Welcome to your week in Asia.
Several Asian countries will be absent for the Mid-Autumn Festival this week, but leaders such as Yoshihide Suga, Moon Jae-in and Narendra Modi will meet in New York for the United Nations General Assembly. In China, the newest Universal Studios will open in Beijing in time for the two-day vacation.
Two economic forecasts will come this week, from the OECD and the Asian Development Bank. The boards of directors of the central banks of Japan and Taiwan meet on Wednesday, followed by that of the Philippines on Thursday.
Follow our reports by following us on Twitter @NikkeiAsia.
Evergrande’s double delay
Last week, banks heard from Chinese government officials that China Evergrande Group is likely to default on its loan obligations, due on Monday. The world’s most indebted developer is also facing a slew of offshore bond coupons, starting Thursday, with coupons this month amounting to $ 129 million. Evergrande has already defaulted on payments to investors and entrepreneurs of retail debt, and has more than $ 300 billion in liabilities.
Election day in Canada
Canadians will head to the polls on Monday for a close election that could further undermine the country’s tense relationship with China. The arrests and trials of two Canadians in China – in apparent retaliation for the detention of Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou for extradition to the United States – have upset the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Its conservative rivals have signaled a more combative stance towards Beijing.
Launch of Tianzhou 3
China will launch a third spacecraft to deliver materials and fuel for Tiangong, the modular space station it is building in low earth orbit. The cargo is intended to support three astronauts who will arrive next month to resume construction for a trio of colleagues, who returned to Earth on Friday after three months in space.
Universal Studios Beijing opens its doors
Chinese Harry Potter and Transformers fans are entitled to a Universal Studios theme park in Beijing, scheduled to open for the two-day Mid-Autumn Break. Universal Studios Beijing will be the third in Asia, after Osaka and Singapore, but the largest in the world, covering 4 km².
World leaders meet for UN Annual Assembly
The question of who represents Myanmar and Afghanistan will likely be postponed by the UN credentials committee this week when world leaders converge in New York. But expect news from the General Assembly where Joe Biden will deliver his first speech as President of the United States on Tuesday, followed by South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte via video.
Japanese Yoshihide Suga’s recorded video speech will be delivered on Friday just before his participation in the Quad Leaders’ Summit in Washington. Saturday will bring video speeches from India’s Narendra Modi and Malaysia’s new Prime Minister, Ismail Sabri Yaakob. In-person speeches will be delivered by Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Special sessions: The UN leadership will use the high-level meeting to increase commitments to reduce emissions and climate finance in the run-up to COP26; it will also work to facilitate discussions on the distribution of the COVID vaccine. South Korean boy band BTS will accompany Moon to a meeting on future generations and culture.
Thailand moves to coexistence with COVID
A pre-recorded address by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha is expected to ask the public to get vaccinated as Thailand seeks to reopen to overseas travel. As close to Singapore, the Thai government is shifting its strategies from eradicating COVID to coexisting with it. But only about 20% of Thailand’s population has been fully vaccinated, compared to nearly 80% in Singapore.
What will change? From October, entry to restaurants, hair salons, and spas may be permitted for fully vaccinated people in Bangkok and other provinces. Vaccinated tourists could also enter more destinations after Phuket gently reopened in July.
Beijing’s zero-tolerance approach to COVID will weigh on Trip.com’s first half results, during a period when China has experienced one of its worst outbreaks, mostly in the southern part of the province from Guangdong. The Nasdaq and Hong Kong-listed company has so far benefited from demand for domestic and luxury travel, although international travel, Trip.com’s main source of revenue, is unlikely to recover soon.
Quad leaders meet in Washington
US President Joe Biden will host the leaders of Australia, India and Japan for the first in-person summit of the Quad, an alliance to counter an increasingly assertive China.
On today’s agenda: China and Afghanistan, climate change, supply chain security and critical technologies.
Related: The United States formed a new alliance with Australia and the United Kingdom last week, called AUKUS, which will donate nuclear submarines to Canberra.
Hong Kong opens up to Chinese bond investors
Chinese investors will have a new channel to trade debt offshore when the Hong Kong Monetary Authority opens the Southbound Bond Connect program. A similar link between Hong Kong and the mainland was opened in 2017, giving investors access to China’s $ 17.5 trillion bond market.
Why is this important: The move makes Hong Kong the financial gateway to China and comes just weeks after the opening of the Wealth Management Connect program, which is expected to bring tens of billions of dollars in savings to mainland households in the city.
Korean crypto registration deadline
Cryptocurrency brokers have until Friday to register with the South Korean financial regulator. Applicants will be screened for up to three months and screened for money laundering activities.
Background: Korea’s Financial Services Commission has come under pressure to regulate cryptocurrencies from investors affected by the bitcoin rout in May.
Taiwan’s KMT elects new leader
The Kuomintang, Taiwan’s largest opposition party, friend of China, will elect a new president on Saturday to lead the party in next year’s local elections and the 2024 presidential election.
Who is in the running? Outgoing chairman Johnny Chiang, former KMT chairman Eric Chu and school chairman Sun Yat-sen Chang Ya-chung are the most popular candidates within the party.
Hong Kong Alliance considers disbandment
After three decades, the Hong Kong Alliance of Support for China’s Democratic Patriotic Movements could vote its dissolution on Saturday. The group, which organized the annual commemoration of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown in Hong Kong, was named a “sworn enemy” in June by the Beijing representative office. The seven members of its board are either in prison or in pre-trial detention, and staff were sacked in July for security reasons.