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To Mediate In Myanmar, ASEAN Needs A New Template

Asean has been pooh-poohed by many, but it is still the most pragmatic bet for talking  to Myanmar’s military. But can it convene a coordinated international response, with the west as bad cop and it as the negotiator, under heightened expectations about its doing ‘the right thing’ in our digitally connected world?

COVID-19: Tips for A Saner Digital Diet in Viral Times

Infodemic. Amid the coronavirus outbreak, online spaces in Southeast Asia have become a petri dish of deafening ‘noise’ and filth on steroids, into which fear-based behaviour sinks comfortably. But in the end, using online spaces involves personal responsibility, and cannot be passed on to Big Tech.

In Challenging Waters, Vietnam to Steer ASEAN as Mediator

Vietnam wants to be a bridge builder for ASEAN as Chair for 2020, using its skills in staying multilateral politically and economically -– and looks far beyond the headline-grabbing South China  issue and its giant neighbor to the north. Du Nhat Dang explains in this Reporting ASEAN feature.

Developed and Displaced in Southeast Asia

BANGKOK, Jun 30 – Families moved to distant, poorly equipped resettlement areas to make way for railways in the Philippines. Villagers still dealing with the loss of access to livelihood resources decades after dam construction in Thailand. Communities in Indonesia seeing their lands converted to palm oil plantations run by privately held concessions.

ASEAN Likes, But Also Fears, China’s Economic Weight

China is not yet an economic behemoth in ASEAN, given that it’s s more of a trade power than a major foreign investor in the region. But the day may not be so far away when ASEAN countries find China’s clout to be much bigger – and a more potent geopolitical tool in areas like the South China Sea disputes – if they do not diversify their economic ties, writes Johanna Son for the Reporting ASEAN series.

Bumpy Road for the Philippines as ASEAN Chair

The Philippines’ chairmanship of ASEAN during the organisation’s 50th year has been a bumpy road, Walden Bello points out this Reporting ASEAN commentary. The year has been marked by Malaysia’s breaking of the ASEAN consensus habit in the ASEAN chair’s statement on Rakhine state, the Philippines’ failure to push the social-protection mechanisms it listed as deliverables, and the Duterte government’s giving China a free pass in the South China Sea.

Laos and Cambodia: The China Dance

Laos has been more diplomatically adept than Cambodia at balancing ties with China with those of other countries. But while both are undoubtedly dancing with China, the social, economic and developmental cost of this dance remains to be seen in the coming years, says Johanna Son of Reporting ASEAN in this analysis.

ASEAN-China Ties: Ticking Time Bomb or ‘Asian’ World Order?

Since China has suffered a “century of humiliation” from the imperial powers, it should understand that ASEAN states, too, can suffer similar “humiliation” from China, Bo Yuan writes in this commentary.  In fact, its behaviour in the South China Sea tells ASEAN countries that China sees them as “tributaries” – akin to those during the Imperial China era – that must kowtow to the Middle Kingdom’s supremacy.

After 50, ASEAN’s Greatest Threat is Itself, Not China

ASEAN is basking in its 50-year glory, but this milestone has also shown how it is, in a sense, its own weak spot. The challenge from within ASEAN itself is its refusal or inability to fix itself from within so that it is solid enough to stave off divisions caused by the presence or absence of external powers, whether it be China, or the United States, explains Johanna Son.

The Philippines’ Headache over China

When history is written one day of how a country called the Philippines dealt with China, would it make for a legend about how it smartly navigated geopolitical waters to assert its territorial and economic rights – or a case study in how to bend over backwards and cede these to its giant neighbour to the […]

Time for ASEAN to be a Middle Power

As ASEAN reaches the 50-year mark, it should free itself from the old confines of navigating between the big powers and build its muscle as a middle power – one that confidently and collectively holds its own against undue external pressures, be it China, the United States, or others. Johanna Son* reports.

 

ASEAN: Duterte’s China Move

Like Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’e high-octane politics or hate it, but his brand of leadership has not been seen in ASEAN in decades, Kavi Chongkittavorn says in this piece for Reporting ASEAN. And whatever one thinks of Duterte’s China move, his overtures to Beijing have gone a long way in defusing the South China Sea tensions.

South China Sea Dispute: Asean Voice Drowned Out As Big Powers Pipe Up

The recent joint communique about the South China Sea dispute stopped short of mentioning the tribunal ruling invalidating China’s claims over most of the waterway. Tan Hui Yee of the Straits Times argues that while Asean has survived this test intact, its consensus-based system has muted its voice compared with the world powers weighing in loudly.

Japan Inc. Looks to India, ASEAN For Growth

Japanese companies no longer see China as a top destination for investment, and are overwhelmingly turning to India and ASEAN for growth, according to a joint survey by Nikkei Inc. and the U.S. think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies. Ken Moriyasu of the Nikkei Asian review looks at the reasons behind this change.

ASEAN, China after the PCA Verdict: We’re Still Friends

A mix of rising tempers, nationalism and politics is swirling in the weeks after the July ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) against China in the South China Sea. But recent communication between ASEAN and China, after the decision, appear to show a mutual desire to get beyond this sensitive issue on the 25th year of ASEAN-China ties, says Kavi Chongkittavorn in this commentary for Reporting ASEAN.

Southeast Asian Newspapers’ take on the Special ASEAN-China FM Meeting

The Special ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting might have concluded a week ago, but its aftershocks continue to rattle ASEAN as it reassesses its strategy in handling the South China Sea (SCS) dispute. Jason Salim takes a look at some of the editorial pieces and reporting in Southeast Asian newspapers regarding the “media statement” fiasco in this commentary.

South China Sea: Who Occupies What in the Spratlys?

The discourse over the South China Sea disputes never abates as there is still no real clarity about who occupies what in the huge-contested Spratly Islands. Alexander L. Vuving of ‘The Diplomat’ attempts to list what different countries occupy in the South China Sea.

ASEAN Strives to Balance Ties With China, Japan

As a result of souring China-Japan ties, ASEAN finds itself being wooed by its dialogue partners. The deterioration in the two countries’ relations has led to the economic giants increasing their efforts to strengthen ties with the regional grouping. Kavi Chongkittavorn looks at ASEAN’s reaction in this commentary for the ‘Reporting ASEAN: 2015 and Beyond’ series.

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