Category Archives: Far East, South and Southeast Asia and Pacific Areas

Malaysia’s king abdicates after two years on the throne

Malaysia’s king abdicated on Sunday in a historic first for the country that ended weeks of speculation about his future after he took medical leave and reportedly married a Russian ex-beauty queen.

Thailand picks up the pieces after tropical storm Pabuk

Villagers in southern Thailand have begun to recover and rebuild what is left of their homes and livelihoods after Tropical Storm Pabuk swept through on Friday. FRANCE 24 went to meet those dealing with its aftermath. In the village of Nakhon Si Thammarat, Juritha, a grandmother and wife of a fisherman, was not so lucky. Her home was devastated. “The ceiling is destroyed, everything is damaged,” she told FRANCE 24. Many of her neighbours have also lost their homes. Jom, Juritha’s 63-year-old husband, has spent fifty years working as a fisherman and has seen all kinds of disasters, including tsunamis. But now the weather in January is so bad he cannot get his boat out to sea to make a living. “The waves are too big, but I really need to fish,” said Jom. The fishermen have avoided the worst but they will have to rebuild their houses in the rain and it will be many days before they can get back to sea.

Floods, blackouts but tourist islands spared as Thai storm downgraded

Floods and blackouts caused by Tropical Storm Pabuk left nearly 30,000 people in evacuation shelters across southern Thailand Saturday, as relieved tourists stranded on islands further north were spared the worst and began to plot routes home.

Taiwan president calls for international support to defend democracy

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen called on Saturday for international support to defend the self-ruled island’s democracy and way of life in the face of renewed threats from China.

Thailand braces for powerful tropical storm

Tourists marooned on Thai islands hunkered down Friday as Tropical Storm Pabuk struck the kingdom, forcing airports and ferries to close and bringing power blackouts, heavy rains and massive sea swells. Boats were recalled to shore across the Gulf of Thailand, while three key southern airports were shut until Saturday, leaving tourists who remain on islands now cut off from the mainland. “We’ve bought [flash] lights and some more water,” some tourists who were preparing for the storm said. FRANCE 24’s Yuka Royer reports.

Thailand braces for impact as Tropical Storm Pabuk nears tourist islands

Tourists marooned on Thai islands hunkered down Friday as Tropical Storm Pabuk edged closer, forcing airports and ferries to close and bringing downpours and massive sea swells hours before its expected landfall.

Japan’s emperor greets huge crowd in final New Year address

Japan’s Emperor Akihito delivered his final New Year’s address Wednesday before his abdication later this year, telling a record turnout of well-wishers that he was praying for peace.

Indian women enter Hindu temple, defying centuries-old ban

Two women braved a centuries-old ban on entering a Hindu temple in the Indian state of Kerala on Wednesday, sparking protests by conservative Hindu groups outraged by their visit.

China says reunification with Taiwan ‘inevitable’

Taiwan’s unification with the mainland is “inevitable”, President Xi Jinping said Wednesday, warning against any efforts to promote the island’s independence and saying China would not renounce the option of using military force to bring it into the fold. Xi’s comments provoked a swift rebuke from Taipei, where President Tsai Ing-wen said Taiwan’s people would never willingly give up the kind of democratic freedoms unseen on the mainland. China still sees democratic Taiwan as part of its territory to be reunified, despite the two sides being ruled separately since the end of a civil war in 1949.

China’s Xi threatens Taiwan with force but also seeks peaceful ‘reunification’

China reserves the right to use force to bring Taiwan under its control but will strive to achieve peaceful “reunification” with the self-ruled island that has a bright future under any future Chinese rule, President Xi Jinping said on Wednesday.

Kim Jong Un ready for talks, but warns Trump not to test N. Korea’s patience

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said Tuesday he hopes to extend his high-stakes nuclear summitry with President Donald Trump into 2019, but also warns Washington not to test North Koreans’ patience with sanctions and pressure.

Bangladesh PM Hasina wins election as opposition claims vote rigged

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s alliance won Bangladesh’s election with a thumping majority, the country’s Election Commission said early on Monday, giving her a third straight term following a vote that the opposition rejected as rigged.