The DailyBrief

Friday January 6, 2017

Beijing has won at least a short-term reprieve from markets after it strengthened the yuan reference rate, which determines the range within which the currency can trade, by 0.9%, the most since Beijing abandoned its US dollar peg in favor of a crawling peg in July 2005. The recovery, writes Steve Wang, marks a victory for China’s policymakers, who have been pouring foreign exchange reserves into the market to prevent a destabilizing collapse.

Shares of Toyota Motor Corp fell more than 3% on Friday after US president-elect Donald Trump threatened to impose taxes on the carmaker if it builds its Corolla cars for the US at a plant in Mexico. On Thursday, Mr Trump tweeted: “Toyota Motor said will build a new plant in Baja, Mexico, to build Corolla cars for US NO WAY! Build plant in US or pay big border tax.”

What if George W. Bush had taken a tougher line with China over the EP-3 crisis in 2001? The incident, on April 1, 2001, resulted in the death of a Chinese pilot after his plane intercepted a US Navy intelligence aircraft in international airspace. The US plane then made an emergency landing on Hainan Island, where the crew were subsequently detained. Instead of the US accepting responsibility and apologizing, writes Harry J. Kazianas, a harder stance – as suggested by Donald Rumsfeld at the time — could have laid down a marker in subsequent years.

Ever feel nostalgic for the notorious Kowloon Walled City? Hong Kong’s renowned slum has been replicated inside a video-game warehouse in Kawasaki, Japan, offering a glimpse of what the haven of opium dens and triads looked and felt before its demolition in 1993. Said Karlsson went along with his camera for Asia Times.