09/02/2023, 13.48
ASIA TODAY
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Singapore: People's Action Party veteran elected president

Today's news: After the Moon, India is aiming for the Sun. Australian police will remain in the Solomon Islands until the 2024 election. Papua New Guinea will open an embassy in Jerusalem. North Korea fires cruise missiles into the Yellow Sea. Trade between Russian republic and China jumps by 88 per cent. Attempts are made to solve the crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh.

SINGAPORE

Tharman Shanmugaratnam, a former member of the ruling People's Action Party (PAP), was elected Singapore's ninth president with more than 70 per cent of the vote. Ng Kok Song, former investment director of sovereign wealth fund GIC, won 15.7 per cent, while Tan Kin Lian, the former head of an insurance company, got 13.9 per cent. Many voters, however, had hoped that Tharman, with a long political career behind him, would become prime minister, as the role of the president is purely ceremonial.

INDIA

After reaching the Moon, India is now aiming for the Sun. Aditya-L1 took off today from the launch pad in Sriharikota for a first observation mission of the star. Thousands of people gathered in the viewing gallery set up by the Indian Space Research Agency near the launch site. The event was also broadcast live on national television.

AUSTRALIA – SOLOMON ISLANDS

Australian police will remain in the Solomon Islands to ensure security for the Pacific Games, scheduled for November, and the 2024 national elections, local authorities announced. China, which has also boosted police cooperation with the Solomon Islands, has built and gifted the stadiums that will be used during the Pacific Games.

PAPUA NEW GUINEA – ISRAEL

Papua New Guinea will open an embassy in Jerusalem, a decision long promoted and supported by pro-Israel Church groups. “We have to have the relationship with Israel. This is what the people have been dreaming of," said Rev Peter Harut, PNG delegate at the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, a Christian Zionist group. Prime Minister James Marape is trying to bolster foreign investment, after telling parliament that Israel was important for its agricultural technology.

NORTH KOREA

Pyongyang fired several cruise missiles into the Yellow Sea early this morning, the South Korean military reported. This is part of a series of tests and military exercises conducted in recent weeks, including the unsuccessful launch of a spy satellite late last month. North Korea's Foreign Ministry blamed Japan for rising tensions. Tokyo said it would soon reach an agreement with Washington to counter hypersonic warheads developed by China, Russia and North Korea.

RUSSIA – CHINA

Trade between the Russian Republic of Bashkortostan, which has a large Tatar population, and China increased by 88 per cent in the first half of 2023, the Ufa-based Bashinform news agency reported, citing Prime Minister Andrey Nazarov. Purchasing weapons and military technology, as well as manufacturing and selling Kamaz trucks to China dominate the trade.

NAGORNO-KARABAKH

The president of the disputed Armenian-populated Republic of Nagorno Karabakh, Arayik Harutyunyan, resigned from office. He also dismissed State Minister Gurgen Nersisyan, and replace him with Samvel Shahramanyan, the Security Council secretary. He made the decision, “taking into account my contacts in the past weeks with all domestic and foreign actors and the public” in order to shake up the critical situation.

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