Sat. May 21st, 2022

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Lloyd Austin, US Secretary of Defense, warns that China’s air strikes by fighter jets, bombers and other warplanes near Taiwan rehearsals for military operations against the country.

“It looks a lot like they’re exploring their true abilities and certainly it looks a lot like rehearsals,” Austin said in a speech at the Reagan National Defense Forum on Saturday.

Austin apparently did not suggest that China prepare for conflict in the near future, but the country’s air force has significantly increased the scale and frequency of shipments to Taiwan’s “air defense identification zone” this year.

The military activity, coupled with rapid technological progress by the People’s Liberation Army, has raised concerns about China’s intentions with Taiwan, over which it claims sovereignty. Some experts believe that China’s recent rapid expansion of its nuclear arsenal is designed to make it more difficult for the US to intervene in any conflict over Taiwan.

Thank you for reading FirstFT Asia. Here’s the rest of today’s news – Emily

1. US allies convince of Russian threat to Ukraine EU and NATO allies have swung behind the Biden administration’s assessment that Russia may be ready to invade Ukraine, following unprecedented section of US intelligence on Moscow’s military preparations.

Musk is allowed to ‘make the rules’ in space, warns ESA chief Josef Aschbacher, the new Director-General of the European Space Agency, urged the continent’s leaders to stops facilitating Elon Musk’s ambition to dominate the new space economy, warning that the lack of coordinated action means the American billionaire himself is “making the rules.”

3. Shareholders accuse Toshiba of ignoring privatization offers Several of Toshiba’s largest shareholders accuse the Japanese conglomerate of failure to resume discussions in full with private equity buyers, saying they will increase pressure on the board to revive talks on a full buyout of the company.

4. Singapore suspends crypto group over spit with BTS Singapore’s financial regulator has suspended Bitget, a prominent digital currency exchange in the middle of a queue involving a crypto-pension scheme claiming links with South Korea’s largest boy group BTS.

5. Didi to delist from New York and switch to Hong Kong Chinese tour guide group Didi Chuxing said it would delisted from the New York Stock Exchange, which accelerates China’s disconnection from US capital markets as Beijing strikes the country’s leading technology groups. The move comes less than six months after its initial $ 4.4 billion public offering.

Line chart showing percentage of Didi's rides used by both drivers and vehicles that meet the requirements

Coronavirus consumed

The days ahead

Aung San Suu Kyi’s court ruling The first statements in the trial of Myanmar’s deposed leader will be announced after it has been postponed from November 30. (Guardian)

Narendra Modi hosts Vladimir Putin The Indian Prime Minister will host the President of Russia for a one-on-one meeting on the sidelines of India-Russia Annual Summit, where 10 bilateral agreements is ready to be signed. (Hindustan Times, Economic Times)

Centenary of the Anglo-Irish Treaty The agreement, signed today 100 years ago, ended the War of Independence and set out provisions for the division of the island of Ireland – learn about how it was done, and its consequences, in this excellent read of the Weekend FT.

What else are we reading

How migration became a weapon in a ‘hybrid war’ Governments are increasingly using displaced people to Exploiting Europe’s divisions and fears about migrants. Officials are struggling with ways to respond to armed migration along with other coercive instruments aimed at social and political destabilization, such as cyberattacks and disinformation.

Migrants sleep on the floor of a logistics center in Grodno, Belarus, near the Polish border © Maxim Guchek / BelTA via AP

Robert Dole, Republican Senator, 1923-2021 If anyone embodied the politics of Washington in the latter half of the 20th century – the good, the bad and the ugly – then surely it was Robert Dole, the former Republican senator from Kansas, who died in his sleep yesterday at the age of 98.

How Europe can compete with China’s belt and road The EU’s new investment plan, Global Gateway, has the unspoken but clear intention of against China’s Belt and Road Initiative. But it runs the risk of faltering without proper funding and explicit goals, writes Martin Sandbu.

Life at the top becomes more difficult for CEOs As conditions in both the markets and the real economy become more difficult, and leadership of large public companies becomes more difficult, writes Rana Foroohar. Increasing numbers of corporate leaders are leaving their jobs as pressure increases from various directions.

The problem of disappearing cash Claer Barrett is already in favor of exposing children to money and payments early on, but what worries our consumer editor the invisibility of digital transactions. “Do children realize that real money is being spent, or do you think this ‘magic card’ simply makes everything possible?” she asks as part of us Financial Literacy and Inclusion Campaign.

  • Reader exclaims: Are you a teenager or do you know a teenager who is interested in writing about finances? The FT is looking for submissions from budding writers, with the offer of a cash prize for the best entries.


Do we need another princess diana movie? Maybe we actually do. On the FT Weekend podcast, Lilah Raptopoulos talks to director Pablo Larraín, who calls our film reviewer “one of the most consistently most interesting directors in the film today.” He explains the creative process behind his new film Spencer, with Kristen Stewart as Diana.

Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana

Star Power: Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana © Pablo Larraín

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