Vietnam’s history holds lessons for Trump and Kim ahead of summit, PM says

Hanoi, Vietnam (CNN)Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said his country will “spare no effort” to host a successful summit between North Korea and the United States because in the end, it would be less costly than a war. The country is expected to reap some economic and public relations benefits by hosting the diplomatic event, and it is openly embracing its role as host. North Korean, US and Vietnamese flag displays can be seen throughout the city, and its vendors are selling shirts emblazoned with Kim and Trump’s faces in addition to their usual fare. Nguyen said Vietnam’s war-torn history is an important motivator in hosting the event: “Vietnam is doing her best to successfully organize the second US-DPRK …

Tsai Ing-wen: The unconventional president staring down Beijing

Taipei, Taiwan (CNN)On the surface, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen isn’t a natural politician. Such is life for Taiwan’s first female president. Caught between an aggressive Beijing on one side and an unofficial ally in Washington on the other, Tsai has to maintain a delicate balance. Her reticence to ingratiate herself to the public has allowed detractors to paint her as a detached politician, someone who doesn’t understand the average Taiwan citizen. Tsai says any perceived aloofness is due to her keen focus on government affairs and international relations. But it’s a situation she acknowledges. “When I became the president, I seemed to be someone rather isolated and [the public] felt that there is a distance of some sort between me …

From a golden gun to a bear hug … Saudi Prince’s Asia tour tells the West: You may shun me, but I’m not alone

(CNN)It’s hard to think of anywhere else in the world right now where Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman would get such a warm welcome. That reception would be unthinkable in the US or Europe, where bin Salman’s reputation has been severely damaged following the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last year. Bin Salman has denied any connection to the killing. In the wake of that scandal, the young prince badly needed some good PR — and so he headed East. It was a smart move. China is already Saudi Arabia’s biggest trading partner, and across Asia this week political, religious and ideological differences proved no barrier to doing business. No …

War on e-cigarettes: Hong Kong intends to jail vaping offenders. But will it make people quit?

(CNN)Robert Chan lit his first cigarette aged 18. He quickly became hooked, smoking 15 a day for more than a decade. “I wanted to stop smoking but I wasn’t quite ready to quit nicotine yet,” he says. “I saw this as a bridging device to do something less harmful than cigarettes … There’s no ash, no smell and my lungs and breathing feel better when I use it.” But today that industry is facing a battle. While many smokers are embracing alternative devices in an attempt to quit cigarettes, governments around the world are divided. This month, the Hong Kong government announced plans to push ahead with a controversial blanket ban on all e-cigarettes and heat-not-burn products. Under the sweeping …

Will smash hit ‘The Wandering Earth’ change China’s film industry?

(CNN)Millions of moviegoers watched breathlessly over the Lunar New Year week as Beijing and Shanghai were destroyed for the first time in modern Chinese film history. Director Guo Fan says “The Wandering Earth” has been so popular because it has human emotions at its core. “I made the lead role (played by Wu Jing) in memory of my father,” Guo told CNN. “It tells the story of a typical Chinese father’s love. It’s always forbearing and without too many words, but it’s so powerful. That’s my understanding of a father’s love.” In another sign of its unique appeal, authorities allowed the creators to portray the destruction of Beijing and Shanghai — the first time a Chinese-made film has been allowed …

From Hollywood to Saudi Arabia, Leonardo DiCaprio to Paris Hilton: The scandal that enveloped the world

(CNN)Billions of dollars in allegedly misappropriated funds. Millions spent on luxury handbags and jewelry. One hit movie, two mediocre comedies, a swanky New York condo, a $250 million yacht and a Picasso. Leonardo DiCaprio, Paris Hilton, Miranda Kerr and Lindsay Lohan. In early 2009 Najib, weeks into his premiership, ordered the creation of a state investment fund initially worth $1.2 billion, which would later be renamed 1Malaysia Development Berhad, or 1MDB. Its stated purpose was to lead “market-driven initiatives to assist the government in propelling Malaysia towards becoming a developed nation that is highly competitive, sustainable and inclusive.” Instead, according to US prosecutors, 1MDB was used as a slush fund by Najib, Low and other high-ranking officials at the fund, …

China’s far side of the moon mission is just the start of its space ambitions

Hong Kong (CNN)As you read this, a spindly-looking silver robot with a satellite dish for a head is exploring places never seen up close before by humans. The front page of Friday’s China Daily, a state-run newspaper, featured a large photo of scientists at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center reacting to the touchdown, alongside one of the first images sent back by Chang’e 4 of the moon’s far side. Reacting on Twitter, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine called it a “first for humanity and an impressive accomplishment!” China was late to the space race — it didn’t send its first satellite into orbit until 1970, by which time the US had already landed an astronaut on the moon — but it …