Council on Foreign Relations: Daily news brief, Nov. 2, 2022

November 2, 2022
Top of the Agenda

Seoul Fires Back After Barrage of North Korean Missile Tests

North Korea fired a missile that crossed the Northern Limit Line, a maritime border with South Korea that Pyongyang does not recognize (CNN), for the first time since the 1950–53 Korean War. South Korea’s military called the launch “rare and intolerable” and responded by firing three missiles (Yonhap) into waters north of the line. North Korea’s missile was one of as many as twenty-three it test-fired into the seas off of South Korea’s east and west coasts today. The missile deployment was North Korea’s largest in a single day. The launches came after U.S.-South Korea military drills began on Monday. U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is set to meet with his South Korean counterpart at the Pentagon tomorrow.  
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Russia bans 45 foreign-owned banks or banking units from selling their shares

Logo of Swiss bank Credit Suisse is seen in Zurich

[1/3] The logo of Swiss bank Credit Suisse is seen at its headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland October 4, 2022. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

  • This content was produced in Russia where the law restricts coverage of Russian military operations in Ukraine

MOSCOW, Oct 26 (Reuters) – Russia on Wednesday banned dealings in the shares or share capital of 45 banks or banking units, all either owned by parties in countries that Russia terms “unfriendly” or owned through foreign capital.

Western countries and allies, including Japan, have piled financial restrictions on Russia since it sent troops into Ukraine in late February. Moscow retaliated with obstacles for Western businesses and their allies leaving Russia, and in some cases seized their assets.

The list followed a decree issued on Aug. 5 by President Vladimir Putin banning dealings in stakes in the financial and energy sectors owned by parties in “unfriendly” countries unless specific permission was given. read more read more

The list, published on Wednesday, included Russian units of Intesa (ISP.MI), Credit Suisse (CSGN.S), Raiffeisen (RBIV.VI), Citi (C.N), OTP bank <OTPB.BU> and UniCredit Bank (CRDI.MI), as well as the Russian Yandex-Bank and Ozon-Bank.

Citi, the largest Wall Street bank to have a presence in Russia with an exposure of $8 billion, plans to wind down nearly all of the institutional banking services as it is unable to sell the business amid the recent sanctions-related laws. read more read more read more

Xinjiang exports to US dip in September but still higher year on year despite forced labour law

Machinery and mechanical equipment top category of products shipped from region, whose month-on-month decline aligns with weakening in Chinese exportsUS customs chief insists ‘seeing good examples of compliance so far’ with recently implemented Uygur Forced Labour Prevention Act

Published: 2:00am, 25 Oct, 2022

Xinjiang’s exports to the United States dropped in September after soaring for two consecutive months, but were still nearly three times as high as the same month last year, according to the latest Chinese customs data – despite a Washington law that seeks to ban goods from the far-west region of China due to forced labour allegations.

The shipments from Xinjiang to the US have appeared to continue even as officials from the US customs agency insist that they have been effectively enforcing the Uygur Forced Labour Prevention Act, which kicked in on June 21.

Companies from the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region in September exported US$21.05 million worth of goods to the US, slashed by more than half compared with the figure for August, but more than double the tally in June, trade data showed.

The month-on-month decline of Xinjiang exports to the US was in line with the overall weakening of Chinese exports.

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Vietnam wires into global electronics

EAF – 25 October 2022

Author: Suiwah Leung, ANU

Vietnam currently benefits from China’s COVID-19 lockdowns and the geopolitical tensions between the United States and China — especially in electronics manufacturing. The country flirted with its own zero-COVID-19 policy and lockdowns in 2021 but changed course quickly to have two-thirds of its population vaccinated by December 2021.

Employees pass a billboard advertisement for the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 on the way to work at the Samsung factory in Thai Nguyen province, Vietnam 13 October 2016 (Photo: Reuters/Nguyen Huy Kham)

News leaked that Apple would move its iPad production from China to Vietnam in June 2022. China’s Xiaomi also moved the production of some of its devices to Vietnam in June 2021 thanks to investments by DBG Technology, a subsidiary of Hong Kong’s DBG Electronics Investment Limited.

Samsung, an early entrant into Vietnam, invested in a US$670 million manufacturing plant in the northern province of Bac Ninh in 2014. It increased its investment to US$17.3 billion nationwide in a little over a decade. Intel, another early entrant, opened a US$1 billion semiconductor assembly and testing facility in Ho Chi Minh City in 2006. It made additional investments in 2019 and 2020, taking the total to US$1.5 billion. Indeed, all this Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) gave rise to a popular saying that ‘the US–China trade war is over and Vietnam is the winner’.

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Doi moi’s time comes again for Vietnam

EAF – 18 October 2022

Authors: Guanie Lim, GRIPS and Chengwei Xu, NTU

In late August 2022, news broke that Apple was in talks to manufacture its famed Apple Watches and MacBooks in Vietnam for the first time. Some view this as a move by transnational corporations and their core suppliers to diversify their production away from China, buffering themselves from intensifying US–China geoeconomic competition.

Laborers work at an assembly line to produce ventilators at Vsmart factory of Vingroup outside Hanoi, Vietnam, 3 August 2020. (PHOTO: REUTERS/Kham)

Others interpret this as a sign of Vietnam’s deepening manufacturing prowess built on its famed 1986 doi moi (renovation) program. The reforms sought to reintegrate the country into the global economy. Among the more significant moves were the creation of stock exchanges, the promotion of private ownership and encouragement of private–public partnerships.

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The Buddhist Church suggested not to use the name ‘KFC Thich Quang Duc’

VP – Monday 31st October 2022 04:56 PM

The name of the KFC branch on Thich Quang Duc street (HCMC) has changed to KFC Thich Quang Duc street – Screenshot

On October 31, Venerable Thich Gia Quang – Vice Chairman of the Executive Council, Head of the Information and Communication Department of the Central Committee of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha – signed and promulgated Official Letter No. 08 to KFC Vietnam. the fact that this company opened a new branch on Thich Quang Duc Street (Phu Nhuan District, Ho Chi Minh City) and used the legal name of Bodhisattva Thich Quang Duc named “KFC Thich Quang Duc”.

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