Asian Insider Feb 7: Trump-Kim Summit II

TRUMP-KIM SUMMIT: THE SEQUEL

We now know the “when” and at least, broadly, the “where”. During his State of the Union address on Tuesday, US President Donald Trump confirmed that he would hold a second summit with North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un on Feb 27 and 28 in Vietnam. He did not specify which city (though bets are on the coastal city of Da Nang) but Vietnam has been in the conversation for weeks given that it ticks a lot of the boxes.

What remains a mystery is the “what”. The novelty of a first meeting between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader does not apply here and there will be some pressure on Mr Trump to demonstrate progress. After all,  in recent weeks he has rejected sceptical assessments from his intelligence chiefs about North Korean motives. He will likely need something more concrete than what he got in Singapore last year if he is to tout the second summit as a victory.

Relive the first summit in our interactive feature: When Trump met Kim

Behind the scenes: Intricacies of hosting the summit

What’s been said: From Twitter hate to second date - Trump and Kim in quotes

JAPAN CONFRONTS ITS CHILD ABUSE PROBLEM

The death of 10-year-old Mia Kurihara has now intensified pressure on the Japanese authorities to fix long-criticised shortcomings in its child welfare services. Mia is the second victim of child abuse to die in the country within the past year, and her case has prompted a fierce national backlash.

At the heart of the outrage is how seemingly preventable the all the death was. Japan Correspondent Walter Sim reports that officials had long suspected Mia was a victim. And even when she finally told teachers she was being abused by her father, the complaint was relayed to her abuser.

In Japan, like in many Asian cultures, the internal dynamics of a family are seen as something that is a private matter, with governments often not equipped nor inclined to intervene. But that may be starting to change. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has pledged to make full-scale efforts to eradicate child abuse in Japan.

SOCIAL MEDIA AND ELECTIONS

This week, Parliament in India summoned representatives of Twitter to appear before a panel over complaints that the platform is biased against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party. At the same time, in the face of mounting concern over the spread of fake news over Whatsapp, a senior executive of the messaging platform warned that Indian political parties are abusing the service. India is Whatsapp’s biggest market with more than 200 million users.

While this is not the first time social media will feature in an Indian election, outsized attention is being paid to its use this time largely because the government has signalled an intent to more tightly regulate the services. On Christmas Eve, the Indian  Information Technology ministry proposed rules which would compel companies to remove unlawful content, such as anything that affected the “sovereignty and integrity of India”.

Many governments have been uneasy with the amount of influence these platforms hold and current global push for state regulation has clearly encouraged Indian authorities to assert themselves.

See also: WhatsApp's growing role in India's elections sparks concern

AUSTRALIA'S EXTREME WEATHER

As residents of the the north-eastern Australian state of Queensland begin a massive flood clean-up after almost two weeks of heavy rain, the country is now taking stock of a season that has seen it hit with extreme weather of every sort - widespread bushfires, unprecedented bouts of torrential rain and a heatwave that sent the mercury up to nearly 50 deg C.

An environmental group now says the extreme weather is a “new norm driven by climate change”, noting that insurance companies paid out more than a$1.2 billion last year in claims linked to weather events. Climate change is now expected to feature as an issue in coming elections, with different parties all vying to show that they are the ones that can show leadership on the environment. 

AND FINALLY, WHICH CAMBRIDGE?

What’s the difference between the University of Cambridge and Cambridge International University?

Quite a bit as Malaysia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Marzuki Yahya is discovering. He was forced to clarify that his qualifications - previously stated as a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Cambridge pursued through a distance-learning programme - is not from the famed British institution.

"I think they (my critics) misunderstood (my credentials). I (studied) at the Cambridge International University in the United States," he was reported as saying.

The trouble started when an activist filed a police report over a Facebook user's claim that the University of Cambridge did not offer a distance-learning programme in business administration that Mr Marzuki claims to have pursued.

Read the rest of his explanation here:Marzuki now says his 'Cambridge degree' is from a distance-learning US centre.

And that's it for Asian Insider today, see you tomorrow.

-J

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