Amid U.S. trade war, China's Xi reiterates reform commitment -Reuters

Liu takes center stage in China’s incredible balancing act President Xi’s confidante has a varied portfolio but untangling the various economic strands will test his reformist approach -Asia Times

China's 'Silk Road' project runs into debt jam Five years on, Xi has found himself defending his treasured idea as concerns grow that China is setting up debt traps in countries which may lack the means to pay back the Asian giant. -The Straits Times

US Congress Members Want Sanctions on China Over Xinjiang Crackdown A bipartisan letter calls for Global Magnitsky Act sanctions in response to “the ongoing human rights crisis” in Xinjiang. -The Diplomat

Abe says in interview that Japan’s ties with China back to ‘normal track’ -The Japan Times

Japan would boost missile defenses in record military budget Japan's Defense Ministry is seeking to more than double spending on missile defense, including purchases of costly American arsenals, to defend against North Korean threats. The record-high 5.3 trillion yen ($47 billion) request for fiscal 2019, approved Friday by the ministry, is up 2.1 percent from last year. The military spending has risen seven consecutive years under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. -The Asahi Shimbun

Taiwan risks getting trumped in trade war In the firing line of US-China conflict, island economy must diversify -Nikkei

China-India rapprochement will benefit entire region -Asia Times

Mahathir draws new line in the South China Sea Malaysian leader opposes China's militarization of the maritime area's disputes but any shift to the US will be cloaked in his trademark non-aligned policy -Asia Times

‘WE CANNOT AFFORD THIS’: Malaysia Pushes Back Against China’s Vision A country that once courted Chinese investment now fears becoming overly indebted for big projects that are neither viable nor necessary — except to China. -NYT



Global shipping industry stays on an even keel despite waves of uncertainty from US-China trade war US-China trade war leaves little wake so far for maritime haulers of the world’s goods. -SCMP

Lift-off for China’s controversial corporate colossus The sprawling Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation is a major player in the country’s space program and military complex, and is on the US radar -Asia Times

China puts brakes on auto investment to ease capacity glut Strict regulations cast shadow over global carmakers' expansion plans -Nikkei

Can Electric Cars Make China This Century's Detroit? -Bloomberg

Top U.S. spy catcher says China is using LinkedIn to recruit Americans The United States’ top spy catcher says Chinese spy agencies are using fake LinkedIn accounts to try to recruit Americans with access to government and commercial secrets, and the company should shut them down. -The Japan Times

Immigration agency planned to process more foreign workers To deal with labor shortages in several fields, the government has already decided to introduce a new residency status in April 2019 for accepting foreign workers with specific professional knowledge or skills, a move that is expected to further increase the number of foreign residents. -The Asahi Shimbun

PODCAST OF THE WEEK Foreign Startup Founders Have Secret Advantages in Japan The single most common question I get asked are variations of “How do you start a business as a foreigner in Japan?”  or “What’s it like to start a startup as a foreigner in Japan?” -Disrupting Japan

Indonesia to work with Alibaba's Jack Ma to increase exports: minister Indonesia will partner with Alibaba’s (BABA.N) CEO Jack Ma to look into ways to use Alibaba’s ecosystem to increase its exports, particularly to China, its communications minister told Reuters on Sunday. -Reuters

Grab says it commands 65 percent of Indonesia’s ride-hailing market -Tech in Asia

South Korea hungry for Vietnamese garment Việt Nam expects to continue growth of textile and garment exports to South Korea by the end of the year after strong results in the first seven months of 2018, according to the General Department of Customs. -VietNam News


Why is the Renminbi Depreciating? In 2015-2016, the People's Bank of China drained some $1 trillion from China’s foreign-exchange reserves intervening to prop up the falling currency. As the renminbi again begins to depreciate, Chinese policymakers should recall this experience and avoid similarly costly – and futile –interventions. -Project Syndicate

Foreign demand for China’s A shares to rise following second phase of inclusion in MSCI index, say analysts Ten firms added to index, bringing the total number of Chinese companies to 236 -SCMP

BOJ chief Haruhiko Kuroda rules out hiking interest rates for ‘quite a long time’ -The Japan Times

Bank of Japan places trade war defense at center of strategy Central bank elevates economic health over inflation -Nikkei

Japan’s FSA tightens screening process for aspiring cryptocurrency exchanges The Financial Services Agency has effectively tightened its registration screening for cryptocurrency exchanges to see whether they are properly conducting risk management, sources say. -The Japan Times

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are useless For blockchains, the jury is still out -The Economist

India’s Cash Ban Failed Even to Create a Bank Savings Culture The chaos of demonetization probably made millions leery of formal finance -Bloomberg

Rupiah weakening purely due to external factors: Darmin -The Jakarta Post