The Daily Brief for Wednesday, 15 February 2017

The DailyBrief

Wednesday February 15, 2017

In Myanmar, the removal of nearly all economic sanctions imposed on the previous military regime has not yet sparked an inrush of US investment. Peter Janssen reports that despite American entities no longer having to seek permission from the US Treasury Department to make investments exceeding US$500,000, Myanmar is not yet completely sanction-free.

Kim Jong Nam was China’s proxy for replacing Kim Jong Un because Beijing saw the North Korean leader as an impediment to their goals on the Korean peninsula. Stephen Bryen writes that China did not want to see American resources shifted to the Korean peninsula, especially the THAAD Terminal High Altitude Missile Area Defense system.

Around 112 million digital red packets valued at 6.67 billion yuan (US$971.07 million) were sent out on Tuesday via WeChat by young Chinese wishing their partners a Happy Valentine’s Day. Lin Wanxia reports that 9.6 million of these virtual red packets were stuffed with 520 yuan because the number “five-two-zero” sounds similar to “I love you” in Putonghua.

In Cuba, China is deepening its business footprint to help the fellow Communist-run state survive a crisis in oil-benefactor Venezuela and insulate against a possible rollback of US detente. Reuters reports that Cuban imports from China reached a record US$1.9 billion in 2015, nearly 60% above the annual average of the previous decade.