Audio Overview of East Asia Pacific Issues, Monday, 25 February 2019

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


Main Issues in East Asia Pacific

Firstly in the PHILIPPINES

  • The Department of Transportation has approved the closure of the Tandang Sora flyover and intersection in Quezon City in the National Capital Region of Manila from March 2. The closure is expected to last until 2020.
  • The closure of the four-lane intersection and flyover is to facilitate the construction of the Tandang Sora station, one of the stations of the 22-km Manila Rapid Transit 7 line. It is estimated that more than 100,000 motorists are going to be affected on their regular commute.
  • Clients are advised to avoid the Tandang Sora flyover and research alternative routes.


  • A fire broke out at Block 517A Jurong West Street 52 in western Singapore yesterday. The Singapore Civil Defence Force said that they were alerted about the fire at around 1.30 am.
  • Around ninety people were evacuated from the block by the police and two were admitted to hospital. The cause of the fire is being investigated.
  • Clients are advised to avoid Jurong West Street 52 due to the presence of emergency vehicles causing traffic delays.


  • The Central Java Elections Supervisory Agency said that Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo and 34 other regional heads in the province had broken the law by participating in an event in support of President Joko Widodo. The regional leaders had violated Law No. 23/2014 on regional administration by taking a side in the presidential election, which will be held in April.
  • Enforcement agencies said, showing support is right but it is wrong to show their support in public due to official position held by regional leaders.
  • Public endorsements by officials holding different position in government has become common as the election month of April is coming closer.


  • The Association for the Protection of the Constitution said they will submit a petition to Election Commission to investigate whether Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkij has violated the election law by giving inaccurate information in his biography.
  • According to information published on the Future Forward website, Mr Thanathorn was president of the Federation of Thai Industry between 2008-2012. The information was incorrect because the Future Forward leader was president of the Nakhon Nayok chapter of the federation during the time.

If found guilty of violating the law, Mr Thanathorn could be liable to a jail term of 1-10 years or a fine of USD 639-USD 6391 or both. He could also be banned from elections for 20 years


  • US President Donald Trump has decided to delay the tariffs on Chinese goods after progress was made in the trade talks. Trump had planned to raise tariffs to 25% from 10% on USD200 billion worth of Chinese imports into the United States.
  • Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will schedule a meet to sign the agreement if the talk reaches to a successful agreement.
  • The trade war has raised serious concerns around the world leading to price rise in many sectors.


  • US President Donald Trump sounded optimistic about his upcoming talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, Vietnam.
  • Donald Trump said, “Without nuclear weapons, North Korea can become one of the great economic powers anywhere in the world”. However, he was skeptical about North Korea giving up its nuclear weapons.
  • US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Kim’s commitment at “State of the Union” has substantially taken down the risk to the American people.”


Main Issues in South Asia


  • A hijacker on a flight bound to Dubai was killed after the Special Forces stormed the flight Bangladesh Biman BG 147 at Chittagong airport southeast of Bangladesh. A pistol was recovered from the hijacker.
  • All passengers in the plane were safe and the airport was sealed by security officials. An investigation is underway to determine how the hijacker was able to get into the plane with an armed pistol.
  • Clients are advised to expect more stringent security checks across Bangladesh. Be aware of any suspicious activities while traveling and inform the authorities.


  • Yesterday protesters in the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh set fire to the private residence of Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein, two market complexes were destroyed along with various government offices in the area. Two protestors were killed when they attempted to storm Chief Minister Pema Khandu’s residence.
  • Protestors were agitating against the state government’s proposal to grant permanent residence certificate to six non-tribal communities. Internet services were suspended, and a curfew has been imposed in Itanagar.
  • Clients are advised to employ extreme caution in Arunachal Pradesh and expect more protests in the state this week.

Also in INDIA

  • More than 300 cars were destroyed after a massive fire broke out in the parking lot of the Yelahankha airbase in Bangalore where the Aero India 2019 exhibition is underway.
  • Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy said he has ordered an inquiry in the incident. All the events of the airshow will continue as scheduled.
  • Authorities suspect the fire was ignited by a stray cigarette disposed on dry grass in the area.


  • One person died and five others were injured in an explosion in Dera Murad Jamali town in the Narsirabad district of Balochistan province. Police said that the explosive material was planted in a motorcycle near Mazdoor Chowk in the town.
  • Sporadic attacks by the separatist insurgents continue to plague Baluchistan province.
  • Clients are advised to employ extreme caution in the Baluchistan province.


  • The government has seized the headquarters of Jaish-e-Mohammed at Bahawalpur town in Punjab province.
  • Pakistan’s Information Minister said, “The Punjab government has taken control of the seminary run by Jaish-e-Mohammed headquarters in Bahawalpur”. The campus had 70 teachers and over 600 students.
  • Jaish-e-Mohammed has been declared as a foreign terrorist organization by the US in 2014. Jaish-e-Mohammed has claimed responsibility for the attack on Indian paramilitary convoy at Pulwama. The government action comes after the intense international pressure on Pakistan to act on blacklisted terror groups such as Jaish-e-Mohammad.
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