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The Daily Brief for Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Beijing-Washington Star Wars: As China draws ever closer to launching a prototype space laser intended to destroy enemy satellites, the United States is worried. Angelo M Codevilla argues that Washington currently could not defend against such a space-based laser weapon… unless it repurposes its THEL, or Nautilus, weapon that was engineered from the leftover hardware of a laser called Alpha that was designed to dominate orbital space.

Japan’s new casinos: Last year, Tokyo passed legislation that is the first step to legalizing casinos and Japan’s newly opened gaming market could be worth US$25 billion in gross revenue a year, reports Daniel Hurst & Peter Langan. The new legislation will see two family-oriented integrated resorts in Tokyo and Osaka opening in 2023, followed by 10 smaller regional ones to be completed from the mid-2020s onwards.

Don’t bomb Pyongyang: With US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s recent statement that years of negotiations with North Korea have failed, it seems an American military response is seen, in some quarters, as inevitable. Grant Newsham writes that if America attacks North Korea, it better be prepared to finish it as there will be no short, clean strike that jolts Kim Jong-un to his senses.

India-Pakistan heightened tensions: A military court in Pakistan on Monday handed down a death sentence to Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav for allegedly spying and trying to disrupt the development of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. E Jaya Kumar writes clashes are bound to escalate on the border along Kashmir if Pakistan hangs Jadhav with tensions between Lahore and Delhi already high after last year’s attack by suspected Pakistan militants on an Indian military camp and “surgical strikes” by India days later.

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Posted inAT FinanceChinaHong KongIndiaMacauMyanmarSouth AsiaWorld

China Digest for Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Myanmar oil pipeline connecting Indian Ocean to Yunnan opens

The pipeline connecting Myanmar’s Indian Ocean seaboard to Yunnan province started operating April 10, with the capacity to pump 22 million tonnes of crude oil a year into China and so reduce reliance on the Strait of Malacca, China Securities Journal reported.

Bay Area project, ‘bond connect’ to drive Hong Kong’s integration

The central government will begin firming up plans for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Bay Area and will introduce a bond connect program between Hong Kong and the Mainland as part of efforts to further integrate the southern region, China Securities Journal reported, citing Premier Li Keqiang.

NDRC orders coal buyers to sign longer-term contracts

Companies must sign mid- or long-term coal contracts by the middle of this month to ensure less than a fifth of supply comes from short-term or spot agreements, the National Development and Reform Commission said.

Xinjiang airport boom under way

Xinjiang is experiencing a boom in airport construction, with 14.4 billion yuan earmarked to build or upgrade 17 facilities this year, Xinjiang Airport Group told local media.

Rail freight jump bellwether for economy

China Railway Group said freight volumes jumped 16.3% to 254 million metric tonnes in March from a year earlier, which Founder Securities chief economist Ren Zeping said indicated a first-quarter pickup in the overall economy, National Business Daily reported.

Wind, solar to draw US$782b over 15 years, EID says

Wind and solar energy could draw 5.4 trillion yuan (US$782 billion) in investment by 2030, boosting GDP by about 14 trillion yuan, the government’s Economic Information Daily said, citing a new research paper by environmental pressure group Greenpeace.

Hong Kong IPOs by mainland companies more than double

Thirty-six mainland companies debuted on Hong Kong’s stock market in the first three months, more than double the number from the first quarter of 2016 and a trend that is expected to continue this year, Securities Daily reported.

SZSE to develop big data, index products with Euronext, Sina

Shenzhen Stock Exchange, Euronext and Sina agreed to jointly develop big data, stock index and cross-border index products, China Securities Journal reported.

Second reading for securities law on April 24

Lawmakers will review amendments to the proposed securities law on April 24, taking on board lessons from the abnormal price fluctuations seen in 2015 and with the aim of developing a world class market infrastructure that protects the rights of investors, especially small ones, Securities Daily reported.

Individuals, companies to have dedicated tax bureaus

The Ministry of Finance split its income tax department in two, with a bureau to handle individuals and another to deal with companies. The move may signal an acceleration in reform of individual income tax, Securities Daily cited analysts saying.

Customs gives digital boost to FTZs

Customs has introduced a digital platform connecting with related departments to simplify approvals as part of expanded services to support the country’s seven new free trade zones, National Economic Business reported.

Asia Times Financial is now live. Linking accurate news, insightful analysis and local knowledge with the ATF China Bond 50 Index, the world's first benchmark cross sector Chinese Bond Indices. Read ATF now.