ASIA NEWS BITES: Trump Says Taiwan Company Could Triple US Investments; Samsung Exec Fronts in Court; Germany Expels Vietnam Press Attache

China:

Authorities in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong have detained an online activist who posted in memory of Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, who died in custody of liver cancer on July 13. – Radio Free Asia

US President Donald Trump’s administration is considering using rarely invoked US trade laws to fend off China’s demands that foreign companies share their technology in return for access to the country’s vast market, a person familiar with US discussions said yesterday. – The Taipei Times via AP

Chinese authorities in the troubled northwestern region of Xinjiang have detained dozens of ethnic Kazakhs in recent weeks amid an ongoing security crackdown targeting anyone with ties beyond China’s borders, sources told RFA.- Radio Free Asia

China on Wednesday (Aug 2) defended its oil and gas activity in the East China Sea as occurring in areas “indisputably” under its jurisdiction, after Japanese protests stirred a longstanding dispute over the region. – Channel NewsAsia

China on Wednesday stepped up pressure on India to withdraw from a weekslong military standoff that shows how the countries’ contest for leadership in Asia is heightening the risk of conflict.- The Wall Street Journal

The Asia Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC) sponsored by India and Japan is welcome — as long as it does not try to trip China’s Belt and Road initiative, a Chinese newspaper said on Wednesday. – The Economic Times

Taiwan:

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that Taiwan-based manufacturing giant Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. could invest up to US$30 billion in the U.S. market. – Central News Agency

Hong Kong:

Barrister and former lawmaker Margaret Ng has said that the joint checkpoint arrangement for the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link is a concern for all Hongkongers, after Chief Executive Carrie Lam asked people to refrain from politicising the issue. – Hong Kong Free Press

South Korea:

The de facto head of the Samsung conglomerate defended himself in court for the first time since his February arrest over a political scandal that has gripped South Korea and toppled its president. – The Wall Street Journal

North Korea:

The Pentagon conducted a test of an unarmed intercontinental ballistic missile on Wednesday, with the timing expected to be of note in both North Korea, which recently tested its missile arsenal, and in China, which has been urged by the Trump administration to pressure North Korea on its nuclear program.- The New York Times

North Korea’s accelerated missile testing may pose a risk to passenger jets in the area, officials fear, as Pyongyang does not regularly give notice of its plans as required under international agreements. – CNN

The U.S. military successfully test-launched an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile from California early Wednesday, according to an Air Force spokesman — just days after North Korea’s second test of an ICBM. – NBC

In a stunning revelation, U.S. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham told NBC’s Today program, Tuesday (local time), U.S. President Donald Trump told him he was “willing to go to war with North Korea if they (North Korea) continued to try to hit America with an ICBM.” – The Korea Times

The United States has officially set September 1 as the start of a ban on its citizens’ traveling to North Korea. – The Korea Times

North Koreans granted “simplified” visa entry to Russia via Vladivostok. DPRK citizens are among nationals of 18 countries now allowed free entry Far East region. – North Korea News

Japan:

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will reshuffle his Cabinet and the Liberal Democratic Party’s leadership on Thursday. – NHK

Workers at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant are preparing to remove nuclear fuel from one of the damaged reactor buildings. – NHK

India:

India’s central bank cut its main lending rate to a more than six-year low Wednesday, as inflation and economic growth slowed.- The Wall Street Journal

Indonesia:

The battle lines are being drawn in Indonesia between a group which campaigns for an Islamic caliphate through non-violent means and those who are concerned it is undermining the country’s social and religious harmony. – Channel NewsAsia

Global social networking service Facebook agreed to open a permanent establishment in Indonesia this month to comply with the regulations, a senior official said on Wednesday. – The Jakarta Globe

Malaysia:

A U.S. seabed exploration firm has offered to take on the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, families of passengers and a Malaysian government minister said on Wednesday, in a bid to solve one of the world’s greatest aviation mysteries. – Channel NewsAsia

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said on Wednesday that the scandal-plagued 1Malaysia Development Berhad fund’s failure to make a US$600 million (£454.44 million) payment to Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund did not mean it could not meet its obligation. – Channel NewsAsia

Malaysian authorities seized trafficked ivory tusks and pangolin scales worth nearly US$1 million over the weekend, airport customs officials said on Wednesday (Aug 2), the latest in a series of seizures in Asia of products made from endangered animals. – Channel NewsAsia

Philippines:

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday described North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as a “fool” and a “son of a bitch”, just days before Manila hosts an international meeting certain to address Pyongyang’s long-range missile tests.- Channel NewsAsia

President Duterte is set to sign a document formally scrapping peace talks with the communists, saying negotiations with the rebels were just a “waste of time.” – The Philippine Star

President Duterte warned congressional leaders of a new Islamic State (IS)-inspired terror threat in Mindanao that could be “bigger” than the attack on Marawi City, Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III said yesterday. – The Philippine Star

With fresh assurance of presidential support, Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon yesterday threatened to expose influence peddlers among members of the House of Representatives and other politicians whom he called shameless.- The Philippine Star

Thailand:

A Thai court dismissed a case against former prime minister Somchai Wongsawat, a brother-in-law of deposed former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, in a rare victory for the pro-Thaksin, anti-junta movement.- Channel NewsAsia

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will press Thailand and other Asian countries to take tougher action against North Korea when he visits Bangkok and attends regional meetings in Manila starting this week, a senior US official said on Wednesday. – The Bangkok Post

Vietnam:

Germany has expelled Vietnam’s press attache over the suspected kidnapping of a man allegedly bundled into a car by armed men at Berlin Zoo: Trinh Xuan Thanh, who was the subject of an international arrest warrant, disappeared in Berlin nine days ago. – BBC

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