Almost a quarter of German companies operating in China planned to relocate production from the country in 2019, according to a report by the German Chamber of Commerce in China. For example,

Adidas has halved its Chinese manufacturing since 2010, with much of the production moving to Vietnam, and pledged in July last year to cut all ties with suppliers implicated in a report that uncovered forced labour being used in some factories.


US fails to build regional coalition against China…

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (R) and Philippines’ Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr had different takes on their talks. Photo: AFP/Andrew Harnik

Efforts by the United States to build a coalition among its Southeast Asian allies to contest China’s claims in the South China Sea appear to have fallen flat.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s efforts to rally support and unite Southeast Asian nations against China’s aggressive claims in the region have fallen on deaf ears.

Following its latest policy statement on the South China Sea disputes, the US State Department scrambled to build regional support against China.

However, eager to maintain stable ties with China, key Southeast Asian countries have publicly distanced themselves from Pompeo’s statements. Others gave either a tepid response or remained internally divided on whether they should fully align with America’s toughening position.

In a major escalation in its ongoing Cold War with Beijing, Pompeo vowed to prevent a Chinese “maritime empire” and support “Southeast Asian allies and partners in protecting their sovereign rights to offshore resources, consistent with their rights and obligations under international law.”

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As China dams Mekong….

As China dams Mekong, Southeast Asian villages lament
Going through the motions of daily life along the Mekong River, women dump fish into a boat container in Cambodia’s Kanal province on Jan. 5. | AFP-JIJI

Blockages threaten fish stocks and could displace the poor via flooding;

“The lower Mekong countries are “not able to stand up to China geopolitically,” said Thitinan Pongsudhirak, a foreign policy expert at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University.

That allows Beijing to keep “undermining habitats and millions of livelihoods downstream.”

Cambodian fisherman Sles Hiet lives at the mercy of the Mekong: a massive river that feeds tens of millions but is under threat from the Chinese dams cementing Beijing’s physical — and diplomatic — control over its Southeast Asian neighbors.

The 32-year-old, whose ethnic Cham Muslim community live on rickety house boats that bob along a river bend in Kandal province, says the size of his daily catch has been shrinking by the year.

“We don’t know why there are less fish now,” he said of a mystery that has mired many deeper into poverty.

It is a lament heard from villages along a river that snakes from the Tibetan plateau through Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam before emptying into the South China Sea.

Nearly 4,800 km (2,982 miles) long, the Mekong is the world’s largest inland fishery and second only to the Amazon for its biodiversity.

It helps feed around 60 million people across its river basin.

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