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"Perspectives of Malaysia’s National Security Council Act 2016", by Mustafa Izzuddin

Commentary 2016/40, 3 August 2016On 1 August 2016, the National Security Council (NSC) Act came into effect after the bill was tabled and passed quickly in December 2015. The Act allows the NSC – chaired by a Malaysian Prime Minister (PM) – to take command of the country’s security forces…
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"Riding the Japanese Wave", a Commentary by Malcolm Cook

Commentary 2016/39, 2 August 2016 Three decisions announced this week by three major Japanese services firms in three different Southeast Asia markets signal a new wave of Japanese corporate investment in the region that is far from cresting: Japan’s AEON became the first foreign supermarket chain to directly enter Myanmar…
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"Fast-Track Talks on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea: An Opportunity to Move Forward", a Commentary by Hoang Thi Ha

Commentary 2016/38, 1 August 2016 China’s proposal at the ASEAN Post-Ministerial Conference (PMC) on 26 July 2016 to complete consultations on a Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea (SCS) by July 2017 is a welcome development. The announcement came at a time of great anxiety over rising…
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"More Concern than Celebration: Jokowi’s Second Cabinet Reshuffle", a Commentary by Ulla Fionna

Commentary 2016/37, 29 July 2016 Jokowi’s announcement of his second cabinet reshuffle (27/07) calls for more caution than celebration. While the return of Sri Muyani Indrawati is a welcome selection, other appointments should be viewed with more care. Overall, it seems that the reshuffle is Jokowi’s strategic move to consolidate…
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"Reflections on the 49th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting", a Commentary by Tang Siew Mun

Commentary 2016/36, 26 July 2016 Much to the surprise of the ASEAN member states, a joint communique of the 49th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) was issued on 25th July 2016, a day after the AMM. ASEAN watchers had been resigned to a déjà vu of the 2012 Phnom Penh…
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"Rule of Law in the South China Sea: Where does ASEAN Stand?", a Commentary of by Hoang Thi Ha

Commentary 2016/35, 26 July 2016 After the disappointment at ASEAN’s failure to issue its collective statement on the landmark arbitration ruling on the South China Sea (SCS), its hopes for a joint position hinged on the 49th ASEAN Foreign Minister Meeting (AMM) on 24 July in Vientiane. With the presence…
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"The Veto: ASEAN’s Growing Liability", a Commentary by Jason Salim

Commentary 2016/34, 26 July 2016 After three days of intense negotiations into the wee hours, Asean has finally issued its traditional joint communique following the 49th Asean Foreign Ministers' Meeting (AMM) in Vientiane, Laos. However, this joint communique was issued after Cambodia was reported to have wielded its veto to…
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"Issues and Points to Look out for at the 49th ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting and Related Meetings", a Commentary by Tang Siew Mun

Commentary 2016/33, 22 July 2016 ASEAN foreign ministers will meet in Vientiane from 23-26 July 2016 for the 49th ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting (AMM), as well as to participate in other related meetings such as the Post-Ministerial Conference (PMC) with the Dialogue Partners, East Asia Summit (EAS) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting…
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"Assessing Malaysia’s Anodyne Response on the SCS Arbitral Tribunal Award", a Commentary by Tang Siew Mun

Commentary 2016/32, 13 July 2016 The aftershocks of the arbitral tribunal’s award in the Philippines vs. China case on the South China Sea (SCS) continue to rattle the region days after its delivery. However, the intense discussions on the ruling have yet to catch on in Malaysia – a key…
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"Arbitral Award Enhances Vietnam’s Bargaining Power vis-à-vis China", a Commentary by Le Hong Hiep

Commentary 2016/31, 13 July 2016 As one of the main parties to the South China Sea dispute, Vietnam stands to benefit significantly from the final award issued by the arbitral tribunal on the Philippines’ case against China. Indeed, in an official statement issued on 12 July 2016, the Vietnamese Ministry…
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