Boardroom briefing: the future of China/US relations, CDC updates corona guidance and traditional food back on the menu in Timor Leste


The possible ‘decoupling’ of China and the US, COVID can infect people from further than six feet away and Timor Leste creates an appetite for traditional foods. Readings from around the world on business, leadership and management.

Rudd on the future of China and the US

Shanghai’s Lujiazui financial district, China. Credit: Chuyu

Geopolitical tensions between the US and China, are playing an increasing role in PNG’s region.

Former Australian Prime Minister, and now Head of the Asia Society Policy Network in New York, Kevin Rudd, recently spoke to investment website The Market about how the two superpowers were headed for an economic ‘decoupling’.

Rudd predicts that, regardless of whether Donald Trump is returned to the White House or not, the US and China are heading in different directions.

‘Whoever wins the election, America will resolve in decoupling in a number of defined areas. First and foremost in those global supply chains where the products are of too crucial importance to the US to depend on Chinese supply. Think medical supplies or pharmaceuticals.

‘The second area is in defined critical technologies. Thirdly, you will see a partial decoupling on the global supply of semiconductors to China. Not just those relevant to 5G and Artificial Intelligence, but semiconductors in general.

‘Fourth, I think foreign direct investment in both directions will shrink to zero. The fifth area of decoupling is happening in talent markets.’

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He agrees with the suggestion that China-US tensions could create a world divided into two technology spheres, one with American standards and one with Chinese standards.

‘We increasingly are going to end up in a binary technology world,’ he predicts.

CDC says COVID more contagious than first thought

Coronavirus. Credit: CNBC

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US updated its guidelines on how COVID spreads with the agency suggesting that people can catch the virus from ‘more than six feet away’ (1.8 metres).

In a blow to the return of live music venues, nightclubs, gyms or even churches (see South Korea’s super-spreading religious cluster), the agency added: ‘In these instances, transmission occurred in poorly ventilated and enclosed spaces that often involved activities that caused heavier breathing, like singing or exercise,’ the CDC said in a statement reported on CNBC. ‘Such environments and activities may contribute to the buildup of virus-carrying particles.’

Food innovation helping Timor Leste agriculture

Timor Leste. Credit: Visit Timor via Instagram

Food security is a big issue for all nations right now. In nearby Timor Leste, climate change and ‘behavioural shifts that devalue traditional knowledge of food’, mean the young country is going hungry, reports Channel New Asia.

Recent studies suggest that 36 per cent of its population are ‘chronically food insecure’, lacking the long term ability to meet their food consumption requirements.

In a move that may have resonance for PNG, the country is attempting to overcome its reliance on packaged, imported foods and instead go back its roots. One social enterprise is even getting talented young cooks to produce non-traditional foods like noodles from traditional crops such as pumpkin, moringa and sweet potato.

‘Can we make that food valued again? People need to go back to their original ways of living,’ the article quotes Advisor of Food Security and Nutrition to the Prime Minister, Filipe da Costa, as saying. ‘We want food that people have hidden away to come back out onto the table, bringing innovation to make it look rich, nutritious and have value.’

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