The latest news on what’s happening in the region

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Check out what’s hot in the region on May 23 as The Nation puts together headlines from members of Asia News Network (ANN). Click to read more:

The latest news on what's happening in the region
The latest news on what's happening in the region

Energy 
World in one of the most severe energy crises since 1970s: WEF 


Straits Times ( Singapore )
https://www.nationthailand.com/international/40015857

S Korea
Chips, batteries, nuclear tech emerge as key agenda in Yoon-Biden summit 


Korea Herald
https://www.nationthailand.com/international/40015851

Rohingya 
‘Don’t forget Rohingyas while focussing on Ukraine’ 


The Daily Star ( Bangladesh )
https://www.nationthailand.com/international/40015860


Profile Australia 
Australia’s new Foreign Minister was born in Sabah, Malaysia 


The Star ( Malaysia )
https://www.nationthailand.com/international/40015852


Borders Cambodia 
VN, Cambodia agree major border line segments: PM  


Phnom Penh Post
https://www.nationthailand.com/international/40015849

Asia News Network: The Nation (Thailand), The Korea Herald, The Straits Times (Singapore), China Daily, Jakarta Post, The Star and Sin Chew Daily (Malaysia), The Statesman (India), Philippine Daily Inquirer, Yomiuri Shimbun and The Japan News, Gogo Mongolia, Dawn (Pakistan), The Island (Sri Lanka), Kuensel (Bhutan), Kathmandu Post (Nepal), Daily Star (Bangladesh), Eleven Media (Myanmar), the Phnom Penh Post and Rasmei Kampuchea (Cambodia), The Borneo Bulletin (Brunei), Vietnam News, and Vientiane Times (Laos).

Published : May 23, 2022

‘Don’t forget Rohingyas while focussing on Ukraine’

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https://www.nationthailand.com/international/40015860


Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, has said they must not forget other difficult situations in the world including the Rohingya crisis that need its attention and resources while focussing on the “catastrophic emergency” in Ukraine.

'Don’t forget Rohingyas while focussing on Ukraine'

In a video message released on Sunday, Grandi said he came to Bangladesh to emphasise it once again like what he did in Afghanistan and Cameroon recently.

“I came to Bangladesh because this is such a priority partner country for the UNHCR and the Rohingya crisis is such a priority crisis,” he said. His five-day visit to Bangladesh began yesterday.

Grandi, who last visited Bangladesh in March 2019, said it is very useful to visit projects and talk to the Rohingya, religious leaders from the community, environmental activists and people who have been in Rohingya camps for many decades.

Everybody has different perspectives but there is a strong sense of uncertainty about the future, he said.

Grandi said most of the Rohingyas want to go back to their country – Myanmar which is just across the river.

“They want to do this only if their security is guaranteed and if their citizenship is recognised. These are virtually stateless people at this moment,” he said, highlighting the importance of their freedom of movement and access to services after their return to Myanmar.

The high commissioner will meet with representatives of the government of Bangladesh to discuss the ongoing response to Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar and Bhashan Char.

He will also highlight the need for sustained international support when meeting with key donors and partners who support the humanitarian response in Cox’s Bazar and Bhashan Char.

During his visit to the camps and Bhashan Char, Grandi will meet with Rohingya refugees to discuss their needs, challenges and hopes for the future.

Grandi is accompanied on his visit by Indrika Ratwatte, UNHCR’s regional director for Asia and the Pacific, and Herve de Villeroche, senior advisor to the High Commissioner.

Daily Star

Asia News Network: The Nation (Thailand), The Korea Herald, The Straits Times (Singapore), China Daily, Jakarta Post, The Star and Sin Chew Daily (Malaysia), The Statesman (India), Philippine Daily Inquirer, Yomiuri Shimbun and The Japan News, Gogo Mongolia, Dawn (Pakistan), The Island (Sri Lanka), Kuensel (Bhutan), Kathmandu Post (Nepal), Daily Star (Bangladesh), Eleven Media (Myanmar), the Phnom Penh Post and Rasmei Kampuchea (Cambodia), The Borneo Bulletin (Brunei), Vietnam News, and Vientiane Times (Laos).

Published : May 23, 2022

World facing one of its most severe energy crises: WEF

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The war in Ukraine, as well as the pandemic and the quick economic rebound in its aftermath, significantly disrupted energy transition efforts.

World facing one of its most severe energy crises: WEF

This has left the world in one of the most severe energy crises since the 1970s, the World Economic Forum (WEF) said in a new report titled “Fostering Effective Energy Transition 2022”.

The pace of energy transition needs to be supercharged for the world to keep to its sustainability goals, it noted.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres drew attention to the energy crisis in an address on May 19, noting that Russia’s war on Ukraine will likely have major implications for global heating targets.

Many countries are stepping up the use of coal or imports of liquefied natural gas as alternative sources to Russian energy, he noted, calling the short-sighted rush to fossil fuels “madness”.

The WEF, in its latest energy transition report, called for urgent action by both private and public actors to ensure a resilient transition.

This “urgency for countries to accelerate a holistic energy transition is reinforced by high fuel prices, commodities’ shortages, insufficient headway on achieving climate goals and slow progress on energy justice and access”, it said.

Roberto Bocca, head of energy, materials and infrastructure at the WEF, said: “Countries are at risk of future events compounding the disruption of their energy supply chain at a time when the window to prevent the worst consequences of climate change is closing fast.”

He added: “Now is the time to double down on the action.”

The WEF report detailed key recommendations for governments, companies, consumers and other stakeholders on measures to advance the energy transition.

Countries will need to prioritise efforts to ensure a resilient energy transition and diversification of the energy mix, it stated.

Diversification needs to be pursued on two fronts: Countries need to review their domestic energy mix and consider their fuel and energy suppliers in the shorter term.

Most countries rely on just a handful of trade partners to meet their energy requirements and have a deficient diversification of energy sources, providing limited flexibility to deal with disruptions, the WEF said.

The report noted that of 34 countries with advanced economies, 11 rely on only three trade partners for more than 70 per cent of their fuel imports.

More countries need to make binding climate commitments, create a long-term vision for domestic and regional energy systems, attract private-sector investors for decarbonisation projects and help consumers and the workforce adjust, the report added.

Shefali Rekhi

Asia News Network Editor

The Straits Times

Asia News Network: The Nation (Thailand), The Korea Herald, The Straits Times (Singapore), China Daily, Jakarta Post, The Star and Sin Chew Daily (Malaysia), The Statesman (India), Philippine Daily Inquirer, Yomiuri Shimbun and The Japan News, Gogo Mongolia, Dawn (Pakistan), The Island (Sri Lanka), Kuensel (Bhutan), Kathmandu Post (Nepal), Daily Star (Bangladesh), Eleven Media (Myanmar), the Phnom Penh Post and Rasmei Kampuchea (Cambodia), The Borneo Bulletin (Brunei), Vietnam News, and Vientiane Times (Laos).

Published : May 23, 2022

By : The Straits Times

Australia’s new Foreign Minister was born in Sabah

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Veteran senior politician Penny Wong is slated to take office on Monday as Foreign Affairs Minister under the Labour government of Anthony Albanese.

Australia's new Foreign Minister was born in Sabah

The law and arts graduate from the University of Adelaide was born in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah and then moved to Australia in 1976 as an eight-year-old.

She is the daughter of respected architect Francis Wong.

She was elected senator in 2001 and in 2008, became the first Asian-born member of an Australian Cabinet when she served as Climate Change Minister in the Kevin Rudd administration.

In 2013, she became the Leader of the Government in the Senate and later, after the change of government, she was appointed the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate. She is the first woman to hold these roles.

Asia News Network: The Nation (Thailand), The Korea Herald, The Straits Times (Singapore), China Daily, Jakarta Post, The Star and Sin Chew Daily (Malaysia), The Statesman (India), Philippine Daily Inquirer, Yomiuri Shimbun and The Japan News, Gogo Mongolia, Dawn (Pakistan), The Island (Sri Lanka), Kuensel (Bhutan), Kathmandu Post (Nepal), Daily Star (Bangladesh), Eleven Media (Myanmar), the Phnom Penh Post and Rasmei Kampuchea (Cambodia), The Borneo Bulletin (Brunei), Vietnam News, and Vientiane Times (Laos).

Published : May 23, 2022

By : The Star

Chips, batteries, nuclear tech emerge as key agenda in Yoon-Biden summit

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US President Joe Biden’s trip to Asia and his choice of South Korea as his first stop underscore Washington’s willingness to address global supply chain uncertainties largely posed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, along with efforts to counter dependence on China.

Chips, batteries, nuclear tech emerge as key agenda in Yoon-Biden summit

This can be achieved by strengthening collaboration with technology powerhouses in Asia’s fourth-largest economy, the summit between President Yoon Suk-yeol and Biden showed.

To this end, Yoon and Biden called on the need for more investment, research and people-to-people exchanges of experts to nurture innovative products and technologies from Korea and the US, including thinner semiconductor chips, the batteries that power electric vehicles, civil nuclear power reactors to cut carbon emissions, and more.

On Saturday, Yoon told reporters that the summit during Biden’s three-day visit to Korea marked an agreement “to step up (Korea’s) practical cooperation” in the fields of semiconductors, batteries, civil nuclear power, space development and cyberspace, adding these are a matter of “economic security.”
 

“As a first step, our offices will launch an economic security dialogue so that in supply chains, advanced science and technology, and other areas of economic security, our two countries can have timely communication and cooperation,” Yoon said.

“The tragedy brought on by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine must be resolved swiftly so that the people can return to their peaceful, normal lives.”

The decision comes against the backdrop of growing supply chain disruptions that are affecting the livelihoods of ordinary people and the overall national economy.

Korea has suffered supply shortages of critical materials and products, including consumer goods like cars as well as diesel exhaust fluid.

“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the formation of the blocks in the market, we see permanent risks when it comes to the supply chain,” Yoon said, adding the lapses in economic security could lead to threats to national security as well as to military security.


This highlights the growing role of Korea in the Asia-Pacific region when it comes to addressing supply chain challenges.

“Our two nations are working together to take on both the opportunities and the challenges of the moment, continuing to fight COVID-19, securing the supply chains, tackling the climate crisis, deepening our security cooperation to meet regional challenges and writing the rules of the road to ensure the Indo-Pacific is a free and open area,” Biden told reporters.

The summit suggested a regular ministerial-level Supply Chain and Commercial Dialogue between Korean Industry Minister Lee Chang-yang and US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, aimed at discussing the promotion of resilient supply chains of products including semiconductors and batteries, as well as critical minerals. Previously, the two nations had held working-level discussions on the matter.

Private companies in Korea have been moving in tandem.

Tech giant Samsung Electronics announced in November a $17 billion plan to build a foundry plant in Taylor, Texas, aiming to begin operations in 2024. Samsung has also reportedly filed for greater investment with authorities in the area — the Taylor and Manor school districts in Texas — and more tax breaks in return.

Samsung’s track record in the US was in the spotlight during Biden’s visit on Friday to a chip plant in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province, including the Texas chip plant and its battery affiliate Samsung SDI’s effort to build a battery factory with Stellantis through a joint venture announced in October.

Moreover, SK Group’s wafer production arm SK Siltron also unveiled in November a $600 million investment plan in the US to expand production capacity over the next five years.

The US is facing imminent pressure to stay in the global chip arms race amid China’s bid to expand chip manufacturing. In 2021 alone, Chinese firms announced $26 billion in investment plans through 28 projects across China, showed an estimate by the Semiconductor Industry Association, an advocacy group in the US.

Korea is projected to become home to the third-largest semiconductor chip production base. By 2030, Korean firms will be responsible for nearly 20 per cent of total chip production, trailing China with 24 per cent and Taiwan with 21 per cent, according to a report jointly conducted by the SIA and Boston Consulting Group. US firms are projected to produce a combined 10 per cent of chips globally in 2030.

On the electric vehicle front, automaker Hyundai Motor unveiled a combined $10 billion plan to invest in the US during Biden’s visit to Korea.

On Sunday, Hyundai Motor pledged a $5 billion investment in robotics, autonomous driving, air taxis and artificial intelligence, a day after it unveiled a $5.5 billion plan to build full electric vehicle and battery manufacturing facilities in Bryan County, Georgia, aiming to kick off in 2025.

As for plans to launch more civil nuclear power plants, Yoon said the country will seek the development of advanced reactors and small modular reactors.

Asia News Network: The Nation (Thailand), The Korea Herald, The Straits Times (Singapore), China Daily, Jakarta Post, The Star and Sin Chew Daily (Malaysia), The Statesman (India), Philippine Daily Inquirer, Yomiuri Shimbun and The Japan News, Gogo Mongolia, Dawn (Pakistan), The Island (Sri Lanka), Kuensel (Bhutan), Kathmandu Post (Nepal), Daily Star (Bangladesh), Eleven Media (Myanmar), the Phnom Penh Post and Rasmei Kampuchea (Cambodia), The Borneo Bulletin (Brunei), Vietnam News, and Vientiane Times (Laos).

Published : May 23, 2022

By : The Korea Herald

Vietnam, Cambodia agree major border line segments

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Prime Minister Hun Sen has revealed that Cambodia and Vietnam have agreed on six per cent of the remaining undemarcated borders between the two countries, in a varied speech to members of the Cambodian diaspora in Europe, in which he also discussed the upcoming commune council elections.

Vietnam, Cambodia agree major border line segments

While greeting them on May 21 before attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Hun Sen said the border committees of Cambodia and Vietnam had recently negotiated the boundary for six of the remaining 16 per cent of undemarcated borders between the two countries.

“I have invited the Prime Minister of Vietnam to visit Cambodia and put a signature on this six per cent,” he said, referring to his recent meeting with his Vietnamese counterpart Pham Minh Chinh during the May 12-13 ASEAN-US Special Summit in Washington, DC.

Hun Sen also criticised those who accused him of “ceding” land to Vietnam. He said if that were the case, he would not have needed to negotiate, as he had with Vietnam on the six per cent of borders.

“I have no right to take Cambodian territory and give it to other people – even a millimetre of it. If it was… my land, sure, I could give some of it to others. But it is impossible to cede land from one country to offer another country,” he said.

Cambodia needs to be friendly with other countries, especially those with whom it shares a border, he added, in a rebuttal against unnamed critics of his negotiation tactics, who he said had historically sought to “fight against Vietnam to take the land back”.

In the same speech, Hun Sen also brought up the upcoming commune elections, scheduled to take place on June 5. As political parties in Cambodia kicked off their campaigns on May 21, he noted that the first day of campaigning went smoothly, and urged the public to continue to maintain civility and refrain from violence.

“Our country has gone through too much hardship there has been enough violence. We must now use policy to compete, rather than [resort to] cursing each other, [though] I can curse too,” he said.

The premier also criticised those he claimed: “like to talk about human rights but dare not talk about how to keep the peace”. He noted that since Cambodia achieved comprehensive peace in 1998, it has been able to maintain civility, with no one being killed or suffering from war-related violence or destruction.

“The absence of war has enabled us to begin the process of establishing democracy and respecting human rights,” he said.

Hun Sen also announced to the members of the Cambodian diaspora that the government will permit them to register for, and obtain, Khmer national identification cards to ease their ability to do business in Cambodia, enabling them to buy real estate “or even to form a political party”.

At the meeting, Hun Sen also revealed that he will be making a request to change his official birthday from 1951 to 1952 after the commune elections, noting that there was an over one-year difference between his stated and actual age.

The premier claimed that he chose his current birthdate of April 4, 1951, in 1970 – when he joined the armed forces of the then-prince Norodom Sihanouk to fight against foreign invaders and the Lon Nol-led coup – due to an inability to remember his actual birth date. After joining the armed forces, his commander told 300 members to write down their birth dates. As he was not able to remember the date he was born, he put the date he joined the armed group.

“I will request the court to change my date of birth from April 4, 1951, to my real birth date of August 5, 1952,” he said.

Asia News Network: The Nation (Thailand), The Korea Herald, The Straits Times (Singapore), China Daily, Jakarta Post, The Star and Sin Chew Daily (Malaysia), The Statesman (India), Philippine Daily Inquirer, Yomiuri Shimbun and The Japan News, Gogo Mongolia, Dawn (Pakistan), The Island (Sri Lanka), Kuensel (Bhutan), Kathmandu Post (Nepal), Daily Star (Bangladesh), Eleven Media (Myanmar), the Phnom Penh Post and Rasmei Kampuchea (Cambodia), The Borneo Bulletin (Brunei), Vietnam News, and Vientiane Times (Laos).

Published : May 23, 2022

By : The Phnom Penh Post

Rohingyas sneaking into Bangladesh from India now

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The illegal entry of Rohingyas into Bangladesh from India over the past three weeks has triggered a fresh concern as the new inflow will create an additional burden for the country already hosting one million of the forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals.

Rohingyas sneaking into Bangladesh from India now

Police and intelligence officials said many of the Rohingyas, who lived in different places in India, sneaked into Bangladesh with the help of brokers and some were detained by law enforcers. They were later sent to the transitional camps in Cox’s Bazar.

There is no official record of the numbers of Rohingyas entering so far, but officials said some 500 of them may have entered Bangladesh from India over the last one month.

“We are heavily burdened with the Rohingyas and any sort of illegal entry is a matter of serious concern. It should be stopped immediately,” said a top government official engaged in the Rohingya repatriation process in Cox’s Bazar, where over one million Rohingyas live in several refugee camps.

On Tuesday, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Moment voiced similar concerns.

“Unfortunately, many Rohingyas are coming to Bangladesh from India,” he told reporters, adding that he would take up the matter with his Indian counterpart.

Bangladesh has been facing episodic influxes of Rohingyas fleeing violence in Myanmar for decades, with the largest exodus from Rakhine State taking place in August 2017. They joined the 300,000 of their compatriots already there from previous waves of displacement, causing significant economic and strategic challenges for Bangladesh.

Rohingyas who entered Bangladesh illegally from India told Bangladesh law enforcers that they had to spend around 15,000 Indian rupees to cross the border, sources said.

Take the example of Selim.

In 2012, Selim went to Jammu from Maungdaw and had since been sheltered in a refugee camp with a UNHCR card along with 200-300 other Rohingya families, law enforcers said, citing Selim.

Selim claimed that recently the situation in the Jammu area became volatile. He then communicated with his sister-in-law Tomida Khatun, who lives in Kutupalong camp in Cox’s Bazar.

“My sister-in-law told me that the Rohingya camp situation in Bangladesh is good and that the Bangladesh government is very kind and helpful. Then I decided to move,” he said.

Selim later communicated with an Indian broker and made a deal to cross the border.

As per the deal, Selim along with his wife and two children went to Delhi from Jammu by bus on May 8. From Delhi, they came to Agartala by train, which took them 72 hours.

Around 2:00pm on May 13, they entered Feni district of Bangladesh through an opening of the wire fence of Agartala border.

An unknown broker received them and then they went to Ramu in Cox’s Bazar and reached near the camp.

“After arriving here, I phoned my sister-in-law and then she came and took us inside the camp through an opening of the barbed-wire fence,” he told law enforcers.

But based on a tip-off, the Armed Police Battalion took them from the camp and sent them to the office of the Camp in Charge (CiC) in the Rohingya camp.

Naimul Haque, commanding officer of Armed Police Battalion (APBn)-14 said it is difficult to say exactly how many Rohingyas entered Bangladesh from India.

“But in my camp, we have arrested some 25 Rohingyas and they were sent to the CiC office,” he said.

He also said that some of the Rohingyas who came from India said they crossed the border as they have relatives here. Others cited the poor law and order situation in India and better living conditions in Bangladesh camps.

They said Rohingyas with the help of brokers first come to Kolkata by train. Then another group of brokers take the Rohingyas and then they were taken to Bangladesh’s borders in Sylhet, Cumilla and Moulvibazar by train.

There, another group of brokers near the border divide them into groups of 5-6 and help them enter Bangladesh through the barbed wire at the border.

Rohingyas who have already entered Bangladesh told the law enforcement agencies that some 2,000-3,000 Rohingyas are waiting in bordering areas to trespass into Bangladesh.

Intelligence sources said many of the Rohingyas have already spread to many parts of the country.

Md Mamunur Rashid, Deputy Commissioner of Cox’s Bazar, said, “It is a concern as Rohingyas are coming from India. They are now in the transit camps and the decisions about them will be taken soon after reviewing the overall situation.”

According to Human Rights Watch, an estimated 40,000 Rohingyas are in India, at least 20,000 of whom are registered with the UNHCR.

Since 2016, ultranationalist Hindu groups have targeted Rohingya refugees in Jammu as part of growing attacks on Muslims in India and called for their expulsion from the country.

After October 2018, the Indian government deported 12 Rohingyas to Myanmar, claiming that they left voluntarily. However, the government denied repeated requests by the UNHCR to gain access to them to independently assess whether the decision was voluntary.

Published : May 22, 2022

By : The Daily Star

Malay, not Bahasa Malaysia for Asean use, says Malaysia PM

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The International Symposium on Bahasa Melayu is the best platform to identify whatever obstacles in dignifying the Malay language thus making it one of the official languages of Asean, says Malaysia’s Prime Minister.

Malay, not Bahasa Malaysia for Asean use, says Malaysia PM

Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob also took the opportunity to clarify that it is not “Bahasa Malaysia” that Malaysia wishes to promote as the language of Asean, but “Bahasa Melayu” (Malay language), which was also used in other countries in Asean.

“We use Bahasa Melayu as the primary language, it has its variations, we have Bahasa Melayu Indonesia, Bahasa Melayu Brunei, Bahasa Melayu Singapore, Bahasa Melayu Thailand.

“Some did not understand, they thought that we want to elevate Bahasa Malaysia as the Asean language, some of our friends from neighbouring countries criticised us but maybe because they have misunderstood.

“We wish to elevate Bahasa Melayu, which has other variations,” he explained in a press conference after officiating the International Symposium on Bahasa Melayu.

The two-day symposium, which was organised by Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) upon the Prime Minister’s suggestion, would discuss the use of Malay as a second language in Asean.

Ismail Sabri on March 23 said he would propose to Asean leaders the use of Malay as the second language in Asean to elevate the country’s official language at the international level.

It was reported that currently, only four out of the 10 Asean countries use English in official events at the international level, while others such as Cambodia, Indonesia, and Thailand use their national languages in their official affairs.

The Prime Minister had used Malay during his official visits to Indonesia, Brunei, Cambodia and Vietnam, as well as his recent visit to the United States.

Indonesian’s Education, Culture, Research and Technology Minister Nadiem Makarim, however, was reported to have rejected the idea saying that Bahasa Indonesia was a better option to be used as the main language for Asean, as it was the most used language in South-East Asia, with its usage spread across more than 47 countries.

Published : May 22, 2022

By : The Star

Yoon, Biden agree to strengthen comprehensive strategic alliance

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The leaders of South Korea and the US have agreed to develop the Korea-US relationship into a global comprehensive strategic alliance, during their first summit in Seoul on Saturday.

Yoon, Biden agree to strengthen comprehensive strategic alliance

At a joint press conference after the summit that lasted more than 100 minutes, President Yoon Suk-yeol said, “At the summit, the two of us shared the goal of developing the Korea-US alliance into a global comprehensive strategic alliance and closely discussed implementation plans.”

“Today, I feel that President Biden and I agree in almost every way,” he said.

Yoon said the two nations’ alliance now faces long-standing challenges of denuclearizing North Korea, as well as new challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, trade order change, supply chain reorganization, climate change and a crisis of democracy.

“These challenges can only be overcome through solidarity among countries that share the universal values of liberal democracy and human rights,” he said. And the Korea-US alliance is “an example” of such solidarity.

The two leaders shared the view to cope with these challenges to “create a norm-based order” as a global comprehensive strategic alliance.

Shared goal for NK

Yoon and Biden agreed that solid deterrence against North Korea is “more important than anything else” under the common perception that “security can never be compromised.”

They plan to “open talks to expand the scope and scale of joint exercises and drills” on and around the Korean Peninsula, taking into account the evolving threat from North Korea.

“If North Korea begins substantial denuclearization, we will work with the international community to prepare a bold plan to dramatically improve the North Korean economy and the quality of life of its people,” Yoon said.

Biden said they committed to strengthening close engagement and collectively take on challenges of regional security. He said both countries will also address the threat posed by North Korea by “further strengthening our deterrence posture and working toward a complete denuclearization” of the Korean Peninsula.

When asked by a reporter whether there would be any preconditions for Biden’s meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, the US president said: “With regard to whether I would meet with the leader of North Korea, that’ll be depending on whether he was sincere.”

On the question of preconditions for the US to offer vaccines to North Korea, Biden said: “We’ve offered vaccines, not only to North Korea but to China as well. And we’re prepared to do that. Immediately. We’ve gotten no response.”

Economic alliance

The two sides also formalized South Korea’s participation in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, a US-led economic alliance, on the day.

‘“We are living in an era in which security is the economy, and the economy is security,” Yoon said.

“We decided to strengthen practical cooperation in new industries such as semiconductors and batteries, nuclear power, space development and cyber(security),” Yoon said.

Regarding the US’ Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, Yoon said the Indo-Pacific region is an important region for Korea and the US.

Korea and the US will work together to establish a norm-based order in the region, and “the first step is to participate in the IPEF,” he stated.

The two nations plan to elevate their strategic cooperation in economic and security fields to a higher level through cooperation in high-tech fields such as semiconductors, batteries, artificial intelligence and biotech.

Biden said that there is “room for a broader trade deal” to come out of the economic framework, and it is working on critical areas in the supply chain. He specified this would apply not only to semiconductors but to a range of other products.

Biden cited the digital economy, cybersecurity standards, data access, clean and renewable environment, global minimum tax and clean energy technology as other areas of focus in the framework.

Korea and the US decided to establish a strategic consultation channel called the Economic Security Dialogue. Through this, cooperation plans in key areas such as supply chains, advanced technology and energy will be materialized, and cooperation between the two countries will be strengthened for the advancement and visualization of IPEF performance.

The Korean presidential office kept its distance from some concerns that it might be used to contain China.

“There is not a single line in the full statement by the leaders of the two countries that excludes China from the supply chain,” said Wang Yun-jong, South Korea’s secretary of economic security, at a local press briefing after the joint press conference.

Regarding the IPEF, he said, “Rather than excluding specific countries, we are focusing on bringing supply chain stability among complementary countries,” adding, “There has not been a single discussion of excluding China from the supply chain at this summit.”

Shin Ji-hye 

Published : May 22, 2022

By : The Korea Herald

Thailand and Singapore sign MoU on digital economy partnership

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Singapore has invited Thailand to join its Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA), which aims to promote six aspects of the digital economy between the two countries.

Thailand and Singapore sign MoU on digital economy partnership

After attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) trade ministers’ meeting in Bangkok, Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry, Gan Kim Yong, on Sunday invited Thai Minister of Digital Economy and Society Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to promote the DEPA between Singapore and Thailand.

The DEPA will cover six aspects: Facilitating seamless end-to-end digital trade, enabling trusted data flows, use of fintech and e-payments, developing safe and secure digital identities, improving confidence of businesses and consumers, and introducing digital economy standards.

The DEPA will also pave the way to future collaborations over emerging technologies such as AI or blockchain, which can be used to promote international digital economy.

After discussions, Chaiwut said the signing of the MoU is a significant step that requires thorough a study of the subjects, and the ministry will host a sounding session from experts in related fields before deciding to enter the deal with Singapore.

Thailand hosted this year’s Apec trade ministers’ meeting on Saturday and Sunday in Bangkok, although the forum was disrupted on Saturday when representatives of the United States, Japan, Canada, Australia and New Zealand walked out as the Russian representative stood up to make a speech. The walkout was in protest over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit, who chaired the meeting, insisted the walkout would have no impact on progress made at the forum.

Published : May 23, 2022

By : THE NATION