Photo Credit: Reuters
ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting: South China Sea issue emerges as top concern
ASEAN foreign ministers were unanimous in their concern about Beijing’s reclamation and militarisation of man-made islands in the South China Sea. According to Filipino Foreign Secretary, Perfecto Yasay, a framework for drawing up a maritime code of conduct between China and ASEAN is to be completed by June, and that Beijing had shown keen interest for it to be finished. There have been increased tensions lately with both China and the United States increasing their presence in the area. The ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting was held in Boracay from 20 to 21 February.
Source: The Straits Times (21 February 2017)
Source: Reuters (21 February 2017)
China and Indonesia deepen ties
Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, and his Indonesian counterpart, Retno Marsudi, met on the sidelines of the G20 ministerial meeting in Bonn, Germany. The two reiterated their respective countries’ commitments to deepening ties saying that further alignment of national development strategies were required in order to achieve this. Wang Yi emphasised that Indonesia is an important country for China as it sits along the historic Maritime Silk Road, which is part of China’s One Belt One Road initiative. While Retno said Indonesia is willing to maintain consultation, communication and step up maritime cooperation with China.
Source: CCTV (17 February 2017)
Economy, Investment and Trade
China’s push for its services sector
China has plans to set up a 30 billion RMB (US$ 4.38 billion) fund to support the growth of high-value added exports. In 2016, the services sector made up 50 percent of the country’s GDP. China’s aim is to push up the services sector to between 70-80 percent, which is the average for developed countries. The fund, the first of its kind, will focus on investments in high value-added service exports like technology and finance. The fund will be available to both state-owned enterprises and private companies.
Source: Forbes (21 February 2017)
Chinese and French companies bid for a stake in Malaysian automaker
China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. and France’s PSA Group have submitted bids to buy Malaysian automaker Proton Holdings Bhd. The loss making automaker also owns British sports car maker, Lotus Cars Ltd., which means the successful bidder will take over ownership of the British car maker as well. Proton needs to bring in a foreign partner to assist in research and development, a condition agreed upon to secure a RM1.25 billion (US$280 million) loan last year.
Source: Bloomberg (21 February 2017)
Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund invests in Chinese company
Temasek, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, has invested in Chinese bicycle-sharing service startup, Mobike. The amount was not disclosed. The app based sharing service has grow to 10 million users over the last 10 months in China and is set to begin operating in Singapore by the end of March, 2017.
Source: Tech in Asia (20 February 2017)
Joint venture between China and Brunei now runs Brunei’s largest container terminal
Muara Port Company Sdn Bhd, a joint venture between China’s Guangxi Beibu Gulf Port Group and Brunei government-linked investment company Darussalam Assets, will manage operate, maintain and develop the Muara Container Terminal – Brunei’s largest container terminal. This project is part of China’s One Belt One Road initiative which is aimed at promoting infrastructure developments along historical land and sea trade routes to address the country’s slowing economic growth.
Source: Reuters (22 February 2017)