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Two Korea’s open door for possible talks on nuclear issues

January 3, 2018

SEOUL – Moves are under way to arrange formal preliminary talks between North and South Korea at Panmunjom on the North/South border on January 9 following comments by North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, in his New Year message.

South Korea’s Ministry for Unification says it has proposed to Pyongyang that North Korea send a delegation for discussions with South Korean officials in February, during the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

In Beijing on Tuesday, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said China supports the idea of North and South Korea using the 2018 Winter Olympics to improve ties.

"We have noticed the positive information from the leaders of the two countries . . . It is a good thing," Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a regular news conference in Beijing.

"China welcomes and supports both countries to use the 2018 Winter Olympics as an opportunity to make effective efforts to improve their relations, relax the situation on the Korean Peninsula and promote denuclearisation of the peninsula."

Labour costs to rise in Vietnam in 2018

December 30, 2017

HO CHI MINH CITY - Labour costs in 2018 for businesses in Vietnam are expected to rise as a result of (i) an increase in minimum salaries set out by the Government, including both General Minimum Salary and Regional Minimum Salary, and (ii) the application of a social insurance scheme for two additional groups of employees - those working under labour contracts from one (1) full month to under three (3) months and foreign employees working in Vietnam.

Hong Kong exports tipped to grow 6% in 2018

December 18, 2017

HONG KONG - The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) expects Hong Kong exports to increase in value by six per cent, while the volume of exports is anticipated to grow by four per cent in 2018. HKTDC Director of Research Nicholas Kwan attributes the rise to broad-based expansion in investment, trade and consumption, coupled with strengthening consumer and business confidence.

China to promote core socialist values online

December 18, 2017

BEIJING – China’s State newsagency Xinhua is reporting that Chinese central authorities yesterday launched a project to use the Internet to promote core socialist values. "The core values should be observed in online publicity campaigns, online culture and Internet services," said a statement jointly issued by six central agencies, including the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee.

More cyber attacks, ransomware in 2018, says ESET report

December 15, 2017

SINGAPORE – A report released today by global cybersecurity specialist ESET suggests that cybersecurity incidents and risks will grow further in 2018, with an increasing pattern of sophistication. The report focusses on ransomware, attacks on critical infrastructure, malware, combating criminal activity, and cyber threats posed to electoral campaigns and data privacy.

Vietnam’s FDI hits new high, CPI calms inflation concerns in November

December 12, 2017

HO CHI MINH CITY – Foreign direct investment (FDI) into Vietnam continued to increase as registered FDI – newly-registered capital, additional funds, and share purchases - reached US$33.09 billion in November, a surge of 82.8% YoY. Disbursed FDI amounted to US$16 billion, up 11.9% YoY, Vietnam Assete Management (VAM) reports.

AIIB provides its first corporate loan to Beijing natural gas project

December 11, 2017

BEIJING - The China-initiated Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank has announced a US$250 million loan for a natural gas project in Beijing to support the ongoing process of coal-to-gas conversion and to improve air quality in the Chinese capital city and its neighbouring region.

Scheduled for completion in 2021, the project will help reduce China's coal use by about 650,000 metric tonnes annually by connecting about 216,750 households in 510 rural villages to the natural gas distribution network, the Beijing-based multilateral financial institution said in a statement.

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