The DailyBrief

Tuesday July 25, 2017

Silk Road standoff? The current border dispute between China and India is little more than a sideshow as South Asia’s tectonic plates shift in a direction that makes New Delhi’s resistance to Beijing’s global trade initiatives seem futile, writes Pepe Escobar. China’s trade connections now surround India and as Beijing is New Delhi’s top trade partner, nationalist attempts to block Indian involvement in the New Silk Road look increasingly counter-productive.

China-India, border endgame: With Beijing drawing a non-debatable ‘red line’, the month-long military standoff between China and India on the border near Sikkim may be about to enter the home stretch this weekend. M.K. Bhadrakumar writes that the Chinese Defense Ministry has waded into the discourse for the first time, saying the People’s Liberation Army will defend Chinese territory “at all costs” and this means Beijing’s conclusion will be that India must leave “Chinese territory” unconditionally, unilaterally and without further delay.

Myanmar’s slow-lane connectivity: Despite its 2,000 kilometer-long coastline, Myanmar is home to only nine small-scale ports, reports Michael Mackey. Infrastructure development in Myanmar, long viewed as Southeast Asia’s ‘connectivity’ laggard, has been plagued by a host of political and commercial issues but it seems the country is now poised to change that by allowing more foreign-built ports, roads and rails.

Vladivostok feeding China? Russia’s government is offering tax breaks, special economic zones and other incentives to help move its Far Eastern region’s economy from natural resource extraction to processing and services. Irina Drobysheva writes that the region surrounding Vladivostok has long been known as Russia’s resource base but investors are now waking up to the area’s unused arable land, its climate suitable for agriculture and, crucially, its proximity to food-hungry China.

China’s entertainment crackdown: When online streaming site Bilibili said the removal of foreign dramas was due to a “strategic adjustment of content” driven by internal decision-making and copyright concerns, many of the site’s users remained skeptical, reports Poo Yee Kai. When Bilibili pulled foreign content, including popular dramas from the US, UK and South Korea, its millennial-heavy audience was outraged and believed the crackdown to be part of an attempt to push content “approved” by the Chinese authorities, especially that which praises the Communist Party.