Asian Insider: Taiwan tensions | Japan reopens

Dear ST reader, 

We hope you’ve been keeping well.

In our Asian Insider newsletter this week, we look at escalating US-China tensions over Taiwan and whether war is imminent. Meanwhile Japan is preparing to welcome more visitors when most of its border restrictions are scrapped next month.

Taiwan tensions: Is war imminent?

Tensions are running high over Taiwan after President Joe Biden said the US will defend the island if it is attacked. In our latest edition of ST Asian Insider, ST correspondents report on the mood in Taipei, and how Washington’s interference is testing Beijing’s policy on relations with Taiwan.

Watch: US-China tensions in the Taiwan Strait
Listen: Our latest Asian Insider Podcast discusses South-east Asia’s trade and supply chain concerns in the light of US-China rivalry.


A fraught farewell

Thousands gathered in Tokyo this week to pay their last respects to former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, while thousands more peacefully protested his state funeral. Walter Sim reports on the fraught farewell, why it divided the nation and plans to avoid such controversy in future. 

Read more: 

Samurai meets song at the Budokan


India’s role in US clean energy drive

The US drive to embrace clean energy and reduce its dependence on China’s renewable energy supply chains has found a willing partner - India. Both countries have mutual anxieties about China’s rise, writes Debarshi Dasgupta in this latest edition of Power Play, and India’s extensive renewable energy portfolio could hold the answer.


Umno president re-energised by acquittal

Zahid Hamidi, president of Malaysia’s largest party Umno, was acquitted of bribery charges last week, a development that experts say has strengthened his hand to push harder for an early general election and wrest the top job from Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob. Still, Zahid is not out of the woods yet, and faces another set of criminal charges relating to his charitable foundation.

Catch other stories on our Malaysia election site.


Not just another weed

What happens when you wolf down tasty soup noodles while on holiday in Thailand, only to later discover the vegetables in it were cannabis leaves? Our correspondent in Bangkok, Tan Tam Mei, reports on the rapid rise of weed-infused products since Thailand legalised medical cannabis, and how to avoid accidentally consuming it.

Read more:

Not an offence to unknowingly consume

Legal loopholes


Japan set to reopen

Japan will scrap most of its border restrictions come Oct 11, in time for the winter season. Walter Sim reports on how Niseko, known as the Aspen of the East, is gearing up for the tourism surge, and speaks to locals in the hospitality industry.


The fairest of them all

It’s not just about world peace. Beauty pageants were once considered taboo in Indonesia, but are now popular amongst its youth as a route out of poverty, reports Indonesia bureau chief Arlina Arshad in the latest dispatch of Letter from the Bureau.


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