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How China’s clean-up could dump on Southeast Asia

Cambodia and wider Southeast Asia may soon receive a lot more rubbish after China’s move this month to stop importing 24 categories of solid waste, much of which was recycled for raw materials.

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With China now seemingly out of the waste import business, some believe that Southeast Asia could fill the gap. PCI Wood Mackenzie, a United Kingdom-based consultancy, wrote in a recent report that Southeast Asia could soon become a “world leader” for plastic waste recycling due to China’s ban.

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Critical questions are already being asked, however, about whether such commercial assessments are overly optimistic and indeed if developing a comparative advantage in importing other countries’ waste is desirable at all.

That will pose a quandary for Southeast Asian nations desperate for foreign investment, but wary of increasingly environmentally conscious citizenships. The answer likely lies in sorting out their own messes before importing those of others.

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China

Will Myanmar’s coup help China influence ASEAN?

The Myanmar crisis is becoming increasingly tragic, with the military’s use of lethal force now killing over 60 protestors.

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On 16 January 2021, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi concluded a visit to four ASEAN countries. One destination was Myanmar, the upcoming country coordinator of the ASEAN–China dialogue and now centre of international attention after the country’s military seized power.

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China

Rapid growth in China post-COVID makes it ripe for investment

Being “first in and first out” of COVID-19, China is the only country among the G20 that is thought by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to have increased GDP in 2020.

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China’s economy rebounded sharply.

In January 2020 as the world began to learn of COVID-19, many market observers predicted a challenging year for Asia. While there continue to be headwinds from the health and economic crisis, Asia, and China in particular, has demonstrated comparatively advantageous resilience.

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Mainland China is in no position to take Taiwan by force

Unlike his predecessors, Chinese President Xi Jinping has demonstrated greater intensity in the desire for reunification.

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The situation across the Taiwan Strait has seemed to be on the brink of crisis since 2018. Beijing has sent numerous sorties of military aircraft to conduct exercises near Taiwan and frequently crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait.

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