Dear ST readers,
Hong Kong marks 25 years since its return to China this week. In Malaysia, election fever is hotting up. The Philippines has sworn in its new president. Japan is battling the twin threats of power and water shortages brought on by a suffocating heatwave. And Cambodia’s casino city, bred on Chinese money, has a bigger, more ambitious plan now.
Hong Kong, 25 years on
Hong Kong marks the 25th anniversary of its return to China from British colonial rule on Friday (July 1). Twenty-five years on, the territory has undergone a seismic shift both politically and socially under Beijing’s direction. China correspondent Elizabeth Law and assistant foreign editor Magdalene Fung examine what has changed since 1997 under the “one country, two systems” policy.
After the recent years of turmoil, Hong Kong has seen an exodus of talent. But there have been new arrivals, too, and they are drawn to ideals quite different from those who left. Meanwhile, some Hong Kongers who returned after the handover now want to leave again.
Election looms in Malaysia
Election fever is hotting up in Malaysia, with growing expectations that it could be called in months, ahead of a Sept 2023 deadline, Malaysia correspondent Hazlin Hassan reports. But efforts by the ruling party Umno to present a united front were derailed this week when a senior MP who was sacked from the party's supreme council alleged that top leaders had been conspiring against one another.
Rebooting Cambodia’s casino city
The Cambodian town of Sihanoukville gambled its future on China, allowing Chinese money to transform it from a quiet coastal retreat into a bustling casino city. Now, it has bigger plans as a more sustainable long-term approach takes shape, Indochina bureau chief Tan Hui Yee writes in the latest Asian Insider Special. One of Sihanoukville’s biggest developers is conglomerate Prince Holding Group, headed by China-born Cambodian citizen Chen Zhi, 35, whose source of wealth has always been shrouded with mystique.
Elsewhere in Cambodia, US correspondent Charissa Yong examines the geopolitical realities of Ream Naval Base and the role it is playing in the US-China rivalry.
Heatwave brings new threats to Japan
A smothering heatwave blanketing Japan is causing a power crunch in the country and raising fears of a drought, Japan correspondent Walter Sim reports. In the west, the shortest rainy season on record has led municipalities to call on residents to ration water. In the east, people in the capital Tokyo are being asked to conserve electricity, after a surge in demand for power as temperatures topped 35 degrees Celsius for five straight days.
As the world heats up, global weather extremes are a taste of the future, says climate change editor David Fogarty. Tune in to the Green Pulse podcast as David and environment correspondent Audrey Tan discuss the sustainability investment gap in Asia, and how to narrow it. And follow us here for more top stories on climate change.
Philippines’ new leader sworn in
Mr Ferdinand Marcos Jr has been sworn in as the 17th president of the Philippines, completing an epic return of his family to power 36 years after they fled the country in shame and giving him six years within which to remake the legacy of his father. In his inauguration speech, Mr Marcos Jr extolled the rule of his father, the dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr, even as he charted his own path ahead, Philippines correspondent Raul Dancel reports.
More from Raul in the Philippines: Finally, we’re (almost) outrunning Covid-19
US, Japan & S. Korea meet
The leaders of the United States, Japan and South Korea met this week in their first trilateral summit since 2017, South Korea correspondent Chang May Choon reports. Mr Joe Biden, Mr Fumio Kishida and Mr Yoon Suk-yeol agreed that boosting their cooperation is crucial to resolving issues in the region, including the growing threat posed by North Korea's expanding nuclear and missile capability. Pyongyang is said to be all set to conduct its first nuclear test in five years.
China cuts Covid-19 quarantine
In a major revision to its Covid-19 policy since the start of the pandemic, China has halved the number of days required in centralised quarantine for inbound travellers to a week, China bureau chief Tan Dawn Wei reports. In Beijing, school has resumed after two months. In Shanghai, businesses are now struggling to get back on their feet post-lockdown. The economic slowdown is hobbling China’s climate momentum, and its environmental goals will now take a backseat. Listen to the China Perspective Podcast as Dawn Wei briefs you on the latest developments in China.