The DailyBrief

Monday January 23, 2017

What’s in store for Southeast Asia now that Donald Trump has the keys to the White House? Our contributors look at Vietnam, Cambodia and the Philippines. David Hutt, in Phnom Penh, sees the prospect of deteriorating relations with the West as Cambodia pursues greater economic and strategic co-operation with China. In Vietnam, Helen Clark anticipates that the country’s recently-concluded US$10 billion deal with Exxon Mobil will likely create new ripples in the contested South China Sea. And from the Philippines, Richard Javad Heydarian writes that ties with the US – which hit a low point as Rodrigo Duterte clashed with Barack Obama on human rights – may be quickly restored if, as is likely, Trump adopts a more pragmatic stance.

Half of all global fintech investments are in Asia, writes Johan Nylander. China in particular is leaving the rest of the world behind when it comes to financial technology, and the mobile payment sector is leading the charge. In a panel discussion in Davos last week, top Chinese and global players discussed the changing financial landscape and the possibilities and threats that lie ahead.

Pepe Escobar, Asia Times columnist-at-large, weighs the likelihood of Donald Trump’s America welcoming Chinese investment and becoming, in effect, part of Xi Jinping’s global New Silk Road. If it’s a trade war the new US president would rather have, writes Pepe, he is likely to find himself on the back foot from day one.

Chinese President Xi Jinping will head a new commission overseeing joint military and civilian development, state media in China have reported. The commission will look at promoting “integrated” modernization, as the country looks to develop a military-industrial complex commensurate with its economic might.