THE GREATEST GAME “Today … we are facing increased global disorder, characterized by decline in the long-standing rules-based international order — creating a security environment more complex and volatile than any we have experienced in recent memory. Inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in U.S. national security.” -Summary of DoD 2018 Report

US Redeploys Nuclear-Capable Bombers to Asia-Pacific The U.S. is deploying six B-52H Stratofortress bombers to the island of Guam in the Western Pacific. -The Diplomat

China says U.S. warship violated its South China Sea Sovereignty A U.S. Navy destroyer this week sailed near the Scarborough Shoal, a disputed lagoon claimed by China in the South China Sea, U.S. officials said on Saturday, and Beijing vowed to take “necessary measures” to protect what it said was its sovereignty. -Reuters

Trump administration says U.S. mistakenly backed China WTO accession in 2001 -Reuters

Japan, U.S. to discuss trade 'framework', U.S. envoy says -NHK/Reuters

GEOPOLITICS OF K-POP Despite diplomatic rows, Japan and South Korea are growing closer The young do not care as much about colonialism -The Economist

Japan stands by Myanmar, lest China gain favor But a dicey human rights record could bring Tokyo criticism by association -Nikkei

POLITICS BY OTHER MEANS Vietnam's corruption crackdown gamble amid crucial SOE debuts Hanoi carries out IPOs, trial simultaneously, emulating tactics of China's Xi Jinping -Nikkei




The rising global tide against bribery Companies with global operations must therefore be mindful that they are now operating in a world of high transparency and vigilance. In countries where bribery is commonplace, it may be especially tempting to go with the flow and conform to local norms or else risk losing business. -The Straits Times

IN CHINA, BIG DATA IS WATCHING YOU … and that could be a huge ‘challenge to the West’ Political scientist Sebastian Heilmann says the reality of Beijing’s digital surveillance exceeds the vision of Orwellian fiction -SCMP 

China's Progress on Intellectual Property Rights (Yes, Really) Foreign firms have been slow to realize the substantial changes in China’s protection of IP rights. -The Diplomat  

REALLY? Ex-IBM employee from China gets five years prison for stealing code -Reuters

Marriott and other firms bow to China to protect business interests For Marriott, it was the wording of a survey emailed to members of its rewards club. At fashion brand Zara, it was a drop-down menu on its website. And for Audi, it was a presentation at the German carmaker’s annual meeting that showed a map of China that excluded Taiwan and parts of Tibet. -The Washington Post

“Marriott, which has been aggressively expanding in China in recent years, says it is implementing an ‘eight-point rectification plan’ to prevent future mishaps.”

Marriott sacks employee who ‘liked’ Twitter post from Tibet independence group -SCMP

Statement from Arne Sorenson, President and CEO, Marriott International, Inc.

“As a company, we take very seriously the privilege and opportunity we have to serve guests in countries around the world – and particularly in China, a market we have been in for over 30 years. We also take responsibility when we make mistakes. We will learn from this experience, make changes to ensure errors like this don’t happen again, and continue to focus on making sure our Chinese guests feel respected and have wonderful experiences as we have the privilege of serving them in our hotels in China and around the globe.”

HISTORY FYI Yan'an Rectification Movement

FREEDOM: A QUAINT NOTION? Japan-EU trade agreement is about freedom When all eyes are on China’s global ambitions, Japan is showing a new way of deploying its soft power. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit this week to six eastern European countries — Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania and the three Baltic states — is a historic first. It reflects Japan’s understanding that the future of the international economic order will be played in and with Europe. -The Japan Times

ONE 2 WATCH Didi makes first move outside mainland China with Taiwan launch -Tech-in-Asia

Petrovietnam scandals lay bare stalling state-sector reforms -Nikkei 

Philippines revokes license of leading news website Rappler Ruling denounced by critics as an ‘alarming attempt to silence independent journalism’ and latest blow to free press in country -The Guardian


REALLY? China's economy set to slow to 6.5 percent in 2018 as government turns off cheap money: Reuters

NO, NOT REALLY China records improved GDP growth in 2017 Latest stats show strong overall rebound of 6.9%, while GDP volume has also exceeded 80 trillion yuan for the first time -Asia Times