Audio Overview of East Asia Pacific Issues, Thursday, 28 February 2019

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


Main Issues in East Asia Pacific

Firstly in the PHILIPPINES

  • Two suspects were arrested in a shooting incident which wounded a man in Malabon city in Manila yesterday. Police said that one other suspect managed to escape.
  • Firearms were seized from the suspects. They were arrested for violation of Metro Manila’s Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act which regulates possession and use of firearms in the Metro Manila area. Worrying indeed that a separate act specific for Manila is necessary rather than one National Law so clients are again advised that weapons trafficking is prevalent throughout the Philippines.  Gun related violence is a major security issue in Metro Manila.


  • The Constitutional Court will decide whether to allow the Thai Raksa Chart Party to participate in elections on March 7. This has reduced an overly optimistic hope for the Thai Raksa Chart Party leaders that the court may give a chance for them to defend their decision to nominate Princess Ubolratana as its prime ministerial candidate.
  • The Election Commission formally requested the court dissolve the party after King Mahavajiralongkorn showed his displeasure over the nomination of Princess Ubolratana. The Election Commission has cited a clause in Section 92 of the 2017 organic law on political parties of Thailand which allows the Election Commission to propose the disillusionment of a party if it has enough evidence the party committed an act deemed hostile to the monarchy.
  • Dissolutionment of the Thai Raksa Party can potentially trigger rallies and protests by the Thai Raksa Party aligned supporters.


  • Two policemen who were abducted by armed assailants were shot dead in Cho Airong district of Narathiwat province in southern Thailand. Eye-witnesses reported seeing eight armed men involved in the incident.
  • Police officials said suspected abductors managed to escape the police roadblocks. Police suspect that the abductors may have fled across the border to Malaysia. The abductors stole an M16 rifle and two 9mm pistols from the victims.
  • Clients are again reminded of the extreme risks evident in the restive southern provinces of Thailand.


  • Smugglers were arrested in Malaysian waters yesterday with more than 3,300 pig-nosed turtles classified as “endangered”. The turtles are estimated to be worth USD 37,000.
  • The endangered turtles are found in Indonesia’s Papua province, Papua New Guinea and northern areas of Australia. They are in high demand in Singapore and China, where they are sold as exotic pets and food.
  • Police are investigating the incident to discern smuggling patters from Indonesia and Australia into Malaysia.


  • The United States President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will meet for the second day of their latest summit in the Metropole Hotel in Hanoi. It is expected that a roadmap for removing nuclear weapons from North Korea will be discussed with other issues including easing sanctions on North Korea and progressing efforts towards a formal declaration of ending the Korean War.
  • The meeting will be followed by a joint agreement signing ceremony and a news conference by Donald Trump at 3.30 pm.
  • It is still unclear what the joint agreement will include. Both leaders showed positive rhetoric at the end of the first day meeting.


  • The Ministry of Taiwan’s National Defense said that it closely monitored the movements of a number of China’s People’s Liberation Army military bombers near Taiwan yesterday. The Xian H-6 bombers departed from their air bases in Guangdong province in China flying to the South China Sea and then returned.
  • The movement of Chinese bombers comes a day after U.S Navy vessels passed through the Taiwan Strait on Tuesday, which prompted a strong protest by China.
  • China has repeatedly demanded an end of naval passage by U.S through Taiwan Strait calling it a provocative act to interfere in the China-Taiwan issue which China considers a domestic issue.

Main Issues in South Asia


  • A major fire has broken out in Bhashantek Jahangir slum at 1.30 am this morning in south western part of Dhaka. The fire is reportedly spreading rapidly towards Kafrul Police Outpost. Firefighters from different parts of the city are working to stop the fire.
  • According to eyewitnesses, the intensity of the fire is growing. Around 10,000 people live in Bhasantek Jahangir slum. Most of the people in the area work in garment factories as daily wage workers. On February 19, the National Housing Authority had conducted an eviction drive in the slum.
  • Clients are advised to avoid the south-western part of Dhaka as the fire is reportedly spreading rapidly in the area. Employ extreme caution in the impoverished areas of the city.


  • The Civil Aviation Authority has partially restored commercial flights from Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport. Three long route flights were given special permission to land at Karachi upon their arrival in Pakistan air space as they did not know about Pakistani airspace being closed.
  • Other major airports in Peshawar, Lahore and Islamabad were also closed. A red alert had been issued in Peshawar airport as military has taken over for its use due to rising military tensions with India.
  • Clients are advised to be aware of the disruptions in air traffic in Pakistan as all the major airports have been closed until the situation with India improves. Pakistan has closed its air spaces to international flights.


  • An Indian pilot was captured after his fighter was shot down by Pakistan during an air battle in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • According to Pakistan Army spokesman, two Indian aircrafts were shot down in response to Indian airstrikes inside Pakistan.


  • The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has said the commercial flight operations across North India has been resumed yesterday evening which were closed yesterday morning. Airports of Srinagar, Jammu, Leh, Pathankot, Amristar, Shimla, Kangra, Kullu Manali and Pithoragarh are shut until May 27.
  • Operations were shut at these airports due to rising military tensions between India and Pakistan after February 14 suicide bombing in Jammu and Kashmir state.
  • Clients are advised to aware of the disruptions in air traffic across northern India.
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