The DailyBrief

Tuesday May 23, 2017

Indonesia-widening political split: A rift at the top of Joko Widodo’s government, including over issues of religion, signals potentially destabilizing politicking as the country heads towards pivotal polls, writes John McBeth. Observers are now asking if a potentially dangerous blend of religion and populist politics is likely to be the front and center agenda as the country enters the 2019 election season.

Seoul-Park on trial: South Korea’s former president Park Geun-hye arrived at a Seoul court on Tuesday to make a first public appearance since her arrest in March, reports Asia Times. Park, who faces more than 10 years in prison if found guilty of taking bribes from business leaders, was asked in court to state her job and replied: Unemployed.

Beijing-Washington, closer ties: In a further sign of warming bilateral ties, Trump cabinet member Ben Carson delivered an upbeat speech on US-China relations, writes Doug Tsuruoka. “When you look at China you see a very, very accomplished society,” said the US Housing and Urban Development Secretary, adding that “I think there’s an opportunity for China and the US to become very good friends – and the administration is looking for that.”

Vietnam’s ecotourism success: Deep in the forests of central Vietnam, home to rare flora and fauna and the world’s most spectacular system of caves, tourism is benefiting the local environment, writes Michael Tatarski. While other parts of the country have seen severe environmental degradation at the hands of tourism development, the opposite has been the case in the UNESCO-certified Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park that is home to one of the largest areas of intact primary forest in Vietnam.

Millennials, corruption? NP! The global push to root out corruption is at risk of backsliding in Asia, with young professionals in the region more open to paying bribes than older colleagues, according to a new report by consultancy firm Ernst & Young. Johan Nylander reports that the survey found 38% of so-called millennials polled in Asia Pacific region justify paying cash to win or retain business while in China, 51% would offer gifts or services as a bribe to help their business survive.