Asia Watch

Events in China, Japan, Indonesia in the spotlight

Happenings in China, Indonesia and Japan will be in the spotlight this month.

China marks the 70th year of its founding today amid uncertainties ahead of trade negotiations with the US due to be held next week. Meanwhile, an India-China informal summit is in the works.

Elsewhere, Indonesian President Joko Widodo will hold a Leaders' Retreat with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong before he is sworn in later this month for his second term as president.

Meanwhile, Japanese Emperor Naruhito is due to ascend the Chrysanthemum Throne, an occasion for joy even as all eyes are anxiously on the country's consumption tax hike. Here's a quick overview:

China's 70th founding anniversary

The People's Republic of China turns 70 today. A massive military parade in Tiananmen Square will be among the highlights of celebrations. Art festivals are being held and 70,000 doves will be released. Meanwhile, there will be a watch on developments in Hong Kong.

Japan's consumption tax hike

Japan will proceed to raise its consumption tax to 10 per cent from 8 per cent today to fund national priorities. But some are concerned this could cause a recession. In April 2013, when the tax was raised to 8 per cent from 5 per cent, it led to an economic slump, wires report.

Duterte in Russia

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte heads to Russia today for a visit till Saturday. This is his second visit to Russia, and he is hoping to secure several bilateral deals.

Gandhi's 150th anniversary

India is set to mark the 150th birth anniversary of the country's freedom hero Mahatma Gandhi with efforts to improve the environment.

Indian media has said Prime Minister Narendra Modi will declare the country free of open defecation in front of 20,000 village heads at a function in Gujarat. This follows a successful programme launched in 2014 to build nearly 100 million toilets.

Singapore-Indonesia Leaders' Retreat

Indonesian President Joko Widodo is due to make an official visit to Singapore for an upcoming Singapore-Indonesia Leaders' Retreat with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, on Oct 8.

US-China trade negotiations

China's top trade negotiator and Vice-Premier Liu He is due to fly to Washington this month for the 13th round of trade talks between the United States and China.

These are expected to take place in the second week, around Oct 10, reports CNBC. A key sticking point is how the deal should be enforced but, with the stalemate in talks hitting both economies, hopes of a breakthrough are going up.

Modi meets Xi Jinping, Sheikh Hasina

Mr Modi is due to hold an informal summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping between Oct 10 and 12, near Chennai. Discussions will be on the Line of Actual Control and trade ties, the Economic Times reported. Ahead of this bilateral meeting, fast-growing Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will meet Mr Modi on Saturday, said The Daily Star.

Nobel Peace Prize 2019

The Nobel Peace Prize 2019 is to be announced on Oct 11. US President Donald Trump and climate activist Greta Thunberg are among the 301 nominees.

Malaysia's budget

Malaysia's 2020 budget is scheduled to be tabled in Parliament on Oct 11. Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng had said in August that there will be no new tax measures, The Star reports.

Anwar's party plans convention

Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) plans to begin a tour of all Malaysian states, where it will hold conventions themed "Two Decades of Reformation". These will be led by party president Anwar Ibrahim, once the budget session is over, Bernama reports. The PKR National Congress will follow from Dec 6 to 8.

Jokowi's inauguration

Indonesia's President Joko Widodo will be sworn in for his second term in office on Oct 20, though media reports say the ceremony may be held a day earlier.

Emperor Naruhito's enthronement

Japanese Emperor Naruhito's enthronement ceremony will take place on Oct 22, when he will deliver a speech, just as his father did 29 years ago. Several royals from around the world will be attending the ceremony.

Brexit?

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he will take Britain out of the European Union by Oct 31, despite parliamentary setbacks.

Will he manage a revised deal with the European Union before that or gain another postponement? Or, will Britain leave the EU without an agreement?

It is not clear yet, and happenings throughout this month, including discussions at the EU summit in Brussels on Oct 17-18, will be closely watched for any indications of what will happen next.

• Asia Watch is a monthly feature on happenings around the world of interest to the region, published in The Straits Times on the first weekday of the month.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 01, 2019, with the headline 'Events in China, Japan, Indonesia in the spotlight'. Print Edition | Subscribe