Pragmatic & risk-averse: little change expected under Nguyen Phu Trong (video)

• Editorial

Vietnam’s top leadership positions, the general secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) and the president, are traditionally held by two different people. This separation ceased to exist on October 23, 2018 when the National Assembly (NA) elected General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong as president, filling the vacancy created by the sudden death of […]

Putin’s Singapore visit signals continued Russia-Asean interest

• Editorial

Putin’s Singapore visit signals continued Russia-Asean interest

Russian President Vladimir Putin made his first-ever state visit to Singapore on November 13, 2018. Coinciding with the 33rd Asean summit, 3rd Asean–Russia summit, 13th East Asia Summit (EAS), and 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Russia and Singapore, the visit marks an important step in Russia’s efforts to broaden its pivot to the East. […]

Trade war: Focus turns to Thailand to conclude $7 trln RCEP

• Editorial

Trade war: Focus turns to Thailand to conclude $7 trln RCEP

Six years in the making, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is slated to transform the region into an Asean-centric, comprehensive free trade area,  poised to make a large contribution to Asian and global economic cooperation. The RCEP may well become the second major Asia-led trade agreement in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s […]

Indonesia’s WSMEs: female entrepreneurship without a safety net

• Editorial

Indonesia’s WSMEs: female entrepreneurship without a safety net

Despite the substantial contribution women-led or -owned small and medium enterprises (WSMEs) make to the Indonesian economy, their aspirations are not effectively facilitated by policymakers. Three areas require greater attention: increasing the accessibility of information, strengthening the institutional capacity of the Creative Economy Agency, and improving government services at the local level. The International Finance […]

Asean currency crisis: region at risk of a ‘currency crisis stroke’

• Editorial

Asean currency crisis: region at risk of a ‘currency crisis stroke’

The rumblings of a currency crisis in emerging markets is only getting louder. Argentina’s Central Bank raised interest rates to 40 per cent to protect its peso in May 2018. When this did little to help, Argentina took out a $50 billion credit line from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Turkey stated in August 2018 that more […]

RIMCHN a success, but Rimpac 2020 could be Beijing’s worst nightmare

• Editorial

RIMCHN a success, but Rimpac 2020 could be Beijing’s worst nightmare

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) and navies from 10 Asean member states carried out a field-training exercise in the South China Sea (SCS) between October 22 and 28 2018. The joint naval manoeuvre followed a joint Asean–China table-top exercise in Singapore on August 2. Together these drills mark the inaugural Asean-China maritime exercise […]

Beijing should not ignore rising anti-China sentiment and neither should Hanoi

• Editorial

Beijing should not ignore rising anti-China sentiment and neither should Hanoi

Since mid-June 2018, numerous anti-China protests have been reported in Vietnam. Demonstrations of this kind have not been seen since the widespread anti-China protests in the country in 2008 and 2014. Protesters rallied to express opposition to the draft law on special economic zones (SEZs) that was to be brought before the National Assembly for […]

Maritime security: Time for Asean to reach beyond low hanging fruit

• Editorial

Maritime security: Time for Asean to reach beyond low hanging fruit

During its year as Asean chair Singapore has continued the association’s work in developing measures to help mitigate tensions in the South China Sea. In recent years communications hotlines between respective foreign ministries have been introduced and the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) introduced. CUES is intended to reduce incidents between the navies […]

Asean centrality key to maintaining South China Sea stability

• Editorial

Asean centrality key to maintaining South China Sea stability

The 51st Asean Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and related meetings held in Singapore from July 30 to August 4 were hailed as a success. Most notably, there were no delays in the issuance of a joint communique, which had previously been delayed because of seemingly intractable issues such as the South China Sea dispute. In […]

Myanmar has changed, but remains firmly in China’s grip

• Editorial

Myanmar has changed, but remains firmly in China’s grip

April 2018 marked the second anniversary of Aung San Suu Kyi assuming the position of state councillor of Myanmar. Despite predictions that Myanmar’s tentative steps towards democracy would weaken the country’s long-standing relationship with Beijing, the security situation in Myanmar’s border regions and tepid relations with the West ensure that China remains the Suu Kyi […]

Thailand election: Under a new reign old order trinity must make way for fresh blood

• Editorial

Thailand election: Under a new reign old order trinity must make way for fresh blood

More than four years after it seized power in May 2014, Thailand’s military government appears intent on holding onto it indefinitely. Led by General Prayut Chan-o-cha, the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) has repeatedly delayed the pledged Thailand elections, currently slated for February 2019. However, this could again be pushed back several months […]

Rice self-sufficiency insufficient: In search of a better food security policy for Asia

• Editorial

Rice self-sufficiency insufficient: In search of a better food security policy for Asia

Three processes drive modernisation: a structural transformation of the economy with agriculture playing a lesser role as the country gets richer; an agricultural transformation that raises the sector’s productivity and produces a more diversified output; and a dietary transformation that occurs when consumers become richer and can afford to choose from a greater variety of […]

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