The DailyBrief

Thursday July 6, 2017

Beijing’s Pyongyang policy? US President Donald Trump is looking to adopt harder-line policies toward China over Beijing’s unwillingness or inability to stifle what Washington regards as Pyongyang’s growing nuclear-missile threat. Bill Gertz says North Korea’s latest missile test was a major setback for the Trump administration and comes after relations between Washington and Beijing appeared to be improving after the April summit meeting between Trump and Xi Jinping in Florida.

What’s Abenomics changed? Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic reforms have brought some victories, including prodding Japanese companies to boost return on investments and negotiating with Europe to lower trade barriers. Yet, writes William Pesek, aggressive Bank of Japan intervention was meant to do so much for Abenomics but the promised loosening of labor markets, the startup boom, the slashing of trade barriers, the productivity boosts, the empowerment of women… have not really happened.

Entrepreneurs in Pyongyang? While the eyes of the world are on North Korea’s development of an intercontinental ballistic missile, observers say innovation of another kind is occurring in the secretive socialist country. Daniel Hurst reports that North Koreans are increasingly starting business projects and “essentially managing their own economic destiny,” according to a non-profit organization that trains local students in entrepreneurial skills and economic policies.

Brand Singapore tarnished: The public feud pitting members of Singapore’s first family shows no signs of abating despite Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s best efforts to end the episode. Kirsten Han reports that a two-day debate in Parliament that focused on allegations Lee had abused his executive power saw most from his long ruling People’s Action Party emphatically back him but his siblings remain defiant and have suggested that the spat will continue, regardless of their brother’s wishes.

Myanmar-Gagging the messenger: The arrests of three Myanmar journalists in recent days has focused attention on the squeeze of media freedoms and the residual repressive laws still used by the military and government to target any perceived critics. David Scott Mathieson writes that the detention of these journalists should not obscure the plight of the thousands of civilians in increasingly shut-off Kachin and Shan State who are living in dire conditions after being displaced by the very war the intrepid reporters traveled to cover.