The DailyBrief

Monday February 6, 2017

US Defense Secretary James Mattis’ visit to East Asia was, whisper it, encouraging for regional stability, writes Richard Javad Heydarian. In Tokyo and Seoul, Mattis reaffirmed America’s obligations, signaling at least from the outset of Donald Trump’s term that the US’ position has not changed with regard to upholding mutual defense treaties. However deep concerns remain among America’s Asian allies about the competence and intentions of Trump’s wider foreign policy team.

The world could be set for another debt crisis, writes Anthony Rowley for Asia Times. Looser fiscal policy in the United States under Donald Trump, and consequent tightening of monetary policy, could have unwitting consequences – particularly for emerging markets, given the huge debts built up in certain economies (many of them in Asia) over a decade of record low interest rates.

The Philippines is braced for continued strife after the collapse of a short-lived truce between the government and New People’s Army communist rebels. President Rodrigo Duterte, who scrapped a six-month-old truce on Friday after NPA fighters killed six government soldiers and kidnapped two others, warned the insurgent group that the civil war would last another 50 years if necessary.

The stink surrounding the disappearance of Xiao Jianhua, one of China’s richest men, ripens. Scores of social media posts about the well-connected billionaire – who has close ties with some of China’s leaders and their relatives, and who went missing from a Hong Kong hotel in January – have been deleted, pointing to what appears to be heightened sensitivity in Beijing over the case.