ISEAS Perspective 2023

ISEAS Perspective provides analysis of specific current events and their significance for the Southeast Asian region. This will be published occasionally, and is aimed at keeping decision-makers in both the public and private sectors informed; as well as scholars, laymen and the interested public. This series undergoes a peer-review process.


2023/51 “What Has China’s Lawfare Achieved in the South China Sea?” by Christian Schultheiss


2023 No. 51

China’s strategy in the South China Sea aims to enforce its invalidated claims, whereas recent legal actions by Southeast Asian claimant states seek to clarify claims and incentivise dispute settlement based on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).


2023/50 “Why Perikatan Nasional May Win in Selangor” by Marzuki Mohamad and Khairul Syakirin Zulkifli


2023 No. 50

A pre-election survey among Malay voters in Selangor found that there is no significant vote transferability between Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Barisan Nasional (BN).


2023/49 “Formidable Obstacles Blocking Move Forward Party Leader’s Quest for Thai Premiership” by Termsak Chalermpalanupap


2023 No. 49

Move Forward party leader Pita Limjaroenrat’s quest for the Thai premiership has hit its first obstacle.


2023/48 “Current Key Drivers of ASEAN Integration: Digital Skills and Mobilities” by Melinda Martinus and Farah Nadine Seth


2023 No. 48

COVID-19 and the rise of the digital economy are excellent opportunities for ASEAN to accelerate its regional integration push.


2023/47 “What Drives Vietnam’s Tightened Public Sphere?” by Nguyen Khac Giang and Dien Nguyen An Luong


2023 No. 47

Since 2016, the Vietnamese government has tightened its grip on traditional media, the online sphere, and civil society.


2022/46 “Cambodia-China Free Trade Agreement: A Cambodian Perspective” by Vannarith Chheang


2023 No. 46

The Cambodia-China Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA), which came into force in January 2022, has provided Cambodia with renewed impetus to enhance trade facilitation and expand its trade portfolio. This is in line with the objectives of its Rectangular Strategy (2018-2023) and the economic diplomacy initiative that it launched in January 2021.


2023/45 “Why China Supports the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone” by Hoang Thi Ha


2023 No. 45

Almost three decades after the signing of the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone (SEANWFZ) Treaty, none of the five recognised Nuclear Weapon States (NWS) has acceded to its Protocol.


2023/44 “The Power of Fantasy: Southeast Asians Develop an Obsession with Chinese Xianxia Dramas” by Gwendolyn Yap


2023 No. 44

In the past five years, a new genre of Chinese drama, xianxia (仙侠), has been rising in popularity in Southeast Asia. This genre combines Chinese mythology and culture with fantasy and action and has been very well-received by Southeast Asian audiences.


2023/43 “Move Forward Party Has Won the Election, but May Lose the Premiership Race” by Termsak Chalermpalanupap


2023 No. 43

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Move Forward Party (MFP) scored a surprise victory in the Thai general election on 14 May.


2023/42 “Southeast Asian Views on the United States: Perceptions Versus Objective Reality” by Lee Sue-Ann


2023 No. 42

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Data trends from the ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute’s State of Southeast Asia annual survey carried out between 2019 and 2023 suggest an enduring tendency among the respondents in ASEAN member states to underestimate the United States’ power and influence in the region. The respondents have overwhelmingly identified China not only as the […]