Asian Insider: S'pore-Indonesia ties | ST Deep Dive

Dear ST reader,

Ties between Singapore and Indonesia took a major step forward this week with the signing of a set of agreements on three longstanding bilateral issues.

This week, we kick off ST Deep Dive, a new series that sums up commentaries, seminars and podcasts on Asia by think-tanks in the region and elsewhere.

S'pore-Indonesia ties

The conclusion of a set of pacts during the Singapore-Indonesia Leaders' Retreat in Bintan on Tuesday (Jan 25) reflect a balance of benefits for both sides, writes political editor Zakir Hussain. In particular, say analysts, the agreement on airspace will smoothen bilateral relations.

Reactions: Indonesians welcome pacts, hope Parliament will see them through 

Opinion: New age in Singapore's relations with Indonesia 

ST Explains: What agreements were signed?

ST Deep Dive

Malaysian politics

Malaysia's decision to allow teachers to be involved in politics has raised concerns about its impact on the education system, with many calling for clearer guidelines, reports Malaysia correspondent Ram Anand.

Meanwhile, Johor will go to the polls by March, with ruling party Umno keen to again prove its dominance over rivals in this third state election since November and ahead of a general election widely expected to take place later this year.

Economy: High prices, low spending could hamper Malaysia's recovery

US-China trade: What's next?

In a press conference to mark his first year in office last week, US president Joe Biden shed little light on what he plans to do with the US tariffs levied on Chinese goods. Analysts say the tariffs, imposed by the Trump administration, are likely to remain as Mr Biden grapples with other more pressing issues like the pandemic, reports China correspondent Danson Cheong.

Listen to this podcast by Danson and his colleague in Washington Charissa Yong where they analyse the next steps for the phase one trade deal.

Pawn or game master?

Amid the intensifying rivalry between China and the US, where does North Korea feature? Some experts think Beijing will use Pyongyang as a pawn to annoy Washington while others see North Korea playing the two giants against each other for its own gains, writes South Korea correspondent Chang May Choon in the weekly Power Play column.

No sex please

Taipei's red light district, known by locals as the "Tiaotong district", bears a bad reputation as most associate it with illegal sex services. But a recent Netflix series changed that image. Light The Night revolves around Tiaotong and the women who worked in Japanese nightclubs in the 1980s. In the drama, the hostesses do not peddle sexual favours, only heartfelt conversations with their customers over a drink. What is it like in real life? Katherine Wei talks to some of these workers in the industry in her Letter from Taipei.

Hope you like this week's selection. Stay safe and thank you for reading The Straits Times.

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