Asia Minute

Evan Vucci / Associated Press

This has been a busy week for U.S. diplomacy in the Asia Pacific, but most of the activity has been away from the headlines.

AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying

While COVID-19 cases are declining in most of the United States, they’re on the rise in parts of East Asia. And now that includes one place that’s had a lot of success in dealing with the coronavirus: Taiwan.

AP Photo/Vincent Thian / ASSOCIATED PRESS

While much of the pandemic story has shifted to vaccinations, in some parts of the world the focus remains on controlling community spread—including curbs on travel. And that involves a growing part of Southeast Asia.

AP Photo/Yong Teck Lim, File

Restrictions based on the pandemic continue to be relaxed in many parts of the country and the world, but they are tightening in some surprising locations including Singapore.

Yui Mok/Pool Photo via AP

More people are getting vaccinated against the coronavirus across the state and around the country. But that’s not true in many other countries which is leading to a new trend: people planning trips to get vaccines.

Philippine Coast Guard via AP

Tensions in the South China Sea have spilled over to the world of diplomacy in an unusual way this week. It’s a situation that involves China, the Philippines, social media and some explosive language.

Joshua Damasio / Flickr

In a “normal year,” this would be a busy week for Japanese tourists visiting Hawai‘i. It’s the middle of “Golden Week”—a series of holidays that usually makes it a popular time for travel. But this year, several parts of the country remain under a state of emergency.

Republic of Korea / Flickr

Later this month, the president of South Korea will be traveling to Washington to meet with President Biden. The White House visit follows renewed attention on North Korean policy—and a series of domestic issues in South Korea.

Yuichi Kosio / Flickr
Yuichi Kosio / Flickr

As vaccinations continue to increase around the country, so do travel plans. That’s also true in parts of the Asia Pacific—where another so-called “travel bubble” is starting up next month.

AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, Pool

This year’s Academy Awards sparked two very different reactions for a pair of East Asian countries. There was happiness from South Korea, and silence from official Chinese media.

AP Photo/Koji Sasahara

This week brings some changes to the ways different locations are dealing with the coronavirus.

Heeheemalu / CC BY-SA 4.0 / Flickr

Taiwan is suffering from its worst drought in several decades. While a lack of water is having a number of impacts, it’s really hitting the semiconductor industry.

Free-Photos from Pixabay

As COVID-19 vaccinations continue, one question is when travel will pick up further—including in-person business and professional conferences. It’s an issue that’s getting attention in the Asia Pacific.

AGDProductions from Pixabay

A study late last month from the University of Hawaii found nearly half of local families with children are suffering from food insecurity. That’s a growing issue as the pandemic continues—and it’s led to a very specific solution in the Philippines—but not from the government.

Tracing outbreaks of the coronavirus is still chasing a moving target. As case numbers decline in certain areas, they are rising elsewhere---including India.

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Late last week, one of the most powerful politicians in Japan said what a lot of people have been thinking—the Tokyo Summer Olympics could be canceled. The official later tried to soften his comments—but questions are lingering.

Sophia McCullough/HPR

If you’re a fan of bubble tea, you may want to consider some alternatives. The problem is the bubble part or what are called boba and it’s a story that stretches across the Pacific.

hirotomo t / CC BY-SA 2.0 / Flickr

More people continue to get COVID-19 vaccinations both around the islands and across the country, and that’s making some people are thinking about travel. Over the coming year, more of that travel is likely to be international. So how strong is your passport?

AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, Pool

Japanese travelers have not yet returned to Hawaii in great numbers, largely because they face a mandatory quarantine on their return home. But one prominent Japanese visitor is heading to the East Coast later this week.

Song Kyung-Seok/Pool Photo via AP

South Korea’s biggest city has a new mayor, and he’s looking to change the way the national capital is dealing with the coronavirus.

AP Photo/Kandhi Barnez

A powerful tropical cyclone cut its way across the Asia Pacific last week. Indonesia was hit particularly hard, and scientists there say climate change played a role.

spaway / Pixabay

Thailand is closing bars and clubs in dozens of provinces, the latest move to contain an outbreak of the coronavirus. The actions come as residents are about to celebrate a national holiday.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

The tourist trade is picking up a bit, and not just in Hawaii. This week, the Hawaii Tourism Authority has reported more than 20,000 arrivals a day, about three-quarters of them coming for vacation. Elsewhere around the Pacific, other tourist destinations are getting ready for business, such as Indonesia.

Masakatsu Ukon / CC BY-SA 2.0 / Flickr

Tourism is slowly returning to some parts of the world, and so is the concept of “travel bubbles.” That’s the ability to visit certain countries without quarantine, and a new one’s about to get underway in the Asia Pacific.

AP Photo/Aaron Favila

COVID-19 cases are spiking again in the Philippines. The government there is extending a lockdown in the Manila area, and some hospitals are turning patients away.

AP Photo/David J. Phillip

Late last week, the CDC said people who are fully vaccinated can travel “at low risk to themselves.” That helps bring a closer focus on the idea of “vaccination passports”—a concept under review in several Asian countries.

AP Photo/Vincent Yu

It’s been a week of dramatic developments in Hong Kong. Seven leading pro-democracy activists have been convicted of unlawful assembly and the United States has again sharply criticized China’s policies there.

Yui Mok/Pool Photo via AP

More than a quarter of Hawai‘i’s population has now received at least one shot of a coronavirus vaccination. Elsewhere in the Pacific, vaccines are rolling out more slowly, but with some milestones this week. / Flickr

Visitor counts are gradually increasing across the state and the vast majority are domestic passengers—a trend that’s true around the world. But in parts of the Asia Pacific, preparations are underway to welcome more international travelers.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

While Hawai‘i leads the country in its goals for clean energy, most of the state’s electricity still comes from fossil fuels. That includes a coal-fired power plant on O‘ahu—a technology that’s a long-time target of environmental activists. It’s also an area where Japan may be shifting its policy.