Photo credit: Bangkok Post
Economy, Investment and Trade
Thai and Chinese central banks renew currency swap
(9 January 2018) The Bank of Thailand and the central bank of China have agreed on a currency swap agreement to foster their trade and investment ties. The Bank of Thailand and the central bank of China extended the agreement originally signed in 2014 for another three years.The agreement allows the Chinese central bank to swap 70 billion yuan (US$10.7 billion) for 370 billion baht (US$11.5 billion) to facilitate their trade and investments.
China key to infrastructure development in Cambodia
(9 January 2018) Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol said that infrastructure is necessary for Cambodia’s socio-economic development and that China has played a significant role in supporting infrastructure development in the kingdom. “Cooperation between Cambodia and China in infrastructure sector is excellent, as most of the national roads in Cambodia have been built under concessional loans and grant aid from China,” he said. Cambodia needs around US$500 million a year for transport infrastructure development.
Indonesia to take lead in South China Sea to preserve ASEAN centrality
(10 January 2018) Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi has said that the country will take the lead for ASEAN to push for an effective code of conduct in the South China Sea to defuse tensions in the region. This will be part of Indonesia’s strategic foreign policy for 2018. She added that, “For Indonesia, ASEAN unity and centrality is the key (and) Indonesia will continue to safeguard ASEAN unity and centrality”.
Philippines officials offer different version of China’s activity in South China Sea
(9 January 2018) Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said that China vowed only that it would not pursue new reclamation activities within the area in the South China Sea while Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said China had also promised not to militarize any of its man-made islands. Lorenza added that, if new military build-up by China in Kagitingan Reef is proven, the Philippines should file a diplomatic protest against the the economic giant. This comes after Chinese state-run television aired a feature showing disputed Kagitingan Reef has been transformed into an airbase with military installations and a runway.
Vietnam opens new consulate office in Macau
(6 January 2018) The Vietnamese Consul General in Hong Kong and Macau launched a consulate office in the Macau Special Administrative Region of China to better ensure the rights of Vietnamese citizens and tourists in the region. Macau is home to over 20,000 Vietnamese people, mostly domestic workers and service staff at casinos. The Consulate General Trần Thanh Huân said it will also give locals and international visitors easier access to information about Vietnam.
*We would like to correct two errors in the last story which appeared in the China-ASEAN Monitor published on 26th December 2017: Hua Chunying is a spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry of China not the Foreign Minister of China and Mindanao is a region in the Philippines not a province.