The leaders of Japan and the Philippines on Friday agreed to start negotiations on a reciprocal troop access deal, strengthening military cooperation amid rising maritime tensions in the region and an increasingly assertive China. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said he and President Ferdinand Marcos Jr had agreed to work together closely with the United States, and, in a veiled reference to China, shared concern about "unacceptable" attempts to "unilaterally change the status quo by force" in the East and South China Seas.
Pakistan looks back to the future as Nawaz Sharif eyes fourth stint as PM (October 26, 2023, The Guardian)
The circumstances that enabled Sharif’s return to the country last week, with little apparent fear of arrest and his eye on elections, have been the subject of much speculation; but most agree that it was only possible with a green light from the powerful army generals he once railed against. Though he still faces several legal hurdles to be able to contest the upcoming elections, likely to be held early next year, this week he was granted bail in two corruption cases and the right to appeal his conviction, the first steps towards his rehabilitation.
Pakistan court grants protection from arrest to ex-leader Nawaz Sharif, allowing his return home (October 19, 2023, AP)
A court in Pakistan on Thursday granted several days of protection from arrest to former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in graft cases, clearing the way for him to return home from self-imposed exile in London, where he went in 2019 for medical treatment. The decision by the Islamabad High Court is a major boost for Sharif and his party and comes two days before he is to return to Pakistan ahead of parliamentary elections in January as the country faces deepening political and economic turmoil.
India's BJP, the world's biggest party, plots election drive of epic scale (September 25, 2023, Reuters)
Indian activist Partha Chaudhury is on a war footing as he strides out of the ruling BJP's regional headquarters in Kolkata armed with passion and pages of voter lists. "We need to meet each and every BJP supporter, and all of this has to be done in less than 300 days," the 39-year-old tells a group of fellow activists advancing into the north of Kolkata, the teeming riverfront capital of West Bengal that's home to about 15 million people.
Succession is a delicate and potentially violent topic for leaders. In Singapore, succession planning is quite the opposite: It showcases the stability and predictability of the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP). Yet it appears to be an unusually difficult challenge for current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
The end of Mr Thaksin's 15-year-long exile is not an isolated event. It is a part of a grand political bargain. It is being put in place, like the pieces of a jigsaw, to end the epic contest for power between the telecoms tycoon and his populist Pheu Thai party, and Thai conservative groups aligned with the military and monarchy. Both sides now face a new threat in the form of the progressive and youthful Move Forward party, which has brought them together.
Vietnam and US to Upgrade Diplomatic Relationship Next Month, Report Says (August 21, 2023, The Diplomat)
The move is a win for U.S. diplomacy, but is consistent with Hanoi’s goal of building relationships with all of the contending major powers.
Suicide bomber at political rally in northwest Pakistan kills at least 44 people, wounds nearly 200 (July 31, 2023, AP)
Provincial police said in a statement that the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber who detonated his explosives vest close to the stage where several senior leaders of the party were sitting. It said initial investigations suggested the Islamic State group — which operates in Afghanistan and is an enemy of the Afghan Taliban — could be behind the attack, and officers were still investigating.
The 2024 Indonesian elections are fast approaching. Prospective presidential candidates are already on the campaign trail and holding ‘horse-trading’ negotiations to select their vice-presidential nominees. It is a good time to re-examine the potential role of a powerful interest group that increasingly has sway in the largest Muslim-majority nation — conservative Islamists.
Pakistan’s election body says it is ready to hold national elections in October if the legislative assemblies are dissolved on time. In a news briefing in capital Islamabad on Thursday, Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) officials said if the national as well as provincial assemblies in Sindh and Balochistan are dissolved after completing their five-year tenure on August 12, general elections could be held no later than October 11.