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    Asian Insider 22 November: Xi Jinping on equality in trade deal, Seoul keeps intel-sharing pact, Huawei’s AI lab in Singapore

    Published On: 22 November 2019

    Asian Insider brings you insights into a fast-changing region from our network of correspondents.


    22 November 2019

    In today’s bulletin: China’s president speaks for the first time in recent weeks on trade deal; Seoul to keep intel-sharing pact with Tokyo; Hong Kong’s crucial Sunday election; Huawei sets up AI lab in Singapore and more.



    Chinese President Xi Jinping has stressed “equality and mutual respect” as the basis of a trade deal with the United States. These are his first remarks in public as the world awaits an announcement on a meeting between him and US President Donald Trump, to sign Phase One of a trade deal, discussions for which took place last month. “We did not initiate this trade war and this is not something we want,” he told a seminar, adding: “When necessary, we will fight back, but we have been working actively to try not to have a trade war.”

    Read more: 

    US, China must build trust to develop technology

    China trims ‘negative’ investment list in show of opening up



    With no certainty yet of a trade deal between the two leading superpowers, experts, around the world, have been sharing their concerns about a possible decoupling of the two economies that could impact trade flows and consequently growth. The issue came up at a Live Session of Asian Insider earlier today and panellists felt it wouldn’t happen. The two countries need to work together on several issues for global stability, says our Global Affairs Correspondent, based in Beijing, Benjamin Kang Lim. Singapore, meanwhile, will try to build bridges, in a world building walls, said Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, at ST’s Global Outlook Forum.

    Don’t miss: 

    End of the American order

    Pence markers on the China decoupling road

    ‘Decoupling’ too late to stop China’s tech rise



    South Korea has opted to reverse its decision to cancel the intelligence-sharing pact with Japan, that was due to expire at midnight tonight. This is for the time being, reports said. It was announced by South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s office. Seoul and Tokyo have been exchanging information on North Korea and its nuclear weapons programme as part of this initiative.

    Find out more: 

    Five things to know about the intel-sharing pact 

    US pressure could prevent S. Korea’s exit from intel pact



    Tense moments continued at the Polytechnic University, on Hong Kong’s Kowloon peninsula, with close to a hundred students hiding within the campus as riot police kept a close watch. Officials and police, meanwhile, prepared for a district council election due to take place on Sunday, with observers saying the results, and violence that could take place, pointing to the city’s future state of affairs.

    Go deeper: 

    Black shadows in Hong Kong’s devastated campus

    Abuse and acrimony as crisis-hit Hong Kong holds district polls

    HK Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung urges protesters to cooperate so local elections can go on as planned



    Chinese tech giant Huawei is building a new lab in Singapore to develop new Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications & test various scenarios. More than 1,100 people will be trained at the lab that cost the company US$10 million (S$13,6 million) to build.

    Also read:

    Singapore’s AI strategy

    How ready are you to live with AI



    ‘CHICKENISATION’ TO KEEP KIDS OFF SMARTPHONES – An Indonesian city is attempting an innovative way to keep kids away from phones – it is giving them baby chickens to play with. Will it keep them away? A survey shows Indonesians spend 3 hours per day surfing the web.

    SRI LANKA TO HOLD SNAP ELECTIONS: The country’s new president Gotabaya Rajapaksa is hoping to ride a wave of popularity bycalling for a snap parliamentary poll in March, following his recent sweeping victory. The current Parliament’s five-year term expires on March 1.

    HUNT FOR ‘NORMAL’ APPLICANTS: Several Indonesian ministries are banning pregnant, disabled, or LGBT job hunters in favour of what one called “normal” applicants, the Ombudsman in Jakarta said, in a move that has been slammed as “arbitrary and hateful restrictions” by a rights group.


    These insights are produced by The Straits Times, the official media partner for the Asia House Global Trade Dialogue, which took place in Singapore on 7 November 2019.

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