Asia - The Irrawaddy
China, Vietnam Say They Want Lasting Solution to Sea Dispute

China and Vietnam agree to use an existing border dispute mechanism to resolve a territorial dispute, which led to confrontations in the South China Sea.

Indonesia President Appoints Technocrats to Top Economic Posts

Indonesia’s new president, Joko Widodo, names professional technocrats to lead the top economic ministries and implement much-needed reforms.

US Official Urges Vietnam to Improve Human Rights

A US official says Vietnam has made progress on human rights, but must do more if it is to forge closer economic and security ties with Washington.

Poor Health Systems in Asia Cause for Ebola Alarm

Health experts in Asia fear any outbreak would be deadly and hard to contain in a region home to 60 percent of the global population.

Protesters in Hong Kong to Vote on Government Proposals

Pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong will hold a poll on government proposals they had rejected as the campaign in the Chinese-controlled city enters week five.

Three Major Nations Absent as China Launches Asian Bank Rival

Australia, Indonesia and South Korea skip the launch of a China-backed infrastructure bank as Washington voices concerns about the new rival to Western-dominated multilateral lenders.

Foreign Policy Question Mark Over Indonesia Leader

The rise of Indonesia’s new president has captured imaginations at home and won praise internationally, but Joko Widodo still must prove his foreign policy prowess.

Traffickers Use Abductions, Prison Ships to Feed Asian Slave Trade

Testimonies from Bangladeshi and Rohingya survivors indicate a shift in tactics by human traffickers: Before people left voluntarily, now they are being abducted or tricked.

Hong Kong Protesters Plan March After Fruitless Talks With Government

Hong Kong protesters plan to march to the home of the city’s Beijing-backed leader to push their case for greater democracy.

North Korea Unexpectedly Frees American Jeffrey Fowle

North Korea frees Jeffrey Fowle, one of three Americans detained by the country, amid growing international pressure on Pyongyang over its human rights record.

Sri Lanka Announces Early Presidential Poll in January

Sri Lanka will hold a presidential election in January, nearly two years ahead of schedule, with Mahinda Rajapaksa expected to seek a third six-year term.

Kerry Urges Stepped-Up Asian Effort Against Islamic State

US Secretary of State John Kerry urges Asia-Pacific leaders to do more to stem flows of foreign fighters to Islamic State in the Middle East.

Despite Costly US Effort, Afghan Poppy Cultivation Hits New High

Opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan hit an all-time high in 2013 despite years of counter-narcotics efforts that have cost the United States $7.6 billion.

British Police to Join Thai Investigation Into Koh Tao Murders

Thailand agrees to allow British police to join an investigation into the murder of two British backpackers, after local authorities came under criticism.

Hopes Fade for 40 Missing After Nepal Blizzard

Hopes fade for survivors of one of Nepal’s worst mountain disasters as the search continues for about 40 people missing after a blizzard killed 39.

Hong Kong Crisis Deepens After Weekend Clashes, Talks Set for Tuesday

A deepening sense of impasse grips Hong Kong as pro-democracy protests enter their fourth week.

Reform-Minded Outsider Widodo Takes Over as Indonesia’s President

Joko Widodo takes over as president of Indonesia with supporters’ hopes high but economic problems and skeptical rivals set to test the former furniture businessman.

US Seeks More From China, Asian Muslim Nations, on Islamic State

The United States will seek greater cooperation from China and Southeast Asia’s main Muslim states, Indonesia and Malaysia, in the campaign against Islamic State.

Thai Soaps Trigger Outcry Over Romanticizing Rape 

In Thai TV soaps rape is often romanticized and equated with expressions of love, but calls for change to the plotlines are growing.

Hong Kong Police Clear Protesters, Barricades at Key Site

Hundreds of Hong Kong police clear out pro-democracy activists and road barricades in a pre-dawn raid of a key protest site.