Coronavirus, Donald Trump, Asia: Your Wednesday Briefing

(Want to get this briefing by email? Here’s the sign-up.) Good morning. We’re covering grim coronavirus projections by scientists in the U.S., a resurgence of cases in Asia and the best comfort food to make in a crisis. Trump warns of ‘very painful’ 2 weeks President Trump warned on Tuesday that the U.S. was in for “a very, very painful two weeks” as top government scientists revealed grim projections and the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus reached 4,000, surpassing China’s official count. ‘We are in a cage’ The World…

Threat to Scrap US-Philippine Pact Resonates around Southeast Asia

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s threat to terminate a linchpin military pact with longtime treaty ally the United States – if implemented – could not only shake up Manila’s defense policy but impact a delicate balance in ties between Southeast Asia and the U.S. and China, analysts say. Duterte plans to scrap the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), which the Philippines ratified in 1999. It governs the U.S. military presence in the country and places American forces there under United States jurisdiction. The pact gives American forces access to Philippine facilities, airspace, and…

China steals a Covid-19 march on US in SE Asia

With the world falling ill, a global recession on the horizon and supply chains either disrupted or collapsing, the Covid-19 pandemic will inevitably reconfigure the international order. In Southeast Asia, where infection rates have soared since mid-March and with many regional economies now bracing for their lowest growth since the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis, there are early signs are that the post-virus order will favor China over the United States.   As the Covid-19 pandemic spreads across a panicked US, with signs it will soon become the disease’s epicenter, China…

New sea-rail freight train route linking China to south Asia launched

CHONGQING (Xinhua): A new sea-rail freight train route linking China, Vietnam, India and other countries was launched in southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality on Wednesday (March 25), according to the route’s operation platform. The first freight train on the route, loaded with over 10 million yuan (about US$1.42mil) worth of motorcycles and other cargo, departed from Changshou District in Chongqing and will arrive at Qinzhou Port in southern China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in two days. The cargo will be shipped across the sea to countries including Vietnam, India, Pakistan, Indonesia…

Travel inspiration: Asia holidays – Taiwan’s wild side

Taiwan is famous for dumplings, tea and quirky themed restaurants, but along Taiwan’s east coast you’ll find a wild side to the country well worth exploring. The Taiwanese (pop) culture and history we know and love can be experienced in any of the country’s major cities, which are all on the west coast. Head east and, where the mountains meet the sea, you’ll find a dramatic landscape, offering a wide range of outdoors adventures. READ MORE:• Taiwan: Rich history• Asia: Getting a taste for Taiwan’s biggest food festival• Asia: Taiwan’s…

PM Lee interview with The Australian full transcript – Mothership.SG – News from Singapore, Asia and around the world

Singapore no illusions Covid-19 problem is easily over The Australian: The Economist has declared Singapore to be the most successful country in dealing with the coronavirus. How have you dealt with it and what do you think this coronavirus really means for Singapore and for the region? PM: Well, we are flattered, but we are actually very deeply concerned for ourselves, as well as for the wider world we live in. It is a very difficult virus to eradicate. It is one which is dangerous enough to cause considerable human…

Philippine president orders virus lockdown of capital – SE Asia

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced plans Thursday for a sweeping lockdown of the capital’s 12 million people, including a halt to domestic travel, in a bid to contain the deadly new coronavirus. Though the nation has detected a fraction of the cases seen in hotspots such as China and Italy, officials hope to arrest the spread before it takes firm root in Manila’s densely packed neighbourhoods.  During a nationally televised address, Duterte also announced a month of school closures, ban on mass gatherings and a prohibition on the entry of…

Coronavirus solidifies US-China decoupling – Asia Times

In November 2019, Henry Kissinger was in Beijing for the Bloomberg Next Economy Forum, warning that the US and China are in the “foothills of a Cold War”, saying that conflict could be worse than World War I if left to run unconstrained. These comments came in the context of escalating tensions in recent years over trade, increasing rhetoric of military conflict over Taiwan and the South China, Sea, accusations of espionage and influence campaigns, and an all-out competition to define the norms and values underpinning the international order. One…

America’s Strategic Shift in Southeast Asia – The Diplomat

Advertisement The annual multilateral exercise Cobra Gold kicked off February 25 in the Kingdom of Thailand. Since its inception, Cobra Gold has been a Thailand- and U.S.-sponsored Combined Joint Task Force and Joint Theater Security Cooperation exercise. The USS America (LHA-6) and the USS Green Bay (LPD 20) amphibious assault ships carrying the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), including F-35B aircraft, pulled into the Gulf of Thailand for this year’s drill. While in Thailand, the Marines of the 31st MEU and sailors from both ships engaged the Royal Thai armed…