Asia News In Brief

15:22' 27-04-2017
According to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Cambodia’s economy is forecasted to grow by about 7% in 2017 and 2018.


    Economy to grow in 2017 and 2018

    According to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Cambodia’s economy is forecasted to grow by about 7% in 2017 and 2018.

    The bank recently reported that implementation of the Industrial Development Policy 2015-2025 will speed up Cambodia’s economy, through the expansion of clothing and footwear exports as well as construction and real estate activities. Industrial growth is expected to be a slightly higher this year, about 10.8%, while service and agriculture sectors are projected to increase by 6.7% and 1.8%, respectively. Growth in construction is predicted to be moderate.

    Two-way trade between Cambodia and China reached US$4.8 billion  in 2016, up US$200 million from a year ago. Of that volume, Cambodia's exports to China were over US$830 million, while China’s exports were US$3.9 billion.

    Cambodia exported rice and rubber to China, and imported construction materials, equipment and electronics from the country. Moreover, China gave US$4.2 billion in development aid to Cambodia, mainly for infrastructure development, agriculture, health care, education and social welfare.

    Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said he has asked Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to invest more in rice production in Cambodia. Speaking a meeting of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries on April 10, the Prime Minister said he proposed the Philippines invest 100% in rice production, harvest and processing in Cambodia, and directly import the product from the country.

    Philippines rice production, processing and export faced many difficulties in the world market, with production the lowest for three years, while Cambodia currently has over 3 million tonnes of extra rice.


    Customs seize mammoth tusks

    Chinese customs officers seized more than 100 woolly mammoth tusks at the port of Luobei in Heilongjiang province in north-east China in February, state media reports.

    The massive haul, which included 37 woolly rhino horn parts and more than a tonne of jade, were hidden in concealed compartments in a truck from Russia. The largest piece of mammoth ivory seized was more than 1.6m long.

    Mammoths are a large, wooly elephant-like creature, which has been extinct for thousands of years. It is estimated there are around 10 million mammoths that trapped in the permafrost of the Arctic tundra. Global warming is causing them to be revealed.

    There is no international ban on the mammoth tusk trade, but Chinese officials said the haul had not been declared.


    Suspect in murder of Vietnamese girl arrested

    A suspect arrested on April 14 in connection with the murder of a 9-year-old Vietnamese girl was her neighbour, said police of Japan’s Chiba prefecture.

    Shibuya Yasumasa, a 46-year-old property business manager, was arrested because his DNA matched a sample police collected at the crime scene. The victim, Le Thi Nhat Linh, was in her third year of elementary school in Matsudo in Chiba prefecture.

    Linh’s family reported her missing to police on the morning of March 24, after her teacher phoned to inform them about her absence at school and they failed to find her when. She usually went to school by herself, since the school is near her house.

    The body of a girl without clothes or other personal items was found two days later near a drainage ditch about 10-12km from the school. Police confirmed the dead girl as the missing Le Thi Nhat Linh.

    Kết quả hình ảnh cho Suspect in murder of Vietnamese girl arrested



    Elections for governor of Jakarta

    More than 7 million eligible voters in Jakarta went to the polls on Wednesday 19 April to vote for a governor.

    The incumbent Christian Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, usually called “Ahok”, had been on trial for blasphemy throughout the campaign. He faces up to five years in prison if found guilty. Ultra conservative Islamic groups led mass protests against him last year, arguing that the Koran states Muslims cannot vote for non-Muslim leaders.

    Ahok's rival for the position, seen as a stepping stone to the presidency, was Muslim and former education minister, Anies Baswedan. 

    More than 60,000 police, military and security officers were deployed amid allegations of vote-buying and concerns about intimidation from hardline religious groups.

    An early count after polls closed showed Baswedan leading 58% to 42%. Ahok conceded the win to him.


    Tensions rise at exchange of threats

    A state of tension has existed on the Korean peninsula for several weeks, following US President Donald Trump ordering US aircraft carrier Carl Vinson to the area.

    The order was made shortly after Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to the US, in response to a missile test carried out by North Korea on April 15.

    North Korea's deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Kim In Ryong, declared that his nation was “ready to react to any mode of war desired by the Americans”, and called US-South Korean military exercises an “aggressive war drill” aimed at his country. He also confirmed that a new nuclear test was under preparation and the plans had been announced.

    Although the Easter test was a failure, Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull said North Korea's nuclear capabilities had the potential to cause political instability well beyond the Asia Pacific region. He said it was up to China to ensure North Korea did not remain hostile. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten agreed.

    President Trump made the same point to China's President Xi during their meeting, urging China to take stronger steps to press the North to curb its nuclear and missile programmes. Since then Xi has called on both sides to show restraint.

    Last week South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported an unnamed government source saying Pyongyang marked the 85th anniversary of the founding of its army with an artillery firing drill in the eastern port city of Wonsan.

    Admiral Harry Harris, head of Pacific Command, welcomed Beijing's efforts to defuse the tensions, and suggested a non-military solution remained the preferred outcome.


    Lao children offered free health care

    Children in Laos will be provided with free health care services in public hospitals from 2017 under a new policy of the government, which aims to reduce the fatality rate among children under five.

    The new “Strategy and Action Plan for Maternal and Child Health” will focus on offering children, especially infants and those under five, free health care services, according to a Lao health official.

    The policy includes free health check-ups and treatment programmes in public health care facilities nationwide. In addition, it also helps pregnant women get easier access to medical services in public hospitals across the country.

    The policy was introduced in 2013, initially benefiting mothers and children from poor families in several localities.


    Ties strengthened with China

    China and Myanmar have agreed to maintain the principle of mutual respect and win-win cooperation for the sustained, healthy and steady development of bilateral relations.

    During talks in Beijing on April 10, Chinese President Xi Jinping told visiting Myanmar President U Htin Kyaw that China will work with Myanmar to employ the two countries's development strategies, and offer cooperation in trade, investment, infrastructure, energy, agriculture, water conservancy, electricity, finance and cross-border economic cooperation zones.

    He also expected the two sides to facilitate coordination in multilateral frameworks, such as the United Nations, East Asia cooperation, and the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Framework.

    The two nations also entered into an agreement on an oil pipeline link, after nearly a decade’s negotiations. The deal between PetroChina and the Myanmar Government will allow the import and transport of 260,000 barrels of oil per day from the Bay of Bengal to a new refinery in Yunnan province, in southwest China.


    Duterte visits Gulf nations

    Phillipine President Rodrigo Duterte visited the three Arabian Gulf nations of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar early last month.

    More than 300,000 Philippine workers are employed in the Gulf states. A decline in global oil prices caused Saudi Arabia to suffer a budget deficit of US$79 billion, putting the government billions in debt to private construction companies. As a result, many Philippine workers were dismissed and did not receive their wages.

    President Duterte discussed the unpaid wages, as well as workers’ welfare and dignity, during talks with Saudi Arabia King Salman, King Hamad of Bahrain and Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani of Qatar.

    He also signed a number of agreements for economic, cultural and political cooperation. This included pledging Filipino troops to aid the Gulf States, but National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr later said the troops were going to the Gulf for training, not for military action.

    Philippines & US to conduct joint exercises

    “Balikatan”, the annual joint exercises between the Philippine and US militaries will be held on May 8, according to the US Embassy in Manila. The two nations conduct three major joint drills and 28 minor cross training exercises every year, with Balikatan being the biggest and most comprehensive.

    The embassy said that the troops from both countries will conduct the exercises until May 19 on multiple locations in the Luzon Island and Visayas region in central Philippines.

    Australian and Japanese forces will join in major training activities. The Philippine force has invited military forces from several other nations to observe.

    The number of soldiers participating in the drills was not mentioned in the statement.


    Food vendors chased off the streets

    Thailand's military government has evicted thousands of popular street-food vendors from their usual spots in a bid to clear walkways and bring order to the capital.Local media reported 15,000 street-food vendors had been handed eviction notices, giving them until April 17 to cease operations.

    The move has been criticised for depriving people of affordable meals and tarnishing Bangkok's charm. “The street food of Bangkok is the blood of Bangkok,” said Korakot Punlopruksa, a food writer and travel show host.

    CNN recently ranked the city as having the world's best street food for a second year in row, with Sydney placing 22nd. One study estimated that two-thirds of Bangkok residents eat at least one meal a day from street-food vendors.

    One vendor who had been forced to move off the street into a carpark said her income had dropped. “When we were outside everyone could see us, we got both regular customers and those just passing by.”


    Trade surplus with Canada maintained

    Vietnam maintained a trade surplus of US$455.5 million with Canada in the first two months of this year. Two-way trade was valued at US$717.7 million, an annual increase of 117%.

    According to Hoang Anh Dung, Trade Counsellor of the Vietnamese Embassy in Canada,  Canada’s exports to Vietnam grew unexpectedly in January and February. The goods exported from Canada to Vietnam in the period were worth US$131.1 million, representing an annual rise of 105.4%.

    High growth was seen in such commodities as coal (US$38.3 million USD, up 52.7%), cereals (US$38 million, up 1.1%), and flight training equipment and spare parts (US$6.8 million, up 3.7%).

    Meanwhile, the goods exported from Vietnam to Canada in the period were worth US$586.6 million, a year-on-year rise of 6.6%.

    Vietnam’s staples include machines, electronic equipment (US$147.7 million), footwear (US$79.6 million), apparel products (US$63.6 million), woven products (US$61.2 million), and timber products (US$46.6 million).

    This outcome showed that Vietnam still held its leading position in ASEAN in export turnover to Canada.

    Trump to attend APEC summit in Vietnam

    US President Donald Trump will attend the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Da Nang, Vietnam, in November this year, as well as the US-ASEAN and East Asia meetings in the Philippines.

    The US Vice President Mike Pence announced the information during his visit to the headquarters of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on April 20.

    The Trump Government will work with ASEAN on security issues, trade, and freedom of navigation in the East Sea, he said.

    Phung Nguyen and Span Hanna



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Keywords: asian development bankcambodia’s economyindustrial development policy

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