Audio Overview of East Asia Pacific Issues, Wednesday, 9 January 2019

APAC Assistance Director Paul Quaglia discusses Main Issues in East Asia Pacific

Main Issues in East Asia Pacific


  • Yesterday more than 200 people participated in a protest at Ratchaprasong intersection in Bangkok. The protest was against a possible delay of the general elections expected on February 24. The protesters were led by Anon Nampa, Sirawith Seritiwat and Parit Cheewarak. There were no reports of clashes or arrests during the protest.
  • Politicians of the opposition parties have warned that the delay can potentially trigger a constitutional crisis if the 150 days deadline to conduct elections is breached. The military government is in a precarious position over the delay and may seek a legal opion from the Constitutional court.
  • Prolonged indecision on the elections is likely to cause more protests and potential unrest in the country. Clients are advised to always avoid political protests in Thailand as clashes with the authorities and protestors have occurrud historically.


  • An earth quake of 5.4 magnitude was reported yesterday with its epicenter located 113 kilometers southwest of Jakarta. Aftershocks from the earthquake were felt in several locations in West Java and Banten, including in the provincial capital of Bandung, located 163 km from the quake epicenter.
  • There were no reports of injuries or damage from the earthquake.
  • Clients are advised to be vigilant of earthquakes and tsunami warnings in Indonesia. The country is prone to frequent earthquake and a tsunami killed more than 400 people last month. Monitor alerts and advisories from APAC assistance for further updates.

Main Issues in South Asia


  • The two-day nationwide strike called by the Central Trade Unions association will continue today. Yesterday the strike was peaceful with protests and roadblocks in several cities like Kochi and Mumbai. The protests in the northeastern states, including Assam, turned violent with incidents of stone pelting and a baton charge by police.
  • The strike in northeastern states coincided with protests called by the North East Students’ Organization and other groups acting against the controversial Citizenship bill. More protests and violent clashes can be expected today.
  • Clients are advised to note that transport and other services are likely to be affected


  • The health condition of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif worsened in Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore yesterday. Nawaz was found guilty in the Al Azizia Steel Mills corruption case and sentenced to seven years in prison on December 24, 2018.
  • His conviction triggered protests by the supporter of his party Pakistan Muslim League. If his health continues to suffer in jail, more protests are likely by his supporters. His party has called the conviction politically motivated and a conspiracy by the government.
  • Clients are advised to monitor the developments in the corruption cases against the leaders of opposition parties including the Sharif family. Monitor alerts and advisories from APAC assistance for further updates.
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