PH still at bottom of COVID-19 economic resilience ranking #SootinClaimon.Com

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https://www.nationthailand.com/international/40008079


MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is still ranked last among 53 countries in the latest international COVID-19 report that measures the resilience of economies to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is the second consecutive month the Philippines has ranked the lowest in Bloomberg’s COVID Resilience Ranking with a score of 40.5 — though slightly higher than the 40.2 it got in September.

The indicators used in the report include vaccination coverage, virus containment, the severity of lockdowns, quality of healthcare, progress toward restarting travel, and the overall mortality throughout the pandemic.

The report revealed that Southeast Asian countries remain at the low end of the list — with Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines landing in the bottom six.

“While the region’s outbreak may have peaked and vaccination has progressed, especially in Malaysia, many of these export-reliant economies are still reeling from delta’s hit,” the report said.

“That’s spurring these nations to chart clearer paths to reopening, though it’ll take time for them to catch up to Europe and the US,” it added.

The report also showed that the Philippines had one of the lowest scores in vaccine coverage, with just 26 percent of the population covered, the lowest among Southeast Asian countries in the list.

Meanwhile, at the top of the list is Ireland, Spain, United Arab Emirates, Denmark, and Finland.

The United States ranks 26th, and China ranks 28th.

Singapore dropped 20 places to the 39th spot amid the reimposition and extension of some domestic curbs after record daily cases and deaths.

As of Oct. 27, the Philippines has 2,768,849 confirmed COVID-19 infections, including 2,676,349 recoveries and 42,348 deaths.

Earlier this month, the Philippines was also listed last among 151 countries worldwide in Nikkei Asia’s COVID-19 Recovery Index on Oct. 6.

By Zacarian Sarao

Published : October 28, 2021

By : Philippine Daily Inquirer

Chinese Premier calls for early RCEP formation #SootinClaimon.Com

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https://www.nationthailand.com/international/40008078


BEIJING – Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has said that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will reach a threshold of entry into force soon, and countries need to hasten work for it to take effect as early as possible.

Li made the remarks Wednesday while attending the 24th ASEAN Plus China, Japan and ROK Summit. 

Countries need to hasten work for the agreement to take effect as early as possible, and continue to advance free trade and pursue higher-level integration, Li said. 

China will host capacity-building programs such as training of personnel and experience sharing on RCEP implementation for interested governments, business chambers or associations, and companies from ASEAN countries, said Li.

He said China will also organize a symposium for high-standard implementation of the RCEP next year and welcomes the active participation of all sides. 

Published : October 28, 2021

By : China Daily

Australia announces $126m support for Asean, seeks upgrade in ties #SootinClaimon.Com

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https://www.nationthailand.com/international/40008077


SINGAPORE – Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday (Oct 27) announced a A$124 million (S$126 million) package supporting cooperation with Asean on security, climate and health efforts, as Canberra pushes for ties with the regional bloc to be upgraded to a comprehensive strategic partnership.

Speaking on the second of three days of virtual meetings between Asean leaders and those of their key partners from the region, Mr Morrison added that the growth of Asean’s 10 member states underpins regional stability and Australia’s prosperity.

He told his counterparts at the Asean-Australia Summit that a comprehensive strategic partnership between both parties would be “more than just a label”.

“We want our cooperation to reach new heights,” Mr Morrison added. “We will back it with substance that positions our partnership to address complex challenges in the future.”

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Singapore agrees in principle with Australia’s proposal to elevate relations with Asean, and encourages continued discussions on the matter.

PM Lee added that he is grateful for Australia’s steadfast commitment to post-pandemic recovery efforts in the region, through its Vaccine Access and Health Security Initiative and Partnerships for Recovery policy.

Mr Morrison said Australia has shared almost four million vaccine doses with the region and expects to share another 10 million at least by the middle of next year.

PM Lee also said both sides could work to leverage opportunities in a growing global digital economy, noting that Australia has strongly supported the Asean Smart Cities Network through its own Smart Cities Initiative and Smart Cities Trust Fund.

They should also uphold Asean centrality, he added, saying: “Asean and Australia share similar strategic regional outlooks”.

The Australian PM also assured his Asean counterparts that the new three-way security partnership between his country, Britain and the United States, known as Aukus, does not change Canberra’s commitment to the region or to nuclear non-proliferation.

The pact will supply Canberra with nuclear-powered submarines, and has divided sentiment among Asean leaders over its potential to spark an arms race and escalate tensions between the US, its allies and an increasingly assertive China.

“Aukus does not change Australia’s commitment to Asean or the Asean outlook on the Indo-Pacific. It reinforces it. It reinforces the backing that we have for an Asean-led regional architecture,” said Mr Morrison.

“Aukus adds to our network of partnerships that support regional stability and security.”

PM Lee noted that Singapore welcomes new regional architecture formulations that support Asean centrality, deepen economic integration, and promote a stable and secure Asia-Pacific region and a rules-based order.

“We welcome Australia’s assurance that its Aukus partnership with the United States and United Kingdom will be consistent with these criteria,” he said.

Turning his attention to Myanmar – which has hogged headlines with its no-show at this week’s Asean meetings – PM Lee reiterated Singapore’s concerns and disappointment over the ongoing crisis and lack of resolution.

He called for the release of Australian national Sean Turnell, a Macquarie University professor and adviser to deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Both, along with President Win Myint, who has been detained since a February coup that ousted Ms Suu Kyi’s government and ignited violent, deadly protests.

PM Lee thanked Australia for pledging A$5 million to the Asean Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre).

“We also welcome Australia’s willingness to engage in constructive dialogue in support of the people of Myanmar and the country’s democratic transition,” he said.

By Justin Ong

Published : October 28, 2021

By : The Straits Times

Malaysia suggests Asean, Japan explore vaccine production in the region #SootinClaimon.Com

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https://www.nationthailand.com/international/40008076


KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): Malaysia suggests that Asean and Japan explore the possibility of seconding expert researchers to the Asean Centre for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases to work towards the production of vaccines in the region.

In making the suggestion at the 24th Asean-Japan Summit, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said this would help to address the regional shortage of vaccines and prepare for possible emerging diseases.

He said Japan’s contribution to the centre was important and its timely establishment was vital to assist Asean member states in dire need of assistance to mitigate the impact of Covid-19.

“Looking ahead, Asean and Japan should enhance multi-disciplinary cooperation in health to better prepare the region to meet future health-related emergencies,” he said in his intervention at the summit on Wednesday (Oct 27).

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida also attended the Summit, his first since being appointed to the country’s top post early this month.

Ismail Sabri said Malaysia appreciates Japan’s support and contribution towards the Asean Comprehensive Recovery Framework to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 and Japan’s vaccine contributions to Asean member states have contributed greatly to these efforts.

Touching on cybersecurity, Ismail Sabri said Asean and Japan should further consolidate cooperation through the Asean-Japan Cyber Security Capacity Building Centre.

He said Malaysia looked forward to Japan’s support in developing a digital security professional development and lifelong learning programme, aimed at developing capacity building in cyber security.

He also congratulated Japan for successfully hosting the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics during these challenging times.

He added that Japan has remained a steadfast friend of Asean since 1973 and the 10-member bloc appreciates Japan’s support and assistance over the years which has contributed to Asean’s community-building efforts.

“We look forward to further enhancing Asean-Japan dialogue relations. Malaysia welcomes Japan’s proposal to host an in-person special commemorative summit in Japan in 2023, to celebrate 50 years of dialogue relations,” he added.

The 24th Asean-Japan Summit was held on the sidelines of the three-day virtual 38th and 39th Asean Summits and Related Summits which began Tuesday (Oct 26) under the chairmanship of Brunei. – Bernama

Published : October 28, 2021

By : The Star

South Korea holds symposium to discuss future legislative administration #SootinClaimon.Com

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https://www.nationthailand.com/international/40008075


9th Asian Legislative Experts Symposium also explores how Asian countries should work together

Leading legislative experts from the Asian region gathered Wednesday to discuss the present and future of legislative administration at a symposium held in Seoul.

The 9th Asian Legislative Experts Symposium, organized by the Ministry of Government Legislation and Korea Legislation Research Institute, was held under the theme of “Legislative Administration of Each Asian Country and Cooperation Measures,” in a hybrid in-person and online conference.

The event comprised two main sessions: present and future of legislative administration of Korea and other Asian countries; and cooperation measures for the development of Asian countries’ legislative administration. The meeting was attended by legislative experts from six Asian countries, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand, Uzbekistan and South Korea.

In the opening remarks, Government Legislation Minister Lee Kang-seop said, “The ALES has been held every year since 2013 to discuss legislative solutions to various issues such as information and communications, urban development, transportation, safety management, administrative procedures, and prevention of infectious diseases. The symposium has provided precious opportunities for Asian countries to share their opinions on various issues.”

“Legislation is the process of making a bowl to hold national policies and making a fence around the society at large. Economic growth and social development of each country have been ensured based on legislation that is an institutional framework,” he said.

Lee hoped the legislative administration of each country and measures for legislative cooperation and exchange would be discussed at the symposium.

Kim Kye-hong, president of the Korea Legislation Research Institute, said, “Last year, we focused on legislation concerning the pandemic response and cooperation strategies in Asia in the post-coronavirus era. In the face of an unprecedented crisis, it was an opportunity to reflect on the importance of cooperation between countries in the Asian region.”

“Now is the time to respond to and overcome crises together and seek ways to achieve shared prosperity and stability through cooperation among Asian countries,” he said.

“To this end, each Asian country should prepare laws and systems that are reasonable and effective while meeting the peculiar conditions of their own countries.”

Hong Jang-pyo, president of the Korea Development Institute, said systematic modification of laws and systems that are the foundation for governing a state has significantly contributed to Korea’s economic development.

“Systematic modification of laws and systems is necessary to ensure the development of global economy and co-prosperity of an international society. The modification of laws and systems can be regarded as laying the groundwork for governing a state well,” Hong said.

Le Thanh Long, Vietnam’s minister of justice, said improving the country’s legal system to meet sustainable development goals has always been one of the top priorities and a long-term investment.

“After 35 years of renovation, the work of developing and improving Vietnam’s institutions has achieved many remarkable results,” he said.

“We look forward to and will continue to actively cooperate with Korea and other countries in the Asian region in the process of legal reform, together towards the goal of building an increasingly prosperous and developed Asia.”

During the first session titled “Present and future of legislative administration of Korea and other Asian countries,” participants presented exemplary cases of legislative administration.

Ryu Chol-ho, director of the ministry’s office for administrative legislation innovation, presented Korea’s general act on public administration. Ryu Jun-mo, director of the ministry’s legislative information division, introduced the nation’s legislative information system.

Kardwiyana Ukar, head of the bureau of government internal affairs from the Secretariat Cabinet of Indonesia, and Nguyen Hong Tuyen, director general of general affairs on legislative development from the Ministry of Justice of Vietnam, presented exemplary cases of their respective countries.

By Shin Ji-hye

Published : October 28, 2021

By : The Korea Herald

Newlywed daughter of Crown Prince Akishino holds press conference with husband Kei Komuro #SootinClaimon.Com

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https://www.nationthailand.com/international/40008033


The newlywed daughter of Crown Prince Akishino, Mako Komuro, and her husband Kei held a press conference Tuesday afternoon at a hotel in Tokyo after their marriage registration was accepted by the Shibuya Ward office in Tokyo in the morning. The following is excerpted from their statements.

Mako Komuro: I am aware that there are various views on the marriage between Kei and me. I sincerely apologize to those who have been inconvenienced by this. And I am grateful to those who thought of me and tenderly worried, and to those who were not misled by groundless information and continued to extend unwavering support to me and Kei. For me, Kei is an irreplaceable presence. And for us, marriage was a choice we needed to make in order to live our lives while carefully protecting our feelings.

Kei Komuro: I love Mako. I want to live my one and only life with the person I love. We have shared many feelings and encouraged each other through both happy and not-so-happy times. I am very sorry for the people who were inconvenienced by issues related to this marriage. Many things had happened, but thanks to Mako and the people who have supported us, I have been able to uphold my desire to proceed through life with Mako. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude.

Mako: Until today, my opportunities to speak publicly have been limited. I believe that this has led to some misunderstandings. As some of you know, since the news about the engagement came out, Kei has never acted on his own. For example, Kei’s mother’s response to her former fiance was carried out in the direction I requested. Regarding Kei’s studies overseas, I asked him to move forward his plans to study abroad and to establish a base overseas. I was unable to provide any support for his overseas studies, but I am grateful that Kei made the effort to do so despite the difficult circumstances.

Whenever I heard criticism that Kei was acting independently or one-sided speculation that he was not thinking about my feelings, I was horrified and saddened by the fact that the inaccurate information was somehow being picked up as if it was undisputed fact and unfounded stories were being circulated. I am grateful to those who continued to believe in Kei despite the difficult situation.

Newlywed daughter of Crown Prince Akishino holds press conference with husband Kei KomuroNewlywed daughter of Crown Prince Akishino holds press conference with husband Kei Komuro

Kei: In April, I made public the details of what is considered to be a financial dispute between my mother and her former fiance. As stated in the document released, my mother and I have expressed gratitude to the former fiance time after time, and we are still grateful to him. I proposed handing over a financial settlement this April, and he replied that it was important for him to meet with my mother. My mother, however, is now psychologically unwell and her doctor advised against meeting with him. Therefore, I told him through my mother’s attorney that I would like to take care of the matter on her behalf. I have received a positive response from a weekly magazine reporter who has been representing the former fiance. I want to do everything I can to resolve the issue. Our wish for the former fiance to accept the settlement money has not changed.

Over the past few years, misinformation has been treated as if it were fact. I am extremely saddened that Mako’s physical and mental condition has been affected by the continued slander.

My mother has also been suffering from mental and physical problems. She has been forced to quit her job and is living in fear for her safety. I am very grateful to the many people who have helped us through this difficult time. I would like to build a warm family with Mako. At the same time, I want to continue to support Mako in any way possible. We would like to continue to be irreplaceable companions, supporting each other through both the happy and not-so-happy times.

Mako: The two of us are starting a new life together. I am sure there will be difficulties in different ways as we live our lives. But as we have done until now, we would like to join our efforts and proceed through life together. We have been able to stay true to ourselves because we have each other and because of the people who encouraged and supported us. I believe there are many people who are hurting right now, who are finding it difficult to live while protecting their feelings. I sincerely hope that we can create a society in which more people can live while protecting their feelings with the warm help and support of people around them.

Published : October 27, 2021

By : The Japan News

ASEAN will work with China to fully, strictly implement Declaration of Conduct in the South China Sea #SootinClaimon.Com

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https://www.nationthailand.com/international/40008032


HÀ NỘI — Vietnamese Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính on Tuesday participated in the 24th ASEAN-China Summit, pledging support for the consolidation of ties.

Addressing the summit, the Vietnamese Government leader affirmed that through 30 years of diplomatic ties, 25 years of dialogue partnership, and 18 years of strategic partnership, ASEAN and China have built a strong, comprehensive, diverse, and practical foundation for cooperation.

This is made possible thanks to the continuous efforts and strong commitment of the two sides to jointly cultivate the relationship on the basis of mutual trust, understanding and respect, and win-win cooperation.

“The entire world, including our region are experiencing hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the complicated developments of the strategic environment and the heavy impacts of natural disasters, climate change and environmental pollution. These are global issues, so a global approach is a must, requiring the cooperation, responsibility and active contributions of all countries, including China,” Chính said.

He stressed the need to uphold multilateralism, equal cooperation, mutual respect and mutual benefits, contributing to the maintenance of peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region and in the world.

PM Chính wants China, with its capacity and position, to continue to engage in regional and global cooperation efforts to contain the pandemic, maintain a peaceful environment that is conducive for recovery and sustainable development.

The Government leader expressed gratitude for China’s donation and supplies of medical items and vaccines for ASEAN and expected continued support from China to all countries, including Việt Nam.

Stressing that economic cooperation, the key pillar in ASEAN-China relations, is being hurt by the pandemic, ASEAN and China should work on restarting production and supply chains, facilitating the safe travel of people and businesspeople, put in place incentives for investment and commerce, and take advantage of trade deals such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and ASEAN-China Free Trade Area (ACFTA) to boost recovery efforts.

PM Chính affirmed Việt Nam’s support for the upgrading of ASEAN-China relations, and pledged to coordinate with other ASEAN members and China to successfully organise the summit commemorating the 30th anniversary of ASEAN-China ties.

Leaders of ASEAN and China at the summit reaffirmed their commitment to bilateral cooperation for peace, security, and stability in the region through confidence building, preventive diplomacy, and effective handling of disputes via peaceful measures in line with international laws, maintaining open channels of dialogues and friendly consultation.

In that spirit, ASEAN looks forward to China, who, in its position will support ASEAN’s central role in strengthening strategic trust, creating a friendly, stable and favourable environment for cooperation and development.

ASEAN would work with China to strictly and fully implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), jointly develop an effective and substantive Code of Conduct (COC), for a peaceful, stable and cooperative South China Sea, in the interests of both China and ASEAN, PM Chính said. — VNS

Published : October 27, 2021

By : Vietnam News

US, S. Korea aligned on N. Korea, but may differ on sequence of steps: NSA Sullivan #SootinClaimon.Com

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https://www.nationthailand.com/international/40008031


The United States and South Korea are aligned on the need to engage with North Korea diplomatically, but may differ when it comes to when and what steps should be taken to bring the recalcitrant North back to the dialogue table, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Tuesday.

His remarks come amid a South Korean push for a declaration of the end of the Korean War that it insists can be a catalyst to restart dialogue with North Korea.

“We may have somewhat different perspectives on the precise sequence or timing or conditions for different steps. but we are fundamentally aligned on the core strategic initiative here and on the belief that only through diplomacy are we going to really, truly be able to effectively make progress,” Sullivan said in a press briefing at the White House.

Sullivan’s remarks also come after a Seoul meeting between US special envoy for North Korea, Sung Kim, and his South Korean counterpart, Noh Kyu-duk, in which Kim said the countries will continue to discuss ways to bring North Korea back to the dialogue table, including the Seoul-proposed end of war declaration.

Sullivan said Kim’s recent discussions with his South Korean counterpart have been “very productive and constructive,” but declined to comment publicly when asked if the US supported declaring the war’s end as a catalyst to resume dialogue with the North.

“So on the specific issue you raised, I don’t want to get into it publicly. I will only say we’re going to continue the intensive conversations,” he said.

South and North Korea remain technically at war as the 1950-53 war ended with an armistice and a peace treaty was never signed.

While Seoul insists an end of war declaration may help bring North Korea back to the dialogue table by offering some security assurances, some believe it could undermine the legal basis for the stationing of US forces in South Korea.

The US currently maintains some 28,500 troops in South Korea.

North Korea has ignored US overtures since the Joe Biden administration took office in January, accusing the US of harboring what it claims to be a hostile intent toward Pyongyang. North Korea has also stayed away from any meaningful dialogue with the US since early 2019. (Yonhap)

Published : October 27, 2021

By : The Korea Herald

HK to end most quarantine exemptions for travelers #SootinClaimon.Com

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https://www.nationthailand.com/international/40008030


HONG KONG – Hong Kong will soon end most of the quarantine exemptions for overseas and mainland travelers in the hope of reopening the border with the mainland as soon as possible.

The city will soon announce arrangements to remove exemptions that allow some people to skip mandatory hotel quarantine stays of as long as 21 days, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said Tuesday at a regular briefing. 

“In relation to exempted groups of quarantine-free personnel, most of these will be removed — we will only leave those relating to emergency services or services relating to the everyday supply and logistics of Hong Kong, say for example cross-boundary truck drivers,” Lam said. “This is to give confidence to the central authorities that it is safe to open the border.”

Hong Kong currently allows some people from a dozen industries to be exempted from the compulsory quarantine measures. That includes executives from the insurance and financial industries, directors of public companies, scientific experts on COVID-19 and crew members on airplanes, passenger ships and cargo vessels.

In August, however, the government prompted a public outcry when officials allowed Hollywood actor Nicole Kidman to skip the quarantine system and shoot a television series. At that time, the city was issuing about 40,000 exemptions monthly to arrivals at bridges, the airport and other ports of entry, according to a government statement.

Lam also said she wasn’t worried that the quarantine measures were harming the city’s reputation as a global financial hub as expressed by some foreign business groups.

“If Hong Kong were to loosen the border controls people arriving from overseas, or adopt what other countries have done —  so called ‘live with the COVID-19 virus’ —  then the chances of resuming travel with the mainland will be reduced,” Lam said. “So I can only say to those representing the financial sector that we have to look at it in context. And the context is Hong Kong’s primary advantage lies in being the gateway to the mainland.”

The financial hub reported three new COVID-19 infections on Tuesday, including two with the L452R mutant strains.

The new cases involved two women and a man aged between 28 and 65, said the Centre for Health Protection in a statement. 

They had traveled to Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates and Singapore before arriving in Hong Kong and all three have been fully vaccinated. 

A total of 59 cases have been reported in the past 14 days and all of them are imported cases. Hong Kong’s infection tally stood at 12,331 with 214 deaths.

By Wang Zhan, with inputs from Agencies

Published : October 27, 2021

By : THE NATION

China’s PLA deploys new type of all-terrain vehicle on border with India #SootinClaimon.Com

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https://www.nationthailand.com/international/40008029


The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Xinjiang Military Command has received a new type of all-terrain vehicle, which is expected to ensure logistics support to plateau border defence troops as winter draws close and as China-India border tensions again risk rising after the latest military talks failed to reach an agreement due to “unrealistic Indian demands”, Global Times reported.

The delivery of the vehicle comes at a time when China and India failed to reach an agreement during the 13th round of corps commander-level talks over issues related to the western section of the China-India border, with the PLA Western Theater Command slamming India for its unreasonable and unrealistic demands on October 11, Global Times said.

Several Chinese experts reached by the Global Times warned at the time that China needs to brace for the possibility of further Indian military aggression, as India is risking a new round of conflict.

The unit that commissioned the new vehicle is garrisoned at a high-altitude, snowy border region that is extremely cold, lacks oxygen and has a complex terrain, which causes difficulties in logistics support including the transport of supplies, the PLA Xinjiang Military Command revealed in a release published on its WeChat account.

After several on-the-spot investigations, the vehicle was tailored to suit the needs of the troops, as it uses caterpillar tracks that aren’t made from metal. These tracks are sturdy, do not damage road surfaces, have high mobility and can carry heavy loads, the command said.

The vehicle can traverse freely in complex terrains like shallow river banks, deserts, mountains and snowfields even under bad weather conditions, and provide reliable support to the supply transportation of plateau troops, the release said. It didn’t reveal the designation of the new vehicle.

“There is no need to worry that we will run out of living materials this winter,” the release quoted a soldier as saying, the report added.

According to a report by China Central Television (CCTV), some PLA units started to use this type of vehicle in January.

Published : October 27, 2021

By : THE NATION