The inter-Korean summit is set to transform the international political landscape of East Asia. For the first time, South and North Koreas have agreed to overcome long years of mutual antagonism. They expressed their willingness to tackle difficult issues in their relationship that had over several decades prevented peace on the Korean peninsula. Among those difficult issues are denuclearization of the region and even a possible reunification in the future. The two countries were separated by the Korean War, which terminated in 1953.
Japan’s diplomatic ambition to compete with China in maintaining its foothold in Thailand seems soon to fizzle out following the failure to reach a deal on a high-speed train project between the Japanese and Thai governments.
Former Prime Minister-turned-fugitive Yingluck Shinawatra was spotted, on a London high street on January 4, for the first time since she fled Thailand prior to the reading of her verdict. Yingluck was sentenced in absentia to five years in prison for mishandling a rice subsidy scheme which allegedly cost Thailand at least $8bn. Her recent appearance in public immediately lifted morale among some of the red shirts in Thailand.
Thailand’s military government hurriedly approved the budget to purchase three submarines from China, defending its decision as “strategically necessary” in the age of uncertain security situation in the region. However, the junta’s decision has been heavily criticised by the Thai public on the real need for the costly submarines at the time of the country’s economic downturn.
On a Saturday night in mid-September 2013 I was sat at table in a deserted restaurant in an exclusive beachside resort in Phuket. My companions were graduate students and researchers from Chulalongkorn University and Japan’s prestigious Kyoto University.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns a Thai government ban, imposed yesterday, on any online contact or interaction with three prominent critics of the regime – a foreign journalist and two academics – and urges all Facebook users beyond the government’s reach to share content from the Facebook accounts of these three critics. The ban’s three targets are Andrew MacGregor Marshall, a well-known Scottish journalist who used to be based in Bangkok, and Thai academics Somsak Jeamteerasakul and Pavin Chachavalpongpun.
Responding to a government warning that anyone who follows, contacts, or shares posts online with three prominent critics - historian Somsak Jeamteerasakul, journalist and author Andrew MacGregor Marshall, and former diplomat Pavin Chachavalpongpun - will be prosecuted under the Computer Crimes Act, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific Josef Benedict said:
Japan’s Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko will visit Thailand from 5-6 March 2017. This will be their first visit in ten years, mainly to strengthen ties between the two countries and for Their Majesties to pay the last respect to the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
My speech at a hearing on “Obstacles to Democratisation in Thailand” at the French Senate, Paris, 5 April 2016. I would like to focus mainly on current politics of Thailand, particularly on obstacles to Thai democratisation in the aftermath of the 2014 coup.
Election? Another coup? People’s uprising? Where is Thailand heading? Academics have said that if the military decides to prolong its regime, a people’s uprising is inevitable.