Asian Insider: Taiwan trip | Malaysia polls

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We hope you’ve been keeping well.

In our Asian Insider newsletter this week, we look at the controversial visit of US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan, with analysis from our correspondents in Beijing and Washington. Over in Malaysia, talk is turning to the next general election and when it might be held.

Taiwan trip heightens US-China tensions

It was a whirlwind trip so keenly-watched that a flight tracking website crashed. US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived to fanfare in Taipei on Tuesday (Aug 2) night, albeit after the military plane transporting her from Malaysia took the long way round and avoided the South China Sea. Her arrival elicited strong responses from China, which views visits by foreign politicians as encouraging Taiwan's independence. But fears of open conflict between the world's two superpowers abated when Mrs Pelosi departed for Seoul on Wednesday. 

Taiwan however is bearing the brunt of it, with China announcing sanctions and live fire military drills around the island. And the trip has only worsened the already-tense bilateral relations between China and the US, say analysts. 

Read about their rivalry in the semiconductor sphere, in this latest edition of Power Play.

Read more:

Balancing retaliation against open conflict

US bipartisan support for visit runs deep

Hacking, protests and a marriage proposal

Pelosi visit dominates Chinese social media

Asia's flashpoints


Meanwhile in Asean…

Asean's foreign ministers met in Cambodia this week to discuss, amongst other issues, the lack of progress on Myanmar's peace plan and how US-China rivalry affects members of the regional grouping. As China's military drills kicked off around Taiwan, the bloc issued a statement calling for "maximum restraint" and urging the global community to avoid actions that could destabilise the region.

Read more:

Rule of law in Asean


When will Malaysia vote?

All eyes are now on when Malaysia will head to the polls, after an accord between the government and the opposition to hold off dissolving Parliament expired at the end of July. Read about our take on likely dates, voters who may sway the outcome and other political stories on our Malaysia election site.


Climate endgame

There's an urgent need to explore and prepare for worst-case climate change scenarios, say scientists, as these events could trigger famine and malnutrition, extreme weather, conflict, and vector-borne diseases. Climate change, they say, has played a role in every mass extinction event.

Meanwhile, the world needs to look beyond economic growth to measure prosperity, argues associate editor Vikram Khanna, because economic statistics fail to take into account natural capital – assets bestowed on us by nature.

Read more:

Indonesia and Singapore's joint research on blue carbon


Family ties

China's former one-child policy is back in the spotlight after the case concerning a child who was "reallocated" to another family when his parents exceeded the birth limit went viral on microblogging site Weibo. Our correspondent in Beijing, Aw Cheng Wei reports on the growing numbers of parents and children seeking out their biological families.


Strutting down Sudirman

Jakarta's central business district turns into an edgy youth haunt at the weekend, when teenagers from the capital's outskirts descend in scores and strut their stuff. Now known as Citayam Fashion Week, the phenomenon has even drawn the likes of Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan, reports Indonesia bureau chief Arlina Arshad in the latest dispatch of Letter from the Bureau.


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