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South East Asia

In a significant response to the ongoing conflict in Gaza and to the mounting Palestinian death toll, Malaysia has barred vessels owned by Israeli shipping firm Zim or any ship bearing the Israeli flag from docking and unloading cargoes at its ports. This includes Malaysia’s main port of Klang, the world’s 12th busiest and a major gateway/trans-shipment hub for cargoes moving through the South China Sea.

Undoubtedly, the decision will have an impact on the shipping industry, as well as on the movement of goods through the region; it has already led to some last-minute diversions and has partially restricted material flows into Malaysia. It remains to be seen how other countries and ports will react to this move but the decision underscores growing international pressure to address the situation in Gaza.

Meanwhile, Thailand has announced the permanent waiving of visa requirements for Chinese nationals in a strategic move to encourage Chinese investment in the country. The new policy will make it easier for Chinese business professionals and investors to enter Thailand and will help facilitate economic co-operation between the two countries. By easing visa restrictions, Thailand is sending a clear message to Chinese investors that the country is open for business and welcomes their support.

The move will enhance already-strong economic ties and diplomatic relations between the two nations. Chinese investments in Thailand have been steadily increasing over recent years and the new visa policy is expected to boost this trend even further.