28 Oct 2013
Human security has been a relatively alien concept due to the overwhelming concentration on the security of nation-state. The making of the “security” discourse in Myanmar is arbitrary. It is arbitrary because it has been shaped and reshaped according to the changing power interests of the Myanmar elite. The state becomes equivalent to the nation. Hence, the security of the nation is equal the regime security.
7 Oct 2013
Cambodian politics has never been more interesting. The general election taken place in late July 2013 delivered a rather devastating result for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), led by the forever Prime Minister Hun Sen. Having been in power for almost three decades, Hun Sen has become the longest-running elected leader of Southeast Asia. Yet, the latest poll may seem to suggest that the end of the Hun Sen era is nigh.
14 Sep 2013
The university uniform drama has unfolded a new ugly reality in Thai society. Recently, a vocal Thammasat student, under her chic nickname Aum Neko, has daringly defied a traditional practice of student uniform wearing within the walls of a prestigious university. As it is understood, there is no fixed rule on the necessity of wearing university uniform.
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 Jun 2013
Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra paid an official visit to Japan from 22-25 May. As Thailand’s first female premier, Yingluck did not just exploit her charm to win over Japan, but was daring to talk openly about the most sensitive issue facing her country—the protracted political crisis that erupted in the wake of the 2006 military coup. That coup overthrew her brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, the most successful prime minister in Thailand’s history.
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 Mar 2013
The Bangkok gubernatorial election was held last weekend and ended with a great fanfare. The incumbent governor, Sukhumbhand Paribatra, from the opposition Democrat Party, managed to hold on for another term despite implementing a number of failed policies during the past four years under his leadership.
13 Feb 2013
Japan’s Shinzo Abe administration had decided to raise the defence budget for the first time in 11 years. The government called for spending 4.68 trillion yen (US$52 billion) on defence, an increase of 0.8% from last year, in the new fiscal year which will begin this April.
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.
26 Dec 2012
2012 is coming to an end. Soon, we will embrace what the New Year will bring. In foreign affairs, Thailand will, like in previous years, encounter a myriad of opportunities and challenges. This short article will identify key international events and ongoing domestic issues that could make an impact on the Thai foreign policy and the stature of the country on the global stage.