The DailyBrief

Thursday February 16, 2017

Donald Trump pledged to honor the One-China policy in a lengthy February 9 phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping and in doing so restored a cornerstone of Sino-US ties that he had threatened to upend by accepting a phone call from Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen. However, warns Nicholas R. Lardy, Trump hardliner Peter Navarro’s stance toward Beijing means a trade war is still possible and it is a fight that neither China nor the US would win.

As Malaysian police detain more suspects for the assassination of North Korea’s genial former heir apparent, the murder is set to become a complex diplomatic issue for Kuala Lumpur, reports The Asia Times. While police are carrying on with a murder investigation by detaining a third person, the Malaysia deputy prime minister stressed that the bizarre killing will not affect ties between the two countries. This assurance came despite US and South Korean government sources saying they believed Pyongyang agents carried out the assassination.

Michael Flynn’s resignation on Monday, for the world at large, is not about an obscure 19th century law that defines a phone conversation between the US National Security Advisor and the Russian ambassador. What it actually conveys, writes M.K. Bhadrakumar, is that the US is sliding into a vicious civil war.

In Jakarta, the election for a new governor, so far clouded by allegations of blasphemy, phone tapping and even murder, will be decided after another round of voting on April 19. John McBeth reports that a quick count results, with nearly all the ballots counted, showed Purnama winning 43% of the vote, ahead of Baswaden who notched 39% and third-placed Agus Haritmurti Yudhoyono trailing with 17% after he faded badly in the final stretch. A candidate needed to receive 50% of the vote to win the race outright.