Al Jazeera writes: The United States has accused Myanmar’s military generals of playing for time after coup leader Min Aung Hlaing extended the deadline for new elections, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken urging the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) to step up efforts to resolve the political turmoil triggered by the power grab. Blinken is participating virtually this week in talks with foreign ministers from ASEAN, whose 10 members include Myanmar.
Abul Rizvi writes for East Asia Forum: After years of resisting pressure from the Australian National Party and the farm lobby to create an agriculture visa, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has at last relented. A new agriculture visa for workers from ASEAN nations is currently being negotiated. Applications will likely start from November 2021 or early in 2022, subject to vaccination take-up in ASEAN countries.
go to East Asia Forum: Risks abound in Australia’s new ASEAN agriculture visa | East Asia Forum
Global Times writes: Deeper cooperation between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in the digital economy will benefit Wuhan, Central China’s Hubei Province, which was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and accelerate its economic transformation and industrial upgrade amid a post-pandemic recovery, analysts said on Sunday.
go to Global Times website: China-ASEAN digital cooperation to boost Wuhan’s industry – Global Times
Kimkong Heng writes for East Asia Forum: Cambodia will be ASEAN chair next year — its third time since joining the regional group in 1999. The last time Cambodia chaired ASEAN was in 2012, when it was fiercely criticised for siding with China at the expense of other ASEAN states over territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
go to East Asia Forum website: Cambodia to chair ASEAN in choppy waters (eastasiaforum.org)
Melinda Martinus writes for East Asia Forum: China is moving full speed ahead in the race for global technology leadership having promoted artificial intelligence, expanded venture capital and funded start-ups worldwide. ASEAN countries have seen a surge in Chinese capital flows through massive infrastructure projects that have significant smart city elements, including Forest City Johor Bahru, New Clark City, New Manila Bay City of Pearl and Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor. China has also shown a great interest in the region’s newly planned township projects, including the Indonesia’s new capital city in East Kalimantan and New Yangon City.
go to East Asia Forum website: Stumbling blocks to ASEAN-China smart city cooperation | East Asia Forum
Al Jazeera writes: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has expressed “deep concerns” about the military coup in Myanmar and called on Southeast Asian nations to take action to end violence and restore democracy in the country.
Manoj Harjani writes for East Asia Forum: On 21 April 2021, the European Union announced draft legislation to harmonise its member states’ artificial intelligence (AI) rules. The legislation’s objectives are potentially desirable for many Southeast Asian countries, especially given the growing concern about the risks associated with AI and intensifying rivalry between China and the United States.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted regional trade flows and highlighted the importance of facilitating goods trade among ASEAN member states. In March, the World Trade Organization (WTO) predicted that global merchandise trade volume is expected to increase by 8 per cent in 2021 and 4 per cent in 2022, after falling by 5.3 per cent in 2020. Reducing high trade compliance costs could boost ASEAN’s trade recovery.
The 15th ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM) and the 8th ASEAN Plus Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM+) was hosted by this year’s ASEAN Chair Brunei Darussalam from 15-16 June, wherein a number of conceptual documents were adopted relating to strengthening cooperation. In the times of the pandemic, it was held virtually. Securing peace and stability in the much contested South China Sea critical to maritime trade dominated the discussion. Cambodia’s Minister of National Defence Tea Banh was aware that his country will hold the ASEAN Chair in 2022 on rotational basis and therefore was keen to understand and examine many of the regional strategic dimensions in the discussion in view of the criticism that it was leaning closer towards China, the regional bully.