The DailyBrief

Thursday February 9, 2017

China is both stronger and weaker than it was a decade ago and these weaknesses could make the difference in any China-America confrontation, says Francesco Sisci. China’s GDP is about eight times that of 2001 but it also has a much larger middle class that is becoming disenfranchised from politics and is not necessarily committed to the present government or its structure. These weaknesses could heavily condition any confrontations with the US in the following months.

Cambodia’s newly launched war on drugs is in full swing, with nearly 3,000 people arrested in the campaign’s first month of crime-busting, reports David Hutt. Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen announced the campaign in December after a state visit by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. Cambodian officials have said their campaign was launched in response to a nearly 30% rise in the number of documented drug addicts last year.

America’s archaic railway system presents the biggest challenge to President Donald Trump and his plan to renovate and modernise the country’s infrastructure, writes Doug Tsurouka. US railroad infrastructure went into a long decay after World War II as highways overtook trains as the most convenient and cost-effective mode of public and commercial transport and drones and self-driving cars that use US technology and companies maybe the answer.

New US defense secretary, retired Marine Corps General James Mattis, on his visit to Asia last week sought to reassure the United States’ two key Northeast Asia allies that the Trump administration plans to work closely with both of them says Bill Gertz Doug. Mattis traveled to Japan and South Korea to signal American reassurance that the US will not withdraw into isolationism nor lessen its commitments to joint defenses against threats from North Korea and China.