with Australia and Britain to bolster their defense capabilities and North Korea tests more missiles. We are also examining whether the deal between the Malaysian government and the opposition can hold until the next polls.
The new security partnership between Australia, Britain and the United States announced on Wednesday (September 15) is a clear signal that their defense capabilities in Asia and the Indo-Pacific are being stepped up to counter China, writes US bureau chief Nirmal Ghosh. US officials insist, however, that the pact does not target China and is aimed at ensuring peace and stability in the region. Australia’s submarine capability will be transformed into a nuclear-powered fleet as part of the partnership.
Tensions escalated in East Asia after North Korea fired two ballistic missiles on Wednesday, following the launch of cruise missiles last weekend. The test shots have further dashed hopes for an international solution to the stalled denuclearization talks, writes Chang May Choon, our correspondent in Seoul. Kim Jong Un’s latest salvo shows Pyongyang is strengthening its ability to launch nuclear strikes against Japan and South Korea.
Will Malaysia’s truce hold?
It sounds like couples therapy advice, but analysts tell Malaysian bureau chief Shannon Teoh that the key to a lasting peace deal between the Malaysian government and the Pakatan Harapan opposition pact is open communication and a constant commitment.
Under the terms of the deal signed on Monday (September 13), which is akin to a trust and supply deal in Westminster Democracies, the government promises to implement some key reforms demanded by PH in return for support or the abstention of PH during votes relating to confidence. or provide invoices. The parties also agree that Parliament will not be dissolved until July 31, 2022, giving Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob nearly a year of stable government to deal with the Covid-19 crisis and revive the economy in difficulty.
Already the third wheels are digging holes in political cooperation, opposition MP Shafie Apdal accusing PH of supporting the same politicians who defected last year and brought about the collapse of his administration.
Hear here from regional correspondent Leslie Lopez’s take on the deal and why he thinks it’s going to be a bumpy relationship.
Tourism: Thailand takes the plunge
After testing the waters with its Phuket Sandbox program, Thailand is moving forward to reopen more regions to vaccinated tourists in October. It’s still a risky decision, writes Thai correspondent Tan Tam Mei, considering that only 18% of adults in the country are fully immunized. But it is a necessary step as the country seeks to restore livelihoods damaged by Covid-19 and learns to live with the virus. Shortlisted destinations include Hua Hin, Chiang Mai, Bangkok, and Ko Samui.
Meanwhile, neighboring Malaysia has started allowing domestic tourists to visit northern Langkawi Island from Thursday (September 16), after vaccinating more than 75% of its adult population and seeing a decline death rates from coronavirus.
20 years later
The September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States changed the world, and its impact continues to reverberate 20 years later. We examine the upheavals and subsequent conflicts in the region sparked by the United States’ decades-long war on terrorism and how lives have been affected.
Find out how Muslims are now treated differently around the world and how counterterrorism tactics in Singapore have adapted to combat not only organized groups, but also lone wolf extremists who are self-radicalizing via the internet. A former activist trainer and survivor of the World Trade Center attacks recount their experience.
Watch and listen to these people tell us how September 11 shaped their lives and what it was like to report in Afghanistan after the attacks.
Follow other stories on ST Asian Insider here. In our next issue, Straits Times Tokyo correspondent Walter Sim reports on LDP party polls, which will determine who will become Japan’s next prime minister.
Most people in Southeast Asia want to abandon the use of fossil fuels such as coal and switch to renewable energy, according to a recent survey of public attitudes, the editor reports. of climate change David Fogarty. Most respondents to the ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute survey also felt that their governments should adopt climate-friendly policies and increase green spending.
Elsewhere, prospects for global cooperation on climate change ahead of the Glasgow conference in November darken amid lingering mistrust between China and the United States. In recent months, both countries have seen flash floods submerge their public infrastructure in Zhengzhou and Manhattan, but geopolitical rivals remain disunited in the face of their common enemy, writes US correspondent Charissa Yong in Power Play’s latest installment.
It comes amid the findings of a Pew Research Center survey that people in developed countries are less confident that the international community can lead the way in solving environmental problems, writes US bureau chief Nirmal Ghosh.
Myanmar at the UN
The United Nations General Assembly is about to assess who, if any, will represent Myanmar in the global forum – the junta or the parallel Government of National Unity (NUG). The move, writes Indochina bureau chief Tan Hui Yee, could indicate how individual countries are treating the Southeast Asian nation.
Myanmar is currently represented at the UN by Kyaw Moe Tun, aligned with the NUG, whom the junta sacked and accused of high treason. In an interview with The Straits Times, he explains why NUG called for a “People’s Defensive War” last week.
Green fingers, hot bodies
Indonesian graduates quit their desk jobs and head for the hills, as agriculture gains favor with young people. They bring innovation, technology and new blood to the agricultural sector, where more than 33 million farmers are mostly aged 40 and over, writes Indonesian correspondent Linda Yulisman.
If you have it, post it. Even if it won’t last longer than a photoshoot. The latest social media fad in South Korea is the body profile, where people train, diet hard and go to the photo studio to have their sculpted figures, Chang May Choon from Seoul reports.
That’s all for today. Until next week, stay safe and keep reading!
Lim Ai Leen
Deputy Foreign Editor