Asian Insider Aug 30: Duterte, Xi & South China Sea, Japan's defence spending, HK arrests

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

In today’s bulletin: Duterte-Xi differ on South China Sea ruling, Japan increases spending on defence, Hong Kong activists arrested ahead of rally and more.

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DUTERTE, XI FAIL TO SEE EYE TO EYE ON SOUTH CHINA SEA

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte brought up the 2016 arbitration ruling with China during his meeting with China President Xi Jinping earlier today and the two leaders didn't see eye to eye on the issue. The ruling invalidates Beijing's claim to nearly all of the South China Sea. So, which way will this relationship go? Read our report by Philippines Correspondent Raul Dancel and Global Affairs Correspondent Benjamin Kang Lim : 

Duterte, Xi fail to see eye to eye on South China Sea issue

JAPAN HIKES MILITARY SPENDING, AGAIN

Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government has its sights on US-made interceptor missiles, stealth fighters and other equipment, to counter the threat from North Korea and China. Tokyo's Ministry of Defence has sought a record 5.32 trillion yen (S$69.5 billion) for this, in a move that would make it the eighth straight annual increase in defence spending. Click below for the full story: 

Japan's military seeks eighth straight annual hike in defence spending

NOW SEE AND LISTEN TO ASIAN INSIDER

Asian Insider can now be viewed and heard. Will the US-China trade war impact on Asian and global economies? US Bureau Chief Nirmal Ghosh and China Correspondent Danson Cheong discuss this in our latest video in this series. Click here to see.

Here's the latest on this matter too: 

China, US are discussing face-to-face trade talks in September, says Chinese official

Farmers' frustration with Trump grows as US escalates China fight

HONG KONG ARRESTS ACTIVISTS AHEAD OF SATURDAY RALLY

Authorities in Hong Kong arrested Joshua Wong, the leader of the 2014 Umbrella Movement protest, early today just ahead of a planned big rally on Saturday. Wong was released from prison two months ago and faces three charges for his role in protests this year. There have been reports of attacks on other activists too. The police ban on the big rally remains in place. We'll have more on this, this weekend. Meanwhile, here are some of the latest reports: 

Hong Kong activists arrested, others attacked as authorities uphold ban on protest rally 

From Dior to dried fish, Hong Kong retailers feel protest pain

China rejected Hong Kong's plan to appease protesters: Sources

CITIZENSHIP LIST IN INDIA'S ASSAM SPARKS FEARS OF TURNING MILLIONS STATELESS

The north-eastern state of Assam in India plans to publish a National Register of Citizens that has stoked concerns that it might leave millions stateless. Those affected could be thousands of refugees from neighbouring Bangladesh. Some believe that the government of Narendra Modi will follow up with a roll out of a similar plan nationwide. 

Citizenship list in Indian's Assam state sparks fears for millions

ASIA'S MOST LUXURIOUS AIRPORT LOUNGES

Asia is building some of the most spacious airport lounges, with air travel looking up. Besides lavish spreads, there's well-stocked bars, spas and private rooms to look forward to. Here's a look at those catching the frequent traveller's attention. 

These are the most luxurious airport lounges in Asia

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

GREAT BARRIER REEF: The long-term outlook for Australia's Great Barrier Reef was downgraded to "very poor" for the first time on Friday, by the official agency charged with managing the world heritage site. The reason: climate change.

AUSTRALIA & TIMOR LESTE: Australia has committed to invest in East Timor's naval infrastructure and provide an undersea Internet cable between the countries as China increases its influence in the region.

That’s it for today. Thanks for reading and we'll be back with more after the weekend. Have a good one.

 - Shefali