The DailyBrief

Thursday August 3, 2017

Path to power: Seiko Noda, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s pick for internal affairs minister, bears watching, William Pesek writes. A trailblazer her entire career, she could provide the impetus for policy changes that finally allow Japan to tap its female talent. The 56-year-old lawmaker from Gifu Prefecture challenged Abe for the Liberal Democratic Party leadership in 2015 and might do so again in 2018, putting herself on a path to become Japan’s first female prime minister.

Sino-Indian border row: The Chinese Foreign Ministry has released a position paper laying out the “facts” in relation to the six-week-old standoff with India in the Sikkim region, MK Bhadrakumar writes. What could be the motivation in bringing out such a document? First and foremost, China hopes to influence international opinion – and embarrass India. While New Delhi has remained silent, Beijing has put itself on the front foot, throwing down the gauntlet over India’s ties with Bhutan and leaving the Indian side guessing as to the state of play in the China-Bhutan dialogue.

Persona non grata: Germany announced it would expel Vietnam’s ambassador and intelligence chief from the country after a Vietnamese asylum-seeker was allegedly kidnapped by Vietnam’s secret service on the streets of Berlin, David Hutt writes. Trinh Xuan Thanh fled his country last year after allegedly causing a state-owned petroleum firm to lose almost US$150 million. Earlier this week, Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security told local state-media that Thanh had voluntarily returned to Hanoi and turned himself in to the police. This was later contested by the German government, which asserted that he was abducted in Berlin and then forcibly taken back to Hanoi.

That sinking feeling: Southeast Asian seafood consumption is about double the global average, but falling catches, unsustainable aquaculture and poor governance have imperiled the crucial industry, Alan Boyd writes. Escalating tensions over fishing rights in the South China Sea – Indonesia’s navy fired shots at a Vietnamese fishing vessel in late July – may be a harbinger of stormy seas ahead as more trawlers cast their nets in contested waters.

“China threat” theory: The mainland’s growing economic, geopolitical and military strength has many Americans, particularly those in the neoconservative and liberal camps, worried, and for good reason. Thanks to missile technology, a war with China could be fought on US, Australian and UK soil as well as China’s. Risking a nuclear holocaust just to “keep China in its place” or maintain Anglo-American dominance is beyond reason, asserts Ken Moak.

Asia Times app: The Asia Times has launched an app for both iOS- and Android-based devices that will deliver the publication’s regular daily news, commentary, blogs and live coverage while also bringing readers added functionality. Asia Times Staff report that the app, launched on July 25, includes content notification, share and save functions and is free to download from both the Apple Store and Google Play.