Asian Insider: Territorial disputes | Malaysia's recovery

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The South China Sea issue is in the spotlight again after Washington this week issued its most detailed case yet against Beijing's claims in the disputed sea.

The floods in Malaysia may have subsided, but it remains to be seen how the disaster has impacted the country's economic recovery.

Meanwhile, editors at The Straits Times engaged in some crystal ball gazing for 2022 as they made predictions about everything from the economy to the World Cup.

Territorial disputes

Beijing has hit back at a new US report that says its maritime claims in the South China Sea are "unlawful", calling it misleading and a distortion of international law, reports China correspondent Danson Cheong.

ST explains: Key details of the latest study

In another territorial dispute, China and India continue to boost their infrastructure in the disputed Ladakh region even as talks resumed this week, reports India bureau chief Nirmala Ganapathy.

Flood aftermath

As Malaysians pick up the pieces from the worst flooding to hit the country in more than five decades, what is still unclear is the impact of the floods on an economy already ravaged by the Covid-19 pandemic, reports regional correspondent Leslie Lopez.

Ordinary folks are already feeling the effects: food prices have been rising amid a supply shortage after the floods wiped out many farms, reports Malaysia correspondent Hazlin Hassan.

For politicians, it's back to politicking. Rival factions in the government have begun to jostle for position ahead of a general election that could be held as soon as August, writes Malaysia bureau chief Shannon Teoh.

Podcast: Malaysia's newest political party PBM

What's next in 2022

Is this the year we finally emerge from the pandemic? Will workers go back to the office? Will travel bounce back? How will US-China ties impact elections in Asia? ST editors look ahead to the world in 2022.

Myanmar in the balance

All eyes will be on how Asean handles the Myanmar issue after last night's announcement that the bloc’s planned first meeting under Cambodia's chairmanship will be postponed

Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen's visit last week to Myanmar was met with criticisms that it grants legitimacy to a military regime currently shut out from Asean's high-level summits. And junta chief Min Aung Hlaing seemed to have conceded little during his meeting with Mr Hun Sen, writes Indochina bureau chief Tan Hui Yee. 

Opinion: Hun Sen is right to have visited Myanmar

New Great Wall of China?

In the past two years, China has seen a rising number of foreigners leaving the country, driven primarily by its strict pandemic protocols. But Covid-19 has also become a convenient excuse for China to weed out unwanted foreigners as part of its leadership's resolve to get rid of social excesses such as unrestrained online gaming and effeminate behaviour in young males.

China's increasingly protectionist moves are a reaction to actions by the United States and other Western powers to keep it in check, writes China bureau chief Tan Dawn Wei in the weekly Power Play column.

Meanwhile, Singapore's former foreign minister George Yeo said the Republic should prepare for up to 30 years of US-China rivalry. 

Reunited by a map

He was abducted and sold to a family in another Chinese province when he was four. But Mr Li Jingwei was so determined to find his birth family that he spent the next 33 years retracing his steps based on a map he drew from memory. He recounts his emotional reunion with his mother to China correspondent Elizabeth Law. 

Behind such touching stories is a group of volunteers helping to reunite families through social media, public appeals and sheer investigative work.

Final days of iconic station

It has welcomed and sent off tens of thousands of commuters each day in the heart of Bangkok's Chinatown for more than a century. But the iconic Hua Lamphong Railway Station could soon be decommissioned by the authorities to ease traffic congestion. Thailand correspondent Tan Tam Mei looks at the historic rail terminus that has become synonymous with the Thai capital.

Millet makeover

The humble millet, a kind of grass cultivated in India for its edible seeds, is undergoing a makeover. Feted as a "food of the future", it is being featured as a healthy addition to biscuits and desserts, and even used to make artisanal millet beer. Read about this nutritious cereal in India correspondent Debarshi Dasgupta's Letter from Kolkata. 

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

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