China-Philippines, honeymoon over: Ten months into Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte’s tenure, his strategic alliance with China has devolved into open sparring over their South China Sea disputes as both sides fortify their claims. Richard Javad Heydarian writes that Beijing’s fast growing network of South China Sea military facilities has pushed the Philippines to take a tough line and China is now realizing that Duterte will not be an easy strategic pushover.
China-SEOs, going private: Beijing had approved mixed ownership plans of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in important sectors such as power utilities, oil, natural gas, railway, telecommunications, the military and aviation. Asia Times’ China Digest reports that the changes, part of a wide ranging central government plan to overhaul SOEs, will see private ownership being introduced through capital injections and organisational restructuring.
Beijing-economy, stats decoded: China’s economy generated 18 trillion yuan (US$2.6 trillion) in GDP for Q1, two trillion more than a year ago, equating to a massive “nominal” gain of 11.8%. Yet, explains Steve Wang there is a marked difference between China’s “nominal” GDP growth and its inflation-adjusted “real” growth that has consistently hovered at less than 7% for the last few quarters.
Udine Film Festival: South Korean director Choi Kook-hee’s movie Split features in today’s Asia Times diary for the Far East Film Festival. Mathew Scott writes that the movie – a watchable Rain Main-meets-Kingpin piece about bowling, friendship and the unlikely bonds humans make – deftly showcases Choi’s skills as a storyteller.