ASIA NEWS BITES: Duterte Open to Joint Patrols with PLA; Taiwan to Gate-Crash Global Health Meeting; Abe Wants New Constitution by 2020; Chinese Wikipedia Coming Soon

ASIA NEWS BITES: Duterte Open to Joint Patrols with PLA; Taiwan to Gate-Crash Global Health Meeting; Abe Wants New Constitution by 2020; Chinese Wikipedia Coming Soon
Photo Credit:AP/達志影像

What you need to know

A quick roundup of the most important news from around the region.

Taiwan is to send a delegation to Geneva, Switzerland, for the annual World Health Assembly (WHA) this month, even if it is not invited, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday. – Taipei Times

China plans to launch its own online encyclopedia next year, hoping to build a “cultural Great Wall” that can rival Wikipedia as a go-to information source for Chinese Internet users who Beijing fears are being corrupted by foreign influences. – Hong Kong Free Press

A Chinese rights activist and former winner of the European Union's Sakharov human rights prize is critically ill in hospital after being admitted last weekend. – Radio Free Asia

Hundreds of thousands of South Koreans cast their ballots Thursday in advance voting for the presidential election set to be held next week, the election watchdog said. – The Korea Times

Hong Kong’s most high-profile democracy campaigners urged the US at a congressional panel late on Wednesday night to take a tougher stance against Beijing to protect Hong Kong’s freedoms. – South China Morning Post

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has said he is open to his country's military conducting joint exercises with China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) as Manila seeks closer ties with Beijing, despite an ongoing dispute over parts of the South China Sea. - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

Members of the Burmese media on Wednesday urged the government to avoid complacency in trying to advance press freedom in the country after it climbed 12 places on a recently released Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF) index, but dropped 3.66 points in comparison to 2016. – The Irrawaddy

Eight more Cambodians repatriated from the U.S. touched down in Phnom Penh on Wednesday, some of whom will be standing on Cambodian soil for the first time in their lives and have no known family in the country. – The Cambodia Daily

In an unprecedented declaration, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Wednesday he hopes to see a revised Constitution take effect in 2020, revealing the clearest goal yet of his long-held ambition to amend the national charter, which has remained untouched since its inception seven decades ago. – The Japan Times