11 Apr 2014
Leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meet every year. They often share an upbeat outlook on ongoing regionalization, which will witness the grouping celebrate a milestone in its community building in 2015. In looking closely into the region however, underneath such optimism lies an inconvenient truth. In Southeast Asia, existing political flashpoints have the potential to hamper the path toward an ASEAN community. The seeming inability of ASEAN to manage regional disputes has so far symbolized a failure in the strengthening of its regional architecture.
27 Feb 2014
The Thai political crisis has shown no sign of subsiding. Indeed, the rise of political violence becomes more evident. And since Thailand is an important part of the regional economy, its protracted crisis has produced far-reaching effects on the country’s partners. Japan, a major economic partner of Thailand, has felt the political heat too.  
11 Feb 2014
The 'Lao Question' becomes the 'Thai Lao Question' as Thai society realizes ethnic identity matters Thailand has been described as a paradise by its own people, most famously in terms of the Ramkhamhaeng Inscription. It describes a land with fish in the water and rice in the fields. Thailand has also been marketed as such to foreigners: Amazing Thailand, the Land of Smiles.
20 Oct 2013
Beware!  The ASEAN Economic Community, or AEC, will be upon us in 2015.  And if Thailand doesn’t hurry up and get ready, it will lose out, and will be overwhelmed by those economic powerhouses who do these things so much better and more efficiently than Thailand, like, er, Lao.  Or Myanmar.
2 Jul 2013
The choking haze has revisited Southeast Asia in the past weeks. Impressive skyscrapers in Singapore and Malaysia have been cloaked by haze, a type of pollution which has emerged as a health issue for the two countries, as well as affecting their economy and potentially that of the region. For Singapore, this is not a new problem. Yet this year’s haze has managed to break its own record; it reached the hazardous PSI (pollutant standards index) level of 401 at 12 pm on June 21, the highest ever seen in the city-state. Similarly, the air pollutant index (API) hit 750 in the town of Muar—a 16-year high for Malaysia—in the morning of June 23. The Malaysian prime minister soon signed a declaration of emergency for the affected town.
10 May 2013
China and Thailand have forged even closer ties with the recent exchanges of visits of key policy makers. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, during his Bangkok trip early this month, extolled Thailand for playing a “significant” role in promoting relations between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
10 Apr 2013
The crisis on the Korean Peninsula is reaching its peak. North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, has threatened to wage an attack on the United States and South Korea using “smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear weapons”. Shuttle diplomacy is now being conducted between key players in an attempt to alleviate the tense situation.
7 Apr 2013
An art exhibition at the Bangkok Arts and Cultural Centre illustrates the stigma and plight commonly faced by sex workers in ASEAN countries.
25 Jan 2013
Japan has embarked on adjusting its foreign policy following the electoral victory of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which brought Shinzo Abe back to the premiership for the second time. After the Cabinet was formed on 26 December, Abe sent his deputy, Taro Aso, a former prime minister now in charge of the finance ministry, to Myanmar.
14 Jan 2013
Optimism is running high in Myanmar. After several decades under the military rule, Myanmar is now undertaking a series of political reforms. And so far, the move has been impressive. 
4 Jan 2013
BANGKOK (January 3, 2013)  -- The ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus (AIPMC) today called on Thai authorities to give United Nations refugee agencies unhindered access to Rohingya boat migrants. Thai authorities should suspend plans to deport at least 73 Rohingya migrants back to Myanmar, the regional human rights caucus said.


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