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“Prospects for ASEAN after New US Defence Secretary’s Maiden Pacific Tour” by Glenn Ong and Hoang Thi Ha

2019/69, 16 August 2019 Newly appointed US Defence Secretary, Mark Esper, kicked off the final leg of his first international trip last Thursday (8 August) just as ASEAN was commemorating its 52nd anniversary. To reinforce US alliances and partnerships, he visited Australia, Japan, Mongolia, and the Republic of Korea. Esper…
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“Prayut Faces New Realities” by Termsak Chalermpalanupap

2019/68, 15 August 2019 Thai Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-ocha is learning to live with the reality of being head of an elected government in a parliamentary democracy: accepting full accountability for his deeds and speech, and coping with checks and balances.
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“Ex-Generals’ Parties: A New Trend of Party Politics in Myanmar?” by Nyi Nyi Kyaw

2019/67, 15 August 2019 The National League for Democracy (NLD) government has been in power since 2016, and Myanmar is now heading towards general elections due in 2020. Two new parties, the Union Betterment Party (UBP) and the Democratic Party of National Politics (DPNP) — registered in April and May…
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"Anwar’s “needs-based affirmative action” has noble intentions but flawed perspectives" by Lee Hwok-Aun

2019/66, 2 August 2019Anwar Ibrahim recently reiterated his policy stance that Malaysia should move away from race-based policies and instead focus on needs-based policies that target the poor. He further called for this shift to be accelerated. However, these spectres of reform, while popular with segments of Malaysia and the…
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“The Constitutional Protest Cycle in Myanmar” by Nyi Nyi Kyaw

2019/65, 29 July 2019 On 15 July, Myanmar’s Parliamentary Joint Committee for Constitutional Amendment submitted its final report. Dominated by members of the ruling National League for Democracy, the committee has offered a staggering 3,765 recommendations. Its report has ignited a wave of protests across Myanmar. These protests, largely though…
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“Talking Past One Another in the Thailand’s Policy Debate” by Termsak Chalermpalanupap

2019/64, 25 July 2019 On 25 July, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-ocha presented to the Thai parliament his 35-page policy document, covering 12 priority areas and addressing 12 urgent issues.
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"Philippine Federalism: SONA Silence" by Malcolm Cook

2019/63, 24 July 2019 On 22 July, President Duterte gave his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) setting out the agenda for the second half of his single six-year term. Despite the speech running well over time, what was not mentioned may be more important than what was. For…
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“Stand-off at Vanguard Bank: A Test of Vietnam – China Relations” by Ha Hoang Hop and Lye Liang Fook

2019/62, 22 July 2019According to the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, a Chinese coast guard vessel, the Haijing 35111, has since 16 June been patrolling an area about 190 nautical miles off the coast of southeastern Vietnam that is adjacent to the oil and gas Block 06-01, that is situated to…
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"A Mindanao Test for China-Philippine Relations" by Malcolm Cook

2019/61, 18 July 2019 For the last three decades, successive Philippine governments have considered but not started constructing a Mindanao Railway System to link the urban centres of the country’s poorest and most troubled major island. Under President Duterte, the first president from Mindanao, this massive but commercially doubtful 1500km…
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"The Post-Sovereign Philippines" by Malcolm Cook

2019/60, 12 July 2019What matters to international policy analysts is often largely immaterial to voters. Much has been written by analysts criticizing the Duterte administration’s deference to China, particularly in the West Philippine Sea. Yet, the latest Social Weather Stations’ quarterly survey provides a humbling reality check.
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