Southeast Asia Globe’s daily rundown of the region’s top stories
Trump to visit Philippines, Vietnam in November
President Trump will visit the Philippines and Vietnam in November to attend three international summits in a bid to deepen security and trade ties with the region, US Vice President Mike Pence told reporters at Asean’s headquarters in Jakarta yesterday.
Trump will also discuss freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, which has been a thorn in the side of successive US administrations and an issue that the incumbent administration has tackled with worrying uncertainty and stern warnings to China. [The Hill]
Related reading from Southeast Asia Globe: What does Trump’s ‘America First’ policy mean for Southeast Asia?
Journalist in Cambodia facing possible legal action over prison visit
A director of one of Cambodia’s most popular radio services could face criminal proceedings after allegedly gaining access to a prison in Phnom Penh by pretending to work for the opposition Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP), officials say.
Huot Vuthy, the deputy director of Radio Free Asia’s Khmer service who goes by the on air pseudonym Chun Chanboth, was attempting to meet the imprisoned political analyst Kim Sok, but failed to do so. Vuthy claims he clearly stated his identity to prison guards before entering the compound. [The Phnom Penh Post]
Related reading from Southeast Asia Globe: Cambodian parliament passes law that could destroy the opposition
Thai man arrested for allegedly smuggling human semen into Laos
A Thai man was arrested on Thursday for attempting to smuggle six tubes of semen from two men stored in a nitrogen freezing tank across the the Thai-Laotian Friendship Bridge into Laos.
Nithinon Srithaniyanan, 25, crossed the border multiple times before arousing the suspicions of the customs officials and admitted that he had transported frozen semen tubes to a clinic in Laos 12 times and to a hospital and a clinic in Cambodia 13 times since the start of 2016. Srithaniyanan said he was paid $145 per trip. [The Nation]
Vietnam Farmers snub meeting with Hanoi Mayor amid ongoing land dispute
A group of farmers who took a group of 20 police officers hostage last week over an ongoing land dispute in My Duc district, 40km from central Hanoi, boycotted a meeting with the city’s mayor yesterday, according to state media.
Mayor Nguyen Duc Chung travelled to the district to negotiate the release of the officers, but the farmers did not show up for the meeting, arguing that Chung should visit them in Dong Tam commune, where they live.
The residents are protesting against the the country’s military-owned telecom operator, Viettel, which is attempting to seize 116 acres of farmland. [Radio Free Asia]
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The quandary of ever-expanding Singapore
Since it became an independent nation 52 years ago, Singapore has expanded its territory from 224 to 277 square miles. By 2030, it hopes its commitment to increasingly inventive land reclamation activities will help it grow by a further 23 square miles.
As climate change renders the fate of numerous islands increasingly ominous, Singapore’s extreme plans to expand its turf and prepare for an uncertain future offer may offer an exemplar of future state-building. [New York Times]
Related reading from Southeast Asia Globe: The motives behind Beijing’s South China Sea expansion