Geopolitical Risk Tracker >> APAC Mondays

GEOPOLITICAL RISK + GLOBAL MARKETS

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GLOBAL RISK

Unsure of U.S., Asia builds new alliances to counter China Several Asian nations are seeking to bolster informal alliances among themselves, regional diplomats and officials said, unsettled by growing fears that the United States could not be relied on to maintain a buffer against China's assertiveness. -Reuters

Exclusive: North Korea Tested Its New Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missile 3 Times in April 2017 North Korea tested its new intermediate-range ballistic missile, the Hwasong-12, three times in April 2017. -The Diplomat

Kim Jong-un Isn’t Crazy and China Doesn’t Have a Solution Admittedly no one should expect linear thinking from President Donald Trump. Still, it was a bit jarring to hear him go from calling North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un a “pretty smart cookie” and “gentleman” who the president would be “honored” to meet to a “madman with nuclear weapons.” -The National Interest

CHINA RISK

Would China Be a Benign Hegemon? Of course, China wants hegemony in its backyard. The better question is what Beijing will do afterwards. -The Diplomat

China's Campaign to Shove Taiwan Off the World Stage For the first time since 2008, Taiwan is not participating in the World Health Assembly, the World Health Organization’s decision-making forum. -The National Interest

Beijing criticised for altering status quo in East and South China seas Defence chiefs of US, Japan and Australia urge Beijing to follow international law and respect tribunal ruling at regional summit -SCMP

Chinese general refutes US Defence Secretary's remarks, says China upholds international and regional order -The Straits Times

PODCAST OF THE WEEK>> On The Road To The 19th Party Congress Elite Politics In China Under Xi Jinping -CSIS

JAPAN RISK

Is Japan slipping into prewar politics? Prewar Japan” is a pregnant phrase. It suggests militarist fascism. The legislative flurry began in 2013, when the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe passed a law strengthening protection of government secrets. In 2014 came a law allowing the constitutionally pacifist Self-Defense Forces to engage for the first time in “collective self-defense.” -The Japan Times

Japan's Path to Constitutional Amendment The steps Shinzo Abe must take to achieve constitutional revision, and the political implications. -The Diplomat

Amended privacy protection law the amended privacy protection law, which was fully implemented this week, aims to facilitate the use of people’s personal information, such as their shopping history, as a business tool as long as the information has been processed into anonymous data, while also tightening the rules on parties that handle personal information. -The Japan Times

TAIWAN RISK

Mattis outrages Beijing with explicit commitment to defend Taiwan US remains committed to defence of the island but also abides by the one-China policy, US defence chief says at Shangri-La Dialogue -SCMP

Taiwan’s ILO meeting bid rejection another setback -Taipei Times

‘One Belt’ would doom southbound policy: think tank The success of China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative would consolidate its economic and political dominance in the world, further alienate Taiwan and spell doom for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration’s “new southbound policy” -Taipei Times

Taiwan, Tell Thyself It’s nearly impossible to find foreign-language books about Taiwan in Taiwanese bookstores. This needs to be fixed, perhaps with incentives from the government. -Taiwan Sentinel 

Public diplomacy matters @oxbowadvisory

MONGOLIA RISK

Mongolia Turns the Corner with $5.5 Billion IMF-Led Financing Package The IMF has approved a three-year, $434 million loan for Mongolia as part of a broader $5.5 billion financing package supported also by Japan, Korea, China, the World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank. In terms of GDP, this is the fourth-largest package in IMF history, underscoring the international community’s commitment to Mongolia’s economic success. -The Financial

SOUTHEAST ASIA RISK

Stop calling Indonesia a role model Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, commonly known as Ahok, is a double-minority — ethnic Chinese and Christian — and a poster boy for Indonesia’s pluralism and religious tolerance. His three years as governor of the capital of the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation was, in the opinion of many, marked by extraordinary improvements in public services, a fight against corruption and a sharp intolerance of inefficiency. -The Japan Times 

“Ahok is very, very good. The only reason he is no longer governor is because some people do not like his religion.”

Duterte’s forces struggle to push back Islamist rebels in the southern Philippines -The Washington Post

Phnom Penh sees huge final campaign rallies ahead of crucial elections Campaigning closed Friday ahead of Sunday's fiercely contested commune polls -Nikkei

APAC || GLOBAL MARKETS IMPACT + OPPORTUNITY

GLOBAL BUSINESS

Asia replacing Europe as globe's main solar power market World's capacity for harnessing sun's energy increased 50% in 2016 -Nikkei

Here’s How a Chinese Tech Firm Borrowed $2.1 Billion in a Hurry -NYT

The rise of the QR code and how it has forever changed China’s social habits It’s being used to encourage tipping at restaurants, receive cash gifts at weddings...even beggars are using it to collect handouts. The little barcode is driving China’s rapid shift towards a cashless society -SCMP

The hammer and sickle are making their way into some Hong Kong public companies As many as 19 Chinese state companies listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange have established Communist Party committees. Whose rules do they hew to? -SCMP

Brief: Uber slams Hong Kong crackdown as 21 drivers arrested -Tech in Asia

Toyota-Tesla tie-up goes kaput Japanese automaker to go its own way in electric car market -- Toyota Motor has terminated its business and capital partnership with U.S. electric car maker Tesla -Nikkei

Foreign Airbnb guests soar 40% in Japan Parliament debating law allowing service to operate nationwide -Nikkei

Emirates Orders Cabin Crew Not to Wear ROC Pin on Uniform, to Respect ‘One China’ Policy -Taiwan Sentinel

Opinion: Singapore Inc. leaders need to rethink innovation or die trying -Tech in Asia

GLOBAL MACRO

Former China statistics chief jailed for life over corruption Wang Baoan accepted 153 million yuan between 1994 and last year, court says -SCMP

READ BALDINGS>> Is China Headed for a Recession? Not exactly, but that raises another problem. For the first time ever, China is facing a dreaded prospect: the inverted bond yield curve. The phenomenon, in which long-term interest rates sink below short-term interest rates, has caused some consternation among market-watchers, who know it's traditionally a harbinger of recession. The inversion suggests markets expect interest rates to fall eventually as monetary authorities move to stimulate economic activity. -Bloomberg View  

POLITICAL ECONOMY>> Should China Be Ejected from the SDR? -Project Syndicate

Coal's Future in India Thoughts for a mining company's boardroom. -BloombergView