Asian Insider, August 18: Trump’s tax credit for US firms to relocate from China; Asia’s new pro-democracy #MilkTeaAlliance

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

Hi, 

In today’s bulletin: Trump promises 10 million jobs & tax credits for US firms that relocate to the country from China; Asia’s new pro-democracy Milk Tea Alliance in Hong Kong, Taiwan & Thailand; coronavirus at a church in Seoul gives South Korea more anguish; travellers from more countries can now transit via Singapore; Hong Kong CE Carrie Lam’s credit card woes, packed pools in Wuhan, and more.

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TRUMP OFFERS TAX CREDITS TO US FIRMS TO BRING JOBS BACK FROM CHINA

US-China ties took another knock as President Donald Trump promised tax credits for US firms that relocate manufacturing facilities to the country from China. Mr Trump also said his administration would strip federal contracts from US firms that outsource to China as he vowed to create 10 million jobs in 10 months, seeking to gain support ahead of the Nov 3 election. 

The President's promise, during a visit to Mankato, Minnesota, came even as the Democratic National Convention got underway. The Convention saw former first lady Michelle Obama launch a scathing attack on Mr Trump describing him as the "wrong president" for the country.

Meanwhile, the tech rift between the two countries widened with China stating it firmly opposed the suppression of Huawei Technologies after the US announced new restrictions on Monday that would tighten access to commercially available chips for Huawei.

On another note, Oracle Corp has reportedly held talks with ByteDance to pick up a stake in popular video streaming app TikTok which is currently in negotiations with Microsoft, as well.

THE BUZZ ABOUT ASIA'S NEW PRO-DEMOCRACY MILK TEA ALLIANCE

Is a new regional pro-democracy alliance taking shape? The increasing appearance of the hashtag #MilkTeaAlliance seems to be hinting at one. 

It was used by pro-democracy advocates in Hong Kong to show support for Thai anti-government protests over the weekend. The tag was noticed on a sign in Bangkok that also carried flags representing Hong Kong and independence for Taiwan.

So, why milk tea? The title represents a shared passion for sweet tea drinks in Thailand, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Read also: 

Tan Hui Yee, Indochina Bureau Chief: New disaffected generation poses challenge to Thai govt (premium content)

SEOUL STRUGGLES TO TRACE CHURCH GOERS AS CASES SPREAD

South Korea was struggling to contain the latest surge in coronavirus, two days after the reimposition of social distancing measures.

Triple-digit increases in the number of cases have been linked to the Sarang Jeil Church led by a conservative pastor who's been accused of violating self-isolation rules and obstructing contact tracing of church members.

The focus on the Church has revived bad memories of the country's biggest outbreak, among followers of a secretive Christian sect back in February. Meanwhile, the discovery of cases among the military has been reason for further alarm.  

Read also: 

Salma Khalik, Senior Health Correspondent: Surge in cases in countries that contained coronavirus in early months signals move to new phase, says WHO

WHO says people in 20s to 40s increasingly driving coronavirus pandemic

SIA TRAVELLERS FROM 5 ASEAN COUNTRIES CAN NOW TRANSIT VIA SINGAPORE

In still early signs hinting at, and encouraging, a return to travel, it was announced that travellers from Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand will now be able to transit through Singapore, if they are taking Singapore Airlines flights.

This follows approval for transit passengers from Vietnam and Cambodia to transit via Singapore on SIA last week. 

The five countries are the first from the region whose passengers the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore has allowed to transit here, after border restrictions were slightly eased on June 2, following a ban imposed in March due to the pandemic. 

Read more: 

Ven Sreenivasan, Associate Editor: SIA faces hard choices, sooner rather than later

More passengers for Changi and SIA, but much lower than in 2019

HONG KONG LEADER CARRIE LAM'S CREDIT CARD PROBLEM AFTER US SANCTIONS

Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam has revealed she is facing trouble using her credit cards after the US imposed sanctions targeting Chinese officials and their allies in the city. Still, she described the US sanctions against her, and other officials, as "totally unjustified".

Read also: 

As US targets China tech, TikTok rival Bigo shifts servers from Hong Kong to Singapore

IN OTHER NEWS

WUHAN'S PACKED POOLS: People packed swimming pools in Wuhan, which was the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic, over the weekend as domestic tourism picked up in Hubei, after the region implemented a free-entry policy at several tourist attractions.

INDIA'S AMIT SHAH BACK IN HOSPITAL: India's interior minister Amit Shah was hospitalised again today after complaining of fatigue and body ache, four days after he said he had recovered from Covid-19. Mr Shah, a close aide of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the virtual No. 2 in his Cabinet, was continuing his work from hospital, reports said.

CHINA BEGINS ANTI-DUMPING PROBE INTO AUSTRALIAN WINE: China's Ministry of Commerce said it has begun an anti-dumping probe into imports of Australian wine in a move that will likely worsen tensions between the two countries. The probe will examine any damage done to the Chinese wine industry from 2015-19, reports said.

That’s it for today. Thanks for reading. We’ll be back with you tomorrow. 

Shefali

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