China will have to come to the realisation as a leading superpower, in the harmony of all relations with South East Asia, that their mutual interests, are met for the future and security of the region.

MALAYSIA

Swiss authorities have seized three paintings by Claude Monet and Vincent van Gogh following a US request as part of a probe into the scandal surrounding Malaysian wealth fund 1MDB. A Federal Office of Justice spokesman said Friday that van Gogh’s La Maison de Vincent a Arles and Saint-Georges Majeur and Monet’s Nympheas avec Reflets de Hautes Herbes were confiscated on Thursday. He declined to specify the location of the confiscations because the investigation was ongoing. US federal complaints say the diverted funds paid for luxury US properties, a $35 million jet, artworks, and helped finance Hollywood film, The Wolf of Wall Street.

THAILAND

Police raided the Bangkok home of a British journalist’s wife and questioned her for several hours Friday in connection with his social media posts containing embarrassing photographs purported to be of Thailand’s crown prince, the heir apparent to the throne. Andrew McGregor Marshall said in a statement that his wife, Noppawan Ploy Bunluesilp, was visiting Bangkok with their 3-year-old son when both of them were taken by police Friday morning to a police station along with Noppawan’s father. Armed with a search warrant, police also took computers and several items from the house. Noppawan, who is Thai, and her father were released about eight hours later.

LAOS

Southeast Asia’s main grouping opened a meeting of their foreign ministers Sunday, deeply divided on how to deal with China’s territorial expansion in the South China Sea that has impacted some of its members and whipped up an increasing diplomatic quagmire. Laos is hosting the gathering of the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which traditionally ends with a joint statement. But the sticking point is whether to include a reference to the South China Sea. ASEAN’s cardinal principle is decisions by consensus, which means any country can veto a proposal. This time, it appears to be Cambodia, China’s close ally. In welcoming remarks, Laotian Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith made no mention of the dispute. The Sunday talks are expected to deal with terrorism, economy, climate change, security, the impact of BREXIT and other issues. But at the top of everyone’s mind is the July 12 decision by The Hague-based tribunal in a dispute between China and the Philippines.

INDONESIA

Indonesia wants the upcoming ASEAN meeting in Laos to issue an official statement on how to eliminate illegal fishing, an official has said. Indonesia hopes the statement can be ratified and made into a reference for future cooperation within the ARF framework on the eradication of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, he added. Jakarta under the Joko Jokowi Widodo administration has stepped up the war against illegal fishing by destroying dozens of foreign boats operating in its waters.

SINGAPORE

A 22-year-old man has been arrested for scamming female victims via an online dating mobile application. The suspect will be charged in Court on Monday with Cheating under Section 420 of the Penal Code, Chapter 224. Between March to May this year, the police had received several reports. The suspect purportedly told his victims that he was involved in a vehicle accident while texting them and required money to settle the matter privately with the other party. Any person found guilty for an offence of cheating may be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend up to 10 years, and shall also be liable to a fine.

BRUNEI

Direct investment from the People’s Republic of China to Brunei Darussalam has witnessed an impressive growth from B$12.9 million in 2015 to B$116.1 million in the first quarter of this year, playing an important role in diversifying Brunei’s economy. This was revealed by Dato Paduka Dr. Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew bin Abdullah, Deputy Minister of Finance and Chairman of the Brunei Economic Development Board, in his keynote speech delivered during the inauguration of the newly established Chinese Enterprises Association in Brunei held at The Empire Hotel & Country Club. Chinese direct investment in Brunei in the first four months of 2016 has surpassed the accumulated figure over the past years, he added. The deputy minister hoped to see continuous growth in investment from China which he said will create spin-off for local small and medium enterprises, adding that Brunei is committed to attract more foreign direct investment.

VALIZ ASEAN
“Japanese are one of the most punctual people he had ever worked with. They could, he imagined, put the Germans to shame in their high expectation for timeliness.” ― Vann Chow, The White Man and the Pachinko Girl

CAMBODIA

Cambodia’s prime minister announced last week that the Chinese assistance to his government would go to support the country’s election infrastructure, education and health. Last month, Cambodia deported 39 suspected criminals to China, including 25 Taiwanese, over whom Beijing insists it has jurisdiction despite protests from self-ruled Taipei. China says its financial assistance to Cambodia is in no way dependent on its diplomatic support, including in Beijing’s dispute with other Southeast Asian countries in the South China Sea.

VIET NAM

Ha Noi’s Health Department Launches Hotlines — The city’s Health Department launched three hotlines this morning to receive feedback from people and organisations. Hotline 0439985765 will receive feedback about general health issues, 0437343622 will explain administrative procedures in the department’s one-stop section and 0439902390 will accept feedback about the performance of the one-stop section. Director of the Health Department Nguyễn Khắc Hiền said the department expected to get feedback via the hotlines so that they could improve their performance, offering friendly services to users and for the benefit of the people.

MYANMAR

Data released by Myanmar’s government shows that the proportion of Muslim residents in the overwhelmingly Buddhist country has not substantially increased since the last census three decades ago, contrary to the fears of strident Buddhist nationalists. The government on Thursday released the details on the religion component of its 2014 census, showing that 87.9 percent of the country’s 51.49 million population are Buddhist, while 6.2 percent are Christian, and 4.3 percent Muslim. The 4.3 percent proportion of Muslims is based on a projection that includes the 1.09 million Rohingya.

PHILIPPINES

Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. will seek a unified stand from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations on an international arbitration award that dismissed China’s nine-dash claim before the 49th ASEAN Foreign Ministers meeting this weekend in Laos. Yasay will also represent President Rodrigo Duterte in the ASEAN Regional Forum and East Asia Summit and ASEAN Post Ministerial Conference where heads of governments from ASEAN and dialogue partners US, China, India, European Union, India, Canada and Australia will gather. Issues on the South China Sea disputes, terrorism and de-nuclearisation in the Korean Peninsula are expected to dominate the discussions.