What key players want from Trump-Kim talks (and what they’ll get)

The March 9 announcement that the US president had agreed to hold a summit with North Korea’s leader, by South Korean officials speaking on the White House lawn, encapsulated the Trump administration’s chaotic, unorthodox approach to foreign policy. President Donald Trump has by turns threatened and lampooned Kim Jong-un, but always kept the door ajar for a future meeting. Despite his fluctuating rhetoric, that the deal maker-in-chief has opted for the high-stakes gambit of a one-to…

Vietnam’s former prime minister Phan Van Khai dies at 84

Phan Van Khai, an architect of Vietnam’s economic rise and the country’s first prime minister to visit the United States after the end of the war, died on Saturday. He was 84.
Khai died in his home district of Cu Chi on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City, the government said on its website.
Khai oversaw Vietnam’s fastest and most stable economic growth during his nine years in office from 1997 to 2006. He signed a bilateral trade agreement with the US in 2000 and oversaw…

Australia’s spy chief says journalists are ‘ideal cover’ for foreign agents, cites Chinese attempt to recruit local reporter

Australia’s intelligence agency has warned that media organisations should not be exempt from foreign interference laws because spy agencies would recruit journalists to exploit the loophole.
The director general of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, Duncan Lewis, told a parliamentary committee on Friday that journalism provided an “ideal cover” for foreign spies to seek information that harmed Australia’s interests.
Asio’s evidence to the…

‘Embrace free trade, not retreat from it’: Australia, Asean leaders vow to reject trade protectionism on first day of summit

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and Australia reject protectionism, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his Singapore counterpart said on Friday, amid fears about a possible trade war sparked by US plans to raise tariffs on steel and aluminium imports.
“You don’t grow stronger by closing the door to other markets. Protectionism is a dead end. It is not a ladder to get you out of the low growth trap, it is a shovel to dig it much deeper,” Turnbull…

Bali to halt flights, shut shops and turn off internet for ‘Day of Silence’

Indonesia’s bustling tourist island Bali is set to go quiet with internet service and flights temporarily halted for a “Day of Silence”, while young people get ready to pucker up.
Residents of the Hindu-dominated island stop regular daily activities for a day of meditation, fasting and introspection, an annual rite that includes elaborate beachside ceremonies and demon-like effigies.
Known locally as Nyepi, Hindus on the island are expected to stop all work and play and remain…

Indonesia enacts law that makes criticising politicians a crime, and Widodo can’t do anything about it

Indonesians could be jailed for criticising national politicians under a new law that came into force on Thursday, in what critics slammed as a major step back for the world’s third-biggest democracy.
The vaguely worded bill passed the 560-member house last month but has just become official, over the objections of President Joko Widodo who refused to sign off on the controversial legislation.
Widodo does not have veto power over the bill, although it can be challenged at the…