The DailyBrief

Wednesday August 9, 2017

Verbal war intensifies: Just hours after President Donald Trump told North Korea that any threat to the United States would be met with “fire and fury,” Pyongyang said it is considering plans for a missile strike on the American Pacific territory of Guam, Asia Times and Reuters report. The sharp increase in tensions rattled financial markets and prompted warnings from US officials and analysts not to engage in rhetorical slanging matches with North Korea. North Korea has made no secret of plans to develop a missile to strike the US and has ignored international calls to halt its nuclear and missile programs.

Deadly China quake: Thirteen people, including six tourists, were killed and 175 injured when a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck a remote, mountainous area of Sichuan in China’s southwest, the provincial government and official media said on Wednesday, Reuters reports. The quake hit a sparsely populated area 200 km northwest of the city of Guangyuan late on Tuesday at a depth of 10 km, the US Geological Survey said. It was also close to the Jiuzhaigou nature reserve, a tourist destination. The Sichuan government said 100 tourists had been trapped by a landslide following Tuesday’s quake.

Golan Heights oil: China’s continued access to Mideast energy sources and pushing forward its Belt and Road Initiative depends on regional stability, which is why Beijing is stepping up efforts to help resolve the Syrian crisis and the Israel-Palestinian conflict, Christina Lin writes. It is becoming more proactive in supporting a negotiated political settlement in Syria, proposing a trilateral dialogue among China, Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and moving ahead with regional infrastructure projects in Syria, Jordan and Israel – where it will be importing 20,000 infrastructure workers.

Trade war looms: US President Donald Trump was arguably the fiercest anti-China candidate during last year’s presidential election, accusing the country of “robbing America blind,” manipulating its currency, stealing American jobs and technology, and a host of other “evil” deeds. Now Trump says he is set to invoke Section 301 of the 1974 Trade Act, which empowers him to investigate and impose harsh penalties against China’s “unfair” trade practices “within days.” While imposing trade barriers on Chinese goods might be popular among his supporters and the anti-Communist Chinese crowd, it would not necessarily be in the best interest of the United States, China or the world, Ken Moak asserts.

Digital cooperation deal: Marriott International and Alibaba Group Holding have launched a joint venture that aims create a more seamless experience for Chinese travelers by connecting the hotel chain’s digital offerings with Alibaba’s, Mason Hinsdale writes. The new venture will manage Marriott’s Chinese-language digital channels, such as the Chinese versions of Marriott.com and Starwoodhotels.com. The venture will also manage Marriott digital storefronts on Fliggy, Alibaba’s own travel platform formerly known as Alitrip.

Asia Times app: 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.