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Daily news – February 5, 2022

AFRICA African Union: Focus on Rights, Justice at Summit. Human Rights Watch: President Macky Sall of Senegal should ensure that civilian protection, human rights, and justice and accountability are the focus of the African Union’s agenda as he takes over leadership of the 55-country body, Human Rights Watch said today. The African Union (AU) summit is […]

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Geopolitics & Worlds

Could minilateralism work in the South China Sea? (Huynh Tam Sang, The Interpreter)

Tensions with China over the South China Sea have prompted Indonesia to invite maritime security officials from five ASEAN member states – Brunei, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam – to meet in February to discuss a possible joint response to Beijing’s growing assertiveness. Jakarta’s bold move is worth consideration as Indonesia is a non-claimant state in […]

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Prospects for Cambodia’s chairing of ASEAN in 2022 (Riko Watanabe, East Asia Forum)

In October 2021, Sultan Bolkiah of Brunei handed over the chairmanship of ASEAN to Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen. In 2022, ASEAN will continue to be preoccupied with Myanmar’s political crisis and the international community’s criticism on the issue. ASEAN has taken modest but unrivalled measures in this regard. The ASEAN Summit on 24 April 2021 issued […]

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Singapore PM backs continued exclusion of Myanmar junta from ASEAN meetings (Reuters)

Singapore’s leader said the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) should continue excluding Myanmar’s junta from its meeting until it cooperates on an agreed peace plans. Singapore PM backs continued exclusion of Myanmar junta from ASEAN meetings | Reuters

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Voices of concern at ASEAN over Hun Sen’s Myanmar visit (Al Jazeera)

Malaysia’s foreign minister has said that some Southeast Asian countries had reservations about last week’s visit to Myanmar by Cambodia’s leader, with concerns the trip could be seen as regional recognition of military rule amid continuing opposition to the coup. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, the new chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations […]

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ASEAN and the new geopolitics of the Indo-Pacific (Amitav Acharya, East Asia Forum)

Southeast Asia is no stranger to strategic competition. But its ‘new geopolitics’ is different from those that existed during the Cold War. In fighting communism, the United States extended its security umbrella to the region. This gave ASEAN members breathing space and allowed them to focus on economic growth and domestic stability. It also stimulated […]

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Australia’s Indo-Pacific fortunes are in Biden’s hands (Susannah Patton, East Asia Forum)

Australia and China both had diplomatic wins in Southeast Asia this year, particularly through the region’s Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Both Canberra and Beijing upgraded its ties with ASEAN to ‘comprehensive strategic partnership’, showing that the association sees both Australia and China as valued partners. Australia’s Indo-Pacific fortunes are in Biden’s hands (eastasiaforum.org) […]

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Prospective Chinese ambassador to Indonesia Lu Kang will have sights on engaging ASEAN (Yu Zeyuan, ThinkChina)

Former foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang is slated to be the next Chinese ambassador to Indonesia. Amid US-China tensions, a post in Indonesia presents opportunities and challenges both in terms of bilateral relations and in engaging ASEAN. Known to be a steady hand, if Lu can chalk up notable achievements during his tenure, he may […]

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Cambodia is China’s leverage point on ASEAN (Davis Florick, East Asia Forum)

Chinese interference has negatively impacted Cambodian politics and allowed Prime Minister Hun Sen to lean more fully into authoritarianism. As illiberalism calcifies in Cambodia, the country grows further isolated from the international community — making it further dependent on China and unlikely to escape Beijing’s influence in the short- or medium-term. Cambodia is China’s leverage […]

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ASEAN running out of time to recast role as buffer in US-China great power competition (Shuxian Luo, Brookings)

Following the latest incident in the South China Sea, in which Chinese coastguard vessels blocked and water-cannoned Philippine ships carrying resupplies to Second Thomas Shoal, the silence of ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) stood as a glaring but not surprising contrast to the quick responses from the United States and the European Union. ASEAN running out of time […]

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Biden must build stronger trade ties with ASEAN (Kevin Rutigliano, East Asia Forum)

On 26 October 2021, US President Joe Biden attended a virtual US–ASEAN summit meeting — the first time in four years that the United States engaged at the highest level with the 10-member bloc. During his speech, Biden said that Washington is committed to the central role ASEAN has in the Indo-Pacific region. Biden must build stronger […]

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ASEAN responses to AUKUS security dynamic (Dino Patti Djalal, East Asia Forum)

When news of the AUKUS agreement broke on 16 September 2021, it caught everyone in Southeast Asia by surprise. While its understood that AUKUS is not an alliance, it had portent to agitate the strategic landscape for ASEAN. ASEAN responses to AUKUS security dynamic | East Asia Forum