Saudi’s leadership coup: What was an open secret in the Arab world is now out in the open… last month’s House of Saud ascension for Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman was in fact a leadership coup. Pepe Escobar writes that the coup displaced CIA favorite Mohammad bin Nayef and puts into power a risk-taking “gambler” that some consider to be the most dangerous man in the Middle East.
China-India, border answers? In recent days, New Delhi and Beijing have made some attempts to play down the disputed border tensions that have been simmering near the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan. However, writes M.K. Bhadrakumar, it is difficult to see any significant longer-term shift in what have recently become consistently adversarial India-China relations and, with rising nationalism on both sides, it’s important that a face-saving formula is found.
Myanmar’s Pyongyang links? Despite official assurances to the contrary, security sources say Myanmar has maintained secretive strategic ties with Pyongyang. Bertil Lintner reports that it is not certain how much Aung San Suu Kyi’s civilian government actually knows about the autonomous military’s often furtive activities but the US will reimpose damaging sanctions if Myanmar’s does have proven armament links with North Korea.
Asia-America, pragmatism rules: Donald Trump is engaging with Southeast Asia on new terms and it’s a gambit that so far appears to mirror China’s ‘no strings’ approach to assistance and diplomacy, writes David Hutt. The change reflects the pragmatic efforts of Trump’s Asia team to find diplomatic answers to strengthen America’s relationships in a region where nations increasingly lean towards China for economic sustenance and investments.
NK ferry halted: A North Korean ferry that recently began weekly sailings to Russia’s Vladivostok has ran into sanctions-related customs problems. Inga Denezh reports that strict UN sanctions on Pyongyang, because of its nuclear and missile program, have caused the Man Gyong Bong ferry to be declined authorization to depart from Vladivostok for North Korea’s Rajin port.