Asian Insider Oct 1: China displays military might

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In today's bulletin: China celebrates 70th National Day; clashes in Hong Kong; Indonesia swears in new Parliament; and more.

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China celebrated its 70th National Day with a massive display of military hardware and goose-stepping soldiers along Chang'an Avenue in a parade presided over by President Xi Jinping who vowed that no force can stop China's progress.

The Straits Times' China Bureau Chief Tan Dawn Wei and China Correspondent Danson Cheong were at the parade to witness the historic moment.

The military tech unveiled included a range of strategic weapons such as the anticipated Dongfeng-41 (DF-41) intercontinental ballistic missile, DF-17 hypersonic ballistic missile, and supersonic drones.

Analysts say the DF-41, which has an estimated range of 12,000-15,000km and is capable of striking any point in United States territory, was proof that China's military capabilities are catching up to the US.

"No power can shake the status of our great motherland, no force can stop the progress of the Chinese people and nation," President Xi said, to cheers from the thousands of flag-waving Chinese that had gathered at Tiananmen Square.

As Global Affairs Correspondent Benjamin Kang Lim writes, the event signifies China's resilience, having weathered crisis after crisis in the past seven decades and transformed the world's most populous nation from an economic backwater into a powerhouse. Read his in-depth analysis.

In Pictures: Highlights of the military parade

Commentary: The People's Republic of China at a crossroads

Special report: China stood up and became rich. Now, will it be strong again?


Amid the festivities in mainland China, violent clashes broke out in Hong Kong where defiant anti-government protesters ignored a ban on marches and took to the streets.

In familiar scenes that have played out for the past few months, protesters blocked roads and tossed bricks and glass bottles at riot police, who fired tear gas and foam bullets in response.

Local media reports said a protester was shot in the chest by a live round. Read reports by Hong Kong Correspondent Claire Huang and Regional Correspondent Elizabeth Law to get updates on the action on the ground.

More stories: Malaysian police probe pro-Hong Kong protest

Stepped-up security may thwart some protesters


Indonesia officially inaugurated 575 new members of the House of Representatives (DPR) for the next five years.

President Joko Widodo's ruling coalition is a major force in the DPR, controlling nearly 61 per cent of the seats, up from only 37 per cent when he started his first term in 2014.

But analysts tell Regional Correspondent Arlina Arshad that numbers are not always a recipe for success, even if Mr Joko enjoys popular support.

Vested political interests from his own party and coalition partners will constrain Mr Joko's ability to deliver his promises of legislative changes and reforms.

Why it matters: Jokowi's real opposition is the coalition


Analysts have said that India's recent corporate tax cuts will help attract foreign investment and improve business sentiment at a time of slowing growth in the South Asian country that early this year lost the title of fastest growing economy to China.

But as India Bureau Chief Nirmala Ganapathy reports, Asia's third-largest economy is largely powered by domestic consumption, and unemployment and consumer spending are two areas that are rattling the economy.

One disturbing trend is that unemployment among the youth between 15 and 29 is exceptionally high.

To illustrate the grave situation, in Chennai, around 4,000 people, including engineering and management graduates, applied for 14 posts of sweepers at the state assembly secretariat.

Meanwhile, a fall in household spending, which forms nearly two-thirds of India's gross domestic product, is triggering an economic slowdown.

The falling sales are most apparent in rural parts of the country. One villager in Uttar Pradesh said: "I have cut down on buying all non-essential items. The last time I bought biscuits was over 2 1/2 months ago, and that was because we had guests over."

Full report: In India, 4,000 people vie for just 14 posts


Singapore has unveiled a masterplan to protect operational technology (OT) systems from cyber attacks that can cripple the country's water supply, transport and other critical sectors.

The OT Cybersecurity Masterplan will bolster defence against such cyber attacks by growing the talent pool and facilitating the exchange of information between the public and private sectors.

Attacks on OT systems are among the most pressing of cyber threats today. More details here.

Meanwhile, the Singapore government has rectified 31 vulnerabilities in its systems found by ethical or "white hat" hackers. It has also launched a new complementary programme to invite members of the public to help look for bugs.


Taiwan bridge collapse: A bridge collapsed into a harbour in northeastern Taiwan, crushing several fishing boats with some crew feared trapped.

First Ukraine, now Australia: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed that US President Donald Trump asked him to help gather information for an inquiry into the Muller probe.

Japan sales tax hike: Japan increased its sales tax to 10% from 8%, a move that is seen as critical for fixing the country's finances but that could tip the economy into recession by dampening consumer sentiment.

Is red meat really bad for you?: A review of dozens of studies has concluded that the potential health risk of eating red meat is low and evidence uncertain.

That's it for today and thank you for reading. We'll be back tomorrow.

- Chang Hong

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