Every Saturday, Asia Pacific Daily will provide you with a run-down of the latest hot news.
This week, the following hot news you should know:
U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday canceled a planned visit later this month to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, signaling he was prepared for the political showdown over the partial federal government shutdown to stretch into late January.
It was unclear whether the shutdown, now in its 20th day, would end before the start of the global economic meeting, which is scheduled for Jan. 22 to 25.
Trump and congressional Democrats are in a battle over funding for the government and Trump’s long-promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The latest round of vice-ministerial level negotiations on trade between China and the U.S. in Beijing concluded Wednesday, according to a statement issued by China's Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) on Thursday.
The statement said both sides had "extensive, in-depth and detailed exchanges" on trade and structural issues of common concern, adding that they agreed to maintain close contact.
The talks were initially scheduled to last for two days but were extended by an additional half day.
Donald Trump made his first Oval Office address to the nation as president on Tuesday evening to argue that an immigration crisis at the US-Mexico border requires funding for his border wall pet project – before the federal government partial shutdown can be ended.
It is a highly unusual and controversial move, which critics say is motivated by cynical politics and not a security crisis. However, there is a humanitarian crisis building at the border with thousands of families in detention, two children recently dying in US custody there and migrants stuck in dangerous conditions in northern Mexico as a result of the Trump crackdown on border crossings. The president visited the border on Thursday.
The vice-president, Mike Pence, on Monday said the president has yet to decide whether he will officially declare a national emergency over his demand for a wall along the south-west border.
At the invitation of Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and Chinese president, Kim Jong Un, chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea and chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, is visiting China, a spokesperson said on Tuesday.
Kim is visiting China from Jan. 7 to 10, said the spokesperson of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee in Beijing.
In a cordial and friendly atmosphere, the two leaders had an in-depth exchange of views on China-DPRK relations and issues of common concerns and reached important consensus.
World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim announced on Monday that he will be stepping down from his position after more than six years.
Kim has announced that, immediately after his departure, he will join a firm and focus on increasing infrastructure investments in developing countries. The details of this new position will be announced shortly.
In addition to working on infrastructure investments, Kim announced that he will also be re-joining the board of Partners In Health (PIH), an organization he co-founded more than 30 years ago.
Jeff Bezos, the boss of Amazon and the world’s richest man, has announced his divorce from MacKenzie, his wife of 25 years.
Bezos, who married MacKenzie (née Tuttle) in 1993, a year before he started Amazon from his garage in Seattle, broke the news of the split in a tweet signed by both of them.
Bezos, 54, who has built up a $137bn (£107bn) fortune, said they had decided to split up after a “long period of loving exploration and trial separation”.
If they split their assets equally, MacKenzie could become the richest woman in the world overnight. Her half-share of the combined fortune would be $68.5bn, which would put her fifth in the world rich list.
ROK President Moon Jae-in said on Thursday that the possible Seoul visit by Kim Jong Un, leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), and the second U.S.-DPRK summit will take place "soon."
Moon made the remarks during his New Year press conference, adding that conditions for resuming key economic projects between the DPRK and South Korea have already been met.
Moon also noted that Seoul will cooperate with the international community to "resolve" the issue of international sanctions on the DPRK "as soon as possible."
The Trump administration has downgraded the diplomatic status of the EU mission in Washington, without informing the mission or Brussels, officials confirmed on Tuesday.
The downgrade from nation state to international organisation status reverses an Obama administration decision in 2016 to grant the EU an enhanced diplomatic role in Washington, and is being seen in Brussels as a snub reflecting a general antipathy to the EU in the Trump administration.
The change, first reported by the German broadcaster, Deutsche Welle, potentially means that the EU mission would have less clout and access to US officials.
Prime Minister Theresa May will hold a delayed parliamentary vote on her Brexit deal on Tuesday, January 15, the BBC reported on Monday, citing government sources.
May was forced to pull the vote on her deal in December after she said it would be defeated by a large majority. The government had previously said the vote would be held in the week of January 14.
May said on Sunday that Britain would be in uncharted territory if her Brexit deal is rejected by parliament, despite little sign that she has won over sceptical lawmakers.
The EU hit Iran's intelligence services with sanctions Tuesday after accusing Tehran of being behind plots to assassinate regime opponents on Dutch, Danish and French soil.
The move by the 28-nation bloc was announced as the Dutch government said it believed Iran was behind the murders of two dissidents in 2015 and 2017.
"Very encouraging that (the) EU has just agreed on new targeted sanctions against Iran in response to hostile activities and plots being planned and perpetrated in Europe, including Denmark," Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said.
Sanctions include the freezing of funds and other financial assets of the Iranian intelligence ministry and individuals, officials said.
(ASIA PACIFIC DAILY)