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Bangkok hosts ASEAN Foreign Ministers meetings from today

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Bangkok hosts ASEAN Foreign Ministers meetings from today | The Thaiger

The 52nd ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting starts today. Representatives from more than 30 countries will attend the meetings. The regional talkfest is being held at Centara Grand and Bangkok Convention Centre.

Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai will chair the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and co-chair the Post Ministerial Conferences with the Dialogue Partners and other meetings. Other meetings include the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights, the 20th ASEAN Plus Three Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, the 9th East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, and the 26th ASEAN Regional Forum.

The US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo arrives in Bangkok tomororw to reaffirm the US commitment to ASEAN. He will co-chair the US-ASEAN Ministerial and Lower Mekong Initiative Ministerial meetings on August 1.

On August 2, he will deliver a speech at the Siam Society on US economic engagement in the Asia-Pacific region. Mr Pompeo will then attend the East Asia Summit and ASEAN Regional Forum ministerial meetings, and hold talks with FM Don Pramudwinai to discuss ways to further strengthen the US-Thai alliance. Mr Pompeo leaves for Australia on Aug 3.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will meet with PM Prayut Chan-o-cha and FM Don on July 30, prior to taking part in the ASEAN-Russia Ministerial Meeting the following day.

Mekong sub-regional and other meetings will also take place in which more than 30 countries will attend these conferences.

According to one of the officials, the bloc will focus on issues in the ASEAN Leaders’ Vision Statement on Partnership for Sustainability.

The official stressed that the bloc will allow stakeholders to discuss ongoing concerns, such as the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar and the dispute in the South China Sea.

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ASEAN

US and China ramp up the rhetoric and the tariffs in a day of tit-for-tat

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US and China ramp up the rhetoric and the tariffs in a day of tit-for-tat | The Thaiger

Beijing has unveiled a new round of retaliatory tariffs on the US valued around US$75 billion. China will now place additional tariffs of 5%-10% on US imports starting next week.

The tit-for-tat trade war between the world’s two largest economies is causing widespread disruption to supply chains and long-held trade conventions.

China’s Finance Ministry says they will also resume tariffs on US imports of automobiles and automobile parts – 25% for vehicles and 5% on parts starting December 15.

China said it would take countermeasures last week after the US announced it would impose new 10% tariffs on Chinese imports worth US$300 billion. The new Chinese tariffs will target 5,078 exported products, including soybeans, seafood, coffee, whiskey and oil.

US President Trump responded yesterday saying that he would increase rates on existing tariffs on Chinese imports.

“We don’t need China and, frankly, would be far better off without them.”

The US President also “ordered” US companies “to immediately start looking for an alternative to China.”

the American Farm Bureau claim the tit-for-tat tariff reaction from the President “signals more trouble for American agriculture.”

“We know continued retaliation only adds to the difficulties farm and ranch families are facing and takes the situation in the exact wrong direction,” the statement said.

But the US National Retail Federation says the President’s demands are “unrealistic.”

“For years, retailers have been diversifying their supply chains, but finding alternative sources is a costly and lengthy process that can take years. It is unrealistic for American retailers to move out of the world’s second largest economy.”

“Our presence in China allows us to reach Chinese customers and develop overseas markets. This, in turn, allows us to grow and expand opportunities for American workers, businesses and consumers.”

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Thailand and South Korea partner on development of electric buses

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Thailand and South Korea partner on development of electric buses | The Thaiger

Original story by Shin Ji-hye

An all-electric bus sits on the campus at King Mongkut’s University of Technology in Thonburi, Bangkok. The electric bus is a joint project between Korea and Thailand, led mainly by Korean automaker Edison Motors, which currently provides public transport services with eco-friendly buses at Namsan in Seoul and on Jeju Island.

The project involves 11 organisations from both sides, including Korea’s Industry Ministry and Korean Energy Technology Evaluation and Planning. The Thai side includes the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority, the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand and King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, where the bus is being tested.

Kitchanon Ruangjirakit, a lecturer at King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, says they are testing if the all-electric bus is suitable for the hot climate and traffic congestion of places like Bangkok.

“We are jointly working on traffic data collection, standards, energy consumption and battery capacity with Edison’s electric bus,.”

They plan to share the results of their research with the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority and the Ministry of Transport there, so the government can use the information in its future electric bus purchases.

When the systems have all been fully tested, the bus will be able to run 200 kilometres on a single charge. It uses an LG Chem battery.

The project, however, is only for research and not for commercial use at this stage. If Edison wants to produce electric buses in Bangkok, it has to take part in a bidding process. The Thai government plans to bid on 35 electric buses in the near future. Edison is willing to join the bidding, according to the government official.

Narit Therdsteerasukdi, deputy secretary-general of the Thailand Board of Investment, says Thailand is in the beginning stage of the EV industry and there is a long way to go.

“Thailand is the biggest exporter of cars (as an assembler) in ASEAN. We have 1,000 local parts suppliers. We are ready for the next step of the automotive industry. The Thai government intends to encourage its agencies to use electric vehicles in the future to create demand.”

“Some companies like Samsung, LG, Posco and Hanwha have invested in Thailand for more than 30 years. We hope more Korean investors are coming in the near future.”

“We are also trying hard to attract Korean battery makers, LG Chem and Samsung SDI, because we would like to build a whole supply chain of electric vehicles in Thailand. Not only car assembly, but we also want to build key parts of EVs like battery and motors.”

SOURCE: The Nation | The Korea Herald

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Police seeking arrest warrants for planners of August 2 Bangkok bombs

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Police seeking arrest warrants for planners of August 2 Bangkok bombs | The Thaiger

ORIGINAL PHOTO: Reuters

Police now believe that three suspects in the August 2 Bangkok bombings plotted much the attacks in a neighbouring country. Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwon reported the latest in the investigations to the media today.

Gen Prawit reported that the three suspects were actively involved and have fled back to their country. Without mentioning the country (presumably Malaysia), Prawit said that police are seeking the assistance of their neighbouring counterparts to arrest and return the suspects to Thailand for questioning.

Police have also reported that the attacks were planned near the Thai-Malaysian border at a meeting of the planners, bomb-makers and attackers. A total of 15 suspects are believed to be involved in the bombings.

Meanwhile, two detained suspects in the bombings are back in Bangkok after being transported from Narathiwat. More about that story HERE. The Metropolitan Police will seek an extension to their lawful detention at the Bangkok South Criminal Court tomorrow.

Both suspects have been charged with organised crime, attempted murder, carrying explosives and illegal possession of explosives.

The two men are accused of planting two bombs on the steps of the Royal Thai Police HQ in the Thursday late afternoon. At the time authorities claimed the bombs were dummy devices. The bags contained a bomb that was set to go off at 8am on August 2 but were defused by bomb disposal officers. The other bombs went off in locations around Bangkok between 7-9am on August 2, during Bangkok’s morning peak hour.

Six bombs and six incendiary devices detonated on August 2 as Bangkok hosted the ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting. Police believe the day was chosen to co-incide with the regional meeting to ’embarrass’ the Thai government.

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