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Audio Overview of East Asia Pacific Issues, Friday, 8 February 2019

APAC Assistance Operations Assistant Bhargav Reddy discusses Main Issues in East Asia Pacific

Main Issues in East Asia Pacific

Firstly in THAILAND

  • Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha became the sole prime ministerial candidate of the pro-military Palang Pracharath party after the two other nominees withdrew from the race.
  • Prayuth is expected to announce his decision today on his candidature from the Palang Pracharath party. Today is the last day for the political parties to confirm their candidates.
  • Party leader Uttama Savanayana said that the party has a backup option if Prayut declines the offer.

VIETNAM

  • Vietnam has been chosen to be the host for the second round of bilateral summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The meeting will be held on February 27 and 28.
  • The venue for the summit is yet to be confirmed. Hanoi and Da Nang are being considered to be the host city.
  • Clients are advised to note the disruptions expected as the security forces are deployed for the summit.

TAIWAN

  • Pilots of China airlines have planned to go on strike this morning forcing the cancellation of 26 flights. All three major airports in Taiwan are expected to be affected by the strike. Flights which are canceled were destined for major cities in Asia and the S.
  • Ministry of Transportation is setting up an emergency center to cope with the issue. It is unclear how long the strike will last.

AUSTRALIA

  • A Chinese contractor for Australian financial planner AMP Limited has been arrested for data theft from 20 of its customers.
  • AMP cybersecurity staff noticed suspicious activity on the company network in December last year. Their investigations led them to a Chinese contractor they had employed.
  • AMP said that the company has contacted all affected customers, they have deployed extra security controls and notified the relevant regulators. Clients employing the services of AMP Limited are advised to contact the company to ensure their data is protected.

PAPUA NEW GUINEA

  • More than 50,000 people in the central Chimbu province are stuck in their villages after landslides and flooding inundated the roads in Nilkande and Mitnande.
  • The villagers in the Kundiawa-Gembogl district experienced heavy flooding yesterday. Landslides were reported at the Yombai and Banana Market in Nilkande. Heavy rains have continued in the area since last month.
  • People living at the foot of Inga Gowan Mountain in Nilkande have moved to safety as heavy rain continued.
  • Clients are advised to avoid the Chimbu province and consider contingency plans of supply chain disruptions from the heavy rains and floods.

 

Main Issues in South Asia

Firstly in INDIA

  • Massive protests were reported yesterday against the Central government’s move to grant the Scheduled Tribe (ST) status to six ethnic communities of Assam. The Coordination Committee of the Tribal Organisations of Assam in association with other groups organized the protest rally at Sonapur in the outskirts of Guwahati, Assam.
  • Protesters are demanding the withdrawal of the Constitution (Scheduled Tribe) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2019 saying it is unconstitutional as it gives Scheduled Tribe status to advanced and populous communities which will eliminate political rights of the genuine tribals of Assam.
  • Threatening to continue their rigorous protest, the protest leaders warned the government that their protest may result in an “untoward situation” in the State. Clients are advised to monitor the developments on the issue which can potentially cause statewide protests and disruptions in Assam.

SRI LANKA

  • Finance Minister Managala Samaraweera said yesterday that the negotiations will resume with an IMF team that is due to visit Sri Lanka on February 14. Treasury Secretary R H S Samaratunga said the negotiations will be focused on an existing 3-year economic assistance program which is due to end this year.
  • Sri Lanka will present a budget in parliament on March 5, after it was delayed in November last year due to a political crisis. The IMF programs are linked to budgets and monetary policy.
  • An IMF program may help Sri Lanka regain access to international capital markets. Sri Lanka missed foreign reserve targets in 2018 as the central bank printed billions of rupees to cut interest rates in the first quarter as the economy recovered.

 

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