Asian Insider: Strategic clarity on Taiwan | Penang’s man-made islands

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We hope you’ve been keeping well.

In our Asian Insider newsletter this week, we look at whether the US is shifting towards “strategic clarity” on the issue of defending Taiwan if it is attacked, and what this heralds for the region’s security. Meanwhile in South-east Asia, Penang’s land reclamation project hopes to woo greener investors, but its critics are not appeased.

Whither strategic ambiguity?

President Joe Biden has again rippled the waters on Taiwan this week, saying the US would defend the island if there was an “unprecedented attack” on it. Despite a White House spokesman later clarifying there’s no change to the US policy of "strategic ambiguity" towards Taiwan - where it does not make clear whether it would intervene in an attack on the self-governed island - to China it looks increasingly apparent that such a policy has come to an end, writes Danson Cheong from Beijing. Washington’s shift towards “strategic clarity”, say experts, will further heighten tensions in the Taiwan Strait.

Watch: US-China tensions in the Taiwan Strait

Read more:

Lessons from Taiwan's "White Terror"

Winning hearts and minds in Africa

The battle for influence in Africa is on, with the continent seen as a key driver of future global economic growth. In this latest edition of Power Play, Walter Sim examines the role of key aid donor Japan, and how its efforts in Africa are being overshadowed by China.   

Listen to this podcast where Charissa Yong and Danson Cheong discuss how US-China rivalry has played out so far in the race to secure semiconductor chips.

Edtech at a crossroads

Education technology in Asia boomed during the height of the pandemic, but has eased now that schools have reopened. Our latest edition of ST Asian Insider examines how the sector is reinventing itself. 

Watch: School, interrupted

Penang ploughs ahead with artificial islands

Malaysia’s northern state Penang has reworked its ambitious land reclamation project to woo greener industries, but environmentalists remain unconvinced and say the artificial islands plan should be scrapped altogether, reports Shannon Teoh.

As speculation hots up that Malaysia’s next election is around the corner, Ram Anand reports on the fading relevance of Bersatu, former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s party.

Catch other stories on our Malaysia election site.

COP27: What’s at stake for Asean

In this latest edition of the Green Pulse Podcast, Audrey Tan and David Fogarty explore key issues on the table for South-east Asia at the upcoming COP27 climate change conference. These include tackling questions like how the region can better adapt for climate change, and how it will fund these adaptation measures.

Read more:

Net zero finance

The elephant in the pit

In July, 35-year-old vet Chananya Kanchanasaka drew Thailand’s attention after she led operations to rescue an elephant calf that had fallen into a pit near Khao Yai National Park. Indochina bureau chief Tan Hui Yee speaks to her about the experience in the latest dispatch of Letter from the Bureau.

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