Hanoi-Washington trade cooperation: Vietnam could be about to get preferential treatment from a US administration that previously withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and has since threatened to impose border taxes on Asian countries’ exports, writes David Hutt. Trade to the US, worth US$38.5 billion last year, is a big deal to Hanoi and makes up almost 20% of all Vietnamese exports.
China-Japan sea power: Since 2012 Japan’s Maritime Self Defense Force has been modernizing and last month commissioned its second “helicopter destroyer” vessel and also formed a new Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade. It has caused China to raise warnings about militarism, yet, reports Grant Newsham, Tokyo still has nothing like the capabilities of Beijing’s own amphibious forces.
Pakistan money-laundering verdict: Islamabad’s top court is about to rule on a scandal involving the family of prime minister Nawaz Sharif and accusations of money-laundering and multi-million pound properties in London’s Mayfair. F.M. Shakil reports that the case originates from the database leak of Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca that implicated thousands of global offshore entities, including hundreds of Pakistani politicians, industrialists, business people, judges and luminaries, and included the Sharif family.
Beijing corruption investigation: The head of China’s insurance regulator is being investigated for suspected disciplinary violations, bringing the most senior financial regulator to date into the government’s fight against corruption. Reuters reports that Xiang Junbo, also a member of the central bank’s monetary policy committee, was suspected of “serious disciplinary violations”, a phrase that usually refers to graft.
Fiji win Sevens: Rio gold medalists Fiji injected life into the HSBC Sevens World Series on Sunday by walking away winners after rolling over South Africa 22-0 in the final. Pedro Chan writes that it was the 17th time Fiji have won in Hong Kong and the third time in a row.