Audio Overview of East Asia Pacific Issues, Wednesday, 6 March 2019

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


Main Issues in East Asia Pacific

Firstly in INDONESIA

  • One suspected member of the Eastern Indonesia Mujahideen was killed and another arrested in the Poso regency of Central Sulawasi.
  • The search operations for the other suspect are ongoing in the area by Indonesian Special Forces.
  • Clients are advised to employ extreme caution while travelling in Central Sulawesi.


  • The island of Bali will shut down to observe the annual Nyepi festival tomorrow. The shutdown will begin from 6am tomorrow for 24 hours. Internet services will also be disrupted during Nyepi.
  • Gusti Ngurah Rai Airport and other seaports, will be closed and no vehicles will be allowed on the streets except for emergency services. Lights will be turned off at night, except in emergency services buildings.
  • Clients are advised to avoid travelling to Bali until the festival ends in Bali tomorrow.


  • The Jakarta Disaster Mitigation Agency issued an Alert III warning yesterday about rising water levels in Northern Jakarta due to heavy rains. The water level at Pasar Ikan in Northern Jakarta sluice gate reached a critical level yesterday.
  • The agency has warned of flooding in Kamal Muara, Kaput Muara, Penjaringan, Pluit, Ancol, Marunda, Cilincing, Kalibaru and Kamal of Northern Jakarta. The agency warned that some areas of Western Jakarta may also suffer flooding.
  • Clients are advised to be aware of the possible traffic delays in North and West Jakarta due to the floods.


  • Another unarmed soldier was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Semba village earlier this week in Datu Odin Sinsuat municipality of Maguindanao province on the southern island of Mindanao.
  • It is the fourth such incident in Maguindanao and Cotabato city in less than a week.
  • Clients are advised to employ extreme caution while travelling in western Mindanao. Avoid areas with government offices, military and police barracks because these are targeted by the rebels.


  • A drug suspect was killed in a police operation in Calamba City, Laguna area in Manila’s south east.
  • According to the police, the suspect was allegedly involved in robbery cases in Calamba City. The suspect was carrying five sachets of crystal meth.
  • Clients are advised to be aware of the anti drug operations in Calamba city and the armed encounters between police and drug traffickers are likely in the area.


  • Army chief General Apirat Kongsompong, who is also secretary-general of the National Council for Peace and Order, instructed law enforcement agencies to be on the lookout for fake news and intentional misinformation.
  • Law enforcement agencies are instructed to monitor online media, electioneering events and media interviews. Security and information monitoring has been tightened by a joint coordination team between local police and the Election Commission to identify any violation of election laws.
  • Clients are advised to avoid all political event and protests. Avoid engaging with any political posts on social media and to expect tighter security checks until the election results come out on March 24. It is advised that Expatriates carry a photocopy of their passports that may be requested by law by police or military personnel and they do so regularly particularly in the Sukhumvit area.


  • Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the National People’s Congress yesterday revised the government’s GDP forecast for 2019 to between 6% to 6.5% down from the earlier forecast of 6.6%. Premier Li added that higher government spending will push the budget deficit from 2.6% to 2.8%.
  • Premier Li proposed tax cuts up to USD 300 billion. This decision was made to increase consumer spending which is a key to maintaining economic growth and raising GDP.
  • Premier Li also announced that foreign and Chinese companies will be treated as equals in a fair and impartial market environment.
  • Western economists have expressed doubt on the accuracy of China’s GDP figures.


  • The Government of Papua New Guinea and the autonomous Bougainville government have agreed at their Joint Supervisory Body to include a security mission by foreign countries during the referendum process in October 2019. Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and Bougainville’s President John Momis said the foreign police contingent would provide advice and guidance, rather than frontline police support.
  • The Supervising Body had requested that New Zealand lead the security mission with other police from the Solomon Islands, Fiji and Australia to assist the PNG security forces in the three main polling centers of Buka, Arawa and Buin. The personnel will be unarmed and will be deployed three weeks before the referendum until the completion of the vote count.
  • The referendum is being conducted to give the people of Bougainville a choice either to seek greater autonomy, or to become independent from Papua New Guinea.

Also in Papua New Guinea

  • A fifteen-year plan to develop the Ihu Special Economic Zone located in the Kikori District, in the south of the Gulf Province is expected to be approved this month. It is expected that the approval of an LNG project will be announced with the Stage One development costing around US 1.4 billion dollars.
  • The Special Economic Zone will create up to 25,000 jobs directly and another 25,000 jobs indirectly when it’s fully operational.
  • The Minister for Commerce and Industry said that, the government wants to create four trade zones in the country: the Pacific Maritime Industrial Zone in Madang, the Sepik Plains Special Economic Zone, the development of wharves in Kikori and Vanimo and the Ihu Special Economic Zone.


Main Issues in South Asia


  • Aspirants of different student organizations taking part in Dhaka University Central Students’ Union polls have been accused of violating the electoral code of conduct.
  • Rival candidates yesterday alleged that the Chhatra Union leaders and activists violated section 3(A) of the Dhaka University electoral code of conduct 2019, by conducting a musical event in their election campaign. A written complaint has been filed with the Chief Election Commissioner of Dhaka University.
  • Clients are advised to avoid the Dhaka University area and to expect security measures by the police to control any poll-related violence


  • The Ministry of Interior has taken into custody 44 people from various banned organizations. Mufti Abdul Raoof and Hamad Azhar, the brother, and son of Jaish-e-Mohammad leader Masood Azhar of Jaish-e-Mohammad were among those detained.
  • Jaish-e-Mohammad has claimed responsibility for the suicide attack on Indian soldiers on February 14. This attack brought India and Pakistan close to a full-scale war.
  • The arrests were made to implement the National Action Plan, which was a high-level meeting conducted by all provincial governments on March 4. Ministry of Interior also said that assets of the banned organizations can be seized under the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 of Pakistan.


  • Pakistan Navy allegedly claimed to successfully foil an attempt by Indian submarine to enter Pakistani waters.
  • The recent escalation came after aerial attacks by Pakistan and India on each other’s territories in February which also led to shot down and capture of an Indian pilot. The captured pilot was released on March 1.
  • The Indian Navy has dismissed the claims as disinformation.


  • All commercial and international airlines are avoiding the eastern airspace of Pakistan in view of continuing tensions with India causing travel delays.
  • The Civil Aviation Authority said that the flights are operating under restricted airspace and airports are operating under restricted entry and exit movements of passengers.
  • Flight operations resumed in Pakistan yesterday after a week since February 27 making thousands of passengers were stranded and also affecting flights from Europe to South Asia and South East Asia.


  • Five people were injured in a bomb blast in the bus stop of Chaman town in Qila Abdullah district in the North West Balochistan province yesterday. Bomb disposal squad and police have sealed off the area to collect evidence.
  • In another incident, four compartments of Peshawar bound four Jaffar Express train got derailed in an explosion which took place on tracks near Dera Murad Jamali in Nasirabad district of Balochistan province. Train services between Quetta in Balochistan province and the rest of the country have been suspended.
  • Security officials are investigating the blasts. Clients are advised to employ extreme caution while traveling in Balochistan province.


  • Locomotive Engine Drivers Union called off the independent strike. The strike was called off after a meeting with Minister of Transport Arjuna Ranatunga.
  • The strike was called upon to protest the recruitment of twelve railway drivers over the age of forty-five, which the union claimed was a departure from the normal procedure of recruitment adopted earlier.
  • Clients can still expect delays and heavy rush in the normal operations of trains.


  • Indian Navy Chief Sunil Lamba citing intelligence reports yesterday warned of seaborne attacks by terrorists. The warning came after a major suicide attack took place in Jammu and Kashmir on February 14, killing forty soldiers.
  • In 2008, ten terrorists attacked Mumbai by hijacking an Indian flagged fishing trawler. The attack had killed more than a hundred civilians including foreigners.
  • Stricter security checks on ships entering Indian waters by Coast Guard and Indian Navy are expected.
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