US-India summit talks: Donald Trump and Narendra Modi will hold their first face-to-face meeting in Washington on Monday, with both seeking to boost bilateral relations despite differences over trade, the Paris climate accord and immigration. Steve Holland and David Brunnstrom report that while progress is expected around defense, the solving of other frictions will largely depend on the personal chemistry between these notoriously outspoken presidents.
Russia courts yuan: Russia has been burdened recently by US and EU sanctions and increasingly has expressed interest in further financial cooperation with China. Zi Yang writes that Beijing’s top financiers have also been reaching out to their Moscow counterparts at recent international meetings but the Russian banking system remains fragile, meaning there is still considerable risk in such collaborations.
Manila’s false economy: Overseas workers remitted something like US$30 billion back to the Philippines last year and this helped stabilize the national economy. Yet, argues William Pesek, instead of replying on people as the nation’s main product, President Duterte should make good on the infrastructure boom he promised, to generate domestic employment, competitiveness and investment.
Russia-casino license voided: Primorsky Krai authorities in Far East Russia have voided an agreement with local operator Royal Time Primorye after it failed to follow through on an investment to build a casino resort. Asia Times reports that the new resort, valued at US$215 million and including a casino, hotels, an aqua park, a mall and a concert arena, is now likely to be built by a Hong Kong or Macau operator.
Japan’s military dependence: Japan’s establishment was both astonished at Donald Trump election and also terrified that he’d live up to campaign promises about tackling supposed unfair Japanese trade practices and Tokyo paying more for US forces based in Japan. Grant Newsham writes that Shinzo Abe has managed to momentarily appease Trump, with flattery and a gift of golf clubs, but to really level the relationship, Japan will have to redress the defense balance after decades of excessive dependence on the United States.